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Mohamed Harkat (merged thread)

Michael Dorosh

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paracowboy said:
well, reading George's post, I get that the Indian scam artist is staying in Canada, using the system to his own ends, and spending the money in India that he gets from our ridiculous socialist free-money-for-everybody-except-those-who-earn-it policies.

Stop provoking.

Stop defending weak posts. The question stands - if he's "building a multi-million dollar mansion" in India, just how much are we paying him? It seems incredible to me, and I'm suggesting the story sounds fishy. I note there's no name attached to the tale. And I bring it up because hysteria about the Jews circulated in much the same way in the 1930s - hence it's a little relevant today.
 

calgarytanks

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http://migration.ucdavis.edu/rs/more.php?id=158_0_2_0

this is the story of the Indian building the mansion


His refugee claim was rejected in 1992, and over the next 13 years, a very different picture of Harjit Singh emerged. He'd been convicted of migrant smuggling back in India; he'd faced charges of people smuggling in Canada that were dropped after he allegedly threatened witnesses; and he'd been found civilly liable in a $1-million credit-card fraud. Still, he managed to evade deportation, filing six bids to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds and numerous federal court appeals, saying he would be a target of Indian police.
some pretty clear abuse of the system if you ask me. good riddance
 

George Wallace

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SPECIAL just for Michael Dorosh:    (sorry it is a little long, but that is what he wants.)

BROKEN GATES: Canada's welcome mat frayed and unravelling
The Globe and Mail
Saturday, April 16, 2005
By Marina Jimenez
BROKEN GATES
Canada's welcome mat frayed and unravelling
Harjit Singh's 13-year moonwalk through the refugee process highlights serious
flaws in our immigration system, MARINA JIMENEZ finds

Harjit Singh -- the man who brought down immigration minister Judy Sgro -- wept at Pearson International Airport the day he was deported to New Delhi.

'I'm scared,' he told reporters. 'I'm afraid to go back. I don't know what will happen to me.'

For 17 years the pizza parlour owner from Brampton, Ont., had pleaded his case to Canadian authorities. He claimed police in India had tortured him for criticizing the government. To send him back could put him in harm's way -- and make Canada complicit in the violation of human rights.

His refugee claim was rejected in 1992, and over the next 13 years, a very different picture of Harjit Singh emerged. He'd been convicted of migrant smuggling back in India; he'd faced charges of people smuggling in Canada that were dropped after he allegedly threatened witnesses; and he'd been found civilly liable in a $1-million credit-card fraud. Still, he managed to evade deportation, filing six bids to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds and numerous federal court appeals, saying he would be a target of Indian police.

As he boarded the plane on Feb. 2, 2005, his family again portrayed him as the victim of a cruel system. They said he'd been put in solitary confinement at the Toronto West Detention Centre, where the guards denied him a glass of water and instead offered to urinate in a cup for him.

But, contrary to his protestations, Mr. Singh has not been tortured or imprisoned since arriving in India -- save for an overnight stint in immigration holdings at the Delhi airport. Nor has he been forced into hiding.

Instead, the 49-year-old businessman is busy building a gracious two-storey mansion in Jalandhar, a city of two million in the Punjab, 350 kilometres northwest of Delhi. The home, one of two he owns in an upscale area of the city, is palatial by Indian standards, with a black wrought-iron fence, hanging lanterns and a row of neatly planted trees out front. The walls are painted a pale pink, the colour of a sunset, and a red Royal Enfield motorcycle is parked outside.

Clad in black trousers and a white-checkered shirt, with two gold rings on his fingers, Mr. Singh seemed relaxed during a recent visit. 'You are always welcome to come to my house any time,' he told Indian journalist Pradeep Kumar, who spoke to him on behalf of The Globe and Mail. 'But don't talk about my case in Canada. . . . I'll deal with it on my own and I don't want to talk to the press on this issue.'

Mr. Singh seemed to be in good spirits, directing his energy to finishing his new, $300,000 home. But he was not inclined to talk much. His sensational accusations in Canada -- that Ms. Sgro had promised him asylum in return for free pizza and volunteer campaign help -- may have effectively destroyed her career despite her vigorous denials, but he has moved on.

'Whatever happened in Canada, it is with me. It is my life and I don't want to share anything with anybody,' Mr. Singh said.

Harjit Singh's case has come to symbolize all that is wrong with Canada's refugee and immigration systems. An individual whose bid to stay was repeatedly spurned was still able to appeal his way through more than a decade in this country. His accusations of influence peddling showed a system dangerously open to political manipulation.

'We need to learn a lesson from the Harjit Singh case,' said a senior official with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in a recent interview. 'We have to find a way to have a system with more finality, that at some point no has to mean no, there is no question about that.'

While the refugee process has become the flashpoint for the public's frustration, confidence in the overall immigration system has also eroded. Polls show that Canadians still overwhelmingly support immigration but have begun to question Ottawa's ability to manage it.

John Manley, the former deputy prime minister, calls the system 'badly broken.'

'You have a significant amount of pressure on MPs from people in the immigrant community who are frustrated by the system and therefore look for the discretionary exercise [or intervention in their cases],' he said.

