The minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, has announced that beginning today Mexican nationals will require a visa to travel to Canada. This move is in response to the fact that refugee claims from Mexico have almost tripled since 2005, making it the number one source country for claims.
Yes, Mexico, the very place Canadians flock to in the tens of thousands. If life is so repressive there, how come so many foreigners visit that country each year?
During 2008, more than 9,400 claims filed in Canada came from Mexican nationals, representing 25 per cent of all claims received, and, of those claims reviewed and finalized in 2008, only 11 per cent were accepted as being genuine.
According to Minister Kenney, each claim cost us about $29,000 including costs at all three levels of government.
This welcome move by the Conservative government comes at the same time that Canada reinstated a visa requirement on visitors from the Czech Republic after hundreds of Roma from that country sought asylum here. The visa requirement for the Czech Republic was only lifted in 2007 and, since then, refugee claims increased several fold. Our government suspects many cases were not genuine as they were withdrawn or abandoned before a final decision was made.
On TV this afternoon, Minister Kenney said that on some recent flights from Prague the majority of passengers on plane were asylum seekers.
Of course, European Union diplomats and officials have been quick to signal that Canadians could face visa restrictions from member countries in retaliation.
The Mexican embassy in Canada was also quick to react, saying in a statement that the government of Mexico “regrets the decision,” and “Mexico will continue to promote actions toward modifying the Canadian measure as soon as possible.”
Isn’t this a joke? Both the EU and Mexico, by asking Canada to reverse its policy, are sort of agreeing that refugee claimants from their countries have a genuine reason to fear returning to their homelands. Curious that.
Here’s hoping PM Stephen Harper will resist the pressure. Minister Kenney is the first immigration minister in decades to take a Canada-first stance towards those making a mockery of our immigration and refugee policies.
Return to Main page »
© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.