We need greater accountability and transparency at our borders

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague and the other half of the Green Party caucus in this place on his first speech. I also thank the voters of Nanaimo—Ladysmith for growing us as a party, as well as the individual efforts of this particular community leader to be in this place and speak out as he has.

I want to add to the context around the story that he relayed.

Richard Germaine, in December 2013, was, for members in this place listening to the shocking story, taken from his home just before Christmas. His wife was a survivor of residential schools. Uniformed men, with no warning, showed up at his door, took him from his home and put him in leg irons to transport him to a holding cell. We were able to mobilize because, thankfully, he had some contact with academics, University of Victoria anthropologists and those working on biological anthropology with respect to developing community gardens based on the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people of Penelakut Island. We got a lawyer, we paid for the lawyer and we got Richard Germaine out of a holding cell where he was about to be deported. The previous minister of immigration, Chris Alexander, was helpful. We regularized his citizenship because he was an indigenous person from the United States.

That was a horror story. I will never forget it. It made me realize, as my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith said, most of the people working in uniform in this country are fine and upstanding, but that story shook me to my core, especially when Richard Germaine told me that all the other people in that holding cell were deported within 24 hours and the guards there said, “Who do you know? How did this happen? Nobody gets out of here.”

I want to thank my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith. I am making a comment, not so much a question.

I have a feeling there are other events this evening of a less weighty nature, so I will end there, unless my hon. colleague wants to add anything.


Paul Manly:  Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for relating that story again and the importance of ensuring that we have the proper oversight to make sure those honourable men and women in uniform have the respect and confidence of our citizens and the people travelling to this country. Our borders are a legal no man’s land and we need to make sure we have that proper oversight for people who do have legitimate complaints when they are mistreated at the border.