Area MPs want fed to
cover refugee costs
Niagara Falls Review– Tuesday,
January 18, 2022
ERIE – They have different political stripes, but Niagara
Falls MP Rob Nicholson and Welland MP John Maloney have one
common belief. Niagara taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook
for $227,000 to feed and house more than 200 refugees in December.
“I’m going to put
pressure on them because it’s not right,” said
Nicholson, a member of the official opposition. “It’s
unfair to the local taxpayer. If this is a national matter
then it should be a federal responsibility.”
Nearly 950 people entered Canada between
Dec. 13 and 28 anxious to make asylum claims in Canada before
the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country agreement came into effect
Eager to give people a safe place to go
once hotels and refugee shelters reached capacity, the region
opened the doors to the former Sunset Haven nursing home in
Welland, a gesture that cost $227,545.
Earlier this month, Nicholson fired off
a letter to now former Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Judy Sgro – who resigned her post Friday amid allegations
she promised asylum to people who worked on her campaig –
urging her to put up the money to pay for housing a total
of 210 refugees as quickly as possible.
“I pointed out to her that immigration
is a federal responsibility,” he said.
He admits he isn’t sure what the
status is of that letter today, but promises he’ll talk
to the newly appointed Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Joe Volpe when Parliament resumes and remind him of the same
“All we can do is keep up the pressure
on them and bring up the issue again when Parliament resumes
in two weeks,” he said.
Although part of a federal delegation
touring the Falkland Islands this week, before leaving, Maloney
wrote to Sgro and Prime Minister Paul Martin, asking the federal
government to pick up the tab.
“I have always said that the federal
government needs to cover its fair share of these costs and
that’s what I’m asking for,” he said. “The
taxpayers of Niagara should not have to carry the burden for
this federal initiative.”
Maloney said he would like to see the
money make its way through the proper channels as quickly
“As I stated previously, the immediate
priority in December and early January was the safety and
security of the claimants and money issues could be sorted
out later,” he said. “It is now later, and (St.
Catharines MP) Walt Lastewka and I continue to work on this
file. It will not be settled today. It might not even be settled
next monthy, but it will be settled.”
He also took a jab at detractors, saying
he is working on securing the funding in his own quiet way.
“Just because I’m not
making a public commotion doesn’t mean I’m not
working on it,” he said. “Anyone who knows me
can tell you that grandstanding is not my way of getting the