Should the immigration minister alone decide which countries are 'safe'?
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the proposed changes Thursday morning. (CBC)Instead, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney would place or remove countries on the list himself. The committee, was to have included human-rights experts, would be disbanded.
The list, which isn't yet up and running, is designed to fast-track claimants from countries the government determines are "safe" and therefore not likely to generate legitimate claims. Under Bill C-31, applicants whose claims are rejected will lose their right to an appeal.
Kenney said that countries in the European Union should all be considered for the safe country list because they are democracies with good human rights records.
But an expert in refugee law says that the safe country list is a "very dangerous concept," and the bill would give the minister too much authority.
"From virtually every country there are some people who are safe and some people who are not. If the minister removes [the advisory committee] then the danger is of arbitrary placement on the list and particularly for political reasons," said Peter Showler of the University of Ottawa.
Should the immigration minister alone decide which countries should be on the safe list? Why or why not? Let us know what you think.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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