Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act

An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Jason Kenney  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now 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 limit the review mechanisms for certain foreign nationals and permanent residents who are inadmissible on such grounds as serious criminality. It also amends the Act to provide for the denial of temporary resident status to foreign nationals based on public policy considerations and provides for the entry into Canada of certain foreign nationals, including family members, who would otherwise be inadmissible. Finally, this enactment provides for the mandatory imposition of minimum conditions on permanent residents or foreign nationals who are the subject of a report on inadmissibility on grounds of security that is referred to the Immigration Division or a removal order for inadmissibility on grounds of security or who, on grounds of security, are named in a certificate that is referred to the Federal Court.

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.

Votes

  • Feb. 6, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Passed That Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 32.
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43, in Clause 13, be amended by replacing line 21 on page 4 with the following: “interests, based on a balance of probabilities;”
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 15 on page 3 with the following: “— other than under section 34, 35 or 37 with respect to an adult foreign national — or who does not meet the requirements of this Act, and may, on request of a foreign national outside Canada — other than an adult foreign national”
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 5.
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43, in Clause 6, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 20 on page 2 with the following: “may not seek to enter or remain in Canada as a”
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Failed That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 1.
  • Jan. 30, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said Bill; and fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of report stage and of the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
  • Oct. 16, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, when I hear this kind of speech, I have to wonder whether it was written by one of the NDP's young staff members who are part of the Québec solidaire party. That speech had an appallingly demagogic tone.

It is completely ridiculous to insinuate that this bill is regressive and that it goes against basic human rights.

Does the hon. member really believe that a war criminal, someone who has no respect for human rights, should be able to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds?

Did she speak about the victims of war criminals? Did she speak about the victims of the Rwandan genocide who complained to me that it took 21 years to deport Léon Mugesera, who was responsible for inciting it? Does she think it was reasonable for Mugesera, the person responsible for inciting the Rwandan genocide, to be able to submit two applications to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds?

I do not want a general answer. I think that the hon. member should provide a direct response.

Should Mr. Mugesera, who was responsible for inciting the Rwandan genocide, be able to invoke humanitarian and compassionate grounds?

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, the minister should look into the meaning of demagogic. I think it applies more to him than to my speech.

Our democracies have evolved in terms of basic rights. In the absence of proof to the contrary, real democracies have always sought to ensure that everyone's basic human rights are respected.

Bill C-43 does not respect the basic human rights of individuals.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, from the numbers being provided by the minister and the parliamentary secretary over the last number weeks, we understand there are approximately 800 offences, serious crimes, being committed by permanent residents on average in any given year.

Does the member agree that there would be great deal of benefit if the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration got a report on those crimes by category? I ask because what we often hear is the extreme element. We do not necessarily know the proper context of those 800 crimes being committed. Does the member see any value in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration looking into that?

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government likes the headline effect. It exaggerates the significance of examples that are obviously exceptions. Bill C-43 is clearly the perfect way for the Conservatives to impose their ideology.

My colleague is absolutely right. Let us talk about facts, about solid evidence. It would be a good idea to analyze all of these different crimes and categorize them. That would provide more conclusive data on which to base an objective decision to implement this kind of bill.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address Bill C-43 this afternoon and to put on record what I believe is an important perspective.

First and foremost, if the minister genuinely wanted to get rid of foreign criminals or permanent residents who were committing all these crimes, I believe there is a lot more the minister could have done other than just bring in the legislation. We in the Liberal Party do believe that permanent residents who commit serious crimes should be deported, and it should be done in a timely fashion. We do believe that. We are not, to quote some government members, supporting criminals staying in Canada indefinitely. At the end of the day, we believe that there needs to be consequences. It is not too much to ask people who are coming to Canada to behave in a good fashion. A vast majority of permanent residents have done that.

The Liberal Party, in its time in government, generously opened the doors to immigrants from around the world and advocated for responsible behaviour in Canada, and we will continue to do so.

The bill goes back to June of last year in the dying days of the session. The Minister of Immigration had a big press conference and he had all sorts of PowerPoint slides. The minister spared no cost on this. He wanted to make a powerful statement, which all Canadians needed to know, that the government is committed to the faster removal of foreign criminals. He loved the headline and he wanted every media outlet to report that fact.

