AUGUST 17, 2010
MINISTER’S ROUNDTABLE IN TORONTO.
During His visit to Toronto on August 17, 2010 the R. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, organized a Round Table discussion with a very limited number of representatives of the ethnic press of Canada. During the session have been discussed with the participants, the Canadian developments and the efforts of the government to control the latest financial crisis.
National Ethnic Press and media Council of Canada was represented by the
president of the organization Thomas S. Saras.
is the full text of this discussions.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: As you know, the government’s primary concern
these days remains the Canadian economy. We’re coming out of the
recession stronger than just about anybody else, but we remain part of a
global economy that’s very fragile, so that’s what’s really on top
of our minds. But we’re here to answer what’s ever on your mind.
We will have time for photos with the Prime Minister, but if you could
hold that until the end of the roundtable. And we’re going to go
counter clockwise, or clockwise, I should say, and when you’re speaking,
please put your mic on and provide enough time for all of us to get our
questions in, so try to be short, and we’ll start with...
Prime Minister, the responsible in charge of CSIS, Richard Fadden, said
that there are some provincial and municipal politicians that have, quote,
“they are agents of interference on behalf of foreign governments”.
If it’s true, do you think this is the proper way to express the
concern? These are very vague but very serious allegations.
And if it’s not true, are we going to have some consequences?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, I’m not going to comment on anything
specifically that Mr. Fadden said. As Prime Minister, I’m briefed
very regularly on security threats that exist both outside the country and
within the country, the range of those threats and the range of activities
that are undertaken by CSIS and our other security agencies to monitor and
to deal with those threats. Should any information like that exist,
it would of course be passed to the relevant authorities. I would
not comment on it, and I doubt they would comment on it either, so
that’s all I have to say on that subject, and you will never hear me
commenting on specific security matters in public.
I had to ask anyway. Thank you.
Prime Minister, it’s only six weeks back you hosted visit of the Prime
Minister of India, and at the dinner, state dinner that you hosted, and
you spoke so very well about the outcome of that visit. You and
Prime Minister Singh witnessed signing of the historic civilian nuclear
agreement and then according to information, both of you also had had some
discussions about extensive trade agreement between the two countries.
My interest, two questions. Firstly, as a result of signing of this
nuclear, civilian nuclear agreement, is it a fact now that Indian
companies or Indian government can import uranium and other nuclear
material from Canada, strictly for use in their civilian nuclear reactors,
and secondly, is there any projection from your side, sir, as to when this
comprehensive trade agreement, if at all, is going to be signed?
There is an influx next month of four federal ministers from India coming
to this country, and as many as 12 Canadian ministers in the last 24
months have visited India, sir.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Right. First of all, on the nuclear
cooperation agreement, you know, frankly I probably should get officials
to brief you more if you want some of the specific details, but basically
they allow for a range of possible economic activity between Canada and
India in support of the development of India’s civilian nuclear energy
capacity, which we anticipate will be rising enormously in the years to
come, and it’s no secret the government of Canada wants Canadian
industry to look at those opportunities and to participate in those
opportunities. Is the deal in any way contingent on those things?
No. We have not...we’re not making any kind of condition that
there be agreements with Canadian companies. We expect Canadian
companies to compete. This merely opens doors to what will be an
important and growing industry. I say, in terms of specific...the
specific provisions, I could get you more information if you wanted, but
it allows for broad cooperation and interaction on civilian nuclear
energy, and contains a range of safeguards to ensure our country that that
will be the purpose of the activity.
the comprehensive economic partnership study, this was something that was
undertaken with the government of India over the past year. We have
completed the study, and we would hope that in the near future, it would
be the basis for beginning some serious negotiations on such an
arrangement, but there is a lot of steps to be undertaken to get there,
but that is certainly the direction we’re interested in moving and we
are going to maintain the pace of ministerial level visits to India in
pursuit of these objectives. I know that Minister Ritz, the
Agriculture Minister, will be in India in September, and Jason Kenney, of
course, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship as well.
There’s a growing range of cooperation between our countries, not just
on economic matters, not just on matters like civilian nuclear energy, but
also on matters like security. There’s increasingly close
cooperation between our two countries, and as I said, I think India’s a
country that shares much common history and common values with Canada, and
common interest in the world of the future, so this is a relationship we
do want to focus on.
