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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 035

CONTENTS

Tuesday, November 24, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 035
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Canada Labour Code

    She said: Mr. Speaker, today, I have the honour to introduce a bill to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Official Languages Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act so that federally regulated businesses in Quebec respect the Charter of the French Language and implement measures to promote the use of French as the main language at work.
    This is a matter of respect for one of Canada's founding peoples and a way to promote one of the things that makes Quebec unique. No one can deny that what makes Paris unique is the fact that people are welcomed there and able to work there in French. It only makes sense that such should also be the case in Quebec, the last great bastion of the French language in North America. We should be proud of this language and do everything possible to positively promote it every day.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

[English]

Petitions

Medical Assistance in Dying 

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be presenting three petitions in the House today.
    The first petition deals with the government's bill, Bill C-7, which is currently before the justice committee. The petitioners are calling for amendments to the legislation that would leave in place reasonable safeguards. Those amendments have been proposed, but the government has continually rejected these very reasonable amendments.
    Amendments that the petition specifically references are for the 10-day reflection period. The petitioners want that left in place. They recognize that already the 10-day reflection period can be waived with the consent of the doctors involved.
     The petitioners highlight their concerns with respect to Bill C-7 and the need for amendments to protect vulnerable people, which is what the committee has been hearing from experts and disability advocates.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with the human rights situation of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China. It particularly calls for the government to go from words to actions.
     Recognizing that words and statements are not enough, the petitioners call on the government to use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) and sanction those who are responsible for heinous crimes being committed against the Uighur people.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition is in support of Bill S-204, currently before the Senate. This petition would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ that has been harvested or trafficked without the consent of the person involved.
    I commend these three petitions to the consideration of the House.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on behalf of Canadians today who are petitioning the government in regard to Bill C-7, which is currently before the justice committee.
    The petitioners are concerned about the safeguards that would be removed from that legislation, including the mandatory 10-day reflection period and the number of witnesses required for it to be carried out. The removal of the second requirement of independent witnesses would reduce the oversight of the procedure, leaving vulnerable persons at risk.
    Therefore, the petitioners are asking the House of Commons to immediately discontinue the removal of safeguards for people requesting euthanasia and put additional measures in the bill, which is being proposed and amended at the justice committee.

  (1010)  

Handguns  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions this morning.
    The first petition calls upon the House of Commons to stop plans to implement a ban on handguns in Canada and instead focus on increasing punishment for violent gun criminals and urban gangs.

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon the House of Commons to amend the new veterans charter, the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and implement changes that would ensure injured veterans receive benefits equivalent to or greater than those granted prior to 2006.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand here on behalf of many Canadians who are very concerned with Bill C-7 and the safeguards that would be removed in the legislation. It is very important for the government to understand that the concerns, such as a 10-day waiting period as well as the number of witnesses who need to be there to designate this as medical assistance in dying, are really important for all Canadians. The petitioners say that we should ensure we do our best to save those who are vulnerable and disabled and ensure that they understand their lives matter too.

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present to the House today.
    The first petitions is on the systematic persecution of Uighur Muslims in China. These Canadians call upon the Government of Canada to formally recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide and use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) and sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against the Uighur people.

Sex Selection  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition that I table today on behalf of more Canadians is on sex-selective abortion. The petitioners, the close 300 who have signed this petition, call upon Canada to pass the Criminal Code prohibition against sex-selective abortion.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition in which a number of people throughout the country are profoundly concerned about some of the safeguards that are being removed in the current iteration of the legislation on medical assistance in dying, especially the disability community.
    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table today.
    The first petition focuses on Bill C-7. The petitioners are urging the House of Commons to maintain the safeguards to protect people who request euthanasia. They call on the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to maintain the 10-day reflection period as well as the second independent witness.

Humans Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition focuses on the persecution of Uighurs by the Communist Party in China.
     The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are subject to genocide. They call on the Government of Canada to use the Magnitsky act to sanction those who are responsible for these crimes.
    I would remind hon. members presenting petitions in person today to bring their petitions to the table.
    Presenting petitions, the hon. member for Lethbridge.

Medical Assistance in Dying  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand here today on behalf of Canadians who are very concerned about legislation that is currently before the justice committee, Bill C-7, which has to do with medical assistance in dying.
    The legislation would unnecessarily expand the definition. It would take away the need for a 10-day reflection period and would also make it so that only one witness would need to be present when an individual requests euthanasia. This is of concern to a growing population in Canada, particularly those who live with a disability, because it puts them at risk and makes them vulnerable.
    In this place, we have a responsibility to stand on behalf of the vulnerable. It is the government's primary responsibility to look after the safety and security of its citizens. Therefore, I call upon the government, along with those signed this petition, to do that.

  (1015)  

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to discuss Bill C-11, the digital charter implementation act, 2020.
    As members know, data and digital transformation is completely changing the way we access information, buy goods and services, connect with each other and live in our communities and cities. This digital transformation has been accelerated by the pandemic, and we are seeing more Canadians moving their activities online. Canadians are using more digital services and sharing more data online than ever before. They want to know that their personal information will be safe and that they are protected.
    Recently, the Privacy Commissioner surveyed Canadians and found that the vast majority of Canadians, 92% of them, are concerned about the protection of their privacy, so this is an important issue to many Canadians. That is one of the reasons why last year I launched the digital charter, a set of 10 principles that lay down the foundation that will allow us to build an innovative, digital economy that is inclusive, people-centric and built on trust.

[Translation]

    The principles of Canada's digital charter give Canadians more control over their data while helping Canadian companies innovate, grow and create quality jobs for middle-class Canadians across the country.

[English]

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind members that the principles of the digital charter were very clear, and they focused on control and consent. Canadians will have control over what data they are sharing and who is using their personal data and for what purposes, and will know that their privacy is protected. This is one of the key principles we laid out in the digital charter.

[Translation]

     Transparency, portability and interoperability will enable Canadians to easily manage access to their personal data and to transfer it without undue burden.

[English]

    Data and digital for good is another principle that was laid out in the digital charter. The Government of Canada will ensure the ethical use of data to create value, promote openness and improve the lives of people at home and around the world. How can we harness data to solve problems?
    Another key element was strong enforcement and real accountability. There will be clear, meaningful penalties for violations of the law and regulations that support these principles so that Canadians can rest assured that their privacy will be protected.
    As members will see, the principles of the digital charter are firmly embedded in the legislation before us today. On top of this foundation sits three pillars: consumer control, responsible innovation and a strong enforcement and oversight mechanism.
    Let me begin with outlining how Bill C-11 would give Canadians more control and greater transparency in the manner in which companies handle their information. It would do this by introducing important rules for consent, the right to delete information, data mobility and algorithmic transparency.
    With regard to consent, Bill C-11 would enhance consumer control by requiring organizations to get meaningful consent from Canadians. This means individuals would get specific information in plain, simple language, not the 30-page legal document that no one reads. This, in turn, would allow individuals to make meaningful choices about the use of their personal information.

  (1020)  

    To make consent more meaningful and move away from lengthy agreements that, as I said, no one reads, we are introducing a new exception to consent for the collection and use of information for standard business activities that would be reasonably anticipated by individuals.

[Translation]

    Here is an example in plain language. When a customer buys something from a company and gives that company their address, the company can give that address to a delivery company so the customer can get the product they paid for.

[English]

    Under the law, that company would need to be transparent about how it uses personal information so that consumers are made aware of this and that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner can review these practices.
    The second element I want to talk about is the right to delete information. Bill C-11 would allow Canadians to withdraw their consent and demand that data be deleted. When individuals no longer want to do business with an organization, that organization must stop using their information and must delete it permanently if it is asked by individuals. This would, for example, allow a Canadian to demand that a social media site delete their profile. It is very simple, but very powerful.
    The next area the bill highlights is data mobility. To improve their control further, individuals would also have the right to direct and transfer their data and information from one organization or entity to another organization or entity in a very secure manner. Bill C-11 would do this by enabling regulations that establish frameworks for secure transfer and interoperability. This approach would support innovation in areas like open banking, where a common technical approach could allow Canadians to take advantage of the consumer-directed financial marketplace in a more secure way.
    Another area the bill touches on, which was highlighted through extensive consultations, is algorithmic transparency. In the area of consumer control, Bill C-11 would improve transparency around the use of automated decision-making systems, such as algorithms and AI technologies, which are becoming more pervasive in the digital economy.
    Under Bill C-11, organizations must be transparent that they are using automated systems to make significant decisions or predictions about someone. It would also give individuals the right to an explanation of a prediction or decision made by these systems: How is the data collected and how is the data used?
    This is a brief summary of what is found in the first pillar of this legislation under more consumer control.
    The second pillar of Bill C-11 is enabling responsible innovation.

[Translation]

    The digital economy creates significant opportunities for Canadian businesses. Digital activity accounts for 4.8% of Canada's GDP, and when it comes to research and development in this country, no other private sector industry outperforms Canada's information and communications technology sector.

  (1025)  

[English]

    Investment and data has climbed as high as $40 billion. Across the economy, Canadian companies' data is worth as much as all other intangible assets, such as software, research and development, and mineral exploration rights combined. Therefore, we can see the potential of data not only today, but going forward.
    Globally, we are seeing unprecedented growth in the technology sector, growth that is only going to pick up as artificial intelligence continues to grow and have a more meaningful impact in our lives. According to some estimates, AI is going to contribute an additional $13.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

[Translation]

    The government also understands the importance of giving companies clear rules that enable them to innovate while still protecting Canadians' privacy.
    Trust is the cornerstone of economic growth and innovation. When Canadians are assured that their data and privacy are safe and protected, it creates space for the kind of innovation that benefits everyone.

[English]

    Our government believes that greater trust and certainty in the digital marketplace will empower small businesses and entrepreneurs to create news jobs and opportunities, expand their operations and better access the global marketplace.
    It is also important to note that the new legislation would help small businesses prosper as well by ensuring that rules for data and privacy are fair, clear, enforced and flexible enough to meet the needs of smaller organizations.
    One area that does that is the codes of practice and certification systems. To enable responsible innovation, Bill C-11 would create a framework to recognize the use of codes of practice and certification systems. This would help organizations both comply with the law and demonstrate their compliance, which, in turn, would support innovation and provide an important balance to a strengthened enforcement regime.
    Organizations would be able to apply to the Privacy Commissioner to approve a code of practice outlining how the act's general requirements apply in a particular sector or activity. This would give businesses some certainty that if they are following the code they are in compliance.
    I also want to highlight de-identified information. Bill C-11 would also clarify how organizations are to handle de-identified personal information. This would enable an important mechanism for both privacy protection and innovative uses of data, which would benefit many small businesses.
    Lastly is data for good. In this area, it is important to note that under the second pillar of enabling responsible innovation, Bill C-11 would recognize an exception to consent for socially beneficial purposes in order to clearly allow organizations to support innovative data initiatives such as data trust, which is pursued by a range of public institutions, including hospitals, universities and libraries. There is so much potential with data trust because it can enable us to unlock some of the opportunities that exist to solve some problems across our society.
    The next element I want to talk about is strong enforcement. Perhaps more importantly, the proposal would significantly strengthen the enforcement and oversight regime. This is critical.

[Translation]

    With this proposal, we will have some of the toughest financial penalties in the world for violating our laws.

[English]

    Currently, the Privacy Commissioner has little ability to enforce his recommendations on organizations that are non-compliant, other than seeking a hearing by the federal court. Under Bill C-11 this would change. The legislation would introduce a strengthened privacy regime that would be overseen by a more powerful Privacy Commissioner, with appropriate checks and balances in place.
    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner would have broad order-making power, including the power to force an organization to stop collecting or using information and delete it. If the Office of the Privacy Commissioner found out that data was collected without appropriate consent, he would have the ability to do this.
    As well, the Privacy Commissioner would make sure there is strong and meaningful consequences for organizations that do not comply with the law. The Privacy Commissioner would have the power to recommend administrative monetary penalties of up to $10 million, or 3% of global revenues, whichever is higher. The range of serious criminal offences would also be expanded, with a new maximum fine of up to $25 million, or 5% of global revenues, whichever is higher.

  (1030)  

    The legislation would introduce the new personal information and data protection tribunal, which would review appeals of the commissioner's orders and levy penalties.

[Translation]

    This new administrative tribunal will help ensure procedural fairness in how the commissioner applies the new and enhanced enforcement powers. It will provide individuals and organizations with easier access to justice through a less formal mechanism for appealing decisions.

[English]

    This enforcement regime would recognize that early compliance with the act remains critical and that is the key part. Early compliance will remain critical for the protection of Canadian privacy. We need to build on the commissioner's existing abilities to secure early resolution through compliance agreements. We want to make sure that Canadian companies actually comply with the legislation.
    This new regime would see stronger collaboration between the Privacy Commissioner, stakeholders and implicated institutions, including federal organizations. When the commissioner is developing that guidance, it is important to have that level of collaboration. This will ensure there is a strong alignment between the law and how it is explained and enforced, and help avoid confusion for those trying to follow it. Again, this will provide further clarity.
    To summarize, the third pillar of Bill C-11, strong enforcement and oversight, would introduce an escalating model that provides incentives for organizations to comply early. The focus is on compliance. Strong penalties will exist if they do not follow through. There will be a new tribunal to ensure the process will be fair, transparent and accessible for businesses of all sizes.
    The three pillars of Bill C-11 work together to provide what Canadians need to engage in the digital economy: strong and enforceable protections for personal information, along with clear rules for businesses to follow as they innovate and deliver new products and services.
    It is also important to note that the legislation would help protect the privacy of Canadians, while strengthening the ability of Canadian businesses to compete globally. This positions Canada to succeed internationally.
    When PIPEDA was introduced in 2000, it was considered a global leader among data protection laws. In 2002, the European Commission found that PIPEDA provided adequate protection relative to EU law. The finding of adequacy gave us an international edge by allowing us to have free flow of data between Canadian and EU companies.
    More recently in 2018, the EU brought into force its GDPR, the general data protection regulation. Since then, the EU has been reviewing Canada's adequacy against the GDPR. They have made it clear that we must reform our privacy regimes in order to maintain our advantage when it comes to this status. I believe the legislation would achieve GDPR adequacy while maintaining the made in Canada approach.
    Lastly, I want to conclude by mentioning stakeholder reactions. This approach reflects years of public study, consultations and collaboration. It builds upon the fundamental work of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, as well as important deliberations in the other place.
    I can tell members the legislation has gained support from a wide range of stakeholders. Goldy Hyder, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, spoke positively about this. Michael Geist, who is well recognized in this area of expertise, said this is “Canada's Biggest Privacy Overhaul in Decades”. OpenMedia calls Bill C-11 “a big win for privacy in Canada.”

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    We know that Canadians will continue to use digital services that require the use of their personal data, and we know there is no turning back.

