House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugee.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 420
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to Canada’s international commitments on climate change and the government’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol: (a) for each of the international commitments that the government has made concerning climate change, (i) what is that commitment, (ii) what are the government’s obligations under it, (iii) does the government plan to fulfill each obligation or not; (b) what specific actions or negotiating positions were taken in support of the government’s statements that it (i) “went to Durban in a spirit of good will,” (ii) “went [to the Durban climate change conference] committed to being constructive,” (statement by Minister Kent, Foyer of the House of Commons, December 12, 2011); (c) in detail, how does the government plan to achieve the goal of reaching a new international agreement on climate change with particular reference to (i) how the government plans to achieve legally binding commitments for all major emitters, (ii) how the government plans to find solutions to meet the agreed-upon-objective of staying below 2°C of warming; (d) what information does the Minister of the Environment possess that supports his statement that “increasingly, support is growing for Canada’s position – from the EU, to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, least developed countries and the group of 43 small island states” (statement by Minister Kent, Foyer of the House of Commons, December 12, 2011); (e) does the Minister of the Environment possess information that Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol is a positive step for Canada’s economy, in contradiction of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy’s projected costs of $21-43 billion annually by 2050 (depending on whether a low climate change--slow growth scenario or a high climate change--rapid growth scenario), and what is that information; (f) what, in detail, are the “radical and irresponsible choices” (statement by Minister Kent, Foyer of the House of Commons, December 12, 2011) that Canada was facing under the Kyoto protocol; and (g) what are the penalties to which Canada would have been subject to under the Kyoto protocol for not meeting agreed emission reductions, and what analysis does the government possess in support of the statements that these penalties would have entailed “the loss of thousands of jobs” and “the transfer of $14 billion from Canadian taxpayers to other countries--the equivalent of $1600 from every Canadian family—with no impact on emissions or the environment” (statement by Minister Kent, Foyer of the House of Commons, December 12, 2011)?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 421
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to increasing evidence for the threat of climate change and Canada’s response to it, including emission reductions and adaptation strategies: (a) do the government’s policies address the growing scientific consensus that the threat of climate change is now incontrovertible; (b) do the government’s policies acknowledge that continuing on a business-as-usual pathway could lead to (i) a potential temperature rise of 4°C by the end of the century, (ii) dangerous impacts for Canada and the world; (c) do the government’s policies acknowledge that the small number of climate change deniers who continue to contest either that climate change is real or that humans are causing it (i) are generally not climate scientists, (ii) employ arguments that have been discredited by the international scientific community; (d) do the government’s policies acknowledge that (i) while our scientific understanding of the climate system is not complete, the evidence is sufficiently strong to show that climate change poses a real threat, (ii) further delays in addressing this threat will entail greater risks and costs; (e) do the government’s policies acknowledge that if the scenario in (b)(i) becomes a reality, serious consequences, such as coastal flooding, extreme weather events, and forest fires, will intensify over the coming decades with significant costs for the economy and the environment, both in Canada and globally; (f) what research, if any, has the government undertaken or planned to undertake to assess the impact of climate change on the Canadian economy and the costs of adaptation to climate change, and what are (i) the names of these studies, (ii) the dates they were carried out, (iii) their conclusions, including projected costs and whether and under what circumstances said costs can be kept to manageable levels, (iv) their recommendations; (g) what are specific examples of how the government is taking advantage of “shorter-term opportunities to address climate change” (notes for remarks by the Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P., Announcement on Domestic Climate Change Adaptation, Toronto, Ontario, November 8, 2011); (h) what sectors are to be included in the government's sector-by-sector approach to climate change, and what are the dates for the inclusion of each sector; (i) what concrete examples demonstrate the government's climate change plan has "a strong, corresponding international component" (notes, November 8, 2011); (j) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government carried out to “reduce the soot, methane, ozone and other gases” (notes, November 8, 2011) which are short-lived drivers of the climate system; (k) what research, if any, has the government undertaken to compare the costs of early mitigation of climate change with the costs of late adaptation to climate change, and what are (i) the names of these studies, (ii) the dates they were carried out, (iii) their conclusions, including projected costs and whether (and under what circumstances) said costs can be kept to manageable levels, (iv) their recommendations; (l) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government carried out to develop a pan-Canadian plan for energy efficiency with targets for the years 2020, 2030, 2040, and 2050; (m) what, if any, (i) action, (ii) investment has the government undertaken to implement low-impact renewable energy solutions in Canada for the years listed in (l); (n) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to develop a strategy for sustainable transportation in Canada with targets for the years listed in (l); (o) what actions, if any, has the government carried out to develop a fund for climate-neutral pilot projects that will allow municipalities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as much as possible, and to use carbon offsets to neutralize unavoidable emissions; (p) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to develop a plan to rationalize and phase out fossil fuel subsidies, with targets for 2015, 2020 and 2025, in order to achieve the goal of a ‘medium term’ phase-out; (q) what, if any, (i) research, (ii) action, (iii) investment has the government undertaken to develop a plan to increase research and development into and deployment of low-carbon technology in Canada; (r) what, if any (i) research (ii) consultations has the government undertaken to determine if, given various possible scenarios, an investment of $148.8 million over the next five years will be sufficient to help Canada adapt adequately to climate change by the target dates 2030, 2040, and 2050; and (s) what specific provisions has the government made to allow Environment Canada’s Adaptation and Impacts Research Section to undertake research to help Canada adapt to climate change?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 422
