Parti Québécois wants to nix Safe Third Country Agreement amid asylum seeker boom

Parti Québécois wants to nix Safe Third Country Agreement amid asylum seeker boom
  1. Parti Québécois wants to nix Safe Third Country Agreement amid asylum seeker boom
    The leader of the Parti Québécois is calling for the suspension of the Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the United States amid a surge of migrants showing up at illegal border crossings in Q…

The leader of the Parti Québécois is calling for the suspension of the Safe Third Country Agreement amid a surge of asylum seekers arriving at illegal border crossings into Quebec.

Under the agreement, the majority of migrants coming from the United States who make an asylum claim at an official border checkpoint in Canada are denied entry since the U.S. is deemed to be safe.

"The problem is that we get the impression that the border doesn't exist," Jean-François Lisée told Radio-Canada. "Without this agreement, people would show up at border crossings."

As a result of the Safe Third Country Agreement, a growing number of asylum seekers are instead arriving at unofficial crossings, such as Roxham Road in Hemmingford, Que., where they are arrested but not immediately refused entry. 

  • As many as 1,200 asylum seekers wait to be processed at Lacolle border crossing

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Lisée said that the crisis has become a problem in Quebec and that the agreement needs to be struck down.

"It has damaging repercussions," he said. "It's time to face the facts and admit that it's not a good decision."

More than 1,000 wait to be processed

Lisée's letter comes as the province struggles to handle a growing boom of migrants fleeing from the United States and showing up at Quebec borders. As of Friday, close to 1,200 people were waiting to be processed at the Lacolle border crossing.


A group of asylum seekers walk down the street as they are escorted from their tent encampment to be processed at the Lacolle border. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

The PQ has also questioned Quebec's capacity to accommodate the influx of refugees, while the Coalition Avenir Québec has demanded stricter rules and claimed that the border has become a "sieve".

Lisée added that it would be helpful if asylum seekers were granted work permits to be able to support themselves while waiting to see if the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada tribunal accepts their asylum claim.

"I think that would help," said Lisée.

Awareness campaign

In his letter, Lisée&nb…

  1. Kirkland Park tennis court to undergo new renovations to redo botched work - Quebec
    08.17 / 05:19
    The company undertaking the work is also contracted to redo the courts at nearby Ecclestone…
  2. Coderre tries to look busy ahead of the looming election - Quebec
    08.17 / 03:20
    Reheated policy (from the opposition) is the latest plea for…
  3. 'We won't forget you': Montreal street to be named after Daisy Sweeney - Quebec
    08.17 / 02:58
    Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre tweeted there will soon be a Daisy Peterson Sweeney street in honour of the Montreal legend, who died at the age of 97 last…
  4. Piatti powers Impact past Fire 3-0; Montreal closes in on playoff spot - Quebec
    08.17 / 02:29
    Ignacio Piatti scored twice as the Montreal Impact cruised past the visiting Chicago Fire 3-0 on Wednesday for their first three-game winning streak of the Major league Soccer…
  5. Quebec wants Ottawa to speed up processing asylum seekers - Quebec
    08.17 / 01:48
    Quebec is calling on Ottawa to step up the pace in processing newly arrived asylum…
  6. No niqabs on public buses? Confusion reigns after surprise amendments to Quebec bill - Quebec
    08.17 / 00:31
    Muslim Montrealer Warda Naili is brushing off amendments to Bill 62, saying the provincial government is “tossing this bone” to Quebecers who are obsessed with identity pol…
  7. Quebec sisters offer hearty meals at pay-what-you-can café - Quebec
    08.17 / 00:12
    The menu at Val Café is what you'd expect to find in a upscale restaurant — French Toast topped with almonds, fresh fruit and maple syrup, Brie fondue with maple syrup and pecans, panini with caramelized onions — but what makes the restaurant unique is there are no prices atta…
  8. Rally in front of Quebec City U.S. Consulate protests racism in solidarity with Charlottesville - Quebec
    08.16 / 23:31
    A rally against racism, in solidarity with Charlottesville, was held Wednesday evening in front of the Consulate General of the U.S. in Quebec…
  9. Social media activists say two Quebecers were at Charlottesville rally - Quebec
    08.16 / 23:01
    An anti-racist group trying to identify the people who took part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville says it has uncovered two Quebecers in the…
  10. Some residents uneasy with asylum seekers being housed in Boucherville - Quebec
    08.16 / 22:04
    Close to 200 asylum seekers are being given temporary shelter in a former senior's home, the Havre Providence, in a quiet neighbourhood in Boucherville — a move that is soliciting mixed reaction online and in p…
  11. Police cadets will now direct traffic, slashing OT pay for officers at stoplights - Quebec
    08.16 / 21:16
    Police cadets will take over much of the job directing traffic on city streets, drastically cutting the cost to manage the…
  12. 'There's rhetoric and there's reality': Charest says Canada in good position for NAFTA talks - Quebec
    08.16 / 20:23
    With trade talks formally kicking off this week, the former Quebec premier believes that Canada is in a good position to negotiate as an "unpredictable" U.S. President Donald Trump demands fundamental changes to the North American Free Trade…
  13. Flood victim's restaurant, home in limbo after Quebec denies financial assistance - Quebec
    08.16 / 20:23
    With his restaurant still closed, no money coming in and being denied financial assistance, Tekka Grill owner Michael Gad says he may lose his home after historic spring…
  14. NEWS: Nunavut health department urges best practices for fermenting meat - Quebec
    08.16 / 20:22
    It’s harvest time for many sea mammals in the Arctic and if you plan to ferment walrus, seal or beluga meat, be mindful of the best ways of storing and aging meat. That’s because the bacteria that cause botulism are naturally found in walrus, seal and sometimes whale, and if aged meat isn’t prepared or stored in the correct environment, botulism bacteria can cause toxins to form. This can lead to sickness, paralysis or even death, Nunavut’s health department…
  15. Montreal police sergeant shows off musical talent on public piano - Quebec
    08.16 / 19:42
    A Montreal police sergeant is taking a break to play the piano at a public park in…
  16. Couple seeking damages after woman delivers 13-pound baby naturally - Quebec
    08.16 / 18:57
    The couple is asking for $1.4 million in…
  17. Military member charged with sexual assault at Saint-Jean Garrison - Quebec
    08.16 / 17:28
    A member of Canadian Armed Forces has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and two counts of assault relating to incidents which took place at a training camp in September…
  18. LETTERS: A big thank you from the family of Solomon Qanatsiaq - Quebec
    08.16 / 17:28
    We extend our sincere gratitude to the following organizations and individuals who assisted and entertained our father during the time he was battling cancer. Solomon Qanatsiaq succumbed to the cancer on June 15, 2017. Thank you to the people of St. Silas Anglican Church, Rev. Joelie Sangujaq and the municipality of Hall Beach for the burial service. Thank you to the relatives who came to support our family and we are grateful for the following organizations who provided for our…
  19. Pride organizers upset with arrest at festival - Quebec
    08.16 / 16:17
    The organizers of Pride celebrations are upset with how Montreal police handled people smoking marijuana at one of their…
  20. Of monks and melons: Preserving Quebec's delicious agricultural heritage - Quebec
    08.16 / 16:04
    The Oka melon is a cross between the banana melon and the Montreal melon, which itself has quite the…