Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee nuanced a comment made earlier Wednesday that he wants a fence built near a Quebec-New York border crossing popular with asylum seekers.
Lisee told reporters before a PQ caucus meeting the fence should go up at Roxham Road in Hemmingford, near the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing.
“We have the best known irregular road in the world,” Lisee said.
“We have several good fence builders in Quebec, so we’re spoiled for choice.”
The PQ leader said asylum seekers have the right to turn up at the border but should do so at regular crossings in British Columbia, Ontario or New Brunswick so they are treated “humanely” and are more evenly distributed across the country.
When asked who would pay for the fence, Lisee replied, “the Mexicans.”
Later, after several media reported his remarks, Lisee took to Twitter to nuance his comments.
He then held another scrum after the caucus meeting and said Roxham Road should be blocked off “with a sign, a cedar hedge or a police officer” but only after asylum seekers have been told they can go elsewhere.
Reminded he had earlier used the word ”fence,“ Lisee said he meant ”a small fence similar to the type found in schools.“
Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel said earlier this month the number of asylum seekers entering the province from the United States had tripled to 6,074 this year from about 2,000 during the same period in 2017.
Heurtel said the number is expected to increase significantly this summer.