House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister continues to evade questions regarding her conduct during the election. Using the Ethics Commissioner as her shield no longer works. The Ethics Commissioner has plainly said, “There is nothing preventing the minister from commenting while under investigation”.

Will the minister stand in this place and tell Canadians, once and for all, how many ministerial permits she issued in total during the last election and how many she issued to individuals affecting her own riding?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre
B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are back again: let us not let the ethics counsellor do his job; let us just jump the queue and do it for him instead.

The minister has repeatedly said that there are no statistics kept in the department on visas issued by riding. She cannot give something that is not there. There is no information on visas issued by riding. That is it.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, for weeks the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has been telling the House that she is unable to answer questions because they are being considered by the Ethics Commissioner, but the Ethics Commissioner has revealed that this is untrue.

I will tell the House what the minister has been working at to avoid answering the tough questions. The minister has been repeatedly misleading the House. This amounts to nothing less than contempt. When will this disgraceful minister resign?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, opposition members hurl outrageous allegations over and over again. They impugn people's integrity.

The minister of immigration has been in this House day after day responding to the questions and outrageous misleading allegations of the opposition. Why do we not just let the Ethics Commissioner do his work? We will receive the report. He is an independent officer of Parliament. I think they should respect this independent officer.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, on International Human Rights Day, the government needs to examine its conscience. In 2002 Parliament modified the composition of the Immigration and Refugee Board, reducing the number of board members from two to one, and creating an appeal division. The appeal division is still not operational and the minister does not understand how urgent it is that it be implemented.

How can a government that denounces the democratic deficit tolerate this delay in carrying out the will of Parliament and what is it waiting for to implement the refugee appeal division as called for by law?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre
B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, this is only one part of the refugee process. We are looking, as a department, at the whole refugee process. There are many components of it that we feel need to be dealt with. There is going to be a complete review of the refugee process, including Iran.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the appeal division is a very important part of the legislation. Amnesty International, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and many other groups condemn and denounce Canada's refusal to implement the refugee appeal division.

Will the government take the opportunity of this International Human Rights Day to announce the implementation of the refugee appeal division?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre
B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, there is a refugee process that needs reviewing and we are reviewing it. There is no point in cherry picking by taking one piece out of it today and doing another tomorrow. We are looking at the refugee process and we are reviewing it. This will be done. It is being worked on already.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the security certificate process causes suffering for families who see one of their members imprisoned and threatened with expulsion from Canada, as part of an unfair process which upsets the balance between security and individual rights. The current procedure includes serious infringements of basic human rights, in particular, hearings at which the accused is not present and the lack of appeal.

Does the government intend to completely review the legislation governing security certificates and stop sanctioning a legal system completely devoid of the fundamental right to the presumption of innocence?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, security certificates are one of the measures used to remove non-Canadians from this country when they pose a threat to national security. It is an exceptional measure.

Since 1991 some 27 security certificates have been issued. In fact, the security certificate, as a tool to protect the national security of Canadians, has been reviewed by the highest level, the Supreme Court of Canada. It has been found to be constitutional in terms of striking the right balance between national security and human rights.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the government insensitive to the human drama of those jailed through an unjust process and does it realize the urgency of changing the security certificates to put an end to this intolerable situation in a society that calls itself democratic?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I said, security certificates are one of the tools we use to protect the national security of Canadians. Security certificates, while obviously controversial in the minds of some, have been reviewed by the courts. The Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that the security certificate, as a tool, is constitutional. It does strike the right balance.

I would hope that the hon. member is not suggesting that we should not use, in the appropriate circumstances, all the tools available to us to protect the security and safety of Canadians.

Securities Industry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, David Dodge said that securities commissions, police forces and the Crown lack expertise when the time comes to draw up rule violation files. He recognized that white collar crimes have a huge impact on workers and small investors and also hurt Canada on foreign markets.

When will the government take white collar crimes seriously?

Securities Industry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood
Ontario

Liberal

John McKay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we certainly welcome the observations of the bank governor, Mr. Dodge. As members know, the government commissioned the wise persons' report. It addressed a number of the issues that were raised by the governor over securities regulation. The government is taking that into consideration.

We hope all members will find their way clear to support the concept of a national securities regulator.

Securities Industry
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the wise persons' report called on the government to act. What we are getting instead is delay and obfuscation.

Canada is like the wild west of financial markets, and that is not me talking. That is the Governor of the Bank of Canada. White collar crimes are despicable. They hurt workers, pensioners and small investors. We see nothing being done about it.

We have had high profile stock market scandals, Bre-X, YBM and LiveNet, but no one involved has gone to jail. When will the government give some teeth to our securities legislation?