Evidence of meeting #37 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was refugee.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Carole Dahan  Barrister and Solicitor, As an Individual
  • Andrew Brouwer  Barrister and Solicitor, As an Individual
  • Imre Helyes  First Counsellor, Head of Consular Section, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary
  • James Milner  Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University, As an Individual
  • Chantal Desloges  Senior Lawyer, Chantal Desloges Professional Corporation
  • Mary Crock  Professor of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, As an Individual

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Could you quickly describe the impact of a five-year wait for a family to be reunited after settling in Canada?

4:25 p.m.

Barrister and Solicitor, As an Individual

Carole Dahan

I apologize to the interpreters for speaking so fast.

On the impact, we've heard already on the study that Ms. Cleveland and Cécile Rousseau spoke about earlier today about the separation of children. I can tell you personally, if I were faced with the idea that I could be separated from my child for five years, potentially even eight years—because it's a year to get the refugee status, five years afterwards...after that I have to apply for permanent residence and then apply to sponsor my child. It's going to lead people to make very foolish decisions and to bring their children with them on very dangerous voyages.

If the idea is to stop human smuggling and to get people not to use the smugglers, I think the smugglers are going to be the ones who win. Rather than getting one client who thinks, “I'm going to go to make a claim and then I will sponsor my child and reunite with my child”, if faced with the possibility of being separated for five to seven years—10 years—I'm going to bring my child with me. The smuggler has just won because now they have two clients.

I don't think this targeting of families and the separation is going to assist us in any way.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Some of you are looking at the clock back there. It has stopped, so the immigration committee is stuck in time.

4:25 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Mr. Opitz, you have time for one quick question.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you, everybody, for appearing.

Szervusz, Mr. Helyes. It's nice to have you here.

Sir, you were talking about some of the issues around the Roma in particular. Just to put it on the record, does Hungary discriminate against the Roma?

4:25 p.m.

First Counsellor, Head of Consular Section, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

What protections are in place for them under your system?

4:25 p.m.

First Counsellor, Head of Consular Section, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary

Imre Helyes

I'm sorry. You mean protection in what sense?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

You described that there are complex and multiple problems with this group and some others in your country. That's a nice global statement, but I'm trying to get some specifics. In dealing with those problems, how does your country protect them internally?

4:25 p.m.

First Counsellor, Head of Consular Section, Embassy of the Republic of Hungary

Imre Helyes

Concerning discrimination, the law does not allow any kind of discrimination. In case there is discrimination, the law provides remedies in different forms.

Second, there is an institution for the protection of minority rights, or the institution of an ombudsman for minority rights, which follows the general flow of events in society. It has the opportunity to have a close look at the activity of any particular state agent or institution concerning the particular question of discrimination.

The government has been following very closely the development of different kinds of situations, and in accordance with the needs, it has been amending, for example, the criminal code, where new institutions of crimes are established, addressing particular phenomena. For example, it comes to the monopoly of the state to implement coercion, which in certain forms would have been challenged by certain formations. We now have not only the general disposition but a particular legal disposition to fight that kind of phenomena, and that definitely has disappeared during the last one and a half years. It would have been present during a certain period of time when the law would not have provided that particularly clear instrument for the state to go forward and fight that kind of phenomena.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Are you satisfied—

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

I'm sorry, we're way over on everything today.

Mr. Helyes, as I said earlier, it's been an honour that you would come representing Hungary and giving your views on immigration. Thank you very much.

Ms. Dahan, I always admire someone from legal aid. I don't know how you make a living at it, but thank you for coming. And, Mr. Brouwer, it's good to see you again.

We thank the three of you very much for coming.

We will suspend.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

We will start panel two. We're a little bit behind.

We have two witnesses. Professor James Milner is with the Department of Political Science at Carleton University. Good afternoon to you, sir.

May 2nd, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

Professor James Milner Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University, As an Individual

Thank you.