By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 0 Comments
Another doctor confronts another cabinet minister.
Williams allowed Aglukkaq to announce $238 million in funding for health care data and gave the minister time to answer reporter questions before she raised her voice. She told the minister she was concerned by the cuts to services, which come into effect June 30, and asked who should be held accountable.
Aglukkaq said the federal government decided to provide the same care to refugees that every Canadian receives. “Before [this change], a refugee got better health care coverage than the 30 million Canadians, so our decision is to continue with the services to refugees that it will be the same to all Canadians,” Aglukkaq said. “But that’s not true,” Williams asserted. “Yes it is,” Aglukkaq insisted. Williams said Canadians are being deceived: “Right now refugees get the same health care we get. Starting next week they will get less health care,” she said.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM - 0 Comments
There’s been plenty of debate about the protest which caused Joe Oliver to move a funding announcement. But I’d think there’s a more fundamental question we should ask about the event, particularly when the indignant response of the event host was to the effect that “this is an important announcement!”.
To wit: how exactly is it important for the Cons to be able to dictate that a public venue serve as a resistance-free backdrop for their PR efforts?
By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 77 Comments
Uncovering the story behind the mug shots
Before he snuck into Canada and disappeared, Kiemtor Alidu was a loyal—and ruthless—supporter of Ghana’s military dictatorship. Between 1982 and 1985, Alidu served as vice-chairman of his local “People’s Defence Committee,” a quasi-police force that kept a close eye on political dissidents. By his own admission, more than 100 people were rounded up and murdered because he and his colleagues fingered them as threats to the regime.
“Even a person who is innocent was killed during those incidents,” Alidu testified during an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing. “A lot of people were killed.”
Foreigners who are found to be complicit in war crimes or other human rights abuses are not welcome in Canada, and in 1993 the IRB unanimously rejected Alidu’s request to remain in Toronto. (How he got into the country remains a mystery). “It is clear to the panel that the claimant was guilty of crime [sic] against humanity,” reads the ruling, obtained by Maclean’s. “The claimant was part of a team that showed no mercy to political dissidents, as well as innocent victims.”
Alidu filed an appeal with the Federal Court (“I am extremely perturbed,” he wrote in one sworn affidavit) but that, too, was turned down. After a second appeal met the same fate, Alidu vanished. He has now lived in Canada for nearly 20 years, all of them illegally.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 2:55 PM - 1 Comment
Doug Saunders considers refugee policy and calls for an international solution.
What Lamey proposes is to internationalize Canada’s approach and expand it. He calls it a “portable-procedural” system by which “lawmakers could relocate asylum applicants to a sufficiently rights-respecting third country,” which would “thereby break the vicious circle of unfounded claims and ever-lengthening determination times within a particular state.” This system, he argues, would avoid situations like the ones facing Italy now or Germany in the 1990s, where a constitutional guarantee causes an enormous flood of illegitimate claims. Such a flood would likely stop, he posits, if claimants understood they could be relocated. To safeguard claimants’ rights in the country where they first land, Lamey proposes three non-negotiable requirements: the timely right to a full hearing, right to legal counsel and a prohibition on arbitrary detention.
… Lest we forget how our ancestors got here, and what they were very often fleeing, we ought to step above the headlines and start talking to our neighbours about something like Lamey’s proposal. As Zaiotti’s study suggests, Lamey’s ideas may not be as politically plausible as they look on paper, but there are good reasons to try. It seems odd that we are able to build multinational coalitions of armies with record speed to strike blows against tyranny on the other side of the world, but we are unable to join forces with our neighbours, at far less cost, to do some- thing about the boatloads of people fleeing those very same tyrannies. It is time for a coalition of the welcoming.
By macleans.ca - Monday, June 20, 2011 at 11:41 AM - 1 Comment
UN Refugee agency reports 43.7 million people displaced from homes
The United Nations refugee agency said Monday that 43.7 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes by conflict or persecution. The figure is the highest it’s been in 15 years. Of those displaced, 80 per cent come from the world’s poorest countries. Pakistan, Iran and Syria were the world’s biggest hosts of refugees while Germany has the largest refugee population (594,000) of any industrialized country. In the next year, the agency estimates that 747,000 places will be needed for displaced people.
By Adnan R. Khan - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:05 AM - 1 Comment
Refugees at the Turkish border tell of horror and brutality as Bashar al-Assad tries to crush the uprising
From Guvecci, there is nothing that gives an impression of the brutal civil war playing out in Syria. In this predominantly Arab village in Turkey—the Syrian border a mere kilometre away—olive groves and pomegranate orchards on terraced hillsides blend together in an almost perfect picture of harmony and peace. But over the hills to the east, a massacre is playing out. According to the thousands of people fleeing for safety across Turkey’s border with its troubled neighbour, the Syrian regime has escalated its siege against pro-democracy demonstrators to an unprecedented level.
