Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today on World Refugee Day, with a global refugee population surging past 50 million people for the first time since World War II, it is time for the Conservatives to recognize the failure of their policies. Instead of a fair and accessible process, the Conservatives have passed laws to shut out refugees, cut access to health care, and spun themselves in circles on the Syrian refugee crisis. Canada must do better.
Would the minister commit today to focusing on protection for refugees instead of playing political games?
Mr. Costas Menegakis (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, since our government's comprehensive reforms to Canada's asylum system took effect, the number of new asylum claims from safe countries has decreased to historic lows, ensuring that genuine refugees, truly vulnerable people from some of the world's most vulnerable, volatile areas, receive faster and fairer protection. Claims from democratic countries are down by 87%, saving taxpayers more than $600 million so far in welfare, education and health care costs.
Canada has a long and proud tradition of providing protection to those who need it most and we will continue to do so.