Many experts, many different stakeholders have said the bill is so far-reaching that the minister has gone overboard. In reality, that is really what has happened. He has gone a little overboard. If the minister really wanted to do Canadians and all residents a favour, maybe he should invest a little more in our border services and in resources for immigration.

I asked him how many foreign nationals do we have in Canada today who are not here legally who are committing crimes. I applaud the Minister of Immigration. He gave a somewhat honest answer. He recognized that he did not know. He has been the minister for six years and he does not know. Crime is a really important agenda item for the government, apparently. Yet he has no idea how many foreign nationals are in Canada today, let alone the fact that he does not even know how many of those foreign nationals are committing crimes. Why? Because he is more focused on the bigger picture, the big headline.

That might be good possibly for future leadership bids, but in terms of serving Canadians, I would suggest that there is a lot more that the Minister of Immigration could have done to deal with this issue, which is important to Canadians and all residents who live here and call Canada their home. The minister could have adequately resourced our services so that the people who commit these hideous and serious crimes could be deported in a more timely fashion. That is what we expected from the Minister of Immigration.

We have a number of concerns about Bill C-43. One of them is using public policy to deny entry. The minister said, “It is okay. Trust me. I can determine what refugees are irregular arrivals”. Members will remember that piece of legislation. The minister wanted that power. This is the minister who said, “It is okay. I can determine what country in the world is a safe country”, even though we had other legislation that passed that said it should be dealt with by an advisory board made up of professionals, people who have expertise in a wide variety of issues such as human rights.

Now we have the minister, once again, wanting more power. He wants to be able to, through public policy, decide who should not be able to come to the country. One could say maybe that is just the Liberal Party talking and being critical of the minister but, no, all we have to do is look at what was said in the citizenship and immigration committee.

In committee Barb Jackman, a constitutional lawyer, said:

I have no doubt that the public policy grounds will lead to denying people admission on the basis of speech.

There were other individuals. This is a quote from the testimony of Michael Greene from the Canadian Bar Association on the same topic:

We believe this power is unlimited, unaccountable, un-Canadian, and unnecessary. It doesn't have a place in a free and democratic society that cherishes civil liberties and fundamental freedoms.

This is not the Liberal Party saying this, and contrary to what the minister likes to say, which is that these lawyers are all lefties, social activists and so forth, these are people who are committed enough to share their ideas and their thoughts when they recognize that the government has gone overboard and who take the time to come and make a presentation to our committee. We should appreciate that.

There are other issues. Misrepresentation is now increased, from two years to five years, in terms of when a person would actually be able to reapply for immigration purposes to come to Canada. Again, the minister says that if people are filling out the application, by God, they should be honest, and if they are honest, they do not have a problem. Therefore, why would someone oppose increasing the time penalty from two years to five years when someone has been dishonest?

I am sure that the minister is aware of things such as unintentional or innocent misrepresentation. I am sure the minister is aware of bad immigration lawyers and employment agencies that provide misinformation. It is not always the applicant who might be at fault.

However, in the legislation, the minister does not care about that. He is prepared to ignore that issue completely and say that it doesn't matter. He doesn't care why it might have appeared on the form. That person will have to wait five years because of something that they might not have even been aware of and, for all intents and purposes, they thought they were being completely honest and straightforward on the application. However, there is no extra consideration whatsoever being given to that. It is a mindset. This is something where the Conservatives and the Liberals really differ.

Liberals believe in immigration in the true sense of the word. We believe that immigration is what has helped build our country to what it is today. We do not believe that if people land in Canada they have to become citizens or they are not good citizens of our land. The current government believes that if people land in Canada and have been here for three years, they had better be getting their citizenship or they plant a seed of doubt in terms of why they would not be getting their citizenship, that they are not as good as the rest of us for not getting their citizenship. If we listen to the rhetoric and the many comments that come from the minister, one can easily draw that sort of a conclusion.

I raised the issue in terms of children and the issue of family breakup. I must have hit a chord because the minister began his comments with it. We have families that immigrate to Canada every day, families of three, four, five and larger. I found the minister's response amazing. He said that if one member of a family commits a crime, it is not a problem. Their family does not have to stay in Canada. They can all leave Canada because that one person has to leave.

