House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberals.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Newton—North Delta (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Gabon Tax Convention March 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Newton—North Delta to participate in the third reading and report stage debate on Bill S-17, the tax conventions implementation act, 2004.

This bill implements income tax treaties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Gabon and Oman. Canadian did not previously have tax treaties with any of these states. It also ratifies a new treaty with Ireland. These treaties set out a framework for taxation on investment income flowing between Canada and other countries. They provide mechanisms to avoid double taxation and prevent any kind of tax evasion.

Let us look into the background. Over the past several years, Canada has negotiated tax treaties with 83 countries. These agreements deal with problems that arise when residents of one nation earn income in another country. They are based on the model double taxation convention prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Treaties serve to avoid double taxation in situations in which a taxpayer could be taxed twice, once by the country in which the income arises, the source country, and once by the country where the taxpayer resides, the residence country. The treaties help to reduce excessive withholding taxes on certain types of income, such as investment income and royalties.

Treaties also serve to establish agreed-to levels of activities in which taxpayers can engage in the treaty country before becoming subject to taxation. Treaties must provide for the exchange of information and also to eliminate taxes in situations where treaty partners agree should have favourable tax treatment. Tax treaties cannot take effect unless Parliament assesses and passes legislation to give them precedence over the Income Tax Act.

Legislation to ratify tax treaties does not require a notice of ways and means and, therefore, may be introduced in the Senate, as was the case with this bill.

One of the important elements that we should look at before signing any kind of treaty with any country is respect for Canadian values among which the respect for human rights is paramount. While tax treaties are generally beneficial to Canadians, I am somewhat concerned about the four countries involved in the treaties this bill would ratify.

Specifically, I am concerned about the human rights records of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Gabon and Oman. I have visited some of these countries already and I have firsthand experience in some of these situations. Canada must ensure that the countries we have tax treaties with recognize the importance of human rights. It must be more than a perfunctory recognition. It must be a real and cognizant recognition.

The U.S. state department's 2004 human rights report released just two weeks ago gives all four of the countries we are agreeing to have tax treaties with failing grades. According to the report, the Armenian government's human rights record remains very poor as its security forces beat pre-trial detainees and its impugnity remains a problem. As well, there were instances of arbitrary arrest and detentions.

For Azerbaijan, the government's human rights record also remains poor, and it continues to commit numerous abuses, including: restricting the right of citizens to peacefully change their government democratically; police torture and beat persons in custody; and use excessive force to extract confessions. The government continues to restrict freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

According to the same report, the Government of Oman also has serious human rights problems. Citizens do not have the right to change their government democratically. The government restricts freedom of speech and freedom of the press, assembly and religion. Despite legislated equality, discrimination against women remains a problem and foreign workers in private firms have been placed in situations amounting to forced labour.

Finally, according to the report, the Gabon is given a poor grade, as the government continues to limit the ability of citizens to change their government democratically, security forces sometimes beat and torture prisoners and detainees, and arbitrary arrests and detentions are ongoing problems. The government also continues to restrict freedom of the press and movement. Violence and social discrimination against women and non-citizen Africans continue to be problems. Forced labour, child labour and trafficking, particularly in children, also remain serious problems.

In general, none of these countries share Canada's respect for human rights. Canadians have a right to ask what their government is doing to ensure that the human rights record of the foreign signatory is improved. I remember when we as parliamentarians travelled to other countries, along with ministers and others, we always emphasized the Canadian values that we respect: the protection of human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but how would we sign those agreements or treaties when the records of those countries are not as good?

While the government has been making progress on signing new tax treaties, it has failed miserably at renegotiating previous treaties that have a far greater impact on the welfare of Canadians.

A case in point is our tax treaty with the United States. Five years ago the Prime Minister, when he was finance minister, reached an agreement in principle with his U.S. counterparts. Since then little has happened, with the last meeting occurring in 2001, despite the Prime Minister claiming that the agreement was of great consequence to Canadians. The people of Canada want the dithering to stop.

