HANSARD: With Supreme Court ruling, will Liberals expand the exemption in the Safe Country Agreement for people fearing gender-based persecution?

Debates of June 16th, 2023, 11:25 a.m.
House of Commons Hansard #215 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Oral Questions

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, people fearing gender-based persecution are adversely affected by the safe third country agreement. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that equality rights are just as important as every other human right. Even the government's lawyers argued that an urgent exemption for migrant women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the safe third country agreement is needed.

Will the Liberals do the right thing and expand the exemption in the safe third country agreement for people fearing gender-based persecution?

Sean Fraser Minister of Immigration

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people in Canada and around the world.

Of course, members will have seen by now that the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the safe third country agreement, recognizing that Canada and the United States have the ability to make decisions to monitor and control the flow of people who seek asylum in Canada in a way that respects the need to be compassionate toward the world's vulnerable but also to have an orderly and regular migration system.

To the extent that we want to look for ways to improve the agreement over the years ahead, we will continually monitor this particular issue to ensure that those fleeing violence who are vulnerable and may not have the opportunity to seek protection elsewhere have the ability to have their claims considered in Canada.


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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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