House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was adoption.

Topics

Canada Elections Act.
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Canada Elections Act.
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption), as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Speaker's Ruling
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I will now convey to the House a ruling by the Speaker on Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption). There is one motion in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-14. Motion No. 1 will be debated and voted upon.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

moved Motion No.1:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-14, in Clause 2, be amended by deleting lines 27 to 30 on page 2.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-14, a bill designed to address a provision in the Citizenship Act. This bill reduces the distinction between natural born children of Canadian citizens and foreign born children adopted by Canadian citizens.

Every year Canadian parents welcome into their families children born in another country. These adoptive parents are Canadian citizens. The adopted children become part of a family, but their parents must complete yet another step before their children can officially be part of the Canadian family.

We are talking about the adoption of foreign born children, often barely out of infancy. Our government believes that Canada should welcome them as warmly as their adoptive family.

This government is taking action through Bill C-14 to grant citizenship to foreign born adopted children without their first having to become permanent residents. We promised to support Canadian parents who adopt foreign born children. We promised parents that we would grant citizenship to their adopted children if the adoption met the requirements of the bill which will protect the best interests of the child and Canada and which recognizes the jurisdiction of the provinces and the territories. This legislation, Bill C-14, delivers on these promises.

We need to make it easier for Canadian parents to obtain Canadian citizenship for their foreign born adopted children whether the parents reside in Canada or abroad. We need to give children adopted overseas access to citizenship without first having to apply for permanent residence. And we need to show Canadians that we want new families to be able to come together as quickly as possible.

The legislation before us today is the product of extensive study and consultation. This issue has been examined by several standing committees in previous sessions of Parliament.

Parliamentarians support the principle of this legislation, but most important of all, Canadians support the principles of this legislation. At the same, if we are to fulfill our duty as parliamentarians, we must remove the amendment to Bill C-14 referred to in the motion which adds an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division for adopted persons only whose application is refused under the provisions of Bill C-14.

There are jurisdictional issues that are of significance. It is important to remember that in Canada the matter of adoption falls within the jurisdiction of the provincial and territorial governments.

In the case of adoptive parents living in Canada, the province or territory where the parent resides is an integral part of the adoption process. Bill C-14 as it was originally drafted does not alter or interfere with that. However, the introduction of the proposed amendment to create a separate appeal mechanism has the potential to undermine the role of the provinces and territories as the competent authority in a receiving country.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has consulted with the provinces and territories on the implications of the proposed amendment. In general, they are very concerned that the inclusion of the Immigration Appeal Division as a separate appeal mechanism will usurp their authority by permitting the granting of citizenship on humanitarian grounds.

I would like to quote from a letter received from the Quebec minister of immigration and cultural communities voicing the province's strong objection to the adoption of this amendment. The letter states that the authority of IRB members could interfere with Quebec's constitutional jurisdiction with respect to civil rights, as members could, in some cases, grant citizenship to a child whose adoption may not comply with Quebec requirements according to Quebec's international adoption authority. The letter also states that in addition to the constitutional issues raised here, such a decision would have a major impact on the individuals involved. It goes on to say that if an adoption is not recognized in Quebec, then a new parent-child relationship cannot be established and a pre-existing parent-child relationship cannot be terminated.

If the Immigration Appeal Division grants citizenship to the adopted child without the province approving the adoption, there is a real concern that a child could be in the province as a citizen without a legal parent. We must remove the proposed amendment to ensure that this bill respects the jurisdiction of our provinces and our territories which are partners in this issue.

The proposed amendment to Bill C-14 to add a mechanism for an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division for adopted children only would, if passed, create a discrepancy within the Citizenship Act. It would create a separate appeal mechanism only open to a select few.

For programs to work well, they must be fair and apply consistently. The current Citizenship Act has an appeal mechanism in place for the Federal Court system. The introduction of an alternate appeal mechanism in the case of adopted children would not enable us to maintain fair and equitable citizenship programs.