Thank you, sir.
Prime Minister, are you helping the Korean government in any way as they
prepare for the upcoming G20 summit, and are we close to signing the free
trade agreement between Canada and Korea?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Good question. First of all, on the summit
the answer is yes. We have worked very closely with the government
of the Republic of Korea, and I have worked very closely with President
Lee. They were consulted quite closely in our work, in our
chairmanship of the G20 summit in Toronto, and obviously we’re then
working with them in providing any assistance we can in their hosting of
the next summit. Since these two summits are both this year and both
so close together, we’ve tried to closely coordinate the work plans of
both. In fact, many of the initiatives that were discussed in
Toronto we want to see come to completion. You know, for example,
the comprehensive global financial sector reforms, we would like to see
those come to completion in Seoul, so absolutely, our two countries have
been working very closely, and you know, our officials, who have a lot of
expertise and knowledge at hosting and putting together international
conferences, have made it clear to our Korean friends that we’ll offer
any assistance they deem useful.
terms of the trade agreement, you’re correct to say that we have had
negotiations with the Republic of Korea on possible free trade agreement.
Those have been going on for some time now. There are some
difficult, sensitive issues, I may as well be frank, some difficult,
sensitive issues that to this point have prevented us coming to a final
conclusion, and those items remain under discussion. They include
things like the beef sector. As you know, Canadian beef remains
closed to the Korean market, even though, you know, it has been
increasingly...our beef is increasingly accepted everywhere. China
just opened its borders, and this is actually the subject of a WTO action
on our part, because we do think this is unfair. There are
sensitivities around the automobile sector as you know as well. So
these items remain under discussion, but I think it would be premature to
say that we’re on the verge of signing an agreement at this point.
As we know, we’re a country of immigrants, and people hear great stories
before coming here. They’re promised all kinds of things. When
they come here, it’s a very different situation. I think we’re
still having a serious problem with utilizing the abilities, knowledge and
education of highly trained professionals, and on the other hand, we’ve
got serious, serious problems here with shortages of doctors and people in
other professions. So my question to you is do you think enough has
been done, because I know that a lot has been done. Do you think
enough has been done, is being done, and what is your vision on this?
Like, where are we going and when do we get there?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, a lot has been done. As you know,
we’ve invested $50 million since we took office through, particularly
through the economic action plan, to enhance the identification and the
recognition of foreign skills. It’s our government’s strong
belief that in many areas, we are under-utilizing the potential
contributions of immigrants to the country. It obviously to some
degree defeats some of the purpose of our immigration program, but
obviously it’s a terrible tragedy for those individuals as well who are
not in some cases easily able to get the recognition they deserve.
We’ve recognized from the outset, the reason we’ve been investing
money, we’ve recognized from the outset not just that this has to be
done, but it has to be done in coordination with the provinces who control
most aspects of the labour market, and of the recognition process.
We have established, we have actually got a pan-Canadian agreement with
the provinces, so-called pan-Canadian framework for the assessment and
recognition of foreign credentials, which is a...foreign qualifications, I
should say, which is a major step forward in terms of mobilizing all
levels of government to deal with this issue. I think some progress
is being made. You asked specifically about the medical sector.
I mean, this is, you know, a couple of these areas, like the medical
sector, are the trickiest area, because not just that we don’t...we
don’t control it as a federal government, but in fact the provinces in
most cases have delegated virtually all of the authority to the
professional accrediting bodies. Nevertheless, they are working with
us to try and deal with this problem. We have, right now we are
piloting a national assessment process for international medical graduates
who are looking at doing residency in Canada to try and...to try and deal
with some of these qualification issues. But as I say, we’re
trying to do this cooperatively. I think we’re making some
progress, but we concede more needs to be done.
Prime Minister, I will ask you three questions.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Three.
A privilege. First of all, I want to know that although our
legislature has been passed to protect the Canadian consumers from the
various companies who issuing those credit cards, I was surprised to learn
this week that Citibank of Canada is charging 22 and a half.
