Thursday, July 7, 2011

Refugees: Can you speak from both sides of your mouth at same time?

            A recent  CBC radio "The Current" segment dealt with the incredible ordeal of the Benhmuda family. The father's brother belonged to a group opposing the Qadhafi regime in Libya. The cops began to hassle the brother to the point the family immigrated to Canada and sought refugee status. Reason: they feared for their lives. That's clear enough ain't it? Qadhafi is known to do bad things to people who he thinks oppose him: he's a dictator that Canada is fighting, right?
  
          Strange thing. After living in Canada for EIGHT YEARS  the government wackily decides to deport the family back to Libya. Why? Difficult to get info, of course (we expect this by now..): another lack of transparency in a government elected on a reformist platform with transparency a hot button issue.

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/07/04/refugee-benhmuda-family/

           What is going on here? Check out the above link to get a feel for the irrationality of the gov's action. The Benhmuda segment is the first interview.
 

           To all appearances, the family members commited no crime, either in Libya or Canada. The family had integrated. A son, who considers himself Canadian, was born here. Why, then, deport them back to a hellhole like Libya? And why NOW, with a goddam WAR going on??!! 

          Fortunately the Benhmudas managed to escape Libya and now live in Malta (on assistance, poorly). They have initiated legal procedures and hope to return to Canada which they consider their home.


           But why deport them in the first place? - And after EIGHT YEARS living in Canada! Does it take EIGHT YEARS to find out if they are legit? If so, why does it take so long? - all those cuts to "bureaucratic fat"?

            Given that such behavior on the part of the Harper government is not isolated to this single case, one is in right to question whether or not a pattern is being revealed. One need only think of the truly odious Arar case,where an innocent man was shipped overseas to be tortured to extract information during the war on terrorism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar

            Or the absolutely Orwellian / Kafkesque Mubin Shaikh case where a Canadian born muslim volunteered to infiltrate a terrorist cell for the RCMP leading to the dismantling of the gang, convictions and prison sentences. For his trouble - not to mention patriotism and courage - Shaikh was placed on terrorist lists in the US and Canada. LOL, will cockups never cease..

http://transparencycanada.blogspot.com/2011/05/transparency-and-murphys-laws.html

            Do we see a pattern revealed in these - to say the least! - "strange" cases and, if so, what is that pattern? Such behavior obviously demands a response on the part of responsible public servants: Harper was elected on a platform which stressed responsible government, let us not forget.

           Muslims seem to be a prime target in these and other cases. Does that mean anything? Is the government - or segments of that government - pandering to ethnocentric populist sentiments? One surely hopes not..


           In more general terms, one detects a hardening of approach to those seeking refugee status in recent years. Is Canada still the "compassionate nation" we so like to pride ourselves on being? Or have our values imperceptibly shifted? Do we, for example, afford a higher priority today than formerly to economic immigrants, those bringing money to Canada in exchange for citizenship?

           Is Canada STILL the "compassionate nation" we so like to pride ourselves on being? To you to decide, dear reader..

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