House Passes Controversial Immigration Reforms

House passes controversial immigration reforms News Staff
Updated Mon. Jun. 9 2008 8:17 PM ET

With several Liberals abstaining, the House of Commons has approved controversial Conservative reforms to Canada's immigration laws by a vote of 120-90.

Bill C-50 allows skilled immigrants such as doctors to be put on the fast-track into Canada, while unskilled immigrants will find it harder to enter the country.

The bill, which was a confidence matter, contains the following immigration reforms:
The immigration minister is now able to set limits on the types of immigrants that can have their applications processed in a given year.
The minister also has the power to reject applications by individuals already determined to be inadmissible by immigration officers.
Also, any claimant seeking to immigrate to Canada on humanitarian grounds must already be in the country to have their application processed.

Critics have accused the Tories of misleading the public when it comes to the immigration reforms.

The Canadian Bar Association, which opposes Bill C-50, warns that the changes will lead to an erosion of the rule of law. The group says it will also place legislative power in the hands of the immigration minister without parliamentary oversight or stakeholder input.

The changes, which amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, were included in the budget bill, making them a confidence matter.

Conservatives say the immigration reforms would streamline backlogs in immigration applications, which they say have swelled over the years.

With files from The Canadian Press