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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is refugees.

Conservative MP for Ajax—Pickering (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship and Immigration January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, why does the member opposite insist on fighting a vindictive campaign against honesty?

We have done nothing but support the health of refugees. What we object to is asylum claimants who have failed to be deemed refugees by the Immigration Refugee Board, some of whom have fraudulent and bogus claims, receiving gold-plated health care that goes beyond what Canadians receive. That is why we are the only party in this place standing up for Canadian taxpayers and the only party that will speak honestly about protection of the health care of refugees.

Citizenship and Immigration January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are quite pleased with our reform of the asylum system, which is working much better than it did before.

What is even more baffling to us is that the NDP insists that health care be provided to asylum claimants whose applications have been denied or are fraudulent. That is what the NDP is asking for.

We will continue to protect the interests and health of refugees as well as the interests of taxpayers.

Privilege January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the question of privilege, raised by the hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard respecting order paper Question No. 393, is based on documents released by my department, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, under the Access to Information Act, on or about November 17, 2014.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, on page 143, offers this relevant guidance for us all. It states:

The matter of privilege to be raised in the House must have recently occurred....Therefore, the Member must satisfy the Speaker that he or she is bringing the matter to the attention of the House as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the situation. When a Member has not fulfilled this important requirement, the Speaker has ruled that the matter is not a prima facie question of privilege.

The hon. member effectively had a month prior to the Christmas adjournment to bring forward her issue. Nonetheless, her question of privilege also fails on its merits.

Mr. Speaker, as you have stated in the past, on April 3, 2012, at page 6857 of the Debates:

—there has been a notable increase in the length of the questions submitted. As noted on various occasions by government spokespersons, the length of questions can, in turn, have an impact on the ability to provide an answer within the 45-day limit and may require considerable resources.

If I may read out the question Mr. Speaker, and I will just summarize it, you will in fact see that Question No. 393 required a lengthy search of CIC records which was not feasible in the mandated time frame. It states:

With regard to Citizenship and Immigration Canada : (a) what was the budget for processing visa applications between 2005 and 2014, broken down by...fiscal year...processing centre...international student visas...work permits...broken down in turn by temporary workers, live-in caregivers, business people, and students...temporary visas (broken down in turn by tourist, business, Super Visas, and transit visas);

Then it asks for the same information broken down in similar ways for: the budget for processing immigration applications between 2005 and 2014; the number of full-time equivalent staff allocated to each processing centre between 2005 and 2014; the average wait time for processing of visa applications between 2005 and 2014, broken down by similar distinctions; the average wait time for processing of immigration applications between 2005 and 2014; the budget for processing private sponsorship of refugee applications between 2005 and 2014; how many full-time equivalent staff were allocated to the processing of private sponsorship of refugee applications; and the average wait time for processing of private sponsorship of refugee applications between 2005 and 2014.

What was asked for were operational details down to the individual case for an entire decade of our department's work. Just one of those requests, and I noted that there were about 10 major headings in the request, would have involved the review and the analysis of 16 million items from the department's records. Therefore, it was clear to us, as I think it would be clear to you. Mr. Speaker, and to the House, that the 45-day limit would not have been met under any circumstances and that the reasonableness of this request, as with other requests, regrettably, that we have seen made by the opposition of late, is very much in question.

As minister, I rely on the advice of our hard-working public service to carry out my duties, including those mandated by the Standing Orders. The answers provided to the House by way of written questions are no different. Indeed, a full reading of the 70-some pages released under the Access to Information Act, rather than the narrow selection offered by just a few words, easily show that the 45-day response deadline for this very extensive question posed a challenge to a number of officials in the department. Despite this, those public servants made every attempt to provide the member with the requested information.

Due to the length and breadth of the question, the amount of time needed to research the information requested meant that the deadline imposed by the Standing Orders could not be met.

On page 522 of O'Brien and Bosc, we find the following statement:

As with oral questions, it is acceptable for the government, in responding to a written question, to indicate to the House that it cannot supply an answer.

It was this practice that public servants invoked when advising me that they would not be able to provide an answer to this question within the mandated timeline, and it was on that advice that I provided the response to Question No. 393.

Furthermore, your role, Mr. Speaker, with respect to written questions is limited and clearly spelled out in O'Brien and Bosc. Also, on page 522, it clearly states:

There are no provisions in the rules for the Speaker to review government responses to questions.

A long line of Speaker decisions confirm this point, including most recently your ruling on April 3, 2014, at page 4207 of the Debates respecting order paper Question No. 176.

As such, I respectively submit that there is no prima facie case of privilege to be found here.