Diane Ablonczy, the Conservative immigration critic, says people complain to her about everything from long waits to sponsor parents, to a failure to track the removal of failed refugee claimants. 'They think the system is teetering on the brink of chaos. It is not geared toward ensuring that the rules are respected,' said Ms. Ablonczy, the MP for Calgary-Nose Hill. 'The fear is that the public's attitudes could turn negative toward immigrants, as has happened in Europe.'

The concern, in essence, is that the right people can't get in, and can't get help once they get here, and the wrong people can't be forced out. An Ipsos-Reid poll found in 2004 that 71 per cent of Canadians believe the refugee system 'requires a major rethink' and 80 per cent said Ottawa should look for ways to reduce the cost of running it.

Asylum seekers are entitled to social assistance and legal representation and their appeals take up the time of immigration officers and judges. In the past decade, there has been a 300-per-cent increase in the number of immigration and refugee cases before the Federal Court; they now account for 84 per cent of cases the court hears.

Since there is no merit-based appeal, many use the Immigration Department's humanitarian review as a de facto appeal, arguing they have been in the country so long, it would be a hardship to make them leave.

Twenty years ago this month, a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision fundamentally altered the way refugee claims are dealt with, triggering a cascade of changes that form today's troubled system.

The ruling, written by Bertha Wilson, an outspoken liberal with an expansive view of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms who has since retired, centred on the appeals of six Indian nationals with the surname Singh, and a woman from Guyana.

The Singhs claimed they would be persecuted in India because of their association with the Akali Dal party in the Punjab, while the Guyanese woman claimed asylum on political and religious grounds. The Refugee Status Advisory Committee and the Immigration Appeal Board, which relied on written transcripts and not oral hearings, rejected their cases.

In her ruling, Judge Wilson found that the refugee system as it existed violated the Charter, which guarantees 'everyone' on Canadian soil, including asylum seekers, the right to fundamental justice.

Two of the sitting justices agreed with her, while three others were silent on a refugee claimant's Charter rights, but ruled that the Immigration Appeal Board, as it was, violated a claimant's right to an oral hearing, as protected by the Bill of Rights.

It took four years for the federal government to respond, with the creation of the Immigration and Refugee Board. By then, a backlog of 115,000 cases had built up, which many believe hobbled the process right from the start.

Moreover, qualified judges and legal experts were not appointed to the IRB. Instead, the $100,000-a-year jobs went to defeated political candidates, party workers and refugee advocates with no legal expertise. While many IRB members became skilled adjudicators, there have been complaints of incompetence and corruption.

The most notorious case involved former board member Yves Bourbonnais. Appointed by then immigration minister Lucienne Robillard in 1996, he is alleged to have taken bribes in exchange for favourable decisions and now faces 97 counts of breach of trust, fraud and obstruction of justice.

Some observers, including politicians, believe the Singh decision was wrong to grant non-Canadians Charter rights, and even suggest that today's Supreme Court might rule differently.

'It is not at all clear to me that the Singh case would be decided quite the same way today if the current Supreme Court had a chance to look at it,' Mr. Manley said. 'I think the government should look very closely at that case and see whether they don't want to re-legislate in the area of access to the Charter protection by people arriving in Canada with no nexus to Canada.'

Legal experts suggest the problem lies less with the ruling, and more with Ottawa's interpretation of it. 'The Singh decision is not about the right of appeal after one has had an opportunity to be heard or the right to remain in Canada while those appeals are entertained,' said David Schneiderman, a University of Toronto constitutional law professor. 'The larger principle the case speaks to, however, is about 'natural' or 'fundamental' justice.'

Natural justice refers to procedural fairness, which could include everything from a full-blown court hearing to having an opportunity to know the case against you and the chance to reply.

Prof. Schneiderman notes that while the current Supreme Court has become more timid on complex social-policy questions, it has also erred on the side of protecting the interests of refugee claimants. In recent rulings, the court has said failed claimants may not be deported to face torture in their homeland, except in exceptional circumstances.

Ottawa has taken steps to improve the IRB, even as it has broadened the definition of refugee to include not just those with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion, but also those in need of protection because they will be tortured, and those who could be persecuted because they are gay or abused spouses.

The IRB's appointments process has been changed to eliminate patronage. The backlog of cases is down to a more manageable 26,000. The number of claims in 2004 was 25,000, and decisions are issued in less than a year. The acceptance rate has dropped steadily from a high of 84 per cent in 1989, when the board received 12,000 claims, to 40 per cent last year.

But critics say more changes are needed, especially when it comes to the appeals process.
A flow chart showing the steps an asylum seeker goes through before removal is a labyrinth of confusion.

Failed claimants may:

• Seek judicial review in the Federal Court, which only considers mistakes in law (success rate: less than 10 per cent);

• Request a pre-removal risk assessment that examines whether rejected refugees would face torture or danger if deported (success rate: 4 per cent);

• File a humanitarian and compassionate review, arguing they would suffer unusual hardship if removed (success rate: 60 per cent);

• Ask the Federal Court to review negative decisions in the above three appeals.

The cost of all this is considerable, including social assistance for claimants, legal-aid funding and the cost of removals. The IRB's annual budget is about $100-million, while about 12 per cent of Ontario Legal Aid's $157- million budget last year was spent on immigration and refugee cases. In Ontario, 14,000 refugee claimants collected $115-million in social assistance in 2004.

