Wait, what? Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced on Monday that Canada would look favourably on gay Russian refugees suffering persecution in their homeland and seeking asylum in Canada:
Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says.
Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.”
Canada accepts gay asylum-seekers in the same way as it accepts members of any other persecuted group, like a religious or ethnic minority. Asylum-seekers can file a claim after they arrive in Canada because they face persecution by their government, or because they are persecuted by others and the government does not offer protection.
Canada also resettles refugees living in camps abroad, and former immigration minister Jason Kenney, now the Employment and Social Development Minister, adopted a policy of trying to resettle gay refugees fleeing Iran and Iraq. Mr. Kenney said in January he “cannot think of a more obvious case of persecution.”Russia is the subject of world-wide condemnation for the horrific treatment of homosexuals there. Kudos to the Harper government for stepping up to the plate.