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"As a Canadian of Japanese ancestry, I was branded in the core of my being as 'the unwanted' to be feared. What I crave is a country where iron bars - that exclude, categorize, diminish and punish - are used, instead, to build structures of healing and welcome. Of what are we so afraid?"
- Joy Kogawa, poet and novelist
"Bill C-31 allows one person--the Minister of immigration--to have sole unchecked ministerial discretion to announce the designated countries of origin of the refugees. This replaces the independent committee tasked with designating countries of origin, and thereby risks becoming vulnerable and captive to partisan political interests."
- Hon. Lois M Wilson, O.C.
"As a physician who has had the privilege of working with refugee populations for the over ten years, I am deeply concerned about the impact of mandatory detention on the health status of an often already traumatized population. We know that detention has often imposed greater hardship than the trauma that individuals are fleeing. It will exacerbate any existing mental health issues. It is particularly troublesome for children. Many of my patients have also struggled with social isolation post arrival and the inability to sponsor family members for five years will be another huge impediment. I urge the government to re consider Bill C31- it will cause tremendous hardship on refugee populations and will be a major impediment to successful integration."
- Dr. Meb Rashid, Family Physician, Christie Refugee Health Clinic, Toronto
"Battling … C31 - a bill that is unconstitutional, violates international conventions, punishes refugees, and harms Canada's long reputation as a responsible recipient of those needing protection..."
- Don Davies, Member of Parliament, NDP critic for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
"Policy directions such as [Bill C-31] will run afoul of constitutional rights and our country’s humanitarian tradition."
- Hassan Yusuf, Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress
"It is regrettable the minister has decided to go it alone. He had a better bill when he worked with his critics."
- Toronto Star editorial, 20 February 2012
"Mr. Kenney’s decision to eliminate a right of appeal for all refugees from a designated list of “safe countries” is problematic. Critics are concerned it could result in the persecution of genuine refugees. The new bill has also eliminated a committee of experts which was meant to advise the government on which countries should be on the “safe country” list. This is unfortunate, and opens the process to political pressure."
- Globe and Mail editorial, 17 February 2012
"Creating separate categories of asylum seekers can lead to unfairness, however inadvertent. Safe countries are not necessarily safe for everyone in them.
In the same way, Canada should rethink the proposal to delay family reunification for successful refugees. Once a country has accepted a claim for asylum, it is in everyone's interests to help individuals and families move forward with their lives as soon as possible."
- Montreal Gazette editorial, 2 March 2012