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.
News: 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.
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.
The numbers are out: in 2010 Canada let in the highest number of immigrants in over 50 years. But while Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney may use this as evidence of a clean bill of health for Canadian immigration policy, these numbers do not tell the whole story.
Refugee policies are complicated, require sensitivity, and stir up much emotion. As a result, it is crucial that the public be involved in the development of such policies to provide various viewpoints and options. But with the recent refugee bill public debate was only held during the amendment process, not in the drafting of the legislation. Eventually all parties and many refugee advocacy organizations accepted the amendments, recognizing that there were some improvements, but still cautious about the prospects for future refugee cases.
Rebekah Sears looks at the proposed changes to the refugee system, questioning whether they emphasize Fast at the Expense of Fair? Rebekah notes several conditions the proposed changes need to meet in order to ensure the system remains fair.
A sign of faithfulness to God was always understood by the people of Israel and later by Christians as compliance with the Biblical injunction to care for the widows, orphans and aliens. Today, this Biblical reference can refer to the approximately 250,000 immigrants who come to our shores each year, plus refugee claimants, and over 200,000 temporary and seasonal workers.
Two weeks ago, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney stated that he believed immigrants should be required to speak English or French before being accepted into Canada, arguing that this would encourage newcomers to integrate more into Canadian society. His statement has since sparked a heated debate about immigration policy in Canada. How do we integrate newcomers into Canada? Is a language requirement fair and necessary for integration?
Jack Costello's review of Singh to Suresh: Non-Citizens, the Canadian Courts and Human Rights Obligations by Tom Clark.