Bill C-86 (Canada) (1992)

One of the earliest measures designed to deal with the threat of terrorism, Bill C-86 was introduced in the House of Commons on June 16, 1992, as an alteration to the Immigration Act of 1976. The Conservative government argued that in the post–cold war era, there were few refugees from communist regimes, for whom the refugee provisions were principally designed, but many potential immigrants with ties to globalized crime syndicates and terrorist organizations. The measure gave the government greater powers to exclude persons suspected of ties to criminal or terrorist organizations, and gave medical examiners more authority in screening those deemed medically inadmissible. It also provided for fingerprinting and videotaping of refugee hearings. In streamlining the refugee determination process, the two-stage hearing of Bill C-55 was replaced by a single hearing, with a senior immigration officer given authority to make a determination regarding refugee status. The most controversial aspect of the bill prohibited admission from a “safe” third country prepared to grant refugee status. Many groups, including B’nai B’rith and the Canadian Ethnocultural Council objected, fearing that political rather than humanitarian standards would be applied in determining how safe a refugee would be in another country. The government defended the provision as an encouragement to other countries to aid in the protection of refugees. Although opposition by humanitarian, religious, legal, and ethnic organizations led to a modification of some of the more stringent provisions, the bill was largely implemented as designed.

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