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to nutrition in child and adolescent populations in Canada: (a) does government policy include recognition and acceptance of the principle that Canada’s children and adolescents are entitled to nutritious food (i) regardless of where they live, (ii) regardless of their family income, (iii) particularly when economic forces undermine efforts by parents and caregivers to ensure healthy eating; (b) given that the 1992 World Declaration on Nutrition, to which Canada was a signatory, states that access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is a right of each individual, what specific actions have the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Canada undertaken for children and adolescents in order to fulfill this commitment; (c) what percentage of children and adolescents in Canada is food insecure, (i) do disparities exist, including, but not limited to, disability status, ethnicity, gender, geography, socio-economic status, (ii) if so, specify; (d) what percentage of children and adolescents lives below the poverty line, (i) do disparities exist, including, but not limited to, disability status, ethnicity, gender, geography, socio-economic status, (ii) if so, specify; (e) what percentage of children and adolescents has, as a result of living below the poverty line, (i) poor nutritional status, (ii) poor health outcomes due to their poor nutritional status; (f) what percentage of members of each of the following groups is food insecure, (i) child and adolescent newcomers, (ii) children and adolescents who live in poverty, (iii) children and adolescents who live in priority neighbourhoods, (iv) Aboriginal children and adolescents; (g) what percentage of children and adolescents (i) involuntarily misses meals, (ii) lacks healthy variety in its diet; (h) does the government have information, and, if so, what is that information, concerning (i) how (g)(i) and (g)(ii) impact the caloric and nutrient intake of young children, (ii) how (h)(i) affects growth and development and school readiness; (i) what percentage of child and adolescent newcomers, children and adolescents who live in poverty, children and adolescents who live in priority neighbourhoods, and Aboriginal children and adolescents (i) involuntarily misses meals, (ii) lacks healthy variety in its diet; (j) what percentage of children and adolescents has fewer than the recommended daily servings of (i) vegetables and fruit, (ii) milk products, (iii) grain products; (k) what percentage of child and adolescent newcomers, children and adolescents who live in poverty, children and adolescents who live in priority neighbourhoods, and Aboriginal children and adolescents has fewer than the recommended daily servings of (i) vegetables and fruit, (ii) milk products, (iii) grain products; (l) what percentage of children and adolescents from all income brackets is vulnerable to inadequate nutrition, (i) for what specific reasons; (m) what percentage of elementary students and secondary school students does not eat a nutritious breakfast before school, (i) do disparities exist, including, but not limited to, disability status, ethnicity, gender, geography, socio-economic status, (ii) if so, specify; (n) what percentage of children and adolescents is vulnerable to poor academic, health, and socio-emotional outcomes as a result of inadequate nutrition; (o) what percentage of overweight and obese children and adolescents does not eat a nutritious breakfast; (p) how are children’s learning capabilities (including, but not limited to, creativity testing, voluntary endurance, and working memory) affected by how recently a child has eaten; (q) how does malnutrition in early life limit long-term intellectual development; (r) what impact, if any, does an inadequate childhood diet have on the risk of adult chronic disease; (s) how is the behaviour of children and adolescents (including, but not limited to, ability to concentrate, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and irritability) affected by whether or not they have eaten breakfast; (t) what research, if any, has the CIHR or Health Canada undertaken to assess whether schools play a role in shaping the dietary behaviours of children, and, if such research has been undertaken, (i) what are the studies, (ii) what are the studies’ dates, (iii) what are the studies’ conclusions, (iv) what are the studies’ recommendations; (u) what research, if any, has the CIHR or Health Canada undertaken to assess possible links between student nutrition and academic performance, classroom behaviour, and antisocial behaviour, and, if such research has been undertaken, (i) what are the studies, (ii) what are the studies’ dates, (iii) what are the studies’ conclusions, (iv) what are the studies’ recommendations; (v) what research, if any, has the CIHR or Health Canada undertaken to assess whether nutrition programs delivered at school sites are effective in providing children with (i) more nutritious diets, (ii) better cognitive abilities, (iii) better cooperation among children, (iv) improved discipline, (v) improved interpersonal behaviours, (vi) improved emotional and physical health, (vii) reduced risk of chronic disease, and, if such research has been undertaken, (viii) what are the studies, (ix) what are the studies’ dates, (x) what are the studies’ conclusions, (xi) what are the studies’ recommendations; (w) what research, if any, has the CIHR or Health Canada undertaken to assess whether nutrition programs delivered at school sites improve (i) nutritional adequacy, (ii) nutritional education, (iii) positive socialization, (iv) school attendance, (v) community mobilization, partnerships and social support, and, if such research has been undertaken, (vi) what are all the studies, (vii) what are the studies’ dates, (viii) what are the studies’ conclusions, (ix) what are the studies’ recommendations; (x) what percentage of children and adolescents is enrolled in a school district with (i) a nutrition program, (ii) nutritional guidelines for school meals; (y) what percentage of child and adolescent newcomers, children and adolescents who live in poverty, children and adolescents who live in priority neighbourhoods, and Aboriginal children and adolescents, is enrolled in a school district with (i) a nutrition program, (ii) nutritional guidelines for school meals; (z) what information does the government possess that explains why school sites are an effective venue to deliver student nutrition and what is this information; (aa) are there specific reasons why Canada does not have a pan-Canadian nutritional initiative delivered at school sites, and, if so, (i) what are these reasons, (ii) does the government have any analysis of the obstacles that would have to be overcome to develop a pan-Canadian nutrition program and what are those obstacles; (bb) what research, if any, has been undertaken by the CIHR or the government into a pan-Canadian nutrition initiative to be delivered at school sites, including (i) the cost per student per day, (ii) the annual return on investment of a pan-Canadian nutrition initiative delivered at school sites, (iii) the annual payback on a pan-Canadian nutrition initiative if the graduation rate increased by five percent, (iv) the annual return on investment of a pan-Canadian nutrition initiative if obesity, cardiopulmonary, and diabetes rates were reduced by five percent as a result of the initiative; (cc) what research, if any, has been undertaken by the CIHR or the government into fully funding on-reserve aboriginal student meals, including (i) the cost per student per day, (ii) the annual return on investment of a student nutrition initiative, (iii) the annual payback on a student nutrition initiative if the graduation rate increased by five percent, (iv) the annual payback on a student nutrition initiative if obesity, cardiopulmonary, and diabetes rates were reduced by five percent as a result of the initiative; (dd) has the government taken any action or made any investment, and, if so, what is the nature of said action or investment, to (i) initiate discussions with the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for agriculture, education and health to develop a comprehensive pan-Canadian school nutrition initiative, (ii) fully fund on-reserve aboriginal student meals; and (ee) what research, if any, has been undertaken by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and what economic impacts on the Canadian economy have been identified in said research, into (i) a possible economic stimulus resulting from the implementation of a pan-Canadian nutrition initiative delivered at school sites, including, but not limited to, the impacts on ancillary industries, such as, distribution, refrigeration, and service, (ii) the development of local markets for farmers?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 438
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Avalon, NL

