House of Commons photo

Track Yasmin

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is post.

Liberal MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Preclearance Act, 2016 March 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as MPs, we see a lot of bills come before us, and not all bills are comprehensive or totally perfect. It is our job as MPs to debate the issues and to bring them forward to committee. It is at committee where this bill will be very well debated and looked at thoroughly. Any questions or concerns people have can be raised at committee. They can bring in witnesses and the right people.

Preclearance Act, 2016 March 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue our second reading debate on Bill C-23, the legislation that would give us the opportunity to provide faster, charter-protected travel for Canadians. These crucial updates to the pre-clearance framework would enhance security, improve cross-border flow, and produce substantial economic and travel benefits for Canadians.

We have already benefited from over six decades of successful pre-clearance. It has been beneficial for businesses, for the economy, and for the ordinary traveller. We are now in a position to implement an agreement with the United States that would make these advantages available to more Canadians in more parts of the country.

We have heard supportive voices for the expansion of this bill from business, from chambers of commerce, from the tourism industry, from municipalities, from other levels of government, and from ordinary Canadians. Most recently, before we adjourned last week to spend time in our ridings, we heard from many members of this House that Bill C-23 would bring economic benefits and ease travel restrictions while protecting Canadian rights. It is on this note that we think we are on the right track to continue the legislative process.

However, we have also heard concerns from some members. Many of these concerns have already been addressed, both during debate in the chamber and through the technical briefing provided to journalists last week by Public Safety Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, and live-streamed by the media. This was on top of technical briefings provided to parliamentarians last year. However, to ensure that there is clarity on some of these issues, I would like to focus my remarks today on two specific topics: travellers' rights and reciprocity between Canada and the United States.

First, on rights, we all know that both Canada and the U.S. set and enforce their own rules with respect to who or what enters their countries. However, for Canadians undergoing U.S. customs and immigration procedures while still in Canada, Bill C-23 would ensure that Canadian legal and charter standards would apply to that process. This is a distinct advantage over entering the United States at a border through a regular port of entry inside U.S. territory, where Canadian charter standards do not apply to the conduct of U.S. officers.

Let us take the example of withdrawal. If travellers wanted to withdraw from a pre-clearance site in Canada and not continue on to the U.S., they would be able to do so under Bill C-23, just as they can under the current pre-clearance agreement. The only adjustment here is that American officials could ask travellers to identify themselves and give their reasons for withdrawing. This is to avoid illicit probing of pre-clearance sites. The alternative would be to go to the United States and submit to examination by the U.S. authorities on U.S. soil. At that point, it would not be possible to withdraw from the process at all, because the person would already be in the United States.

I have heard some members argue that travellers are already protected under the current pre-clearance arrangement, and so no change is needed. The problem is that we have pre-clearance right now at only eight airports in Canada. If people are travelling from anywhere else, the protection of undergoing U.S. border procedures in Canada and therefore having the right to withdraw is not available to these people. With Bill C-23, we could begin expanding pre-clearance so that more Canadian travellers could enjoy the benefits and protections.

Another point that needs to be clarified regarding travellers' rights is that U.S. pre-clearance officers would not have the authority to enforce U.S. criminal law or make arrests in Canada. If U.S. pre-clearance officers have reasonable grounds to believe that a traveller has committed an offence under Canadian law, they can detain that traveller without making an arrest, but only in order to transfer the person to Canadian authorities right away. This is not new. Rather, it is part of the existing pre-clearance framework that has been in place since 1999.

In other words, contrary to what has been speculated, there is no compromise here on rights and values. On the contrary, Bill C-23 would expand the protective umbrella of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that it can apply to Canadians flying out of airports such as Billy Bishop and the Jean Lesage airport in Quebec City. They are not currently covered. It would also be applicable for the first time to Canadians travelling using other modes of transportation, beginning with train routes in Montreal and British Columbia.

Canadians expect us to make sure that their rights and values, and the protections afforded by the charter, our Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Human Rights Act, are front and centre in all legislation we consider in this House. By making charter protections more widely available, Bill C-23 is a step forward for the rights of Canadian travellers.

The second issue I would like to address concerns the question of reciprocity. It must be stressed that the updated and expanded approach to pre-clearance being discussed here would be absolutely and fully reciprocal. There would be no authorities conferred on the border officers of one country that would not be conferred on those of the other.

