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MALCOLM: Canadians foot the bill for rising asylum claimant costs

Canadians are struggling to make ends meet and, meanwhile, asylum seekers to Canada — including people who came into the country illegally — are being given the royal treatment.

This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun

Canadians are struggling to make ends meet and, meanwhile, asylum seekers to Canada — including people who came into the country illegally — are being given the royal treatment.

A new Ipsos survey revealed a disturbing fact about the finances of the nation. Nearly half of all Canadians are less than $200 away from not having enough money to pay their bills.

This is particularly concerning given that the Trudeau government is once again hiking its tax on everything, the carbon tax. The federally imposed carbon tax is now expected to cost the typical household in Ontario $707 per year.

The projection is slightly lower in Manitoba, where the average household will be taxed $683, and much higher in Alberta, where they’ll be dinged $1,111 annually.

While an increasing number of Canadians struggle to get ahead financially, the government is rolling out the red carpet and splurging on asylum seekers.

We learned this week that two Toronto hotels are now closed to the public, and instead are dedicated entirely to housing asylum seekers, refugees and homeless immigrant families.

In a series of investigative reports for True North — the organization I started to do research and reporting on immigration and national security concerns — investigative reporter Graeme Gordon uncovered some remarkable new facts.

The Plaza Hotel in North York and the Toronto Radisson East have been converted to refugee and homeless shelters, and taxpayers are on the hook for the bills.

According to some of the occupants at the hotel, the guests still have access to a pool, gym and even maid services

Many of the occupants Gordon spoke to receive benefits above-and-beyond what Canadian citizens receive. One man — who openly admitted to crossing into Canada illegally — was given a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair from the Ontario provincial government.

It’s great that Canada can help people in need, but it becomes concerning when our lucrative benefits serve as an incentive for evermore border-jumpers.

More than 50,000 migrants submitted asylum claims in 2017 — the highest number ever recorded. In 2018, it shot up once again to 55,695.

To make matters worse, the feds have offloaded the financial burden to lower levels of government. City of Toronto officials estimate that the added cost for housing migrants was $64.5 million over two years.

During his investigation, Gordon noticed that many of the hotel occupants were from Mexico — and new numbers released by the federal government reveal the real story.

During the first 10 months of 2018, 2,445 Mexican visitors to Canada never left; instead, they submitted asylum applications in the hopes of staying in Canada.

While Canada once required Mexican tourists to obtain a visa before visiting — ensuring they were not a national security threat and that they had a return ticket and intended to go back to Mexico — the Trudeau government scrapped the visa requirement in 2016.

Since then, there has been an 840% increase in Mexican asylum claimants. Prior to the visa being imposed, the approval rating for Mexican claimants was only 10%.

The Trudeau government is going out of its way to accommodate foreigners, and allowing Canada’s immigration system to be abused — by allowing tourists to overstay their welcome and rewarding people for crossing into Canada illegally.

Meanwhile, struggling middle-class Canadians are left with the bill — a bill they can barely afford.

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