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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Weekly report from Jay Hill

Weekly report from MP Jay Hill

Doing the right thing draws fire

In the political world, if you’re not “taking heat” for anything, chances are you’re not making the tough decisions. 

A couple of weeks ago, I noted that our Conservative Government’s decision to end the practice of threatening Canadians with fines and prison for not filling out the long-form census was drawing criticism from some.  Yet I firmly believe it is the right thing to do and is consistent with the views of my constituents going back to when I first became your MP.

This week, our Government was under fire, at least in the mainstream media, for two other recent decisions that I also believe reflect the values of my constituents.  You be the judge….

First, a petition and protest campaign has been launched against the federal government regarding the pending deportation of a Somalian man.

A declaration by immigration officials that Ottawa resident Abadir Ali is a danger to the Canadian public and should be deported back to his native Somalia was upheld in a recent Federal Court decision.  Ali came to Canada as a child refugee at the age of eight and now, at 26, has known no other home.

His supporters argue that sending him back to a country he doesn’t know, where he has no relatives or familiarity with the culture amounts to a ‘death sentence’ given the civil unrest in Somalia. 

On the surface the government may seem ‘callous’ in its insistence that he be deported from Canada.  That is until you look at why the court agreed that the risk to the Canadian public outweighed the personal risks Ali may face by his return to Somalia.

He was convicted of assault causing bodily harm and obstructing a police officer in 2002 and incurred another obstruction conviction in 2004.  In 2006, immigration officials warned him to curb his criminal activities or he could face deportation. Yet he was subsequently convicted of aggravated assault after severely beating a young woman.

Someone should ask the that young woman who was left with permanent injuries from her beating by Ali whether or not she feels sympathy for him as he faces deportation. 

Our Government also came under fire this week for the decision to close Canada’s prison farms.  Hundreds of protesters drew media interest when they blocked trucks removing cattle from the farm at a Kingston correctional facility.

The prison farms comprise but one of the programs designed to help federal inmates learn job skills to better prepare them to become contributing members of society upon release from prison – in this case agricultural skills.  And while it’s true that some of the produce from these six farms across the country was being used to supplement prison meals, the program was losing about $4-million a year.

Just as significant, preparing convicts for employment opportunities in the beleaguered agriculture sector is not a sound investment of tax dollars.  Just ask struggling farm families across this nation whether they want the federal government to continue wasting $4-million a year on these prison farms.

True leadership isn’t about avoiding criticism on the evening newscast …it’s about doing the right thing!


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