At Monsef's swearing-in ceremony as the Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, which occurred at the House of Commons on November 24, 2015. Clockwise starting on the left: the family are Mehrangiz Monsef, Mina Monsef, Mehdi Taheri (Mina’s husband), Soriya Basir, Maryam Monsef, Leila Taheri (Mina & Mehdi’s daughter). (House of Commons)

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

The Maryam Monsef scandal gets more serious with each passing day.

Monsef’s office declined an interview with the Toronto Sun, but for each day she remains silent, the case against her continues to mount.

The latest call for a full investigation into Monsef’s case is from Lloyd Fournier, a retired adjudicator from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

The former senior IRB judge specialized in refugee claims from the Middle East, including both Afghanistan and Iran. He presided over thousands of cases during his career.

There is “something very odd in the Maryam Monsef story,” Fournier wrote in his personal blog.

I spoke to Fournier about the Monsef file, and about refugee applications in general from Iran and Afghanistan during the mid-1990s – when the Monsef family came to Canada.

A person’s country of origin, that is, where a person was born “makes a huge difference” on a refugee application, said Fournier.

Cases are determined based on the likelihood of persecution in a specific country, and the ability of that country to provide protection. Where a person was born is a central point of reference for an IRB judge.

According to Fournier, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act establishes claims based on a “well-founded fear of persecution.”

Each refugee application is considered on a case by case basis, but, he noted, it would have helped the Monsef family’s case to claim they were from Afghanistan rather than Iran.

“The facts are that at the time the Monsef family claim was made at the IRB, a higher percentage of Afghan claims were successful than claims from Iran,” said Fournier.

So while some Liberals try to spin that Monsef being born a mere 373 kilometers away is “no big deal” – the law says otherwise. “Lying in order to get one’s way in court,” Fournier said, is a very “big deal.”

“It diminishes credibility in her refugee claim,” said Fournier.

He also notes that the law in question…READ MORE