Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Justin Trudeau: Stephen Harper Doesn’t Believe in ‘Tikkun Olam’

Liberal MP takes issue with Bill C-31

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: June 15th, 2012 in News » World

Justin Trudeau: Stephen Harper Doesn’t Believe in ‘Tikkun Olam’

Justin Trudeau is no stranger when it comes to voicing his displeasure about certain policies of the Conservative government through the use of his twitter account. But on Friday morning, the Liberal MP’s criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government had a particularly Jewish theme.

“The real problem I have with Stephen Harper’s (and the CPC’s) worldview? He doesn’t believe in ‘tikkun olam,’” the representative for Papineau tweeted.

Trudeau’s tweet was in reference to an opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail earlier in the day, written by Philip Berger, Clayton Ruby and former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO and Liberal MPP candidate Bernie Farber.

In the article, Farber, Berger and Ruby relate refugee and immigration Bill C-31 to the Canadian government's closed-door policy for Jewish refugees during the 1930s and 1940s.

Under Bill C-31, the immigration minister would have the power to place certain designated countries on a list that he deems safe, called “DCO”s, without the assistance of a committee, according to the CBC.

Refugees from DCOs whose claims are rejected would no longer be allowed to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Meanwhile, claimants from DCOs would have to wait a full year to apply for humanitarian and compassionate consideration to become permanent residents but in the interim, they could be deported before a court even rules on their case.

The bill is aimed to weed out “bogus refugees” and the growing number of claimants from European Union democracies according to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who says he would like to see it passed and implemented by fall.

Farber, Berger and Ruby explain that this bill could be especially harmful to Roma refugees who have fled to Canada after facing violent attacks in places such as Hungary and elsewhere in Europe.

“While refugee claimants from DCOs are singled out for particularly alarming treatment under the new federal rules, the changes will harm all those claiming refugee status. Claimants will lose access to life-saving drugs, such as insulin, and to preventive care,” they wrote.

“While DCOs have yet to be named, Hungary will assuredly be on the list. If these policy changes come into effect, Roma refugee claimants will lose access to health care on June 30. We are also likely to see many more deportations of Roma back to Hungary.”

If passed, Bill C-31 would be “antithetical” to the values of tikkun olam” that are taught in Judaism, according to the authors.

“Today, we go on record as Jews and descendants of immigrants to say that we oppose cuts to refugee health care and the designation of so-called ‘safe’ countries. Denying other human beings health care and a haven based on their country of origin is simply wrong. As Jews and human rights activists, we know well that countries deemed safe for the majority can be deadly for some minorities.”

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