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House of Commons Hansard #199 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was criminal.

Topics

Shark FinningPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 29th, 2013 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from thousands of Canadians who are calling upon the Government of Canada to ban the importation of shark fins into Canada.

Sharks are apex predators and play a critical role in maintaining healthy, balanced ecosystems. The continuing practice of shark finning, which is the practice of removing the fins and discarding the remainder of the shark back into the sea, is having a devastating effect on shark species around the world. The practice of shark finning results in an estimated 73 million sharks a year being killed for their fins alone. Over one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of shark finning. Measures must be taken to stop the global practice of shark finning and to ensure the responsible conservation management of sharks. The citizens, therefore, call upon the Government of Canada to immediately legislate a ban on the importation shark fins into Canada.

House of CommonsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure I table a petition today, signed by many residents of Winnipeg North, who are calling upon the government to not increase the size of the House of Commons.

The petitioners believe that there are better ways of spending tax dollars than bringing more members of Parliament to Ottawa. Examples of that would include our seniors' pensions, health care services and so many other things. The bottom line is that Ottawa does not need to have more than 308 members of Parliament. The petitioners would like the Prime Minister to recognize that fact and to have better priorities in terms of providing government services.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to present two petitions.

The first petition is from residents of my own community in Saanich—Gulf Islands, as well as from residents up in Tofino. The petitioners call upon the House to pay attention to the urgent crisis posed by the climate, global warming threat, which we now hear President Barack Obama has taken seriously, based upon his inauguration speech. The IMF and the World Bank, of all places, are now warning that we have to take action. These petitioners want Canada to develop the plan that was once passed in the House, which would lead to 80% reductions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

Foreign InvestmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition relates to the threat of the China-Canada investment treaty. The petitioners are very grateful that it still has not been ratified.

These petitioners, from the Vancouver area, urge the House to put as much pressure as possible on the Prime Minister and cabinet who, at this point, are in a legal position to ratify this treaty, binding Canada for 31 years without any vote in the House. It is up to us all to hope that the influence of individuals reaching out to the cabinet and saying not to ratify will have the effect that is needed.

Sex SelectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here signed by numerous constituents from my riding of Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, and even from Red Deer and Blackfalds, who note the injustice of sex-selective abortions.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to condemn discrimination against girls through sex-selective abortions and to do all it can to prevent sex-selective abortions from being carried out in Canada.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 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

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Speaker's RulingFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There are 27 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-43. Motions Nos. 1 to 27 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 27 to the House.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 1.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

, seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved:

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 5.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 6.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

,

seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved:

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-43, in Clause 6, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 20 on page 2 with the following:

“may not seek to enter or remain in Canada as a”

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

moved:

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 7.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

,

seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved:

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 9.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-43, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 15 on page 3 with the following:

“—other than under section 34, 35 or 37 with respect to an adult foreign national—or who does not meet the requirements of this Act, and may, on request of a foreign national outside Canada—other than an adult foreign national”

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

moved:

Motion No. 10

Que le projet de loi C-43 soit modifié par suppression de l'article 11.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

, seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved:

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-43, in Clause 13, be amended by replacing line 21 on page 4 with the following:

“interests, based on a balance of probabilities;”

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-43, in Clause 13, be amended by replacing line 26 on page 4 with the following:

“or process as they are understood in Canada, based on a balance of probabilities;”

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-43, in Clause 13, be amended by replacing line 32 on page 4 with the following:

“referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (b.1) or (c), based on a balance of probabilities.”

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 16.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 18.

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-43, in Clause 18, be amended by replacing lines 40 and 41 on page 5 with the following:

“by a foreign national, declare that the facts established under section 34, paragraphs 35(1)(b)”

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-43, in Clause 18, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 14 on page 6 with the following:

“declaration, the Minister may take into account considerations including national security, public safety, humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and the best interests of a child directly affected, and, in his or her analysis, is”

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-43, in Clause 19, be amended by replacing lines 24 to 26 on page 6 with the following:

“is not detained, an officer may impose on the person any of the conditions referred to in subsection (3), as well as any prescribed conditions.

(5) The conditions imposed under”

Motion No. 19

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 22.

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 23.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 24.

Motion No. 22

That Bill C-43, in Clause 24, be amended by replacing line 19 on page 8 with the following:

“in paragraph 36(1)(b) or (c), other than a crime that was punished in Canada by a conditional sentence under section 742.1 of the Criminal Code.

(2.1) This section ceases to have effect at the end of the 15th sitting day of Parliament after December 31, 2014 unless, before the end of that day, the application of this section is extended by a resolution, passed by both Houses of Parliament, that this section continues to be in force.”

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 25.