There is no evaluation or true sense of compassion in terms of what the circumstances behind the crime or the action were. Truth be known, it is not as black and white as many would like to think it is. I sat on a justice committee. That is why I said before that I believe in consequences for all crimes, period, whether they are committed by Canadians or permanent residents. I believe there needs to be consequences for crime, and I believe also that all my caucus colleagues support that.

Where the Liberals differ is that we are a little more sympathetic to the understanding of situations. That is why, for example, we believe it is appropriate to let judges have some judicial discretion. That is something in which we have a little more faith, the importance of an independent judicial system. However, the government does not recognize that at all. It is straightforward.

This was interesting. I cited three examples and the hon. member only made reference to two of the examples when we talked about youth crime. One of the crimes I mentioned was a 20-year-old with six pots of marijuana. On occasions I have explained in the House that, yes, those are for trafficking purposes. That is nothing new. The hon. member's comment was that the bill only relates to trafficking. Fine. I have acknowledged that in the past.

Does the minister not think there are 18-year-olds trafficking marijuana in high schools? Do I have news for the minister. It is there. It is real. It is happening today, not only by people who immigrated when they were two-year-olds but by people who were born in Canada. I will tell the hon. member something else. At times young people make some stupid decisions. If a person were in Canada since they were a one-year-old and they are now 20 years old and they get caught doing something stupid, is that justification for deporting that person in all cases? I would argue that it is not, not in all cases. The minister would ultimately argue, yes.

By my saying what I just said, the minister will say the Liberal Party supports people who sexually molest seniors, and I believe he tried to imply it. That is absolute rubbish, but that is one example the minister gave. The reality is that the minister is prepared to see a 20-year-old deported to a country he or she has never known, even though that person was a one-year-old when they came to Canada, because they had six pots of marijuana growing and attempted to sell it to some buddies.

Before one starts throwing stones, one needs to reflect on their own human behaviour.

At the end of the day the other example the minister gave was about using false identification. As opposed to hearing it from me, let me read exactly what was said in committee. I would ask the minister to really listen to this. I quote:

Using a false or fraudulent document is an offence under section 368 of the Criminal Code and carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years. A 20-year-old permanent resident who is convicted of using fake identification to get into a bar while visiting the United States is inadmissible under IRPA because of a foreign conviction.

It doesn't matter that the U.S. court punished him with only a $200 fine. Paragraph 36(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not require any particular sentence, only a foreign conviction.

This is coming from someone who represented the Canadian Bar, dealing with immigration work in the past, a presenter to the committee. The minister says that we have to do our homework. Part of the homework is listening to what people have to say when they come to the committee. I am just repeating something said before committee, and if one follows that example through, I think it would surprise a lot of people.

I brought up three issues. The one that the minister did not make reference to was a 20-year old taking his camera or cellphone into a movie theatre, recording some cool show he has just seen and then showing it in any way. Well, he is out of luck if he does not have his citizenship, even though he may have been here since he was one or two years old.

The point is that the government, in bringing forward this legislation, has gone too far and over-reached. We in the Liberal Party recognize the need to ensure that permanent residents who commit serious crimes should be deported. We believe that it should be done relatively quickly. There are ways that the government could be far more effective, if it genuinely wants to make our communities safer places to be. I cited that point at the very beginning, and I think it is an appropriate way to close.

If the government wants to prevent crimes from taking place in the first place, if it wants to deport those who are here illegally and who should not have been here in the first place, not because they committed a crime but because they have over-stayed, and if it wants to deport permanent residents who have committed serious crimes, the best thing it could do would be to invest in immigration services that facilitate that. The government could invest in our border services. If the government were prepared to do that, then it would be far more effective in making our communities safer places.

There are many other things that people should be reflecting on before this bill comes to a vote. I would suggest that the government did not listen to the types of amendment that we brought forward, some serious amendments, at committee.

I appreciate the fact that one of those amendments was modified by the government, where the minister uses his ability to deny access and would be obligated to submit that in a yearly report. At the very least, the House would then know when and how often the minister used that ability. We were hoping that the amendment would pass the way we suggested it, but I am glad that the government did recognize that particular Liberal amendment and made some modifications. However, for the most part, with that one exception, many other amendments that could really have improved the legislation were not passed.