Each country, as well, would retain primary jurisdiction over most criminal offences that might be committed by an officer in the course of his or her duties, while the host country would retain primary jurisdiction for the most serious crimes. As such, fears that this bill constitutes the ceding of our sovereignty are misplaced. Rather, Bill C-23 would implement a mutually beneficial agreement that would impose the same obligations and confer the same authorities on both parties.

The bill would improve safety and security for both countries. It would make travel and trade more efficient and expeditious. Also, as is clearly laid out in article II of the agreement with the United States, it would ensure that each county's laws and constitutions would apply to all pre-clearance operations. This means that U.S. officers operating in Canada would have to abide by the charter, as would Canadian border officers in the United States.

I cannot reiterate enough that more than 400,000 people flow across the border every day. There is close to $2.5 billion in two-way trade that moves between our two countries each and every day. It is therefore mutually beneficial for both countries to build on the success of existing pre-clearance operations while simultaneously protecting, even enhancing, the rights of Canadian travellers. This is the backbone of the bill before us today.

I encourage all members to support Bill C-23.

World Interfaith Harmony Week February 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of celebrations of World Interfaith Harmony Week, as adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010 to promote better understanding of different cultures and faiths.

In Canada, there were celebrations across the country including harmony through music, culture, and dialogue.

In light of the recent events in Canada and across the globe, the work of World Interfaith Harmony Week is crucial.

I encourage all members to reach out to people of different traditions and backgrounds to build bridges across all faiths.

Canada has long been a diverse and accepting nation, and we must never allow a minority of people to spread hate and create intolerance. Let us all embrace and practise the motto of WIHW: love of the good and love of thy neighbour.

Peace, om shanti, salaam, shalom.

Status of Women December 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Status of Women announced that Viola Desmond would be the first woman to appear on one of our banknotes.

Could the Minister of Status of Women please update the House as to the process that was undertaken to make this excellent selection?

Interparliamentary Delegations December 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The first concerns to the bilateral visit to London, United Kingdom, and Valletta, Malta, from March 12 to 19.

The second concerns the CPA election seminar for the Parliament of Guyana and the capacity building programme workshop for committee chairs and clerks, held in Georgetown, Guyana from March 31 to April 6.

The Aga Khan December 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, on December 13, His Highness the Aga Khan will be celebrating his 80th birthday.

For the past 60 years, His Highness has espoused the values of Islam. He has dedicated his life to improving humanity by creating ties among communities and promoting peace, diplomacy, and pluralism around the world.

The Global Centre for Pluralism, which he established in Canada, is critical at this particular time. As a Muslim leader, he places great emphasis on the value of a knowledge society and the role of the intellect to advance the well-being of all peoples, irrespective of their faith or conviction.

To quote the Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, the Aga Khan “is a man who is perhaps the only person in the world to whom everyone listens”.

Happy birthday, Hazar Imam. Bon anniversaire.

Eating Disorders November 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advocate on behalf of the National Initiative for Eating Disorders. NIED is a not-for-profit coalition of families whose loved ones suffer from eating disorders. They wish to bring about positive changes in the availability and quality of treatment for people with eating disorders.

Eating disorders affect over 900,000 Canadians, and are 12 times more likely to lead to death than any other mental illness, making them the most lethal and complex of all mental health disorders. Despite the significant number of sufferers, there is a severe lack of health care-covered treatment options.

The NIED works hard to educate Canadians on the challenges and changes needed in the understanding and treatment of eating disorders in Canada. I thank them for their efforts.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, we are an interconnected world. If we want to increase the middle class, trade is an important opportunity. I thank the Prime Minister for going to South America to build better relations and better trade treaties so that we have wider exposure to markets, rather than sticking with one country.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, the same question was posed to the Minister of International Trade, who has worked with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to ensure that the trade agreement really is beneficial to our farmers. When we open up our trading partnerships and our markets, there is supply and demand. Also, when we reduce tariffs, it makes goods cheaper and makes different varieties of goods accessible to different populations. I am sure that the minister has taken great care to ensure that there is enough protection.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I have just finished consulting Canadians on Canada Post. I do not think anyone is afraid of negativity or input. There are certain rules that committees follow, and it is my understanding that the trade committee did not rule out input from any other witnesses. I am not sure whether the member is misinformed, but transparency is important and that is why we have been extremely transparent in getting input from everyone.