At the same time, refugee source countries have changed significantly. The drop in the acceptance rate in part reflects the fact that more and more economic migrants, who may be unable to qualify under Canada's immigrant point system, are attempting to use the refugee system as a back-door entry.

Among the top 10 source countries last year were democracies such as Mexico, India and Costa Rica. War-torn nations such as Rwanda, Sudan and Afghanistan did not make the list.

'There is no shortage of refugees in the world and we can meet our obligations by bringing people largely from UNHCR camps anywhere in the world,' Mr. Manley said. 'These are genuine people who have fled for fear of losing their lives. . . . People who get to Canada because they've got money and connections, they shouldn't be at the top of our list.'

Harjit Singh is a case in point. He appealed four times to the Federal Court, and filed six humanitarian appeals, all of which were refused, in part because of his criminal conviction in India, which he lied about.

Three weeks after being deported, Mr. Singh sold his $485,000 Brampton home to his daughter and son-in-law. Ms. Sgro, who has launched two $800,000 lawsuits against him for libel and conspiracy, is attempting to undo this property transfer, which she claims was a deliberate attempt to hide his assets.

Mr. Singh isn't the only one who has succeeded in manipulating the system over the years. Convicted Palestinian terrorist Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad has stalled deportation proceedings for more than 15 years by filing repeated appeals and is now arguing he would not receive adequate medical care if returned to Lebanon.

All of which has swamped the Federal Court, which squeezes tax, patent and aboriginal law, among other obligations, between immigration and refugee cases. The workload is so vast the court has had to appoint 15 new judges in the past decade.

'Neither the government nor the court expected this large increase in immigration and refugee matters. It is not something the court is well placed to deal with in terms of the quantity and proportion of our resources,' Mr. Justice James O'Reilly of the Federal Court said. 'It's a heavy responsibility and a big workload.'

Many MPs from immigrant-heavy ridings in Toronto and Vancouver spend much of their constituency time tracking down family sponsorship files, helping failed claimants make humanitarian reviews and other related work. 'MPs' work in the immigration field has skyrocketed,' said Ms. Ablonczy, who spends 75 per cent of her time on these files.

Mr. Manley, who used to represent the riding of Ottawa South, added: 'In my riding office, 60 to 75 per cent of my cases were immigration cases. It just never stops.'

Catherine Dauvergne, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, says it all comes down to two fundamental weaknesses: failure to enforce removal orders, and misuse of the humanitarian and compassionate review, which now operates as a shadow immigration system.

'What allows people to stay so long in Canada isn't their legal rights conferred by the 1985 Singh decision. It's the fact that we don't make them leave,' said the professor, who holds UBC's research chair in migration law.

Most experts say it's impossible -- and impractical -- for Canada to remove every failed claimant, just as it is impossible to issue tickets to every speeding motorist. The key is to deport all criminals, and remove enough failed claimants to provide a deterrent to other bogus claimants.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser found two years ago that a 'large gap' of 36,000 existed between the number of removal orders issued and the number of departures confirmed. 'The figure does indicate that the department is falling behind in its enforcement efforts. The growing backlog in removals undermines the system used to admit people to this country,' she said.

According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, the government usually removes about 10,000 people a year. Thousands more are waiting to be removed.

Deportations may be stalled because people disappear and go underground, abscond to the United States, leave voluntarily or because the homelands of failed claimants will not accept them back.

Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration lawyer, says Ottawa cut Citizenship and Immigration Canada's budget in the 1990s and has never made funding for removals a priority.

Prof. Dauvergne's other serious concern is that the criteria for humanitarian and compassionate reviews are too 'loose and fluid.' Immigration officers assess these reviews on the basis of an applicant's background, ties to Canada, presence of Canadian-born children and situation in their country of origin.

There are 12,400 of these in the backlog and they take an average of 30 months to process.

As well, the high approval rate -- about 60 per cent -- gives claimants an incentive to prolong their stay here in the hopes they can argue that they have been here so long, it would be a hardship to remove them.

Many failed claimants also have children here, and then use their offspring as part of their humanitarian case, a practise that has become so common that the children have been dubbed 'anchor babies.'

A recent poll by Ipsos-Reid found that 53 per cent of Canadians do not approve of automatic Canadian citizenship for children born on Canadian soil from non-Canadian parents who are visiting the country.

In its defence, Ottawa says it has taken significant steps to curtail abuse of the refugee system. In the past three years, the government has introduced visitor's visas for 12 new countries (including Costa Rica), as well as one for seafarers, to deter economic migrants from using the asylum system as a back door into the country.

The recently enacted U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires refugees who land first in the United States to seek a safe haven there, will cut down on the number of claimants in Canada. As many as 6,000 claims were made at the Canada-U.S. border last year.

The Canadian Border Services Agency is also doing more interdiction overseas, stopping those with false documents from flying to Canada, and also detaining those who arrive in Canada with false documents and are unco-operative. (Last year, 13,413 people were detained on arrival, compared to 8,221 in 1998. Most are released after a few weeks.)

Ottawa's modest reforms, moreover, fail to address the core problem: the inability to bring the cases of failed claimants to conclusion. 'We want to push it further on finality,' said an immigration official. 'We want people to face consequences faster, both those found to be refugees and those rejected.'

Prof. Dauvergne believes Canada should retain the positive elements in its system -- a fair adjudication process -- but not shy away from hastening removals and streamlining appeals.

