Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Pelley, I do want to echo what my colleagues have said in regard to the ethnic news being cut, especially the Punjabi and the Cantonese news in the Lower Mainland. This serves as a vital link for people to get not only Canadian news in the language they understand but also news from abroad, whereby they're able to keep up links with whatever country they have come from.
Getting a licence is a privilege. It comes with a responsibility. I believe you're not living up to that responsibility of providing that content for the licence you got.
People are very upset in my community. I want to echo that here in this committee. As Mr. Sullivan has said, they're thinking about boycotting Rogers in regard to other services you provide. In one component you're going to make money and in others you're going to lose, but it's the whole package that you have to deliver. I have to convey this for my constituents: I think that in this case you guys have failed.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Good afternoon to the witnesses. I would also like to call Mr. Corrigan and Ms. Hepner my friends, because I know they're both very hard-working mayors in our region, especially Linda Hepner. I'll call you Linda.
I come from Surrey, of course, and I know the challenges we are facing in regard to the gridlock that is taking place in our city. I've travelled those routes, especially King George Highway. My office is actually on 104th Avenue, which the new route for the LRT shows.... I've seen first-hand the time it takes to travel on those routes during peak hours, rush hours, so this is a welcome sort of announcement, a welcome initiative to ensure that we keep moving forward.
Mayor Hepner, would you like to see the money before the election or after the election?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
I hope the government will make the announcement before the election. My second question is—
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
We are in a process of revitalizing our downtown Whalley area. There has been a lot of development. The new city hall is built there, and we have the Innovation Boulevard being built right along University Drive. Do you have any other infrastructure plans for the area that the federal government can assist in developing in the city of Surrey, what we now call downtown?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Lalonde, you talked about some limitations in regard to P3s and how that limits this. Each project has to be judged on its merits. Some projects are friendlier towards P3s, while others aren't. Does this P3 model limit some of the projects that may be ready to go in Surrey?
Also, in Burnaby, Mr. Corrigan, you may want to answer this one.
Does this limit the projects that you're considering for the city of Surrey and the city of Burnaby?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'll carry on.
Thank you, Minister, for being here this morning.
I'm perplexed by the last statement you made. You said that your government is committed to improving the immigration system by reducing backlogs and improving processing times.
You've had nine years to do this. I remember back in 2005-06, the processing time for spousal applications was about three or four months. That was the top. I can attest to that because in 2003, I sponsored my own wife and it took three months. Nowadays, it's taking up to 16 or 17 months for some of the countries in Southeast Asia, and there are different times for other countries.
I have two questions. First, how can it be reducing backlogs when the actual times have gone up? Second, why is there a discrepancy? In some countries it's only two to four months, while in others it takes up to two or three years.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you for being here this morning.
I want to get back to the family reunification issue, especially the parents coming here. I'll start with my own family again. I immigrated to this country in 1980 and it took about 18 months. In 2003, 2004, 2005 it used to take about four or five years to get your parents here. Nowadays my constituents are still...many come into my office wanting to know how long it's going to take their parents to get here. Some of the applications have been there for six, seven or eight years and they're struggling trying to get reunited with their parents.
I'll again share another story. My cousin died waiting to immigrate to this country. The application was taking seven or eight years. I'm not talking about any of my other constituents. I'm talking about my own family. This has happened in my family, where parents are dying before they're able to immigrate because the wait time is eight or nine years. We've had a situation where the Conservatives have basically shut down family reunification, where only 5,000 parents and grandparents can apply under that class.
Last year, I had a constituent who made an application on January 1, which was a Thursday. He mailed the application on Friday, January 2. January 3 and 4 were a Saturday and Sunday. The application reached the applications centre on the Monday. I believe his application was number 6,000-and-something. Would that be correct that the quota for the applications for a visa or application for family class reunification gets filled up on the first day?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
To repeat my question, my question is that if the 5,000 applications are taken.... I had a constituent in my riding whose application was rejected on the very first day in January, basically, and my question is, is the quota filled on the very first day?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
My question is very simple: did the 5,000 quota get filled up on the very first day?
The Chair: Ms. Biguzs.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
So how does the process work? The applications centre gets a whole bunch of applications through the mail; they go into a big box or bin; you pick the applications out of there, and after 5,000 are filled...? Which ones get first and which ones get second? My constituent actually wanted me to ask you this question.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
For the record, Mr. Chair, the constituent I'm talking about did mail his application on January 2. The very first day it reached there, the quota was filled. His application was marked down as number 6,000 and whatever it was. The minister pointed out—
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
My second question is that the minister pointed out earlier that when it comes to spousal applications, we've seen that the amount of time it takes to sponsor a spouse from another country has been steadily increasing. I don't want to blame the Liberals, because they've been out of government for nine years and they don't have any hope of forming the next government—
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Jasbir Sandhu: —but we'll certainly be working towards reducing that time period.
I do want to ask this question on what the minister was talking about, which is that the department had difficulty in predicting the number of applications coming in and that somehow the applications have been more than anticipated. Would that be correct? Is the department having difficulty providing resources and predicting how many applications they're going to be getting? Has this been going on for just one year, or for two years, three years, four years?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
What about the next year? What are the predictions? Are you predicting more than anticipated, or are you predicting more than the year before? Are there any additional resources that are being provided to your department?
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
Thank you to the witnesses for being here this morning to study this very important bill.
Professor Aiken, I am going to give you the time to talk about the short title, which you didn't have time to do before.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
In your testimony you pointed out that here is another example of legislation being brought forward with no evidence of it being needed.
Do you think this is a political document or a legal document?
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