OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says he will use a meeting Friday with his U.S. counterpart to try to find out who is organizing the risky movement of would-be refugees into Canada in the dead of winter.
The recent influx of asylum-seekers from the United States at remote border points — often in desperately cold weather — will be among the thorny issues on the agenda when new U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly visits Ottawa.
The reeve of Emerson, on the Manitoba-U.S. border, says 19 people crossed into Canada in a blizzard overnight Tuesday.
“If you’ve ever been in a Prairie blizzard, you know that is very, very risky,” Goodale said Wednesday. “Who organized this, this movement, and did they actually contemplate letting people out on a roadside in the middle of a Prairie blizzard?
“I think we’ll want to explore the factors that lead to that kind of potentially dangerous behaviour.”
Canada and the U.S. must come to an understanding of who the migrants are, how and why they are making these journeys and how the situation might evolve in the days and weeks ahead, Goodale said.
“I think in this first conversation, it will be very important to ensure that we’ve got a common fact base. We also obviously have a great deal of care and attention directed toward the safety factors.”