Premier Scott Moe is in the middle of an immigration disagreement after government tensions boiled over between federal and provincial ministers on Friday.
The tension flared up between Ontario’s immigration minister, Lisa McLeod, and federal immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen. After McLeod refused to sign an agreement to increase immigrants coming into Canada, she said Hussen called her “un-Canadian.”
Moe said he stands with McLeod in a joint agreement that the federal government doesn’t have enough funds to support resources like healthcare, social services and employment.
“When you change the policy to increase the number of individuals that are coming in, you should then back that policy with finances,” Moe said on The Roy Green Show.
He said when Trudeau brought in Syrian refugees in 2016, the Saskatchewan government was short about $15 million dollars to provide proper care.
“By no means are we being un-Canadian or by no means are we saying that we should not continue to bring people into this province,” he said, noting Saskatchewan can bring in refugees under current laws.
“Saskatchewan is a province in this nation that has brought in 108,000 immigrants from around the world since 2007. That’s about 10,000 a year, makes up about 10 per cent of our population,” Moe added.
He compared the “un-Canadian” remarks to also being called a climate-denier because he doesn’t support imposing a carbon tax.
Speaking Monday on Gormley, Saskatchewan Immigration Minister Jeremy Harrison said he had a hard time trusting the federal government to live up to its commitments on asylum-seekers given its record on Syrian refugees.
Harrison said Ottawa promised to cover costs associated with government-sponsored Syrian refugees who arrived in the province in 2016.
“And they haven’t been. They haven’t been. It is costing this province now $15 million a year, incrementally, through social services costs, healthcare, education all the rest of it,” he said.
Harrison said he also agreed with Ontario’s definition of asylum-seekers as illegal border-crossers and queue-jumpers, saying the federal government’s interpretation of the law was allowing people to claim asylum and then stay in the country while their claim is processed.
He said he wasn’t interested in seeing Saskatchewan pay to support that view of the law.
—With files from 650 CKOM