Immigration Minister Jason Kenney did a smiling impersonation of a warm and furry welcome mat on Monday, throwing open Canada’s arms to a higher wave of refugees for resettlement here, the winners qualifying for up to two years of food and shelter on the government’s tab.

But on Tuesday a harder-nosed Kenney will strap on steel-toed boots to kickstart a faster exit for system-clogging unqualified asylum-seekers who only qualify for a taxpayer-financed plane ticket.

His bill will target bogus and backlogged refugees for eviction within a year, dramatically shortening a process than can drag on through pointless appeals for more than two years while costing up to $50,000 before a handcuffed claimant is marched to a departure gate for deportation.

The plan will apparently free up funds to hire a beefed-up immigration security force and introduce a program to finance an early exit for those surrendering to the system who meekly want to go home.

It might also be a good bet for wannabe Canadians in Hungary to get moving on their paperwork because it sounds like they could be added to the visa-required list of countries today.

But the most contentious provision will be to divide the globe into ‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ countries when a refugee’s file is up for consideration.

Illegal asylum seekers from safe countries would be deported to their homeland on an accelerated basis. Those facing difficult or dangerous conditions would be given closer official scrutiny to ensure they are not at mortal risk if returned.

This makes obvious sense, but it has Can of Worms written all over it as the final list is drawn up, undoubtedly causing all sorts of diplomatic friction as good, bad or ugly labels are applied.

It would understate the obvious to suggest a crackdown on bogus refugees in Canada has been too long in the making and it would be wrong to give the Conservatives the gold star for fixing an ailing system which deteriorated badly under their watch.

But progress is noted in cutting the bloated 600,000-applicant overseas backlog. Visa requirements imposed on countries flooding Canada with bogus claimants have slowed the refugee influx, and moves to accept more of those who have skills for our economy have worked almost too well, as foreign processing centres are swamped by desirable applications.

Mr. Kenney’s nudging a difficult file in a forward direction in a way that even Liberals confide is overdue, necessary and will be supported politically if the advance billing is correct.

Today’s move will bring in another 2,500 of the world’s most unfortunate people drawn from 10 million trapped, sometimes for their entire lives, in squalid camps inside the least developed countries. While it’s a modest bump, increasing Canada’s existing resettlement program by just 20 per cent with most of those covered by private sponsorships, it’s a humanitarian move that’s impossible to criticize.

But for the 60,000-plus who are waiting for Immigration and Refugee Board hearings or appeals to be heard in court, faster processing is on the way.

Mr. Kenney is musing about replacing Immigration and Refugee Boards, usually loaded with government patronage appointments, with his own departmental officials.

This would have the welcome effect of eliminating political considerations for immigration approvals, sometimes dictated by board member bias instead of an applicant’s qualifications, to be replacing by cold-hearted verdicts from semi-neutral mandarins.

The poster villain in this mess is claimants who immediately pocket welfare benefits while dragging out their appeals. But the tough love proposal is actually good news for confused and huddled types who are not motivated just to milk the system.

Thousands of refugee applicants, many lured here by unethical immigration consultants abroad, get trapped on the waitlists for far too long, unable to get a decent job, settle down with a spouse or start a family until the system finally kicks them out.

It’s not like Canada doesn’t need immigration. The Liberal deep thinkers conference on the weekend was told in graphic terms that the best hope to cope with the looming shortage of skilled labor was aggressive and selective immigration.

The challenge for Jason Kenney is to roll out the welcome mat and then play bouncer, extending a welcome handshake to the skilled or those most desperate for humanitarian consideration, while turning away the unqualified or the undesirable.

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