House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

Department Of Citizenship And Immigration Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Edmonton Southwest, AB

Careful the wheels don't fall off.

Department Of Citizenship And Immigration Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Halifax, NS

Oh no, they will not fall off. The hon. member for Edmonton knows very well that will not happen.

The figures and statistics quoted by the hon. member for Calgary were most puzzling, given in particular that I know he has received many of the briefings from the department. For example, the $30,000 to $50,000 for the processing of a refugee in Canada is far out of line. That is so incorrect as to almost be ludicrous except for the fact that when the hon. member stands in this House and makes this statement with his authority as a member of Parliament, people out there might believe that he was accurate if it was not corrected, if the facts were not brought forward.

It reminds me of the old joke I know what I believe in, don't confuse me with facts. The facts are that when a processing costs that much-oh, they are getting upset, calm down, take a Prozac-it occurs when all avenues of the system are being exhausted. In other words, that includes an appeal to the Federal Court of Canada. It includes all of the side venues that may be taken by a refugee in dealing with the Immigration and Refugee Board. It is not the average. It is not even close to the average. What is particularly offensive is that the hon. member knows that. If he does not know it, he should try and find out.

What we are talking about ostensibly today is the setting up of the immigration and citizenship department. This is long overdue. It is very important. What it does is streamline and modernize government to give government the tools needed to deal effectively with all of the complex citizenship and immigration issues.

On that note, it is necessary to remind hon. members opposite who sometimes look at the area of immigration with perhaps, forgive me, a less than generous attitude of mind that these are very complicated issues. We live in very complicated times.

In my travels around the country since I was honoured to be appointed the parliamentary secretary to the minister, I have talked to many, many people about the subject of immigration. I am absolutely edified every time I come away from town hall meetings, meetings with NGOs, meetings with people who live and work on the front lines of day to day Canadian society dealing with the settlement of new Canadians. I am edified at the generosity, at the open hearts of communities across the country, at the belief in the hearts of average Canadians that immigration is something that built this country, that immigration is good for this country and that continued and expanding immigration can only improve this country. Every one of us here is an immigrant. Whether we came here 50 years ago, 200 years ago or whether, like my hon. colleague the member for the Eastern Arctic, we came across the land bridge from Asia 5,000 years ago, we are all immigrants.

I look around on this side of the House right now. Just in front of me I can see four different ethnocultural backgrounds. Over here in this corner we have too many Irish people. However, that is the glory and the wonder of this country, that we come here together, that we represent all the aspects of Canada at its most diverse and that we continue to do so. Immigration is what made this country strong. Immigration is what made it diverse and immigration is what will keep it strong, diverse and unified.

I think it is a little sad that some of our colleagues are not prepared to understand just how important not just for Canada to thrive but the survival of Canada the continued inter-weaving of this mosaic is. We are not a white-red country. We are not a country that is homogenized and ever so slightly dull. Sometimes it can be a little too exciting living in this country, fortunately not dangerously so but sometimes stressfully so.

I do not think that any one of us, certainly on this side of the House, would change where we live. I do not think we really want to change the conditions under which we live our day to day lives in spite of some of the things we hear from day to day. In spite of some of the things that are said I think we as Canadians understand just how desperately important the peace and security of this country is to our continued success.

Part and parcel of that is the way the government deals with immigration. The government feels so strongly that on the day the government was sworn in the Prime Minister stated that the creation of a separate Department of Citizenship and Immigration under its own minister which would bring together all immigration policy and program activities currently in the Public Security and Human Resources portfolios plus the citizenship registration and promotion programs of the Canadian heritage department would be established. This is what this legislation is doing.

I might make a comment also on some remarks made by the critic from the Official Opposition when he talked about the fact that there was confusion because of overlap between immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism. With the greatest of respect to the hon. member, I beg to differ. I beg to differ with the hon. member on a number of things but I beg to differ, there is no confusion. Yes, there are overlapping areas. This is only sensible and only to be expected because clearly there are areas in all three that tend to come together.

I want to assure the hon. member that the Department of Citizenship and Immigration along with the Department of Multiculturalism are very clear where the complementary and where the overlapping policies lie. This government has a very strong commitment in each of the areas to ensure that policy and program go forward in the best interests of all Canadians from coast to coast.

