Manitoba premier seeks co-ordination with feds to deal with refugee surge

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he and other premiers will have a conference call this week to discuss the growing number of refugees crossing the border.

Pallister says the aim is to co-ordinate the approaches of the provincial and federal governments in dealing with the influx of people crossing through ditches and fields, away from border stations, to seek asylum.

The border community of Emerson, Man., is one of the areas that has seen a sharp increase in recent weeks.

The community's reeve, Greg Janzen, says Canada should change its Safe Third Country agreement with the United States, so that refugees fleeing the U.S. can claim asylum at official border crossings.

He says that would reduce the risks posed by people sneaking across unguarded border points in cold weather.

Pallister was non-committal on the idea, saying there are arguments for and against changing the deal.