House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

Caffeinated Beverages
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions today.

The first deals with Health Canada's authorization of caffeine in all soft drinks. Health Canada announced on March 19 that beverage companies will now be allowed to add up to 75% of the caffeine allowed in the most highly caffeinated colas to all soft drinks.

Soft drinks have been designed and marketed toward children for generations. Canadians already have concerns over children drinking coffee and colas. They acknowledge that caffeine is an addictive stimulant. It is difficult enough for parents to control the amount of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that their children consume, including caffeine in colas.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to reverse Health Canada's new rule allowing caffeine in all soft drinks and not follow the deregulation policies of the United States and other countries that sacrifice the health of Canadian children and pregnant women.

Earthquake i n Chile
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by dozens of Canadians, calls upon the Canadian government to match funds personally donated by the citizens of Canada for the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

Unlike the earthquake in Chile, the government has given matching-fund treatment to the Pakistan flood relief efforts on a matching-fund basis. It has also given the same treatment to Haiti.

The petitioners would like the Prime Minister to give the same treatment to the Chilean earthquake victims as he did for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and the Pakistan flood, and match funds personally donated by Canadians to help the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

Horse Traceability Program
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of quite a number of Canadians. It is on the issue of traceability in health regulations for Canadian horses that took effect on July 31 of this year.

Canadian horse breeders say in their petition that they were not involved in any democratic discussions concerning those proposed traceability in health regulations. They ask that the government deal with the Canadian horse traceability program and ensure that it is working effectively.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from September 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, other than our colleagues, who are first nation members, you, I, and all of our colleagues in the House have something in common: we are the descendants of, and in fact some of us are, immigrants to Canada.

Yesterday in the House of Commons we heard speeches on Bill C-35 from two such members. The member for Newton—North Delta told his particular story of a young man arriving on Canada's shores as an immigrant from India and what an incredibly inspiring story that was. The immigrant from India, with virtually no money in his pocket, had a deep desire in his heart to build a new life in a new land. Who could have foretold that 25 years later he would be here, among us, in the House of Commons as one of the legislators of laws for this great land?

We also heard a speech yesterday from the member for Eglinton—Lawrence who also arrived as a new Canadian 55 years ago as part of a wave of Italian Canadians who arrived in Canada in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He mentioned that while he was speaking in the House, his grandson, a third generation Italian Canadian, was watching his immigrant grandfather address this august chamber, the House of Commons.

What incredible stories of Canada's potential, of Canada's promise. This has been the story of Canada right from the first days of Confederation. In Canada's first House of Commons there was a member elected by the name of Alexandre-Édouard Kierzkowski, a refugee from Russian imperialism, and a member of Canada's first House of Commons in 1867. That has been the story of Canada, wave after wave of people arriving on these shores.

The French, who settled and, along with the existing first nations, created something unique to Canada: a new first nation, the Métis. After the English, soon after Confederation there was a large wave of Bukovinians, Galicians, and Ukrainians who transformed the bush of the Northwest Territories into the golden wheat fields of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Chinese arrived to build our railroads, those ribbons of steel that bound our geographically vast land into a cohesive oneness.

More recently, as I have mentioned, the Italian Canadians and Portuguese Canadians arrived in the last half century and transformed our cities, cities such as my home town, Toronto. They transformed those cityscapes and created those jewels, the most liveable cities on the planet: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. What this speaks to is a system that is dynamic. Our multicultural mosaic is not static; it is a constantly evolving multicultural mosaic. That is Canada's promise and strength.

Unfortunately, over the last number of years our immigration system has been suffering from dysfunction. In fact, I would even say it has reached the point where the system pretty much does not work.

In the past there have been two types of newcomers to Canada. There have been the refugees, going as far back as the Loyalists, the underground railroad, and more recently, the Vietnam and Iraqi war resisters. Even my grandparents landed in Canada, on freedom's shores, as refugees from communism, from the horrors of Stalinism. There have been the refugees and there have been the economic immigrants who saw Canada not just as a free land but also as a land of opportunity, having departed from lands where at that point in time, unfortunately, opportunities were limited. In Canada the opportunities were limitless.

