Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

An Act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

Elinor Caplan  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

National SecurityOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it was this government that recognized the need to update our immigration laws. It has been 25 years since we have had a new law. It was that party that initially delayed Bill C-31 and voted against Bill C-11.

Many of the provisions the member has suggested are actually included in Bill C-11, which is now before the Senate. We are hoping to see royal assent this fall. We are ready to go, virtually ready to go with the regulations which have already been before committee. I look forward to his co-operation on implementation.

National SecurityOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the citizenship and immigration minister has now less than 90 days to implement UN security council resolution 1373, which calls for effective border controls and the issuance of identity papers and travel documents to prevent forgery or fraudulent use.

Bill C-11 is certainly not strong enough on that score. Will the minister use her administrative powers today to implement the United Nations resolution?

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, members of this caucus did vote against the bill because frankly it is too weak.

It is now clear that there are far too many weaknesses in the legislation the government has introduced to reform our refugee system.

Will the minister encourage the Senate to return Bill C-11 to the House of Commons for consolidation and improvement by the elected representatives of the people?

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about a specific from Bill C-11.

Bill C-11 calls for refugee claims to be referred within 72 hours but the department does not have the resources to meet this goal. When it tried to do a pilot project, this is what happened: “There are no facilities to keep them. Some of the people slept outside with a blanket”. That is from the people who conducted the pilot.

Will the minister admit that she does not have the resources to do what the bill promises to do?

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-11, as in the existing immigration legislation, we are able to detain anyone who we identify poses a security threat, anyone whose identity we are unfamiliar with and where we have concerns that they will not show up for their hearings.

What Bill C-11 does is strengthen those provisions. The fact is this: we have already taken action. We have improved security at our borders. We have fast tracked a new immigrant identification card. We have begun training for our officers on new security issues and we are looking at old profiles to update security screening.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have heard it will take six months, not 90 days. We do not see how it will be faster, especially when an RCMP officer responsible for the immigration program told the Senate that in Australia: “--if a refugee comes to their shore without the appropriate documentation....he will be detained up to the time that he is appropriately identified” or “he will be sent home. We do not have that in Bill C-11”.

He went on to say that if we did “--refugees who come to Canada without the appropriate tools and are in question can be detained and eventually deported instead of giving them the green light”--as in Canada--“to go on the street and God knows what happens then”.

Why will the government not give our immigration officers and our police the same tools to protect Canadian citizens that the Australian government gives theirs?

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, in fact the proposals in Bill C-11 streamline the procedures, consolidate our processes, make it easier for us to bar access to the refugee determination system to those who pose a security risk, make it faster for us to identify those who are not in need of our protection, and make it faster for us to be able to remove those who we do not want to keep in Canada.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 1st, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-11 is now before the Senate. We are hoping that it will be passed expeditiously. However I want say to the member that Canadians would be surprised to know it was his party's critic and members on committee who actually voted to make it more difficult for us to remove criminals and security threats.

Those are the facts. They did not support it and further they moved motions which would have made it more difficult for Canada to be able to remove criminals and security threats. That is the truth.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 1st, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I point out to the member opposite that he and his party did not support Bill C-11, which says exactly what the United Nations has suggested in its resolution.

Further, we have already begun to intensify security screening, but I want to assure the member that all refugee claimants receive a preliminary security and criminality screening.

Bill C-11 addresses the issue of denying access to our refugee determination system to anyone who would pose a security threat or is inadmissible to Canada because of a criminal record. That is important progress. I am glad they are now--

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 1st, 2001 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has made two very clear demands on the government with the passage of resolution 1373: first, prevent terrorists and their supporters from using refugee claims to enter this country and, second, subject refugee claimants to comprehensive background checks to ensure that they are not terrorists.

What real, concrete action is the government prepared to take to answer the UN resolution call and ensure that refugee claimants are screened and terrorists are not allowed to abuse our generosity? It has to be more than Bill C-11.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 1st, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is trying to create an inaccurate and wrong impression. Bill C-11, which his party does not support, does exactly what the United Nations resolution suggests, that is give us the opportunity to do the kind of not only weeding out but identifying those who are inadmissible to Canada because they pose a threat or have a criminal record.

Where we do find that someone poses a security threat, we immediately detain. We also detain until we are sure who the individual is. The overwhelming majority of refugee claimants are not criminals.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 1st, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Leader of the Opposition that in fact Bill C-11 addresses both of the issues that were raised in the UN convention.

One is to intensify and do the kind of upfront security screening that is called for and the second is to deny access to the refugee determination system to anyone who poses a security or criminality threat in Canada. We are doing it.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

September 27th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration insisted that she needed Bill C-11 to secure the Canadian system from abuse. On September 24, the minister contradicted herself in stating that we have the tools to detain where we feel there is a security risk. She knows that part 3, section 19 of the current act has the tools to detain anyone suspected of terrorism. The minister has admitted that she does not need Bill C-11 to act.

When will the minister address the real problem and demand sufficient funds and resources to enforce the existing law?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

September 26th, 2001 / 2:50 p.m.
See context

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the critic from the official opposition is either misinformed or just does not understand the law as it exists now. Whenever we have evidence that people pose a security risk to Canada, if we are concerned because we do not know who they are or if we are concerned they will not show for their hearings, we have the ability to detain, and we do. That is the law that exists today.

Under Bill C-11, we have made those laws clear and we have enhanced our ability to remove by streamlining processes.

