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QUESTION PERIOD — Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Passport Services

September 21, 2023

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Leader, here’s another government disaster, the new passport, which cost $284 million — a cost overrun of $123 million. This is yet another example — among dozens, if not hundreds — of this government’s incompetence.

Moreover, the new passport deteriorates in wet weather. After a few weeks, the corners curl up. The old passport easily lasted 10 years; the Trudeau government’s is worn out after only two months. Senator Gold, how do you explain the astronomical cost of designing a new passport of such poor quality?

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

Thank you for the question. The government has been working with Canadian Bank Note Company Limited on the design, development and distribution of the next generation of passports. This was necessary to ensure that our passports are secure in a world that is increasingly vulnerable to technological attacks. Thanks to advances in technology, these passports will be secure. That was the objective of the design and decisions surrounding the new passport.

I do not see how a two-month passport will improve security.

One of the characteristics of this new passport is that it no longer contains the historic and iconic images of Canada. We no longer see the Vimy monument, the Chateau Frontenac, or our national hero, Terry Fox. We are now known as the country of snowflakes and little squirrels. Clearly, the use of new materials for the passport is a failure and we suspect that the work was botched and the appropriate testing was not done. Leader, why do Canadians have to spend a fortune on consultants, simply because the Trudeau government insisted on erasing pages of our history, not to mention a cost overrun of nearly 100%?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Decisions were made in the past and are being made today about what images appear on our passport. The images that you mentioned are important, but there were many others that were invisible in the previous design. The decision was made to ensure that the passport better reflects Canada, and not just one image in particular. The government understands that there has been grumbling in some circles. Let’s not forget, however, that when the last passport was put in place with the images you described, there was also discontent because some people didn’t see themselves in those images. There will always be differences of opinion on the symbols used. The government made a choice and followed the rules to ensure that the passport is more inclusive and better reflects our country’s diversity.

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