Scheer calls for renegotiated Safe Third Country Agreement

Andrew Scheer (CTV News)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is banking on diplomacy with the United States to reduce the number of asylum seekers who enter Canada illegally.

Scheer says the solution to the problem lies in a renegotiation of the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States.

The agreement allows both countries to turn back asylum seekers at border crossings except when they enter through an illegal point of entry.

Scheer says there are people in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East who are more deserving of being allowed to enter Canada.

The Tory leader was visiting the Quebec border town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle this afternoon as well as the nearby Roxham Road crossing where thousands of people have entered Canada illegally.

He took direct aim at Justin Trudeau, saying the crisis was caused by the prime minister's tweet in January 2017 that Canada would welcome people fleeing persecution, terror and war.

"It's clear that all the ideas proposed so far, since the famous tweet of Justin Trudeau where he said all are welcome... that everything the government has proposed up till now is just to manage the symptoms of the crisis but not to address the cause in the first place,'' he said.

Scheer also criticized the installations that have been built at the border to welcome the asylum seekers.

"There really is an air of permanence,'' he said.

"The buildings that have been installed, the systems that have been installed, it seems to us that without solving the root causes of this problem.. that these installations will become more and more permanent.''