April 7, 2012 - No. 14
Withdraw Bill C-31, Protecting
Canada's Immigration System Act!
Retrogressive and Arbitrary Means
Refugees the Right to Asylum, Divide Canadians and
Attack the Rights of
C-31, Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act!
• Retrogressive and Arbitrary Means to Deprive
Refugees the Right
to Asylum, Divide Canadians and Attack the Rights of All!
• Overview of Bill C-31
• Campaign of Terror Against
the Roma and Disinformation About "Bogus Refugees" from Europe
• Irrational "Reasons" for Arbitrary Abuse of
Ministerial Powers - Enver Villamizar
Withdraw Bill C-31, Protecting
Canada's Immigration System Act!
Retrogressive and Arbitrary Means
Refugees the Right to Asylum, Divide Canadians and
Attack the Rights of
The omnibus Bill C-31, Protecting
System Act, tabled in the Parliament on February 16, is
second reading. At a news conference at the time the bill was tabled,
Jason Kenney, the Harper dictatorship's Minister of Citizenship,
Immigration and Multiculturalism, said its purpose was to "strengthen
the fairness and integrity of Canada's
immigration and refugee programs" and to send a message to all asylum
seekers that "if you do not need Canada's protection, we will give you
to our fair asylum system and then send you home quickly. You will not
allowed to remain in Canada for years using endless appeals at the
In the name of opposing "bogus refugees" the bill
attacks rights and
violates international humanitarian law. Like security certificates,
also part of immigration legislation, Bill C-31 will undermine rights
singling out refugees, and will deny citizenship to thousands of
have become landed immigrants -- contributing to Canadian society, and
establishing themselves and their families in Canada as their home --
Minister considers that the situation in their country of origin has
Bill C-31 continues the trend of putting more and more
arbitrary power in
the hands of the Immigration Minister to deem certain people
only very onerous recourse to appeal. It will strengthen the hand of
Canadian state to carry out violations of rights as in the 1930s when
Ukrainians and others were deported from Canada as "aliens" and
when they had lived here and contributed to the building of Canada as
workers. Or the activists of the Communist Party of Canada
who were landed immigrants deported as part of the
persecution of the Party by the Canadian state in the 1970s.
The Harper government
presents the bill and the
regulation of refugees as
necessary to prevent the abuse of Canada's "generous refugee system,"
the impression that Canada facilitates the arrival of tens of
refugees each year and assists their re-settlement in Canada. The facts
this propaganda of Minister Kenney and others. Since coming to power,
Harper government has steadily reduced the number of refugees entering
Canada. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the number of
refugees having their claim for asylum approved dropped by 56 per cent
to 2008. In 2010, there were 8,466 Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
made by asylum-seekers facing deportation. Only 89 were approved!
The Harper government also deliberately introduces terms
such as "illegal
migrants" and decontextualizes Canadians' opposition to human
order to confuse the principles at stake and cover up its obligations
refugees. Speaking in the Parliament in response to a statement by
Rosane Doré Lefebvre that pointed out that the Harper government
is way out
of line with the sentiment of Canadians, Minister Kenney tried to
government as being more "generous" than Canadians want:
"[... Lefebvre] said that Canadians are against Bill C-31, but is she
illegal migrants arrived 18 months ago, polls clearly showed that
approximately two-thirds of Canadians believed that the government
prevent boats transporting illegal migrants and human smugglers from
"Is she aware that the majority of Canadians -- about
55% -- say that illegal
migrants who arrive via illegal means but who are recognized as
under our laws should immediately be deported to their country of
"This means that Bill C-31 is much more generous than
public opinion and
more mindful of our tradition of welcoming true refugees.
"Is she aware that Quebeckers expressed this opinion
more strongly than
other Canadians? In other words, her constituents want to turn away
transporting illegal migrants. Is she aware of that?"
