Source: CPAC

Western Canadian premiers are frustrated after Ottawa handed Quebec $750 million to deal with the immigration crisis while offering nothing to struggling Western provinces.

BC Premier David Eby and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith blasted the federal government at Canada’s Western Premiers Conference in the Yukon on Monday afternoon. Their comments came just hours after Ottawa inked a deal with Quebec to help pay for a surge in temporary immigrants to the province.

Eby said the funds are being given to Quebec at the expense of Western Canada, adding that he sensed frustration “around the table” when the new deal was raised. 

“I won’t put this on anyone else, but I’ll say for British Columbia, how frustrated we are, to see the money being showered down on Quebec and Ontario,” Eby said. 

“And us scrabbling around for what’s leftover. It’s not acceptable, it is not okay.”

Eby said 10,000 newcomers arrive in BC every 37 days. His province — especially young people looking to purchase homes — are feeling some “major pressures,” he said. 

“That announcement today with Quebec, frankly, is, is the straw that broke this camel’s back,” he said. “I look forward to the call from the prime minister to share with us the details of their immigration funding for British Columbia on a per capita basis, the exact same as Quebec got today.”

Smith chimed in saying that over 20% of newcomers to Canada are choosing Alberta, which isn’t being given more monetary support from Ottawa. 

“We also are host to 70,000 of the newcomers from Ukraine, the Ukrainian evacuees, and we have not seen the same kind of support for those new arrivals in the same way that Premier Eby has talked about,” she said. 

Smith reiterated calls she made in March for Alberta to have more control over immigration after the federal government declined to increase the number of skilled workers awarded to the province. She’s been urging Ottawa to reconsider its decision to limit allocations for Alberta’s provincial nominee program. 

“So it does seem to me they need to give us the tools if they want us to be able to settle newcomers, then they need to support us with the finances to do that,” she said Monday.

Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai, who hosted the meeting, said the premiers discussed affordability, especially as it relates to housing. 

“We want to see an engaged federal partner working with us on a solution,” he said. 

He also announced that the provinces agreed to develop a memorandum of understanding on shared and strategic infrastructure priorities.

“This infrastructure will not only bring a wide range of western Canadian products to market, they will bring jobs and economic advancement to the people in our jurisdictions,” he said.