Suddenly, without any warning, put up the price on 22 and a half, and the
official interest of the Bank of Canada is zero. And I want you to
know that because usually the people who are using, are going to these
services are immigrants and new Canadians, and this is a rip-off for all
of us. The second one is that...last week I spoke with Paul...Phil
Angelides and Mr. Georgiou. Both of them, Phil Angelides is the
chairman of the commission that President Obama made to find out the
reasons of the economic crisis, and Mr. Georgiou is one of the
commissioners. And during the conversation came out that both of
them believe that the economy, which recently is down to Europe, the
European countries, they are expecting that eventually is going to reach
us, is going to reach United States, and of course if it’s going to
reach United States, it’s going also to have effects on us. Just
I’m wondering if your government took any action to prevent anything or
whatever is going to be done in the future because still the economy is
trying to get out of the recession. And finally, the third one,
Prime Minister, with every respect, I want to bring to your attention that
the Consular General, the Consul General of China is withholding a
Canadian passport that has been issued to a Canadian citizen from Chinese
origin, and they are refusing to return this passport back to the person,
who is submitted to receive a visa. I want to know if they do have
the right to withhold Canadian passport. Either they like or they
don’t like the carrier of this passport. Thank you.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Right. Let me just deal with the first and third
issues quickly. Look, our government shares – I think we’ve said
this before – we share concerns about some of the practices that are out
there in terms of the credit card industry, and we’ve been trying to use
some degree of persuasion to adjust those practices. I’ll take a
look at this specific case you raise. In fairness, it would not be
under the responsibility of the Bank of Canada. It might be under
OSFI or it might be under the consumer...one of the consumer agencies, but
it’s certainly a situation we continue to monitor.
terms of the...I also take a note of your concern on the withholding of a
Canadian passport. I’m not aware of such a right to do that, but
we will, if you give us the information, I can follow up on it and see
exactly what the case is there, because I’m not familiar with the
terms of the economic problems in Europe and to some degree the United
States, you know, what I’ve continued to say for a long time now is, you
know, to remind Canadians the recession didn’t start in this country.
That’s why throughout this, our performance has tended to be better than
Europe, better than the United States, better than virtually all of the
industrialized, other industrialized economies. That said, we are in
a global economy, so I cannot tell you these things will not and do not
have impact in Canada. We know that we’ve had, you know, a year
ago, we had considerable job loss. We’ve started to regain
virtually all of that, but we had considerable job loss simply because of
the effects of some of these problems in our export markets, particularly
in the United States. So we can’t pretend that we’re fully
insulated. I can tell you this, that we have done and continue to do
things to make sure that none of the causes or potential causes of this
crisis or any further crisis exist in this country. For example,
there are basically three, you know, three troubled areas, if you look at
the United States and Europe. The first is the situation of the
banking sector, where large financial institutions throughout the United
States and in some European countries had toxic assets or grossly
overvalued assets on their books and many of these banks were of course
not, as a consequence, financially stable when there began to be a
tightening in credit conditions. Canadian banks are in no such
situation. We have had a strong system, a strong activist system of
regulation that has also generated very prudential behaviour on the part
of the Canadian banks. No one in the world is suggesting Canadian
banks are unstable or in any way a source of instability. In fact,
Canadian banks are starting – obviously they’re being cautious – but
they’re starting to look for ways that they can take advantage of the
trouble in, you know, some of the other banking sectors to advance the
size of the Canadian financial sector in the world, and of course, we have
a joint task force with the province of Ontario and others to try and look
at ways to do that as well. So the banking sector is not a concern.
We’re participating internationally in discussions on reform of the
financial regulation. We’re not claiming our system is perfect.
We’re also prepared to make some improvements. We’re bringing
in, as you know, we’re working with Ontario, British Columbia and others
to bring in a system of national securities regulation in this country,
because that’s the one area of the financial sector that is not
nationally regulated, and it’s the one area, by the way, where we have
had some problems during this crisis. So you know, we don’t have a
problem now, but we’re aggressively taking action to deal with any
potential problems there.
with the household sector. In the United States, as you know, the
fact that households were grossly overextended, particularly on their
mortgages and most centrally on their mortgages, that was a big cause of
the crisis. In Canada, we’ve a very different mortgage system
where mortgages are insured by a credible government agency. They
have to be within certain constraints. Our financial firms by and
large do not trade mortgages. They hold mortgages. They don’t try
and turn them into fancy products. We don’t have things like sub-prime
in Canada. Now, even there, once again, in the last two years we
have taken some steps to strengthen some of the parameters around
mortgages just to make sure we don’t get an overheated situation or
situation where households are overextended. I will say that we are
concerned about the growth of private debt, of household debt in Canada.