Last summer, when Japan and the U.S. reached an agreement to renegotiate their tax treaty, the U.S. ambassador to Japan praised the treaty as “one more symbol of the cooperation, trust and true friendship that exists between our two countries”. If that is what it takes to get a tax treaty done, it is little wonder the Liberals have failed to secure a deal.

Under the last Liberal prime minister, relations with the U.S. reached an all time low and they are getting no better under the current resident of 24 Sussex Drive. The bungling of the missile defence system, the closure of the border to Canadian beef and the never-ending softwood lumber dispute are evidence of where our relationship stands with our closest neighbour and largest trading partner.

Eight-seven per cent of our trade is with the United States and the bottleneck in our relationship continues to exist. It is detrimental to Canadians in general as well as our businesses. If the U.S. president waits for 10 days to return our Prime Minister's phone call, there is obviously little hope of getting a tax treaty done.

It is also important for the federal government to finally renegotiate our tax treaties for the countries that serve as tax havens for Canadian companies. Canadians will recall how the Prime Minister took advantage of our agreement with the Bahamas, registering his shipping fleet there and saving millions of dollars in Canadian taxes.

The country's five largest banks are now getting in on the action, probably following the Prime Minister's example, and saving billions of dollars in taxes. According to one report, CIBC alone in 2003 saved $600 million in Canadian taxes by using tax havens. This is money that we could have used for health care, education, tax cuts and many other things.

The Liberals, however, do not have the political will nor the backbone to close these loopholes in tax treaties and these tax havens.

Thanks to our former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, who visited one of the world's most repressive countries to secure an agreement with the Turkmenistan government for rights to explore the disputed Serdar oil field in the Caspian Sea, our discussion of the tax treaty with Azerbaijan is almost pointless. In protest of the deal negotiated by Chrétien, the Azeri national assembly has refused to pass a law ratifying our tax treaty agreed to last September.

The former prime minister may be officially retired from politics but he certainly is not done making headlines and harming Canadian interests abroad, whether it is his attempt to stop the Gomery inquiry into the sponsorship fiasco or, in this case, harming our relations with foreign states.

The Conservative Party of Canada supports the negotiation of tax treaties with foreign states. Such treaties are in the best interest of the Canadian people. They eliminate the double taxation, because, heaven knows, Canadians already pay enough in taxes, and promote investment and growth.

However I am concerned about the human rights records of some of the countries with which we are forming agreements. We should not allow economics to cloud our judgment of what is right and what is wrong and all four of these countries have been found to have a poor respect for the rights of their people.

Sometimes the Liberal government has given precedence to trade over anything else to some countries with dismal human rights records. The Liberals have been completely ignoring human rights record in favour of promoting trade and giving preferential treatment to those states.

Canadian interests may be best served if the government makes a priority of finally concluding renegotiations of our tax treaty with the United States which have dragged on for five years despite the Prime Minister's acknowledgement in 2000 that this deal was of great importance to Canada.

I think we should look closer to home. We should look at our volume of trade with our neighbouring country. I think the treaty with the U.S. should have been given precedence over any other treaty. If the Prime Minister himself confessed in 2000 that this would have serious consequence for Canadians, where is that treaty, I ask the Liberals across the floor? Where is that treaty with the United States which the Prime Minister, when he was finance minister in 2000, said would have a serious consequence for Canadians? Five years have passed. Where is the progress? Why has the government been sitting on its hands? Why is the government sleeping at the wheel and not signing the treaty with our largest trading partner, the United States of America?

The government has for far too long put off renegotiations on tax treaties that serve as tax havens for Canadian companies. Why is the government not closing those loopholes? It might be because they serve its self-interest in one way or the other.

The federal treasury cannot afford this kind of dithering. The government must stop dithering and act swiftly on the issues that are of particular importance to Canadians and to our relationship with our largest trading partner.

