Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has expressed his disappointment on the delay of passing the Bill C-43, Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act. .
In a statement, he said “I am disappointed, but not surprised, to see the NDP and Liberals once again put the interests of criminals ahead of the rights of victims and law-abiding Canadians.”
“When it comes to the faster removal of dangerous foreign criminals, I would hope the NDP and Liberals would join us in putting the safety and security of Canadians first. I urge the NDP and Liberals to listen to Canadians, support this bill, and help ensure its timely passage,” Parliamentary Secretary Leung further said.
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines “dangerous” foreign criminal as someone who has received a maximum sentence in Canada of at least 10 years for their crime or if they receive an actual sentence of more than six months. A permanent resident will be deported if convicted.
The proposed legislation would streamline the process for deporting foreign criminals by further limiting access to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). Now any foreign criminal given a sentence of six months or more will not be able to appeal their deportation. This bar has been lowered from a sentence of 2 years or more under the current legislation.
The NDP and Liberals are blocking the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act despite the fact that organizations such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, and Victims of Violence strongly support it.
The opposition has concerns over the Bill because the range of offenses that can warrant a maximum of 6 months in prison and lead to deportation has increased and includes common assault; dangerous driving with no injury; driving while disqualified; theft under $5,000.00; and, causing a disturbance.
“ It is not hard to imagine the devastating effect a deportation would have on the family unit – spouses would be torn apart; children would not able to be with their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings. But do the Harper Conservatives think about or care about the serious impact their Bill would have on families – the heart of our communities? ,” said Liberal Multiculturalism critic Jim Karygiannis.
MP Karygiannis noted that the Conservatives claim that “the purpose of Bill C-43 is to deport foreign criminals when the legislation will impact hundreds of thousands of permanent residents who have been legally living in Canada and whose rights will be taken away under the Bill. The Conservatives are arbitrarily dismissing due process under the guise of Canadians’ safety and security.”
Harper government believes that some common avenues used by foreign criminals to delay their deportation and stay longer in Canada include appealing their deportation for a crime punished by a sentence of two-years-less-a-day, accessing humanitarian and compassionate considerations, requesting ministerial relief and filing applications for judicial review.
Liberals believe that the present system works well under the provisions of the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.