The hon. member needs to be reassured that we on this side are not confused, just as the hon. member from Calgary needs to be reassured and perhaps to a degree re-educated on the benefits of immigration to Canada. I feel most strongly that the hon. member is missing out both as a member of Parliament and as a Canadian if he continues under this misapprehension with regard to the benefits that immigration brings to this country. I think he also misses out if he feels that somehow the number of people who come to this country-

Department Of Citizenship And Immigration Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

That was so good we will let you continue after question period.

It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

The Late Arthur Andrew
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to pay tribute to a truly great Canadian, Ambassador Arthur Andrew.

The late Mr. Andrew was a resident of Halifax and I am proud to say my friend. He made a career out of promoting Canada and Canadian values. He described himself as a professional Canadian; a very accurate phrase indeed. He had a distinguished 32-year career with the Department of External Affairs serving in various high ranking diplomatic posts across the globe, including ambassador to Israel, Sweden and Greece. He was assistant undersecretary of state for External Affairs for three years.

After this major career with the Department of External Affairs, Mr. Andrew became a professor at the University of Kings College in Halifax. While teaching at Kings he continued to be involved in Canadian diplomacy and foreign policy publishing many articles on these issues. He also was one of three founders of the Ethiopian airlift out of Halifax along with our colleague the MP for Don Valley West and Peter Dalglish.

On behalf of the House of Commons I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to Arthur's wife, Joyce; his daughters, Stephanie and Victoria; and to the rest of the family. He was truly a great Canadian.

Restricted Weapons
Statements By Members

June 13th, 1994 / 1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian citizens are still allowed to own a very large number of military and paramilitary weapons and they can also own revolvers as long as they first obtain a free certificate. A majority of Quebecers and Canadians favour a complete ban on these weapons. I think that there should be a ban on the possession of military-and paramilitary-type weapons and of most semi-automatic weapons.

It is unacceptable that the Mini-Ruger 14 used in the Polytechnic massacre is still a legal weapon in Canada. This and other types of weapons cannot be tolerated in a free and democratic society.

We can no longer hide from the reality that weapons are a scourge in our society. And we can no longer ignore the smuggling of military armaments and weapons of all kinds that the Liberal government prefers not to see. The time to act is now.

Comments In Chamber
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Herb Grubel Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize to all members of the House, aboriginals and residents of the Atlantic provinces who have been offended by remarks I made or was alleged to have made in the House recently.

From the controversy over my remarks I have learned that it is not wise in the political arena and in front of the media to use the same techniques I have employed successfully during my long career as a lecturer. In the future I will be very careful in the use of strong analogies and illustrations to bring out crucial points of analysis.

The main point of my remarks was that the policies of the government toward those in need of support require a fundamental re-examination because they have not worked. These policies have created dependence and significant social problems. New approaches to these problems are needed.

I am saddened that analogies taken out of context and the misrepresentation of my basic points have distracted from an open and frank discussion of problems which are of vital importance for the well-being of all Canadians.

Judging from the messages I have received, very many Canadians want to see such a discussion.

Second International Kite Festival
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, from June 2 to June 5, the city of Verdun hosted the second international kite festival. Fifteen countries were represented and 54 special guests displayed their skills. A total of 200 people participated. I myself had fun as both a spectator and a participant.

At least 150,000 spectators came and all agreed that it was a great show.

I commend Georges Bossé, the Mayor of Verdun, for his work and Sandra Carmichael for organizing the event. I also want to thank the team of 200 volunteers who showed unequalled community spirit.

The atmosphere was fantastic and the festival was a success.

Food And Agriculture Organization
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today at a press conference in Quebec City the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food together with other governments involved announced that Canada and the province of Quebec, Quebec City, and the Food and Agriculture Organization would host an international symposium from October 11 to October 13, 1995 to commemorate the founding of the FAO in Quebec City 50 years ago.

Canada played a leading role in preparing the groundwork for the FAO's founding through an interim commission chaired by Lester B. Pearson. The organization has grown from 42 to 171 members since 1945 and has carried out field projects in more than 140 countries around the world.

