BASHING REFUGEES IS A GLOBAL SPORT FOR POLITICIANS- read on to see how Canada is getting tough on the people seeking asylum there. Look at the numbers to see how infintesimally small Australia’s “crisis” is.
Canada is squueezing who is allowed in – Australia is trying to scare people away– neither country can ever present a greater threat to life than the Taliban or the Governemnt sanctioned brutality in Sri Lanka.
Refugee backlog a result of inept politicians: Madawo
Last Updated: April 11, 2010 8:00pm
Over the past few years, successive ministers of citizenship and immigration have been outdoing each other in search of a lasting solution to Canadas problematic refugee process.
The precise problem is the department presides over a system plagued by shortages of resources, mostly personnel to screen people who come here seeking protection from prosecution in their countries.
These shortages have resulted in a backlog of more than 200,000 cases and it now takes up to three years for refugee claimants to go for their first hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board.
To fix this problem, the responsible ministers weapon of choice has been to restrict entry into this country, a good way to tame the increasing backlog of applicants if it is justified.
However, every time a new restrictive measure is introduced, you get the feeling it is based on assumed not proven causes of the problem they are intended to fix.
The assumption, of course, is an annual average of 30,000 refugee applicants is overstretching the system. This assumption is defied by the fact the same numbers have been passing through Canadas borders for many years and until around 2006, the average waiting period for a hearing was 6-8 months. The system was working fine.
What worsened the situation was former immigration minister Monte Solbergs freezing of appointments of refugee board members (also known as refugee judges) in 2006.
By early 2007, Toronto, which handles more than 60% of all IRB cases, had less than 30 immigration judges, about a third of the required number. The trend was replicated in other areas and instead of the efficiency Solberg predicted, chaos ensued.
In early 2008, Solbergs replacement, Diane Finley, introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act giving herself sweeping powers to cherry pick applicants for fast tracking their migration to Canada.
Solberg and Finleys policies obviously did not solve anything, otherwise Jason Kenney would not have been compelled to introduce visas for visitors from Mexico and the Czech Republic as well as repeal the CanadaU.S. Safe Third Country Agreement that had been used by nationals of Afghanistan, Congo, Haiti, Iraqi and Zimbabwe; whose countries are still politically unstable.
Just more than a week ago, Kenney introduced more measures, including that he would now determine countries from which Canada should accept refugees.
All these measures are not helpful at all. They skirt the actual problem, the shambolic state of the immigration system. Merely reducing the numbers of people coming into Canada will not solve the problem because the backlog is already there and it still requires resources to fix it.
The minister also intends to reduce waiting times by cutting some of the steps in the refugee process but, again, its the immigrants being denied that one step that could mean the difference between admission and deportation.
However, the most disturbing of Kenneys directives is the fact the minister will decide which countries are safe and which are not. This shows the minister does not understand the reality of political prosecution.
Ottawas perception of democracy and human rights should never be assumed to be universal. It is easy for a country to portray a positive outlook to the outside world when people are being maimed and killed in its backyard.
More importantly, Kenney must understand that nobody leaves their homeland voluntarily unless they are fleeing some form of danger.
That some people fail in their refugee cases the basis of Kenneys directive is often a consequence of inability to articulate themselves, not that they are all a fraud.