Alert: Kenney reintroduces Human Smuggling Bill

Posted by admin on Jun 17th, 2011


The People v. Kenney
Freedom to move
Right to stay, and to Return
We are many.

September 19, 2011 Update: As of September 19, 2011, Human Smuggling Bill C4 has been re-tabled in Parliament by the Conservative majority and is up for debate as a priority legislation. According to Karl Nerenberg, reporting on the Parliamentary debate “During today’s debate, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth revealed the bill’s true motivation when he referred to the refugee-claimants this proposed law would target as “queue jumpers.” These folks “cutting in on line” slow the process for “legitimate” refugees who patiently wait their turn, the Conservative MP claimed. The fact that there is no such thing as a “refugee queue” is, apparently, beside the point.”


Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Minister of Censorship and Deportation Jason Kenney have announced that they are re-introducing Human Smuggling Bill C4 (previously Bill C49). This is despite previous Bill C49 being rejected by all opposition parties and hundreds of community, legal, health, human rights, and migrant justice groups.

This is a bill modeled after Australia’s internationally condemned policies of mandatory detention and human rights abuses against asylum-seekers. This bill proposes mandatory detention without review by the Immigration and Refugee board for 12 months; denial of the right to apply for permanent resident status until five years have passed since favourable determination of the protection claim; denial of access to relief based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, temporary resident permits or refugee travel documents for five years or longer; and denial of the right to appeal an unfavourable determination of protection claim to the Refugee Appeal Division of the board. The full text of the Bill is here:

Under the banner of combating human smuggling and deterring the arrival of boats such as the MV Sun Sea, this is a bill that blatantly criminalizes refugees and targets them for imprisonment and/or deportation. By today’s standards, Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad would have been considered a human smuggling operation!

Read an extensive Backgrounder below.


It is imperative that people are aware of the implications of this bill, and organize to defeat it!

1) Download, post, share, and distribute this material. Info flyer and poster (English) and poster (Multilingual) about Bill C-4.  I am a Human Smuggler series: Harriet Tubman Poster, Sticker, Flyer and Irena Sendler Poster, Sticker, Flyer. JPGs are here.

2) Download and distribute a more general Factsheet ‘Myths about Kenney’s Immigration Record and 10 Reasons to Stop the Tories’. Or this Kenney “Wanted” poster image:

3) Organize a rally, press conference, flash mob, or community meeting against this bill. Write a statement or public release expressing your opposition. Invite a speaker to your meeting. If you need, email us for ideas and suggestions.

4) Contact your MP and demand that this bill be scrapped. Find your MP:

5) Let Jason Kenney know what you think about his racist anti-migrant bil. Call him 403-225-3480 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              403-225-3480      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 613-992-2235; Email; Twitter @kenneyjason

6) The story is currently getting a lot of coverage. Write your comments in online stories or write a letter to the editor – make a difference in public discourse! When you write a letter to the editor you must include your name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the writer; state “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line; and content should be in the body of the email. Keep them short (under 100 words). Globe and Mail: letters at, Vancouver Sun: sunletters at, Vancouver Province: provletters at, 24 Hours: news at, Metro News:, National Post: letters at, Georgia Straight: letters at, Toronto Star: lettertoed at

7) Follow No One Is Illegal’s People v. Kenney Campaign. You can read a factsheet about Kenney’s record on immigration and refugee policy, ten reasons why we oppose Harper, and more:

>> Scrap Anti-Migrant Bill C 4!
>> Release Detained Asylum-Seekers!
>> Right to Stay, Freedom to Move, Right to Return!

It is not human smuggling that need be combated. It is the violence of immigration controls and displacement that must be targeted, struggled against, and defeated. No One Is Illegal!


> Kenney and the Tories are justifying Bill C49 with the false rhetoric of “illegals”.

THE REALITY: Migrants who arrive irregularly – whether by boat or with the assistance of smugglers are not illegal. There is no “queue” for refugee claimants. Refugees are forced from their homes in emergency situations due to human rights abuses committed during wars, military occupations, or persecution. We must understand that they undertake long and dangerous journeys to protect their lives and the lives of their families. According to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, to which Canada is a party, there are no penalties on refugees who arrive without pre-authorization and irregularly.

> Bill C4 is being framed as a means to combat “human smuggling”.

THE REALITY: Many refugees have no choice but to use irregular means, including resorting to smugglers, to flee persecution. A report by the International Labour Organization discusses how many smuggling operations are “difficult to distinguish from legitimate work of travel agencies or labour recruitment agencies.” It is not criminal organizations but anti-immigration policies that are the biggest facilitators of human smuggling. Given increasingly restrictive border policies, how are most people able to migrate if not with the assistance of smuggling operations? As written by Professor James C. Hathaway, “Human smugglers play a critical role in assisting refugees to reach safety. Canada and other developed countries created the market on which smugglers depend by erecting (literal and virtual) migration walls around their territories.” The rhetoric against human smuggling is not intended to ‘protect’ victims of smuggling (who are routinely detained and deported), but to reinforce securitization of the border. Any attempt to further criminalize human smuggling will ensure that migrants forced to move irregularly across borders will do so in more dangerous conditions, at higher cost and face further exploitation. This is simply unacceptable.

> Kenney and the Tories say that Bill C4 would not harm refugees.

THE REALITY: Bill C-4 would give the Minister the power to single out for special punishment refugees who are suspected of having fled by means of smugglers. Asylum seekers, including children, suspected of using a smuggler will be subject to mandatory detention for at least the first year after arrival, with no chance of a detention review. They will not have the right to appeal a negative refugee decision and will be denied access to health coverage. They will be prohibited from obtaining permanent residency and from sponsoring their family members for a period of five years even after obtaining refugee status, during which time their status could be revoked and they could face deportation. Though not well publicized, the Bill also gives vast new powers to detain and arrest non-citizens, including permanent residents, based on mere suspicion of criminality. This is a shameful and inhumane piece of legislation.

> Kenney and the Tories say that Bill C4 is part of Canada’s positive record on immigration.

Bill C-4 (previously Bill C 49) is the latest in a series of drastic changes including Bill C-50 and Bill C-11. Bill C-50 has given the Immigration Minister immense powers to arbitrarily reject visas (permanent resident, visitor etc) without any Court review and to to issue quotas and restrictions. Bill C-11, passed with minimal opposition, has created two tiers of refugees, establishing a racist hierarchy based on nationality. As avenues for refugees and permanent residency are being slashed and deportations are increasing, exploitative temporary worker programs have proliferated. Last year, major changes resulted in limiting most migrant workers to a term of four years, after which a six-year ban will be imposed before workers can return to Canada.

Canada’s immigration and refugee system is not generous. It is the result of a perfected system of social control, containment, and commodification. Instead, No One is Illegal-Vancouver asserts the basic human right to safety, mobility, and protection. The only crime that migrants have committed is transgressing this imposed settler-colonial border. We encourage you to join us in rejecting and standing up against repressive, racist, and exclusionary ideologies and policies, and instead encourage compassion, solidarity, respect for life, and justice for all refugees.


> Factsheet on Kenney and Tories Record on Immigration:

> Video of No One Is Illegal Toronto forum on human smuggling:

> Myths and Realities about Tamil refugees on MV Sun Sea:

> Canadian Council of Refugees Resource Page on Bill C 4 / c 49:

> List of hundreds of organizations call for defeat of human smuggling bill:

> Globe and Mail, “Smuggling bill endorsements not all they seem”

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