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Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security


NUMBER 062 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
41st PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (0850)  

[English]

     Good morning, colleagues, and welcome to meeting number 62 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Of course, today we will be dealing with clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-51.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title, is postponed.
    (On clause 2—Enactment)
    The Chair: We have NDP amendment number one.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    On a point of order, are we not having Justice officials here? There will be a number of questions on this bill related to the charter and other issues as we go through it. It was my understanding that there would be officials here from the Department of Justice to explain some of the contradictions in this legislation.
    As well, I'd say, while I'm at it, Mr. Chair—I don't believe it's in our package, I haven't looked yet—if you remember the last witness we had, Mr. McKenna from the Air Transport Association of Canada, we had asked him to forward some amendments. The clerk has those. I don't know whether they've been distributed, but when we get to them I may move them because they're not in our original package—just to give you a heads-up.
    Fine, thank you very much, Mr. Easter.
    Just two quick responses. The officials are here. It's been indicated, and they are of course sitting here now. Should you wish to call them to the table at any particular time, I think that would certainly be in order, but there's no sense having everybody just sitting there right now. Certainly, I would expect—
    Yes? Just a second, Ms. James, I'll just finish my other point.
    As to the other point on the amendments, it's my understanding that they have been translated and have been circulated electronically.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Just for the sake of the committee and so we don't have to invite the officials up at some point later on, maybe the chair could invite the officials to join us at the table to be able to answer any of our questions that we have along the way.
    That's fine.
    Mr. Garrison, on the same point.
    If we don't know who's here, it's hard to know who we're calling to the table, so I think it would be better if we had some idea of who's here.
    That's a good point.
    Okay, we understand. We have approximately 13 officials here, Mr. Garrison, so we can certainly bring a number of them up now, put up their name cards, and advise members of the names of the other people who are here so that they're available to the committee.
    At this point, then, we will suspend briefly and we will call some of our witnesses to the table, fill the chairs, and put name cards there, and then advise the committee of who else is here.
    Thank you.

  (0850)  


  (0855)  

    Okay, we are now back in session and we will now go ahead and call NDP-1. Before I call this to the table—
    I do not have an electronic copy of those available to me, and before we discuss this, I do need to know which officials are available to call upon. I cannot proceed without knowing who is here.
    That's a fair point, Mr. Garrison, and the chair is willing to wait until we have all of that information available to all of the committee.
    We will now suspend again.

  (0855)  


  (0900)  

    Okay, colleagues, we will resume. You have the list now.
    If the witnesses whom you wish to speak to and/or ask for comment are at the table, you can obviously do that. Should you wish to call another witness to the table, simply advise the clerk and/or the chair at that point, and we will make that happen.
    We will now resume discussion on amendment NDP-1. The chair would just make note as well here that if amendment NDP-1 is adopted, then Green Party amendment PV-1 and Bloc Québécois amendment BQ-1 cannot be moved, as they would be in line conflict. Should amendment NDP-1 not pass, then we will deal with amendment PV-1 and amendment BQ-1 as they come up in sequence.
    On amendment NDP-1, is there comment?

  (0905)  

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I'm hereby moving this amendment, which is a very simple one, but it gets to the heart of one of the main problems that we see in Bill C-51. That is the vast expansion of the definition of what is to be the subject of CSIS activity.
    In essence, what the amendment does is to return to the existing definition in the CSIS Act, which says that threats to the security of Canada mean just four things, from A to D: espionage or sabotage; foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve threats; activities within or relating to Canada directed to or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence; and activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts the constitutionally established system of government in Canada. What Bill C-51 does is expand that list from those four things, which I think almost all of us would agree with, to a list of A to I in the bill.
    The purpose of this amendment is to return to what is the existing practice for CSIS.
    I am disappointed in the list we have. We don't have anyone form CSIS here at the table. I might not sure who I should ask my questions of, given that CSIS officials are not here. Reading through the officials list, I assume that at least one of those we have at the table now would be Mr. Davies, though I'm not sure he can answer these questions because he is not from CSIS.
    Regarding of the change in definition, does he have any knowledge whether this change in the bill was requested by CSIS? In other words, where did this demand for this much broader definition for CSIS come from? Why is it here before us today? He may or may not have that information.
    Mr. Davies.
    The purpose of the bill is not just about CSIS. It's much broader than that. I believe there's a schedule attached to the bill. There are 17 departments and agencies that are involved in national security in one way or the other. I think the amendment would narrow the scope greatly because those other departments and agencies have a national security role much broader than CSIS.
    Thank you very much. That's a very useful answer because I think it's exactly where I was going with this. What we've done is not only expand what CSIS looks at, but we've also expanded for 17 government agencies what information can be shared with CSIS.
    That is not the case. This does not change the mandate of the service or the powers of the service in any way. All we wanted to do was to make sure that the definition allowed for the mandates of other departments and agencies involved in national security to lawfully receive information relevant to the threshold in the act.
    This does not change the information to be shared with CSIS by those 17 government departments in any way?
    No.
    Again, the 17 are the receivers. They are the national security departments and agencies that are somehow related. The act is about sharing of all of the Government of Canada with those national security agencies. There's no change in collection authorities by anyone in the act.
    Wouldn't those national security authorities include CSIS? It's one of the 17.
    It's one of the 17, but what they can collect does not change. This is making sure that all of the 17 have the authority to collect information, and that information can be disclosed to them. We're not changing the powers of the service at all.
    If I understand correctly what you're saying, the 17 government departments would now be limited to the definition of threats to security of Canada that's in the existing CSIS Act.
    No.
    Then why is there a necessity for this?
     It's because the 17 that are in the schedule of the act need all of their mandates to be encompassed by the act, otherwise the act won't have an effect. It will only have an effect for CSIS if we use the CSIS mandate defined in the CSIS Act in section 2. We needed to make sure that all of the 17 were somehow brought into the proposed security of information sharing act; otherwise, information relevant to national security that undermines the security of Canada cannot be disclosed to them. We're not changing section 2 of the CSIS Act here at all. We're defining examples of the kinds of things that meet the definition of undermining the security of Canada that will allow all 17 to be included in the act and receive information under the act. No collection mandate is being changed here.

  (0910)  

     But with respect, what you're saying sometimes seems circular to me, because if CSIS is one of the 17 and you're saying it has no impact on CSIS, I don't understand how that can possibly work.
    I'll let Sophie take a crack at it.
    Actually the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada” took into account the concepts of national security relevant to the 17 recipients, so we made sure that the elements of the CSIS definition were included in clause 2 so they could receive information under our act but always in accordance with their mandate and their collection authority.
    However, the definition needs to be broader because we have 16 other agencies that also need to receive information when it is relevant to their national security responsibilities. The extra portions you see of the definition of activity that undermines the security of Canada reflects their mandate. If you look at the list of 17, it's a very varied list.
    I have one last question then.
    If Bill C-51 instead had the definition of threats to the security of Canada that's in the CSIS Act, you're saying this system of information sharing will not function?
    That's right, because the other 16 would be affected. You cannot disclose lawfully to the other 16 without the proposed definition. The CSIS Act definition in section 2 of that act doesn't necessarily include all the other 16.
    Thank you very much.
    I think Mr. Easter wanted.... Sorry.
    I have Ms. James.
    Mr. Easter, did you have your hand up?
    No.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to our official for helping to clarify that. That's actually been an issue since the start of this Bill C-51, because there's been some sort of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the actual bill itself.
    There are actually five parts of this bill. The first part we're going through right now, with this amendment by the NDP dealing with the information sharing act. It has absolutely nothing to do with the basis of CSIS activities, as Mr. Garrison just indicated.
    The basis of activities that CSIS can undertake is included in the CSIS Act, which is completely separate from this bill and separate from the security of the proposed Canada information sharing act, which is part 1 of this bill. I'm glad you clarified that, or attempted to clarify that one more time.
    I understand the information sharing act has to be broad and comprehensive, because we have to include all of the agencies that could be crucial to a piece of information that could go towards impacting our national security and providing security for our citizens.
    That is why the definition is different. The definition of the information sharing act applies to multiple agencies and government bodies, whereas the CSIS Act just applies to CSIS, and there is no connection whatsoever with the information sharing act in part 1 of the bill.
    I wanted to thank you for clarifying that. I will not be supporting this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, officials.
    In this whole clause that the NDP amendment would amend out, there is a lot of concern about the broad language. I think I understand your point about sharing with 16 other agencies, but what kinds of activities would be considered under the terminology about a threat to the economic security of Canada?
    The bill reads undermine “the economic or financial stability of Canada”, and so anybody reading this looks at it very broadly. There could be a tractor demonstration for instance that slowed traffic, or some aboriginal demonstrations that maybe slow down the construction of a pipeline. A lot of people would look at that as undermining the economic or financial stability of the country, yet it's a legitimate protest.
    So how do you explain that?
     I think it's very important to continue to consider the examples and the definition in light of the chapeau. The test in the definition is actually included in the chapeau, so therefore “an activity that undermines the security of Canada” is an activity that undermines the sovereignty, security, or territorial integrity of Canada, or the lives or the security of the people of Canada. The chapeau is meant to raise the bar on the seriousness of the actions. Therefore any interference with the economic or financial stability of Canada needs to be read with the chapeau in mind. It has to reach that scope that affects the country in a national way. Therefore we'd be talking about something fairly serious here that would cripple Canada in a way that would affect the lives and the security of its people.
    The other important thing to remember is that in the example in paragraph 2(a), where you find “the economic or financial stability of Canada”, we are talking about “interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to”... “the economic or financial stability of Canada”. Therefore, it is not just the fact of affecting that particular area, but affecting the capability of the government to maintain economic or financial stability.

  (0915)  

    What complicates this even further, though, relates to what Randall was talking about earlier. In the bill, under paragraph 2(d), it's “terrorism” very broadly defined. I heard your arguments before about sharing with more agencies, and that maybe makes it difficult to use the “terrorist activity” definition that is in the Criminal Code. However, without using that “terrorist activity” definition from the Criminal Code, then the bill as currently worded seems to be too broad. There's no sense in my repeating the points that Randall made, but that is a concern.
    So how do you get around that argument that people engaging in some activities may feel or be considered to be engaging in a terrorist activity that is broader than the ones already defined under the CSIS Act as terrorist activity? How do you narrow that?
    A point of order, Ms. James.
    On a point of order, first, the officials are here to help us understand the bill as it's written, not to ask them questions about their opinions on how to get around something. I just want to make sure that the officials are being used as they're intended to be, to assist us in understanding the bill, and not describing what their opinions might be on other things that are a possibility, or are not in the bill.
    I thank you for that. However, in clause by clause there are no specific rules governing the questions that may be asked. Obviously, the chair would certainly appreciate relevancy to the topic.
    Carry on, Mr. Easter.
    I'm not asking for opinions, Mr. Chair. I'm asking officials from the Department of Justice why the terrorist activity definitions in the CSIS Act were not used, because they're very specific. In this bill, it seems to me—
    Mr. Easter, I'm just going to interrupt you. I just stated there is no limitation—
    Yes, I understand that.
    —so I would just ask you to receive that. I've already stated it clearly, but I would also just ask for consideration, moving forward, that we try to be as close to the parameters of the study as possible. That way we'll be a little bit more efficient and effective.
    You still have the floor, sir.
    Thank you.
    I come back to my question. There are concerns over the view that this word “terrorism” is clause 2 is much too broad and may draw in areas beyond the narrower definition in section 83.01 of the Criminal Code on terrorist activity.
     I'll ask you a second question at the same time, and that will be it for me, Mr. Chair.
    I would like you to explain, if you could, what's the threshold of activity that's related to “interference with critical infrastructure”.

  (0920)  

    When the definition was crafted, all existing definitions in law were studied and taken into account. It was considered that we should not constrain the definition to legal interpretations that are associated with other statutes because they were brought into force in very specific contexts for very specific purposes.
    We did not want to discount the interpretation of those terms either and, therefore, it is anticipated that the word “terrorism”, as used in this act, will be interpreted first of all in the very specific context of this act with a view to the chapeau and the objectives of this act, but also not in isolation of similar concepts or the use of the word “terrorism” in other statutes.
    Therefore, we anticipate that the definition will be interpreted with a view to the definition of terrorist activity in the Criminal Code as well as any other definitions. It will be read in context.
    To the second part on the threshold related to critical infrastructure, I just go back to the point that we've made before that the chapeau is the key here, that the threshold be considered in the context of whether the activity undermined the sovereignty of Canada, the security of Canada, or the territorial integrity of Canada.
    You had another question, Mr. Easter?
    No.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to thank the witnesses for being here today. It is extremely important to have you here so that we can better understand the intricacies of Bill C-51.
    Perhaps I misunderstood some of the distinctions that you made. I reread the definition that is being used by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. I do not see why the 17 federal institutions affected by Bill C-51 could not use this definition, which seems to include a lot of things. The definition includes espionage, sabotage, foreign-influenced activities, activities that promote the use of violence, and so on. The definition that CSIS is currently using already includes a lot of things.
    First, why could the 17 federal institutions affected by Bill C-51 not use that definition? What would that change?
    Second, if I understood correctly, CSIS is one of the 17 institutions that will be affected by the definition set out in Bill C-51. In a way, the bill would not change the definition used by CSIS. Is that correct?
    I will answer your first question about broadening the definition.
    The existing mandates of the 17 institutions listed in Schedule 3 of the bill are much broader than CSIS's mandate. If only CSIS's definition were used, the existing mandates of the other 16 institutions would not be consistent with the bill's wording.
    There are two things to consider with regard to the issue of information. First, there is the information that the other government organizations could send. Second, the 17 institutions listed in Schedule 3 need to have a mandate to gather information.
    Such a broad definition is required to allow for maximum flexibility in order to take into account all of the mandates. However, under this bill, the mandate for the gathering of information cannot be broadened because every organization is limited by the powers that it already has in that area. The bill merely authorizes these 17 institutions to share the information in question.
    To help me better understand, could you give me an example of the sharing of corporate information? What would the new definition actually do?
    A department could have information that is not necessarily related to national security. I cannot give a specific example, but it could involve any government organization that has information that meets the criteria set out in the definition.
    First, according to the definition, the information must actually undermine the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada. Then, we would need to see, of the 17 institutions set out in Schedule 3, which mandate relates to this type of information. If the relevance criteria is met, then the organization in question can share the information. An institution listed in Schedule 3 must already have a legal mandate to receive this information through enabling legislation or other means.

  (0925)  

    With regard to the last part of my question, or in other words, with regard to CSIS, the change to the definition proposed in the second clause of Bill C-51 will broaden CSIS's definition, even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act already includes a definition. Bill C-51 affects CSIS's definition. What tangible impact will that have on the agency?
    It will not change CSIS's existing mandate at all. To receive the information in question, CSIS must respect the existing mandate set out in the act. The definition contained in the bill will not affect the other definitions or the other activities of the organizations listed in Schedule 3. There is therefore no impact on the definition that is currently set out in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.
    Okay. Thank you.

[English]

     Thank you very much.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, and I do thank the officials for their assistance.
     Even though the government constantly tries to re-characterize what we're saying, no one on this side has ever argued that this changes CSIS operations. It changes information sharing. The concern that we heard from witness after witness was that the definitions in Bill C-51 are much broader and risk bringing in legitimate dissent. They risk bringing in economic activities, such as protests against pipelines, and they present a risk, because of their broadness, to first nations who are attempting to defend their title and rights. We've heard witness after witness raise these concerns.
    I think the purpose of our amendment is clear, and that is to narrow the scope of information sharing. We would agree with the government that if we're talking about use of violence and the common-language understanding of terrorism, obviously government departments need to be able to share that information. But when you come to this much broader list, I think we have a great deal of disagreement.
    I just want to cite recommendation 2 from the Canadian Bar Association. The CBA recommended that the scope of activities subject to information sharing under the SCISA be narrowed, and that's exactly what our amendment does. It would narrow those to the much more easy-to-understand definitions that occur in the CSIS Act.
    Thank you very much.
    Seeing no further questions, I will call for a vote on amendment NDP-1.
    I'd like a recorded vote.
    We'll have a recorded vote, please.
    (Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4)
    The Chair: We will now go to the second amendment, PV-1 by the Green Party.
    Ms. May, as we've discussed, you certainly have the opportunity and the courtesy and consideration of the committee to briefly introduce your amendment, and I would obviously suggest that it be brief.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Since I'm here only as a result of a majority vote of this committee identical to all the others undertaken through a motion obviously drafted in PMO that deprives me of my right to do so at report stage, I accept the opportunity, but I also have to note that there's a bit of coercion involved. I'm very glad to have the chance, Mr. Chair, to present amendments anywhere in the Parliament of Canada; it is my right as a member of Parliament.
    I am again attempting to take up the case made by the NDP amendment that was just defeated. I just want to respond that what my amendment does is one more thing than what Randall's attempted to do, which is that I also deal with the provision that in the current draft reads:
    For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent
    and so on.
    Let me go to the first part of what I was trying to do. The definition is from the CSIS Act, and I reject the explanations given to us by the Department of Justice. They are nonsense. I'm sorry, but I don't have much time to go into why I think they're nonsense.
    Secondly, I think the word “however” is clearer than “for greater certainty”; it becomes an actual exemption, as opposed to merely advice.
    I know that the government amendment that's coming up soon, which I would support, removes the word “lawful”, which is one of the things my amendment does. But the government amendment doesn't deal with this question of “for greater certainty” versus “however”.
    There is no more serious thing than sharing information inappropriately. Just ask Maher Arar.

  (0930)  

     Thank you very much, Ms. May, for the discussion.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Chairman, I heard the same witnesses that my friend Mr. Garrison referred to. There has been a great deal of fearmongering about this bill. There's been a great deal of overblown suspicion about the bill. Sometimes you can correct that; sometimes you can't. I think the officials have been extremely clear that this is in no way intended to do anything other than protect the sovereignty and security of our country, and that normal protests or free speech in our country are absolutely not impacted.
    So it's very clear that there's just been a misunderstanding about the scope of this provision. I think the explanation from the officials has been very helpful, and I think that we should accept the intent as it was explained to us by the officials who drafted this bill.
    Thank you very much.
    Seeing nothing further, I will call for a vote.
    Excuse me, Mr. Garrison. I'm sorry, sir.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I really appreciate the work that Ms. May has put into the amendments on this bill, and what she suggests here incorporates much of what was in our first amendment. But I do take exception to the government continuing to say that people who disagree misunderstand. This bill clearly expands information sharing among 17 agencies of the government, and Ms. May's amendment attempts to do the same thing that ours did in NDP-1, which is an attempt to narrow that, which is what the vast majority of the witnesses at our committee said needed to be done.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to BQ-1.
    Mr. Patry

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    In one sentence, we want the agreement to be approved by the commissioner and for it to be set out in writing. That is what we are asking for.
    Am I wrong? I apologize, Mr. Chair.
    What people have been discussing is very interesting, but the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness told the committee that protestors, Aboriginal peoples, unions and separatists are not targeted by this bill.
    We want that in writing, in black and white, so that it is truly clear. I come from a labour background, and if people had to go on strike tomorrow morning, then I want that to be clear in the legislation. For now, it is open to interpretation and that is what we are dealing with this morning at this table. It would be easier if it were written in black and white. That is what the Bloc Québécois is asking for.

[English]

    Thank you, Mr. Patry, and thank you for your brevity.
    Yes, Mr. Falk.
    Oh, excuse me. Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to thank my colleague, Mr. Patry, for being here with us and proposing amendments.
    Mr. Patry is proposing one small change to a definition that we think is much too broad. I do not think that is enough. In fact, it would change only one word of paragraph (f) of this broad definition that the Conservatives are proposing in Bill C-51. I am not sure that that would do exactly what the witnesses wanted.
    The committee heard from many witnesses, particularly about how the definition was too broad. Many groups, particularly first nations groups and environmental leaders, are affected by this. I get the impression that we are not addressing what is really important here.
    Unfortunately, I am going to oppose the amendment that Mr. Patry is proposing today.

  (0935)  

[English]

    Thank you very much, Madam Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Mr. Falk, you have the floor.