As a final thought, I do believe that we need to look at a country like France that recognizes children who immigrate there as being more a part of their society, because of their age when they immigrated. Here I could give the example of someone in a tragic situation who had immigrated as a child and through a horrific accident became a foster child, which, no doubt, has happened in the past.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I know that we are discussing Bill C-43, but I was fascinated to hear the member speak about the fact that the minister should understand that the trafficking of marijuana is taking place in high schools all over the country, despite the fact he is from a party that believes we should spend a lot of time legalizing marijuana.

I am not quite sure where he was going with that, but subject to that, he does continue to recite three or four examples while never providing a concrete example of a situation he is suggesting could happen and has actually happened. He has never come forward. He ties together everything that he thinks will work into some sort of proposal without actually coming up with any evidence.

However, the member mentioned having spent time listening to witnesses who presented at committee. I thought it would be good to ask him what he thought of what one of the witnesses at committee, Sharon Rosenfeldt, the chair of Victims of Violence, said:

As an organization that works with victims of violent crimes and their families, we applaud this proposed change. We feel that streamlining the deportation of convicted criminals from Canada will make our country safer. Limiting access to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s Immigration Appeal Division, and thus reducing the amount of time that convicted criminals may spend in Canada, is an important proactive step in ensuring the safety of all Canadians.

We were all at committee and heard that witness. The member for Winnipeg North is saying that we should be listening. What does he think of the comments by Ms. Rosenfeldt?

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to think I am exceptionally sensitive to victims of crime. It does not matter whether the person is an immigrant, a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, when a crime is committed there needs to be a consequence.

To get a better appreciation of that, I would encourage all members of Parliament to talk with victims of crime. Doing that helps all us to better appreciate what it is to be a victim. That is one of the reasons I say that we should be preventing some of these crimes from happening.

One of the things we can do with Citizenship and Immigration to do just that is to start looking at the number of people here in Canada who do not have legal status. Here we are not talking about hundreds of people, but thousands. A percentage of those people are, no doubt, committing crimes, but this is something that the government has done absolutely nothing about. I suspect there are many victims' advocates who would say to the Government of Canada: “Shame on you for not dealing with that particular issue”. We should be dealing with it and the best way to do that is by dealing with resource issue in regard to border controls and immigration services.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the immigration critic and deputy immigration critic. They are doing excellent work to improve the government's bills. These bills tend to be flawed, and we are not too sure what they are based on.

I would like to ask my colleague from Winnipeg North whether he thinks this bill was based on statistically valid facts that show a need for greater ministerial discretionary powers. Did the government look at how other countries deal with this issue and whether their approaches are successful? I am talking about countries that may have changed their immigration policies.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question, but I do not believe the bill is justified by the 800 the minister now refers to. I never heard about the numbers of permanent residents committing crimes until we actually hit the committee stage. There was no indication that this was going to be an issue until June of last year, when the minister made a huge announcement. I think there was a lot of material missing. It should have been included if I were to say the legislation were well thought out prior to its introduction. I do not believe it was.

I believe this is more a case of the minister wanting to come across as tough on crime more than anything else. One of the victims here is the House of Commons, because we were never really legitimately brought in so that we could become engaged on the issue prior to the introduction of the legislation, let alone the stakeholders and communities from coast to coast to coast. I am sure all Canadians are concerned about it and would have loved the opportunity to participate and provide guidance, which would have made the bill a better piece of legislation.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, in short, the member is saying that we get a large piece of this legislation. It is understandable that the consequence of committing violent or sexual offences should be that the person has to leave the country.

I ask the member to help me understand this better. Is he telling me that an 18-year-old who has been here since he or she was one years old and never became a Canadian citizen and crosses the border, drinks under age and becomes guilty of that offence, and attracts a fine of $200, should have no appeal after that? That child could be ripped from their family and sent back to some country they have never visited and have no understanding of whatsoever, whose language they do not know, and where they have no family members. Is that what the member is trying to explain?

