Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-31, the immigration and refugee protection act. This is a very important bill for Canada. It has been in the making for a long time. We are pleased to see that it has been presented because it gives us an opportunity to talk about immigration and its impact on Canada.
Who are we talking about? We are talking about people. The government has released the total number of refugees into the country. When some 187,000 immigrants are coming into Canada it is important to recognize what is happening. They are human beings. These are people who have needs. Like any other issue that deals with human beings it has an emotional aspect. It deals with relationships, with aspirations and all such things.
We recognize what is happening. We have come to the very sad conclusion that our immigration system is falling down rapidly. More and more people are genuinely coming into the country. They have made the effort to come to our country but are facing problems. They get discouraged and walk away. At the end of the day Canada is the loser when this happens.
The auditor general reported on the immigration department. What do we see? We see what every MP knows, I would presume. There is something seriously wrong with our immigration system. As a matter of fact I have a full time staff, as do other MPs, trying to solve the immigration mess. It creates horror stories.
Old ladies have come to me crying because our system, despite what the government says, is inconsistent and allows people to abuse it. It is inconsistent in terms of what is going on in the country. It creates doubt among immigrants and upsets Canadians when they see that the system is subject to so much abuse.
The problem as far as I am concerned is that the government has made a habit of listening to self-interest groups. In this case I am talking about immigration consultants and immigration lawyers who try to hijack the agenda because it is in their interest. If the system is not functioning they are the beneficiaries, and the government agrees to that.
Let us talk about consultants. Anyone can be a consultant in this country. They just have to open up an office and say they are immigration consultants. Do they know about immigration rules? No. All they care about is money. This is happening in my own riding. Immigration consultants take money and give wrong advice to immigrants or to refugees, resulting in them coming to us to solve this mess.