Response – Freedom, Canadian Style

I just received a response from MP Calder’s Executive Assistant McGuire on this matter. Credit needs to be given when it is due. Mr. Calder has written a strong caution to the Minister of Citizenship & Immigration regarding this case. A copy of this letter was attached to Mr. McGuire’s response:

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February 9, 2003

Dear Judy:

Several of my constituents have brought to my attention their concerns about the case of North Korean refugee claimant Song Dae Ri.

I welcome your commitment to look further into this case, and I hope your decision will reflect the best of Canada’s humanitarian traditions.

While I have not had the opportunity to examine the specifics of this case in detail, the media coverage of it is very disturbing. I would urge you to delay any deportation until this matter has been examined more thoroughly. If deportation is found to be necessary, I would urge you to consider other alternatives, such as deportation to a safe third country, rather than to North Korea, where Mr. Ri probably faces the death penalty.

I believe strongly that Canada should not deport unsuccessful refugee claimants to countries where they are likely to face torture or the death penalty. Has this not been our policy with other such cases?

I am also concerned about over-zealous interpretation of Section 35(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Section 16 of the regulations, which deal with senior officials in governments that have committed human rights and other abuses. As I understand, when the former Immigration Act was drafted, Section 19(1)(L) was considered very broad, and therefore safeguards were built in to allow ministerial discretion in cases not considered detrimental to the national interest. Unfortunately, these sections have often been interpreted without regard to the actual influence the individual may have been able to exert over human rights abuses, and without consideration of the particular circumstances in the country involved. I do not believe this section was intended to prevent all officials in such governments from seeking asylum in Canada. I understand that your department has no evidence that Mr. Ri was himself involved in human rights abuses. Therefore urge you to use your discretion when it is in the national interest.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Murray Calder, M.P.

Cc: Concerned constituents

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I’m wondering if the Minister has responded….

1 thought on “Response – Freedom, Canadian Style”

  1. Nice to see Murray Calder writing letters when he is concerned. I hope he resigns from the liberals though. He seems like a nice guy and has some principals, but I can’t vote for him if he sticks around as a liberal next election. Keep up the good work, Ian.

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