This government recognizes that Canadian citizenship is valuable. We have a responsibility to protect it and make sure it is granted appropriately. I can assure hon. members that we have taken note of the concerns that were identified through our consultations and we are taking action that is necessary to address them.

This bill addresses the possibility that some individuals may seek to adopt children merely to help them acquire citizenship, so-called adoptions of convenience, adoptions that are taken for no other reason than to acquire status in Canada. However, if the proposed amendment is allowed, Bill C-14 would no longer be able to guard against adoptions of convenience in the same way.

We designed Bill C-14 to maintain a number of safeguards to deal specifically with these concerns and to ensure that Canadian citizenship is protected. The safeguards include the existence of a genuine parent-child relationship, and that relationship must be demonstrated. It must be clear that the best interests of the child are met. A proper home assessment must be completed where applicable. The birth parents must give their consent to the adoption. No person will achieve unwarranted gain as a result of the adoption, or it will not be allowed. The proposed amendment does not contain these safeguards.

In conclusion, Canada is diligent in maintaining the integrity of the citizenship process and in protecting children. We must act in the best interests of the children and in the best interests of Canadian families who have opened their hearts and their homes to provide love and opportunity to the children.

Let us all support the efforts of Canadian families. I urge all members of the opposition to do the right thing and support the deletion of the immigration appeal division amendment, so as to ensure that this bill respects the jurisdiction of our provincial and territorial partners and can be passed without further delay, so the process is open to those who wish to proceed with adoption and have it confirmed by citizenship upon the adoption being granted.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, could the hon. member please explain to the House which jurisdiction is responsible for the verification of the authenticity of an adoption? Is it a provincial jurisdiction or is it a federal jurisdiction?

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my sense is that it would be provincial. I cannot give a direct answer to that, but I would suspect that to be the case.

The adoption process is something that is done through the provincial jurisdiction. The concerns of the federal government primarily are to ensure that some very basic requirements are in place, that it is not an adoption of convenience, that the best interests of the child are paramount, and certainly it works in conjunction and in cooperation with the provincial jurisdictions.

What is significant in this bill and in the amendment is to ensure that once the provinces have gone through their processes to ensure that the adoption is final, the parents, without having to make an application through permanent residence to have the child become a citizen, can have it given to them as they arrive into the country. That is significant.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be given an opportunity to speak on this motion today.

This motion is intended to refine Bill C-14, an act that proposes to amend the Citizenship Act to extend automatic citizenship to children who are adopted and were born abroad.

Bill C-14 is a Liberal bill that was introduced in the last Parliament as Bill C-76 under the previous Liberal government.

This legislation seeks to minimize the difference in eligibility for citizenship between adopted and natural-born children of Canadian citizens. Under the current system, parents of children adopted abroad must first apply for a permanent residency for the children and ensure that they meet the residency requirements before they can apply for the children's Canadian citizenship.

There are countless Canadians who are choosing to adopt children who were born abroad, and they are choosing this route for a variety of reasons. Many are building their families. Others choose to adopt abroad to rescue children from very difficult situations in order to provide them with a hopeful and promising life. Canada should work to reduce any existing obstacles that adoptive parents may be facing in their attempts to build upon their family. The very act of adoption and welcoming a new member to a family is a noble act.

While the federal government should refrain from interfering with the family's decision regarding who they adopt, the same government should work to eliminate any barriers that families may face in fully integrating their new son or daughter into the community once an adoption has been approved by the welcoming province.

The process of adoption is a provincial jurisdiction, as my hon. colleague just explained. Once an adoption is finalized at the provincial level, the passage of this bill would ensure that Canadian citizenship automatically would be granted to the adopted child.

Bill C-14 is good legislation. Its objectives are meant to help Canadian families welcome their newly adopted children. This House supported Bill C-14 at second reading and forwarded the bill to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration for a thorough examination. Last year the committee approved the bill, but in good faith added three amendments that were intended to improve it.