[English]

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mrs. Doré Lefebvre's analysis of this amendment is not accurate. It's not just one little change, which I don't agree with. They're suggesting changing the word “interference” to “sabotage”. I think some things are best addressed by nipping them in the bud, and changing it to actual “sabotage” does not allow it to do that.
    But there is a second part to their amendment, which the NDP did not mention, and that's changing the “for greater certainty” clause in the bill. I think the change proposed by the separatist party is divisive in nature, and I can't support it.
     Thank you very much.
    Okay, we'll now call for a vote—
    Mr. Easter, I missed you. Sorry, sir.
    That's not a problem. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I agree with both the Bloc amendment and what Ms. Doré Lefebvre said. I think it is better to say “sabotage of critical infrastructure” than “interference with critical infrastructure”. I think it would give some assurance to those out there who may be legally protesting certain actions.
    I will admit I have concerns about the other part of the amendment. I believe there are better amendments further down our list that take out the word “lawful”. So I'm concerned about the second part, but I guess it all has to be voted on as a whole. Does it, Mr. Chair?
    It does.
    That creates a problem for me.
    Fine, thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    We will now go to amendment NDP-2. The chair will also note that if this amendment were adopted, then amendments LIB-1 and G-1 could not be moved, as they would be in line conflict as well.
    With that clarification we now go to amendment NDP-2.
    Mr. Garrison.
    This is an amendment that we tried to write in the most simple and straightforward manner, but as legal drafting is a technical exercise, it's probably difficult for people who have not looked at the act itself to realize that all this does is drop the word “lawful”:
    For greater certainty, it does not include advocacy, protest, dissent, artistic expression or any other activity considered to be civil disobedience.
    We're just removing the word “lawful”, and I'm happy to see that one of the changes the government has agreed to in amendment G-2 is identical to this change. This was a very large concern among technical witnesses, the legal community, and many community witnesses we had as well as for some of the law enforcement witnesses we had, who said the danger in casting such a broad net was that we would bring too many people into the purview of national security investigations and therefore run the risk of missing those who present the real threat to Canada.
    So, again, it's a simple removal of the word “lawful”, and since the government has presented the same in its amendment G-2, I'm looking forward to the government supporting this amendment.
    Thank you very much,
    Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Chairman, one of the problems here is that we may be hampered by parliamentary procedure. Randall's arguments are valid, that the word “lawful” is of concern to a great many people out there. We have a very similar amendment on the amendment paper as well, as does the government.
    I'm trying to determine which one I want to support to do the job, Mr. Chair. Is it possible to ask a question of the government regarding its amendment or do we have to wait until we get there? Paragraph (b) of their amendment G-1 proposes an addition to proposed section 6. I really want to know why that is there. Maybe it makes a further point that isn't in either the NDP amendment or the Liberal amendment. Is that possible to do?

  (0940)  

    No, it's not. The chair understands your concern—
    You're absolutely no help, Mr. Chair.
    The chair would love to be helpful; however, we cannot ask a question of the government on a motion that has not yet been presented.
    You still have the floor, though, sir.
    Concern over the word “lawful” was raised by witness after witness as well as by civil society, people who did not have the opportunity to come before this committee. I think that is one of the points in the bill picked out by people who never had the opportunity to come before this committee. They're concerned that the word “lawful” is there, I think jeopardizing the ability of people to demonstrate, to show dissent, or to be involved in activist activity against policy they do not like.
    I will certainly support one of these resolutions to get “lawful” out of there, and I would remind the committee that the word “lawful” was originally in the bill of 2001 and was taken out.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Falk.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I wouldn't have an issue with taking the word “lawful” out. Where I do have issue is the trailer at the end that has been added by the NDP where it says, “any other activity considered to be civil disobedience.”
    I think there are activities that would fall under the umbrella of civil disobedience that could be criminal or terrorist in nature. To add a qualifier in the bill of “civil disobedience”, I think, is too broad. So I won't be able to support it.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: We will now go to Liberal amendment number 1.
    Mr. Easter.
    Yes, Mr. Chair.
    Basically, as I said in the previous discussion on the NDP amendment, the word “lawful” needs to be taken out. It's as simple as that. We do add in this amendment any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition of threats to the security of Canada in section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.
     What we're trying to do is to narrow the focus of what can be considered an activity that's a threat to the security of Canada, and in the process, taking the word “lawful“ out so that regular advocacy, protest, and dissent can take place in the country.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Falk.
    In looking at this amendment, this is a good amendment. However, it's not the best amendment. There's a better amendment coming that I will be supporting, so again, I won't support this.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Further to that, because the Liberal amendment includes a reference back to the CSIS Act, once again, this goes back to the first amendment that would narrow the scope of the proposed security of information act and the reasons why that act is comprehensive.
    Again, I'm not supporting this either.
    Fine. Thank you very much.
    In other words, close but not quite, Mr. Easter.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: The Chair has some information for the committee. We now have an additional witness, so I would just ask you to add her to your list. Our witness is Ms. Amy Johnson with policy and strategic partnerships at CSIS. That is added to your list, colleagues.
    We will now go to government amendment number 1. I would ask for your attention, as there are other amendments that will be affected by this as well. I will give them to you. If government amendment 1 is adopted, PV-2, NDP-6, PV-7, and L-2 could not be moved as they would all be in line conflict.

  (0945)  

    Does everybody have that? I just want to make sure that we're all comfortable.
    Speaking to the government amendment, Ms. James.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'd like to move this amendment. There are two parts to it, both dealing with clause 2.
    The first one has to do with removing the word “lawful” from the greater certainty clause. We've had a lot of discussion on this. From the start, when this bill was first tabled—and I've done a number of panels on this—we've always been very clear that the implied intent of this was not with regard to whether there was a municipal permit or a bylaw that may or may not be in breach or not applicable, or applied in a protest. Instead, in the greater certainty clause we were dealing with legitimate protest advocacy, dissent, and artistic expression. We've been very clear on this from the start.
    Even this morning, with the first amendment, we heard from the opposition that they felt that the proposed information sharing act tied into what is to be the basis of CSIS activity, which is clearly not the case. We've certainly had that confirmed by the officials who are here. We believe, as we've always said, that advocacy, protest, dissent, and artistic expression are essential components of democracy. We support those. Many politicians in this room right now have probably been involved in some sort of advocacy. Maybe that's why they decided to choose this as their path.
    We just want to make it very clear that this was not the intent of the greater certainty clause. Definitely, this bill is dealing with terrorism. It has nothing to do with legitimate protest, dissent, artistic expression, and so on.
    We have removed the word “lawful” just to make sure—even though we knew it was implied—that this is stated explicitly, so as to avoid any further confusion, misinformation, whether intentional or unintentional if someone thought that that's what it meant. We're removing the word “lawful”. Hopefully, we can have agreement on that from around the table.
    The second part has to do with page 5 of the bill, which is clause 6. There were some concerns from witnesses that this was very broad because it had a reference to “any person, for any purpose”. If you actually read this paragraph, it says:
    For greater certainty, nothing in this Act prevents a head, or their delegate, who receives information under subsection 5(1) from, in accordance with the law, using that information, or further disclosing it to any person, for any purpose.
    There was some misinterpretation of this. Hopefully, it was just because they didn't understand it, but essentially that clause means that outside of this act, any other laws that were in existence are still applicable. That was kind of the original wording of clause, but because there was some confusion about it, we have come back with a second part of this amendment, which hopefully clarifies this and spells it out perhaps in better English or more explicitly. The amendment we're proposing reads:
    For greater certainty, the use and further disclosure, other than under this Act, of information that is disclosed under subsection 5(1) is neither authorized nor prohibited by this Act, but must be done in accordance with the law, including any legal requirements, restrictions and prohibitions.
     We have just tightened up that paragraph hopefully to ease some of the concerns that were out there. Certainly, the intention of that is still the same. We're not changing the scope or what the act is doing in this particular clause, but we're trying to put it in perhaps better English, so that more people can fully understand what we're saying in this particular clause.
    Those are the two amendments that the government has put forward.

  (0950)  

    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. We certainly welcome the removal of the word “lawful” as a qualifier on things that would be covered in this bill.
    I have a question for the officials, perhaps from Justice Canada. There are two things in the government amendment. It's unfortunate that they have been combined, but there are two different things in this amendment. One is the removal of the word “lawful”, and the other deals with the sharing of information, but both of those are what are called “for greater certainty” clauses.
    I'm looking for assistance from one of the officials to explain to us the legal impact of a “for greater certainty clause”, because it seems to me that it's simply a modifier or a general instruction about the interpretation of a clause, but that the main clause stands.
    The reason I raise this question is that we've talked about that definition by which information will be shared as being too broad, and that it becomes, in Bill C-51, the basis of the law.
    I'd like to know how much the “for greater certainty” restricts that general clause, and since that's used in both of these, could someone give us some assistance on that?
     Ms. Beecher.
     When a provision begins with “for greater certainty”, it announces that the intention is not to modify anything in law or indicates that the act does not affect or does not.... It essentially states what is already the case. Usually these clauses are included for transparency and clarity so that someone reading the act doesn't misinterpret it. In this case, clause 6 is about use of information received by virtue of the act or further disclosure. We are saying here that for greater certainty this act does not address use or further disclosure of information. That use or further disclosure may be undertaken by the recipients, as they currently do, when they receive information in accordance with the law, meaning either their departmental mandates or limitations or prohibitions in the law, including under the Privacy Act, and in accordance with the charter.
    Thank you, I think that's very useful. Of course, when it comes to the first part of this amendment about removing the word “lawful”, it does clarify that the broader definitions for sharing are in no way limited by the “for greater certainty” clause.
    In the second part—I want to address the second part of the government's proposed amendment here—replacing clause 6, I certainly welcome a change from something that says share to anyone “for any purpose”. I don't think that was a misinterpretation, but a piece of less-than-optimal drafting, if I can try to be diplomatic here. We did not have the Privacy Commissioner before us, but he did send a letter to the committee. The government amendment here doesn't take into account the Privacy Commissioner's recommendation, which deals with the question that was just raised. If this clause, in fact, does not deal with how information is used down the line, what the Privacy Commissioner suggested was that there needed to be a provision requiring the sharing of that information on the basis of written information sharing agreements between agencies.
    So, Mr. Chair, I'd like to propose a subamendment, which I have here in both official languages, that would add the words “and on the basis of written information sharing agreements between agencies”, after “in accordance with the law”, in the second-to-last line of the government's amendment. I'll pass that to the clerk. This is, in essence, one of the key recommendations that the Privacy Commissioner gave us in his letter. I believe it's consistent with the “for greater certainty” clause, because the Privacy Commissioner believes that written information agreements are actually required under privacy law. So it fits very well with the “for greater certainty” clause, reminding people of what is already the law, that there should be the written information sharing agreements in place between the agencies before information is shared.
    That's the basis of our subamendment, namely, to adhere to the recommendation of the Privacy Commissioner that we received in his letter of March 5.

  (0955)  

    Okay, does everybody have an understanding of the subamendment?
    Yes, Mrs. James.
    Thank you.
    I won't be supporting the subamendment for a couple of reasons. I think there's actually a proposed amendment coming up that touches on this. I'm not sure. I was trying to find it to see what language we used in the amendment, but it is certainly not the intent of the information sharing act to impose on branches or agencies to come up with comprehensive agreements. There may be situations where it's a one-off situation. Certainly it wouldn't be happening in a commonplace scenario. But, again, the purpose of this is to be able to share information pertinent to national security issues, and to be able to do so in a very quick and timely manner.
    Obviously, the issue of terrorism has come up before, not only in Canada but also in countries around the world, and so we need to be able to provide the tools and not tie the hands of our agencies by waiting for some sort of document to be able to tell them that they can do this. This act is giving them that authority. Obviously, the Privacy Act and the Privacy Commissioner and others have the ability to review any of the activities that take place under this act.
    But for those reasons, the fact that there are one-off situations that may be unique and occur only once a year perhaps, and that certainly there are other situations that could come up very quickly.... That is not the intent of the information sharing act and I will not be supporting the subamendment.
    Thank you very much.
    Is there further comment?
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
     Mr. Chair, I'm surprised at the government's response to the subamendment. I think it's a very good subamendment. We didn't hear from the Privacy Commissioner, but that was a huge concern of the Privacy Commissioner.
     His letter is backed up by a letter from all provincial privacy commissioners, with the exception of the one from New Brunswick. This is a huge concern. The Privacy Commissioner is an officer of Parliament and I think carries a lot of legitimacy. If he suggests that that having written information sharing agreements is important, then I think we as a committee have to accept that fact.
    On the motion in general, Mr. Chair—
    We're on the subamendment.
    Okay. Then I certainly support the subamendment and I ask the government members to reconsider. This is an officer of Parliament. It is a legitimate concern.
     I know the parliamentary secretary said that there needs to be speed in some of these sharing agreements. We do live in an age of technology. It happens. Speed is the ultimate. It's just as quick to draft an email, and most of it is done that way.
    There is no reason in the world why that subamendment can't be accepted by the government.
    Thank you very much.
    On the subamendment, Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Chair, the parliamentary secretary explained why this subamendment is not desirable and would have unintended consequences, but since her explanation isn't accepted, I wonder if the officials could also weigh in and help us to understand what practical effect this subamendment might have.

  (1000)  

    Mr. Davies.
    We haven't actually received the subamendment.
    It might be good to have it then.
    We will give our officials a brief time to have a quick look at the subamendment.
    I recognize that this is not giving them time for deliberation whatsoever. However, we'll let them confer just briefly for a second, and then we will proceed.
    Mr. Davies.
    The immediate reaction, based on legal advice as well, is that government institutions don't sign agreements with themselves. They can't bind themselves.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    The guiding principles within the act—specifically this is the anti-terrorism act we're dealing with—state specifically that “entry into information-sharing arrangements is appropriate when Government of Canada institutions share information regularly”.
    Mr. Chair, I think that all this subamendment would do, quite simply for folks at home, is to just add another layer of bureaucracy, another hoop for people to jump through. I think what I just read is a guiding principle that all government agencies utilize currently. I think this is absolutely duplicitous, and I don't think it's necessary. It's just one additional step that we don't have to go through.
    That would be my submission.
    Thank you very much.
    On the subamendment, Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I don't think it's helpful for members of the committee to accuse each other of duplicity, and I would ask the chair to keep an eye on that.
    The Privacy Commissioner's fourth recommendation is what we're following in this subamendment, and inadvertently Mr. Norlock has just made the case that I made at the beginning. This bill already contemplates that there will be written agreements between government departments, and what a greater certainty clause does is to draw people's attention to that. In fact, it does not add an additional layer of bureaucracy because the idea of written agreements is contemplated in the bill itself.
    That concludes my remarks on this.
    Thank you very much.
    (Subamendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go back to the amendment.
    Mr. Easter, you have the floor, sir.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    We're caught in some binds here by procedure. I definitely want the word “lawful” out of this act, but tied in with this amendment is the second clause. I think there are better clauses than the amendment to clause 6 that are coming forward later on in the amendments.
     I will support it overall, but I am concerned about how far and what information can be shared, so I would ask the Justice folks about this, with this amendment in place. A lot of the witnesses were concerned about this wording: “or further disclosing it to any person, for any purpose”. I asked some of the people who are in the legal community what that meant, and they said they didn't have a clue.
    This, I will admit, does look—or it looks on the surface—like it restricts it somewhat more. Could you explain how this restricts the sharing of information on individuals over basically anything?
    It doesn't restrict anything. That is the effect of the “For greater certainty...”. What we're really trying to do through this provision is to express that existing rules and existing law pertaining to use and further sharing of information continue to apply as they are. Therefore, the subsequent sharing of information for any purpose to any person would need to occur in accordance with the law.
    These rules can be found in statutes specific to an activity, or they can be found in cross-cutting statutes such as the Privacy Act. Also, the charter continues to apply.
     Therefore, the effect is that we're not changing the law pertaining to use or further disclosure. We're stating that it needs to occur under existing law, as it currently occurs.

  (1005)  

    Thank you for that.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I am going to vote in favour of the amendment proposed by the government.
    However, I must say that the Privacy Commissioner's recommendations are fairly clear. We tried to improve the amendment proposed by the Conservatives, but I am rather disappointed to see that the government party members were, unfortunately, not open to those changes.
    It is important to mention that we studied this issue in committee for hours and we met with witnesses on several occasions. Many witnesses mentioned that the wording used was problematic. I am pleased to see that the government changed its mind regarding the wording of clause 2. That is important and the issue was raised by several witnesses. For that reason, I am going to vote in favour of the amendment.
    However, we must not forget that the Privacy Commissioner is an officer of Parliament. He had serious concerns. He made specific recommendations regarding clause 2. It would have been a good idea to listen to one of our officers of Parliament.
    Since it is still an improvement, I will vote in favour of the amendment.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    All in favour?
    I'm so sorry, Mr. Payne. My apologies. I didn't see your name on the list.
    That's okay, Chair. All I was going to say is that we did hear from a lot of witnesses on the word “lawful”, and I think that from that standpoint, we were listening, and we've removed that word.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    We will now vote on government amendment 1.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    The Chair: Colleagues, as a result of amendment G-1 being adopted, I draw your attention to my previous statement regarding the admissibility of the other motions that are related to this. As a result, the following amendments will now not be moved: Green Party-2, NDP-6, Green Party-7, and LIB-2.
     Mr. Chair, did you intend to say Green Party-2 because I don't see how that's affected by the lines we just passed in G-1?
    I understand PV-7, but I—
    The legislative clerk is the one who has made this decision.
    It's completely separate from the other two.
    No, excuse me. I will get clarification from the legislative clerk and we'll see where we're at.
    Ms. May, there was an error and thank you for bringing it to the clerk's attention. As a result now, PV-2 is in order, and not only that, you now have the floor to introduce your amendment.

  (1010)  

    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I know that it was completely inadvertent and I appreciate the assistance of the clerks.
    This amendment would flow at the end of the definition section that's found in part 1 under security threats in the information sharing section. As we heard from numerous witnesses, as well as important experts who were not witnesses, such as the Privacy Commissioner to the Government of Canada, Monsieur Therrien, there were concerns about the implications of information-sharing to privacy rights in Canada.
    I'll read my amendment:
    In the event of an inconsistency between this Act and any provision of the Privacy Act, the Privacy Act prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.
     This is clarifying. I really do hope that the government members might consider allowing it to pass to ensure that privacy rights are not inadvertently destroyed in this country.
     Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Chairman, again, we keep seeing these misinterpretations of the act coming forward, but just for clarity, Canadians should be assured that information sharing must always take place in accordance with the Privacy Act.
    It's a law of Canada and nothing in this bill is in any way contravening the Privacy Act. If information is going to be shared, there is a clear and explicit authority that has been set up to share that information, a legal framework including oversight by the judiciary.
    We need to come back to a realization of why these measures are so important. If there is a risk to national security and someone in one branch of government, say a passport officer or a visa officer, for example, becomes aware of it, that person needs to be able to share that information with the appropriate security agencies to keep us safe.
    That's all this act is designed to do. It's in accordance with the law and these conspiracy theories to the contrary are simply not the case.
     Mr. Garrison.
    Once again, mischaracterization of the positions of other members of Parliament as conspiracy theories are not helpful to the debate, particularly in view of the submission that this committee received from the Privacy Commissioner—unless the members on the other side are implying that the Privacy Commissioner is somehow a conspiracy theorist. He expressed real concerns about the impact of this bill on the privacy of Canadians who are not involved in violent or terrorist activities.
    All that the amendment proposed by Ms. May would do—to address some of the concerns of the Privacy Commissioner—is to make explicit that this bill does in no way remove privacy rights from those others who are law-abiding citizens. That is the concern here.
     Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    I have a question for the officials on this one, Mr. Chair.
    If this—I think you have it before you—subclause were added, would it have any implications for the bill as a whole? I ask because the bill itself says “for greater certainty” in a number of places. Although it is not using the words “for greater certainty”, this is in fact doing that to assure the public that the Privacy Act does prevail in times of inconsistency.
    So can Justice officials add anything on that? Will there be a problem if this subclause were added?
    Actually, I think the act was developed in the study of the Privacy Act, and both work together. Clause 5 already explicitly states that, “Subject to any provision of any other Act of Parliament, or of any regulation made under such an Act, that prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information, a Government of Canada institution may” share information.
     Therefore, it's already stated that other acts prevail. We would say that adding something is redundant.
    Thank you.
    Ms. Ablonczy.

