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House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, thank goodness we have the Canada pension plan, which was brought in by a Liberal government. Without it I would hate to imagine what would be happening today to the thousands of Canadians who rely on the Canada pension, given the fact that the government is going to make people wait two extra years to get OAS.

Part of what we recommend is a gradual increase in the Canada pension plan. When we are talking about all these changes, it sounds wonderful to simply say that we should double the Canada pension. If we could ultimately get to that on a very slow, gradual basis, it would be wonderful for Canadians. That is why the supplementary plan allows people to do that. However, to turn around and ignore the impact that the changes could potentially have on businesses is also to put our heads in the sand.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak to the government's bill. It is what I call the proposed private, for profit, pooled pensions plan. That leaves me speechless.

More seriously, few things are more important to Canadians than their retirement security. For decades they work hard to build a good life for themselves and their families. Every paycheque deduction includes a little something tucked away in their pension plan.

When it comes time to retire, people rightfly expect to be able to live in dignity and with some financial security. However, as too many Canadians have found out in recent years, their retirement may not be as secure as they were led to believe and were hoping. RRSPs have taken a beating, and many of those who had been counting on a company pension plan have had a rude shock.

Many found out their plans were underfunded, or they lost everything when their company went bankrupt and took workers' pensions with them. This has been a particular problem in Thunder Bay—Superior North, where a host of creditors, often including the actual owners of the failed subsidiary company, have claims that take precedence over those of pensioners. In a modern industrialized democracy, that just should not be allowed to happen, and my friend representing Thunder Bay—Rainy River has tried to introduce a private member's bill to put pensioners first.

One thing that has been rock-steady throughout turbulent times is the Canada pension plan, to which 93% of Canadians subscribe. Companies come and go and iInvestment vehicles like income trusts may arise and then be snatched back the next year by fickle governments, but people can count on the CPP.

It is the most secure retirement vehicle we have. The CPP remains the single most effective solution to ensure retirement security. It is portable, it is sustainable, and it spreads the risk to minimize risk. It is publicly and cheaply administered at a fraction of the administrative costs of private plans. It is far more sustainable than private plans and it pays predictable benefits that do not fall if markets collapse.

The one drawback is that it is not high enough. The maximum benefit currently is only $986 a month, and the average is only $528 a month. That, as we know, is not adequate to live on.

People are expecting to make up the shortfall by investing in private investment vehicles such as the pooled pension plan the government is advancing, but private savings vehicles cost many times more than saving in public pension plans.

The administration cost of the CPP is about one-quarter of 1%, while the cost of RRSPs and mutual funds ranges from 2.5% to 4% or even more. Private plans are great for brokers and bankers in Bimmers, but not so great for real, sustainable growth in pensioners' hard-earned investments, and there is little indication of any cap on fees for those pooled plans.

That 2.5% to 4% or more every year eats away at people's retirement. It adds up. When it comes time to retire, Canadians will have many, many thousands less, so why not have it adding up and working for pensioners instead of for private investment companies? Allowing Canadians to opt for contributions up to an extra 2.5% to the CPP would double their benefits, and those are defined benefits, secure benefits. They are a retirement benefit that future seniors can actually count on.

The benefits of the CPP over private schemes do not stop there. Unlike public pensions, private savings are rarely indexed for inflation. That could mean a further lost savings of from 1% to 3% per year, a loss that alone cuts people's initial investment in half over a 30-year period.

As well, the CPP is highly portable for everyone throughout Canada. Pooled registered pension plans are much less so.

By far the biggest fault in this whole pooled pension plan scheme is that it fails to address the needs of Canadians who cannot afford to save for retirement. The vast majority of Canadians do not pay into plans like RRSPs because they simply cannot afford it. According to StatsCan, 60% of Canadians currently do not have any formal pension at all. There are already private retirement investments available out there; if Canadians could afford them, we would not have millions who do not have a pension.