But nevertheless, the mortgage sector itself remains fundamentally sound
in this country.
source of problems, particularly in Europe, has been the government
sector. Enormous deficits being racked up by governments, enormous
debt levels, and in some cases, falsification of the books, in terms of
the actual financial state of the government. As you know, we have
very stringent auditing in Canada. Even with, you know, we have one
of the largest stimulus programs in the world. Even with that
stimulus program, deficit and debt levels in Canada remain near the bottom
of the industrialized world. We still have very low deficit and debt
levels. We also are one of the few countries that does have a
actually published fiscal plan to return to balanced budget in the
mid-term. So you know, look, if...I always tell people this. I
know some people are concerned about the deficit, and we always should be,
but if Canada’s got a problem, let me assure you, everyone else is going
to go bankrupt long before we are, because their deficits are two, three
and four times as big, and they have much higher debt levels. So once
again, as long as we stick to our plan, if I can be blunt on this with all
of you, as long as the Conservative government does what it says and not
what the opposition wants us to do, as long as we do what we say, which is
to end the stimulus spending, and begin to balance the budget after the
recession, you know, we’re targeting spring of next year, we will be
fine. If we do what the opposition wants and make all this spending
permanent and make it all bigger, we’ll have a big problem in a few
years. But at the moment, we have no problem and no reason we should
have a problem in any of those things. So, to recap all that, if you look
at the problems in other countries, none of those problems are present in
Canada, and in fact the government of Canada has taken additional measures
in the past two years to ensure we don’t have them in Canada. I
think that’s all at this point we can do. The only other thing we
can do, as what I was doing in Toronto when I was, you know, president of
the G20, is to try and persuade the other countries of the world to adopt
some of our practices in the financial regulation sector, in government
finance and in other sectors. Some of them are doing that to try and
persuade them to do this internationally. That’s the only other
thing we can do to protect ourselves. Ultimately, if there are deep
problems in our export markets, they will affect us, and that has been a
recent problem, but we’re doing everything domestically we can to deal
with that, and we’re working with our international partners to try to
help them get out, avoid and/or get out of some of the problems that they
are in. Thanks.
Hi, Prime Minister. I’m not asking you to comment on Mr.
Fadden’s issue, but may we know when the detail of his report will be
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: No is the answer to that question.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: But I appreciate the question. Look, I’m
not, as I said earlier, I’m not going to comment on Mr. Fadden’s
comments, and you’re not asking me to, but such information, when it is
compiled, and as I say, I’m briefed regularly, and I expect others to be
briefed accordingly. That information is to be dealt with the
highest levels of confidence that one would expect of national security
matters. So no, I would not foresee any further publication or
commentary or speculation on the contents of any of these things. If
there are serious concerns, as I say, they will be conveyed to those who
are responsible for dealing with those particular problems.
Ok. Another question is will there be a fall election?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, not if I have my way. I said this
morning, I’ve said repeatedly, I see no evidence at all that the
Canadian public wants an election. We’ve had now many elections,
three elections in six years? We’ve had three elections in six
years. Right now the focus is the economy. The Canadian
economy is doing well compared to others, but as I said, we are in a very
difficult international environment, and we need to stay the course.
We need to stay focused on the economy and not get pushed into a bunch of
political games. So I’ve been very clear. I’m not planning
to call an election this fall. I see no advantage in it for the
country or for anyone else. As you know, the opposition coalition,
the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois, if they decide to force an election,
they have that in their power. But I think it would be very ill
advised and I would encourage them to listen to the Canadian people, which
say...who say focus on the economy, which is what we’re doing.
Prime Minister, forgive me for not dealing with something of a national
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Sure.
