Madam Speaker, I take issue with virtually everything the member said.
First, with respect to the acceptance rate for asylum claims made at the Immigration and Refugee Board, it is actually 38%. This is by far one of the highest rates in the western world. If we looked at the acceptance rates for asylum systems in western liberal democracies like the EU, U.S., Australia and New Zealand, we would see that most of them are half as high as ours. Many of them are in the single digits. Canada is regarded as having one of the highest acceptance rates. Therefore, the notion that the IRB is arbitrarily rejecting claims unfairly I think is manifestly unfair and untrue.
Second, I think the member honestly misunderstands that one of the significant achievements of this government with respect to our immigration and asylum system has been to clean up the appointment process for the IRB. I will explain how we have done this.
We have put in place an appointments screening committee that is made up of representatives of the chairman of the IRB and, yes, people appointed by the minister. However, first people have to go through a written test and a resumé review. Then they are called in for interviews, another level of test. Ultimately only 10% of the applicants for the IRB are recommended to the minister. The minister, my office, has no role in deciding who is recommended. Only one out of every ten is recommended.
Since the government came to office, we have appointed over 300 individuals to the IRB and since I have been minister, over 150 individuals. I was only aware of two who had a connection to the Conservative Party. The member has done research, but he has even included people who gave a one-time donation to a provincial Conservative party. He mentioned candidates who ran for provincial Conservative parties 20 years ago. These are people I have never heard of except that they were recommended to me as being fit for the IRB.
But let us say that the member is right and 18 of these people committed the crime of having at some point been affiliated with the Conservative Party. That is 6% of the more than 300 people that we have appointed. By the member's own numbers, that means over 94% do not have any demonstrable affiliation with the Conservative Party. Of those that I know who had an affiliation, it is closer to less than 1%. Therefore, I reject out of hand this notion. I can say with all honesty that this is not patronage.
Obviously, if someone is recommended to the minister and that person happens to have had some connection to a Conservative party in the past, I am not going exclude him or her from appointment. That would be ridiculous and unfair. However, I can tell the member that I know I have appointed people who had connections to other political parties. I would be happy to show the member the resumés of all the people we have appointed, if the IRB is willing to do this in terms of privacy. He will see the quality of these nominees and their involvement in NGOs, with many on refugee issues. A huge number of them are lawyers. I think over half of them are women. There is a tremendous ethnic diversity.
We worked very hard for these quality appointments. This is light years ahead of where we were a few years ago when, frankly, the standard was defeated candidates, spouses of MPs and campaign managers. That is no longer the case.
I agree with the member that it is important to maintain the quality, quasi-judicial nature of the IRB. I believe we are doing just that.