The waves of people that landed on Canada's shores landed here because Canada is a free country and, as a consequence of that freedom, it is a prosperous country. All of those people had something in common. They came here with a willingness to work hard so that they could build a future for themselves, for their families and for future generations. They succeeded and they contributed back into their communities and to the greatness of our country.

Unfortunately, we have a current refugee and immigration system that has ceased to function. It creates confusion. It creates a situation of shattered dreams for hopeful new Canadians, new immigrants to our country. In this confusion, and in desperation that is fed by the confused system that we currently have, the ones who step in are the charlatans, the ghost consultants, who prey on impossible dreams and make impossible promises. They prey on the most vulnerable.

As my colleagues have said, I also am supporting this bill which deals with crooked consultants. I am supporting sending the bill to committee to further refine it. But let us not lose sight of the bigger job at hand. That job is to fix our immigration system. We need a new act.

Let me mention specific cases to show how desperate the situation is for potential new Canadians and the circumstances the current system forces them into.

Marya Kunyk arrived on a work visa as a live-in caregiver. She had to work two years over a three-year period to be able to begin the process of becoming a Canadian. Just a year after arriving and working on fulfilling that obligation, she was crossing at a crosswalk and was hit by a car. It was a horrific accident. The driver was found guilty, but Marya today has a shattered body, literally. Parts of her body have been replaced with pieces of steel.

What is the system doing to Marya, who needs continuing health care and physiotherapy so that she can once again become a functioning productive member of society? The system is deporting Marya back to a country that cannot provide the health care she requires. The system is deporting her because she is not fulfilling the obligations of her contract that she work two full years. It is just common sense. She has not been able to fulfill the obligations of that contract. She was hit by a car through no fault of her own.

Is it any wonder that there is so much desperation among new Canadians that they turn to these crooked consultants, these charlatans who prey on that desperation.

In another case, Iryna Ivaniv is a young woman who has been trying for over six years to bring her husband to Canada from Ukraine. She has four young children, Canadian children. I will read from a letter that she wrote to the minister:

1. We have four young children who are Canadian citizens: 6-year-old; 3-year-old; and 5-months-old twins. They have a right to have both their parents raise them....

2. Our twins were born premature. They're under pediatric constant supervision and need medical care which I do not feel could be obtained in Ukraine in satisfactory manner.

3. All our children are registered to start school and daycare from September 2010. I must stress that Canadian children 6-year of age must attend school under The Education Act.

What has happened in the case of Iryna Ivaniv? Just in the past two months, her husband has once again been denied the opportunity to come to Canada to unite this family.

How does this happen? Through an access to information request, I have been able to get the notes of the decision. It is astounding. The decision states that Iryna Ivaniv is still in possession of Ukrainian citizenship and can therefore freely access all health and social services in that country. She is not a Ukrainian citizen; she is a Canadian citizen. Ukraine does not allow dual citizenship. She is a citizen of one country.

How is it that decision-makers who do not even understand the rules are making the decisions?

Further on the decision states that the children would benefit from being sent from their country to Ukraine so they could be with their extended family, so there would not be disruption to the children's life separation from their grandparents, and it is significant disruption that we have caused because in Ukrainian culture, extended families are traditionally important.

My goodness. We would take Canadian children away from their mother, their Canadian grandparents, their Canadian uncle, deport them, and send them to a country half a world away.

These cases clearly illustrate how dysfunctional the system has become. Is it no wonder that people prey on the desperation of people such as Iryna, on the desperation of people such as Marya.

Let me also reference a statistic from the public database of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration regarding the processing time for skilled workers from Kiev, Ukraine. In 2009, 80% of the cases were finalized in 83 months, which is 6 years and 11 months.