[English]

    I will conclude with this last remark.
    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to increase our reliance on the digital economy, Bill C-11 will help Canadians embrace this new world, knowing that their personal information is protected and safe.
    Madam Speaker, I saw from the stakeholders that big business certainly likes the bill, but I want to talk about small businesses, like insurance companies, for example. The minister talked about data portability and open banking. Currently, in Canada the insurance arms of banking companies are not allowed to share that information with their mother company, the bank. This creates a competitive playing field for small and medium-sized insurance companies.
    I wonder if he can address the concerns of small and medium-sized insurance companies that their business will be severely disadvantaged by the legislation and tell us what efforts the government will take to help those companies.
    Madam Speaker, as I highlighted in my remarks, the legislation is good for small businesses. It would provide them the ability to work with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to create codes of conduct to enable them to be compliant with the act. The tribunal process is also less expensive and onerous for small businesses, particularly when we compare it with the lengthy processes they may have had to pursue in the past in the courts.
    More importantly, I think the legislation gives control to Canadians, particularly in the area of portability, as the member opposite highlighted, by enabling small businesses to be able to take advantage of the fact that Canadians can now move their personal data from one organization to another. That creates more competition and more choice, which will have a positive impact on small businesses.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have a question for the hon. minister.
    Quebec is currently giving this careful consideration. Personal information belongs to individuals and is a provincial responsibility under the Constitution. The provinces are responsible for property and civil law. Quebec is in the process of modernizing its own legislation.
    Knowing that, how do you see the two pieces of legislation eventually harmonizing?
    I would remind the hon. member that he is to address his questions and comments to the Chair and not directly to the minister.
    The hon. minister.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. He is right. Privacy is essential for all Canadians.

[English]

    That is why we introduced this legislation, to make sure it is adequate with respect to the GDPR, but will also respect provincial legislation. This law demonstrates national leadership in an area where it is important to have clear rules to protect Canadians, their privacy and their data, and it will respect provincial jurisdiction.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for introducing the bill and for recognizing the work of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, which brought forward a number of these recommendations. It is essential that we move on this legislation.
    I have some concerns when I look at the legislation. One of the key concerns I have is that the government has opted to ignore the need to bring political parties and third-party political operators under some form of privacy regime. I am sorry, but a pinkie swear from a party staffer that there is a privacy code does not cut it, not after what we have seen with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the big data wars going on with political campaigns in the United States. We need to have political parties under some kind of regime.
    Is the government willing to put this under a regime if we bring forward amendments?

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his active role in this area. I know that the ethics committee has done tremendous work in terms of providing recommendations that have been incorporated into the legislation.
    With regard to political parties, it is important to note, as the member has indicated, that the legislation is focused on commercial activities. We are looking at not non-commercial activities but commercial activities, to strengthen the privacy in this area and to make sure that Canadians have more control, not less control, and that there is greater transparency, greater accountability and meaningful fines that will make sure organizations comply with the law. That is the object.
    Again, the legislation is focused on commercial activities, not non-commercial activities.
    Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to congratulate my friend on being featured in this year's LinkedIn Top Voices profile. I offer congratulations on that.
    I would like to ask the minister about data mobility and how the bill would assist Canadians and Canadian businesses. Data mobility is an issue that we have heard a great deal about over the years.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his friendship and support. I have sought his counsel on numerous occasions to get his advice on issues he had heard about from his constituents.
     He made it very clear that Canadians should have more control over their data and that Canadians should have greater privacy online. As he reminded me, particularly in this pandemic, more Canadians are learning online, working online and accessing information online.
    One area we targeted and honed in on to provide greater control for Canadians was around data portability. This will enable, as the member clearly highlighted, the ability for individuals to transfer their data from one entity to another. This will create an enormous amount of activity online. It will empower Canadians, and it will create opportunities in many areas, including, as I mentioned, in the financial sector, with open banking for example.
    Madam Speaker, it is great to talk about data portability and privacy, but it does not matter if Canadians do not have access.
    In the connect to innovate program, the government spent a lot of money, but it did not spend a single penny in southwestern Ontario to connect businesses, residences and Canadians with the Internet in order to give them proper service. This area represents 20% of Canada's economic output. In my own area of Norfolk County, over 30% are still underserved. There is no indication of a carve-out in the new program for funding. However, there are parts built in for financing that would only benefit the big players.
    If the minister is serious about his commitment to small business, will the new program be modified to support small business ISP providers and to provide service to southwestern Ontario so that everyone could enjoy the new freedoms and protections that the minister is speaking about today?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her very thoughtful question and for her advocacy on the issue around connectivity. As a minister who served in the previous Harper government, she knows personally very well the importance of broadband connectivity.
     If we look at the digital charter, the first principle talks about access. It is an important principle that we put forward in the digital charter, and it highlights the commitment that we recently made with regard to building on the work of the connect to innovate program through the universal broadband fund, as well as looking at low-earth orbit satellite technologies to provide that high-speed Internet connectivity for rural and remote communities.
    From our perspective, it is all about more competition, which would provide more choice to Internet service providers, particularly the smaller ones, which would then enable prices to go down and would provide options to many Canadians, including those living in southwestern Ontario.

  (1045)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, Bill C-11 will not protect personal data under the federal government's own jurisdiction. We saw what happened at the Canada Revenue Agency and how easy it is to steal a person's identity for all sorts of reasons. These are outdated tools when it comes to identity and security.
    Why are there no rigorous standards set out for government agencies?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    I understand that there are currently a lot of problems with data breaches. I hope that we can work together to come up with solutions for all Canadians.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, today I am rising on Bill C-11, an act to implement a digital charter for government. This is an auspicious moment for Canada, because we are well under way in the digital age, and the need for clarity and concrete action to protect Canadians' privacy is a paramount need. While it is critically important, we also have to remember the need to protect small and medium-sized enterprises and to ensure that Canada can remain globally competitive as a jurisdiction for technology, data and innovation. I am concerned by some of the trends we have seen over the past few years, with Canada falling behind our global competitors, and I am concerned that some parts of this legislation could put us behind.
    I am also concerned that we are falling behind when it comes to security. It is great to talk about protecting Canadians' privacy and putting in consent-based rules, but in an age of quantum decryption and computers that can break 120-bit encryption, if our security cannot be protected, then all the consent laws and privacy protections in the world are not going to mean much.
    I want to break down this bill into simple terms. They talk about plain language in the bill, and so I am going to try to speak in as plain a language as I can, when dealing with a matter of this technical nature. I want to talk about some of the challenges and, I will grant the government, some of the opportunities that we foresee with this legislation. I want to also thank and recognize the work of the ethics and privacy committee in the previous Parliament, under the able chairmanship of my colleague from Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies. Many of the recommendations we have seen in this legislation come from the committee's report, so I think that shows Canadians that committees really do matter in the House, and that they can make a positive impact.
    As I said, one of my chief concerns with this bill is its impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. It has been said for a number of years that data is the new oil. For many emerging enterprises, access to data and the ability to use this data will be the determining factor in whether they are successful or not. I do not need to say, but I will, that small and medium-sized enterprises are the lifeblood of our communities, and increasingly we are seeing how vulnerable they are, especially during the pandemic.
    We have to consider the context of this legislation within the economy and the economic structures that the Liberal government has created over the past five years. We have seen an unrelenting attack on small and medium-sized enterprises, starting with hikes to Canada pension plan premiums. These hikes will continue even this January, in the midst of a pandemic. When companies are closing their doors and laying off workers, the government is looking at increasing costs even further for employers and employees. It is just not acceptable.
    The Liberals in the past accused business people of being tax cheats when they utilized exemptions under the tax code. They decided to take it one step further by hiking taxes and removing these exemptions for many family-owned businesses, including for a lot of businesses and farm families in my riding. With this legislation, they are adding yet another layer of red tape that will force many onerous requirements on small businesses. I recognize that many of these requirements will be very helpful when we are talking about large businesses, and they have the resources to maintain these privacy requirements. I found it interesting that the minister was talking about the right to delete oneself. On many social media platforms that has been the case for a number of years, so it feels like with this legislation the government is trying to catch up to what businesses are already largely doing. However, we see that small enterprises are increasingly reliant on technology and data.

  (1050)  

    In this legislation, there are a number of new requirements. There is a certification requirement and a requirement for businesses to designate somebody in their business to be the privacy watchdog. Businesses have to maintain databases and be ready to respond to customer requests or investigations. When we talk about very small businesses, which could have only two or three staff or maybe a sole proprietor, to add this new layer of red tape is really going to create a lot of challenges for them.
    Ironically, it would actually benefit big businesses because when small businesses have more red tape, they might decide to no longer stay in business. Therefore, we will see even more consolidation among the big players: the Amazons, the Walmarts and companies that are large collectors of personal data. Our thriving, innovative start-up economy will start to be strangled under this legislation.
    I hope that when the government is considering amendments at committee, it consults with small businesses. I encourage it to consult with the CFIB to look at the challenges small businesses are going to face, and to try to come up with some sort of threshold to ensure that small businesses are not unduly burdened.
    I appreciate that this bill is largely targeted at major corporations and tech giants that use massive amounts of personal data for everyday business. We know that these companies have the capacity to do better in protecting our privacy. I hope that this legislation can spur further commitments to protect Canadians' privacy. However, as I said, it concerns me that these large corporations largely have already implemented a lot of the things that the government is talking about. They have the human resources, legal departments and the endless ability to tap debt markets, bond markets and stock markets to finance these changes. Frankly, small businesses do not.
    I asked the minister a question, which he really did not answer, about data portability and the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises. The minister couches it in terms of consumers having the right to ask for their data to be moved from one organization to another. It seems like a really great thing, but I cannot think of too many situations in which a regular Canadian would be the person initiating that conversation. However, I can see where a bank would, for example, when dealing with its insurance arm. Many large Canadian banks also have insurance companies.
    There has been a fence put around these companies to ensure they do not become too big and anti-competitive. Information cannot currently be shared between insurance companies and banks owned by the same company, but through this legislation, the insurance company just needs to provide a plain-language document asking clients if they want their information to be shared with its banking arm. With the massive amount of data that insurance companies and banks have on Canadians, we can see how quickly they could possibly use this as a predatory practice to increase, consolidate and suck customers away from small and medium-sized insurance companies.
    When I drive through my riding of Sturgeon River—Parkland, I am proud to see about a dozen small and medium-sized insurance businesses for auto, home and life insurance. There are tens of thousands of Canadians employed in this important industry, and they are not all working for the big banks. I really am concerned that this legislation could make our marketplace much less competitive, so I hope the government considers that impact as well.
    My next point is about enforcement. I am really skeptical about the government's ability to deliver for Canadians. We see, in spam legislation and other legislation, that a lot of words are not being put into action and there are consequences for actions that are not being followed through on.
    Similarly, this legislation packs a lot of firepower. It talks about threatening $10 million in fines, or up to 3% of global revenues. It is the toughest in the G7, as the government has said, but I wonder what power the government really has to compel payment. When we talk about potential serial abusers of our private data, we are talking about massive multinational corporations with billions in revenues.

  (1055)  

    I wonder if we can anticipate similar challenges as those faced by France when it attempted to collect taxes on digital giants from the United States. These included a challenge at the World Trade Organization and retaliatory tariffs on French products.
     I wonder if the Liberals have given any thought to the potential consequences of trying to collect large fines from these companies. Does the government anticipate that our trade competitors are going to let these challenges go unanswered when we try to collect? Have the Liberals considered the consequences that this could have on the Canadian economy, and are they ready to be open about this very real threat? I am not saying that this is not something they should pursue, but we need to know what the potential consequences are before moving too quickly on this.
    Canadian innovators are at the forefront of technological advancement, and I think that is something we can all be proud of. However, a concern that has been brought to my attention is the protection of proprietary algorithms by start-up tech companies that rely on data. Some of the provisions in the bill would enforce algorithmic transparency, which sounds great for consumers, but I see that it could be used by business competitors to expose sensitive, confidential and proprietary information.
    Has the government considered the consequence of what these actions would do to our start-up companies that want to keep their algorithms proprietary and confidential? A company may be in a situation where it is looking for a buyout at a later date and needs to build up to the point where it can really get the value it believes the company is worth, but if this algorithmic transparency could be used by its competitors to investigate the use of its algorithms, it could possibly be used to steal things that are patent-pending or as leverage in a negotiation for a buyout. I would like to see more stringent protections for our nascent technological sector, to prevent their algorithms from being exposed.
    Next, in the bill, the minister sort of alluded to the exemption for socially beneficial purposes. We need to drill down and explore the idea. The minister provided some examples: government, health care agencies and education. I do not think many Canadians could really object to these organizations being exempted, but one point named organizations that exist to promote environmental protection.
    We believe in strong environmental protection, but are we possibly talking about environmental charities that may have a political arm or an agenda in an election? Are they going to be exempted to use Canadians' data in any way they see fit? What potential consequences could this have on keeping our elections free from foreign influence or ensuring transparency in political communications? I would really like to get a clearer idea of what the government means when it is talking about socially beneficial purposes, because we are living in an age, as the member for Timmins—James Bay said, when there are data wars. If organizations are misappropriating this data, using it to influence our elections and our democratic process and being provided an exemption, we really need to explore that.
    Next I want to talk about the 10 pillars of the digital charter that the government has brought forward. We know that a charter, as any statement of values, is really only as good as the resources and enforcement behind it, so I want to highlight a few of these pillars and address some concerns that I have.
    Pillar 1 talks about universal access: “All Canadians will have equal opportunity to participate in the digital world and the necessary tools to do so, including access, connectivity, literacy and skills.” As my colleague for Haldimand—Norfolk was saying, too many Canadians, the fourth coast as some would say, even in relatively urban areas, say that we are far from accessing high-speed and reliable broadband services.

