Justin Trudeau’s Liberals want to start a fight over how we describe the people crossing the border illegally so that he and his immigration minister Ahmed Hussen don’t have to deal with the issue.
On Friday, at a meeting of federal and provincial ministers responsible for immigration, Hussen lashed out at Ontario and that province’s new minister on the file, Lisa MacLeod.
“It’s divisive, it’s fear mongering and it’s not Canadian,” Hussen said.
There is so much wrong with one elected official describing the views of another, just elected official, as “not-Canadian” but let’s start with what this is about.
What is this really about?
Team Trudeau wants a fight on this issue. Team Trudeau wants to be able to call people racists. And finally, if they get their fight, there will be less pressure on Team Trudeau to deal with the issue rather than fight over semantics while calling opponents horrible names.
The meeting on Friday dealt with a number of issues but the one Hussen wanted to talk about in his closing remarks was how Ontario’s new government keeps referring to illegal border crossers as illegal border crossers.
As I have explained already here, there is a big giant sign as Roxham Road declaring it illegal to cross there. Those that do are arrested and detained and then put into the system. That would make them……illegal border crossers.
Ford’s team is precise.
The Ford PCs in Ontario are being careful to use the term “illegal border crosser” because it is true. You don’t hear them say “illegal immigrant” which is more American and also open for debate.
But Ontario’s main sticking point in this whole fight is that Trudeau’s government created this problem but is hitting the provinces with the bill.
“Ontario should be made whole for all of the costs that we’ve incurred,” MacLeod said while also calling for the feds to enforce the border.
Toronto Mayor John Tory is on the record saying that his city alone has spent $65 million housing this wave of asylum seekers.
Trudeau and Hussen have offered up only $11 million for the whole province. Ontario says the total, once provincial costs and other municipalities are factored in is much larger.
In fact in a Tweet on Friday, MacLeod said Ontario has paid out $90 million in social assistance costs, Toronto’s total – including housing – is $74 million and the City of Ottawa has incurred $11 million alone.
And in response Hussen and Trudeau have only promised to cover 6% of the costs.
Ontario isn’t the only province getting screwed.
Quebec, which has dealt with the overwhelming majority of migrants since this all started have told the feds they are owed more than $140 million for last year’s costs. That is before new costs are considered for 2018.
And in the middle of all of this, the feds offer Quebec $36 million for taking and paying for 90% of the migrants.
So this fight, this bullying, started by Hussen is about money and politics. It is about making sure that they can use the issue as a wedge for the next election. It is about ensuring the media worry more about the language used by Doug Ford, Lisa MacLeod and those around them rather than worry about the hard issues themselves.
The media may fall for this ploy and so might some partisan Liberal backers.
My guess is, most Canadians will see past it and wonder two things.
When will Trudeau cough up the money he owes cities and provinces?
And when will he stop the influx that he started?
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for either of those to happen.