A file’s been opened on Monsef, sources say
Yesterday at 6:27 PM
A government file has been opened to investigate Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef for possible citizenship fraud, the Sun has learned. An investigation of this type could lead to a number of outcomes, including possible citizenship revocation.
The Sun has confirmed with multiple sources that complaints have been made to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), as well as to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), a division of the Department of Public Safety.
CBSA is responsible for enforcing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. CBSA officials report to the Minister of Public Safety, Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, while IRCC officials report to the Minister of Immigration, Liberal MP John McCallum.
In 2011, in the aftermath of RCMP investigations discovering wide-spread citizenship fraud, the government established a tip line.
Much like Crime Stoppers, the line allows private citizens to anonymously contact the government and relay information relating to citizenship cases involving false representation, fraud or knowingly concealing material.
Three separate sources have told the Sun that the government has received such tips relating to the case of Maryam Monsef, leading to the opening of a file investigating possible citizenship fraud.
One source was told by a government official with direct knowledge of the case that “at least six different people had called with complaints on Ms. Monsef.”
When asked if IRCC was investigating Monsef, the government would not comment.
“IRCC does not confirm or deny the receipt of tips or investigations,” said an IRCC spokesperson.
The spokesperson did however provide broad information about this type of investigation.
“Generally, when Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada becomes aware of issues around the facts provided in an application, it will determine if further action is required.”
“Decisions to pursue further action are made on a case by case basis. IRCC prioritizes the most serious cases such as those involving serious criminality or organized fraud.”
It is unknown if the department has determined how to prioritize the complaints against Monsef.
Monsef and her family arrived in Canada in 1996 and claimed asylum. They were granted refugee status and eventually become citizens.
Following an investigation by the Globe and Mail, it was discovered that Monsef was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she claimed to have believed.
Monsef’s office confirmed that she listed false information in her passport, which presumably matched the records of her official citizenship application.
“Until recent days, Maryam Monsef believed that she was born in Afghanistan,” wrote Monsef’s press secretary in a statement exclusive to the Sun. “As a result, when she applied for a Canadian passport, she listed Herat, Afghanistan as her place of birth. Now that she has learned that this is incorrect, she is taking steps to see how she can rectify this unintentional error.”
Providing false representation to Canadian immigration officials is a form of citizenship fraud, even if the error was unintentional.
Monsef’s case may mirror that of a 19-year-old Concordia University student who was recently stripped of her Canadian citizenship because her mother allegedly lied on her citizenship application.
Citizenship fraud investigations can take years to complete and involve cooperation between the RCMP, CBSA and various officials within IRCC.
Because both CBSA and IRCC officials report to partisan Liberal ministers and political staff appointed by Justin Trudeau, this case may give rise to a conflict of interest.
Can these Liberal ministers be counted on to remain neutral and unbiased as officials within their departments investigate a caucus colleague? Can the non-partisan civil servants independently assess Monsef without any interference or intimidation from their political bosses?
How can the public trust this investigation will be truly independent?
Maryam Monsef Timeline:
November 7, 1984 – Maryam Monsef was born in the Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad, Iran. She claims that as an Afghan refugee she has no legal status in Iran. November 7, 1985 – Date Monsef originally claimed she was born in Herat, Afghanistan 1996 – The Monsef family flee Afghanistan, travel back to Mashhad, Iran, then on to Pakistan and Jordan before landing in Montreal and asking for asylum in Canada. June 4, 2010 – One day after graduating from Trent, University, Monsef travelled to Iran and Afghanistan. December 2013 – early 2014 – Monsef returns to Iran once again, on a religious pilgrimage visa. Canadian passport holders can no longer travel to Iran without a special permit, so Monsef uses her Afghan passport instead. October 2015 – Maryam Monsef is elected as the Liberal MP from Peterborough—Kawartha in Ontario. November 2015 – Monsef is appointed into Justin Trudeau cabinet. She is heralded as the first Afghan-born cabinet minister. January 2016 – Monsef is praised by U.S. President Barack Obama as the ultimate refugee success story. September 2016 – A Globe and Mail investigation reveals that Monsef was born in Iran and not Afghanistan. Monsef claims her mother misled her, and that she was taking steps to rectify the error. September 2016 – BC Civil Liberties Association file a law suit against the Trudeau Liberals for revoking citizenship without a hearing. Activists claim Monsef could have her citizenship revoked under the current law. October 2016 – A CBC investigation finds that the Trudeau Liberals have revoked citizenship at a much higher rate than the Harper Conservatives. October 2016 – The Sun learns that a file has been opened inside the Government of Canada to investigate Monsef for citizenship fraud.