  (1015)  

    Yes, I'm reluctant to get into debate about this. I think it needs to be pointed out that the NDP keep invoking a letter by the Privacy Commissioner, but they didn't call him to explain what he meant by this. It's the job of the Privacy Commissioner to be vigilant on behalf of Canadians to protect Canadians' privacy. That's his job. He's doing that. He's expressing any and all concerns that he might have. But he never in his letter said that this act is going to contravene the Privacy Act, that it's going to be outside the law, because that's not the case.
    I just think Canadians need to be assured of that despite some of the efforts by the opposition to somehow bring forward suggestions to the contrary. The scope of the act is within the law and within the ambit of the Privacy, Act as well.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll go back and forth here a little bit.
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    There are two things here. The government always likes to ask why didn't we call the Privacy Commissioner as one of our witnesses. To that I respond, why didn't you call him as one of your witnesses?
    The point of the amendment we introduced here was that he's an officer of Parliament, not a witness like anyone else who is called before the committee. We did present that amendment to this committee, and asked for him to be called. The government denied unanimous consent to have him here as a witness. Further, in his letter he says very clearly that “Bill C-51 sets the threshold for sharing Canadians’ personal information far too low, and broadens the scope of information sharing far too much.”
    The second quote is: “Bill C-51 is far too permissive with respect to how shared information is handled. It sets no clear limits on how long information is to be kept.”
    I could read the whole letter to you, but he does have serious concerns about the impact of Bill C-51, and he made some suggestions and recommendations about how we deal with those in this committee, but these are being systematically ignored by the government.
    Thank you very much.
    We will now go to a vote on Green Party number 2.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: We will now go to NDP-3.
    Thanks very much, Chair.
    Luckily these come in order, which allows us to pick up the same topic.
    We can thank our legislative clerk for that.
    No, it's the luck of the drafting, I guess you would have to say, in how amendments come forward in terms of sections of the bill.
    The amendment that we're proposing, again, only implements what's already contemplated in Bill C-51 by asking that there be an entry into written information sharing agreements.
     Again, that's a recommendation of the Privacy Commissioner. The amendment asks that the Privacy Commissioner be consulted on those information sharing agreements. Again, we have the letter from the Privacy Commissioner, and this is something that he contemplates. I would ask all members of the committee to take very seriously its aim of protecting the privacy of those who are not involved in anything to do with terrorism or violence, but who run the risk, with the broad definition that the government has adopted in this bill, of having information about them shared between 17 government departments.
    Thank you.
     Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Garrison and I are going to have to re-cement our friendship after this. We've been over this ground before. The officials have also mentioned that if we get overly bureaucratic about this, the intent of the act will be lost. The intent of the act is that there should be a nimble and effective information sharing regime put into place so that as information comes to the attention of different parts of government, it can be shared with other parts of government for our safety and protection.
     To say that there have to be extra consultations and extra layers of written paperwork will simply slow down the process that the act is trying to free up. We're trying to free this up, Mr. Chair and colleagues, because there's a real and present danger to our country that we're trying to address. Adding all of this red tape and these extra layers of bureaucracy makes no sense. It contravenes what we're trying to do and adds nothing to the fact that all of this still has to be done within existing Canadian law, including the Privacy Act.

  (1020)  

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    Most of it has already been said, but I'm going to express support for this amendment.
     There's a tremendous mistrust of this government out there. That's the reality. You can shake your heads, but there is, and rightly so in my view.
     What the Privacy Commissioner said in his letter of recommendations to this committee would quell some of that mistrust. There would be an understanding on their part that there are written agreements for information sharing arrangements between departments and agencies. That does give, I think, greater certainty to the public.
     It also gives greater certainty down the road should there be an investigation. The record will be there for the Privacy Commissioner when looking at what Parliament, CSIS, or others may or may not have done, and it will be easier to find where the truth of the matter is.
    I'm supportive of this. I find it rather strange that the government is so resistant to officers of Parliament when they provide committees with advice, and they don't want to take it.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Now, Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Chair, Mr. Easter finds it necessary to be rather preachy about the motivations of what's happening with the government. We have never, on this side of the table, impugned the motivation of that member and I don't intend to do so.
     He says there's a mistrust out there. I think it's the reverse. People have an expectation of this government to keep their safety in mind and to make sure that the evolving threat is adddressed. The threat's evolving. It's not static. The bad guys are constantly trying to find ways around how this country works and trying to use our freedoms against us. I believe that this act is a good balance for that. We need to be prepared and that's what this act does.
    The officials time and time again, over the sharing of information, have said there's nothing in this act.... As a matter of fact the act is specific. It says right in there that we have to obey the current rules as far as information sharing goes. Every time we try to say this is just adding another layer, somebody accuses us of some clandestine motivation. All we want to do is put forward a simple change in the way we do things because there is a change in the way the bad guys are trying to get at us. That's what this bill does.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much. We will now call for a vote on NDP-3.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go BQ-2.
    Mr. Patry.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Our amendment pertains to the exchange of specific information. We are proposing that the information sharing agreements between organizations be concluded with the written approval of the Privacy Commissioner and that “any information shared in contravention of the provisions of this Act is to be deleted.”
    We want there to be a written agreement that is approved by the Privacy Commissioner when information is requested on a certain subject. We are asking for oversight.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    Ms. Doré Lefebvre, you have the floor
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to thank Mr. Patry for his amendment, which I support. I think it is extremely important to respect what the Privacy Commissioner told the the Standing Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in writing about Bill C-51. It is all the more important because he is an officer of Parliament with a lot of credibility, particularly when it comes to the bill before us.
    I really like the idea of the Privacy Commissioner giving his written approval. Paragraph (b) of the amendment is also important for protecting privacy, particularly when it comes to unnecessary information. The protection of Canadians' privacy in general is extremely important.
    I am therefore going to vote in favour of Mr. Patry's amendment.

  (1025)  

[English]

     Thank you.
    Is there further discussion?
    Oh, excuse me: Mr. Payne, again.
    How could I ever keep on missing you, sir?
    I'm not sure. I didn't think I was that small.
    An hon. member: The invisible man.
    Mr. LaVar Payne: Thank you. I'm not invisible
    Mr. Chair, from what I see, this amendment would expand the powers of the Privacy Commissioner. We've also heard from officials on this whole issue that everyone has to follow the current laws that are in place, including the Privacy Act.
    As well, I believe it was the parliamentary secretary who talked about the importance of speed, particularly when we know that the bad guys, as my colleague Mr. Norlock mentioned, are evolving quickly.
    So I can't support this amendment. Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: I would note, colleagues, that we've done page one of 15. Thank you for your cooperation.
     Moving forward, we will now go to Green Party amendment PV-3.
    Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This is another attempt to clarify and protect Canadians' rights to privacy. It would add a new paragraph, on page 4 of the bill, under the principles of information sharing under the act. It would become a principle of information sharing under the act that:
    Canadians have a right to privacy that should only be breached when strictly necessary in respect of activities that undermine the security of Canada.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much, Ms. May.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre, you have a comment.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I understand Ms. May's good intentions in proposing this amendment. However, in my opinion, the words used in that amendment are extremely dangerous. It reads: “Canadians have a right to privacy that should only be breached when strictly necessary...”. I think the choice of words here is serious. As a result, I cannot support this amendment.
    Thank you.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    Okay. We will vote on....
    Mr. Payne.
    An hon. member: My goodness, Mr. Chair.
     I thought I had my hand up earlier, but it might have been invisible.
    Three and out.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Thank you, Chair.
    We've talked about this issue in terms of the Privacy Commissioner, the Privacy Act, and the current laws. I believe this change would make some very different amendments and tests using the existing laws, and obviously it would cause some confusion. We've already amended the act under legal requirements.
    In my view, I don't think this amendment is necessary, so I can't support it.
     Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: Okay, colleagues, we will now go to amendment NDP-4.
    The chair will advise you as well that once amendment NDP-4 is moved, amendment BQ-3 then could not be moved, as it is identical. If amendment NDP-4 is adopted, amendment PV-4 could not then be moved as there would be a line conflict.
    I will repeat that if anybody needs clarification, but we will now go to amendment NDP-4.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'd like to start by reassuring Ms. Ablonczy that our friendship is not endangered by this. I'm one of those people who believes our political differences need to be left at the table and that all of us here are trying to do the best we can for Canadians. I have pointed this out several times when we have strayed into more personal remarks about people's positions.
    When the Privacy Commissioner was appointed, the NDP expressed some reservations about Mr. Therrien because of his close connections with the government. The irony here is that his recommendations are being so thoroughly ignored by the government.
    One of the things he made very clear in his letter was that a change needs to be made in information sharing. It's again one of those one-word changes that is quite significant. The test for sharing information in Bill C-51 is whether information is relevant to the recipient institution's responsibilities. Mr. Therrien says very clearly that's too low a standard and that information exchanges should take place only if that information is necessary to carry out the recipient institution's responsibility. Again, he sees that as a significant lowering of the standard by which personal information on all Canadians might potentially be shared under Bill C-51.
    The simple reason is to substitute the necessary standard for sharing for the relevant standard that's contained in the bill.

  (1030)  

    Thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
    Ms. James, please.
    Thank you.
    I will not be supporting this amendment, which is changing the threshold. When we get into other sections of this bill with regard to Criminal Code amendments, we're lowering the threshold. It's been very clear that when the threshold is too high, it simply will not be utilized. You can't meet that criteria.
    Within the proposed information sharing act there are robust safeguards already. Among the individuals who came to testify, we had someone with, I think it was, 35 years of experience in law enforcement and intelligence gathering, who said that the aspects of this bill are absolutely crucial for information sharing among agencies to ensure national security. He also went on to say that there were safeguards. In the same meeting we heard from someone who said this bill had nothing to do with terrorism and that we were only targeting a specific group.
    This amendment to the bill would make it way too high, would go against its purpose and the ability to share information that is relevant—and “relevant” is the key word here. Obviously, when you say something is necessary, it almost has to be to the point where it's too late.
    For those reasons and many others, I will not be supporting this amendment.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Easter.
    I'll direct this to the officials, Mr. Chair.
    Quoting from Mr. Therrien's letter:
     We note that relevance is a much broader standard than that established elsewhere with respect to the collection of personal information. As mentioned, CSIS can only collect information where it's “strictly necessary” to report and advise the Government of Canada in relation to a defined threat. CSIS would seemingly have to reject information disclosed to it under a relevance test....
    He's saying the bill is too broad.
    Can any of the officials expand beyond this? I know he's talking about the CSIS Act to a certain extent, but does the bill as currently worded mean that more information can be shared than is currently the case?
     My response would be that the consequence of switching from “relevant” to “necessary” as the amendment proposes would put the many departments and agencies in government in an awkward position. They would be forced to become the national security experts to understand what is necessary before information is shared. That would definitely affect the usability of the act, perhaps even more so than the information sharing today.
    Okay, so then what you're suggesting is that the word “relevant” in here is necessary in the bill for the other departments and agencies to be able to share the information.
    That's correct.
    Okay, thank you.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much.
    I thank Mr. Easter for drawing our attention to that specific section of the letter from Mr. Therrien. I think it's important to read in the record what the Privacy Commissioner says here:
    The threshold for information sharing is of central importance to striking the right balance in the protection of privacy rights. Applying a relevant standard because it exposes the personal information of everyone would contribute greatly to society where national security agencies would have virtually limitless powers to monitor and profile ordinary Canadians.
     That's a very strong warning from the Privacy Commissioner about changing the standard from “necessary” to “relevant”. He points out that the standard of “necessary“, as Mr. Easter mentioned, is the one established in section 12 of the CSIS Act itself, which the government has seen no reason to amend, otherwise it would included that act in this bill.

  (1035)  

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I just want to remind committee members again that we're talking about the proposed information sharing act and that the information that can be shared can only relate to the specific activity that undermines the sovereignty, security, and so on, of Canada. It's tying back to that initial thing, so it's not like all information. Again, it's tied specifically to the purpose of this act and the activities related to national security that would be relevant to another agency or body. I am just tying this back to bring into perspective the actual scope of the information that would be shared to begin with.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll call for a vote now on amendment NDP-4.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Thank you, colleagues.
    We will now go to amendment PV-4, Ms. May.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    This amendment is directly related to the letter from the Privacy Commissioner. He wrote:
    Equally problematic is that SCISA would authorize information sharing if “relevant” to the jurisdiction of the recipient institution, rather than “necessary” to its mandate or “proportional” to the national security objective to be achieved.
     I've heard the comments to a similar amendment from Justice officials, and they say this would create a difficulty for the agencies, but I think that the words of our Privacy Commissioner should be taken very seriously here. The mandate of protecting privacy is a significant one, and the advice of the Privacy Commissioner is reflected in my amendment PV-4, that we would be able to protect privacy by changing “relevant” to “necessary”.
    Thank you, Ms. May.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I won't labour too much about this. This is very similar to the last one I just spoke to and, for the very same reasons, I will not be supporting this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    Okay, I call for a vote on PV-4.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Okay, colleagues, we will now go to amendment NDP-5.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    We're staying in the same area of discussion about information sharing and, again, I'm working from the letter from the Privacy Commissioner. What this does is add a section that is in a sense a greater certainty section. What it calls for is that the government institutions that are sharing information have a procedure that ensures the relevance, reliability, and sufficiency of information. In other words, this is information about to be shared. Has it been checked to make sure it's true? Has it been checked to make sure that it's relevant? Has it been checked to make sure it's complete?
    The cautionary tale we have here is the story of Maher Arar, whose information was not checked for relevance, reliability, and sufficiency, and which ended up in the torture of a Canadian in another country. So, again, it's like a for greater certainty clause. What it would do is enshrine in legislation the best practice, as the Privacy Commissioner recommends, to make sure that once your information is gathered and then is about to be shared, that it's only done so when it's relevant, reliable, and complete.
     Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I believe that the security of Canada information sharing act would create clear authorities to share information. The manner in which this information is collected and used will continue to be governed by the receiving institutions' existing legal obligations and restrictions, including the Privacy Act's framework for the collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of personal information by government departments and agencies.
    Canadian would and should expect that if one branch of government is aware of a threat to their security, this information would be shared with other branches of government in order to protect Canadians. The legislation has robust safeguards built in to protect the privacy of Canadians. We are not going to privilege the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians, Mr. Chair.

  (1040)  

    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    I'm not going to disagree with what Mr. Norlock said. I think what the amendment does is to bring more precision to the definition and the way information sharing is handled. There is a concern that with the broadening of information, some individual may get caught in the loop based on wrong information. If that information is shared—and it doesn't just relate to cases like Arar, which I'm quite familiar with—with the Canada Revenue Agency or whoever, the individual's reputation or credit rating could be undermined or destroyed.
    All this amendment is asking for is the various governments, departments, and agencies to be absolutely sure that the information they are sharing is accurate and complete. I think that's a greater protection to society. I'll be supporting this amendment.
    Thank you.
    We will now call for a vote on NDP amendment 5.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

[Translation]

    We are now going to move on to amendment GP-5.

[English]

    As my colleague, Mr. Garrison, noted a moment ago, we're still in the general area.
    This is, again, in response to the fact that this bill doesn't adequately protect Canadians' privacy, to put it mildly. This amendment of mine would allow a government department to refuse to disclose personal information if that department felt there would be a risk to the individual who's information was being shared. It would allow the Privacy Commissioner to investigate any complaint about the sharing of personal information.
    As it stands right now, this bill has no mechanism for investigating such complaints. The second part of my amendment deals with the potential to investigate complaints. The first part would allow a government agency to refuse to disclose information on the test of a reasonable expectation that it could threaten the safety of an individual or if the personal information were subject to solicitor-client privilege.
    Thank you very much, Ms. May.
    Discussion, Mr. Norlock.
    I believe that the amendment is redundant and unnecessary since the new act does not create an obligation to share information. The institution retains that discretion to share or not to share information.
    I think Canadians would expect that if one branch of government is aware of a threat to Canadians' security, that information would be shared with another branch of government to protect them. The legislation, as I mentioned before, has robust safeguards built in to protect the privacy of Canadians. I repeat that I am adamant, Mr. Chair, that we are not going to privilege the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Chair.
    Can I say that I did not suggest that we should ever—
    I'm sorry, there is no debate left, Ms. May, but thank you very much.
    I recognize, regretfully, that as you're not a member of the committee, you can't be involved in the discussion back and forth, but you certainly are permitted to make your point originally. Perhaps in your next opening statement, if you wish to somehow use that time accordingly, I'll leave that to your consideration.
    We will now go to the vote on PV-5.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now, Ms. May, amendment 6, please.

  (1045)  

     In trying to keep it brief, I just want to put on the record that I find it offensive to be accused of preferring the rights of terrorists to the rights of Canadians when I'm trying to amend a dreadful bill and protect the rights of Canadians—and the bill will not make us safer.
    Let me just go to this amendment, which is also in response to the letter from the Privacy Commissioner. As he noted:
     The Bill is largely silent on the subject of retention and disposal of information shared.... Bill C-51 should be amended to include as a statutory requirement that personal information that does not meet the recipient institution's legal collection standards should be discarded without delay. SCISA should also require that information, once collected, is retained only as long as necessary.
    That is exactly what this amendment proposes to do.
    Thank you very much, Ms. May.
    Now for the discussion.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I disagree with the member from the Green Party saying that this bill will not do anything to keep us safer. We had very credible witnesses come from law enforcement, including from CSIS and the RCMP, and from Toronto, including someone with years of experience, decades, in security intelligence gathering. All of them said that the measures in this bill are needed. There were clearly legislative gaps that have been identified. All of those have been addressed in this bill and it's unfortunate that we keep hearing those same types of remarks from opposition parties.
    With regard to this amendment, Mr. Chair, I just want to point out that the act has regulation-making authority that will allow the Governor in Council to make regulations pertaining to record-keeping on information shared under the act. Additionally, this amendment proposed by the Green Party would put a significant burden on institutions to provide some sort of a review and analysis function after the fact.
    For those reasons, I'm going to disagree with the intent of this amendment and will be voting against it.
    Thank you.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Colleagues, we will now go to Green Party amendment 8.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    In this amendment, it's a deletion, so I just remind committee members what would have been there. This deletes the clause that reads that “No civil proceedings lie against any person for their disclosure in good faith...”.
    The testimony in a backgrounder that we received from Professors Roach and Forcese was the following:
    The robust immunity from civil liability for good faith disclosures in s. 9 of the new Act, combined with its authorization in s. 6 for lawful disclosure of information (in accordance with the law) “to any person, for any purpose” runs the risk of repeating the Arar pattern of unfettered information sharing on a domestic stage and possibly internationally, minus the government's payment of compensation.

....

    Hence, s. 9, as presently drafted could preclude most civil recovery should someone in the future be harmed or even killed as a result of the sharing of information, as long as the subjective purpose behind the sharing was earnest, even if the conduct was negligent or ill-executed.
    That's a quote from a backgrounder that we received, and this amendment to delete that line responds positively to the good advice that we received from Professors Roach and Forcese.
    Thank you, Ms. May.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    I would ask officials if they can assure us that this will not prohibit legal action against the government? Is that still possible with this clause?
    We can confirm that it is still possible. The section protects persons, so employees of the government, but not the crown. There could still be proceedings against the crown.