One of those amendments is the amendment that this motion before us intends to exclude. This amendment would provide the opportunity for failed citizenship applicants to appeal the decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

As I mentioned, this amendment was tabled in good faith. That is why it was supported by the majority of the committee members. However, upon further examination and consultation, it has been revealed that this amendment may create several problematic and unintended consequences. Many provinces have already expressed concerns that this amendment may result in an infringement of provincial jurisdiction if a province has rejected an adoption application for one reason or another.

The Bill C-14 legislation instructs the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to grant automatic citizenship to the applicant if the applicant has met all of the provincial adoption requirements, thus leaving no discretion where an error of judgment could occur. As such, the necessity for an appeal mechanism is almost non-existent.

The fear is that some may use this proposed appeal process to pressure provinces in their adoption decision process. Some provinces are concerned that if this legislation were to pass as is, an adopted child may enter a province or a territory as a citizen without first having the province formalize the adoption.

If this were to happen, it could cause serious legal and financial implications with respect to child protection. Several provinces have written to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration voicing their concerns about the unintended consequences that may arise if this bill is adopted in its current form with the amendment.

After thoughtful examination of the feedback I received and a detailed discussion I had with departmental officials from Citizenship and Immigration, I believe that it would be prudent to support this motion and agree to remove this amendment.

This is an important piece of legislation. I think many Canadians have been following it with great and keen interest. I think that working with the government to ensure that we have a good bill, one that both respects provincial jurisdiction and fulfills federal responsibilities, is critical. We in the Liberal Party never place politics ahead of good policy and we are determined to perform our duty of delivering good legislation.

I look forward to voting on this motion as quickly as possible so we can get back to the business of passing Bill C-14 in this chamber. I sincerely hope that once this motion is adopted the government will move quickly to bring the bill back to the House for its final reading.

In closing, I want to express my grateful thanks to the officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada for taking the time to brief me on this motion. The information session they provided was pivotal in helping me conclude that supporting this motion is the right thing to do for this bill and for Canadians.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say from the outset that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of Bill C-14, mostly because it respects Quebec's jurisdiction over adoption, by allowing the Quebec government to determine whether an adoption is in accordance with Quebec legislation. Quebec law already protects the rights of children. The Bloc Québécois is in Ottawa to defend the interests of Quebeckers and to defend Quebec's existing jurisdictions.

However, Quebec has to be able to conclude international agreements on adoption because they fall under Quebec jurisdiction. This is still a problem. I will come back to that later. I hope will have enough time to do so.

The bill amends the Citizenship Act to reduce the distinctions in eligibility for citizenship between children born abroad of Canadian parents and foreign children adopted by Canadians. The bill will make it easier for any person who was adopted by a Canadian after February 14, 1977, to obtain Canadian citizenship; it will reduce the requirements for obtaining Canadian citizenship for adoptees who have reached the age of consent and, finally, it will reflect the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with respect to obtaining Canadian citizenship.

We have one major concern: this bill must respect Quebec's laws. Thanks to everyone's work, including the Bloc Québécois, of course, but also the Government of Quebec and the negotiations that took place between the federal government and the Government of Quebec, Quebec succeeded in ensuring that its jurisdiction over adoption will be respected. Clause 2 of the bill would add paragraph 5.1(1)(a), which states that the adoption “was in the best interests of the child”, to the Citizenship Act. The Bloc Québécois supports this.

The amended paragraph 5.1(2) states that it is Quebec's responsibility to determine whether or not the adoption meets Quebec's requirements. In other words, this clause says that Quebec is responsible for determining whether or not an adoption complied with the Civil Code and adoption legislation. If the Quebec adoption authority finds that the adoption complied with Quebec legislation, the federal government can grant citizenship to the child. We are pleased that this measure has been introduced and that the Constitution will be respected.

