Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Quebec Minister of Immigration Kathleen Weil, left, looks on as Chair of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration Marc Garneau responds to a question during a news conference following a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday.

Feds get asylum seekers ready for winter

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is thinking about buying trailers to keep asylum seekers currently living in tents at the U.S. border safe from the cold winter.

“These tents do have heaters, but we also have a very, very cold winter in this country and so we are, as a precautionary measure, looking at the possibility of trailers,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Friday after meeting the federal-provincial task force charged with managing an unprecedented flow of asylum seekers.

“We’re just doing our homework so that we are, if necessary, prepared for things that could develop over the coming months.”

More than 6,000 people have crossed illegally into Quebec from New York since July, the vast majority of them Haitians.

Many are staying in tents at the border in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., as they await processing, but the federal government has issued a tender notice seeking suppliers who would be able to provide winterized trailers — on six weeks’ notice — to accommodate 200 people.

Garneau, who is chair of the ad hoc intergovernmental task force on irregular migration, said the federal government is also increasing resources aimed at speeding up the processing, including opening an additional facility in Montreal and looking into ways to help claimants get temporary work permits faster

“We know, from our experience, people want to work, are able to work,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil.

Many of the asylum seekers are believed to be coming to Canada because the U.S. government announced it is thinking about lifting the temporary protected status given to Haitian nationals after the deadly 2010 earthquake, meaning thousands of people could be deported.

The Haitians are not the only group dealing with that change in policy, as there is no guarantee the U.S. will renew temporary protected status for citizens from nine other countries that is also set to expire in the coming months.

So, the Liberal government is also expanding its outreach efforts in the U.S. beyond the Haitian community to drive home the message that asylum in Canada is not a sure bet.

“You have to be able to demonstrate that you are in fear of returning to your country of origin, that you are fleeing persecution, war or terror,” said Garneau.

Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg recently went to Miami to spread this message through the Haitian diaspora there and Garneau said that will be extended into other communities in the U.S.

A senior government source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said details of that expanded effort are in the works, but people originally from El Salvador and Honduras are expected to be among those targeted.

Many of the Haitians who decided to cross the border were also motivated by false information circulating on social media and elsewhere since the spring, which claimed that Canada would give them special status because of their temporary protected position in the U.S.

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month