An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Sponsor

Diane Finley  Conservative

Status

Not active, as of June 5, 2007
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow officers to refuse to authorize foreign nationals to work in Canada in cases where to give authorization would be contrary to public policy considerations that are specified in instructions given by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

January 30th, 2008 / 4:55 p.m.
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Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees

Janet Dench

Thank you.

I am going to split the time I am allowed with my colleague Mr. Rico-Martinez.

The Canadian Council for Refugees is an umbrella organization with about 170 member organizations across Canada. This year, we are celebrating 30 years of work on behalf of refugees and immigrants. Our mandate is the protection of refugees in Canada and around the world, and the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. We are active on a wide range of issues and we have had the privilege of appearing before this committee on a number of these issues in the past.

Our members have been concerned about the question of trafficking in persons for several years. With support from the federal government, we held a series of consultations locally and nationally in 2003, in order to promote awareness and develop recommendations. Through the consultations we identified two priorities: first, a need for increased awareness of the reality of trafficking in Canada, and second, the need for measures of protection for victims of trafficking.

Since then, we have continued our work on trafficking issues, coordinated through a subcommittee of the CCR which brings together representatives from various cities in Canada, in order to promote networking of anti-trafficking activists across the country.

With respect to our reaction to Bill C-17, when the earlier version of the bill was tabled as Bill C-57 we put out a press release giving our response. You should have a copy of that release before you.

We oppose Bill C-17. Not only does it fail to protect the rights of trafficked persons already here in Canada, but furthermore its approach is condescending and moralistic. It empowers visa officers to decide which women should be kept out of Canada for their own good.

We find Bill C-17 problematic in a number of ways. First, the bill fails to address the root problem with the existence in Canada of jobs that humiliate and degrade workers. Work permits can only be issued by visa officers after the employer's job offer has been validated by Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Why is such work available in Canada if it humiliates and degrades workers?

Second, only a handful of work permits have been issued to exotic dancers in recent years. Parliamentary time would be better used to address the broader problem of the exploitation of non-citizens in Canada.

Third, the bill proposes to address the problem of exploitation by excluding people, mostly women, from Canada. It is demeaning for women to have a visa officer decide that they should be kept out of Canada for their own protection.

The bill also fails to address the situation of the most vulnerable of exploited non-citizens, those who have no valid work permit. In fact, closing the door on valid work permits may expose women to greater vulnerability, by forcing them underground.

The government's focus on strippers betrays a moralistic approach. Instead of passing moral judgment, the government should work on ensuring that non-citizens' rights are protected and that they have the freedom to make informed choices about their own lives.

We also note that where there is a suspicion of trafficking, it is wrong to simply refuse a work permit to a woman without referring her to the appropriate local institutions or authorities for her protection and for the prosecution of the criminals involved. This is a clear violation of our international obligation under the UN protocol.

January 30th, 2008 / 4:40 p.m.
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John Muise Director, Public Safety, Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness

Thank you, Mr. Doyle.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before the immigration committee.

Just by way of introduction, I'm a retired 30-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service. I retired last year and have been the director of public safety at the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness on a more or less full-time basis for almost two years and as a volunteer for several years previous to that.

I've been to Ottawa on a number of occasions testifying on a number of criminal justice bills, but this is my first time before this committee, so thank you for the invitation and the opportunity.

Since 1993, the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, an organization that survives solely through charitable donations, has raised awareness about the true cost of neglect through its support of victims of child abuse. Based in Newmarket, Ontario, north of Toronto, the CCAA is powered by a committed group of staff and volunteers who provide support to 70 partner agencies—we have a little warehouse, and we give stuff out to them, among a number of other things. Whether it's fulfilling a child's dream wish, assisting crime victims, developing abuse prevention programs and resources, or advocating publicly for legislative change—that's what I do—CCAA is committed to ending abuse.

