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The Sierra Youth Coalition's Response to Bill C-49

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

OPEN LETTER TO THE PARLIAMENT OF CANADA
FROM THE SIERRA YOUTH COALITION

RE: BILL C-49: Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act
 
The Sierra Youth Coalition is deeply concerned about the new immigration and refugee legislation—Bill C-49, Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act—as it will unfairly punish those seeking asylum in Canada. Bill C-49 would allow for any group of migrants claiming refugee status to be jailed for a period of at least one year and denied basic social services such as health care. This bill also gives arbitrary power to deport migrants after they have been granted refugee status and bars them from applying for permanent residence for five years. This legislation is both unjust and unacceptable and should be withdrawn immediately.

Forced migration and displacement due to loss of lands, clean water and clean air is an issue of increasing importance in the world today. We are seeing clear human impacts of climate change, which will continue to increase in the years ahead. The Government of Canada has refused to take ambitious action on climate change, which has been made apparent through its lack of support for transformative change at international forums such as the UN Climate Change Negotiations and G8/G20 meetings.

The Government of Canada has refused to take responsibility for the effects of its extractive practices, with the continued expansion of the tar sands in Canada and the recent defeat of Bill C-300, which would have ensured that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies continue to follow human rights and environmental best practices, even when operating outside our own borders. The results of inaction on climate change will lead to more displaced persons worldwide. As a prosperous nation and home to many corporations that profit off natural resources, Canada must accept its responsibility to those hit first and worst by social and environmental injustices and political persecution. As such, we insist that Bill C-49 be scrapped. At the same time we demand the continued targeting of migrants and refugees be stopped, and that individuals who are subject to forced migration and displacement have their rights upheld.
 

The Sierra Youth Coalition embraces the ideals of social justice and anti-oppression as part of the framework which guides our work. As a Canadian coalition of young people concerned about global environmental justice, we feel that it is imperative that this bill not pass. Social and environmental sustainability is incredibly important, and it is ours and future generations that will be faced with the decisions made today. Environmental justice is not possible without addressing inequities and issues of social injustice within our society so we can create a better world together.


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