From National Post
The federal government is proposing new legislation to “close the loopholes” that allow foreign criminals to remain in Canada even when convicted of serious crimes or deemed to be a danger to the public, Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety said Tuesday.
The Removal of Serious Foreign Criminals Act will allow for the mandatory transfer of foreign criminals to their country of origin and strip refugee protection from those later deemed a danger to the public, among other changes.
“What we are seeking to do is close the loopholes in our Canadian law [and] between our organizations that are being actually exploited by criminals who have been found guilty and who are basically taking those gaps to stay longer and, as we have seen here, constitute a bigger threat to our country,” Blaney said.
The government’s plans is to change several acts to make it easier and faster to remove non-Canadian criminals out of Canada, including some who have already been accorded refugee protection and permanent residency status, he said.
It could allow Canada to negotiate treaties that allow the government to transfer criminals without their consent to serve their sentence in their home country, the government says. Currently, Canada cannot transfer a foreign inmate back to their home country without the inmate’s consent.
Often, well-financed and highly motivated people can drag the removal process out for years through multiple legal challenges, appeals and motions. Some serious criminals have preferred to remain in prison in Canada rather than return home to face trial or incarceration.
The changes will also make foreign nationals and certain permanent residents convicted of serious crimes ineligible for a record suspension, what used to be known as a criminal pardon.
Also, the proposed legislation allows the Correctional Service of Canada to inform registered victims of crime of the date and destination of criminals released from immigration detention, similar to what is done for victims of convicted criminals who are released on parole.
“Our government will not allow Canada to be used as a safe haven for foreign criminals,” Blaney said in prepared statement.
The proposed legislation would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; Corrections and Conditional Release Act; International Transfer of Offenders Act; and Criminal Records Act.
“By introducing the Removal of Serious Foreign Criminals Act, our Government is eliminating barriers to the removal of foreign criminals convicted of committing serious crimes in Canada. Also, by allowing the mandatory transfer of foreign criminals to serve the remainder of their sentence in their home country and with the other measures being brought forward today, our government continues to keep our streets and communities safer for Canadian families.”
Our government will not allow Canada to be used as a safe haven for foreign criminals
Several notorious cases have caused concern and downright scandal when people accused of crimes were able to remain in Canada for years, or received pardons from crimes that allowed them to apply for citizenship or status in Canada.
Blaney referred specifically to the recent case of Raed Jaser of Toronto, convicted in March of multiple terrorism offences. Jaser had a string of criminal convictions but received a pardon in 2009, allowing him to become a landed immigrant in Canada and ineligible for removal based on his criminal past.
Tuesday’s announcement caused concern for some refugee workers already challenging the government’s earlier changes on asylum rules.
“Canada has gone to the limits, if not beyond, on what it can do,” said Janet Dench, Executive Director of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “Unless they want to withdraw from the U.N. convention, the government can’t just go around kicking out refugees. We are very disturbed by the focus the government is putting on removing refugees from Canada.”
The changes are part of the government’s so-called “tough on crime” stance aimed at tightening regulations on criminals.
In 2013, the government brought in the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act with changes on a similar theme.
Those changes included preventing foreigners deemed inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of a threat to security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality from seeking special humanitarian and compassionate consideration to avoid deportation.
Yes! Let’s get rid of loop holes that these criminals use to stay here! We don’t need our country to be used as a safe haven for them! Send them back to the place that they are running from! No refugee status! No Canadian citizenship! No Criminal pardons! Just send them home! Don’t ask them just do IT!
If we are wanting to get tough on crime, then we can’t play footsie or nicey-nicey….It’s time for some TOUGH love!