With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and, more specifically, Small Craft Harbours (SCH): (a) how many properties under the ownership of SCH have been divested each year from 2006-2011 inclusively, (i) in what community and province were each of these properties located, (ii) what was the assessed value of each of these properties at the time of divestiture, (iii) what financial transactions took place (i.e., amounts), as part of the Divestiture of Non-Core Harbours program, (iv) who received financial compensation and/or paid financial compensation for the divested properties?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I wish to inform the House that because of the statements made earlier today, government orders will be extended by seven minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to speak in support of this important legislation, Bill C-31, the protecting Canada's immigration system act.

Some of my hon. colleagues who have already spoken have stressed our solemn duty as legislators to help ensure the integrity of our immigration system. I could not agree more with that sentiment. Canada's immigration system is internationally renowned and we would not have a country today if it were not for the generations of newcomers we have welcomed to our shores.

In fact, our Conservative government has welcomed the highest sustained average of immigration in Canadian history, a remarkable achievement. I have no doubt that a number of my hon. colleagues who are sitting in this House right now and participating in this very debate were, at one point in their lives, newcomers to Canada or their parents and grandparents were. In my case, my parents were born in eastern Europe, so I lived the life of an immigrant family and I know full well the promise of this country.

Immigrants come to create a new life for themselves and for their descendants, and to help build our great nation. They certainly have done so. Newcomers and those family members of many others here in the House today helped contribute to the richness and diversity of our country and to make it the free and prosperous society it is today.

So it goes without saying that protecting Canada's immigration system is extremely important and it falls upon every hon. member of this House to ensure that we enact laws that protect and ensure the strength of that system. I believe that the measures in Bill C-31, once enacted, will do exactly that, so I am very happy to support the legislation.

