On February 16, Jason Kenney and the Conservative government introduced Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act. The Act makes many reforms to Canada’s refugee system, and amends previous amendments to Canada’s immigration legislation contained in the Balanced Refugee Reform Act which have not yet come into affect. Bill C-31 was greeted by many refugee lawyers and advocates with much criticism, and was received with particular indignation from the New Democratic Party.
It is not difficult to see why the NDP was outraged by the introduction of Bill C-31. Less than two years ago, the Conservatives and the NDP worked together to introduce the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. Its passage was seen as a good example of compromise, and how the parties in a minority Parliament can cooperate to introduce what was generally viewed as good legislation. I would also imagine that the NDP spent some political capital with its base by cooperating with the Conservatives and to makeCanada’s refugee system stricter.
Minister Kenney has now thrown all of that to the wind.
By abandoning the grand compromise that was the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, Mr. Kenney has taken several political risks. First, he has abandoned any good-will that he had with the NDP. Should the Conservatives ever find themselves in a minority government again, I doubt that they will find the NDP being very willing to work with them in the same away as they did in 2012.
Second, he has provided the NDP with the ability to criticize the upcoming reforms to Canada’s refugee system. Because the NDP were co-drafters of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, they could not really criticize the upcoming changes because they themselves owned the amendments.Read more ›
The Bill C-11 Regulations have been releasedRead more ›