In 2004, the CCAA went around the province of Ontario and spoke to 150 front-line criminal justice professionals, crime victims, survivors, and other interested parties, and from their voices we wrote a report called the Martin's Hope report, named in memory of Martin Kruze. Some of you will know that name. He was the survivor of the Maple Leaf Gardens child sexual abuse, who courageously disclosed publicly, and then subsequently, four days after his offender received two years less a day in prison—I guess it was the last straw for him—he jumped off the Danforth Viaduct.

The report lists 60 recommendations, 40 for legislative reform, directed at the federal government. We released the report in 2004, and we continue our work to try to get the recommendations instituted. Many of them relate to children in the sex trade, sex tourism, and similar ancillary matters.

With respect to the bill today, that human trafficking is an issue of significant worldwide concern there can be no doubt. Trafficking in women and children is a global issue that results in untold agony and suffering for hundreds of thousands of individuals and families. Source countries are most often third world and/or developing, where poverty is widespread, the rule of law is at best a fleeting mirage, and corruption is endemic. A number of government and NGO publications have and continue to detail this trade, and few, if any, commentators refute it.

Although Canada is not considered a source country, it is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked into the commercial sex trade. Countries in Asia and eastern Europe are the principal sources, in addition to a number of other locations around the world. Asian victims often arrive in Vancouver and western Canada, and eastern European victims come to Toronto and other eastern Canadian urban centres.

That we are a destination should come as no surprise. With economic opportunity, the rule of law, little or no government corruption, and absence of civil strife and violence—quite frankly an embarrassment of riches—is it any wonder that we would have a flood of immigrants hoping for a new and wonderful life here in Canada? Whatever the reason or intention of the person arriving, the expectation is of a life improved, not impoverished.

The commercial and illegal sex trade is alive, living, and well in this country, from strip clubs or exotic dance clubs to the street corner, massage parlours, Internet child abuse, escort agencies, bawdy houses, telephone and Internet dating, and so-called holistic centres to name but a few. Anyone who has browsed the back pages of any urban independent daily, like the Toronto-based NOW magazine, or Eye Weekly, will find it all up front and centre for anybody to see, and much of it focuses on ethnicity and age. I'm talking about the fact of age being young, not old.

It's not so secret, a commercial and illegal sex trade. Page after page of adult classifieds offering all varieties of sexual services for a fee are on display, and many of the classified ads focus on the ethnicity of the provider. The sex trade is out in the open and booming, and it's clear what's being offered.

We don't believe that individuals wake up one day and decide, “Yes, I think I'd like to give a career in the commercial sex trade a try.” Although personal choice is usually a precursor--unless false pretenses or force are used--it is almost always as a result of life circumstances, including poverty, abuse, and other negative social circumstances that they may be escaping here in this country or from abroad. Even if some make the choice of their own free will, the majority are later subjected to emotional and physical abuse, forced drug use and concurrent addiction, and theft of income. As a result, many end up as indentured sex slaves.

These are the circumstances that confront a Canadian who ends up in the sex trade. The vulnerability and risk for a foreign national on a temporary visa would be increased significantly.

The CCAA raises all of this not because we are here looking for this committee to eradicate the sex trade. That won't ever happen. There has always been a sex trade and that will never change. Our concern is for the vulnerable and at-risk, people who the CCAA sees--and, we believe, society increasingly sees--as crime victims. Make no mistake about it, the people plying their trade in the back pages of these urban dailies and many others like them are the victims of serious crimes. Some have been victimized through human trafficking.

Our focus is on how we as a society can best ameliorate the risk to those vulnerable at the hands of these sex entrepreneurs and predators. We see the response happening across a number of fronts, including prosecution, prevention, and education. Before I finish today, I will briefly touch on some of those.

I was also happy to see Ms. Chow, Mr. Komarnicki, Mr. Carrier, and Mr. Batters all speak to some of the things that need to be done concurrently or post this legislation.

As all of you know, the amendment in Bill C-17, previously Bill C-57, proposes to protect from exploitation and abuse the potentially vulnerable foreign nationals who come to work in Canada. Doing so would allow--with concurrence from a second and presumably supervisory officer--an immigration officer or visa officer to refuse entry by a foreign national to work in Canada, where a person is “at risk of being subjected to humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation”. That's what the legislation says. The guidelines or regulations governing this policy would require posting in the very public Canada Gazette.

