Dalhousie prof: Kenney's ideological rhetoric on failed refugees obscures truth

Carrie Dawson, DalhousieCarrie Dawson, (left)an English professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was watching and reading how Jason Kenney talked about the problem of failed refugee claimants who land on our shores while he was minister of citizenship and immigration. She has a few issues with the language Kenney and other Conservative government ministers used over the last several years on this topic. Dawson has a piece in the current issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly with the title “Refugee Hotels: The Discourse of Hospitality and the Rise of Immigration Detention in Canada.” I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by cutting straight to her conclusion:

In 2012 the then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration stated that “Canada’s immigration and refugee system is the most fair and generous in the world, and will continue to be so under the new, improved system.” He added, “Overheated, ideological rhetoric from special interest groups does a great disservice to Canada’s tradition of openness and generosity”. By way of conclusion, I want to suggest that the opposite is true – that those of us who want to act in solidarity with migrants and to agitate for a more open, inclusive country might begin by encouraging public scrutiny of the government’s ideological rhetoric. On this score, it is worth heeding Catherine Dauvergne, who argues that “we must let go of the idea that Canada’s refugee system is better, fairer, more generous, or more humanitarian than other systems in the world.” She reminds us, for example, that “Canada’s system has fewer avenues of appeal than the United Kingdom, longer time frames for detention than Australia, and the same access to health care as the United States”. But such reminders will fall flat so long as Canadians holdtight to the idea of their benevolence and civility, wearing these myths like a “mantle” that “insulates us from realities in our midst” (Here, Dawson is citing Daniel Coleman in his essay “From Canadian Trance to Transcanada: White Civility to Wry Civility in the CanLit Project.”) If we do cherish justice, liberty, and equality, as all as the other attributes of a civil society, our defence of such a society needs to begin by refusing these myths, so as to ensure that they cannot be used to undermine the very values that they appear to endorse.

The article is behind a paywall but, I assume, most libraries in the country ought to be able to find you a copy. Worth digging it up and giving it a read.

9 thoughts on “Dalhousie prof: Kenney's ideological rhetoric on failed refugees obscures truth”

  1. As long as she guarantees that she will be equally and personally liable and responsible for immigrant criminal activities, murders, drug offenses and islamist killer terrorist acts. we have no problem allowing the scum of the earth into Canada. until then, we (Canada) have every right to be selective. Does she have any idea what it will be like to serve 4 consecutive life sentences for murder?

    Being a teacher in university gives her opinion no more weight than anyone else on the street.

    1. Allowing “the scum of the earth” into Canada is a comment that should be deleted!
      How disgusting you must be to speak that way about immigrants!
      I certainly hope you do not have children who will grow up with such ignorance as part of their upbringing.
      There are many criminals who hold Canadian citizenship.
      All of us originated as immigrants to Canada. What makes you a judge of others? Her viewpoint comes from someone who has an education, which apparently you missed.

      1. “All of us originated as immigrants to Canada…”

        You likely have no idea how inaccurate and offensive this comment is. My family has been in North America for 8 generations. We built this country.

        There is nothing wrong with being an immigrant, but we’ve been “native” for 7 generations.

        1. My family has been here for 9 generations! So there!
          I find your comment equally offensive! Get off your “we built this country” high horse. Has your ‘native’ family been confined to a reservation to maintain their ‘native’ status?
          Referring to any group of immigrants as ‘scum of the earth’ is disgusting! Our ancestors all arrived here as economic immigrants, or cultural refugees. No one group deserves special status because of how many generations ago they arrived here!

  2. Thank you for bringing such important issues to our attention!
    This government seems to have no problem deceiving the Canadian public, whenever, wherever, it suits their purposes!
    Unfortunately, too many have fallen into the habit of believing the nonsense that makes up these “talking points”!
    Open and honest government has been lost in “talking points” and Canadians and potential immigrants are the victims here!

  3. Canada’s reputation as that beacon of compassionate, civility and hope seems to be in the hands of a “Bully” government bent on a Corporate “Republican” type Canada built on the ideological manifesto of the Fraser Institute bolstered by an asinine propaganda mechanism that flows like a poisonous glut from the Right Wing Think Tanks of the south.

  4. Citizenship is a privilege not a right. It is not racist or xenophobic to want controlled immigration with many checks in place to insure the people coming to Canada are coming here to become contributing members of our country. I know many people who have said to my face they simply came her because they knew they would be taken care of by the tax-payer and have no desire to integrate into our society. In Carrie Dawson’s view these people would be welcomed with open arms and I would be chastised and called a racist or a bigot. I also have a problem with providing non citizens certain types of medical care that my own family would not be provided by my province’s health care system even though my family has paid into the healthcare system for a generation. Giving benefits to people who aren’t citizens isn’t very fair. That being said I support immigration but I do not and will not support mass migration at any cost like the Carrie Dawsons of the world.

  5. The new Immigration rules welcome those who were fortunate enough to be in a position to exploit their fellow citizens and amass great wealth in their country of origin! These people are welcomed with open arms as bringing “economic expertise” to Canada!
    These are not the kind of ‘exploiters’ we should be including. while others are deemed less desirable! Educated people who bring knowledge and a wealth of cultural experience are just as much an asset to Canada, as those exploitive class of immigrant! Unfortunately, our government only appreciates those with large pockets rather than large brains!

  6. I’m sick and tired of people who complain about our immigration policies as though Canada, as a sovereign nation, doesn’t have the right to control who enters our country and ensure the stability and protection of its citizens and our country in its entirety.

    “Under the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program announced Tuesday, each investor will be required to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over 15 years and have a net worth of $10 million.”
    By comparison, New Zealand requires a C$9.15 million investment over three years while in October the Australian government raised the price of admission to $15 million for a 12 month track to permanent residency.”

    Socialists cherry-pick what they think are suitable policies from various other countries and expect Canada to blindly follow their standards while ignoring that other policies are more stringent than ours. The real “myth” is that people like Carrie Dawson and LYNDA believe Canadians have anything to be ashamed about in regards to our immigration policies or that other countries do things so much better. More emotion than facts.

    Harper actually scrapped the 20+ year-old Immigration Investment Program which was created by Mulroney and ENHANCED by Chretien. Harper introduced different prerequisites which leave Canada better protected from fraud and reduced the number of wealthy immigrants to 50 per year. This is called immigration REFORM and was needed. Credit where it’s due!

    According to the CIC, in 2012, “Canada had a record-breaking year for immigration” and increased ALL categories of immigration and has for 7 consecutive years. Yet they complain about 50 “millionaires” a year receiving permanent residency with the requirement they invest in our country? Socialists with their Robin Hood mentality forget that someone has to pay for an immigrant’s integration to our society/culture and it should not be a heavy burden to the taxpayer.

    Per capita, Canada is one of the most “immigration-friendly” countries in the world. Socialists ignore these numbers as well as the costly mistakes and serious issues other countries are currently facing with their immigration policies. In comparison, Canada is, statistically speaking, one of the most prosperous and safe countries to emigrate to and Canadians should be damn proud of our compassion and generosity. I know I am! Facts speak louder than socialist hyperbole.

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