Otherwise, more Harjit Singhs will surface, confirming that those intent on manipulating the system do.

If he ever tires of his life as a well-heeled landlord and decides to leave behind his pale pink home and his bright-red motorcycle in Jalandhar, it would be difficult for Mr. Singh to return to Canada, but not impossible. He is prohibited from filing another asylum claim. But he could put his finely honed skills to work and slip in under a new identity. If immigration authorities failed to detect the falsehood, he would not be fingerprinted. Unless he committed another crime, nobody would ever know that Harjit Singh was back. In this seven-part series, The Globe will examine immigration and its many troubles, from the front lines of people-smuggling investigations to the political backrooms where decisions are made. On Monday, the second instalment will explore the failures to deport even hardened criminals.

Ipsos Reid canvassed 1,200 Canadians across the country in October, 2004; the margin of error is 2.8 per cent.

The refugee system requires a major re-think or adjustment:

Agree: 71%
Currently working well: 26%
Don't know: 3%

Immigrants are at a disadvantage compared to Canadians when it comes to finding employment in their field of expertise:

Strongly agree: 43%
Somewhat agree: 27%
Disagree/don't know: 30%

Refugees are selected in camps, and also come to Canada and say they cannot go home because they face persecution. Are there too many in the latter group?

Too many: 53%
Too few: 14%
About the right number: 26%
Don't know: 6%

Ottawa should be looking for ways to reduce the costs of the refugee system:

Agree: 80%
Disagree: 20%

The Globe and Mail
Monday, April 18, 2005
By Colin Freeze
BROKEN GATES
Criminals with refugee claims are well-versed on their rights
Even after convictions for serious crimes, it's not that easy to expel
offenders from Canada, COLIN FREEZE finds

Mihaly Illes knew all about his Canadian entitlements. 'That's a violation of my rights,' the Hungarian told officials at his 1998 deportation hearing. 'I'm sure there is a proper way to do this,' he sulked later on. 'I'm not going to participate in it,' he said, ultimately leaving the hearing room to be escorted back to his jail cell.

Since his arrival in Canada in 1992 as a refugee claimant sponsored by a Presbyterian church, the 34-year-old had been no choirboy. He was frequently in and out of trouble with the law. He had made friends with Eastern European mobsters and outlaw bikers. He was facing a slew of drug and gun charges.

Police once found him with a rifle, a semi-automatic pistol and other guns. While serving a seven-year sentence for drug dealing, Mr. Illes allegedly threatened to kill a police officer. Prison officials also say they overheard him talking about how he planned to go back to work dealing drugs as, 'there is very good money in that' in Canada.

Despite all this, Mr. Illes managed to delay his deportation until the fall of 2000. Then, just a few months after being sent home, he waltzed back into Canada, presumably using fake identification. He went back to work dealing cocaine.

Authorities stumbled on Mr. Illes while he was crossing the Canada-U.S. border. They rearrested him and eventually realized he had done a lot worse than come back and deal drugs: He had killed one of his close associates, Javan Dowling.

The 28-year-old man's bullet-riddled skull was discovered near a B.C. logging road in 2001. Prosecutors were able to establish that a drug network had ordered Mr. Illes to kill his friend, and the Hungarian had carted the head around in a Home Depot bucket, showing it to several people before burying it in the wilderness.

Sentenced to life in prison last year, Mr. Illes is just one example of a foreign-born criminal knowing how to work the system. Some simply slip back into Canada to reoffend after being deported. Many others ward off banishment by wrapping themselves in the protections of refugee rights. Still others take advantage of Canada's reluctance to jail immigrant offenders -- and then skip scheduled flights back to their homelands.

Exasperated police, who complain the system is all carrot and no stick, marvel at the case files of some non-citizens who linger in Canada despite amassing up to 30 criminal convictions over time. Vancouver police, who chronically contend with foreign drug dealers, are especially critical of Canada's immigration system.

'My issue is with the system that allows these guys to make repeated refugee claims and each claim has to be investigated as if it has merit,' Inspector Val Harrison said.

'To me, once a person has been ordered deported we should just be able to drop kick them -- every time they come back, we just boot them.'

Easier said than done. Canadian laws do allow for non-citizens, such as refugee claimants or landed immigrants, to be jailed and sent back to their homeland if they commit serious crimes. But officials say the process is extremely difficult, given various complexities, refugee protections and an ingrained tendency to give offenders the benefit of the doubt.

Criminality is just one factor to be considered during deportation hearings. The government has to weigh whether offenders may be abused back at home, or if children left in Canada would suffer in their absence. Such considerations often trump long rap sheets, allowing for indefinite stays.

The Canada Border Services Agency, the federal agency in charge of removing illegal immigrants, says it is cracking down. Officials point to the record number -- more than 10,000 yearly -- of people now considered 'confirmed removals.'

Yet the vast majority of these removal cases involve failed refugee claimants who have never committed any crime and who leave Canada willingly. Fewer removal cases involve known criminals.

In 2001, for example, Canada kicked out nearly 2,000 people for reasons of criminality, or after they were declared a danger to the public. Last year, despite growing overall removals, fewer than 1,700 such offenders were sent packing.