I will be voting in support of the bill but I would ask the government to wake up and not sleep at the wheel.

Immigration March 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Liberal MPs continue to use the immigration system for political and electoral gain. Even Liberal wannabe MPs are allowed to manipulate the system. Their defeated candidate in Newton--North Delta claims to have been issued at least 11 minister's permits. The immigration minister even credits him with recent tinkering of immigration policy.

Why are the minister's Liberal friends given access to his office and foreign missions for influence peddling and to manipulate immigration and visitor's visa cases?

When will the Liberals stop trading immigration for electoral gains and politicizing the immigration system?

Giani Sant Singh Maskeen March 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the world Sikh community lost a towering figure with the passing of Giani Sant Singh Maskeen.

Maskeen travelled around the globe delivering discourses to religious congregations. An exemplary preacher, Maskeen had a gift to reach and inspire his listeners. For nearly five decades, he dedicated his life to religion and was the undisputed number one interpreter of Gurbani. He authored more than a dozen books on Sikhism and his daily discourses of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji were broadcast worldwide on Indian national TV.

Maskeen had a thorough knowledge of Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism and treated all religions with equal respect. He was down to earth and had a simple and frugal lifestyle. He never hesitated to speak the truth.

Maskeen's death is a great loss to the Sikh community, and Sikhs around the world grieve his passing.

I ask all members to join me in conveying condolences and prayers to Sikhs around the world.

Foreign Credential Recognition Program March 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta, as well as the Conservative Party of Canada to participate in the debate on Motion No. 195 regarding the development of national qualification standards and the recognition of international credentials.

I congratulate the member for Brampton--Springdale for bringing forth this important motion. As she is relatively new to the chamber she may not realize that I was the first member ever to introduce a motion to develop national qualification standards and recognition of international credentials on the floor of the Canadian Parliament.

My Motion No. 232 was debated in 2001. I had tabled it two other times but I did not get the opportunity to debate it. It was the member's party that refused to support my motion. It was exactly the same motion but the Liberals refused to support it. I wish the hon. member better luck this time.

I have been talking about this issue since I first came to Canada in 1991. Like other newcomers I experienced firsthand the red tape and bureaucratic nonsense of my own degrees not being recognized. I have an honours B.Sc. degree in agriculture and an M.B.A., both from very reputable institutions, but I have suffered the fate which all newcomers face in Canada.

I have talked the ears off of everyone possible, including cabinet ministers. I tabled a private member's motion first in the 36th Parliament and then in the 37th Parliament, yet little has changed since then despite numerous promises by the Liberal government.

For years the government has been dithering on the recognition of international credentials. This has harmed our country and betrayed newcomers who offer skills that Canada needs. Year after year the Liberals promise action on the recognition of foreign credentials but they never do anything to fix the problem.

After defeating my motion, the Liberals realized their mistake. Then they included in their throne speeches that they would recognize foreign credentials. The 2001 throne speech stated:

These strategies commit the government to working in partnership with the provinces and territories and key stakeholders to develop fair, transparent and consistent processes to assess and recognize foreign qualifications before and after the immigrant's arrival.

In the 2002 throne speech there was another promise:

The government will work with its partners to break down the barriers to the recognition of foreign credentials and will fast-track skilled workers entering Canada with jobs already waiting for them.

Then there was another promise. Last October in the Speech from the Throne the government again voiced its intention to implement a program to recognize the international academic credentials of immigrant workers. It stated:

We will also deepen the pool of Canada's talent and skills by ensuring more successful integration of new immigrants into the economy and into communities.... The government will do its part to ensure speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience.

This follows a long line of unfulfilled promises. The Liberals are starting to sound like a broken record. This begs the question, how many times can they make the same promise without doing anything about it?

Canadians know the government is very good at paying lip service to problems, but it is terrible at delivering the goods. Promises made but never kept. New Canadians are not interested in more empty promises. They want jobs in their chosen professions, professions for which they are qualified, trained and experienced.