Contrary to the government presenting itself as taking
the moral high
ground to exclude "bogus" refugees and prevent "human smuggling,"
has, in many cases, a profound responsibility for the well-being of
millions of people forced into becoming refugees by the actions of
Anglo-American imperialism, which sows death and destruction in many
countries around the world. In 2004, Canada was an active participant
in the coup in Haiti, which disempowered the Haitian
in the creation of tens of thousands of refugees. The Korean War, the
NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, as well as
illegal war in Libya, each created a humanitarian and refugee crisis,
Canada refuses to take responsibility. While labelling those who
desperate measures to seek asylum in Canada as criminals, it is the
government that carries out criminal and terrorist acts that lead to
more people being displaced around the world.
In order for Canada to provide justice for those harmed
by such actions,
it must end relations based on exploitation and aggression. Only by
nations and peoples having the right to be without outside interference
domestic social, economic and political affairs, can the social
the international refugee crisis be addressed. Furthermore, Canada has
obligation to provide for the well-being of those harmed by its
through reparations to allow people to remain in their home countries
facilitate their immigration to Canada where they should be accorded
Canadians come from all nations of the world and the
country itself was
founded on the ongoing dispossession of the First Nations. A modern
discussion on the question of refugees and immigration must be based on
considerations and modern definitions while ensuring that rights, which
to people by virtue of their being human, are provided with a
such as Bill C-31 are an abomination of humanitarian principles and are
meant to stir the pot, incite racism, divide the polity and
the rights of all. Bill C-31 must be vigorously opposed and withdrawn!
Overview of Bill C-31
Bill C-31, with the short name Protecting Canada's
System Act, is an omnibus bill that combines and incorporates an Act
Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act and the
Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act. It is at Second
in the Parliament and was tabled by Minister of Citizenship and
Jason Kenney on February 16. It incorporated aspects of Bill C-4 from
Parliament, such as the imprisonment of people that are "designated" by
Minister as having come to Canada by "irregular" means. These
foreign nationals" over the age of 16, can be jailed for up to a year
appeal, suffer family separation for five years or more, and be denied
to travel. If they are granted official refugee status by the Canadian
government, they cannot begin the process of applying for citizenship
after five years have lapsed. According to the Canadian Council for
the cost of jailing a refugee for a year costs about $70,000, not to
humiliation and mental anguish to those imprisoned and the violations
international humanitarian law.
Bill C-31 would introduce new biometric technology for
as an "identity management tool in our immigration and border-control
systems." Bill C-31 will force "certain visa applicants" to have their
photographs and fingerprints taken as part of their temporary resident
applications. The biometric information will be handed over to the U.S.
of the Canada-U.S. Security Perimeter Framework. The legislation would
have this biometric information shared with other "allies" in order to
people who enter or leave North America.
Kenney stated in a press
conference, "I should highlight
that we have seen
many cases of foreign criminals arrested, convicted and deported, who
back to Canada using fake papers. Under the biometric visa system, this
effectively, be virtually impossible." According to Bill C-31, "the
with the approval of the Governor in Council, may enter into an
with any foreign government for the provision of services in relation
collection, use and disclosure of biometric information and for the
of immigration application services and other related services on that
government's behalf for purposes related to the administration and
of their immigration laws."
The new subsection 109.1(1) of the Immigration and
Protection Act, which is contained in section 58 of the proposed Protecting
to be solely responsible to determine "Designated Countries of Origin"
or "safe" countries. Currently, this is a task for an appointed
the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Furthermore, the new
109.1(2) contains an expanded formula for determining when the Minister
make such a designation. The expanded formula provides two different
scenarios in which the Minister can designate a country as "safe" and,
result, streamline the rejection of refugees from that country.
The first scenario applies when the number of refugee
claims from the
country in question over a certain period exceeds a pre-determined
set by the Minister, including rejected claims, claims deemed abandoned
IRB, exceeds a pre-determined
set by the Minister. (This power is designed to address the situation
government alleges that there is a flood of "bogus" refugee claims from
certain country, such as Mexico.)
The second scenario applies when the number of refugee
claims from the
country in question over a certain period has not exceeded the
quota. Even in that situation, the Minister can designate a
country of origin if the Minister is of the opinion that in the country
(i) there is an independent judicial system,
(ii) basic democratic rights and freedoms are recognized
for redress are available if those rights or freedoms are infringed, and
(iii) civil society organizations exist.
