Friday, October 22, 2010

Serious Stuff

Me being me, this post from yesterday morning on the Federal Government's new legislation to combat human smuggling was a bit flippant. Trust the Galloping Beaver to finger some of the real issues with the proposed law:

...say for example you're a member of the Karen ethnic group living in Mah Sot refugee camp, Thailand. You cannot go back to Burma because the disgusting bunch of military fetishists running the show over routinely send the army after you and friends. You are effectively stateless and cannot claim citizenship in Burma or Thailand because neither country really wants much to do with you. Canada comes along and grants you refugee status and you come here to live, leaving many of your family and friends behind. When you are processed and formally recognised as a refugee by Canada, you are granted permanent residency.

After a number of years, you can apply citizenship and thus a Canadian passport. However, before that you can do that you may apply for a Travel Document because you can't actually get a passport from your home country, or the country you fled to. This travel document legally protects you because it says to foreign governments 'I'm now under the protection of Canada, do not mess with me'. If you want to travel to see family and friends still stuck eating sandy rice in a dusty camp, this travel document allows that to happen. You are free now, and can live, play and travel with more security than you've ever had in your life.

What the Conservatives now want to do it seems is take that security away and punish refugee claimants for being refugee claimants. While your claim is being processed, they want you to effectively remain a prisoner within Canada. Don't go home, don't visit your dying mother, don't got back to celebrate the wedding of your sister. Not only that, but the Conservatives also seem to want to be able to revoke your claim should you ever leave the country.


I'd also make note of this bit of commentary from the Vancouver Sun:

David Poopalapillai, spokesman for the Canadian Tamil Congress, said he was particularly troubled with the provision that prevents those smuggled into the country from sponsoring family members for five years. "Once you become a landed immigrant, you've been accepted as a legitimate refugee claimant," he said. "You say to them you can't sponsor your spouse or your kids? That's inhuman. You want the family to suffer and suffer? It's not the Canadian way of doing business."

The opposition parties have promised to give the new legislation a "good, long look", and hopefully they will do that. Some aspects of it--targeting the owners of ships like the MV Sun Sea--appear salvageable, as they are aimed at the criminal activity that drives human smugglers, and not the actual smuggled refugees. Given how the committee process works in a minority parliament, there's no doubt that some kind of bill can emerge from said process that may actually do some good. The opposition parties should rework the proposed legislation so it becomes that bill, give it back to the government, and see if they'll sign.

12 comments:

Paul S said...

Yes, that must be it. The government wants to "punish refugee claimants for being refugee claimants." Thanks for clearing that up for me.

How dare we put restrictions on Tamil Tigers attempting to buy their way into the country and rebuild their terrorist organization. That's not a Canada I want to live in.

Boris said...

Paul S, There are already restrictions on the Tamil Tigers. What this legislation does is target refugee claimants as class, not just the Tamil Tigers. And lets not get started on labelling sides in what was another country's civil war.

40 years ago when Vietnamese came by boat they were looked at as desperate people fleeing war and communism. Now the government rhetoric holds them as queue jumpers and probably terrorists. This latter Canada is not one I want to live in.

Tom said...

Why would a refugee claiming to be scared for his life if he is returned to his native country, then want to go visit said country?
It seems to me that this law should be redundant since claimants should never want to return to the place where they will be subject to torture, imprisonment, etc. etc.
Am I missing something here?

bigcitylib said...

Tom,

If you read the post again I bet you can find the answer to that question in about the 4th paragraph.

Gene Rayburn said...

now there you go asking Tom to read. What's next... thinking?

Paul S said...

Why would a refugee claiming to be scared for his life if he is returned to his native country, then want to go visit said country?
- Tom


Because said queue jumper is very brave Tom. Very brave.

I bet you can find the answer to that question in about the 4th paragraph. - BCL

Paragraph four simply confirms our suspicions: that these are refugees of convenience bribing their way into the country ahead of legitmate persons.

This latter Canada is not one I want to live in. - Boris

People on the left often say that. Just once, I wish they would keep their word. ;)

Gene Rayburn said...

Well Boris, just be happy you dont live in Paul S' fantasyland.

Boris said...

The trouble, Paul and Tom, is that you cannot imagine the experience of being forced to flee your homeland because you belong to a cohort without protection. You've perhaps never known a woman who, forced to flee Ugandan on foot, was kidnapped and raped along the way. Who spent years and years in a refugee camp trying to find a place in another country that would accept her. Finally arriving, settling in. Working shit jobs to put herself through school. Finally getting that travel document or passport that allows her to return to visit her homeland without the fear of being kidnapped or raped again.

You don't have a friend disfigured by a grenade that went off in the camp when it was raided by paramilitaries from one faction or another.

I could go on. These are descriptions of the experiences of people I know.

Refugees of convenience? The only thing convenient here is the cossetted existence which allows you to pass such flippant judgement on the motives of people who have endured more than most us can possibly fathom.

Gene Rayburn said...

Boris, Tom and Paul S live in bubble though I expect Paul's bubble is more like Idiocracy.

Paul S said...

The trouble, Paul and Tom, is that you cannot imagine the experience of being forced to flee your homeland because you belong to a cohort without protection.

Yes, so dangerous that they want to travel back home for a little visit months after getting here.

What Canada is doing is discriminating between legitimate and non-legitimate refugees. These most recent arrivals most certainly fit in the latter.

Refugees of convenience?

Or illegitimate queue-jumpers, take your pick.

The only thing convenient here is the cossetted existence which allows you to pass such flippant judgement . . .

There may well be child-traffickers and Tiger terrorists on the boat that arrived recently.

Interesting too is how most on the boat were men, not vulnerable women or children. Fund raisers for the Tigers??

Boris said...

What Canada is doing is discriminating between legitimate and non-legitimate refugees. These most recent arrivals most certainly fit in the latter.
We do that anyway Paul. It's what the application process is for, regardless of the manor of the applicant's arrival.


Interesting too is how most on the boat were men, not vulnerable women or children. Fund raisers for the Tigers??
Interesting how you jump to conclusions. And your implication that viable refugees should be women and children is simply disgusting. The entire point of the CBCA and CIC people receiving the migrants is to determine their individual eligibility. It's what we pay them for.

Holly Stick said...

Paul and Tom do not love their own country. They do not love their families and friends. They cannot imagine why someone who fled for their life from their country might want to go back when it was safe to see how their family and friends were getting along, and maybe even to see if they could help their country.

Paul and Tom would never care that much or have that much courage.