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

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

First of all, I applaud everything you do. You're very compassionate people. You're clearly intelligent. You've thought this out. You're looking towards the safety of children, as we all are, and I think it's very important that we do that. This country is compassionate. It's built upon immigration, on many generation of immigrants coming from all over the place.

To give you some context, since you brought up World War II, my father was in a gulag, and my mother was taken to Nazi Germany as forced labour. They came back certainly with their scars from those endeavours. Of course they came to this country and relocated essentially as refugees, because they couldn't go back to their home country. They had to build a new life, so I understand that. As a soldier I've served in a war zone and I've seen the psychological impacts on people, not only on the people we were trying to protect, but on my own soldiers who right now are dealing with a myriad of difficulties and psychological traumas from all sorts of incidents, not just Afghanistan or Bosnia or other places. So I understand all that.

I will tell you I think that when you're talking about psychological trauma of children in detention, the root cause is not necessarily that detention. I acknowledge the factors you've discussed, but a lot of these things are from the places they come from, and from the trauma, the tyranny, the oppression, and possibly the mass killings and other horrific things they've witnessed.

I would suggest to you that's probably a greater source of that trauma than being here in detention. A comment was made that we would try to appease “these conditions”. Well, these conditions are some of the best in the world. We have a right as this country to defend the security of our country. I understand sometimes it's only—

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

You only have a few seconds, Mr. Opitz. I'm sorry.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Well, thanks to all those points of order I'm almost out.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Well, you were a part of those points of order.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Some of those issues are definitely acknowledged, but we have to look to the safety of Canadians before we release people.

You were at that boat, sir. Forty-one people were held, several of them for war crimes and for other criminal activity. Many of these mass arrivals involve smugglers, and people lie. People aren't all refugees.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Chair.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Point of order.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I just wonder, Chair, if there are incorrect facts. I wonder if there's any way to—

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

I'm just chairing the meeting. I don't know what's—

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Is it a point of order?

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Just settle down, Mr. Opitz.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

There's a question of clarity to the chair. It's directed to the chair.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

My problem is I don't know what's correct and what's not correct. Therefore anything goes. It's up to the committee members to correct something that's incorrect.

I will say that time has expired.

I want to thank you, Dr. Stanwick, Ms. Davis, Ms. Jeanes, and Ms. Williams for coming. I'm sorry you had to put up with our little squabbles, but that happens at the end of the day sometimes. Your contribution has been greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

We will suspend.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Thank you very much. We will reconvene.

Our final panel today is just the one witness. This panel will be for 45 minutes as opposed to the hour. The panel consists of the Roma Community Centre. I'm going to try to pronounce your name. I'll do my best: Gina Csanyi-Robah.

May 3rd, 2012 / 5:45 p.m.

Gina Csanyi-Robah Executive Director, Roma Community Centre

The anglicized pronunciation is “Casani” and the Hungarian pronunciation would be “Chani”.