Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twittering on immigration with Jason Kenney

Over the course of the day I've exchanged a few tweets back and forth with Conservative immigration Minister Jason Kenney on Twitter, on the topic of his recent announcement of visa requirements for visitors from the Czech Republic and Mexico.

I'll have more to say in length about this decision, the myriad consequences, and what it may mean for our immigration system, at a later point, when I have the time to compose a lengthier commentary.

But for now, I did want to share by Twitter exchange with Kenney for those of you not on Twitter, and say that while I naturally disagree with him on many things, I give Jason credit for embracing the medium and using it to engage those of other viewpoints. It's good to see.

P.S. I'm pretty jazzed about the tin-foil hat comment. That's going on the "Praise for A BCer in Toronto" greatest hits board, for sure.

Me: Have a feeling @minjk is channeling John Snobelen by manufacturing a crisis in immigration system. ? is, what will he do with it? #cdnpoli

Kenney: @BCerInToronto Take off the tin foil hat.No "crisis," but serious, longstanding problem: taking 2+yrs to finalize refugee claims isn't good

Me: @MinJK I agree changes needed, although not sure what they should be. But the still unfilled IRB positions are only worsening the situation.

Kenney: @BCerInToronto Fair point. I've made 33 appointments & 10 re-appointments to the IRB. Its now @ nearly 85% occupancy, and will soon be @ 95%

Kenney: @BCerInToronto But even if the IRB was operating @ full occupancy for the past 3 years, there would still be a huge backlog.

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Canajun said...

How do you know it's Kenney responding? Just curious.

Jeff said...

Can't know 100%, of course. But I've been following him on Twitter for awhile and there's been personal details over the time that don't read as canned staff talking-points. And if a staffer writing as the minister would be unlikely to veer off script to make the tin foil hat comment. The minister can get away with that, but a staffer pulling it as the minister would be a very bad idea.

Canajun said...

Fair enough. It just strikes me as odd that these guys who don't even read their own mail would respond to Twitter queries.
But thanks for sharing. His comments do offer some additional insights that may be otherwise unavailable. (And we know they are not PMO vetted.)