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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consultants.

Topics

Canada-Panama Free Trade ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

September 23rd, 2010 / 10 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the following reports of the Canadian delegations of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group.

The first report concerns the participation of the delegation in the 3rd Annual Conference of the Southeastern United States - Canadian Provinces Alliance, held in Biloxi, Mississippi, United States, from April 11 to 13, 2010.

The second report concerns the CAN-AM Border Trade Alliance Conference, held in Ottawa, Ontario, from May 2 to 4, 2010.

The third report is the 51st annual report of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group on the annual meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, from May 7 to 10, 2010.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Finance, respecting the request for an extension of 30 days to consider Bill C-470, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (revocation of registration).

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a) a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, September 29, 2010 immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

World Autism Awareness Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-211, An Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and given that the installation of the new Governor General will take place next Friday in the Senate Chamber at 11 a.m., which is at the same time we normally have question period here in the House of Commons, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move: “That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, on Friday, October 1, 2010 the House shall meet at 8:30 a.m. and the order of business shall be as follows: Private Members' Business from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Statements by Members from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.; Oral Question Period from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Routine Proceedings at 10:30 a.m.; and that the House shall adjourn at the conclusion of Routine Proceedings, or at 11:45 a.m., whichever is earlier”.

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, that should be 10:45, not 11:45.

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it agreed that the motion be amended to read 10:45 instead of 11:45?

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Amendment agreed to)

Since the ceremony is at 11, that makes sense.

The motion being amended then to read the House shall adjourn at 10:45, is it agreed that the motion, as amended, be adopted?

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion, as amended, agreed to)

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would like to sincerely thank the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for correcting me on my evil ways.

Sittings of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I was tempted myself but resisted the urge.

Copyright ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to present two petitions, both of which have to do with the issues of anti-circumvention measures and technological protection measures that are applied to copyrighted works, and the concern of how the implementation of those by corporate entities would interfere with format shifting, particularly for librarians, in the use of works that citizens have paid for, to ensure that when anti-circumvention measures are applied to works, they do not unfairly impede the rights of consumers and creators.

I would like to present these two petitions from people across Ontario who are concerned with the update of the Copyright Act and the need to find a balance among the rights of creators, the rights of educators, the rights of students, and the rights of consumers.

Caffeinated BeveragesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions today.

The first deals with Health Canada's authorization of caffeine in all soft drinks. Health Canada announced on March 19 that beverage companies will now be allowed to add up to 75% of the caffeine allowed in the most highly caffeinated colas to all soft drinks.

Soft drinks have been designed and marketed toward children for generations. Canadians already have concerns over children drinking coffee and colas. They acknowledge that caffeine is an addictive stimulant. It is difficult enough for parents to control the amount of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that their children consume, including caffeine in colas.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to reverse Health Canada's new rule allowing caffeine in all soft drinks and not follow the deregulation policies of the United States and other countries that sacrifice the health of Canadian children and pregnant women.

Earthquake i n ChilePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by dozens of Canadians, calls upon the Canadian government to match funds personally donated by the citizens of Canada for the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

Unlike the earthquake in Chile, the government has given matching-fund treatment to the Pakistan flood relief efforts on a matching-fund basis. It has also given the same treatment to Haiti.

The petitioners would like the Prime Minister to give the same treatment to the Chilean earthquake victims as he did for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and the Pakistan flood, and match funds personally donated by Canadians to help the victims of the Chilean earthquake.

Horse Traceability ProgramPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of quite a number of Canadians. It is on the issue of traceability in health regulations for Canadian horses that took effect on July 31 of this year.

Canadian horse breeders say in their petition that they were not involved in any democratic discussions concerning those proposed traceability in health regulations. They ask that the government deal with the Canadian horse traceability program and ensure that it is working effectively.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from September 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, other than our colleagues, who are first nation members, you, I, and all of our colleagues in the House have something in common: we are the descendants of, and in fact some of us are, immigrants to Canada.

Yesterday in the House of Commons we heard speeches on Bill C-35 from two such members. The member for Newton—North Delta told his particular story of a young man arriving on Canada's shores as an immigrant from India and what an incredibly inspiring story that was. The immigrant from India, with virtually no money in his pocket, had a deep desire in his heart to build a new life in a new land. Who could have foretold that 25 years later he would be here, among us, in the House of Commons as one of the legislators of laws for this great land?

We also heard a speech yesterday from the member for Eglinton—Lawrence who also arrived as a new Canadian 55 years ago as part of a wave of Italian Canadians who arrived in Canada in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He mentioned that while he was speaking in the House, his grandson, a third generation Italian Canadian, was watching his immigrant grandfather address this august chamber, the House of Commons.

