In the case of human rights, Canada seems to be leading by example in a number of issues as seen in the last few months. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his majority Liberal government have made headlines in a number of matters. Most prominently, the refugee crisis has been at the forefront of the international arena as countries attempt to solve the impact of the prolonged Syrian civil war. Canada has taken in over 26,000 refugees as of the end of 2015, the end of this year hopes to welcome 10,000 more. According to Radio Canada International, figures have placed Canada second in place after Germany in its offering of refugee spaces. This presents Canada as a leading nation for human rights as it has managed to save the lives of thousands fleeing the country to find better prospects.
In April 2016, with the help of Member of Parliament Melanie Jolly, around 25 Syrian refugees were given the opportunity to voice their opinions at a conference aimed to help their integration in the community. Canada’s federal government maintains this integration is a priority in order to show democracy, peace and representation.
More recently, Canada has made controversial headlines by the introduction of the assisted suicide legislation. The Guardian reports “the person must be mentally competent, 18 or older and have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability and be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.” Although there have been debates on the ethics of this law, in regards to human rights it, in fact, aims to provide the option of people dying with dignity and in as little pain as possible; therefore respecting the choice of the Canadian people. Talks of “suicide tourism” have also been shunned as this option would not apply to those travelling from outside of Canada.
The legislation follows the laws passed for underrepresented aboriginals which Trudeau attempts to rectify through granting status. The Prime Minister stated,”Canadians who don’t have the same chances as other Canadians do—that is something that has been going on for far too long.” His government has announced funding for native communities who are the prime sufferers of poverty and crimes due to their lack of rights and resources.
Canada is leading by example of human rights as the government has managed to press on issues that have provided the people with a certain level of freedom and basic privileges. Although controversial, Trudeau has certainly set a substantial discourse on the international agenda.
“All individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability” – Canadian Human Rights Act
– Unzela Anna Khan, Correspondent (Our World)