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Results: 1 - 15 of 215
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, these will be the last reports I ever table in Parliament, so I want to thank the public accounts committee for its good work in this Parliament. As well, I would like to thank our clerk, Angela, and our analysts, Dillan and Sara, for the work they have done.
I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 69th report, entitled “Processing of Asylum Claims, Report 2 of the 2019 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada; and the 70th report, entitled “Call Centres, Report 1 of the 2019 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to these two reports.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, the sixth petition highlights challenges and violence faced by the Coptic minority in Egypt.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to prioritize principles of universal human rights and religious freedom in their foreign policy and particularly to act in support of Copts.
The final petition I am going to present in this Parliament highlights the persecution and challenges faced by Pakistani Christians, and in particular Pakistani Christians asylum seekers who find themselves in Thailand.
The petitioners urge the Government of Canada to take up this matter urgently with the Government of Thailand and urge for the protection and humane treatment of Pakistani asylum seekers. They also say that these asylum seekers must be provided the opportunity to apply for refugee status with the UNHCR and for resettlement without being arrested, detained or deported.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
The third petition, Mr. Speaker, raises the issue of the plight of Pakistani Christians, many of whom are stuck in Thailand. The petitioners call on the government to allow private sponsorships to help them respond to that situation.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2019-06-05 17:05 [p.28598]
Mr. Speaker, the third petition has been signed by Franco-Albertans who say that, every minute, 31 people are forced to flee their homes. The majority of them live in the poorest countries on the planet under extremely difficult conditions: armed conflict, climate change, massive development projects and persecution. The causes of forced migration are multiple, complex and interwoven.
The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to support grassroots organizations working for peace, democracy and human rights and to invest more in diplomatic and peaceful solutions to armed conflicts.
Nobody should be forced to flee their home.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised he would bring in some kind of golden age for our immigration system, but four years later it is clear that the reality is completely different. Illegal immigration has ballooned, and those who want to come the right way are very frustrated by the ease with which people are jumping the line. Those who live in China, India or the Philippines cannot just walk across the border into Canada, and people languishing in refugee camps around the world know it is wrong that they do not have the same opportunity to access the refugee system as people living in upstate New York.
The family reunification system is deeply broken, and no action has been taken to improve credential recognition. Meanwhile, organizations seeking to help privately sponsor refugees, Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Ahmadis and Christians stuck in Thailand, gays and lesbians escaping Iran, Rohingyas, Yazidis and many others, organizations wanting to help the world's most vulnerable on their initiative and with their own money, experience road block after road block.
So much for helping refugees. The government is getting in the way of Canadians who want to help the most vulnerable. On immigration and refugees, the Prime Minister is clearly not as advertised.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I also table a petition in support of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers who find themselves in Thailand. There is concern about the need for protection and humane treatment of these asylum seekers, who often face very difficult conditions when they are in Thailand, having fled the challenges and persecution Christians face when they are in Pakistan.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the second petition highlights the plight of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to be urgently engaged with the Government of Thailand to address this issue and to ensure that these Pakistani Christian asylum seekers are given the full benefit of what should be their rights under the appropriate international conventions. It also highlights the issue of blasphemy law in Pakistan.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition draws the attention of the House to the plight of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers who are in Thailand.
The petitioners urge the Government of Canada to take up this matter urgently with the Government of Thailand to seek more humane treatment of Pakistani asylum seekers, and they say that these asylum seekers must be provided the opportunity to apply for refugee status with the UNHCR and for resettlement without arrest, detention or deportation.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition calls on the government to support the Hindu and Sikh minority in Afghanistan who have faced severe persecution. It calls on the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to use the powers granted him to create a special program to help persecuted minorities be sponsored directly to come to Canada. This is something that has not happened yet, and many people are still calling for it. It asks the Minister of Foreign Affairs to raise the persecution faced by this community with her Afghan counterparts.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table six petitions in the House today.
The first petition deals with the challenges faced by Pakistani asylum seekers who are currently in Thailand. It is a major priority that has been brought to my attention by the community. It notes that the recent crackdown on asylum seekers in Thailand has shaken and deeply affected the Canadian Christian community of Pakistani origin. Pakistani asylum seekers fled their homes with hopes of resettling in countries where they could freely practice their religion without fear of being victimized under blasphemy laws. The petition urges the Government of Canada to take up this matter with the Government of Thailand, and urges the proper protection of Pakistani asylum seekers who are there. It asks that they be provided with refugee status by the UNHCR and support for resettlement.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2018-12-13 14:07 [p.24829]
The Yazidi community is currently observing the Three Day Fast of December. Fasting occurs from dawn until sunset, and in the evening family and friends hold feasts and engage in prayer. This is a time when Yazidis connect with the divine, celebrate blessings, and pray for peace. Tomorrow, Yazidis will hold the Feast of Ezi. Who knows when we next meet in here, 10 years hence. Maybe we will see Canada's first Yazidi member of Parliament.
