Elizabeth supports Bill C-98 on Canada Border Services Agency Act

On Friday, May 17th, 2019 in Debate, Democracy, Issues, News, Parliament

Mr. Speaker, I certainly support Bill C-98. I share the views around this place that it is lamentable that it has come forward now.

I just wanted to share a brief experience, which chilled me to the bone, of how this country can treat people. This was in the 41st Parliament.

Richard Germaine is an indigenous man who was born in California and lived his whole adult life on Penelakut, in Nanaimo—Ladysmith. He is married. He is a community leader. Right before Christmas, with no warning that his citizenship papers were in any sort of disarray and that he should take steps, CBSA officials showed up at his home. They put him in leg irons. They took him away, in front of his wife, who is a residential school survivor, traumatizing her, their children and their grandchildren. In leg irons, they took him in a van to a detention centre in Vancouver, where he was ordered to be deported as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, he was working with an ethnobotanist from the University of Victoria, who contacted my office. I contacted the former minister, Chris Alexander. We stopped the deportation and got his citizenship. What was really chilling was that as Richard left there, everyone around him said, “We have never seen anyone get out of here. Everyone gets deported.”

We need a citizen overview agency for CBSA. I agree with my hon. colleague that we needed this bill sooner. It is a gap in Bill C-59, but I commend the government for fixing the gap. Let us get this bill through the House and to the Senate. If there is any way at all we can get unanimous consent to get this bill through third reading and report stage by unanimous consent, let us get it to the other place and then keep our fingers crossed.

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