HASH(0x292d2c0)

Manitoba premier says Ottawa has not replied to request for refugee aid

Manitoba premier wants federal help

WINNIPEG — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to respond to Manitoba’s call for help in dealing with an influx of asylum-seekers crossing the border from the United States, Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday.

Pallister said he wrote to Trudeau more than a week ago to ask for money for housing, welfare, language training, legal aid and other services for border-crossers.

“We have limited resources like, frankly, all provinces, but more so because of the financial situation we’ve inherited. And it is unfair to stand by and watch … while others are doing the heavy lifting,” Pallister said.

“We’re proud to be part of Team Canada but we need the federal government to step up and do its job.”

Pallister also wants Trudeau to call U.S. President Donald Trump “to be sure that he understands the circumstances and the danger of the situation.”

The small community of Emerson, Man., has seen a sharp increase in the number of people walking over from the United States in recent months, away from official border posts. Many are originally from African nations who fear deportation from the U.S. under a new immigration crackdown.

They cross over fields and through ditches because they would be turned back at official border points if they have already made a refugee claim in the U.S. If they make it onto Canadian soil before being apprehended, they can stay in Canada and go through the normal refugee application process.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale visited Emerson last weekend and promised to cover extra costs borne by the community’s first responders, who have been helping border-crossers survive frigid weather.

Goodale has also said he will raise the issue with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in a face-to-face meeting scheduled for Friday.

Pallister said his government needs help, because it is already looking at millions of extra dollars in support services costs, and the number of refugee claimants could grow as the weather warms up.

“These are real people with real needs, and a real cost is being incurred, and the sharing has to start very, very soon here.”

In a written statement, the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said most of the services involved are a provincial responsibility, except for an interim health program designed for refugee claimants.

“Except for health services, which are funded by the government of Canada … provision of all these supports is the responsibility of provinces and territories. Municipalities or non-profit organizations also provide some supports,” reads the statement supplied by regional spokesperson Faith St. John.

The federal government also provides settlement services such as language and employment training once a refugee claim is approved, St. John added.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Vernon senior feels trapped in long-term care facility

Rose-Marie Lepodvin says she wants assisted living, but feels trapped in long-term care

Kelowna man reflects on break-in, RCMP standoff, at his home

Leroy Kuhn and his wife were out tending to a cousin’s garden while a man broke into their home

Two West Kelowna residents in police custody for drug trafficking

The arrest comes after RCMP executed a search warrant at a Chieftain Road home

Rutland standoff suspect to appear in court next week

Kelowna man faces numerous charges following standoff, car chase with RCMP

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Car fire sparks grass fire in popular Okanagan park

Vehicle catches fire in Cougar Canyon parking lot; two occupants get out safely

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP defends dedication to constituents

LETTER: Mel Arnold says he is open and accessible

Okanagan smash-and-grab nets electric bike

Rock thrown through front door of Southward Medical Supplies, bike grabbed from near door

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Most Read