Cracking Down on Human Smuggling

December 06, 2021
Ottawa Journal (December 06 – December 10, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)

Canadians are known for generosity and compassion. We are proud to help real refugees who have experienced tragic and desperate living conditions. We welcome the opportunity to help those who genuinely need a safe haven and see Canada as a chance for a better life. In fact, since taking office in 2006, our Government has helped give tens of thousands of asylum seekers a new beginning.

Unfortunately, some people who come to Canada abuse our generosity and goodwill – human traffickers, human smugglers, illegal migrants who just want to jump the line. Canada welcomes families seeking refuge who are working hard and playing by the rules. However, our message is clear: we will not tolerate bogus asylum seekers falsely claiming refugee status – costing hard-working Canadian taxpayers as much as $50,000 per case. This is not fair to Canadians who are being robbed of their hard-earned tax dollars and it’s not fair to refugees who are legitimately fleeing conflict and persecution and following the rules.

In June, our Government passed legislation to fix Canada’s broken refugee system. Our balanced reforms will help provide real refugees with faster protection here in Canada. They will help us to better identify and quickly remove those who falsely claim refugee status. Furthermore, with a quicker and more efficient system, we will help save Canadian tax dollars.   

Building on our refugee reform, our Government is working to fight human smuggling. Human smuggling is a global problem and here in Canada, we are taking action to fix it.

We have introduced the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act to crack down on human smuggling. Our proposed new measures would help ensure that law enforcement have the tools needed to crack down on those who abuse the system. They would also hold ship owners and operators accountable for use of their ships in human smuggling operations. These measures would also help deter illegal migrants from using human smugglers to come to Canada.

Across the country our proposed legislation is being met with praise. Balan Ratnarajah, President of the Peel Tamil Community Centre stated, “We are pleased to see the Government taking action to deter human smugglers who charge victims enormous sums of money” (News Release, Oct. 21, 2010). Xinsheng (Simon) Zhong, Executive Director of the Toronto Community & Culture Centre also stated, “We support the Government’s proposals as we need to send a clear message that criminal human smuggling will not be tolerated” (News Release, Oct. 21, 2010). Benjamin Perrin, Law Professor at the University of British Columbia has said, “Canada is an attractive destination for migrant smugglers and these new measures send a strong message that our country is no longer open for business to these criminals" (News Release, Oct. 21, 2010).

Recently, Minister Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced that he will be bringing this Bill to the House of Commons for a vote. Unfortunately, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, also announced that the Liberals will be joining the Bloc and NDP in defeating it. Despite this resistance, our Government will continue to be fair, welcoming, and generous to those who play by the rules. However, we also want to make it clear: Canada will not tolerate human smuggling and we will not tolerate bogus asylum seekers.