Mayor concerned leadership lacking on asylum seeker undertaking

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The city’s mayor says he would like to see somebody take the lead on the asylum seeker project underway at Nav Center.

Leslie O’Shaughnessy shared his thoughts in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, after last night’s special council meeting where councillors got an update from most of the players involved.

The federal government announced last week, the convention center on Montreal Road would house hundreds of mostly Haitians fleeing the United States until they are processed by Immigration Canada.

O’Shaughnessy is troubled with the constant flux on who is taking the lead. He says he was told on Monday morning Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada was the lead but by the afternoon “that’s not necessary so.”

“That concerns me a little bit that a lead agency has not been identified. (With) questions from the public…they’re best poised to answer those questions so it would be nice to have a lead agency,” O’Shaughnessy told CNW Tuesday.

The mayor says, as far as he’s aware, the city has not been receiving calls regarding the situation at Nav Center for the asylum seekers. O’Shaughnessy says he’s received “a couple of emails…not a lot” on the matter.

He says the meeting last night “went a long way” to answer a lot of community questions.

O’Shaughnessy says he had the opportunity to talk directly to the ministries involved and that councillors should be afforded the same in order to answer constituents’ questions – the reason for last night’s special council meeting.

The city is expected to get daily updates and the mayor plans to send a letter shortly, asking the various ministries to hold a public meeting “so they can answer directly questions that we as a city cannot answer.”

He doesn’t expect the matter to come up at tonight’s (Tuesday) council meeting, which already is a full agenda.