Friday, October 27, 2006

My theory, which is mine: American sex offenders in Canada.


Well, given that numerous Blogging Tories have practically shit themselves over the recent Malcolm Watson incident, what the hell, I might as well weigh in with the following opinion: Canada has (as far as I can tell) absolutely no grounds for complaint. And, yes, I'd be happy to explain.

As I read it, Watson is a Canadian landed immigrant living in St. Catharines with his wife and three children, which inspires the only question that has any relevance in this situation -- does Canada have the right to deport him for what he's done? Yes or no? That's it -- that's the only question that counts. And why is that?

Because if what Watson did would not be grounds for deportation, then Canada has no grounds for complaint if he continues to live in St. Catharines. It really is that simple. If he would not have been deported, then the only other possibility is that he would have been allowed to continue living in St. Catharines, exactly the situation he is in now. So what's the problem?

The problem, of course, is the U.S.'s insistence that he not return to the U.S. except for probation hearings. But that is not an issue that involves Canada. If being barred to that extent from the U.S. poses a hardship to Watson, then that's an issue that Watson and his lawyer can take up with American immigration, and they are free to make that argument. But that in no way involves Canada.

The last part of that article does suggest that the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board will be reviewing Watson's case and might very well order his deportation, which is certainly within their purview. But, legally speaking, the only decision for the Canadian government to make here would be to deport Watson or not. If it chooses to let him continue living in St. Catharines, it has absolutely no say over how the U.S. government chooses to treat him.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, which should be blindingly obvious from the above.

BOILING THIS DOWN TO ITS ESSENCE
. Grog comments (among other things):

Like the United States, we reserve the right to deny convicted criminals who are not Canadian citizens the right to enter our borders.

Fair enough, but I want to make sure readers understand the fundamental point I'm trying to make here. Let's say that everything else about this case happened exactly the same way, but that the United States didn't effectively bar Watson from returning to the U.S. Would people still have had the same outrage that he was being allowed to continue living in Canada? If not, then they have no right to complain now.

Quite simply, Canadians should look only at how Canada should react to a landed immigrant who already lives here who is convicted of a crime, using no more information than that. Deportation or no deportation? Make a decision. But that's not what's happening.

What's happening is that outraged Canadians are factoring into their outrage the fact that the U.S. has barred Watson from re-entry except for probation hearings. But how the U.S. decides to deal with Watson should have no bearing on how Canada resolves this.

It's annoying to hear people whine about how Canada is being used as a "dumping ground" for American felons. It isn't. The man is a landed immigrant who already lives here. Let Canada make a legal decision based on that information, and only that information. What the U.S. does about it should not be a factor.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

1) On the matter of deportation, Canada has agreements with the United States that would have resulted in his extradition to the United States when he was charged.

2) Like the United States, we reserve the right to deny convicted criminals who are not Canadian citizens the right to enter our borders.

The more serious question is whether a citizen of a country can "give up" their right to enter the country of citizenship without giving up their citizenship as well.

Ti-Guy said...

Looks like the Americans have smartened up and decided to stop making this a problem for their neighbor.

An American sex offender who was exiled to Canada may be forced to serve his sentence in the Buffalo area after all, a U.S. prosecutor says.

The announcement today by Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark came hours after sex offender Malcolm Watson, 35, was set free after an immigration board hearing in Niagara Falls.


You were right about this - it's the application of Canadian law that should determine his treatment here; not screeching from hysterics.

D in TO said...

1) I agree almost completely. The disagreement has to do with your apparent allowance that the Government may decide to deport Watson if that is what it wants to do, as long as it doesn't take what the Americans did into account. Well, we're a nation of laws, and unless his offence is a deportable one (if only by means of the discretionary powers of the relevant officials) I don't see how they could legally deport him. And since he did nothing that would have been a criminal offence had it occurred in Canada, I don't see how any offical could have the discretionary powers to essentially revoke his permanent residence.

2) The whole uproar seems much ado about nothing. He kissed and touched one of his students. Sure, he's 35, and she's 15, and he shouldn't have done that. But to call this 'sexual abuse' seems likely to be misleading. And if a more serious crime had been committed he would be sitting an American jail.

CC said...

"d in to" writes:

"I agree almost completely. The disagreement has to do with your apparent allowance that the Government may decide to deport Watson if that is what it wants to do, as long as it doesn't take what the Americans did into account."

I'm guessing that we actually agree with one another here. Canada should certainly take into account Watson's conviction in the U.S. What it shouldn't factor in is the U.S.'s idiotic judgment to ban an American citizen from returning to the U.S. whenever he wants, regardless of his conviction.

In any event, this all appears to be moot since, as ti-guy writes, that asinine sentence was dropped. And, as grog writes, it's not clear that that sentence was even (U.S.) constitutional in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Here's my objection - I really don't care if he serves his sentence here - that's fine with me. However, I believe he should be turned over to Corrections Canada for the duration.

There's a few problems with having him obliged to report to an American parole officer while serving his sentence outside the United States. This particular sentence essentially extended US jurisprudence into Canada. {Not something I'm terribly comfortable with}

We do have arrangements/conventions with the US which allow Canadians to serve their US sentences in the Canadian correctional system. Those should have been used.

The howling screech monkeys that have been worrying about this being a "dumping", and how this guy is a "threat" to Canada have missed the issue entirely.

BlueBerry Pick'n said...

you know, Americans would react completely differently if a paedophile were dumped into GringoLand... or would they?

they sure to like to scream without accomplishing much, though, don't they?

They'd have installed sensors, put the Coast Guard on patrol... they might even make it an election issue or begin to talk of how Amerrrikun groups of like-minded individuals should begin to stalk the Border for wild-eyed Canadians...

... wait a minute, they've started that already...

hum. Isn't the US LEADING THE WORLD in the Prison Industry?
I'm confused...

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BlueBerry Pick'n
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