Mr. Chair, before any other motions are put in regard to Bill C-31, I want to get on the record the amendment we're now talking about. In the past, we, as a political entity, have expressed our concern that refugees, or people applying to become refugees, even if they're from a safe country, be provided some reasonable opportunity of appeal.
What the government is proposing to do, in essence, is to say that technically a refugee’s only appeal is the Federal Court, which raises a great deal of concern with a wide variety, if not all, stakeholders. For that reason, I think the government would be making a mistake by going into an area where an individual’s only recourse for a decision made is to take it to the Federal Court. We know that at times the Federal Court, in itself, can be a fairly lengthy process, anywhere from three months to over a year. Unless we amend the current legislation, Mr. Chairperson, the individuals seeking an appeal will not even be in the country at the time their appeal is being heard.
I'm sure members can appreciate the concerns stakeholders would have, for the simple reason that there's always been this sense of justice that someone going through an appeal have the opportunity to be in the country, at least until that final determination is read or given. It's a serious concern we have.
With that in mind, whether it's the NDP amendment or amendments from the Liberal Party attempting to deal with that issue, those are my comments for committee members.