Editorial: Trudeau government pressed into new refugee supports
Matthew Hillier, Staff Writer
Toronto and Ottawa have been struggling with a recent influx of asylum seekers from across the world.
Canada has long been devoted to assisting refugees and asylum seekers for decades. However, surges from the Ukrainian war and other conflicts have stressed the delicate system in place.
Toronto and Ottawa simply have too many municipal problems and not enough money or infrastructure to deal with this new influx of asylum seekers.
This led to officials from these cities requesting monetary aid from the federal government over the past few months. Unfortunately, this need for aid was put on hold until recently.
The two cities contain a huge portion of Canada’s population. In addition, these cities are huge voting blocks for the liberal government putting more pressure on them to solve this ongoing problem.
According to The Toronto Star, Immigration Minister Marc Miller confirmed the release of the funds and an estimated $100 million in aid will go to Ottawa. However, Miller did not reveal how much of the remaining funds would go to Toronto.
The money is reported to flow through the interim housing assistance program. This program has worked since its founding in 2017 to address serious problems in “Extraordinary interim housing pressures resulting from increased volumes of asylum claimants.”
The main hesitation of the Federal government is that it already devotes millions upon millions in municipal aid for asylum seekers to cities across Canada.
However, being two of the most populated cities in the country the strain is becoming too much to handle for Ottawa and Toronto.
The cities have plenty of existing infrastructure to support asylum seekers and refugees making them first choices for placement. However, the current influx is straining the system, making the cities need more cash to augment their system.
Besides worries of breaking promises for intake of refugees and asylum seekers due to resource shortages, and a loss of quality of life for these individuals, there may be a political reason as well.
It’s not clear just yet who will be the leading party of the federal government in the next election. However one thing is certain, the Trudeau government has an uphill battle ahead of them if they want to win.
Therefore it’s not hard to see how two of Canada’s most populated cities, with heavy liberal voting blocs, would be a focus of support for the federal government.
An influx of refugees and a strained system trying to support them would be a good reason for these cities to not vote liberal. Especially since the mayor of Toronto, Olivia Chow, has made her demands for increased funding well known.
However, beyond the political intrigue or the massive amount of money spent, one thing is certain. That $350 million will go to people who have faced intense hardship both in Canada and their home countries. This money will help resolve hardships and help new Canadians integrate into their new communities.