I understand that the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard may not be satisfied with the response provided. Perhaps the member will bear in mind Standing Order 39(5)(a) when filing written questions in the future, which states:

A Member may request that the Ministry respond to a specific question within forty-five days by so indicating when filing his or her question.

I, as minister, and the entire Department of Citizenship and Immigration stand ready to continue responding to any order paper questions, petitions, question period questions, access to information requests or other correspondence concerning the policies and programs that we deliver for newcomers and citizens on behalf of all Canadians.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, in response to question (a), a total of 1,200 family class applications have been refused based on the R117(9)(d) refusal ground, in persons, beginning in 2010. Prior to 2010, a different system was in use by the department, which did not allow for the consistent tracking and reporting of refusal grounds. Due to this, CIC can only report on the number of applications that were refused based on 117(9)(d) beginning in 2010 for those applications that were processed in the global case management system, GCMS.

In response to questions (b)(i) and (ii), CIC does not capture this level of detail sought for these questions in a systematic fashion and therefore cannot provide this information.

In response to question (b)(iii), of the 1,200 family class applicants refused with R117(9)(d), 333 were female sponsors and 594 were male sponsors.

In response to questions (c) to (g), CIC is not able to report on this type of information as it is not tracked systematically in the global case Management system, GCMS, and therefore CIC cannot provide the level of detail required.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, the Government of Canada has a duty to ensure that the security and safety of Canadians is paramount in determining the admissibility of foreign nationals. In rapidly evolving situations where the potential impact may be very significant, potentially resulting in loss of life, it is essential that the government take decisive action to protect the well-being of its citizens.

That is why on October 31, 2014, it announced precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Under these new measures, visas for temporary residence will not be issued unless the officer is satisfied the applicant has not been in an Ebola-affected country within the three months prior to the finalization of an application. Discretion remains for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry where travel is essential and in Canadians’ interest.

CIC consulted with partners across government including those in the public safety and health portfolios. The Public Health Agency of Canada has significant experience and responsibility for public health and safety. This includes a consultative relationship with the World Health Organization, which was contacted upon development of these new measures. The government has advised various domestic and international stakeholders including government representatives from the affected countries, at the time of deployment.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, with regard to (a) and (b), this public policy has been implemented within existing CIC reference levels and with existing staff. There have been no funds earmarked specifically for research.

With regard to (c), as of November 26, 2014, 517 applications for permanent residence have been made.

With regard to (d), as of November 26, 2014, 197 persons have been resettled.

Citizenship and Immigration January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to thank the member for Thornhill for his leadership on this issue across Canada and around the world in opposing anti-Semitism in all its forms.

As the member said, with Canada and the international community standing up to the menace of terrorism and the ideology of hatred and violence it represents, we find ourselves increasingly dealing with the scourge of anti-Semitism, which we thought we had been left behind.

That is why Canada continues to participate in a meeting of the UN called just last week by Israel to address the rise of anti-Semitism. We outlined our government's leadership on these issues, which will continue under the Prime Minister's leadership and with the participation of everyone on these benches.

We have supported efforts to promote Holocaust remembrance and are opposing the deeply misguided boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. This government will stand on the principle of opposing anti-Semitism.

Citizenship and Immigration December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations High Commissioner is asking us because we resettle one in 10 refugees worldwide every year, because we have already resettled 22,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria, and because there are already 1,900 Syrians in Canada.

What is hard to understand is why the New Democrats and the Liberals do not even stand with Danish and French socialists and Barack Obama's Democrats in the fight against terrorism and the Islamic State. That is what Canada is doing. Why are they taking the same position as Vladimir Putin?

Citizenship and Immigration December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, someone is going to have to teach Franz Kafka over there the difference between a resettled refugee and an asylum claimant.

Canada has approved the resettlement of 1,150 Syrian refugees, mostly this year but starting in 2013. Canada has received 1,900 Syrian refugees since the start of this conflict. Canada has received over 22,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in recent years.

Danish and French socialists have sent war planes to join us in the fight against ISIL terrorism. Barack Obama's Democrats are fighting ISIL terrorism. Why have the New Democrats and the Liberals taken Vladimir Putin's position on this issue?

Citizenship and Immigration December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it says a lot about the hon. member and the party that he represents that he would turn the 22,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees settled in recent years in this country pathetic.

Canada has done more than its part. Canada will continue to do more. What would save millions of more lives in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere is coordinated action with Arab and NATO allies to oppose ISIL terrorism, to to make this winter safer for millions of people who had to leave their houses and are running to save their very lives. That is what this government has been prepared to do.

We still cannot understand why the Liberal Party—