Committees examine, in small groups, selected matters in greater depth. We report conclusions of those examinations, and recommendations, to the House. Committees undertake studies on departmental spending, legislation and issues related to the committees’ mandates.

As the NDP immigration critic, I am currently a member of the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) and vice-chair of the Special Committee on Afghanistan (AFGH). I also participate in other committees, including the Special Committee Canada-China Relations (CACN) and Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA).

You can see my questions, answers and speeches in these committees on this page and the committee specific subpages.

HUMA#69: Discuss with Federal Housing Advocate on the call for a moratorium on the acquisition of affordable housing from the private corporate sector

“ Yesterday, in the committee of the whole, in the questioning of the minister about this, he seemed to think that the 1% tax on the value of vacant residential real estate not owned by Canadians or Canadian residents, as well as the two-year ban on foreign investment in Canadian residential properties, is sufficient to address the housing crisis, especially as it relates to the financialization of housing.
The press asked him whether he would support and call for a moratorium on the acquisition of affordable housing from the private corporate sector or for a non-profit fund to be put in place, but he didn't answer any of those questions.

Can you advise the committee whether those two measures the government has acted on are sufficient?”

CIMM#66: Debating Bill S-245

"Yes, I'd like to move NDP-5. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.


This amendment deals with a number of the issues. I want to particularly highlight the issue around those who don't want citizenship conferred on them. There was quite a bit of discussion, committee members will recall, about that concern. What happens to those who don't want it, for whatever reason?

To that end, written into this amendment is the opportunity to opt out. Those who don't want it could opt out. Upon notification to the government that they don't want citizenship conferred on them, then this would have no impact for them. It would not apply to them. Effectively, it is an opt-out provision. That is what it is aimed to do, Madam Chair."

CIM#65: Debating Bill S-245

"First off, I'd like to touch on the issue around the overall strategy because that seems to be the central issue here. Right from the beginning—and I'll repeat it again at this committee—I engaged with stakeholders all the way through to talk about Bill S-245 and what amendments needed to be made. Through that consultation, it was clear to me that the groups wanted the lost Canadians issue addressed once and for all, and not just as it related to the narrow category that was established under the bill itself.

There were a variety of areas that we needed to address, including those who had lost their right to pass on their citizenship to children born abroad. There were issues around what I loosely call “war heroes”. Those are individuals who fought for Canada, went to war for Canada, for example, died for Canada and never came back. However, at the time they did that, because Canada was not formulated as a country—Confederation had not taken place—they were not recognized as citizens in a technical sense. Part of the goal, of course, was trying to address those people and to make them whole, even though they may have passed on. Their descendants have already had access to Canadian citizenship. It's just really a symbolic thing.

Another category that needed to be addressed, for example, included those who faced discrimination because of Canada's immigration laws and citizenship laws over the years. I was trying to capture those individuals and make them whole.

Anyway, there are a number of these kinds of categories. Right from the get-go, I made it clear that's what I was trying to do.

In that process, it was determined, through the stakeholder consultation, that they would like to see the government address this by way of conferring those rights back to them. In that process, I came up with a number of suggestions to address those. For example, being in Canada for 1,095 days, consistent with what the Citizenship Act outlines by way of the number of days, was one connections test.”

CIMM#64: Debating Bill S-245

Before I speak to the motion, I want to first touch on an issue with your decision.

What you found is that the matter raised relates to a matter of privilege. However, it is my understanding, Madam Chair, that you have not found that privilege was violated at this committee. I just want to make sure that was the case.

With respect to the motion from Mr. Dhaliwal, I certainly support the motion to call the witness to come before the committee to provide clarity on the question of privilege. To be sure, if that motion passes, the motion is to call the witness to speak before the committee on the question around privilege and not to revisit, I assume, the issue around Bill S-245. If I'm incorrect, I would like to have some clarity on that. I think that's an important motion from this perspective.

I had the chance to review the Hansard from Mr. Kmiec that was made at the last committee meeting. He seemed to indicate that he believed a breach of the committee's privilege has occurred. I will quote from it:

What I have heard about the Liberal NDP compromise is that they will offer subamendments—

CIMM#63: Jenny tables amendments for S-245 to fix the issue of Lost Canadians

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I will move NDP-3.

This amendment is really related to the package on the second generation cut-off rule. It extends citizenship to the second generation born abroad and subsequent generations, and restores those impacted since the second generation cut-off rule was enacted back in 2009.

