Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feds get "tough", but what's the real impact?

Here we go, introducing get-tough-on-crime legislation in a period when we really ought to be celebrating how effective we've been at lowering crime rates these past 20 years. But enough of the public seem to want to believe otherwise that the Conservatives see a political edge in doing this. Time will tell how these laws will translate on the ground, but you do have to wonder about what will happen to people's rights.
Case in point: The Preventing the Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act
The act sounds good on paper. It gives power to immigration officials to refuse work permits to people if they suspect the person is vulnerable and being brought to Canada to do "humiliating or degrading" work (the nickname for the act is the "anti-stripper law," reports the Globe). Hey, nobody likes human trafficking and exploitation.
But how exactly will an immigration officer decide who's "vulnerable"? What criteria will be used? Who will be deciding whether a job is humiliating or degrading, and whose definitions will they be using?  What's the process for assessing someone's "vulnerability"? Where are the protections to ensure powers like these don't end up being used just to block certain categories of people from getting work permits?  
And really, if we're so deeply concerned about people's vulnerability, is denying them a work permit the best way to help them?
But of course, helping immigrants was likely never the goal of this act. It's just a new way of being able to say no to more people. 


Anonymous said...

some may want to read this:

Ask Me Anything By request, I am the director of an anti-trafficking department of a nonprofit. AMA. -

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