Jason Kenney is a threat to "National Security"
Friday, April 3, 20093 Comments
CENSORSHIP: Two weeks ago Jason Kenney decided not to let British MP George Galloway into the country for a cross country speaking tour. According to Kenney, Galloway was “inadmissible on national security grounds”. How did Kenney come to the conclusion that a respected international anti-war figure addressing a series of public forums could be a security threat? A couple of reasons have been given. A spokesperson for Kenney’s ministry told reporters that Galloway was banned because of his views on Afghanistan. Galloway was scheduled to speak on Afghanistan and this is a blatant attempt to squelch freedom of speech. This topic should be discussed as widely as possible in Canada since it means war and peace and our own country’s foreign policy.
The other reason given for banning Galloway was that he had recently gone to Gaza on a humanitarian mission where he had met with Hamas leaders. Hamas is deemed a terrorist organization by the Canadian government and this was considered supporting a terrorist group. First of all, even if you considered Hamas some kind of satanic baby-killing cult, what could they possibly do with the fire engine, twelve ambulances, a fishing boat, trucks full of medicine, blankets, shoes and children’s toys that Galloway brought them. Secondly, it must be remembered that Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine. Galloway’s trip was an exchange of humanitarian resources between a democratically-elected British MP and the democratically-elected government of Gaza. Thirdly, this is not a case of supporting Hamas. We cannot always choose which groups represent nations around the world, and more importantly we do not have the right to choose. Hamas is an ugly organization to most people, including myself, but cutting ties to them and refusing them humanitarian aid hurts the Palestinian people and strengthens extremist hostility towards the West. Kenney, your policies towards Palestine are fostering extremism and are a threat to international security.
DEPORTATION: Kenney has been deporting people left, right and centre. This supposed Minister of “Immigration” has stepped up his anti-immigrant language and has turned Canada’s policies towards a more American style “War on illegals”. Under his watch, Immigration Enforcement has carried out raids, waited outside of women’s shelters and impersonated lawyers in order to catch “illegals”. These are people who have been forced to come to Canada because of economic circumstance or war abroad and are here in search of a better life. Kenney is responsible for changes in immigration targets along with rising detention and deportation rates. He has also threatened to remove the pre-removal risk assessment process, which is a process that ensures that people are not being deported back to countries where they will be tortured, murdered, etc. Apparently not that important.
Then there’s the War Resisters. Around a dozen American soldiers that have refused to participate in Bush’s “War on Terror” have sought refuge in Canada, as tens of thousands did during the Vietnam War. They refuse to be complicit in the war on Iraq, which has been condemned by Canadians, rejected by the Canadian government and deemed illegal under international law. In June 2008, the federal government passed a motion calling for an end to all removal proceedings against the War Resisters and for them to be allowed to apply for permanent residency. Harper and Kenney have since ignored this motion and have proceeded with trying to deport the War Resisters who face jail time in the US. Just last week, Kimberly Rivera (an Iraq War veteran), her husband Mario and their three children were up for deportation. Luckily they were saved last week by the Federal Court that granted her a stay pending a decision on whether or not they will review a decision by Immigration officials rejecting her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. However, Kenney and Harper continue to preside over an Immigration Ministry that tries to deport courageous men and women that have had to flee their home in order to avoid serving in an unjust and illegal war.
RACIST POLICY: Min. Kenney has also taken to scapegoating migrants based on language skill. He has called for immigrants to speak English or French before they arrive in Canada. This view is inherently racist and promotes a narrow view of “multiculturalism” which is a throwback to Canada’s historically racist immigration policy that has tried to bar ethnic minorities from immigrating. Kenney’s approach is a step back from recent progress that has sought to correct the inequalities of our society which continue to place many ethnic minorities in the lowest strata of Canadian society.
In other news, just before Kenney banned Galloway, he decided to cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) . On March 14th the National Post reported that “Mr. Kenney said taxpayers should not be footing the bill for an organization whose leader 'promotes hateful and extremist views’”. This is an organization that has at its core a strong commitment to anti-racism. It just so happens that their views on the occupation of Palestine clashed with Kenney’s “unapologetic support” for Israel. The CAF made the following statement in response to the de-funding:
This arbitrary decision made by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, under the Harper leadership is an attempt to silence any dissenting voice and is being used as disciplinary action for CAF's political stand which is contrary to their own. Furthermore, this is a warning to other non-profit, anti-racist organizations not to criticize members of the Canadian government or they may face a similar fate.
It also should be noted that the funding that Kenney cut does not even go to the part of the organization that has made statements on the rights of Palestinians. The 2.5 million dollars of funding was going to a project put on by the CAF that taught English to new immigrants of Arab origin. Kenney has singled out and cut funding to an effective program that helped Arab immigrants in Canadian society and in doing so he has clearly hung an “Arabs Not Welcome” sign on Canada’s Immigration office. The move reeks of Islamophobia and censorship. The CAF has committed no crime but to express a different view on the issue of Palestine, one that is held by the vast majority of nations in the world, but that is at odds with Kenney’s uncritical support for Israeli policy. No proof has been offered as to how the CAF can be considered anti-Semitic. The CAF has stated that:
Arab Canadians are Semites and hail from various faiths, including Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. We oppose all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and enjoy strong allies in both the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities.
The de-funding move by Kenney is a slap in the face to Arab Canadians and the freedom of speech of all Canadians.
Luckily the movement against Kenney is growing within Canada. After a ruling against Galloway in the Ontario Federal Court on Monday, peace activists have vowed to continue the legal challenge. In his speech from New York to which was watched across Canada via the internet on Monday, Galloway declared “the minute you think this ban can be broken I will grab my toothbrush and head to Heathrow". Immigrant rights groups such as “ No One is Illegal ” are calling for a fight against Kenney’s racist views and regressive immigration policies. On March 26th, it was announced that the CAF would be taking Kenney to court over the de-funding of their language program. They are being represented by the same team of lawyers that is challenging Galloway’s entry. The recent victory for War Resister Kimberly Rivera is proof that we can win. This was accompanied this week with a victory in Ottawa. On March 30th the House of Commons reaffirmed their reaffirmed their decision, first passed ten months ago, to let Iraq War Resisters live in Canada. Kenney has gone too far and now it looks as if Canadians are fighting back. In a country that prides itself on freedom of speech, progressive immigration policy and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney is a threat to our “national security”.
And if you feel so inclined to talk to Mr. Kenney the contact is below. Remember he is supposed to represent your views on immigration. Is he?
1168 137 Ave SE
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
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