Immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah spoke to the Calgary Eyeopener, and questions Kellie Leitch's knowledge of the current system. Ackah, the managing lawyer at the Calgary firm Ackah Business Immigration Law, asks: How do we test for Canadian values?
Q: What do you make of Kellie Leitch's proposal that every immigration applicant who wants to come to Canada should be interviewed face to face?
A: Well I think that she doesn't understand the immigration system. So for one, almost all immigrants are actually seen already face to face. If you're coming in as a permanent resident, which is an immigrant, or a refugee, you are screened at the consulate.
You're screened by the humanitarian organizations, you've got police checks done for every place you lived for six months or more since you were 18. There's full scrutiny.
Q: Leitch also thinks we need to screen immigrants to make sure they hold "Canadian values" such as equal opportunity, hard work, helping others, generosity, freedom and tolerance. What do you make of that argument?
A: How do you test for that?
It doesn't really seem to be practical, and it doesn't seem to make sense. I think really what's underlying that is she's looking at certain types of people, and I think if she was more honest and up front about that, then we can have a real discussion.
Q: For someone who hasn't gone through the immigration screening system, is it easy to get into Canada?
A: If it was easy I would not have a job. You would not need an immigration lawyer to go through the forms and the process and the interviews and the prepping and all of that if it was easy. It is actually a lot of work and years and years of effort and really expensive.
The reality is it is a lot of work and people spend years trying to get into our wonderful country and when they get here, the majority of them, I would say 99 per cent of them, want to be outstanding Canadian citizens.