House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the minister introduced Bill C-4, he said the primary purpose of it was to target the profiteers and to go after the smugglers. It is interesting that the member talked about punishing the victims. That is a point we really need to pick up on.

In the bill the government is zeroing in on the profiteers, and the number of profiteers who are going to be penalized by this bill is zero. On the other hand, I want to pick up on the point of who is actually being punished. Individuals are landing on our shores, whether by plane or boat, and for the most part are seeking asylum because if they stay in the countries they originate from, their lives could be shortened. There are threats of torture and all sorts of other horrendous acts.

Would he not concur with me that they are already victims, and now they will be victims a second time because of the government's action? Would he concur with that?

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North for his very pertinent question.

Indeed, that would be the case. Clearly, this bill does nothing more to address the issue of smugglers. The current Criminal Code already sets out a maximum sentence. As for the other aspect of the bill, concerning asylum seekers, they are persecuted and the victims of human rights violations. They often have to risk their lives and flee their country in order to ask for protection. This bill would have them treated like second-class asylum seekers, compared to today's asylum seekers. This bill completely flies in the face of the Canadian spirit that led to the signing of international conventions to protect the rights of refugees. With this bill, the Conservative government seems to be making a mockery of those rights.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. He made several references to our international obligations with respect to this problem. I would like my colleague to speak more about the measures that the House could adopt to deal with the problem of trafficking while meeting our international commitments.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is very pertinent, and the answer quite simple. We must provide the people responsible for law enforcement—the coast guard, the police, the courts—with the means to do their job, together with our international partners, in order to get rid of smugglers, the vultures who take advantage of people's despair to turn a profit.

A bill such as this one will not solve the problem. With regard to the other part of the bill, which deals with handling asylum seekers, the solution is simple. The necessary resources must be allocated to the existing body, the Immigration and Refugee Board. This body takes into account many elements when deciding whether or not to grant refugee status, and the process should be available to all asylum seekers, whether they arrive by boat or other means.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, again today we have misinformation being given by both parties on the other side. Yesterday, one of the members indicated that 99% of the refugee claimants, asylum seekers from the Ocean Lady and the Sun Sea, had been processed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Again today members opposite are implying that on this side of the House there is a lack of compassion. We have increased the number of refugees who can access Canada by 2,500 a year.

Is it not reasonable that our border and security officials have access to know whom they are dealing with and to determine whether these people are simply fleeing persecution or could, in some cases, be fleeing prosecution?

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative member does not seem to have heard my presentation. The Immigration and Refugee Board already has a process for investigating smugglers and examining claims for asylum. We are asking that all refugees, no matter how they arrive here, have access to the same process, not that the government create two separate processes because that is how it has decided to score political points.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I must tell the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso that I will have to interrupt his speech at 2 o'clock for the usual statements by members.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that overwhelming sound of indifference from my colleagues when they heard that my speech would be cut short.

This has been a very enlightening debate. Many of the speakers have brought very important points forward today throughout the course of the debate, certainly in the presentation that was presented by our leader, the member for Toronto Centre. In light of his vast experience on this topic and what he has done and seen over the course of his career, he sees a government that has certainly missed the mark in bringing forward this legislation.

We have seen it time and again, regardless of the issue such as the omnibus justice bill presented today. With regard to legislation on immigration before us now, the government has taken the approach that it first wants to soften the ground. It wants to scare the Canadian public into thinking that there is some type of crisis in our midst, that there is this onslaught of illegal refugees who are towering on our shores.

In the debate earlier today we heard from the member for York West, a former minister of citizenship and immigration. She had never dealt with a case like this during her tenure. Several of those involved in the debate today spoke with reference to the fact that there had been no significant increase, yet it has been put before the Canadian people that there is a degree of urgency because of an onslaught of refugees.

We see the same thing with the omnibus justice bill, which was presented and will be debated later in the House, that there is a crime wave sweeping across the country. When that fear is created, the government then is in a position to move forward with its ideologically driven mandate and agenda. That is the whole focus right now of the government.