In this situation, the government
alleges that the country of origin is a safe, democratic country that
produce refugees; such as Hungary. This process, in the hands of the
is totally arbitrary and will enable him to deny thousands of refugee
their right to asylum. As well, this will further politicize the social
refugee settlement and immigration. For example, more Palestinian
will be denied entry to Canada, because Israel is a "democratic state"
therefore there is no "refugee issue" there.
In order to make it appear as if the government is
providing due process
for refugees rejected on the basis of the arbitrary "safe
of origin" designation, but at the same time strengthening the power of
new subsection 111.1(2) allows the Minister to set special time limits
IRB to hear claims by refugee claimants who are nationals of a country
is a "designated country." Within the shortened time limits, claimants
designated country will still have to produce all the documents
a refugee application but within a restricted time period -- including
that are difficult or nearly impossible for a refugee to obtain in the
circumstances -- including a police check from the home country, from
the refugee claims to be fleeing persecution. The refugee claimant will
have to arrange for legal representation within a time frame that is
unrealistic, especially if Legal Aid is required. This will work most
against refugees who have fled persecution in their home country in
bringing limited resources and knowing no one in Canada.
Bill C-31 will allow the Canadian state to annul the
status of a refugee
who has obtained landed immigrant status, if it is determined by the
or the department that things have "improved" in that refugee's country
origin, even if that refugee has lived in Canada for many years and has
roots here. Currently, under Section 108 of the Immigration and
Protection Act, when refugee status "ceases," a person does not
their permanent resident status, only their refugee status. Under Bill
will change; refugees will lose their permanent resident status and be
to deportation. Thousands of people and their families in Canada will
subject to this fascist law.
These amendments represent a de facto
abandonment of the
Canadian government's international responsibilities as a signatory of
International Refugee Convention. Bill C-31 shows the naked inhumanity
brutality of the Harper government in its treatment of the most
people. The problem that the Canadian people are facing is not "bogus
refugees" but a government that is in open contempt of the Canadian
of Rights and Freedoms and international laws such as the UN
in particular, and the International Covenant on
and Political Rights. It violates a fundamental provision of
Refugee Convention, Article 31, that says that governments must
penalties on refugees for unconventional entry. Bill C-31 not only
"designated foreign nationals" upon arrival, it also deprives them of
and social rights. All Canadians and residents must join forces and
that Bill C-31 be withdrawn and that the Canadian government uphold
international humanitarian law, as the first step to renew the
arrangements in this country so that a society that guarantees the
rights of all
can be established.
Campaign of Terror Against the Roma and
"Bogus Refugees" from Europe
Protest by Roma
against the discrimination they face in Europe, November 2010. (Amnesty
In trying to justify its Bill C-31, the Protecting
Immigration System Act, members of the Harper government
cite "bogus refugees" coming from Europe as an example of why reforms
needed to the refugee system. Much of this disinformation is directed
justifying the violations of the rights of the Roma who seek asylum in
as a result of persecution in Europe.
On March 26 for
MP Robert Goguen read the following script that has been repeated by
other Conservative MPs during debate on Bill C-31: "In 2011 a
portion of refugee claims came from the European Union. Claims from
region alone accounted for 23% of all claims last year, up from 14% in
more than from Africa or Asia. On average, EU claims were abandoned in
14.5 months or withdrawn in 10 months. In recent years virtually all EU
claims were withdrawn, abandoned or rejected. The bogus claims from
the 5,800 EU nationals who sought asylum last year cost Canadian
$170 million. Hungary, an EU member state, has become Canada's top
country for such refugee claims. Hungarians made over 2,400 refugee
around the world in 2010. Of those, 2,300 were in Canada. That is 23
more claims made in Canada than in the rest of the world put together.
comparison, the United States received only 32 Hungarian refugee claims
2010. I think these numbers speak volumes.
"Our refugee system was designed to provide protection
to those who
genuinely need it, people who have escaped brutal regimes, violence,
oppression and persecution in these countries. These people need to
Canada for protection or they risk losing their lives. However, the
claims are coming from safe and democratic countries that respect human
rights. The fact that Canada receives more refugee claims from the
European Union than from Africa or Asia should be a clear wake-up call.