Adding another voluntary and speculative investment plan they cannot afford will not significantly help the situation.

There is a lot we can do in this House to improve retirement security for Canadians. We should be seeking to insure Canadians' pensions, like we do their bank deposits. We should protect pensions when companies go bankrupt by putting pensioners first as creditors, ahead of banks, ahead of shell companies that skim the profits and dump the subsidiaries, as has happened in Thunder Bay—Superior North.

After all the ruined retirements these past few years due to corporate bankruptcies, including many in our forest sector in northwestern Ontario, it is absolutely incredible that the government has not taken action on that front. We should be taking action on all these fronts and allowing Canadians to choose to contribute more to the CPP as well.

There is no reason to continue preventing Canadians from saving more through the one vehicle open to all workers, including the self-employed, a vehicle that is low cost, universal and portable. It is inflation and risk-proof, with defined benefits, guaranteed by the Government of Canada, that is not yet another private investment scheme that most Canadians will not invest in. That is the CPP.

Instead, all we have is a proposal from the Conservative government to help line the pockets of banks and investment companies some more. It may help some well-off Canadians who can already afford to contribute to private investment vehicles, that may be true, but it will not help the people who need it most, the majority of Canadians. Now we have the added insult and injury of Canadians having to wait from 65 until 67 years old for their old age supplements.

The Conservative government does a great job of looking out for the interests of big banks, big oil companies and other global multi-nationals with little commitment to any country or workers or their families. This past spring the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences hosted international pension expert, Keith Ambachtsheer, for our big thinking lecture here on Parliament Hill. For the MPs who got up that early to attend, this pension expert made it very clear that the administrative fees on private pension plans usually eat up any pension fund growth. He made it clear that the best pathway to any truly safe and sustainable pension plan for Canadian families was retaining and expanding CPP.

I realize that this is an ideologically driven party and government that rarely wants its beliefs to be confused by facts, research, statistics, senseless data or science but, hopefully, on this absolutely crucial question of pensions, it will, it should, listen to experts like Mr. Ambachtsheer. Hopefully it will follow his expert and sage advice and build upon the excellent and sustainable Canada pension plan, a safe, predictable, cost-effective and sustainable model admired worldwide. It just needs expanding to meet modern costs of living.

Canadians know and trust the CPP. They do not want to gamble their pensions, their lives and their retirement futures on a lottery run by expensive bankers and investment brokers.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to our colleague's comments and to how he railed against the investments in stocks and bonds, and yet I know he is really a proponent of the Canada pension plan. It is interesting to note that the Canada pension plan has huge investments in the stock portfolios of many companies. I just wonder why the member is in opposition to investing in the stock market while continuing to extoll the benefits of Canada pension plan.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not opposed to investments at all. Investments should be intelligent and voluntary. It is a form of gambling, let us face it, no matter how good a job we think we are doing. We need to average the risks. We need to average the costs. We need to have skilful people planning and making those investments, and we need to do it at that one-quarter of 1% affordable rate of investment and administrative costs compared to the expensive costs of having brokers do it.

In my province of Ontario, it has become very clear for many years that the security and exchange investment community is badly in need of regulation.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North raising this critical and pressing issue of pension plans not being protected when corporations go bankrupt. Clearly we need legislation that places corporate pension plans as secured creditors in bankruptcy.

The member mentioned that in his riding, Catalyst Paper's current situation is causing real problems for people in Saanich—Gulf Islands, and people in the Ottawa area know well the disaster that befell so many Nortel workers, particularly those with disability pension plans that they had been counting on.

What does the member think it will take to get government action to protect private pension schemes in bankruptcy?

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River introduced private member's legislation that was excellent and would put pension plans first ahead of other creditors. I hope he will reintroduce that legislation in this House and I hope all members of Parliament will support it. Just as paycheques should come before creditors, so should their pension plans, which are really paycheques held in arrears.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Questions and comments? Resuming debate? Is the House ready for the question?