  (1100)  

    For years, successive governments have pocketed billions and billions of dollars from spectrum auctions. They have been announcing and reannouncing, and in some cases reannouncing a reannouncement, on enhanced rural broadband. The Liberals have promised the universal broadband fund as their solution. They even claimed that they topped it up by another $750 million a few weeks ago, but communities in my riding who recently applied for the universal broadband fund were told that they did not qualify.
    I come from a fairly rural riding, and people were basically told that, according to the data, the Internet in their communities is fast enough. That is not acceptable. They should try explaining that to farming families in Sturgeon or Parkland County, or try telling that to people living in Stony Plain, Gibbons and Morinville.
    We still have movie rental stores in my riding. I asked somebody how these movie rental stores stay in business, and the fact is, the Internet is so bad, the only way for people to watch movies is to go to their local movie store because they cannot access Netflix and all these other great things.
    We are talking about a pandemic right now, and increasingly parents are wanting to supplement their children's education at home. They cannot access their education. A principal of my local high school, Onoway Junior/Senior High School, lives less than one mile away from the high school. The high school has high-speed Internet that is connected by the Alberta SuperNet, but less than a mile away the principal cannot get any Internet services.
    The government is saying their Internet is fast enough, and that they do not qualify for the universal broadband fund, but, if we do not qualify, then I do not know who qualifies. This is unacceptable. It is time for the Liberals to put real funds behind real action to deliver broadband access to Canadians in rural and remote areas.
    Pillar two of the digital charter is safety and security. It reads, “Canadians will be able to rely on the integrity, authenticity and security of the services they use and should feel safe online”. This is yet another great promise that the Liberals have failed to deliver upon.
     I remember over the summer, when scammers used Canadians' personal information on the Canada Revenue Agency website to access CERB payments. These were not foreign actors we were talking about. These were private actors using information that they could get their hands on to breach Canadians' accounts, and this breach was so bad that it even forced the CRA and the Service Canada websites to shut down.
    Thousands of Canadians who wanted to were unable to access the CERB, and all the useful services on those websites, because the government has not put security as a priority. Security must be central to digital government and to our digital economy. I appreciate that the government wanted to get those programs out quickly, but we are increasingly seeing the consequences of not building in security from the foundation up.
    It was not just the CERB program that was hacked. In February, news broke that the National Research Council systems were hacked, mainly the health research databases. This cyber-attack was caused by ransomware. The hackers used the ransomware to try to extract payment from the government. Every year the National Research Council collects information on more than 25 million health care consumers across the U.S. and Canada. The National Research Council was also hacked in 2017 by state actors.
    This continues to be quite a substantial threat. Hospitals and other information technology services are increasingly being targeted by these kinds of crimes. Since 2016, according to a cyber-threat assessment, there have been 172 attacks on individual health care organizations with costs topping $160 million. Those are just the attacks that are known about. It causes one to wonder how many attacks have not even been discovered yet.
    It gets worse. Despite the multiple data breaches, the protection on critical infrastructure plan has not been updated in this country since 2009, despite major technological advancements. I alluded earlier to the Manhattan project of data decryption and quantum computing, which we are seeing out of countries like China. They threaten to blow open all of our current encryption technologies. It shows us that the plan is even more critical.

  (1105)  

    Madam Speaker, I object to a number of the comments the member made at the beginning of his speech. He tried to give a false impression that the government has not been there for small businesses, which is really quite inaccurate.
    We can see the many ways that this government, virtually from day one back in 2015, has recognized the importance of small businesses as the backbone of our economy through tax cuts. Today we continue to provide wage subsidies, rent subsidies and so forth during this very difficult time.
    Having said all of that, my question is with respect to the bill. We recognize that it is going to allow for additional regulation. The member seems to be in opposition to the need for regulation. I am not 100% clear whether the Conservative Party recognizes that there is a need for government regulation to protect the interests of our businesses and consumers.
    Could the member just provide his thoughts on whether the Conservative Party will be voting in favour of recommending the legislation to committee?
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member sort of reminds me of the character of Cam Brady in the movie The Campaign when he talks about small businesses being the backbone of our economy. They are, but the Liberal government does not seem to recognize that the policies it has put in place have really undermined small businesses. However, I will get to the question.
    There a necessity for regulation, but we need to recognize that one-size-fits-all regulations, which are mostly targeted at large corporations while still applying to small businesses, really put small businesses at a significant disadvantage. We are not saying no to regulation. We are saying that we need to put exemptions in, and we need to look at what the consequences really are for small businesses and address their concerns.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
    This is for private businesses, and I understand that my colleague may have a problem with that.
    However, during the pandemic we have seen that the federal government itself had problems verifying people's identity. In my riding, some people received the CERB under a name other than their own. These people were on social assistance. They were not entitled to the CERB, received it anyway and will have to repay it when they file their income tax return. That is a serious problem.
    I would like to know whether my hon. colleague thinks that we could have applied the provisions of this bill to the federal government itself.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate what the member is saying. I have a story from my riding: A couple come to me who had used a third party tax service to apply for their CERB money. The tax service charged them $300 per CERB application, which is absolutely absurd when someone can just go to the CRA website and click a few buttons to access the money.
    It just goes to show that sometimes when the government constructs something and does not think through all of the angles while trying to get the money out the door, there are people who will be hurt by that legislation. When I raised that to the government, its response was that it is not illegal. That is not acceptable.
    I think absolutely that the government needs to be held accountable. We always need to do better. We as the opposition are always going to fight to make sure that the government does a better job for Canadians.

  (1110)  

    Madam Speaker, the member's comments are very enlightening. He talked a little bit about his concerns for small businesses and the red tape that would be associated with them. Can he discuss a little bit, in detail, the provisions in particular that he thinks would put too much of a burden on small businesses?
    Madam Speaker, there is a provision in the bill that says a small business has to designate a specific person responsible for maintaining these privacy databases. When we are talking about a small business with just a few employees, oftentimes a sole proprietor may be running the books, sales or the website, and they are now being told that they have to also be the designated privacy CO of their company. That is adding red tape for a small business. For a big business, it is not that big, as it probably already has those positions laid out.
    Small businesses trying to maintain those databases and having the ability to keep all the data they are collecting, so as to be ready to comply with requests from the consumer and Privacy Commissioner to hand over the data at any time, creates a ton of paperwork for small businesses. We need to look at a better way to do this to ensure that we can protect the privacy of Canadians, but not put too many onerous requirements on small businesses.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. friend mentioned the dynamics of rural Canada and the challenges it faces with access to something as simple as the Internet. These increase the challenges of small and medium-sized enterprises, whether it is a farmer trying to access the most up-to-date equipment for their farm operation and the increasing data requirements surrounding that, the local insurance companies the member mentioned, or the many other small and medium-sized businesses that exist across rural Canada. It is important that a rural lens is applied to something as important as this legislation.
    I am wondering if my hon. friend would be able to provide further comments on the impact this would have on rural Canada.
    Madam Speaker, it is already hard enough for rural Canadian business people to access the growing digital economy, as I alluded to in my speech when I spoke about the lack of access to high-speed Internet. The hon. member who asked the question is a farmer, and we know agriculture is undergoing a massive shift to data.
    I do not think there is anything in this bill that would necessarily impact the farmers themselves, but when we are talking about relations between fertilizer companies, suppliers and transportation logistics, we could be talking about a number of new requirements. The farmers I know just want to farm. They do not want to haggle over data and be purveyors of data, so yes, we have to consider those challenges as well.
    Madam Speaker, the member did not answer the question regarding the Conservative Party's position on the legislation. I understand the member, as being part of the official opposition, has concerns. I can appreciate that.
    I have two questions. One, do the Conservatives see amendments coming forward at second reading? Second, and most importantly, do Conservatives support this legislation ultimately going to second reading, or in other words, will they support it going to committee?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for giving me a second opportunity to finally answer his question. We do have concerns about the bill, as I said. However, I think I can freely speak for our caucus and say we will be supporting this going to committee.
    We will be looking at putting forward some common sense amendments to protect small businesses and ensure this is the best possible legislation. The fact is that it has been too many years since we have had an overhaul. A lot has changed in our society, and we do need to update this legislation.
    Madam Speaker, I see in the legislation that there would be some exceptions to the consent of an individual's data and whether that information would be available to them, or if it would be in the public interest.
    Who would make that determination? Is the bill clear on that determination and who would make it, and are there any concerns around that particular provision?

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, that is a question we are going to be fighting to get the answer to at committee. When we are talking about public interest, it is not necessarily just for the government to decide what that public interest is.
    At the same time, we need to ensure this is not blown open to any and all organizations that could be using and abusing this data in ways we cannot know. Obviously we need to put some parameters around this and find a good balance.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to be the first in my party to speak, since this is a topic the Bloc Québécois has been looking at in response to a number of identity theft issues.
    I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge my colleagues who have been with me from the beginning of the first session of the 43rd Parliament. We immediately started looking into the matter of privacy breaches and fraud. The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology unanimously agreed to take into account the previous work done to study what action we should urgently take to prevent the kind of situation we are in now.
    I salute my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and I also want to point out that I very much look forward to studying this bill in committee. We had already unanimously adopted a motion to study privacy matters, and today a bill has been introduced. We spent a long time in committee looking into conflicts of interest. I had 40 hours, during which it was difficult to vote on a motion in committee.
    That being said, prorogation did not do us any good. If Parliament had not been prorogued, we would not be where we are today. We would already be at the forefront when it comes to protecting our people from fraud and identity theft. I know that this happened to some people who work for the House of Commons. This is a complex and troubling issue. As the Privacy Commissioner said, the accounts of no less than 30 million out of 37 million Canadians were affected.
    I would like to tell everyone here and the people watching us at home that their personal information was used. We are talking about a privacy breach. What happens when our personal information is not protected? Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the possibility of fraud. The way things stand, fraudsters have quite the opportunity to use the personal information of others.
    Madam Speaker, I am sorry. This is my first time without a written speech in front of me and I feel like I could keep talking for an hour. I would like to ask for the consent of the House to share my time with the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement. Accordingly, all those opposed to what the hon. member is proposing, namely, sharing her time with the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

  (1120)  

     Thank you, Madam Speaker.
    I provided a brief overview of this issue because safeguards have already been implemented in over 30 countries. Our friends in the European Union have been taking the bull by the horns since 2016, and I think we should follow their example.
    I applaud the introduction of this bill. It was about time. I would also like to talk about a few things that I look forward to studying as soon as possible at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
    It was proposed that the commissioner be given additional powers. This bill proves that this proposal was taken into account. The commissioner will be able to impose major penalties. Currently, as all those who grabbed the bull by the horns know full well, businesses are responsible for protecting personal information or face penalties, which vary from one country to another. This bill introduces a 3% penalty, which means businesses such as Facebook, a company worth several billions, could pay up to $10 million if they do not properly protect personal information.
    I am also very happy with another part of this bill, which came up earlier, about consent to use and transfer our data. Businesses and organizations that have our data must always have our consent. That is crucial, and I am happy about it.
    Once again, I congratulate the government on giving the commissioner the power to issue orders.
    However, there is one thing I am very concerned about, and it has to do with organizations such as banks that are under federal jurisdiction. I think that if there is one organization that should lead by example and demonstrate that it is protecting data and working to prevent fraud, it should be the government.
    The first time I read the bill, I did not see anything about the government fulfilling its obligations. My hon. colleague talked about this earlier. Many people in Laurentides—Labelle have told me they are worried about finding out at tax time that someone claimed CERB using their name. People have even told me they tested it. They applied, and their application was approved. These are people who are receiving employment insurance benefits.
    There are also those who, upon opening their account, discovered that they were victims of fraud. These people have followed up and filed a complaint. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for them to hear back, and some people never hear back. I feel that this bill should also include a requirement to support those who have been victims of fraud and help them through the process.
    Right now, it is about prevention and punishment. Let me explain prevention, which is very simple. Prevention is making sure all the necessary elements are in place to validate a person's identity.

  (1125)  

    However, this bill does not propose a complete reform of the ID authentication processes for individuals through organizations or the government.
    Several countries have already taken action and instituted two ID authentication processes. The first involves confirming what the person knows. However, if an individual's personal information is known and their data are open, anyone can immediately commit fraud using their name.
    The second involves confirming what the person has using various tools. Some apps already use text message authentication, for example. Sometimes the person has to place a call from their home. This is another important authentication process.
    Several countries use other authentication processes based on even more personal information, such as voice recognition or fingerprints. Close attention will have to be paid to facial authentication to ensure that all rules are followed.
    I look forward to taking part in the committee deliberations. I welcome this bill, but it needs to be amended properly.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, just listening to the member's comments on the bill, I suspect the Bloc will be supporting the legislation at least going to committee. It is important for us to recognize the role of the Privacy Commissioner and that it has been incorporated to provide additional support. It will provide more confidence in cybersecurity and show how important data is.
    Could the member provide a confirmation of the Bloc's position on seeing the bill go to committee? Does the member have anything else she would like to talk about in regard to the important role the Privacy Commissioner plays in general for Canadians and small businesses?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    The Bloc Québécois is obviously in favour of a bill to protect the fundamental rights of Quebeckers and Canadians.
    That said, it is important that several proposals be presented in committee. While we are at it, we will ensure that nothing is missing. That will surprise no one. Although the commissioner may be very pleased to hear that penalties can be imposed, he is also very aware of what might be missing from this bill.
    With respect to personal information, we really have a lot of ground to cover quickly, because Canada is lagging behind in the eyes of the international community. We will have to make quick adjustments to protect our fundamental rights, as 30-plus other countries around the world have done.
    Madam Speaker, since there are no other questions and comments, I believe that shows that my colleague was very clear. I will try to be clear as well. The bar is high, but I will try to meet it.
    Generally speaking, as my colleague said, this bill represents a step forward and addresses several of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's requests. Quebeckers were profoundly shocked by the Desjardins data breach. It was a very significant event. However, it was not the only one. Similar incidents occurred in 2017 and 2018, and there have probably been dozens more that we are not aware of. In fact, when a bank's data is stolen, the bank is required to inform the police and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, but it is not required to inform the public or even its customers.
    We like this bill because it sets out a series of principles relating to the collection and sharing of personal information by companies: free and informed consent for the collection and use of data; the ability to allow or deny the transfer of data to another company, such as between two financial institutions; the ability to withdraw consent or request that data be deleted; transparency about the use of algorithms that use personal data; and stricter criteria for the use of de-identified data. This bill also gives real powers to Canada's Privacy Commissioner, sets out significant penalties for non-compliance, and creates the personal information and data protection tribunal. All of that is great.
    Unfortunately, the problem is that the bill omits one extremely important element, and that is protecting people's identity online to prevent fraud due to identity theft, especially during financial transactions. We know that Europe has brought in a whole suite of regulations to force financial institutions to verify a person's identity before authorizing a transaction. There is nothing like that in Canada, and this bill does not have anything of the kind either.
    The federal government is not properly verifying individuals' identity before authorizing electronic transactions. We know that the challenge is to prevent data from being stolen and used to commit fraud. Having personal data stolen is unpleasant enough, so all measures must be taken to ensure that the data are not then used for fraud.
    The debate in Ottawa over the massive data breach at Desjardins mainly revolved around social insurance numbers. We know that several people would like to change their social insurance numbers, but under the current system, they cannot do so unless they become a victim of fraud resulting from identity theft.
    In addition, the federal government has received a number of requests to redesign the social insurance card to make it harder to counterfeit, similar to what Ottawa did with passports after the September 11, 2001, attacks, at the request of the United States.
    These two requests are perfectly reasonable. The Bloc fully agrees and is asking Ottawa to follow up. However, that alone will not stop fraud.
    The best way to prevent identity theft is to make sure that the person who is making the transaction is indeed who they claim to be. This goes without saying. There are three ways to verify a person's identity.
    First, a person can be identified based on what they know, namely personal information such as their name, address or social insurance number. However, as cases of identity theft are on the rise, it is getting harder and harder to accurately identify someone. In other words, our private information is no longer private when everyone can find out almost everything about us. Fraudsters can simply use this information to create a fake ID, and they are set.
    Second, a person can be identified based on what they have, such as their computer's IP address, which the institution can recognize if the transaction is being conducted from the person's home, or their cell phone, to which the institution can send a secret code via text message.
    Third, a person can be identified based on who they are. The institution can use technologies that recognize a person's physical characteristics, such as their voice, their facial features, through the use of facial recognition, their digital fingerprints, which are increasingly being used by cell phones, or their handwritten signature.