  (1050)  

    Okay, thanks.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    I appreciate that clarification. The fact is that civil servants are employees of the government, so it's the crown's liability that remains in place. However, individual civil servants who are exercising their activities and their responsibilities under this bill would not be held liable, but their employer, the Government of Canada, would still be found liable.
    I think, Ms. May, maybe that distinction wasn't clear. We don't want people to go after individual civil servants and have them frozen in place wondering if they're going to be personally liable; they're not. But the Government of Canada could still be liable if anything illegal is taking place.
     Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to the Green Party amendment number 9.
    Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Again, I'm attempting to put measures in place in response to the letter from the Privacy Commissioner.
    My amendment number 9—which I have great hopes for despite the rapid defeat of the previous eight—is based on the Privacy Commissioner's advice that:
    Bill C-51 should be amended to include an explicit requirement for written information agreements. More detailed elements of what should be in the agreements could be set out in Regulations. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner should be consulted in the development of these agreements.
    This amendment adds to the powers of the Governor in Council under clause 10 that the Governor in Council could require information sharing agreements be developed with the Privacy Commissioner to follow current best practices for the sharing, retention, and disposal of information.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much.
    Is there further discussion?
    Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. To my friend, I always act as if hope springs eternal, but I do have some issues here.
    I believe the information sharing act is intended to foster information sharing by all government departments and agencies, including those with no traditional national security responsibilities, with designated recipients.
    Requiring information sharing arrangements for all information sharing under the act would be impractical. It also has the potential to be contrary to the act's potential intent, as information sharing could be delayed while the arrangements are being negotiated.
    I would think that Canadians would expect that if one branch of government were aware of a threat to their security, I repeat, this information would be shared with other branches to protect them.
    As I mentioned before, Mr. Chair, this legislation has robust safeguards built in to protect Canadians' privacy.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Norlock.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    In contrast to Mr. Norlock, I'm going to dampen Ms. May's hopes on this one, as this essentially serves the same purpose as the subamendment, which we moved to government amendment number 1, in requiring what is already the law in Canada, according to the Privacy Commissioner.
    What we keep getting from the government is that somehow protecting security is in conflict with protecting basic rights. We've always argued from the beginning of the debate about this bill that it's a necessity for the government to protect both rights and civil liberties, and we never doubted the capability of a Canadian government to do both of them at the same time.
    We're not being asked to choose terrorists over other Canadians in these amendments, or terrorists over privacy rights. We're asking that the measures we adopt in this bill protect both the security of Canada and privacy rights. Again, the Privacy Commissioner has made very strong recommendations with that clearly in mind. I think no one here would argue that the Privacy Commissioner had any intention of supporting terrorism or the use of violence.
    Thank you very much.
    Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    That is not what the government's been saying. What we've been saying all along—I remember doing panels on this—is that Canadians would expect that we take national security and privacy rights into consideration. We've done that through this bill. There are adequate safeguards in this bill. We've heard that from various witnesses.
    The heart of this is that it ties back to, as Mr. Garrison mentioned, his subamendment to our government amendment. Time is of the essence. We need to ensure that if there is a one-off situation when agencies need to relay the information quickly, they will not be burdened by having to wait for some formal fancy agreement to take place.
    We heard from witness after witness. These are the credible experts in law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and so forth, people who have been involved in studying terrorism. Every one of them agreed the threat is real, but it has evolved and is growing.
    For those reasons I will not be supporting this amendment either.

  (1055)  

    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
     I do have to take issue with the government's stand, and the Green Party and opposition parties have been taking this stand from the very beginning, because we are putting some confidence in what the Privacy Commissioner said in his letter. He has certainly raised concerns.
    As I said earlier, it's backed up by the privacy commissioners of all the provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick, and I don't even know if they had a privacy commissioner at the time. The parliamentary secretary said “some formal fancy arrangement to take place”.
    We're not talking about fancy arrangements here; we're talking about agencies having a formal agreement for the sharing of information. Yes, in this day and age, it can still happen quickly with the technology we have available, but when there's a formal arrangement and officials within the department know they have to abide by it, you naturally give it a second thought: “Am I accurate in this information? Am I implicating somebody who shouldn't be implicated?”
    It's a safeguard. It does not slow things down. It's a safeguard in terms of the protection of the privacy of Canadians, and it is a recommendation by people who understand these issues far better than we do.
    Thank you.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I want to go back to something I said earlier, and I believe Mr. Norlock referenced it as well, with respect to the guiding principles at the start of the information sharing act. One of them states specifically that “entry into information-sharing arrangements is appropriate when Government of Canada institutions share information regularly”. It is giving the guiding principle. The intent is there.
    This information sharing act does not even mandate that agencies share information. It's encouraged. I just want to reiterate that as well.
     Again, for all of these reasons, I will not be supporting this amendment.
     Ms. Ablonczy, please.
    I think it's important, again, to take a look at the framework around this.
    The Privacy Commissioner's job is to raise any and all concerns that he can see to protect the privacy of Canadians. He's done that in this letter. He's ranged far afield and enumerated every possible objection he can think of, and that's his job.
    But, Mr. Chair, the Privacy Commissioner is not responsible for national security. He's not responsible to look at the big picture. He's not responsible to look at all of the pieces that have to be in place in order to respond to an emerging, growing, and evolving threat. That's not his job. He's doing his job, which is a narrow segment of what the government has to look at, and I commend him for that. However, to base the whole of government's response to terrorism on the mandate and viewpoint of one officer of Parliament makes no sense whatsoever. It can't be done.
    It's certainly legitimate. I think we should take concerns for privacy seriously, and we do, but the scope of this bill is much broader. The issues at stake that the government has to deal with are much broader in order to protect the security and the safety of Canadians, and that was what we did.
    My friends on the opposite side love what the Privacy Commissioner says because privacy is one of their favourite themes. It is a very important theme for the government and for all Canadians, but it's not the only theme. We have to look at the broader framework when we're dealing with this whole issue of terrorism.
     I urge all committee members to look at the big picture and the focus on protecting the security of our country because that's what we're trying to do with this bill.

  (1100)  

    Thank you very much, Ms. Ablonczy.
    We will now vote on amendment PV-9.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: Okay. We will now go to Green Party number 10.
    Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This is adding to the powers of the Governor in Council, as found on page 6 under the heading of that name. It clarifies proposed section 10 by adding a paragraph (d) immediately after the words, “respecting the manner in which those records are kept and retained”. My amendment is that the Governor in Council would also establish “responsibility within each...institution for review of the necessity, proportionality and reliability of information and for reporting at prescribed intervals to the Privacy Commissioner”.
     Since other efforts have been defeated, this is one that is quite straight forward. Every institution in the Government of Canada should be able to review the information. It's already made the determination to share it. This would be to review whether it was maintaining the proper principles involved, of “necessity, proportionality and reliability”, and also ensure it is reporting at regular intervals to the Privacy Commissioner.
    I submit this for the committee's consideration.
     Thank you.
    Mr. Falk, go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    As much as I can appreciate Ms. May's burden and desire to protect Canadians' right to privacy, I believe that this act in proposed section 5 already addresses that issue, as all information shared between government departments has to pass the relevancy standard. The information that is not necessary to pass along would obviously contravene the privacy of Canadians and wouldn't be allowed to be passed along under the provisions of this act.
    I think Ms. Ablonczy articulated very clearly in her previous remarks our position on information sharing and the big picture of the security of Canadians and how that's the issue that we are looking at. At the same time, we are also considering the whole aspect of Canadians' privacy and have built that safeguard into the bill.
    I would oppose this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    We will call for a vote on Green Party amendment 10.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: We will now go to NPD amendment 7.
    The Chair advises that if this is adopted, Bloc amendment 5 and the Green Party amendment 11 could not be moved. I am just bringing that to your attention.
    We will now go to NPD amendment 7.
    Mr. Garrison, go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I am sure that not many people are holding their breath on whether this will be adopted or not.
    However, we will come to this concept several times as we come to the amendments, as the bill has four major parts.
    This amendment proposes that what we need to do here is a review of the impacts of this information sharing legislation, and then a recommendation from a committee of the House on whether this should be renewed. We are proposing to sunset these clauses in three years.
    The government has been arguing consistently this morning that the threats we face are changing and evolving, and no one disagrees with that, but that is actually one of the very strong arguments for having a sunset clause and a review to see if in three years this legislation is in fact doing what it needs to do to protect us against the terrorist threats the country faces.
    It is a common concept you'll find coming up again in these amendments that, as elected representatives, we take the time to do a thorough study of the impacts of this bill. Then, that committee could make a recommendation to the House, which by a motion could then extend these provisions, if we find they are effective, or allow them to lapse.
    As I said, the government has been emphasizing here this morning the changing nature of the threat of terrorism, and I find it hard to see why the government would not find it a good idea to have this review and a sunset provision.
    Thank you.

  (1105)  

    Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    Now, it's Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Sunsetting this act would return Canada to where we are today and, obviously, the difficulty we now have in sharing information. It seems to me that when we think about what is happening in the world while terrorists plan their activities and evolve, leaving Canadians vulnerable, if we had a sunset clause here it wouldn't be in the best interests of Canada.
    I also might add that the parliamentary committees always have the ability to review government activities and statutes. In that regard, I can't support this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter, please go ahead.
    Yes, Mr. Chair.
    There are a number of sunset provisions in the amendments coming forward in this bill, but specifically on this one there have been a lot of concerns expressed by Canadians about information sharing, and we have the concerns expressed by the Privacy Commissioner.
    The government members continue to say, “No problem, this is covered in other areas.”
    Mr. Payne said, yes, parliamentary committees can review legislation at any time, and that is true, but only if the government is willing to do so when there is a majority position.
    What this amendment does is that it gives assurance to Canadians that in three years' time a parliament is going to review these clauses. It does not jeopardize security in any way, because Parliament can review the legislation prior to its being sunset. We'll have the experience of time and will know at that time whether some of the privacy concerns of the Privacy Commissioner are true and need to be addressed, or whether all these assurances the government members are giving us are adequate.
    It only makes sense to be supportive of this particular amendment.
     Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I will not repeat what Mr. Easter said, but I will try to convince my government colleague, Mr. Payne, because he mentioned that it was just a sunset clause and that, after three years, we would be back at square one.
    In reality, that is not at all the case with the amendment that is being proposed today. We are talking about a review by parliamentarians to ensure that we still need the provisions of Bill C-51. That would not take us back to square one.
    However, I believe it is appropriate to have a sunset clause and for parliamentarians to review this bill. Things can change at any time, particularly when it comes to what is covered by Bill C-51. I believe that it is our duty as parliamentarians to review bills that are passed. It would therefore be reasonable for parliamentarians to review this legislation after three years.
     I hope that I can convince my colleagues across the table to vote in favour of our amendment, since it involves reviewing Bill C-51, not simply putting an end to it.
    Thank you.

[English]

    Mr. Payne.
    I guess one of the concerns I have is that this amendment would tie the hands of future parliamentarians and undermine the principle of the independence of committees.
    I'm sorry, but I still can't support your amendment.
    Mr. Falk.
    This act is intended to address the threat of terrorism and to keep our communities and our country safe. As long as there's a terrorist threat, this act will have application.
    If that ceases to exist in the future, then this act won't have implications because the sharing of information in this act is a provision that is specific to terrorist threats. I think this amendment is redundant.
    On NDP-7, all in favour? Opposed?.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Liberal amendment number 3.
    Mr. Easter.

  (1110)  

    It's a fairly sensible amendment, as most of ours are, Mr. Chair. I mean even the government, I think, would come on side on this one. Basically, it's asking the Privacy Commissioner to submit a report to Parliament on the sharing of information conducted under the act during the preceding fiscal year. It lays out the timeframe on how that would be done.
    It gives greater assurance that some of the information sharing that is happening under this act is, in fact, being monitored by the Privacy Commissioner and the assurances to Canadians that a report has to be prepared and submitted to the Minister of Public Safety.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    To be honest, I do not think that it is written as well as it could be. Basically, it says that the Privacy Commissioner will prepare an annual report on the sharing of information conducted under the Privacy Act and submit it to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
    The Privacy Commissioner is an officer of Parliament. In my opinion, the report should not be given to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The Privacy Commissioner should report directly to parliamentarians. For that reason, I am extremely uncomfortable with this proposal. We have spoken out about this sort of thing on numerous occasions. The Conservatives often want officers of Parliament to report directly to a minister. I do not agree with that because the Privacy Commissioner should submit his information and his annual report directly to parliamentarians without going through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

[English]

    Mr. Norlock.
     Well, I somewhat agree with my friend across the table, Madame Lefebvre. However, this amendment is redundant, as the Privacy Commissioner already possesses the authority to carry out investigations of any complaint in relation to the Privacy Act. Moreover, section 38 of the Privacy Act authorizes the Privacy Commissioner to make a special report to Parliament on any matter that he or she has in relation to the Privacy Act, period.
    Lastly, under section 72 of that act, all government institutions, including Public Safety Canada, must submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Privacy Act. These authorities would cover the sharing of personal information pursuant to the security of Canada information sharing act.
    I don't know why we have to keep repeating things. That officer in Parliament already can single out, if he or she wishes, any particular breach or any concern they have with regard to the Privacy Act.
    So I repeat, this amendment is redundant.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    Just to conclude, I think the key point in what Mr. Norlock said is “if he or she wishes”. This would be an obligation to do this report. I, in fact, agree with Madam Doré Lefebvre that it would be better if the report were to Parliament. That's the way I would like to see it. But in terms of making this amendment, if we put that in the bill—rather than through the minister—that there would at least be a report, it would be ruled out of order. That's why we've had to restrict this report to the Minister of Public Safety. But it would provide an obligation for the Privacy Commissioner to draft a report, then to go to the Minister of Public Safety with the report, and that way it would be available to us as Canadians.
    It's the only way we could do it and meet the requirements, and not have the clerk or somebody toss it out, Mr. Chair. Even you might.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Easter, I would be so amenable to sincere discussion on the issue, but we will now go to the vote.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    Chair: We will now go to Bloc amendment number 4.
    Mr. Patry, on advice from our legislative clerk, I will repeat that House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, states on page 767-768:
    Since an amendment may not infringe upon the financial initiative of the Crown, it is inadmissible if it imposes a charge on the public treasury, or if it extends the objects or purposes or relaxes the conditions and qualifications specified in the royal recommendation.
    In the opinion of the chair, the amendment does propose such a new scheme, which would impose a charge on the public treasury; therefore, I do rule this amendment inadmissible
    We will now go to Bloc Québécois amendment 5. The chair also notes that should this amendment be adopted, Green Party amendment 11 could not be moved, as, of course, it has similar intent.
    We will now go to Bloc Québécois amendment 5.
    Mr. Patry, you have the floor, sir, briefly.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    As we announced many times and as discussed when we examined the anti-terrorism bill, we are proposing that this legislation include an expiry date. We want the legislation and its application to be thoroughly reviewed by the committee three years after it has come into effect.
    We want it to have an end date. That is what we are asking, Mr. Chair.

[English]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Patry.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    The amendment proposed by the Bloc Québécois has some good points. However, in my opinion, part of paragraph (2) of the proposed clause 11 is simply unacceptable. It reads: “A comprehensive review of this Act and its operation shall be undertaken by any committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament...” That is unacceptable for a number of reasons.
    On one hand, the Senate is made up of unelected members. On the other, various witnesses raised concerns about a parliamentary review. They said that parliamentarians who had been elected and were accountable to the public should be the ones to oversee this process. I agree that we should head in that direction, but unfortunately I cannot vote in favour of this amendment since it involves the Senate, which is made up of unelected members.

[English]

     Thank you very much.
    Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Chair.
    My comments are very similar to the ones I made on NDP-7 that sunsetting the act would return Canada to the current situation with national security information sharing. This is contrary to what we're trying to accomplish so that we can continue to evolve, because the terrorists are evolving their plans and so on.
    I think the parliamentary committees still have the ability to review government legislation and this amendment would tie the hands of future parliamentarians. On that basis, I can't support it, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much.
    Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I am also going to oppose this amendment. I can't imagine, for a moment, that when we're dealing with issues pertaining to national security and the protection of Canadian citizens, we would, at a certain point in time, just all of a sudden shut down something that has clearly been identified as required to protect that same national security and Canadians.
    If you can imagine what would happen in that particular situation and the devastating effects that a sunset clause like this could have.... Again, Mr. Payne was pretty clear that committees such as this one and governments of the day have the ability to go back and amend, take a look at, or study any piece of prior legislation that is relevant. For those reasons, I'm not going to support this amendment.

  (1120)  

    Thank you very much.
    With no further discussion, I will call the vote on BQ-5.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will go to Green Party amendment 11.
    Yes, Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This amendment, as other similar amendments in the same spirit do, picks up a tradition in Canadian anti-terrorism law. Certainly, my colleague, Mr. Easter, will remember because he was there during the drafting of the anti-terrorism legislation after 9/11. In contrast to this process, it wasn't rushed; even with the enormous emotional impact of the devastation of what al Qaeda did in New York on that day, parliamentarians were allowed to take their time and hear many witnesses in hearings that lasted long enough to explore the issues properly, which this committee is not being allowed.
    Back in 2001, the legislation that was passed included a number of sunset clauses. Future parliaments could always take it up, and as we've seen, a lot of the anti-terrorism legislation of 2001 has been extended. Green Party amendment 11 puts in the proviso that the act ceases to have effect on the day following the day that is the third anniversary of the coming into force of this section—and of course, this section refers to part 1.
    Thank you very much.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I do not want to spend too much time talking about the amendment proposed by the Green Party. However, I must say that I think that a sunset provision that takes effect after three years without a review by parliamentarians misses the mark. The purpose of a sunset clause is to make sure that a bill gets reviewed.
    I know that the amendment is well-intentioned, but I think it is missing something and that is a review of Bill C-51 and an assessment of its impact. I am therefore going to vote against the amendment.

[English]

    Colleagues, the bells have been called.
    We can suspend immediately unless you just want to go for the vote on this and then suspend, but that would require unanimous consent. This would get us towards the end of clause 2.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Hopefully we have agreement from the committee to continue moving forward with our clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. Obviously, the votes are just down the hall; it would only take a minute or two to get there, and I'm hoping that we can carry on for at least another 15 to 20 minutes.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Given that the motion in the House affects the work of this committee, I think we should suspend at this time.
    Thank you.
    We have unanimous consent. We will now suspend.

  (1120)  


  (1205)  

     Colleagues, we will now resume. We are on amendment Green Party amendment 11.
     There were no more speakers at that time, of course, and the chair is prepared to call for a vote unless there is further discussion.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Colleagues, that's the end of clause 2. Shall clause 2 carry as amended?
     Mr. Garrison?
    Each clause of course will be debated as we come to it, but first I have a motion that I would like to move.
    Given that we've just come from a vote in the House to suspend debate on a motion of instruction that would expand the mandate of the committee, and which, if successful in the House, would allow amendments that have been proposed on oversight and deradicalization to be considered by this committee and not be declared out of order, at this point I move that, given that debate is only suspended, is still on the order paper, and could be called at any time, we suspend debate on clause by clause until we have the opinion of the House on the motion of instruction to expand the scope of this committee's work on the bill.

