Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks about Canada’s action on asylum seekers
Hello everyone. Thank you for being here today. I am really happy to be back in Montréal. Before starting, I would like to take a moment to remember a great writer, a great Quebecker, who died yesterday. Of course I’m referring to Réjean Ducharme. Like so many people, I was truly touched by his writings, and I offer my condolences to his entire family in this difficult time.
I just met with the intergovernmental task force that was formed to address the influx of asylum seekers at our border. I first want to tell everyone that all levels of government are working very hard, day-to-day, to respond to the situation. We are in solution mode, and this is a wonderful example of intergovernmental cooperation. We can all be proud of the sustained efforts being made on all fronts.
I want to reiterate what I’ve said before: Canada is an open and welcoming society. We welcome newcomers, and we encourage them, but we are a country based on laws. You will not be at an advantage if you choose to enter Canada irregularly. You must follow the rules, and there are many. Our number one job is to protect our citizens, and we will enforce the existing laws to keep our communities safe.
I just met with the intergovernmental task force that was formed to address the influx of asylum seekers at our border. I want to reiterate what I’ve said before: Canada is an open and welcoming society because Canadians have confidence in our immigration system and have confidence that we are a country based on laws. You will not be at advantage if you choose to enter Canada irregularly. You must follow the rules and there are many.
Our number one job is to protect our citizens and we will enforce the existing rules to keep our communities safe. Now that being said, we have taken many steps at all orders of government to address the current situation with asylum seekers.
For example, we have set up temporary shelters in Cornwall to lighten Quebec’s burden. We are hiring more people for the processing centre in Montréal. That will allow us to examine and process claims from asylum seekers much more quickly than we are currently doing. And we are in contact with people in the United States, sharing information and dispelling myths about entering Canada.
We want to ensure that those who come here understand what will happen. My friend, MP Emmanuel Dubourg, as a member of the intergovernmental task force, will be travelling to Miami tomorrow to meet with representatives of the Haitian community and do interviews with Creole media to spread our message as widely as possible.
Finally, I must thank many people and groups for their dedicated work. At the federal level, the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP, government employees who have worked day and night, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces. I must also think the Canadian Red Cross, which is always there at difficult times, and which once again is showing how valuable it is for our citizens and for people around the world. And I have to specifically thank people at the provincial level, stakeholders in health and social assistance, public employees, volunteers, and members of the various communities.
We look forward to working closely with our partners across all orders of government in the weeks ahead as we have successfully done until now. I specifically want to thank our ministers from Ontario and Quebec who are here today who’ve been extraordinarily useful in collaborating, in coordinating, and responding, both to the situation and looking forward over the coming weeks and months.