...but it’s a topic that affects everybody in this room. Every
media house in this room, anyhow. You said earlier that the media
houses we represent, the publications we represent are among the most
widely read in the country. We are the source for news for most
Canadians, most immigrant Canadians, anyways. Yet we seem to suffer
from a very serious lack of federal government advertising. The
federal government advertising budget doesn’t seem to include us, or if
it does include us, it’s a very small percentage. This is an issue
you’ve been trying to bring up to...bring to the attention of successive
governments. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but I just
wanted to let you know about it, because we don’t often have the ear of
the Prime Minister. So my question to you is will you, if you become
aware of it, would you look at it and try to ensure that we get our fair
share of government advertising?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, I certainly am aware of the issue, and
we’ve tried since taking office to emphasize that more needs to be done
in terms of advertising through cultural and community media, because it
is an important information source for so many Canadians. Now, look,
the government has to tread here with some degree of caution. We
don’t want to be accused of, you know, picking favourite papers to place
advertisements and then flow money to because this was exactly the kind of
thing that got the previous government into trouble with the sponsorship
scandal. But you know, we have had a general directive to try and
bring this up. I actually asked for some figures on this. In
2008/2009, our print budget – now, it’s primarily print – print
budget on so-called cultural communities or ethnic print was over $2
million. That was up considerably from what it used to be.
That, by the way, was 30 percent of the total community newspaper
advertising done by the federal government, so it was a considerable part.
I’m told that for 2009/2010, that amount is up to $4.5 million.
It’s up considerably. Now, a little caution on that. As you know,
the economic action plan has included additional government advertising.
It’s part of the plan, so those levels will be coming back down in some
cases across the media board. But there has been some effort on the
part of the government. We continue to push Public Works to make
sure that we are adequately ensuring that government, government-wide
advertising is covered in ethnic media.
Thank you. I had one more question, if I’m allowed to ask.
Again, it concerns something that’s very specific to my community, which
is the Caribbean community, and it deals with Caribana. As you know,
there was an IPSOS-Reid report that was issued earlier this spring which
said that Caribana generates over $400 million a year, out of which the
federal government gets I think it’s over $190 million in revenue off of
Caribana. Yet this year, the funding for Caribana on the federal
level was cut, and the organizers of the event had to basically pinch
pennies to get the festival done, to the point where they each took pay
cuts, 30 percent pay cuts. Do you think that your government will be
funding Caribana better in the future?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, the short answer is this: the government
has for some years provided I think a fairly stable level of funding to
Caribana. Once again, through the economic action plan, there were
specific stimulus monies distributed in 2009 that were one time much
higher than usual because they were part of a global effort to kick start
the tourism centre...the tourism sector in Canada, and particularly in
Canada’s major cities. So there were some very high levels of
funding given in 2009. In 2010, that special program was distributed
more widely. In 2009, it was the so-called Marquee Tourism Program.
The funding went to a fairly small number of major festivals across the
country. In 2010 it was distributed more broadly, so some that had
received a lot previous years received less, but far more festivals
actually got funded than got funded the previous year. That program
will be expiring in its entirety this year, at the end of this year, so
there will not be special additional funds. So I think what you will see
is the funding levels for Caribana and other levels in 2011 will return to
where they had been prior to the recession; that is the government’s
Prime Minister, I have two questions for you, if that’s all right.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Yes.
The first one has to do with your government recently introduced new
sanctions against Iran, more stringent sanctions. I’m wondering
first off what the timeline is to be given for those to work in your
government’s view, and what further sanctions might be applied should
those sanctions not bear fruit and prevent, or at least give a semblance
of preventing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime from continuing its quest for
nuclear power and/or nuclear weapons? The second question I have,
which is of a more specific nature to our community, is the soldier Gilad
Shalit has been held captive by Hamas for the last four and a half years.
We’re wondering whether or not the government plans to, I guess, bear
pressure down on the ICRC or perhaps other non-governmental organizations
to see what can be done to gain access to him at the very least to
determine his condition?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Sure. On the question of Iran, as I think
you know, our government continues to be very worried about the activities
of the Iranian government. We have no quarrel with the Iranian
people; far from it. We sympathize deeply with widespread democratic
and human rights abuses that exist within that country, including, you
know, what the public put up with and what was clearly a fraudulent
election. As I say, that all said, we are very worried about the
continued activities of Iran, which in our judgement unequivocally
indicate that that regime wants to gain nuclear weapons capacity.
And Iran gaining nuclear weapons capacity would be a very grave security
threat to that region and throughout the world. The government of
Canada is working – we can only be effective in this area – working
with our international partners. We work closely with our allies,
particularly through the G8 and NATO. We worked with our allies to
bring about tougher sanctions resolutions at the United Nations.
We’re working with our closest allies, as you just mentioned, to bring
in an enhanced program of sanctions. Look, I can only say this.