Finally, and this is a little sad, this morning we talked about another proposal concerning the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect workers, for which unanimous consent was sought. The only thing the Bloc Québécois asked for was that the legislation respect Quebec's jurisdiction and the Civil Code of Quebec, but the government refused to support it. That was a little strange, and might even seem paradoxical. We ensured that Quebec's jurisdiction will be respected in terms of Bill C-14, but in terms of another bill relating to the portfolio of a minister from Quebec—even though the minister is from Quebec, or perhaps because he is from Quebec—we were unable to ensure recognition of one very simple principle: respecting Quebec's Civil Code.

Back to Bill C-14. There are already provisions in Quebec's legislation that take into account the best interests of the child. Section 543 of Quebec's Civil Code states that: “No adoption may take place except in the interest of the child and on the conditions prescribed by law”.

Section 32 of the Civil Code states that: “Every child has a right to the protection, security and attention that his parents or the persons acting in their stead are able to give to him”.

Section 33 states, “Every decision concerning a child shall be taken in light of the child's interest and the respect of his rights”.

This has been a long-awaited bill. In granting adopted children citizenship more quickly, the federal government is finally taking account of the best interests of the child.

At present, adopted children are not treated the same as biological children born abroad to Canadian citizens, which, according to a Federal Court of Appeal decision, violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Adoptive parents already have a long series of procedures to follow in order to adopt a child.

Speeding up the process to obtain citizenship for these adopted children will thus lighten their burden. What was once an unnecessarily complex process is being simplified and this acceleration will facilitate the integration of these adopted children into their new host society.

Now, another contentious issue remains between the Government of Quebec and the federal government, that is, Quebec's ability to negotiate its own international adoption agreements. We believe that Quebec should be able to conclude its own adoption agreements with other governments. In order for Quebec to exercise its powers in the area of adoption and civil rights, it must be allowed to conclude its own adoption agreements with other countries. However, the diplomatic shackles imposed by Ottawa prevented it from doing so. This was the case with Vietnam, for example, and we all know what happened there.

The Conservative government claims that it is open to Quebec and that is practising a new federalism, but it still refuses to recognize the validity of the Gérin-Lajoie doctrine, which states that anything that falls under Quebec jurisdiction should remain Quebec's jurisdiction throughout the world. This means extending Quebec's internal jurisdictions internationally. This is the Guérin-Lajoie doctrine, which is still not recognized by the federal government. As long as this is the case, Quebec cannot be fully autonomous in its areas of jurisdiction, as originally set out in the Constitution.

Consequently, Quebec cannot take action, any more than other countries can. It is up to Ottawa to move on this issue. It is not up to other countries to interpret Canada's constitution. As long as the federal government tells other countries that it has exclusive jurisdiction over international relations, those countries will refuse to sign treaties with Quebec. We understand, because to act otherwise would amount to interfering in a federal-provincial dispute. Quebeckers find that rather painful. I can just imagine what it must be like for Vietnam to try to follow this sort of debate.

The painful episode of the adoption treaty with Vietnam revealed that the federal position is not only bad for Quebec, but downright dysfunctional and increasingly indefensible. In fact, this episode shows, more eloquently than any speech, that the federal government needs to give Quebec the chance to fully assume its constitutional authorities, including on the international scene. This is just one example that shows how important it is to Quebeckers to achieve full sovereignty, because that will correct all these situations where the federal government is refusing to recognize Quebec's authorities when the time comes to exercise them abroad.

This issue will become increasingly important, because we are living in an age of globalization where there are more and more exchanges. For example, international adoptions are increasing in number. More and more, decisions will be based on country-to-country talks. If, every time Quebec wants to go ahead, it has to engage in years of federal-provincial struggles without even being assured of having some small measure of permission to exist on the international scene, then clearly Quebec society will not be able to move forward.

We also saw this recently at the Kyoto conference in Nairobi, where poor Mr. Béchard, Quebec's environment minister at the time—get this, Mr. Speaker, I know you are sitting in your chair and I hope it is comfortable—asked permission to speak for 45 seconds. The federal government refused. If Quebec had been a sovereign country, it could have talked all week in Nairobi, just like all the other countries. This is one more example that shows the need for sovereignty.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak again today to Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption).

