TORONTO - It’s not a secret. The turmoil in which Prime Minister Trudeau is currently emmeshed threatens his re-election at the head of a majority government and may even place in peril the re-election chances of many of his MPs in the GTHA.
He needs, among other approaches, to reach out to communities that have traditionally been supportive of the Liberal brand and to choose “spokespeoplekind” – sorry I couldn’t resist – who have credibility in the communities and a message to deliver.
Ahmed Hussen does not fit either definition. He has been Minister of Refugees and Immigration for more than two years. He must take some responsibility for his Department’s policies and functionings.
Corriere has offered on several occasions to interview him live on its GOLive TV chanel. He and his office decline to respond either by phone or by e-mail. He avoids the Corriere as he would the plague. Here’s a list of the items the Corriere Canadese has been pressing him to address.
First, a programme to regularize the over 500,000 “undocumented” workers and their families who live among us. They are working or self-employed. But they are without status, having overstayed their Visas, and liable to deportation. Initially, he supported a “pilot project” to resolve the problem but within months of taking office shortly after reneged on his “commitment”, leaving hundreds of thousands and their children in the lurch.
Second, the Demitri family, (six members, two children born in Canada, mother and father both professional and capable of working TODAY) has been denied status under all programmes available.
They have been here for almost six years. Both the Immigration Refugee Board and the panel that considers Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds decided to SET ASIDE a Supreme Court order requiring all Immigration o.cials to consider the best interests of the child(ren) in any decision.
Hussen, a former refugee, has rejected the interventions by the community, and at least one of his caucus colleagues, to have him revisit their case and have the family stay. Who knows, maybe it has something to do with their ethnic origin.
Third, Hussen has been steadfast in his opposition to increase targets for immigration from Italy, Poland or Portugal.
Numbers from those countries hover the 400-600 people mark while immigrants from other parts of the world are measured in the tens of thousands each year. Yet, an average of 100,000 Italians per year, for the last five years, have been leaving their homeland for places like Britain, Germany, France and Australia. Corriere has published the numbers regularly. Brexit will cause some 250,000 of them resident in the Isles to look else where. Canada’s doors are shut firmly.
Fourth, Hussen’s Department has apparently “surreptitiously”, and at the request of Israeli officials, struck a deal to absorb some 1600 failed African refugees sitting in an Israeli detention camp.
How they got through the wall and the “iron dome” that protects the country has yet to be explained. But there is no room for the Dimitri in Canada. They entered legally.
Fifth, a notorious convicted felon, Harjit Singh, with a sordid history that involved bringing down a former Minister or the Crown, was somehow allowed to re-enter and settle in Canada despite his criminal record and prior deportation. He’s not European.
Another tainted MP from Brampton, Raj Grewal who also does not return phone calls or email requests for comment), apparently wrote a “pro forma” letter on his behalf; and, Hussen let him in.
Ok… but there’s no room for law-abiding candidates like the Demitri. Hmmmmm.
If Trudeau is looking to clean house, he might consider dumping Hussen and welcoming Demitri.