  (1210)  

    The chair's initial ruling on this, Mr. Garrison, as you are well aware, is that this portion of the bill and the clauses of the bill do not deal directly with oversight. Your motion put forward on the bill does deal with oversight. While oversight has been the subject of discussion during the course of the bill, oversight is not for discussion in dealing with the amendments. As such, I would make a decision that we are going to proceed with the amendments.
    Mr. Chair, with respect, my motion is about the motion of instruction before the House of Commons, which is about the scope of the work of this committee. It's not about any of the particular topics of that scope.
    That's correct, but until—
    It is a motion to expand the scope, so how can we proceed?
    Until the chair receives a direction from the House, the chair will proceed with the meeting as scheduled here. If the chair receives a direction from the House as to whether or not this committee should hear more witnesses, suspend, or carry on.... The chair has no other obligation but to continue, without the direction of the House, in the manner in which we were.
    We will now go to clause 2 as amended.
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    I wish to speak on clause 2.
    We've gone through a large series of amendments, so for anyone who is not at this table, trying to keep track becomes very difficult. What I would like to draw to everyone's attention is that we're now dealing with the information sharing agreements.
     With only two very small amendments from the government side, while welcome—taking out the word “lawful”, and a welcome change to clause 6, which would have allowed sharing with anyone—the basic, broad definition that caused concern not just for the Privacy Commissioner but also for nearly half of the witnesses who appeared before the committee remains the basis of a new information sharing arrangement.
    We have a definition that includes infrastructure and includes the economic security of Canada, so there is no doubt that the passage of Bill C-51, without the amendments we presented on the recommendation of the Privacy Commissioner, does not strike a proper balance or does not accomplish both tasks, as I would prefer to put it, of protecting Canada against security threats and at the same time making sure that the privacy rights of those who have nothing to do with violence or terrorism aren't inadvertently restricted or lost as a result of this bill.
    It's for that reason that we will continue to vote against this clause, and I look forward to hearing comments of my colleague Rosane Doré Lefebvre as well.
    Now we will hear from Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I also want to thank my colleague, Mr. Garrison, for his contributions to this debate and to the many amendments presented. It is no secret that the majority of the amendments were presented by opposition members from the House of Commons.
    With respect to the amendments, I am a bit sad to see that the government chose not to work with the official opposition and the third party or with Mr. Patry and Ms. May, who are here at this table and who presented amendments.
    All parliamentarians need to contribute if we are to improve a bill like Bill C-51. Clause 2 of the bill is rather important in the sense that it has a lot to do with what the Privacy Commissioner said. I think that everyone made a substantial effort to improve this clause. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said a number of times that freedoms and public safety were important and that one must not be put above the other.
    I therefore have a hard time understanding why the Conservative government is not trying to improve the problems associated with clause 2 of Bill C-51. I am sad to see that the Conservatives are speaking out of both sides of their mouths with respect to the issue of privacy. It is extremely important for Canadians to retain their fundamental rights and freedoms. We do not achieve that by ignoring the testimony we have heard in committee and ignoring the amendments that were presented in response to the testimony we heard over the course of the marathon sessions we have had these past two weeks.
    A number of witnesses expressed concerns about privacy. I would have liked to see the government be more open. I always hope that it will prove itself to be more open. It would have been very important to make some substantive changes to clause 2, in order to improve Bill C-51 and to better protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians.
    That's all I wanted to say about clause 2.

  (1215)  

[English]

     Thank you, Madame Doré Lefebvre.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    There was certainly quite a series of amendments to this clause of the bill. It is an important clause.
    I do welcome the amendment to take the word “lawful” out. We've heard a lot of expressions of concerns from civil society on that issue, and I think that is a fairly substantial step forward. The other amendment that changed the wording of information sharing for any person for anything, by narrowing such information, I think, is also a good amendment.
    I certainly would have welcomed the government accepting some of the amendments, not just from the Liberal Party but also some of the very reasonable amendments by the other parties on this side relating especially to sunset clauses and further review of the bill within a limited period of time.
    I will say that I have been somewhat assured by the personnel from the Department of Justice on the fact that quite a number of privacy protections do exist. On that basis, I will be supporting this clause of the bill.
    I would hope, though, that in moving further throughout the bill, the government will be more open to amendments that are put forward in good faith by opposition parties. However, in this clause of the bill, I'm at least given some assurance. I think when we go back and look at the words from the Department of Justice officials on how privacy issues are protected, I think that will be beneficial to us, and probably to society.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    If there are no further votes then, we will now vote on clause 2 as amended.
    (Clause 2 as amended agreed to)
    The Chair: Colleagues, the chair will look for your guidance going forward, in that we have clauses 3 to 10 in which there are no amendments. Of course, I will be looking for an unanimous opinion as to how we would proceed; otherwise we will continue in the exact format that we are now doing.
    We could either group them—
     On a point of order, wasn't clause 6 amended? Clause 6 was amended, I believe, by the government's motion.
    It was proposed section 6, in clause 2. Thank you very much, Mr. Easter.
    We can either take clauses 3 to 10, and deal with them in total, or we can take them one at a time, or we can group them.
    Mr. Garrison.
    I would have no objection to grouping clauses 3 to 8.
    Do I have any thoughts on grouping clauses 3 to 8?
    If that's the case, I will call the vote on clauses 3 to 8 inclusive.
    (Clauses 3 to 8 inclusive agreed to)
    The Chair: Thank you, colleagues, for your consideration.
    We will now go to clauses 9 and 10. Are there any speakers?
    (Clauses 9 and 10 agreed to)
    The Chair: We will now go to the proposed new section 10.1, as proposed by the Bloc Québécois in amendment BQ-6.
    Mr. Patry, I've been advised that it is inadmissible due to the requirement for a royal recommendation, similar to the last one. Are you comfortable with the clerk's ruling?
    Thank you very kindly.
    Mr. Garrison.

  (1220)  

    As I understand, a royal recommendation requires spending by the government. This motion proposes something in terms of Parliament, not the government.
    The legislative clerk has advised the chair that if dollars come out of the consolidated revenue fund in any way, it requires royal recommendation. In a case like this, it allows for the chair of the committee to be paid, and for the committees to be reimbursed for their expenses in establishing a national security committee.
    As such then, because of that it requires a royal recommendation.
    Thank you for that, Mr. Chair, just to be clear, because we have other upcoming amendments. That's the reason I'm asking the question at this time.
    If it's simply to establish a committee of Parliament, then that would not require a royal recommendation. It's because this one includes provisions for paying salaries and expenses that it requires a royal recommendation.
    That's the chair's understanding, yes.
    Thank you very kindly.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Easter. You have the floor, sir.
    It's much the same question as Randall's. One of our concerns, Mr. Chair, with the government's attempt to prevent oversight, which—
    Ms. James, on a point of order.
    That is clearly not the case. We actually have sufficient oversight, and for Mr. Easter to state and imply that in this committee is completely out of order.
    Mr. Easter, we are dealing with the admissibility due to the requirement for a royal recommendation. That has nothing to do with the discussion on relevancy of the issue.
    I would ask you to keep your comments to that, please.
    Mr. Chairman, what this recommendation calls for is a national security committee of parliamentarians. I know your point is that there is money spent for staff under this.
    I would submit, though, on this amendment as in others coming forward, that probably about 90% of our witnesses called for such a body as is in this recommendation to do proper parliamentary oversight, which the government is opposed to. I understand that. They shouldn't be.
    In any event, my point, Mr. Chair, is that whether it's out of scope, whether it's because it requires a royal recommendation, the fact is that at this committee we heard a lot of evidence calling for such a body, and the government in its own—
     Okay, Mr. Easter.
    The chair's been very lenient. As you know, there is no opportunity for debate on the chair's ruling on this. The chair has been considerate to try to allow you to make your point and I appreciate that, but we're getting a little off kilter with that point. The decision was made to accept the clerk's definition of a royal recommendation on the issue and that will now stand.
    We will now go to Green Party amendment 12.
    Ms. May, I can read the recommendation, should you wish, but I also have a similar recommendation from the legislative clerk as to the admissibility due to a royal recommendation. It is not up for debate. If you would like the chair to read the ruling I would be prepared to do so.

  (1225)  

    Could I summarize quickly what it is I was trying to do with creating oversight through this amendment?
    I'm sorry, no. That is off for debate, but you can certainly hear the ruling should you wish to.
    I'd like to hear the ruling.
    Yes.
    One a point of order, certainly we have the right to move motions before they're declared out of order. It can't be declared out of order before it's been moved.
    The motion cannot be declared out of order before it's been moved before the committee.
    It is deemed moved. The motion is deemed moved. Once it is here on the order paper it is deemed moved.
    That would be in the case of a third party because it would be a different situation than for members of the committee.
    It is deemed moved for independent members as a routine motion; in a routine motion that was adopted by this committee.
    Mr. Chair, I'm not an independent, but I understand the point you're making. We're in a party of less than 12. They're Green Party motions and we're here on the basis of the motion that was passed by this committee that requires us to submit our amendments 48 hours ahead of time. Then they are deemed moved because I don't have the power to move a motion.
    Thank you very much. I appreciate your clarification from your perspective on that.
    (On clause 11—Enactment)
    The Chair: Now, colleagues, if you can shift your attention to clause 11, we have a number of amendments here. We will start off with the Green Party amendment 13.
    Ms. May, you have the floor.
    Mr. Hyer is moving these amendments in relation to part 2, the proposed secure air travel act.
    Briefly, Mr. Hyer.
    All of my amendments this afternoon are related to the secure air travel act. As a pilot myself, I focused on these and we have heard from airlines that are interested in our introducing some of these amendments.
    The first one is amendment PV-13. Do you want me to read it or is it not necessary to read it?
    It's not necessary to read it. If you could summarize in a few words, the chair would allow that.
    Mr. Chair, this clarifies part of the act. Canadians are sensitive about their personal computers and cell phones, and the pass words to those. This amendment specifies and clarifies that no part of this bill allows for the examination of personal computers or cell phones unless specifically authorized within the secure air travel act.
    Thank you very kindly.
    Is there discussion?
    Yes, Mr. Falk.
    Also responding as a pilot, I wanted to point out that this proposed subsection does not relate to examination of cell phones or personal computers and, as such, I don't think the motion is applicable.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    It appears that the Green Party amendment here is, in essence, another “for greater certainty” clause, which would simply clarify that what Mr. Falk said is indeed the case. On that basis I think it'd be a useful addition to the bill.
    Thank you very much.
    All in favour? Opposed?
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now, colleagues, we'll go to NDP amendment 8. I make note at this time that once 8 is moved, and it will be moved by Mr. Garrison, the Green Party amendment 14 cannot be then moved as it is identical.
    Mr. Garrison, on NDP amendment 8.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
     I'm moving this amendment, which deals with what threshold is to be used for listing someone on a no-fly list. What I believe we've had in the past is what we're proposing as the amendment, to return to the standard of “reasonable grounds to believe will” be involved with terrorist acts.
    This substitutes a lower threshold of “reasonable grounds to suspect” in the bill. The no-fly list does already expand from those who threaten air transportation directly to those who might be involved in terrorist activities.
     I do have a question to the officials just for clarification.
    The definition that's going to be used for the activities of someone who is involved in it, if I'm not mistaken, is not listed in Bill C-51 but is in the existing CSIS Act and is much narrower.
    Am I correct in that?

  (1230)  

    No, sir. Could you repeat that?
    When it comes to listing someone and the activities they're involved in, my reading of the bill would say that it is not the larger definition of national security that Bill C-51 has for information-sharing, but it is the subsections of the existing act of CSIS which define that. Am I correct?
    No.
    So where do we find the definition that was going to be used to list...?
    It's individuals where we have a “reasonable grounds to suspect”, “engage or attempt to engage”, or “threaten transportation security”, or they're travelling by air for the purpose of committing certain terrorism offences.
    That's the threshold for listing an individual, so it's all contained within the secure air travel act.
    With respect, from my reading of the bill...it's proposed subparagraph 8(1)(a)(i). When it says that it's an offence under the Criminal Code or the terrorism offence from section 2 of that act.
    Does that mean the Criminal Code only?
    Yes, it's under the definitions of the Criminal Code dealing with those specific terrorism offences.
    So it would not include sabotage of other than air transportation?
    Well, if there is reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual is engaging in activity to threaten transportation security, that could still be encompassed in proposed paragraph 8(1)(a).
     I do find it reassuring that we're dealing with a much narrower definition in this case. But it is true that we're changing the threshold. Is the current threshold in the no-fly list “reasonable grounds to believe”?
    No, the threshold for the passenger protect program has been the same since its inception. I think it was in 2007-2008 that it was originally created with the Department of Transport. It's always been reasonable grounds to suspect.
    Then the difference is that the threshold will now be expanded beyond air transport—
    To terrorist travel.
    —to terrorist travel as a result of that.
    Given that, Mr. Chair, I'd like to withdraw my amendment.
    It is the Chair's understanding, then, because it's already moved, that we would have to have unanimous consent. I'm assuming the Chair has consent for Mr. Garrison to withdraw his amendment.
    (Amendment withdrawn)
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party amendment 15.
    At this point, the Chair would also advise that if Green Party 15 is adopted, then government amendment 2 could not be moved, as there is a line conflict.
    On a point of order, Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    I just want to clarify.
    If we had voted on NDP-8, we would not have studied amendment GP-14. Since we withdrew our amendment, will we address amendment 14 from the Green Party? It was the same amendment.

[English]

     Actually, Madam Doré Lefebvre, you are correct. Thank you very kindly for bringing that forward.
    Yes, because the original ruling was that if NDP-8 is moved, PV-14 cannot be moved as it is identical. But of course, Mr. Garrison has withdrawn it after explanation from our officials.
    We will go back to PV-14.
    Mr. Hyer, you certainly have the option to carry on with PV-14.

  (1235)  

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the same amendment by the NDP, we would like to introduce this amendment and we would like to replace the word “suspect” with “believe” because we feel it's a stronger statement. To us, “reasonable grounds to believe” seems to us to be more decisive and “suspect” to us seems too weak a word to go on witch hunts, so we would like our amendment to go forward.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Hyer.
    Is there further discussion?
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    It may help Mr. Hyer to understand that in the answers I received I realized that this was not changing the grounds that were used for the existing no-fly list, and that the existing no-fly list has many other problems.
    The threshold does not seem to have been a problem, and I do think that raising that threshold would present security problems, so we will be voting against this amendment.
    Fine, thank you.
    Mr. Easter.
    Basically it's on the same point, Mr. Chair.
    I think if you have the passenger protect program with different wording from the no-fly list under this bill, then you do run into complications, so I'll be opposing as well.
    Fine, thank you very kindly.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: At this time the chair would like to thank Madam Doré Lefebvre for your observation.
    We will now go to Green Party 15.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    We are introducing this amendment at the request of some of our airlines. This amendment would replace the authority of the minister to direct an airline “to do anything that, in the Minister’s opinion, is reasonable and necessary to prevent a listed person from engaging in any act” listed in Bill C-51.
    We feel that this is too broad a mandate. This amendment lists the actions that the minister can ask the airlines to engage in, from denying transportation to identification through things like biometrics.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Hyer.
    Is there further discussion?
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to government amendment 2.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    Would you just bear with me. I'm just trying to find the section in the bill so I can relate to it directly.
    Take your time. We'll just put things on hold for a second.
    Carry on.
    Thank you.
    I move this particular amendment. We heard from one of our credible witnesses on this that there were concerns with respect to the language that we used in this section. The section as it is currently has wording in there with regard to the minister's opinion. We propose to change that clause to read:
to take a specific, reasonable and necessary action to prevent a listed
    and then the rest of the clause would follow as is.
    This amendment speaks to the concerns of the executive director of the National Airlines Council of Canada, who was here. We listened to his concern directly and I think we have actually taken it one step further and modified it slightly more. Those are the reasons we have brought forward this particular amendment and we hope that all parties present will agree to it.
    Thank you very kindly.
    Yes, Mr. Easter, followed by Mr. Garrison.
    I'm trying to find lines 2 and 3. I'm doing two things at once here, Mr. Chair.
    I'm trying to find where the specific amendment fits on page 14. Would the parliamentary secretary read what is there now. I'm dealing with section 9, but it says “clause 11” on the amendment here—lines 2 and 3 on page 14. What is in those lines now?

  (1240)  

     There's a clarification. Go ahead.
    Sorry. Currently on page 14, lines 1 and 2 have to deal with proposed subsection 9(1):
    The Minister may direct an air carrier to do anything that, in the Minister’s opinion, is reasonable and necessary to prevent a listed person from engaging in any act set out in subsection 8(1) and may make directions respecting, in particular....
    Then it goes on to list a couple of points.
    There were concerns directly from this one individual with respect to the terminology around “do anything...in the Minister's opinion”, so that's what we've cleaned up in this particular amendment.
    Thank you, Ms. James.
    I'm fine, thank you, Mr. Chair. That's great.
    Okay, thank you.
    Mr. Garrison, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I was obviously present at the same committee hearing and heard the same objection. I think, with respect, that the government's amendment actually doesn't change the sense of this. It takes out the explicit statement, which is really redundant, to say “to do anything that, in the Minister’s opinion”, and says the Minister may direct an air carrier to do anything that's “specific, reasonable and necessary”. That's obviously in the minister's opinion, so that's actually the same thing. It's just less offensively worded, maybe, I would say.
    In this case we're proposing a subamendment, because I actually don't think there's anything wrong with the wording that was originally in the bill if we're talking about an imminent security threat. If the minister perceives there to be an imminent threat to security, I do think it's reasonable for him to order anything that he thinks should happen if it's an imminent threat. I think the sense of what the air transport issue was is that it's not reasonable for the minister to be able to direct the industry in how they run a no-fly list on a daily basis.
    We're actually proposing a subamendment here that preserves the very broad authority of the minister in the case of an imminent security threat, but leaves the policy, which would govern the no-fly list, to operate on a daily basis, much as it would in cooperation between Public Safety and the air carriers. We simply would add at the beginning of proposed subsection 9(1) the words, “in the case of an imminent security threat”. It says “in the case of an imminent security threat”. In the translation things got moved, so if I'll just make that correction “in the case of an imminent security threat”. The order of the words there is incorrect.
    That amendment is in order without a problem at all. We will consider the subamendment amended for clarification purposes. It will fall in front of “security”. That's totally reasonable.
    Ms. James, then Mr. Easter.
    I just want to go back to the purpose of part 2 of the proposed anti-terrorism act, 2015. Part 2 actually expands the current passenger protect system. Currently, it's only the no-fly list. No-board are only applicable to an imminent threat to the aircraft itself. The purpose of the changes that we're making here with the secure air travel act is to expand that to include those who may be travelling overseas to engage in terrorist-related activities, whether it be to join ISIL, for training, whatever the case may be.
    When we're talking about security being an imminent threat, the ability to travel is not necessarily an imminent threat, as in it's going to occur, that as a result of that travel there might be an terrorist attack here on Canadian soil within the next hour. It's actually something that we want to prevent from happening. It's part of our prevention. From the start we've said that the aim of this bill is about preventing planned attacks, preventing someone from travelling overseas. We've especially heard from witnesses that the biggest threat is if those individuals actually come back to Canada fully trained as jihadist terrorists. So that's what this amendment is doing.
    Personally, I agree with that wholeheartedly and so does the government, as Canada does not want to become an exporter of terrorism. That is certainly not what we should be doing, that is, having Canadians travel overseas to participate in or join a terrorist organization, or to commit barbaric acts, as we've seen in the news. Certainly we don't want those individuals coming back to Canada fully trained.
    I understand the intent of what you're trying to say, but I will be opposing this subamendment to our amendment.

  (1245)  

    Colleagues, we've now reached the time when we've said we would suspend. However, if the committee wishes to stay longer to finish, potentially, this one here, that's fine. I would have to have the unanimous support of the committee.
    Do we have unanimous support to continue for a while? Then, of course, the chair will take the direction as to when to suspend after this.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Fine. Carry on, please.
    Okay, now we go to Mr. Easter.
     Mr. Chair, I have a commitment at one o'clock.
    In any event my question really is for the officials on this. How does this proposed addition compare with the travel protect program that is already in place? I think there needs to be conformity in the law between the two programs. I understand what Randall is proposing here. I think it's to put a safeguard in place on when the minister may direct an air carrier. Does this amendment in your estimation complicate that in any way, or is there a difference between the no-fly list here and the travel protect system that's already in place?
    My initial reaction would be, yes, it would complicate things. By bringing in the concept of imminent, it would create issues on how you meet that definition and how that would be prescribed. It's much easier to keep things open-ended in case the minister needs to take other kinds of actions for other kinds of threats if necessary.
    I'll just say as well that the Minister of Transportation also retains a broad discretion in this area as well, in terms of ability to direct air carriers to do things that are reasonable to do regarding security.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to respond to the last comment from the parliamentary secretary. The proposal changes absolutely nothing. Pursuant to the clause, the minister is the one who will make the final decision.
    Moreover, I would also like to respond to what was just mentioned, with all due respect for the government officials here with us today.
    You all just said that it could be complicated for the minister to react. I agree with you more or less, primarily because the minister retains the power. These days, technology is pretty quick. The minister can therefore react very quickly.
    We are not really trying to change the amendment, but we want to give a little more flexibility to the air carriers that must deal with legislative measures that can make things very complicated for them. That is what they told us in committee. It appears as though they were not consulted and they do not have the necessary resources.
    They also mentioned that such measures are costly in terms of time and money. We need to support them and fix this problem, with the amendment. I don't think that is too much to ask.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    Is there further discussion?
    Ms. James.
    Your subamendment actually does change the original amendment because you're basically referring only to an imminent security threat. Again, I will not be supporting your subamendment.
    Thank you very much.
     (Subamendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    (Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Mr. Easter.
    I spoke of these earlier, and I think this is where I have to bring them in. I apologize for not having them before, but you have them there on your sheet. Their reference number are 7905359 and 7905367, for Liberal amendments 3.1 and 3.2 respectively. They are the amendments that we asked the airline industries to bring forward. So I will be moving Liberal amendment 3.1 first.