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question and, sadly, we heard that at committee. A professional came before the committee and made that case. The quote I referred to actually came from the committee. The government has failed to address that issue of someone using false identification.

As the minister tries to make himself look good, it will be achieved at substantial cost because of how far-reaching this legislation is. Many people will have to pay the price of the House passing sloppy legislation. It has gone too far. No one in the Liberal Party is trying to prevent people who have committed serious crimes like rape, murder and so forth from being deported. We are not trying to do that.

Earlier today the minister had another news flash. This time it was that he was going to take away Canadian citizenship from those who have dual citizenship but are deemed to be a terrorist or something of that nature. I might be putting it a little out of context, but that was the news flash. We will find out in tomorrow's new media.

Again, why does the minister not focus on citizenship? We have people who have qualified for citizenship waiting for years. We are not talking about a few; we are talking about hundreds of thousands who have qualified but are still waiting to receive their citizenship. However, because the minister is so negligent in providing the direction and resources necessary, he is missing the point and not doing what he should. He could be doing so much more, whether getting criminals out who should not be in Canada or making sure that people get citizenship in a timely fashion. The minister needs to readjust his priorities.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

February 6th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
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St. Catharines
Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the only disappointment I have today is that I only have 18 minutes instead of the 30 that would be allocated. I am starting out a little disappointed, but nonetheless the clock is the clock. At 5:15, the bells are going to ring. We are going to come back in the House to vote, and we are going to vote on the very bill we are speaking to this evening. Bill C-43, the faster removal of foreign criminals bill, is going to pass because every person on this side of the House is going to support this piece of legislation. We are going to carry it over at third reading and send it to the Senate.

There is hope and opportunity for our colleagues who sit on the other side of the House to play a role in changing part of our immigration system that should have been changed decades ago. They could support the legislation this evening and see it pass. We could perhaps do what we did with Bill C-11 in the previous Parliament, and pass an immigration bill unanimously that will start the process of refugee reform in this country.

I listened closely to the member for Winnipeg North. He continually says to all of us that he wants to see a stronger piece of legislation, a stronger justice system, that would ensure individuals who commit serious crimes and are not Canadian citizens are not allowed to stay in our country once they have served their time in jail.

The member liked listening to some of the witness at committee because they indicated they supported his perspective. One of our witnesses, Ms. Rosenfeldt, provided a passionate and detailed and descriptive understanding of why the bill should pass. The member's favourite piece to talk about is the trafficking of marijuana and how we could ever think that anyone who grows six plants would be trafficking. Ms. Rosenfeldt gave us a detailed description of how much trafficking an individual could do with that much marijuana. Nonetheless, the member for Winnipeg North was not prepared to listen then, and unfortunately it sounds like he and his party are not prepared to listen today.

We promised in our platform during the election in May 2011 that we would implement this piece of legislation. The minister committed to doing the same shortly after the election. We introduced the legislation in the House prior to the summer.

It was interesting to hear the immigration critics for the NDP and the Liberal Party ask at the time the minister deposited the bill why he was doing it, as there would be no time to study it before the House was going to break for the summer. Now we are ready to vote at third reading this evening, and both of them claim they did not have enough time, that we did not provide the number of hours necessary to understand the bill or do enough detailed research. The reason the legislation was introduced prior to the summer was to give them the opportunity to read the legislation. We offered briefings from ministry officials and a detailed analysis of what the bill would mean. We were more than prepared to give them time to sit down with the ministry and have a better opportunity to understand the bill.

The NDP supported the bill at second reading. We brought it to committee, where members had the opportunity to study it. Instead of saying we have two hours on Tuesday or two hours on Thursday, or maybe we will spend 8 hours studying the bill, we asked the opposition how much time it would like and how many witnesses it would like to bring forward.

We asked the opposition what we could do to ensure they had every bit of knowledge they thought they would need to move the legislation forward, and as I heard my colleague from the NDP mention this afternoon, to try to work together, not sitting on the other side of the House voting against this piece of legislation. All of that effort, the work, the information that was provided, and all of the analysis and detail the minister brought forward to the committee at any time he was asked to come, seems to not have been necessary for the opposition, because they have stood here today and said they are going to vote against it.