I remember one time in my constituency office there were six persons with Ph.D.s sitting together. They had come to lobby on this issue. All of them were underemployed and were doing menial jobs.

I remember one person in particular who had two doctorate degrees in environmental sciences, one from Germany and one from India. He had over 20 years of experience as a professor and scientist and he had written 43 research papers in reputable international journals.

He attended promotional seminars put on by CIC and HRDC in India to lure professionals to come to Canada. He applied under the “independent” category. His degrees fetched him the required points and he was granted immigration very quickly. He resigned from his prestigious job. However, once he arrived in Canada he felt that he had been duped. His degrees had already been recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada but they were not recognized in Canada, even by HRDC, Agriculture Canada, Health Canada and Environment Canada, because there is no coordination in different departments of the government.

He almost went crazy while working to support his family by, guess what, pumping gas at a gas station. This is a person with two Ph.D.s and so much experience and great repute. Other frustrated professionals told similar stories. Some are driving cabs and others are doing clerical work or even janitorial jobs.

When arguing that foreign credentials should be recognized, we are not talking about lowering standards in Canada. We are talking about some common sense.

The portability and recognition of skills and credentials are being addressed on a global basis. The governments of European states are already introducing mechanisms to make it easier for professionals to move from one country to another. The Canadian government should take this work seriously, assume leadership in this important area and keep up with the rest of the world so that we are not left behind.

More than 60% of new immigrants to Canada have earned post-secondary degrees in their native countries. Nearly half are trained in regulated industries, such as medicine, engineering and so on.

According to a study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada, more than 500,000 immigrants are working at jobs beneath their education levels because Canadian institutions and corporations will not recognize their degrees from foreign universities. It found that 23% of immigrants could not practise their profession and 49%, almost half of them, found that their foreign credentials affected their ability to get a better job for which they were professionally qualified.

Improved recognition of credentials could add 83,000 post-secondary degree holders to the existing talent pool. Allowing these skilled immigrants to participate fully in the workforce could improve Canada's performance on innovation and productivity.

Canada must consider creating a common framework for valuing, learning, establishing national standards, improving transfer mechanisms and institutional linkages, both in Canada and internationally

If people do not hold degrees from Canadian institutions, I think they cannot become members of Canadian professional groups. They are denied jobs in their field of expertise.

We know that four million people in this country do not have a family doctor. Meanwhile, foreign trained doctors are forced to sit idle. This is outrageous.

Prominent countries are competing for skilled workers, IT workers, for example. However, when those professionally qualified people arrive in Canada, we do not take care of them. What will happen is they will go to other countries.

There are certain countries in the world that do not have the natural resources that Canada is blessed with. They do not have many other things. What they simply have is a skilful pool of human beings. In countries like Taiwan, people are highly skilled. Those countries do not have natural resources, but they are dominating in many areas.

Similarly, there is a need for us to address the situation of coordinating the standards in Canada. If someone has a diploma in dental surgery from one province, the person cannot practise in the other provinces. It is similar for real estate agents.

In a nutshell, the Conservative Party of Canada believes in providing new immigrants with the best possible opportunity to use their education and experience here in Canada so that they can integrate better into Canadian society. We see this as a matter of fairness to newcomers and their families and a means of ensuring that Canada receives the full benefit of immigration.

Currently, federal government efforts on the issue of foreign credentials are too vague and superficial, just empty promises. The interdepartmental working group encompasses 14 departments but they are not working in coordination.

Therefore, Conservative proposals in this area will require a centralized structure to ensure their proper and efficient implementation. Motion No. 195 is worthy of our support. I encourage all members to support this motion and pray that the government will finally get its priorities in order and take immediate steps to facilitate the recognition of foreign academic credentials.

Petitions March 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton—North Delta to present petitions calling upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others and to recognize that marriage is the best foundation for families and the raising of children.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act February 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank all of the members who participated in the two hours of debate on Bill C-283, my private member's bill.