Federal authorities have long promised to get tough. This was especially true a decade ago, when they were presented with two headline-grabbing wake-up calls. In 1994, a gunman ordered deported to Jamaica stayed here long enough to shoot dead Toronto Police Constable Todd Baylis. Then, in a similar slaying, Torontonian Vivi Leimonis was gunned down during a robbery in a cafe called Just Desserts.

Ottawa had a hot issue on its hands and set about overhauling laws and regulations.

Yet the same problems stubbornly keep coming back. In 2003, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser looked at the immigration-enforcement system and made some familiar complaints. Citing incomplete computer databases, a lack of detention spaces, protracted court battles and a general lack of resources, she found that the removal pipeline was badly clogged. In fact, she pointed out, there were 11,000 live cases that hadn't even been assigned to anyone. Moreover, computer databases showed about 30,000 outstanding immigration-arrest warrants for removals that had never been enforced -- some up to seven years old.

The people in question ran the gamut from non-criminals who had simply overstayed to those considered dangerous. The Auditor-General sternly noted that up to half of the immigrants who had been asked to leave 'simply did not appear for the removal interview or the scheduled departure.'

While Toronto now has a special enforcement squad, the Auditor-General noted that ones in Montreal and Vancouver were short-lived.

Enforcement actions can make a huge difference in people's lives, especially those who feel threatened by violent gangsters. One of the best examples of this is a 2001 project, in which police and federal officials teamed up to stanch the bloodletting in Toronto's Tamil community.

A few dozen feuding gangsters were at each other's throats. There were machete-and meat-cleaver melees. At the height of the violence, police say they logged reports of shootings almost daily, including ones on highways and in late-night doughnut shops. At least three homicide investigations were under way when the crackdown occurred.

About 50 reputed gangsters were arrested. Detectives estimated that most of the violence was perpetrated by non-citizens, many of whom had already been in and out of jail. The plan was to round up the thugs and ship them back to Sri Lanka, once and for all.

Leaders of Toronto's 200,000-strong Tamil community lauded the crackdown and the peace that resulted. Yet the resulting hearings have been a big disappointment.

The reputed ringleaders all remain in Canada. Only six lesser figures have been sent back. In fact, four years after the roundup, nearly 30 deportation cases remain unresolved. Judges and adjudicators are largely hung up on the question of whether the refugee claimants will be abused in Sri Lanka.

Kaileshan Thanabalasingham, who has a metre-high file in the Federal Court, is one representative of this group. Police submitted charts and witness statements placing the 33-year-old at the centre of a violent gang. He has three criminal convictions, including weapons offences involving machetes and guns.

In his defence, the accused filed letters from a host of references saying he has the makings of a good citizen -- he even inserted a note from his mom.

More recently, he has admitted to perjury and concealing his gang ties. Despite the violence and lies, he remains free on bail as the lawyers debate whether he'd be abused in Sri Lanka. This type of legal wrangling is not uncommon.

'It's important to remember that anybody who sets foot in Canada has full protection of the Charter,' says James Bissett of the border services agency.

In an interview, the director of inland enforcement, whose 350 officers work to track down the worst of the worst, said the picture is getting better. Detentions and deportations are up, while databases are increasingly co-ordinated. But Mr. Bissett concedes that deportation remains a big challenge.

One chronic case of abuse involves Honduran refugee claimants in Vancouver. Their claims are rejected 95 per cent of the time. Yet dozens linger long enough to openly deal crack cocaine in the city's downtown. They duck authorities then, when arrested, tend to go in and out of jail, make bail and disappear.

This has been going on for nearly a decade, despite periodic enforcement efforts aimed at containing the problem. Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland, an immigration policy expert, has recently suggested officials launch a pilot program to detain such repeat offenders until they prove they are bona fide refugees.

But the border services agency's Mr. Bissett says the idea is 'a little bit naive.'

'In my humble opinion, that would never stand up to any Charter challenge -- that somehow you are going to round up a certain ethnic minority or certain group, and put them in detention? It just wouldn't fly. No way.'

Besides, there aren't a lot of places to detain people. Canada, a country that allows in more than 200,000 immigrants a year, has just over 300 dedicated spots for immigration offenders. Most of the time, federal authorities negotiate for provincial jail space at a cost of about $200 a day for each offender.

But Mihaly Illes is one foreign-born gangster who will remain behind bars. The Hungarian's murder conviction means he will be locked up until at least 2026.

Mr. Illes was openly contemptuous of the same immigration system that had once granted him a new home. After he was deported, he found it remarkably easy to come back -- another chronic problem that police say they often encounter.

Now a convicted murderer, Mr. Illes still battles to make sure Canada protects his rights. At the B.C. Supreme Court, he successfully argued that his Charter rights were violated when officials automatically revoked his parole after rearresting him at the Canada-U.S. border.

More recently he made a cameo appearance in a Supreme Court decision that gives prisoners the right to carry knives to defend themselves.

The prisoner at the centre of the case, also being held in a high-security penitentiary, said that every night he stashed away two knives. And in the morning he fished them out and provided one, a sharpened steel rod, to his friend, Mr. Illes.

'I have two for about 10 minutes every day until I give my friend his,' the prisoner said.

'Your friend meaning [Mihaly] Illes, right?' a lawyer asked. '. . . That was his, shall we call it, the ice pick?'

'If you want,' the prisoner responded. Deported from Canada

Canada is deporting more people than ever, but criminals represent a small and shrinking portion of the people sent packing.


