Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Although I listened intently to what the witnesses had to say, especially Ms. Reynolds, and while I disagree with her conclusion, I have to agree totally with the facts leading up to where she went on to say she was hopeful the government was going to come forward with some modernizing points.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
My point of order is that I would like to know if we could ask to obtain a copy of the speech she wrote and just read.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
I think if the chair will take a look at Marleau and Montpetit, page 529, the committee is required “to guard against the inefficient use of the time of the House”. I would put to the chair, for his judgment, that the member is being repetitive and he's reading verbatim out of notes that were already submitted to this committee.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
He's being repetitive and wasting the committee's time, so I would ask the chair to cut his time off.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Madam Minister.
This committee has done a lot of hard and diligent work. We've heard from many witnesses on this issue.
When it comes to legislation, I try to understand the purpose behind the legislation and why we are passing these types of laws. I hear today that the purpose of this legislation design is to get rid of the backlog, to try to deal with that backlog and manage that inventory.
There are two ways we can manage that inventory. We can let more Canadians in faster and get their names out of the backlog, or we can shut down the application list and completely get rid of the backlog. You and the bureaucrats working with you have preferred to do the latter, instead of dealing with the backlog and letting more Canadians in quicker. We let in 262,000 Canadians when I first got elected here, and last year we let in 36,000 fewer. I don't see that as progress.
The riding I represent, West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, is home to many families of new immigrants. Ms. Minister, what assurances can you give these families in my riding that the changes will not affect family unification?
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I can't believe the committee is still trying to figure out how to organize itself after 27 months of being elected here. It was previously agreed to by this committee, Mr. Chair, that if there were points of order during the testimony of the minister and these witnesses, they would be taken out of their own time. That was previously agreed to.
Now, we as a committee can decide whatever rules we want as a committee. That was previously agreed to. That's how you dealt with it before. If the committee wishes to change that and come up with some new rules, that's fine, but up until this point, the committee had previously agreed with the protocol that you have been following. You've done it perfectly well.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Fadden.
I'd like to preface by saying I've gone through the details of this bill. I'm not a lawyer; I'm just a hard-working kid from North Vancouver. But I was very disappointed with the manner in which the minister and the government back-doored these radical changes into the budget and never allowed the democratic Canadian process, the committee process, to review and debate and ascertain what exactly is going through. I'm just not happy with the way this process is working.
Having said that, the minister did appear, as you are doing here, and we heard her words. I just want to see whether you can help clarify an issue for me. The minister said:
Our proposed legislation will allow the minister to identify categories of occupations—not individuals—that will be processed on a priority basis....
However, earlier in your testimony, Mr. Fadden, you stated that the aim of the bill is to allow the minister to select people. And if we go to the actual words in the bill, proposed subsection 87.3(3) states:
The Minister may give instructions with respect to the processing of applications and requests, including instructions
(a) establishing categories
(b) establishing an order
(c) setting the number of applications; and
(d) providing for the disposition of applications
So my question to you is—and you said earlier that this minister is allowed to pick and choose who she wants to allow into Canada—is she allowed, under this legislation, to pick and choose, as you said, who gets into Canada?
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Well, then, what's the purpose of this bill, if it doesn't change any powers the minister already has?
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
And that's the question most witnesses are concerned about. It gives the minister the power to say, “This is a category and these are the people we're going to allow into Canada, and this is a category in which we're not going to allow people to get into Canada.” That type of totalitarian power is what puts a chill into most Canadians, and new Canadians as well.
An hon. member: That's why you're advertising heavily.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
How is this bill going to deal with the backlog? You're saying the purpose of this bill is to deal with the backlog. We have a million people in the backlog right now. Wouldn't you agree that the easiest way to deal with the backlog is to let more people into Canada today, and faster? Instead of letting in 262,000, let in 350,000; let in 400,000. We'll deal with the backlog very effectively that way.
I don't know whether you've been to western Canada, but in western Canada we have a skilled worker shortage. We drastically need skilled workers in western Canada.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
Sir, I would disagree with you on that fact. I have communities, such as Squamish, such as Whistler, that are hosting the 2010 Olympics. I have businesses that can't open for lunch and can't open for breakfast because they don't have enough workers to man their restaurants or to keep their hotels and beds open. So the number of workers would be easily absorbed, I believe, in western Canada. I know they would be easily absorbed in my riding.
View Blair Wilson Profile
GP (BC)
A point of clarification, actually.
I think the parliamentary secretary cleared up my first question. I was wondering who put the request in to ask these witnesses to come.
The question I have for you is this. If these two witnesses have just stated that basically it's not appropriate for them to comment on the legislation or the policies before us—
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