Federal Court orders public safety minister to make decision in immigration case
2017/03/31 Leave a comment
Justice delayed is justice denied:
Lawyers for Goodale had argued the minister is just too busy to be held to a timeline for making such decisions.
“He submits he should be left with the flexibility to prioritize his many duties as he considers appropriate, and that requiring him to make a decision within a certain period of time may cause him to divert his attention away from an emergency situation,” reads the judgment.
The chief justice didn’t buy that argument.
“I am sympathetic, to a point, with the minister’s submissions. However, they do not, individually or collectively, justify his position that he must have a complete carte blanche regarding the time available to him to make decisions,” wrote Crampton.
He went on to write that the four-year delay in processing Tameh’s application is “at the outer limit of what is reasonable” and the additional 45-month delay to be unreasonable.
Crampton then ordered the minister to make his decision within a specific timeline and to reimburse Tameh $4,000 for his legal costs.
“I think the court is sending a pretty clear message that, minister, if you’ve got to make a decision, make it within four years,” said Lorne Waldman, a prominent immigration lawyer based in Toronto.
Waldman said at least 10 of his clients have applications for ministerial relief before the minister and some of them have been there for up to 15 years.
“These are difficult decisions that the minister has to make because they have a political charge to them. What the minister is being asked to do is to say, ‘Well this person, yes, you were found to be inadmissible because you were found to be a member of a terrorist group,’ but there all these other circumstances that would justify granting an exception,” said Waldman.
“So the minister has to personally make this decision and be personally accountable for them. That’s why they’re so difficult. That’s why they’ve taken so long,” he said.
In light of Crampton’s ruling, Waldman said he filed two applications at Federal Court this week asking it to order Goodale to make a decision.
A spokesperson for Goodale said the government is reviewing the ruling.
In addition, Scott Bardsley told CBC News the department made changes to the process of applying for ministerial relief and is also considering “whether further improvements could be made to the process.”