Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Under the current law, there are "very precise grounds for rendering a foreign national inadmissible to Canada," Kenney said: criminality and national security.
One section of his proposed Bill C43 - the Faster Removal of Criminals Act - gives the Minister further authority to deny entry to Canada on "public policy grounds."
Kenney says these changes are needed to ban individuals without criminal records but who potentially pose a threat to public safety.
He said the controversy surrounding the Koran-burning American Pastor Terry Jones, who tried to visit Toronto last week but was turned back, "brought to mind" the proposed amendment.
"So, for example, last year when two imams were coming to speak at a conference in Canada, we discovered that they had long public records of promoting hatred against women, gays, lesbians and Jews," Kenney said.
Because neither imam had a criminal record, they could not be deemed inadmissible.
Kenney will soon table a list of criteria for what constitutes "public policy grounds" with the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims says the proposed law gives the Minister far too much power and is concerned about how it will be used.
"Absolutely, government should have a reason for why people should stay out of the country, but I don't think public policy cuts it. That's too wide a net."