  (1130)  

    Europe adopted regulations in 2016 requiring financial institutions to use at least two of these three ways to identify someone before authorizing a transaction. Banks in Canada are under no such obligation. If they believe that the control mechanisms will cost more than the losses they are currently incurring in fraud, they are better off doing nothing. The banks will not pay for controls that would be more costly than the fraud. That is simply profit-driven logic.
    Many members have probably had the experience of having a store issue a credit card on the spot, based solely on the personal information we provide. We just have to give our phone number, address, and so on, and that is all it takes. This practice really opens the door to fraud, and it has to stop.
    We believe that the banks must be forced to tackle fraud. That is the solution that we are advocating. We are going to propose possible approaches. As my colleague was saying, we are going to support the bill, but we will be bringing forward amendments. We will have concrete, constructive and coherent proposals when the time comes to study the bill in detail.
    We will propose ways to combat identity theft, such as by drawing on the European regulations I was talking about, in order to force the banks to bring in robust processes to verify people’s identity before authorizing a financial transaction. We will also propose to increase fines in order to encourage banks to better protect their customers’ personal information. We will propose that banks be required to submit a detailed report, as part of their annual reporting, on the number of identity thefts and the resulting losses.
    We will also propose a requirement to contact any person whose identity has been fraudulently used within the organization, regardless of whether an account was opened or not. As I said earlier, there is no such obligation in place and it must be brought in. There is also an obligation to cover the costs paid by victims to recover their identity. These costs must be covered by the banks, which are rolling in a lot more money than individuals and most of their customers.
    There also need to be anonymous tip lines for employees who are aware of unreported identity theft, as well as protection for whistleblowers. There is currently a void when it comes to whistleblower protection, as in virtually all areas. I am getting a little off topic, but the House will have to deal with this issue as well.
    Ottawa also has to look in its own backyard. Beyond the banks, the same anti-fraud controls need to be imposed on the federal government itself. Bill C-11 applies only to private businesses. It does not apply to the federal government. Currently, Ottawa’s online identity controls are clearly inadequate. Before authorizing a transaction, the government does not take all the necessary steps to ensure that a claimant is who they say they are.
    Since last spring, there have been numerous cases of identity theft. These include Canada emergency response benefit claims made in other people’s names and tax refunds being redirected to other accounts. Some people will not find out that they have been victims of identity theft until they file their income tax returns. It has not yet happened yet, but it will soon. In a few months, many people will discover that they have been victims of fraud. Right now, they have no idea. This is absurd, and it is unacceptable.
    Again this fall, thousands of taxpayers lost access to their Service Canada account, which prevented them from applying for employment insurance even though they lost their jobs because their region was going back into the red zone.
    It is all well and good to introduce a bill on the management of personal data by private companies. I want to stress that we agree on this bill and that we will vote in favour of it. That part is settled.
    However, Ottawa needs to clean up its own backyard as soon as possible and take immediate action to combat identity theft. We are saying yes to regulating private businesses, but we are also saying yes to regulating Ottawa and the banking industry.

  (1135)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned that the government should be looking to include identity theft in the legislation. I agree with him that it should be included, but this is the government that brought in the Phoenix pay system, and we know how much of a fiasco that was.
    What would he propose the government do to prevent something like the Phoenix pay system if it was to bring this type of legislation into its own house?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Phoenix pay system is indeed a fiasco, a complete disaster. I completely agree with my colleague, who I want thank for his kind words about my speech.
    This is a big problem, but the bill that is before us deals with identity theft. The Phoenix pay system is another issue, but we completely agree that something needs to be done ASAP, as they say.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it should be noted that it was actually the Conservative government that brought in the Phoenix payroll system. We did flip the switch on it, but it was fairly well established under the previous administration.
    Having said that, the member, as well as his colleague, made reference to individuals who collected the CERB but who should not have been collecting the CERB. In hindsight, would the member have any recommendations or suggestions for how the government could have done things differently to avoid that?

  (1140)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his question.
    I think that I answered that question in my speech. Stricter oversight and monitoring mechanisms like the ones I suggested are the answer to that question.
    We could also review the whole matter of the CERB. We warned the government many times from the beginning about the monitoring that should be done and the formula itself. I could talk about those mechanisms again, but I do not really have time. I made suggestions to that effect in my speech.
    Looking back, the government should have monitored this more closely in every respect.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his intervention today. It was very interesting.
    Cybersecurity, of course, is a very important issue. As we know, in Canada there are too many victims of cybercrime each year. However, I feel it is not a problem that a privacy law would solve.
    I am wondering if the member could speak a bit about why he is bringing forward a criminal law issue that would put more burden on Quebec and some of the other provincial jurisdictions at this time. I would like a few comments on that.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, if I understood my colleague's question about criminal law, the bill in this current form suggests penalties for companies that break the law. That would involve criminal law.
    If I understood the question properly, that is the response I have for my colleague.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I can always count on my Bloc colleagues to explore the relationship between the federal government and the provincial governments.
    I am wondering if the member has any comments on concerns he might have regarding the bill and provincial jurisdiction.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will try to be brief, although I know that is not my strong suit.
    The Government of Quebec is currently in the process of modernizing its legislation on this. There is a stereotype about Quebec and I believe it is founded: Quebec generally does very good work and often, or in most cases, does a much better job than Ottawa.
    Of course, we also think that the governments have to agree. We hope that this new legislation will not encroach on provincial jurisdictions. Earlier I asked the hon. Minister of Industry that question and he said that would not be the case.
    Time will tell.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate from my office in this important debate on Canadian privacy. The bill would enact the consumer privacy protection act and the personal Information and data protection tribunal act. It would also make consequential amendments to other acts. We are debating a fairly complicated subject, but one that has been warranted for many years.
    The New Democrats have been calling for a modernization of our privacy laws and our consumer protection laws for about a decade. Most recently, our efforts have resulted in a digital bill of rights' discussion across Canada in which we have been at the forefront and have pushed hard to have some of these rights discussed, not only in the public forum but also in the chambers of Parliament.
    We have witnessed the world move on. We have seen the Privacy Commissioner identify Canada as backwater when it comes to protecting privacy and the capabilities of the modern world. With COVID-19, we see further online activity among Canadians and further vulnerabilities for not only individuals but for our families, schools, businesses and even Parliament.
    The New Democrats have a different position from other political parties. We believe that people's human rights are connected to their digital rights. People's online presence and the digital footprint they leave in the wake of the business they have to do is just as important as their physically enshrined rights as a human being.
     When we look at what is taking place, even with COVID, and the ability of people to participate online, we have seen the failings of two decades of Liberals and Conservatives to connect Canadians, all the way from Maxime Bernier's program, launched as a Conservative minister, to most recently where we are struggling and scrambling to get Canadians connected.
    One of the other things the New Democrats talk about is the affordability of participating in this democracy and not only with respect to one's participation on a regular social basis. As governments have moved more and more services away from brick and mortar to online, we have seen the exposure of Canadian privacy. We have seen that even within government resources, everything from social insurance numbers to other types of breaches that have taken place. We have seen this in the private sector as well.
    Canada has often lagged in the private sector, not only in oversight but also in the punishment of those who take advantage of people in the new digital age. In our digital bill of rights, which we presented more than two years ago, we talked about not only personal data being protected, but also how people were being manipulated through the services provided online. For years and years our philosophy has been net neutrality. I will highlight a few new problems with the bill which could derail that type of philosophy and could stream Canadians to more vulnerabilities.
    There are all kinds of examples of how Canadians have been abused. Whether it be Yahoo, Ticketmaster, Marriott or Equifax, the list goes on and on. Most recently, a heightened example of this, which created a lot of attention across the world, was Facebook and the outright manipulation of people's personal data. People were being used as pawns without even knowing what their rights were or being protected from that.
    Again, Canada's laws do not allow our Privacy Commissioner to come down hard on some of these giants. Governments in the past have been too close with the web giants and have not allowed Canadians to have the proper recourse when data breaches have taken place.

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    The personal information and data production tribunal act being proposed by the government would create a number of potential false promises for accountability. It has a low threshold of involvement of those who would be appointed to the tribunal.
    First, we have to get past the notion that these types of political appointments will be free and clear of all political and business-type leverages to select the tribunal. Second, we have to assume the tribunal can be fair, quick and just in its cases. Third, baked-in problems with regard to the role of the tribunal create some concerns. The first is that the tribunal could overturn the Privacy Commissioner in many respects and it would go to a judicial process, which could take years and years to settle cases that may no longer be relevant to Canadians.
    There is also a low threshold for the inclusion of some of the appointments. There is no requirement for a Superior Court judge and only one judge is allowed in maybe a one-to-three-member panel or a one-to-six-member panel. These things need to be fixed.
    Something I want to further explore are more powers for the Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner has been very clear in asking for more resources and supports over the last number of years to deal with privacy breaches that have occurred and also to bring in more accountability. It is in our business interests, not only our interests as individuals, families and all of the institutions but in business interests, to have a clear process so the bad actors in this environment that are doing harm to Canadians and other businesses are not rewarded.
    One thing I am most proud of accomplishing as a member of Parliament was ending the tax deductibility of corporate fines and penalties. That was about 15 years ago. In the past, if a business was caught doing something illegal, it was able to write off part of the government fine as a business-related expense. I was able to champion a change to that.
     Businesses that were doing illegal activity and influencing competition were using it as a loss leader. They would essentially get millions of dollars in fines and penalties, everything from drug companies to those getting environmental fines and penalties, and they would apply for that money back at tax time. It was a way for them to undercut the competition that was doing the right thing. That is what I am concerned about with the tribunal. It would have the capability to influence market stability to some degree with regard to penalties and fines for the bad actors.
    If it does not work right, if it is not seen as credible and if it does not flow the way it should, it can be an encouragement for some of those committing the breaches to be sloppy with personal information, disrespectful and also manipulative in taking information from Canadians, steering them to different purchases and activities, exposing them and then beating some of the competition. For some young entrepreneurs who have to go up against some of these established giants, it is very difficult for them to get a toehold.
    A number of factors are in place, even in our general market economy, for young people and entrepreneurs to get busy and to compete. One most recently was in the retail sector. Businesses are being charged extra to get floor space in the real world. Amazon and other players have also used manipulative practices to steer consumers to particular products and services from preferred customers. That defeats our philosophy of net neutrality. It could also direct people and their families to making purchases or viewing activity with the time they have into different market conditions as opposed to exploring in a free and open Internet society.
    Another thing is that Canadian federal political parties are exempt from oversight. We do not understand why the Liberals would allow this to take place. It should be clear and proper that their data and personal information be open and accountable in political parties as well. We will be looking at amendments to this activity because we strongly believe they should be accountable.
    To bring faith and accountability to our democracy requires transparency. We have seen the sensationalism that has taken place in political advertising in the last number of campaigns and the favouritism that has been seen online. We have also seen the giant data assembly that has taken place which can manipulate voting and steer people to different discussion points.

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    The personal privacy information collected by political parties should also be clear. This way there will be more faith in the information that political parties get. More important, our democracy will be strengthened by privacy protection, not weakened or exempted with regard to the model being presented by the government right now.
    We also want to be more technical and continue to have commercial activity defined under PIPEDA. This is more related to the business section aspect for fair and open transparency.
    We want to deal with a particular issue in regard to algorithmic transparency. Algorithms can help direct purchasing and activity and can also manipulate someone. It will just get stronger because artificial intelligence is being introduced more and more into society in regard to all our products and services. This includes search engine searches, the types of purchases made with different corporations and a number of different activities that take place. It is important there be accountability and oversight for that.
    A number of different things have been going on with regard to Canadians and their privacy. There is no doubt there will be more challenges with this bill. We want to go back to a number of different structures that take place with respect to this. Again, the New Democrats championed a digital bill of rights for many years. I want to highlight a few important things.
    If we cannot have a fair, open and just society with regard to our digital footprint, we believe our democracy is threatened, our economy is threatened and, more important, investments into this country will be threatened. We will not have the same oversight that Europe or the United States have. That is very important to ensure that investment in Canada will take place
    It is important to note that if we are working toward things like access to telecommunication services all across Canada and we are investing in this, we need to think about the billions of dollars already spent on this, along with the additional money to be spent. We want this to be done right and proper, especially with COVID-19.
    Over the years, as we have gone to more online services and invested in this, we have had opportunities. When we think about how we use this space for ourselves, whether it be commercial activity, entertainment or business, we sell off the spectrum. The spectrum is the infrastructure we can use. It is above us. It is the radio and capacity to move, most recently, the 5G network. We will see a spectrum auction.
     In the past 20 years, $22 billion of revenue has come into the public coffers with spectrum auctions. We have seen a patchwork of activity take place all across the country.
    I previously mentioned Maxime Bernier, with the Conservatives, and most recently the Liberals. Several plans have emerged that are more a hodgepodge of applications. It is one program after another that is sought out. They are also providing massive subsidizations for those markets, which costs billions of dollars. Even the CRTC has a fund.
    I can list a series of them, but the point is that if we are going through all this trouble and investment to create a society space for our digital world and economy and we are heavily investing in this, then we need to do it right, especially with a geography like Canada, which is so large. This can be a challenge, but given our population size and the fact that we have dense populations along the border and other places, we can turn this into an advantage for business investment as well.
    The New Democrats believe this is part of our human right with respect to how people are treated online. This includes accountability from companies with regard to cyber-bullying, privacy protection, speeds and affordability. They are combined. If we do not have this type of approach as a philosophical one, we leave ourselves open to having more winners than losers. It would be no different than having lost education opportunities for people and a requirement for the government to come in and do the right thing, which is to make things more affordable.
    I mentioned the concentration of our population. It is important we tie this into the bill as we finally expand to rural and remote locations, and the security and accountability for that information.

