reaction or right action?

September 20, 2010

as a result of the recent incident involving the MV Sun Sea – a ship carrying nearly 500 tamil refugee claimants from sri lanka – the federal government, in its wisdom, has decided to get tough on illegal immigrants. the thing is that, like much of the work that the conservative government has brought about in its past term, the proposed new regulations are all hot air.

jason kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration, will introduce new legislation to extend the detention period of those deemed to have come as part of a “mass arrival.” this, coupled with the tories’ claim that the MV Sun Sea was surely full of terrorists and criminals, is all to make it look like the government is getting “tough on crime” – i assume they imply human trafficking – when in fact they are merely looking like they are getting tougher on…something that is not actually a crime.

as a signing member of the UNHCR’s convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees, canada has an obligation under international law to grant asylum seekers certain rights. one, of particular note, is the principle that asylum seekers have the right to an immigration hearing, as well as access to the courts of the land in which they seek refuge.

so, does the legislation do much, beyond perhaps make life needlessly difficult for those irregular migrants arriving in large groups? and, more importantly, does it actually address the much more pressing issue of human trafficking? the answer to both these questions is certainly no.

the conservatives seem to be digging their heels into their political base. something must be wrong at 24 sussex drive.


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