  (1250)  

    Do my colleagues all have a copy of this?
     Does everyone have a copy? The clerk has them. They were sent to the clerk, were they not?
    You have them in—
    Okay, we don't have copies for everybody yet. The clerk will get them right now, Mr. Easter.
    We just had unanimous agreement to finish this one amendment. I have not seen what you're saying we should see, but I would suggest that we carry this on afterwards.
    Also many of the members of this committee have other commitments after one o'clock.
    Fine, the original agreement was to carry on to finish that one. This is pertinent, Mr. Easter, but we do need the time to get the distribution under way, and if you're content as well, then we're all content. We're all a happy family and we'll come back here after question period at four o'clock.
    We will suspend until four o'clock.

  (1250)  


  (1600)  

     Okay, colleagues, we will resume. When we left, Mr. Easter had the floor.
    It's page 14.
    You have the floor again, sir.
    That is so kind of you, Mr. Chair. I am glad to get back to where we left off.
     When the Air Transport Association was here and they were asked the question, they admitted they were not consulted in advance on this bill. As I said at the meeting that day, I find it really shocking that the airlines, which are so responsible, weren't consulted on a bill of this type. Regardless of that, you will recall I asked them at committee, if they had any suggestions on amendments, to forward them to the clerk, and that we would have a look at them and, if we thought so, we might move them.
    The one I am moving is indexed. The last three numbers are 359. Because it is not in the package, I'll read it:
    That Bill C-51, in Clause 11, be amended by replacing line 8 on page 14 with the following: (b) the requirement to alert the Canadian Airport Transport Security Authority of the screening of a person before they
    This amendment would make it necessary that the Air Transport Security Authority be alerted about the screening of a person. There are other amendments that will follow up on that to draw more merit to it. In the evidence, I said to Mr. Skrobica, “What I am hearing is that you are responsible, but you are not ultimately in charge”, and he agreed. I think the description that he gives in the minutes outlines it well. He said to us as a committee:
    You will recall the reports of an individual who was travelling with a pipe-bomb. CATSA handed the pipe-bomb back to the individual and allowed him to travel. Under this bill if CATSA were to be in error potentially we would be responsible. That's not equitable in our view.
    The airlines can be fined, and this amendment, therefore, would give them an alert as to a situation with somebody who is being screened. I think that amendment eminently makes sense.
    I so move.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    I want to ask the officials who are here with respect to this amendment. Sorry, what was the witness' name? He represented a very small group. They were not like the major airports with international flights and so forth. They were a small, more domestic—
    Yes, I can give you this. They were headed up by a Mr. McKenna. The one who answered this question was Mr. Skrobica. When you go back and look at the minutes, you'll find that the National Airlines Council of Canada—we didn't raise the same questions with them—also weren't consulted on this bill. I think that's a problem.

  (1605)  

    Yes, go ahead, Ms. James.
    I think the larger airline said they welcomed the changes in the bill. They had specific concerns about that one clause, that one section that we've already amended, that the government put forward the amendment on.
    I am wondering if the officials could answer a question for me with regard to the current process for the passenger protect system for individuals who are an imminent threat to the aircraft itself. How does that work currently with the smaller airports, such as the one of the representative from this organization? I am trying to figure out whether the passenger protect system applies to those types of locations as well, just to get more insight on this.
    It is not really location-based; it's more the size of the planes. Planes with fewer than 20 passengers are exempt from the passenger protect program. Every other plane and every other carrier need to screen their manifest for the specified persons list under the passenger protect program.
     I want another clarification on this one, for the size of the aircraft. How would the requirement to alert the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority be beneficial to this bill? Do you see it as problematic for the bill?
    I'm curious, because we have just seen this. We may have to come back to this amendment specifically to review it in more detail later on in the committee's clause-by-clause examination. I'm just trying to understand what your perspective on this amendment would be, with respect to this bill.
    To echo your comment, we just got this five minutes ago—Public Safety, on the policy lead with Justice—and hadn't a lot of time to look at it.
    A gut reaction is that this already happens. Transport Canada already works hand in glove with CATSA . Adding a legislative amendment like this would probably not be necessary, but we would probably want to go back to Transport Canada and talk to them to confirm that. But I'm pretty confident in my conclusion.
     Personally I would myself prefer to be able to look into this a little more deeply before making a decision on whether it's something I see as advantageous or beneficial or necessary to the bill.
    I'm going to ask the committee whether we could come back to this later, leaving this amendment to a later point, possibly today or tomorrow, so that we can take a look at it more closely rather than make a decision right off the bat.
    Well, we can consider that, but first of all we have two other speakers here; then we can go to that.
    Mr. Garrison, you have the floor first.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I want to thank Mr. Easter for the work he did with the witness. Because of the rushed schedule we have been on with this bill, we run into situations such as this, in which we have a witness appearing on the last night with a deadline for submitting amendments to include in the package of 9 o'clock the next morning. I appreciate Mr. Easter's having followed up with him.
    It seems to me—I know I'm not allowed to talk about the other three in that package and so can only talk about the first one now, but one can assume that my opinion is the same—that these all look eminently sensible and would help, I guess, make up for the fact that neither of the organizations representing air carriers in Canada was consulted before the bill was introduced. So I'll be supporting these.
    I guess we're going to come back to the question about when we're going to do that in a moment.
    Yes, Mr. Easter?
    I don't have a problem with Ms. James's point, if she wants to table this amendment for the time being so that Justice and Public Safety and Transport Canada can have a discussion. But I want to be absolutely sure that there is a discussion, so that there is an alert in place whereby the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is alerted to these issues. It's only fair and makes sense.
    Okay, thank you very much.
    Ms. James, are you comfortable with your request right now: that the chair will put to the committee, basically postponing it—standing it down until later on?

  (1610)  

    I am comfortable with that. Again, I want to take a look at it more, because this is actually replacing what is currently there. What is currently there refers to the screening of a person before they enter an area—unless I'm in completely the wrong spot, but I think I'm in the right spot—and this is actually the requirement to “alert” of the screening of a person. I don't know whether both would still be required, as distinct from having one replace the other.
    Again, I would be very happy, if we can defer this so that I have time to take a look at it, obviously with my colleagues on the committee on this side as well as with the background on this particular amendment.
    Okay, thank you. The chair is—
    Yes, Mr. Garrison?
    I assume that what we have is in an effect a motion to table, and we would have to have, I think, a time that we come back to it, perhaps at the end. It's hard to say which...whether it's a section or not, but my understanding was that we were to have officials here who could answer these questions. I haven't gone through that list carefully enough, but I guess that would be my question. Do we not have the officials needed to answer questions such as this about the bill?
     There is an understanding that we're on clause 11, and clause 11 has a number of amendments all through. Now, we cannot move off clause 11 without having a decision on what we're going to do with it. I would just bring that to the committee's attention. But certainly it can stand down now until after we finish clause 11, on which we have a number of amendments. This should give some time for either research or consideration.
    The only thing the chair would ask, and the chair is looking for direction here.... We could have preliminary discussion on the other motions that are presented with respect to this testimony and the recommendations that have come in, so there may be some discussion and some people might want some time to look for clarification, or we can now just table the rest of the three motions until we hit the end.
    The chair is looking for a sense of direction on this.
    Do you understand where the chair is going?
    Yes, I do, Mr. Chair. Procedurally we can't just set aside that one amendment—because I don't think we need to talk to officials on the other amendments that are in this package—but if we have to table the whole of clause 11 to do it, I don't have a problem, just as long as we come back to them at some point.
    That's fine. We can just take this piece by piece and we'll have a look as it goes. That's all the chair was looking for, a sense of direction.
    At this point, then, I obviously have the consent of the committee to stand down amendment 3.1, and we will now go on to amendment 3.2.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, until when will it be stood down? Is it until the end of the consideration of clause 11?
    It's until the end of consideration of clause 11.
    Thank you.
    At that point, we will have to deal with it one way or the other. We'll either have to stand down all of clause 11 and carry on or make a decision on it at that point.
    So we're standing down the one that relates to alerting the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
    The next amendment, then, Mr. Chair—
    That is amendment 3.2, Mr. Easter, yes.
    Yes. The last numbers in the reference number are 367.
    Okay. I'll just bring that to my colleagues' attention.
    The last three numbers of the reference number on your amendment are “367”.
    This relates to the same witness, Mr. Chair. What it does is add another proposed subsection 9(1.1) that would read:
to a peace officer must provide such assistance as the air carrier may request when denying a person transportation under paragraph (a)
     What witnesses confirmed with us is that in the United States there are procedures to have a law enforcement officer available just in case the situation turns violent. We don't have that in Canada, they indicate. When the passenger protect program came into being in our consultations, that was one of the recommendations that the government elected not to put into place at the time.
    If you listen to the government, we are dealing with more volatile individuals than in a normal no-fly situation, and I think it is protection for the airline, protection for the people who work in the airline business, if the air carrier requests that a peace officer be provided for assistance. I therefore support this amendment.

  (1615)  

    Thank you.
     Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I'm reluctant to vote yes to this. I think the current arrangement is ample. I'll tell you why.
    Currently, most of our airports—for sure the large ones, but most of our airports—are separate entities that operate in municipalities. Some municipalities are policed by the RCMP; for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, it is Peel Regional Police; in other jurisdictions, it's the Ontario Provincial Police—et cetera.
    What this is requiring is to have an officer specifically assigned to duty at an airport. I can think of many small airports at which there might be four or five flights a day. I just think this is creating a burden where one need not be created. There have been no instances in which we have received, to my knowledge...there may be some, but no instances in which there were no officers available during a time of crisis that I can go into detail of—the ones I'm aware of—but there were police officers onsite. And if I remember correctly, the larger airports do have a 24-hour police presence.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Norlock.
    Now we have Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    What we have heard when we've consulted on this away from this table is that those employees of airlines who are expected to deliver these notices to people are very concerned, because now we're listing not only those who might be a threat to air transportation itself, but those who might be involved in terrorist activities. They have a very large concern about delivering messages to both a larger number of people and a broader group of people.
    While I share Mr. Norlock's concern for the practicalities of this, what this says is that they must provide assistance as requested. It does not say there must be 24-hour assistance available at every airport. That's drawing I think the most extreme conclusion you could from this, but I know that there is concern among the staff of the airlines who work at the desks and have to deal with potential anger or, in this case, with plots that people are trying to carry out. Again, we will be supporting this as a reasonable measure to take and as something that is already in place in the United States.
    Thank you very much.
    Now we have Ms. Ablonczy.
    I have a question for Mr. Garrison.
     If there has to be assistance as requested, then clearly you have to be in the vicinity because you have a situation, right? That really does mean 24-hour coverage.
    Mr. Garrison, and then we'll come back to Mr. Payne and Mr. Norlock.
    With respect, most airlines are operating on schedules and know when they'll have flights going from airports, so they don't have them going 24 hours a day. If they're non-scheduled airlines, they will know what their charter schedules are, so they will be able to inform whatever authorities they need to of their schedule. As I said, you can draw the worst conclusion here about resources, but I don't think that necessarily is what will happen in practice.
    Thank you.
    We have Mr. Payne and then Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Just to talk to the smaller airports, I live in Medicine Hat, where there's a smaller airport with four and maybe five flights a day, and certainly there aren't police officers there at all times.
     You've talked about the schedule, but I can tell you that in fact in Medicine Hat we have a lot of flights cancelled because the airline isn't doing what it maybe should be doing in terms of getting the passengers to their next destination. It certainly creates an additional problem, obviously, with having to have a peace officer available.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Norlock.

  (1620)  

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
     I thank Mr. Garrison for some of his thought processes there. That got my thought processes going. In any of these consultations that he's done, I wonder if he's ever heard of a police department that refused to or that didn't send a police officer upon request.
     I cannot think of any police department in the Dominion of Canada that, when asked for assistance in order to have people “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” would have said, “No, we're not coming.” They may have said that they couldn't come right away and would be there in a few minutes, but my experience in policing, although it's limited to Ontario, is that this would be a legitimate call for assistance and that it would be fulfilled.
     I can understand that where we want to put everything in writing, well, then, I think it would be too much to handle. Really, I cannot see where a police department, when called by an airline that's saying they're going to give a person some bad news and their clerk or assistant is very concerned for her or his safety.... I'm sure they would send a police officer.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    I find the resistance of the government members a little strange on this one. Simply put, if you have an individual who is on the no-fly list as a result of this legislation, or in other words, you're worried about potential terrorist activities.... As you know, most areas have police departments not too far away from an airport.
     All the airline industry is asking for here is that when they need assistance, they can request that assistance. You have these individuals who are coming up and are told they can't on the flight to where they intended to go. If they're potential terrorists, as the legislation claims, then I certainly think that the government would be suggesting that it would do all it can to assist and to ensure that for regular staffers, who are not trained to defend themselves, there would be a peace officer present. It's a simple enough request.
     Thank you very much.
    Okay. No further discussion? All—
    Oh, excuse me. Yes, Ms. James?
    I'm going to take out this page so I can see it front on. On this particular section, the government made an amendment to this already to remove “to do anything that, in the Minister's opinion...”. But for this particular direction, these points that we're discussing right now, this says “may make directions respecting, in particular....”, so this is not something that would be mandated or that would be an absolute requirement. Is the way I'm reading this correct?
     No. As I understand it, this would be a separate provision, under 1.1. What the member was just reading—
    Okay.
    —was proposed subsection 9(1), which creates a power for the minister to “direct an air carrier to do” something “reasonable and necessary”.
    The proposed subsection 9(1.1) would be a new requirement for peace officers to provide assistance to air carriers if the direction is made.
    We've heard some comments on this side that there are some airports where a peace officer may not actually be there 24-7. Is there a cost associated with putting law enforcement in all of these locations for smaller aircraft?
     Absolutely, and I think it would depend on the situation and on how that jurisdiction was managed in terms of law enforcement.
    I would like to clarify, though, that obviously if someone is dangerous and is showing up in an airport, law enforcement and intelligence agencies often would be aware of that and would plan accordingly.
    Also, what happens at the gate is that there's a call into Transport Canada's operations centre and they're wired immediately into law enforcement across the country. It's not like the person at the gate is talking, or necessarily making that person who could be on the list uneasy, or creating any kind of conflict or drama there. There may be discussion with the Transport Canada operations centre about what to do and how to respond.

  (1625)  

    So that's the process that's currently in place right now? Okay. Thank you. Got it.
    Thank you.
     We will now go to the vote on Liberal amendment 3.2.
    (Amendment negatived)
    The Chair: Colleagues, we will now go to the Green Party's amendment 16.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This amendment adds the words “respecting transportation security”, which would allow the minister to share only the information related directly to transport security, not any or all information of suspected persons.
    Thank you very much.
     Yes, Ms. James.
    That slightly goes against the purpose of creating the secure air travel act. Obviously, we want to be able to deal not only with those who are an imminent threat but also those who are possibly travelling to engage in terrorism, training, and those sorts of things. I will be opposing this amendment.
    Thank you.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Thank you.
    You're up again, Mr. Hyer, on Green Party-17.
    This amendment would instruct minister to give the Privacy Commissioner a copy of any arrangements that he or she enters into with any foreign country with regard to the exchange of information for transportation security. By making it so that you can't just enter into agreements with anyone over anything, this will help accountability by providing that information to the Privacy Commissioner.
    Thank you, Mr. Hyer.
    Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Chair. We've talked about this before in terms of the Privacy Commissioner. They have a right, obviously, to investigate any complaints and conduct audits, etc., so the Privacy Act already protects individuals. I see this as redundant. I can't support this.
    Thank you.
     (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now we have Green Party-18.
    Mr. Hyer.
     This amendment deletes the words “within 60 days after the day on which they are denied transportation”. It deletes the 60-day deadline for applying for appeals.
    People may not even know at first that they're on the list. There should be no deadline for appeals. People may not find out until day 59 or day 70 or day 80 that they're even on the list, and then they have no opportunity for appeal.
    Why would we want to have a deadline on appeals?
    Thank you.
    Mr. Falk.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    What Mr. Hyer says is not accurate.
     The act specifically says that the day they were denied is when the 60-day period starts. They would have had full understanding that they were denied transportation. Sixty days is a reasonable amount of time, and in unusual circumstances the minister has the ability to grant an exception.
    Thank you very much.
     (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now we have Green Party number 19.
    Yes, Mr. Hyer.
    The no-fly list is scheduled to be reviewed every 90 days within this act, with no provisions for expedited processes in extreme circumstances. This amendment will allow people to apply for a quicker review process to take place within a 15-day period. For example, let's say you have a death in the family and you don't know you're on the no-fly list; you'd be held up now for up to 90 days.
    Thank you, Mr. Hyer.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    It seems to me that 15 days would result in a very rushed process for the minister. The minister would not able to gather all the information and make a well-considered decision. The 90 days is a reasonable timeframe, and it also allows the applicant to apply for judicial review.
     I think that trying to rush this process through without proper time to consider all the factors would not be in the best interests of any individual.

  (1630)  

    Thank you.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    I do think there are exceptional circumstances, Mr. Chair, and I'll be supporting this.
    However, there is a problem with the appeal process in totality, and that is that it isn't really an appeal process at all. The obligation is on the wrong individual. If the minister doesn't respond within 90 days, you're still on the list. There should be an obligation on the part of the minister to have to respond. If there isn't, it's really not an appeal process where the minister has to do anything. That's part of the problem.
     There is an amendment to that effect later, but I do believe you'll run into situations—it's natural that these would happen—where there are exceptional circumstances, where family dies or whatever. There should be a way for individuals to try to deal with that.
    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    Mr. Chair: Now we'll go to NDP-9.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    We have a few amendments that will be coming forward that deal with the so-called appeal process and the no-fly list.
    I think the problem we have is that for someone who ends up on it for incorrect reasons, because of incorrect information or because of a similarity of name or birthdate, it's very difficult to find out how you got on that list and the reasons why. There may be good security reasons for that, but at the appeal level—at least once you've challenged it—you need to know what you're appealing. This amendment would require that in the case of an appeal, the appellant receive reasons for that decision.
    Now, that does not mean those reasons have to be the whole file. It doesn't say that at all; it's just the the reason for that. In the absence of that, it's very difficult for people to make sense out of what's happening with them if they end up on the no-fly list.
    It seems a basic part of fundamental justice that you have to provide reasons for decisions at some point. I am granting that we're doing this at the appeal level. We're not doing this when someone is listed; you send him a notice and say he's listed for the following reasons.
     When someone says “I don't understand this and how this can be working”, and they get no reason for it, except “Well, we're right; you're wrong”, I think this will facilitate making this a real appeal process, along with some of the other things that are coming up here.
     Thank you.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    To my understanding, the current practice is that the individual is informed.
    I'll maybe look to the officials to clarify it in better English than I can put it.
    In the current situation, if an individual has been denied boarding they're notified. Then they're given an opportunity to provide additional information. The minister does provide an unclassified summary of the reasons why that individual has been denied boarding. After that period of going back and forth, if the individual is not satisfied with the situation they can seek a judicial review before the Federal Court.
    We're basically emulating and codifying what the current practice is. Yes, currently an individual is provided the reasons why they're denied boarding.
    Thank you.
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    Just to make sure I'm understanding clearly, because that's what I thought we thought we were doing here, currently there is no requirement for the minister to do that. This simply puts into the law what is the current practice.
    Do you want the view from a Justice perspective...?
    We obviously believe there is a necessity to do it, and that's why we're doing it.
    But it is not written in the statute anywhere.
    That's correct.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    I mean, if that's the case, and that is the practice, then there's really no negative implication on this amendment whatsoever. It just makes sense to put it in.
    I expect that the government members will be onside with current practice, certainly.

