Mr. Speaker, I know this is disappointing to him and many others in the House at this point, but I feel it is my responsibility.
Quite honestly, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and I were at an event where the Minister of Immigration presented what was happening with the movement of Syrian refugees to Canada. I was pleased to support him when he stood up and asked the question, “There will be a gay community, we know, coming over as refugees to Canada. How can we as a gay community here know who they are and be available to them to help them settle and assimilate in Canada?”
The minister responded that he did not know exactly who they were or when they would come, but they would certainly make sure that they had that opportunity, which I applaud.
Then I got up and asked the minister if he could clarify for me who the Christians were who would be coming over as part of that Syrian refugee group so that the Christian community in Canada could do the same, to which he replied, “I would hope that all Christians in Canada would be accepting of all refugees coming to Canada, regardless of their faith, to which I replied “Absolutely, of course.” Look at our record in Canada of being there for refugees of any faith, background, or whatever. However, I said, “That's not my question. My question is, can we identify those people.” It was made clear, over the course of time, that ethnic and religious minorities were not the priority of the government.
I had a wonderful conversation with the member afterward. He thanked me for supporting the gay community coming to Canada. I said, “No one should die or be afflicted in any way for their beliefs or their perspectives.”
He said they had to set up separate camps for them because they were being attacked and killed. I made the comment that Christians were not even making it across the water, that they were being thrown off the boat before they got there, to which he replied, “I don't want to argue.”
I replied, “Neither do I. All I want is fairness.” That is what I am asking for with this amendment.