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37th Parliament, 1st Session

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 078

CONTENTS

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

. 1400

VSTATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
VYUKON TERRITORY
VMr. Larry Bagnell
VTRANSPORTATION
VMr. Paul Forseth

. 1405

VVENICE BIENNALE
VMs. Anita Neville
VVANCOUVER KINGSWAY
VMs. Sophia Leung
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMr. Tony Valeri
VVOLUNTEERISM
VMr. James Lunney
VTHYROID MONTH
VMs. Judy Sgro

. 1410

VFÊTE NATIONALE DES QUÉBÉCOIS
VMr. Stéphane Bergeron
VPEACEKEEPING
VMr. Shawn Murphy
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMr. Bob Mills
VLAYLA ZANA
VMr. Irwin Cotler
VBILL C-15
VMr. Bill Blaikie

. 1415

VQUEBEC
VMs. Monique Guay
VCRTC
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VORAL QUESTION PERIOD
VACCESS TO INFORMATION
VMr. Stockwell Day
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Stockwell Day

. 1420

VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Stockwell Day
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Gilles Duceppe
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Gilles Duceppe

. 1425

VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Richard Marceau
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Richard Marceau
VHon. Anne McLellan
VNATIONAL DEFENCE
VMs. Alexa McDonough
VHon. Art Eggleton
VMs. Alexa McDonough

. 1430

VHon. Art Eggleton
VACCESS TO INFORMATION
VRight Hon. Joe Clark
VHon. Herb Gray
VRight Hon. Joe Clark
VHon. Herb Gray
VGRANTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
VMr. Rahim Jaffer
VMr. John Cannis
VMr. Rahim Jaffer
VMr. John Cannis
VACCESS TO INFORMATION
VMr. Michel Gauthier
VHon. Anne McLellan

. 1435

VMr. Michel Gauthier
VHon. Anne McLellan
VTHE ECONOMY
VMr. Jason Kenney
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Jason Kenney
VHon. Paul Martin
VEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
VMr. Paul Crête
VHon. Jane Stewart

. 1440

VMr. Paul Crête
VHon. Jane Stewart
VTAXATION
VMr. Ken Epp
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Ken Epp
VHon. Paul Martin
VEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
VMr. André Harvey
VHon. Jane Stewart
VELECTORAL REFORM
VHon. Lorne Nystrom

. 1445

VHon. Herb Gray
VFOREIGN AFFAIRS
VMr. Svend Robinson
VHon. David Kilgour
VHEALTH
VMr. John Herron
VHon. Allan Rock
VTAXATION
VMr. Bill Casey
VHon. Allan Rock
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VHon. Anne McLellan

. 1450

VNORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
VMr. Pierre Paquette
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VMr. Pierre Paquette
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VHEALTH
VMr. Rob Merrifield
VHon. Allan Rock
VMr. Rob Merrifield
VHon. Allan Rock

. 1455

VCANADA POST
VMr. Mark Eyking
VHon. Alfonso Gagliano
VACCESS TO INFORMATION
VMs. Cheryl Gallant
VHon. Jane Stewart
VMs. Cheryl Gallant
VHon. Jane Stewart
VRADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL
VMs. Christiane Gagnon
VHon. Sheila Copps

. 1500

VCANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
VMr. Kevin Sorenson
VHon. David Collenette
VNATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA
VMr. Mauril Bélanger
VMrs. Judi Longfield
VHEALTH
VMs. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
VHon. Allan Rock
VPRESENCE IN GALLERY
VThe Deputy Speaker
VROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

. 1505

VGOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
VMr. Derek Lee
VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMr. Derek Lee
VTAXPAYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS
VBill C-390. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Joe Peschisolido
VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMotion for concurrence
VMr. Derek Lee
VFinance
VMr. Derek Lee
VMotion
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMotion for concurrence
VMr. Derek Lee
VPETITIONS
VVIA Rail
VHon. Andy Scott

. 1510

VImmigration
VMr. Bob Mills
VRights of Children
VMr. Art Hanger
VCanada Post
VMr. Rick Laliberte
VGasoline Additives
VMrs. Rose-Marie Ur
VPesticides
VMr. Julian Reed
VVIA Rail
VMr. Peter Adams
VKidney Research
VMr. Peter Adams
VHealth Care
VMr. Jay Hill

. 1515

VQUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
VMr. Derek Lee
VQUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
VMr. Derek Lee
VPOINTS OF ORDER
VOral Question Period
VMr. John Cannis
VGOVERNMENT ORDERS
VIMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
VBill C-11. Third reading
VHon. Elinor Caplan

. 1520

. 1525

. 1530

. 1535

. 1540

VMr. Stockwell Day

. 1545

. 1550

. 1555

. 1600

VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

. 1605

. 1610

. 1615

VMs. Judy Wasylycia-Leis

. 1620

. 1625

. 1630

. 1635

VMr. John Herron

. 1640

. 1645

. 1650

VMr. Grant McNally
VMr. Inky Mark

. 1655

VMr. Peter MacKay
VMrs. Diane Ablonczy

. 1700

VMr. Steve Mahoney

. 1705

. 1710

VMr. Peter MacKay
VMr. Gurmant Grewal

. 1715

. 1740

(Division 136)

VMotion agreed to
VCRIMINAL CODE
VBill C-24. Third Reading

. 1750

(Division 137)

VMotion agreed to
VHOUSE OF COMMONS
VHon. Don Boudria
VMotion

. 1800

(Division 138)

VMotion agreed to

(Official Version)

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 078


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

The House met at 2 p.m.



Prayers


 

. 1400 +

[English]

The Deputy Speaker: As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Halifax West.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]



STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

YUKON TERRITORY

Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in the summer of 1896 three men, Skookum Jim, George Carmack and Tagish Charlie, found large gold nuggets in the gravel bottom of Bonanza Creek. Their cry of joy started the world's greatest gold rush.

[Translation]

Approximately 200,000 men and women from all over the world converged on the Klondike in search of gold. More than 40,000 of them found it.

[English]

In 1898 Dawson City was the largest Canadian city west of Winnipeg and Yukon, for so long the proud home of first nations people, was created from the western area of the Northwest Territories. On June 13, 1898, assent was given to the Yukon Act and four years later in 1902 we sent our first member to parliament, James H. Ross, a Liberal.

I stand to commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the founding of Yukon Territory. I invite all members and their families to come north this summer to see, as is described in the tourism brochure that I gave to members, what is really meant by the true north strong and free.

*  *  *

TRANSPORTATION

Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, as someone who spends about 10 hours a week on an airplane flying from Vancouver to Ottawa, I have confidence in the abilities of our skilled airline pilots to take their precious cargo of passengers to Canada and to the world.

However it alarms me to learn of our pilots perhaps sleeping in the cockpit because they are so exhausted from long hours and organizational stress.

 

. 1405 + -

Sadly Canada's transportation operation hours are some of the most liberal throughout the world. Our standards are low. This not only affects pilots. It also affects train engineers, truck and bus drivers. Public safety is at risk in the air and on the ground, the consequence of operators perhaps making a fatigue mistake.

We need to take immediate action to improve our operational standards as a safeguard. The Liberal government must do what is needed to address this urgent problem. May it also not be found snoozing on the job.

*  *  *

VENICE BIENNALE

Ms. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Venice biennale is considered the most prestigious international competition of contemporary visual art, indeed the Olympics of visual art. As such, it brings me the greatest honour to acknowledge the accomplishments of Canadians at this competition.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's production, The Paradise Institute, was the recipient of the Venice biennale special award, the most prestigious award offered at the competition. It is the first time Canadians have been awarded this honour.

The 15 minute audio-video production was commissioned by Wayne Bearwaldt, the adjunct curator of the Plug In Gallery. I am very proud that this gallery, nestled in the exchange district of Winnipeg, played such a pivotal role in this accomplishment and proved that it is capable of handling shows of the highest international standard.

I look forward to Mr. Bearwaldt's planned exhibition of The Paradise Institute at the Plug In Gallery and urge everyone to come out and view this highly acclaimed piece.

*  *  *

VANCOUVER KINGSWAY

Ms. Sophia Leung (Vancouver Kingsway, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to attend this past weekend the ninth annual community festival at the Little Mountain and Riley Park. This event brings together people of all ages for a day of games, crafts and conversation to mark the beginning of the summer program. I thank the organizers and volunteers of the Little Mountain and Riley Park Community Centre for their contribution to our community.

I also attended a unique concert of Chinese poetry, music, dance and a display of calligraphy. It was a creative celebration of Chinese art and culture that many enjoyed. My thanks to Mr. Chai-man Cheng for organizing this event and to the many artists and musicians who made it a success.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Tony Valeri (Stoney Creek, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the delay of the Red Hill Creek expressway project is an ongoing concern for me as the federal representative for Stoney Creek.

The project has been subjected to rigorous scrutiny and numerous assessments over the last 35 years, yet remains at an impasse currently due to the federal government's decision to appeal a lower court ruling. This recent ruling confirmed that the Red Hill Creek project was a unique situation.

It was started and irrevocable decisions had been taken prior to the CEAA taking effect. I was disappointed by the government's decision to appeal, as it was my belief that the ruling was focused on the Red Hill project.

Therefore, given that Bill C-19 will be back before the House in the fall, and taking into consideration the desire of both the federal government and the city of Hamilton to expedite the process, I will be proposing an amendment limiting the application of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and specifically exempting the Red Hill Creek expressway project.

I ask all colleagues, and specifically my local colleagues, to support this amendment when it comes before the House and to ensure that this necessary project be completed without further delay.

*  *  *

VOLUNTEERISM

Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to pay tribute to some fine Canadians today. The story involves the struggle of a young man from Victoria named Andy Horn. Andy suffered much of his life battling cystic fibrosis. He needed a new pair of lungs and it became necessary for him to relocate to Toronto to improve his chances of finding a donor.

The Victoria community really took Andy's case to heart. To help with expenses, community and professional organizations including several Lions Clubs and hundreds of caring Canadians donated thousands of dollars.

When Andy made the difficult move to Toronto with his mother and fiancée, his uncle called on his Canadian navy family for assistance. Bob Dalgleish was quick to answer the call, going above and beyond the call of duty in hosting Andy and his family.

I am saddened to report that although Andy survived the surgery, he succumbed to related infections on June 2. Nonetheless the surgery and the hope it offered were made possible by the generosity of many. In this Year of the Volunteer we extend special thanks to Bob Dalgleish and the many citizens of Victoria for showing that they care.

*  *  *

THYROID MONTH

Ms. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that June is Thyroid Month.

Over one million Canadians of all ages have some form of thyroid disease. When left untreated, this disease often results in serious physical and/or emotional problems. Thyroid disease strikes five to ten times more women than men.

 

. 1410 + -

The Thyroid Foundation of Canada is a voluntary health organization that has 23 chapters across Canada offering information and support to thyroid patients and their families.

The Thyroid Foundation also raises funds for thyroid research and awards yearly fellowships in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Health Research.

I would like to wish the Thyroid Foundation and its many volunteers a very successful Thyroid Month.

*  *  *

[Translation]

FÊTE NATIONALE DES QUÉBÉCOIS

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this coming June 24, Quebecers will be celebrating their Fête nationale. For the second straight year, the theme will be “Et si on se lançait des fleurs...”

This celebration will be an opportunity to take time out to spend time together, to take the measure of our accomplishments to date and to pay tribute to those who showed their confidence in the future by building this Quebec we love so much.

This popular event is a time of rejoicing, an opportunity for us to show our great attachment to and pride in our land, our visceral attachment to this rich and fertile land in which our increasingly diverse roots go so deep. Our people have set themselves the goal of making sure that our land flourishes in the world like some great flower pointing into the firmament.

In this spirit of celebration and friendship, I wish all Quebecers a wonderful Fête nationale on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois.

*  *  *

[English]

PEACEKEEPING

Mr. Shawn Murphy (Hillsborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on June 28, 2000, the Governor General of Canada announced the creation of the well deserved Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal for members of the armed forces, RCMP and local police who have served abroad as United Nations peacekeepers.

Almost 125,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping missions over the past 53 years, a record unsurpassed by any other nation. I personally wish to congratulate the more than 130 Prince Edward Islanders who were awarded this medal as well as the 44,000 other Canadians who have been honoured for their past service at ceremonies across the country.

Sadly, our valiant efforts to inspire peace around the world has not been without loss. The red stripping in the medal's ribbon is symbolic of the blood shed by Canada's 113 peacekeepers who have lost their lives in service to this country while on peacekeeping and observer missions.

On behalf of all residents of Prince Edward Island—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Red Deer.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss the serious shortcomings of the Liberal government in the clean-up of contaminated sites.

More information has come forward indicating that the federal government has known of serious health threats to the people of Sydney, Nova Scotia and yet the only action taken was dumping millions of dollars into short term solutions. Sydney is only one glaring example of thousands of known and unknown contaminated sites across Canada.

The government is also currently faced with the clean-up of the Giant Gold Mine near Yellowknife. It is again leaning toward the cheapest, short term solution that will almost certainly cost Canadians their health, the health of their environment and the health of communities over the long term.

The government cannot boast about Canada's environmental superiority until it cleans up its act and takes responsibility for its own actions. Canada's own house must be put in order and critical contaminated sites across the country must be cleaned up now.

*  *  *

LAYLA ZANA

Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are few cases of the right to self-determination that are more compelling than that of the Kurdish people. However, there are few peoples whose right to self-determination has been more persistently and pervasively repressed, yet whose tragedy remains engulfed in a deafening silence.

Kurdish political prisoner and Nobel prize nominee, Layla Zana, has come to symbolize a case and cause that should commend itself to parliamentary democracies everywhere and to parliamentarians in this place.

Elected to the Turkish parliament in 1991 as the only Kurdish woman ever to serve in the Turkish parliament with over 80% of the vote of her Turkish constituents, she was arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced in 1994 to 15 years in prison for nothing other than simply expressing support for the idea of self-determination. This criminalization of freedom of expression and association invites universal condemnation.

The Turkish government should undertake all necessary measures to secure the release of all prisoners held for the expression of non-violent opinion, including Layla Zana and three other imprisoned former Kurdish deputies, and put an end to this criminalization of Kurdish identity.

*  *  *

BILL C-15

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in recent days there have been charges and countercharges of people playing politics with Bill C-15.

 

. 1415 + -

I just wanted to put on the record that as far as we are concerned here in the NDP, it is the Minister of Justice who is playing politics with Bill C-15. She did not have to put the omnibus bill together the way she did in the first place. She could have dealt with a number of items separately.

The government was made an offer by the opposition to deal with five elements of Bill C-15: child pornography, luring on the Internet, home invasions, disarming a police officer and improving the stalking laws. We could have passed all that and still had fully dealt with what was a single bill in the last parliament, but the Minister of Justice refused. She is the one who is playing politics with Bill C-15. She is the one who must answer to the Canadian public for what has not been accomplished on those files.

