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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the parliamentary secretary, and I have asked this before, about the cost of mandatory detention of people deemed to have arrived by irregular entry.

If Australia’s example is any indication, we will not be saving money. We will be spending more money than we ever spent before on the mandatory housing and internment of families and people who come here and are deemed irregular entries. Australia expects to spend $668 million on its 19 immigration detention facilities in the next fiscal year.

Could the hon. member tell us if the government has costed this? Will there be savings or will there be significantly more tax dollars required?

Robert Goguen: Mr. Speaker, certainly no one measure comes without costs. What is particularly important in this case is making sure that refugees and immigrants who come to Canada do so in a legitimate fashion without abusing the system.

Those who do not come here in the fashion that is anticipated by the law will be detained. Of course, there is a cost to that. Obviously there is an offset to this cost of keeping these people here. By getting them out more quickly moneys are saved. There is a trade-off. Certainly we have to put first and foremost the fairness of the system before the costs associated.

We are all immigrants to Canada and we welcome those who come here legitimately.