Newly released documents suggest that Chris Alexander, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Minister, intervened to save bureaucrats from answering part of a formal question from an NPD MP about wait times for visa applications.
The information came to light after NDP immigration critic Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe submitted an order paper question about the budget and processing times for applications for temporary and permanent residents.
In response, the department did provided most of the information but said they would not be able to break down wait times for applications by fiscal year and processing centre as the remaining information requested would require an extensive manual search of Citizenship and Immigration Canada records.
An almost identical order paper question about processing times was submitted by Liberal immigration critic John McCallum. The response Alexander provided in the Commons last May 12 is nearly verbatim to the response Blanchette-Lamothe received in writing two days later, although it also refers to “an excessive number of taxpayer-funded man-hours.”
However, NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus questioned this response.
“I think that is a disturbing trend and it will certainly be used by this government in the future if this is allowed to stand to shut down questions that are politically uncomfortable for them,” Angus said.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
The evidence continues to show the methods which the Conservative Government employs to avoid transparency.