What employer in Canada will wait seven years for an employee that has been hired from a foreign country to arrive? What about the people in those countries, under the skilled worker class of immigration, who are waiting not several months, but year after year after year? What has happened to Canada's promise?

As I said earlier, Canada's dynamism and greatness has been built by the waves of people who have arrived on Canada's shores. We often reference the incredible natural resources of this vast land. Yes, we have been blessed with natural resources unlike any other country in the world, but our greatest resource is our human resource, the deep reservoir of human capacity that we have.

Canada is unique to the planet in having people who have an intricate understanding of every culture of the world, who speak every language of every people on the planet. In a future global village, what an incredible advantage that gives us.

That promise has to be reinstated. Canada cannot become a land that is static, that loses its dynamism. Yes, this particular bill addresses one issue, one small part of the dysfunction, and that is why we are supporting it. However, I certainly hope it does not distract us from the job at hand, and the job at hand is to put in place a new system. Canada's future is at stake.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague's speech and thought of my family who came as immigrants from Hawkhill in Dundee, Scotland to work in the mines. They came with immigrants from around the world, Ukrainians, Finlanders, Bulgarians, Italians, and lived in the working-class communities of northern Ontario.

In those days, coming to Canada was a fairly straightforward process. Canada needed hard workers. It needed workers to do the dirty jobs that sometimes Canadians would not do. Out of that we built our communities and across Canada generations of wonderful youth grew up, were educated and became doctors and leaders in their communities.

I see today in my region of northern Ontario the difficulty that immigrants have coming into Canada, immigrants with the same drive that our parents and grandparents had. They are sometimes faced with very Kafkaesque rules and are not sure if they will fall through the cracks of the bureaucracy. If they fill out the form the wrong way, they worry that they will be deported. That is why they are susceptible to these so-called consultants, because they need help and they put their trust and money with consultants who may not have their best interests at heart.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question regarding his experience working with immigrant constituents who come into his office. What does he see as the key elements that are required to assist immigrant families coming to Canada who do not get much help from the federal bureaucracy and have to go to consultants or, if they can, to the office of a member of Parliament?

What are the steps we need to take to weed out the crooks, scam artists and people who are negligent from the ones who know what they are doing and can help immigrant families settle in this country and make a great contribution to Canada?

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay is quite correct when he says that the system has become Kafkaesque.

What is required, and, hopefully, one of the changes that will take place in committee on this particular issue with these charlatans who abuse potentially new Canadians, is that a statutory body be created. Self-regulation is perhaps a good idea in the case of professional engineers and lawyers, but in this case we are dealing with people who are not Canadians, who do not know Canadian laws, who do not know where to turn and, unfortunately, do not know what rights they have to deal with those who have abused their desperation. That is in terms of this specific law.

However, we need a little bit of common sense when we revamp the whole act. I have stood watching a line of potential new immigrants outside one of our embassies. In that lineup there were young fathers. Their clothes and the size of their hands showed that these were young fathers who had worked with their hands and who had this incredible drive to build a better life for their families. The country that happened to be in is a country in terrible economic turmoil and in transition.

It was sad to watch because I knew those individuals would not get into our country. Under our current point system, it was guaranteed that the barrier would prevent them from landing in Canada and yet they had exactly what we wanted: the will to work, to work hard and to succeed.

On the other hand, in that same lineup I saw a couple of men dressed in flashy Armani suits and dripping in gold. I knew that with an investment of a few hundred thousand dollars, and we know how they arrived with that money in that particular country, they were guaranteed to land in Canada expeditiously.

The system must be revamped. We must apply some common sense and we need to look at the past to see why we succeeded in the past and why we are failing today.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the member gave an impassioned speech about the importance of immigration to our country and the importance of this bill which, I am sure, will pass.

I had an opportunity this morning to read the minister's speech. Interestingly enough, one of the earliest statements that he made was that people do not have to go to consultants. I know that one of the reasons he was thinking of but did not mention was the fact that members of Parliament become one of the most significant players in applications, whether it be for sponsor information or for visas, et cetera.

