Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Bill C-43)

Jamie Nicholls: Mr. Speaker, while I share many of the same concerns with the member from the Green Party, I am not clear whether she will support the bill going on to committee if, for instance, a convicted war criminal was found and there were questions like that.

Would she no agree with me that there is a question of priorities here? The government is presenting the bill before the House when there are so many other problems that exist. The underemployment of new Canadians costs us $5.9 billion a year in losses because of their underemployment. We have hollowed out our foreign engagement, eliminating culture as a pillar of foreign policy, and we do not meet them on their soil anymore. We have hollowed out the system to integrate professional new Canadians. Now, we have hollowed out Canadians’ trust in new Canadians.

Would the member not agree that perhaps the government’s priorities are misplaced? Even though we are supporting the bill at second reading, and we hope she will join us in order to improve the bill at committee, does she not see a question of priorities?

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, with not just some but a lot of concern and mixed feelings, I will support sending the bill to committee. However, as I am not a member of that committee, I reserve the right I have as the member representing the Green Party and Saanich—Gulf Islands to submit amendments at report stage if I am not satisfied that the bill has been re-balanced appropriately to reflect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and respect for it.

The member’s question about war criminals is a good one. It sounds pretty much like a no-brainer. If someone is a war criminal, we do not want the person in Canada, nor do we want people who have defied their government, committed crimes and spent time in jail. However, every now and then a person like that gets honorary Canadian citizenship, like Nelson Mandela.

The move under this proposed legislation and other legislation, such as the mandatory minimums under Bill C-10, is toward an authoritarian automatic discipline, which is unforgiving forever and lacks any compassion, humanitarian or even a thought process. That I will always oppose.