Geoff Regan, the Speaker of the House of Commons, declined Conservative MP Michelle Rempel’s request to hold an urgent discussion on the dramatic rise in people crossing the border illegally to Canada.
Rempel argued that the House has to debate this issue as soon as possible in order to formulate a solution to the new challenge that may become even more severe during the summer.
The following are excerpts from the debate in parliament (May 9, 2017):
MP Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I am seeking leave for adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing an important matter requiring urgent consideration pursuant to Standing Order 52. This is with regard to the dramatic increase in asylum seekers at our U.S.-Canada land border.
Over recent months, we have seen a dramatic rise in people crossing the border illegally, and this has placed a strain on the RCMP, the CBSA, as well as provincial resources with regard to affordable housing, legal aid, and health care services. Recent reports have shown that, in 2017, we are on track to see a doubling of the number of asylum seekers in Canada. This would be an all-time record high.
Canada is a very open and welcoming country, but we also want to make sure we have a plan in place to make sure that our borders are secure and that, for people coming to Canada seeking asylum, there is a broader plan in place with regard to resourcing. To date, we have not had a response from the government on this, and given that we are heading into the summer months and we will see an increase in this situation, which is becoming more and more urgent, I feel it is incumbent upon the House to debate this matter so that we can move on with coming up with a plan.
I thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for raising this matter. However, I do not find that it meet the exigencies of the Standing Order.