House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was port.

Topics

Export Development Canada
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Corporate Plan Summary 2012-16, prepared by Export Development Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled, “Cutting the Queue: Reducing Canada’s Immigration Backlogs and Wait Times”.

Citizenship and Immigration
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the backlog in Canada's immigration system is an issue that greatly concerns the New Democratic Party of Canada. There are over one million applications currently in the queue. This represents an increase from the 850,000 applications in the backlog in 2006. Notably, backlogs are present in all three immigration categories: economic, family and refugee.

The presence of backlogs has a direct and negative effect on the amount of time it takes to process an application, and indeed wait times have reached patently unacceptable levels. Unfortunately, we believe that the majority report misses the mark in making progress in this important area. New Democrats have provided a supplemental report that we believe will provide many effective solutions to this very serious matter.

The situation is pressing. There are very real impacts on individuals and families. Significant application fees are being held for years on end. Families remain separated. Employers are frustrated and our economy suffers. We all need to work together to fix these pressing problems.

Citizenship and Immigration
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Only the official opposition is allowed to give a dissenting comment on a committee report.

Citizenship and Immigration
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I can appreciate that we cannot verbally give a dissenting report, but it should be noted that there is a dissenting report from the Liberal Party of Canada. I understand it is to be attached to the committee report also.

Temporary Resident Visa Processing Requirements Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-404, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (denial of temporary resident visa application).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill which, if adopted, would bring transparency to the temporary resident visa or visitor visa process. I want to thank the hon. member for Saint-Lambert for seconding my bill.

Every day in this country Canadians learn that their friends or family members have been denied a visa to come to Canada. This disappointment is often compounded by bewilderment because they are not given detailed reasons for the denial.

One in five applications for a visitor visa is denied, but when we look at various Canadian missions around the world, we see a great disparity. For example, in Lagos and Nairobi, 45% of the applications are rejected. In Chandigarh, India, over half of the visitor visa applications are denied.

The very least we could do when denying a visa to visit Canada is tell people why the application was denied. This initiative would help Canadians and people around the world understand our immigration system better, provide transparency and greater accountability. I look forward to working with the government to try to improve this very necessary system.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-405, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (appeal process for temporary resident visa applicants).

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a country of immigrants, and Canadians have roots in every country in the world. For many Canadians, gathering together with family for holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, and other special events, this means receiving visitors from overseas. Unfortunately, as I have just stated, one in five visitors will have his or her application rejected and in numerous embassies around the world, over 50% will be rejected.

I rise today to introduce a bill that would establish an appeal process for temporary resident visa applicants who have been refused a visa to enter Canada.

The visitor visa approval system is, by design, subjective and often comes down to a judgment call on behalf of the visa officer. The lack of clear criteria is confusing to many prospective visitors and rejections can be arbitrary, erroneous and unfair.

This bill would provide an appeal so that there would be transparency and clear standards for all applicants. Such appeal tribunals are already available to visitors in England and Australia. It is time to bring fairness and transparency to those who want to visit Canada and their Canadian friends and relatives.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by people from all over Canada who are concerned about the proposed megaquarry in Melancthon township in Dufferin county. It would be the largest open pit quarry in Canada at over 2,300 acres.

The petitioners are concerned with a number of things. The megaquarry would threaten the headwaters of the Nottawasaga, Grand and Saugeen watershed systems and the Mad, Noisy, Pine and Boyne River sub-watersheds, consequently detrimentally and permanently affecting the aquifers in the area of the proposed megaquarry.

Canadian International Development Agency
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by a number of residents of St. John's, Newfoundland and surrounding communities. I also see signatures of people from Kenora, Ontario, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and Victoria, B.C.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to exempt the Canadian International Development Agency from any budget cuts in the 2012-13 federal budget. The petitioners suggest that CIDA only accounts for 2% of the federal budget and its budget has been frozen for two years. This results in a cut of 5% in real terms when measured against inflation.

The petitioners praise the work of CIDA.

The signatures were obtained by an Oxfam group at Memorial University which is concerned about international aid. The petitioners want the government to take heed of this petition.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition requesting the creation of a royal commission on the environment and health.

The petitioners come from across the country. They are concerned about the thousands of chemical products which contaminate our air, water and food.

As a result, they are asking the government to direct a royal commission to examine all aspects of the environmental and health impacts of Canada's industrial activities.

The petitioners also request that the government apply the precautionary principle in protecting health and the environment from uncertain risks.

Republic of the Fiji Islands
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, petitions keep coming in from thousands of Canadians who would like to see a high commission or consulate opened in the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

Canadians of Fijian descent number over 100,000 and currently their consular needs are only able to be serviced from Sydney, Australia. The petitioners note this causes inordinate delay and inefficient services for tourist, visa, business and immigration issues, both for Canadian and Fijian citizens.

The petitioners note that the United States, Australia, New Zealand and China all have embassies or high commissions in the Republic of the Fiji Islands. They call upon the government to open such services to better serve this important community as soon as possible.

Canada-EU Procurement Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to submit a petition signed by a significant number of Canadians, most of whom reside in my riding of Guelph.

The petitioners add their voices to the thousands across Canada and 16 municipal governments across the country calling on the House of Commons to urge the government to exclude all sub-federal governments and their public agencies, including municipalities, from any Canada-EU procurement agreement.

Municipalities like Guelph are rightfully concerned that they will lose the right to have independent procurement policies as Canada's government negotiates away the ability to buy local materials and services. These restrictions would cripple the ability of municipalities to stimulate local innovation, foster local community economic development, create local employment and achieve strategic public policy goals.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present four petitions this morning.

The first one relates to the proposed Enbridge project. The petitioners are primarily from the communities of Comox and Courtenay, British Columbia. I note that it is relevant that recently Prince Rupert city council voted unanimously to oppose this project, as did the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

The petitioners in this instance ask that the government cease and desist from promoting the project and allow the hearing process to take place in a full, fair and transparent fashion without undue political pressure.

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I wish to present is somewhat related. It relates to the challenge of the climate crisis. The petitioners are from within my riding of Saanich--Gulf Islands, primarily from Sidney and Saanich, as well as from the islands of Mayne and Saturna. They ask that the government act on a previously taken declaration through an act of this House to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% against 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% against 1990 levels by 2050.

Last night I happened to be at a session at the University of Ottawa where scientist Paul Beckwith urged that all parliamentarians address this as an urgent matter, given the potential catastrophic effects of delay.

Security Certificates
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is from residents of Ottawa and Toronto. It relates to human rights infractions relating to the fact that Canada continues to use the security certificates that violate the rule of law, our charter rights, and indeed rules that have gone back to the time of the Magna Carta, rules of habeas corpus, the right to know the case against a person and the opportunity to defend oneself in open court.

The petitioners ask that security certificates be set aside and that anyone currently under a security certificate not be deported.

Housing
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last petition is on the subject of affordable housing. Petitioners from my riding, from Sidney, Saanich and Mayne Island, ask that the government, particularly the Minister of Finance, revisit those measures that used to be in place to encourage developers to build purpose built apartment dwellings for rental units to increase the stock of affordable housing.