First, congratulations to the organizers and volunteers involved with the Ancaster Food Drive on February 25th. This is my ninth year participating, and I’m always amazed and appreciative that it gets bigger and better every year!
The community thanks everyone who donated food and funds, as well as the stellar crew who worked all day Saturday to collect, sort and pack over 80,000 lbs of food.
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On the federal scene, legislation to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system was introduced a few weeks ago by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
The new bill, Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, will make our refugee system faster and fairer, while targeting the foreign criminals, bogus refugee claimants and human smugglers who exploit our immigration system. It will work to put a stop to those who take advantage, while at the same time, help provide protection for those who are truly in need.
In a nutshell, the proposed measures would provide faster protection to those who genuinely need refuge, and faster removal for those who don’t.
Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs. But we have no tolerance for those who abuse our generosity and seek to take unfair advantage of our country.
In particular, Canada receives more refugee claims from Europe than from Africa or Asia. Last year alone, 23% of all refugee claims made in Canada were made by nationals from the EU. That’s up from 14% the previous year. If that trend continues, it means that the unfounded claims from the 5,800 EU nationals who sought asylum last year will cost Canadian taxpayers nearly $170 million.
Considering that in recent years over 95% of EU claims were withdrawn, abandoned or rejected, too many tax dollars are being spent on bogus refugees.
Plus, we don’t have to look far to see the terrible human impact of those who try to thwart the generosity of the Canadian system. Just read about the Hungary to Hamilton human trafficking ring cases that have been reported in the Spectator recently and which are being pursued by Assistant Crown Attorney Toni Skarica. This is a most unfortunate situation which I would hope this legislation, along with other measures, would help prevent in the future.
By strengthening the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, we can ensure it remains the most fair and generous in the world.