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Government releases refugee 'safe' country list

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Government releases refugee 'safe' country list

Jason Kenney says the new rules are meant to restore integrity to Canada's refugee system. IMAGE 1 OF 1
It's a 'sad day for Canada' says director of Canadian Council of Refugees
Jason Kenney added another layer to his new immigration system Dec 14. The at-times controversial immigration minister introduced the government's list of “designated countries of origin” (DCO) in a move to restore "faith in the integrity of our asylum system," Kenney said in a statement.
 
The government's goal has long been to revamp the sluggish Canadian refugee system to push applicants through faster. At the moment, all refugee applicants are given the same time frame to have their claims heard. Under this new system, set out in Kenney's hallmark immigration reform bill, C-31, those who come from "safe" DCOs will have their claims accelerated and heard within 30 to 45 days.
 
If claimants from any of the DCOs lose their applications to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), they will also lose the ability to appeal the decisions directly to the immigration system and will be left with only the last resort of appealing to a federal court judge.
 
One large caveat on claimants' ability to make federal appeals, however, is that the government has removed the automatic stay of deportation order granted to all those failed claimants awaiting the decision of a federal judge. That means that, if the IRB does not approve their claims, they will be issued deportation orders immediately and will have to wait for the results of their appeals from their home countries. Applicants will still be able to apply for stays of deportation.
 
This list marks the finishing touches on C-31, one of the biggest changes in Canada's refugee system in decades, which comes into force Dec 15. When the legislation was being debated, there was worry from refugee groups about exactly what the DCO list would entail. Based on the parameters – things such as a functioning democracy and a rule of law – there was concern that the list would be too broad, letting refugees fall through the cracks.
 
What was released Dec 14 is a fairly restrained list, comprising only 27 countries, with almost all falling in the European Union. Kenney says those countries make up the vast majority of the refugee claims in Canada – and most are withdrawn or thrown out.
 
To get on the list, the country's claimants must have at least a 60 percent withdrawal rate or at least a 75 percent rejection rate from the Immigration and Refugee Board. In other cases, namely when the country had few refugee applicants at all, the minister had the power to make determinations based on the internal realities in the country.
 
Yet Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council of Refugees, says that those who have legitimate claims will face discrimination from Canada's refugee system. She highlights the sped-up timelines and loss of an actual review process as problematic.
 
Dench also points out that the IRB has repeatedly found that there can be legitimate refugee claims from Europe, especially for Roma peoples. Hungary, which is on the DCO list, has a large Roma population.
 
"Roma [may] flee Europe to escape discrimination only to find that Canada discriminates against them, too," Dench says.
 
The council sent out a press release condemning the impending changes to the legislation Dec 14. Dench calls it a "sad day for Canada.
 
"We used to be known as a world leader in treating refugees fairly, but now we are discriminating against some claimants, based purely on the country of origin," she told Xtra via email.
 
Every country on the DCO list has, to varying degrees, government regulations outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Approximately half recognize the right to change a person's gender on official documents, while a handful even cover the cost of sex reassignment surgery. Several on the list – such as Portugal and Denmark – recognize both same-sex marriage and adoption.
 
More countries will be added to the list in the coming months.
  
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Comments

Justin Trudeau makes nicey nice with Islam
I agree with you about Justin Trudeau in bed with Islamists. Let's see if Justin Trudeau supports gay marriage in his speech in front of this group of people.
Wow not a word in Xtra about
Justin Trudeau speaking at the Radical Islamist conference on the 22nd. Yet it's criticizing a responsible and reasonable Canadian position on refugee's? That's f'd up!
Here's the list
The following countries are designated as safe countries of origin:

Austria
Belgium
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
United States of America

Sounds like a reasonable course of action to me, and I hate agreeing with the Conservative and Jason Kenney. But that's just how unreasonable the critics are here - it's just too satisfying to scream racial discrimination to bother actually having a basis for such an accusation. These activists like Dench have zero credibility, and I'll be roundly ignoring them from now on if they are going to accuse my country of racial intolerance just because we think there ought to be at least some basis basis for a refugee claim. We in Canada know real refugees - we've taken in Rwandans, children missing limbs hacked off with machetes, Afghans escaping bombed cities, Central Americans targeted by CIA-backed death squads and Chileans and Argentians hounded by dictators. We've done good work providing safe haven for the world's persecuted and should continue to do so. Shove that guilt trip up your ass.
Why is story on Xtra?
This has nothing to do with the community, it doesn't even dent the Cons much either. This story should not be posted on Xtra.
The acrid smell of bullshit
Being an unpopular minority in your country of origin is not a sufficient basis for a refugee claim, especially when one can decamp for 15 or 20 nearby nations with liberal social traditions. I don't understand the criticisms here - either the reporter didn't go far enough, or these activists can't come up with a consistent basis for criticism of these changes. Even if, say, Hungary is some hellhole of discrimination against the Roma, why is the entire European Union not an option especially if, as Dench notes, Canada is also some kind of racist hellhole? If that's the case, warn them away! Why do they need to cross the pond to claim refugee status, rather than go to, say, France or Germany or Britain? If we are turning away legitimate refugees fleeing wars and famine and persecution, then I'm not on board with changes. But the critics have failed to demonstrate their claims beyond spurious arguments about how disappointing Canada is. When more claimants come from European countries than Iran, Iraq, North Korea or even China, bullshit is happening. We even had one claimant from Ireland last year - talk about a laughing stock. Freakin' Ireland! Amsterdam or London or Paris are an hour's flight. Don't bullshit us. We've done well in this country taking claimants from war-torn regions of the world. Don't lay a guilt trip on us just because we want a fair system that turns away bogus claimants. It diminishes the entire refugee experience when we're the laughing stock of the world. And here's a pretty good rule of thum in my estimation: if you think fucking Canada is unfair and racist, etc. then you aren't coming from a real hellhole. This is about as good as it gets, which is why we're so popular with actual refugees, from Vietnamese boat people to Kosovars. Being an unpopular minority in your country of origin is not the proper basis for a refugee claim on Canadian soil. Go to the nearest safe haven.
@Joe Clark
Joe, the real purpose of any Xtra article is to repeatedly criticize the Conservative governments on a knee-jerk basis and promote left-wing causes like QuAIA, as opposed to actually providing thoughtful, unbiased reporting and information to LGBT people.
Where’s the list?
Is Ling under the impression he wrote a squib for a local paper with so little available space that 27 country names would not fit?

In other words, why would one write about an announcement of a list of countries without listing those countries?
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