Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, similar to the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, I also have concerns. We have a lot of legal opinion that this bill would violate the charter and be struck down by the courts.

However, we also have, pertinent to the last question, obligations under the right to family, which is enshrined under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. Even when someone has been designated, under this very difficult act, as legally entitled to remain in Canada, they must wait five years before being able to get the legal status to reunite with their family.

I wonder if the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria has any further thoughts on the way the act would actually violate our legal obligations to the right to the family.

Hon. Mark Eyking: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is a great friend of Cape Breton and we always welcome her when she comes to visit.

Why do we need to go to the courts to settle these things? Why did the Tabaj family have to go to court? Why cannot we in the House during committee come up with very positive, very good legislation so that we do not need to go to the international courts? Why do we not, as a committee, look at what Australia and other countries are doing with refugees and immigrants to see how we can streamline this and make it more suitable to families.

We hear cases time and time again about how families are being split up. It makes them non-productive. The sooner they integrate into Canadian society as young families the better. They learn our culture and our languages. It is terrible that we are in a situation now where legislation comes from the government that is against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and needs to go to the court system. That is why we have committees here to deal with that and move things forward.