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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague about this bill, which will mean that everyone seeking asylum in Canada will be placed in detention for nearly a year.

My concern is that we are now saying that people who arrive by irregular entry would be placed in some form of detention. We are also saying that if they do not come from a country that we recognize as potentially legitimate in terms of their seeking refuge, they would not be allowed in at all.

In the case of Hungary, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that “the evidence is overwhelming that Hungary is presently unable to provide adequate protection to its Roma citizens”.

Does my colleague believe that creating a blanket rule that certain countries are safe and certain countries are not would create a threshold that actually would keep people who need our help from being allowed to come to Canada.

Djaouida Sellah: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that relevant question. I have here a document I got from the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. I would like to read what it says about the bill:

Bill C-31 gives the Minister broad and vague powers over the lives of refugees. The Minister says he will exercise those powers prudently and fairly. But the Bill also minimizes the Minister’s accountability for how he uses those powers. The Bill contains few remedies if there is an abuse of power by the Minister or his agents. 

The minister tells us to trust him but that is not good enough in democracy.