Statements in the House of Commons of Interest
to the Ukrainian Canadian Community
September 19, 2011
Statements by members (Standing Order 31)
Mr. Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, recently we have seen some very troubling events take place in Ukraine. The persecution, arrest and continued detention of YuliaTymoshenko, along with many others, are cause for great concern both in Canada as well as in the international community. Also, we deplore the murder of the journalist GeorgyGongadze and the harassment and intimidation of Ukrainian historians who draw attention to Ukrainian national resistance during Soviet rule.
These apparently politically-motivated actions undermine the rule of law and human rights, which are at the core of all democracies. The Ukrainian people, having long lived under the rule of regressive and undemocratic Soviet policies, will not accept a return to darker times. Ukrainians deserve to live in a peaceful and prosperous society, where they can enjoy the same freedoms and safeties seen across other western nations.
I stand with the 1.25 million Ukrainian-Canadians, many of whom reside in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, who urge the Ukrainian government to strengthen judiciary independence free of political interference.
Debate on Bill C-4 Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac Saint Louis, Lib):
Mr. Speaker, the fundamental problem with this bill is that it would make victims of people who in many cases are already victims in other countries.
We all get a little frustrated in traffic and do not like to be held up in it. When arriving home after a long trip from work or wherever we say that it was a hellish drive because we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. We should think about the person who agrees to pay a large sum of money to board an over-crowded boat to cross whatever sea or ocean to attempt to make a new life in a country like Canada. We should think how desperate they must be to go through all of those steps and all of that suffering. I do not think we should be targeting them as designated foreign arrivals and putting them in detention for 12 months.
Again, we are punishing the victim. I do not think it is very good public policy and I do not think that Canadians agree with that kind of public policy.
Mr. Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I was rather intrigued by my friend’s comments that somehow this bill creates categories of refugees.
I wonder if the member is aware that many of the boats that bring refugees are inherently unsafe. Does the member think that we should try to discourage unsafe passage to Canada?
I wonder if the member is aware that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world, real legitimate refugees who have been waiting in very poor conditions in refugee camps and following the procedures that we set out with the UN to get them into Canada, who get pushed back to second place when we have unexpected arrivals and mass arrivals of large boatloads of people?
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
Mr. Speaker, indeed these boats are unsafe. This is really the point I was trying to make. Despite the fact that these are dangerous journeys, people are so desperate that they are willing to risk everything and risk their lives to make that journey.
The question is, why are they treated like criminals when they get here? These refugees are not the ringleaders. They are not the ones promising that they will be admitted to Canada if they pay a certain sum of money. These refugees are desperate and are willing to do anything.
What about someone being brought over who has no knowledge of the fact that the person who is organizing the trip is doing something illegal? For example, what about the dozens of Polish and Ukrainian welders allegedly spirited into Canada by the Alberta priest recently accused of running an immigration scam?
According to the media, if those charges are proven in court, by the minister’s logic the welders should be detained and punished as part of a human smuggling scheme.
The wrong people are being targeted.