Evidence of meeting #42 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 amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jennifer Irish  Director, Asylum Policy and Programs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Monique Frison  Director, Identity Management and Information Sharing, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Warren Woods  Manager, Asylum Policy and Programs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

We're on to clause 12.

Ms. Sims, NDP amendment 5.

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Amendment 5 once again tries to mitigate some of the damage this bill will do to the way we treat refugees. It specifically in this case limits the restrictions on designated foreign nationals from applying for a temporary resident permit to circumstances where they have not been identified or if security requirements have not been addressed.

This actually makes it much, much tighter.

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Mr. Dykstra.

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Chair, I repeat that this does the exact opposite.

Sitting on the government side and saying we shouldn't be giving the minister this much authority.... I'm almost hesitant to say it, Mr. Chairman, because it's always the government that is trying to promote that the government should be taking responsibility, but this is far too much authority within the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration's purview. We can't support it.

Again, I come back to the fact that it's just not drafted well. This doesn't tighten, it loosens. It treats the irregular arrival of potential refugees in a much more criminal manner than our legislation will.

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Monsieur Giguère.

May 9th, 2012 / 1:40 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

I would like to answer Mr. Dykstra. The need for safety is what draws refugees to Canada. Those people are persecuted. If we recognize them as refugees, we must give them all the rights a refugee can obtain from our country. We should not have a two-tier system—one for refugees we like and another for those we consider to be suspicious because they arrived in a way we see as irregular. That's arbitrary because it is decided by the minister. That's the true scope of those measures.

We want that clause to be limited only to those individuals who truly represent a threat to Canada's security or whose identity is unclear. We are attacking the principle of designated foreigners. Once again, the Canadian Bar Association supports our position. This idea does not violate any laws, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or our country's constitution. You are attacking what you should not attack. It's a bit like a situation where a chicken farmer's chicken coop has been ravaged by a fox. Instead of taking precautions against the fox, the farmer punishes the chickens. That's exactly what you are doing. You are punishing people who have been the victims of smugglers, and that is unacceptable, especially since you recognize the fact that they are refugees.

Thank you.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Ms. Sims.

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Once again, Mr. Chair, I want to reiterate that we believe the current legislation, Bill C-11, would address the concerns we've heard expressed from the government side.

Right now, none of the designated people could receive a temporary resident visa or anything else for up to a year. They may not even have travel documents or anything else. What we're saying, and what this amendment says, is that the only people who would not be given a temporary resident visa are those for whom identity has not been determined and for whom security requirements have not been addressed. But as soon as those two things are done, then people should have documents.

(Amendment negatived)

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Monsieur Lamoureux, Liberal 5.

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Chair, I would move that Bill C-31, in clause 12, be amended by replacing line 29 on page 6 to line 30 on page 7 with the following:

(5) The officer may refuse to consider a request for a temporary resident permit if the designated foreign national fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any condition imposed on them under subsection 58(4) or section 58.1.

Mr. Chair, the question remains as to why we are still limiting legal status of designated foreign nationals, why we are making these designated irregular arrivals wait five years before they can actually apply to get a TRP.

To pick up on the point Mr. Dykstra made—and he indicated I could make up whatever I like with regard to this whole two-tiered system—I want to refer the member to a presentation that was given by the UN refugee agency, which many, including me, would argue is a fairly world-renowned organization. If you turn to page 9 of the UNHCR's document on Bill C-31, they actually have two very short recommendations:

UNHCR recommends that, in the spirit of the 1951 Convention, the five year bar to regularization of status be removed.

Recommendation number seven:

UNHCR recommends that the principle of family unity be fully respected and applied consistently throughout the refugee procedure and that recognized refugees under the 1951 Convention be entitled to apply for family reunification in a timely manner.

So the one amendment that was just defeated kind of touches on both.

The point I was trying to make on establishing that double tier was that the convention does say that you cannot penalize based on a mode of entry, and that is in fact what we're doing.

I obviously expanded a little bit further than what the actual amendment deals with, but the principle is still there.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Debate?

Ms. Sims.

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

We support this amendment.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

I'm sorry, I'm out of order.

Mr. Dykstra.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

That's fine.

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair David Tilson

Ms. Sims.