*  *  *

[Translation]

QUEBEC

Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the session ending today has allowed us to see once again that Quebec is boxed in in a system hostile to it. Ottawa is consistently rejecting Quebec's legitimate aspirations.

Quebec was denied access to the international discussions held within its own borders at the summit of the Americas.

Ottawa arrogantly refused to act on Quebec's desire to set up a parental leave plan, thus penalizing Quebec parents.

Ottawa refused to recognize Quebec's jurisdiction, imposing the social union agreement on it against its will.

Ottawa's strongest rejection came in the case of young offenders, in which it imposed a wall to wall law that will penalize young Quebecers.

This latest session illustrates the urgency of Quebec's deciding its own future alone to put an end to the federal government's underhanded measures opposing our deepest aspirations.

In other words: vive le Québec libre very soon.

*  *  *

[English]

CRTC

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, the CRTC, the federal broadcast regulator, is expected to tell CTV Newsnet that it can no longer broadcast live news coverage of routine events or regularly scheduled news shows, such as the very popular one now hosted by the veteran political reporter, Mike Duffy.

Will the culture and heritage minister just sit by while a handful of faceless regulators limit news competition among television networks, or will she allow the marketplace to make that decision, as it should?

Does it not bother her that CRTC is funded by her department, as is the complainant, the CBC? If so, what will she do about it? What will she do to ensure objectivity and to make sure that private sector jobs are not jeopardized for nonsensical action, or will we see just another cop out?



ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[English]

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned from the information commissioner that this government's secretive panel of bureaucrats may be poised to actually gut the Access to Information Act.

Openness and transparency in government are key ingredients in a vital democracy. It is simply wrong that an unelected panel of bureaucrats working behind closed doors would be in charge of reforming the laws that govern public access to public information.

Will the government call off the secret panel, follow the advice of the information commissioner and turn over any changes to the access law to a committee of the House of Commons so that elected officials can debate these things openly for all Canadians?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the House that there is nothing secret about the government's review of our access legislation.

In fact, we have appointed a task force and that task force is hard at work. We have also appointed an advisory council made up of representatives of key stakeholders who use our access legislation and seek information on a regular basis from the government. The general public, including members of the House, are encouraged to participate in this review process.

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister is ignoring the words of the information commissioner when he talked about the secretive panel.

The information commissioner said, and I quote, “It will terribly undermine the public's right to know”.

We know what lengthy delays are like. We know what it is like to have these requests for information unfilled. We want to hear what specific steps are being taken relating to what the information commissioner said about this terrible undermining of the public's right to know. What specific steps will we see taken to overcome the information commissioner's concern?

 

. 1420 + -

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if there are changes to be considered to the act, the changes will need to be brought before the House by the government. The changes will be brought before the House in the form of legislation. They will be debated in the House and studied by a parliamentary committee. What is more open and democratic than that?

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, whether we are talking about requests related to the HRDC scandal, the mishandling of the helicopter file or how taxpayer dollars are being spent, that reflects on the auditor general's question, “Who is minding the store?”. Whatever it is, the commissioner has named a list of departments. He has an actual list of departments that he says are seriously impeding the public's right to know.

Will somebody in the government stand and take responsibility for the specific list of habitual, serious offenders that the information commissioner has listed in terms of them continuing to undermine the public's right to know?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we will certainly study seriously and carefully the information commissioner's report. However I think we also want to take responsibility for the conclusion of the information commissioner that overall the act, and I quote, “is working remarkably well”.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner has been pretty specific when he talks about secrecy in the government. He talks about secrecy in ministers' offices. He talks about secrecy in the PMO, and the Prime Minister, quite frankly, is the leader when it comes to secrecy.

We have asked for his bill of sale on the golf course to be released for independent study. Will he now release that and shed this culture of secrecy?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very open. He tabled a copy of the document in the House. He stood in this place and said that the copy was a copy of the real document, and did so even though this related to a time when he was not Prime Minister and related to a private business transaction, not to his work or responsibility as Prime Minister. That is openness, true openness.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, for days now we have been asking for the original of that bill of sale to be released to an independent forensic analyst.

Why has that not been done? They want to keep it secret. Big surprise.

We wrote to the ethics counsellor, since the ethics counsellor said that he had seen the document, asking him to verify the date with an independent analyst. Is that not a perfect job for the ethics counsellor?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that will be up to the ethics counsellor.

However, now that the Alliance has misspent its research budget on this opinion about this document, I presume it will next be turning to other issues of importance to it, like whether the sasquatch exists, the Loch Ness monster exists or where exactly the Bermuda Triangle is located.

[Translation]

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in his annual report, the information commissioner condemns the slowness of the ministers to change the culture of secrecy that guides the government in its processing of the access to information requests.

John Reid is even concerned that the government will take advantage of the review of the legislation to systematize the secrecy and make all documents relating to Canadian unity inaccessible.

Will the President of the Queen's Privy Council, the advocate of clarity, recognize that the commissioner's concerns are valid since the government is already secretive when it comes to Canadian unity?

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting that the opposition quotes only certain comments from the commissioner's report and does not quote, for example, the following:

      —one must recognize that the Access to Information Act is working remarkably well.

    Hundreds of thousands of records are disclosed each year. For every complaint made to the Information Commissioner at least ten other individuals obtained good service from government under the Access to Information Act.

The commissioner went on to say “This is a good law, a very good law”. He continued by saying “There is, happily, a growing recognition of the importance of good information management—”

[Translation]

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the commissioner says this is not the problem. The problem is not the act, but those who implement it, who behave exactly like the minister just did by not answering questions. This is the problem.

 

. 1425 + -

For instance, Option Canada received close to $5 million from Canadian heritage during the 1995 referendum campaign. In spite of the requests made under the Access to Information Act, it is impossible to know what Option Canada, which was on the no side, did with the taxpayers' money.

Will the minister admit that the culture of secrecy exists and that it guides the government in its review of the access to information requests, particularly when they deal with—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice.

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me say again that this government is committed to openness. One of the reasons we are reviewing the access to information legislation is that we want to ensure we have the best legislation possible. We want to ensure we build upon the culture of openness in which this government has taken a leadership role.

[Translation]

Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, for two years now, the Bloc Quebecois has been asking for legal analyses of the supreme court ruling, but the government is defying its own Access to Information Act and depriving our members of documents of interest.

Is this not a very conclusive illustration of the unacceptable behaviour of the federal government, which has been criticized by the information commissioner?

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate again that which the information commissioner himself has said. He said the act “is working remarkably well”. He went on to say:

    Hundreds of thousands of records are disclosed each year.

    There is...a growing recognition of the importance of good information management to the achievement of the government's business strategies and goals.

I think those statements say it all.

[Translation]

Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, documents the Bloc Quebecois tries to obtain under the Access to Information Act are censored so heavily by the government that the ones we have received more often resemble some sort of game of guess the word than complete texts.

How can the government disregard its own Access to Information Act and hand over to the Liberal Party of Quebec documents it refuses to make available to parliamentarians in this parliament?

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate that the government is committed to openness. That is why the government has decided to commence a review of the access to information legislation.

If there are ways we can improve on the legislative framework or on the administration and management of access requests, we are committed to doing that.

*  *  *

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

It is plain for all to see that the Americans are intent on barrelling ahead with the national missile defence program. George Bush in Brussels yesterday dismissed the antiballistic missile treaty as a mere relic from the past.

Has the Canadian government decided as well to dismiss the ABM treaty as a relic from the past and no longer a cornerstone of global stability?

Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the United States did decide, through legislation in 1999, that it would in fact develop a ballistic missile defence, but it has not said what exactly that will be. It has put several options on the table. It has not determined which option or options it will actually deploy. It has said it would consult very meaningfully with Canada and with all of the different allies, plus Russia and China, and it is in the midst of doing that. We are nowhere near a decision on this matter because the United States is nowhere near a decision on this matter.

I will say one other thing. Global security, whether through the ABM treaty or any replacement thereof, is still just as vital to this country—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Halifax.

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this is what Canadian officials are saying in the media today:

    There is a right way and a wrong way that you can go about doing this and we want to make sure they go about it in a right way.

This government's idea of the right way to deal with the NMD is to find a way to support it, no matter how dire the consequences, and help the Americans sell it to the world.

What will it take for the government to come to its senses and realize that the only responsible way to respond to the madness of the star wars 2—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of National Defence.

 

. 1430 + -

Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): That is not correct at all, Mr. Speaker. We have made no decision on this matter. Before a decision is made we want to look at all the facts. We want to know exactly what the Americans want to do, what the cost will be and what the parameters will be. Equally important is what will they do to make sure this world is just as secure in terms of arms non-proliferation as it was before. We want to make sure that it is better.

Until those answers are clear, the government will not make a decision. Until those answers are clear, we will not ask parliament to participate in it as well. When that happens we will have full debate here in the House.

*  *  *

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, the information commissioner reports that “access requests made by journalists and opposition members get slower service, closer scrutiny” to protect ministers.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister issue an order today to stop this deliberate attempt to hide the truth from journalists and parliament and therefore from the public?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of my hon. friend's question that there is some deliberate attempt not to respond to the act.

The report said that the government received 20,000 access requests last year. Out of some 1,300 complaints investigated by the commissioner, only two were not resolved to his satisfaction and are now before the courts. I think that is a pretty good record.

[Translation]

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary-Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, this is the commissioner's opinion, not mine.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister tell the House whether the RCMP has been in touch with the Prime Minister or with his solicitor or his representative, or any other member of his staff or of the Privy Council Office, for the purpose of discussing falsified documents originating with or involving the Business Development Bank?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I assure the hon. member and the House that the Prime Minister and his advisers are following the law to the letter.

*  *  *

[English]

GRANTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Industry threw out a red herring when he said he did not have the right to look at the Prime Minister's bill of sale to make sure it was an accurate document according to the Business Corporations Act. According to the act, his director of corporations does have the authority to verify its accuracy.

Will the minister instruct his director of corporations to submit the bill of sale to an independent forensic analyst to determine its accuracy?

Mr. John Cannis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me suggest to the Alliance Party to submit its membership for an independent audit.

More to the point, it has been requested and is being looked at, and that is it.

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is not it because the minister is shirking his legal obligation. His officials already went to Shawinigan. They found that the corporate records were inaccurate and they asked that they be updated. However they did not look at the bill of sale.

Part IV of the Business Corporations Act states “a corporation shall prepare and maintain adequate accounting records...for a period of six years”.

There is obvious doubt about when that bill of sale was handwritten.

Will the minister ensure the accuracy of this most important record, the Prime Minister's bill of sale?

Mr. John Cannis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister clearly pointed out earlier that a copy of the bill was submitted. What the member is saying is totally false.

*  *  *

[Translation]

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we find ourselves in a situation where the access to information commissioner has stated clearly in a report, for the second time in a year, that the government is in violation of the Access to Information Act. The report is very clear on this.

I am asking the Minister of Justice, whose responsibility it is to see that legislation is complied with, how she can explain her behaviour in putting herself at the service of the government without deigning to show any concern for these extremely serious accusations by the information commissioner.

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me say again that the government is committed to access and openness. Let me say again that the information commissioner had some very positive things to say, not only about the access act itself but about the actions of the government.

 

. 1435 + -

As the Deputy Prime Minister already pointed out, the information commissioner said that out of 1,337 complaints he received in the year 2000-01 against the government, only two could not be resolved to his satisfaction. I think that speaks to the openness of the government.

[Translation]

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, throughout this session, the opposition has complained about non-compliance with the Access to Information Act.

Today, for the second time, the commissioner's report comes down very hard on the government. In any parliament anywhere in the world, people would be astonished that a government did not respect the law. Here we have to accept that the minister responsible for seeing that the laws are enforced is going along with the government.

I am asking her—and there is still time—to stand up and, in compliance with her oath of office, ensure that the government is respecting the law.

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I already said, the government is committed to openness and to its obligations under the existing access legislation.

However, because we acknowledge that there might be room for improvement, in terms of the legislative regime or in terms of the administration and management of access requests, we have undertaken a review. We hope to report back to the House in the fall in relation to the review.

*  *  *

THE ECONOMY

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, economists are expressing growing concern that federal spending is running out of control at levels unseen since the current Prime Minister drove Canada into debt in the late 1970s. However it has not stopped the government from proposing a new $4 billion mega project.

When working families need tax relief and the health care system needs more resources, why is the government planning to spend billions of dollars on its Internet mega project when the private sector could take care of that situation perfectly well?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know that the spending in this area will be within our projections and will be well controlled.

It is amazing to hear the dinosaur party opposing all those things that are modern, all those thing that will enable the Canadian government to better serve their people and all those things that will make the Canadian economy the most modern in the world.

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, here is a news flash for the finance minister: The government did not invent the Internet. The private sector knows best how to deliver services like that.

Modern values are not about government intervening in this critical new area of the economy and spending billions of tax dollars. Instead of doing that, why does the finance minister not cut taxes further so that Canadians can procure their own Internet services and so that the private sector will have the resources to invest in it?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have a news flash for the finance critic: The Internet is in fact a product of the Pentagon. The last time I looked at the Pentagon, it was part of the U.S. government. It is a fact.

*  *  *

[Translation]

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport acknowledged the promises that were made to the unemployed during the election. However, he is hiding behind the minister in order to justify the government's refusal to honour his promises, when his own colleagues have signed a unanimous report calling for these changes.

Does the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport intend to stand up and honour his commitments to the unemployed or will he admit that he does not have enough political clout to influence his colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development?

[English]

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, two things should be clear to the House by now.

First, the government is prepared to monitor and assess the impact of employment insurance and to make changes when changes are necessary.

Second, Bloc members have finally realized their serious error in voting with the Alliance against the government on the amendments to Bill C-2, which now supports their constituents, seasonal workers and parents.

It will be a long hot summer for Bloc members who go back to their ridings and try to explain to their constituents why they did not support the government.

 

. 1440 + -

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Mr. Speaker, everything is in place to have this question settled quickly.

The unanimous report was made public on May 31. The money is available, and there would have been ample time to act before the House adjourns.

In conclusion, are we to understand that the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport made their promises to get votes, without the political weight to deliver the goods?

[English]

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. members sit there and say that they want to vote today. They had a chance to vote on amendments last fall and they chose not to take it. They had a chance to vote on amendments to the Employment Insurance Act this spring and they voted against it.

There is nothing clearer than the fact that the members of the Bloc Party now know they were wrong in blocking this government. Thankfully we were able to pass the legislation, but with no help from them.

*  *  *

TAXATION

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in 1961 the average family paid $1,675 in taxes from an income of $5,000. Today the average family earns $51,174 and pays $24,309 in taxes. That is 47.5% of their entire income. That is more than is needed for food, clothing and shelter combined.

How can the finance minister justify this gross overtaxation?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would see us go beyond what is the largest tax cut in Canadian history.

The fact is that throughout this whole session virtually every spending measure that has been recommended has come from the Alliance. The Alliance has essentially said that it wants the government to spend massively and yet it wants us to cut taxes. That would put us into deficit. Is that the Alliance's official position?