I would also like to thank the Liberal member of Parliament for Kitchener—Waterloo, the current chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, for seconding my bill.

I appreciate the support of and contributions made by all members during the debate.

There are serious problems with our visitor visa system and in fact with our immigration system: delays, corruption, inefficiencies, political interference and manipulation.

My office, like those of other members in large urban centres, is flooded with complaints and requests for assistance to help family members and friends visit Canada. I hear stories of mothers and fathers prohibited from attending weddings and sons and daughters stopped from going to funerals.

The federal government is keeping families apart. There is no compassion and no means of appeal. When someone is denied a visitor visa, all we can tell them through their family members here is to reapply and hope for a more favourable response. Even a letter from a member of Parliament is usually meaningless. In some instances, we can approach the minister's office for a permit, but that is a less than satisfactory option. We know how a minister's office abuses the permits for political reasons.

The solution I am offering with Bill C-283 is only a partial answer to the problems of the system. In fact, it is an effort to improve the immigration system and prevent abuse. It would help to open the front doors of the immigration system and close the back doors.

Sponsorship of a visitor backed by an enforceable guarantee or bond is not a prerequisite for applying for a visitor visa. Rather, it is an extra measure and hope after the refusal for those who were unable to satisfactorily establish their bona fides.

The measure I am suggesting is already working very well in Australia and has been since July 2000. At the very least, if people can be reunited with their families for important, once in a lifetime events, sponsorship is well worth implementing.

There were some concerns voiced regarding this bill, some of them by Liberal members. They were misleading due to the lack of research by the last minute speaker or maybe just malintended from a political point of view. Let us deal with these.

The first concern was discrimination against families with low incomes. The current system already discriminates against people with low incomes, but with Bill C-283, however, there would be no discrimination against sponsors with low incomes, because the amount of the deposit or guarantee would be flexible and fixed on the basis of the criteria set out in subsection 45(2) of the Immigration Act. Or it could be a percentage of assets or net worth so that the amount would not be punitive for the sponsors, who may be financially weak.

It is for this reason that I did not include an amount in the bill: so that it could be flexible and not punitive. This would prevent discrimination against low income sponsors and yet be effective in preventing abuse. On the other hand, if the amount of a bond were not satisfactory, poor people would never be released on bail in our judicial system.

The second concern was the added cost for the immigration department. The added burden on the immigration department would not be that large. In fact, sponsorship might result in less demand upon the department and its staff, both in Canada and abroad, because there would be less need for reapplying and for minister's permits.

The visitor visa in the immigration system is a cash cow and the department must reinvest some money in training and resources. Immigration is our bloodline to our economy, enhances diversity and is the first line of security to the country, so well trained resources are a must. We should not overlook the tremendous benefits that come from visitors.

Finally, there was an objection to clause 5 in my bill, about a sponsored visitor not applying for refugee status while in Canada. I am very flexible. I do not want to violate anyone's rights. Therefore, let the immigration committee determine if it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I will be very flexible. I will take that measure out of that bill.

In conclusion, I will say that allowing Canadians and landed immigrants to sponsor foreign nationals applying to visit Canada on a temporary resident permit by posting a bond or a guarantee is an idea whose time has come. Members from all parties in the House have spoken in favour of this bill. Many have come up to me in person to voice their support and have said it is a good idea.

Therefore, I hope everyone will now vote in favour of Bill C-283, thus voting in favour of improving our visitor visa system and our immigration system, and send this bill to committee for further consideration. I thank the members who are supporting this bill and I hope other members will vote in favour of sending the bill to committee.

Chinese New Year February 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster. This is the biggest, most important festival of the year.

Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese and other Asians around the world are celebrating the lunar new year with traditional festivities to ring in spring, until the full moon, with the Lantern Festival. It is an important time for fresh starts. It includes customs that date back thousands of years, from honouring ancestors to cleaning houses to colourful parades.

