Election Watch: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney Visits S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Election watch: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney visits S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

By Charlie Smith
The Georgia Strait
September 5, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's secret weapon in the last election was Jason Kenney.

The Conservative Calgary MP crisscrossed the country to forge ties between his party and organizations that represent New Canadians.

The results were apparent in Metro Vancouver in 2008. The Conservatives defeated Liberal Raymond Chan in Richmond and nearly knocked off Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh in Vancouver South and New Democrat Bill Siksay in Burnaby-Douglas.

At a recent Liberal caucus retreat in Sudbury, Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff declared that he will try to bring down the Harper government this fall.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Kenney, who is the minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Multiculturalism, hopped on a plane to visit the most important immigrant social-service agency in B.C.

He joined S.U.C.C.E.S.S. CEO Tung Chan for a photo opportunity in Vancouver. In a September 4 news release, Chan, a former banker and former Vancouver city councillor, “expressed gratitude to the minister for recognizing the needs of Canada's settlement immigration service”. Chan, a former NPA president, has had ties to the federal Conservatives in the past.

The news release praised Kenney for increasing the budget up to 400 percent for organizations like S.U.C.C.E.S.S., which help immigrants.

Kenney, in turn, credited S.U.C.C.E.S.S. for its “accountability and effectiveness, serving as the model for other social service providers”.

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is a registered charity that generated $14.5 million in revenue in 2008, according to a document filed with the Canada Revenue Agency. Of that, $5.65 million came from the federal government.

Of course, as a registered charity, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is prohibited from any involvement in partisan politics. Anyone who suggests that Kenney's visit had anything to do with partisan politics obviously has no understanding of the minister's responsibilities.