House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

November 30th, 2011 / 5:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's remarks. He is from British Columbia, as I am.

He remarked about crime steadily falling and he mentioned statistics to show how crime is steadily falling. I would like to draw to his attention the remarks from the Vancouver Board of Trade which, just a couple of years ago, said that crime was out of control in Vancouver. In fact just a couple of years ago Vancouver had more murders than Toronto did in the first quarter of the year.

When we are talking about the statistics, going back to a 2004 survey by Statistics Canada involving 24,000 Canadians, which is quite a pile, only 8% of sexual assaults, 29% of thefts and 54% of break-ins were reported. Overall, only a third of victims reported to police. Let us update that. In September 2010, there were 20,000 grow ops in homes just in the Lower Mainland of B.C., and thousands more in the countryside. Only 31% of victims overall said they reported the crimes. Overall, 71% of property crimes were not reported.

We have made it so difficult for police to report on these things and the consequences have been so minimal in the past that people have not bothered to report the crimes. What is with that?

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, that brings up an oft-repeated theme I hear from the government side that yes, the statistics have been dropping for 25 years, but what about unreported crimes. The statistics on unreported crimes would say the same thing. There is no evidence to suggest that unreported crime has gone up in any significant manner.

My friend raised the issue of grow ops. Is there anything in the legislation before us that would actually do anything positive in terms of drug policy in this country? I would argue that it does not.

California has its ”three strikes and you are out” policy. Mandatory minimum sentences have been used in California. The jails in California are stuffed mainly with people who have been convicted of drug offences. Has it made Californians safer? Has it decreased drug use in California? If my friend actually used an evidence-based system, he would look at those statistics and find out that it has not.

Adopting that same policy of having mandatory minimum sentences and locking up people for drug offences longer simply will not have any beneficial effect on the problem that he says he cares about.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, one of the concerns that we in the Liberal Party have expressed is that we want as much as possible to prevent crimes from taking place.

I appreciate the member's comments. I would be interested in hearing what he might have to say in regard to issues such as community policing and investing in resources at local community clubs.

Does he believe that will have more of an impact, as I believe and the Liberal Party believes, on preventing crime from taking place if we put our investments in that as opposed to the mega-jails proposed by the government?

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. colleague is right. Ironically, increasing incarceration costs lots of money. Imprisonment is expensive. That means there would be less money for those things that might make us truly safer, such as prevention, education and rehabilitation.

In many respects the dollars we spend on social policy are non-discretionary. The question is in what proportion are we going to allocate those dollars. There is nothing in this bill, the nine bills that are wrapped together, that would add one drug treatment counsellor, one nurse, or one occupational trainer to our prisons. I would argue that it is investing in those issues or investing in police. There is nothing in this bill that would put a single police officer on the street. I agree with my friend that they are very effectively employed in our communities. I have heard the Minister of Public Safety say, “If we put on more police and they arrest people, where are we going to put them?”

Having police on the beat in our communities is effective. It has a deterrent effect. When people see a police presence in their communities, it becomes less likely that kids or someone hanging around who might be considering breaking into a garage would do so. Actually delivering on the promise to add more police officers, as the NDP has called for in two successive elections and on which the government has not delivered, is a far more prudent and effective way to make our communities safer.

I am sorry to say that Bill C-10 would not add a single police officer in our country. Instead, we would spend billions of dollars on prisons. I would rather spend more money on prosecutors, judges and police and actually prevent the crime from happening in the first place.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Before I recognize the member for Scarborough Centre, I need to tell her that I will need to interrupt her at 15 minutes to the hour as this is the time allocated under government orders for the day.

The hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Roxanne James Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to support Bill C-10.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, I will focus my remarks on the section of the bill that amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in order to prevent human trafficking and to curtail the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable foreign workers.

These measures will improve upon an immigration system that is already the envy of the world and one that is vital to Canada's future. Before I speak about the particular measures in Bill C-10, it is important to specify exactly what I mean by that.

The benefits of immigration are undeniable and immense. This country was built by immigrants. Indeed, a great many of us serving this House are either immigrants ourselves or the children or grandchildren of immigrants.

