The controversial Canadian immigration law must now make its way through the Senate.
12 June 2012
Controversial Canada immigration law makes it over first hurdle
Controversial Canada immigration bill C-31 has made it through the House of Commons and will now make its way to the Senate despite outrage from opposition politicians.
C-31, which will allow mandatory detention of overseas arrivals without a Canada visa or other valid documentation, needed the ruling Conservative Party's House majority to help pass the bill 159-132 and the Conservatives now hope to make the bill law by the summer.
"We hope this bill will become law before the summer break as it passes to the Senate," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "This bill will also further strengthen our reforms of Canada's asylum system to make sure that it's fast and fair, and will allow for us to improve immigration security screening significantly through legislative authority for biometric visa collection. So it's very important legislation.
The immigration minister still needed to rely on the Conservative majority to pass the bill despite being forced to negotiate down the judicial review of the mandatory detention policy from his preferred 12 months to after 14 days and again at six months.
Mr Kenney, who has repeatedly stated his intention to bring the Canadian immigration system under greater control, hopes Bill C-31 will implement "legislative tools to combat human smuggling criminals who want to treat Canada like a doormat" but has encountered stiff resistance from opposing politicians.
Jinny Sims, an immigration critic of the opposing New Democratic Party, says the bill violates both Canadian and international law and is harmful to the Canadian immigration and refugee system.
"I think it is one of the key pillars in this legislation that is so draconian," said Ms Sims. "This is really about punishing the most vulnerable citizens when they arrive here, putting their lives at risk and when they get here we're going to throw them in prison."
The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.