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The question is on Motion No. 1. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

All those opposed will please say nay.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Rosane Doré Lefebvre

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the vote be deferred.

Motions in AmendmentPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The vote is deferred until Monday at the end of government orders.

Speaker's RulingProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

There are 109 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-31.

Motions Nos. 12, 19, 22, 24, 30, 31, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 42 and 47 will not be selected by the Chair because they were defeated in committee.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76(1)(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at the report stage.

The motions will be grouped for debate as follows.

Group No. 1 will include Motions Nos. 1 to 5, 8 to 11, 13 to 18, 20, 21, 23, 25 to 27, 33, 36, 46, 48 to 54, 57 to 70, 73 to 79, 82 to 99 and 104 to 109.

Group No. 2 will include Motions Nos. 6, 7, 55, 56, 71, 72, 80, 81 and 100 to 103.

Group No. 3 will include Motions Nos. 28, 29, 32, 38, 41 and 43 to 45.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 5, 8 to 11, 13 to 18, 20, 21, 23, 25 to 27, 33, 36, 46, 48 to 54, 57 to 70, 73 to 79, 82 to 99 and 104 to 109 in Group No. 1 to the House.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 1.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 3.

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 4.

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 5.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 7.

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 9.

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 11.

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 12.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 13.

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 14.

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 15.

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 16.

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 17.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 18.

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 19.

Motion No. 25

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 20.

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 21.

Motion No. 27

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 22.

Motion No. 33

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 24.

Motion No. 36

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 25.

Motion No. 46

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 28.

Motion No. 48

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 29.

Motion No. 49

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 30.

Motion No. 50

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 31.

Motion No. 51

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 32.

Motion No. 52

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 33.

Motion No. 53

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 34.

Motion No. 54

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 35.

Motion No. 57

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 37.

Motion No. 58

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 38.

Motion No. 59

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 39.

Motion No. 60

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 40.

Motion No. 61

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 41.

Motion No. 62

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 42.

Motion No. 63

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 43.

Motion No. 64

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 44.

Motion No. 65

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 45.

Motion No. 66

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 46.

Motion No. 67

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 47.

Motion No. 68

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 48.

Motion No. 69

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 49.

Motion No. 70

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 50.

Motion No. 73

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 52.

Motion No. 74

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 53.

Motion No. 75

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 54.

Motion No. 76

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 55.

Motion No. 77

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 56.

Motion No. 78

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 57.

Motion No. 79

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 58.

Motion No. 82

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 60.

Motion No. 83

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 61.

Motion No. 84

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 62.

Motion No. 85

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 63.

Motion No. 86

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 64.

Motion No. 87

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 65.

Motion No. 88

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 66.

Motion No. 89

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 67.

Motion No. 90

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 68.

Motion No. 91

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 69.

Motion No. 92

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 70.

Motion No. 93

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 71.

Motion No. 94

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 72.

Motion No. 95

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 73.

Motion No. 96

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 74.

Motion No. 97

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 75.

Motion No. 98

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 76.

Motion No. 99

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 77.

Motion No. 104

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 80.

Motion No. 105

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 81.

Motion No. 106

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 82.

Motion No. 107

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 83.

Motion No. 108

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 84.

Motion No. 109

That Bill C-31 be amended by deleting Clause 85.

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying that it is indeed a sad day that we find ourselves here debating this draconian legislation that witness after witness told us is unconstitutional, violates Canada's international obligations, concentrates too much power in the hands of the minister and will end up costing the provinces more in detention costs.

Bill C-31 has many troubling provisions, including giving the minister the power to hand-pick which countries he thinks are safe; measures to deny some refugees access to the new Refugee Appeal Division based on how they arrived; a five-year mandatory wait for bona fide refugees to become permanent residents and reunite with their families, again based on how they arrived in the country; and treating 16-year-old refugee claimants as adults, including detaining them.