For people the world over, Canada represents a great beacon of hope. Last year, Ipsos conducted a global poll of OECD countries and found that about two billion people in those countries alone said they would like to come to our country, Canada.

Those who come to Canada from other places, either permanently as immigrants or for a set period of time as temporary workers, bring their unique skills and talents to our shores. They enrich and strengthen our local communities, our social fabric and the economic development of our great country.

Because an effective and strong immigration system is central to a strong economy, the government has taken measures in recent years to ensure that our immigration system responds to Canada's labour market needs. Those measures have been undeniably quite successful.

In the last five years, Canada has seen the highest sustained level of immigration in nearly a century. Most of that increase has come from skilled economic immigrants and their families.

Canadians understand how important it is for our economic well-being to continue to bring newcomers into this country. They also understand that another great economic benefit to Canada comes from bringing in temporary foreign workers with skills that fill important requirements in our labour market. To manage this, Canadians want an immigration system that conforms to our shared democratic values, an open and generous system, governed by the rule of law, that treats all potential immigrants and temporary foreign workers with equality and fairness.

Of course, along with the benefits to Canada of such an open system comes a responsibility to protect against the abuse and exploitation of that system. Each additional day that the opposition delays this bill is yet another day in which people may be smuggled to Canada and exploited and abused, and there is nothing that we as Canadians can do about it. Canada's immigration officials, from front-line visa officers to those tasked with making high-level decisions about potential newcomers to the country, need to have the proper tools both to safeguard the system from misuse and to protect vulnerable persons from exploitation.

In some cases the existing laws give officials the tools they need to carry out these specific duties. For example, we already have the legal ability to stop people with a prior criminal conviction from entering Canada. In other cases, loopholes still exist, allowing those with nefarious aims to exploit both the immigration system itself and also vulnerable people from other countries who wish to work in Canada.

Bill C-10 will supplement current legislative provisions by plugging that existing hole in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a hole that currently puts vulnerable people at risk.

This was a campaign commitment in the most recent election, and our government is following through with our commitments. Canadians gave us a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe by getting tough on crime; this includes preventing crime and exploitation of vulnerable people both in Canada and abroad.

Measures in this bill will give the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism the discretionary authority to use ministerial instructions to deny work permits to those temporary workers who are most susceptible to abuse or exploitation once they arrive in Canada.

What kinds of abuse and exploitation would these measures address? They include a great variety, ranging from the sexual exploitation of individuals trying to enter Canada to work in the adult entertainment business as exotic dancers through temporary workers at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking to low-skilled labourers vulnerable to humiliating and degrading treatment by their abusive employers.

There are many potential scenarios in which the measures included in this particular section of Bill C-10 would protect individuals who might otherwise face abuse and exploitation upon their arrival here in Canada.

What current provisions do not allow for is the refusal of work permits to people who may not face any obstacles under the current immigration laws but whose situation would make them more vulnerable to future abuse or exploitation. Bill C-10 would rectify this problem.

The amendments proposed in the bill would allow for a systematic process based on dispassionate evidence, transparent regulations and clear public policy objectives in making any decision about who would be refused entry to Canada because of potential abuse and exploitation.

Additionally, it is important to underline that Canada's immigration officers are among the most capable, professional and highly trained in the world. They are very skilled at recognizing applicants who are at risk. It does not make any sense to curb their ability to protect vulnerable applicants from potentially abusive situations, but unless we pass the measures proposed in Bill C-10 into law, we are doing just that.

By introducing the safe streets and communities act, which includes these important provisions, we are keeping yet another one of our campaign commitments. Canadians know that our Conservative government keeps its commitments. By delaying the bill, the opposition is proving yet again that it is totally out of touch with the priorities of regular Canadians.

It is my sincere hope that having contemplated all of the benefits that I have outlined--benefits both to our internationally acclaimed immigration system and also to vulnerable individuals from around the world--hon. members on both sides of the House will see fit to support Bill C-10.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

It being 5:45 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the report stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on Motion No. 2. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Report Stage
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.