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Harper and Kenney create a "refugee crisis" to "solve a refugee crisis"

For Immediate Release
31 March 2010

Harper and Kenney create a "refugee crisis" to "solve a refugee crisis"

TORONTO – Immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal-Toronto is outraged at Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s lies to justify a refugee bill that will dismantle the Immigration and Refugee board, deny the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment or the Humanitarian and Compassionate Application to many claimants and unfairly ban claimants on the basis of country of origin. Proposed changes also shift responsibility of refugee sponsorship to private families and organizations.

Kenney is justifying undermining the rights of threatened people to seek refuge in Canada with the claim that “Canada’s asylum system is crippled by long delays and a cumbersome process. This results in claims taking years to resolve.” In actual fact, the average case time has gone from 11.7 months to 19 months under the Tory watch. Largely because 36% of claim adjudicator positions and 25% of appeal division positions were left unfilled for the first two years. It must be noted that the backlog in the Refugee system in 2005 was zero.

Since the Tories took power, community groups have been warning that that the government is trying to break down the refugee system, creating a false crisis in order to take credit for the “solutions” now being proposed.

“Since 2005, the number of refugee applicants denied by Canada has gone up 56%”, says Mohan Mishra, an organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto quoting Citizenship and Immigration statistics. “The only thing bogus is the Kenney and Harper lies about migrants – not the applicants who are suddenly and arbitrarily being denied”. Embassy Magazine reported that the image of "bogus refugees" was tested in a phone survey paid for by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to assess the messaging that would best sell these vicious changes.

“The lies and fear mongering accompanying the proposals are endless” says Macdonald Scott, Immigration Consultant. “In December, Kenney quietly cut the refugee quota from 29,000 to 12,000. Now in March, amidst much fanfare, he is declaring an increase of 2,500 people. Does he think anyone will be fooled by his sleight of hand with people’s lives?”

No One Is Illegal – Toronto is preparing a full report outlining the many lies and inaccuracies accompanying the proposed changes which will be released shortly.

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For more information,
Mohan Mishra – 416.270.8947
http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org