We should be mindful of the many contributions made by Chinese-Canadians, including to the Canadian railroads. We also remember the difficulties and discrimination they have endured, including the head tax and Canada's exclusionist immigration policy. This is a time for Canadians to appreciate all that multiculturalism brings to this great nation and to remember that our diversity is an asset.

On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Telecommunications Act February 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the debate on Bill C-37, an act to amend the Telecommunications Act.

This bill would enable the CRTC to establish and enforce a do not call registry. Specifically Bill C-37 would amend the section of the Telecommunications Act that deals with telemarketers by adding the power to establish databases and to make any order with respect to these databases. This power may be delegated to any person, including a body created by the CRTC. The person or body exercising the delegated powers may charge fees which are deemed by the bill to not be public money. The bill also sets out financial penalties of up to $1,500 per offending call by an individual and up to $15,000 for a corporation.

This bill was first introduced in the last Parliament, but it died on the order paper.

All of us have received unwanted calls from people attempting to sell a good or a service. The telemarketer could be pitching the local newspaper, a credit card company, a cleaning service, a charity, or even a politician wanting one's vote. Sometimes we may welcome the call. It could provide useful information on a product or service we are interested in, but other times it is nothing but an annoyance.

Many members may have experienced receiving calls at very odd hours. Sometimes we receive calls when we do not want them. I have received calls at four o'clock in the morning, and when I have answered the phone I have heard a fax tone. The next time I have turned on the fax machine I have found that it was a telemarketer trying to promote some sort of service.

In my constituency office I often receive faxes promoting products or services, but members' offices are not even remotely connected with those products or services. Sometimes it is annoying and a waste of time. On the other hand sometimes it is useful information that people want.

My first job when I came to Canada was with a telemarketing company. I worked for a couple of weeks for that telemarketing company. I found out that the company was calling seniors in the U.S. to sell lottery tickets. It was a scam. The company was skimming them of money. Seniors can become addicted to buying things like lottery tickets. They probably lose more money than they would gain. I thought it was a very unethical practice and I immediately left that job because I could not do that.

A survey conducted by Decima Research, undoubtedly by telephone, found a large majority of Canadians, 75%, wants the federal government to institute a do not call list to protect them against unsolicited telephone calls from marketers. I agree with the survey. People do not want unwanted calls. I agree with the principle of the bill, but as members can imagine, like many other bills this is a poorly drafted bill with no substance, just an intent. It is very poorly managed, contains lots of hot air and things are not practical.

That survey also found that Canadians do not want to pay anything to be included on such a list. Sixty per cent of respondents said they would not want to pay for this service.

To much fanfare in 2003 the United States responded to the annoyance of unwanted telemarketing calls by establishing a national do not call list. Our government is now attempting to follow the American example, of course.

There already are do not call lists in Canada. The Canadian Marketing Association has been registering consumers on its do not call list since 1988. In addition the CRTC already requires that each telemarketing company maintain its own do not call list. Consumers can ask to be placed on that list. The only hitch is they first have to be called by the company. These lists must be maintained for three years.

The first thing we notice when reading Bill C-37 is that there is very little to the bill. Most of the details have been left to the regulations. As a result, we do not know if there will be any exclusions to the list, how much it will cost, who will operate the list and so on. These are very important details that deserve our consideration.

How can we do our job as parliamentarians if proposed legislation comes to us with so little detail? The government is asking us to give it a tabula rasa. Unfortunately, this is not without precedent.

Legislation inevitably comes to this House without the accompanying regulations. Much of the law that affects Canadians is not found in the Statutes of Canada , but in the thousands of regulations made pursuant to powers granted by the acts of Parliament.

Each year the federal government introduces about 1,200 new regulations. Since 1975 the government has made over 28,000 regulations. That is more than 122,000 pages of regulations.