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are being taxed to death and they resent the wasting of their money on foolish things, like sending heating rebates to prisoners.

On behalf of Canadian families I ask: Why is their tax bill relative to their income 50% higher now than in 1961?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians' real disposable income this year has achieved a record level. That is the real fact.

Is the hon. member calling for further reductions in taxes? There is only one of two things that will happen: Either we will go back into deficit or, if we were to accomplish the Alliance plan, the government would have to cut back in health care and old age pensions. Which is it?

What is the Alliance recommending? When will the Alliance members lay their real agenda in front of the Canadian people?

*  *  *

[Translation]

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Mr. André Harvey (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The government made significant changes to the employment insurance program with Bill C-2. Yesterday, the Bloc Quebecois said that the minister did not want to make any changes beyond Bill C-2.

Can the minister assure the members of this House and all Canadians that she firmly intends to monitor and assess the employment insurance program and will continue to make whatever changes are necessary?

[English]

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said time and again, the Government of Canada monitors and assesses the impact of the Employment Insurance Act on Canadians and we make changes as changes are necessary. That is why we doubled parental benefits. That is why we introduced and passed the amendments in Bill C-2. That is why just last Sunday we published in the Canada Gazette a proposal to change EI regulations that would guide the treatment of undeclared earnings.

Those changes were proposed so that the EI program would be more reflective of the work patterns of claimants. It is an idea that was presented to us by the FTQ, as well as other stakeholders. Again I point out that we make changes as warranted.

*  *  *

ELECTORAL REFORM

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

A recent poll done by the Canada West Foundation showed that some 70% of western Canadians are interested in the idea of proportional representation. Also, the Liberal Party itself will use proportional representation on a riding by riding basis to select delegates for the next leadership convention.

If PR is good enough to select Liberal delegates, why is PR not good enough to elect some members of parliament? To that end, will the Deputy Prime Minister strike a special all party committee to study the various models of PR that might be mixed or blended into our electoral system so that people's votes are reflected in the House of Commons?

 

. 1445 + -

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is obvious from the way the House is shaped that the people's votes are reflected in the House of Commons. This is confirmed by public opinion polls.

I noticed that when my hon. friend's party was in power in provincial governments it would not touch proportional representation with a 10 foot pole.

*  *  *

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

Earlier this year the secretary of state stated that Vector Aerospace had no military involvement whatsoever in Colombia. Yet yesterday the chief executive officer of Vector Aerospace stated “We are working on both civilian and military aircraft”. Said another Vector official “We are repairing engines and components and other items for the Colombian military”.

What actions will the government take to put a stop to this Canadian corporate complicity in the Colombian military, one of the most brutal and repressive militaries in the hemisphere?

Hon. David Kilgour (Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in regard to what the member has just said, I learned about it today. If it is a civilian aircraft no export permit is required. If it is a military aircraft one is, but if the work is being done outside Canada by Vector or one of its subsidiaries no permit is required.

I am concerned about what the member is saying and I will look into it to see where this work is being done.

*  *  *

HEALTH

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Mr. Speaker, Liberal inaction is harming the environment and human health. We know that Canada's pesticides act is over 30 years old. A year and a half ago I asked the health minister when Canadians could expect to see a new act, and the minister said legislation was forthcoming.

A new act must test all ingredients including their formulants. It must also test the toxicity of pesticides in regard to the health of our most vulnerable populations such as children and elderly. When will we have a new pesticides act that does just that?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what has happened in the interim is that the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of the House of Commons has looked thoroughly into the question of how Canadians are best served by pesticides legislation. Recently the government filed its response to that committee's report.

I can tell the member and the House that we will soon be tabling legislation which will reflect those recommendations and protect the health of Canadians.

*  *  *

TAXATION

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC): Mr. Speaker, further on the pesticides act, over a year ago I complained to the Minister of Health about two electronic devices known as the phoenix squawker and the phoenix wailer which make noises to scare birds away from oil spills and airports.

The Department of Health has designated these electronic devices as pesticides so that it can charge a tax. They are not pesticides and should not be subject to tax. Will the minister reverse this designation so that I can stop wailing and squawking?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are quite used to wailing and squawking from that corner of the House. It is something we would miss if it were not there.

Speaking of pests, I can tell the member that I am quite concerned about his wailing and squawking. I want the House to know that this is something we take very seriously.

The member has been kind enough to raise this issue directly. He knows I am working on it. I think together over time we can solve the problem of wailing and squawking in the country.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, livestock producers and their representative organizations have written my office setting out their concerns over Bill C-15. They have raised concerns that livestock and poultry producers will face criminal charges for simply following ordinary farming practices.

Why does the justice minister refuse to specify in legislation that normally accepted animal husbandry practices will not be subject to criminal prosecution?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should know, we have consulted widely in relation to this legislation.

In fact we made changes to the legislation to accommodate all the reasonable needs and concerns of those involved, be they hunters, trappers, those involved in the agricultural sector or whomever.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, all I can suggest to the minister is that she get out there and listen again because that is not what the farming community is telling us.

The farming community is telling us that this legislation cannot go through as it is presently set up without a specific reference to farming practices as normal practices that are not subject to prosecution. That is what is required.

I am asking the minister to stand and say that. Farmers want that legislation. Can she do that today?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can do no better than quote the Globe and Mail today, which says the following—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

 

. 1450 + -

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The Chair heard the question and would like to hear the answer.

Hon. Anne McLellan: Mr. Speaker, let me quote:

      —this sorely needed overhaul of the cruelty laws—the first in more than a century—is aimed squarely at criminals who enjoy inflicting suffering on animals. That's how most courts would interpret it, and case law would swiftly be established. The Alliance should realize this and quit stalling.

*  *  *

[Translation]

NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, chapter 11 of NAFTA on investments is to be discussed by the three countries in July.

The Prime Minister has already stated that chapter 11 of NAFTA does not pose a problem, while the Minister for International Trade is concerned about it. As we know, transnational corporations are making all kinds of representations to have this chapter maintained.

Does the minister realize that the interpretation given to chapter 11 jeopardizes the governments' ability to act, which means that it is urgent to limit its scope?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Bloc member for Joliette exaggerates the scope that we are trying to give to chapter 11.

We have always felt that chapter 11 works well. There are Canadian investments around the world that deserve to be protected; they must be protected, and we will continue to protect them.

As for chapter 11 of NAFTA, our government never wanted to change it or renegotiate it but rather to clarify certain aspects, to improve its transparency. I believe and I firmly hope that improvements will be made.

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister met with his Mexican and American counterparts on May 8, and chapter 11 was to be discussed. Moreover, the NAFTA commission will meet at the end of July and this item is on the agenda.

Could the minister tell us which changes he will propose to settle this issue once and for all?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I note the hon. member's tone when he talks about settling issues “once and for all”.

But as we know, there are agreements in place; these must continually be adjusted to reflect the new reality, and so do the institutions that have developed. So, on this issue as on many others, we do not settle issues “once and for all”, as the Bloc Quebecois claims.

I will say that I am very pleased that my colleagues from Mexico and the United States have agreed to have the commission look at chapter 11 to improve its transparency and clarify certain aspects, but it works—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Yellowhead.

*  *  *

[English]

HEALTH

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, 20,000 Canadians are on the waiting list for knee and hip replacements. The average waiting time for this surgery, for the lucky, is six months. Some Canadians have to put their lives on hold for a whole year. Luck should have nothing to do with health care.

Does the health minister believe that the waiting times are acceptable standards for health care in Canada?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is the very reason we have been encouraging provincial governments to increase enrolment in medical schools. It is the very reason we have been encouraging provincial governments and the professions to open the door to those with training in medicine and in nursing who come to the country.

I can tell the member one thing. One way not to deal with waiting lists is to do what the Alliance contends and have an American style two tier system, because that would make matters far worse.

Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the minister understands quite where we are at on this side, but I think he should understand exactly that as recently reported we need 150 orthopedic surgeons just to meet existing demand. However, it takes 10 years to train one.

An aging population will only make this problem worse. Surely we will not wait for the Romanow report before we address this problem. The minister is good at smooth talk and no action. How many new positions will be opened up this fall?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, three years ago total enrolment in first year medical schools was about 1,570. This fall it will be over 2,000. That is progress.

 

. 1455 + -

I will say something else. The way we deal with waiting lists is to act on the agreements that all governments came to last September: more doctors and nurses; better equipment, for which we have given the money; better information technology to modernize the system; and making this a country where doctors want to stay and practise. That is the agenda we are working on on this side of the House.

*  *  *

CANADA POST

Mr. Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Public Works and Government Services if he is ready to order Canada Post to keep the North Sydney postal terminal, not to sell it but to use it for other postal operations.

Cape Breton badly needs employment. Surely Canada Post should be creating more jobs in our region, not unemployment.

Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the hard work of the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria on this file. He has been speaking with Canada Post authorities, with the president, and he has been speaking with me, the minister responsible.

I can assure him today that Canada Post in the near future will find a new vocation for the Sydney postal terminal.

*  *  *

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Ms. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, last week we appealed to the information commissioner for help in getting 31 access requests from HRDC. This week the commissioner is talking about excessive secrecy and delays.

HRDC had the second highest number of complaints in the entire government. The commissioner said that cases arise where the minister's own office disrupts the process. Will the minister assure the House that her office is not holding up our access to information requests?

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I absolutely will assure the hon. member that is the case. We will not be holding up their requests.

Her question gives me a chance to explain to the House what the information commissioner did say. He agreed, as I have said before, that the department did experience a large increase in the volume of requests due to the issues raised last year, but with specific reference to the number of complaints, he said “The matter is well in hand and not indicative of a systemic problem”.

My department has had an extraordinary record in providing information through the access to information process. We hope very soon to be back with an A grade and certainly will ensure that the information is conveyed as quickly as possible.

Ms. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we have asked for information about grants to the Prime Minister's riding, grants to the minister's riding, and about the way access to information requests are processed in her department.

Correspondence from her office all have one thing in common. They are all matters about which she has taken political heat. Is that why we are not getting anything from her department, that she cannot take the political heat?

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that I am still here in the same place I started when I was taking political heat from that party.

*  *  *

[Translation]

RADIO CANADA INTERNATIONAL

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): Mr. Speaker, last week, La Presse featured a report that Radio Canada International would no longer be producing weekend newscasts.

Three months ago, however, the Minister of Canadian Heritage signed a one year memorandum of understanding with the CBC in which the corporation guaranteed the services of Radio Canada International, without any cuts.

Will the minister explain why the current memorandum of understanding is not being respected, and will she assure the House that the services of Radio Canada International will be able to continue, as provided for in last month's memorandum of understanding?

Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it must be remembered that it was this government which saved Radio Canada International. It is also true that there will be a very good partnership with Radio Canada International in the future.

We are pleased that the CBC is in partnership with Radio Canada International in this memorandum of understanding because, with the power of the CBC and the strength of Radio Canada International, we will accomplish wonderful things together.

*  *  *

 

. 1500 + -

[English]

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it has been over a year since the government has promised a more commercial grain handling and transportation system. The plan required the Canadian Wheat Board to negotiate commercial agreements with the rest of the grain industry, but this has not happened.

Could the Minister of Transport tell the House why these commercial agreements have not been signed? What is he doing to end this impasse that is negatively affecting Canadian agriculture?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows, since he is from Alberta, that this is a very complex issue, a complex problem. The reason we have had no results in the last little while is that the parties have been seriously negotiating.

We believe they are close to an agreement on the contracting provisions. Once that occurs I think the hon. member will be satisfied that the changes we brought in last year in Bill C-34 will indeed work.

*  *  *

[Translation]

NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA

Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a strike by members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada employed by the National Gallery of Canada has gone on for too long. This morning, gallery management confirmed that it would be going ahead with the Gustav Klimt exhibit.

However, many visitors will choose, as will I, not to cross the picket line. If this situation drags on, everyone will lose: gallery employees and art lovers.

If this dispute is to be resolved, the parties must talk to each other, which they do not seem to be doing right now.

What does the minister intend to do in the coming days to get the parties back to the bargaining table?

[English]

Mrs. Judi Longfield (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his expressions of concern. I know he understands that a collective agreement works well when it is negotiated.

The Minister of Labour has appointed two negotiators to work with the parties. I urge both parties to take advantage of the resources available to them.

If there is a genuine will to resolve this it can be done today if they use the resources available. I urge them to get back to the table.

*  *  *

HEALTH

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, mercury in fish, the threat of mad cow disease and concerns about genetically engineered foods are all serious issues for Canadians that have not been effectively addressed by the government.

Now we have carbadox, a growth hormone given to pigs which is a cancer causing agent. Even the agriculture minister has written to the health minister in support of a ban.

As we enter the summer season and Canadians fire up the barbecues, will the Minister of Health give assurances to everyone that all pork products are safe, and will he ensure that carbadox is taken off the market immediately?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that Health Canada is looking very carefully at the letter received from the minister of agriculture. Scientists are examining the evidence and in this, as in all other matters, Health Canada will act in the public interest to protect the health of Canadians.

*  *  *

PRESENCE IN GALLERY

The Deputy Speaker: I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Jozef Stank, Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

 

. 1505 + -

[English]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the standing orders I am pleased to submit, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions.

*  *  *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference of Tuesday, April 24, 2001, in relation to Bill S-10, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Poet Laureate).

The committee has considered Bill S-10 and reports the bill with amendment.

*  *  *

TAXPAYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS

 

Mr. Joe Peschisolido (Richmond, Canadian Alliance) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-390, an act to confirm the rights of taxpayers and establish the Office for Taxpayer Protection.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this taxpayer bill of rights in the House today. The bill creates an office for taxpayer protection, headed by a chief advocate who will ensure fairness and protection of the rights of taxpayers.

The bill would protect the taxpaying public from abuses of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency. Ensuring this protection in law would make our tax collection system fair for all Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

*  *  *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

 

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, following exhaustive consultations, I have three motions to present.

I move that the 26th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

FINANCE

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.) moved:  

    That the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel from place to place within Canada during its proceedings pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

 

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, regarding what is known as the 100 signature rule, I move that the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

*  *  *

PETITIONS

VIA RAIL

Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition. To paraphrase, the petition argues that the VIA Rail Atlantic train linking Halifax and Montreal through southwestern New Brunswick was successful prior to its discontinuance in 1994.

Given the increasing scarcity and price of fossil fuels, along with concerns over health related to air quality and global warming, and that air and private auto options for travel are becoming less attractive, the undersigned citizens of southwestern New Brunswick request that the House of Commons ask Transport Canada and federal crown corporation VIA Rail to restore passenger train service linking Saint John and Fredericton westward through Sherbrooke to Montreal and eastward through Montreal to Halifax.

 

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IMMIGRATION

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the petitioners from Alberta and B.C. who have signed this petition request that parliament process the landed immigrant status for Cris Pusztay's wife and son so that they will be permitted to return to Canada without delay.

RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition with over 70 signatures reflecting the concern of citizens over the protection of children from violent sexual predators. The Carrie's guardian angel initiative is what attracted the petitioners to sign.

To ensure the protection of children from sexual predators they ask that parliament pass legislation which would incarcerate indefinitely those offenders designated as dangerous sexual child predators and child rapists who have committed more than one violent offence against a child or children.

They ask that those who attack children receive a sentence of a minimum of 20 years to life with no chance of parole where aggravating factors are involved such as protracted forcible confinement, repeated assaults or other acts of degradation, several offenders acting together, multiple victims and/or the use of weapons to further sexual aims.

CANADA POST

Mr. Rick Laliberte (Churchill River, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition from petitioners all across the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. They bring attention to the disparity of rural route mail carriers.

GASOLINE ADDITIVES

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am honoured to present a petition on behalf of citizens of Burlington and Hamilton.

They call upon parliament to protect the health of seniors and children and save our environment by banning the disputed gas additive MMT, as it creates smog and enhances global warming.

PESTICIDES

Mr. Julian Reed (Halton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition from 75 citizens of the great riding of Halton.

The undersigned residents of Canada call upon parliament to enact an immediate moratorium on the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides until such time as their use has been scientifically proven to be safe and the long term consequences of their application are known.

VIA RAIL

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two more petitions from citizens of the Peterborough area who would like to see VIA service re-established between Peterborough and Toronto.

These citizens believe that this would be good for the environment. It would reduce accidents and gridlock on the highways. It would increase recognition of Peterborough as a business, tourism and educational centre.

This petition has already been productive. There have been two meetings with the Minister of Transport and an announcement by the minister, which has given the community great hope. I have to say we are on the right track with this one.

KIDNEY RESEARCH

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from citizens of Peterborough and other areas who support kidney research toward the development of a bioartificial kidney. The bioartificial kidney is an experimental implant which will help all those with kidney disease.

The petition was developed by Ken Sharp. It has been signed by tens of thousands of people. It has raised national awareness. It has raised awareness in the medical profession and it resulted in a meeting between U.S. and Canadian kidney researchers.

The petitioners urge the Government of Canada to support research toward the bioartificial kidney.

HEALTH CARE

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of dozens of my constituents, largely from Prince George and Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia.

They are concerned about health care workers and students in various health care disciplines in Canada who have been denied training, employment, continued employment and advancement in their careers due to what they feel is unjust discrimination based on the dictates of their conscience.

They urge the Government of Canada to enact legislation to explicitly recognize the freedom of conscience of health care workers and to prohibit this type of coercion.

*  *  *

 

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QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 32 could be made an order for return, the return would be tabled immediately.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed. .[Text]

Question No. 32—Mr. Pat Martin:

    With regards to efforts by the federal government to improve the literacy of Canadians over the last five years: (a) what investments and expenditures were made on literacy and numeracy initiatives; (b) what is the breakdown of these expenditures and investments for each federal department, and specifically for agencies such as the Literacy Secretariat (NLS) at Human Resources Development Canada and Correctional Service Canada; (c) what is the amount of funding which has been directed to each of the provinces and territories; (d) what is the amount of funding which went to each province or territory through Labour Market Training for literacy and education initiatives before the government devolved responsibilities; (e) have any efforts been made to direct such programs for the benefit of the aboriginal peoples of Canada and if so: (i) in what manner; (ii) what amounts have been so dedicated; and (iii) what specific financial programs have been put in place to attain such an objective; and (f) what level of literacy and numeracy is considered necessary to function in today's economy, and similarly, what is the base level needed to obtain and maintain a job?

Return tabled

*  *  *

[English]

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

*  *  *

POINTS OF ORDER

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

Mr. John Cannis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During question period I may have unintentionally implied that the corporations director of Industry Canada was reviewing the original bill of sale referred to by the Alliance member.

I want to take this opportunity to lay to rest that was not the case. As members are aware, the Canada Corporations Act is administered by the Corporations Directorate. I want to put on record that it reviewed the company's records earlier this year in response to a letter by the ethics counsellor. Once the review was completed it replied to the letter. It is my understanding that the company agreed to fully comply with the request of the act.



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

 

Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.) moved that Bill C-11, an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger, be read the third time and passed.

She said: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I stand before the House today to introduce third reading of Bill C-11, the immigration and refugee protection act.

We have all worked hard and fruitfully to bring the bill to this stage. As members know, Bill C-11 is the product of extensive consultation and dialogue. For the past four years we have spoken and exchanged views with the provinces, the territories, non-governmental groups, the legal profession, law enforcement agencies and interested Canadians.

Before we crafted the bill we consulted with committee, not once but twice, and have made many adjustments along the way. A number of ideas and clarifications suggested by the standing committee have been incorporated into the bill and I thank the members of the standing committee for their efforts.

The extensive period of consultation to clarify the policy intent of Bill C-11 has improved the bill and has provided us with new legislation for which we can all be proud.

My goal as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is and has always been to ensure we have legislation for the new millennium that will give us the tools we need to curb abuse while encouraging increased immigration to Canada. We want faster but fair decisions for refugee claimants. The bill would help us achieve these objectives.

Bill C-11 would give Canadians the balanced approach they asked for. It would ensure openness to those who would contribute to Canada and our collective future and ensure tough penalties for those who would abuse our generosity.

I want to be clear. The bill would not be tough on the immigrants and refugees who built this country in the past or who would help us build it in the future. However, it would be tough on criminals, terrorists and those who are threats to our security in Canada.

I assure all members of the House and all Canadians that everyone will receive due process, fair treatment and the protection of our charter of rights and freedoms.

Canadians have told us clearly that it takes too long for us to do many of the things we do. They have told us that it takes too long to remove those who are not welcome in Canada.

 

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The bill would give us a clear, responsible and balanced new law that would help us continue to build the country. In particular, it would allow us to say no faster so we could say yes more often to the immigrants and refugees Canada will need to continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead.

I again remind and assure the House and all Canadians that even as we say no faster to those who are not welcome in Canada, we would ensure there is full respect for due process and for the laws of Canada of which we are so proud.

As I mentioned before, this is framework legislation. It would enshrine rights, key policies and key principles. It would provide our immigration program with the flexibility needed to manage in an increasingly complex and continually changing environment. It would enshrine our agreements with the provinces which recognize immigration as an area of shared jurisdiction.

Our shared work on the bill has extended to proposals for the regulations that would support it. Work on the regulations is already underway and, as committee members know, the results are posted and updated on a regular basis on our website.

I want everyone to know the website address in case interested Canadians would like to visit it and get the most up to date information. Visitors to www.cic.gc.ca can receive all the information about the legislation and other programs and policies of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. Information can be viewed on the website by members of parliament, non-governmental groups, the legal profession and anyone who has an interest in the evolving proposals for the regulations concerning immigration and refugee determination.

I think members will agree that the process is, has been and will continue to be a transparent one. Following a suggestion made at the standing committee, proposed regulations would be tabled in both Houses of parliament as part of the normal pre-consultation phase before they are finalized. This would underline the transparency of the process and ensure parliamentarians an important role.

The regulations would include a strengthened program for overseas refugee resettlement, an expanded family class and new selection criteria to attract more skilled and adaptable independent immigrants. They would also include an in-Canada landing class for temporary workers, foreign students and spouses who are already established in Canada and wish to stay.

It is important to state clearly for the record that the great majority of immigrants and refugees who come to Canada come here legally. They respect our laws and we welcome them. At the front door there is a big welcome mat as we say to those who come to Canada “Respect our laws. You are welcome. We need you. We want you here and we welcome you”.

They come here to make a contribution. They make an important contribution to our society, our economy and our communities. Refugees and immigrants built this country and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

Canadians want a new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that respects our laws and traditions and, above all, continues our tradition of welcoming newcomers. We must continue the humanitarian traditions of openness and compassion that have made this country so proud. Bill C-11 and its accompanying regulations would do just that.

Many who participated in the development of the bill deserve recognition and acknowledgement at this time. I acknowledge the important contribution of my parliamentary secretary, the member for Gatineau. I thank him for his support and hard work in bringing the bill to this stage.

 

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I also acknowledge the important work of all members of the standing committee, particularly the members of the Liberal caucus who engaged in consultations in the very early developmental stages. All members of the House were welcome to participate and did so at the standing committee with the kind of thoughtfulness that is very important.

I also thank members of the opposition. I know the member opposite is surprised to hear that because he was a little concerned that I was too partisan in my remarks. I thank the members of the opposition parties who asked very thoughtful questions. Even though I was surprised by some of the positions they took, I believe the hard work of all members of the House helped produce a bill which should be supported by all members of committee and of the House.

I am aware that what happened at the very end of the committee process was quite collegial. I was surprised to hear that the bill might not be supported by everyone in the House who participated because it deserves their support.

I also acknowledge the officials in my department, led very ably by the assistant deputy minister of policy, Joan Atkinson. I think anyone who participated at the standing committee or who reads Hansard will agree with me that she gave clear and detailed explanations of very complex and often difficult policy implications and objectives. She answered all questions from all members thoughtfully and articulately and has put on the record for future consideration the bill's policy intent.

I hope all members of the House will agree with me that Assistant Deputy Minister Joan Atkinson did an outstanding job of not only defending the bill but ensuring that all members of the standing committee understood the policy intent and implications of the legislation. I also thank all presenters who came before the standing committee and all who sent in detailed briefs.

I also acknowledge the many individuals and groups who met with me personally. All that consultation, input and advice has resulted in an excellent piece of legislation that will stand the test of time.

Many individuals check our website regularly. Many do not. Those who have an interest in citizenship and immigration and in the important work we do should know they are always welcome to contact members of parliament on both sides of the House. They can contact the department or the website, and the questions they have will be answered as quickly as possible. We want to ensure that people know and understand why we have the policies we have, what their intent is and how we go about implementing them in a way which is consistent with our Canadian values and in a way which has become a model for the world.

When I visit our visa posts around the world and meet with officials from countries with which we have bilateral relations, they all ask me about our open and transparent approach to immigration in Canada. They are interested in our new point system. They are interested in the fact that everything is on the Internet and that people are encouraged and welcome to apply. They are envious of our record of independent adjudication at the Immigration and Refugee Board. They are interested in the fact that we have an arm's length IRB with three divisions, one of which sorts out refugee claimants. We know that even though Canada has a different approach than other countries, at the end of the day many countries in the western world ultimately have the same approval rates that Canada has. There are different mechanisms and ways of getting there but we know, and I know this because I have met bilaterally with world leaders, that at the end of the day following due process, the difference for Canada is we make those decisions sooner in a transparent and arm's length way. We give people access to judicial review. We make sure that all risk conditions are considered. We give them landed status and encourage those who are in genuine need of protection to get on with their lives in Canada as quickly as possible, to integrate in our society and feel welcomed.

 

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We know that there are some people who come to us who are not in genuine need of protection. The challenge for the IRB is to make those decisions and then tell those people who are not at risk of leaving Canada, who are inadmissible to Canada or who are not in genuine need of our protection that they must leave Canada. That is always difficult.

We can understand why people want to come to Canada. We are proud of the fact that for the seventh year in a row the United Nations has declared Canada as the best country in the world in to live. One important parts of our immigration program is family reunification and our commitment to do that.

This bill, as I said in my remarks before committee, strengthens our commitment to family reunification, both for immigrants and for refugees. By leaving the application open for a year, we will encourage refugees' families to reunite more quickly. By having an in-Canada landing class for spouses, we will encourage husbands, wives and partners to be together and have status in Canada as quickly as possible.

We know there are many challenges that face us but, after almost two years as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, I want to state clearly to the House the confidence that I have in my officials around the world at the visa posts. They do their very best to make good decisions, to make decisions that are important for Canada because it is about nation building. They are the ones who interview the applicants. Those immigration officers on the frontline are the ones who make a decision as to whether an interview is needed at all. They do this in the face of significant challenges. We know that they often see documents that are not real. We know that since the photocopier was developed we are seeing an increase in fraudulent documents. That poses a great challenge.

That is why in this legislation we have made an inadmissibility category, that if persons present fraudulent documents to Canada they will be inadmissible to Canada for a period of two years. That is supposed to be a deterrent because we want people to respect our laws. We want people to come to Canada, obey our laws, do it the right way and come through the front door where there is a big welcome mat.

However, the door that we want to close is the back door to serious criminals, to terrorists, to those who pose a risk to Canada, to failed refugee claimants and to those who are not in genuine need of our protection. At that back door there is a deportation order waiting.

Canada has one of the best records of removals of any country in the world. Last year over 8,600 people were removed from this country. Of those removals one-third, over 1,700, were those who were criminally inadmissible to this country. However the other two-thirds were failed refugee claimants, people who had overstayed visitor's visas and those who had no status in Canada, no right to remain in Canada.

It is important for us to know that if we are going to open that front door wider, to reunite families, to welcome the refugees, to encourage applications from around the world, to bring the immigrants here that we will need to continue to grow and prosper, we must give Canadians the confidence that we are able to say we want our laws respected. We will treat them fairly but we want them to obey our laws. We want them to come in the front door, not to try to sneak in the back door.

 

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As difficult as it is for us to tell people that it is time to leave Canada, we know it is an important part of the integrity of the immigration program.

My department has two mandates that are reflected in the bill. That is why I say the bill is balanced. The priority for my department is to bring in the people Canada needs, to reunite families and to welcome those refugees who are in genuine need of our protection. However, my department also has an enforcement mandate to ensure that our laws have integrity and that those people who have no right to remain in Canada are stopped from coming. That is called interdiction.

We have a network of immigration control officers around the world who do their very best in often difficult circumstances and with people who are not often telling them the truth when they try to come to Canada surreptitiously. Our immigration control officers, we call them ICOs, are the frontline to try to prevent access to Canada by those who have no right to come here. However, because we have the largest undefended border in the world and are dealing with human judgments, we know that people are sometimes able to come into Canada. Then it is important that the enforcement side of the department does its job.

When I say Bill C-11 is balanced, that is what I mean. It is balanced with a tilt to welcoming and encouraging those people to who we will need in the future to come to Canada. We are a small country with just a 30 million population.

We know about the dependency ratio. By the year 2010 there will be five people working for every one person retired. By the year 2020 there will be only three people working for every one person retired. That poses a great challenge for the government and for all of Canada. Why? Because we are not having enough babies.

I jokingly can say I have done my part. I have four children and six grandchildren. I look around the House of Commons and I do not think I can count on everyone here to go out and start producing the people we will need, although I can hear some members opposite say they have done their part as well.

The reality is that we need people in every region of the country. We need people in the urban and rural best kept secrets of Canada, the small and medium sized cities. We have to tell the world of the wonderful communities ready to welcome immigrants and refugees because they want them to succeed and buy homes. They want them to succeed and pay taxes that will support our public education and health systems. We need them to bring their families because it is families that build communities.

There are some who would suggest that the family class does not contribute, but I would say they are wrong. The family class, the parents, grandparents and dependent children who come together to create families and communities and contribute today but also in the future to the building of the country, is the reason why family reunification is such an important cornerstone of our immigration policy.

