Ontario can be expected to follow in the footsteps of its state neighbors and file a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
The province signed an agreement with the federal government last week that offers broader legal options for American jurisdictions to maintain access to the legal status of Canadian refugees. Ontario took action in a highly complex, growing legal battle against the Trump administration, which recently slapped a temporary hold on the 1994 Flores Settlement Agreement.
In a joint letter with Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi signed a letter responding to U.S. Department of Justice Chief of Staff, Rhea Sharp, and acting Assistant Attorney General, Makan Delrahim. The Toronto Star reported that the letter said Ontario would not just appeal the restraining order, but that it would also like to meet with the Trump administration and see its views and guidance on the issue.
In the lawsuit Ontario, Quebec and New York have accused the Trump administration of violating the Geneva Refugee Convention which states that states have an obligation to receive and assist refugees from their own borders. There is a moral obligation and, according to both states, a legal obligation.
In Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, the province has a strong, forward-thinking attorney general. Following new federal Temporary Protected Status for protected class and countries, Naqvi has pledged to push forward a new refugee plan. The letter he signed last week, promises to work with new Canadian Conservative Deputy Leader, Victor Fedeli. “Along with fellow member of Parliament Mr. Victor Fedeli,” the letter said, “we have begun discussions on an action plan that would help us achieve our legislative aims.”
The onus is now on Naqvi to show he is serious about creating a plan.
Says Sun News’s Jarrett Hill, “Most interesting is the AG’s bold plan to tackle the Trump Administration’s refugee policy while settling federal legislation and legal challenges. It’s basically re-filling a hole in the legislative skeleton, and is supported by a bright, aggressive, and can-do strategy, which has gotten Ontario in this position in the first place.”
While Naqvi is working toward crafting the plan, he will need the support of the Ontario legislature as well as its past and present Liberal governments to make it a reality. For Naqvi’s plan to go public, it will need the support of opposition parties as well as provincial Conservatives in the legislature.