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Results: 1 - 15 of 838
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you for giving me the floor, Madam Chair.
We are resuming this meeting after it had been suspended, and it is very late: it is 11:25 p.m.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
We have been getting used to these unusual schedules over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I sat until 12:15 a.m., and I got home at 12:45 a.m. I can tell you that my night was very short, hoping that...
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair. This is just a reminder and a nod, if I may say so, to the incoherence of this government that is forcing us to spend impossible hours in the House for debates.
Let us come back to the issue at hand. I would like to point out that we have gone from an in camera meeting to a public meeting, which will allow us to resume debate on this Conservative motion which, I might remind you, seeks to extend the deadline by 30 days in order to submit a request to Parliament to broaden the scope of Bill C-425.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Things have changed since yesterday. Yesterday, the Conservative majority on this committee forced us to go in camera. We were opposed to that, saying that the debates that we could have had in public could have helped us make progress on this matter in a much more transparent fashion. Today the government has changed its mind and is asking us to continue this meeting in public, something that we had adopted earlier.
As concerns the fact that we were forced to go in camera, the way it happened was...
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
As concerns your observation to the members of this committee, I would just like to mention that I was particularly referring to the process used by the government regarding in camera meetings. I am certainly not going to address the content of the in camera meeting. This imposition of an in camera meeting by the Conservative majority is certainly regrettable, but not at all surprising. It is perfectly representative of the attitude that prevails both in the House and in committee. It was particularly clear during our study of Bill C-425.
This study was hampered by the government's will to considerably amend the content and scope of Bill C-425. All of this was orchestrated by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who dictated his amendments to the committee. These amendments were then introduced word for word by his parliamentary secretary.
The main consequence of this was to transform a private member's bill into a government bill. Given the refusal of the committee chair to recognize that these amendments were in order, the committee produced a report, without the consent of the opposition, calling for the scope of Bill C-425 to be broadened. The purpose of this was to impose the minister's amendments.
Obviously, this is the aspect that I am talking about today. We expressed our concerns, which were echoed by the Speaker of the House of Commons when the request concerning the adoption of the eighth report was submitted to him. A point of privilege was raised concerning this report. This is what I stated at that time, that is, on April 30.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Chair, with your permission, I would like to come back to the important matters that I have just mentioned, so that they can be recorded clearly once and for all, and I hope that I will not be interrupted.
It is certainly unfortunate that the Conservative majority is forcing us to meet in camera, but it is certainly not surprising, because their attitude is absolutely consistent with what is going on both in the House and in committees, especially during the study of Bill C-425.
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Madame Groguhé.
I do want to remind my colleagues on both sides of the table that we are in a committee. We are trying to listen and be respectful to one of our colleagues while she speaks. It would be appreciated if the noise could be kept down. We have extra people in the room, and we're not saying we're not delighted to see you. Who wouldn't want to see extra friends late at night? But we're going to suggest that you take your conversations outside. If you're going to be in the room, a slight whispering in the distance is fine. But if the chair hears your conversation, then I have to think about interference with the speaker, and I cannot accommodate that, because it's my job is to make sure that the proceedings go along in an orderly manner.
We will go back to Madame Groguhé.
Madame Groguhé.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Chair, I would like to raise a point of order. I think that it is important and necessary to genuinely insist on decorum. This is often done in the House. So I think that this reminder is very important, because we need to respect decorum once and for all in this committee.
This committee meeting is currently being held in public, and the image being conveyed to Canadians by the attitude of certain members is quite deplorable. Bill C-425 nonetheless raises a very important question.
Madam Chair, decorum must be respected, and I would ask you to ensure that this is done.
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
What I'm going to do now is go back to Madame Groguhé. She's going to go back to speaking on the motion.
Once again, I want to remind people of a level of behaviour and decorum that is required. The chair, if I find things are getting out of line, is going to end the meeting. I'm just giving everybody fair notice of that.
I'm going to go to Madame Groguhé.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I will thus go back to what I was saying about the imposition of an in camera meeting, which, coming from this Conservative majority, is certainly regrettable but not surprising. It is perfectly representative of the attitude that prevails both in the House and in committee, especially during the study of Bill C-425.
This study has been hampered by the government's will to considerably amend the content and scope of the bill, which was orchestrated by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who dictated his amendments to the committee, and these amendments were then introduced with no changes by his parliamentary secretary. The main consequence of this was to transform a private member's bill into a government bill, and that is the gist of the matter, which is why we were so concerned about this procedure. Indeed, the procedure seeking to broaden the scope of this bill raised many questions.
Given the refusal of the committee chair to recognize that these amendments were in order, the committee thus had to submit a report, without the consent of the opposition, calling on the scope of Bill C-425 to be broadened in order to be able to impose the amendments of the minister. A point of privilege was raised concerning this report, and this is what I stated at that time, that is, April 30. But for...
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
As I was saying, Madam Chair, further to the request to broaden the scope of Bill C-425 in order to impose the amendments of the minister, we had to submit the eighth report to the House and to the Speaker. The Speaker then ruled on a point of privilege that I had raised on April 30. 
However, before coming to said point of privilege, I would first like to come back to the content of Bill C-425, remind people of its purpose and put it into context.
The question before us concerning this motion to extend the deadline by 30 days in order to broaden the scope of Bill C-425... 
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would like to remind members of the purpose of Bill C-425 and its background, and to draw a parallel with the motion that has been introduced in order to show how incongruous this motion to go ahead with the bill is.