After months of pressure from New Democrats, stakeholder groups and refugees themselves, the minister finally admitted there were major flaws in his legislation, unintended consequences, and made some modest amendments. However, let me be clear. They do not go far enough to win our support for a bill that is so fundamentally flawed and mean-spirited.

In an open editorial to Postmedia News on April 25, a group of prominent immigration, legal and constitutional experts said this:

The Bill protects no one and threatens many. It treats asylum seekers as criminals rather than people who need our protection. It is discriminatory, conflicts with Canadians' sense of fairness, and violates the fundamental rights guaranteed to all people by the Canadian Charter of Rights....

It goes on to say:

In particular, bill C-31 would give the minister of...Immigration...the power to "designate" a group of refugees - including women and youths - who can be jailed for up to 12 months....

On this point, I want to be very clear. The minister wants to create two tiers of refugees. He would concentrate more arbitrary power in his own hands to treat refugees differently depending on how they come to Canada. I would ask the House this. What happened to equality under the law?

Witness after witness told us at committee stage that Bill C-31 would have the effect of punishing legitimate refugees and would do nothing to address the problems of human smuggling.

For example, Rivka Augenfeld told the committee on Wednesday May 2:

I'd like to [just] add that this bill...[says that it wants] to control smugglers, and [in order] to control smugglers it is punishing refugees. It's punishing people because of the way they arrived. ...nothing to do with the content of their claim. The content of the claim becomes secondary to the method of arrival.

In the meantime, I would submit that the previous legislation, which is now in place, gives you all the tools you need to go after smugglers and big smugglers....

She goes on to say:

The victims may come, but the victims [who arrive] need [our] help. And we don't know—based on how a person [arrives in this country]...—what the content of their claim is.

It is sad that we find ourselves again having this debate because we just passed refugee reform last year. The Conservatives are going back on compromise they praised only months ago.

In 2010, the Minister of Immigration singled out my colleague, the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina, for her “remarkable diligence” working the government to amend Bill C-11 to limit the number of fraudulent applications and reduce the backlog in Canada's immigration system.

At the time, we believed we would finally get a refugee reform package that was fast, fair and consistent with Canadian values. Everyone was reasonably happy with that outcome. Even the minister found it to be a very reasonable “compromise”. He went on to say that it “is nothing short of a miracle”.

However, here we are again debating the piece of legislation that goes back on almost all of the compromises that were made in the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, and now we have a punish refugee reform act before us even before those important reforms have been allowed to take place.

In addition to the many constitutional and moral problems we have with the bill, it is also fiscally irresponsible, and the Conservatives should understand this argument, and has the potential to saddle the provinces with huge increases in detention costs.

Chantal Tie, a representative from the Canadian Council for Refugees, said to the committee on May 3:

What does fiscal responsibility have to do with Bill C-31? We believe fiscal responsibility is about spending taxpayers' dollars wisely. The CCR is committed to an affordable refugee protection system.

Then she goes on to say:

Our current system is doing an individualized risk assessment, which works well to protect our society and ensure the integrity of the immigration system. The figure we used was 6% [from CBSA], which means that 94% of refugee claimants on average do not need to be detained. If this bill passes, we will be detaining 100% of designated arrivals for a year. The math is simple. Ninety-four percent of the people we will be detaining will not need to be detained, if past experiences serve us well.

Members can do the math.

Mary Crock, a professor from Australia who has studied that country's disastrous attempt to punish refugees, told our committee on May 2:

...these measures do not deter. They cost a fortune. Financially they cost a fortune and socially they cost a fortune....

It is important to note that the Australian legislation, which is similar to ours, has not proven to have had a deterrent effect on human smuggling.

Simply put, the bill is not in the interest of sound fiscal management and prudent use of taxpayer money at this time when budgets are stretched thin.

