A lost faith in the immigration system of Canada?

A controversial question; and no doubt whatsoever a topic that has been discussed and certainly led to differing opinions as to whether the immigration minister Jason Kenney’s approach or to be more specific policies are considered acceptable/justified or to many others might be unsuitable or undesirable. But in order to answer this question, we have to look at an extremely important point which will eventually enable us to decide and reach to the conclusion as to whether Kenney’s approach is right or wrong?

Historically, Canada is a nation of immigrants; people have left their native countries in search of adventure, to escape despotism, to avoid military service, or to improve themselves economically. Whatever the reason; Canada has always been a safe haven for immigrants. There is no doubt whatsoever that a political battle is going on over immigration. Opinions are split pertaining to which side you’re on!

From my point of view, I would have to side with the liberal approach of looking at matters; certainly not in favor of Ministers Jason Kenney’s stringent/austere policies and decisions in relation to Canadian immigration. It just seems that if your views are progressive/liberal and it happens that you disagree with the Kenney approach/agenda on the topic of immigration; you will definitely be on the wrong side.

Doesn’t immigration increase diversity and expand the culture of Canada? Undoubtedly, the process of immigration enriches nations like Canada culturally in addition to technologically many are aware of the fact that for Canada the need for immigration is becoming particularly acute as we continue to encounter a labor shortage. According to Minister Jason Kenney addressing a Calgary business audience1; noting

“that immigration into Alberta has doubled in the last five years, but it’s still not enough to fill the skilled labor gap”.2

Moreover, Mr. Kenney went on to state that

“we’re not reducing the number of people we bring in. We’re just putting a freeze on the number of new applications that we put in the backlog”.3

Therefore according to the Minister, he admits that a skilled labor gap exists; on the other hand they decide to reduce the number of people by placing a moratorium on most immigration programs in Canada ! Doesn’t this seem rather contradicting! Once again the word “backlog” is being used as a pretext to justify the government’s actions. Many are obfuscated and don’t seem to comprehend the system, what is conspicuous is that the Tory Government/Minister Kenney’s approach is all about restricting immigration, words such as “pause” “moratorium” or even cessation are being used to restrict immigration; personally I’d rather use the words “permanent hibernation”; cause it surely looks like this government under Minister Jason Kenney are “hibernating” all year long! Even critics of the immigration Minister’s approach oppose a “plethora” of immigrants, but the method/way it’s being handled and dealt with is preposterous and absurd.

Canada has always been a safe haven for struggling refugees all over the world, this country always accepted immigrants/refugee claimants who sought not just opportunity, but political and religious freedom, in addition to gender persecution; so what happened to our moral and ethical principles?

It is noteworthy mentioning that Mr. Kenny’s controversial refugee omnibus Bill-C31, is considered

“another step towards creating an immigration and refugee system that divides immigrants into desirable and undesirable”.4

In the past few decades, Canada has made a considerable and remarkable progress in alleviating the plight of refugees, we truly admit that there are still many unresolved problems pertaining to the determination of refugee status; we are strongly against illegal immigration, smugglers and foreign criminals living on Canadian soil, but when it comes down to dividing refugees and placing an overwhelming power/discretion in the hands of the Minister; that’s when many will agree that this approach is “wrong”. Many have seen the Bill as undermining the rights of refugees considering it unconstitutional and in breach of various International Agreements.

Thus, to answer the question regarding whether Kenney’s way is right or wrong specifically when it comes to the treatment of refugees, the answer is that the Minister’s approach is wrong. Sadly true, Canada is no longer considered accommodating; the new system lacks fairness and humanitarian considerations are being expunged.

Moreover, in order to answer the question it is necessary to mention or provide Mr. Jason Kenney’s earlier initiatives which included

“cut back interim health services available to refugee applicants”5;

placing a moratorium pause on sponsorship application pertaining to parents/grandparents

“seeking to join children in Canada”6; and the proposed elimination of the “280,000 would-be immigrants”.

So do we consider the aforementioned initiatives wrong on behalf of the Minister of Immigration?

The answer to this above question is crystal clear: yes. To elaborate on this point, let’s start with the Ministers proposed elimination of the Federal Skilled workers backlog; according to the Minister ( Jason Kenney ), the only way to deal with the current backlog is to simply erase the files pertaining to immigrants and get on with our lives. As simple as it is, but to everyone’s dismay there is no “panacea”.

Isn’t the Minister aware of the fact that this will seriously tarnish Canada’s image and damage its reputation. The applicants/would-be immigrants have been in transit for years, CIC failed to take into account or consideration the applicants concerns as victims of their unfair policies.

To a great extent many oppose Kenney’s policies and approach as this is seen

“unCanadian to alter the country’s traditional open door policy, even while acknowledging the many abuses it attracts”.7

It is certainly obvious that Kenney’s policies are not paving the way for future immigrants in Canada, moreover since 2008; the applicants are subject to numerical limitations determined by ministerial instructions despite the limitations on the number of applicants CIC remains to the present date encountering problems with the backlog. Let’s consider another error or improper decision made by the Minister of Immigration in Canada, which is the temporary moratorium on sponsoring parents or grandparents. But isn’t family reunification considered the pillar of Canada’s Immigration Policy ?

Even though family reunification is a stated objective, the Minister can circumvent this problem by introducing the Super Visa; which is an epic failure. The Canada Super Visa is just

“a tale of broken promises”8. This is due to the “increasingly high rate of Canada Super visa rejections”.9

To top it all up the Tories

“rendered refugees claimants in Canada ineligible for Supplementary health coverage under the Interim Federal health programs”.10

A very humanitarian approach!

Up to the present date the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada is completely involved and busy trying to figure out a way or mean to end the backlog and to re-structure an efficient and fair immigration Canadian System; the question that must be answered is whether this is working out? Till date we haven’t seen any progress whatsoever, Mr. Kenney has held the post of Minister for CIC since October 30, 200811; it’s almost 5 years and looks like the only changes that have been made / implemented involved pausing the majority of Immigration categories in Canada and intimidating refugees!

The way it’s going, definitely looks like this ongoing immigration problem which has evolved into a hefty burden will never end, moreover the ” latest step in redesigning Canada’s Immigration system “12, involved once again the use of the magic word “pause” to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and Federal Immigrant Investor Program for a period of six months; according to the Minister/ CIC they need to work on re-structuring & re-designing the “economic immigration system”.

Is Kenney’s way right or wrong?

The answer to this question is that the majority of no longer want to be immigrants have lost faith in the Canadian Immigration System; the reason behind this is clear; and doesn’t require any further explanations; and I leave that to be the reader to decide and judge.

Ahmad Al-Azem
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


1 Ottawa puts a freeze on immigration programs for skilled foreign workers
2 ibid
3 ibid
Kelly McParland: Jason Kenney’s immigration revolution chalks up another success
6 ibid
7 ibid
High rate of Canada Super Visa rejections
9 ibid
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s event disrupted by protests, cries of “shame”
Jason Kenney
Minister Kenney Hits the Reset Button: Sets the Foundation for New, Faster, More Flexible Immigration System

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