Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm going to spend a couple of my minutes to speak to the Vegreville situation. I think this is a critical issue. We were just talking about jobs and retention and economic activities in Atlantic Canada. Just imagine for one minute what that would mean if those kinds of implications and impacts were to happen in the Atlantic provinces in any of those cities. I would suspect that all the provincial ministers and all MPs from those regions would not support it. Here we are in a situation where people are being devastated.
The Vegreville processing centre does exemplary work. If we do this, the potential loss they bring to the table in helping the government get the cases processed would be over 2,000 years of experience. That is significant in the context of the huge backlogs we're dealing with. By the way, there have been cases when there was a backlog in Mississauga, Ontario, when they sent boxes of files to Vegreville to get them processed. That is the stuff we're trying to push through with regard to processing spousal applications, and where there have been enormous delays. The Vegreville people are helping push this stuff through.
The government wants to reduce the wait times for spousal applications to a one-year processing time limit. You better think twice about this. You will lose thousands upon thousands of years of experience in that work, and that would only hamper the government's efforts in achieving its goals. I have written to the minister about this, and I've received a stock answer about why they have to proceed. You don't have to proceed. This is a non-partisan issue. It is about our economy, the immigration system, and about getting the work done while using the best talents to get that work done. Let's rethink it.
I think I'm going to blow all my seven minutes. I haven't had a chance to get into this debate a whole lot because of the time limitations for the NDP in questions and so on, but this is a critical issue for Vegreville. More than that, it's a critical issue for the immigration system and processing times. Think about it for one minute.
I would think nobody, government members as well as the officials, would say this is okay if we were to do this in the Atlantic provinces. Why would we want to do this to Vegreville, a community that is strong, proud, and that is contributing in every sense of the word to all of us in the work we need to do and to the overall economy of our country?
I support this motion. Because it was non-debatable around adjourning, I didn't get to speak to it, but I just wanted to spend a few minutes on that.
While we're on this track, I'm going to spend a couple of minutes on another motion, Mr. Chair. I'm going to move the following:
That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), that the Committee immediately undertake a study of land arrivals at Canada’s southern border, including: the impact of current realities at the border on safety and security of both refugees and Canadian society; the effective management of refugee claims at the border, within the context of Canada's international human rights obligations; and how to ensure an efficient and effective refugee determination process. That this study should be comprised of no less than five meetings; that IRCC department officials be in attendance for at least one of the meetings; that CBSA officials be in attendance for at least one of the meetings; and that RCMP officials be in attendance for at least one of the meetings; that the study be concluded and that the Committee report its findings to the House prior to June 9, 2017; and that Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the government table a comprehensive response thereto.
Mr. Chair, you'll remember this is a motion that I had moved and has been adjourned I believe three times, if not four. I'm going to move that we resume debate on this. I would like to get an answer from the government members so we can schedule the study and get on with it to get this important work done. To that end, I'm going to move resuming debate with respect to that motion, Mr. Chair.