Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis has moved an excellent amendment.

I wish to share that over the course of the summer holidays I had a brief conversation with the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism at the Calgary Stampede. I pointed out the same failing: the illogical focus on ships when most refugee claimants come to Canada by airplane. He said that he could, in his discretion as minister, designate it as an unusual entry by plane, bus, car, or any means. In other words, we could see this bill creep in and expose all refugee claimants, whether men, women or children, to a year of imprisonment.

I wonder if the member for Lac-Saint-Louis has any comments on that statement.

Francis Scarpaleggia: Mr. Speaker, the fundamental problem with this bill is that it would make victims of people who in many cases are already victims in other countries.

We all get a little frustrated in traffic and do not like to be held up in it. When arriving home after a long trip from work or wherever we say that it was a hellish drive because we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. We should think about the person who agrees to pay a large sum of money to board an over-crowded boat to cross whatever sea or ocean to attempt to make a new life in a country like Canada. We should think how desperate they must be to go through all of those steps and all of that suffering. I do not think we should be targeting them as designated foreign arrivals and putting them in detention for 12 months.

Again, we are punishing the victim. I do not think it is very good public policy and I do not think that Canadians agree with that kind of public policy.