Roxham Road: controversy around the words of Lisée
The recent proposal by political columnist Jean-François Lisée concerning the influx of migrants on Roxham Road has sparked a lot of reactions on social networks.
The controversial speech by the former leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ) took place on the program Mordus de politiqueon ICI RDI on January 24. Recalling the migratory pressure that community services, hotels, housing and hospitals in Montreal are undergoing which are “overloaded”, Jean-François Lisée said he hoped that a greater proportion of asylum seekers arriving by Roxham Road would be federal support. He proposed that these applicants settle elsewhere in the country if the Canadian government cannot come to an agreement with that of the United States.
“We sort it out, we keep all the Francophones and those who have immediate family in Quebec and the other [asylum seekers], we put them in a nice air-conditioned bus and we take them to Immigration Canada in Ottawa”, declared Jean-François Lisée, causing some discomfort among the other panelists.
Une proposition controversée @JFLisee fait beaucoup réagir les Mordus
— Sébastien Bovet (@SebBovetSRC) January 24, 2023
The show's host, Sébastien Bovet, immediately called back that this practice already exists in the United States, citing the example of the Governor of Florida. “Ron DeSantis rents planes and buses and sends them elsewhere.”
“It lacks a lot of compassion to have this type of approach,” retorted the former director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former director general of the Conservative Party of Canada, Dimitri Soudas, immediately supported by the former Liberal politician. Michelle Courchesne.
“It lacks a bit of humanism,” added Ms. Courchesne.
“A public discourse in free fall”
This intervention by the former leader of the PQ not only provoked reactions on the set of the show: the debate was then invited on the networks social.
Journalist Christopher Curtis lamented that public discourse is “in freefall”.
“If you're a refugee and you don't speak French, you don't deserve to be treated like human cattle” , he wrote on Twitter.
Si t’es un réfugié et tu parles pas français, tu ne mérites pas d’être traité comme un bétail humain. Notre discours public est en chute libre. https://t.co/IJu3RNm5oT
— Christopher Curtis (@titocurtis) January 25, 2023
“How awful indeed! Ontario is a real gulag. No one deserves to live there. The provinces of Canada are too racist to do their part to welcome refugees,” quipped a surfer, reacting to Christopher Curtis's tweet.
“There is no reason to believe that Canadians other provinces will treat immigrants like cattle,” replied another.
Journalist Toula Drimonis, who writes for Cult MTL and The National Observer em>, was not kinder to the former PQ player.
“Every time I think we've hit rock bottom with the pundits here, I realize that's not the case. Texas says hello,” she wrote on Twitter.
“We keep all the francophones and those who have immediate family in Quebec & the others we put them in a nice air-conditioned bus & we drive them to Ottawa.” #asylumseekers
Every time I think we’ve hit rock bottom with the punditry here, I realize we haven’t. Texas says hello. https://t.co/iyfQhFqz1Q
— Toula Drimonis (@ToulasTake) January 24, 2023
“We are imposing on Quebec the passage of 99% of migrants to Canada with all the pressure that this imposes on our health/school/community services. What's wrong with asking the other provinces to do their part?” replied Steve E. Fortin, who is among other things a columnist for the Journal de Montréal and the Journal de Québec.
Asylum seekers in figures
According to figures available on the Government of Canada website, there was a total number of 92 715 asylum applications processed by the Canada Border Services Agency and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in 2022:
Quebec: 59 205;
Ontario: 26 920;
British Columbia: 3975;
For specifically the number of interceptions made by the RCMP of asylum seekers apprehended between ports of entry, 39 171 were made in Quebec out of a total of 39 171 in the country.
Recall that the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Christine Fréchette, recently asked the to resolve the Roxham Road problem by renegotiating the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.