Mr. Speaker, on May 3 I asked the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration two questions about Canada's lax immigration policies. At that time congressional meetings were being held in Washington to study the security of the American and Canadian border.
I asked the minister if she was proud of the fact that under her tenure Canada had become known as a launching pad for terrorism and drug trafficking. I also asked her when she was going to wake up, stop talking and implement concrete measures to fix the broken system, which has become known as an easy mark to drug traffickers and terrorists.
Let me expand on these thoughts. The witnesses that appeared before the committee on the judiciary subcommittee on immigration in Washington said many things which this Liberal government and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, as well as the parliamentary secretary, should take note of. Dale Brandland, sheriff for Whatcom County in Bellingham, Washington, stated before the committee:
Our friends to the north, the Canadians, are good neighbours but I must tell you that I am troubled by their liberal immigration policies. Anyone that has a passport can enter Canada and there is very little to stop them from entering the United States once they get there.
He went on further to cite an example:
Mr. Abu Mezer is a prime example. Local Border Control personnel in Whatcom County had apprehended Mr. Abu Mezer on three separate occasions, after attempting to enter the country illegally. He was finally held, pending formal deportation...Approximately 7 months later he was shot by the New York City Police Department just prior to planting a bomb that would have blown up the subway system.
This was an individual who was in Canada three times under this lax immigration policy, rather than being deported under some criminal charges that he was facing in Canada after serving his time.
Eugene Davis, deputy chief of the U.S. border patrol in Blaine, Washington, said:
Over the past several years Canada has adopted a non-visa requirement policy with many countries that the United States continues to require visas from. This has resulted in many smugglers being able to easily bring third country nationals into Canada and then smuggle them across the border into the U.S.
He went on to say:
The Canadian government has stated that virtually every known terrorist group in the world has offices in Canada.
The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, Michael Bromwich, stated:
The border in western Washington is experiencing a marked increase in the smuggling of BC Bud, an especially potent strain of marijuana.
He also stated:
The INS and other intelligence reports indicate that terrorist groups locate in Canada in part because of Canada's liberal visa and asylum (refugee) laws—
It is quite clear that the immigration system is broken. I hope we get some answers from the parliamentary secretary rather than empty rhetoric talking about what other parties stand for when it is his party that has not taken action to correct these wrongs and to fix the broken system.
We saw an example of that in committee today when members of the Liberal government, rather than taking concrete action to remedy a situation on the head tax for refugees, voted against it and defeated it.
They could have taken action to fix a broken part of the system, to remedy an injustice. They could have taken time to fix the system and deal with these individuals who are abusing it. Their own department officials, and I quote from an access to information document, stated:
The blatant misuse of the refugee process (in same series, a Honduran refugee claimant was openly honest about the fact that he had no understanding of what a “refugee” actually was, that he was just doing what he had been counselled to say upon arrival in Canada, and the reason that he was in Canada was to earn some money for his family back in Honduras). This portrayal was extremely damaging to the integrity of the program and department.
Certainly it was. This is the kind of thing that is happening. This is the immigration CICs own internal documents stating that there are problems with the system. Yet the minister fails to take action to address these serious problems.
I would like some answers from the parliamentary secretary to these questions.