Hon. Bryce Mackasey (Minister of Manpower and Immigration):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege based on responses I gave in the House on June 9 and June 12 to the hon. members for Edmonton Centre (Mr. Paproski) and Hamilton West (Mr. Alexander), as reported on pages 2993 and 3036 of Hansard, with regard to the death of Mrs. Alicia Wiercioch.
After a complete inquiry into her case I find that the information on the basis of which I answered the hon. members was not entirely correct and that my response was ambiguous and would tend to mislead the House and members of the media. This is why, Mr. Speaker, I trust you will allow me this opportunity to briefly set the record straight.
Mrs. Wiercioch applied for landed status on September 30, 1968, one month after she arrived in Canada on a six month visitor's visa. Because of procedures which were in existence at the time, her husband had to fill out an application form on his own behalf so that the entire family could be processed. This caused a delay since her husband was in Poland and had to be processed through our Geneva office which was the regional headquarters for Europe at that time.
During this delay Mrs. Wiercioch accepted work without permission after signing a written statement that she would not do so. Once she informed my department of this, she immediately could no longer be a successful applicant for landing. The department sent her a letter asking her to depart voluntarily, failing which she would be ordered to an inquiry to decide whether or not she should be deported. She had her inquiry on September 24, 1970, at which time she was ordered deported but given permission to work after she stated that she would pursue an appeal to the Immigration Appeal Board.
On March 15, 1972, the Immigration Appeal Board dismissed her appeal against deportation and declined to exercise their discretion to allow her to remain on compassionate grounds. Her attorney then made a motion to the Federal Court to have the time limit extended for submission of a motion to seek leave to appeal. This motion was still before the Federal Court at the time of her death. Because the case was sub judice the department had no intention of effecting deportation when Mrs. Wiercioch died.
I regret, Mr. Speaker, that I stated to the hon. members for Hamilton West and Edmonton Centre that she was not ordered deported for working illegally. I can assure the
House that I did not give this information in bad faith but based it on the preliminary information then submitted to me by the department, which I have now found contained errors that are being investigated. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to set the record straight.
Subtopic: MR. MACKASEY-CORRECTION OF PREVIOUS ANSWERS CONCERNING SUICIDE OF ALICIA WIERCIOCH