Today, in the House of Commons, Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) stated that "a letter was sent from our department to the union, dated March 1, 2017, outlining the costs requested by the member opposite." (See the transcript below)
This is an inaccurate and misleading statement. The letter was sent two weeks later with a document that was redacted to remove any and all references to the financial costs and consequences of relocating the Vegreville Case Processing Centre. The union has still to this date never been provided with the numbers to back up the department's claims, despite multiple requests for the information, until the recent Global News story revealing the information.
On March 15, 2017 at 5:08 p.m., PSAC received an email from Stefanie Beck, Assistant Deputy Minister at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, stating: "Attached please find the PSPC document you had requested. PSPC / IRCC have redacted it as if you had made an ATIP request to for it. As you will see, it is quite technical."
The document we received, attached below for your reference, was redacted by the department prior to providing it to the union to remove any reference to the costs associated with the move.
PSAC urges the Immigration Minister and his staff to stop misleading Canadians. We have consistently debunked and disproven his excuses (see the attached fact sheet) and it's time for this government to own up to their mistake and reverse the closure of the Vegreville Case Processing Centre.
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC):
Madam Speaker, for months now the Liberals have been dodging questions and making up excuses. They claim it will save money, but it is tens of millions more. They claim it is to expand, but the reality is Vegreville has room for the 32 more staff planned.
The Liberals slag the employees but the department itself says they are high performers, exemplary workers who always exceed departmental targets.
There was no consultation, no transparency, and no honesty.
Will the minister admit this is an attack on middle-class rural Canadians and stop it now?
Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):
Madam Speaker, our government, once again, is committed to making responsible decisions and services to Canadians and to creating jobs. Once again, we have always been upfront and transparent about the costs of the relocation.
In fact, a letter was sent from our department to the union, dated March 1, 2017, outlining the costs requested by the member opposite.
The reality is about 20%, again, of available positions are currently vacant. This move will address the long-standing staffing challenges, allow for an expansion of immigration operations, and create more jobs for Albertans.