We understand that current government policy decisions all but disallow entry to anyone who applies for work in the exotic dancer category. We salute the effort on that front to reduce sexual exploitation. We believe the proposed legislation takes these good policy intentions to the next level by providing statutory clarity. In other words, it would be carved in stone, and the policy underpinnings of the statutory requirement can be amended as necessary in real time for inclusion in the weekly Canada Gazette for all citizens to see. This approach, we would contend, is open and transparent, and we support it.

I know that some of you have wondered why this might be necessary when government policy already functionally does this in relation to those who attempt to enter as exotic dancers. In the same way the tap was recently turned off for exotic dancers, future governments could turn it back on. With this legislation, if an attempt is made to do that, presumably we'd find out as a result of the altered public policy published in the public Canada Gazette.

In addition, it should be noted that the language used in the enabling amendment in Bill C-17 would make it difficult to do this in any radical way. We believe there's a good way to conduct government business and enhance public safety and the prevention of crime at the same time.

Though we support this proposed amendment, we would be remiss if we didn't point out the necessity of responding to the issue of human trafficking on a number of fronts. Some of you participated in, or are certainly aware of, the work done by the Status of Women committee on human trafficking. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to attend and present, but we had made a number of recommendations for legislative and policy reform in relation to the sex trade. We've included them in our Martin's Hope report. They can also be viewed on our home page, at www.ccfaa.com. I'll provide this to the clerk later.

In any event, as you continue this essential work, these priority areas require more attention, in addition to this proposed legislation, if we are to protect those most vulnerable. The three areas that we think need significant help include working with all provinces to encourage passage of provincial legislation that will allow intervention to rescue children lost in the sex trade, and also, as a component of that legislation, providing enhanced licensing mechanisms to allow unfettered entry, padlocking, asset forfeiture, and prosecution of sex entrepreneur predators. These are the premises where we will find those who have been trafficked into the sex trade. Some of these premises are here in this magazine.

We should work with the provinces to provide the resources necessary to local and provincial law enforcement to create specialized units dedicated to the fight against human trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation. We applaud the first step of creation of the national coordinating unit and the support provided to victims of human trafficking, including the extension of work visas and the protection of people who actually come forward.

The reality is that to track this problem in a substantive rather than accidental way, which is how most trafficking investigations are commenced now, we need boots on the ground locally and provincially. Organizations like the Ontario Provincial Police and the Toronto Police Service need to be able to do this.

The last one is to ensure appropriate training for immigration officers--I know Ms. Chow spoke to this in a certain fashion--to best recognize those at the highest risk for being trafficked into the sex trade and to ensure entry is denied where the risk is high. In addition, we should ensure appropriate government manpower is available to provide follow-up investigations in this country where certain temporary workers might have an increased possibility of risk for sexual exploitation. These are some of the things that Mr. Carrier, Mr. Batters, and Mr. Komarnicki spoke of.

This committee may want to consider a request to the interdepartmental working group to consider and develop these three recommendations.

Finally, we'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to weigh in on this most important public safety matter. If there is anything that CCAA can do in relation to the human trafficking file or as it relates to the points immediately above, we stand ready to help.

Thank you very much.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

November 1st, 2007 / 10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-57 was at the time of prorogation of the 1st session of the 39th Parliament. Accordingly, pursuant to order made Thursday, October 25, the bill is deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

November 1st, 2007 / 10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-17, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to a special order made previously, I would like to inform the House that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-57 was at the time of prorogation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Justice
Oral Questions

June 19th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.
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Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, those who are victims of the horrible practice of human trafficking deserve our protection and support, and they are getting it.

In addition to Bill C-57, today I am pleased to announce that we are introducing additional measures to help assist victims of human trafficking. These new measures will extend the temporary resident permits for victims of human trafficking from 120 to 180 days. For the first time victims will be able to apply for a work permit while receiving health care benefits, including medical treatment and counselling services.