What the minister did not address was the resources that are made available to make the system work well and to incorporate the responsibilities of members of Parliament in this process. The irony here is that new members of Parliament do not even get any orientation on how to advise people with regard to immigration. This is an oversight. We do not have the resources and we do not have the training when staff turns over. This is a real travesty. I think the government has let it go.

Maybe the member will want to comment on this.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I remember with fondness, as a small child in Toronto's Queen-Bathurst neighbourhood, where my grandparents, as new immigrants, set up their first business, a bakery. The member's mother was one of the customers who would come in to buy hot bread. What a wonderful reflection of what immigrants contribute to our country.

The member is quite correct in pointing out the hypocrisy of what the minister said, which is that potential new Canadians do not have to go to consultants. My goodness, where do they turn to when the system, as has been referenced, has become Kafkaesque? Some of them turn to the minister.

I mentioned Iryna Ivanie who has four Canadian children and has been separated from her husband for over five years. She wrote a letter to the minister because she had nowhere else to turn. I also wrote to the minister at the start of this year. What was the response? The response was, no. That is not good enough individually and in terms of the whole system.

I certainly hope that Bill C-35 does not become window dressing that hides the reality of what is going on behind that wall, a system that has become dysfunctional. The minister has been on this file for a number of years and knows it well. He must get the job done.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, the Canadian Society for Immigration Consultants was established by the Liberals a number of years ago. It was a genuine attempt to create an oversight body that would be effective and that would separate and address the kind of issues that have been raised. Obviously the hearings have indicated that it is not working effectively.

Could the member suggest ways in which that body could quickly be turned around and made an effective oversight body similar to the Law Society and similar to other oversight bodies, and not risk going back many months and not get something to address the kind of concerns that he has raised?

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, yes, in 2003, CSIC was established by the Liberal government because it identified that these parasites were preying on the confusion of new Canadians. However, it has also been shown that in the past seven years that it is not good enough. What we need to have is a statutory federal body that oversees. We need a professional association but we also need federal government oversight.

I want to further illustrate what has happened over the last couple of years. I have mentioned that of the skilled workers coming from Kiev, 80% of the cases are finalized today in six years and eleven months, 83 months. Horrific, seven years. In 2004, under a Liberal government, it was 34 months. That was still not good enough. It was just under three years.

However, today, under the Conservatives watch, it is now six years and eleven months. That is unacceptable.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-35. I listened yesterday to some very good speeches regarding the bill and some very good ideas. I might say at the outset that this bill is long overdue. I hope this Parliament lasts long enough for us to get the bill to committee and see that it does find its way through the system and into law.

As the last speaker indicated, this is not an issue that just came up in the last seven years. It might have taken the Liberals up until the last seven years to recognize this as a problem, but I can tell members that this was a rampant problem back in the 1980s.

When I was elected provincially in Manitoba in 1986, one of the concerns we had at that time as a provincial government was how to regulate the immigration consultants. In order for us to come to grips with that issue and deal with it, we had to find out just how big the problem was because immigration consultants were everywhere.They were not just lawyers doing it. In fact, lawyers were probably in the minority in terms of participants. We had many travel agents doing immigration consulting on the side. We had all sorts of people from all walks of life involved in one way or another in the immigration consulting business and charging big fees. As a matter of fact, some of these people were so well connected that they knew people on the Immigration Board who, in those days, were political appointees and oftentimes local, well connected people. Of course the immigration consultants would develop a rapport with them and try to get special considerations. I realize that the government has gone beyond that stage and tried to take steps to make that process a little better than it was.

I see this as a work in progress. I do not feel that proceeding with the bill and passing the bill will solve the problem because whenever in society there are large monetary rewards available for people to access, they will find a way to do it. Therefore, no matter what rules we set here in Parliament, there will be unscrupulous people who will find a way around whatever rules we set.

