Immigration Minister Jean Boulet acknowledges that the tweet with which he called on the federal government to block Roxham Road after the outbreak of COVID-19 was not without its flaws.
“The quality of the message is not optimal. The human quality of the message is not optimal ”, he agreed in an interview with The duty mardi.
The day before, Mr. Boulet urged Ottawa to fulfill its “responsibility” to “close the Roxham Road” through which irregular migrants pass from the United States to Canada. “We must all mobilize in the face of the rise in COVID19 cases [dû à] Ominicron [SIC] so as not to overload our health system! He dropped on Twitter Monday at 11:24 am.
“Odious”, “unspeakable”, “stinking”, “racist”, “cowardly”: outraged reactions have flared from all sides. “Having the nerve to put the rise in cases on the backs of asylum seekers, it’s lower than low, it’s disgusting”, could we read in the batch of comments following the “tweet”.
The closure of Roxham Road is only one measure among others to reduce the risk of overloading the health network, argued Mr. Boulet on Tuesday, while recalling that two-thirds of migrants passing through the Roxham Road are not doubly vaccinated against COVID-19. That said, no outbreak of COVID-19 in the temporary accommodation facilities where asylum seekers stay has been reported to him to date.
“We are a remarkable hospitality society. Then Quebecers want us to welcome them. You still have to have the ability to do it well. And there, even if the humanitarian needs are present – it must be recognized – we must make sure to respect the Quebec health personnel who are at the end of their rope, ”he told Le Devoir.
About “100, 120, 140” migrants have been crossing Roxham Road daily since it reopened on November 21, which is twice the “flow” expected by Quebec, said Boulet, while specifying that the tweet he aired on Monday misleads the “empathy” he has for asylum seekers. “We just want to welcome them and then treat them with dignity,” he said broadly.
Mr. Boulet assumes responsibility for the tweets. That said, the elected Caquista does not fully recognize himself in the 195-character message written by his close guard that he had yet approved before its publication. “It was not a wording that is a true reflection of me. I prefer to write in a more nuanced way, but I understand the limits of a tweet. Of course, the limits imposed by a tweet have prevented me from expressing myself properly. It is not totally Jean Boulet, ”concludes the minister, saying he has learned from the controversy.