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    We have talked a lot about preserving different cultures and providing business opportunities for areas that have been weakened because of their geography or lack of connectivity to large populations, but if we do not put a rules-based system in place that allows them to compete fairly, then they will fall to the wayside. Specifically, we could have a number of opportunities for smaller businesses to evolve, some scale-ups to take place, communities that could actually have some empowerment in getting to new markets and keeping the community stronger and together, but if it is not done in a way to have online privacy protection and so that businesses can compete in a fair way, then it is going to be lost.
    One of the concerns we have in general, not only with regards to ourselves as a country but also the rest of the world with some of the web giants, is the consolidation of services and how online services are used. In Canada, our competition has not been the strongest at some points, but there is an opportunity as we do this, which is why this legislation is so important.
    With the spectrum auction coming up, New Democrats have argued that charging as much money as we can to the telcos coming in and then seeing how things go results in what we have right now: less competition and higher prices, and prices that, quite frankly, limit people's participation in the digital world. This is a concern that we have, and so we have suggested to turn the spectrum auction around, like many other countries have done, and use it as a way to connect at lower costs by putting out expectations, such as an RFP-type model. When the bidding comes in, we may get a little less money coming in the front door, but the expectations are going to be higher and the requirements to connect rural or remote communities will be there. The telcos will use it or lose it. That is one of the things we believe could be a real benefit to move along the different programs.
    Basically, what we have now is a series of programs out there where communities almost have to go on bended knee to get access, to get support to actually lower the price points to make things more competitive and attractive. Our model would have a reverse role. The business community would already have the expectation that the spectrum is less, but the time frame to connect Canadians is high, with the expectation that they use it or lose it, for those things to happen relatively quickly. In fact, industry has indicated that the NDP plan could take place and connect Canada within four years: 98% in three years and the last little part in the last year, because it is more difficult in some locations.
    This is important and critical, because this potential law would lay out the framework on how that activity takes place. It is one of the reasons we believe this tribunal is one of the more interesting curiosities, and there are other things to talk about regarding that. However, if we spend all of this money, time and public policy and then do not get it right, we would have a weak and irresponsible approach to oversight in making sure that Canada does not have problems with regards to this. It is already going to create a skew in the public policy laws that we have. I fear that the bill, in its current form, if it does not sharpen up on those points, would create a skewed market for some years to come.
    Parliament most likely will not deal with this again any time soon. It has taken far too long to get to this point. We have to get this through a minority Parliament, we have to get it through the Senate and we have to get it signed off by the Prime Minister at the end of the day. That is going to take some time and commitment, which we have with the New Democrats. We want to improve the bill, we want to make sure that it is stronger, but if we do not get these points right, we are going to undermine things. This is why, when we think about how important this is with our current public policy and our resources, everybody out there has been concerned about COVID-19 and the effects upon the broadband and the experience for education, involvement and commitment.
    To conclude, the difference for New Democrats is that we believe that our human rights and digital rights are enshrined just as our physical rights. As we move to this type of engagement, as we see hybrids take place within workplaces, schools and other types of activity, this bill is a step forward, but it needs to be strengthened, and we can be counted on to do that. It is our intent to make Parliament work, but, more importantly, to make sure that we have laws that are going to work to protect Canadians.

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    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the enforcement mechanism in the bill, which would be the establishment of a new tribunal that would be accessible and able to impose significant fines on those who violate the act. I want to take issue with appointments. As a government, since we took over we put in a very robust appointment process that is merit-based and represents the breadth of this country.
    I want my friend to comment on what specific issues he has with such an accessible tribunal, which I believe is warranted in this situation.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe the vast majority of appointments, even when controversial ones have popped up, have been good people doing good things for Canadians. However, that type of appointment process lends itself to some degree of political meddling, corruption and also influence from the outside.
    I have been in Ottawa for almost 19 years now, and I have seen a number of different stories played out over the years that give me concern. It is a legitimate concern in this bill, and it also can change with the governments that handle the appointment process. It is something of concern worth talking about.
    With regard to who is on those committees and tribunals, it is about the length of time and the types of people on it. Only one of three to six tribunal members would need to have privacy law experience, and that is one specific example of my concern. These are very technical things to deal with.

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    Mr. Speaker, one of the concerns I have, being from a large rural constituency, is the interplay of this bill and the effect it may have on rural Canada, specifically small and medium-sized enterprises within rural and remote parts of Canada. I am wondering if the member would have comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, it is one of the key components of what we need to do to get right. As we are expanding into rural and remote Canada, we want to make sure there is even more confidence for the personal protection of privacy. Also, there is a bit of cultural change. So many of us in urban centres who have had access to high-speed Internet and other types of services have been used to some of that abuse, whereas we want to put in protections for small and medium-sized enterprises.
    Again, there are a number of different things. Net neutrality is a good example, but there are also algorithms and how they direct traffic and different businesses in different ways. When we see there is abuse taking place, it can also come at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses. One of the changes we are looking for is greater accountability to those formats because people literally put their whole life and efforts into small businesses. It was hard enough as it was before COVID-19, and now it is even worse.
    As well, businesses are paying for the connections to be able to be compete. Things we need to bring to account are things like the algorithms.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is a leader within our caucus and is very well-informed on this file and very knowledgeable about this very complex issue.
    As he knows, I have been working on the heritage committee. We have also been looking at Facebook and the web giants and that cozy relationship the Liberals have with the web giants. We have seen that lobbying over the last few years tripled since the Liberals became the government.
    In terms of personal privacy, I am wondering if the member could talk a bit about what he would like to see improved in this bill to make sure that cozy relationship does not get any sort of prevalence.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton Strathcona for her hard work on this, and also for reinforcing the protection and strengthening of the Privacy Commissioner. That office has done wonders for this country. I have seen about four privacy commissioners in my tenure in Parliament, and they have all been strong. I have not always agreed with some of their decisions, but they certainly have been at the forefront of accountability in public policy in pushing for greater protection for Canadians. The U.S. does not have this. This is one of our moments of strength that we as a country have in a structure. The member is absolutely correct. We need to make sure the Privacy Commissioner's office is strengthened and remains independent because it has been an asset, not only for personal information but also for our businesses across this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Windsor West for his detailed assessment of Bill C-11. It is the first opportunity for me to speak to the bill. I certainly plan to vote for it at second reading to get to committee.
    An amendment I hope to pursue at committee is an issue that the hon. member discussed. That is getting the PIPEDA framework in Canada to apply to political parties. Here in British Columbia at the provincial level, political parties have to meet privacy requirements. I commend the member for raising it early in debate, and ask if the New Democratic Party will also support amendments in committee?
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, New Democrats support amendments and we will be proposing several. There is no doubt about it.
    I would like to acknowledge that British Columbia's privacy protection for decades has been recognized across North America and different parts of the world. There is no doubt that British Columbia will provide good opportunity for some lessons to strengthen our own Privacy Commissioner as well. That is key.
    New Democrats support these changes. We have amendments prepared already, and we will be adding more amendments. We have to get this right. There is only going to be one chance at this in the near future as we are building out and doing things more online than before. We have to enshrine the philosophy that our human rights are connected here. If we do not enshrine that human rights are connected with regard to this, that one's digital rights are like one's physical rights, then we will be lost; and, we cannot do that. We have to win.

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    Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member for further comments in regard to the tribunal because that is a critical component here. The member has expressed great concern in terms of the timeliness of decisions being made by the tribunal. I wonder if he could just provide some further thoughts on how that issue could be best addressed. As opposed to focusing his attention on the appointments, are there mechanisms that he could see being put into place that would ensure a more timely response once issues have been raised?
    Yes, Mr. Speaker, the tribunal will be subject to a judicial review, and it could be challenged. The challenge that we are going to be faced with is that decisions could be pushed off down the line. For example, it could take a long time for CRTC decisions to come back and it is one of the most frustrating things. I give credit to our incumbents where they need to be given credit, as they have actually had to deal with a broken system, with CRTC not having the resources and the capabilities to get back in a timely manner. Therefore, the tribunal is going to be critical for that.
    Having judicial experience added to it that is stronger than what is currently there and also making sure that some of the powers it has cannot overturn the Privacy Commissioner are some of the things I would like to see advanced in this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Willowdale.
    We increasingly live our lives online and our laws need to reflect that reality. Privacy is a human right and it is inextricably connected to our personal autonomy.
    The Council of Europe's Convention 108 states, “The purpose of this Convention is to protect every individual, whatever his or her nationality or residence, with regard to the processing of their personal data, thereby contributing to respect for his or her human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular the right to privacy.” The GDPR states, “This Regulation protects fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and in particular their right to the protection of personal data.”
    The incredible scale of data collection can be a powerful force, both for good and bad, so we need strong privacy and digital rights and a strong regulator to enforce them.
    There is much in our government's Bill C-11, which is a serious reform of PIPEDA and certainly long overdue. I remember in June 2018, I introduced legislation simply to give the Privacy Commissioner new powers, which our privacy committee had twice unanimously recommended. We have come a long way since then with this substantive bill. OpenMedia said, “Bill C-11 is a big win for privacy in Canada.”
    While I have heard some reflections from experts and certainly from some parliamentary colleagues already about how the bill can potentially be improved, or some open questions about what might need to be fixed, it is certainly deserving of our support at second reading. I look forward to working with colleagues across party lines to improve the legislation at committee where we can.
    At this point, to work at committee across party lines something of a detour is required. I want to specifically commend my Conservative Party colleagues from Prince George and Thornhill, my NDP colleague from Timmins—James Bay and my Liberal colleague from Kitchener Centre. We worked very long and hard on privacy issues in the last Parliament. We helped found the International Grand Committee, comprised of over 10 countries, to discuss these issues. We hosted the second meeting of the IGC in Ottawa. We tabled the report “Towards Privacy by Design” in February of 2018.
    When we as parliamentarians talk about committee work and often the overlooked nature of the committee work, we do not always see that committee work turn into legislation. In this instance we have.
    We recommended stronger consent rules and we see stronger rules in Bill C-11. We recommended algorithmic transparency and we see in Bill C-11 a commitment on transparency where systems are used to make predictions, recommendations or decisions about consumers. We recommended data portability and interoperability. We see those commitments in Bill C-11.
    We see stronger powers for the Privacy Commissioner. I mentioned that need for a strong regulator, including order-making, auditing and the ability to levy fines. We see order-making powers. We see the ability to audit. We see a new tribunal, and while I understand some of the caution or questions members are raising in respect of this design, it is consistent with the competition commissioner and tribunal operations and worth looking at more seriously to see if it can be approved. However, through the tribunal, we see the ability to levy significant fines, in the magnitude of $10 million to a maximum of $25 million for more serious fines.
    In terms of the course of that committee work, I want to reflect on a couple of stories about why this kind of legislation is so important and critical.
    I think it was in the fall of 2017, when we were in the midst of the study on PIPEDA reform, that the member for Thornhill, the former member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, I believe I am getting that right, and I went down to Washington and met with other elected representatives there. We witnessed some of the hearings in relation to the Equifax breach, but we also met with Facebook officials. At that time, when a question was put by I think the member for Thornhill as to what Facebook's views were on the potential new regulations, they said absolutely no new regulations were required in Canada due to the strong framework through PIPEDA and, if there were new rules, that might affect Facebook's willingness and interest in investing in Canada. Certainly, we have come a long way since those kinds of conversations and push-back by big tech companies against stronger privacy rules.

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    We saw that Mark Zuckerberg unfortunately did not attend before the IGC, though he said he would like to work with parliamentarians around the world, but we can certainly say that the days of self-regulation are over and asking for regulation. Here is that kind of regulation in Canada.
    On consent, I have to tell one other story that happened at committee. Again, we had Facebook officials there. We were in the midst of going down the rabbit hole of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Canadian context of that third-party app, which had shared so much information. I think it was under 300 Canadians who had used the app, but thousands of Canadians had their information shared. I put to Facebook at the time, “How is it that on the basis of meaningful consent thousands of Canadians could have agreed that their friends share their information through this third-party app and then share it with Cambridge Analytica?” With a straight face somehow, a Facebook representative said to me that it was in their terms and conditions.
    That speaks to the problematic nature of consent in the existing law and the lack of meaningful consent. Thankfully, our Privacy Commissioner, despite his current lack of meaningful powers, pursued that line of inquiry and found that Facebook violated our current laws and took the matter to court. We know that with stronger consent rules, there would have been no ability for a Facebook representative to say with a straight face that there was meaningful consent.
    Plain language is important. I would go further, though, and say that as we think about consent, particularly in a consumer context, I think we ought to be more wary of privacy by default. We have to be more concerned about privacy by default. Where there is a reasonable expectation of the consumer that information is going to be shared and used in a particular way, then explicit consent, obviously, ought not need to be required, but where there are secondary uses, where there are uses beyond a reasonable expectation of that consumer then, certainly, we need explicit opt-in consent. It needs to be very clear to consumers how their information is to be used, if at all.
    I want to emphasize the consumer context because it is a curiosity of privacy legislation and a curiosity of consumer protection legislation that when I purchase my phone I do not have to read the terms and conditions. There is no expectation by government that I read the terms and conditions, yet I am protected. There are implied warranties pursuant to consumer protection legislation. I do not need to read those terms and conditions in order for my rights to be protected as a consumer, yet there is an expectation when I download any app on my phone that I read the terms and conditions. That cannot be a tenable state of affairs if we want to protect consumers. We cannot expect consumers to read every term and condition, and every consumer contract in the course of downloading applications, and in the course of living their lives, as I said, increasingly online. Our laws need to reflect that reality.
    There are obviously some straightforward fixes for this legislation. The membership of the tribunal should obviously have greater privacy expertise. I think that is a no-brainer. We do have to think more deeply through some of these consent rules and how we can strengthen them potentially further. I would like to see us go beyond algorithmic explainability to some kind of algorithmic accountability.
     I know that others have mentioned political parties being left out. I do not know that political parties need to be subject to PIPEDA specifically, but they ought to be subject to privacy legislation. If there is no further effort under way by the government, then I think PIPEDA may well be the place to do that.
    Lastly, I think we have to focus on children, in particular, when we look at consent rules and protecting kids on the Internet. Previously, I have written and spoken publicly about my support for our right to be forgotten, but I do think we have to be more focused on our rules and protection for kids as they grow up with the Internet and live their entire lives online.
    I will close by simply saying that this is a big bill. This is second reading and, certainly, all of us ought to support this in principle. I look forward to working with experts and colleagues to strengthen the bill at committee and get into the details.

