Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (Bill C-31)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I may have misheard the member so I would just ask him to clarify. My understanding is that although Canada’s approach to refugees has been a mixed record, which we have acknowledged, with periods of shame such as turning away the St. Louis, in general our refugee programs have been very progressive historically.

I think I understood the member to say that we were the country in the world that did the most for refugee resettlement. My understanding is that the United States remains the country where refugee resettlement amounts to more than the combined total of all other industrialized countries accepting refugees combined.

James Rajotte: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that on a per capita basis Canada’s resettlement of refugees is on a larger scale.

I want to address the member’s earlier question to the member opposite. It was a valid question with respect to the amount Canada is paying toward the UN. My understanding is that it is in the neighbourhood of $70 million, which is the highest it has ever been in Canada’s history and this continues.

She referenced a couple of other examples of which obviously Canada, in our nation’s history, should not be proud. However, we should be very proud of our tradition. The minister is very much in keeping with this tradition. In my statement earlier today, I referenced the example of Grosse Île. Hundreds and thousands of French Canadians welcomed Irish to that island, treated them with dignity and respect, and cared for them. Unfortunately many of them gave their lives in doing so. This is an excellent example of what this country has done. It is a tradition that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who is of Irish heritage, is continuing today.