We live in an interconnected world, and events transpiring worldwide ultimately affects Canadians, whether we are speaking about economic trade, global prices of goods and commodities, knowledge and skills exchange, effects of climate change, disease transmission and control, natural disaster management, and others. Fulfilling our international obligations protects and serves the interests of Canadians. 

People fleeing war, persecution or natural disasters face tremendous barriers to obtaining necessary travel documents. For this reason, I have been advocating for visa-free travel for urgent, life-and-death situations such as the war in Ukraine. I have also been advocating for the government to rescind the safe third country agreement because often, refugees cannot get to safety without first going to a third country. It is paramount that Canada has an adequately resourced immigration system that can act with flexibility and expediency in times of crisis without compromising national security standards.

As your Member of Parliament, I will fight to ensure Canada fulfills its humanitarian and environmental obligations as a member of the international community.

Globe: Israel-Gaza: NDP calls for special immigration measures to reunite Palestinian families in Canada

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, NDP MP Jenny Kwan described Gaza as “the most dangerous place for children in the world” and called for special immigration measures so that Palestinian families in Canada could be reunited with their loved ones. Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly responded by saying that “too many” children and women have lost their lives, adding that 130 Canadians were able to cross the Rafah border on Sunday night.

Globe & Mail: Immigration Minister says Palestinians will not be sent back to Gaza if visas expire

Globe & Mail: Immigration Minister says Palestinians will not be sent back to Gaza if visas expire

Palestinians in Canada will not be sent back to Gaza if their visas expire while the war between Israel and Hamas rages, Immigration Minister Marc Miller told a Commons committee on Tuesday.

He was responding to questioning from NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan who asked the minister whether he would extend the visas of Palestinians in Canada so they are not sent back to Gaza during the war once they expire.

“We can do that. We can extend the visas,” Mr. Miller replied in a hearing before the Commons immigration committee.

Globe: Ottawa rebuffs MPs’ calls to welcome trans asylum seekers at U.S. border

Globe: Ottawa rebuffs MPs’ calls to welcome trans asylum seekers at U.S. border

"The Supreme Court of Canada stated that equality rights are just as important as every other human right. Even the government’s lawyers argued that urgent exemption for migrant women, girls, and 2SLGTBQIA+ people in the Safe Third Country Agreement is needed.   

Back in 2002, the UNHCR already recommended that there should be a policy exemption on gender-based claims when Canada drafted regulations for the STCA.  

Instead of expanding the STCA to the entire border, the NDP strong believes that the Liberals should suspend the STCA.  Failing to do so will mean increase risks of human trafficking and sexual violence often disproportionately targeted at migrant women, girls, and LGBTQI individuals. 

If the Liberals won’t do what is right, they should at least exempt gender-based claims in the STCA.”

Excalibur News: Federal Politicians Call for Better Strategies and Supports for Toronto Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Jenny Kwan, who is a member of Parliament for Vancouver East and NDP critic of housing, immigration, refugees and citizenship, noted that the IHAP announcement is a good first step but highlighted the federal government’s lack of planning in the past.

“The federal government really needs to ensure that they’re working collaboratively with the provincial, municipal, and nonprofit organizations on the ground. And in particular, the NGOs. They’re the people who actually really know what’s going on,” says Kwan. 

A report by the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration conducted at the House of Commons in November 2016 examined the federal government’s resettlement efforts of 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 4, 2015 and February 29, 2016.

The committee recommended for “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [to] work with its partners to develop an affordable housing strategy for newcomers, and that the government work with the provinces and settlement agencies.” 

Kwan says the federal government did not implement the recommended measures, even after NGOs offered to partner. “History is repeating itself. We have a large number of asylum seekers coming to Canada — there’s no preparation for it,” she adds.

Media Release: NDP reacts to announcement of new immigration measures for Hong Kongers fleeing persecution

New Democrats welcome the federal government’s changes to Canada's lifeboat scheme that will clear a pathway to Permanent Residency for Hong Kongers in Canada. The NDP has called on the Minister of Immigration to remove the education requirement that restricted Hong Kongers from a pathway to permanent residency right at the start. Alongside advocates for Hong Kongers, I had pointed out that the restrictive 5-year graduation rule meant that many Hong Kongers would not be eligible under the program. Hong Kongers have contacted me and were extremely anxious that they would face deportation especially at a time when the Hong Kong police is escalating their hunt by placing a million-dollar bounty for the arrest of prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists that fled abroad in search of safety.

New Democrats have opposed the imposition of the draconian National Security Law since its installation by the Hong Kong government that violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration of One Country, the Two Systems Rule, and the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.

The NDP urges the federal government to take further action by lifting the criminal record check requirements for individuals accused of violating the National Security Law or in the very minimum substitute that requirement with an alternate means to satisfy public safety concerns. This is an essential component to ensure the pathway to safety is workable on the ground for Hong Kongers.”

CTV News: Syrian human rights defender becomes a permanent resident of Canada after being flagged as a security risk

CTV News: Syrian human rights defender becomes a permanent resident of Canada after being flagged as a security risk

On June 30, two NDP members of Parliament sent a letter with an urgent request for a briefing on the case to federal ministers responsible for foreign affairs, immigration and public safety.

In a copy of the letter provided to CTV News, MPs Heather McPherson and Jenny Kwan wrote that they “are alarmed by this case and its implications not just for Noura, but for all human rights defenders seeking safety in Canada.

Is it this government’s position that human rights advocacy, including opposing brutal dictatorships that torture their citizens renders a person inadmissible for permanent residency?”

Five days later, Aljizawi was granted permanent residency on July 5. Since her case became public, Aljizawi says she’s heard from three other democracy activists who are facing scrutiny under Section 34.

Kwan, the NDP’s immigration critic, says that Aljizawi’s high profile added pressure on the government to act. But the MP says she also worries that lesser known human rights activists under similar suspicion will not be protected.

Kwan says immigration officials need to reassess how they use Section 34 in evaluating the applications of human rights defenders


Province: Opposition MPs demand answers on why security risks were allowed into Canada

Province: Opposition MPs demand answers on why security risks were allowed into Canada

OTTAWA – Opposition parties say the fact the government allowed half of foreign nationals red-flagged as security risks into the country between 2014 and 2019 is shocking and erodes Canadians’ trust in the immigration system.

“This is very concerning and undermines trust and confidence of Canada’s immigration process,” NDP MP and Immigration critic Jenny Kwan said in a statement Tuesday.

She was responding to a National Post report Tuesday morning that between 2014 and 2019, 46 per cent of foreign nationals flagged by security agencies to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for ties to serious offences such as war crimes, espionage and terrorism were allowed to take up residency in Canada.

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