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

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, I want to refer to the question about what happens to the children of refugees who arrive as irregular entrants as designated by the minister. Those who are under 16 are not to be detained. It seems very likely, as in the case of the Sun Sea, that children would opt to remain with their mother and therefore they would be detained.

How will this affect the rights of the child under our international convention obligations?

Hon. Hedy Fry: Madam Speaker, it would in fact contravene the convention on the rights of the child, to which we are a signatory. The important thing is the psychological damage to the child.

If a child is under 16 and his or her parents are detained, will the child be sent to a foster home? Where would the child be sent? Do members realize that separating a child from his or her parents is cruel and inhuman?