Your security is our Job 1

The Official Opposition has shifted its focus to immigration, stoking fears about the influx of asylum seekers and undermining Canadians’ views of Canada’s immigration system.

Canada’s immigration system is world class and more than 300 million people a year are offered the chance to call Canada home under three broad categories — economic immigration, family reunification and humanitarian consideration.

Regardless of how you show up on Canada’s doorstep there are no free passes. When you enter Canada illegally outside an official point of entry, a strict process is in place, including interception and arrest by police.

In fact, there are no guarantees that you will be able to stay in Canada until it is determined you are in need of Canada’s protection.

Asylum seekers like those who have been crossing the Canada-U.S. border in recent months are asking for protection under international and Canadian law. Contrary to claims they are “jumping the queue," asylum seekers are processed under a separate category neither ahead or behind applicants for immigration, permanent residence or citizenship.

Individuals who irregularly enter Canada between established ports of entry are referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) whereas those coming to Canada through the regular immigration streams are processed through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In the case of those seeking asylum, decisions on admissibility are made by independent IRB adjudicators.  Those accepted get protected person status and can apply to become permanent residents, while those who do not meet the refugee definition are asked to leave or are deported. 

For example, the acceptance rate for Haitian asylum claimants who crossed irregularly into Canada in 2017 and had their claims finalized was eight per cent.

To those constituents who have written to me on this issue let there be no confusion; our government’s No. 1 commitment is to protect the safety of Canadians and keep our borders secure, while respecting international obligations and ensuring an orderly migration system.

We are investing $173.2 million to further strengthen security operations at the Canada-U.S. border and to ensure that we can continue to securely and effectively process asylum seekers.

Ironically, the Official Opposition, which has been accusing the government of failing on this front, cut $390 million from the Canada Border Service Agency while in government and, more recently, voted against new investments proposed in Budget 2018 to manage irregular migration.

For those who call on the government to send asylum seekers back, asylum claims are governed in part by international treaties to which Canada is a signatory. As such, we have a legal responsibility to assess asylum claims made under these international conventions. 

Our immigration system is well-managed and supported by hardworking individuals including the Canada Border Services Agency, CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who maintain a high standard of service to secure the flow of travellers across our borders.

Independent observers have praised our Government’s response. As the UN Refugee Agency has said:

“Canada is very well equipped to respond.”

Our government will continue to ensure the safety of Canadians while supporting an efficient and responsive asylum system, all while treating people seeking protection with compassion and affording them due process under the law.  

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About the Author

Stephen Fuhr was born in Edmonton, AB and grew up in Kamloops, BC. He is a former CF-18 fighter pilot with the Canadian Air Force.

After serving with distinction for 20 years, Stephen retired from the Canadian Forces in 2009 with the rank of Major. He joined his family’s Kelowna-based company, SkyTrac Systems, which develops aviation communication and tracking equipment. As CEO and Director of Business Development, he led the company to financial success in a challenging economic climate.

In 2012, Stephen left the company to pursue his first love of flying.

With growing interest in politics and a desire to serve his country again, Stephen ran for office in the 2015 election.

Today, he proudly serves as the Member of Parliament for the Kelowna-Lake Country riding. 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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