Liberals need to close Roxham Road within a month: Poilievre

By The Canadian Press

The Quebec premier’s plea to have the irregular border crossing of Roxham Road closed is getting support from the federal Conservatives.

François Legault has been demanding for months that Ottawa stop the flow of migrants into the country.

The sooner the federal government closes the Roxham Road irregular border crossing in southern Quebec, the better, Legault has said.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre responded to Legault’s letters and called on Trudeau to create a plan to end the crossings at Roxham Road within a month.

“The job of protecting our borders belongs to us, and in particular to the prime minister of Canada,” Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa. “And under his leadership, the number of illegal border crossings has gone up tenfold.

“We as a country can close that border crossing. If we are a real country, we have borders.”

‘People will choose to cross elsewhere:’ Trudeau on calls to close Roxham Road

Poilievre did not say how this could be done, but noted that Roxham Road crossings largely stopped at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – but he did not mention the border itself was almost entirely closed.

The Opposition leader argued that ending these crossings would save money that could diverted to processing asylum claims made by people who did not illegally cross into Canada.

Poilievre, however, would not say whether he supports transferring asylum claimants from Quebec to other provinces.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement signed by Washington and Ottawa in 2002, most asylum seekers cannot make claims at official border crossings between the two countries. But the agreement doesn’t apply to people who illegally cross into Canada outside of a border station, most of whom are not prosecuted because they file an asylum claim.

In the past, Conservative MPs have floated extending the Third Country Agreement to apply to anyone who reaches Canada, though that would require Washington’s approval and likely violates international rules.

Poilievre rejected those arguments as excuses for Trudeau letting the problem fester.


In his letters, Legault also called for the Safe Third Country Agreement – which is currently being renegotiated – to apply at all points of entry, both official and unofficial.

According to federal government statistics, more than 39,000 people claimed asylum in Quebec in 2022 after crossing into Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through Roxham Road. About 369 people who crossed irregularly over that period claimed asylum in the rest of the country. In total, around 64 per cent of all asylum claims in Canada in 2022 were made in Quebec.

In response to Legault’s letter to Trudeau, the office of federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Monday that Ottawa had transferred thousands of migrants to Ontario to take pressure off Quebec, adding that the government was working with other provinces and municipalities to find other temporary accommodations.

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