MONTREAL – They didn’t give their itinerary, they were definitely more than 50 and many wore masks.
But Montreal police let the festive group – marching Saturday against the federal government’s sweeping law to change the country’s immigration system – weave through streets around Jean Talon St. unhindered, then left them to enjoy their late picnic lunch in Park Extension.
The multicultural group waved banners, banged on pots and pans, and shouted slogans in French, English and Spanish against Bill C-31, which has come to be known as the Refugee Exclusion Act by critics.
The Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act, as it’s officially known, aims to deport so-called bogus refugees more quickly, clamp down on human smugglers and require certain visa holders to turn over biometric data.
After the bBill came under fire, Canada’s minister of immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, this month proposed some amendments.
A person will no longer automatically lose permanent residence status in Canada once conditions in his or her country of origin improve, but critics say that the law still gives the immigration minister enormous discretionary powers to remove a person’s status.