Today marks a celebration of refugees. We celebrate all the work done by refugee lawyers around the world who help their clients find safety. We celebrate all the humanitarian efforts by settlement workers, community legal workers and government employees who provide significant support to refugees. We celebrate all the contributions, including cultural, emotional and financial, of refugees. We celebrate the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the foundation of our laws to protect refugees. Finally, we celebrate our Court system, including the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled on 4 APRIL 1985 that refugees are legally entitled to constitutional protection and a hearing to have their claims heard.
At CIL, we have helped 1000s of refugees over the years. Before Alastair Clarke founded CIL, he had been representing refugees in Manitoba and Ontario. He has published his background, including his TEDx talk to show the reasons he passionately represents his clients. As he described in this space, he assisted refugees while working as a Summer Student while in law school at the Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples’ legal aid clinic in Toronto in 2006.
In this space, we have highlighted many businesses. Some of those businesses were started or owned by refugee claimants. We recognize the extraordinary cultural contributions by refugee claimants. These families bring their language and cultural from their home countries. In Winnipeg. we celebrate our diverse cultures at Folklorama every year. If you are in Winnipeg or you are planning to come, I would highly encourage you to attend Folklorama and experience different foods, events and the multiculturalism of our communities.
As noted by Amnesty International, we recognize the erosion of refugee protection with the expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement. Mr Clarke has been calling on the Canadian government to suspend or withdraw the STCA since 2017 and he has given many interviews on the hardship and injury which is the result of this unconstitutional legislation.
Mr Clarke’s predictions have been proven correct. Recent deaths at the bord
er highlight the tragedy and danger of the terms of this Agreement.
Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (SCTA), many refugees are forcibly returned to the US, where they are at risk of arbitrary detention and possible return to their country of origin where they may face persecution and death. . Call on Canada to be a leader for #RefugeeRights, by rescinding the SCTA. TAKE ACTION >>
Supreme Court of Canada Decision Pending
In addition to all the issues noted above and in recent interviews, CIL also notes the Government of Canada has made these recent announcements while our Supreme Court is in the process of making its decision to determine whether the STCA is in violation of the Charter. In my view, Justice MacDo nald correctly decided the STCA is in violation of sections 7 and 15 of the Charter.
At this point, we urge the Government of Canada and IRCC to reverse the amendments to the STCA and await the decision from the SCC.