Parliament Video: Jenny in the House: Canada Should Suspend the STCA

On November 21, 2018, Jenny rose to speak about Canada and the STCA:

Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

"Mr. Speaker, after receiving a boiler-plate response last night on this topic, the safe third country agreement, that failed to even address the substance of the issue before us, I thought I would make it easier today.

Experts at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration have been clear for a year.

For example, Seidu Mohammed, a refugee who lost all his fingers crossing irregularly into Manitoba to have his asylum claim heard, said that “the safe third country agreement, that's what causes a lot of damage to most refugees and immigrants, so we would like it to be suspended.”

Alex Neve of Amnesty International said that “from a human rights's vital that the agreement be suspended.”

Anne Woogler from Matthew House said that “for half of my career there was no safe third country agreement, and I would have to say that things worked so much more smoothly.”

Professor Jamie Liew of the University of Ottawa recommended that we “suspend the safe third country” agreement.

Peter Edelmann, an immigration and refugee lawyer, said, “I think it's worthwhile to suspend the agreement.”

The Hon. Allan Rock, now with the World Refugee Council, stated, “I think that agreement should be suspended and that we should no longer regard the United States as safe for those purposes.”

Dr. Patti Tamara Lenard said, “We can save lives and fingers by suspending it quickly.”

Jin Chien from the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic said, “we call on Canada to rescind or suspend the safe third country agreement with the U.S.”

Prof. Audrey Macklin, quoting a 2002 report by the citizenship and immigration committee that outlined the conditions the committee believed would justify suspending or terminating the agreement, said, “I would just encourage this committee to consider heeding the recommendations of its predecessors.”

Prof. Anna Purkey of St. Jerome's University said that “As a leader, Canada should reaffirm its commitment to the international legal regime that not only ensures and protects the rights of refugees, but ensures and protects the right of all human beings. This includes....rethinking the safe third country agreement.”

Dr. Megan Bradley of McGill University said that “the safe third country agreement should be suspended.”

Doug Saunders, international affairs writer with the Globe and Mail, pointed out that “The safe third country agreement is what is causing irregular crossings between entry points on the Canada-U.S. border. There is no other factor. If people could present themselves at a legal crossing point for an asylum claim, they would do so.”

Experts have been just as clear about this issue in public. It is time for the government to heed their advice."

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