Canada - A Refuge No longer?
Canada no longer offers hope to desperate refugees trying to escape from conflict. In fact, the Harper administration has made it increasingly difficult through legislation that creates more hurdles to people seeking refuge in Canada.
For example, the 2012 legislation that designates some nations as safe (and thus these countries have ‘no refugees') was recently ruled unconstitutional because it is discriminatory and violates charter rights of refugees. Unfortunately, this only gives refugees the right to appeal - more red tape for people least able to deal with it, and equally troubling, this is only one of the roadblocks.
Our nation has not given the world the hope that this Turkish couple did when they used their wedding savings to feed 4,000 Syrian refugees.
The fear-mongering about potential terrorists is another smokescreen for inaction. Elizabeth blogged, "No one (except Stephen Harper) believes we help refugees by bombing one side in an ongoing civil war. The truth is the refugees are not escaping ISIS. They are escaping a war that has been raging for four years while the world stood by and did nothing."
The Green Party sees a way to return to the compassionate Canada we want. With political will, we can provide better support for refugees and particularly those with the most urgent needs. We can revoke all the changes made to Canada’s refugee laws under Harper. Using some of the unspent $350 million for refugees that Harper used to declare a 'surplus', we can accelerate the processing of refugees and help people out of zones of conflict
Canada can actively work for peace in the region by helping to address the ongoing drought in the region. Many believe that this was the trigger and continues to stoke the crisis in the Middle East. It is time now to restore Canada's reputation in international affairs - from peace-keeping to real climate action. Prevention is the best cure.