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We have mentioned Bill C-43– the Faster Removal of Criminals Act – which would result in the deportation of permanent residents from Canada for minor offences.
The Bill, which passed its second reading in Parliament earlier this week, would also allow Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney more authority when it comes to who is allowed to get into Canada. Kenney cited the case of Terry Jones, an anti-Muslim pastor from the United States – who was denied entry to Canada anyway because he has a criminal record – as an example of why he should get to decide who can be barred from entering Canada.
He cites people who promote hatred against specific groups as an example of who should be kept out of Canada.
“[Immigration laws] are basically focused on criminality and national security,” he told the Globe and Mail. “But in some countries, it is not a crime to promote hatred or even violence against certain groups. We have no power to deny their entry because they did not have serious criminal records or involvement in terrorist organizations and they did not otherwise represent a security threat.”
Our own immigration lawyer Michael Niren was also interviewed by Yahoo News Canada, in which he said:
“The government when asking for ‘discretionary powers’, is really a veiled but transparent attempt to circumvent more objective, black and white legislation. In the case at hand, Kenney wants to use his discretionary powers to refuse entry to persons he deems as undesirable citing public policy as a justification. It remains to be seen what kind of “criteria” will be outlined but I can assure you it will likely be as generally worded as possible to allow for the Department to wave its magic wand preventing undesirables from entering Canada.”
It is a bit of a concerning idea for one man to have all of the power when determining who to let in. Our immigration system already keeps out terrorists and criminals. The Minister is complaining that the people who should be kept out of Canada aren’t criminals and aren’t terrorists so there’s nothing he can do right now to keep people like Terry Jones out of Canada. When we start barring people from the country for what they might say, where have our freedoms gone?
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