Canada’s insane refugee process
By LORRIE GOLSTEIN, QMI Agency
Last Updated: April 5, 2010 2:00am
Canada’s refugee determination system isn’t just broken. It’s dysfunctional.
Fixing it requires two bold steps, neither of which Immigration Minister Jason Kenney took in the reforms he announced last week.
In fairness, Kenney is trying to clean up a mess he inherited and no political party is prepared to do what’s necessary.
First, the government would invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause and revoke the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1985 Singh decision. Second, it would move from the selective detention of refugee claimants (about 20%) to systematic detention, until the veracity of claims could be determined.
Canada’s refugee system fell apart following the Supreme Court’s Singh decision, which basically extended the protection of the Charter of Rights to anyone who could get a foot on Canadian soil.
That has led to today’s massive backlog of 60,000 claimants. It now takes an average 19 months just to get an initial hearing, 41/2 years to determine a bogus claim.
We’ve lost track of 38,000 failed claimants ordered deported — some criminals and terrorists.
Last year, 33,000 people made refugee claims. Almost 60% will be rejected. Each failed claimant costs Canadians $50,000 in health and social service expenses. Billions are being wasted while genuine refugees face years of uncertainty in the system.
Revoking Singh and rebuilding the refugee process — still with safeguards, just not to the point of absurdity — is step one.
Step two is detaining all claimants arriving at our borders, until we check out their stories. During detention — several months in duration, subject to judicial review — Canada would provide humane care, medical treatment, education and English as a second language training.
Genuine refugees would welcome this while their status was determined, considering the horrors they have endured.
Internationally, word would spread Canada is no longer a patsy, dramatically reducing false claims.
Sadly, none of this will happen because no political party is willing to stand up to the hysteria that would erupt among Canada’s chattering classes and the refugee lobby.
Thus, despite occasional tweaking, our refugee determination process will continue to put the interests of Canadians and genuine refugees behind those of phony claimants, including criminals and terrorists.
In Canada, we call this “humane.”