3.26.2010

kenney on the war path; war resisters campaign mobilizing to fight him

In the throne speech earlier this month, the Conservatives alluded to an overhaul of Canada's refugee system (emphasis mine).
To remove the years of uncertainty often faced by refugees in genuine need, while closing off avenues for those simply seeking a back door into the country, our Government will propose comprehensive reforms to the refugee system.

Immigration and Refugee Minister Jason Kenney plans to introduce a bill calling for blocking refugee claims from so-called "safe" countries. The War Resisters Support Campaign has information that the bill will be tabled as early as this Tuesday, March 30.

This is obviously linked to Kenney's campaign against LGBT refugees, US war resisters, Mexican people fleeing from government-backed violence, and an array of other claimants whose plights Kenney deems unacceptable to his right-wing vision of Canada.

The Campaign is mobilizing all our resources and our many allies to organize and fight against this.

We will join forces with the LGBT community, the refugee-advocacy community and everyone else who rejects the idea of a two-tiered refugee system - everyone who believes in justice and wants Canada to reflect those beliefs.

We will be shifting into a new strategy immediately. If you're in Toronto, join us for an emergency meeting this Wednesday, March 31, where we will outline our plans and you can learn how to help.

WHERE: United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, east of Spadina, south of College

WHEN: Wednesday, March 31, 7:00 p.m.

WHY: Because we want Canada to be a refuge from militarism and a safe haven for people fleeing persecution anywhere in the world!

From the Globe and Mail:
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is warning that the type of refugee reforms the Conservative government has in mind need to be handled with an abundance of caution.

Antonio Guterres said streamlining refugee applicants according to their country of origin is a legitimate way to speed up the process, but authorities need to ensure this system takes into account that some countries generally assumed to be safe may actually be dangerous for some groups — especially women and homosexuals.

"There are certain areas where, even if you live in a ... political democracy, you have still a certain number of important grounds for a well-founded fear of persecution to be real," Mr. Guterres said.

The senior UN official, who was careful not to mention Canada by name, said countries adopting a two-tier triage for refugees need to make sure they don't block access for legitimate claimants. And they must couple the triage with a robust appeals system to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

Otherwise, they risk rejecting people who risk being subject to persecution such as genital mutilation, forced marriage or discrimination based on sexual orientation, Mr. Guterres said.

. . . "Asylum is not given to countries. Asylum is given to people," Mr. Guterres said. "And this must be in the centre of any asylum system."

Stay tuned. We will not sit by quietly while Jason Kenney guts Canada's refugee system.

14 comments:

geek guy said...

never Bean a fan of kenney i think he is an ass
if you have seen my blog you know how i think I feel the same about The PMO!!! & his party!!!
My best wishes

My blog

http://pcneedtogo.blogspot.com/

L-girl said...

Thanks Geek Guy. Your blog is linked through your profile name. No ads here, please. Thank you!

geek guy said...

Thank you!
I did not put an add on your blog it was a link!
:)

L-girl said...

It's an ad from where I'm sitting, and that's what counts. Thank you for your cooperation and please don't push it.

rosiefromsweden said...

I'm planning to move to Canada next year with my Canadian wife, who now lives with me here in Sweden. I'm so glad that I'm not a refugee. As soon as I move to Vancouver I will join up with some organisation and fight for our rights.

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Since early January, 2009, Kenney has been using this strategy. That same strategy also appeared in spring of 2009, when Ken got info through the Access to Information Act.

At issue is this:

Kenney is making a leap of logic if he equates "democracy" with "fairness."

Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes had already disagreed with that analysis back on July 4, 2008 when he ruled on Joshua Key's case.

For more info, including direct quotes and links, see the Wikipedia info at this link.

L-girl said...

Yes, the strategy is not new. A law, however, would have far-reaching consequences for potential claimants from any country that the Harper govt likes. We need the Liberals to oppose it!

Boyd M L Reimer said...

The criteria for determining refugee status: … What it is, and what it is not:

Paragraph 171 of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status states that if “…the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community… punishment for desertion … could … in itself be regarded as persecution”

Notice that when determining refugee status, the Handbook’s deciding criteria is whether or not the “action, with which [the refugee applicant] does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community.”

Notice that the Handbook’s deciding criteria is not about whether or not the refugee’s home country is a democracy.

Clik here for source of above

#########################

Federal court ruling on “State protection” of the refugee applicant’s home country:

In the Federal Court ruling on war resister Joshua Key, on July 4, 2008 (paragraph 35), Justice Barnes states,

“Clear and convincing evidence about … individuals who unsuccessfully sought to be excused from combat duty or who were prosecuted and imprisoned for a refusal to serve, may be sufficient to rebut the presumption of state protection in the United States.”

His statement paraphrased: If there’s evidence that “state protection” hasn’t happened when it should’ve happened, then we can’t presume that it will happen….even in countries like the United States.

Evidenced risk that “state protection” won’t happen is enough to justify a refugee application.

Clik here for source of Barnes ruling

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Sorry, I forgot to comment on the new urgency of the situation:

Yes I agree 100% that, even though Kenney's argument is not new, there is a new urgency to challenge his argument head on....because he is now attempting to bring his argument into force.

Yes, I, along with many others, urge everyone to rally new energy to the cause.

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Here is a letter that I sent to a local newspaper:

Kenney's claims that he'll consult as are "bogus"

Jason Kenney claims he’ll hold genuine consultations to refine his reforms to Canada’s refugee system. It’s difficult to believe that these consultations will be genuine when he hasn’t already included in his reforms a recommendation that has already been made by our Parliament twice: That recommendation was to allow certain war resisters to stay in Canada -specifically those who resist “a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.”

In January, 2009, Kenney claimed that that specific type of war resister is a “bogus" refugee. The only things that are “bogus” are the claims of “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” and Kenney’s claims that he now wants to consult with us after ignoring our Parliament twice.

Boyd Reimer
Toronto

Mike said...

Sometimes I'm just in awe of the Harperites gall and hypocrisy. Kenney's promises to consult strike as the very epitome of Orwellian double speak. I'm somewhat dismayed that polls still put their approval rating at almost a third of Canadians. I wonder if that's because of their policies or because of the weakness of the opposition.

L-girl said...

I know what you mean. It takes your breath away.

I do think the Cons' apparent popularity is down to the weakness of the opposition, and to the their own masterful manueverings.

Last night when we were discussing the refugee bill at the WR meeting, someone mentioned how the Cons are genius at delaying and dragging out their own program, then making it look like the opposition is causing the obstruction. (Eg, crime bill.)

It's also the old tactic of manufacturing a crisis, then pushing through their own agenda packaging as a "solution". The refugee situation is a perfect example of that.

But damn they are good at it.

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Kenney can run but he can't hide: A slightly condensed form of the above letter is now in the Saturday Toronto Star. Click here to see it.

L-girl said...

Great letter, Boyd, thanks for sharing.