Mr. Speaker, when the report of ministerial permits is tabled in the House of Commons, I am not sure that is keeping anything a secret. Obviously he was asleep at the switch.
Second, the member failed to mention that out of the 7,000 ministerial permits only 141 were directed by this minister. He failed to mentioned that he and members of his party regularly approach me to ask for the issuance of ministerial permits for individuals who they think merit them.
The member failed to mention that ministerial permits have been used more judiciously. In 1990, 19,000 ministerial permits were issued. Last year at my direction that number fell to 7,000. The member has to be honest with the Canadian public and talk about the reasons why ministerial permits are used.
The majority of the exceptions are made for individuals who come to Canadian hospitals, pay for their medical treatment and leave. Some are for individuals on behalf of whom members have lobbied for family reunification. Some are for individuals who are not criminals but who may have a criminal record for a minor theft when they were 18. They have had a probation period of 10 years and need a ministerial permit to get into the country for the purposes of family reunification.
They are trying to paint an ugly picture that does not exist.