HANSARD: When will the government stop jailing people who are seeking safety and a better life?

Debates of May 6th, 2024
House of Commons Hansard #309 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Oral Questions


Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other advocates have called on the Liberals to end Canada's rights-violating immigration detention system. This system traumatizes people seeking safety.

Provinces have ended immigration detention in their jurisdictions. Instead of following their lead, the federal government plans to lock up migrants and asylum seekers in federal prisons. They also want to codify this practice into law. This is in violation of international human rights standards.

When will the government stop jailing people who are seeking safety and a better life?


Dominic LeBlanc Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate our hon. colleague's question. I share her concern that the rights of all individuals must be respected.

I think she will understand that there is a very small group of individuals, with perhaps violent criminal pasts or those who may be involved in terrorist activity, for whom releasing into the community would not be an acceptable option because of public safety. We worked for many years with the provinces that kept this very small group of individuals in the appropriate custody, and now we are going to take over our responsibility, while at the same time respecting their rights.


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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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