House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was citizenship.

Topics

Border Security
Oral Question Period

November 7th, 2002 / 2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this morning U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft made it clear that strong borders make good neighbours.

Clearly the Americans do not trust the government's commitment to security, which is why they are strengthening their border measures to the detriment of all Canadians.

Has the government been advised as to what specific concerns the Americans have about our lack of security?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States were working very closely for a long time on border security. The Manley-Ridge exercise has been extremely successful. We have greater security and greater efficiency, and that is in the interests of both Canada and the United States.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, individuals who claim refugee status at a port of entry into Canada are given a preliminary interview and invariably released into Canadian society. About 25% of these claimants fail to show up for any subsequent immigration proceedings. That is almost 10,000 people. The government has no idea who they are and where they are.

Is this one of the reasons that the Americans are strengthening their border controls?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely inappropriate to ask this kind of question, considering that Canada and the United States have signed a safe third country agreement and that this agreement will soon be ratified. On the contrary, there is very good cooperation between our two countries.

Agropur Plant in Chambord
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the region of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean is outraged about Agropur buying the plant in Chambord only to close it down and have the milk produced locally shipped to its plant in Granby.

Will the minister responsible for the Canada Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec make a commitment to the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean that the federal government will do everything in its power to support any initiative to get this business going again?

Agropur Plant in Chambord
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, two meetings have taken place already, and Canada Economic Development will, as usual, follow this issue closely and do everything in its power, within its program, to support the region.

Agropur Plant in Chambord
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that it is important that he react quickly if and when a recovery project is submitted to him, could the minister responsible undertake to proceed swiftly and to provide financial assistance in order to preserve the concept of local processing, which is being jeopardized by the plant closure in Chambord?

Agropur Plant in Chambord
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, if promoters put a new project on the table, we will look at it, as I just told the House, within our program, with a view to supporting them.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, new U.S. border security measures are going to affect Canadians negatively, thanks in part to the government's failure to cooperate with the Americans in creating a continental security perimeter to keep terrorists out.

Given that there are over 50 terrorist groups operating in Canada and that the government has lost track of 24,000 people in this country with extradition orders, why is the government surprised to hear about these tougher measures? When will the government get serious about continental security by tracking down the 24,000 people in Canada who have extradition orders and whom it has lost track of and remove them from the country?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who is the opposition critic is much more familiar with this issue than this member.

I think hon. members know that not only was the legislation amended but we have new regulations and a new agreement with the Americans, who are saying that we are doing a wonderful job. Today, Mr. Ashcroft was not critical of Canadians. On the contrary, he was very positive. So, let us be careful when asking questions.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us be careful when we allow people who have extradition orders to remain in this country. Let us be careful in creating a continental security perimeter to ensure that American immigration policy does not continue negatively to affect Canadians.

I ask again, when will the government take measures to track down and remove the 24,000 people who are illegally in Canada and who pose a risk to both our security and that of our neighbours?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, not only are we efficient but we have invested another $600 million since September 11. We put in place more immigration control officers. We have had removals. We do not believe that refugee claimants are potential terrorists. We believe in this country that we should fulfill our international duties. When those bad seeds are here, we kick them out. We are doing what we have to do.

Marriage
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. In July and September of this year, the courts in two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, found that the opposite-sex definition of marriage is unconstitutional. Both gave the government two years to deal with this issue.

If Parliament fails to act, marriage will automatically be modified in these two provinces.

What is the government doing about this?

Marriage
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like thank my colleague for this excellent question. As hon. members are aware, over the summer I had the opportunity to express, on behalf of the government, our views on this matter and to indicate that, in the current context, this being an issue fundamental to Canadian society, all parliamentarians have a role to play as well. For that reason, I have this very day asked the Standing Committee on Justice to proceed with consultations, in order to allow the public to have a say on this important issue.

At the same time, I have tabled a discussion paper containing a number of options. We are open to others as well, not just to those set out in the document.

Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the walkout of grain handlers at the port of Vancouver has been going on for over two months. Now picket lines at Prince Rupert have completely shut down the movement of grain out of the west coast. Due to the drought, this is one of the worst years that farmers in western Canada have ever had. Now the government will not even ensure that their meagre grain crops can be shipped to customers.

Why will the government not help powerless farmers caught in the middle of this dispute?