Conservative MP Tony Clement wants the CBC to apologize after he felt forced to hang up during an interview about illegal border crossings.
Clement was speaking to Mike Finnerty, host of CBC Radio's "Daybreak" in Montreal, on the growing number of people choosing to illegally walk across the border into Canada to claim refugee status. This includes dozens who have been arrested in the Emerson area of Manitoba in recent weeks.
A family of asylum claimants are arrested after crossing the border into Canada from the U.S. on Feb. 20, 2017 near Hemmingford, Que. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
Along with fellow Tory MP Michelle Rempel, Clement has asked for the government to uphold the law on illegal crossings and provide more resources to RCMP officers at the border.
He gave that same message in Tuesday's segment. But as Finnerty pressed him on the force's role at the border and what he thinks officers should do to asylum-seekers, the conversation got a bit tense.
Listen to the interview embedded below:
"I'm just curious to know what happens to those people who are crossing foot when the meet the police?" Finnerty said.
"I'm not the government," replied Clement. "The CBC is not the government. It's up to the government to come up with a plan."
As the host continued to ask Clement — his party's public safety critic — to elaborate on what kind of "plan" he'd like to see from the government, the MP only said that there was a "problem" and that the law should be enforced.
Finnery tried once more. He got a dial tone.
Later, Clement took to Twitter to say the broadcaster took a serious issue like illegal border crossings to "shout" him down on the air.
Way to go CBC. Taking a serious issue (illegal crossings) to shout me down on the air. Your tax dollars at work.— Tony Clement (@TonyclementCPC) February 21, 2017
In replies to some Twitter users who were criticizing his behaviour, Clement said Finnerty "talked over me constantly." He also felt the CBC should apologize.
@EricVanSickle CBC should apologize— Tony Clement (@TonyclementCPC) February 21, 2017
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was asked Tuesday about the RCMP's resources at the border, where he said the situation is under "very careful scrutiny" by the Mounties as well as the Canada Border Services Agency.
"They are enforcing Canadian law," Goodale told reporters. "They have made some rearrangements in the deployment of their resources to make sure that they can deal effectively with the situation."
Goodale said his ministry and the Prime Minister's Office would be "anxious" to hear the agencies' advice should they recommend any changes or additions to the RCMP's current resources.
With a file from The Canadian Press
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