However, while it is late in the game, it is good that we are coming to grips with it. I am very happy that we are concentrating on the problem, and whether this solves the problem or even part of the problem will be something we should applaud. We certainly need tough rules against people who take advantage of vulnerable people. We not only need tough rules but we also need tough enforcement.

For the last several hundred years we have had immigrants coming to our shores for a whole number of reasons. If we look back in history we find the early explorers, starting with Leif Eriksson, I believe, but certainly Christopher Columbus and other explorers who were out to find new resources and new lands for their kings. It became a policy of kings to expand their empires by looking for more resources, whether it was new trade routes, new products, furs or gold. There have been various stages of immigration over the years.

We know, for example, in parts of Australia, where I was a number of years ago, many of the original immigrants to the Tasmanian area were from penal colonies. People were taken from prisons in Europe and sent to those colonies.

We had stages in our history when people were involved in the gold rush. Just south of Manitoba is the Black Hills area. The gold rush in that area brought thousands of immigrants to our country. There was the California gold rush and the Yukon gold rush.

The member for Timmins—James Bay talked about how people came here for jobs and for a better life.

Many people came here because of religious persecution in their home countries. They came here during certain periods when their governments back home were treating them badly, and that was their way to escape. People came here because of political problems in their home countries. There are numerous reasons why people have come to our country over the years.

Many people from China came to Canada to help build the railway. Perhaps John A. Macdonald would never have been able to get the railway built had it not been for Chinese immigrants coming in by the thousands to do what was essentially a very dangerous job. Many of them died during the process.

People have observed that there were fewer rules for immigration in those days. Several hundred years ago, people could simply come to our country and essentially get in, but today we are dealing with many more rules that have been brought in by different governments.

The Liberals, by virtue of the fact that they have been the government for most of the last century, have, in fact, been making the rules. To their credit, they have certainly encouraged immigration over the years. People with another view have said that they created the problems with the present immigration system that we are now trying to solve.

Several members have indicated that MPs' offices are deluged with immigration questions and immigration problems. Generally speaking, if that is a problem, that is an indication of a systemic problem within the government. I can think of other problems, on a provincial basis, for example, that people in large numbers have complained about to their elected officials, and finally, the political system wised up to the fact that something needed to be done about the problem to move it away from elected officials, because it is not really our job as elected officials to be running government programs.

One of the things I was surprised about as a new MP was that many MPs' offices are spending inordinate amounts of time and effort on immigration problems. Immigrants will oftentimes tell me that when they had a problem, it was their MP who solved it. When we are using up so much of our time on one particular problem, we have to deal with the problem through new laws and new enforcement and major changes.

This is not a problem that has developed in the last half dozen years, or even in the last 10 years. This problem was very much alive 25 years ago, and probably long before that. Why all governments have taken so much time to come up with a solution is really a big question.

The member for Winnipeg Centre made a fabulous speech yesterday on this subject, and he dealt with a number of areas. His riding is in the core area of Winnipeg, and he sees a huge number of immigrants who come to Manitoba.

The Manitoba government had enough foresight about 10 years ago to come up with a provincial nominee program, which, by the way, has attracted about 15,000 immigrants in the last year or so. The program has been a winner since the NDP government of Manitoba actually set it up. As a matter of fact, it was so successful that the government of Nova Scotia looked at it, studied it, and I believe adopted, or copied, the program.

The same thing happens all over the country. When there is a good program in a province, in Quebec, for example, other provinces will take a look at it. This program developed in Manitoba got such immediate, positive results that the Nova Scotia premier at the time, John Hamm, a Conservative, took a special interest in this area and came to study the program.

The member for Winnipeg Centre points out that when many immigrants first come into the province, initially they settle in his riding, so he has had a first-hand view of the immigration problems. He also sees the consultants at work. He indicated that he uncovered a situation, and I am sure that there are many such examples, where consultants were telling people that for $3,000 they would get them a letter from the person's member of Parliament, as if that was going to be their ticket through the process. That was one of the examples he discovered. The question is how many more examples of people paying these huge fees for something that, in fact, would have been free have gone undiscovered.