Included in this, I should just point out that it also recognizes the connections test and that it would apply to both the parents and the grandparents.”

CIMM#62 Debate on Bill S-245

 This amendment aims to address the second generation cut-off rule. Committee members will know that in 2009, under Bill C-37, the right for Canadians to pass their citizenship on to children born abroad was taken away. As a result, it has created a new class of lost Canadians. That's been extremely problematic. That was done back in 2009 by the Conservative government.
This amendment aims to restore that right to those individuals by establishing a connections test to Canada. I'm proposing that we establish the connections test in four ways. It says:

(i) the person has been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days,

(ii) the person has been registered as an elector or a future elector under the Canada Elections Act,

(iii) the person has studied at an elementary, secondary, post-secondary or vocational school in Canada, or

(iv) the person has been employed by the Government of Canada, or has been a representative or delegate of Canada, at an international organization, summit or forum.

I'm moving this amendment, Madam Chair, because I think it is important to recognize those lost Canadians. If they meet any one of those connections tests that I've highlighted, I think they should be able to have the right restored to them.

Madam Chair, at this point I'm just wondering if I should I read out the content of the amendment as it is drafted by the legislative council. Can I just say that I move NDP-1?”

CIMM#61: Obtaining info from Minister Sajjin on the issuing of unauthorized facilitation letters to Afghans

 Thank you to the minister and the officials for being at the committee.
I want to get back to some pertinent points related to the evacuation effort and, more particularly, the minister's former chief of staff's engagement in that process.

Senator McPhedran was before this committee. She answered very clearly this question: “Was Minister Sajjan aware you were sending out these facilitation letters?” The answer was yes.

Minister, can you advise the committee on that? Were you aware of these facilitation letters, yes or no?”

CIMM#58: Jenny’s Motions on Bill S-245 and inviting ministers to testify on Senator McPhedran’s affair

 Related to Bill S-245, given the tight timeline of the requirement for the bill to be reported back to the House, I'm going to move the following motion, Madam Chair, a copy of which, in both French and English, has been sent to the clerk for distribution to the committee members. That motion reads as follows:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, the committee request an extension of thirty (30) sitting days to consider Bill S-245, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (granting citizenship to certain Canadians), referred to the committee on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, to give the Bill the consideration it requires and that the Chair present this request to the House.

Madam Chair, as indicated, we're kind of a little bit down to the wire here with the timeline. To ensure that the committee has the opportunity to do all the necessary work related to this bill, I therefore move this motion.”

CIMM#57: Jenny asked Justice Minister and National Defense Minister on supports for Afghans

 Thank you, Minister and officials, for being here today. I think we've been waiting for a long time to engage with you. We very much appreciate this.
The NDP, of course—through my colleagues Heather McPherson, who is the foreign affairs critic, and Alistair MacGregor, who is the public safety critic—wrote to the government on this issue back in December 2021. Subsequently, a follow-up letter was written, in February, to various ministers, asking why action couldn't be taken.

This was especially in light of the testimony presented to the Special Committee on Afghanistan by NGOs that were unable to provide aid on the ground to people who were in desperate need. In fact, World Vision indicated—as did a number of NGOs that came—that, because of these anti-terrorism laws, children were dying of malnutrition. They had packets ready to go and ready to be delivered on the ground, in order to save lives. They were unable to do so.

I'm really struggling to understand why it's taken, basically, two years for Canada to get to this stage, where this Criminal Code change is finally before us for deliberation.”

CIMM#56: Committee discussed the Lost Canadian Senate Bill

 Thank you to the senator for bringing this important bill forward. I appreciate its giving us an opportunity to look at the issue of lost Canadians. As you've indicated, Senator, the scope of the bill is very limited. That means that many people will still be left out in the situation of lost Canadians.
You were just mentioning the suffering that people have to endure as a result of that. What we do know, of course, is that the second-generation rule cut-off from the previous administration took place in 2009. Consequently, a class of people—Canadians—all of a sudden lost their right to be Canadian and were deemed lost Canadians and second-class citizens in that way.

That said, we have an opportunity to fix this. I get that the scope of the bill only deals with the 28-year rule. Do you have any objection to the idea of fixing the other lost Canadians on the second-generation rule where people have been cut off? That's one piece.

The other piece is to fix the rule for those who were born before 1947—the war heros, if you will, who fought for Canada and died for Canada and were never recognized as Canadians.

Would you agree that we should actually try to fix those? Would you have any objections to that?”

Are you ready to take action?

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