As of June 14, more than 8,000 people were being sheltered in refugee camps, while an estimated 10,000 more have massed along Syria’s border with Turkey, fleeing what they describe as an all-out assault on unarmed civilian protesters in cities and towns like Latakia, Hamah, Baniyas, and most recently, Jisr ash Shughur, only 15 km from Turkey. Near Guvecci, the displaced are taking shelter in olive groves as near to the Turkish border as they can reach, placing their trust in the Turkish army and the hope that the Syrian military will not dare attack them under the watchful eyes of the Turks and international journalists who have set up their cameras on rooftops in the village.
“They are safe here,” says Nadir Guzmen, a farmer living in Guvecci. “Many of us have family in Syria so these are our own people. We will help them in any way we can; they are welcome to cross the border. I have already helped 20 refugees from Jisr ash Shughur reach the refugee camps here in Turkey. The injuries I’ve seen have been terrible—gunshot wounds, broken faces—it’s really terrible what the Syrian regime is doing to its people. So many of the people I helped take to the hospital have died. This is a genocide.”
By Julia Belluz - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 4:02 PM - 37 Comments
Layton is right here. The face of Canadian immigration is changing, and it’s tilting…"One of the most disturbing aspects of what the Harper government is doing is that they’re encouraging more and more people to come here as temporary foreign workers… What we’re seeing is more and more of this focus on the immigrant as some kind of an economic unit."- Jack Layton
April 12, 2011
Layton is right here. The face of Canadian immigration is changing, and it’s tilting toward economic considerations. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) if you look at permanent residents by category between 2006 and 2010, the only class that grew was the economic migrant class, from 138,251 in 2006 to 186,881 in 2010. Compare that to the number of refugees admitted: there’s been a decline since 2006, from 32,499 back then to 24,693 last year. Family reunification migrants have also been falling away, from 70,517 in 2006 to 60,207 in 2010.
Layton is also speaking no bull about the fact that temporary foreign workers have been a growing presence in Canada. According to CIC, in 2000, there were 116,540. In 2005, pre-Harper, there were 122,694, and then in 2009, there were 178,478. Last year, Statistics Canada reported that the number of temporary foreign workers admitted to Canada has been rising faster than the number of people admitted temporarily for other reasons with “three consecutive years of double-digit growth.” Whether or not this is “disturbing,” as Layton says it is, is a matter of interpretation. But the man’s got his facts straight.
Heard something that doesn’t sound quite right? Send quotes from the campaign trail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll tell you just how much bull they contain.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 1:07 PM - 2 Comments
A boat carrying asylum seekers sinks off Australia
A boat carrying asylum seekers sank off Christmas Island this morning, killing 27 people. Of the some 70 people on board, 41 have been rescued, while another man made it to shore by himself. Rescuers plan to continue the search for further bodies. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced she will put her holiday on hold and go back to work to oversee the disaster. “This has been a tragic event, and it will be some time before there is a full picture of what has happened,” she said.
By Andrew Coyne - Friday, August 20, 2010 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
COYNE: Call it the ‘bottom of the boat’ test
For all the breathless coverage it has attracted, it’s still unclear just what the issue is in the matter of the boatload of Tamils that arrived off the coast of B.C. last week.
For starters, there is very little that anyone can do about it, or would, beyond what is being done already. No one is suggesting we should have turned the boat back on the high seas, or expelled the Tamils without hearing their refugee claims; both options are in any case illegal. Neither is anyone proposing that they should be admitted to our soil without a proper vetting, to ensure at a minimum that no terrorists lurk amongst them.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 12:23 PM - 33 Comments
Jason Kenney introduces refugee system reforms.
To deal more quickly with those claimants, the government will replace political appointees on Immigration and Refugee Boards (IRB) with full-time civil servants. The government says this change and some others to IRBs will mean claimants can expect a hearing within 60 days rather than up to 19 months.
Secondly, the government proposes to divide the countries of the world into two groups: those with a good human rights record and those with a poor one. Refugee claimants arriving from a country that has a strong record on human rights will be able to appeal a negative decision at the IRB only to the Federal Court of Canada. Claimants from an “unsafe” country will have an extra level of appeals they can use if the IRB denies their refugee claim.