SupplyGovernment Orders

September 25th, 2001 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague very eloquently put forward some very valid points. She was about to refer to a comment by the member from whatever that organization is, the coalition. I am having trouble keeping track. I think she was about to refer to a comment attributed to the leader of the fifth party in the House, in 1990, which I will paraphrase. He said, during a debate in this place on a decision with regard to the gulf war, that we cannot wait for deliberative bodies to deliberate and act before taking action.

The hon. member made numerous references to the responsibility of the government of the day to act within the constitution to either deploy troops or make substantive decisions that were in the best interests of national security. That was then and this is now. I appreciate the fact that the person I am quoting was at the time under a different understanding of what his responsibilities were.

Let me say first of all that I have been saddened somewhat, as we all have been, by the events of the past two weeks, but particularly saddened, in addition to viewing the tragedy that we have all seen, by some of the reactions of people both in this place and in the media. There is one group in this place that I think has acted responsibly. I have criticized those members in the past for some of their policies and actions but I will not at this time. In fact I congratulate them today because I believe they are acting in the best interests of all Canadians when they use their use their role as members of an opposition party. They are the members of the Bloc Quebecois. It is perhaps a surprise to many of us that this has happened. We might have expected it from other sectors or other people in this place, but in reality their responsibility has been shown by questions in question period, by speeches in debate that focus on the real issues here, the issues that Canadians are concerned and frightened about. They have not all been lobs by any stretch. They have not simply issued a blank cheque supporting the Prime Minister or the government to do as he or it pleases and it is appropriate that they do not.

We all know that the image Canadians have of parliamentarians standing and voting on whether or not to send troops into war is an image that we hoped would never happen, even if we were to agree with it. This is indeed an unusual time in our history, a time when calm resolution is being displayed by our leader and by the leadership of the entire government. What is interesting is that there is now a sense in this debate that the government might act too hastily.

Up until now we have heard particularly from the official opposition that the government is not acting hastily enough, that somehow we should be doing what the Pakistanis and the Afghanis are doing and mustering our troops on the border of perhaps the United States, packed and ready to go. This sense that the government is not taking action is purely partisan politics. What is sad about it is that we are losing the benefit of celebrating what Canadians have done by focusing on debates such as the one today and on comments made by people in this place and in the media. Members should think back to what happened. We closed our skies and our airports virtually immediately.

On the day it happened, after I witnessed the tragedy on CNN and was as dumbfounded as everyone about what I saw, I had a meeting at the Credit Valley Hospital at 11 o'clock that morning and I thought that I might as well go because I had to do something.

I was absolutely astounded to see that the hospital was in full emergency planning mode. So was Etobicoke General Hospital. The reason is that there was a rumour, white hot, at 11 a.m. on September 11 that at least one of the planes being diverted to Pearson international was a hijacked aircraft that could turn into a bomb or a missile. What did they do? These people reacted instinctively, calmly and professionally to ensure that all of their staff were aware of the problem and were capable and ready to take action in case of an emergency, in case injured people showed up at the emergency department of Credit Valley Hospital or Etobicoke General. That is a responsible way to act. That was not led by a government. It was under the leadership of Wayne Fysse and his entire team at Credit Valley Hospital.

We should be celebrating that instead of all the sniping and political posturing that is going on in what I can only say is an unfortunate attempt to hold somebody on this side of the House, aka the Prime Minister, responsible for all of this.

A member opposite accused someone over here of blaming the United States. I have heard members on all sides and I have heard and read media reports that actually blame Canada, actually blame our immigration policies. Our immigration system is not perfect. In fact there are members of the House who sit, or did sit on the immigration committee when we brought in Bill C-11. I recall the complaints from the official opposition critic that the bill was too tough, that we were violating civil libertarian rights and that we were taking away the rights of people to appeal a deportation order just because they were found to be criminals. I heard members from all parties. I expect the former opposition critic for immigration had moved on to another committee, but I am sure these were orders coming out of central party command on what they should be doing in relation to the immigration bill.

If members have heard the latest media report, that bill has been delayed. Why? We held hearings right across Canada on the immigration bill to tell people that it was time we toughened up our immigration laws to ensure that people who are criminals and people who are under deportation orders are actually deported.

The hue and cry from the Canadian Bar Association, propagated in many cases by members opposite doing their jobs as critics which I respect, was quite remarkable. Now those same critics sit here and somehow say, as they do every day, that it is awful that our immigration system is the cause of all this. That is the implication. Do we really mean that when we look all of the immigrants in the eye? Some of them are in this very place. Do we not recognize that immigration is indeed what has built Canada?

Should we be shocked that there are terrorist cells within our borders? Could someone please name one country where that is not the case? I doubt that they can. From what I have seen, Osama bin Laden's network is in some 30 to 40 different countries, and that is only one terrorist group. Of course there will be people within such an open, democratic, welcoming country as Canada who are not here for the benefit of you and me, Madam Speaker, and who are not here to try to build a nation. They are here to further their own interests whatever they may be. Whether they are based on religious fanaticism or political fanaticism, the bottom line is that we know it is fanatical.

The sad thing here is that we are missing the point. There will be debates in this place throughout the entire process. It will be a long, drawn out process to eliminate terrorism and attack terrorism around the world.

I am confident that our government will do what is right. I just wish that we could, like the Americans have done, pull together as one great nation, as one great political entity so that we know where the enemy is. The enemy is terrorism. It is not over there, it is not over here. It is in fact terrorism and we are committed to stand with the Americans to eliminate it from the world.