Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Toronto Mayor John Tory that he will provide government support to his city as it struggles to handle the large influx of refugees.
Tory repeated pleas for assistance as the two leaders addressed reporters on Friday before heading into a closed-door meeting at City Hall in Toronto.
“Canadians, we’re there for each other. We’re there for people in challenging situations and we know that we have to continue to demonstrate that our immigration system is strong and applies while staying true to our values,” Trudeau said, according to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.
Trudeau’s support comes after Tory’s admission that Toronto could no longer support the heavy waves of refugees and asylum seekers in its current shelter systems.
“Right now, we’re saying, we have a problem and we need help,” Tory told reporters on June 26. “We have exhausted our available sites, our resources and our personnel. We need the other levels of government to step up and assist Toronto in a true partnership.”
The number of refugees and asylum seekers using the shelter system went from 459 in 2016 to 3,209 as of June 20, according to a report from Toronto’s city manager.
The designated housing shelters for refugees are filled, and so a large portion of people are temporarily being housed in 2,000 hotel rooms as well nearby college dormitories. Those in the dorms will need to be gone by Aug. 9, the report says.
Trudeau’s defense of lenient borders has drawn criticism from several other leaders. (Trudeau Government Admits 99 Percent Of Illegal Border Crossers Still In Canada)
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services, claims Trudeau’s rhetoric has encouraged people to attempt more illegal border crossings.
Trudeau “was the one who tweeted out that everyone was welcome here and as a result of that we’ve had thousands of people cross the border illegally and it’s putting a strain on many of our public resources,” MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park Thursday.
Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford also shared his criticism. “This mess was 100 per cent the result of the federal government, and the federal government should foot 100 per cent of the bills,” his office said in a statement.
Trudeau did not go into specifics of how the federal government would help Toronto, nor if the city would be reimbursed the $65 million it claims it has spent so far on sheltering refugees.
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