The recent image of a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body lay on
a Turkish beach, prompted Canada's Citizenship &
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to suspend his re-election
campaign and issue a statement designed to evoke compassion.
Despite this ploy which took place against the backdrop of the
world's worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, the
conservatives, during the past almost 10-years, have displayed a
heartless record with Canada's immigrant population. Here are
five reasons why.
Since mid-2013, Canada has settled less than 2,500 Syrian
refugees. In January, the conservatives announced that Canada would
welcome 13,000 Syrian refugees over a 3-year period, mostly through
private sponsors. Yet our government has been near silent since
then - until last week when it was forced to respond to this
international humanitarian crisis. In contrast, Germany plans to
admit as many as 800,000 asylum seekers this year alone, nearly 1%
of its population. Sweden with a population almost four times
smaller than Canada, took in more than 25,000 last year.
For refugees, the Conservative government implemented legal
reforms that deny due process to vulnerable asylum seekers under a
discriminatory two-tier system based on nationality. These
modifications are currently being challenged in Federal Court. It
also tried to eliminate the basic health care services refugees are
entitled. The Federal Court struck down the government's cuts
to refugee health care describing it as "cruel and
unusual" because it jeopardizes refugees' health and
shocks the conscience of Canadians.
The Harper government's pitiful refugee policies lay bare
its punitive agenda against immigrants and refugees. Over the past
10 years, the federal government jailed an average of 11,000
migrants per year, including hundreds of children as young as age
16, without charge. Canada is one of the only Western countries to
have indefinite incarceration. A credible report finds these policy
changes imply reduced access to justice for refugees for whom
consequences of refugee protection decisions are frequently life or
death matters. Even permanent residents are now subject to arrest,
detention and could face deportation for even minor criminality
such as driving while intoxicated traffic offences.
Canada has traditionally been a safe haven to oppressed
minorities across the world, being home to thousands of refugees
from Vietnam, Hungary, and Uganda, among other countries. In 1979
and 1980 Canada opened its doors to 50,000 Vietnamese boat people
who were fleeing the Indochina refugee crisis. But this has all
changed under the Conservative government, which to date, has seen
its refugee acceptance rates decline by 30%. It has been very
reluctant to admit refugees from Syria. When pressed recently on
the matter of excessively long approval and processing delays,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper asserted that national security
background checks take long and the safety of Canadians is first
and foremost. If Germany and Sweden can successfully orchestrate a
much larger refugee program with similar safety and security
concerns to guard against infiltration by terror groups, surely
Canada could do likewise. It just needs a more compassionate
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The content of this article reflects the personal insight of Attorney Colin Singer and needs no disclaimer.
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October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
October 19th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 22nd round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 45th overall, inviting 1804 applicants for permanent residence, the largest number ever. The lowest CRS score was 475, a decline from the previous draw.
September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
A unique feature of the new Canada express entry immigration system is that candidates can improve their comprehensive ranking score while in the express entry pool, without submitting a new application. We review important strategies.
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