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

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

They sure made it sound like they meant all. However, that is not the case. I hear what the opposition is saying now. One says that we need to refer to the lawyers when we are making these decisions. Now I hear from another who says who cares about lawyers. I am not sure where they stand now.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

The records show the New Democrats said that.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

No wonder the Liberals were in so much trouble prior to us coming into government. They could not make a decision to save their life on this issue.

However, Richard Kurland, who was a witness at our committee, said the following:

Finally someone recognized that the open wallet approach of the past, offering free education, free medicare, and a welfare cheque to anyone who touched Canadian soil making a refugee claim was not the right thing to do. So I’m glad to see today that finally, after several years, someone has the political courage to take the political risk of saying, if you’re from a European country and you can land in London or Paris or Berlin, fill out paperwork, and legally live there, work there, pay taxes there, you shouldn’t be allowed to make a refugee claim in Canada. Buttress that with this reality check. Over 90 percent, and in some years 95 percent, of [claimants from Hungary] didn’t even show up for their oral hearings. They rode on the taxpayer.

Julie Taub, also an immigration lawyer and a former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, probably appointed by the previous Liberal government—

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

That would've been a good appointment, no doubt.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

The Liberal critic says that she was a great appointment. I am sure she was. Let me quote what she said about the bill. She said:

I can tell you from theory and practice that the current refugee system is very flawed, and cumbersome, and definitely needs an overhaul. It takes up to two years to have a claimant have his hearing. And there are far too many bogus claims that clog up the system, and use...

She used the word “bogus”.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

So does the Toronto Star.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

So does the Toronto Star, as the minister has indicated. Therefore, to say that this word should not exist in this process is bogus.

Let me return to the quote. She said:

And there are far too many bogus claims that clog up the system, and use very expensive resources at a cost to Canadian taxpayers.

Who pays for those expensive resources? The taxpayers of our country. She went on to say:

I...like the fact that [the minister] is going to fast-track [some] claims, so they do not clog up the refugee system for genuine claimants. I have clients who've been waiting since 2009, early 2010 to have their hearing, and I represent many claimants from, let's say Africa, the Mid East countries, who base their claim on gender violence or Christian persecution in certain Middle East countries, and they have to wait, because the system is so clogged up with what I consider to be unfounded claims from citizens of safe country of origin.

Since I only have a minute left, I will not use anymore quotes. I have a feeling I will be able to use these over the next six days as we debate this to show that there are professionals involved in this industry who support what we are going with respect to the legislation.

I listened very closely to both the NDP and Liberal critics present their speeches. They told us who did not support the bill. Let me end with this. Millions upon millions of Canadians sent us here. In some respects they believe we did not go far enough. Canadians support the action we are taking with respect to C-31 and in terms of balancing refugee reform in the country. We will continue on their behalf.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Madam Speaker, this bill gives the minister alone all the power to determine which countries are safe, while in the former Bill C-11, that task belonged to a panel of experts that included human rights specialists. Bill C-11 was sponsored by the Minister of Immigration at the time.

Why is the government creating two classes of refugees and how can it guarantee that any single country in the world is completely safe from persecution?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, it continues to boggle my mind that the opposition keeps suggesting that there are two levels of refugees in the world. That is wrong. There is only one. There are those who seek asylum and deserve it, and there are those who seek asylum and do not deserve it.

I appreciate the fact that the member works extremely hard on the immigration committee, and I respect her being here this afternoon, but she was not here in the previous Parliament when we passed Bill C-11 and moved toward a more balanced approach. Bill C-31 would make the process of safe country more transparent and more accountable. How that process would work is spelled out in the legislation and regulation, as is how and when the minister would be able to undertake the issue of safe country.

I come back to the original point of what the refugee system in this country is supposed to be about. It is supposed to be about assisting those who genuinely need the help of this country to seek a new life, to seek a new country and to seek new opportunity but it is for those who deserve it, not for those who attempt to get it under bogus means.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the member and I sit on the citizenship and immigration committee where we are studying biometrics right now. I want to give the member a hypothetical situation that may be an analogy.

Let us say, for the sake of argument, that the government will buy some F-35s for billions of dollars. The Minister of National Defence says that the government is buying those planes no matter what. However, someone on the committee says that maybe we should study F-18s and other alternative aircraft. I suspect that would be a stupid thing to do because the government has already committed to buying the F-35s, even if it is not in the best interests of taxpayers.

I will e now go back to biometrics. The minister has already decided on what he will do with respect to biometrics. The member and I sit on the committee. Is not the minister undermining what we do on the committee by not even listening to what was being said or not even waiting until the committee was done before presenting this legislation?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, I like to think of it in the opposite. I like to think that the minister views this from a completely different perspective.

At noon today, I and my committee colleagues on this side of the House presented our report that contains 10 recommendations on how to work through the backlog. I have no doubt whatsoever that the minister will look at those recommendations take them seriously. We were going to recommend the super visa for parents and grandparents but the minister did not wait for us to finish our report and said that it was such a good idea that he would implement it now. The minister did not wait to fix the problem like the Liberals did when they were in government. He acted immediately. What more can one ask for?

As for the F-35s and the F-18s, what about the chance that a previous government already passed that and said that those were the planes Canada would buy?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for coming to Mississauga--Streetsville on Friday and making an important announcement on marriage fraud, which we applaud and appreciate.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to respond to this quote and tell me if he agrees. It reads:

We want a fast, fair system where we can give a sanctuary to people who need it quickly and we can weed out the people who don’t have valid claims, get them through a fair process. And if they’re not valid at the end of the day, deport them out of Canada swiftly.

That was said by the NDP immigration critic, the member for Vancouver Kingsway. Would the parliamentary secretary agree with that quote?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

March 6th, 2012 / 5 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Mississauga—Streetsville who is doing an amazing job as a member of Parliament in that riding.

If the minister acted quickly on the implementation of super visas for parents and grandparents to come to Canada, that member was one of the first to quickly assemble a town hall meeting to ensure that the people of his community understood what the super visa meant and what the advantage would be. He told the people of his riding at the town hall meeting that if he could help them in any way that he would be there for them. It is good to know that Mississauga—Streetsville has one more Conservative member of Parliament to stand for residents in a way that will assist them.

I agree with the quote by the NDP critic. It is a great quote.

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, there is much in this legislation that is deeply concerning to me and other members of the Green Party across Canada. I know the parliamentary secretary has referred to what happened in previous Parliaments, but I was not in the House at that time. However, I am deeply concerned about the approach that will be taken on refugees who arrive by what is called irregular entry.

Since Bill C-4 was introduced earlier this year, Bill C-31 appears to subsume Bill C-4 and provide it in a different fashion. I note now that we will not be interning children under 16 years of age, but what will happen to refugee families that arrive on our shore? Apparently, parents and anyone over the age of 16 who arrive at our shore will to be interned for a year. What will happen to children under the age of 16?

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the leader of the Green Party spends a lot of time in the House doing her job as a member of Parliament, but she also went across this country saying time and time again that she was not coming to Parliament to criticize, that she was coming here to work with the government. I would say to her, with all due respect, that if we are going to use words like “internment”, they be used in their proper context. That is not what Bill C-31 represents. In fact, it is far from it.

When it comes to the detainee aspect of this bill, I will put into perspective the types of lives individuals coming to this country to seek refugee status have led up to that point. How they are treated here is humane, proper and, in fact, in almost every case is better than any type of treatment they received from the country they come from if they are true refugee applicants. If they are not true refugee applicants, they should not be here in the first place.