What incredible stories of Canada's potential, of Canada's promise. This has been the story of Canada right from the first days of Confederation. In Canada's first House of Commons there was a member elected by the name of Alexandre-Édouard Kierzkowski, a refugee from Russian imperialism, and a member of Canada's first House of Commons in 1867. That has been the story of Canada, wave after wave of people arriving on these shores.

The French, who settled and, along with the existing first nations, created something unique to Canada: a new first nation, the Métis. After the English, soon after Confederation there was a large wave of Bukovinians, Galicians, and Ukrainians who transformed the bush of the Northwest Territories into the golden wheat fields of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Chinese arrived to build our railroads, those ribbons of steel that bound our geographically vast land into a cohesive oneness.

More recently, as I have mentioned, the Italian Canadians and Portuguese Canadians arrived in the last half century and transformed our cities, cities such as my home town, Toronto. They transformed those cityscapes and created those jewels, the most liveable cities on the planet: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. What this speaks to is a system that is dynamic. Our multicultural mosaic is not static; it is a constantly evolving multicultural mosaic. That is Canada's promise and strength.

Unfortunately, over the last number of years our immigration system has been suffering from dysfunction. In fact, I would even say it has reached the point where the system pretty much does not work.

In the past there have been two types of newcomers to Canada. There have been the refugees, going as far back as the Loyalists, the underground railroad, and more recently, the Vietnam and Iraqi war resisters. Even my grandparents landed in Canada, on freedom's shores, as refugees from communism, from the horrors of Stalinism. There have been the refugees and there have been the economic immigrants who saw Canada not just as a free land but also as a land of opportunity, having departed from lands where at that point in time, unfortunately, opportunities were limited. In Canada the opportunities were limitless.

The waves of people that landed on Canada's shores landed here because Canada is a free country and, as a consequence of that freedom, it is a prosperous country. All of those people had something in common. They came here with a willingness to work hard so that they could build a future for themselves, for their families and for future generations. They succeeded and they contributed back into their communities and to the greatness of our country.

Unfortunately, we have a current refugee and immigration system that has ceased to function. It creates confusion. It creates a situation of shattered dreams for hopeful new Canadians, new immigrants to our country. In this confusion, and in desperation that is fed by the confused system that we currently have, the ones who step in are the charlatans, the ghost consultants, who prey on impossible dreams and make impossible promises. They prey on the most vulnerable.

As my colleagues have said, I also am supporting this bill which deals with crooked consultants. I am supporting sending the bill to committee to further refine it. But let us not lose sight of the bigger job at hand. That job is to fix our immigration system. We need a new act.

Let me mention specific cases to show how desperate the situation is for potential new Canadians and the circumstances the current system forces them into.

Marya Kunyk arrived on a work visa as a live-in caregiver. She had to work two years over a three-year period to be able to begin the process of becoming a Canadian. Just a year after arriving and working on fulfilling that obligation, she was crossing at a crosswalk and was hit by a car. It was a horrific accident. The driver was found guilty, but Marya today has a shattered body, literally. Parts of her body have been replaced with pieces of steel.

What is the system doing to Marya, who needs continuing health care and physiotherapy so that she can once again become a functioning productive member of society? The system is deporting Marya back to a country that cannot provide the health care she requires. The system is deporting her because she is not fulfilling the obligations of her contract that she work two full years. It is just common sense. She has not been able to fulfill the obligations of that contract. She was hit by a car through no fault of her own.

Is it any wonder that there is so much desperation among new Canadians that they turn to these crooked consultants, these charlatans who prey on that desperation.

In another case, Iryna Ivaniv is a young woman who has been trying for over six years to bring her husband to Canada from Ukraine. She has four young children, Canadian children. I will read from a letter that she wrote to the minister:

1. We have four young children who are Canadian citizens: 6-year-old; 3-year-old; and 5-months-old twins. They have a right to have both their parents raise them....

2. Our twins were born premature. They're under pediatric constant supervision and need medical care which I do not feel could be obtained in Ukraine in satisfactory manner.

3. All our children are registered to start school and daycare from September 2010. I must stress that Canadian children 6-year of age must attend school under The Education Act.

What has happened in the case of Iryna Ivaniv? Just in the past two months, her husband has once again been denied the opportunity to come to Canada to unite this family.

How does this happen? Through an access to information request, I have been able to get the notes of the decision. It is astounding. The decision states that Iryna Ivaniv is still in possession of Ukrainian citizenship and can therefore freely access all health and social services in that country. She is not a Ukrainian citizen; she is a Canadian citizen. Ukraine does not allow dual citizenship. She is a citizen of one country.