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 4:40 PM - 9 Comments
Afghan brides are burning themselves to death
Although Afghan women have attained greater freedoms since Western soldiers first arrived in their country in 2001, one imprint of the restrictions placed on women under Taliban rule remains: forced marriages. Now brides who find themselves in these hellish arrangements are resorting to a disturbing method of escape—they’re burning themselves to death. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Herat Regional Hospital burns unit in western Afghanistan had handled 51 cases of female self-immolation between January and July of this year. Of those cases, 38 patients succumbed to their wounds.
The doctor in charge of the burns unit, Mohamed Aref Jalali, said that the practice comes from Iran, which has one of the highest rates of self-immolation in the world, especially among Kurds living in rural areas along the border. Many Afghan refugees adopted the custom when they fled there during the decade-long war with the Soviet Union that ended in 1989, and continued it when they returned home in the 1990s. The popularity of burning oneself to death has since grown among poor, uneducated Afghan women who live in areas where young girls are traditionally forced into marriage. Continue…
By Andrew Potter - Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 9:40 AM - 8 Comments
Say what you want about Stalin; he had an efficient decision process. There was that murderous
It may seem hard to believe now, but until 1989 the museum at Auschwitz basically ignored the former concentration camp’s central role in the Holocaust; for years it was merely a monument to the struggle against fascism. Only after the victory of the Solidarity movement and the collapse of Communism was the place turned into a proper memorial to Jewish suffering.
Disgusting, yes, but hardly surprising. Plaques, monuments, museums—all are political devices aimed at serving one version of the past over the rest. But, however twisted the nature of the Auschwitz memorial under the Soviets may have been, at least you get the sense there wasn’t a lot of pussyfooting around about it. Stalin probably gave an order and it was carried out (or, given his famously opaque management style, his underlings probably just assumed that was what he wanted). Say what you want about Communism under Stalin, at least it had an efficient decision-making procedure. Continue…
By The Editors - Friday, August 21, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Plus a week in the life of Y.E. Yang
Face of the week
Suaad Hagi Mohamud is reunited with her son in Toronto after spending three months in Kenya due to an identity dispute
A week in the life of Y.E. Yang
The 37-year-old South Korean arrived at the PGA Championship in Chaska, Minn., ranked 110th in the world. On Friday, he scored a two under par 70, leaving him six strokes behind the leader and odds-on favourite, Tiger Woods. But a 67 on Saturday drew Yang within striking distance of Woods, and on Sunday, he clinched victory on the 18th with a brilliant shot over a tree. After the win, Yang received a congratulatory phone call from South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 11:00 PM - 35 Comments
The Prime Minister gives Mexico the It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me treatment.
“This is not the fault of the government of Mexico – let me be very clear about this,” Mr. Harper told reporters, explaining his mid-July decision to clamp down on soaring bogus refugee claims from Mexico by requiring Mexicans to obtain visas before entering Canada. “This is a problem in Canadian refugee law which encourages bogus claims.”
By Andrew Coyne - Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 12:46 PM - 58 Comments
A couple of days’ worth of headlines…
There you go, Tory base. We may be spending at all-time record levels. We may be running $40-billion deficits, and bailing out auto companies, and ditching across-the-board tax cuts in favour of dozens of little social-engineering tax credits. We may have abandoned everything we ever stood for on Afghanistan, on Quebec, on corporate welfare, on foreign investment. We may have set up a regional development agency for southern Ontario.
But we’ll still protect you from a lot of imaginary threats like polygamy. We’ll still beat up on refugees, and prisoners. We’ll still whip up hysteria over crime. Because sometimes you just have to do the unassailably popular thing, when it’s the unassailably popular thing to do.
By selley - Friday, July 4, 2008 at 3:01 PM - 0 Comments
The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned a Federal Court ruling that had essentially…
The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned a Federal Court ruling that had essentially scuppered the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement on refugees. (That’s the thing that got rid of all those unsightly northbound queues of the world’s downtrodden at various points along the 49th parallel, which you may remember from the 1990s, by prohibiting most refugee claims at land border crossings and forcing asylum-seekers already in the U.S. to try their luck in the less permissive American system.) The provisions of the agreement had remained in effect while the government appealed, but as the editorial notes, getting rid of it would have meant “a nightmare of complications” for a refugee system that’s already stretched to its breaking point. So I was rather surprised to learn all this from an approving Globe and Mail editorial, which, bizarrely, seems to be the only mention of this very important event anywhere in the entire media.
The Globe‘s main point is that the original ruling was a vast overreach based on a woefully superficial negative assessment of the American refugee system, and I have no quarrel with that. But particularly in the absence of other coverage, readers of that editorial could be forgiven if they thought the Safe Third Country Agreement was a coherent, mutually beneficial, fair deal for Canada and the United States, and for refugees. This is a pet issue of mine, and I must protest that it is not any of those things. At best, it’s a fudge.