Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Bill C-43)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am troubled by this bill. It has a great public relations title but it goes well beyond the faster removal of criminals. It would create broad, unfettered discretion for the minister to decide whether to allow someone to become a temporary resident.

I would refer my colleague to section 8 of the bill, which amend section 22 of the primary legislation. It reads:

The Minister may, on the Minister’s own initiative, declare that a foreign national, other than a foreign national referred to in section 19, may not become a temporary resident if the Minister is of the opinion that it is justified by public policy considerations. 

Further, it is discretionary, sweeping and without any objective criteria. I would like my friend’s comments on whether she is also concerned that the minister, and not just the present minister but all future ministers, is being given the ability to rule by fiat.

Isabelle Morin: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question.

I have touched on the issue of the discretionary power being given to the minister. Let us be frank: I am concerned that so much power is being given to a minister. I am not talking about this minister in particular. As my colleague said earlier, we do not know who the future ministers will be. This legislation will be around for a long time. At some point, a minister might have poorer judgment or have difficulty making decisions.

This scares me a little. There is no denying that some groups of immigrants are more partisan than others. I find it hard to believe that this type of discretionary power will not be used for partisan purposes. Some groups of immigrants are more progressive, while others are more conservative.

I wonder about all this. I am worried that this minister or a future minister will use his discretionary power for partisan purposes, to accept applications from some groups of immigrants and not from other groups. I am worried. I find it troubling to see such broad discretionary power being given to ministers. I think it is up to the courts and not the minister to make this type of decision.