While the previous Liberal government did precious little, we have listened and we have heard. We are getting the job done and we are addressing these concerns.

June 19th, 2007 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Norman Doyle

Can we deal with this first, and then we'll talk about the briefing books and where we are on that?

I think the suggestion is that we wait until fall. We'll have a steering committee meeting. Quite naturally, we'll have briefings on Bill C-57, and we'll have a steering committee meeting to determine the number of meetings and witnesses who might be called in that regard. That's the suggestion, and I think it's a good one.

All in favour of that?

June 19th, 2007 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Norman Doyle

Yes.

The point you're making, analyst, is that the first item of business is the report. In the inside meetings, Bill C-57 would take priority.

June 19th, 2007 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Norman Doyle

Bill C-57 would be one of the first, if not the first, order of business when we resume in the fall.

June 19th, 2007 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Norman Doyle

We will invite organizational representatives to appear before the committee in Ottawa. I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunity, Mr. Karygiannis, to hear the various people who should be heard on this. I don't think you'll be deprived in any way.

What else do we have?

I'll make a reminder here that in the fall we also have to deal with Bill C-57, so that's going to be part of our deliberations as well. I think we had some mention made in our subcommittee that we would look at the points system. That could be studied under undocumented workers, so that's going to be done as well. The foreign credentials, of course, came up as being an important topic that we need to get around to.

Mr. Wilson.

June 19th, 2007 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Obviously Bill C-57

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

June 5th, 2007 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, it deals with Bill C-57. I mentioned that I would like to table something. Since I have read it into the record, I am sure members would like to see it. Therefore, I would like to seek unanimous consent to table the document that I read from.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Government Orders

June 5th, 2007 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-57 there is no doubt and it is indisputable that there are some areas that need to be looked at, but there are so many other areas that are so very important as well. My hon. colleague from Scarborough—Agincourt talked about doctors working as cab drivers.

I know that this new government, as it wants to call itself, talked a lot about that in the last election campaign, how it would fix that up, and how it would help those people. I make that appeal to this new government which really is not very new any more. It really is quite old and it is getting a little tired.

People are telling me that they are still out there working as cab drivers. They still need the help and they are not getting that help from the government. I am glad that my colleague is continuing to push this issue because I know he has for a long time campaigned on this very thing.

The lost Canadians again is a very important issue which the government is not addressing. I think that it really needs to do so. I ask my hon. colleague who spoke about this what his thoughts are on it?

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Government Orders

June 5th, 2007 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that is a debate for another time and another place.

I would like to refer to a letter that was given to a Canadian by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. It states:

Dear [Sir]: I refer to my letter dated December 10, 1997, regarding your entitlement to registration as an Indian pursuant to the provisions of the Indian Act. I have now received the required documentation.

I am pleased to confirm that you are now registered as an Indian in the Indian Register in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Indian Act under the name of ... born on ...

Your Registry Number is ...

Here we have a letter issued to a son of a veteran who was born in Holland, that recognizes him as an aboriginal Canadian, and yet the Department of Citizenship and Immigration does not have the fortitude, does not have the gall, and does not have anything between its head to say why it is not recognizing him as a Canadian?

Certainly and clearly, the bills that we should be debating in the House are far more important than the little skimpy Bill C-57.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Government Orders

June 5th, 2007 / 5 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister brought forward Bill C-57 in order to distract attention from other problems the Department of Citizenship and Immigration is facing.

I am going to continue from where I left off when I asked my question of the parliamentary secretary. I am going to read a paragraph from an article from May 17 saying that people accused “the Conservatives of pandering to their morally traditional voter base by making much fanfare about a relatively redundant bill”.

This is a clearly a move by a Conservative government that wants to keep calling itself the new Government of Canada. If one buys a suit today, it is new, and after a week it is a bit older, but after a year and a half it is old. Those members can only brand themselves as being a Conservative government.

