Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to debate Motions Nos. 4 and 5 which are before the House. The proposed legislation that is outlined should be addressed to its fullest. It is quite significant when certain groups of people can be excluded from the advantages of our legal system. Not that I say our legal system is all that great, but if there is an entitlement there should be an entitlement. It means having access to legal opinions of the courts of our country as citizens and another group not having that access. We will support Motions Nos. 4 and 5.
The proposed legislation does not allow individuals equal access to the legal system in spite of the fact that they may be granted citizenship. Even if there were fraud I think there is entitlement. I find it passing strange that this provision is in the bill when a judgment was made in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1985 which declared that refugees have complete and total access to our legal system . That was under the Singh decision.
First they were allowed or permitted an oral examination. Then a process was set up which I think was unnecessary, but be that as it may we have it right now. It could be changed. A process was set up whereby they could fight the matter in the tribunals, in the courts, all the way up to the federal court and tie up the courts for long periods of time fighting cases to which there is never any conclusion, except the federal court will say whether or not they are refugees.
Then it goes through the tribunal process again with the legal minds jumping into the fray. The lawyers all line up, just like they were when the Chinese boat people ended up lined up on a dock on the west coast wanting to fight their cases. They knew there was a legal entitlement and a battle to be fought.
Yet we have provisions in this bill that even though citizenship is granted and then for some unknown reason fraud is found or misrepresentation determined they are not permitted to fight the case on legal grounds.
There is an irony in this part of the bill. On the one hand we see abuses taking place within the immigration process where those fighting their cases with legal representation are caught up in a whirlwind. They are constantly going around and around with nothing ever being resolved. This costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and in fact billions over time.
That is acceptable, but on other other hand someone who may have committed some act is still entitled to legal representation by the mere fact that he or she has been granted Canadian citizenship. Is that not somewhat of a paradox or a contradiction? I think it is a contradiction.
Even a judge listening to a case, despite the fact there may have been fraud or there may have been suspicion of misrepresentation, could make a decision on whether there is fraud and could say that the individual after being found guilty is no longer entitled to legal representation. It is clear that she or he has committed fraud, and everybody goes on his way. However that is not what the bill provides.
There are lawyers sitting across the way. It is odd that we do not hear too much from them. Many times there are charter arguments surrounding the issues of which we speak, but there has been substantial silence on that side of the floor. I find that passing strange.
The point in question is the issue of citizenship. My hon. colleague from the Vegreville area, the critic for immigration, put it quite eloquently. Once citizenship is granted it must be assumed to be genuine. Once it is revoked then another matter must be dealt with such as deportation.
There is no mention of that in the bill at all. We deport people who commit fraud, who lie, who misrepresent. That is not even mentioned in the bill although I would assume there are provisions in another part of the act which might deal with that. When there is a violation of the law as blatant as a misrepresentation or a fraudulent application, it should be spelled out here that a course of action will be pursued against the individual. It all comes back to the fact that there should be an entitlement to fight the case and to present the evidence. It has to be adversarial.
Unfortunately that side of the House has either overlooked this point or maybe wants some other legal entanglement which will take off in a new direction in our courts. The Immigration Act is fraught with all kinds of weak areas that continually require argument in our courts and tie up our courts.
It is about time we had some good, clear policy and legislation that can be easily interpreted without the courts so that everyone knows where he or she stands. When there are arguments, which would be fewer by far, they could be settled in the federal court. I find the whole proposal lacking. On the other hand, my colleague, the immigration critic, has addressed those issues in Motions Nos. 4 and 5, and I fully support them.