Under Liberal changes, hearings for refugees just 'glorified interview': NDP

news-update

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan says she is dismayed by newly published guidelines for asylum seekers who fall under a controversial new admissibility law, guidelines she believes show some refugees will not get a fair chance to plead their case for protection in Canada.

The guidelines say refugees subject to the new law cannot use their oral hearings to make legal representations or present arguments, but can only lay out facts of their case and answer questions.

Legal arguments and testimony from witnesses supporting their refugee claims can only be submitted in writing.

Kwan calls it little more than a ``glorified interview'' and is accusing Border Security Minister Bill Blair of misleading Canadians when he said publicly in the spring that asylum seekers would have access to a full oral hearing.

In April, the Liberals made changes to refugee admissibility to prevent asylum seekers from making claims in Canada if they have made similar claims in certain other countries, including the United States, a move Blair said was aimed at preventing ``asylum-shopping.''

Lawyers and human rights groups condemned the move, saying it would strip human-rights protections from vulnerable asylum-seekers, including their right to a full hearing.