Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, can designate innocent groups of individuals arriving in Canada for discriminatory treatment. Designated Foreign Nationals (DFNs) are subject to mandatory detention for lengthy periods, with minimal review. There is no right of appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division for those whose refugee claims are denied. Even if a claimant is eventually recognized by Canada as a refugee, he or she cannot begin the process of bringing relatives to this country for at least five years — a violation of the fundamental right to speedy family reunification.The DFN regime was introduced in 2012 by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. The Justin Trudeau Liberal government pledged to rectify this odious policy.
Notwithstanding complaints from groups like the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and Amnesty International Canada, no action has been taken.
Trudeau also proclaimed that 2015 would see the last first-past-the-post Canadian federal election, heralding the prospect of proportional representation at the 2019 vote.
Trudeau also promised a new relationship with indigenous peoples. At a minimum, that must mean heeding First Nations’ cry for no new pipelines. Instead, he approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline on November 30.
Then there’s the goal of ending tax breaks for the rich, including the use of highly regressive executive stock options. Ninety per cent of that benefit goes to the top one per cent of earners, among them the top bankers and heads of mining and telecommunications corporations.
To say nothing of putting an end to accepting hefty political contributions from corporate big wigs who pay to have dinner, and thus direct access, to the P.M. and his cabinet ministers — a practice that Justin said did not pass the sniff test, however technically legal it may be.
Affordable childcare? Forget it. Poverty and homelessness? Study it. End the combat role for Canadian Forces abroad – by increasing deployment in Eastern Europe and by sending troops to Africa? Right.
So, now we can chalk up another broken promise. It seems there’s just no place at the Trudeau table for refugees.