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    Mr. Speaker, one concern that has been highlighted by a number of other colleagues in this place is the fact that the bill may have the unintended consequence of creating an unlevel playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises, versus the big players. The big players have teams of lawyers and departments to deal with this sort of thing, as opposed to the small and medium-sized enterprises that are going to have to grapple with the consequences of this sort of legislation.
    Would the member be able to provide some context about any safeguards that may exist or any suggestions that he would have to ensure that there is in fact a level playing field in that regard?
    Mr. Speaker, I would say a few things. First, the concept of proportionality is really important in this regard. Second, it is a live concern that should be addressed by the committee in some respect, but I would also note and would present some caution in response that there are some small companies that collect mountains of personal information. It is not necessarily the size of the company but the activities of the company that we ought to be most concerned about.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for an excellent speech. I felt I should have written it with him at some points, because we spent so much time together studying this and pushing the government for action. There are some key elements in this legislation that certainly come from our work together on the ethics committee.
    I am interested in the issue of algorithmic accountability. I think that is something the ethics committee was way out front on. When I look at the other legislation, about having Facebook and Google under the CRTC, I feel it was the best idea for the 1990s. When we are dealing with algorithmic powers that are pushing extremist content, that are pushing Holocaust denial, and when we have seen how that is the real driver on the big social media platforms, and the inability of parliamentarians to actually look inside that black box, I would like to ask my hon. colleague how he would suggest we actually get some stronger accountability mechanisms on the algorithms that are pushing the content and driving people to certain sites and certain conversations.
    Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to getting back to the ethics committee to work with the member for Timmins—James Bay on these issues.
    When we look at the use of algorithms and the use of algorithms combined with just the scale of data collection that we see today, we can narrowly focus in on consumer privacy on the one hand, but on the other hand there are bigger conversations about how that information is used to target messages to us and the implications for our democracy. There is a reason, when we hosted that meeting in Ottawa for the IGC, that it was on big data, privacy and democracy.
    In terms of algorithmic accountability specifically, I would say I am not certain yet what the perfect solution looks like, but I have always been interested in the work of the Treasury Board in respect of algorithmic impact assessments. It is clear enough, and I am glad to see in Bill C-11 that there is a commitment to algorithmic transparency.
    Going further and having some body, potentially the Privacy Commissioner, able to look under the hood and audit algorithms and their potential positive and negative impacts is important. We need to figure out a way to do just that.

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    Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the phenomenal amount of work that the standing committee did in order to help facilitate the recommendations.
    Could the member provide some of his thoughts in regard to the pre-presentation work involved in the legislation? Does he have any closing thoughts on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I would just say very quickly that this is one of the few examples I have seen in this Parliament, at this scale at least, where parliamentarians from all parties worked constructively and collegially. No one would have been able to tell which member of which party was asking questions of Facebook officials, Google officials and various representatives and other experts.
    When we made those recommendations in February 2018, I do not think people were particularly seized with this issue. Then we went down the rabbit hole of Cambridge Analytica and really continued the examination of these issues and this work. Out of that work, I can see our committee work reflected in the legislation. I think members of all parties ought to be proud of that. We ought to now take that and work even more to improve the legislation going forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join my colleagues in speaking to the digital charter implementation act, 2020.
     In today's ever-changing digital environment, Canadians have demanded better protection of their personal information. They have also demanded that organizations be held accountable for misusing their information. Stakeholders have told us that they want flexibility to innovate responsibly and want consistency with privacy rules everywhere else in other jurisdictions.
    I am proud to say that the digital charter implementation act, which would enact the consumer privacy protection act, or CPPA, represents the most ambitious overhaul of Canada's private sector privacy regime since PIPEDA was first introduced, in 2000. CPPA would introduce significant changes to better protect the personal information of Canadians in the way they have been demanding, including, of course, with strong financial consequences for those who do not follow the law.
    Prior to PIPEDA, in the 1990s, other countries around the globe introduced new laws to ensure that privacy was protected and that the opportunities afforded by e-commerce and the flow of information around the globe flourished. In particular, the EU introduced a privacy directive for its member countries to implement into their national laws.
    Inspired by the EU law, Quebec introduced the first private sector privacy law in Canada in 1994. This was an important step forward, but it also raised the potential and, of course, the prospect for a patchwork of provincial privacy laws. With the prospect of multiple, possibly conflicting, rules and gaps in privacy protection that could harm Canadians, the federal government needed to act. Canada required a national privacy standard to ensure consumer confidence and regulatory certainty for businesses.
    At the outset of the new millennium, PIPEDA was created to address the privacy concerns arising from a period of technological disruption fuelled by the rise of the Internet. It provided a framework with robust privacy protections and the flexibility to support the legitimate needs of businesses to use personal information. It also provided a mechanism by which the provincial private sector privacy laws could be considered substantially similar. This meant that where such a law is accorded that designation, PIPEDA does not apply to an organization's activities within a province.
    In 2004, Alberta and British Columbia passed private sector privacy laws that are considered substantially similar, as is Quebec's law. A number of newer provincial health information laws have also passed, since 2005, that have been appropriately designated as substantially similar.
    PIPEDA would continue, however, to apply to the federally regulated sector in a province and to any personal information collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities across provincial borders. This provided a stable regulatory environment and flexibility for the provinces, and supported Canada's trade interests for many years.
    However, today we are faced with a changed environment. Today, in many ways, history is repeating itself, but the risks have evolved. The role of digital technologies is considerably more central to our lives than it was 20 years ago. Just consider our experience in recent months with the pandemic. To harness all that the modern digital world has to offer, we clearly needed to modernize our federal private sector privacy law.
    In a globally connected economy, our laws needed to be consistent with those of other jurisdictions. Internationally agreed privacy rules, such as the OECD privacy guidelines, first introduced in 1980, were updated in 2013. So too, I might add, more recently, was the APEC privacy framework. Indeed, privacy laws based on these international norms have been changing and advancing in Europe, Japan, South America and New Zealand.

  (1230)  

    What have these changes entailed? Core privacy principles have remained, though some have been expanded, such as accountability and breach reporting. New elements, such as enhancing rights of erasure and mobility rights, a greater emphasis on transparency, more certainty for businesses and consumers through codes certification and stronger consequences for non-compliance, have been the principal hallmarks of many of these evolving changes.
    Closer to home, this summer, Quebec introduced amendments to its private sector privacy law, and B.C. recently conducted a study on its own laws. Ontario too is considering introducing a new private sector privacy law. Stakeholders have told us they are worried about the burden of multiple laws with different requirements. They demanded harmonization here at home.
     There is a clear need for the progress and reforms included in the digital charter implementation act, 2020. If we do not act, there is a risk of further fragmentation of privacy rules across the country. We need to keep up with changing technology and business practices, and incorporate the best international practices, protocols and safeguards in our own domestic laws. We also need to set a common standard for privacy protection for the private sector across Canada.
    Like the current PIPEDA, the new CPPA would be grounded in the federal trade and commerce powers. It recognizes the very importance of doing business on a national basis and in an economy that must work across provincial boundaries. Also, like PIPEDA, it would provide for a mechanism to recognize provincial laws that are substantially similar. These regulations would set out the criteria and process for such recognition or for reconsideration of it, and would continue to provide the provincial flexibility that has been important to PIPEDA's success. CPPA, like its predecessor, would maintain the Privacy Commissioner's ability to collaborate and co-operate with his or her provincial counterparts, an important tool to ensure consistency.
     As the minister emphasized earlier today, the focus should always be on compliance. Some ask why we cannot have just one national law. The answer, of course, is that Canada is a federation; there is a division of powers. Indeed, the provinces provide important coverage that a national law cannot, under our Constitution.
    I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the international context.
    We live in an interconnected world. Data are constantly flowing across borders. In 2002, the European Commission recognized PIPEDA as providing adequate protection relative to EU law, allowing for the free flow of personal information between Canadian and European businesses. However, in 2018, a new EU regulation came into effect: the General Data Protection Regulation. It updated many of the existing requirements and added strong financial penalties for contraventions. The EU is currently reviewing its existing adequacy decisions, including the one applying to Canada.
    That is why the government launched Canada's digital charter in 2019. Its 10 guiding principles offer a firm foundation on which to build an innovative and inclusive digital and data economy. The principles of ensuring interoperability, a level playing field, strong enforcement and real accountability are clearly reflected in the digital charter implementation act.
    I want to thank members for their attention today, and I can assure them that our approach to privacy protection respects the privacy rights of Canadians. It is pragmatic, principled, meets our trading needs and provides a consistent, coherent framework that Canadians and stakeholders can rely on.
    With Bill C-11, we will continue to encourage trade and investment and grow an economy that extends across provincial and international borders alike.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, the bill seems to nibble around the edges of, but is never really clear on, the issue of classifying individual sites and social media networks by whether they are content curators or publishers. This is an important aspect. A regular newspaper is held to account by our libel laws, yet many of our online content curators are not.
     I am wondering if the member feels this is an appropriate place to answer that question or if it should be decided somewhere else.
    Mr. Speaker, as I tried to highlight in my remarks, we recognize that it is incredibly important to look at the practices of the provinces and look at the legal regimes and frameworks that have been adopted in other jurisdictions around the world. There are many scenarios in which we had to ensure the bill would provide a fair and stable legal framework for everyone operating within the ambit of the law. We went over many scenarios, and I can assure the member that the result, which is this legislation, has considered them. It has looked at practices in other jurisdictions, and I think we can all be incredibly proud that we will have a privacy law that is the gold standard for the world.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his comments. They were very interesting.
    I know this has been brought up already today, but I want to hear from the member about it. We know that Bill C-11 does not explicitly deal with political parties, and we have heard members within the government and from the opposition parties ask that it be included.
    If the member could comment on why this was not included in Bill C-11, that would be great.
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague that this question has arisen on quite a few occasions since this legislation was first tabled by the minister. What I can say is that the pith and substance of this legislation deals with commercial activities. That is the first thing we should all bear in mind.
    However, the member raised an incredibly important issue. We should make sure our political parties are acting in a responsible fashion. That is precisely why, as the member is well aware, we recently updated the Elections Modernization Act to ensure that political parties are acting in a responsible fashion.
    Mr. Speaker, I read the legislation with interest. There is one aspect of things that happen online that concerns me, and I am wondering if it will or has come up in conversations. It is the sneaky little personality tests that we see that ask someone to answer questions or enter their birth date. We learned from the analysis of Cambridge Analytica that this is a way it gathered thousands of data points on a huge population. It is a form of privacy invasion, and it is very insidious. It looks like a fun little game, yet people are taking it, scraping it and using it for a commercial advantage.
    I am wondering if this is an issue we will consider.
    Mr. Speaker, as we heard earlier, in the first part we had members of Parliament look into the various machinations that can be found online, and the ethics committee did an incredible job. It looked at Cambridge Analytica and other issues that were of concern to all of us and made some recommendations. In addition to that, as I noted, we looked at the best practices of other jurisdictions as well. We fully came to realize, as the member rightly pointed out, that if a company is to collect data, it is imperative that there be meaningful consent. This is really at the core of the legislation that was tabled by the minister last week.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise again today to address Bill C-11. This bill, when printed, is nearly an inch thick. It is a monster bill for around here. It is a timely bill, as well. I am looking forward to delving into it. I have not had the opportunity to read through it in great detail to this point, but I want to speak to it.
    This is a top-of-mind issue for many Canadians. One of the things I want to point out right off the top is that when someone is online and a virtual persona, if they think they are getting a free product, they are actually the product. That is the thing to remember and many folks do not seem to realize that. That is something I have not seen in this bill, which is important. I think it is missing from this bill, although this bill may not been seeking to address that specifically.
    There could be some sort of public awareness campaign, much the same as we have done with cigarettes. In the past, the public was trained that if someone smoked cigarettes, they would get cancer. We could do this for online profiles and show the dangers and what is going on out there.
    As well, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam mentioned what is actually happening with our data. We think we are filling out a fun game or personality test, but we are actually giving away data. It can be harvested commercially to send advertisements and promote certain products.
    We continue to see more invasion of our privacy. I do not know about other members, but the thing that jumped out at me, during my first cursory read of this bill, was the term “algorithm transparency”. That is something I am really fascinated by.
    On the weekend, my friend was telling me that he took his phone, laid it on the table and he and his friends talked about white rabbits for three to four minutes. They just said the words “white rabbits” often. Then they opened up his phone, went to Facebook and the advertisements he was getting were about white rabbits. Our phones are listening to us and there are algorithms that are promoting certain things.
    We can probably turn that feature off and mute the microphones on our phones all the time if we know how to do that, if we care enough about it or are concerned about that kind of thing. There is a joke that the Chinese are listening to us. It is just an assumption that is being made. I do not think there is actually somebody listening on the other end, but there is an algorithm that is obviously listening to what we are saying and trying push products toward us that we are interested in.
    The white rabbit story is interesting. It is not necessarily something that would come up in day-to-day discussions. However, I know that if we connect to someone else's WiFi then suddenly we start getting different advertisements. My cousin has a CNC plasma cutting table for cutting metal. It is really cool, but what is interesting is that when I go to his house and connect to his WiFi, which is also connected to that CNC plasma table, I start getting advertisements for CNC cutting tables. That is wild and fascinating. The algorithm transparency piece is one of the most fascinating pieces of this law.
    Sometimes on Facebook, we get ads. We can click on the “X” to get rid of the ad. When an ad comes up, one wonders why they are seeing it. If I could get an answer for that, that would be amazing.

  (1245)  

    I am interested in that. What is being fed into the system that is promoting this particular ad to me? That is something I am really interested in knowing. At this point, there seems to be no recourse whatsoever to know why these ads show up. In my virtual personality that lives out on the Internet and in the data collected on me, what recent actions in particular have I undertaken that have driven this particular ad into my feed? I am fascinated to see if we are going to be able to bring that transparency with this bill. I am not necessarily convinced we will be able to do it, but I am fascinated by it.
    The other piece I do not think this bill addresses at all is the question of social media platforms or Internet platforms being message boards or publishers. This continues to be a sticking point. There have been committee hearings with the major social media platforms, and we have seen countries around the world seek to grapple with this issue. This is precisely what governments ought to be doing.
    What it means to govern and to legislate is to come up with a system that balances the interests of all people in a way of our choosing. That is what it means to be in a democracy. That is what it means to be governed by ourselves, so to speak. In many cases we see effective lobbying efforts by organized groups, and in particular commercial interests, that do not necessarily allow the government to get that balance right.
    We see in the news how we grapple to enable this. Some large social media platforms have amassed a wealth that exceeds that of many nations. Some of the largest nations in the world are able to compete with this, but many smaller nations do not have the resource capacity many of these large media companies do, so there is tension there. I compliment this bill in that it is attempting to have that discussion.
    Do I trust the Liberals to get it right? No, typically not, but I commend them for bringing this forward and beginning the conversation. This is going to be a long conversation. Like I said before, this bill is an inch thick.
    The member for Scarborough—Rouge Park just made a comment. I do not quite know what he said, but I am sure he was complimenting me on my speech. I thank him and appreciate that.
    Around algorithmic transparency, the piece that is really important, and that I do not think this bill quite grasps, is whether platforms are curating content, publishing it or choosing winners and losers. The algorithmic transparency of that is a big concern for me, and I know it is a big concern for many people across the country. It is interesting this is a concern for people both on the right and the left. It is a concern for all the political parties. It is a concern for ideological differences, and in general for what is curated and what is deemed to be on the platform.
    This is also a concern for the platforms themselves, in that one particular message that comes from a platform can then become part of a mob mentality. People could then really go after it.

