Congratulations – and some questions – for Canada’s ministers on our refugee policy: Ron Atkey

Ron Atkey [former immigration minister at time of Vietnamese refugees] on the government’s plan and his questions:

Yes, there are continuing uncertainties and omissions. Will the exclusion of single men continue beyond the initial wave and become a permanent part of Canadian refugee policy?

What happens to the Syrian refugee movement after the end of 2016? What happens if the Canadian appetite for PSRs exceeds government expectations (as happened in 1979-1980)?

These issues will be dealt with in the fullness of time as the program rolls out.

But what is important is that the tone has changed. The government has listened to public concerns – some legitimate, some not – and has come up with workable and realistic changes to the initial Liberal promise on Syrian refugees made in the heat of the campaign. This is to be commended.

What is also encouraging is the response of the new Opposition critics to the recent announcement. Immigration critic Michelle Rempel and Public Safety critic Erin O’Toole both distinguished themselves by generally supporting these changes and offering assistance to make the program work.

This refugee movement will need the support of all Canadians through their MPs if it is to succeed in making a significant contribution to alleviating the suffering among the millions fleeing war-torn Syria.

The government has now set the table. There is much still to be done by Canadians throughout the country.

Source: Congratulations – and some questions – for Canada’s ministers on our refugee policy – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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