At the February National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) meeting the guest speaker was the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), Director, Equality Program, Ms. Noa Mendelsohn Aviv.
The president of NEPMCC, Mr. Tom Saras gave a brief introduction and then Ms Mendelsohn Aviv launched into her discussion in opposition to Bill C-4. Bill C-4 was conceived when the ship Ocean Lady arrived, bearing 74 illegal refugees from Sri Lanka in October 20, 2009. The refugees were imprisoned until their backgrounds were checked.
On February 16, 2012, the government is expected to introduce a new amendment to the Immigration Act. Ms Mendelsohn Aviv and the CCLA believe that this raises some concerns due to various programs and bills that the government has already introduced, some of which deprive individuals of their fundamental freedoms.
The CCLA believe that perhaps the worst of the recent bills is Bill C-4 - proposed legislation that would allow for the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum in Canada, with no opportunity to be brought before an independent adjudicator for a minimum of 12 months. Bill C-4 also limits the ability of refugees to be reunited with family. It makes it easier, in certain circumstances, to detain permanent residents.
"This goes against every facet of the Canadian constitution," said Ms Mendelsohn Aviv.
When the Ocean Lady incident occurred most Canadian’s agreed with the jailing of the 76 passengers until their bona fides were determined, that is with exception of the CCLA.
The Opponents To Bill C-4 At NEPMCC meeting