Showing Foreign Criminals the Door: #FAQMP talks to Conservative MP Rick Dykstra

March 4th, 2013


THIS WEEK ON #FAQMP: Conservative MP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines)

Catch this week’s new episode online at Thursday March 7 at 2 pm ET.

Conservative MP RICK DYKSTRA is Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Jason Kenney. Among the topics of discussion on this week’s show: Bill C-43, which aims to protect Canada from foreign criminals. Here’s a quick overview from Associate Producer Patrick Hickey:

Conservative MP Rick Dykstra has a message for foreign-born criminals: You are not welcome in this country. “They make a mockery of our system. They make appeal after appeal after appeal. That is not going to happen anymore.”

Bill C-43 was first introduced by Citizenship & Immigration Minster Jason Kenney in June 2012 and has already passed its first two readings before the House of Commons “Canada is not a haven for criminals,” Dykstra told the House this past September. “We are going to make sure that the enforcements laid out in this piece of legislation are in fact finally put to rest and implemented.”

Among these new enforcements: a limitation on the appeals available to permanent residents who have been ordered deported due to criminal convictions. C-43 also seeks to prevent foreign criminals gaining entry to Canada via legitimate immigration. Under current rules, foreign nationals barred from Canada for serious criminality can apply to certain humanitarian programs within Citizenship & Immigration Canada to delay or prevent their removal from Canada. C-43 would eliminate these individuals’ access to such programs.

Critics have raised concerns that C-43 is too heavy handed. The Canadian Bar Association cautions that its ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ to denying deportation appeals doesn’t take into consideration an offender’s potential for rehabilitation or even the true seriousness of their crimes. Minor offences such as shoplifting or simple marijuana possession could fall within the scope of C-43.

The Harper government, however, has indicated that it will continue to move the bill forward. Says Dykstra: “At the end of the day it is a bill that makes sense and it is one that has the overwhelming support of Canadians.”

For more background from Patrick, CLICK HERE.

#FAQMP viewers also had questions for MP Rick Dykstra about immigrant and refugee healthcare – and, in particular, about cutbacks to the Interim Federal Health Plan (IFH), which provides health insurance for refugees and refugee claimants while they are waiting for their cases to be settled. For more on this issue from #FAQMP host Kevin O’Keefe (pictured above, right), CLICK HERE.

#FAQMP streams online at on Thursdays at 2 pm ET. Viewers can take part in a live chat with the #FAQMP team during the online broadcast.


A Quest For Equality

June 8th, 2012


By Bernice G | Cross-posted from the FAQMP Blog

The following guest post comes from one of our #FAQMP regulars, @pupdoggie aka Irene aka Bernice. She has been submitting questions to MPs of all stripes through #FAQMP this season. All MPs have been sympathetic to her request/urgings/demands to Close Caption all Parliamentary Committees so that the hearing impaired can have the same access. to Parliamentary Proceedings enjoyed by other Canadians. However, after a year, Parliamentary Committees are still not Closed Captioned. We thank @pupdoggie for submitting this guest post to #FAQMP describing her journey, her struggles and frustrations.

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “all men are created equal,” but due to a number of diverse reasons, this is not actually the case. I am not equal because I am hearing impaired. I function fairly well because I subconsciously learned to read lips from a very young age when my hearing began to deteriorate. Bilateral hearing aids provide sound to some extent, and if I am facing a speaker I can take part in the conversation to a minimal degree, (Background noise is a killer), but I often see the frustration apparent in the people to whom I am speaking. They wish to be helpful, but in all honesty, I know I am a trial to them. The young ones especially find it difficult to understand why Grandma just mumbles “uh huh” far too often in answer to their questions. But, in spite of being ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ I am grateful for my 77 years of life.

So, why have I chosen to relate this story for your consideration?

Eighteen months ago, I installed satellite television to gain access to our government in action. I wanted more than just clips chosen by broadcasters; I wanted the ‘real goods’—all of it. Canadian Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) airs the House of Commons’ (H of C) daily proceedings when the Members of Parliament (MPs) are sitting. I wanted to see how they actually run the country, and wow, was I disappointed. Only the Question Period (QP) is Closed Captioned (CC). I require CC for all my TV viewing. This incident marked the beginning of my search for equality: complete access to all televised House Sessions just as all hearing persons enjoy. If you watch CPAC you will know the answer, otherwise you might read further.

Read the rest of this entry »

Defence Procurement: “A Recurring Nightmare”

May 31st, 2012


Robert Roy, the producer of the two-part ichannel investigative special Bang For The Buck and Disorder In the House has posted an article about the defence spending crisis over at Here’s an excerpt:

The F-35 fighter jet, the potential replacement for the current CF-18, has joined the often lamented Avro Arrow, the Bonaventure refit and the Ross Rifle (WW1), as a lighting rod for controversy. It is the kind of problem that governments of all stripes seem to get into when dealing with defence.

Prime Minister MacKenzie King once wished that the “military would stay out of the Cabinet, out of the Treasury and out of trouble.” But large dollar figures, potential jobs and industrial benefits and not least, national security, are all at stake. These are big issues that can’t be ducked by wishful thinking that the military only needs some minor political attention. But not too much.

