1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 77

Monday, November 28, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Public Safety

Canada Border Services Agency—Detention of Refugee Children

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is to the leader. This is not a question that I have asked before or that I’m asking again. It is to do with refugee children or children who have failed their applications in jail.

On May 30, Minister Goodale appeared before the Defence Committee. I asked him about the detainment of children by the CBSA. He promised me then that he would work with the CBSA to stop the detention of migrant children.

Recent reports on Canada’s history of detaining children have proven concerning. On October 4, 2016, the Montreal Gazettereported that in the past four years, 242 children have been detained by the CBSA, often failed refugee claims.

Leader, I’m asking you — and I know that you may not be able to answer this, and I respect that, but if you can again ask the minister. He had said in May that he would look at this immediately. I am still waiting for an answer. When are we going to hear that the children are no longer being detained?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. As her question itself suggested, I will need to get back to the senator after consultation with the minister.

Senator Jaffer: I understand and respect that. I was in France last year, and France was sending the failed migrant children applicants to a specific school and making these children learn a trade until they found out what would happen to them.

What’s happening with the children here in jail? Are they being given schooling? What is being done for their future? Are they being separated from their parents?

Knowing who you are, I don’t not mean to make this a reflection on you, but when the Canadian government sends migrant children to jail, that is nothing to be proud of.

Senator Harder: I will add that to my inquiry.