Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a woman who heckled him about illegal immigrants at a recent rally in Quebec that her "racism has no place" in Canada. The exchange was caught on video, and is now making the rounds online.
“I want to know when you are going to refund the $146 million we paid for your illegal immigrants,” shouted a woman in French at the prime minister at an event in Sabrevois, Quebec on Thursday.
“Ok, Madame,” Trudeau responded. “This intolerance towards immigrants has no room in Canada.”
Trudeau went on to speak about how Canada was built by waves of immigration, which have helped create a stronger society, over cheers from the crowd as the woman attempted repeatedly to get his attention.
After he stepped off stage, the woman asked him multiple times to his face, “Mr. Trudeau, are you tolerant towards Quebecois?"
Surrounded by security guards, Trudeau responded repeatedly that her “racism has no place here,” and that he’s a “proud Quebecois.”
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The video shows a plainclothes officer subsequently attempting to question the woman, but she resists, saying that he bruised her by grabbing her arm. She tells another officer that she only asked the Prime Minister questions, and that she didn’t make any threats.
“I have the right to say my opinion to Mr. Trudeau,” she says.
The Prime Minister's Office did not immediately provide a response when asked for a comment from VICE News on Sunday.
Quebec has asked asked for $146 million from the federal government to cover the expenses associated with an influx of irregular border crossers, a figure that includes projected future costs. So far, however, the province is set to receive just $36 million.
The number of irregular border crossers coming into Canada increased in July compared to the two previous months. There were 1,634 people intercepted by the RCMP for crossing irregularly into Canada in July, up from 1,263 people who crossed in June, according to government numbers.
However, the overall number of people crossing into Canada irregularly has been declining in recent months, something the federal government attributes to its outreach efforts south of the border to discourage people from crossing at unofficial entry points.
“Canadians expect all levels of government to work together to live up to our international and humanitarian obligations,” a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the Toronto Star.
In response to the number of asylum seekers entering the country, the federal government has budgeted an increase of $173 million to beef up security along the U.S. border, more temporary housing, and to relieve the severely backlogged caseload at the Immigration and Refugee Board.
A total of 12,378 people have filed asylum claims in Canada after crossing irregularly into the country.
Cover Image: Trudeau addresses local Liberals and Liberal MPs from the South Shore of Montreal for a summer corn roast in Sabrevois, Que., on August 16, 2018. (CP/Paul Chiasson.)