Bill C-31

Till date we used to boast of our immigration system in the world as it used to attract all kind of people, which include family members, technocrats, workmen, investors and business men and also fulfill our social responsibilities by giving asylum to the people in dire need of it. Canada was always admired of its policies of immigration and multiculturalism and its fairness in issuing visas. Of late many modifications were done in the system as per need of the hour and which were totally directed to the requirement of our country. But now there are many changes done in the policies, which are not very well admired by the people and these are contrary to the original goals of our immigration system. To name few, introduction of Super Visa in place of parents/grandparents immigration, making language assessment test mandatory for temporary foreign worker, scrapping the waiting list of Federal skilled worker applicants filed prior to 2008 and now the bill C-31.

This C-31 bill contradicts the tradition of Canada immigration system known for providing protection to the people in need. This bill even threatens the asylum seekers and gives power to minister to send group of refugees, which may include kids and women, in jail for up to 12 months even without any judicial review. This is totally against the fundamental rights guaranteed to all people by Canadian charter of rights and freedoms. These people can me released only at the sweet will of honourable minister or till their refugee status is determined. Not only this bill will provide the honourable minister with many more teeth. The minister will create a list of safe countries in terms of its condition and political, social and judicial system. It will be assumed that the people of these countries can’t suffer any atrocities from anyone and they will be denied refugee status without even appeal. This is unfair as the countries assumed as safe as per our own study/parameters may not be actually so safe. The timelines proposed in bill C-31 for claiming refugee status is also within 15 days. This is possible only when the claimant has come prepared in our country along with all the supporting documents and proofs. This will give benefit to the people who are rich, clever and has an predetermined intention to enter our country and stay here forever as a refugee. Whereas the people who are actually in need of support will be denied help as they won’t be able to gather the proofs within the stipulated timelines proposed in the bill.

With this bill the minister will have powers to revoke any past decision of permanent resident status of ┬árefugees and they can be sent back to the country of their origin. This will be done on the current condition of the country of their origin. Such a decision may uproot thousands of families, who have already established economically, socially and culturally in our country and forgotten their past. Instead the minister should propose changes in the conditions that the claimant won’t be given PR status and whenever the situation arises, they can go back to their origin countries. But this will also keep the future of claimant in the darkness and they won’t be able to contribute whole heartedly for the growth of Canada.

If the above bill is passed then the situation may come that the claimant are sent back to the danger again and while doing this we will also be reversing our good act of giving shelter to actually needy person(s) and then there won’t be any difference between the system forcing people to leave their countries and our immigration system. Rather this would be a sin as we will be first proving food, shelter, education and health system to needy human beings and then sending them back to the butcher house. Already our system of proving refugee status is near fool proof as the claimants have to pass through various tests and channels before accepting them, acknowledging and approving their claims.

So this bill should not get clear instead we may always update our existing system and make this further fool proof. With this we will maintain the same respect in the international society without any harm to our country.

Sanjiv Khanna
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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