Evidence of meeting #215 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maude Lavoie  Director General, Business Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Trevor McGowan  Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Charlene Davidson  Senior Project Leader, Financial Crimes Policy, Financial Systems Division, Financial Sector Policy, Department of Finance
Samuel Millar  Director General, Corporate Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Tolga Yalkin  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
Colin Stacey  Acting Director General, Pilotage Act Review, Department of Transport
Sara Wiebe  Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
André Baril  Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michel Tremblay  Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau  Procedural Clerk
Karen Hall  Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Hugues Vaillancourt  Senior Director, Social Development Policy Division, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay.

(On clause 301)

On clause 301, we have amendment CPC-12. Who is putting that forward?

Go ahead, Mr. Kmiec.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

We're just repealing a section of the immigration and refugee protection regulations, section 159.4.

The government has to close a loophole in the safe third country agreement. That's what this amendment will help achieve.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

The chair will rule that it is inadmissible, as it amends a statute that's not before the committee.

Do you want me to give you the technical ruling for that?

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Yes, please.

May 27th, 2019 / 3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay. I'll explain it all.

Clause 301 of Bill C-97 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Amendment CPC-12 seeks to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, not the act.

As House and Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 771,

...an amendment is inadmissible if it proposes to amend a statute that is not before the committee or a section of the parent Act, unless the latter is specifically amended by a clause of the bill.

Since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations are not being amended by Bill C-97, it is therefore the opinion of the chair that the amendment is inadmissible.

Shall clause 301 carry?

You want a recorded vote.

(Clause 301 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(On clause 302)

On clause 302, we have amendment CPC-13.

Tom, the floor is yours.

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

It's basically the same as before. We are replacing a portion of section 159.5 of the regulations before paragraph (a). We're basically just trying to achieve compliance with the safe third country agreement and closing all the loopholes.

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay, the ruling on amendment CPC-13 is the same as for amendment CPC-12—

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

I'm starting to think it's personal now, Mr. Chair.

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

—which is that it's inadmissible as it amends a statute that is not before the committee.

Do you want me to go through the technical details again or just give you that it's on page 771?

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Thank you for the page, but I'd like to go through it technically again.

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay. It's your choice.

Clause 302 of Bill C-97 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The amendment CPC-13 seeks to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 771:

...an amendment is inadmissible if it proposes to amend a statute that is not before the committee or a section of the parent Act, unless the latter is specifically amended by a clause of the bill.

Since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations are not being amended by Bill C-97, it is therefore the opinion of the chair that the amendment is inadmissible.

It is inadmissible, so shall clause 302 carry on a recorded vote?

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Chair, before we proceed to the recorded vote, as my colleagues from the New Democratic Party requested, can I ask to suspend for a few minutes?

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

How long do you want, three minutes?

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

I want five minutes.

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We can do that. We can suspend for five minutes.

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We will reconvene.

I call the question on clause 302. This is a recorded vote.

(Clause 302 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Dusseault has asked for recorded divisions right through until clause 310.

(Clause 303 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

I will remind people that our officials are here. If you have any questions, feel free to raise them.

(Clause 304 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

(Clause 305 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

(Clause 306 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

(Clause 307 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Mr. Chair, I believe there's a proposed amendment to clause 308.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Yes, but it comes after clause 308. It's a new clause, correct?

(Clause 308 agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)

We have amendment Lib-8, which would create a new clause 308.1.

Go ahead, Ms. Bendayan.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This amendment proposes to enshrine into law the requirement of an oral hearing unless the application is allowed on paper without a hearing.

This amendment spells out that the pre-removal risk assessment officers must conduct an oral hearing providing an applicant with all of the rights and opportunities to present their case. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has recommended to our committee that this measure be adopted.

As a lawyer, I feel very strongly that this improves the legislation and would provide certainty to applicants and legal counsel working in the field. I know this was also recommended by stakeholders in their presentations to various committees in government.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Go ahead, Ms. Kwan.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the committee members for indulging me.

I'm speaking to the amendment. In fact, I'm speaking to the entire section pertaining to the asylum seeker changes proposed under Bill C-97. The New Democrats feel very strongly that we should not be supporting these provisions and that these provisions should be struck from this bill.

At the immigration committee, all the witnesses were very clear in saying that the government should not be proceeding with this measure. We've received over 2,000 emails from Canadians calling on the government to stand down these provisions. This amendment, Mr. Chair, does not fix the problem. Witnesses were clear to say there is no fix to this.

Effectively, the government is proceeding to endanger the lives of asylum seekers. We had expert witness upon expert witness who came forward to state that. Amnesty International was very clear to say that there is no fix. The Canadian refugee lawyers' association also said there is no fix.

As far as creating a hearing goes, according to the amendment there is not even a requirement for an oral hearing, so what was being suggested by way of an explanation is not accurate in that regard.

The idea that creating hearings would somehow fix this problem is erroneous at best, Mr. Chair. As we know, the IRB already exists; there's already an independent process, a well-respected process. The witnesses said that this process is the proper process asylum seekers should go through to determine whether or not they are eligible to be a refugee and are able to seek asylum here in Canada.

Setting up a separate set of hearings with some other entity that is not prescribed in the legislation would be duplicating our efforts. Frankly, we just had an Auditor General's report that said that the government is inefficient in its work, that it is duplicating its effort and not achieving the results we hope to achieve, so why are we creating a separate process that asylum seekers would have to go through, while also costing taxpayers money? Why are we setting up a new infrastructure to do this work? The IRB is already very capable of doing this work.

The attempt to somehow say we can fix this draconian piece of legislation by saying we're going to require hearings is deficient.

Mr. Chair, you're aware from the NDP members on the immigration committee that I sent a letter to you, Mr. Chair, to be shared with all the committee members, urging committee members to strike down these provisions. At the very minimum, Mr. Chair, these provisions ought to be a stand-alone bill for full debate in the House of Commons. We heard witnesses throughout the process calling for the government to strike down these provisions and withdraw them.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you, Ms. Kwan.

Just before we see if there's any further discussion, yes, we did receive the report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees. Related to this section, the committee said:

Our Committee has met in this regard on Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in order to hear from the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction and from other witnesses. Their contribution to the study has been very valuable and informative.

The Committee recommends that the Standing Committee on Finance adopt clauses 301-305 and the first clause of 310 without amendment. The Committee agrees that these new provisions will help maintain the integrity of Canada's immigration system.

I'll read the rest of it as well:

The Committee recommends that the Standing Committee on Finance adopt clauses 306-309 and the last three sections of clause 310, provided that the Finance committee is satisfied that the legislation will guarantee a right to an oral PRRA hearing to all asylum seekers who will be affected by this new ground of ineligibility under Clause 306 (i.e. section 101(1)(c.1) of the IRPA.

As well, just for your information, we did receive your letter. That's been sent to committee members. I'm not sure whether it was you who sent it or the committee, but all the submissions from a number of witnesses you had mentioned were sent to the finance committee as well.

Go ahead. The floor is yours.

4 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I wonder if you could also read into the record the letter that I sent to you, Mr. Chair, as you have done with the other letter from the committee.

4 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Yes, we can. Do you want me to read it or do you want to read it?