June 23rd, 2024

B.C.’s Eby frustrated at Quebec immigration money ‘at the expense’ of Western Canada

By The Canadian Press on June 10, 2024.

British Columbia Premier David Eby, fourth from the left, speaks as other premiers listen during a news conference after a meeting of western premiers, in Whistler, B.C., on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Premiers from across Western Canada are wrapping up meetings in Whitehorse today aimed at discussing common concerns in the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

WHITEHORSE – British Columbia Premier David Eby says federal immigration money is being “showered down” on Ontario and Quebec “at the expense” of Western Canada.

Eby says news that Ottawa has offered Quebec $750 million to help pay for a surge in temporary residents there is frustrating, and that B.C. should also get a share.

He made the comments as premiers from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Yukon wrapped up the annual Western Premiers’ Conference in Whitehorse.

Quebec Premier Fran├žois Legault had said earlier that the offer from Ottawa came after he asked for $1 billion to cover costs associated with a surge in temporary residents.

Legault has previously said the number of temporary residents to the province – including asylum seekers, students and workers – had “exploded” to 560,000, a number he says doubled in two years, straining social services.

B.C. government figures show there were 475,778 non-permanent residents in the province as of Jan. 1, an increase of about 84 per cent from two years earlier.

A statement from the Western Premiers’ Conference said the two days’ worth of meetings included talks to improve supply chains and infrastructure, as well as discussions on Arctic and energy security.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

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