Lisee calls for suspension of safe third country agreement with U.S.
Asylum seekers arrive at Olympic Stadium Friday, August 4, 2017 near Montreal, Quebec. The stadium is being used as temporary housing to deal with the influx of asylum seekers arriving from the United States. (CP / Paul Chiasson)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, August 13, 2017 8:26AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:12AM EDT
With thousands of asylum seekers currently awaiting processing and more coming each day, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee sent a letter to Canada’s premiers, calling for the suspension of the safe third country agreement.
According to Radio-Canada, Lisee sent the letter to address a crisis which has become a “problem of social acceptability.”
Lisee said continuing the agreement would have “consequences unworthy of what Quebec expects from refugees.”
The third country agreement allows asylum seekers to cross the Canada-U.S. border at unauthorized crossing points. Though the crossings are considered illegal and migrants are arrested once over the border, they cannot be turned back to the United States, as would be the case at a regular border crossing point.
Lisee said he believes that if the agreement were suspended, migrants would cross at regular border points and follow procedures.
The PQ leader also urged the federal and Quebec government to deploy an information campaign to inform asylum seekers that the majority of applicants will be denied.