Bill C-425sets out three major reasons for granting or revoking citizenship to members of the Canadian armed forces, pursuant to the Citizenship Act.
Clause 1(2) of the bill replaces section 5(4) of the act by providing in subsection (b) new ministerial authority to reduce residency requirements in Canada for Canadian armed forces members who wish to acquire citizenship. The bill gives this power to the minister in order to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada, and, on application, to reduce from three to two years required residency in Canada for Canadian armed forces members seeking citizenship, on condition that the members have signed a minimum three-year contract and completed basic training.
Clause 2 of the bill adds two subsections to section 9 of the Citizenship Act. Section 9(1.1) would provide:
That a Canadian citizen who is also a citizen or a legal resident of a country other than Canada is deemed to have made an application for renunciation of their Canadian citizenship if they engage in an act of war against the Canadian armed forces.
Clause 9(1.2) would provide the following:
A permanent resident of Canada who has made an application for Canadian citizenship is deemed to have withdrawn their application if they engage in an act of war against the Canadian armed forces.
This bill's purpose is to further integrate permanent residents and underscore the exceptional value of Canadian citizenship, thereby highlighting the contributions of our brave military members. Obviously, we were in favour of that part of the bill, because it is very important to value the contributions made by our military and to underscore their engagement and courage in the defence of our country.
We are in favour of the idea of expediting the process to obtain Canadian citizenship in order to reward permanent residents for their dedication to serving in the Canadian armed forces. We were also in favour of the Canadian armed forces reflecting, in a significant way, the great diversity of Canada, and this bill would contribute in part to that objective.
Unfortunately, some aspects of the bill relating to applications for renunciation and withdrawal of applications for Canadian citizenship are a problem. According to the wording, the bill provides that a citizen or an authorized resident of a foreign country who commits an act of war against the Canadian armed forces is deemed to have made an application for renunciation of their Canadian citizenship. Similarly, a permanent resident who would have committed the same act would be deemed to have withdrawn their application for Canadian citizenship. The bill does not state clearly that legal proceedings are necessary to determine whether someone has committed an act of war or who would be making the decision. Moreover, certain key terms are not defined. “Act of war” is not defined in Canadian law. There is no definition for the expression “legal resident of a country other than Canada” either.
Broad changes brought about by Conservatives to the Canadian immigration system have unfortunately not made it more effective nor fair. We New Democrats are in favour of the idea that Canadian armed forces should better reflect Canadian diversity. However, the circumstances under which Canadian citizenship could indeed be revoked or an application for citizenship withdrawn should be entirely legal and subject to regular judicial proceedings.
This bill contains notions that are not very clear and parts that are limited in scope. I would like to get back to an idea mentioned in this bill which will create two classes of citizens, on the one hand, individuals with a single citizenship and on the other, those who have more than one. The latter may risk losing Canadian citizenship, even if they are born in Canada and have never been to the other country they are citizens of.
Canadian citizenship should not be considered a privilege that can be withdrawn like a driver's licence can be revoked. It is useful to point this out. Indeed, this is undeniably discrimination. It creates two-tier citizenship whereby people are not treated fairly. Several witnesses have appeared before this committee to discuss the arbitrariness of these measures and the potential for discrimination towards citizens who may be considered different.
I would like to get back to the question of privilege I raised in the House and that the Speaker replied to. This will also shed light on the procedure to broaden the scope of this bill. This motion, I would remind members, provides for 30 additional days and a broadening of the bill. TheMinister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism wants to pass amendments to broaden the scope of Bill C-425.
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Chair, the broadening of the scope of this bill has been a grave concern to us, because it would radically alter the original bill. As we have mentioned, the initial bill should have been reviewed and revised. And because it imposed certain limits in its wording, we worked on the issues together as a committee for several sittings to finally propose some amendments.
In the meantime, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism decided to broaden the scope of the bill, as I have just stated, and he proposed his own amendments. However, the minister's proposed broadening distorts the very nature of the initial bill. Now, we cannot even refer to this bill as a private member's bill because it is actually a government bill as moved by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
That said, let us get back to the question of privilege I raised in the House. I will start by reiterating the content of the question and then read the speaker's reply. My question was the following:
Mr. Speaker I rise today on the question of privilege — which is not truly a question of privilege — raised by my colleague from Toronto Centre. The question has to do with the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, which recommends to the House that it:
[...] be granted the power during its consideration of Bill C-425...
View Sadia Groguhé Profile
NDP (QC)
I was mentioning the question of privilege I had raised before the Speaker of the House, to see about the relevance of tabling the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
So I will resume my reading of this question of privilege raised in the House:
[...] be granted the power during its consideration of Bill C-425, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (honouring the Canadian Armed Forces) to expand the scope of the bill such that the provisions of the bill be not limited to the Canadian Armed Forces.
I want to share why I think this question should be ruled out of order. However, before I share my arguments, I would like to correct what has been said so far. When the Honourable Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the member for York—Simcoe, spoke on April 25th, 2013, he misled the House. In speaking about the amendment, he implied that the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is:
[...] asking the House to debate it for a number of hours and decide whether we think it is within the scope of the bill [...]
As you know, Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the case. This report does not ask us to determine whether the proposed amendments are within the scope of the bill. On the contrary, as I will explain later on, the committee clearly showed that it knows the proposed amendments are outside the scope of the bill. The report asks the House to give the committee the power...
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