I am glad the member for Winnipeg North instructed us to listen to what the individuals said who came as witnesses to committee. I mentioned Sharon Rosenfeldt, who is the chair of Victims of Violence, and the comments she made about the bill. She also said:

Cutting short foreign criminals' opportunity for lengthy appeals will go a long way in minimizing and preventing the re-victimization of those innocent Canadians who are the victims of foreign offenders.

We are not the only ones saying this. When Ms. Rosenfeldt said this, it led me to think, and we brought together the information regarding all of the appeals that have been filed. I mentioned it when we were speaking at report stage, but it bears repeating. In 2007, at the Immigration Appeal Division, we had 830 appeals. In 2008, we had 954 appeals; in 2009, 1,086 appeals; in 2010, 849; and in 2011, there were 564 appeals. On average, since 2007, there have been over 850 appeals annually to the Immigration Appeal Division from serious criminals trying to delay their deportation.

When we look at the numbers and see the abuse that has taken place, we see a number of individuals and the cases, which have been cited time and time again by members of the government when speaking to the bill, of those who have taken advantage of that appeal process. They actually have a system here in Canada that they can take advantage of.

Tonight the NDP and the Liberal Party have the opportunity to play a role in getting rid of a system that is fraught with abuse, that is being taken advantage of. It has seen countless individuals not only stop their deportation from happening because of the appeal system that is in place but actually become repeat offenders.

When Ms. Rosenfeldt speaks of Canadians becoming further victimized, it is up to us, as a government, to ensure we take action. We have invested hours on the bill in the House of Commons, and at committee with our witnesses and all of the detailed discussion we had during clause-by-clause, and we have spent a lot of time going over each and every amendment. The government did not support amendments brought forward that were going to weaken the bill, but we certainly allowed for the discussion to happen so we could listen to what was being presented. We did in fact accept one amendment, and I appreciate the member for Winnipeg North acknowledging that there was a strengthening of the bill.

At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to act on behalf of victims. It is our responsibility to act. Other countries have surpassed us in terms of timing with regard to this legislation and have moved much further down the road.

We have a partnership with, and we belong, to the Five Country Conference: the U.K., the United States, Australia and New Zealand. They have all acted on these issues. Misrepresentation was one issue. We are the only country that has not acted in a measurable way on these issues.

We stand here today at third reading to say not only are the government and those who sit on this side of the House going to support the legislation, we can actually see if members of the opposition are going to support it this evening. There are a number of other countries that have moved much quicker than this country has and in a much more aggressive way than we have.

The bill, when members look at the detail and where it stands, has three principle parts. The first makes it easier for the government to remove dangerous foreign criminals from our country. The second makes it harder for those who may pose a risk to Canada to enter the country in the first place, and the third removes barriers for genuine visitors who want to come to Canada. We have done a lot of speaking, defending and promoting of the first two parts, which make it easier for government to remove dangerous foreign criminals from our country and make it harder for those who pose a risk to Canada to enter the country in the first place.

One point that I want to highlight is the removing of barriers for genuine visitors who want to come to Canada. The Minister of Public Safety and his ministry plays a role in the legislation as well. We do not need to look much further than section 42, which will actually make it easier for low-risk foreign nationals travelling with their families, who would like to come to Canada on a temporary basis, to become admissible here.

For example, a parent who is inadmissible on health grounds would remain inadmissible and require a temporary resident permit to visit Canada, but the remaining family members would now be admissible. Therefore, we are opening the door to say that, on a temporary basis, they can visit the country. They have a family member who is inadmissible and that family member would have to remain inadmissible, but for the relatives of that family member, there is an opportunity. Currently, they are inadmissible. Under Bill C-43, they would be admissible to Canada.

Further, inadmissible persons seeking ministerial relief would have to submit a formal application. The minister's authority to grant relief on his or her own initiative without a formal application will be explicitly spelled out. For example, the minister could use this explicit authority to facilitate the entry of a head of state who would otherwise be found inadmissible, if the minister was satisfied that the decision was not contrary to national interests.

While I have heard the speakers today and I have heard the members of the committee from the NDP and Liberal Party proclaim that the legislation focuses on those who are criminals who will be removed from our country, who are not citizens, who are permanent residents who have come here. The opposition members have not once stood up to talk about the fact that the legislation actually does allow for the easier transfer of family members who may have a relative who is inadmissible. It would allow them to actually come here to Canada.

