Canada’s federal immigration minister is way out of line here. The Calgary South East MP has posted a petition on his website - jasonkenney.ca - asking Canadians to thank him for a job well done. The petition’s exact words: “We, the undersigned, thank Jason Kenney for his efforts to streamline benefits afforded to refugees claimants under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) and bring them in line with the benefits received by tax-paying Canadians, including new Canadians.”
How many more insults can we take from this man? Or, for that matter, from Stephen Harper?
First, Kenney authored the Conservative governments’ draconian and backward-looking changes to Canada’s humane refugee system, to be implemented via Bill C-31. The changes empower him, as immigration minister, to designate certain refugees as “irregular arrivals”, and imprison those among them who are 16 years old and older. The bill also introduces drastic cuts to refugee health care funding. Earlier today, the Canadian Medical Association Journal warned that the changes pose serious mental health risks for refugees.
Also earlier, Jewish-American political activist, Nobel laureate, writer, professor and holocaust survivor app, Elie Wiesel, appealed to Canada to return to sanity.
So, to sign or not to sign the petition, Canada? Your choice. One thing is clear though: Kenney’s call goes to the Conservative Party of Canada’s base. Not to “Canadians.”
Fellow Canadian citizens and residents, I leave you with Mr. Wiesel’s sobering words: “I feel morally compelled to remain on the side of other uprooted men and women everywhere. Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees.”