On May 24 an article in the Toronto Star said:

Talk to the skilled professionals driving cabs, the doctors working as orderlies and the lawyers making telemarketing calls. They need Finley's attention too....

Wouldn't it make more sense to focus our energy on the vulnerable people who need Canada's protection, rather than devising ways to keep people out?

Bill C-57 is a skimpy bill for a skimpy issue. I am sure that if the department looked carefully at this, it could administratively bring forth an issue that could certainly prevent strippers from coming to Canada.

The minister is bringing forward this bill in an effort to camouflage other difficulties the department is facing under the Tories, such as the length of time it takes to process a spousal sponsorship. For example, a Canadian meets someone who is visiting Canada, they fall in love, they get married, and the Canadian decides to sponsor his or her spouse inside Canada. Under the Liberal government, the process was finished in six or nine months. Under the Conservatives, proven by documents given to the minister, it is taking up to two years. This prevents a young couple from starting their lives.

Lo and behold, if it is the wife who is sponsored and she gets pregnant, it is going to cost that couple anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000 for that child to be born, because that young lady would have absolutely no health coverage. This is going on while the Conservative government is dickering around with Bill C-57. Imagine that. I am talking about a Canadian citizen, an individual born in this country, and his or her father would have to pay $10,000 to $15,000. The Conservative government is putting people at risk by not working fast enough on spousal sponsorships.

There are other things that the Conservatives are trying to mask, such as the issue of lost Canadians. There are facts and fiction about lost Canadians. I would like to take that route.

There are thousands of Canadians who have lost their citizenship and are trying to get it back. There are thousands sitting in silence saying nothing, fearing that their family secret will be disclosed. Some just do not even know they are not Canadian citizens due to archaic and unjust legislation.

I have to admit that there are others more knowledgeable on the subject than I. However, I have become very familiar with this file. Some might say I have become too familiar with the effect this file has on Canadians.

Under section 8 of the 1977 Citizenship Act, unless children born abroad to Canadian parents reaffirms their citizenship by the time they are 28, they could lose their right to hold a Canadian passport and claim citizenship. They could end up being stateless and the Conservative government would not give a damn.

This was the case with my fourth daughter. She was born outside Canada. I quickly learned about the file of lost Canadians and of people like Joe Taylor, who has been fighting the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for the last five years. Joe Taylor wants his right to citizenship. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has appealed a decision, thus holding in abeyance a few hundred cases. The number depends on who we ask. The minister says 250, but departmental officials say 400.

Fact: the minister does not know which end is up.

Fiction: people born in Canada are Canadian citizens.

In January I wrote a letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration asking that she take steps to resolve the matter of lost Canadians.

Fact: four steps were suggested to the minister, among them that the department advertise to advise Canadians that they might have lost their citizenship.

Fiction: when she appeared in January the minister and deputy minister advised the committee that they indeed had advertised. The deputy minister later advised members of the committee that this was not the case.

As the committee on citizenship and immigration began hearings on the issue of lost Canadians, the members heard stories that astounded Canadians as to how the Department of Citizenship and Immigration was screwing around with people's lives.

Canadians heard horror stories of people who had been misled and given half information, people who had lost their citizenship for a variety of reasons, or never had Canadian citizenship, and people who had lost jobs because they could not get a passport to travel abroad. Many people have lost everything.

Fact: a lost Canadian who has to apply for citizenship has to wait for a long time to get the matter resolved.

Fiction: according to the Citizenship and Immigration website, those cases deserve immediate attention and the minister is making these individual cases a priority.

The minister has attempted to disrupt the work of the committee. The last time her officials were testifying before the committee, they were even giving half facts. When the department officials were pressed for answers, the chair of the committee adjourned the meeting. This was followed up by letter to the chair of the committee from the minister telling committee members how to carry out their work.

Fact: “--I will ask my Deputy Minister indicate that, if the witnesses have any doubt about answering a question put to them by the Committee members, they should not answer immediately, but provide a response, in writing, at a later date”.

Fiction: Joe Taylor, a positive response from the minister is in the mail. What a shame.

