Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jason Kenney is Making a Difference

Jason Kenney, is one of the hardest working politicians I've known. I met him first when I was in University and he agreed to speak at one of our campus club events. If I remember correctly, there were only around 20 people there, but he happily took time out of his busy travel schedule to speak to us and combined it with radio interviews, and presentations to a class on campus. He is intensely loyal and worked tirelessly while Stockwell Day led the Canadian Alliance. Stuck on the sidelines for too long, he's now a full fledged member of cabinet and he looks like he's setting out to make some truly transformational changes in immigration and multiculturalism. The National Post notes:
The higher-profile matters -- the Galloway issue, the scuffle with Arab groups, the language abilities of immigrants -- form the early marks of a pattern of what is to come. Rejecting the CAF's support for Islamic terrorists and arguably anti-Semitic messages, Mr. Galloway for financially supporting Hamas, calling for newcomers to better integrate: These are of a piece with efforts to fortify what the Conservatives would call The Canadian Identity. It is, Mr. Kenney makes clear, a vision for a country that stands up for its pluralism, but also for its core liberal traditions of tolerance, democracy and secularism. "We can't afford to be complacent about the challenge of integration," he says. "We want to avoid the kind of ethnic enclaves or parallel communities that exist in some European countries. So far, we've been pretty successful at that, but I think it's going to require greater effort in the future to make sure that we have an approach to pluralism and immigration that leads to social cohesion rather than fracturing."
This is a big challenge, if Canada is going to continue to rely on immigration for growth, and there's probably no alternative, we have to make sure that immigrants integrate well with our cosmopolitan society. It's a difficult balancing act a group of established Polish immigrants would probably be the best people to help a new Polish immigrant get established. The problem comes when specific communities want to shut themselves out from the rest of society or become openly hostile to other communities and risk bringing their conflicts with them. If there's anyone who can navigate these choppy waters it's Jason. I've noted he's a trooper who will put extraordinary effort into getting the job done. The National Post also noted his background will give him a big advantage:
But political opponents looking to brand him as too redneck for the sensitive immigration file find it hard to land a punch. In his diverse Calgary Southeast riding, families speak fondly of Mr. Kenney's efforts, long before he became the minister in charge, in helping them sort out immigration issues; his key staffers, including a Tibetan, a Muslim and an Armenian, resemble the dessert lineup at the UN cafeteria. He spearheaded the government's efforts to recognize the Ukrainian Holdomor, its apology to the East Indian community for the Komagata Maru incident, he has defended Chinese Uyghur Muslims and paid his respects at the Mumbai Jewish centre attacked by terrorists. On his office wall hang portraits of abolitionist heroes William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln. A few years ago, Mr. Kenney boarded an entire family newly arrived from India in his Calgary home while they settled into Canadian life. "It gave me, for the first time, a real view of the immigration experience from the eyes of a family that's landed without any previous connections in Canada," he says. "I benefited from it as much or more than they did." Today, the kids call him Uncle Jason.
Looks like Stephen Harper picked the right man for the job. God bless your efforts Jason.


MIkhael said...

Amen. Mr. Kenney is honourably leading the discussion of an issue that Canada needs to focus on if we are to move forward successfully in this new era.

Anonymous said...

Awesome news. Perhaps the parallel community in Brampton (and others) will finally get some long deserved federal attention.