Evidence of meeting #39 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

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

That's very concerning, because if they're working it off here in Canada, obviously there are ties to organized crime here in Canada and other such things are going on that we don't want here on our shores—not only the criminality aspect of that particular issue but the human aspect of that issue. Someone, as you said, is now enslaved to these people who got them to this country.

I thank you for that answer. Going along this road, I have a quote from something else you said:

We are pleased that the Government has sent a clear message that it will not be tolerated, and we welcome the introduction of legislation preventing human smugglers from in effect creating an unfair two-tier immigration system, one for the impatient rich and the other for the honest applicant.

In your speech earlier, you talked about the “poor, quiet people” in countries waiting for a yes or no answer.

4:25 p.m.

Past President, Board of Directors, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, As an Individual

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

And I'm sure that's what this quote ties into.

4:30 p.m.

Past President, Board of Directors, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, As an Individual

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

Would you like to elaborate a bit more on that? Because you know what, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees around this world, sitting in UNHCR camps waiting patiently to get a positive “yes” answer to come to a country like Canada, and we have others who are making ties with organized crime and coming in through the back door. Do you think that's fair?

4:30 p.m.

Past President, Board of Directors, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, As an Individual

Michael Deakin-Macey

You have to divorce yourself from the individual cases sometimes and come up a little bit in terms of how you look at it. The challenge becomes one of trying to treat people the same as they work their way through it. Sorry, I had a mental lapse, could you—

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

I think we have enough answer there.

I just want to speak for a moment to Ms. Morrissey and Ms. Jordan.

I can't remember who said it, but you referenced a particular case from Pakistan and the fact that they may not get a fair process, or whatever the case was that you were talking about. I just wanted to clarify that with regard to designation of safe countries there are certain qualitative and quantitative factors that are involved in the designation. The minister cannot just designate a country, it has to be based on stuff that is in legislation and also outlined....

I'm just going to give an example. Sixty per cent or more of total asylum claims from the country are withdrawn or abandoned by the claimants. The second one is that 75% or more of the total asylum claims from the country are rejected by the independent Immigration and Refugee Board. So when you're talking about cases like Pakistan, are people coming from Pakistan who are refugees abandoning their claims in droves like some other countries from the European Union? I'm just wondering if you were thinking this applied to that particular country.

4:30 p.m.

Founder and Member of the Board, Rainbow Refugee Committee

Christine Morrissey

No, certainly they don't.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

Thank you. That's all I needed to know. I just wanted to make sure that we understood that.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Thank you.

Mr. Menegakis.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm actually going to pass it over to Mr. Dykstra.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Thank you, Mr. Menegakis.

Chair, through you to Sharalyn, I'm afraid that you're misinterpreting or not understanding the new legislation correctly in maybe three areas. I did have some questions for Mr. Amble, but I really think it's important to get this clear, because I understand your concerns, but I think we've alleviated them. In fact I think we're correcting the actual concerns that you have in terms of your perspective.

The first is that the only time that the detaining of an individual will happen is when there's an irregular arrival, meaning that there will be a large number of people coming in a specific way that is irregular to the normal entrance of 99% of the asylum seekers who would apply for refugee status here in Canada. So the community that you represent will not be impacted by that.

4:30 p.m.

Member of the Board, Rainbow Refugee Committee

Sharalyn Jordan

We already have been.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Okay, you already have been. Then it's kind of hard for you to have been impacted by legislation that hasn't been passed yet.

4:30 p.m.

Member of the Board, Rainbow Refugee Committee

Sharalyn Jordan

We've been impacted because people who are LGBT have been detained and been unable to access legal counsel because of that detention. Our concern is that even though it may be a very small percentage once people are in detention and they are without review for 12 months.... And I understand that it is maybe less than 1%, but that it could happen, and it has happened, that people have been detained and once they are, they do not have access to legal counsel in a safe environment that allows them to say what they need to say. That then creates a credibility problem for them in their hearing.