Motion No. 24

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 26.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

moved:

Motion No. 25

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 32.

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-43 be amended by deleting Clause 33.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

, seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved:

Motion No. 27

That Bill C-43, in Clause 38, be amended by adding after line 32 on page 16 the following:

“(3) Sections 5, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 25 and 26 cease to have effect at the end of the 15th sitting day of Parliament after December 31, 2015 unless and to the extent to which, before the end of that day, the application of any of those sections is extended by a resolution, passed by both Houses of Parliament, that any of those sections continue to be in force.”

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to take part in the important debate on Bill C-43. The headline of the Toronto Star editorial before Christmas says it about as succinctly as possible when it comes to this legislation. It sums it up: “Conservatives' bill to deport ‘foreign' criminals goes too far”.

As the editorial points out, “Criminals should do their time. No one disputes that”. Neither do I and neither do my New Democrat colleagues. In fact I think we can all agree that non-citizens who commit serious crimes in Canada should be dealt with quickly. The safety of our communities is paramount.

We said from the time this legislation was tabled that we were willing to work with the government to prevent non-citizens who commit serious crimes from abusing our appeals process, without trampling on their rights. We remain very concerned, however, that this Conservative bill would concentrate more arbitrary power in the hands of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism without any checks and balances.

With an eye towards compromise, I introduced nine reasonable NDP amendments to the bill at the committee stage to curb the excessive powers of the minister and restore some due process. Unfortunately, they were all rejected by the Conservative Party.

I was especially disappointed that the Conservatives rejected moderate NDP amendments to curb the excessive power the bill gives the minister. They even rejected an amendment that sought to codify into the legislation, word-for-word, the minister's own proposed guidelines for keeping people out of Canada on public policy considerations.

What became clear at committee stage was that New Democrats wanted to work across party lines to ensure the speedy removal of serious non-citizen criminals. But the Conservatives did not want to work with us to make the legislation better. Many witnesses and stakeholders from all sides told us that the real problem with serious criminals delaying deportation is that there is a lack of coordination and resources at Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Numerous auditor generals' reports also confirmed this to be the case. In fact, even a Conservative witness, Mr. James Bisset, told the immigration committee that:

There simply aren't enough enforcement officers in the Canada Border Services Agency to track down some of these very serious cases. They do their best, but there are few resources devoted to that. In the past, the enforcement of immigration has not been something that has been vigorously pursued in the country.

Conservatives members often referenced the case of Clinton Gayle, a dangerous criminal who callously murdered a Toronto police officer, Todd Baylis, while awaiting deportation for other crimes.

However during a federal inquiry into the Clinton Gayle case, associate deputy minister Ian Glen stated, “Quite simply, the system failed”. As to why, he explained that the department's priority at the time was to target unsuccessful refugee claimants who were on the run rather than criminals, because that way the deportation numbers were higher. This is the real problem, and nothing in the legislation before us would address these concerns.

What became clear from witness testimony into Bill C-43 is that this is not a silver bullet when it comes to public safety. We believe that the priority of the government needs to be addressing the lack of training, resources and integration of information and monitoring technologies with the responsible public service agencies.

Unfortunately, exactly the opposite is happening under the Conservative government. The 2012 budget plan announced cuts of $143 million to the Canada Border Services Agency. These reckless cuts are going to have an impact on the safety and efficiency of our borders.

The Conservatives saying this will not have an impact on our front line services is simply wishful thinking. We know that 325 jobs on the front line of border crossings across the country will be cut; intelligence branch of the CBSA has been hard hit, losing 100 positions; and 19 sniffer dog units are being slashed due to budget reductions. This is outrageous and no way to keep Canadians safe from foreign criminals who will now have an easier time getting across our borders.

Canadians want us to stop criminals and terrorists before they arrive in Canada. However, Conservative cuts will mean that Canadian officials will have to try to do the best they can with less.

As I have mentioned, the official opposition's primary concern with this legislation is the arbitrary power it gives the minister. In fact, it seems as if the Minister of Immigration has not seen a problem that cannot be solved by giving him more power. The concern about the overly broad powers to keep people out of Canada on public policy considerations was perhaps best articulated by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in its brief on Bill C-43 to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration:

This vague provision, imbues the Minister with an unacceptable level of discretion in deciding who may be blocked from entering Canada, and politicizes this process.

Even the minister seemed to acknowledge, when he visited the immigration committee, that limits to his power were needed. On October 24 of last year he presented us a set of guidelines, and we took him at his word that he was serious when he said, “the committee may recommend that we codify these guidelines in the bill”. When New Democrats, in good faith, moved to do just that, every single government member rejected it—another modest amendment defeated by the uncompromising majority.