As I conclude my remarks on Bill C-11, I want to assure the House that it is an extremely important piece of legislation because it sets the framework for the immigration program for the new millennium. We know the world has changed since the last piece of immigration legislation was adopted by parliament almost 25 years ago. We know we are in a different world. We know there are all kinds of communications, not only the kind of communication available through the Internet, telephones and fax machines, but the kind of communication that is available by getting on an airplane and travelling around the world.

 

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I visited Pier 21 in Halifax. I know it has special meaning for Madam Speaker and for the over 40 members of the House who came to Canada as immigrants, often as children, and many of whom arrived at Pier 21. That historical museum, that monument to the immigration, tells us the story of how this country has changed. It has changed in many ways because of the contribution of those people who came to Pier 21, but it has also changed because of our environment, a global world where people are on the move. That is the challenge for all of us in Canada.

Bill C-11 responds to that challenge. It is a thoughtful, reasoned approached, a bill that balances the duel mandate of my department. That bill is worthy and deserving of support of all members of the House. It is my hope that I will be pleasantly surprised and that we will see support from the opposition parties who were instrumental when assisting at committee, but then walked out the door and started to advocate for greater rights and longer processing.

One thing this piece of legislation does is attempts to streamline so we can make decisions more quickly when it comes to refugee determination and faster but fairer processing for refugee applications. We also want to be able to remove people more quickly.

Some amendments from the opposition party which would have made it more difficult to remove those people who posed a risk to Canada or those people who had committed heinous and serious crimes disturbed me. We have a tradition in this country that only Canadian citizens have the right to remain in Canada. Even Canadian citizens can be extradited if they commit a serious crime in another country and that country succeeds in making an extradition application. That is done through the Department of Justice. Everyone is assured due process.

Those people who are not Canadian citizens, who come to Canada, commit a serious crime, who pose a threat to the safety and security of our country should, in my view, be removed as quickly as possible. I was disappointed that that view was not shared by members of the opposition party. That surprised me. I think if their constituents knew that, they would insist that they support the government's goal of trying to remove those who have committed serious crimes and who are a threat to Canadian society as quickly as possible.

The vote we will have this afternoon will be for third reading of Bill C-11. I appreciate the opportunity to participate. As minister, I have seen first reading, second reading, full debate at committee and all consultations.

I would like to acknowledge and thank my predecessor for the important work she did in conducting the consultations that led to the development of the bill. It was the foundation of those important consultations over a period of four years which led to the development of the bill.

It is my hope that when we have the vote this afternoon, Bill C-11, which is so worthy and deserving of support, will receive unanimous support by all members of the House.

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I rise to participate in the third reading debate of Bill C-11, the act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or endangered.

I appreciate the initiatives and the efforts of members from all parties to actually improve this legislation and the hard work they have done on this committee. At the risk of sounding partisan, I especially appreciate the hard work of the Canadian Alliance MPs who had considerable input on this.

 

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The bill would replace the 25 year old Immigration Act of 1976. There are some much needed changes in the bill but unfortunately it has a series of serious flaws.

Immigration to Canada should be simple. Either one meets the criteria to enter Canada or one does not. The legislation should be clear, transparent, comprehensive, precise, democratic, accountable, efficient, effective, enforceable, easy to interpret and helpful to legitimate immigrants, while maintaining the integrity and security of Canada and Canadians.

Let me make it very clear that the Canadian Alliance will pursue a policy of open and transparent immigration. The nation is strong because at one time either ourselves, our ancestors, our parents or grandparents all immigrated here. Even many of our aboriginal peoples, anthropologists tell us, at one time found their way across the Bering Sea to what we now know as North America. We all immigrated here at some time. The strength of our nation will continue with a good and sound immigration policy.

The legislation may be well intended but the outcome may unfortunately not serve its stated purpose. Lack of clarity, prudence and real enforcement behind the legislation may ultimately cause more troubles than the legislation that it purports to replace. There is far too much reliance to interpret 89 pages of regulations that are in the legislation. Much of what is in the regulations should in fact be in the legislation itself.

Regulations really give the minister the option of running the department any way he or she sees fit. That is not accountability in government, but the present government is not known for its accountability. The Liberal government has a habit of governing by regulation and not by legislation. Regulations cannot be debated in the House of Commons and so in a way it is governing through the back door. It not only makes legislation undemocratic but makes it complex, opaque and difficult to understand.

The Canadian Alliance attempted to have amendments passed that would have made the legislation effective and workable but the Liberals refused to co-operate. Most of the amendments presented at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration by the Canadian Alliance member were rejected by the Liberal dominated committee. There was no true freedom for members on the government's side to vote and support common sense amendments to the legislation.

There is a history of the government not accepting most of the opposition's amendments to any bill. A government should be open to amendments that make sense. It does not weaken the government in the eyes of the public. It strengthens it when the government shows that openness. We on this side are open to pointing out times when the government does that which is good. We point that out and we give it credit. We think correspondingly it should respond to amendments from the opposition that make sense and would improve the legislation.

There are many examples where the government did not seem capable, certainly not willing, to do this. For example, in Bill C-7, the youth criminal justice act, the Liberals refused to accept amendments from the opposition and eventually passed yet another ineffective piece of legislation.

We all know that on Bill C-15 the government refused to accept an opposition suggestion to split provisions that would protect children from Internet predators, which we all support. It would have split the bill into other pieces of legislation which we were willing to debate separately, but the government was not. The official opposition had a number of suggestions for improvement that we wish the government had incorporated into the bill.

As a general principle we have suggested that the minister should establish an ombudsman to receive complaints from Canadians on all matters pertaining to immigration. The ombudsman would report annually to the House of Commons. We feel that was a valid proposal, one that would not hurt the government but strengthen it. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Ministers should consult with municipalities. Wherever I go across the country, and as members of the Canadian Alliance visit with mayors and municipalities, we see the need for a consultation process with the federal government with respect to resettlement for immigrants and integration programs where applicable. The municipalities have to bear not only the responsibility but the cost of this, and there needs to be consultation with the federal government. A Canadian Alliance government would do that.

 

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The government should encourage open and accountable discussions between a variety of agencies, as well as the provinces and non-government immigration organizations. In this bill the government has missed the opportunity to truly strengthen and have a vibrant immigration policy. Our party would work with the provinces for policies on the settlement of immigrants.

The Canadian Alliance supports the current immigration levels but we would like to see immigrants in the jobs that they were trained to do. We would like Canada to attract the best and the brightest from around the world, not just those who wish to come here so we can fulfil a quota but those whose skills correspond to the needs of our economy.

Physicians and nurses are not on the list of occupational needs required by Canada despite acute shortages in those professions. This is an obvious deficiency in the bill. Even if a doctor or a nurse were to immigrate to Canada, he or she might not be allowed to work in his or her field of endeavour for up to two years or until the minister granted a work permit. Whether they are doctors or nurses, qualified immigrants should be able to find work in an expedient way in the occupations in which they were trained. They should not have to work below the level of their qualification.

When it comes to families, we support the expedient reunification of family members. The bill purports to help family reunification, but without the proper enforcement and the staff to handle the changes proposed in the bill, the line-ups of people waiting in the system may be even longer. The system may become further clogged, which is not the way to reunite families.

In order for people to have their spouses or fiancés immigrate to Canada, they must be financially responsible for them for up to five years. That means the spouse or the fiancé is not allowed to work in Canada until his or her application is processed.

A real case in point is when a Canadian marries an American. They both work in the high tech industry and they wish to return to Canada. The American spouse can be sponsored but will not be allowed to work even though the need and the demand is here. He or she can apply for independent status but will not be able to work for up to a year while the application is being processed. These kinds of discriminatory provisions should be removed.

I might add that the discriminatory right of landing fee, also called the head tax, is not a signal to families that we want to see them reunited. The costs are shamefully high, especially to low income families wanting to reunite their families. That is inappropriate and we are opposed to that.

Bill C-11 is also a direct attack in some ways on legitimate refugees. We support and reaffirm our policy of taking in our share of genuine refugees. However paragraph 3(2)(d) states that Canada is:

      —to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;

This translates into meaning that every criminal or otherwise undesirable entering Canada who claims to be a refugee would be under Canadian protection from extradition to another country if there was reason to believe they would be under threat of any harm. The list of undesirables includes international terrorists, murderers, members of organized crime, sex offenders and child abusers.

The key changes include referring refugees to the Immigration and Refugee Board within three working days. What is key here is the processing time of a claim would still remain at 90 days. There is no improvement whatsoever and that is unacceptable.

The unnecessary appeal processes need to be curtailed. The onion layer effect of appeals actually causes more problems than it attempts to solve. The definition of a refugee needs to be clearly defined. Most Canadians know what a true refugee is. We support doing our part to help those who are truly in need, but keeping them clogged in the system is not helping them, especially when they are found not to be genuine refugees and are deported. Their lives are ruined after so many months and years in the system.

 

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The bill would also give refugees, as well as refugee applicants, full charter protection. If for any reason someone is either denied access to Canada or refused refugee status, that person would be entitled to an appeal. It also means refugees would be given full rights as if they were citizens of Canada, appealing possibly all the way up to the supreme court. No other country in the world does this.

It has been reported recently that some 15,000 individuals facing deportation warrants are missing and Canadian authorities have no idea where they are. The government's record for tracking landed immigrants is abysmal. We do not keep exit reports on those who depart and this is something that needs to be addressed. There are 89 pages of regulations and the government does not have the ability to keep track of exit reports.

The Canadian Alliance, along with most Canadians, supports the deportation of undesirable individuals without question or delay in cases of criminal activity or non-compliance with the Immigration Act.

Bill C-11 would completely strip the minister of his or her right to deport those who have either broken the law or have come to Canada to escape the law. The Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Minister of Justice v Burns and Rafay, which came down on February 15, applies to those individuals who face the threat to their person if deported from Canada.

According to the ruling, all convicted or charged criminals can now seek asylum in Canada and the minister has no visible authority to deport them. There is nothing in the legislation to address this supreme court ruling. This is a grave deficiency and the minister will not address it.

The bill would allow for so-called front-end security screening but it would only apply to refugees, which in some cases is a physical impossibility. Front-end screening would not apply to applicants in general.

The bill promises to deliver better enforcement of security measures for both refugee and immigrant applications but there is no plan of action set out in the bill to explain how this would work. It appears that it would be at the whim of those who administer the program.

No one should be allowed to enter Canada without proper security checks as to his or her risk to the country. All persons entering Canada should be subject to a security check at all ports of entry. All persons entering and leaving Canada should be recorded as deemed to have entered or left Canada.

Shortage of staff and inadequate training create a security risk. This was evidenced by Mr. Lai Changxing, the accused kingpin smuggler who landed in Canada through queue jumping, who was not detected by the visa officer by even a simple background check. This is just not acceptable.

In relation to human smugglers, the government should send a strong message to these individuals who exploit and prey on vulnerable people. Our actions should be stronger than words. We need tougher laws and the will to implement them by levying longer jail sentences and higher fines. All vehicles, be they ships, aircraft or automobiles, used in the illegal transportation of human cargo should be immediately seized and impounded for at least one year.

There is no penalty for knowingly submitting a false application for immigration to Canada. Individuals may submit as many fraudulent applications as they like. A mechanism needs to be put in place that would prevent repeat fraudulent application submissions. The bill contains no deterrent from repetitious and fraudulent applications. This will continue to cause endless paperwork for visa officers.

Bill C-11, regardless of its intentions, does not deliver what it is promising without better enforcement, accountability and management. There is no action plan in the legislation to achieve these results. The good points in the bill are unfortunately outweighed by its flaws, flaws which we in the opposition parties have identified. We have proposed amendments to improve the bill but they have been rejected.

 

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Unless the Liberal government is willing to entertain amendments to strengthen and improve the bill, I cannot support it. We want to support a good, transparent, open policy of immigration in this country, but the bill will not do it.

[Translation]

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Madam Speaker, Canada and Quebec are havens. The Immigration Act should enshrine this welcome in a fair and equitable manner so as to respond as humanely as possible to the needs of new arrivals, be they immigrants or refugees, in accordance with international conventions and the values held by Canadians and Quebecers.

However, the anchor point for Bill C-11 is the harsh treatment accorded illegal immigrants. Much of the bill focuses on the closing of the door on potential immigrants, through the consolidation of measures intended to prevent fraud, reveal false declarations and abuse and deny criminals and people representing security risks access to the country.

Initially, it would appear from the bill that Canada has been invaded by criminals of all sorts; in a word, the door is open too wide. Not only is there a need for a bolt, but for an impenetrable alarm system as well.

The Bloc Quebecois does not agree with this position. While it is important, indeed vital, to prevent criminals, especially those in organized crime or who have committed crimes against humanity, from entering the country, we must remember that these individuals represent a minuscule fraction of the people immigrating to Canada. To do otherwise is to reinforce the prejudice against refugees and immigrants.

I will quote to you, if I may, Madam Speaker, from an open letter from the Centre justice et foi de Montréal on Bill C-11:

    Bill C-11 was introduced in an essentially negative and defensive light: campaign against the snakeheads, major increase in penalties, increased powers of detention, reinforced interception measures abroad, reduced possibilities of appeal or review.

    In our opinion, this represents a serious and dual perversion of the entire Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. First of all, it is situating immigration—an asset to society, a plus, even a demographic necessity in the case of Canada—in a reverse perspective, as a threat from which we must protect ourselves. Also, it is displacing the function of protecting those in need—the refugees included in the title—to protecting Canadians from the potential risk or abuse connected with these new arrivals.

      ...The logic of repression is everywhere, without escape and without end, and even if officially only certain immigrants and refugees are targeted, it will end up spilling over inevitably to all immigrants and all refugees.

That, in my opinion, is a very good summary of the general feeling of almost all individuals and organizations we met with during the committee hearings.

Yesterday the House awarded honourary citizenship to Nelson Mandela. No one can ignore the paradox and irony of the contrast between yesterday's Motion No. 379 and today's bill.

If the new legislation had been in effect 40 years ago and Nelson Mandela had sought asylum in Canada, as a member of an organization for the subversion by force of any government, to use the wording of clause 34, he would have been inadmissible. He would have been sent back to South Africa and there is a good chance that he would not have ended up the Nobel Laureate we now know.

During the committee review of the bill, the Bloc Quebecois introduced an amendment to paragraph 34(b), so that only those who engage in or instigate the subversion by force of a democratically elected government be inadmissible. It seemed logical that the government should support this amendment. I do not have to tell members what the government's answer was. True to itself, it rejected the amendment.

 

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The process for appointing board members is another major component of this bill. The bill does not include any changes to the appointment process. However, for several years, the Bloc Quebecois has been criticizing the Liberals for constantly making political appointments to the commission. It is essential to set up a transparent appointment process that will ensure full impartiality and a selection based on the qualifications and professional experience of the candidates, and not, as is often the case, on their political connections.