How is it that decision-makers who do not even understand the rules are making the decisions?

Further on the decision states that the children would benefit from being sent from their country to Ukraine so they could be with their extended family, so there would not be disruption to the children's life separation from their grandparents, and it is significant disruption that we have caused because in Ukrainian culture, extended families are traditionally important.

My goodness. We would take Canadian children away from their mother, their Canadian grandparents, their Canadian uncle, deport them, and send them to a country half a world away.

These cases clearly illustrate how dysfunctional the system has become. Is it no wonder that people prey on the desperation of people such as Iryna, on the desperation of people such as Marya.

Let me also reference a statistic from the public database of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration regarding the processing time for skilled workers from Kiev, Ukraine. In 2009, 80% of the cases were finalized in 83 months, which is 6 years and 11 months.

What employer in Canada will wait seven years for an employee that has been hired from a foreign country to arrive? What about the people in those countries, under the skilled worker class of immigration, who are waiting not several months, but year after year after year? What has happened to Canada's promise?

As I said earlier, Canada's dynamism and greatness has been built by the waves of people who have arrived on Canada's shores. We often reference the incredible natural resources of this vast land. Yes, we have been blessed with natural resources unlike any other country in the world, but our greatest resource is our human resource, the deep reservoir of human capacity that we have.

Canada is unique to the planet in having people who have an intricate understanding of every culture of the world, who speak every language of every people on the planet. In a future global village, what an incredible advantage that gives us.

That promise has to be reinstated. Canada cannot become a land that is static, that loses its dynamism. Yes, this particular bill addresses one issue, one small part of the dysfunction, and that is why we are supporting it. However, I certainly hope it does not distract us from the job at hand, and the job at hand is to put in place a new system. Canada's future is at stake.

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague's speech and thought of my family who came as immigrants from Hawkhill in Dundee, Scotland to work in the mines. They came with immigrants from around the world, Ukrainians, Finlanders, Bulgarians, Italians, and lived in the working-class communities of northern Ontario.

In those days, coming to Canada was a fairly straightforward process. Canada needed hard workers. It needed workers to do the dirty jobs that sometimes Canadians would not do. Out of that we built our communities and across Canada generations of wonderful youth grew up, were educated and became doctors and leaders in their communities.

I see today in my region of northern Ontario the difficulty that immigrants have coming into Canada, immigrants with the same drive that our parents and grandparents had. They are sometimes faced with very Kafkaesque rules and are not sure if they will fall through the cracks of the bureaucracy. If they fill out the form the wrong way, they worry that they will be deported. That is why they are susceptible to these so-called consultants, because they need help and they put their trust and money with consultants who may not have their best interests at heart.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question regarding his experience working with immigrant constituents who come into his office. What does he see as the key elements that are required to assist immigrant families coming to Canada who do not get much help from the federal bureaucracy and have to go to consultants or, if they can, to the office of a member of Parliament?

What are the steps we need to take to weed out the crooks, scam artists and people who are negligent from the ones who know what they are doing and can help immigrant families settle in this country and make a great contribution to Canada?

Cracking Down on Crooked Consultants ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay is quite correct when he says that the system has become Kafkaesque.

What is required, and, hopefully, one of the changes that will take place in committee on this particular issue with these charlatans who abuse potentially new Canadians, is that a statutory body be created. Self-regulation is perhaps a good idea in the case of professional engineers and lawyers, but in this case we are dealing with people who are not Canadians, who do not know Canadian laws, who do not know where to turn and, unfortunately, do not know what rights they have to deal with those who have abused their desperation. That is in terms of this specific law.

However, we need a little bit of common sense when we revamp the whole act. I have stood watching a line of potential new immigrants outside one of our embassies. In that lineup there were young fathers. Their clothes and the size of their hands showed that these were young fathers who had worked with their hands and who had this incredible drive to build a better life for their families. The country that happened to be in is a country in terrible economic turmoil and in transition.

It was sad to watch because I knew those individuals would not get into our country. Under our current point system, it was guaranteed that the barrier would prevent them from landing in Canada and yet they had exactly what we wanted: the will to work, to work hard and to succeed.

On the other hand, in that same lineup I saw a couple of men dressed in flashy Armani suits and dripping in gold. I knew that with an investment of a few hundred thousand dollars, and we know how they arrived with that money in that particular country, they were guaranteed to land in Canada expeditiously.

The system must be revamped. We must apply some common sense and we need to look at the past to see why we succeeded in the past and why we are failing today.