In order for people to receive citizenship, whether they are lost Canadians or naturalized Canadians, they must undergo background checks by RCMP and CSIS.

Fact: it takes six to eight months and the standard answer from the RCMP inquiry states that the processing time is currently in excess of 120 days from receipt of the application. Note that processing times can vary due to incoming workloads. I will be tabling such a letter that I have received a little later on.

Fiction: the minister stated in committee that she has a verbal agreement with her counterpart minister, the Minister of Public Safety, in which the cases of lost Canadians will be handled in two weeks. The minister further stated that she had a proposal for new legislation which would take care of the problem. Again, she is disrupting the work of the committee in putting forth a real ill-conceived plan.

Fact: the new act proposes anyone born in Canada on or after January 1, 1947, will have citizenship even if they lost it under the provisions of the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act.

Fiction: this part of the proposed legislation looks after the war brides and war babies. According to the minister and the proposed legislation, World War II happened after 1947.

The minister goes further in the proposed legislation and states that on or after January 1, 1947, Canadian citizens will have their citizenships confirmed if they are first generation born abroad, but no further. This means that second generation Canadians born abroad are not recognized by Canada. They will be illegitimate Canadians. They will be stateless.

Fact: we brought back a few thousand people from Lebanon last summer and the Conservative-Reform-Alliance Party, or CRAP, the base of this new government, is screaming that people should not have dual citizenship.

Fiction: the minister stated, “Despite widespread media coverage...the number of cases of individuals in Canada whose citizenship status needs to be resolved is still limited”. The minister simply does not know the file.

Time and time again, she tried very hard to convey a message that she knows what she is talking about and that the department officials, on her instructions, are working for our interests, and advertising and looking for every opportunity to contact lost Canadians.

Fact: the minister is playing to her Reform agenda that pits one Canadian against another. The real fiction is when the minister states:

My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this issue due to outdated laws that have been on the books for many years. While the previous government chose not to act, we are taking action and moving forward to help those whose citizenship is in question.

I would say to the minister the following. Get on with the facts and drop the fiction. Canadians want the facts. Canadians deserve the facts.

There is also another topic which the minister is trying to circumvent and it deals with undocumented workers. Undocumented workers are people that have come to Canada and have for many years tried to settle and work in Canada, and raise their families.

The past Liberal government was on the verge of doing just that, regularizing these individuals. We were on the verge of streamlining policies and working with stakeholders to make sure that these people found a home in Canada.

It was but a few days after the last election that Canada's new government, this heartless Conservative government, showed its true colours and started deporting thousands of people.

These were people who were doing jobs and filling positions which were badly needed. Stakeholders, community groups and unions have come forward and asked the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to study this matter.

I am proud to have moved a motion that the citizenship and immigration committee study undocumented workers. In committee we went even farther and asked for a moratorium on the deportation of undocumented workers until the committee reports.

I sought unanimous consent last week on this matter to stop the deportation of undocumented workers. It was very unfortunate that the bastions of the worker class, the champagne socialists, the NDP, did not give consent. The NDP did that not because it does not believe in it, but because it wants to take political expediency.

We have seen very clearly that the government does not know fact from fiction. The fact is that it takes 120 days. The fact is that an individual who was born in Holland was granted--

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Government Orders

June 5th, 2007 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. My colleague brings forward a very important problem with this entire issue. It is almost impossible to get numbers on how much of this is occurring in this country because it is an underground trade.

We do not know how bad it is, but as I said earlier, my colleague from Kildonan—St. Paul has been working tirelessly on this. She has travelled across this country and internationally. Everywhere she goes she has the opportunity to listen to people who are affected by this very important issue of exploitation through the sex trade. It is everywhere. She has spoken to young people and also to old people who have been in this country a very long time and who have been victims.

The member brought up a very important point. We do not know how bad it is, but we know that it exists, that it is rampant, and that certain trades lead are more likely to lead people into becoming victimized.

This is the government's step forward. As I say, I am encouraging all members to support us on this very important bill, Bill C-57.