1999-2000
Total removed 8,149
Total criminals removed 1,736
Immigrants declared too dangerous for Canada 251


2000-2001
Total removed 8,946
Total criminals removed 1,744
Immigrants declared too dangerous for Canada 219
Confirmed criminal deportees that arrived as refugee claimants 461


2001-2002
Total removed 9,195
Total criminals removed 1,779
Immigrants declared too dangerous for Canada 141
Confirmed criminal deportees that arrived as refugee claimants 435


2002-2003
Total removed

Go ahead Michael, defend these guys.

[EDIT] I see someone beat me to this article, and posted a shorter version with a link.  My apologies.  :-[
 

xenobard

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@Daniel San

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

I agree that the above should be applied in general, but the Charkaoui case is different because of substantial national security risks posed by his release, hence the proportional balancing act in the courts.  In the meanwhile, simply putting a GPS tracker on him and keeping a close watch is too much a risk in my point of view.

I mean I can't understand why he would be allowed to be interviewed on CPAC.  His public pleas for fair treatment could very well have been a smoke-screen for some sort of encrypted message relayed to Al Queda operatives through the Canadian media.  That risk - from my vantage point - was unnecessary.  Better to just punt him and be done with it.  There is something to say for keeping your enemies close, but that is a very fine and dangerous line indeed.









 

Daniel San

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xenobard, I am pretty sure the Supreme Court is going to rule in favour of upholding security certificates for the reasons you stated. The only thing still bothering me is that the evidence is held secret, so we don't really know if it is strong or not.
 

Gunnar

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10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

I agree that the above should be applied in general, but the Charkaoui case is different because of substantial national security risks posed by his release, hence the proportional balancing act in the courts. 

What do the rights listed here have to do with his release?  They don't mention release, they say he has a right to have counsel, know what the charges are for, and to be informed (habeas corpus) why he was charged...i.e., evidence.

Doesn't say that if there is even a tiny bit of evidence that he can't be held.  Just says that a reason for doing so has to be presented.

In the meanwhile, simply putting a GPS tracker on him and keeping a close watch is too much a risk in my point of view.

If  the court has so determined, then presumably they had their reasons...be we can't even know if this is a good idea or not if the evidence is held secret.

I mean I can't understand why he would be allowed to be interviewed on CPAC.  His public pleas for fair treatment could very well have been a smoke-screen for some sort of encrypted message relayed to Al Queda operatives through the Canadian media.  That risk - from my vantage point - was unnecessary.  Better to just punt him and be done with it.  There is something to say for keeping your enemies close, but that is a very fine and dangerous line indeed.

He's allowed to be interviewed on CPAC because until he is proved guilty, or detained by police in a lawful manner, he is a free man in a free country, and can do what he likes.

If they have the tiniest bit of evidence, and the balls to act on it, they can lock him up pending trial.  Not having the guts to upset liberal opinion is not sufficient grounds for throwing people in jail based on "secret" evidence.
 

George Wallace

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Daniel San said:
xenobard, I am pretty sure the Supreme Court is going to rule in favour of upholding security certificates for the reasons you stated. The only thing still bothering me is that the evidence is held secret, so we don't really know if it is strong or not.

Out of curiosity, do you know all the minutest details of any cases in the court, other than what you yourself may be involved in?  If all the facts were made public, then the case would be tried in the media and not the courts, and make an even bigger mockery of our Legal System.  These are not your normal violent criminal, as already pointed out, but Terrorists.  Maybe not the most competent of Terrorists, but still Terrorists, who are fighting a war, plotting mass murder. 

Think back to every war ever fought and give me an example where each and every Prisoner of War was given a trial that in any way resembles what these guys are going to get.  Other than the Nuremberg Trials at the end of WW II, there is nothing in the History books.  We have since set up the World Court in The Hague, where we are tracking down and prosecuting War Criminals after hostilities have ended, but it still is not the detaining of members of an organized force captured during a conflict. 

If naivete is what is going to be used as a Defence, then the old saying of "Ignorance of the Law is no excuse." should be the prominent point made in the prosecution of these individuals.  As for the "Young Offenders Act", these five youths should not be tried as Young Offenders, but as adults conspiring to Terrorism and be exposed to the fullest extent of the Law.  Youth Detention would do nothing to change their beliefs, so they should be detained for the maximum amount of time and kept out of the society they want to distroy.

In the end, will the Canadian Government and Legal System prosecute these 17 to the fullest extent of the Law?  In the end, it looks like we will be greatly disappointed.
 

Michael Dorosh

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That's more like it; an actual source. Good article. 

Some things that jump out:

Yet the vast majority of these removal cases involve failed refugee claimants who have never committed any crime and who leave Canada willingly. Fewer removal cases involve known criminals.

The “multi million dollar mansion” George mentioned was actually one of two homes, the second valued at $300,000 ... and palatial only by “Indian standards.” Not to suggest the immigration system isn't broken but hyperbole is hyperbole.

I liked this also:

Diane Ablonczy, the Conservative immigration critic, says people complain to her about everything from long waits to sponsor parents, to a failure to track the removal of failed refugee claimants. 'They think the system is teetering on the brink of chaos. It is not geared toward ensuring that the rules are respected,' said Ms. Ablonczy, the MP for Calgary-Nose Hill. 'The fear is that the public's attitudes could turn negative toward immigrants, as has happened in Europe.'