The 50th anniversary of the FAO will be October 16, 1995-

Food And Agriculture Organization
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. Boniface.

High School Graduates
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all parliamentarians, I want to congratulate our high school graduates across the country.

Congratulations to all our high school students. We wish them well in the future, whatever path they choose to follow, whether it is further education or entering the work force.

Graduation normally means parties, and we want to alert the young people to be careful. Driving to and from parties can be dangerous. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid drinking. If possible it should be avoided. If that cannot be done there is a program called Safegrad, managed almost totally by students.

Safegrad has a program to help increase travel safety and to ensure that if drinking takes place it is done under safer conditions.

On behalf of all those who love you a lot, I urge all graduates to be careful.

Multiculturalism
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the president of the Université du Québec à Montréal, Mr. Claude Corbo, concluded to the failure of a federal policy. Indeed, by stressing ethnical and cultural features, the Canadian policy on multiculturalism leads immigrants to the impasse resulting from a fragmented culture and an extended marginalization.

According to Mr. Corbo, the efforts made by the federal government for ethnic and cultural communities are suspicious. Mr. Corbo added that the policy could increase the minorization of the Quebec identity or to rob it of its originality.

We can only conclude that this policy, which dates back to the Trudeau era, has failed in two ways. Indeed, on the one hand, it has not helped integrate minority groups, while on the other hand it has failed, in spite of the unspeakable objectives of its architects, to rob the Quebec identity of its originality.

The Family
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the importance of the Canadian family is beyond question. It is vital to the well-being of our society. It is vital to the nurturing of our children. It is vital to the preservation of our sense of justice, our values and our convictions.

Given the significance of the family's role in society, state or special interest agendas must not be allowed to diminish the role of the family. The freedom of the family to raise its children according to its own unique needs and convictions must be

preserved. Government programs should encourage rather than discourage parental responsibility for their family and any trends that demean the role of the family must be challenged.

Canadian families have been lacking a clear, strong federal voice. My colleagues and I intend to change that and provide leadership by speaking for the family and developing policy alternatives that would encourage, strengthen and protect the fabric of this most basic unit of our society.

National Transportation Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about National Transportation Week which took place last week, June 5 to June 11.

The importance of the transportation component to business is fundamental. We are reminded of it almost every day. Transportation plays an essential role in the competitive cycle. In the business community where advantages are harder than ever to come by, efficient, intermodal and competitively priced transportation is essential to success.

With the emergence of a truly global economy, the ability to forecast and adapt to international and national change is essential for transportation.

Given the world-wide demand for effective intermodal services, it is most appropriate the theme of the 25th National Transportation Week was "Intermodalism: The Perfect Fit".

We can also be proud of the dedication, professionalism and hard work of the scores of men and women who keep our transportation industries on the go year round.

Department Of The Environment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind members of the House as well as all other Canadians of the anniversary of the Department of the Environment last Saturday, June 11.

In just 23 years Environment Canada has made significant contributions to our understanding of the environment and the consequences of our interaction with it. The department in broadening its approach to environmental issues no longer focuses on individual problems but treats the entire ecosystem as a unit of interdependent elements.

In keeping with the department's quest for sustainable development and the notion that everything we do affects the environment, we as Canadians should continue to do what we can to help preserve our planet for the future.

The Late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Berger Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, those concerned about humanist values and religious faith have lost a powerful voice and a champion with the passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, spiritual leader of the Lubavitch Hasidic community.

Rabbi Schneerson operated from Brooklyn but his was a vision without boundaries and without borders. He was not a parochial figure. He cared and spoke for people of all walks of life and in all parts of the world.

He was a tireless supporter of prayer in schools, Christian as well as Jewish. He built the movement which today has representatives in every centre of Jewish life working to build a better quality of life for Jews and non-Jews alike.

We are witnessing in his departure the end of an era. I am sure, though, that it is not the end of the ideals of Jewish values and Jewish internationalism which he championed.

I would ask all members of the House to join me in extending our condolences to the Lubavitch community and our hope that his inspiration will help them to continue his good work.