You know, I can’t answer your question. How long will we give it
to work, will it work, how long will we give it to work, what will we do
next? I can only tell you that, you know, we need to work in concert
with others to be effective, so we will continue to consult with the
United States, Britain, France and our other allies on what the
appropriate step forward is. But I, you know, I can’t emphasize
enough to the Canadian people and to the global community when I’ve
spoken to other leaders. I think it would be foolhardy for the world
to in any way underestimate either the determination of this regime to
acquire nuclear weapons, or the threat this regime holding nuclear weapons
would pose to all of us. And other leaders are certainly aware of my
view on that score.
Shalit, we have called repeatedly for his release. As you know, the
regime that holds him is not one that is terribly given to responding to
international pressure or respecting international law in any way, shape
or form, and we obviously have great sympathy for him and for his family
and all those who know him. He does stand as a symbol and a
remembrance that terrorism and the threat of terrorism and terrorism in
fact is very real in Israel’s existence on a day to day basis. And
he is a symbol of that reality, and of the complete lawlessness of those
in that region of the country who threaten Israel’s existence.
Mr. Prime Minister, with the arrival of Tamil refugee ship to Canada,
gives me a reason to ask this question: there’s a growing concern that
in the name of Charter of Rights, a tiny section of many communities,
Muslims, (inaudible), Sikhs, Tamils, etcetera, is perpetuating a hatred
campaign from Canadian soil. What government has already done and
what is planned to undo this phenomena while ensuring that Canada stays
beacon of hope for those who make hard decisions to displace themselves
from their native lands?
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, I think there’s two or three different
questions or situations mixed into that. First of all, more broadly, I
think it’s always important to emphasize that the vast, vast majority of
people who come to this country from, not just from the Indian
subcontinent but from all parts of the world do so because they see a land
of tremendous opportunity for themselves, their children and their
descendants, and they come here not to abandon their roots, but they come
here to belong to Canada and to contribute to the country and ultimately
to maintain their roots and their good relations with those who they’ve
left behind, and that cannot be forgotten. To the extent there is a
minority in, you know, any community, I mean, you know, it existed, you
know, 150 years ago. You go back and, you know, we had the Fenians.
There’s always been elements who’ve, small elements who come to this
country who had other agendas, violent agendas, either here or violent
agendas related to their homeland. I just think it’s important at
all times that we as politicians, first of all, our security agencies
monitor these people, but we as politicians distance ourselves from those
tiny groups of people. I did mention this issue, you may recall, at
the Air India memorial in Toronto earlier this summer, that it is very
important that, you know, there’s a small element that sees its place in
Canada as a base in which to export, you know, old battles and old
animosities back to India, that that is something that no political party
should have anything to do with in this country. India is a great
and forward-looking nation that is today led by a great man who is a
member of the Sikh community, as you know.
RT. HON. STEPHEN HARPER: In terms of the more recent issue of the arrival of the Sun Sea. Look, Canada is a nation of refuge and has been for many people, but I do think Canadians get concerned when hundreds of people start arriving by boat without any attempt to go through an application process, any attempt to pursue normal travel channels, and of course, considerable evidence that in this case this was actually an illegal operation with secret, you know, secret exchange of money in order to engage in human smuggling. I think this is something that concerns us all. We have a responsibility as a government and Canadians expect all of us to protect our sovereignty and our security, and that we take whatever steps are necessary to deal with this kind of phenomenon. That’s why when this boat arrived, we insist that everybody is going to have to be thoroughly screened and then put through whatever legal process is in place. We’re also working closely with our international allies, including Australia. Many other countries are experiencing this as a growing phenomenon. This growing phenomenon of trafficking in human smuggling is something we’re seeing throughout the world, so it’s something we’re very concerned about, and as I said this morning, if we have to strengthen laws to give ourselves more tools to deal with it, we will. But it is a very big concern, and as I say, not to say that people who come to this country, or not to say even that these people, some may be seeking legitimate refuge, but the way that this has been done and the way some of these shipments are coming over raises very serious concerns about who’s behind it, what the agenda is, who these people are, exactly, and why there is no effort to work through any legal or accepted channels, and so it is something we take very seriously.
MODERATOR: Well, thanks, everyone, for your time.
HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Yes, thank you. We covered a lot of ground.