Lives on Hold Campaign, in the House of Commons
9 May 2006

Statement in the House of Commons:


Ms. Meili Faille (Vaudreuil-Soulanges, BQ): Mr. Speaker, Canada currently has a moratorium on the return of foreign nationals to certain countries where there are generalized risks to the safety of individuals. Some such people have been in Canada for a number of years, existing in a legal limbo that deprives them of many fundamental goods and services and prevents them from leading a normal life.

    It appears very difficult for many such foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence, which they so desperately want.

    Their precarious situation causes them considerable distress and suffering and the Bloc Québécois is calling for speedy action.

    Let us work together on developing a system that would make it easier to grant permanent residence to everyone who has been in Canada for more than three years and who is from a country that is under a moratorium.

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Question to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, Hon. Monte Solberg:

    Ms. Meili Faille (Vaudreuil-Soulanges, BQ): Mr. Speaker, people without status are in an untenable situation. Since Canada stopped deporting people to certain countries in 1994, people without status have been facing a legal void that keeps them from leading a normal life. Some have been in limbo for almost nine years.

    Can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration put an end to the anguish of the people without status who are visiting him today by making an announcement soon about a process that will make it easier for them to obtain permanent residency?

Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today I met with a number of people who are without status in this country. Obviously they have a very difficult situation. I talked to them about the need to use humanitarian and compassionate avenues to permit them to stay, where it is warranted. Clearly, I am open to hearing what they have to say and will continue to look for solutions to their situation.
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 Ms. Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides­Labelle, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself and of the member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, I have the honour to table a petition concerning lives in limbo signed by 4,000 people. The petitioners are asking the government to establish a process that will facilitate granting permanent residency to any individual who has been in Canada for more than three years and who comes from one of the countries under a moratorium, such as Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

    This state of uncertainty is a major cause of human anguish and suffering, so we believe it must be acted on quickly.

    Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition on behalf of the Canadian Council for Refugees and other partners, calling on the Canadian government to establish a process to facilitate the granting of permanent residence to persons who have been in Canada for more than three years and who are from countries on which Canada has imposed a moratorium on removals.