Judging by some of the comments posted here, I guess that's already happened.
 

Michael Dorosh

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paracowboy said:
stop equating us with the Nazis. Stop trolling. Full stop.

Para, you obviously misunderstood my comments . I was saying that we refused to accept Jewish immigrants because of our fear of immigrants - Albonczy mentions the same fear is once again creeping into Canadian society. Which part of that is comparing us to the Nazis?
 

xenobard

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Michael,

I don't think xenophobia is what's going on here in Canada.  Instead, I see a perfectly rational awareness of the fact that our country is at war with an pan-national enemy whose members attempt to infiltrate our borders.  This awareness is quickly coming to fruition.  This is good.  We might finally see some political will in patching up the holes in our net.

 

Michael Dorosh

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xenobard said:
Michael,

I don't think xenophobia is what's going on here in Canada.  Instead, I see a perfectly rational awareness of the fact that our country is at war with an pan-national enemy whose members attempt to infiltrate our borders.  This awareness is quickly coming to fruition.  This is good.  We might finally see some political will in patching up the holes in our net.

If you are suggesting this forum may not be a representative sampling of the general populace, I think we would all agree that certain mindsets predominate here.  Ablonczy's point is, AIUI, simply that we don't want to repeat mistakes made in the past. I don't think that means she wants to turn a blind eye to everyone wanting to move here, nor do I think rejecting immigrants makes us bad people. Given the cost of housing in Calgary, I'd be glad to turn off the tap right now, for my own selfish reasons. But if having a world class Army is what gives us prestige among nations, as is so often argued here, certainly how we treat the disenfranchised of other nations also reflects on us.  And having said that, becoming a haven for criminals and terrorists is obviously going too far in the wrong direction as well - bringing us back to that whole tightrope thing.
 

xenobard

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....certain mindsets predominate here...

I, personally, have not noticed what kind of mindsets predominate here.  I guess I need to spend more time on this forum to discoverthat.

If you are suggesting this forum may not be a representative sampling of the general populace

I'm not suggesting that.  Again, I don't know if in fact the opinions presented here are representative of the general population.  However, when I mention what I think most Canadians would agree with I take into account my general understanding of what Candians' perceptions are overall.   I don't pretend to know for certain what they are, however.  It is just an opinion.

Ablonczy's point is, AIUI, simply that we don't want to repeat mistakes made in the past.

Yes.  I agree, of course.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of Canadians would also agree - so much so that it really isn't an issue anymore.

 

Michael Dorosh

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xenobard said:
I, personally, have not noticed what kind of mindsets predominate here.  I guess I need to spend more time on this forum to discoverthat.

I'm not suggesting that.  Again, I don't know if in fact the opinions presented here are representative of the general population.

A survey of many of the threads show a conservative leaning (I like to think it is really middle-of-the-road but everything is relative) and a vested interest in matters such as terrorism and security. I think a lot of the "common sense" stuff posted here really does match what people on the street near where I live are saying, but I'm from Alberta and I think our perspective really is different from those in the East, and perhaps in particular civilians there. An example where the differing attitudes is most apparent would be gun control, for example. People here train with them as part of their profession; soccer moms in T.O. only experience them when news reports tell about teenagers who are murdered with them.
 

GAP

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Ottawa orders Harkat deported to native Algeria
Updated Tue. Jul. 18 2006  CTV.ca News Staff
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060718/Harkat_ordered_deported_060718/20060718?hub=TopStories

Mohamed Harkat, an Algerian-born Canadian accused of terrorist ties, has been ordered deported to Algeria by the federal government.

Harkat, 37, has said he fears being tortured if he's sent back to his native country, and his lawyer, Paul Copeland, said they will be fighting the ruling.

"We're going to seek a judicial review of the decision," Copeland told CTV News on Tuesday.

Harkat was notified of the decision by the Canadian Border Services Agency on Friday, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

James Schultz, a federal bureaucrat within agency, said in a 55-page decision that the danger posed by Harkat as an alleged al Qaeda operative outweighed his right to be protected from abuse in Algeria.
More on link
 

bilton090

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James Schultz, a federal bureaucrat within agency, said in a 55-page decision that the danger posed by Harkat as an alleged al Qaeda operative outweighed his right to be protected from abuse in Algeria.

    Why does it take years to deport these people ? If you do something wrong here before becoming a Canadian, they should be put on the first plane out of here !
      So what about the abuse he might get, the sh@t that he was planning out ways his rights ! but CSIS & the RCMP are just picking on him  :crybaby:, A Innocent muslim with ties to Al Qaeda  >:D .
    We have to start cutting out the cancer in this country, and not crying over the terrorist's right's, they are not losing sleep over the Innocent people they kill, they are trying to kill us all !
    They shoud be shout as spy's !  :salute:
 

bilton090

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Trinity said:
Assumption of guilt is bad....  you said it yourself, just in not such a clear way
They lock you up for 3 yrs for something to do ! ;D , they don't even lock up drunk driver's that killed someone, for 3 yrs ( house arst. ) it's not assumption of guilt, the f-er did something or was planning something !
    Padre Wake up ! this is not the good old days of WWII, these are sick extremists that are trying to exterminate anyone that doesn't think like the 1000 yr old, f-up ways they have. We should not be using minimal force, but all out war !
   
