World Refugee Day

The Green Party of Canada is saddened on World Refugee Day, June 20th, that the federal government has recently passed Bill C-31, to the detriment of refugees seeking a new life in Canada.

“The theme of World Refugee Day for 2012 is ‘Refugees have no choice. You do.’  The Harper Conservatives had a choice and they chose to pass a bill which will see men, women and children over 16 who arrive in an ‘irregular’ way in detention for up to a year,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

The spectre of millions of environmental refugees is a real and near-term reality.  Already, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Global Trends Report 2011 show that we are at the highest number of new refugees, 800 000, since the beginning of the century.

Refugees overcome incredible hardship to create better lives for their families.  Canada has historically been high on the list as a welcoming country for resettlement.  This is unfortunately changing.

“Canada should be continuing our history of welcoming those in need.

Instead, the Harper Conservatives are creating a discriminatory, two-tiered system, including giving the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration sole discretion to designate “fast track” countries of origin, making the system vulnerable to political interests,” said May.

On June 18, rallies were held the country to protest the Harper Conservative’s severe cuts to health care for refugees.

“On Canada Day, many refugees, hoping for a new life in Canada, will instead be faced with an unfeeling lack of healthcare, including vaccinations, needed medications, pre-natal care and in some cases, life-saving procedures.  This is not what anyone would expect from Canada,” said May.