Does anyone in Canada really believe that our refugee system is working at anywhere close to optimum levels? Does anyone believe it is working at all? The answers are “no” and a resounding “no.” So why has the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, decided to—as described by the Liberal-supporting Globe and Mail—oppose “… the Conservative government’s proposed fix for the country’s horribly broken refugee-determination system?”
This writer has no definitive answer to the last question, but has read the news reports and can speculate. Apparently, while the NDP and Bloc Québécois have been opposed to the new legislation, Bill C-11, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the Liberal critic Maurizio Bevilacqua have been trying, successfully, to find a common ground. Then suddenly, caving under pressure from the Liberal party’s Quebec and socialist wings, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff drops his party’s support for the bill altogether—ostensibly, because many Liberals were opposed to the idea of a safe-country list.
According to a report on the Globe and Mail website, Liberal MP and immigration critic Maurizio Bevilacqua spent 14 months in discussions with the government while the legislation was being drafted—a senior member of Mr. Ignatieff’s staff even attended many of those discussions.
Most pundits agree that this could never have happened without the approval and, at least, nodding consent from both Mr. Ignatieff and his chief of staff, Peter Donolo.
Then comes the all too familiar Ignatieff-shuffle: the influential MP representing the Montreal-North riding of Bourassa, Denis Coderre, MP for Parkdale-High Park Gerard Kennedy and some others in caucus apparently balked at an agreement with the Conservatives, so Mr. Ignatieff beat a hasty retreat.
But wait, folks, as is Michael Ignatieff’s custom, a firm stand on any substantive issue is always temporary and lasts only as long as media headlines are aligned with his general position. As is often the case, Mr. Ignatieff has lined his party up against prevailing opinion across our great land, and quite frankly is spitting into the wind on this one.
Consequently, we get the familiar Ignatieff-reshuffle: now that Mr. Ignatieff’s handlers see that Minister Kenney appears to be about to put more water in his wine and cut a deal with the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois, they will—IMHO—give him the go ahead to allow his committee members studying the legislation to let it move ahead.
This writer predicts the legislation will get the green light.