  (1250)  

    There is no protection, necessarily, for platforms because there is ambiguity about whether they are responsible for messages on the message board and, if they are, whether they are liable as a newspaper would be. That is the major challenge.
    While I am not convinced, at this point, that we will get algorithmic transparency in that sense, it is important to be able to tell people, “This is our algorithm, this is how messages get on the board. We are not responsible for the messages and, therefore, this is how the system works.” There is no human input. It is just a sophisticated method of getting messages in front of people that they want to see, that they think are interesting and that they find helpful.
    For the most part, I would say we are getting that right. Where there is some concern is about political messaging. We have already seen that Facebook has worked hard on that, but there is always a spectrum, I would say, of political messaging. There is explicit party messaging, which is relatively easy to monitor and manage, but then there is political messaging that goes farther afield. When it is a random, individual Canadian doing political messaging, how is that managed? That is when it will be really important for us to get the algorithmic transparency piece right.
    There is another thing I am interested in seeing and have not seen. Part of the government's rollout on this bill has been pushing freedom from hate and from violent extremism. That is important to me. The managing of the Internet and platforms around violent and degrading sexually explicit material has been something I have worked on in this place. It was in 2017 that the House unanimously passed a motion for the government to study the impacts of violent and degrading sexually explicit material.
    This was something that had not been studied since 1985. I was not even born in 1985, so that tells us it was a long time ago. The member for Fleetwood—Port Kells is shaking his head at me. I am not sure what that belies about me or him, but it was a while back, before I was born and before the Internet existed.
    A study on the impacts of violent and degrading sexually explicit material was done in 1985. I remember distinctly, in 1991, going to my uncle's house. He had gotten the Internet. I had heard about it and said I wanted to see the Internet, so he showed me where the phone line plugged into the wall. I asked if that was it and he said we should look at it. He turned his computer on. It had a giant monitor and a big tower beside his desk that hummed. Members may remember the sound coming through the speaker of dial-up Internet. I remember, for the first time ever, seeing the Internet. We went to dogpile.com, which was an early search engine. That was the beginning of the Internet for me, in 1991.
    Here we are nearly 30 years later, and we are still grappling with how to manage this. It is a public information highway. There are public highways all over the country, and the government manages a licensing system for folks who get to use the public highways and roads. There is no controversy around that. It seems like an effective way to manage it. Given that it is tangible and we can see it in front of us, that is a manageable thing. In reality, we are dealing with the information highway. Up to this point, there has been very little direction on the role of the government in managing the expectations of Canadians.

  (1255)  

    Many parents who I have talked to are looking for tools they can use to protect their children online, and they are not satisfied with being told they should just be better parents. They say they want help from the internet service providers. They want help from their government. They want the ability to have some recourse with these large platforms. I am interested to see that.
     The government says the Internet should be free from hate and violent extremism. That is something that I support notionally. Video imaging is the area where I am most concerned. In the other direction, I am concerned about free speech, and particularly the use of words and typed messaging. That, I guess, is a little harder to manage. However, particularly with images and video content, I think there is a lot of room for the government to operate in, especially with the violent and extremely degrading sexually explicit material that we have seen since 2007.
     Since then, we can chart the impacts of those on Canadian society on a number of different indicators, and they have gotten worse. We see this particularly with our children in terms of the loneliness index going up and the isolation index going up. All of these things are exacerbated by the COVID lockdowns.
    These are all things that we need to ensure come into this. Freedom from hate and violent extremism is necessary, and we have to get that right. This is what governments are built for. This is what we need to do, and we have to get it right, so I am looking forward to continuing debate around that.
    The last thing I want to point out, which I find to be a little interesting, and I am hoping for some answers on from the government side, is this bill, the procedure of the House and how this bill will roll out over time. I must say this bill was unceremoniously dumped on Parliament. I was not anticipating it. I have been working on these issues for a while, and it was not something that was clearly on my radar.
    I had written to the Minister of Canadian Heritage around this issue, and I was wondering how he was going to manage it, because I do remember seeing in his mandate letter that he was to try to remove hate and violent extremism from Canada through the Internet. I had some ideas and concerns around that, so I had written to him about it. I did not receive any feedback back saying the bill is coming, so I was a little surprised that this bill came when it did.
    The other thing that I am really looking for an answer on is why the rumour around here is that this bill will be going to the ethics committee. I am wondering why the bill is going to the ethics committee. This seems like a bill built for the industry committee. That is typically where this would be dealt with, so I am left wondering. The ethics committee is seized with a number of other issues, and I am wondering why this bill would be rumoured to be headed toward the ethics committee, when industry seems like the committee that would be more in tune with where we would like to go with this particular bill.
    I am going to be continuing to monitor the debate around this bill. I am looking forward to having a robust debate. I know that, given the size of the bill, we will be discussing it for a while, whether in this place, in the other place or in the committee, as well as out there in the general public.

  (1300)  

    I know that this will be a hot topic of discussion. I look forward to continuing that debate, and I look forward to the questions.
    Mr. Speaker, the member for Peace River—Westlock and I have worked together for a number of years. In fact, I was complimenting him when he was speaking, as he said some decent things about the government, which is quite unusual. In any event, I want to thank the member for his walking us through, essentially, the history of technology to where we are today.
    In terms of the enforcement mechanisms built into this piece of legislation, could the member comment on its effects and what elements could strengthen that piece? I believe this is a very important tool. Any legislation without proper enforcement would be a failure, but in this case, we have a very robust system in place.
    Mr. Speaker, the jury is still out on the enforcement piece, given this is a brand new piece of legislation and the enforcement tools would be brand new.
    I work a lot in the area of human trafficking and around multi-jurisdictional cases, where many of these players are headquartered in other countries. These multi-jurisdictional cases tend to get very slippery.
    I have concerns, and I am sure the member shares those concerns. While this is a good first attempt, I think we will be constantly updating these particular privacy laws to continue to get the results we are looking for, in both directions, whether it is in overly aggressive fines, or where clear perpetrators are just getting away with it. I think we will be fine-tuning this over the long term.

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question to the member who just spoke.
    My colleague said that he has numerous concerns that are not being addressed by the bill in its essence. If we take the bill for what it is, and not what it is not, we can see that its provisions currently do not apply to the government. As we have seen, the government has not taken all the necessary steps to protect the identity of people making requests.
    What does my colleague think of that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the question is in regard to folks who request their data to be turned over, to be able to see what data a particular company has on them. I think that is a good start.
    In terms of the government, I do believe, if my memory serves me well, that that has been a long-standing process for quite a while already. People can request that information from the government and learn what data the government holds.
    If the member is talking about political parties, that has not been the case. I do not think the bill is dealing with political parties at all. We deal with that in the Elections Act. I think there is an ongoing discussion with the Elections Act around data and data management there. In terms of the spam legislation that was brought in a number of years ago, there are special provisions for political parties there as well, most of which I agree with.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to hear some of my colleague from Alberta's stories.
    There has been some discussion today about new categories of data being exempt from privacy protections. I am wondering if the members feel that is a worrying step, considering that it gives the opportunity for a Liberal government to give away to big tech giants, which we have already seen it is potentially too close to.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member put her finger right on the issue, which is that the coziness between particular governments and particular media platforms is a concern. I talked about that in my speech as well, saying this is something that is not an ideology from the left or the right.
    We see it happening with governments, in particular when they are in power, having a cozy relationship with a particular platform, and how that can sway public opinion on things. I share her concern on that. I think that if she continues to hold her finger on that particular issue, all the rest of the stuff might be spinning around, but that is the crux of the matter.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, just because Google and Facebook exist and are on the Internet, one should not make the assumption that there is this wonderful cozy relationship. Whether it is coming from the Conservatives, New Democrats or the Bloc, it is as if they are trying to say that the government of the day is in the pockets of these groups. I find this interesting, as nothing could be further from the truth. We all know that. That is a reality, and one of the reasons we have the legislation that we have before us. There was a great deal of effort to get here.
    I wonder if my friend across the way would provide his thoughts in regard to some of the work that was done prior? It was done in an apolitical fashion at the standing committee, where there were members from all political parties actually contributing to what we have here today.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member listened to a word of my speech prior to his question, but I would like to point out that Facebook has met with the government over 140 times. This has been widely consulted, as he says, and widely lobbied on as well. He will have to forgive me for doubting his intervention there.
    I know that in some cases a large media company's value can outstrips a nation's value. This is something that we need to manage. In my speech I pointed out that the exact thing the government is in charge of is managing the relationship of its citizens. Corporations are another citizen, and we need to manage the relationships between citizens. I think this is a noble attempt.
    I know that this will be an ongoing conversation. I look forward to seeing where that takes us.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask my colleague a question regarding the interplay of public and private data in agricultural circumstances. One of the challenges that I see with this bill is the disparity that exists between urban and rural Canada.
    I would be curious to know if my friend has considered aspects of the bill, specifically in regard to the private and public data that is used in modern agriculture for small and medium-sized enterprises associated with the developing industry of our egg producers.
    Mr. Speaker, agriculture and data is a growing area of expertise. I would just point out that if someone goes to a John Deere dealership today, one of the things they will see there is a dirt probe. I used to think that John Deere just sold tractors, but today they sell a moisture probe with a weather station on top of it. They will set that up in the field so that a person, via satellite and cellphone, will get real-time information about the soil conditions, soil nutrients and weather conditions of the fields, which may be scattered around the country.
    Martin Deerline, the John Deere dealer in my area, has a whole suite of those data collection agencies. People have to pay a particular monthly fee for that service. Where that data goes and how it is all managed, I am sure, is covered by this bill.
    I look forward to hearing from them at committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I will be splitting my time with the member for Richmond Hill.
    I am speaking here on the traditional unceded lands of the Algonquin people.
     At the outset, I want to thank the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and his team for bringing forward Bill C-11, an act to enact the consumer privacy protection act, CPPA, and the personal information and data protection tribunal act. These are important aspects as we, as a country, address the issues of privacy in relation to the enormous amount of information that is constantly gathered, and exists about all of us.
    We are in an age when with a cellphone we have more information at our disposal than several libraries put together. We are able to access personal information about virtually anyone who has a public profile, and certainly about anyone who has created a profile in one of the major platforms, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn, and the list goes on.
    These have posed obvious questions for all of us as policy-makers or even as individual consumers in terms of how this information is used, how it is reproduced, copied and misused. We have seen the worst of it over the years in platforms like Facebook where information may have been reused over and over again.
    At the centre of this legislation are three major aspects. First and foremost is consumer control over individuals' personal information that is out there.
     Second, it is about innovation. I know the previous speaker spoke about the balancing act that we need in order to ensure free speech and privacy.
    The third element is to make sure that innovation continues. Innovation is absolutely important for a country like Canada. I know many innovators in my community who have done exceptionally well. I have spoken about many of them here. The University of Toronto Scarborough campus has a hub in which many local innovators have come forward and have developed in my riding of Scarborough—Rouge Park.
    Members may know of the company, Knowledgehook. It is a company founded by my good friend Travis Ratnam. The company was just given additional funding of $20 million to expand the program. It is a platform that allows students and teachers to work together to use AI, devise curriculum and make sure that the weaknesses of each student are highlighted to the teachers so that the teachers can respond.
    In all of these new forms of technology, there are questions of privacy. We worry about the relationship between, for example, companies gathering data for the purpose of insurance, whether health, life, or auto insurance, and the data that sometimes is readily captured in our day-to-day use.
    All of these issues have become pronounced during COVID. We see that education, for example, is now online for many students whose parents choose to have their kids study from home via the Internet; or for many post-secondary students who are studying virtually. I always go back to the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, which is located in my riding, but there is also Centennial College, where most of the students are learning virtually. These again have complicated the challenges for ensuring that privacy is maintained.

  (1315)  

