"Canada will not tolerate the abuse of the Immigration system by terrorist elements escaping Sri Lanka." -- former Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney
In 2009, I was amongst thousands of Toronto’s Tamil community that protested against the war in Sri Lanka. We braved the bitter cold and formed human chains across downtown to desperately turn people's attention to the carnage of chemical weapons unleashed on our families and communities.
While most Torontonians celebrated mother’s day, we occupied the Gardiner Expressway when over a thousand civilians were killed in 24 hours.
Anytime a government wants to hide its errors and illegality, it pulls down the shades of national security confidentiality and refuses to disclose any information. Time and again, the Canadian government's own cries for secrecy have been found to be without substance. Federal court decisions, judicial inquiries into complicity in torture, and various freedom of access to information requests have revealed the extent to which secrecy becomes the convenient way out from having to explain and be held accountable for lousy policy, inhumane actions and sheer incompetence.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is currently consulting the public on Canada's future immigration plan. Very few Canadians know about this, and even fewer may participate. Given the consultation design and the questions posed by CIC, perhaps that should not be a surprise.
Some call it cliché while others call it irrefutable fact: our country has been and will continue to be built by immigrants. From economic prosperity to social harmony, the well-being of Canada and its people are intrinsically linked to both our immigration policy and the way immigrants are treated in this country.