HANSARD: Will the Liberals put an end to the odious immigration detention practice and stop putting migrants and asylum seekers in jails?

House of Commons Debate
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Oral Questions
November 14th, 2022 / 2:45 p.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has put thousands of refugee claimants and migrants in immigration detention in provincial jails even though they have not committed any crimes. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are calling on the Prime Minister to end this abusive practice. B.C., Nova Scotia, Alberta and Manitoba have proactively cancelled the immigration detention contracts with CBSA, but this should not just be on provinces. Refugees and migrants are not criminals.

Will the Liberals put an end to this odious immigration detention practice and stop putting migrants and asylum seekers in provincial jails?

Pam Damoff 
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety
Oakville North—Burlington, Ontario

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a robust and fair refugee system, and immigration detention is a measure of last resort. While we have made significant progress, there is more work to do.

We thank the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy and Hon. Allan Rock, as well as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for their efforts on this issue. I look forward to continuing to work with them on this important issue.

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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