  (1635)  

    Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party amendment 20.
    I'll bring it to your attention that if PV-20 is adopted, then NDP-10 and LIB-4 cannot be moved.
    On amendment PV-20, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Given that this concept seems to have been rejected it may be a moot point, but this amendment is also dealing with deleting the 60-day deadline for applying for appeals.
    I've also acquired this tendency toward hope, so we'll see what happens here.
    Thank you very much.
    Is there discussion?
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    I think there's an unintended consequence here of this amendment. As I read the amendment, it would remove the obligation of the minister to respond to an individual within 90 days. This means that if the minister doesn't respond to the individual, then the individual can't go to court and try to get himself removed from the list. Surely we wouldn't want to put an individual in limbo like that. I don't think this is a well-thought-out amendment.
    Maybe we should ask the officials if that's a correct interpretation.
    Yes, I believe that's correct.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We'll move now to NDP-10.
    The chair notes that if this amendment is moved, then LIB-4 cannot be moved, as it is identical.
    We will now go to NDP amendment 10.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    This is one of those aspects of the current no-fly list that some have described as Kafkaesque, because if you don't hear anything, then you're deemed to have decided that you're still on the list. It's very difficult for anybody to deal with a deemed to have decided that you're still there. It would seem, if it's to be a real appeal process, that the lack of action from the minister on something, which ordinarily would be considered very important, then should be deemed to have decided to remove the person from the list.
    In other words, if they're actually a threat, then that requires action from the minister. We're really reversing the onus here in the appeal process.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Easter, then Mr. Payne.
    Mr. Chair, I think you'll note that both these amendments are identical.
    It just goes to show that great minds think alike. We'll see if the minds on the other side think alike as well.
    There's no debate there, Mr. Easter. Carry on.
     There's no debate; they do.
    If you read the section, Mr. Chair, this is an absolutely convoluted appeal process. It reads an appeal process in law that is upside down and backwards, if I could say so. If the minister does not make a decision with respect to the application within 90 days, the minister—and it goes through the wording “the application is received”—is deemed to have decided not to remove the applicant's name from the list. It's backwards.
    The minister should have an obligation to respond to appeal, not to be lackadaisical and not respond and carry on forever and a day. This is not due justice and not fair, and I appeal to the government on this one. For Heaven's sake, let's have a proper appeal process and not a farce.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Payne.
    I take offence to that, Mr. Easter.
     I don't care.
    I knew you wouldn't; sometimes your earlier comment also has another ending, but I won't suggest that at this point.
    I believe this amendment would significantly undermine the integrity of the passenger protect program. Robust measures are already in place. I see this as a very risky move, and by default that certainly would have potential major impacts, in my view.
    I'd like to ask the officials for their comments on this.

  (1640)  

    There may be many reasons why the government's not able to make a decision within 90 days, and the purpose of the 90-day provision is to make sure individuals have prompt access to the courts if the government is not making a decision within that timeframe. A lot of it can have to do with availability of information that is covered by national security privilege. It may come from third parties outside Canada. There could be ongoing investigations, for example. So there may be situations in which the minister simply cannot make a decision and issue reasons. At that point the person can petition the courts for a remedy.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Chair, I can't accept that argument. You have people's lives, and there is no question in my mind we've seen innocence already caught on no-fly lists. There has to be some obligation on the government somewhere to get into a court process. It's great to get into that process if you have lots of money, but it's a lengthy process, delays in court. There has to be the obligation somewhere in this appeal process to respect individuals' rights and their need to at least have a response from the minister as to why they continue to be on this list.
    Fine, thank you very much. There's nothing further?
    I'm so sorry; I have a couple more here.
    Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I think that Mr. Easter is jumping the gun slightly. The section we're dealing with deals with the application to the minister. It's not the appeals process as yet. Based on the 90-day period, that's the trigger where someone may do the appeal process. The officials have clarified that there are a number of reasons—I think we can all think of some—why there may not be a response within that timeframe. So this is giving the benefit of the doubt to the person so they can move forward with the appeal. Otherwise, as you or someone stated, they could be in limbo for an unspecified period of time. So I'm not going to be supporting this amendment either.
    Fine, thank you.
    Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Our colleague talks about the inconvenience to individuals. I would ask him to think about the case where one of these deemed individuals got off the list and happened to create a major catastrophe. To me there's a protection in this particular piece of legislation. So I won't be supporting the amendment.
    Thank you.
     Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party number 21.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Under section 15 if the crown is unreasonable, the judge says “may”. This amendment proposes changing the word “may” to “must”. If the judge finds that the reasons a person is listed are unreasonable, the judge must remove them from the no-fly list—not “may”. Why would he or she have a choice after deciding the original decision was unreasonable?
    Thank you.
    Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    The intent of this provision is to give judges flexibility in granting a remedy on appeal. In some cases the court may consider it more appropriate to send the matter back to the minister for remedial action. This could happen, for example, where significant new information was presented since the original decision, or there has been a procedural irregularity. In these cases there's a strong public interest in maintaining the person on the list until the minister reconsiders the decision. The government therefore cannot support this legislation.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    In this case I agree 100% with Mr. Norlock. There are two aspects here. One is preserving the discretion of the judge who will have the full information in front of him, and the other is the features that Mr. Norlock named, that while an appeal goes through the process and the original reason for listing someone may have been unreasonable, additional information may be available to the judge. So I think it's important that we preserve that discretion for the judge who will have the most recent and full information.

  (1645)  

    Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party number 22.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This would delete the following: “The judge may receive into evidence anything that, in the judge’s opinion, is reliable and appropriate, even if it is inadmissible in a court of law, and may base a decision on that evidence”.
    This amendment would delete the lines that allow evidence that would not be allowed in a court of law.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Norlock.
    I believe the provision in Bill C-51 would allow the presiding judge to see all information relevant to the government's actions while still protecting sensitive information from public disclosure. The provision ensures fairness to the applicant while giving judges flexibility to consider information from a variety of sources. There is no reason to limit the judge's discretion in the manner proposed by this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to NDP-11. The chair notes that if number 11 is adopted, Green Party 23 cannot be moved.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    We find our party in a somewhat unusual circumstance here in that generally we feel that the special advocate process is deficient, but it's better than no process. So in this case when someone is in court and information needs to be kept from the public for security reasons—we accept that does happen—it's important that someone be there. If we're having a court process, there have to be two sides to that process, and without someone there on the other side it violates the basic way we do things in our court system. So the judge is the neutral arbiter of the two sides of the case. We're suggesting that in those cases when it affects national security and you can't share it with that person, a special advocate should be appointed to protect the interests of the appellant and to make it a two-sided case before the judge.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Falk.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    That process is commonly available to immigration and refugee applicants, but the interests affected by immigration proceedings are different from those affecting the passenger protect program, because in immigration proceedings people are subject to detention and deportation. The ability to use commercial aviation at a certain point does not rise to the same level of need for an advocate.
     Thank you.
    Is there further discussion?
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party-23.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This is similar. This amendment adds a requirement for special advocates to be appointed when reviewing evidence that cannot be shown to the accused because of national security reasons, real or alleged. Basically, it says that at the end of the day we don't end up with secret evidence.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Falk.
    For the same reasons that I spoke to the previous amendment, I would again not be inclined to support this amendment.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to LIB-4.1.
    Mr. Chair, this was a request by the airline association, and because I said what I did at committee, I put it forward.
     In the legislation as it's worded now, the fine is $500,000, which does seem fairly substantial for some of the smaller airlines especially. They have suggested that what they would like to see is $250,000. That reduces it to a more reasonable level for some of the smaller airlines in the industry.
     I put that forward.

  (1650)  

    Thank you very much.
     Is there further discussion?
    Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    This fine is for extremely serious breaches. This would not be a fine that would be applicable to someone who has made an error through no fault of their own. The offence here—possibly I'll get the officials to talk more about why it was set at that amount and what it would apply to—is obviously something that I believe would be willfully done, because of the serious breach and the seriousness of it.
    Perhaps the officials can explain that a little better.
    I'll just say that I think the current penalty is prescribed in regulations. It hasn't been updated in a long time.
     As you've said, it's important to get the incentives right, given the seriousness of the offence.
    The current penalty is $500,000?
    No. In the amendment to the act it's at $500,000. The current one is much lower. I'm not sure....
    What is the current one?
    We'll have to get back to you on that.
    What is in this bill, then, is an increase from what the current penalty is.
    That's right.
    Can the officials give us any indication of how often that fine has been levied?
    I'm not able to do that. We may be able to find the fine for you; we're just going through the regs.
     Again, Transport Canada would have to give you a bit more of the history on how many times that fine has been used.
    If I can add to that, though, in answer to the member's question, this is for the most serious offence in the act. That is the offence in proposed section 22, which is wilful obstruction of a person “exercising or performing their powers, duties or functions under this Act”. It's not just a failure to verify somebody's identity at the gate properly. It's wilful obstruction: destroying documents, concealing evidence, and things of that nature.
    You don't have the figure of what the current fine is yet?
    No, but I understand, having been involved in drafting this, that the current fine has not been updated in quite some time.
    Thank you very much.
    Madam Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    I had some questions for the officials and they were answered. Thank you.
    Thank you.

[English]

    All in favour?
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party-24.
    Mr. Chair, could you clarify—
    Excuse me. We do have one more Liberal amendment before that.
     My apologies, Mr. Easter. I do have you here.
    Now it's page 23, Mr. Chair, pages 21 to 23.
    The Chair: No....
    Hon. Wayne Easter: Okay, you're right. Thank God, Mr. Chair, you're right.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Wayne Easter: You're a good man.
     This would be the one with reference number 515.
     Is that correct?
    Yes. Thank you.
    You have the floor, Mr. Easter.
    The amendment really relates to the previous question. Again, it comes from the airline industry. As we indicated, they were the last witness. They were concerned about due diligence, that it could be implied that they didn't do due diligence. I guess it is actually lessening that threshold, which would be a good way to put it.
    Thank you very much for the comment.
    Ms. James.
    Thank you.
    I think most airlines would know what due diligence is.
     The fact that this amendment specifically says the “established due diligence” would indicate there would have to be some sort of...I don't want to say “bureaucracy” behind it. The word “established” actually infers that it would be something that would be all encompassing and describe exactly what specific due diligence means. Obviously, different situations call for different ways to deter that from happening.
    I won't be supporting this amendment for some of those reasons. I think when we talk about this particular section, we're talking about due diligence. I think the airlines know what that means. I don't think we need to create a huge bureaucracy behind us and make it established.

  (1655)  

    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party number 24.
    Amendment number 24 adds the requirement that documents removed or inspected by the minister be related to the inspection directly of a suspected person, not just any other document or thing like a laptop or a cellphone in the vicinity of a suspected person in an airplane.
    We are concerned, and others have told us they are concerned, that this could lead to a kind of wholesale collection of cellphones and laptops on an airplane where there's one potential suspect.
    Thank you very much.
    Is there any discussion?
    Ms. Ablonczy.
    As I read the section now, the inspection is not having anything to do with lists of personal information. The inspections have to do with ensuring that the carriers are complying with all of the provisions of the act.
     It's not focused on people's personal information. It's focused on the due diligence—did I just use that word, Mr. Easter?—of the airlines.
    Good for you.
    I don't see the necessity for this amendment because the stated purpose of the amendment is not the purpose of the inspections.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Mr. Hyer, now we will go to number 25, sir.
    Mr. Chair, amendment 25 is very similar. It adds the requirement that data processing systems removed or inspected by the minister be related to the inspection of a suspected person, not just any document or thing in the vicinity of that person in the airplane.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    Again, the inspections are not directed toward people; they are directed toward the airlines.
    Thank you.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to NDP-12.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    This is a similar amendment to one we considered at the beginning of our discussion of this clause, where we actually supported the minister having quite strong powers in the case of an imminent security threat.
    I'm expecting the same outcome of the vote, since it's the same principle, so I won't belabour the discussion of this one.
     Thank you very much. Seeing no further discussion, all in favour?
    Mr. Chair, I have a question.
    Yes, Mr. Easter. Go ahead.
    You can rule me out of order if it's not related to this section. The Canadian Bar Association, when they were before the committee, said a person may be denied travel based on a mere possibility of risk determined by an unknown person and using unknown and untested criteria. That relates to this whole section. Can officials comment on that observation. I neglected to ask it earlier. I had it in my notes. But that's a pretty broad claim by the Canadian Bar Association. They're not a small group. They're basically saying that you could be denied travel based on the mere possibility of risk. What are the parameters?

  (1700)  

    I think we discussed this earlier. The threshold is reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual would be a threat to transportation security or the other provisions in the act linked to terrorist travel that are defined in the Criminal Code. So it's reasonable grounds to suspect.
    Okay, thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much and we will now go to the vote.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Green Party number 26.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This amendment clarifies that the exact criteria for appearing on, or removal from, the no-fly list are posted and thus not vague, arbitrary, or secret but instead enforceable and accountable.
    Thank you very much. Is there any discussion?
    Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Proposed section 8 of the secure air travel act explicitly lays out conditions and requirements for placing or deleting a person's name from the list. The requirements are sufficient in legislation to cover how the Minister of Public Safety will add or delete an individual's name. So I can't support this.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now NDP amendment number 13, and here I would note Green Party-27 could not be deemed to be moved if NDP-13 is adopted.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    In this portion of the bill we're making a very major change to the no-fly list by adding to the no-fly list those who intend to travel for broader terrorist purposes. As the government has noted many times, terror threats have been shifting very rapidly over time. So the amendment would do the same thing we suggested previously, that it would be a good idea if we sunsetted these clauses after the third year, with a requirement that the House of Commons undertake a study and make a recommendation to the House on whether or not these provisions should be extended beyond that third year. This gives us a chance to review how effective the legislation has been and, if it's not effective, to look at the reasons why it's not effective and make any further changes that might need to be made. So, again, as we go through the sections, we're suggesting the same for each of these portions where we are making large changes. I would hope that the government would be willing to look at a review in two years and a sunset in three years.
    Thank you.
    Fine, thank you very much, Mr. Garrison.
    We have Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    The passenger protect program has been in existence since 2007. The government committed to enhancing the passenger protect program as a part of its response to the final report of the Air India inquiry. The proposed secure air travel act would provide a more solid legislative foundation for the passenger protect program and would reflect the new mandate under the purview of the Minister of Public Safety. The legislation provides strong safeguards, such as privacy protections, and more streamlined judicial review mechanisms. The bill also includes privacy safeguards, such as clear prohibitions on the disclosure of information except for specific purposes.
    Mr. Chair, I believe that's sufficient to support the current legislation and not the amendment.
     Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    I really don't know how Mr. Norlock derives from that his support for the current legislation. We're willing to support many aspects of the current legislation, but the sunset clause proposed here and elsewhere is that there be a dedicated time period for when these laws end, thereby giving some confidence to society that any overburdensome aspect of this law will not be in place and Parliament has the right to look at it and reintroduce it if it so decides.
     I note that Mr. Norlock picks and chooses. I agree with the Air India recommendation here in both the sharing of information and this aspect of the bill, but there's also a part of the Air India recommendations that talks about oversight and review, which the government is constantly resisting. So if we're going to bring up the bill in one area based on the Air India recommendations, we should be bringing it up in others.
    I'll stop before you rule me out of order.

  (1705)  

    I was just about to do that, Mr. Easter. Your timing is impeccable. We will now go to Mr. Norlock, please.
    Thank you very much.
    We all pick and choose, to answer my friend across the way. Throwing a little potshot, as he is wont to do very often and being holier than thou, I don't think is incumbent on any of us. We do pick and choose here. We choose the amendments or not because we feel they are either enhancing the legislation or they're not. I don't want to cast aspersions. If it's so bad, then I'm sure the honourable member will be voting against it because he doesn't speak very positively about it. We can do these things or we can...but casting aspersions about other people isn't becoming, I don't think.
    Let's go back to the vote on this bill.
    Yes. Ms. Ablonczy.
    I was on the list, wasn't I?
    Yes, I thought so but I thought I had you before, that's why....
    Please go ahead.
    I think it's important to say this. We have to keep our eye on the big picture. The big picture is that we have a terrorist force spreading across the globe, starting in the Middle East, but certainly their tentacles have reached into developed countries such as Canada, but also Denmark and Australia and France, and we have to have a regime that can push back and protect Canadians against this kind of incursion.
    If anyone on the other side seriously believes that this threat is going to somehow magically dissipate in three years, they are badly mistaken and did not listen to the intelligence experts we heard in front of this committee. If we put a regime in place and then say it's a short-term thing, that in three years it will be gone, how are our security forces supposed to operate if they are not sure exactly what's going to happen?
    If the regime needs to be changed in some way, then Parliament is entrusted with doing that and will do so. But to say that all of a sudden we fall off the edge of the cliff in three years with respect to our security regime would send a very bad signal, and it is not the right way to go about the business of protecting Canadians. Tweaks are necessary. They will happen, but to just say there's going to be a chop-off date in three years is a very bad strategy.
    Thank you very much.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to remind my colleague, Ms. Ablonczy, that we proposed something similar for clause 2. We proposed a sunset clause with a review. It will not be chaos. After three years, parliamentarians do a review. I think that everyone around this table acknowledges that there is a terrorist threat. I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that the official opposition does not take this seriously.
    People on the other side of the table may change their mind when they learn that there would be a review after three years. This is extremely important. As parliamentarians, we have a duty to ensure that the bill achieves its objectives.

[English]

     Sunset, sunset, not review.

[Translation]

    It is a sunset clause that would provide for a review. I suggest that my colleague reread the amendment and she might change her mind. I think it's important for parliamentarians to do a good job. This review would enable us, after three years, to see whether Bill C-51 worked well or if changes are needed. At the end of the day, it is up to us to ensure that what we did worked well.
    I think it would be honourable if the government were to change its position on this amendment, which I think is perfectly reasonable, in light of the scope of the bill, and more specifically clause 11.

[English]

    Thank you very much for the debate.
    Yes, Ms. James.

  (1710)  

    Thank you.
    Just as a reminder once again, Parliament, government, and committees can review legislation at any point in time, as my colleague Ms. Ablonczy just said. I think she has it exactly right. As we have seen since the first Anti-terrorism Act, our government has brought forward a number of measures to further secure Canada and to protect Canadians. That's probably what will happen in the future as well, if we see there's a need to make amendments to this legislation to better protect Canadians. If we find that we need to enact a new act with new tools for law enforcement, that's certainly what the government of the day will do. It's what I know I would do if I were a part of the government, and I think my colleague Ms. Ablonczy has said it completely correctly.
    Thank you.
    We will now call for the vote on NDP-13.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party-27.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Chair, anti-terrorism legislation has a tendency to ramp up and not back down once the perceived threat is reduced. As we know, there was a reasonable sunset clause on many parts of the Liberal anti-terrorism legislation inspired by the 9/11 twin towers attacks.
    The war on terrorism is a very unusual war that can appear to have no peace in sight in the future, so I urge this committee to please consider some sort of sunset clause.
    Thank you, Mr. Hyer.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I thank my colleague, Mr. Hyer, for his proposal.
    It is similar to the one Ms. May presented for clause 2, I believe. I must say that I unfortunately cannot support this amendment. As with the other sunset clause proposal that was presented, there is nothing to go along with it. As an elected official, I think it's extremely important for us to do a review. That's what we proposed when we suggested the sunset clause we just discussed. That was amendment NDP-13.
    Since it doesn't necessarily have a concrete objective, I will vote against this amendment.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Norlock.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I won't repeat what I said with regard to NDP-13, except to say that I hope that the threat of terrorism goes away tomorrow, but I believe that when this act is no longer needed and becomes redundant, I am sure that our elected officials in Parliament, no matter who they are, would review any of the legislation if it isn't needed or acted upon. Until that occurs, I think we need legislation such as Bill C-51 to make sure that Canadians are afforded the best safety possible in a world that's very insecure.
    Thank you, Mr. Norlock.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Colleagues, Green Party-28 will not be moved as it is identical.
    Now, colleagues, we are at the end of clause 11. We have to do one of two things here: either we go back and deal with Liberal amendment 3.1 and/or we have to table all of clause 11 until we deal with LIB-3.1 later. The Chair is looking for a sense of direction as to where we want to go on that.
    Yes, Ms. James.
     I am hoping that we do not save this until the end. I had a bit of clarification from some of our people. I also wanted to ask the officials for clarification on whether this amendment is actually needed.
    With regard to what we heard from the testimony....
    We are not going to debate it now.
    Okay, my apologies.
    We just need to know whether we are going to deal with it now or later. That is the only direction the chair needs.

