NDP questions the exploitation of immigrants on reality TV

House of Commons


March 18, 2013

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, while we welcome new appointments to the committee, this group is still representing Canada internationally today.

The minister has another outrage to answer for today as Canadians across the country are shocked that he personally approved filming immigration raids for reality TV. This is not some episode of Cops.

These are real people and real officers doing a dangerous job. Filming is exploitative and can put individuals in danger.

How could the minister be so reckless? Will he take responsibility and put an immediate end to this dangerous and offensive PR stunt?

Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the show is about the situation faced daily by our front-line border officers. The privacy of individuals is protected at all times. However, it is important to remember that each year illegal immigrants cost law-abiding Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. We expect the CBSA to enforce Canada’s immigration laws by removing individuals who take advantage of Canada’s generous immigration system by jumping the queue.

Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing for the minister to be obsessed with people who have gone through traumatic experiences, but it is another thing altogether for him to decide to share that obsession with the entire country.

The minister is showing no consideration for these people, who, for reasons we may never know, decided to put their lives in danger and flee their country. He should reflect on that before sensationalizing their situation.

Our border services officers do important and dangerous work. Reducing it to simple entertainment is unacceptable.

How much is this charade costing our border services?