Bloc Québécois and New Democrat MPs are criticizing a Conservative colleague for refusing to help a Quebec family facing deportation and calling them “illegal refugees.”
Quebec MP Richard Martel made the comment in a Radio-Canada interview as he discussed the case of a family from El Salvador who entered Canada several years ago via Roxham Road, an unofficial border crossing south of Montreal, and now live in his Chicoutimi riding.
Thousands of asylum seekers have entered Canada through that area in recent years and then made a refugee claim, whereas those coming through official ports of entry are forbidden from doing so under the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.
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Bloc MP Mario Simard says Martel, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, should not have labelled the family “illegal,” adding that he has worked with the federal immigration minister to help the family avoid deportation.
A spokesman for the party, asked for comment from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, instead provided a statement from Quebec Lieutenant Pierre Paul-Hus, who says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “opened the floodgates to unlawful entry” as he failed to address an immigration application backlog.
Quebec NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice says if Poilievre is sincere about his outreach to cultural communities, he should send a clear message to his MPs “to treat all the refugees equally.”
© 2022 The Canadian Press
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