Long overdue are the new changes that Ottawa has introduced in order to deal with chronic breakdowns of the refugee system in Canada. The breakdowns have been periodic since the Singh decision, Supreme Court 1985. That decision needlessly struck down as unconstitutional a system that some European countries had identified as worthy of emulating.
The rule-changing decision brought the refugee and law enforcement subdivision within the Immigration Department to its knees. The backlog of cases, which reached upwards of 75,000 more than a decade ago is still at about 50,000 strong.
The new rules will make it harder for “bogus refugees,” applicants who are really economic migrants coming from “safe countries,” to entangle themselves in the Canadian legal system for decades while consuming precious services costing billions to Canadian taxpayers.
Roma claimants, for example, though they indeed may be discriminated against in European countries, they are not systematically persecuted by states or state agents, they are in countries with long established constitutional frameworks, they have recourse to human rights tribunals and have access to court systems to which they can appeal for protection and redress.
Being discriminated against or even persecuted by one state agency in a liberal democratic state does not transform one into a refugee.
Kudos to Jason Kenney for having the courage to do what needs doing and what no Canadian government would do in the last 20 years.
The Frontier Centre has recently published two policy papers on Canada’s refugee system. One documenting the abuse of Canada’s generosity and the other analysing the legal cases to determine options for reform. They can be found here and here.