Some of my hon. colleagues have spoken already about the measures in this legislation that would help carry out long needed reforms to the refugee system. Others have spoken about measures in Bill C-31 that would help crack down on human smugglers who may try to abuse Canada's generous immigration system.

In the time I have today, I will focus my remarks on the third important piece of the protecting Canada's immigration system act, namely, those measures in this legislation that would enable the introduction of biometric technology for screening temporary resident applicants.

Establishing the identity of foreign nationals who seek to enter Canada is a fundamental part of both visa assessment and border processing. Better identity management and the use of biometrics are crucial to keeping Canada's borders secure and strengthening the integrity of our immigration program. The bill we are debating today would provide the government with the authority to collect biometric data from visa applicants. All hon. members in this House should welcome this historic development.

Under the existing system, visa applicants only need to initially provide written documents to support their application, documents that can be easily forged or stolen. However, biometrics, photographs and fingerprints would provide greater certainty in identifying travellers than documents.

Biometrics will be an important new tool to help protect the safety and security of Canadians by reducing identity fraud and identity theft. As fraudsters and criminals become more sophisticated, biometrics will improve our ability to keep out violent criminals, terrorists and others who pose a risk to Canada.

The introduction of biometrics as an identity management tool in our immigration and border control system is both long planned and long overdue, and more and more is becoming the international norm. Many governments around the world have already introduced biometric collection in their immigration programs. These include the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, the European Union, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Malaysia. Therefore, what we are proposing as a government is hardly new. Because it is becoming so common in international travel, many visa applicants to Canada will already be familiar with this process.

The legislation under consideration today and the regulations that would follow would allow government to make it mandatory for prescribed travellers, students and workers from visa required counties and territories to have their photographs and fingerprints taken as part of their temporary resident visa, study permit and work permit applications. This would be collected before the applicant arrives in Canada and it would be collected again when someone enters the country to ensure that the person the visa was issued to is the person who appears at the port of entry.

Unfortunately, there are countless examples in the media, on an almost daily basis, of serious criminals, human smugglers, suspected terrorists and war criminals, among others, who have entered Canada, sometimes multiple times. The use of biometrics will help prevent violent criminals and terrorists, among others, from using a false identity to obtain a Canadian visa.

Criminals, like Anthony Hakim Saunders, who was convicted of assault and drug trafficking, was deported but returned to Canada, incredibly, on 10 separate occasions. Kevin Michael Sawyers, who was convicted of manslaughter, managed to return to Canada on multiple occasions. There are even examples of criminals re-entering Canada using false identities and documents up to 15, 19 and 21 different occasions. These are real and specific examples. This simply must stop.

Biometrics will help our government end this fraud and abuse. It will greatly help our front line visa and border officers manage high volumes of immigration applicants and the growing sophistication in identity fraud. While it is easy to see how using biometrics will help our own officials make decisions about visa applications, it is also important to consider how their use may provide benefits to the applicants themselves.

In the long run, the use of biometrics will actually facilitate entry to Canada by providing a reliable tool to readily confirm the identity of applicants. For instance, in cases where the authenticity of documents is uncertain, biometrics could expedite decision-making at Canadian points of entry. The time spent at secondary inspections could be reduced, and sometimes dramatically. Using biometrics could also protect visa applicants by making it more difficult for others to forge, steal or use an applicant's identity to gain access to Canada.

Canada will remain a destination of choice for visitors from around the world and, in the long run, the use of biometrics will facilitate entry to Canada by providing a reliable tool to readily confirm the identities of applicants. Again, it is one of the long list of measures our government is taking to make government more streamlined, efficient and cost effective.

For me, biometrics is simply a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the opposition NDP and Liberal members are voting against Bill C-31 and the ability of the government to collect biometric data. They do not support the government having one of the most important and basic tools available to protect the safety and security of all Canadians, including their constituents. Of course, we know that many members opposite did not campaign much in the last election campaign but I would recommend that they get to know their constituents. It would be most helpful in this particular case.

A tool that would help the government prevent the entry of violent criminals and terrorists into the country, the biometrics tool, is very important. Not only do the opposition NDP and Liberal members oppose the authority for the government to use biometrics, they also voted against the funding required to implement biometrics. The use of biometrics is increasingly becoming an international norm and, by passing Bill C-31, the protecting Canada's immigration system act, we will be ensuring that Canada keeps up with many other countries.

Biometrics will strengthen the integrity of Canada's immigration system and help protect the safety and security of Canadians, while helping facilitate legitimate travel. This legislation would strengthen and maintain the integrity of an immigration system that has helped make our country great and would make our country even greater.

I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this much needed legislation.