A number of people, including the member for Winnipeg North, mentioned the fact that we had witnesses, and that we should have heard and listened to them. Ravi Jain, who is an immigration lawyer, was quoted. When he was asked about this issue, he said:

If you're coming to Canada and you happen to have relatives with you, dependents with you, and if you're inadmissible, but for minor reasons, like you know, maybe some criminality, but not really overly serious, but not organized criminality, or if it's health grounds or some other, you know, misrepresentation or other kinds of grounds, and you're coming, you have special permit to overcome that inadmissibility, then you're no longer going to render your dependents inadmissible at the same time, because right now if you're coming with someone who's inadmissible, if you're the wife or kids or whatever, then you're automatically inadmissible.

Those in opposition to the bill have stated that they have immigration lawyers who have said to them that the bill goes too far. It is great to hear from immigration lawyers who have done their homework and understand the legislation.

The third most important part of the bill, which is recognized by Mr. Jain, is that when an individual is not allowed to come into the country, his or her family at least will be in the position come into the country, when it is a minor offence or an issue of health. Both the Minister Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety will have some latitude in terms of their ability to allow those family members into the country. It did not happen before, but it will happen now.

I want to conclude by thanking all of those from the government side who sit on the immigration committee. We have worked on two very significant pieces of legislation, Bill C-31 and now Bill C-43. One of the most difficult things to do is to ensure one does justice to the legislation as it moves forward.

I can say, and I have not heard in respect to my colleagues on the other side of the House, this about their complaint about this government or committee's ability to give enough time to research, work and move forward on legislation. I thank all the members of the committee who did a tremendous job, including the chairman, who every once in a while even has to call me to order. I know that is hard to believe. We do on occasion certainly enjoy the hard work for us to move forward. It is important to recognize that both members of our committee and those who sit on the opposition benches, regardless of position, have put countless and tireless hours in moving this legislation forward.

This legislation is good for Canada. It will improve the view people from around the world have about how Canada treats those who come here for the purposes of permanent residency and who are in fact criminals.

We are now in a position where the legislation would allow us to do what so many other countries are doing, and that is to ensure we have a fast, strong process that removes foreign criminals from our country.

Bill C-43--Time Allocation Motion
Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

January 30th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-43--Time Allocation Motion
Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

January 30th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Skeena—Bulkley Valley
B.C.

NDP

Nathan Cullen House Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here we are again with a government that finds the democratic process inconvenient and a problem for its legislative agenda. After an exhaustive six and a half hours of debate on this bill, the Conservatives are moving time allocation once again, for the 28th time since they came to power as a majority government.

One would think that being a majority government would allow the Conservatives enough confidence to actually have the conversation with Canadians in the House. However, lo and behold, 28 times later they have shut down debate, just using this one tool of time allocation, never mind their other abuses of power in Parliament.

The question for the government is simple: What are they afraid of? Why are they so fearful of a conversation about a bill that they claim to have such pride in and to be of such necessity? After just six and a half hours, they are again shutting down members of Parliament from all sides and our ability to do one simple thing, to hold the government to account and to be representative of the people who elected us and put us in the chamber.

Why is there such addiction to time allocation, to censure of Parliament, to the bullying tactics and the abuse of Parliament that the government has become so prone to using over these short years?

Bill C-43--Time Allocation Motion
Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act
Government Orders

January 30th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, of the many questions posed, the one I picked up on was what was the government afraid of. I suppose we are afraid that the opposition's dilatory filibuster tactics, reflected in the completely dilatory amendments put forward at report stage, would endlessly delay the adoption and implementation of this bill.

The delay of this bill's implementation would result in the victimization of Canadians by foreign criminals who would be able to delay for years their deportation from Canada. We have presented in debate dozens of examples, representing probably hundreds of other examples, of inadmissible, convicted, serious foreign criminals who have gone on to commit serious offences while delaying their removal. We will not allow criminals like them to continue creating new victims in Canada, which is why we call upon the House to adopt this bill expeditiously, a bill that was outlined in our party's election platform.