The Fragmentation of the Concept of the Refugee into Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Analysis of Recent Changes to Policy 2008 to 2013
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 10:50 by Susan Doucet
The current Conservative government of Canada has implemented considerable restrictive changes to the refugee system in Canada, leading to increased vulnerability in the lives of people seeking asylum. A fragmentation of the concept of the Refugee into “refugees” and “asylum seekers” allows the Government of Canada to implement restrictive measures while still maintaining its humanitarian reputation and appearing to uphold its responsibilities as a signatory state to the 1951 Refugee Convention. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, this work examines the ways in which the Government of Canada, through press releases from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, readies the public to accept restrictive policy measures. Four discursive themes are identified: burden, humanitarian concern for “genuine” refugees, a focus on the transgressions of some asylum seekers, and a celebration of Canadian humanitarian values. Each discursive theme, and the resulting legitimizing narratives, makes use of the fragmentation of the concept of the refugee.