Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - A proposed bill the Tories say will allow Canada to kick out foreign criminals quicker has opposition politicians concerned it also gives too much power to the immigration minister.
MPs debated C-43, the government's Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, on Monday.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the bill will make it easier for the government to remove "dangerous foreign criminals", as well as prevent others from entering Canada in the first place.
"This is an important initiative to protect Canadians from serious, repeat foreign criminals who have been delaying their deportation from Canada and in too many cases going on to create new offences and create new victims in Canada," Kenney told reporters prior to Monday's debate in Parliament.
Under current law, foreign nationals sentenced to less than two years can appeal convictions. As a result, sentences of two years less a day are commonly handed out to avoid speedy deportations. Under the government's proposed changes, sentences must be less than six months to qualify for an appeal.
But opposition parties are concerned the bill will give too much control to the minister, particularly because the legislation would allow Kenney to ultimately decide who can enter Canada.
"We are very concerned with the way this is being done," said NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims. "We really want to examine the bill and understand where the minister is coming from."
- with files from Jessica Hume