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