“Lawyers and advocates who work directly with refugees,” Teresa Wright of the Canadian Press reports in a piece copied on the CBC News website, “say they are dismayed by proposed changes to asylum laws included in the Liberals’ new budget bill, calling them a devastating attack on refugee rights in Canada.“
The changes are in an omnibus bill ~ you, know what that is, don’t you? It’s a measure that Justin Trudeau promised, in 2015, to not use; he said he would change Canada’s parliamentary rules to ban them …
… then he used an omnibus budget implementation bill, (C-74) which was tabled in February 2018, to allow the now infamous deferred prosecution agreements into Canada’s criminal code and now he is using another massive (392 pages long) omnibus budget bill to make changes to the immigration regulations.
The CP article says that “The Trudeau government is proposing to prevent asylum seekers from making refugee claims in Canada if they have made similar claims in certain other countries, including the United States … [and] … Border Security Minister Bill Blair said the measure aims to prevent “asylum-shopping.”” Well, good for Team Trudeau … of course they’re only about two years too late because it was Justin Trudeau himself who, in January of 2017, personally, using his own social media account, encouraged Angolans and Haitians, Nigerians and Yemenis and everyone else to come to Canada to do their asylum shopping …
… and the progressives loved and still love him for it. But, like so much that comes from Team Trudeau, it wasn’t a considered policy initiative, it was just a cheap publicity stunt designed, solely to make Justin Trudeau look better than Donald Trump. There was no new refugee crisis in January 2017, nothing worse than normal, but President Trump had just been inaugurated and he was threatening to deport some refugees and the people around Justin Trudeau saw a chance to score some cheap political points so they, indirectly, accused President Trump of persecuting people in America who were, very possibly, fleeing hardship, even war or terror, and whose refugee status might be doubtful. It was wildly popular with the anti-Trump factions everywhere and one US magazine, Rolling Stone, even asked, on its cover, “Why Can’t He [Trudeau] Be Our President?“
But, of course, it was a silly idea that provoked a crisis on our borders … one that finally forced the Trudeau regime to try to do the right thing. As the article says, “This has led to over 40,000 asylum-seekers crossing into Canada “irregularly” through unofficial paths along the Canada-U.S. border since early 2017, coinciding with U.S. government efforts to expel people who had been given temporary permission to stay in the United States.”
But, there’s another but, too, and the article says that “The proposed changes blindsided refugee advocates and lawyers, who say they would strip human-rights protections from vulnerable refugee claimants.“
Ms Wright explains that “Under the new provisions introduced Monday, asylum-seekers deemed ineligible to make claims in Canada will not necessarily be deported to their homelands. They will still undergo pre-removal risk assessments to determine if it is safe to send them back to their countries of origin … [but] … this takes away their legal right to have their refugee claims heard by an independent tribunal or a court — something that could be subject to a Charter challenge … [because] … A 1985 Supreme Court ruling, known as the Singh decision after the group of Sikh refugee claimants involved in the case, ruled that asylum-seekers have the right to full oral hearings of their refugee claims. The decision is considered one of the most significant in Canadian refugee law and was instrumental in the formation of the Immigration and Refugee Board — the arm’s-length agency that hears refugee claims in Canada.“
Oh, the irony: the so-called Charter Canadians are part of Pierre Trudeau’s legacy and they have been, by and large, rock-solid Liberal supporters and now it is likely that the Charter Canadians, who Professor FL (Ted) Morton described as “the new citizens interest groups that have sprung up around their sections of the Charter. Some were formed during the period of Charter-making and were active in shaping the Charter’s content and then contributing the support necessary for its adoption. Others have sprung up in response to the Charter. Initially an ad hoc alliance, these groups forged more explicit ties and signalled their new-found power during their common opposition to the 1987 Meech Lake Accord.” These groups are different from other social activists in that, in Canada, they have been well, even generously funded, by the federal government with the specific aim of reshaping Canada under the Charter. Now those same Charter Canadians will, most likely, be using the Charter, in the courts, to attack the new Prime Minister Trudeau.
It’s an attack he has earned all by himself: he created this problem, on his own; then his often angry Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, made it worse by branding critics of the failing Trudeau
policy publicity stunt as racists; and now the dour Bill Blair will be tasked to find another way to change another channel … and it will end up in the courts at the worst possible moment and another part of the Trudeau coalition will lose faith in the Liberal Party. They’re getting their just deserts, I suppose … and, BZ to Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel for keeping this issue front and centre for over two years, despite harsh government attacks and only very limited media interest.
In MacLean’s magazine, just a day or two ago, Andrew MacDougall, a former communication director for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, suggests that ” The Liberals have been thoroughly mugged by the reality of this year’s election … [and] … with Liberal support continuing to bleed every which way, Trudeau could yet have further to fall. Indeed, bar the carbon tax, it’s not clear what the Liberals propose to stand on in the next election. Well, other than power for power’s sake, which has always been the Liberal proposition … [but] … it wasn’t Trudeau’s; he promised a different Liberal Party. The fact that Michelle Rempel could now be the Liberal spokesperson on immigration wasn’t a part of the vision he sold to Canadians.” The Liberals, he says, are now looking to rebrand themselves, for the election, as Conservatives … but, in fact, it looks to me, that the new Liberal tactic is to play the race card, as John Ibbitson predicted about two weeks ago. Mr Scheer and Ms Renpel and I, presumably, will be labelled as white supremacists I guess, or at least as being soft on racism.
For my own part, I must repeat that:
- I favour increased, well-regulated, colour-blind immigration for Canada ~ I think Prime Minister Trudeau’s instincts are right, it’s his execution that stinks;
- I believe that Canada, as a rich, sophisticated liberal democracy, has a moral duty to help the most wretched of humanity, who are very often refugees, but, again, I disagree with the government and many experts about how to provide the best help; and
- Illegal or irregular migration must be stopped.