World

Ontario NDP ‘Sanctuary Province’ Proposal Gains Steam

REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The quasi-socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) wants Ontario to become Canada’s first “sanctuary province,” and the proposal is gathering momentum in a provincial election that is weeks away. As the Toronto Sun reports, neither the governing Liberals nor the official opposition Conservatives under Doug Ford are opposing the idea with the NDP now in second place in the election campaign.

The NDP’s election platform heralds a new day for “Sanctuary Ontario” where the province would provide welfare services, including single-payer health care, to everyone in the province, “without fear, regardless of their immigration status.”

Any legislation would be based on the California Values Act that has declared the state immune from federal immigration law.

“This is the decent, humane thing to do,” continues the NDP platform. “We believe strongly in the rules governing immigration and citizenship, but we will never withhold basic life-saving services from undocumented people.”

Conservative leader Doug Ford has not publicly commented on the NDP proposal but when Toronto voted to call itself a sanctuary city, Ford, as a city councillor,  voted in favor of the legislation and also supported a subsequent motion that asked the provincial government to do the same for Ontario, the Sun reports.

Toronto now finds itself deluged with illegal immigrants who are crowding the homeless shelters and have racked up $64 million in taxpayer-funded accommodation costs as they are sent to local hotels.

The Toronto police have adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards illegals. The Canada Border Services Agency has indicated that it will continue to work with federal, provincial and municipal law police to respect federal immigration law.

“These partnerships are crucial in ensuring the safety and security of our country and citizens,” a CBSA spokesman said told the Toronto Sun.

A Sanctuary Ontario could well meet push-back from provincial municipalities who are reluctant to enforce the legislation. The California Values Act has not been embraced throughout the state and many cities are passing bylaws exempting themselves from the law.

Follow David on Twitter