Ottawa to challenge controversial refugee rulingSee
Decision so infuriated South African officials that the country's leading political party labelled Canada "racist."
By Bill Curry and Josh Wingrove
Globe and Mail September 5, 2009
The Conservative government is launching a court challenge of the Immigration and Refugee Board's decision to grant a white South African asylum in Canada because of the colour of his skin.
The independent panel's decision so infuriated South African officials that the country's leading political party labelled Canada "racist." South Africa's top diplomat has been urging Canadian officials all week to challenge the decision in court.
Thursday, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed Ottawa will seek leave to appeal the decision that allowed Brandon Huntley to live in Canada as a refugee.
"The government is going to be seeking leave to appeal the IRB's decision to grant Mr. Huntley refugee status [to]the Federal Court," spokesman Alykhan Velshi said.
"Our department's lawyers, as well as those from the Department of Justice reviewed the IRB ruling over the last several days and we're going to seek leave to appeal and we'll be making submissions to the court in the fullness of time, and it would be inappropriate to comment further because the matter will be before the courts."
The minister's position was a departure from earlier this week, when he and his staff declined comment to The Globe on Mr. Huntley's case, saying it would be inappropriate because the Immigration and Refugee Board is an arm's-length agency.
Mr. Huntley is a 31-year-old South African who came to Canada in 2006 as a carnival worker. He stayed illegally before filing a refugee claim.
Revealed this week, the decision by lone board member William Davis accepted Mr. Huntley's argument that his safety would be in danger if he returned to South Africa. He had claimed he'd been the victim of seven attempted robberies and called a "white dog" and "settler." He did not report any of the incidents to police, saying he did not trust them.
Mr. Davis agreed with Mr. Huntley's characterization of the risk, saying Mr. Huntley had scars on his body to support his account of the attacks and noting what he believed was "persecution" of whites in South Africa by "African South Africans" that would cause Mr. Huntley to "stand out like a sore thumb." [More]