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Cotler criticizes immigration bill
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 16 décembre 2010
Photo Anja Karadeglija
Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler at a press conference in his riding office on Dec. 3.

Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler held a press conference at his riding office on Dec. 3 to criticize an immigration bill introduced by the Conservatives.

While the proposed legislation increases penalties for smugglers of illegal immigrants, it also penalizes refugee claimants who have arrived in Canada with the help of smugglers.

“We share the purported objectives, but this legislation ends up not so much targeting the smugglers and their supporters and organizers - it ends up targeting the asylum seekers,” Cotler said.
Bill C-49 has not yet come to a vote, but all three opposition parties have indicated that they will oppose it, which would be enough to kill the bill.

However, the Conservatives have stated that they will put it to a vote regardless.

The legislation would allow the Minister of Public Safety to declare a “human smuggling event.” Illegal migrants would be targeted under the act, which, among other stipulations, allows them to be jailed for up to a year, denies them the right to apply for permanent resident status for five years, and prevents them from sponsoring family members for that period of time.
Cotler said that the bill violates both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.

“I can identify five major charter violations that would ensure that this bill would not pass a constitutional test,” he said.

[Anja Karadeglija]

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