Now that Jason Kenney has left his position as Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Bernie makes some suggestions to his successor, Chris Alexander:
Refugees - Remove Hungary and Mexico from the Designated Safe Country list. This can be done immediately and without legislative reform. These designations impact vulnerable communities - ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community and women facing gender violence. The Minister can also propose an amendment to the law to provide for an expert human rights panel to assess whether a country might be safe, rather than allow designation by statistics. And he can seek to amend the law to provide an automatic periodic review after designation and add appeal rights to persons from designated countries.
I haven't written much about Mexico in this regard. In the case of Hungary, however, it is quite clear that the country is no longer safe for either its Roma or Jewish minorities. What is particularly galling is the possibility that these groups are being sacrificed in the name of a Canada-EU Free Trade agreement.
Bernie also suggests:
Health Care - Change the Order in Council to restore the same health care system that has worked well since 1957. No legislative amendment is required, it can be done immediately. Institute a means test as suggested by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.
The kind of changes that Bernie wants rolled back were made to the Interim Federal Health Program, I believe. These recently resulted in a mid-East refugee, who had left home because he had been persecuted for his Christian beliefs, being denied chemotherapy in this country. As Brad Wall said at the time:
“It’s unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable, refugees who are obviously fleeing something quite terrible — that’s why they’re refugees..."
“On the face of it, you just consider the case of this particular gentleman or others who, for example, as it was pointed out … might need prenatal care, this is just common sense. You just do this.
“This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.”
In this case, Saskatchewan eventually picked up the cost of treatment. So, to prevent the poor fellow from dying, the province paid for a bad federal policy.
And Bernie's last recommendation:
Immigration - Scrap the proposed regulatory amendment to lowering the age of dependency to 18 from 22. This will affect every family applying for permanent residence in Canada. No family believes a 19 year old should be excluded from a family application and left behind.
I am not terribly familiar with these particular changes, I will leave this bit unglossed.
Bernie's piece, incidentally, is entitled Restoring Canada’s Dignity and Respect, and the entirety of it lies behind the Globe pay-wall. Good luck digging it out.