Since the bill provides that the decisions will be made by a single member, it is even more critical that decision makers all be extremely competent. Unfortunately, the amendments that we proposed in this respect were rejected. Yet, the government did not have to look very far. It could have looked at the appointment process for Quebec's administrative tribunals.

A brief was presented to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration by two lawyers and a psychiatrist. The Bloc Quebecois endorsed the proposed changes. By presenting them, we felt we would solve the problem of the political appointments of members by proposing the use of objective criteria guaranteeing the competence and independence of members. But the Liberal Party does not want this. It prefers to continue to appoint members in a totally arbitrary fashion, thus significantly reducing the moral and legal authority of these administrative tribunals. How dare the government toy in this way with the life, safety and freedom of these applicants?

Board members have an important responsibility, and it is no exaggeration to say that they have the power of life and death over those appearing before them.

Early this year, a bad assessment had tragic consequences. Everyone remembers the tragic situation in which the federal government placed Haroun M'Barek, a Tunisian who requested refugee status but was sent back to his country of origin, even though all signs were that he might be tortured there, which was in fact what happened. Too late, Canada recognized its mistake. In this case, the Bloc Quebecois' pressure on the government certainly played a role in Canada's interceding for Mr. M'Barek, but it would have been better if Canada had not had to intervene and Mr. M'Barek had been recognized as a political refugee.

The Bloc Quebecois finds regrettable the hard line taken by the government in introducing this bill and the accompanying public announcements. Through its approach to this issue, we believe that the government, which seems to be trying to reassure the Canadian right, is reinforcing prejudices towards refugees and immigrants. It is thus encouraging division and heightening xenophobic and racist sentiments in society.

In recent years, the Bloc Quebecois has frequently argued that the Canadian system for granting refugee status should include two essential characteristics: it must be prompt and fair towards the person rightfully seeking asylum, and it must dissuade those who clog the system with unfounded applications.

The slowness of the claims process is the cause of unacceptable human tragedies and puts people and families in extremely difficult situations. Is it acceptable that, at the end of December 1999, in Montreal alone, over 7,000 individuals seeking asylum were still awaiting a hearing?

I should mention that, although the bill proposes changes to claims for refugee status, nowhere does Ottawa agree to assume the administrative costs. If the government is so sure the measures proposed in the bill are effective, it should agree to assume the cost of them until the persons involved have been declared refugees and obtained permanent residence or left the country.

In February, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia criticized the federal government's handling of the movement of asylum seekers, demanded major remedial action be taken and called for the federal government, which is solely responsible for the refugee determination process, to assume all the costs of it.

 

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We must remember that it costs Quebec alone over $100 million a year to look after persons awaiting a federal decision by the IRB.

In closing, I would like to express to you a concern over the Canada-Quebec accord. The importance of this agreement lies in the fact that Quebec, aware of its responsibilities to protect French, can and must promote francophone immigration. It is no secret to anyone that the English language minority in Quebec is part of the vast anglophone majority in North America.

Quebec's anglophone minority can absolutely not compare itself to French language minorities in the rest of Canada. We are obviously concerned, and so is the Quebec government, by paragraph 3(3)(e) of Bill C-11, which reads as follows:

    3.(3)(e) supports the commitment of the Government of Canada to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada;

Could it be that this paragraph challenges what had been agreed to in the 1991 Canada-Quebec accord relating to immigration and temporary admission of aliens?

In her presentation on this amendment, the hon. member for Saint-Lambert indicated on behalf of the government that the purpose of this added provision was to ensure that the spirit of the Official Languages Act would be respected, and to help Canada's official minority communities, and to reflect the spirit of the report of the Commissioner of Official Languages, who hopes that the Official Languages Act will be acknowledged in one way or another in every bill.

Indeed, the Official Languages Act stipulates that:

    The government is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development. It is also committed to fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

The anglophone minority in Quebec cannot, however, flourish at the expense of the francophone majority, which is far more threatened and hemmed in on all sides by a North American anglophone tide.

The 1991 Canada-Quebec accord introduced a new and important objective for Quebec, to preserve the demographic weight of Quebec within Canada and to ensure the harmonious integration of immigrants into that society.

This addition to the Canada Immigration Act might also be in contravention of the spirit of Bill 101, which sets out criteria giving precedence to immigration by persons with a knowledge of French.

There is a consensus within the population of Quebec to the effect that it is imperative to ensure the survival of the French fact in North America. Need I remind hon. members that only 2% of the population of North America is francophone?

This threat to the survival of French was noted by UNESCO in 1999, when it judged that Quebec was entitled by law to restrict access to English schools because this was an appropriate way of preserving the French fact in Quebec. Even the Canadian ambassador to UNESCO stated in his argument:

    In the specific demographic context of Quebec, the precarious situation of francophones and the preservation of their cultural identity in North America, and more specifically in Canada, required a legislative intervention tailored to their unique situation.

Could it be that wishing to support and assist “the development of minority official languages communities in Canada” and enhance “the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada” within the framework of immigration legislation could have the direct effect in Quebec of favouring the English-speaking minority in Quebec to the long term detriment of the very existence of the French-speaking minority in Canada?

Since 1951, Statistics Canada figures have shown a constant decrease in the size of Canada's French-speaking population.

It will therefore be important for the Government of Canada to enforce clauses 8 and 9 of this bill so as not to threaten Canada's French-speaking minority, most of whom reside in Quebec.

 

. 1615 + -

In closing, I cannot help regretting that the third reading of Bill C-11 has been rushed through in under two hours. This shows a complete lack of respect for the people of Canada and of Quebec. It also shows a lack of respect for those men and women who dream of coming and building a better future in Quebec.

I hope that the bill can be amended in the near future so that it meets the real needs of the public.

[English]

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak against Bill C-11, as I have done on behalf of the New Democratic Party throughout the entire legislative process dealing with this bill on immigration and refugee policy.

The bill was touted as constituting a major overhaul of the Immigration Act. It was supposed to be a long awaited replacement for a law that has been in place for more than 22 years. We all know that it replaces Bill C-31, which died on the order paper when the federal election was called, so the government had a second chance to get this right but refused. It had an opportunity to get up the courage and lead with some vision, but it failed miserably.

It is rare in my experience to deal with a government bill that is so seriously flawed as this one, so universally opposed as Bill C-11. Certainly I know that in our committee discussions there was universal opposition to the bill on the opposition benches. That was before today, before the leader of the Alliance Party rose in his place and appeared to be contradicting the good work, on many different levels, of the Alliance critic for immigration.

I hope the wisdom of the critic for the Alliance will prevail and that we will see a co-operative effort on this side of the House in continuing to apply pressure on the government to improve the bill and to think twice before allowing it to come to a vote today. I know that seems a bit far fetched, but the sentiments we heard from Canadians from coast to coast to coast were very clear and precise. Canadians do not want to see this kind of rigid, restrictive and punitive approach and are very disappointed in the Liberal government.

This is an area that is sensitive. We know that. We know, based on how immigration issues are raised in the House and the concern on the part of Canadians to ensure a balanced approach, there is a need for leadership by the government to help educate and inform Canadians about the need for immigration.

On a matter of such importance as immigration policy, population policy, which really is fundamental to the whole policy area, it is hard to imagine any government proceeding without considerable backing, without even qualified support from the opposition benches or without some community organization leaping to its defence. However, that is exactly what the government is doing. It is plowing ahead despite repeated concerns, suggestions and criticisms raised by Canadians, by individuals, immigration advocates, refugee sponsors, ethnocultural organizations and people who advocate and work in the field day in and day out.

It cannot be said that efforts were not made to improve the bill. It is not for the lack of trying that we end up in this position today with a bill that is virtually unchanged from the start of the process to the end. The committee worked hard. It has been acknowledged. Canadians worked hard. Throughout the committee process we heard from over 150 different groups from coast to coast to coast. Almost in unison they spoke against the bill.

We proposed hundreds of amendments at the committee level during clause by clause. There were over 80 amendments from the NDP alone. Yet with the exception of perhaps a handful of amendments, a few small changes, the bill remains flawed. It remains a document with many offensive and troubling aspects.

 

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I want to make it clear that for the NDP, at least, this bill is problematic not because of one or two offensive clauses but because as a whole it goes in the wrong direction. I think this is the case for other opposition parties and it had been the case for the Alliance Party as well.

The bill is contrary to the very values that Canadians hold so near and dear. The bill as a whole, in all of its parts, is a disappointment. It is a lost opportunity and is regressive in many ways. Many have told us that bill would in some cases actually make the situation even worse. Imagine that. After all the consultations and the successive bills presented on this matter, it is not even possible to draw the conclusion from all groups involved, including experts and concerned citizens, that the bill is better than the present 22 year old law. That is what we are hearing.

Imagine a Liberal government bill being so roundly criticized not because it offends, with the exception of the Leader of the Opposition and a few others, the extremist elements of our society, the right wing elements or the conservative doctrine in the country, but because it violates fundamental principles in the areas of democratic rights, civil liberties and humanitarian ideals. That is astounding.

As so many told us throughout the whole process, the bill, when all is said and done, is un-Canadian and undemocratic and it is certainly un-Liberal. Liberal members in the House today should be ashamed for supporting this bill and for refusing to rise in their places and speak against this very regressive legislation.

Legislation in the immigration and refugee policy field should flow from our history, our traditions and the values of Canadians and it should be based on population needs. In terms of history, as many have said in the House, this country has been defined by the waves of immigration that have taken place over a long period of time.

We have all said in the House that except for Canada's aboriginal peoples all of us or our ancestors came from somewhere else. We are all immigrants and we value the fact that our society is diverse. We see Canada gaining strength from adversity in terms of our climate and our geography and also from our diversity in terms of the successive waves of immigration and the ethnocultural diversity of the country.

I think it is fair to say that Canada is one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world. It has certainly been stated that way by Gwynne Dyer, who wrote a wonderful piece in Canadian Geographic in the February 2001 issue, in which he said:

    What is truly remarkable is the ethnic profile of the immigrants to Canada, which is unique in how closely it matches the global distribution of the human population...Canada, more than anywhere else, is truly becoming the world in one country.

Canada's legacy, Canada's history, is about that diversity. It is not just about the number of people who have come from so many different places. It is about how we treat and deal with one another in the context of being a mosaic. It is our tradition and our values that have shown the way. Canada is a model for the world in terms of respect for differences, for not imposing one view or one way of thinking or one way of life on our immigrants and the people who make up this country. Our way is one of easygoing acceptance, of generosity and tolerance and respect for differences. We do not impose some uniform identity on the immigrants who come to this country.

 

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One would think, based on our history, traditions and values, that today we would be at a point of advancing openness and tolerance in the form of the bill before us.

That happened about 30 years ago. That was a significant part of our history. The government of the day under Pierre Elliott Trudeau actually looked at this as an important policy area that had to be addressed. We saw legislation introduced that allowed for the doors of our country to be opened up and for immigrants to come to this country from all over the world.

Here we are today in the year 2001, the start of the millennium, with the hope that we could build on that history and that tradition. Instead we are looking at probably one of the most restrictive and punitive pieces of legislation that parliament has seen in a long time. It is certainly out of character in terms of Canadians' expectations with respect to Liberals in this country.

Some of the recent developments illustrate what kind of situation we are dealing with. It is not just a regressive, restrictive, punitive law but also a fortress mentality that is deeply entrenched in the system. Although the minister is addressing this issue, we saw the treatment of Tinuola Akintade, the British citizen who received such rough treatment at an airport in this country, thus showing us that legitimate visitors are sometimes treated like criminal suspects in the country today.

We have also learned some lessons from the whole episode with respect to establishing honorary citizenship for Nelson Mandela. Although it is very important for the government to have taken this initiative, and we have supported it every step of the way, we certainly were appalled at the one or two Alliance members who objected to recognition for Nelson Mandela.

We are also galled by the decision of this government to make such an important statement at the same time that it is bringing in a bill that, if we were able to repeat history and he was seeking refuge from his particular circumstances, would have denied Nelson Mandela the ability to enter this country in the first place. As we have heard from many organizations and certainly from my colleague, the member for Winnipeg Centre, who made this point repeatedly during the process pursuant to Bill C-31, Nelson Mandela would have been denied entry into this country because he would have fallen under the definition of being a terrorist.

This point was made so well recently in an article in the Globe and Mail written by Sharryn Aiken and Andrew Brouwer, who stated that for many individuals the provisions of Bill C-11 actually mean:

      —that merely associating with known suspects, sympathizing with a national liberation struggle or doing some community organizing in Canada will be enough to get a person labeled “member of a terrorist organization,” if the cause in question happens to be on the government's informal...blacklist. By permitting such findings of guilt by association, the provisions violate international standards and principles of criminal law, bringing to mind some of the worst excesses of the McCarthy era.

The other important point in this debate is the need for this legislation to reflect population policy, for it to be based, to be founded, on our vision as a country in terms of numbers, in terms of where we want to go, how we want to grow and at what speed, and how we meet the needs of citizens in this nation.

Canada can no longer count on a steady stream of prospective immigrants knocking at our door seeking admission. We are just not competitive any more. We are not competitive because we have moved so far toward a very punitive, restrictive process.

The numbers say it all. We have heard so much from the minister about opening the front door. We have heard so much about trying to get our immigration and refugee population up to 1% of Canada's overall population.

If that were the case today we would be at about 300,000 new immigrants or newcomers to Canada. According to the latest statistics, we are not even close. The numbers are a little higher than they were in 1967 when a Liberal government opened the doors and brought in legislation at that time.

 

. 1630 + -

We are not making great progress toward meeting that minimal goal of 1% of our population. We are not meeting that goal in terms of immigrants or refugees. We are not contributing in a major way, as many Liberals have stood up in the House to suggest, for Canada to be a home for displaced persons and people in need of protection. We are told over and over again how Canada is a model in terms of refugees, yet when it comes down to the actual numbers, for the last year for which we have statistics, we are at about 25,000 refugees. I do not think that is something to brag about. It certainly points to the possibilities for more openness when it comes to both immigrants and refugees.

We are a large country. We have the second largest land mass in the world. With only a little more than 30 million people, we can do better than this in opening our doors to people who want to come to Canada. We have to do better if we are really serious about renewing ourselves as a population and ensuring that we continue to meet the economic and social needs of Canadians.

We heard from many groups that made that point, especially people from Manitoba such as the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council and the Citizenship Council of Manitoba. Both organizations have said time and time again that our demographics show that we are both aging and we are not having enough offspring to replace our current population. This was a point made by the minister today.

Then the question is what is the action to deal with that situation, and why have we not taken more steps to open our doors? Is this what Canadians want? What affect will this have on our social and economic well-being? Can we survive as a nation if we cannot be competitive because of a stagnant population? Is this truly the kind of vision we have of Canada in terms of the global community?

The point of all the presentations we have heard was to base our policy on history, values, traditions and on population needs. We have failed to do that through this bill. We have lost an important opportunity.

