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

Harold Albrecht: Mr. Speaker, I, too, listened with interest to my colleague’s comments. The unfortunate part of many of the comments that have been made today is the rhetoric that is involved. She used the term “jail”. My colleague across the way used the terms, “prison camps” and “treated as criminals”. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are simply trying to identify the identity of the persons who are coming here.

Does she not agree that it is important we know whether those who come here to seek the protection of Canada are in fact terrorists or have been involved in criminal activity in their country of origin? Is that too much to ask for the safety of Canadians?

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Kitchener—Conestoga to be a person of faith and compassion. I ask him to consider that these may in fact be jails. We do not yet have detention centres. Some of the people from the Sun Sea were placed in jails. That is a fact. Therefore, how are we going to deal with numbers of people?

I agree with the point entirely. We need to know who is coming to our shore. We need to identify them. Those things can be done without a blanket presumption.

For instance, the way this legislation would work is if people come by ship, they are automatically detained. If they arrive in an airport, they are not. I do not understand why it is that we assume that only the dangerous people come by ships. If they come to a crossing by car and say that they are political refugees, their treatment is different.

The government, in its legislation, has not provided consistency in the way in which these streams of political refugees are to be treated.

I can only see it as a public relations ploy to start by saying that if people come by ship, they will be deemed an irregular entry. If we do not call it prison, if we do not call it jail, if we do not call it internment, the detention facilities in this legislation could well end up being the county jail.