Canadians are among the most compassionate and fairest people on the planet. So given our penchant for generosity, we understandably resent it when those traits get abused.
And an abuse of our generosity is what appears to be happening on our west coast, where another boatload of people has arrived illegally in recent weeks. Although our Conservative government recently passed legislation to speed up processing of refugee claims and more easily deport false claimants, the changes have unfortunately not taken effect yet, meaning that the nearly 500 people on board that ship will be entitled to a hearing under the old processing system.
Court decisions in Canada over the years, including the Supreme Court’s Singh decision of 1985, have made legal protections for non-citizens virtually the same as those of citizens, which ties the hands of authorities seeking to remove bogus refugee claimants who are playing our system. Canadians are justifiably angered when the system is abused. We want to welcome legitimate refugees to our country, but we demand that it be done according to due process and with respect to our laws and to our concerns for the integrity of our border and our national security.
By opting to arrive in this way, these illegal immigrants can in no way be seen as having shown respect for Canadian laws. To the contrary, their use of illegal means to take advantage of a legal process displays a total lack of regard for the regulations that Canadians have chosen to put in place to oversee the refugee system.
Arriving here illegally seems to me a very strange way for people to convince us that they aspire to become law-abiding citizens of our country.
I’ve heard clearly from constituents that this kind of illegal migration cannot be permitted to continue, and I wholeheartedly agree. The vessel MV Sun Sea that brought the passengers is part of what our government suspects to be a large human smuggling operation. As we deal with this situation under current Canadian law, our government is looking at all available options to strengthen our laws in order to address this unacceptable abuse of Canadian generosity.
Any attempts to abuse Canada’s generosity for financial gain are utterly unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Our government is committed to assisting legitimate refugees, but at the same time, we will protect our borders and our sovereignty.