Since being elected I have written a number of columns on immigration. I still see this today as one of the most important issues facing our government. The reasons have not changed.
A number of complaints of abuse of the generous support new immigrants receive concerned Canadians who felt that the monitoring of new immigrants was not extensive enough.
The applications to immigrate to Canada back in 2006 had a back-log of over 800,000 and the time from application to approval was approximately five years. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration did their best to process the applications and monitor immigrants but the sheer numbers made the process less than perfect.
Presently, Minister Jason Kenney has lead the way by commissioning a new Manual for New Immigrants which was clear on the expectations Canadians had for new immigrants. New Canadians need to know the history of Canada, possess a knowledge of English or French, and embrace the values that we cherish as a nation. Law and order, human rights and self-reliance are some of what is detailed in the manual.
Today, in light of the boatload of refugees landing in British Columbia, the Minister decided to take immediate action and send a message to human traffickers that we are no longer going to tolerate these kinds of activities. The ‘Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act’ introduced by Minister Kenney on October 19, 2010, will:
- Ensure law enforcement have the tools they need to crack down on human smugglers
- Help ensure the safety and security of Canadian communities
- Deter illegal migrants from using human smugglers to come to Canada
- Make it easier to prosecute human smugglers
- Impose mandatory minimum sentences on convicted smugglers
- Hold ship owners and operators to account for use of their ships in human smuggling operations.
- Establish the mandatory detention of participants for up to one year, or until a positive decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board, whichever comes sooner, in order to allow for determination of identity, admissibility and illegal activity.
Minister Kenney has taken action to ensure that a fair and compassionate Canada will not be abused by those that don’t play by the rules.
Colin Mayes, MP