Canadian Immigration Lawyers unite over Jason Kenney’s supposed non-involvement in securing Conrad Black’s Temporary Resident Permit.
Earlier this year, disgraced media magnate Conrad Black made international headlines after being issued a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) while still serving his sentence in a Florida prison. TRPs are issued to foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada based on their criminal record or medical history, but have a pressing need to enter Canada. Canadian-born Black became a foreign national when he infamously renounced his Canadian citizenship in his quest for British peerage in the United Kingdom, where he also held citizenship.
To be granted a TRP, applicants must effectively prove to Canadian immigration officers that their need to enter Canada significantly outweighs their inadmissibility to Canada. Considering Conrad Black renounced his Canadian citizenship and was still serving his prison sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice when his application was submitted, it would seem unlikely if not impossible that a Canadian immigration officer would grant him a TRP. The fact that Black was issued a TRP aroused suspicion amongst many, most notably amongst Canadian immigration lawyers.
One Canadian immigration lawyer in particular, Guidy Mamann, was equally sceptical of Immigration minister Jason Kenney’s role in the TRP’s issuance. Kenney continues to claim he had no influence in the decision to grant the disgraced businessman a TRP. In a Globe and Mail article examining the case, Mamann espoused his position that granting a TRP to Conrad Black would have needed some form of either tacit or explicit encouragement from the Conservative government and Minister Kenney in particular.
Shortly thereafter, one of Minister Kenney’s staffers lodged a complaint with the Law Society of Upper Canada, the self-governing organization for Ontario lawyers, suggesting that Mamann should be investigated for violating their code of conduct. Mamann went public with the complaint after the law society closed the file after saying it found insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation into the Toronto immigration lawyer.
In reaction to the complaint, 80 Canadian immigration lawyers rallied together in defense of their colleague, writing a letter to Jason Kenney’s office. The letter not only reiterated the group’s support of Mamann’s position on the Conrad Black case, but also condemned the Immigration Minister’s attempt to silence criticism and punish those exercising their freedom of expression.
Stay up to date on Canadian Immigration news by visiting our website’s news section and following us on Twitter @FWCanada. Learn more about Temporary Resident Permits and other Canadian Immigration programs by consulting with our range of infographics at http://visual.ly/temporary-resident-permits-trps