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This morning, colleagues, I first want to acknowledge Senator Andreychuk, the sponsor of this bill in the Senate, and Mr. James Bezan, the sponsor in the House of Commons. Later on in the process, Mr. Bezan will get an opportunity to speak to his bill as we go through the process of clause-by-clause.
Many of you have been through this process before. If not, unfortunately the chair does more talking than he normally does just to go through the clauses. There are some amendments that I understand the government will be putting forward. They are listed for you, and we'll go through those as well.
The process of clause-by-clause is that we will go through the clauses, and they will be carried either as amended or as intended, until we get to the end of the bill. I will be able to sign this to go back to the House, through special order, for tomorrow. Later on today, if we get this done, I will be able to send it to the House. That's the objective of this exercise, as per the motion passed yesterday, I think, by the House leader.
We will now begin our clause-by-clause consideration.
Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), the consideration of clause 1, which is the short title, and the preamble is postponed until the end.
(On clause 2)
The Chair: Clause 2 has five amendments.
I will turn to floor over to Mr. Fragiskatos for those amendments to clause 2.
Before I read the amendment, I simply want to say, since I hope this is the last meeting the committee will have before the fall—Tom, we can come back, if you like, although I might not be here—that this bill has been, in all honesty, a real collaborative effort. We do disagree in this committee. We certainly disagree in the House of Commons. That is just part of politics, but any time you can work collaboratively with colleagues and find a common path, as we've done here, I think it's something to be celebrated.
Mr. Chair, you mentioned Senator Andreychuk. I too want to acknowledge Senator Andreychuk, who may or may not be in the room. Regardless, it's important for me to do that. This is a real testament to her interest in human rights.
Of course, I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Irwin Cotler, responsible for putting forward the bill to begin with a number of years ago.
That said, I will read the first Liberal amendment. I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by replacing line 6 on page 3 with the following:
As I said, I propose replacing lines 31 and 32 on page 4 so that “foreign public” is included in the line “to expose illegal activity carried out by foreign public officials”.
I propose replacing lines 8 to 16 on page 5 so that line 8 includes “foreign public” and the word “an”; line 9 includes “misappropriation”; line 10 includes “states” along with “any act of”; line 11 includes “which amounts to acts of”; line 12 includes “corruption when taking into consideration, among other things, their impact” and “amounts involved”; lines 13 includes “foreign national's influence”, the word “position”, the word “authority'', the word “complicity”, and “the government of the foreign state in question in the acts”.
Finally, I propose replacing lines 21 to 24 on page 5 with the following:
Restricted or prohibited activities
(3) Orders and regulations may be made under para-
There is a proposed paragraph 4(4)(e), Mr. Chair, such that the following text be added, “the making available by any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada of any” and it continues, “to the foreign national or to a person acting on behalf of the foreign national.”
I move that Bill S-226, in clause 4, be amended by adding, after line 37 on page 5, the following:
Order authorizing Minister
(4) The Governor in Council may, by order, authorize the Minister to
(a) issue to any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or class of activity or transaction, that is restricted or prohibited under this Act or any order or regulations made under this Act; or
(b) issue a general permit allowing any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada to carry out a class of activity or transaction that is restricted or prohibited under this Act or any order or regulations made under this Act.
(5) The Minister may issue a permit or general permit, subject to any terms and conditions that are, in the opinion of the Minister, consistent with this Act and any order or regulations made under this Act.
(6) The Minister may amend, suspend, revoke or reinstate any permit or general permit issued by the Minister.
Okay. I move that Bill S-226 be amended by adding after line 5 on page 7 the following:
Duty to disclose — supervising and regulating agencies
7.1 (1) Every entity referred to in section 7 must disclose, every month, to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates it under federal or provincial law, whether it is in possession or control of any property referred to in that section and, if so, the number of persons or dealings involved and the total value of the property.
Duty to disclose — RCMP or CSIS
(2) Every person in Canada and every Canadian outside Canada must disclose without delay to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
(a) that they have reason to believe that property in their possession or control is owned, held or controlled by or on behalf of a foreign national who is the subject of an order or regulation made under section 4; and
(b) any information about a transaction or proposed transaction in respect of property referred to in paragraph (a).
(3) No proceedings under this Act and no civil proceedings lie against a person for a disclosure made in good faith under subsection (1) or (2).
I move that clause 9 in Bill S-226 be amended by replacing lines 19 to 25 on page 7 with the following.