As I mentioned before, another key area of concern for us is that the minister is giving himself the power to hand-pick which countries he thinks are safe, without advice from independent experts. Members will remember that the addition of a panel of experts to determine a so-called safe country was a key compromise to the opposition under the yet-to-be-enacted Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

It is our view that any country is capable of producing a legitimate refugee. The most glaring examples come from the Roma in Hungary, women and children in abusive homes in places like Mexico and the LGBTQ community in many countries of the Caribbean, Africa and beyond. There are numerous cases of those who are persecuted for religious reasons in countries that might otherwise be deemed safe by our minister.

There is another problem with the designation of so-called safe countries that ties in with the meanspirited announcements last week that refugee claimants are about to have their health coverage slashed by the Conservatives.

Yesterday in a piece in the Embassy, reporter Kristen Shane pointed out that a potentially legitimate refugee from a so-called safe country delivering a baby or undergoing emergency surgery for a heart attack at a Canadian hospital would have to pay for it out of pocket because of changes to the government's refugee health insurance act, said to take effect in July. Shame. Knowing that potentially legitimate refugees from so-called safe countries could actually be denied basic emergency medical coverage for the delivery of a baby and even for a heart attack is unconscionable.

We believe the government needs to go back to the drawing board on Bill C-31, and therefore we will be opposing it. Because none of the NDP's substantive amendments were adopted by the government members at committee, and because MPs from all parties just passed a balanced refugee reform package last Parliament, I have moved to delete all clauses from this legislation.

If my hon. colleagues from the Conservative Party were really concerned about human smuggling, they would be less focused on photo ops and more focused on enforcing our already strict laws. They would give the RCMP the resources it needs to get the job done, instead of playing politics with the world's most vulnerable. I hope they will listen to reason, scrap this flawed legislation and return to the framework we all agreed to in the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I understand and respect the fact that we went through a process on the bill that included a significant review and included dozens of witnesses. It included a very detailed review of each and every clause. The member who just spoke was at all those meetings when it came to clause-by-clause and moved all her amendments, of which none here today are similar to any of the amendments she moved there. She speaks to getting into a position of doing what is right for refugees and not playing politics.

I would ask the hon. member why, for whatever reason, a member would come into this House, make a speech like that and suggest she is not playing politics, when all she is doing is holding up the process and attempting to remove every single item, every single clause from a bill.

That is not about working together. That is about splitting this House apart, and it is absolutely unacceptable. Members can rest assured that this government will be voting against every single one of those amendments.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, we were pleased at the committee stage when the government moved an amendment to correct what the minister saw was an unintended consequence. However, we took significant amendments to the committee stage that we thought were absolutely necessary and that the government flat out ignored, as my colleague just pointed out.

We took those amendments there in good conscience to try to work on this legislation, so that it would be fair to asylum seekers and refugees arriving in this country. The government side absolutely refused to consider any of those recommendations, and the tiny moves that were made by the government side did not address our major concerns. That is why we are moving clause-by-clause amendments that would remove the bill.

We have a bill in place. It is called the Balanced Refugee Protection Act. We do not need a bill that is called “the punishing refugees act” at this stage.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the actual bill is entitled the protecting Canada's immigration system act and not how the member referred to it. I would—

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. I am not sure that is a point of order, but rather a point of debate.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canada's Immigration System ActGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, no doubt I will get the opportunity to expand on how the Liberal Party feels about Bill C-31, but for now I will put it in the form of a question and statement and ask the member to provide comment.

One of the greatest concerns we have is that Bill C-31 would set into place the establishment of a two-tier refugee system. Canadians need to be aware of that.

I believe that at the end of the day this will tarnish Canada's international leadership on the refugee file. Many countries around the world look to Canada for the way we treat refugees. The bill is unconstitutional in many ways. It goes against the UN convention in other ways. The establishment of a two-tier refugee system is just wrong.

I wonder if the member would further expand upon that, specifically on those refugees who would be penalized by being deemed irregular. They would be unable to sponsor their family members because they would have been determined irregulars by this particular minister.