HANSARD: Jenny asks if paperwork is more important than saving lives

House of Commons Debate
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Oral Questions
April 26th, 2022 / 3:10 p.m.

 

Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

"Mr. Speaker, the minister said Afghans cannot get their biometrics completed in Afghanistan, yet he is insisting that it must be done. The lives of the family members of Afghan interpreters, collaborators, human rights defenders, women and girls are at risk every minute of the day, and the Liberals are immobilized by red tape. The government can collect biometrics upon arrival, yet it is refusing to act on this viable solution to get people to safety.

This is my question to the minister, who has the power to help: What is more important, paperwork or saving lives?"

 

Sean Fraser (Liberal) Minister of Immigration

"Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her advocacy for vulnerable Afghans. It is, indeed, the vulnerability of the people in Afghanistan that has justified such an extraordinary response by the Government of Canada, and I remind her that we have committed to making one of the most substantial resettlement efforts of any country in the world, with 40,000 Afghan refugees destined to be settled in Canada. To date, more than 11,500 are already here.

As part of that process, we want to maintain the integrity of the process, so that Canadians continue to support these massive efforts that we are making to resettle some of the world's most vulnerable, including with a rigorous security screening process. We are going to continue to do whatever we can to help these vulnerable people. It is the right thing to do, and I am proud to be a part of this effort."

 

https://openparliament.ca/debates/2022/4/26/jenny-kwan-1/

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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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