Eric Duncan, Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry released the following statement regarding recent developments on the new Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processing centre in Cornwall.
“Over the last few months, a temporary IRCC asylum claimant processing centre has been located at the DEV Centre in Cornwall. As imagined, this created a sudden and major strain on local social services, education and public health services, and multiple not-for-profit organizations.
“Last week, rumours began circulating that a significant expansion of the processing capacity and timeline extension was underway. Through rumours, and not from the Government of Canada, we learned that a major hotel venue, the Ramada Inn on Brookdale Avenue, had been sold to a company with a contract to expand and extend the processing centre and volume in Cornwall indefinitely.
“This latest processing centre was established without notice, without consultation, and without securing the resources required to assist asylum claimants integrate into our community and succeed.
“Once again, Cornwall has been left to deal with the consequences of this federal Liberal government’s incompetence and mismanagement. We are hearing from couples whose wedding receptions and hotel rooms have been cancelled. We are also hearing from countless burnt-out frontline staff who are struggling to cope with this massive increase in case volume without notice or any additional resources.
“Simply put: Justin Trudeau and this Liberal government’s reckless, uncoordinated and uncompassionate approach is setting these asylum claimants up to fail.
“SDG ACFO’s Carrefour Immigration Crossroads Initiative, a local not-for-profit organization previously coordinated support services and provided information for those being hosted at the processing centres. Without justification or notice, IRCC cut off their funding, and we are now back to square one – total and complete chaos.
“Proper consultation with all community partners, like Social Services, School Boards, CBSA, Public Health, and community support agencies would have ensured the availability of adequate resources and would have been an overdue but welcomed gesture of good faith from this federal government to our community.
“Sadly, for the last 8 years, this Liberal government has developed a pattern of disrespecting and disregarding the City of Cornwall and local officials, and this is just the latest example.
“Whether it was the chaos and lack of communication around the cruise ship quarantine at the NAV Centre during the beginning of the pandemic, zero progress or resolution to the Transport Canada surplus waterfront lands or addressing our water levels in the St. Lawrence River, Liberal Ministers have refused to communicate basic and necessary information to local leaders or the public in a timely manner.
“Now, with the opening of a massive IRCC asylum claimant processing centre in Cornwall, a city that is not properly equipped to manage such a significant influx in demand on social and health services, it is clear that this Liberal government simply does not care about Cornwall, our region, or our people.
“Today, I am calling on Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to immediately provide local officials and community partners with a comprehensive operational plan for this new asylum claimant processing centre, and to commit to adequately funding the resources required in Cornwall to cope with this massive surge in demand on local services.
“Anything less is unacceptable.”
I am very happy to hear the government is taking steps to increase the number of asylum seekers and refugees being processed and welcomed into Canada. As your party has lamented, Canada has not met its immigration target and needs to get creative to get to this goal. It is unfortunate that the two parties cannot be united in this endeavour to make the huge transition, for people who have faced enough turmoil and hate in their lives, to a more benevolent, caring society in a more simple, streamlined process. These people don’t need more hate and isolation; they need our help now. Get along and make it work for the sake of those less fortunate and looking to Canada to save them from persecution, and hardship.