The resilience of this community and their traditions is nothing short of a miracle. When evil tried to stamp out this people, they have persevered. Despite so many threats to their existence, Yazidis continue to celebrate their respect for peace and universal well-being for all of humanity.
I would like to say to all Yazidis on behalf of all of us in this place, “Eida Wa Piroz Be”.
To all Canadians Merry Christmas, happy holidays, peace and good health.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act. Once enacted, this legislation would create an entry/exit program to keep track of when Canadians enter and leave the country. It is a measure I support. In fact, it was our previous Conservative government that negotiated the beyond the border agreement, which included a provision to share entry and exit information with our close friend and ally, the United States.
It is important that our border services have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, and this legislation would provide one of those tools. It is extremely unfortunate that while Bill C-21 would provide for added security at our borders, that security is being negatively impacted by the influx of illegal immigrants at our borders.
Canadians expect our refugee system to be safe, orderly and compassionate. Unfortunately, what we have seen under the Liberal government is insecurity, chaos and a lack of sincere empathy. Thousands of illegal, or irregular, as Liberals call them, border crossings have occurred since the Prime Minister irresponsibly tweeted “#WelcomeToCanada” in January 2017. As a direct result of that, twice as many refugees are being admitted into Canada as the system was designed to handle.
While I do not want to cast blanket aspersions, some of those coming into our country may very well have criminal records. Without proper background checks, which cannot be done before one crosses illegally, persons who pose a safety risk to our citizens may be slipping into Canada.
The newly appointed Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction certainly has his hands full taking on the huge task of trying to stem the tide. Only time will tell if this new minister can, in fact, effectively take control of this illegal and dangerous situation. He has not so far.
This queue jumping we are seeing has also created an unfair situation, whereby those waiting in refugee camps or facing persecution in dangerous places around the world must wait longer as more and more scarce resources are being spent processing people who are just jumping across the border with the United States. This two-tiered system is compromising the integrity of our entire immigration system while putting those patiently waiting to be legally approved to come to Canada at even further risk.
It is not compassionate, nor fair, when individuals who have been brought here on humanitarian grounds are forced to live in homeless shelters, university dormitories and tent cities, because this country is ill-prepared to handle such volumes of asylum seekers.
The Syrian refugees, who a majority of Canadians overwhelming supported being brought here, have faced housing shortages, particularly in Toronto and Montreal. The mayors of these two large cities recognize that, as well as the newly elected Ontario Conservative government, and they have been requesting federal financial assistance to redress this situation. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also asked for some additional funding.
To date, the Liberal government's only solution, as it is with so many other issues, has been to use more taxpayers' dollars to manage the crisis instead of resolving the issue with a fully costed plan. Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that if left unaddressed, this crisis will cost Canadian taxpayers $1.1 billion by 2020, not including the hundreds of millions of dollars incurred by the provinces.
My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to call for policy solutions that go beyond simply spending more money and adding new ministers to the fold. We want to see our immigration system run on a safe, orderly and compassionate basis that prioritizes the world's most vulnerable and ensures that when refugees are brought to this country, we indeed have the ability to help support them.
We do not, and will not, support the newly signed United Nations global compact on migration. While the immigration minister has tried to defend this compact, calling it an effective way to address migration challenges worldwide, Canadians really would not know, as the Liberal government did not bother to consult or brief them at all in regard to the United Nations global compact. In fact, if it had not been for this side of the House, this compact would have been quietly signed by the Liberals, and Canadians would have been left completely in the dark.
As a direct result, many questions and concerns remain, such as whether Canada is surrendering our sovereignty. That is a good question. What are the costs associated with this compact? What exactly does some of the language found in the compact mean, such as “sensitizing and educating” Canadian journalists on how they should report on migration issues?
Conservatives believe that Canadian journalists should be free to scrutinize the government on immigration policy without influence from an international body and without being bought out, to the tune of $600 million, which is the Liberal government's other plan.
Canadians, rightfully, deserve answers to these questions. I know that the constituents in my riding of Battle River—Crowfoot expect and deserve those answers. I have been receiving letters, emails and telephone calls ever since this issue was brought to the front.
I would like to read a portion of an email that I know all members received:
“I am a 58-year-old female born and raised in Canada. I spent over two decades travelling across this great country, from Newfoundland to B.C. and north to Yellowknife. For my work, I spent weeks in towns, cities and rural areas meeting people of different faiths, races and creeds. Nowhere did I see the kind of racism and hate the Prime Minister thinks he needs to 'quell'....
