Mr. Chair, this amendment is to change clause 30, on page 13. As it reads currently, it says:
A traveller who withdraws from preclearance must
(a) answer truthfully any question asked by a preclearance officer under paragraph 31(2)(b) for the purpose of identifying the traveller or of determining their reason for withdrawing; and
The amendment I am putting forward would remove the language “or of determining their reason for withdrawing”. It would merely go to “and”, to take us to the next paragraph.
The reason for this was put forward most clearly of all witnesses by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association:
We are aware of no sufficiently compelling justification to eliminate the right to withdraw in situations where there is no reasonable suspicion of an unlawful purpose on the part of the traveller.
In other words, no traveller should be required to provide a pre-clearance officer with their reason for withdrawing. Any Canadian has the right to turn around and leave a pre-clearance area just because they feel like it. They do not need to provide a reason.
I agree with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. I can see no reason in law why someone should be compelled to provide a U.S. official with a reason, when they simply just changed their mind and are going back home.