In a rare public move, Canada’s Immigration Minister offered criticism of the judicial system’s handing of refugee cases with regards to inconsistencies and delays.
While speaking to law students at the University of Western Ontario this month, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that legal delays are not only hindering his own governments’ efforts to improve the system, but also eroding the confidence of the Canadian public.
“We legislators are not an island. We don’t act alone,” said Minister Kenney. “We need the judiciary to understand the spirit of what we are trying to do.”
Critics, however, say that Kenney’s remarks are an inappropriate misstep.
“It’s fine to have a dialogue between the legislative branch and the judiciary, but [Kenney’s speech] was more than that,” said former Immigration Minister Ron Atkey, who served under the Joe Clark conservatives from 1979 to 1980.
Other legal experts such as Queen’s University law professor Sharryn Aikin say that Kenney’s remarks will have little impact on the system.
“It’s a lot of hot air in one sense because there’s very little a minister can do to bend the judiciary,” said Aiken. “Individual judges won’t be cowed by Kenney’s remarks. More broadly it creates a chill in the political climate vis-à-vis respect for refugee rights.”
Source: Globe and Mail