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

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, there is much in this legislation that is deeply concerning to me and other members of the Green Party across Canada. I know the parliamentary secretary has referred to what happened in previous Parliaments, but I was not in the House at that time. However, I am deeply concerned about the approach that will be taken on refugees who arrive by what is called irregular entry.


Since Bill C-4 was introduced earlier this year, Bill C-31 appears to subsume Bill C-4 and provide it in a different fashion. I note now that we will not be interning children under 16 years of age, but what will happen to refugee families that arrive on our shore? Apparently, parents and anyone over the age of 16 who arrive at our shore will to be interned for a year. What will happen to children under the age of 16?

Rick Dykstra: Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the leader of the Green Party spends a lot of time in the House doing her job as a member of Parliament, but she also went across this country saying time and time again that she was not coming to Parliament to criticize, that she was coming here to work with the government. I would say to her, with all due respect, that if we are going to use words like “internment”, they be used in their proper context. That is not what Bill C-31 represents. In fact, it is far from it.

When it comes to the detainee aspect of this bill, I will put into perspective the types of lives individuals coming to this country to seek refugee status have led up to that point. How they are treated here is humane, proper and, in fact, in almost every case is better than any type of treatment they received from the country they come from if they are true refugee applicants. If they are not true refugee applicants, they should not be here in the first place.