Refugees left to fend for themselves in Toronto find an ally with independent MP denounced by Liberal Party

Kevin Vuong, a former Liberal candidate who represents the riding where refugees were sleeping on the street, stepped up to help find shelter spots for the asylum seekers.

Refugees left to fend for themselves in Toronto find an ally with independent MP denounced by Liberal Party
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“PEOPLE HAVE SHELTER!” declared Kevin Vuong in a social media post on July 21. “I’m happy to report the square at 129 Peter St. is clear! Thank you to all of the volunteers, donors, and good Samaritans who stepped up to help the asylum seekers and refugees. Tomorrow, we continue the work to get them their papers to legally work in Canada.”

Vuong has served as the member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York since the 2021 federal election. Vuong, previously an acclaimed Liberal Party of Canada candidate, was disowned by the party just days before the election amidst reports of sexual assault allegations.

Vuong, however, remained on the ballot. He won his seat, and now sits as an independent in the House of Commons.

The popular MP, whose parents were immigrants from Vietnam, is cooperating with authorities and believes he may have been the target of a “honey trap” and that the allegations of sexual impropriety may have been fuelled by someone working in cooperation with the Chinese government against him.

“If you look at what happened to me, it fits the Chinese MO of a honey trap, right?,” Vuong speculated.

“Honey traps” are detailed by CSIS as sexual entrapment tactic used to obtain leverage over targets. Vuong is well-known for holding hawkish views on the Chinese Communist Party, and as of late, against his former Liberal party.

Vuong took to the streets — literally — to clear a refugee encampment in Toronto of its inhabitants and find them shelter just over a week ago. Rebel News began reporting on the influx of refugees on June 23, noting the poor conditions. The claimants, some here on a promise of the federal government to protect those in LGBTQ+ communities facing persecution, found themselves sleeping on the streets with little more than blankets and tarps.

The federal government promised in a June 8 press release that the Government of Canada would be partnering with non-profit organization “Rainbow Road” to “protect LGBTQI+ refugees and welcome them to Canada.” Rainbow Road was to identify applicable refugees and refer them to the Government of Canada for resettlement under its Government-Assisted Refugees Program.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home, and Canada continues to be a destination of choice for people looking to start a new life with new opportunities for them and their families. Together with Rainbow Railroad, we will help LGBTQI+ people start a new, safe chapter here in Canada," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The announcement resulted in a predictable spike of refugees entering Canada, with many camping in front of an overfilled intake centre.

Enter Kevin Vuong.

The MP, who represents the riding where the encampment is, rallied support for the claimants, many awaiting processing. He lashed out at the federal government, noting that the Liberals'most recent budget lacked additional shelter funding.

“Refugees are a federal responsibility. The shelters are operated by the city. All levels need to step up, but first and foremost the responsibility lies with the Liberal government who are the ones who made the decision to eliminate funding in Budget 2023.”

After repeated calls for help, he was quick to get results, clearing the tent city and finding shelter spots for all of its inhabitants within a week.

Faced with mounting criticism from their former candidate, the Liberals have reacted with an announcement to bolster funding for housing to support asylum claimants, promising a “one-time injection of approximately $212 million in funding into the Interim Housing Assistance Program (IHAP), which will be extended until March 31, 2024. This includes approximately $97 million in new funding for the City of Toronto.”

While some were quick to applaud the federal government for this move, and others scrambled to self-congratulate, almost all neglected to mention the announcement came only after steadily-increasing pressure from Vuong and other community advocates.

The situation highlights Canada's ongoing and worsening housing crisis and raises concerns that rapidly rising immigration levels may compound the cost of living crisis Canadians are already struggling with. Canada has committed to increasing their immigration count to 500,000 newcomers per year by 2025. A record-breaking 431,645 people attained permanent resident status in 2022.

“We cannot and will not stand by and do nothing,” Vuong tweeted. “We see them in the struggles our families faced.”

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