A Somali Muslim as immigration chief. What could possibly go wrong? Justin Trudeau wants to showcase Hussen as an example of how Muslims can integrate and become productive and loyal members of Western societies. But that merely papers over the problem of those who don’t. What if Hussen favors immigrants from his native Mogadishu? How will he screen out jihadis from among them?
“Trudeau Cabinet Shuffle: Fresh Faces Ahmed Hussen, François-Philippe Champagne, Karina Gould Promoted,” by Ryan Maloney, Huffington Post Canada, January 10, 2017 (thanks to Graham):
On Tuesday, Trudeau unveiled replacements for Stephane Dion at foreign affairs and John McCallum at immigration. Both longtime MPs are over 60 years old, and served in previous Liberal governments. McCallum is headed for a diplomatic post in China, while Dion says he is leaving politics but has reportedly been offered an ambassadorship to the European Union and Germany.
MaryAnn Mihychuk was also dropped as labour minister and is now headed for the backbench.
Those exits — and some rejigging of other roles — have opened the door for new blood.
Enter: Ahmed Hussen, François-Philippe Champagne, and Karina Gould.
Hussen, 39, the first Somali-Canadian elected to Parliament is now minister for immigration, refugees, and citizenship. It’s a file with which the Toronto MP has unique and profound experience.In 1993, Hussen came to Canada alone as a 16-year-old refugee from Mogadishu. He lived in public housing and, after graduating from university, set out to improve his community of Regent Park.
A Toronto Star profile written shortly after his election in 2015 details how Hussen helped create the Regent Park Community Council, “which took a leadership role in advocating for residents during the $500-million revitalization project.” He also cut his political teeth in the office of Ontario’s then-opposition leader, Dalton McGuinty.
Hussen later became a lawyer and his biography states he practised in the areas of immigration and refugee law and human rights. Hussen also served as president of the Canadian Somali Congress.
A CBC profile in 2015 painted a picture of a man who carries the weight of great expectations, particularly from Somali-Canadians inspired by his story.
While conceding there was a lot of pride and pressure, Hussen said his focus was not “limited” to his community.
“I mean, everyone has a heritage, but we have a shared citizenship, right?” he said….
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