Updates from the headlines including royal recognition of a long-time refugee advocate and yet another deadly migrant shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea.
News: Refugee Rights
It turns out it’s not just churches, lawyers, doctors, and journalists decrying last year’s Interim Federal Health Program cuts – although this was already an impressive list.
Now the Ontario provincial government has taken a stand against the refugee healthcare cuts. As the province with more refugees and asylum seekers than the rest of Canada combined, they decided to step in to fill the gap left by the federal government.
Activists, former politicians, and national church leaders found something to agree on this morning. All were among the 47 distinguished signatories of a Human Rights Day statement urging the government to change their refugee policies.
In December 2011, Jason Kenney, then minister of citizenship and immigration, pledged to increase the number of refugees by 20 per cent. However, the government actually decreased the number it resettled by 26 per cent. Only 5,412 government-assisted refugees arrived in our country in 2012, the second lowest number in any one year over the last three decades.
Canada must really like its cars.
According to the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Canada welcomed more BMWs than refugees in 2012. It's the perfect illustration of a fundamental shift in Canada's refugee policies: putting economic considerations above humanitarian concerns.
Almost unanimously trashed in the media as “fluff,” “rhetorical,” or “instantly forgettable,” last week's Speech from the Throne marketed a range of rather limited ideas and options, with little to offer on poverty eradication, ecological justice, and protection of refugee rights.
This is the third in a three-part series highlighting CPJ’s recommendations for the 2014 federal budget as contained in Fulfilling our Collective Responsibility. This week, we discuss the injustice facing privately sponsored refugees in Canada.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2013 edition of the Catalyst.
Refugee health: Churches need to speak out
Today on Refugee Rights Day, the Canadian Council for Refugees is launching the Proud to Protect Refugees campaign with CPJ’s support. The campaign is asking organizations to make a public declaration of their support for refugees and people seeking support in Canada. Citizens for Public Justice has also sent a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, asking him to rescind the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program.
A round of applause for the federal government, please. Some of the recently proposed reforms to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for refugees have been withdrawn—reforms that would have spelled disaster for many asylum seekers in Canada. And while the rest of the reforms remain a serious problem, the revision is a victory for refugees and their advocates.
Now that the presents are unwrapped and the tryptophan is wearing off, it is fitting to reflect on the events that unfolded after the Nativity. As if giving birth in a barn wasn’t rough enough, Mary and Joseph soon faced a death threat against their son at the bidding of a sociopathic king. Upon divine counsel, they sought asylum in Egypt. God became a refugee.