Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defends visas for Mexicans, Czechs
The Canadian Press (CP)
August 10, 2009
TORONTO Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says it's no secret Canada's system for processing refugees is broken, and Stephen Harper shouldn't be criticized for admitting it.
The federal Liberals are scolding the prime minister for blaming Canada's flawed refugee system for the move a month ago to force Mexican and Czech nationals to obtain travel visas to enter Canada.
They say Harper was simply trying to avoid criticism from Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the North American leaders summit, and blame him for failing to propose any refugee reforms over three and half years in government.
But Kenney told a national news agency News in an interview Monday that Mexico and the Czech Republic had both expressed concerns to Ottawa that Canada's overly generous refugee system was attracting thousands of bogus claimants from their countries.
Kenney says the visa rule has slowed the number of refugee claimants from a flood to a trickle, saving Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars.
He also says the government will overhaul the system to deal with fraudulent refugee claimants much faster than the 10 years it can currently take.