What the government is really doing with this bill is protecting Canada from the world instead of uniting and re-uniting families and building a nation. It seems to me that the bill is predicated on that fortress mentality of keeping out the bad guys and protecting Canadians from negative elements in the world. The bill fails to do what is fundamental to the task at hand, which is to ensure that we allow families to be re-united and that we build the country on the basis of the contributions that each individual and each family make, just as our ancestors did, and that in the process we build and unite this country.

What we are doing in the bill is the worst possible thing of all. We are responding to an anti-immigration sentiment that is a very small part of public opinion these days and declining with every day that passes. There is a pandering to prejudices tone in this bill that does in fact lead to xenophobia and racism. That is the last thing this place should be about. This is the last thing the government would want to do I would hope.

We are debating a bill that is keeping people out instead of re-uniting families and building a nation. We tried very hard to expand the definition of family class. We proposed adding grandparents, brothers and sisters. It was a tie vote until the chair had to break the tie and kept with Liberal policy, which was unfortunate.

Equally unfortunate is the fact that the government refuses to look at the whole restrictive approach to visitors visas which is probably cause for the greatest number of concerns and cases that MPs hear in our constituency offices.

The bill refuses to deal with the head tax which does restrict immigrants from less developed and poorer countries around the world. It is discriminatory because of the head tax. We tried very hard to get that deleted.

 

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It falls short in dealing with the whole issue of foreign credentials and ensuring that we recognize people with training, skills and education from other countries. It fails to, as we tried to do, eliminate and replace the live-in caregiver program, which is so repugnant in the treatment of women and the perpetuation of the notion of women being cheap slave labour. It denies people the right to pursue their democratic rights for appeals to the courts. We heard that over and over again. It does not live up to our international conventions on refugees and torture. It is a disappointment on many fronts.

I would like to conclude with one sentence that asks the question: In this world of globalization and rapid technology, does this have to mean harmonization and homogenization or would it not be better to ensure that the strength and the spirit of individual communities and ethnocultural populations is supported, enhanced and able to contribute to the strength of this country?

Mr. John Herron: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to seek unanimous consent from the House to share my time with my friend, the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): Does the House give its consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Madam Speaker, as we know, the twelve to eight split was unbalanced. Although we did not get what we wanted out of Bill C-11, there was goodwill on both sides of the House during the presentations from over 150 witnesses. The hon. members for Mississauga West and London North Centre provided very solid contributions.

[Translation]

I also wish to pay tribute to the Bloc Quebecois immigration critic, the member for Laval East, and to the New Democratic Party spokesperson and the member for Dauphin—Swan River, all of whom made an important contribution to consideration of this bill.

[English]

Our country was not built by a big Sussex, New Brunswick, or a big Lethbridge, Alberta, or even a big Winnipeg. We built it together. A very multicultural pluralistic society built one of the best nations in the world, one that is the envy of the world.

I am very proud of the Progressive Conservative background and our history of embracing immigration, which is an economic necessity to grow our vibrant society. We also embrace the welcoming of human diversity in a protection of refugees. Canada is one of the four countries in the world that accepts convention refugees. We should be applauded for that.

I would like to pay tribute to members such as the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester who was a member in the former prime minister, Brian Mulroney, government. Immigration rates tripled from about 88,000 to about 240,000 over the nine year regime of that government.

The Liberal Party of Canada has a very well-deserved history with respect to immigration. Look how it opened its arms to Canadians through the era of statesmen such as Wilfrid Laurier, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. That is the traditional position of immigration with the Liberal Party of Canada.

Looking at Bill C-11, it would seem that the Liberal Party of Canada is the most reticent among the political parties in the House to embrace massive immigration and to provide the necessary tools to protect refugees. Clearly there was a divergence of opinion between the member for Dauphin—Swan River and the Leader of the Opposition with respect to their speeches, but I will leave that issue aside.

 

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In summary, we have some problems with the bill. There is a lack of entrenched appeal rights for permanent residents and sponsors. A clause in the bill specifies that a refugee may make only one claim per lifetime no matter how drastic the change in circumstance. We have a problem with the fact that the final appeal for a refugee is a mere paper appeal. We believe that refugee rights are human rights. We should determine if a person could be persecuted, or tortured or perhaps die by not granting refugee status. We should look that person square in the eyes when we make that determination, as opposed to a mere paper appeal.

The bill has been rushed through. We essentially have had closure on debate. We are fast-tracking the bill as we head back to our ridings for the summer months.

One initiative was taken and I want to compliment my colleagues on the opposition benches in particular. After hearing 150 witnesses from coast to coast and travelling this great country, we said we needed an opportunity to reflect on the information we had received. We needed to have a week to prepare our amendments. I put an amendment forth to force the government to move in that direction. However to the credit of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and her colleagues on the Liberal benches, they saw the wisdom of that particular motion as we headed to the latter days. In fact we were able to table some amendments that actually had a modest augmentation to the bill.

Essentially what we are looking at with respect to the legislation is an opportunity to have a pioneering piece of legislation, one of which Canadians can be proud, which would replace an outdated piece of legislation.

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis: What did we get?

Mr. John Herron: Instead we got mediocrity at best. My friend and colleague from the NDP agrees with that position.

Robert F. Kennedy stated:

    Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this great generation.

Every member in the House had an opportunity to take an incremental step to augment the legislation, to bend history and bring forth a better piece of legislation.

What I am concerned about is that the party of Pearson and Trudeau has had its traditional position eclipsed by individuals who see immigration as a problem, as opposed to something that is an economic necessity and is something that actually builds a greater Canada, economically and with respect to human diversity. The party has been sucked into the debate where it is easier to talk about the .00001% of immigrants or refugees who have criminal difficulty of some form, as opposed to talking about the fact that the glass is very full.

The tough sounding legislation is not necessarily going to help the Liberals obtain their one per cent target with respect to immigration. Stripping rights of permanent residents and refusing to protect refugees to the degree we should will only make life unfair and difficult, if not unjust, for many people who fall within the 99% range with respect to the immigrants to our great country.

As a point of fact, we heard officials infer and offer in committee that the problem with addressing the criminal aspect of immigration and refugees and removing undesirables was not the bill. They even advocated that the bill would not even enhance the situation. It was the application of the act.

 

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I very much want to help the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. She simply does not have the resources to actually do what she wants to do. In order to cover it up politically, we have a bill that sounds tough but really does not provide an additional tool kit. It merely strips the rights of permanent residents and does not protect refugees to the degree that we should. Moreover, it really taints the traditional position of the Liberal Party of Canada with respect to immigration.

However there were some actual wins in the bill. I would like to point out one. The Progressive Conservative Party tabled a particular amendment, which was passed, and I will refer to it as a great Tory amendment. It specified that both permanent residents and protected persons shall be provided with status documents which allow travel, ID and access to school. I thank my colleagues on all sides of the House who actually supported that amendment tabled in the name of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

I will just touch on other problems with the bill. We know that it strips rights of permanent residents unnecessarily and denies them the fundamental justice of due process. In fact in regard to the protection of refugees, I have two problems. The bill does not provide for an oral appeal in the final application. I will give credit to the government for adding an additional appeal to the process, but it is a mere paper trail. It is not an oral appeal.

We need that extra appeal because of the very fact that we have moved from three adjudicators to one. With a single person making the determination, it is that much more important to have some form of review of what took place in that particular determination. I think this is a point that all members understand, but the bill fails to deliver on that particular aspect. If we want to move faster, because we move from three adjudicators to one, so be it, but we need to have an oral appeal. If we get it wrong and make an error in the determination of a refugee, people die, people get tortured, people get persecuted. Those are the facts we have to endure. I believe the bill falls short in this aspect.

There is another aspect that I believe falls short with respect to refugee protection. We proposed an amendment that was supported by the opposition and was supported in spirit by members of the government side. I want to pay tribute to the member for Winnipeg South Centre, who actually helped provide a compromise amendment. We said that there should be a capacity to make a second appeal for refugee status if the circumstances in the country drastically change or if there is some reason why evidence could not have been deduced properly in the first hearing.

I have a brief example. Convention refugees receive status here in Canada after they were able to escape persecution in their home country. Then things turn around in their home country, or they think so, and they go back. Five or six years later or maybe even a couple of years later they look at it and say the country has gone to hell in a handbasket again, so they want to survive and find refuge. Under this law it is a grey area. I will not say that there is no chance of them getting a second application approved, but it is a bit of a grey area.

Those are the particular problems I have with the bill. We thought the government missed some opportunities to further describe common law partner as meaning same sex and opposite sex, which would have meant a lot to a certain community. We should have embraced that. Also, the head tax is still there and has not been addressed.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the learned member for Dauphin—Swan River, so we can actually have a diversity of opinion.

 

. 1650 + -

Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have just a brief comment, and I want to congratulate my colleague from Fundy—Royal for his speech and also for his magnanimous gesture in including a member from another party in the debate. I think that is a very good thing do. I also congratulate my colleague from Mississauga West who gave consent and informed his members on the other side that it would be an appropriate thing to do. I think that any time we can work in a less partisan way to address a serious issue it serves us all well.

Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the member for Fundy—Royal for being very unselfish in sharing his time with me today.

I am very honoured to take part in the third reading of Bill C-11, the new immigration act. I have said to the House before that as a third generation immigrant to this country, I am very privileged to be here, and that includes the 44 other members in the House who are also Canadians by choice. I believe we are all very thankful that this country has taken us in.

Unfortunately we still have a long way to go. A new immigration bill is long overdue. The bill is called an act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger. Unfortunately the contents of the bill do not reflect the title.

Also at this time I want to thank my deputy critic, the member for Blackstrap, for her due diligence and hard work as we travelled throughout the country seeking public information.

I also want to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, members from all sides of the House, for their tremendous co-operative spirit, which was demonstrated throughout all stages of Bill C-11. There is no doubt that we as a committee wanted what was best for this country in our attempt to write the immigration laws for the next decade.

I want to thank the capable chairman of the committee, the member for London North Centre, for his relatively non-partisan approach. I believe he has not forgotten that he, like I, immigrated to this country in the 1950s as a young child.

Also at this time I need to thank the clerks and the parliamentary support staff for all the hard work they displayed in keeping us organized and moving.

We have heard from all sides of the House about how important immigration is and how immigration built this country. Immigrants have been coming to Canada since the 1500s and they have shaped this country. Canadians from all walks of life can relate in some manner to the immigrants who came to Canada seeking a better life.

The manner in which Canada welcomed these newcomers was not always friendly. In my brief intervention here I would like to quote from a book called Whence They Came: Deportation from Canada, written by Barbara Roberts. The foreword was written by Irving Abella in 1988 and I believe this is a good time to reflect on our history of immigration in Canada. Mr. Abella states:

    Canada is a peculiar nation. Peopled by immigrants, it is a country, paradoxically, which hates immigration. Every single public opinion survey over the past fifty years indicates that most Canadians—including by the way, most immigrants themselves—do not want any substantial increase in the number of people admitted to this country. This attitude may surprise Canadians, but historically it should not.

    It is one of our great national myths that Canada has a long history of welcoming refugees and dissidents, of always being in the forefront in accepting the world's oppressed and dispossessed, of being receptive and hospitable to wave after waves of immigrants.

    We Canadians like to think that racism and bigotry are European or American in origin and play little part in our history, tradition or psyche. We see ours as a country of vast open spaces and limitless potential which has always been open and available to the proverbial huddled masses yearning to be free.

    Yet as the recent history in Canadian literature has shown, the Canadian record is one of which we ought not be proud. Our treatment of our native people as well as our abysmal history in admitting blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and during the 1930s and 1940s Jews, should lay to rest the myth of our liberalism and enlightenment on matters of race and immigration.

    Let us face facts For most of our history Canadian immigration laws were racist and exclusionary. We knew precisely what kind of people we wanted, and how to keep out those we didn't. Until the 1960s our immigration policies divided the world into two - the “preferred” races who were always welcome in Canada and the “non-preferred” who rarely were. The former were of British and European stock; the latter included almost everybody else.

    The central problem of Canadian immigration policy is that for most of our history we did not have one. Since 1867 the country has had precisely four immigration acts. Nor has there ever been in Canada—neither now nor in the past—any clearly articulated national consensus about what immigration should be or what it would be. Except for one constant—its discriminatory aspects—our policies have had little consistency.

 

. 1655 + -

Even today when we look at 1% as the target, we still do not know why we use that as a target.

The integrity of Canada's immigration system is determined by processes that are used to determine who would be allowed to immigrate to Canada and under what conditions they would be allowed to reside in the country. It is essential that the checks and balances be in place to ensure that decisions are just, because no system can ever be perfect.

Enforcement of immigration laws can and does have severe consequences. It causes a separation of parents from children, spouses from one another and individuals from a country that was their home. To ensure that Canada has a balanced immigration system, Canadians need a process that is responsible, compassionate, equitable and fair.

Bill C-11 fails to preserve the process that is necessary for ensuring reliable and just decision making for immigrants and refugees to this country. The bill strips away the progress that Canada has made in creating review processes that help bring balance to our national immigration policy. Some of these come down to seemingly simple procedural issues but are critical for the administration of a fair and just immigration system.

The Canadian Alliance cannot support Bill C-11. It just goes against the values of being Canadian. I thank the member for Fundy—Royal for sharing his time with me.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River. I understand from my colleague who is a member of the committee and others, and I believe he displayed it again today, that he takes a very moderate, tolerant and inclusive approach to the particular issue as well as to other issues that have come before the committee and the House.

I am not trying to be provocative in this question, but my confusion lies in the sense that it appears a different approach has been laid out by previous speakers, including his leader. I want to make sure that we attribute the credit and the admiration for the position he has just put before the House.

I am not trying to put him on the spot or have him distance himself from the previous speaker in his party, but I want to be generous in suggesting that he has taken an approach that I believe is very consistent not only with the position of the Progressive Conservative Party but with that which I think is more in line with the way Canadians feel that immigration should work. Would the hon. member care to comment on that?

Mr. Inky Mark: Mr. Speaker, to make things very clear, the Canadian Alliance is pro-immigration. We promise to welcome new Canadians and at the same time keep out the criminals. The Canadian Alliance immigration policy states:

    Canada is a nation of immigrants. We have always been enriched by new arrivals to our shores. A Canadian Alliance government will maintain the current level of immigration. We will make it easier for immigrants who possess advanced skills and training to enter Canada, and will make the family reunification process truly responsive.

Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I too was very impressed by my colleague's speech and his approach to the immigration question. He was critical of the bill. Would he tell the House what he feels should be in the bill that is not in it at present? What changes does he feel would be appropriate to assist immigrants in entering our country?

 

. 1700 + -

Mr. Inky Mark: Mr. Speaker, the irony of the hearings was that the majority, probably over 90%, of the more than 150 stakeholders were in opposition to the bill. Obviously there is something wrong with the bill.

It is impossible to travel throughout the country and spend two weeks in Ottawa listening to Canadians voice their opinions of the bill. Over 200 amendments were put in the committee on a clause by clause basis and the majority, again I would say over 90%, were rejected. Some of them were very rational and reasonable. The government accepted a few, but not a lot was done with them.