Before the member for Winnipeg Centre was the terrific member that he is for that constituency, that seat, for a very brief period, was held by the Liberals under Mr. David Walker. I know that he too had a lot of time to spend on immigration problems. As a matter of fact, my wife tells me very often the story of when she was trying to get her father in from Peru. They went to Mr. Walker's office, and he did a terrific job of getting them through the paperwork and the problems they had getting her father into Canada.

The question is whether MPs' offices have now become the official funnel through which all immigration issues and problems have to pass. Perhaps it is better that they come to the MPs' offices than to the immigration consultants.

The fact of the matter is that the immigration consultants catch them at an earlier stage. The immigration consultants are sitting in positions as travel agents. They are the ones selling the tickets.

The previous member who spoke before me made some good points. Yesterday the member for Winnipeg Centre talked about issues with the temporary worker program and how that program is being abused and profited from by some consultants. CBC did a big exposé about 20 years ago about immigration consultants in Manitoba who were involved in the immigrant investor program. The members will know all about that program and how it works. It basically attracts richer immigrants to the country.

These immigration consultants were not just operating here in Canada; they were operating outside Canada. They were travelling over to, in this case, I believe, the Philippines and were operating out of there. They were running ads in the paper in the Philippines with pictures of the immigration consultant shaking hands with or standing by the mayor of Winnipeg at the time.

I guess, as a politician, you have to be careful who you get your picture taken with, because you never know how, when, or where it is going to be used. The mayor of Winnipeg at the time was a wonderful gentleman, and he was very surprised to find out that his picture was being used in another country by an immigration consultant who was attracting people by showing that he had credibility with the mayor. If the immigrant wanted easy access into Winnipeg, this was the consultant to deal with, because here he was in a picture with the mayor of Winnipeg.

He took a lot of people for a lot of money. They employed him to fast-track them into the country, but in addition to that, this guy was also a real estate guy. He was selling them businesses that they had not seen other than through pictures. In one case, he sold a bakery in a rundown building in a rundown part of town for probably double or triple its value. When the immigrant investor ended up in Canada, they found themselves in a very difficult situation, because not only had they paid this guy consulting fees, they had also overpaid for the bakery they were buying. This is just one example. There were other examples.

The member from the Conservatives who was just commenting now knows of what I speak, because he was around in those days. He knows that this immigration consultant had connections and friends in his own provincial party. They were working together as a group. There was a group of them. These people were not people that any political party would want to be involved with. However, you cannot stop people from joining your party, and in some cases, you do not know why they are joining your party. These guys were smart enough to know that if they could connect with local politicians, mayors, and provincial and federal politicians, it was good for their business. It was a good business practice.

Of course, CBC did its job in exposing this person, but by then the damage had already been done, and these investors had lost most of their money.

This is the kind of activity that gives the country a bad name, because these people have friends back home, and they will certainly relate their experiences of coming to the country. When we are trying to attract immigrants, this is not a selling point if you run the risk of dealing with these types of fraudsters.

The member for Winnipeg Centre pointed out yesterday that the goal was to have a certain percentage of immigrants come to Canada on an annual basis. In actual fact, I think in only a very few years have we actually met the target. I do not think we have ever met the target. We have come close to the target in only several years.

The fact is that the government is on the right track with this particular bill. I am not one to not give the government its due when I think it is on the right track. In this case, it is on the right track. I just hope that it stays around long enough to get this bill through the process and does not prorogue Parliament again or call a quick election because it sees some short-term, quick opportunity on the gun registry or any other idea that kind of hits the government's fancy as the days progress. I hope that we apply ourselves.

We saw what happened under Lester Pearson. For six years of minority government, a lot of things were accomplished. The Conservative government has been around for five years and what does it have to show?

I would suggest—