The government introduces bills that lack substance, which are vague in intent, often incomplete and written just in general terms. The regulations follow the acts that we pass and those regulations sometimes contradict the intent of the legislation. Sometimes the regulations are completely off track. We in Parliament have no control once the legislation passes, but the accompanying regulations come from any angle contradicting anything or whatever it may be.

This leaves the door wide open to put through regulations that define our laws without the proper checks and balances in place. By doing so the Liberal government has effectively gutted the parliamentary process of accountability and transparency in the formulation of laws. Parliament is no longer at the centre of the law making process.

Twenty per cent of the laws that we see in the country are passed in this House. The remaining 80% come through the back door by way of regulations, which are neither debated nor subject to public scrutiny. For practical purposes the Liberal government rules, not governs, Canada.

As members of Parliament we passionately debate proposed legislation in the House of Commons. After debate we vote either yea or nay depending on the merit of the proposed law. Regulations receive virtually no debate in the House. We do not see them attached to the legislation that comes to the House or in the other place. There is no public study or input. There is even no media scrutiny. This is an affront to democracy.

The Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations does only a limited scrutiny as per the limited criteria. Members of Parliament and senators on the committee, legal counsel and staff work very hard scouring through thousands of pages of dry, technical, legal subject matter. In this thankless job they are unable to review the legislation in many general terms because their mandate is restricted and limited.

As parliamentarians most of us want to put an end to the nuisance of telemarketing calls, but the bill is poorly drafted and does not deal with the substantial issues spilling over from it.

There are many problems in this country which probably should get higher priority. People can have alternatives. The government's priorities are wrong. Its modus operandi is wrong. Therefore, I cannot support this proposed legislation. I need more information in all honesty. For one thing I need to know how much this scheme is going to cost and there are many other pressing issues.

In conclusion, I agree with the principle, but to make it work, we need more information. I will not be in a position to support this legislation until it is amended.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act February 2nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, the member's question is a very reasonable one.

I thought about the issue but I did not indicate a specific amount in the bill. There is already a provision in the immigration and refugee protection regulations. Subsection 45(2) stipulates how the amount for a particular bond or a guarantee is to be determined.

Moreover, I would not want the amount to be punitive. The amount can be determined based on the financial situation of the sponsor. It could be a percentage of the sponsor's net worth or assets. It could be a specific amount depending on the legislative inclusion which is already there. It has to be flexible.

I thank the member for extending his support. There are many members on the Liberal back benches who have congratulated me and have extended their support for the bill. I take this opportunity to thank all members across all party lines who have thanked me for introducing this bill.

As well, Bill C-283 was seconded by a Liberal member. I am sure that all members will support the bill and make this solution work for Canada. We are so proud that Canada is a country of immigrants. Immigrants are the backbone of this country. The diversity of their effort is not a liability. I would expect that members would support this bill.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act February 2nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, the member's question shows how ignorant he is about the case. It was reported in the national media when I had tipped off the RCMP commissioner as well as the minister. It was a Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday I was contacted by the RCMP and I provided them with the evidence. Thursday they left Canada for two different missions, one in New Delhi and the other in Islamabad. Based on my information seven locally hired employees were fired in New Delhi and three were fired in Islamabad.

That was not the end of it. I had another piece of information. I informed the RCMP. RCMP officers were sent to investigate. Based on the information I provided they caught red-handed two people who were locally hired in New Delhi exchanging the money for issuing the visas.

The third time I gave the information to the minister and to the RCMP commissioner and again action was taken.

I am very proud that I not only talked about it but some solid action was taken. Despite that, the government members have failed to act. Corruption is still going on in many missions abroad.

The member mentioned that this is not a new idea. I agree it is not a new idea but I ask the member, where is the action? Has his government taken any action? Absolutely not. The Liberals talk but there is no action.

I am at least coming up with a solution oriented approach. I have come up with an action oriented approach. I want the government to take action and accept my bill and make it a law so that we do something worthwhile which would be useful to help the potential visitors and stop the abuse in the system.