Clearly, there is something wrong with our refugee system and it needs
Conditions of Roma in Europe
In citing increased refugee claims
Europe in 2011, Conservative MPs provide no context or explanation of
why this is the case.
France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has been carrying out a campaign to
arbitrarily deport France's national minority Roma people to Romania
Bulgaria. Between 2009 and 2010 alone roughly 20,000 Roma were deported
from France following the bulldozing by French authorities of the camps
which they lived.
Roma people living in Europe have for centuries faced
persecution by the state, up to and including genocide. To give one
in Germany laws were on the books
from the 15th to the 18th century whereby Roma could be executed
without trial. Later, during the Second
World War, it is estimated that from 220,000 to 1.5 million Roma people
murdered in Nazi concentration camps or executed by the Einsatzgruppen
(paramilitary SS death squads) in occupied Europe.
The French people have demonstrated en masse against the
orders of the President and his government to particularly target and
the Roma for deportation. On September 4, 2010 for example, about
people demonstrated in Paris and 130 other French towns, exposing the
government lie that Sarkozy's actions have the support of the people.
demonstrations against deportation also took place in other European
including in Italy, Belgium and Serbia.
President Sarkozy has tried to deny that the Roma were
targeted for deportation, but a government memo uncovered in 2010
exposed his lie. The memo stated: "300 camps or illegal settlements
evacuated within three months; Roma camps are a priority. It is down to
préfect [state representative] in each department to begin a
dismantling of the illegal camps, particularly those of the Roma."
President Sarkozy's Family Ties
Something that may not be so well-known is that during
Second World War, the aristocratic family of president Sarkozy lived
their luxurious palatial home near Szolnok with their servants,
undisturbed by the
Nazis and their collaborators.
Until 1944, Hungary was ruled by the fascist Horthy
regime, which openly
allied with the Nazis. In March 1944, the Nazis installed the
Arrow Cross Party as the government, headed by Prime Minister Döme
Sztójay, leaving Horthy as regent.
The Szolnok sugar factory was a notorious collecting
point for Jewish
prisoners who were sent to the occupied territories, such as Austria,
slave labour or to imprisonment in the concentration camps. The
Hungarian Nazi-collaborationist governments also
participated in the
deportation of the Roma.
In 1944, when the communists liberated Hungary,
Sarkozy's father, Pal,
fled to Hitler Germany. He returned to Hungary in 1945, but fled again
Austria, then Germany and finally sought asylum in France under the
he was stateless. Pal subsequently divorced his first wife, Nicolas
mother Christine de Ganay, who later married CIA employee Frank G.
Wisner. Wisner was the CIA's link with the Gehlen Organization
set up after the war by the
Americans and made up of Nazi intelligence agents who provided the
information about the communists and re-established the Hitlerite fifth
throughout Europe. Thus the CIA enabled these Nazi war criminals to
Sarkozy's actions against the Roma are a sad testimony
to the profound
France is facing. When the French nation was established as an act of
revolution, all French nationals were declared French citizens. Even
did not extend to the residents of the colonies annexed by France and,
modern conceptions of citizenship rebel against criteria based on
race, age, wealth or gender, France has systematically refused to
residents of Arab or black origin.
It is also known that once the arrangements that opposed
Nazism in France
after the Second World War were dismantled, what was brought back in
place were the Nazi arrangements from when Marshal Petain collaborated
Hitler. Who is Sarkozy collaborating with today? Or is he doing this in
the name of France directly this time around?
TML Weekly Information Project vigorously
campaign of terror against the Roma in France and its expression here
Canada in the form of attempts to prevent Roma from gaining asylum in
Canada based on the Harper government's claim that Europe is "safe."
1. Roma groups left India in repeated
centuries ago. The term "gypsy" arises from the erroneous belief that
originated in Egypt. The Roma were in Persia by the 11th century, and
reached the Balkans by the beginning of the 14th century. Most Roma
Romany, a language related to the modern Indo-European languages of
northern India, besides the language of their country of residence. The
people first settled in France at the beginning of the 15th century.
