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Quebec Conservative Leader Duhaime won't rule out building wall along U.S.-Quebec border


The leader of the Quebec Conservative Party said Tuesday he's "not into building walls" but at the same time doesn't want to rule out putting one up along the U.S.-Quebec border to quell the influx of asylum seekers.

Éric Duhaime was faced with questions from reporters after media reports pointed out he had advocated for the construction of a border wall — so much so that he wrote he had purportedly consulted a contractor to get an estimate: about $53,000 in fencing per kilometre, he wrote in a Facebook post from 2017.

"If illegal immigration continues, serious consideration should be given to building a wall between Canada and the United Sates," wrote Duhaime, who, at the time, was a columnist and radio host.

Now the leader of a party that is gaining more popularity in the provincial election campaign, Duhaime said Quebec needs to take a stronger stance against the federal government to stop the thousands of "illegal immigrants" from flooding into the province through Roxham Road, an unofficial crossing near the Quebec-New York border

When asked Tuesday about his border wall remarks, Duhaime said, "we should not exclude any option to make sure that we're standing against Ottawa and telling the federal government that this is not acceptable. Quebec is not going to let in more illegal immigrants to come in than legal immigrants."

He explained a wall would not be his first option. "What I'm saying is that we need to make sure that we have all the resources to make a strong stand. And the first option is to have a coalition of parties because all the parties in Quebec agree that we need to control better our immigration. So we should work together and that should be the first option," he added.


Days earlier, Francois Legault, leader of the Coalition avenir Quebec (CAQ) party, had compared Duhaime to former U.S. President Donald Trump for his criticisms of the incumbent premier's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the province's strict public health measures.

Duhaime published his pro-wall remarks on Facebook in the months after the 2016 U.S. election that handed a victory to Trump, whose hallmark campaign promise was a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border following his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.

Duhaime suggested it was not a fair comparison for Legault to make.

"Mr. Legault had tried to compare me to Donald Trump and it was not even on that issue, by the way, when he was comparing me to Trump. I think the comparison is completely false and our problem had nothing to do — we have a smuggling of immigration right now. There's a problem and we need to fix it," he told reporters.

Throughout the campaign, his party has pledged to close down Roxham Road, arguing that both Ottawa and Quebec have failed to show any leadership on the popular border crossing where more than 19,000 people have entered since the start of the year. Duhaime has also promised to gradually reduce immigration targets and, if elected, would select new immigrants based on western values, focused on those who have an ability to integrate to Quebec culture and language.

Radio-Canada reported on Tuesday that Roxham Road, which surged in popularity in 2017 after the U.S. presidential election, has cost the federal government about half a billion dollars in public funds, paid directly to suppliers and to reimburse costs incurred by the Quebec government.

Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers at formal border crossings in Canada have surged to record levels since the federal government started tracking them in 2017. Figures provided from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to Reuters stated that in the first eight months of 2022, the RCMP intercepted 23,358 asylum seekers crossing into Canada at unofficial entry points. Top Stories

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