Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maybe Jason Kenney is manufacturing an immigration crisis

Sorry Jason Kenney, but it appears I wasn’t alone in my tin-foil hat wearing when it comes to the suggestion your government may be trying to manufacture a crisis in the immigration system to push through a dramatic overhaul of the system.

From an interesting article in Embassy Mag, here’s former IRB chairman Peter Showler, rebutting Kenney’s contention that the Conservative dithering on filling vacant IRB slots was NOT a major contributor to the current immigration backlog:

Just four years ago however, Mr. Showler points out that the IRB had an inventory of approximately 21,000 claims, with a capacity to decide 25,000 claims annually. But because the government has failed to reappoint experienced members and fill vacancies left by departed members, the IRB is now saddled with a backlog that exceeds 65,000 claims.
And here’s Audrey Macklin, an associate professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, going even further and stating it even more clearly:
"[The government] manufactured the backlog," Ms. Macklin said. "You have a situation where the government took a system that was functioning, broke it, blamed asylum seekers for breaking it, and is now using that as an excuse to dismantle the entire system. There's something pernicious about that, and disingenuous at best."
And piling-on, the Mexican government contends it was the very fact that the system was becoming so backlogged and claims delayed due to the IRB vacancies THAT CAUSED the spike in Mexican immigration claims:
Without enough members, the processing time has slowed—something the Mexican government points to as the root cause of the multiplying number of cases from Mexico in recent years. In 2008, more than 9,400 Mexicans filed refugee claims in Canada, making it the number one source country for refugee claims.

"Organizations have taken advantage of Canadian response times to assess refugee claims, where excessive delays have become appealing in the filing of illegitimate cases," the Mexican government said in a statement on July 13.
It’s almost like a chicken and the egg situation: is the system backlogged because there’s more Mexicans, or are there more Mexicans because the system is backlogged?

It’s increasingly clear to me, however, that the Conservatives, at the very least, have deliberately worsened this situation we’re now in. What they intend to do with their manufactured crisis, I suppose, we’ll have to wait and see.

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Wilson said...

rebutting Kenney’s contention that the Conservative dithering on filling vacant IRB slots was a major contributor to the current immigration backlog

Do you mean was not a major contributor?

A BCer in Toronto said...

I do indeed, thanks.

Jennifer Smith said...

Damn! You beat me to it. But come on now, Jeff - a Conservative government deliberately sabotaging an agency to which it is ideologically opposed? Ridiculous! ;)

So, did you ever actually look into when and how many appointments Kenney has actually made? I'm betting it was more like Harper's senate appointments: all at once and too late.

Jennifer Smith said...

Oh. Look. Even the Auditor General is wearing a tinfoil hat:

Jon Pertwee said...

Tin foil hats support the aluminum mining industry. By wearing a tin foil hat you are already doing more for the mining industry than the government.