House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigrants.

Topics

Afghanistan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the past number of months, our Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs have been working hard to communicate to our allies the importance and necessity of more NATO troops in southern Afghanistan.

Earlier today, our Prime Minister announced good news for the Afghanistan mission. Our NATO allies have met key conditions for keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The French have committed to send more troops to eastern Afghanistan and the Americans have agreed to bolster NATO troops in the southern part of the country.

Our NATO allies heard Canada's message that more troops are needed and they responded. This signifies much needed help for our brave men and women who risk their lives daily in order to help make Afghanistan a better country. I for one am grateful for their sacrifices. Today the Prime Minister said Canada's engagement and sacrifice in Afghanistan has been widely appreciated and respected by all our NATO allies.

This is just one more example of strong leadership and real results from this Prime Minister and this Conservative government.

Mark Rose
Statements By Members

April 3rd, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to have the House take note of the death of a friend and distinguished former colleague, the hon. Mark Rose, who died on March 8 at the age of 84.

Mark Rose sat in this House from 1968-74 and again from 1979-83, after which he served in the B.C. legislature until 1991. My first memory of him was as chairman of the NDP caucus from 1979-83, during a time when very important decisions to be made, combined with many rookies like myself and the member for Toronto Centre, made for impassioned internal debate.

His experience and perspective were greatly valued at that critical time, but Mark's greatest gift to us all down through the years was his great sense of humour and sharp wit, which he combined with a good-natured personality to be an outstanding example of the kind of parliamentary civility that we so often mourn the lack of in contemporary politics.

He was partisan but not mean. Perhaps the talented musician and music professor in him, which we also remember with great admiration, just could not contemplate playing a sour note.

To his wife, Isabel, his three daughters and extended family, we express our sincere condolences and gratitude for a life well lived in the service of the common good.

Jane and Finch Community
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I met recently with members of an important community group in my riding of York West.

Jane and Finch on the Move is a grassroots group of community members whose mission is to promote community solidarity and harmony as they strive toward removing barriers that many in our community face.

I applaud Jane and Finch on the Move's ongoing dedication to improving the quality of life in our riding in York West. Their initiatives can strengthen our neighbourhood and I would like to thank them for taking the time to inform me of their positive activities.

I look forward to working with Jane and Finch on the Move in the future as we continue to build a strong, healthy and successful riding of York West.

The Quebec Nation
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week the government had another opportunity to demonstrate its support for the Quebec nation but it refused to endorse the Bloc Québécois motion on French as the language of work in Quebec.

The Bloc Québécois regularly extends its hand to allow this government to make recognition of the Quebec nation more than an empty gesture. The Conservative government rejects it all, every time, and comes back with increasingly preposterous suggestions. Their latest is a big one: to link recognition of the Quebec nation to achieving a majority in the coming election. Not long ago, the adoption of a rescue plan for the manufacturing and forestry sectors was tied to approval of the budget. This atmosphere of déjà vu leaves a bad taste.

The Bloc Québécois remains open to any action that will lead to making the Quebec nation a reality but it should not be subject to shameless blackmail.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Ontario is facing real economic challenges, challenges like the struggling manufacturing sector, the weak forestry industry and the rising infrastructure deficit, to name a few. Instead of offering meaningful solutions to those challenges, the Minister of Finance decided to pursue his vindictive impulses.

Ontarians are familiar with that minister's bizarre and frequent outbursts. He recently has set a new low. His vindictive pursuit is petty and void of substance. The Minister of Finance needs to realize that his old and archaic policies have failed Ontarians in the past and are failing Canadians right now.

While the minister is determined to embarrass himself, where are his Ontario colleagues? Why are they not standing up for Ontario?

This is a minister who promised to end bickering with the provinces. Instead, he is initiating it. I cannot help but be reminded of what my colleague for Markham—Unionville has always said, that the Minister of Finance is out of his depth.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday we saw the Liberal leader trying everything he could to censor the media that wanted to publish the list of Liberal candidates in Quebec.

Who has something to hide? When asked who authorized this injunction, the Liberal leader replied that it was not him; it was the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party.

The president of the Quebec wing, Robert Fragasso, did not hesitate to contradict him, “With all due respect to my leader, it is simply a matter of reading the action. The plaintiff is clearly the Liberal Party of Canada.”

That hurts my eyes.

Who is the leader of the Liberals if no one is responsible for issuing the injunction? And since when does being publicly acknowledged as a candidate in Quebec ruin a reputation and cause irreparable damage, unless, of course, one is standing as a candidate for the Liberal Party?

I will conclude by saying that, as a Conservative, I am very happy to have a real leader.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we cannot have a fair and just immigration system without rules, but with a stroke of the pen the minister has written fairness and justice out of the immigration system.

Changing one word “shall” to “may” in the regulations means that immigrants who meet all the requirements may find Canada slamming the door in their face. What a difference one word can make in regulations.

Will the minister admit that with this change she has moved our immigration system out of the realm of justice and into the universe of arbitrary power?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not, although I do see today that the Liberal leader is again in full retreat. He has abandoned his court injunction to keep the names of Liberal candidates secret. Apparently somebody over there finally figured out that having candidates swear affidavits saying that they would be irreparably harmed if they were publicly known in Quebec as Liberals would hurt their reputations and that would be irreparable harm. While that may be true, it might be unwise politically.

As for their concerns about the immigration bill, I expect that when it comes time for a vote they will be engaging in a similar kind of retreat.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 27 months this government has done nothing to solve the immigration problem. During that time 100,000 new people filed applications. And then, after 27 months of doing nothing, it comes up with a solution: the minister herself will choose the immigrants she prefers.

When will she admit that arbitrary decisions will never solve the immigration problem?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The Conservative government has an impressive track record.

Our government has cut the landing fees a new immigrant has to pay in half. We have allocated new funding totalling $1.4 billion for newcomer settlement services. We have created the Foreign Credentials Referral Office as part of the foreign credentials recognition program.

We have also offered an official apology to the Chinese community for the head tax that Chinese immigrants were required to pay, a tax that was discriminatory. That track record—

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore has the floor.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what the House leader has against his own Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is not fixing our immigration system. She is just concentrating power in her own hands. The policy will take away an applicant's opportunity to appeal. The policy will legalize cherry-picking, allowing the minister to choose immigrants with unfettered and final discretion. This is not the Canadian way.

Will the minister admit that what she is really trying to do is give arbitrary discretion the force of law?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it is no such thing. The minister has actually performed quite impressively since she became minister. As a result, last year we saw the highest level of immigration ever in Canadian history, well not ever, in the past 100 years or so. We have seen family reunification wait times reduced by as much as 40%.

It is a difficult job she has to do cleaning up the track record of the previous government. Does the member know how I know that? I know that because nobody less than the deputy leader of the Liberal Party said the following, “...but I think I have to admit...that we didn't get it done on immigration”. That is that member of Parliament who was speaking.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association, Joseph Allen, says that there are other ways of dealing with a backlog besides giving discretion powers to the monarch, and that this amounts to giving the minister extremely broad discretion without in any way defining how far that discretion extends.

What does the minister think about the concerns raised by Mr. Allen? Why are there no limits on the discretion she is trying to give herself?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should read the facts. In reality, the minister would have the power to determine how many people in a class may apply to enter Canada in a year. This affects only one class, and not all individuals, as she would like you to believe.

The Canadian Bar Association said:

...it's the start of creating a fairer system, because the government will be more forthcoming about what types of immigrants the country needs instead of giving people false hopes.