Under “Mistaken Identity”, the first word in the paragraph should be “Any”. Next to the word “person”, the following should be included: “in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada whose name is the same as or similar to the name of a foreign national”. Toward the end of line 21, “if they claim” should be included in between the words “may” and “not”. The word “that” should be included at the end of line 21, and the third-last word in the line should be “that”.
Under “Determination by Minister”, line 24 should begin:
(2) Within 45 days after the day on which the application was received
Moving on, proposed paragraph 9(2)(a) would begin with the following: “if he or she is satisfied”. The amendment would also add these words: “applicant”; “the”; and “the”.
Mr. Chair, on clause 15, I move that Bill S-226 in clause 15 be amended by replacing lines 10 to 17 on page 9 with the following. For efficiency, I'll just read in the words.
Under the term “Review” in this paragraph, in the second line, the second word should be “may”. Moving a few words over, between the words “review” and “the”, the word “concerning” should be included.
In the third line, between the words “report to” and “together” the words “the appropriate House” following should be included. Between the words “recommendations” and “to” the word “as” should be included, and between the words “to” and “foreign”, “whether those” should be included.
Finally, in the last line, next to the word “nationals” the following should be included: “should remain, or no longer be, the subject of that order or regulation”.
That's right. This is longer so I'll do it as I've been doing it for the longer sections, which is that Bill S-226 in clause 16 be amended by replacing lines 9 to 36 on page 10 with the following, and the section to pay attention to here is proposed paragraph 1.1(d). In the first line, the word “national” is to be included next to the word “a”. Right after the word “state”, the following words are to be included: “who is either a foreign public official, within the meaning of section 2 of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act”.
On the third line, next to the word “the”, the word “misappropriation” is to be included, and on the fourth line, next to the word “foreign”, the word “states”. Following on, next to the word “or”, the following is to be included: “any act of”.
In the next line, next to the word “resources” and the hyphen, the following is to be included: “which amounts to acts of”. A couple of words over, next to the word “significant”, the following is to be included: “corruption when taking into consideration, among other things, their impact”, and, next to the word “the”, the words “amounts involved”.
Following on after the word “the” in the second-last line “foreign national's influence” is to be added. Then there's a space there, where the word “or” is, and the word “position” is to be included, and next to the word “of”, the word “authority” is to be included. Then, next to the word “the”, the word “complicity” is to be included. Finally, it ends with “the government of the foreign state in question in the acts”.
I move that Bill S-226 in clause 17 be amended by (a) replacing line 37 on page 10 with the following:
17(1) Subsection 35.1 of the Immigration and
Also I move that clause 17 be amended by (b) replacing lines 1 to 4 on page 11 with the following:
being a person, other than a permanent resident, who is currently the subject of an order or regulation made under section 4 of the Special Economic Measures Act on the grounds that any of the circumstances described in paragraph 4(1.1)(c) or (d) of that Act has occurred;
Moving on, Mr. Chair, in proposed paragraph (e), which begins with “being a”, the following is to be included, “person other than a permanent resident”, and after the word “is”, the words “currently the” should be added, and then after the word “subject”, the word “of”.
It continues. I also propose that clause 17 be amended by (c) adding after line 7 on page 11 the following:
(2) Section 35 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):
(2) For greater certainty, despite section 33, a person who ceases being the subject of an order or regulation referred to in paragraph 1(d) or (e) is no longer inadmissible under that paragraph.
I just want to be sure about this. I made a mistake with regard to certain sections that needed to be read in. It was the underlining at the left side of the margin that I missed. If any mistakes were made there—
To the committee, I want to thank you for your great work, not just on dealing with the amendments but the work that you've done through the winter in putting together the report “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanctions Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond”. It's just fantastic, multipartisan work. If anyone's watching today's proceedings or wondering why you haven't called witnesses to talk to the bill, it's because you've already done all that work. I just can't thank you enough for how you put together such a thoughtful and strong case to have this type of legislation.
I, of course, have to give kudos to Senator Raynell Andreychuk for writing this bill. I know that it's based upon the work that Irwin Cotler did in the previous Parliament. She definitely took it and expanded it. It really is about human rights.
