Canada is no haven for Human Smuggling
– An Interview with MP Rick Dykstra –
December 6, 2012, Montreal – Human smuggling, despite being an inhumanely contemptible crime, is on the rise in Canada. Bharat Times had an opportunity to discuss the new measures, that are taken by Canadian government to stop such illegal degrading activities, with Mr. Rick Dykstra, MP of St. Catharines (Ontario) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Monika – In the duration of Canadian government’s continuous actions against human smuggling, yesterday, Honorable Vic Toews and Honourable Jason Kenney announced the designation of five groups of foreign nationals as “irregular arrivals” under the new provisions. Can you please expand on that please?
Mr. Dykstra – Our government wants to take tough measures where it concerns human smuggling. Let’s face it, human smuggling is a despicable crime. Canada’s immigration and asylum system should not be targeted by these groups because that threatens the integrity of Canada’s most generous immigration system and it also puts Canadian lives at risk. We are open to new immigrants, however, our doors are open to only those who are not going to abuse our generosity or cheat the system by jumping the queue. By appropriating new measures, we mean to send a strong message to the human smugglers to put a stop to their illegal activities.
Under the new measures introduced through the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the Minister of Public Safety is able to designate the arrival of a group of persons in Canada as an “irregular arrival”, and make those involved subject to the Act’s measures. This includes preventing people who come to Canada as part of a designated irregular arrival from applying for permanent resident status for a period of five years as well as they will not be able to sponsor family members to join them in Canada during that time. The new measures will also ensure that the medical benefits received are not more generous than those received by the average Canadian.
Monika – It was also mentioned that the ‘irregular arrivals’ can be detained for identity verification and other investigations. These processes used to take many months, so what kind of time frame are we looking at now in the case of detention?
Mr. Dykstra – Under our new system, the information verification has speeded up. And also Canada has opened several offices in many countries, especially in designated countries. In case of detention, we are looking at about three to four months at most. The Conservative government has Canadians’ safety at heart and keeping that in mind, the time frame is shortened.
Monika – Based on here say, some temporary workers try to get themselves entangled in small court cases just to prolong their stay in Canada. Can you comment on that please?
Mr. Dykstra – The new immigrants have to be very careful to try to stay clear of law. If they do entangle with the laws of this country, we have measures in place to take care of such situations.
Monika – In regards to the termination of the refugee status of individuals who no longer require protection, does this also apply to those who are now Canadian citizens but had migrated here as refugees?
Mr. Dykstra – No, we don’t want to take anyone’s citizenship back. Those, who have applied for Canadian citizenship and have got it, can keep it. We are concerned about the individuals who have been offered conditional asylum in Canada or irregular arrivals who are not Canadian citizens yet. In the duration of their asylum, if the condition of their home country changes for better then they will be sent back since they no longer need Canada’s protection.
Monika – Thank you, Mr. Dykstra.
by Dr. Monika Spolia, Bharat Times Journal, December 2013, front cover