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Karl Nerenberg has been reporting on federal politics from Parliament Hill for rabble.ca since September, 2011. In his long career, he has won numerous awards as a broadcaster and documentary filmmaker.
When a government is strongly committed to a policy it is usually very open and up front about it.
The Harper government has said, for quite a while, that most of those who come to Canada seeking refugee status do not deserve health care.
Current Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and his predecessor Jason Kenney have both characterized a large number of the often-desperate people who seek Canada’s protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention as 'bogus refugees.'
The Ministers make that claim despite the fact that a good many of those 'bogus' folks have ultimately been granted refugee status by the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Kenney radically cut back the federal refugee health program in 2012.
On Tuesday night the House of Commons voted down an NDP motion that would have made Parliament a little more serious and relevant to the concerns of Canadians.
The motion, proposed by Official Opposition House Leader Peter Julian, pertained to government behaviour during the daily Question Period.
Had it passed, Julian's motion would have given the Speaker the authority to assure that when government ministers and parliamentary secretaries answer questions they address the subject matter at hand.
There are times when some of the most significant events in Parliament happen far from public view.
This week the chatter about politics is all about Paul Calandra's tears -- were they true remorse or chagrin at being frog-marched into the apologizer's seat?
More substantively, the chatter is about the role the Speaker should play in guiding Question Period, and what the parties in the House might do if and when they get to vote on a combat role for Canada in the Middle East.
The Conservatives are it again -- using a low-profile private member's bill to get some nasty stuff through Parliament.
In this case, the Harper government is after people who come to Canada as refugees.
As it stands now, all people who arrive in Canada claiming refugee status under international law -- that is, based on a legitimate fear of persecution or harm in their home countries -- are entitled to provincial welfare from the moment they arrive in Canada.
This past July a young man was murdered deep in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, and Canadians should care.
Why concern ourselves with this one act of violence in a far away corner of the Pacific, at a time when there is so much violence in the world?
After all, there is lots of killing closer to home that could concern us, starting with the Ukraine (quiet for the moment) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). That latter group has even compelled U.S. President Obama to take serious military action, with Canada's Prime Minister Harper tagging along behind, calling out: "Me too! Me too!"