Before I begin, I want to digress for a moment to send best wishes to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as she is recovering from her surgery yesterday. We hope she has a very fast recovery and is back to her duties as quickly as possible.

In this corner of the House, New Democrats strongly support this legislation. We strongly supported it earlier this year and in the last Parliament when the same bill was introduced by the previous government. We are relieved that it is finally back before the House for report stage and hope that we can do whatever possible to see its passage expedited and finally have this legislation enacted in Canada. This legislation is long overdue and is expected by many people in Canada.

The bill would amend the Citizenship Act to allow a grant of citizenship to a child adopted overseas by a Canadian. It would ensure that adopted children are treated the same as biological children under the provisions of the Citizenship Act. In doing so, it would make citizenship automatic for adopted children, as it is for children born to Canadians. As has been pointed out earlier, it would eliminate the need for an adopted child to first become a permanent resident of Canada and have to apply for full citizenship later.

The New Democrats also support the motion introduced by the government to delete the provision for an appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board, an amendment that was added during the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration's consideration of the bill.

I will quote directly from the report stage of the bill. The amendment reads:

Any decision of the Minister under this section may be appealed to the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

I actually proposed that amendment when we were discussing this legislation in committee so it might seem strange that I now support deleting that addition. I also want to point out that the exact same amendment was proposed by the Bloc Québécois in committee. The amendment by the NDP was the one selected for debate first. All three opposition parties supported the amendment at committee.

Our concern was for an appropriate appeal if there were ever a denial of automatic citizenship for a child adopted by Canadians. I think everyone would admit that that seems unlikely, given the kind of process that is in place regarding international adoptions, but we also know that as humans and as our lives meet, through the laws of the land, especially around issues of citizenship and immigration, there is often a way to find an exception that requires an appropriate appeal, which is where our concern stems.

The amendment also came from a heightened awareness of committee members about appeals in the area of citizenship and immigration, concerns such as the failure of the present and previous governments to implement the Refugee Appeal Division, as provided for in the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and other problems related to the appeal process.

All of us wanted to ensure that there was an appropriate appeal in the legislation for any situation that might arise regarding the citizenship of a child adopted overseas. This position was also suggested and supported by witnesses, including the Canadian Bar Association which called for such an appeal to the IRB. It actually was the Bar's recommendations and testimony before the standing committee when we considered Bill C-14 that this be in place.

The representative for the immigration section of the Canadian Bar Association, Stephen Green, noted that the only option currently, given the provisions of Bill C-14, would be for a judicial review and that it would be a very limited review at that point. That is why this came to the committee's attention and why the amendment was proposed.

I must say that during the committee discussions I listened carefully to the arguments that were put forward by the government and by the parliamentary secretary and I did see some virtue in those arguments.

There was some discussion about withdrawing the amendment at that time but other members of the committee were keen to see it remain and, since the exact same amendment was waiting on the agenda for us, it remained. I did not withdraw it at that time. Since the amendment passed at committee, there has been feedback on the specific appeal proposal, particularly from the government of Quebec but also from other provinces, which were very concerned about its inclusion.

I want to say very clearly that I do not want to see the legislation further delayed. I maintained that position when the parliamentary secretary and the government raised concerns about the appeal since the committee dealt with it. I have always said that if a proposal were brought forward that I would be happy to act on it and give an opinion on it as quickly as possible so that the legislation is not delayed in any way.

Given the concerns that have been raised, now that we have the proposal to withdraw the appeal procedure that is included in the current revision of the bill, New Democrats have agreed to support the motion from the government to remove the appeal provision that was added by the committee.

It is time to get on with this important bill that would make the lives of many families and many children much easier. However, we will watch closely to see if any situations arise that would benefit from a particular appeal mechanism. If so, we, and I am sure other members of the House, will make every possible effort to ensure an appropriate mechanism for appeal is put in place as quickly as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I also know that you were asked to rule on a point of order related to this amendment that we are now talking about, but it appears that it will be removed from the bill since I believe all parties are supporting that step.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and your staff for the work that was done to address those issues. I believe it was an important discussion and I want to say that by supporting withdrawing the amendment at this stage, I am not conceding to the government's position on the point of order it raised and which was not upheld by the Speaker's ruling.

