This past week, I have heard from many residents expressing opinions regarding a potential motion to classify the City of Ottawa as a “Sanctuary City”.
Presently, the Canadian municipalities of Toronto and Hamilton and, most recently, London have adopted the status to indicate protection of those who posses undocumented immigrant status within them.
This motion did not make it to council but it was a large talking point within the community so I wanted to take the opportunity to present to you my point of view. There are a number of reasons I did not plan on supporting such a motion.
I do believe that items regarding immigration should be left for the federal government to handle and that such a decision was outside the municipal government’s realm of jurisdiction. Additionally, one of the major concerns by the residents to my office, which I share, is that such a decision would deter from those who decide to immigrate to our great nation lawfully. Canada currently has one of the best immigration processes available and Ottawa is already well known as a welcoming city. That is why we see so many new faces each year coming to us from other countries.
Beyond that, I do believe that our current system of City services is designed to benefit those who contribute to them, thereby ensuring these services remain sustainable for all residents.
I will agree with the sincerity that the gesture of putting forward a motion would present for promoting Ottawa and ultimately, Canada, as an accepting place; however, that said, ultimately, I do not feel it is the municipal government’s role to make decisions of this nature.