Too often immigration reform becomes a divisive, partisan issue.
I've been a critic of Jason Kenney's policies in the past. However, there is little doubt in my mind that there is a basis for Kenney's desire to reform the immigration and refugee system in Canada.That being said, he has displayed an disconcerting proclivity to disrespect due process.
For example, it's clear that the oft-quoted doctor driving a cab in Canada is no myth:
we now know that one urban myth is true. Overqualified immigrants do drive taxis – though not all of them are physicians. Many are in fact architects and engineers. This underscores the need for Canada to reform its immigration-selection system with the aim of helping newcomers work in their chosen professions and actually design buildings and highways, instead of having to ferry people across town.
The success of Kenney's new vision of a demand driver, employer-centric Federal Skilled Worker Class remains to be seen, but may address the scenario of physician (or other professional immigrants) driving taxis.
And, while I share the concerns regarding the treatment of Roma in some eastern European countries, does it really make sense that Europe has become a primary source of refugees to Canada (instead of Africa?). In passing - even the vast majority of Roma claims are abandoned or withdrawn which raises an inference as to the well foundedness of those claims in the first place.
On the other hand Kenney's insistence on punishing refugee seekers that come 'en masse' is perplexing. A minority of refugees come on ships like the Tamils that have arrived in the last couple of years. Far more fly in or walk across the border. But for some reason, Kenney is mortally offended by those that come via ship and wants the ability to detain them (even women and children) for up to a year (sounds like there may be a concession on this point in the works though).
Kenney's decision to terminate all those that waited patiently in the Federal Skilled Worker queue similarly occasions head scratching. Surely he has to be aware of the irony (or hypocrisy) in callously trashing all applications submitted prior to February 27, 2008. Kenney insists that queue jumpers should not be rewarded -- but he has now punished all those that waited patiently for their opportunity to immigrate to this country.
Perhaps on a bottom line analysis where immigrants are mere commodities, Kenney's move makes sense. On any other analysis, it constitutes bad faith and a breach of our obligation to deal fairly with prospective immigrants to this country.
Kenney's reforms are a mixed bag and it remains to be seen whether his efforts will be in the spirit of Canada's humanitarian tradition.