While it might seem that the hard work was in vain now that the specific clause is to be removed, I want to express my appreciation for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, and think the issues raised were important to the ongoing operation of the House.

The bill before the House today is a better bill than was proposed to us early in this Parliament. Other amendments made at the committee and which are going forward make the regulatory review and the coming into force provisions of the bill much more explicit.

It was our consideration of what happened with other legislation in the area of Citizenship and Immigration, particularly the concern of members on the committee about the failure to implement the Refugee Appeal Division, that caused us to look more carefully at the provisions for regulatory review and coming into force, to make them more explicit and to put specific timelines specifically on the coming into force provisions.

As a result of those amendments passing, we have a much better bill before us and much greater accountability for the government when it comes to the implementation of this important legislation.

Families and their adopted children have waited far too long for the bill. It has taken two Parliaments to get it through. I hope we are on the verge of accomplishing that, and anything the New Democrats can do to expeditiously complete the task related to the legislation, we are prepared to endeavour to take those measures.

I think there are other places where we need amendments to our citizenship legislation. I am glad the minister recently announced that she would propose in the fall further amendments to deal with the question of lost Canadians but, unfortunately, I believe those are only half measures and do not deal with important situations related to war brides and war children. I am hoping that we can see a better proposal than has recently been announced by the minister when we return in the fall.

We also need to look at the provisions of revocation of citizenship and the oath of citizenship. I believe the Citizenship Act needs a complete overhaul and not just a piecemeal approach as we have been receiving from the government.

I live in hope that we may see a completely new Citizenship Act before the House to be debated, to update some of these important provisions. However, I am glad we are getting on with the question of overseas adoption and facilitating the citizenship of children adopted overseas.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Secretary of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member and many others have said, this is an extremely important issue not only for adoptive children and adoptive families, but for our country. With our declining birth rate we need to rely increasingly on immigration to ensure we have the necessary citizen base for the future of our country. This has certainly been a passion of mine over the last number of years but it is not because I have been an adoptive parent myself.

As a member of Parliament and as someone who has family members and friends who have been in the position where they have availed themselves of adopting children, I am quite familiar with the issue. I think all members of Parliament, regardless of party, do come in contact from time to time with parents who either have not been able to conceive naturally or have made the choice to adopt children. In some cases, they have very generously made the choice to adopt children, in addition to their naturally conceived children.

I was very pleased when the former Liberal government picked up on this and offered a tax incentive for adoptive parents to offset some of the huge costs they incur when they make the choice to either start or to enlarge their families. We are all aware of the numbers. With some of these foreign adoptions, the costs can literally run very quickly into tens of thousands of dollars. It was an important step forward when the Government of Canada at the time did that. It showed its appreciation through making a change to our tax law to assist adoptive families. As the member himself said during his remarks today, this particular bill is another step in the right direction.

As we debate, consult and formulate plans on how to help all Canadian families, not just adoptive families, we are looking for good, new ideas on how to assist in that. Has the hon. member given some thought to that or does he have some other ideas of additional ways that we can reach out and help adoptive families?

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, this bill is long overdue because it brings a measure of equality and fairness to adoptive children that is already extended to the biological children of Canadians. We needed to fix that problem and it is good that we have finally managed to move it along the agenda. I hope we can complete the process here today without further need for debate or discussion on this important legislation.

We need to get on with this because families have been waiting long and have lobbied long and hard for this. If anything can speak to the need to recognize the importance of adoption and of including adopted children as full members of the family and as full Canadians, this bill clearly points in that direction.

We should get on with this legislation and ensure it becomes law as quickly and as expeditiously as we can manage.

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Is the House ready for the question?

Motion in amendment
Citizenship Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.