What a sad day for Canadian politics! All day today, millions of us were entranced by the epic beginning of the struggle against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s draconian Budget Bill C-38. In the meantime, the Conservatives used their majority advantage in the House of Commons to pass Immigration minister Jason Kenney‘s backward-looking legislation, Bill C-31. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act cleared the Commons by a 159-132 vote.
After the vote, the NDP’s immigration and citizenship critic Jinny Sims said on Twitter: “This is taking Canada in the wrong direction.”
“There is nothing in this bill that will go after smugglers in a way that they’re going to catch those international smugglers. This is really about punishing the most vulnerable citizens when they arrive here, putting their lives at risk and when they get here, we’re going to throw them in prison,” she said.
Experts and progressives have nicknamed the bill the “Refugee Exclusion Act”. That’s because the legislation would politicize our immigration system. It’d discriminate against and jail vulnerable asylum seekers. Bill C-30 violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s inconsistent with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
The inevitable social impact? The Montreal Gazette suggests that “Canadians can expect to see something new on our streets: people begging for money to pay for medication or hospital care” and our “very own underclass of people unable to obtain life-sustaining medication and treatment.”
That’s because, effective June 30, the Feds will introduce drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program – the health-care program that benefits refugee seekers. And failed refugee claimants will now be denied hospital treatment.
So much for a progressive and compassionate country!