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

Charlie Angus: Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague. I am deeply concerned about the pattern I see from the Conservatives. They are talking about people who come here as refugees as illegal immigrants, as though they are all criminal, they are all guilty, they are all up to something and so they need to be locked up, handled and separated.

We see the movement in Europe where families with children are put into detention centres, basically, prison camps for children. My hon. colleagues talked about the situation in Australia, where families fleeing from dangerous situations are treated as criminals and are put into detention centres, without any sort of due course regarding a fair review of what their situation is, whether they have proper refugee status or whether they do not deserve to be there.

Is my hon. colleague concerned about this ideological attack that seems to be so much in keeping with so many of the other countries that we see going down this same road?

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, this does seem to be legislation that has been designed with an eye to public relations. I am a British Columbian. I know the effect of the Sun Sea coming to our shores. There was a lot of concern that people would be arriving. The first thing we heard from the Conservative members was that there could be terrorists on board this ship. In the end, having screened the many people who had gone through the miserable experience of a voyage on an unsafe and rusty vessel across the waves to Canada who were then detained and who were screened carefully without use of this law, the vessel was not found to contain criminals and terrorists.

We have not had a lot of boats arriving since. Therefore, the legislation seems to me to be intended to be largely public relations.

There is a refugee issue and an immigration issue. We need to replace the dwindling numbers of people on the Immigration Refugee Board so claims can be handled more swiftly and families can be reunited in this country.