Conservatives have often tried to capitalize on military “rust-out” and cut-backs when in opposition by promising big spending on the Canadian Forces in both manpower and investment in fighting ships, planes and tanks. When they arrive in power they are confronted by the “national facts of life” that drove MacKenzie King’s thinking.

Prime Minister Harper inherited Afghanistan, which contributed to the Conservatives’ agenda of a more muscular Canada but clearly he did not enjoy the fallout and sought to remove the issue as quickly as possible from political debate. The early announcement that Canada would be out of Afghanistan by 2011 brilliantly smothered the rising public anxiety over the mission, but it was the opposite of taking the lead on the issue and suddenly we are back to MacKenzie King.

Read the whole thing HERE.

ichannel presents Bang For The Buck and Disorder In The House tomorrow night, Friday June 1, at 8 pm and 9 pm ET/PT.

Robert Roy is the producer of Bang for the Buck and Disorder in the House, documentaries on defence spending and parliamentary accountability. He is a documentary film maker who has covered international conflict, organized crime, intelligence, defence and security subjects over the course of a thirty year career. He is currently producing the documentary Bridging The Gap on civil-military relations in the United States. As part of the team that started Stornoway Productions he works with its foundation partner the Breakout Educational Network.


ichannel Special Asks: How Do We Spend Our Defence Dollars?

May 23rd, 2012


ichannel presents the two-part documentary special BANG FOR THE BUCK and DISORDER IN THE HOUSE, hosted by Mercedes Stephenson. Airdates: Tuesday May 29, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT | Friday June 1, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT

The controversy over the RCAF’s plans to purchase the F-35 fighter jet provides a timely context for ichannel’s special rebroadcast of this two-part documentary series on the problems of Canada’s military spending and the failure of Parliament to provide proper accountability of the government’s defence dollars. The series focuses on the issue of defence procurement — a long and costly process that has so often been mired in debate that inevitably questions of how we are governed must be asked.

Part One, BANG FOR THE BUCK, takes an investigative look at the defence spending  problem, tracing the Defence Department’s attempts to replace and invest in new weapons systems such as helicopters, submarines, trucks and transport aircraft. The program reminds us that the defence procurement system in Canada was broken a long time before the problems with the F-35 were raised. Among those familiar with the issue: Alan Williams, an Ottawa insider (and author of REINVENTING Canadian Defence Procurement: A View From Inside), who oversaw the Department of Defence’s spending programs as Assistant Deputy Minister.

Part Two, DISORDER IN THE HOUSE, examines the fallout from the publication of Alan Williams’ explosive book on defence spending. Can one man make his way to Parliament Hill to change the way the Government spends our tax dollars on Canada’s military? Williams believes his new plan would save years of time, save billions of dollars, and potentially save lives in conflicts like Afghanistan. Does he have a hope? What in our political system is he up against? And what does his story say to rest of us who aspire to influence government through Canada’s parliamentary system?

To find out, tune in to BANG FOR THE BUCK AND DISORDER IN THE HOUSE: Tuesday May 29, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT | Friday June 1, 8 pm & 9 pm ET/PT. Only on ichannel.

BANG FOR THE BUCK and DISORDER IN THE HOUSE were produced for Stornoway Productions by Breakout Educational Network. For more information, CLICK HERE.


ichannel News Release: Parliamentary Showdown

March 20th, 2012


PARLIAMENTARY SHOWDOWN: “All-Star” MPs compete to appear on #FAQMP season finale

TORONTO, March 20 – Five Canadian Members of Parliament will compete to occupy the #FAQMP hot seat, as ichannel’s flagship political affairs series prepares to wrap up its first season with a special “All-Star” episode.

In the running are: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC), Liberal Deputy leader Ralph Goodale (Wascana, SK), Conservative Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, ON), Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s, ON), and Conservative MP Joy Smith (Kildonan—St. Paul, MB).

Launched in October 2011, #FAQMP (Frequently Asked Questions for your Member of Parliament) invites Canadians to cast votes online for the MPs they want to see interviewed on the half-hour program, and to submit questions for the politicians via the show’s Web site.

The five “All-Star” MPs on the ballot for the #FAQMP season finale have appeared previously on the show, and were invited back because they drew large numbers of votes and viewer questions.

Once the voting for the “All-Stars” is complete, viewers will have just over a week to send in questions for the winning MP.

“We get great questions from the public,” says #FAQMP host Karyn Pugliese. “Some are serious policy questions, others are thought-provoking. Some questions express anger and frustration, others are sent in by some witty people who obviously have a great sense of humour.”

The online voting for the #FAQMP “All-Stars” will open on March 27 and close April 10. Members of the public can vote once each day at

Viewers can submit questions by writing in to or uploading video to the #FAQMP Web site, or by tweeting questions to host Karyn Pugliese at @KarynFAQMP.

#FAQMP airs Mondays at 8 pm ET on ichannel. Viewers can also stream the show live at that time, at, and participate in a live chat with the series producers.

CLICK HERE to see the #FAQMP All-Stars Photo Gallery.