I look forward to resuming, and I know all members in the House are looking forward to the remainder of my speech once we come back after question period.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The member for Cape Breton—Canso has seven minutes remaining in his remarks when we resume debate on the motion and five minutes for questions and comments.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Prostate Cancer
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. This year alone, 5,100 Quebeckers will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and, unfortunately, roughly 840 of them will lose their battle with this terrible disease. However, in some cases the cancer can be treated successfully if it is detected and treated in the early stages. That is why it is essential to increase and support prevention and research efforts to eradicate this terrible disease.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, I would like to send a word of encouragement to those who are fighting this cancer and to their loved ones. My sincere thanks go out to all those who spend their days raising public awareness about adopting healthy lifestyles. All the people who devote themselves to this cause, whether they are volunteers, caregivers or doctors, are truly remarkable, and we want to acknowledge them today.

Track and Field
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the achievements of Jenna Martin from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, in South Shore—St. Margaret's.

Jenna won the Canadian women's 400-metre title at the national track and field championships this past June in Calgary. She participated in the World Track and Field Championship in South Korea and also finished sixth in the women's 400-metre final at the World University Games in China. She has been an NCAA All-American, as well as a Canadian junior athlete of the year. Now Jenna is preparing to train for the 2012 Olympics in London.

In closing, I would like to congratulate Jenna, as well as her long-time coach Charles Scarrow, also from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. I congratulate Jenna on all her accomplishments so far and wish her the best of luck to bring home the gold for Canada and Nova Scotia in 2012.

National Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate some NWT residents who have received national recognition this year.

Fort Smith Slave River Journal was awarded the best all around newspaper from the Canadian Community Newspaper Association in its circulation category.

Dr. Curtis Brown from the South Slave Divisional Education Council was given the Canadian Association of School Administrators Award as the best school superintendent in Canada.

Sylvia Clement, a 29-year-old single mother of two, was awarded the Council of the Federation 2011 Literacy Award for her work.

Di Ann Blesse was the winner of the Canadian Teachers' Federation Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award.

Paul Bennett, principal of Yellowknife's J.H. Sissons Schools, was chosen as one of Canada's 32 outstanding principals.

Buffalo Airways won two Gemini Awards for the reality show, Ice Pilots.

All over the vast NWT, our residents work hard to build our territory. The results are exceptional, and these national awards recognize that.

Mining Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, new figures from the Mining Association of Canada estimate that approximately $136 billion worth of investment is projected over the next five years for the Canadian mining industry, including both new projects as well as expansions to existing operations.

Multi-billion-dollar investments are planned in virtually every province and territory of Canada. Indeed, global demand for commodities is creating opportunities not seen since the postwar boom of the 1950s.

Canada is among the most attractive jurisdictions in the world for mineral exploration and new mine investment. As this government focuses on the economy and jobs as its number one priority, continuing to work in partnership with the mining industry is one of the ways we can keep Canada's economy strong.

Mining in Canada is truly the $136 billion opportunity, creating jobs and bringing hope from coast to coast to coast.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, with over 25,000 new diagnoses this year alone. Of that, 4,100 men will die this year.

Yet prostate cancer is preventable. Early detection and screening can result in a 90% cure rate. However, because this disease is asymptomatic in the earliest stages, regular prostate exams and PSA levels, where appropriate, are essential.

As a physician, I have worked to raise awareness about prostate cancer and to encourage my male patients to have early exams and tests when they reach the age of 40 and yearly afterwards.

There are hereditary factors that can lead to prostate cancer, but there are also dietary and environmental factors that play a role as well.

All men out there over 40 who have not had a prostate exam should take charge of their health and go get a checkup.

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

September 20th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the leader of the Palestinian Authority announced his intention to unilaterally approach the UN Security Council this Friday to seek recognition of a Palestinian state.

Today, Canada's foreign affairs minister is in New York to ensure that Canada's views are widely known. Canada does not see this action as helpful in bringing peace to the region. Such action will make the resumption of peace talks more difficult and will raise expectations in the minds of all Palestinians.

Canada supports a two-state solution achieved through negotiations for a permanent peace. It is well known that the UN will likely veto any application for UN member state status.

Our government encourages the Palestinian Authority to abandon such action and to return to the peace talks.