moved for leave to introduce Bill C-415, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (appeals).
Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a bill that addresses an important issue that exists in our immigration law, with thanks to the seconder, the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.
This bill would establish an appeal process for people who have been denied permanent residency on health grounds or simply because they have a disability. While our country needs reasonable policies to protect our health care and social services, our immigration law is being used to exclude people with all forms of disabilities and differences. One recent example from my own riding of Vancouver Kingsway is the case of the Patel family.
Kevin Patel is a young, bright, successful accountant who immigrated to Canada almost a decade ago. He is exactly the kind of person the government says it wants to attract. Mr. Patel sponsored his family to join him in his new home in Canada. The request was denied solely because his parents have a dependent daughter who has Down's syndrome. Down's syndrome is not an illness, it is not a disease. It is a chromosome difference that exists in nature and across all cultures. People with Down's syndrome go to school, work and marry. They are cherished and contributing members of our families and communities. Families with children with autism are being similarly excluded, and this is wrong. These people are not burdens on anyone. It is time our immigration laws were amended to reflect this fact.
I hope I can get the support of all my colleagues for this important bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)