This bill also seeks to limit appeals based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Amnesty International told the committee studying this bill that this section runs afoul of international law and that denying individuals access to this process might result in their being sent to torture or persecution.

New Democrats do not believe that the minister should be relieved of the obligation to consider humanitarian and compassionate circumstances, including the best interests of children. We moved reasonable amendments to restore the minister's ability to consider these factors, with a caveat that the minister has reasonable grounds to believe it is justified. Again that was voted down by the other side.

New Democrats also sought to curb some of the harsher provisions that redefine serious criminality and strip permanent Canadian residents of due process rights. Consider a piece in the Ottawa Citizen a few months ago, called “Canada's new exiles”, which details the case of a young Somali man being deported to Mogadishu, one of the most violent and dangerous places on earth, despite having no connection to that troubled city. The piece goes on to point out, as many of our witnesses did, that:

It is not uncommon for immigrants and refugees who arrive as children to assume they are citizens, or never put their mind to the question until the government moves to deport them.

Actually, I had such a conversation with a taxi driver just the other day, who was shocked that he was not a citizen.

Finally, I must articulate to the House what I feel is the most egregious element of the legislation before us. It is a public relations stunt. There is no evidence that criminality is more prevalent among visitors or permanent Canadian residents. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There is little evidence to show that the provisions in this legislation will make Canadian communities any safer. Yet again we find the Conservative government offering solutions to problems that do not exist at the expense of addressing ones that do.

New Democrats know that the vast majority of newcomers to Canada are law-abiding people who want to build better lives for themselves and their families. I hope that as a Parliament we can move and spend more effort making sure they are treated fairly, have the resources they need and can be reunited with their families. On this side of the House we believe that the minister should focus less on press conferences that negatively portray newcomers and, instead, work with the Minister of Public Safety to make sure border and law enforcement officials have the resources they need to keep us safe from criminals of all backgrounds.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, is it not interesting that in 10 minutes the member opposite completely avoided the central premise of the bill, the central proposal, which is to bar a time-consuming appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board for serious convicted foreign criminals?

First of all, the hon. member keeps referring to non-citizens. There is no such term in Canadian law. I do not know who she is talking about. Presumably she is speaking of foreign nationals who have been convicted by a Canadian criminal court of what is deemed a serious crime under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act—that is to say, with a penal sentence of six months or more.

Why does the hon. member believe that an individual like Jackie Tran, a Vietnamese gangster who was running a drug gang in Calgary that killed several people, should have been able to delay his deportation from Canada for several years by constantly appealing his removal order to the IRB, and in fact managed to delay his removal for six years? Does she not agree with me and, I suspect, virtually all of her constituents that Jackie Tran should have been on a plane the moment his sentence was over?

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, we think everybody should get due process. In bringing up these cases that are unique, real and very harmful, what I want to point out is that the bill does very little to address cases like that. Those are already covered by the current legislation we have in place.

What we are concerned about is that the bill goes too far. When we look at the fact that the minister can exclude people from coming into Canada for public policy reasons that are there at a whim, I think that should get Canadians' serious consideration.

When we think about enforcement and the lack of resources at our borders, that should make Canadians wake up and say that is where we need enforcement.

For us, this legislation goes too far and captures those it was not meant to capture.

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration is very selective in the way in which he puts things. He says “foreign criminals”. What he is really talking about is 1.5 million plus people who call Canada their home, their permanent residence. That is one thing we need to recognize.

The other thing we need to recognize is that the minister likes to refer to extreme cases. What about the individual who has been living in Canada for 10, 12 or 14 years, graduates from high school and goes with his buddies to the United States and maybe uses false identification in order to get some alcohol served to him? That is the type of individual who the minister would deport. That is the type of individual the minister likes to use as an example, the extremes.

My question to the member is this. Does she believe that the minister is doing a disservice to Canadians by using extreme examples and bringing in legislation so that the public thinks the government is getting tough on foreign criminals, as the minister likes to label it?

Motions in amendmentFaster Removal of Foreign Criminals ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have to think, when people are granted permanent residency and they come to live in Canada, that we have done our due diligence. Once they come here, then there are certain responsibilities we have as a society as well.

Imagine the case of someone who arrives here with family at the age of one. The family has lived here for quite a number of years but has not applied for Canadian citizenship because they assumed that after a certain number of years they would actually become citizens without going through a process. We have had some of those cases. What is really egregious in this bill is that, if that young man should commit a crime at the age of 19 and receive a minimum sentence of six months, he could be deported without an appeal.

Whenever we talk about foreign criminals we forget that we are talking about families who call Canada their home. We absolutely want to make sure that serious criminals are not in the country. However, we have to have a process that is fair and transparent.