Irrational "Reasons" for Arbitrary Abuse of
On February 29, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
reasons for denying Richard Goulet a request for transfer to Canada
under the International Transfer of
Offenders Act (ITOA). Goulet is a Canadian
being held in prison in the U.S., convicted of the conspiracies to
to import marijuana into the United States. On January 29, the
Court of Canada demanded that Toews provide reasons for his decision
that Toews' denial of Goulet's transfer was unreasonable as it
risk assessment by a Correctional Service Canada Director and that,
his arbitrary use of his ministerial powers, no adequate reasons were
for the denial. The Court gave Toews 45 days to reconsider the request
transfer "on the merits and in accordance with the requirements of the
The Goulet case is significant because it reveals
attempts by Ministers
of the Harper government to operate arbitrarily in violation of the
they are bound to uphold. It is also significant because it concerns
that the Harper government just amended with the passage of Bill C-10,
the Safe Streets and
Communities Act in a manner that strengthens a
arbitrary powers within the statute concerned. The recently amended
replaces "shall" with "may" so that the Minister "may consider various
criteria," making the criteria to be considered for transfer optional
and at the
discretion. In effect, the amendments to the ITOA contained in the Safe
and Communities Act permit the Minister to pick and choose which
criteria to consider in determining whether a transfer is acceptable
Minister to introduce new, arbitrary criteria. In addition, the Act's
purpose has now also been amended to place an emphasis on "public
Toews' reasons in the Goulet case reveal the unjust
nature of his arbitrary
decision and his violation of the purposes of the previous ITOA. Mr.
is not requesting a pardon for his crimes. He is requesting a transfer
so that he
can serve the rest of his sentence in a Canadian prison, where he can
presumably be closer to his family. This is a straightforward request
evidence supports. The purposes of the old ITOA under which Mr. Goulet
applied clearly state:
"The purpose of this Act is to contribute to the
administration of justice
and the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the
by enabling offenders to serve their sentences in the country of which
citizens or nationals."
Despite this, Toews essentially rules that Goulet should
not be transferred
because he will not openly incriminate others that the government
have been involved in drug trafficking in Canada. This is a violation
Goulet's rights based on allegations that have no evidence.
Mr. Goulet should be permitted to return to Canada in
accordance with the
principles of the ITOA. Toews' attempts to use Goulet's request for
to force a confession out of him is a violation of Goulet's human
the rule of law.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the crimes of which
convicted in the U.S., he has human rights. The Harper government
permitted to violate the rights of Canadians in the name of "public
"national security" or "security of the economy." It must not pass!
In his reasons, Toews stated that in his previous
"denied Mr. Goulet's transfer based upon my opinion that he would,
transfer, commit a criminal organization offence."
Trying to justify this, Toews claims that Goulet would
not snitch on those
the government alleges he worked with in Canada.
"Mr. Goulet has not contradicted or expanded upon any of
included in a Sentence Data Summary [from the U.S. authorities...] Mr.
has not contradicted or expanded upon any of the information included
document and, therefore I conclude that it is an accurate rendition of
events which gave rise to his imprisonment in the U.S.
"I find that Mr. Goulet's statements in his application
are self-serving and
intended to minimize the extent of his offence.
"Based upon my review of the Sentence Data Summary and
application [for transfer], I find that Mr. Goulet has not been
forthright in his
application for transfer to Canada. He only identifies five of the nine
individuals who were involved in the enterprise. His description of the
is incomplete in that it does not set out the circumstances of his
Further, Mr. Goulet's application does not identify any of his
Canada who were involved in the enterprise."
In explaining the rationale behind his view that Goulet
would commit a
criminal organization offence in the future, Toews wrote:
"In deciding whether Mr. Goulet will commit a criminal
offence after his return, I am not required to predict the future. To
say that I
must be certain he would commit such an offence would render this
meaningless. Rather, I am required to consider whether in all the
there is a 'significant risk' he will commit such an offence. The fact
Goulet was involved in a criminal enterprise of the nature that I have
above and that he was not forthcoming in his application with respect
extent of the enterprise, the sources of his marijuana or his
Canada, leads me to conclude there is a significant risk Mr. Goulet
commit a criminal organization offence."
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