Earlier this month, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) added names to their 'most-wanted' list of war criminals in Canada. The expanded list now includes former permanent residents of Canada and others inadmissible for committing serious crimes in Canada. It may be illustrative in detailing how one man found himself on that list.
Satpal Singh Jhatu who was born in India in December 1967 and came to Canada as a child in 1975. Jhatu acquired a juvenile record and then, in 1986, was convicted of aggravated assault followed by a conviction for a murder for hire in 1987 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Jhatu had brutally killed Ranjit Toore, a mother of six at the behest of her husband, Jagraj Toore.
A permanent resident of Canada, Jhatu became subject to removal proceedings. He appealed the removal order issued against him to the Immigration Appeal Division (the IAD). Remarkably, the IAD stayed the removal order against Jhatu instead of dismissing his appeal. In reaching its decision, the IAD refused to consider victim impact evidence from the five children of the murder victim. Contrast the treatment of Jhatu by the IAD with the deportation of Sukhvir Singh Khosa and Bahadur Bhalru, the hapless Vancouver street racing duo who were removed from Canada for criminal negligence causing death despite receiving conditional sentences of less than 2 years.
Canada's immigration authorities tried to set aside the decision of the IAD. The Federal Court dismissed an application for judicial review in August 1996. After his completion of his "life" sentence in 2004, he was released apparently on the promise that he would return to India. Something is missing in the narrative however - had Jhatu complied with the stay imposed by the IAD, he would not go underground because he would not have been required to leave Canada. It is likely that given his track record he found it difficult to abide by conditions imposed by the authorities in this country. The stay imposed by the IAD had to have been cancelled for some reason. It would be interesting to know the reasons for releasing Jhatu.
I have written previously on the propriety of removing a long term permanent resident of Canada. Some could argue that Jhatu is a product of Canadian society, having been here since the age of 8. As a product of this country, it would be our responsibility to reintegrate him and complete his rehabilitation. Unlike a citizen, he has been punished twice for the same offence. Should an individual like Jhatu be removed because by an accident of birth he happened to be born in a different country than the one he has called home for the vast majority of his unproductive and parasitic life?
But the fact remains that Jhatu is not a citizen and instead was a career criminal with limited establishment in Canada. The social contract between Jhatu and this society has been irrevocably severed by his continued and ongoing flagrant defiance of the laws of this country. The fact is, Jhatu's immigration appeal should never have resulted in a stay and he should never have been released after completion of his sentence and before his removal. The chances of this happening again has been diminished with the passage of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Anyone sentenced to more than 2 years will no longer be able to persuade the IAD to stay a removal order resulting from the underlying criminality. This Conservative government is promising more minimum sentence offences which will further curtail immigration appeals.
In the calculus between public safety and the rights of foreign nationals, the balance must ultimately come down on the side of the former.