Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shut out

There was never much reason to think that a one-time consultation process would counter the obvious potential for abuse resulting from the Cons' immigration power grab. But the Star points out today that the Cons have started in with arbitrary preferences long before any immigration "instructions" are issued, as even the consultation process was set up to avoid hearing from anybody but the Cons' choice of stakeholders:
Immigration Minister Diane Finley has promised that implementation of her sweeping new powers under changes to the Immigration Act will be "fair, open and transparent."

But it doesn't bode well that the promised cross-Canada consultations she is just completing have been closed to the public, the media and a variety of concerned community groups who wanted to attend...

While some groups, such as the Chinese Canadian National Council and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, were included in the list of "key stakeholders" invited to the Toronto consultation session, others were not.

These include the Canadian Arab Federation, the Workers Action Centre (a group concerned about a potential increase in labour rights violations under the government's expanded temporary workers program), and the United Steel Workers (the union that represents many vulnerable immigrant and temporary workers)...

The behind-closed-doors consultations will conclude with a round table involving "national stakeholders" in Ottawa in mid-August. Again, the session will be by invitation only. This is not a government that is open to conflicting views.
Again, the end result figures to be much the same in any event. Regardless of what's said in the consultation process, the Cons have shown a clear intention to prioritize corporate wishes first, potential Con voting blocs second, and anybody else to the smallest extent possible.

But it's still striking that the Cons can't even be bothered to pretend to care what groups on their political write-off list have to say about major immigration changes. And even among those who were granted an audience with Finley this time, the Cons' selective invitations have to be cause for concern for those groups whose votes might not be seen as so important the next time the Cons decide which doors to slam shut.

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