Commentary  Question time with the Minister of Immigration

You might know that George Bush is coming to town today – but while you’re in the shoe-throwing mood, there’s someone else you might want to see. Conservative McGill has invited Federal Minister of Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and Immigration Jason Kenney to speak on Friday – you should be there.

Kenney has been responsible for a number of questionable actions. Let’s take a look at his record.

In his adoption of War-on-Terror-inspired paranoia, Kenney has limited freedom of expression at home. He was behind the move to ban British anti-war Member of Parliament George Galloway from entering the country on the eve of a North American speaking tour. Even the United States allowed Galloway to tour the country, suggesting that Kenney has taken anti-terror zeal to illogical new heights. What’s more, Kenney stripped the Canadian Arab Federation of federal funding following a war of words.

On Kenney’s watch, the human rights of workers with precarious immigration status have been violated. Last spring, the minister oversaw unprecedented immigration raids in southern Ontario, during which over a hundred workers were arrested en masse and put into detention centres. The minister seems to believe that these workers are leeching off the Canadian system, but in reality, our economy depends on their labour and money to stay healthy.

While Kenney has recently been lauded for protecting Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) participants by creating a blacklist of abusive employers, this band-aid reform doesn’t address the ways this program, by its very nature, leaves those workers open to exploitation. (For more information on the LCP, see “Protecting our most vulnerable workers,” Editorial, September 20.)
All around, the minister’s attitude toward the people whose welfare falls under his portfolio is alarming – he has utterly failed to protect immigrants open to abuse and exploitation. His actions evince a general lack of respect for migrants, their basic rights and their vital contributions to Canadian society, and the global imbalances that drive international migration.

We urge you to meet Kenney at McGill on October 23 at 12:30 in Arts 160 and take him to task with your questions. Don’t forget to RSVP – it’s obligatory! Send an email to to confirm your attendance.