HANSARD: Jenny asks if visa requirements will be waived for Ukrainians

House of Commons Debate
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Oral Questions
February 28th, 2022 / 2:30 p.m.


Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching in horror as hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians seek refuge from the unprovoked Russian invasion.

The Liberals cannot recreate the disaster in Afghanistan, where those who risked everything to help our country were left behind. The European Union and, most recently, Ireland have already waived the requirements for visas for Ukrainians, and the NDP has been calling on the Liberals to do the same. However, this morning, immigration officials said that it is not even on the table.

Time is of the essence. Will the government immediately waive visa requirements for Ukrainians?


Chrystia Freeland (Liberal) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member opposite that the world is watching in horror at what is happening in Ukraine, but I am also watching in pride at the incredibly brave resistance of the people of Ukraine.

It is important for us to say that we continue to support them in their fight. When it comes to refugees, of course Canada is there for Ukrainians. We have been and we will be, and we will have more to say soon.



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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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