Recently, the Conservative government introduced amendments to the immigration act, claiming they will solve the application backlog. However, these amendments raise troubling questions about an accountability backlog. Giving the minister of immigration centralized power in selecting immigrants without allowing political debate strips transparency and fairness from the system for Canadians and potential immigrants. Justice demands that fairness and compassion be reflected in welcoming immigrants to fully participate in society.
Today, the cycle of housing insecurity, homelessness and poverty continues to deepen as four million Canadians find themselves in need of affordable housing while many more will experience homelessness over the course of the year. Yet there are signs of hope as all political parties are tackling housing issues and provinces and territories are meeting with the federal government about housing needs of Canadians. Hope remains as we continue to encourage the federal government to invest in affordable housing.
In November 2007, Alberta Federation of Labour reported on its first six months of assisting temporary foreign workers during their time in Canada. The report, entitled Alberta’s Disposable Workforce, detailed the less than humane conditions of foreign workers who are, in fact, meant to have the same work-related rights as their Canadian counterparts.
In November, Judge Phelan ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This ruling was good news for refugees and advocates alike, ensuring that refugees would not be turned away in spite of the fact that they had entered Canada through the US. But despite this ruling, the border still remains closed to many refugees at risk of being sent back to dangerous situations.
Something is missing in the current focus on taxes and economic management: taxes don’t happen in a vacuum. They provide the revenues for government services. Paying taxes is thus one way in which we contribute to the common good. What’s more, when we talk about taxes, we’re really talking about what kind of country we want. This idea should be debated as vigorously as tax rates and economic management.
By Chris Pullenayegem | Thursday, December 13th, 2007
The federal court of Canada recently declared that the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the US is unconstitutional. This is great news for refugees and refugee advocates in Canada. The decision also means Canada has the opportunity to take the lead in finding lasting solutions for refugees.