We detain thousands of refugees, foreign nationals and there are also permanent residents under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Refugees are generally detained because of identity concerns. Here in Alberta, these individuals, with no criminal record and without criminal charge, are housed alongside serious criminals in maximum security provincial institutions. The average length of stay in the Prairie region is over 30 days.
The legislation and rhetoric that we've seen over the last few years tends to scapegoat refugees and frankly, detract from Canada's humanitarian tradition. Combine this with legal aid cutbacks and there are significant concerns at play.
Deportation and detention simply does not make sense for the other guest on the panel. He wants an overhaul of the entire immigration system. Like I said, I would like to believe in unicorns and fairy dust, but I am grounded in reality. Countries will always get to determine who gets to enter and who has to leave. Practically and pragmatic reform should be concerned with alternatives to detention, whether electronic monitoring or reporting conditions.