Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank Mr. Bezan for the agreement, at least in principle, of making sure we are tight on scope, particularly with the work of this committee.
With regard to the amendment of Ms. Khalid in terms of questions of Roxham Road as a point of entry for asylum seekers, those questions would be far better placed at immigration than here.
In terms of what we do here in this committee, particularly on the issues of procurement, this has been a place that funds have gone into for the past five years to address the needs. We have to be cognizant of what we're looking at here.
Roxham Road came into existence not because CBSA decided to set up a point of entry there. It's that asylum seekers have been going there for years, as Ms. Hepfner mentioned. For one of our colleagues in the House, actually, her point of entry into Canada was through Roxham Road. It is known as a place for asylum seekers. Since it is known, and known internationally, and because of the sheer volume, the demand, the need, and also the climate there—you know, it is cold through the winters—the need to facilitate safe entry for those who are seeking safety is critical, and that costs money to our border services. It is up to our agencies, like procurement, to ensure that we provide a safe space for asylum seekers when they arrive there.
When we're looking at a span of time and the costs and needs that are associated with that, I would ask again if those are necessarily scope questions that we ask here. Surely we would want to ensure that the services provided.... I have no issue with the Minister of Public Safety coming here to discuss what reactionary implementation has been put into place at Roxham Road to address the volume of asylum seekers who are coming into that place. However, are we asking the question of whether this is a new border crossing, or are we asking the question...? I'm just trying to be clear on who is coming to the table to impact the questions that we want to ask on the monies that are spent at this site to facilitate people's having safe entry when they come here seeking asylum 12 months of the year through rain or shine or freezing cold winters. They should be able to arrive to safety with dignity and compassion.
Again, in terms of the transparency and accountability, I'm with you. We absolutely want to make sure that we have that in all the things we do, including the operations at Roxham Road. Also, we must have a deep understanding of why we do them. Being the third-party country that we are in accepting asylum seekers, when folks arrive for safety here we are able to provide them with the services and tools they need when they arrive at our border.
I just want to be clear on keeping the scope where it needs to be and ensuring that the funds we allocate provide services and tools there. We also have to understand who's there. The Government of Canada did not choose this as a border crossing or point of entry; asylum seekers chose it. Who, geographically, was in the area? What buildings and landowners are around there whose land is being crossed through? We need to understand these things to ensure that we're finding the right balance of making sure those who cross are protected and also recognizing that if this isn't a federally mandated border area, we have to work with who is there. In this case, it's Monsieur Pierre Guay, who I understand is one of the main land owners in the area who owns some of the buildings. How do we ensure, if there is only one sole proprietor in the area, that the contracts are negotiated the way they should be?
We need to provide services for those who arrive and use the tools that are available to us with deep consideration and, of course, transparency and accountability. Again, I certainly hope that we are all working collaboratively to ensure that the questions we want to ask are the right questions and that the scope is clear.
I'll cede the floor back to you, Mr. Chair. Those are my thoughts at the moment about the motion.