What’s the Kenney-TRP kerfuffle about?

Posted by admin on Aug 2nd, 2012

By members of No One Is Illegal – Toronto


Recently there has been a flurry of words and tweets regarding the issuing of a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to Conrad Black by the Minister for Deportations, Jason Kenney. Except when some lawyers said that Kenney was involved, his office went ahead and tried to get them disciplined. Now a bevy of lawyers have written an open letter saying that they don’t believe Kenney when he says he wasn’t involved, something the Globe and Mail is calling it an “uprising”.

For those of you not following every twist and turn of Immigration, we thought it might be useful to explain what a TRP is.

There are many reasons why a person can be considered inadmissible to Canada, criminal record, health issues, involvement in terrorist organizations, or just because they are poor. Usually these rules are used to keep out poor people, and people from the global south, not rich people like Conrad Black. However, the rules are very strict regarding criminality so for once a rich white man got kicked out of Canada.

However, there is a discretionary tool that Immigration Officers can use to get around these inadmissibilities, the TRP. This is a permit issued to allow someone who is not admissible to enter or stay in Canada. They are supposed to be issued when the person’s need to be in Canada is more important than the reason they are inadmissible. For example, a person who has no money and is financially inadmissible but is taking care of her sick mother. Or a woman facing gender related violence in her country of origin, but who has a criminal history.

This is quite an informal process (there isn’t even a separate application) with close Ministerial control. Usually the TRP is issued for a short period, a few months, perhaps a year or two. If, and this is key for Mr Black, the TRP keeps getting reviewed for up to five years then permanent residency is essentially guaranteed. Between 2000-2010, an average of 2,500 people were in Canada on Temporary Resident Permits. Compare this to 300,000 migrant workers in the country any given year, and you realize how small a program it is.

In Mr. Black’s case it seems that his hobnobbing with his rich friends is the important reason he needs to be in Canada, which outweighs the crimes he has committed. This is in keeping with the recent policy initiatives of the Tories which seem to be openly creating a two tiered immigration system: once for the rich and one for the poor (and people of colour from the Global South).

This TRP is business as usual for the Tories.

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