The Right To Keep The Door Closed

The right to keep the door closed
Julie Taub
The Toronto Star
Apr 14, 2008 04:30 AM

The federal government's amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to remove the government's obligation to process all visa applications is more than reasonable and long overdue.

I am a former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board and an experienced immigration and refugee lawyer. My late parents, my sister and I came to Canada as independent immigrants. I believe that Canada's immigration legislation should be premised on the best interests and needs of Canada, rather than formulated by the desires and expectations of millions of potential immigrants.

All countries have the right to set immigration criteria and limits based on their national needs and best interests. So why should Canada be any different. Canada, too, should select immigrants who best meet our economic, social and demographic needs.

Foreign nationals do not have the right to immigrate to Canada, nor should Canada be obligated to process all visa applications. It is a privilege that was transformed into an obligation under the act.

Do we as Canadians have the right to demand to immigrate to other countries? Do we have the right to demand that our visa applications be processed in a country of our choice? Do we have the right to use a foreign country's constitution or legislation to enforce our expectations to immigrate to that country? Of course not.

So why should that legislative entitlement fetter Canada's right to select immigrants who would benefit Canada?

Julie Taub, Ottawa