“My only concern is the U.N.'s global migration pact. This agreement is the most destructive piece of literature I have ever read. It will be the end of our great country and the last nail in the coffin of free speech in Canada. This has been hidden on purpose, and after I read this rambling strait jacket of so-called agreement, I understood why. Something so divisive, damaging and horrendous to the future of Canada and it citizens should have been on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country.... If it wasn't so sad, I would give a round of applause to our Prime Minister for hiding it so well....
The letter goes on:
“...stunned that there was no vote for us to voice our objections, and they were against signing Canada to it!.... The PM of course, was voted to represent the people of this country, but more and more he decides what this country should look like.”
While time has not allowed me to read this email in its entirety, I would like to finish by quoting a few last words:
“Canada has had decades of peaceful and orderly immigration. Allowing our borders to be open and under the control of the U.N., and not our own government, is the death of our country. What is a country without a border to stop people that may do us harm? We should be the ones to say who, what and why people and things may cross into our country. And this document says that the government will quell or silence any disagreement or negative comments....”
If members on all sides of this House have not yet read the email from Ms. Lori Gagne and Mr. Gunter Retzer sent to them on December 6, I urge them to do so and to please really listen to what they have said, because their sentiments are being expressed by many Canadians.
In closing, I would like to once again state my support for Bill C-21, because I agree with Lori and Gunter that our borders should be under the control of our government.
I would also like to take just a moment to express, as the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman did earlier, the overwhelming sense of loss I am experiencing right now as I stand in this place for the last time until the renovations are done, which is expected to take 10 to 12 years. I have had renovations done in our home that I thought would last six months, and they lasted way longer. I know that when governments do renovations, it typically takes even longer than they expect.
I have spent 18 wonderful years in this amazing chamber, both as part of the government and as part of the opposition. Whichever side of the House I have been on, it has been a real honour and privilege to have been granted the opportunity to rise in this place, time and time again, to debate, to question and to provide answers to questions. I have tried to do so with the utmost respect for this institution and with the sole purpose of trying, to the best of my ability, to represent the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot.
While I look forward to coming back after Christmas and going into our new chamber in West Block, it is not going to be the same without the amazing architecture, the history and the debates that have taken place in this chamber. I will forever carry with me the memories and the nostalgia of rising in this place to utter the words, “Mr. Speaker”, although I will do it in the other chamber.
I thank the House for the privilege of being able to stand here and speak to Bill C-21, and for the opportunity to just be nostalgic about this beautiful chamber.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 18:58 [p.24129]
Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would like to thank the members of both of the committees, in 2016 and 2018, which did incredible work in reviewing what needed to be done to help the Yazidis. Then again, this year did we go far enough, and what additional work needs to be done? I hope to concentrate on the work of those two committees.
To reiterate, in August 2014, four years ago, Daesh launched attacks on the Yazidi people in Sinjar, in northern Iraq, removing and murdering the men, forcing the women and girls into sexual slavery, and forcing the young boys into child soldier roles with Daesh fighting groups. This was a targeted group, in particular, as I recall, for religious persecution purposes. They were intent on essentially creating genocide.
To the credit of this place, some years back it clearly recognized that this was a genocide of the Yazidi people. As my colleague and others have mentioned, in 2016, the House of Commons passed a motion brought forward by a Conservative member to provide asylum to women and girls considered the most vulnerable victims of these attacks.
I think it is important for us to know what that motion said, because there was recognition way back then of the significance of the problems being faced by this particular group of people. That motion said:
That the House (a) recognize that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidi people; (b) acknowledge that many Yazidi women and girls are still being held captive by ISIS as sexual slaves; (c) recognize that the government has neglected to provide this House with an appropriate plan and the corresponding action required to respond to this crisis; (d) support recommendations found in the…report issued by United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria entitled, “They came to destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”; and, (e) call on the government to (i) take immediate action upon all the recommendations found in section 210, 212, and 213 of the said report, (ii) use its full authority to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls within 30 days.
Following the passage in this place of that motion, the member for Vancouver East brought forward a motion to the immigration committee. That motion said:
Pursuant to Standing 108(2) and in light of the House of Commons unanimously voting in favour of the motion for the Canadian government to use its full authority to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls who are escaping genocide within 120 days, the Committee undertake a study....
I will not go into the details of the study, but the committee then set about looking at all the details of what these women and children were facing and what actions Canada could possibly take. Passing that motion, with the committee agreeing to review, eventually spurred the government to actually host Yazidi women and children. I think it is important to recognize that there were Yazidi women in Canada who worked with the members in this place, and that is what really spurred action. It was a very emotional reaction.