      P.S- get the rope !
 

geo

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it's an interesting situation
you have people who "fear" being returned to their native country BUT
have no compunction with plotting the destruction of western culture AND the great satan.

Remember when Ayatolah Khomeini was a guest of France?
Remember when Osama & Sadam was a friend of the US?
 

The Bread Guy

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Decision:
Charkaoui v.  Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 SCC 9

Background on Security Certificates here

MSM coverage:
Top court overturns security certificates
Gives MPs a year to draft new law

Canadian Press, 23 Feb 07
Article Link

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the security certificate system used by the federal government to detain and deport foreign-born terrorist suspects.  In a 9-0 judgment, the court found that the system, described by government officials as a key tool for safeguarding national security, violates the Charter of Rights.  But the court suspended the judgment from taking legal effect for a year, giving Parliament time to write a new law complying with constitutional principles.  The lawyer for Mohammed Harkat, one of the three terrorist suspects who brought the case before the high court, said the judges delivered almost exactly what they asked for.  Critics have long denounced the certificates, which can lead to deportation of non-citizens on the basis of secret intelligence presented to a Federal Court judge at closed-door hearings ....


Court strikes indefinite holding of terror suspects
CNN online, 23 Feb 07
Article Link

Canada's Supreme Court struck down Friday a controversial anti-terror law that allows foreign suspects to be detained indefinitely on the basis of secret evidence.  The court ruled unanimously that the government had broken Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms by issuing so-called security certificates to imprison people, pending deportation, without giving them a chance to see the government's case.  "Before the state can detain people for significant periods of time, it must accord them a fair judicial process," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote on behalf of all nine judges.  "The secrecy required by the (certificates) scheme denies the named person the opportunity to know the case out against him or her, and hence to challenge the government's case."  The court suspended the ruling for a year to allow Parliament time to rewrite the relevant part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, under which the certificates are issued.  The court ruled on cases brought by three Arab Muslim men who were detained between 2001 and 2003 on suspicion they were part of al Qaeda.  Ottawa says the men can leave the country at any time but must remain in detention or very close watch until then because they pose too much of a threat. The men say they could be tortured if they are sent back to their countries of birth ....


Canada's Highest Court Strikes Terror Detention Law
Joe Schneider, Bloomberg news service, 23 Feb 07
Article Link

Canada's highest court struck down a federal law used to detain terrorism suspects, saying the law doesn't ``conform to fundamental justice'' and giving the government a year to rewrite it.  The Supreme Court's nine-member panel ruled unanimously today that the use of ``security certificates'' to detain people deemed a threat to the country's security is illegal.  Federal authorities can detain suspects, following approval of a security certificate by either the minister of citizenship or minister of public safety, without laying specific charges and without providing all the facts to the suspects or their lawyers. Federal officials have said withholding the information is necessary to protect intelligence-gathering methods.  ``Less intrusive alternatives developed in Canada and abroad, notably the use of special counsel to act on behalf of the named person, illustrate that the government can do more to protect the individual while keeping critical information confidential,'' the judges said ....


Canada Rules Indefinite Detention Wrong
BETH DUFF-BROWN, Associated Press, 23 Feb 07
Article Link

Canada's Supreme Court struck down the government's right to detain foreign terrorism suspects indefinitely and without trial, ruling Friday that the system violates the country's bill of rights.  The Justice Department had insisted that the "security certificate" program is a key tool in the fight against global terrorism and essential to national security.  But in a 9-0 judgment, the high court found the system violates the Charter of Rights and Freedom. It suspended the judgment from taking effect for a year, to give Parliament time to rewrite the law that deals with the certificates.  The certificates were challenged on constitutional grounds by three men from Morocco, Syria and Algeria -- all alleged by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to have ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.  "The overarching principle of fundamental justice that applies here is this: before the state can detain people for significant periods of time, it must accord them a fair judicial process," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in the ruling ....

 

old medic

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Judge says grounds to declare Harkat security threat
The Canadian Press
Date: Thursday Dec. 9, 2010 10:17 AM ET
Copy at: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20101209/judge-grounds-harkat-threat-security-101209/

OTTAWA — A federal judge says there are reasonable grounds to believe Algerian-born Mohamed Harkat is a threat to national security.

Federal Court Justice Simon Noel's decision in the long-running case could pave the way for Harkat's deportation to his native country.

In a separate ruling, Noel upheld the constitutionality of the national security certificate system the government is using to remove Harkat from Canada.

Harkat, a 42-year-old former gas bar attendant and pizza delivery man, was arrested eight years ago on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent.

The federal government painted him as a calculating terrorist who consistently covered his tracks with lies.

Harkat, who lives in Ottawa with wife Sophie, denies any involvement with terrorism.

He says he's merely a refugee who fled strife-ridden Algeria and worked with an aid agency in Pakistan before his 1995 arrival in Canada using a false Saudi passport.

The case hit numerous snags and delays, including an earlier, successful constitutional challenge that forced the government to revamp the security certificate system -- a seldom-used means of removing suspected terrorists and spies.

The government reissued a certificate against Harkat in 2008. He says he will be tortured if returned to his homeland.

Noel weighed evidence heard behind closed doors and in open court before issuing his decision on the certificate's validity.
 
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