Mr. Mark Adler (York Centre, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Yesterday, during debate on Bill C-4, the member for Trinity—Spadina said, in reference to the passengers of the SS St. Louis, in 1939, “They came without a lot of documentation and arrived on the shore of Halifax and Canada sent them away”.
This is an attempt to revise historical fact, as the passengers on the St. Louis had full documentation, including passports issued by the government of Nazi Germany stamped with a large j on them, plus entry visas for Cuba. However, Cuba turned them away due to the j on their passports.
The member for Trinity—Spadina owes the House, Holocaust survivors and the memory of the six million an apology for these unfounded spurious remarks.
What the minister is proposing in Bill C-4 is a process to determine whether undocumented people arriving on Canadian shores are bona fide refugees or not.
The 300 men and 650 women and children on the SS St. Louis were turned away, not because of lack of documentation, but because their documentation identified them as Jews.
As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I am appalled at her attempt to revise history and denigrate the memory of those who perished in the gas chambers at Auschwitz and the memory of the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis to the boatloads of migrants recently arriving on Canadian shores with no or questionable documentation.
I call on the member for Trinity—Spadina to stand in her place today and take this opportunity to apologize.
I believe this issue was raised yesterday and it was ruled to be a point of debate. I see no reason that this has changed from yesterday to today.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, the comments that the member is making is an attempt to take something that is one of the great profound tragedies of our history, what happened to those who came looking for sanctuary and who were turned away, and use it to smear another member of the House. That is a very serious thing, and I do not think it should be allowed to stand.
What the member spoke about was how some people who came to our country were not given the full right as citizens, people who came to our shores looking for help, who were turned away and who later died. This is no attempt, in any way, to denigrate the horror of the Holocaust.
When the member for Trinity—Spadina speaks of this, and we see people coming out of war zones who are in desperate situations and who do not have proper documentation who may be turned away, this is a legitimate matter for debate. However, it is certainly not acceptable in the House to attempt to paint a member of this chamber as somehow denigrating the Holocaust.
I would ask the member to put those issues aside and debate issues as they are and not attempt to trash people’s reputation in such a spurious manner.