In response to the emotion of the crisis Yazidi women and children were facing, Parliament responded. The government then moved to host and eventually bring some Yazidi women and children to Canada. My understanding is that a thousand Yazidi have since resettled in Canada, and half of those are children.
In October 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and lmmigration requested an update from the government on what was happening with the Yazidi in Canada and how well they were resettling here and what the situation was overseas for the Yazidi who had not yet come. The committee was well briefed by the government, settlement agencies, refugee sponsors and newly arrived Yazidi women and children.
As a result of that review, the committee as a whole made a good number of recommendations. I think it is important to recognize that, yes, good action was taken to support Yazidi women and children, but the committee, all parties on the committee, made some very strong recommendations to the government to go further. Most of that went to giving greater support for two things. First was to ensure that we provide fulsome support for the resettlement of the Yazidi families in Canada, and second was to take action to enable more Yazidis to seek refuge in Canada.
One of the recommendations was to increase Canada's refugee settlement targets generally. Within that, we would also give greater support to the Yazidi families.
Another recommendation was to work with stakeholders to facilitate private sponsorship. As my colleague mentioned tonight, there are many in my riding as well who desperately want the government to let them step forward and sponsor more refugees. Most want to support more Syrian families. However, there certainly are families that have stepped forward and said they are willing to also help Yazidi women and children. The call from the committee was to facilitate more private sponsorship beyond the sponsorship agreement holder allocations from the government.
Third was to work with multilateral partners to help internally displaced Yazidis return to their region, should they choose and if it is deemed safe for them to go back. Normally speaking, refugees come from an area of strife. That is where they would like to return, but obviously, we do not want to help them return if we do not think they can return safely.
Other recommendations included offering greater information and support to new arrivals, offering greater support to settlement services and ensuring access to affordable housing and services. Two of my colleagues spoke to that earlier. We have a crisis with the cost of housing, particularly in British Columbia and Toronto. If a lot of the Yazidis are moving there, we have double the crisis. We have to figure out a way to put these families in places that are affordable and safe.
The committee also recommended providing mental health supports, providing professional interpretation services and language training to Yazidi families, and supporting family reunification for survivors by extending indefinitely the one-year window of opportunity.
My colleague, the member for Vancouver East, who is a member of the committee, went a little further at committee and added supplemental recommendations. Those recommendations included that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada lift the cap on privately sponsored refugees. That has been a bone of contention for those trying to support bringing in Yazidi families. We need to be letting families who want to step forward support them.
The second recommendation was that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada expand the definition of “family”, under the family reunification program and the one-year window of opportunity sponsorship program for refugee claimants, to include siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. I have faced this in my own riding. There is a wonderful Congolese man who has settled in Canada, and he had nieces stranded in one of the refugee camps out of the Congo. However, he was having trouble sponsoring those children, because they were not his own children. When we look at the situation in a place of war and strife and genocide, we need to be rethinking the category of persons we should let people sponsor. The third recommendation was that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada engage in a follow-up measure to resettle 5,000 Yazidi refugees in Canada.
Other recommendations included increased humanitarian aid levels targeted toward populations of internally displaced people; that the government work with the provinces and territories to ensure that interpretation is available to those with language barriers in accessing public services; and that the government provide greater funding through resettlement services to provide conversational English-French programs to ensure that vulnerable refugees, especially women, do not experience isolation, language training for children, and child care services.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 19:09 [p.24131]
I am not sure if that was a question, Mr. Speaker.
I fully believe that the member is very committed, but I can only look to the committee, which included a majority of Liberal members. It was a unanimous report. I find it hard to believe that since that report was tabled, all of the requests contained in it have been met.
We have been generous to refugees, but there are millions of refugees around the world. We accepted 35,000. That does not mean that we cannot do more.
I understand there are more Yazidi women and children that could be rescued. If there are families that are willing to sponsor them, I do not understand why the government would want to stand in the way of that. It would not cost the public treasury. It simply means that the government would have to lift the cap and let Canadians be generous, which they enjoy being.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2018-11-28 19:11 [p.24131]
Mr. Speaker, in my speech I was simply speaking to the committee's report, of which the Liberals were the majority.
The committee heard testimony from people like Omar Khoudeida, an activist in the Yazidi community in London. He was of the opinion that special measures for additional resettlement of Yazidi women and children to Canada were necessary given how many are still in refugee camps.
The case that is being made by many, which we are supporting, is in the case of genocide. Surely, there has to be some kind of special consideration. If we made that special consideration in the case of the 1,500, why all of a sudden are we saying we have done our bit^
We have been hearing at the foreign affairs committee about the Congo. Women are being raped and murdered and children taken away as child soldiers. There may be special circumstances in which there are Canadians here who are willing to sponsor extended family. Maybe we should be reconsidering that in some circumstances.
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