In the preamble, two clauses that really speak to what this bill does are the following:
Whereas adding gross violations of internationally recognized human rights as a ground on which sanctions may be imposed against foreign states and nationals would further Canada's support for human rights and advance its responsibility to protect activists who fight for human rights;
Whereas it is important to acknowledge and remember Sergei Magnitsky's sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of other victims of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;
And whereas all violators of internationally recognized human rights should be treated and sanctioned equally throughout the world,
When we do get this bill finally royally proclaimed and into force, Canada will be standing right there with other western democracies, standing up for those who are being victimized by corrupt foreign officials. We can't allow those foreign nationals to enrich themselves not just through corrupt activities but also by violating human rights in their countries.
I want to thank Minister Freeland. She definitely championed this. Her predecessor, of course, was not a fan, but the amendments that she brought forward, I think most of us agree, strengthen the bill. In some places they may soften it somewhat, but I think that the offences and definition of who qualifies under this will definitely make this a lot more robust in how it's applied.
I want to thank the officials at Global Affairs Canada for working with Senator Andreychuk and me, and with Irwin Cotler, to bring about these changes.
I don't need to talk about Sergei Magnitsky and the sacrifice that he made and how he was treated in Russia for exposing one of the biggest scandals and tax frauds in history, but I think all of us have to acknowledge that memorializing him in this bill is important. With regard to the work that's been done by Bill Browder, Marcus Kolga, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, whom we all know very well, we need to recognize them so that their efforts, not just here in Canada but around the world, aren't going unnoticed.
Mr. Kara-Murza said it best when he quoted Boris Nemtsov, who was here before he was assassinated, who said that a lot of people think this is an anti-Russian bill, but it's a pro-Russian bill. This will empower those in Russia who are being victimized by the kleptocrats in the Russian regime.
We also want to recognize that this bill got strong support from other communities across Canada and around the world: the Vietnamese community, the Falun Gong community, and the Iranian community as well. They want to make sure that we recognize that there are human rights abuses happening in their home countries, and that this is a way that we can target those.
Finally, I'd just say that the work that we've done across party lines here will stand in good stead with Canadians, with our allies, and with human rights activists around the world.
Since this is the last meeting of this session, I simply want to thank colleagues around the table for all of their work. It's great, actually, that we were joined today by Wayne Stetski. We got to know him in eastern Europe when we did the trip for the study.
Please pass along our thank you to Hélène for the work that she's done here.
At the end of the day, I think we have presented a bill here that is robust and that, as I said at the outset, reflects collaboration. It's also a statement of human rights, a statement that is very clear and is general. It does not apply to one particular state. It memorializes Sergei Magnitsky in a way that makes his lesson and example that much more powerful, because we have a piece of legislation here that can be applied to human rights abuses in very general terms and not just in one specific country.
Finally, this is a measure where there was collaboration, but certainly we saw Minister Freeland take seriously this idea of human rights and the fact that we needed legislation in place to put it forward. On behalf of all of us on this side and, I think I can say, around the table, I'd like to thank her for her efforts in helping to champion this issue and in working collaboratively with the sponsor to make it happen.
Mr. Chair, I think there should also be recognition of your skilful guidance over the past 15 months or so of what we in the official opposition certainly thought might be a bit of an uphill battle. The unanimous report that the committee produced in the name of Sergei Magnitsky and the bill that came before us today, constructively amended, are in large part testimony to your leadership of the committee.
I just want to add my congratulations to the committee. You've done great work on this. This is a very important bill. I really appreciate the effort that has gone into it. It's an honour to be here today to see the work of the committee approved.
I want to conclude by thanking Mr. Bezan for presenting this private member's bill and the work that's gone on behind the scenes. I think people don't realize how serious this matter is. When you put someone on a sanctions list for gross human rights, it changes their life forever. The strength of the bill and the safeguards in it are equally important as we work our way through a different way of approaching our work as parliamentarians.
Again, it's always a pleasure to work with a committee that I consider to be very high end. When I say “high end”, I mean we work together. We may have disagreements, but we have attempted to take the position that foreign affairs is Canada first and is not intended to be politics as usual. I want to congratulate all of you.
I will present this bill through special motion, through what we call the “back door”, and I will do that on your behalf as quickly as I can sign it. Then we'll get on with doing business and bringing it into law.
Again, congratulations. Thank you for this morning. We'll see you in the fall, very likely.
Before I wrap up, I just want to move one little motion, as is normal:
That the analysts and the Clerk, in consultation with the Chair, prepare a news release for publication on the Committee's website and for distribution upon presentation of the report to the House.
I would seek unanimous consent.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: This meeting is adjourned to the call of the chair.