3 min

Sneaking it through regulations

Now that Parliament has risen for the summer, we can expect things to die down. Right? The government will drift into a gentle slumber and won’t do things such as quietly gazette new regulations that would have a major effect on our immigration system by imposing caps on certain immigration classes under the rather ridiculous banner of “working through the backlog.” Right? Oh, wait…

As an excuse, imposing caps to take the pressure off the backlog is kind of a bogus one. It will end up backfiring because telling skilled would-be immigrants, "Sorry, you’re number 501 and the cutoff point is 500. Try again next year," is not going to make them predisposed to trying Canada again next year. And let me remind you, these are skilled people.

Here’s the thing about the backlog: the Conservatives created the crisis in the first place. At the end of the Liberals’ time in government, Citizenship and Immigration Canada had effectively reduced the backlog to zero – 20,000 cases in the system at any given time was apparently the optimal number for efficiencies. But then the Conservatives came in and stopped appointing adjudicators to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), causing the backlog to grow. Why did they stop appointing new adjudicators? Because they wanted to push through legislation to alter the selection process for IRB members, which looked like it would be more merit-based but really gave the minister a firmer hand in the process. So, while they railed on about Liberal patronage appointments, they pushed through the legislation and made some particularly odious patronage appointments of their own (such as an unqualified rightwing Christian who was no fan of the gays). And because they took so long to get the process in place and make appointments and did not reappoint qualified adjudicators (knowing full well it takes new adjudicators at least six months to get up to speed, while reappointees would keep the system flowing), it’s no wonder that the auditor general had to spank them on it.

The lesson here is that simply imposing a cap on the number of applications isn’t actually going to do anything about the backlog. Adding resources and adjudicators to the IRB is what the system needs to get the backlog under control. But wait – do they really want that? Judging from the fact that they created the backlog crisis and have been slowly scaling back the number of permanent residents they accept in favour of temporary foreign workers, it’s almost as if a pattern is emerging about how they really feel about the immigration file. Funny how that happens.

(And a huge thanks to @P41Questions for noticing this.)

John Baird took a secret trip to visit the rebels in Libya to pledge Canada’s support and bring them medical supplies (when they really need weapons). And predictably, he put his foot in his mouth by saying something boneheaded along the lines of, “Hey, they couldn’t be any worse than the old regime.” Seriously? And yeah, they could be a lot worse. But hey, it’s not like he’s our top diplomat, showing experience, grace and gravitas as the face of Canada to the rest of the world. Right? Oh, wait…

Here’s an account of the relationship between CUPW and the NDP. It certainly appears that the union was calling the shots when it came to the NDP’s strategy regarding the filibuster.

That flawed “mega-trials” bill is now law. This is thanks to the government's railroading of it through the Commons with the help of the NDP, and through the Senate with their majority.

Here’s a look at the NDP’s growing use of caucus discipline. Apparently, if you go against the leader’s views, things will get very difficult for you. Hmmm, I wonder what other party that sounds like.

The Hill Times
 talks to senators about the reform bill and, not surprisingly, finds that Conservative MPs tend to support it and can mouth all the right talking points.

And in case you missed it, here’s my story on gay cabinet ministers, the closet and national security.
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