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Evidence of meeting #43 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was sims.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jennifer Irish  Director, Asylum Policy and Programs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I was advised by the clerk that every vote is recorded. The numbers are recorded, and the vote counts are not accurate, based on....

Is that possible so that we can get it right?

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Where were we?

Is there further debate on LIB-11?

(Amendment negatived)

(Clauses 16 and 17 agreed to on division)

(On clause 18)

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

There is a government amendment, G-3.

Go ahead, Mr. Dykstra.

May 9th, 2012 / 7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This is one of two very substantive changes we are offering up as an amendment to the bill. First—and I think it's important to do this every once in a while—on this issue I compliment both opposition parties for providing some clarification, from their perspective, on their feelings on the cessation issue. In particular, Mr. Lamoureux's amendment, which follows ours in clause 18, is very similar to the amendment we are suggesting here. I want to thank him and obviously those who put the amendment together. It's very close to the resolution we think will satisfy the issue of cessation.

Our amendment specifically states that a permanent resident who acquired that status through a favourable refugee determination cannot lose that status or be made inadmissible based on an IRB cessation determination. That includes changed country of origin circumstances.

In other words, it's the whole issue of retroactivity, as it were, and as it was put by a number of the witnesses who came forward, especially from a legal perspective, identifying this concern. It was never the government's intent, from the beginnings of the bill in itself, to suggest or in any way have it be interpreted that refugees who came to this country who were successful in their applications would actually potentially have those applications or the identified refugee status removed because of what may transpire in their country three, four, or five years down the road.

We are convinced, and I'll perhaps ask those ministry folks who are here to confirm, that this change will indeed end and eliminate that concern.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

I guess they're looking at you, Ms. Irish.

7:15 p.m.

Director, Asylum Policy and Programs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration

Jennifer Irish

Thank you, Chairperson.

Yes, I confirm that the effect of this amendment is to ensure that if you have lost your protected person status as a PR as a result of changed country circumstances, then you would not be made inadmissible after your PR status has been revoked.

Thank you.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

I have Ms. Sims on the floor.

Mr. Lamoureux and Ms. Sims, just so you're aware, if government amendment 3 is adopted, NDP-11 and LIB-11.1 can't be moved because they're amending the same line, and you can only amend a line once.

Ms. Sims has the floor.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Chair, I have a document here. We would like to try to amend the amendment that is before you.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

An amendment to the amendment.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Yes, an amendment to the amendment.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Okay.

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

I'm waiting until everyone has it in front of them. Sorry, we do not have the French.

I will read it and it will get translated in that process.

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

The amendment to the amendment is in order, if you could read it, please.

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Thank you. I will.

The amendment would read, adding after line 10 on page 11 the following:

A permanent resident is inadmissible on a final determination that their refugee protection has ceased for any of the reasons described in paragraphs 108(1)(a) or (d), when the final determination is made within one year after the date on which refugee protection is conferred.

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Is there debate on the amendment to the amendment?

Ms. Sims.

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

I really want to put on record that we appreciate that the minister realized that his bill did have an unintended consequence and that a move has been made to correct one part of that bill. It points to the fact that when we do things in such a hurry, there are times when there are these unintended consequences. That's why I will still urge my colleagues to take the time and do this in a more thorough way.

In this amendment we have also removed (b) and (c), and I want to point to what (b) says specifically. It says “the person has voluntarily reacquired their nationality”. That can happen for a number of reasons after a great number of years. You could have somebody come from India, let's say, and they left India—I'm just using that as an example, by the way, because I know the country—and were granted refugee status under the irregular arrivals. However, a number of years go by, let's say five, ten, and circumstances change, and by this time he has his permanent residency; that person, because he has property and other things back in India, in order to inherit that would need to have nationality back, and in this case what that person would be doing...plus it's safe now. The circumstances in the country have changed for one reason or another and that person reclaims that nationality—and there could be myriad reasons why a person does that.

I'm begging the indulgence of my colleagues across the way. Let's not close the door on this. We're not saying that this is going to happen immediately. We've already put a 12-month bar in there, so it is within a reasonable amount of time, but we shouldn't close the door. As Canadians, we have many people sitting in very highly respected positions on both sides of the House who hold nationalities from more than one country, and we accept that as part of our great Canadian heritage, because many of us have roots and connections with other nations.

I'm really hoping that my colleagues will see fit to grant this, because after all, once somebody has become a permanent resident, they should have that option open to them.

Referring to paragraph (c), currently the wording is “the person has acquired a new nationality and enjoys the protection of the country of that new nationality”. ,

In many ways, it goes with that first one, our granting them permanent residency and then eventually, citizenship. I don't think the fact that they have a nationality or protection from another country should play into this. These are very similar arguments to the ones I made in (b).

Then, of course, we have put down that final sentence “when the final determination is made within one year after the date on which the refugee protection is conferred”. So we have put a check and balance into the amendment.

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Mr. Lamoureux

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

I'll wait for the main motion, when we're on the motion itself.

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Mr. Dykstra.

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Just to speak quickly to the amendments, I understand where Ms. Sims is coming from on this, but I think at this point we want to ensure that we clarify but do not water down the importance of this specific section within the bill. I think clause 108, subject to the change to (c), is the right way to go, and it solves the issue we had determined to be one.

I disagree with Ms. Sims in terms of the amount of time that has been spent on reviewing this bill and having witnesses here. Aside from the budget bill, if you can find another piece of legislation that has passed through this Parliament after second reading that has had as many hours of witnesses attend, I'd be happy to hear which committee it is. I don't think you'll be able to find one. Part of the reason we've been able to come to this conclusion that a significant amendment needed to be made was just because of all of the time we've spent working on this document and the bill. So I think we're in good shape.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

We will vote on the amendment to the amendment.

(Subamendment negatived)

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

On the amendment, all those in favour...?

Mr. Lamoureux, do you want to speak to that?

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

I just wanted to acknowledge the change the government has recognized. I don't necessarily want to say that any one group or individual is responsible for the change. It's just encouraging to see that the change from the original bill has occurred. Therefore, we would actually support the change that's been made here.

Thank you.

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative David Tilson

Ms. Sims.

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Chair, even though my colleagues across the way did not support our amendment to the amendment, in recognition of the realization the minister has had about the “unintended consequence”, as he put it, we will be supporting the amendment.