July 18th, 2018

NDP: The Creation of a New Minister alone doesn't help asylum seekers

OTTAWA – The NDP says today’s appointment of a new minister to deal with asylum seekers does not solve the problems perpetuated by the Liberals’ refusal to change its policy on the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States and adequately support asylum seekers.

“We don’t just need a new minister, we need the Liberal government to finally face the fact that as long as the Trump regime is in power, the US will never be safe for asylum seekers,” said NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Jenny Kwan.

The Liberal government has been slow to criticize US policies on immigration including the US travel ban targeting Muslims and the policy forcibly separating children asylum seekers from their parents. The NDP has repeatedly called for adequate funding for immigration services and to suspend the Safe Third Country agreement which forces asylum seekers to make dangerous border crossings.

The NDP is also questioning the prime minister’s decision to appoint Dominic LeBlanc as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. “The prime minister has not been effective in this role, and appointing Mr. LeBlanc won’t fix the problem given his track record as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans,” said NDP Parliamentary Leader Guy Caron.
“LeBlanc’s tenure as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was riddled with scandals, including the awarding of a multi-million dollar clam harvest quota to a group tied to the Liberal party and his own family. And it was under his watch that Fisheries and Oceans failed to identify and reign in what we now know were repeated violations of the Fisheries Act by Kinder Morgan,” said Charlie Angus, NDP Critic for Ethics.
The NDP said it was also disappointed to see the prime minister retain his role as Minister for Youth. “The prime minister has been all talk and no action on youth issues,” said NDP Youth Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach. “We’ve seen building frustration within his own Youth Council -- most recently over the government’s purchase of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. We’ve also seen a complete failure to protect youth from the exploitation that comes with unpaid internships,” she added.

The NDP said it is encouraged to see the long overdue creation of a Minister for Seniors, but says more information is needed. “We’ve long called for the creation of a federal ministry that can implement policies to address economic inequality and other serious issues facing seniors,” said Rachel Blaney, NDP Critic for Seniors.