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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Liberal opposition - an oxymoron

On March 29th, Stephane Dion was quoted in the Globe and Mail, "We will determine the timing of the election when we will have the best odds of winning," he said in an interview that will run on the French-language TVA network tomorrow."

In other words, "immigrants and your issues be damned - we'll take down the Conservatives when we think we can win - not when they attempt to inact legislation that's against reason, against the Charter, or against you."

In the meantime, The Canadian Arab Federation has termed the Tories immigration proposals "dangerous", warning that they would easily lead to racial profiling. "Tomorrow, the minister might decide: 'We don't like Arabs and Muslims here. We think they are terrorists. We think their culture and religion don't fit with Canada,' " he said in an interview.

"Maybe I'm pushing it a little bit, but you never know."

If you're lucky enough to have immigrated to Canada already, or you're a potential immigrant, let Dion know how you feel about his lack of leadership.

"Liberal opposition" really is an oxymoron, and come an election, many will remember how their representatives stood on this issue.

Email Stephane Dion.

Read the entire Star article.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Voices raising in protest to Finley's immigration plans

Finley has Dion scratching his head...again

It's heartening to see that voices from all over the country are raising in protest to Immigration Minister Diane Finley's plans to centralize power and control in the Prime Minister's Office. Here's a sampling of opinions and articles I've found protesting the move:

"If the government really wants to speed up the immigration application process, it could start by hiring more staff to deal with a backlog instead of slapping a cap on new applications." - The Toronto Star

"...Gerri MacDonald, president of the Refugee Lawyers' Association of Ontario, isn't hopeful.
"The Conservative government put in all these unwanted provisions in a budget bill knowing that the opposition doesn't want to force an election," she noted.

"It is disturbing.""
- The Toronto Star

"Members of some of Canada's largest immigrant communities say plans to give the Immigration Minister more power to decide who gets to stay are misguided and they are urging the Dion Liberals to vote against the proposals, even if it means plunging the country into an election. " - Globe and Mail

Conservatives Turning The Clock Back On Immigration, Charges Surrey MP

The only voice we aren't hearing from? The Liberal Party of Canada...

Friday, March 14, 2008

What would Gomery think? An open letter to Stephane Dion

Dear The Honourable Mr. Dion,
Just yesterday, retired Justice John Gomery stated that the growing concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office must be challenged because it is threatening the very democracy that Canadians enjoy.

Now, a day later, Immigration Minister Diane Finley proposed legislation that would revamp the entire immigration program, focusing power where? Why in the PMO, of course. And democracy certainly doesn't look like it's going to find a home there.

The Toronto Star reports today:

"Embedded in a budget-implementation bill tabled Friday in the Commons are landmark amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which would:

– Allow the government to deny papers to applicants otherwise ruled admissible by immigration officers.

– Allow the minister to set limits on what types of immigrants – ``by category or otherwise" – can enter each year."

Can you read between the lines? What the Conservatives are attempting to do to solve the backlog of immigration requests is to put a cap on the program, anywhere they choose, anytime they choose and on anyone they choose.

History remembers when the Conservatives tried to put a cap Italian immigrants who came in the family class in the late 1950's. That attempt failed, but everything old is new again in "Canada's New Government."

Its troubling to note that, "...waiting times have continued to expand since 2005, and the number of new, permanent residents has fallen since the Conservative government took office." In other words, the backlog has been growing, and more people are getting rejected while the Conservatives came up with their new plan.

"Our government has two objectives," Immigration Minister Diane Finley said.

"The first is to bring more newcomers here to fill the jobs and be reunited with their families. The second is to do it faster." bring in those newcomers they approve of, no matter what those in the CIC have already ruled. fill jobs in areas that don't threaten their supporters. reunite families who's structure middle-aged white folks can understand. do it faster by purging the rolls of who they will consider.

I for one am looking the the Opposition to take this bill and shove it up the PM's backside. If there were ever a measure that stood for the kind of Canada each party has a vision of, this one is it. And if ever there was a reason to question the confidence of a government to lead the country in a way that was in keeping with the hard won rights and freedoms it now enjoys, this is that reason.

Stephan Dion - roll over on this issue at your own peril. This is an historic moment.

Sir - take this government down!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ombudsman an overdue idea

In a recent article in the Star, Allan Thompson proposes the CIC develop an Ombudsman's office as a way to see that the CIC operates in a fair manner, compliant with the law and without bias or malice or prejudice.

In my own situation, last time around - I certainly could've used an Ombudsman...Our officer got lots of basic facts wrong in the ruling that was against us. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford to pay the money to try and have the ruling reviewed at a higher level, and even then, the process has you returned to the same level to face another officer. It was justice by checkbook.

With an Ombudsman in place, we could've challenged the conduct of the CIC in making a ruling not consistent with the facts. I think it would've made all the difference.

So good on you, Allan Thompson! You have power I've seen influence the CIC before in having them make their website easier to use. Let's hope they are still listening to your sound words.

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