I will illustrate that the one area which needed to be clarified was the whole issue of foreign nationals and permanent residents. The member on the government side suggested we should perhaps go back to the old business of landed immigrant status. If people land they are landed and have status. That is a very rational approach. I wish the government had listened to its own member.

Unfortunately permanent residents still risk losing their status when they leave the country. Because permanent resident and foreign national intermingle at times, the government made it worse. It put the words permanent resident alongside the words foreign national throughout the bill. The government could have done a lot of things to improve the bill but did not.

Mr. Steve Mahoney (Mississauga West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time in what is left of the debate with the member for Laval West. I have witnessed what I can only call treachery in this place today. I sat through committee hearings where the critic who just spoke put forward a number of thoughtful amendments that were surprising to many of us on the government side. He listened to some of the people who came forward, took up the challenge they put before the committee, and put forward amendments.

Those amendments in essence would have allowed more rights of appeal for permanent residents who are convicted of a crime, sentenced to at least two years of a possible ten year sentence and who have served that time in prison. When they come out of prison the minister under the new act would have the right to begin deportation proceedings.

The critic put forward amendments, as did other critics on the opposite side, that would have given more appeal opportunities to criminals convicted under what we call the 10 and 2 rule. The amendments would have increased the opportunities for appeal.

I came here today to listen to the leader of Her Majesty's official opposition deliver a speech in which Hansard will show and record that he said there should be fewer opportunities for appeal on deportation orders.

I wondered if I was hearing correctly. Was the Leader of the Opposition openly challenging and countering everything his critic has done in the weeks and months that have gone by in bringing the bill to the point of third reading?

I recall the requirement put in place recently that all speeches by the leader of Her Majesty's opposition be vetted by the critic within that caucus. I wondered if the Canadian Alliance immigration critic had vetted the speech by his party's leader. I can only assume he did not.

It is truly stunning to see this kind of treachery within one's own organization. It is unfair, because while I may disagree with the member opposite—

 

. 1705 + -

Mr. Jay Hill: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I listened very carefully to the hon. member. It is very unparliamentary to accuse another hon. member of treachery. That language is definitely over the top. I would ask the hon. member to withdraw the word.

The Deputy Speaker: The intervention of hon. member for Prince George—Peace River is timely. I was reflecting myself about the implications of the term or the word.

The fact that it has raised an objection, that in itself encourages the Chair to ask the member for Mississauga West to be far more judicious in the selection of his words during the rest of his intervention.

Mr. Steve Mahoney: Mr. Speaker, the passion I feel and evoke over the issue is because of the stunning reversal of the leader of Her Majesty's opposition to the position for which the critic has consistently put forward and fought. These people can call that whatever they want. I will call it at the very least a reversal, an admonition, a bailing out, whatever members want me to call it in acceptable parliamentary language, and I am happy to live by that. The fact still remains that what we saw today was unfair to the critic on that side of the House. It was really quite remarkable.

I also heard in that same speech the need to define a refugee. How in the world can someone who purports to want to be prime minister of this land not know that that was done by the Geneva Convention in 1949 and that the United Nations has long recognized worldwide refugees.

We do not need to define a refugee. We need to define some kind of leadership who understands how important it is that we reform the immigration system and the refugee system. We need to ensure that we can close the back door and boot out the criminals who are a danger to our society. We need to open our arms wide to both refugees and immigrants in all classes, family classes and economic classes from around the world.

What we need to do is some serious education within the confines of these walls to understand that the work a committee does is so vital to forming the final document which will come before this place for a vote. For someone to stand up having done obviously no research and with no knowledge, understanding or empathy for his own critic and the work he has done is absolutely shameful.

I have some possible options. One option is that the critic should resign his post as critic within the Canadian Alliance or the leader should remove him because they obviously are divergent in their views on this matter.

Another option is for the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition to apologize, not to me or Canadians but to the member for Dauphin—Swan River.

Mr. Gurmant Grewal: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In the spirit of the summer break and the holidays, I would ask the hon. member to divert from his usual habit of political rhetoric and give us the real contents of the bill.

The Deputy Speaker: I trust the hon. member will take this with all the respect the Chair has for all the members of the House, but that is definitely not a point of order.

Mr. Steve Mahoney: Mr. Speaker, another option is that the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition should resign his seat and his job in this place.

 

. 1710 + -

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, while we are accustomed to the bluster of the member opposite and although he may have a good point, with respect to the bill before the House, it was his government that yesterday invoked a standing order to limit the debate today, to limit the debate on another important bill, Bill C-24, and to exclude the passage of an important bill with regard to water.

Perhaps the most heinous upshot of what the government did with that particular standing order was to deny members of the House of Commons the ability to vote on the spending of $166 billion. I wonder how the member reconciles that with the righteous indignation he has just expressed toward the opposition.

What would the member say in defence of his position to strip away the right of the opposition on behalf of their constituents to have some say in the spending of $166 billion of taxpayer money?

Mr. Steve Mahoney: Mr. Speaker, I said I wanted to share my time with the member for Laval West. While I would love to debate the member opposite, frankly my preference would be that we close the debate by hearing the fine words of the member for Laval West who has extensive credibility and experience in the area of immigration.

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the member's speech was full of rhetoric but not much subject matter, which, coming from that member, is typical.

The leader of the official opposition as well as the official opposition's chief critic for immigration articulated the immigration policy of the Canadian Alliance very well.

Could the hon. member tell us about the other side of the bill which would not close the back door but in fact leave it quite open? I would like to ask the hon. member about the RCMP, which is allegedly, under the Liberal government's nose, probing 32 federal immigration employees for criminal offences at 21 Canadian embassies. Another 16 immigration staffers are allegedly facing internal investigation by department officials for alleged offences.

The RCMP are also assisting in a probe of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most of the individuals and families admitted to Canada from Kenyan refugee camps since 1995 have had to pay bribes to come to Canada. They are genuine refugees but they could not come through the front door.

Where in Bill C-11 can I find something that will counter and effectively control corruption and close the so-called back door? I do not see anything in Bill C-11 that would curtail corruption and bribery. Where is it?

Mr. Steve Mahoney: Mr. Speaker, I can see that colleagues opposite are not going to allow my colleague to speak. I am sorry to see that because we will be out of time. With her indulgence I will respond to the accusations.

Clearly what Canadians hear when they listen to the former Reform Party and the current Canadian Alliance Party is a kind of fearmongering and castigation of people with absolute impunity. The members of that party have the ability to stand up and say whatever they want against people who do not have the ability to defend themselves. It is the most despicable game of politics that one could engage in and we have seen it over and over again.

I have met at least one person over there who has some integrity, and that is the critic for the Canadian Alliance. While I may not share his views, I will defend the member's right to put his views forward forcefully and honestly in committee and to debate them as he did clause by clause. His integrity has been impugned in this place by the leader of that party today in the speech that was delivered. It was the most shameful and disgusting display of politics I have ever seen. Having looked at this, there is only one solution, in my view, that the critic could accept and that is an apology from the leader or his resignation.

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker: It being 5.15 p.m., pursuant to order made Tuesday, June 12, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of Bills C-11 and C-24, as well as of Government Business No. 7.

 

. 1715 + -

[English]

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

 

. 1740 + -

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 136

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Augustine Bagnell Baker
Barnes Beaumier Bélanger Bellemare
Bennett Bertrand Bevilacqua Binet
Blondin - Andrew Bonin Brown Byrne
Calder Cannis Caplan Carignan
Carroll Castonguay Catterall Cauchon
Charbonneau Coderre Comuzzi Copps
Cotler Cullen Cuzner DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Duhamel Duplain Easter Eggleton
Eyking Farrah Finlay Folco
Fry Gagliano Godfrey Goodale
Graham Grose Harb Harvard
Harvey Hubbard Jennings Jordan
Karetak - Lindell Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Kraft Sloan Laliberte Lastewka Lavigne
LeBlanc Lee Leung Longfield
MacAulay Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Marcil Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard)
Matthews McCallum McCormick McGuire
McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (London – Fanshawe) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Pillitteri
Pratt Proulx Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Rock
Saada Scherrer Scott Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Stewart Szabo Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi Tobin Tonks
Torsney Ur Valeri Vanclief
Wappel Wilfert Wood – 135


NAYS

Members

Ablonczy Anders Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Saint - Jean)
Bellehumeur Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Bourgeois Brien Burton Cadman
Cardin Casey Casson Clark
Crête Dalphond - Guiral Day Desjarlais
Desrochers Dubé Duceppe Duncan
Elley Epp Forseth Fournier
Gagnon (Champlain) Gagnon (Québec) Gallant Gauthier
Godin Goldring Grewal Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hinton Jaffer
Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde
Lanctôt Lebel Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca) McDonough McNally
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Moore
Nystrom Paquette Perron Rajotte
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Schmidt Sorenson St - Hilaire
Steckle Stinson Telegdi Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne – 84


PAIRED

Members

Bradshaw Picard (Drummond) Sauvageau Savoy


 

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

*  *  *

[Translation]

CRIMINAL CODE

 

The House resumed from June 11 consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, an act to amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and law enforcement) and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the third time and passed.

The Deputy Speaker: The House will now proceed to the taking of the recorded division on the motion for third reading of Bill C-24.

[English]

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I ask you to seek unanimous consent of the House that those who voted on the previous motion be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House, with the Liberals voting yes.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the House give its consent to proceed accordingly?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

 

. 1750 + -

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 137

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy Adams Alcock Allard
Anders Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Anderson (Victoria) Assad
Augustine Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bagnell Baker
Barnes Beaumier Bellehumeur Bellemare
Bennett Bergeron Bertrand Bevilacqua
Bigras Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bourgeois Brien Brown Burton
Byrne Cadman Calder Cannis
Caplan Cardin Carignan Carroll
Casey Casson Castonguay Catterall
Cauchon Charbonneau Clark Coderre
Comuzzi Copps Cotler Crête
Cullen Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral Day
Desrochers DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion
Dromisky Drouin Dubé Duceppe
Duhamel Duncan Duplain Easter
Eggleton Elley Epp Eyking
Farrah Finlay Folco Forseth
Fournier Fry Gagliano Gagnon (Champlain)
Gagnon (Québec) Gallant Gallaway Gauthier
Godfrey Goldring Goodale Graham
Grose Guay Guimond Hanger
Harb Harris Harvey Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hinton Hubbard
Jaffer Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Kraft Sloan Laframboise Laliberte
Lalonde Lanctôt Lastewka Lavigne
Lebel LeBlanc Lee Leung
Longfield Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni)
MacAulay MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Macklin Mahoney
Malhi Maloney Manning Marceau
Marcil Mark Marleau Martin (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca)
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McNally
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Minna
Mitchell Moore Murphy Myers
Nault Normand O'Brien (London – Fanshawe) O'Reilly
Obhrai Owen Pagtakhan Paquette
Paradis Parrish Patry Peric
Perron Peschisolido Peterson Pettigrew
Pillitteri Pratt Proulx Rajotte
Redman Reed (Halton) Regan Richardson
Ritz Robillard Rocheleau Rock
Roy Saada Scherrer Schmidt
Scott Sgro Shepherd Sorenson
Speller St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Stinson
Strahl Szabo Telegdi Thibault (West Nova)
Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest) Tirabassi Tobin Tonks
Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Ur Valeri
Vanclief Vellacott Wappel Wayne
Wilfert Wood – 210


NAYS

Members

Blaikie Desjarlais Godin McDonough
Nystrom Robinson Wasylycia - Leis – 7


PAIRED

Members

Bradshaw Picard (Drummond) Sauvageau Savoy


 

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

*  *  *

[English]

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.) moved:  

    That, when the House adjourns following the adoption of this Order, it shall stand adjourned to Monday, September 17, 2001, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, the House shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28.

The Deputy Speaker: The House will now proceed to the taking of the division on Government Business No. 7. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

 

. 1800 + -

During the taking of the vote:

Mrs. Betty Hinton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting against the motion.

Mr. Maurice Vellacott: Mr. Speaker, I want to be sure that I am on record as having voted no to this motion.

Mr. Rob Anders: Mr. Speaker, can the government House leader move a motion while he is not present?

The Deputy Speaker: The answer is in the affirmative.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 138

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Augustine Bagnell Baker
Barnes Beaumier Bellemare Bennett
Bertrand Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew
Bonin Brown Byrne Calder
Cannis Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Cauchon Charbonneau
Coderre Comuzzi Copps Cotler
Cullen Cuzner DeVillers Dhaliwal
Dion Dromisky Drouin Duhamel
Duplain Easter Eggleton Eyking
Farrah Finlay Folco Fry
Gagliano Gallaway Godfrey Goodale
Graham Grose Harb Harvey
Hubbard Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson Kraft Sloan
Laliberte Lastewka Lavigne LeBlanc
Lee Leung Longfield MacAulay
Macklin Mahoney Malhi Maloney
Marcil Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
Minna Mitchell Murphy Myers
Nault Normand O'Brien (London – Fanshawe) O'Reilly
Owen Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish
Patry Peric Peterson Pettigrew
Pillitteri Pratt Proulx Redman
Reed (Halton) Regan Richardson Robillard
Rock Saada Scherrer Scott
Sgro Shepherd Speller St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Ur
Valeri Vanclief Wappel Wilfert
Wood – 133


NAYS

Members

Anders Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bellehumeur
Bergeron Bigras Blaikie Bourgeois
Brien Cadman Cardin Casey
Casson Clark Crête Dalphond - Guiral
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Dubé
Duceppe Epp Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gagnon (Québec) Gallant Gauthier Godin
Goldring Grewal Guay Guimond
Hanger Herron Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hinton
Jaffer Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise
Lalonde Lanctôt Lebel Loubier
MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Marceau Martin (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca) McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Moore
Nystrom Obhrai Paquette Perron
Ritz Robinson Rocheleau Roy
Schmidt St - Hilaire Stinson Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest)
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne
Williams – 69


PAIRED

Members

Bradshaw Picard (Drummond) Sauvageau Savoy

 

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

If I may, I would like to wish you all a good summer, filled with adventure and friendship.

[English]

I look forward to seeing all of you back here in the fall in good health and in great spirits. On behalf of the Speaker, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, I invite all of you and the pages to a brief farewell reception in room 216 north after the adjournment.

Mr. Derek Lee: Mr. Speaker, I rise on two very short points of order. Will you seek to determine if there is unanimous consent to deal with a routine travel motion authorizing travel by the Standing Joint Committee for Scrutiny of Regulations over the summer?

The Deputy Speaker: Does the House give its consent for the hon. parliamentary secretary to move the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

Mr. Derek Lee: Mr. Speaker, following consultations including the hon. member for St. Albert, I think you would find consent in the House to see the clock as 6.30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Deputy Speaker: It being 6.30 p.m. pursuant to order made earlier today the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 17, at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Orders 28 and 24.

(The House adjourned at 6.05 p.m.)