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QUESTION PERIOD — Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Passport Services

June 22, 2022

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, every minister’s mandate letter contains the following statement:

Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.

Yesterday, however, journalists covering the infamous passport story on public property were told by security officers that they were on federal property and were asked to leave. Journalists were kicked out of passport offices at the Guy‑Favreau Complex, which is a public space.

Is that the government’s vision for freedom of the press and for Canadians’ right to be fully informed?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

No, not at all.

This government has found a new way to deal with lineups at passport offices.

This morning, at the Guy-Favreau Complex, they handed out 73 tickets to the first 73 people in line, so the lineup was reduced by simply kicking everyone else out of the line, which stretched to over 400 people. Consequently, Canadians, citizens who had been waiting for hours, and in some cases days, were kicked out.

This government does not take action and tends to make excuses or apologize. Now that it has made enough excuses, will it soon apologize to the people who are waiting and establish some way to offer compensation to those who missed their vacations or trips because they didn’t get their passports on time?

Senator Gold [ - ]

As for your questions, I will submit a request for information to the government and get back to you with an answer.

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