The only comment I'll make on the bias is that I'm the author of several books on immigration and refugee law, which are often cited by the Federal Court. I've been called a scholar by judges of the Federal Court, so I think that's a fairly fulsome answer to suggestions of bias. I won't respond to the other aspect of that.
What would be a fair process? A fair process would be one that requires a timely decision. I have no difficulty with timeframes, but the timeframes have to be reasonable regardless of whether the person is designated or not. The problem with the current process is not that it's problematic; it's that it wasn't sufficiently resourced to do the job it had to do in the time it had before it.
I'll give you an example, if you want to see an irony. The current IRPA says that a Federal Court judge has to review an application for leave, of any immigration decision, render a decision, and the hearing has to be held within 90 days.
Because they don't have enough Federal Court judges to decide the leave, what happens is that a judge will look at the decision, but in order to comply with the law, he will then wait, and the formal order won't be issued until there's a slot. There are not enough Federal Court judges to hear the leave.
So they get around the law by deciding the matter but not formally issuing the order. One can imagine similar scenarios beginning to occur in the refugee determination process.
Depending on the volume of claims, if there are enough people to decide the claims, then claims will get decided in a timely fashion. It doesn't matter what the timeframes are. Refugees would love to have their hearings held within two or three months, as that would allow them to have sufficient time to retain counsel. My clients suffer greatly by having to wait for years before they get a positive determination. There's absolutely no dispute about that. The reason this happened was that the system wasn't properly resourced.
There's no problem with the current system if it's properly resourced. Fundamentally there aren't any significant changes. The big change is that instead of having order in council appointees we're having public servants. The same decision-maker, the same division, is still going to be making decisions. There's going to be the same basic form. Instead of having 28 days, it's going to be filed in 15.
The question really is, regardless of what the legislation says, will there be sufficient resources to allow for a timely decision? I mean, to decree 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days won't make any difference; if there aren't enough resources, the refugee board will have to find ways to deal with the caseload—