Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, today welcomed additional debate on Bill C-43, while warning Parliamentarians and Canadians of the role this bill plays in whittling away civil liberties.
“The Harper Conservatives are framing this issue and legislation in terms of ‘getting rid of criminals faster,’ said May, “but it is really designed to give the Minister of Immigration more ‘discretionary’ power and completely remove many individuals’ right to due process.”
Bill C-43 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to give the minister immense power to decide whether an individual is ineligible to become a temporary resident for three years, based on absurdly vague and broad “public policy considerations.”
Where the Act now deems an applicant inadmissible if found to have engaged in acts of subversion against democratic governments, this has been expanded to the again vague and undefined “espionage that is against Canada or contrary to Canada’s interests.”
The new family provisions allow the minister to deem someone inadmissible on the basis of family links or ties – again undefined – very probably leading to guilt by association.
Previously access to an independent tribunal (the Immigration Appeal Division) was barred when an individual had been sentenced to more than two years. This will be lowered to 6 months. Shoplifters beware. Canada needs independent, non-political decision-makers to review whether certain circumstances justify the removal of those guilty of lesser offences. Some of them may have been raised and educated here.
“The government seems to be afraid of delegating the task of formulating just and appropriate solutions to objective, thoughtful, and, most important, independent decision-makers who can consider all the circumstances of a case. Instead it seems to be intent on introducing cookie-cutter justice where one size fits all. This will be a recipe for disaster for many individuals,” said Don Galloway, a founding member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) and Green Party candidate in the upcoming Victoria by-election.
“Slowly, but surely, the Conservatives are moving Canada away from being a country based on the rule of law to one based on the rule of one minister. We are also replacing compassion with arbitrary and punitive treatment,” concluded May. “All Canadians should be worried about this.”