Kyle Gibbons who has lived in this country since he was a toddler is facing deportation for his criminal convictions involving importing stun guns, brass knuckles and butterfly knives into this country. Needless to say, no-one would condone or countenance this behavior. That being said it is a principle of our legal system that the punishment for a crime be proportionate to the offense. I do not feel that it is proportionate to deport someone who had served their time and who is for all intents and purposes a product of this society.
I have met many individuals charged with and convicted of crimes both serious and not so. Most of these individuals, due to the nature of my practice then face removal from this country. Prior to Jason Kenney's immigration reforms most of these individuals could appeal their removal orders to the Immigration Appeal Division. The IAD could consider a wide range of factors including the nature of the offense, any remorse or rehabilitation, hardship to that individual or his family upon removal, and the best interests of any children affected by the decision. Many of the clients I represented before the IAD were granted a second chance to stay in Canada. The vast majority of these individuals have abided by the terms of their stay and have become productive residents of this country.
Jason Kenney however does not seem to believe in second chances. His new legislation does not draw a distinction as to the nature of the offense committed merely the length of sentence imposed. Thus someone convicted of even a non violent or white collar crime would face almost certain deportation if sentenced to more than 6 months. The new legislation also doesn't make a distinction between whether someone has been here for twenty years or twenty days. This governments emphasis on mandatory minimum sentences, more jails and less discretion is mean spirited but more importantly ill advised from a public policy point of view.
If anyone deserves a second chance it is Kyle Gibbons. Fueled by his addiction (which he has overcome) and the impetuousness of youth, his offense is serious but mitigated by his acceptance of responsibility for his actions, his faith and supportive family, his demonstrated remorse and clear and articulate insight into the deleterious consequences of his behavior. He is well on the path of rehabilitation and will one day make a positive contribution to this country.
Raj Sharma JD LLM