Refugees: Ottawa slow to implement its promises

septembre-ministre-chris-alexanderAlmost a month after announcing steps to speed up the home of Syrian refugees in Canada, the Conservative government has not asked the promised actions.

Last September 19, Ottawa announced a series of measures to ensure that all Syrian refugee applications already received are processed “before the end of December” and that 10 thousand Syrian refugees to come to Canada before September 2016, 15 months earlier than planned.

This announcement was caused by the outcry before the image of Alan Kurdi, small dead Syrian boy drowned while attempting to reach Europe.

A month later, the Conservative government has not doubled, as announced, the number of employees in countries that are evaluating new requests for refugee sponsorship. They are still only 15 staff to do this work, waiting for reinforcements.

Regarding additional visa officers promised to embassies, it continues, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, to talk about sending them to the future.

A “special coordinator” named discreetly

However, on October 5, Ottawa appointed without fanfare, a “Special Coordinator for the resettlement of Iraqi refugees and Syrian.” The exact mandate Deborah Tunis, who left retirement to take the job.

On 19 September, it was announced that the coordinator should, among others, helping “Canadians wishing to help the refugees to communicate with experienced sponsors.”

“It’s someone who already knows the middle, who knows the ministry,” welcomed Janet Dench, Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR).

But Ms. Dench worries for the rest. So she still has not seen anything to implement a major measure announced one month ago. “We will provide temporary Syrians and Iraqis from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status to be sponsored,” could be read in the ad.

“This is a regulation that requires it,” says Ms. Dench speaking of this proof of status. “How will they avoid the impact of the regulation? (…) It is the law in Canada. You either change the rules or use a discretionary process to exempt these refugees Regulation, “she explains.

The outgoing Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, had made much of the suspension of his campaign, September 3, to take the time to manage this issue. Mr. Alexander was back in his riding of Ajax within 24 hours after suspending his campaign activities.

On Saturday, September 19, he announced a series of measures which were to calm anger over the death of little Kurdi.

Since then, a series of revelations about the Syrian refugees folder has the outgoing Conservative government in a quandary.

It was learned that the Office of the Prime Minister had ordered the suspension in June to the processing of cases referred by the High Commissioner for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The suspension shall not sponsored refugees to private bodies, it has been assumed that the Conservative government wanted to slow the entry of Sunni Muslim refugees.

The Conservative government has made no secret of wanting to give priority to Christians Syrian refugees and members of other minorities, a choice denounced by several humanitarian organizations, including the JRC.

According to sources from The Canadian Press is Stephen Harper himself who ordered there about a year, we give priority to Christian refugees, thus going against the advice of officials.

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