June 10th, 2021
Committee report confirms the government is failing to provide humanitarian measures for Hongkongers: NDP
VANCOUVER – As people in Hong Kong face increasingly oppressive restrictions from their government, NDP critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, Jenny Kwan is calling on the Liberal government to take urgent action to help those facing persecution. A recently tabled report from the immigration committee advises the government to broaden its special measures before a new law comes into effect in August that would enable the Chinese government to secretly impose exit bans on Hongkongers.
“For pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, the situation is more urgent than ever. But the measures the minister brought in do not offer the support Hongkongers at risk of persecution really need. The government is only offering help to people who can further Canada’s economic interests and they’re leaving so many young activists behind,” said Kwan. “The current crisis in Hong Kong should not be seen simply as an opportunity for Canada to benefit economically – these are people’s lives we’re talking about. We need better asylum measures. The federal government must immediately broaden refugee and family reunification streams.”
The only new streams introduced by the Liberal government require existing Canadian work experience and education, or for recent graduates to have already secured a job in Canada before being able to leave Hong Kong.
Advocates say this leaves out most pro-democracy activists who desperately need refuge in Canada but haven’t recently obtained a post-secondary degree.
“The new pathways only appeal to Hongkongers who are highly educated, with Canadian education and work experiences, but fails to address the humanitarian needs of Hong Kong. The Government of Canada must take immediate action to implement the citizenship and immigration committee's recommendations before all Hongkongers effectively become prisoners in their own city as a result of the exit ban,” said Cherie Wong, executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong.
“By creating measures that don’t protect activists who share Canada’s pro-democracy values, the Liberal Minister is failing those who are the most vulnerable to persecution. Things will get even worse for pro-democracy activists as the exit ban looms,” added Kwan. “The minister needs to follow the recommendations made by the immigration committee and issue travel documents to Hongkongers at risk of persecution. The persecution of those in China is a humanitarian crisis and the government needs to respond accordingly before it’s too late.”