Evidence of meeting #17 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui  Professor and Member, Ontario Steering Committee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
MD Shorifuzzaman  Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Guide Me Immigration Inc.
Aleks Selim Dughman-Manzur  Co-Executive Director, Programming and Advocacy, Rainbow Refugee Society
Sharalyn Jordan  Chair, Rainbow Refugee Society
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Stephanie Bond

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Perfect.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

Thank you.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

I had one more point to make. We strongly support this motion. I think it's very important. I think it's excellent. I want to congratulate my colleague for bringing it forward.

We have one minor change to suggest to further clarify paragraph (c). We recognize that there are significant problems with the UNHCR refugee determination process in certain contexts, including in the context of the Uighurs. I think all members recognize that there is a need for a determination process to occur, but that there are some issues in this particular case.

We're not calling for the abolition of a determination process, but we do think that there needs to be a recognition of the flaws in the process as they currently apply. Just to be clearer about that point, I would propose replacing the word “waive” with with “replace”. Paragraph (c) would read, “replace the UNHCR refugee determination.”

I think that's very much consistent with the intention, but I do think the existing language can maybe be read a couple of different ways, so I want to propose my wording for discussion as a possible amendment.

Thank you.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

We have an amendment proposed by Mr. Genuis on the floor now. He has proposed to replace the word “waive” with “replace”, so paragraph (c) would read “replace the UNHCR refugee determination.”

Is this what you have proposed, Mr. Genuis?

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Chair, would it be—

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

I have Ms. Kwan next and then I will come to you.

Ms. Kwan.

April 26th, 2022 / 12:05 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

In speaking first to the amendment, I would not support that amendment. It is not to replace the refugee determination process; it is to waive the refugee determination process. There is a distinct difference if you were to replace that versus to waive it. For all the other privately sponsored refugee processes, it is waived, so I would strenuously oppose the amendment.

The other piece, in speaking to the larger issue, I support this motion absolutely. There's no question. It has always been the NDP's view and my view that the government should apply special immigration measures equitably to all the different groups faced with conflict in different regions and persecution in different regions.

We are seeing a distinct difference in how the government is applying those measures with Ukrainians versus—we were just talking about it in this committee today—Afghans. It is wrong. It is wrong and it should not be done that way. As a witness from the special Afghanistan committee asked if their blood was not the same as that of Ukrainian nationals. We have to answer that question truthfully, with humanity. The answer is absolutely, yes, it is the same. If we want to stand on the podium and say that Canada cares and that we would apply humanitarian measures to people who face persecution, then we need to apply those measures equitably accordingly.

I would absolutely support this motion. By the way, this motion is not inconsistent with the press release that was issued by the chair a few weeks ago. That motion called for the government to apply that to all the regions. It gave some examples, but those examples were never meant to be exclusive of other groups. They were simply some examples. To that end, I would absolutely support the motion as tabled by Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe. I would reject the amendment accordingly.

Further to that, I would also ask, Madam Chair, that you respond on behalf of the committee to the Uighur project email that was sent to us. They were concerned that the committee's motion that was passed a few weeks ago excluded them. I think it is very important to indicate clearly that it was not an exclusive motion. It includes everyone. With that being said, this additional motion does not detract from that last one. It simply states clearly why this should be done in this instance.

Finally, once we vote on this amendment, I have an amendment to move. I think what's really important is that we get a response from the government on the motion that Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe has moved.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

I'm sorry for interrupting, Ms. Kwan. Right now we have an amendment, so we cannot go—

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Yes, I know. I'm not moving an amendment. I'm just telling the committee members that I intend to move an amendment once this other amendment has been dealt with.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

Yes, so first we have to deal with the amendment that is on the floor, and then we can go further.

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I'm not moving an amendment. I'm just putting these words on the record for consideration. At the appropriate time, I will move an amendment to add the words “and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the government table a comprehensive response to the report”, just so that we get an official response from the government to Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe's motion.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

Okay, thank you.

Next on the list is Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe, then Mr. Genuis and then Mr. Dhaliwal.

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

I don't know which amendment I am supposed to speak to, but I'm interested in the last one that was brought up, about the government's response. The response has to come before the debate in the House, and that means delaying concurrence on the report.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

All the questions should be directed through the chair, one person at a time. Please don't have conversations across—

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Chair, please forgive me, sometimes I'm a bit of a rebel when it comes to procedure. I'm going to turn it over to my friend Mr. Genuis. We'll go back to the previous discussion.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

Okay, thank you.

Next is Mr. Genuis, and then Mr. Dhaliwal.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Based on the comments of Ms. Kwan, I think we actually agree. I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but I think we might be agreeing on the policy. I might want to sharpen the wording a little bit. My hope with the amendment was simply to clarify that, yes, we agree that the UNHCR determination process has problems. There needs to be an alternative domestic process that applies in other cases. I guess I just want to put it out there, as an alternative to the wording that I proposed, that we could say, “waive the UNHCR determination and use the domestic determination process that applies to other immigration categories”.

I put that out as a point of discussion. I do think it's helpful in terms of clarity. I think those who are following—

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

I am sorry for interrupting, Mr. Genuis. You cannot make a change to your amendment.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

I know that. I'm just brainstorming with my comments—

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

You have moved an amendment, so you have to leave it. You cannot change it.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

I understand. I just want to see where people might be at with respect to that. I'm not wedded to any particular wording, but the idea is—and I think in any event the discussion around this clarifies it—that there does need to be a determination process. The UNHCR process has problems. In any case, when people are coming to Canada, there needs to be a determination process.

That's maybe what could be clarified by this. Again, if the amendment is defeated, that's fine. I won't lose sleep over it, but I do think that the clarification, either in the text of the motion or on the record, is helpful.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

Thank you.

I think this debate is getting a bit longer, so maybe I can thank the witnesses, keeping in mind their precious time. If they want to leave, they can leave the meeting. Thanks to all the witnesses for appearing before the committee today. Your testimony was very important, and I thank you on behalf of all the members.

We will continue this debate, and if the witnesses would like to leave, they can leave.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Chair, before the witnesses leave, I wonder if you can just express to them that they could provide a submission in writing in response to the questions they were not able to answer, particularly due to time limitations.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Salma Zahid

If there is something you would like to bring to the notice of the members and you were not able to do so today because of the lack of time, you can always send your written submissions to the clerk of the committee and they will be circulated to all the members. Thank you once again, and if you would like to leave, you can.

Next on the list is Mr. Dhaliwal.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Madam Chair, since you've already dismissed the witnesses, I was going to ask for a vote on the amendment so that we can get it out of the way. Ms. Kwan has made a really great intervention. Let's vote on this to support Mr. Brunelle-Duceppe's motion.