  (1715)  

    On this side, I'm okay to deal with it now.
    Are we comfortable with that? Fine.
    We will then deal with Liberal amendment 3.1. It is one of the suggested amendments that came from the airlines.
    Ms. James, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    With regard to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, it is my understanding that they don't have the power of arrest. Notifying them that somebody is being screened would not in fact have any real effect on this legislation.
    I wanted to get some clarification. You mentioned that one of the officials had said earlier that on initial thought he didn't think it was necessary. I believe that is what he said. If someone were to notify CATSA, you had indicated that's something that likely already takes place. Would we need to legislate this now and incorporate it into the legislation?
    We've been able to discuss this with our Transport colleagues. They do not believe legislation is necessary. If required, something like that could be done in regulation.
    Thank you.
    Thank you for the discussion.
    Mr. Easter, go ahead.
    We are dealing with a real problem here, Mr. Chair, when you have an omnibus bill of this nature and the airlines, at least the two that were before us, were not consulted. I do see that as a major problem. The officials may not see it as necessary, but when witnesses who are in the industry come before this committee—they are not in the Ottawa bubble—and claim they would like to be alerted, then I really think we ought to listen to that.
    I will ask officials the question. You claim you can put it in regulation, but if this paragraph were in the bill, would it do any damage to the intent of the bill? I think it would be a good thing for us to satisfy the airlines that they are going to be alerted. Would it damage the bill to insert this paragraph in it? Is it going to jeopardize anything? I am suggesting that we put it in, for greater certainty, if you want to call it that, and to recognise that they raised a concern and we as parliamentarians are recognizing it.
     A lot of work and a very long time went into developing the bill with Transport Canada and with all the national security communities. It was not recommended that this go into the bill. One issue that you would have is that on international inbound flights, CATSA has no authority. You would have to be very careful how you drafted that. I think much more work would be needed before we put something like this in legislation.
    I am going to make a suggestion, Mr. Chair, and I hope the Justice officials take it seriously. Next time they draft a bill, talk to the airlines. That would be sensible, in my view.
    Thank you very much. We will now go to the vote on Liberal amendment 3.1.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Okay, colleagues, so now we have the vote on clause 11. As amended, shall clause 11 carry?
    Mr. Garrison.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I'd like to speak. Now that we look at the clauses and the very small changes made, we will be voting against this clause. I think what we're left with here is a colloquial no-fly list. It doesn't have a real appeal process for those who are inadvertently caught in it.
     I know that the government likes to emphasize the dangers of those who are legitimately on the list, but for those like others I've talked to who end up inadvertently on the list because they have the name “Smith” or the ethnic equivalent of “Smith”, it can be very costly. It can be costly for their family, for missing family events. I know of at least one case where someone, through an error, missed an important family event. Or, it can cost in in terms of business.
     One person I talked to—and I have every reason to believe their story—flew from Toronto to Vancouver but was not allowed to board a connecting flight, because at that point, someone noticed a similarity between their name and someone else on the list. The person was denied boarding, and when they turned around to fly back to Toronto, of course the people said they couldn't board a plane because they were a security risk.
     So you end up with these very odd situations.
    I think it's incumbent upon us to make sure we have a workable, quick, and fair appeal process that protects ordinary citizens who, through no fault of their own, are caught in the web, one that does not cost them in family or business terms.
    For that reason, we'll be voting against the clause.

  (1720)  

    Thank you very much.

[Translation]

    Ms. Doré Lefebvre, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I don't want to revisit what my colleague just said. I completely agree with Mr. Garrison with respect to the no-fly list and all of the problems it is currently causing. I think the government could have made some concessions and listened to some of the witnesses' suggestions and concerns on this topic.
    I wanted to quickly touch on the sunset clauses with review proposed by our party. We discussed this twice, for clause 2 and clause 11. I know that it was commonly used by previous governments—Liberal or otherwise. I also noted that in a number of their bills, the Conservatives added sunset clauses with review.
    I am not exactly sure what changed with the introduction of this bill. Why did the Conservative majority decide not to provide for a mandatory review of the provisions that will be passed? In my humble opinion, it shows a lack of judgment on the part of a responsible government to not review the provisions of a law and their concrete impact on the lives of Canadians and ordinary citizens.
    I therefore hope that the Conservatives will reconsider their position in the near future. If other amendments are presented, I hope that they will remember that they have already presented this type of provision in the past.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Chair, we're trying to be supportive of a bill that I believe we need to put in place greater security measures. There are some aspects of this bill...and I've outlined a number of amendments here by people in the industry. Having an appeal process that is a real appeal process would be nice.
     The government continues to resist for reasons that, I say, are not that good.
     It's difficult to be supportive of legislation when I think the government fails to recognize some pretty decent amendments that would not in any way jeopardize the thrust of the bill, but would give airlines and citizens more confidence in the bill and how it might apply to them.
    I hope the government members consider that as we move forward.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Ms. James.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    First of all, there is an appeals process. It's clearly in this bill. Regarding the amendments that we have discussed in part 2 of Bill C-51, we've had the officials on hand and they have clarified the questions and the concerns. I understand that the opposition parties want to get some more of their viewpoints on the record, but clearly the legislation is there. It's clear that there are safeguards in place. We heard that from witnesses, and the officials have been here to answer any of those concerns directly. So I just wanted to put that out there as well.
    Thank you very much.
    We will now go to the vote.
    Recorded vote.
    (Clause 11 as amended agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
     Now colleagues, we have clauses 12 to 14 in front of us with no amendments. The chair can take them one at a time or we can take all three together.
    The chair will take all three unless he hears objection.
    (Clauses 12 to 14 agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now we will go to Liberal amendment number 5.
    Mr. Easter, it is deemed inadmissible because it requires a royal recommendation.

  (1725)  

    Mr. Chair, I don't want to speak on the amendment, but I want to emphasize again that we bring witnesses in to committee to outline their thoughts on a fairly massive piece of government legislation. With this particular amendment, which is calling for a national security committee of parliamentarians, similar to our Five Eyes—
    Point of order.
    On a point of order, since this was ruled inadmissible, out of order, out of scope, however you want to phrase it, there should be no debate or discussion on it thereafter.
    There is none. I was hoping Mr. Easter would just make a quick point and move on, but if we're going to be into a discussion, there is no debate.
    I'm not going to get into a discussion, Mr. Chair, but—
    You've got about four to five seconds then, Mr. Easter.
    All right. That sounds good. There's evidence after evidence. Members came before this committee and their words were for naught. They called for oversight, and the government fails to address it.
    That's fine, Mr. Easter, and I appreciate that, but as you know, there is no debate, and it was ruled inadmissible simply because it would involve a money bill with a requirement from the treasury. Therefore it is not eligible.
    Spend some of the advertising money.
    We will now go to clause 15. There are no amendments.
    (Clause 15 agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    (On clause 16)
    The Chair: Now we will go to Liberal amendment number 6. If adopted, colleagues, Green Party-29 could not be moved. I bring that to your attention. So now we will go to Liberal 6.
    Mr. Garrison.
    Excuse me, Mr. Easter.
    Thank you.
     I didn't mean to insult you.
     We're trying to get Mr. Garrison to be a Liberal, but he resists, he resists.
    Not ever.
    Mr. Chair, basically the word “knowingly” is currently in the legislation, and we believe that “wilfully” would narrow the parameters somewhat but still deal with the concerns on security issues. So we're basically somewhat lowering the threshold of what that clause relates to.
     Thank you, Mr. Easter.
    Yes, Mr. Falk.
    I would oppose that amendment. Even though the change in wording narrows the scope, it broadens the activity around terrorism that would no longer constitute a violation. The effect would be to create an offence of advocacy or promotion of terrorism in general, which would have a greater intent requirement than that needed to convict a person for counselling the commission of a crime committed under section 464 of the Criminal Code, so I would not support it.

  (1730)  

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Garrison.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    We're in a somewhat awkward position on clause 16, since we think it's absolutely unfixable. I'll have some more to say about that when we come to the end of the clause, but we will not be supporting attempts to improve this clause.
    Thank you.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now we will go to Green Party 29.
    Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I was going to say earlier that if Liberal 6 is adopted, we could then say that there would have to be a pause while everyone who has fallen into a dead faint gets resuscitated.
    However, I soldier on, and PV-29 is dealing with a section.... I have sympathies for the point Mr. Garrison just made that clause 16, proposed section 83.221, of this bill is unfixable, but I have attempted to fix it. I know that the Canadian Bar Association recommended that we just delete the whole concept of promoting terrorism in general, but I have tried to make it at least more reasonable by changing the word “knowingly” to “wilfully”, and by removing the absurd concept, which is undefined and undefinable, of “terrorism in general” and replace it with “constitutes a terrorist activity, for the purpose of inciting the commission of a terrorist activity”. So it would be something that comes within the known jurisprudence in the use of the language.
    Thank you very much.
    Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Chairman, I don't understand all this tender care to try to protect people who are exhorting others to attack our country and our citizens. To try to tiptoe around this and excuse them in some way through clever wording makes no sense to me. We have people who are threatening our country, threatening our citizens. We want to be able to identify them and put them out of commission, and the Green Party is trying to make sure that somehow these people are protected through nice language.
    Honestly, I'm just shaking my head. I would never support this.
    Thank you very much.
    There is no right of response?
    No, I'm sorry.
    There is nothing further?
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now on to Green Party number 30.
    Perhaps I can use this occasion in introducing number 30 to explain to my dear friend Diane that the Green Party has no interest in coddling terrorists or those who are advocating terrorist acts, but this section is so badly worded that it could well ensnare people who are having private conversations with the goal of convincing someone not to become radicalized. This is why—I'm not debating it, Mr. Chair—I've brought forward this amendment, which says, “No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (1)(a) if the communication was in private conversation”.
    We'll note that similar legislation relating to hate crimes or child pornography excludes private conversations. This doesn't, which is why this section has been referred to as “thought chill”. It also leaves open if a person in good faith is having a conversation “on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text”. I know that I won't have time to read my whole amendment, so I'll make sure I emphasize point (e), that “if, in good faith, he or she was communicating for educational purposes or for the purpose of deradicalization”.
    The language we have here is so vague and broad in scope that it could very well create a situation where someone would be afraid to communicate with someone else for the purpose of talking them out of becoming involved in terrorism. That's what bad drafting and rushed legislation will do; it will make us less safe.
     Thank you, Ms. May.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Green Party-31, Ms. May.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This amendment also falls on the next page. We're at page 27 where we find ourselves in the definitions.
    Again, it's strange, bizarre, and unknown language for defining terrorist propaganda, using this notion of “commission of terrorism offences in general”. This amendment attempts to tighten the language and make sure we don't create a situation where people cannot even speak to someone who may become interested in joining a criminal organization.
    I want to tighten the language to avoid the use of the phrase “terrorism in general” and add (a) through (d) and then (e) to ensure that we are actually able to prescribe the right rules to deal with terrorist propaganda that actually incites violence and tries to persuade people to be involved in it, as opposed to a wide array of other communications, for instance, even relating to incidents of the past. The way it's drafted now, I'm not sure that an old poster of Che Guevara won't be considered terrorist propaganda.

  (1735)  

    Thank you.
    Yes, Ms. Ablonczy.
    Mr. Falk, you're up first.
    Sorry, Mr. Falk.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    I think what this amendment would do is to to put terrorism as a lesser level than hate propaganda, and I think the whole intent of this is to recognize the seriousness of terrorist propaganda at the same level as hate propaganda.
    I wouldn't be in favour of supporting this.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Easter.
    It relates to this subject and Ms. May's point, Chair. The Canadian Bar Association in its brief—and I'd be asking this question of officials in their brief—made the following observation with respect to the terrorist offences in general provision:
    Even a private academic conversation where a person voices support for an insurgent group could be caught. Such a broad limitation on free speech could be found unconstitutional. Even if charges are never brought in inappropriate situations, the result could be a significant chill on free speech....
    The officials here who deal with or wrote this legislation, what are you thoughts on this matter?
    The Canadian Bar Association, in a number of their points, raised a lot of concerns, as well as Professors Roach and Forcese and a number of others.
    Are they all wrong?
    The proposed defence is modelled on the law of counselling, and the Supreme Court of Canada, in the cases of Sharpe and Keegstra, held that the terms advocating, promoting, and counselling all mean essentially the same thing, and that is active encouragement. We're looking at active encouragement of the commission of terrorism offences in general.
    Counselling now requires that there be some degree of specificity as to the offence or type of offence being counselled. This proposed offence uses the term, which is defined in the Criminal Code, “terrorism offence”. That includes a broad range of conduct, spanning from violence against people and destruction of property to providing financial and material support and engaging in recruitment, but if one actively encourages the commission of terrorism offences in general without being specific as to the offence or the type of offence—for example, where violence as opposed to recruitment or financing is being actively encouraged—there's some uncertainty about the application of the existing offence of counselling, and the applicable penalty that would apply.
    The mens rea that is in the proposed offence comes from the current criminal law in counselling where, in the case of R. v. Hamilton, another Supreme Court of Canada case, it determined that knowledge and recklessness are valid mens rea concepts for the offense of counselling. They are included in this proposed offence.
    As well, if we're looking at active encouragement of terrorism offences, there are no statutory defences or exemptions for private conversations that apply to the law of counselling, or for example, the most serious hate crime offence of advocating or promoting genocide.
    Those are some comments one might make.
     I guess, Mr. Chair, neither of us are lawyers.
    When the Canadian Bar Association itself, and Professors Roach and Craig, who have written extensively on this, studied this, they had concerns. Moreover, the NDP has an amendment that basically takes a lot of this clause out. They don't think it can be fixed.
    I understand your words that if there's active encouragement—that makes sense to me—then the charges should be there. But there are too many people in the legal profession, in my view, who have come forward with concerns about this. Should we therefore be limiting this in some fashion, not to coddle to terrorists, but to be absolutely sure that we have it right? I think you're telling me that the definitions that apply to these proposed sections are the definitions that relate to terrorist offences in the Criminal Code. Am I correct on that?

  (1740)  

    Yes.
    Then expand a little bit more, if you could, on active encouragement, encouraging individuals to participate or actively be involved in those terrorist offences as defined in the Criminal Code.
    It's important to indicate, again, that the words “advocating”, “promoting”, and “counselling” have been interpreted as active encouragement. Building on the law of counselling, this offence uses the terminology of advocating and promoting. One is looking at active encouragement of the commission of terrorism offences. It's not a case of glorification or praise of terrorism, which would be other than active encouragement. It's directed at prohibiting the active encouragement of the commission of terrorism offences, and not mere expressions of opinion about the acceptability of terrorism.
    As you point out, there is the defined term of “terrorism offence” in section 2 of the Criminal Code, and that's the parameters within which this offence works. The concern as expressed was that the current law of counselling requires that there be some degree of specificity as to the offence or type of offence being counselled, but there may be cases where although no specific terrorism offence is being counselled, it is evident nonetheless that terrorism offences are being actively encouraged. And that's what this offence is directed toward.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Easter.
    Thank you for your answers, gentlemen.
    We will now go to the vote.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go to Green Party 32.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I also want to thank my colleague Mr. Easter for reminding us of the condemnation of these proposed sections by the Canadian Bar Association.
    This amendment propose proposes to add on page 28 what we find at proposed subsection 83.223(4), relating to a person who posted materials and who doesn't show up for a hearing. The proposed subsection currently allows for the court to proceed in the absence of such a person. My amendment suggests that a special advocate be appointed to protect the interest of the person in their absence.
    The argument here is that given how broad the promotion of terrorism sections are, even showing up to defend oneself could end up creating a deeper legal morass, and it would be better to at least have the protection of a special advocate available.
    Thank you very much, Ms. May.
    Yes, Ms. James.
    I find it rather strange that with regard to this particular amendment to the Criminal Code, the Green Party is suggesting that when someone chooses not to appear before the court to oppose the proposed deletion of terrorist propaganda, a special advocate be used. I don't think it's appropriate for one. I'm going to ask the officials to clarify this, but if opposing points of view are needed, the courts already have the jurisdiction to appoint a friend to the court to advise them where necessary.
    I'm going to oppose this for those reasons, but I'm just wondering if the officials could comment on this point of mine about whether the courts have the ability to appoint a friend of the court.
     Where warranted, courts have the jurisdiction to appoint an amicus curiae.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    What do you mean by “where warranted”?

  (1745)  

    If it's necessary in the circumstances.
    Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Thank you.
    Colleagues, we will now deal with NDP amendment 14. I notify you at this point, of course, that there are some amendments that have a similar intent with a sunset provision. They are Liberal amendment 7, Bloc amendment 7, and Green Party amendment 33.
    First of all, we will deal with amendment NDP-14.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I will not elaborate further on what we are calling for in amendment No. 14. We are not trying to fix the problems with clause 16. Once again, we are simply trying to bring the Conservatives to their senses by proposing that we add a sunset clause that provides for a review after three years. I debated the same thing with my colleagues at length regarding clause 2 and clause 11. I will therefore not comment further, but I hope that this time we can manage to convince the Conservatives.

[English]

    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Payne.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Currently, as I understand it, there's no provision in this that is subject to a sunset clause. The addition of hate propaganda warrants the provisions on which proposed sections 83.222 and 83.223 are modelled, and they are not subject to a sunset clause. Currently, no Criminal Code offence is subject to a sunset clause, so on that basis, we can't support this.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Easter.
    Mr. Chair, I would have to say what a wonderful amendment this is, when you see so many parties basically suggesting the same amendment.
     This does not in any way jeopardize the bill. We've had witness after witness here, and we've heard the testimony from the witnesses basically clarifying, at least from their perspective, what the Canadian Bar Association, Professors Roach and Forcese, and others have had to say. They've expressed some concerns. Whether those concerns are 100% legitimate or not, I honestly can't say, but they are concerns.
     Sunset provisions like this one, which is worded well, lay out a requirement that Parliament itself will have to look at these clauses in the future. Whoever is here will have to look at what has happened under these particular provisions, which some people have expressed concerns about. They'll have to look at what I would call the good, the bad, and the ugly. They may have to add some and take some away. That, to me, makes sense. It does not jeopardize the bill.
    Witnesses have asked us to look at this from that perspective, from a sound judgment point of view. I'd appeal to the government members to be supportive of what is a very reasonable amendment.
    Thank you very much for the discussion.
    Ms. James.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I can't believe that the NDP is suggesting that we put a sunset provision on an offence within the Criminal Code. I can't imagine for a moment what would happen if we were to do this or if the NDP were to suggest that we do this on every single offence within the Criminal Code.
     I find it very strange that they've put a sunset provision on this so that it will cease to be in effect at the end of the date specified. Considering the fact that if they legitimately thought there was a problem with this offence, they must have recognized the fact that there would be problems fairly quickly and that it would have to be addressed much sooner than this particular date in this provision. I find it unbelievable that they would even suggest putting a sunset clause on this type of offence. I can't believe it.

  (1750)  

     Thank you very much.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now, colleagues, we will move to LIB-7 and the chair will also advise you that once LIB-7 is moved, BQ-7 could not be moved at that point because it is identical. I will also advise you further that if LIB-7 is adopted, then BQ-7 and PV-33 could then not be moved because, again, it would create a conflict.
    We will now go to LIB-7. Mr. Easter, I presume you would like to propose a motion.
    I made the arguments previously in relation to the NDP amendment, Mr. Chair. I will not have anything further to add.
    Thank you very much.
    Yes, Mr. Payne.
    I want to repeat one thing that I said. Currently no Criminal Code offence is subject to a sunset clause so, we can't support it.
    Thank you very much.
    Madame Doré Lefebvre.

[Translation]