Citizenship and Immigration (May 7, 2012)
Academics and representatives from the United Nations were among the witnesses who testified as part of the committee’s review of Bill C-31, legislation to reform Canada’s refugee system.
Walter Perchal and Donald Loren from the Centre of Excellence in Security, Resilience, and Intelligence at York University spoke about the need for Canada’s ongoing security collaboration with other nations. Former CSIS director Ward Elcock, now serving as special advisor to the Privy Council Office, spoke about preventing human smuggling attempts and illegal migration into Canada.
Reverend Canon William Prentice and Reverend Laurette Gauthier Glasgow from the Anglican Church of Canada spoke against the bill’s expansion of executive powers allowing for the revocation of an individual’s permanent resident status. Lawyer Lorne Waldman recognized the need to reform refugee legislation, but spoke against aspects of the bill including its shortened time frames and mandatory detention periods.
Senior representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees testified during the third panel. Furio De Angelis and Michael Casasola outlined which portions of the bill their organization approves of and made recommendations to improve aspects it opposes.
UPDATE: Bill C-31 received royal assent on June 28.