The Kenney way: right or wrong

“I say a definite “no” to Lukaszyk [sic]. I don’t think it makes sense to create a precedent to do a special caucus meeting for every visiting minister from the provincial government. Plus he is a complete and utter a—hole.” – Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, sending an email by mistake to answer an invitation from a fellow Alberta politician.

The quoted conversation above encapsulates who CIC Minister Kenney is and what he is doing to the Canadian Immigration system.

I believe that the immigration system is broken, I also believe that it needs to be fixed in order to maximize its contribution to Canadian society and national development. Minister Kenney is tasked to run a Ministry that has a huge impact on the future of this country, If he succeeds then we are all the better for it. If he fails then we would suffer the consequences of his failure.

To be fair to Minister he is doing a yeoman’s job of fixing the system. He has tabled legislation in parliament and has been successful in having some of these provisions passed that he believes is needed to overhaul and fix the system.

Some of the ideas that he has proposed and implemented are:

Super Visa

Because of the huge backlog of application for the family reunification stream for parents and grandparents he has proposed and implemented a visa application moratorium that will last for 5 years. This means that all applications to sponsor parents or grandparents to be reunited with their family in Canada will not be accepted. The CIC has claimed that the backlog runs up to 5 years and adapting this program will cut the queue to a more manageable 1 year. To placate the worries of Canadian permanent residents and citizens who wish to sponsor their parents and grandparents he has come up with the super visa that gives these applicants an opportunity to enter and stay in Canada for at least 6 months in a stretch up to a period of 2 years. The caveat however is that the applicant needs to apply for a personal medical insurance coverage rather than rely on the federal and provincial government to take care of their medical emergencies if and when the need arises.

Faster deportation of criminals

This proposal aims to cut the time where permanent residents or temporary residents who have committed a crime punishable by 6 months of imprisonment will be allowed to stay in the country. In this case there will no longer be an appeal allowed for the accused something that has been allowed previously and was seen as a loophole that was used to abuse and make a mockery of the system.

Cutting of medical benefits for refugees. This program is proposed to cut the medical benefits of refugee claimants in Canada and to limit then to emergency cases. It will do away with medical benefits such as dental, optical and others that are usually not available to Canadian citizens.

On the face of it, the programs that Minister Kenney has proposed are all logical and reasonable. Who wouldn’t want to overhaul a system that is too overburdened that applicants need to wait for 5 or more years for a decision? Who wouldn’t want to deport convicted criminals faster? Who wouldn’t want to save money by cutting down on benefits spent on refugees that are not given to tax paying permanent residents and Canadian citizens. He is not taking away all the benefits, he is just limiting it to emergency cases. The government saves money and at the same time it corrects the impression that refugees are more important than its regular citizens.

The problem with Minister Kenney’s approach is that while all his proposals and programs seem to be logical and reasonable it is implemented in such a way that it is seen as being mean spirited and too cold or logical that it goes against the Canadian virtues of compassion and fair play. It goes against our long history of providing a safe haven for refugees fleeing their country to avoid persecution and providing them with an environment where they can live with dignity and respect. It sacrifices these values over efficiency and political expediency. While these proposed changes may save the government a considerable amount of money and gives the government the image of trying to be more considerate of the economic difficulties and limitations of the benefits it gives to Canadian citizens it is actually a very shortsighted and mean spirited move that is easy to dismiss as fair while it is not…

He is the right person for the job if the job is to eliminate any inefficiencies and backlogs in the system. His approach to the job is to charge and intimidate at the top of his lungs thereby getting the very apt description that he “shouts for a living”. He shouts not so much to emphasize a point but to make everyone realize that he alone knows what is best to fix a broken system that he inherited from the previous liberal government.

Minister Kenney is the type of person that brings out very extreme reactions from people who he claims to serve. You either love him or you hate him. There is no middle ground.

The quotation cited in the beginning of this blog clearly illustrates Mr. Kenney’s approach. In that email he says something about not accepting every invitation from any provincial politician because it is wrong. This shows how important it is for him to do the right thing. In the next sentence he calls the person a complete and utter a—hole!

Here we see a man who thinks he is doing the right thing but he goes about doing things with a mean spirited approach that makes us wonder, Is he the a—hole or is he taking all of us for a bunch of a—holes?

Tony Santiago
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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