Calgary

'How is this power going to be used?': Immigration lawyer says Bill C-23 needs rewrite

A Calgary immigration lawyer says Canada’s Bill C-23, the Preclearance Act, gives our U.S. counterparts new, possibly excessive powers, and should have sections rewritten before it becomes law.

'You have to answer questions, if you don’t, that is an offence'

Immigration lawyer questions powers in Bill C-23

5 years ago
Duration 4:25
Michael Greene says sections need a rewrite

A Calgary immigration lawyer says Canada's Bill C-23, the Preclearance Act, gives our U.S. counterparts new, possibly excessive powers, and should have sections rewritten before it becomes law.

Michael Greene says the U.S. government is looking for increased powers over Canadians trying to enter using our pre-clearance agreements.

"They have said, 'We want the power to do strip searches' ... but the bigger [issue] is, it used to be that if you didn't like the way the interview was going, if you felt you were being treated badly, you could just say, 'I have chosen not to fly, I am not going any more, I am going home.' And you could turn around and walk away," Greene told CBC Calgary News at 6 on Wednesday.

"They want to take away that right and put you in a situation where you are compelled to answer questions about why it is you want to walk away."

He said the difference comes down to consent.

Not answering questions is an offence

"In a compelled [examination], you don't get a choice. You have to answer questions. If you don't, that is an offence, it's a federal offence. It becomes an offence under Canadian law, failing to cooperate with a U.S. officer."

Greene said the bill is getting fresh attention based on U.S. politics.

"People thought the U.S. would behave reasonably, we don't have to worry about this," he said.

"But then you have a president who is elected on saying, 'we want to ban Muslims.'"

How is this power going to be used?

He's hoping that sections of the bill will be rewritten with recent events considered.

"This bill was sailing through with nobody thinking about it [but] because of the election and also because of the things Trump is saying and doing, that is causing more alarm and more people are saying, 'How is this power going to be used?"

Bill C-23 still needs a second reading before it goes to committee.

"We have to get it right because once the horses are out of the barn, you are not going to get them back in," Greene said.


With files from CBC Calgary News at 6

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