House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the minister's hand-picked experts.

The minister's own department is full of problems. He was caught red-handed by the courts misleading Parliament about his visa backlog. Seven billion dollars would also buy a lot of widows' pensions, health care, education, disaster relief and military equipment.

With all of those needs, why is the minister asking to waste $7 billion on his biometric boondoggle?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is always a bit sad when people resort to personal attacks because they lack arguments.

I will give some figures, if that is what is wanted. Let us talk about the maple leaf card, the permanent resident card. The forecast total net cost for two million of these is $22.9 million.

It is all very well to bandy figures around, to talk of billions and billions, but what is essential and important for our society, since this is being done in the rest of the world at this time, is to hold a decent and factually accurate debate and determine what Canada's role will be in this era of biometrics.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

October 7th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General refuses to clarify whether the RCMP did indeed provide information to the Americans that could have led to Mr. Arar's deportation to Syria. Yet the Americans themselves, at the highest level, have not hesitated in saying that they acted on Canadian information.

Can the Solicitor General tell me, yes or no, whether the RCMP provided the Americans with information on Mr. Arar?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite might not like the facts but I just spent an hour before the foreign affairs committee, at which the member was there, and I, in fact, answered those questions.

I have been assured by the commissioner that the RCMP was not involved in the decision by the Americans to arrest and deport Mr. Arar. Those are the facts. Whether the hon. member likes those facts or not, those are the facts.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Solicitor General has never said that the RCMP did not pass on information. That is not the same thing.

CINAR, Radwanski, sponsorships, all of these are in the hands of the RCMP. There is no longer any way of getting information here in this Parliament. The government refuses to speak. This is why the Arar case requires a public inquiry in order to exonerate this citizen whose rights have been trampled on and whose very life was put in danger.

Is this country being run by the RCMP?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said before the committee this morning, the RCMP operated within its mandate and within the laws of the country.

I can tell members that the government, as a whole, worked strenuously to ensure that Mr. Arar was returned to Canada. He is back and we certainly are pleased to see him back in this country.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that the Liberals had removed immigration officers from the Thousand Islands border crossing from midnight to 8 a.m. We now have an email from the eastern director for immigration stating that it was to allow people into the country on the honour system with the understanding that they would return the next business day.

How can the minister possibly justify reducing our border security to an honour system? Does he not know that the bad guys will not respect the honour system?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. His colleague asked the same thing yesterday, and I said I would look into it.

Indeed there will be changes at the Thousand Islands Bridge entry point, at Lansdowne Ontario. There will be no immigration officer on duty between midnight and 8 a.m. between October and April. There will, however, be a customs officer, who will be able to contact an immigration officer around the clock, seven days a week. What is more, under the arrangement we have with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, this officer could act as an immigration officer.

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, at many of these border crossings the customs agents do not have access to immigration records. The minister should actually find out what is going on.

Let me inform the minister that the government has lost 34,000 deportees in its experience. We now have Immigration Canada telling its officers in Ontario to swing the border open between midnight and 8 a.m.

Will the minister confirm that it is now the policy to allow immigration cases across the border without proper scrutiny?

Border Security
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat slowly. I just mentioned that those officials will not be there but that we will have people from customs who will have the same authority as an agent of immigration. We are available 24 hours a day in case they need us. We are there and security is our priority.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, when asked whether or not the government had received the RCMP investigation report on CINAR, the government House leader said he could not comment, and I quote, “on whether or not there was an investigation”. His colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage herself, confirmed that she had requested the RCMP investigation into the CINAR affair.

How can the government announce that it requested an RCMP investigation on CINAR and now claim that it cannot say whether this investigation has concluded and whether it has received a report?

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would not want to repeat myself, but I will have to. I told the member clearly, the first time he asked the question, that I would inquire. I did so. The member alleged that there was an RCMP investigation.

I gave an answer, a few hours later, saying that the government would not comment on whether or not there was an RCMP investigation, let alone on the investigation report.

That was true yesterday, and on Friday, and it may be a surprise to the member, but it is still true today.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, as friends from the days of the rat pack, he should talk to his colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage. No one asked the government to disclose the content of the RCMP report. All we want to know is whether the investigation has concluded and if the government received a report, that is all. There is no reason for the government to hide this information.

I will repeat my question. Yes or no, did the government receive a report following the RCMP's investigation into the CINAR affair? It is not complicated.

Cinar
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, the answer is not complicated either. I told the member that the government would not comment on whether or not there was an investigation, let alone whether or not there was a report, nor whether the government received the report, since this is an RCMP case and the government does not interfere in this kind of thing.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, since the Solicitor General failed to answer my questions yesterday regarding the closure of the forensic labs in Edmonton, Regina and Halifax, I am forced to ask him again today.

Are these forensic labs scheduled for closure in 2003 or 2004?