My Canada stories are piling up, so I’m going to post three here in one post.
First is an update of the Sri Lankan boat people that we first reported here in 2010. Seems that at least two men on the ship were wrongly given refugee status according to a Canadian Court. Pro-immigration lawyers had creatively argued that since the ship had been publicly identified with Tamil Tiger terrorists that none of the migrants could be returned safely to Sri Lanka without fear of persecution.
Sri Lankans are also traveling by boat to get into Australia as we reported here last week.
From the National Post:
The Immigration & Refugee Board misinterpreted the law when it granted asylum to two Sri Lankans simply because they had traveled to Canada aboard the human smuggling ship MV Sun Sea, the Federal Court has ruled.
In a pair of decisions, the court weighed in on attempts by refugee lawyers to argue that, because the Sun Sea has been publicly linked to the Tamil Tigers rebels, its passengers faced persecution if Canada sent them back to Sri Lanka.
The latest cases involved two men who were not considered genuine refugees except for the fact they had been on board the Sun Sea. The refugee board ruled that made them members of a “social group” that faced persecution.
But this week, the court said it had used the wrong standard of proof to reach those decisions. It overturned both men’s asylum claims and sent the cases back for re-evaluation.
The Sun Sea arrived off the British Columbia coast in August 2010, carrying 492 Sri Lankan migrants. The voyage had originated in Thailand and was organized by a smuggling syndicate that charged hefty fees.
Although those on board claimed to be fleeing persecution, Justice Sean Harrington said B472 “was found to be a liar,” while B323 was not credible and did not face a serious chance of mistreatment when he had lived in Sri Lanka.
“The Sun Sea passengers had a myriad of motives to come to Canada,” he wrote in his ruling.
“Some were human smugglers. Some may well have been terrorists. Some were garden-variety criminals who wanted to escape justice. Some had serious reason to fear persecution in Sri Lanka and some, like Mr. 472, were economic migrants.”
Second story for today
Canada saving billions by fast-tracking asylum claims from countries not considered to be producing legitimate refugees, including any who want asylum from the US! Thanks to a reader for sending this about a week ago.
From the Globe and Mail:
Canada has seen a dramatic drop in the number of refugees seeking asylum here after Ottawa began fast-tracking applications from countries where it feels people are less likely to be persecuted.
Senior government sources say that on average, 164 foreigners are claiming asylum weekly in 2013, down nearly 70 per cent from the average weekly claim for the past five years, which was 537. This is based on data for the first seven weeks of 2013.
The plummeting figures show the impact of the changes that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made to Canada’s refugee system in 2012 when he sponsored a bill that made this country a less welcoming destination for asylum seekers with shaky claims – those he called “bogus refugees.”
Mr. Kenney’s legislation, now law, gives the Immigration Minister the power to designate which countries are less likely to be a legitimate source of refugees.
Changes last year designated 27 countries of origin – including the United States, most European Union member countries and Croatia – as places from which claims would be fast-tracked. Ottawa added eight more countries to this list this month.
Refugee claimants from countries on this safe list – those that Canada considers democratic states with a solid human-rights record and an independent judiciary – now have much less time to fight to stay here. [and thus do not need to be housed and fed at taxpayer expense—ed]
The third story in my Canadian troika today is this one about Immigration Minister Kenney traveling to Turkey and being criticized for not committing to take thousands of Syrians home with him. This is the story from the Edmonton Journal last week. Kenney did commit to resettle more Iraqis and Iranians.
OTTAWA – The NDP and a Syrian Canadian group are questioning why Immigration Minister Jason Kenney chose to accept Iraqi and Iranian refugees when he visited fleeing Syrians in Turkey last month.
They accuse Kenney of misleading the Canadian public by touting his visit as being in support of Syrian refugees, which currently number about 200,000 in Turkey, when Canada opted instead to take 5,000 Iraqis and Iranians.
But Kenney’s office says there’s a perfectly good explanation for the decision: Turkey won’t let any fleeing Syrians leave the country until the United Nations officially declares them actual refugees.
Kenney’s aides also say Canada is currently co-operating with the UN’s refugee agency, which doesn’t want to push the resettlement of the hundreds of thousands of fleeing Syrians just yet.
I had been wondering why Western countries weren’t dashing to Turkey to bring home refugees. The UN says it isn’t time yet. Watch for it! The Iraqis are getting boring to the US refugee contractors, Syrians will be next. As a matter of fact, I bet at this year’s State Department hearing for who to bring in 2014, the likes of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will be asking for Syrians please!