    The digital charter that is before us does really allow for consumers to have control over their personal information, and it allows for innovation and a strong enforcement oversight. Sadly, the enforcement aspect has been quite weak in Canada over the years. We do not have adequate enforcement. In fact, technology itself is hard to enforce, whether in Canada or other parts of the world.
    The enforcement mechanism that is built into this legislation is critically important for us to look at. It is what makes this legislation accessible to individuals who may have a complaint. The enforcement mechanism looks to have individuals appointed through the order in council process.
    I want to speak about the way our government, since taking office in 2015, has managed to put together proper processes to appoint individuals to these important bodies, including judiciary and administrative tribunals, but also other bodies that make critical decisions.
    We are focused on ensuring a merit-based system that ensures the individual is fully qualified to make decisions on a particular issue. For me, my work on the Standing Committee on Immigration and Refugees was a great learning experience. I saw first-hand how the IRB was transformed from a patronage-based appointment process to one that is merit-based. We see decisions coming out of the IRB that are fully reflective of the quality of candidates we put on those boards.
    When we look at appointments, it is meritocracy, but also diversity. We note that in previous governments, judicial appointments have often been focused on men. In fact, in the last several years, we have now achieved gender parity. We are looking at enhancing that and we are working toward greater diversity among other groups in Canada, including people with disabilities. I believe the enforcement mechanism is critical and we have taken concrete steps in that regard.
    To note, there are monetary penalties that this tribunal could issue. For example, there is a penalty of 3% of global revenue or $10 million for non-compliant organizations. For a company like Facebook, Google or one of the major outfits, 3% of their global revenues is significant. The maximum penalty is 5% of global revenue or $25 million for certain types of contraventions.
    The government and the Minister of Innovation have brought forward a very important piece of legislation. It appears to have the support of all parties. I am particularly impressed with the data protection tribunal act that is built into this bill and the mechanisms that allow for individuals to access the type of redress that is required.
    I look forward to questions from my friends opposite.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting piece of legislation. One of the questions that was posed earlier in the debate had to do with the fact that political parties are omitted from this legislation and that their use of personal information is not considered. The response provided by the Minister of Industry earlier was that the bill really deals with commercial uses of data, yet I read in the index of the legislation that it also deals with “statistical or scholarly study or research”, “Records of historic or archival importance”, and “artistic or literary purposes”. These are clearly not commercial uses.
    Does the member agree that it is an omission that political parties are not dealt with by the bill?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think many of us have been watching elections overseas in the last several weeks, and I am quite impressed with our Chief Electoral Officer and Elections Canada, which is an independent body that regulates elections. I believe that Elections Canada is well suited to be the arbiter of these issues, particularly with respect to elections. It is definitely an area that our Elections Commissioner will take note of in the coming years.
    Mr. Speaker, to pick up on that point, whether it is Elections Canada or the commissioner, there is opportunity to ensure that these lists are protected, and there are instructions given out to parties, candidates and people who are recipients of the data.
    I do not know, but this may be a better question to ask to the members who put forward the question, whether or not Elections Canada has actually solicited this sort of a recommendation. I am not necessarily aware of it, but I would be very much interested if in fact members of the New Democrats or the Bloc, who have raised this issue, have been in talks with Elections Canada. This is more of a comment than anything else.
    My question to my colleague is more in terms of getting this type of legislation forward and how it would help individual Canadians and businesses going forward, because through this legislation, we would see new regulations to protect our interests. Would he not see that as a very strong positive for all of us?
    Mr. Speaker, every candidate who puts forward their name signs a declaration with Elections Canada about privacy and on the information that we receive from Elections Canada, and so I think that there are mechanisms in place with Elections Canada to address some of the privacy concerns.
    Obviously, with respect to this particular piece of legislation, I do want to reiterate the enforcement mechanism, which is critical, but enforcement sometimes is inaccessible to the average Canadian. I believe that the tribunal process that is set up here would allow individual Canadians to access some closure and support for challenges that they may have with a breach of privacy.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting point that was raised about Elections Canada.
     I believe that Elections Canada has strong rules around the use of the voters list, but, of course, political parties collect personal information using so many other means. It is the regulation of that other information that is particularly germane and could be covered under this piece of legislation, which is something that we have been pushing for.
    Could the member comment on the omission of any treatment of that kind of information?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe these are the types of questions that ought to be brought up at committee, and I do think that it is a valid concern. Again, back to Elections Canada, when we look at the governance of political parties, at third party advertising and all the different measures that our government in the last Parliament and previously has put forward, I do think that Elections Canada is best equipped to address the issues of privacy, which are absolutely valid. I appreciate the question, but I do think it should be within that purview.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about the digital charter implementation act, 2020. I want to talk specifically about the balanced approach to the compliance and enforcement set out in the consumer privacy protection act, also known as the CPPA.
    Canadians have told us they want to see strong consequences for those who mishandle their personal information. Financial consequences can be an important tool in protecting Canadians’ privacy, but so is helping organizations comply with the law at the outset.
    I am pleased to say that the CPPA takes a very balanced approach to compliance and enforcement. It would help companies get privacy right from the ground up, and takes a phased approach to enforcement to correct problems as soon as they are discovered. The CPPA would incentivize organizations to get their practices right from the start, and the Privacy Commissioner would have a prominent role in supporting these organizations.
    Under the CPPA, businesses would be able to approach the Privacy Commissioner for a no-risk review of their privacy management program and help them comply with the law. The commissioner could also ask to review their business programs, without using what he finds in an enforcement action. This is a very important step in early correction of problems. Under the current privacy regime, companies subject to the law are already required to establish a privacy management program, which would be maintained in the CPPA.
    Privacy management programs can cover a wide range of issues, such as how companies handle service providers or third parties that support their businesses, how they respond to security breaches, privacy risks assessments, mitigation measures undertaken, and so on.
    However, what is new is enabling the Privacy Commissioner to have a look at these policies and practices outside of an investigation. This would provide a safe space in which the commissioner could provide advice and companies could quickly take action. At the same time, the commissioner would benefit from examples of the challenges organizations are facing and their needs in the privacy space.
    We know Canadian companies, especially smaller ones and those starting out, will be very interested in these changes.
    The CPPA would also recognize not all organizations are the same. Some deal with minimal amounts of personal information, and for others it is central to their business model. Therefore, the CPPA would allow organizations to develop their programs according to the volume and sensitivity of the personal information they handle, as well as a company’s revenues.
    The Privacy Commissioner has had a long-standing role in undertaking research and publishing guidance. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry has also long had the ability to ask the commissioner to conduct research on privacy issues. This ability would remain in the CPPA. However, the minister would now be able to ask the commissioner to conduct research into the implementation or operation of the act. This would help the government know how well the law is functioning.
    The Privacy Commissioner has prepared a lot of guidance materials over the years. We support this vital role. We want to reinforce a long-standing practice of the Privacy Commissioner to consult with stakeholders in guidance development. This practice would now exist in law so that guidance can be informed by what is happening on the ground.
    The Privacy Commissioner would also consult with government institutions where relevant. There may be times when government policy may be implicated, such as with trade policies or public health.
    These past months have shown us how vital it is for federal organizations to have a unified response on our most pressing challenges. By legislating, we are providing certainty to Canadians that guidance has been discussed with those on the ground.
    I have stated how the bill would ensure organizations build privacy considerations from the start. Working with organizations and giving guidance individually is a fundamental role of the Privacy Commissioner. We want to avoid any problems, but there will be organizations that do not get things right.

  (1330)  

    The law provides individuals with the right to challenge an organization’s compliance with the law, and it allows them to file complaints with the Privacy Commissioner. This is an important exercise of their privacy rights, and the Privacy Commissioner retains his ability to initiate a complaint investigation where there are reasonable grounds to do so. The CPPA would also encourage the resolution of problems as early in the process as possible, and the bill would provide for dispute resolution.
     Compliance agreements, a new tool introduced under PIPEDA, would remain in the CPPA. Companies are encouraged to come to the table to work out an agreement with the commissioner, without resorting to more formal measures such as orders. If no resolution is possible under PIPEDA, the commissioner would make recommendations at the end of an investigation and the matter may go to court. The court would then start again, with a new proceeding, and maybe it would issue an order. Few cases have gone that route, however.
    Under the CPPA, the commissioner would be able to issue orders as well. To ensure fairness, a new process, called an inquiry, internal to the Privacy Commissioner’s office, would be introduced prior to issuing orders. Once the inquiry is over, the commissioner would issue his findings and decisions and may make orders to an organization to change its practices to bring it into compliance.
    The Privacy Commissioner may also recommend administrative monetary penalties, or AMPs, to a new tribunal for certain contraventions of the CPPA. The personal information and data protection tribunal would hear any appeals of the commissioner’s decision and, if required, would decide whether to issue an AMP and, if so, the amount.
    In our consultations, many industry stakeholders expressed concern over AMPs, which have the potential to significantly affect an organization’s bottom line and even put smaller companies out of business altogether. By introducing an inquiry phase before issuing orders, and by separating the imposition of AMPs from the commissioner’s other responsibilities, the CPPA would support additional due diligence in decisions to impose AMPs.
    We anticipate that some organizations will challenge the commissioner’s orders and recommendations. We do not wish to burden the courts. This is another reason for introducing a new tribunal. It is intended to be less formal than the court and ease access to justice for organizations and individuals. After the tribunal issues a decision, if an organization or individual wants to, they could proceed to federal court and request judicial review.
    As my colleagues can see, overall this is a very balanced and phased approach. The CPPA would place strong emphasis on proactive compliance activities, such as reviews of the privacy management programs, guidance development and consultation. When there are possible contraventions, the goal is resolution. If that cannot be achieved, matters would become more formal. This graduated approach to enforcement is built on the foundations of fairness, transparency and meaningful opportunities on all sides to achieve compliance, which is what we know Canadians want.
    Many have said that Canada’s private sector privacy law needs more teeth. The digital charter implementation act, 2020, would give it that, and it would do it in a way that organizations that want to do the right thing have the incentive to do so from the start.
    I am thankful for the opportunity to speak about how this important bill works to address Canadians' concerns in a measured way.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to my friend about the enforcement mechanisms. What are the major aspects of them that would allow individual consumers to get results through a complaint process?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank the member for sharing his time with me and for his great intervention earlier.
    I noticed the member talked extensively about enforcement. He highlighted that the legislation would provide administrative monetary penalties of up to 3% of global revenue or $10 million for non-compliant organizations. Also, it contains an expanded range of offences for certain serious contraventions of the law, subject to the maximum of 5% of global revenue or $25 million.
    These are some of the enforcement mechanisms that will be accessible once the process has been completed.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, does the member believe there has been adequate consultation regarding this legislation, particularly with the provinces that have their own privacy acts covered under PIPEDA?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that yes, there has been sufficient consultation. The genesis of the bill goes back to 2000, and through the progress of time, there have been a number of consultations, in 2017 and 2019.
    As the member is quite aware, a number of provinces have legislation equivalent to PIPEDA or the CPPA. The most important thing is that all levels of government are working together to ensure that the privacy of individuals' personal information is protected.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will ask the same question I previously asked another hon. member. It is about data security.
    The bill targets private companies. With the CERB, we recently saw that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were victims of fraud. When they receive their notice of assessment in April or May, they will learn that they owe money because they did not qualify for the CERB and collected it illegally.
    If the government is working on cleaning up privacy laws in the private sector, why not put its own data protection system in order?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a very important question for many Canadians, as news continuously provides updates on non-compliance. There are a number of individuals who are non-compliant.
    I believe the initial rollout of the program was related to data that needed privacy protection from various government levels. This is a great opportunity for us to explore other dimensions of government bodies that are dealing with the privacy of information and how they will manage it. I am looking forward to hearing testimony about this at committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to rise today to speak to Bill C-11.
    We are surrounded by data that seems to be out of control, lost by corporations, sometimes stolen from governments. Data that we voluntarily give up about ourselves is being collected billions of bytes at a colossal rate. It has a tremendous impact on our privacy and what is being calculated or inferred about us in our daily lives, such if we have a good credit rating, or if we can buy a car or when we go for drinks with a colleague. All of this is very much apparent today, particularly during this health crisis when people are definitely at home and using the Internet to a greater extent.
     Everything we do today has some impact on data. Whether we take an Uber or order a meal, that data is collected. Quite frankly, we need to ensure people's privacy is protected.
    Why does privacy matter? It is a question that has arisen in the context of this global debate, made worse by this pandemic, where millions around the world have come to rely on computers to carry out a function for their very lives. When we hear arguments about Internet privacy. A lot of what we hear about this mass surveillance is that there is no real harm due to this large-scale invasion, that people have nothing to hide. Those engaging in bad acts have a reason to want to hide and care about their privacy.
    This is presupposed on the assumption that there are good and bad people in the world. Bad people who plot to take down governments and plan public attacks are the people who have reason to care about their privacy. By contrast, there are good people, people who go to work, pay taxes, care for their children and use the Internet, not to plot civil destruction but to read the news and find recipes. These people are doing nothing wrong and have no reason to hide.
    In a 2009 interview of the long-time CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, when asked about the different ways his company was causing the invasion of privacy for hundreds of millions of people around the world, he said, “If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.” There are many issues with this statement, one being that this is the very Eric Schmidt who blocked his employees at Google from speaking with the online Internet magazine CNET after it published an article full of personal private information, which was obtained exclusively through Google search and Google products.
    A few short decades of the Internet, once held as an unparalleled tool of democracy liberalization, have been converted into an unparalleled zone of mass indiscriminate collection. Enter 2018, when the EU has set the global standard for privacy regulation with the flagship general data protection regulations, known as GDPR, signalling to Canada that our 1990s era of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act did not have the teeth to take on big tech.
    Bill C-11 would bring in additional privacy regulations. Replacing PIPEDA with CCPA would provide an opportunity for greater detail within the law rather than just relying on the interpretations of the Privacy Commissioner. This is a good thing.
    The structure will include a personal information and data protection tribunal that will play a key enforcement role by reviewing all commissioner decisions and issue penalties for non-compliance. There will be an expert tribunal composed of three to six members, but interestingly enough it says there may be only one expert, which may be a deficiency in the act.
    What are these new privacy rights? One is data mobility. Subject to regulations, on the request of an individual, an organization must, as soon as feasible, disclose the personal information that is collected from an individual and to an organization designated by the individual. Data mobility is a fact of life and this is a good thing. What format that data will be transferred in will need to be discussed.
     On algorithmic transparency, if the organization has used an automated decision process to make a prediction or recommendation, then the organization must, on the request of an individual, provide an explanation of the prediction, recommendation or decision and the personal information that was used to make the prediction. It seems like a reasonable intent and is something it should be able to do without giving up the code.

  (1345)  

    With respect to de-identification, the bill states:
    An organization that de-identifies personal information must ensure that any technical and administrative measures applied to the information are proportionate to the purpose for which the information is de-identified...
    Then there is the new enforcement. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will have the order-making power that will enable the office to order compliance with the law and recommend significant penalties.
    I should mention I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre.
    In some cases, the recommended penalties are the highest in the G7, so they are significant. The expanded range of offences for contraventions of the law are a maximum fine of 5% for a global revenue of $25 million. There are administrative penalties as well.
    One of the issues I see with this is that the legislation and penalties invoke fear, but there will be a question of whether there is adequate teeth for enforcement.
    The law includes whistleblowing provisions that protect those who have disclosed alleged privacy non-compliance and a private right of action that will allow individuals to seek damages for loss or injury suffered through privacy violations.
    There are new standards of consent. This has been a big issue for individuals. How many people have signed up to a site, with three pages of disclosure to which they are supposed to consent? I would argue that very few people will actually read that kind of detail. Therefore, there is an attempt within the legislation to use clear language and simplified consent. Given the depth of the legislation, that may be a difficult thing to achieve, but is a worthwhile goal.
    Deceptive practices to obtain consent with false or misleading information renders the consent invalid and individuals can withdraw their consent at any time. There is the question of whether people are providing consent for multiple activities or just an individual activity. That should be clarified.
    The realm of data is largely uncharted territory and we find ourselves asking the question of who owns our data. Our opinion is that people own their data and they should own their data.
    The word “consent” is mentioned 108 times in the GDPR. In the first reading of Bill C-11, it was mentioned 118 times. This sounds great. Who could possibly be against the consent of data? Challenging consent seems counterintuitive in the world of privacy because it is so linked to us and our autonomy. However, it is both impractical and undesirable and serves to explain why our privacy law is in such a sorry state. It is imperative the legislation is written with as little room for interpretation as possible.
    There are some standards within that bill. It states:
    An organization may collect or use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if the collection or use is made for a business activity described in subsection (2)...
    Under that subsection, it states:
(a) a reasonable person would expect such a collection or use for that activity; and
(b) the personal information is not collected or used for the purpose of influencing the individual’s behaviour or decisions.
    The issue is this. If that is subject to interpretation, we could have a pretty broad interpretation of what it says. Hopefully this act, with the regulations that follow, will clearly define what is in and what is out.
    At the end of the day, if we are using services, many services are disrupting, shaping and helping our lives in ways we could not have possibly imagined mere decades ago. Whether we like it or not, it is big tech that has provided these realities for us and the government should, as with any other key stakeholder, create meaningful, effective and collaborative policy but require consultation. It is one thing to consult in front, but now that we have legislation, we need to ensure we get it right. We need to ensure that industry, particularly small businesses, remain competitive. The bill is being sent for review to the privacy and ethics committee. There is a strong argument that industry committee should have a look at this bill as well.
     Therefore, proper consultation must happen. There is nothing wrong with doing that. I hope the government will ensure the bill is properly consulted on.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the issue of enforcement. Could the member talk to us about the elements of the bill that are critically focused on enforcement and what, if any, changes could we look at to strengthen it? It is a very strong starting point, one that will make complaints accessible to the average consumer. I would like my friend's comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, what is in the act, with the increased fines, certainly provides somewhat of a deterrent. People are going to look at those fines. Then it becomes the reality of how do we ensure we enforce those fines. This is a new system with this tribunal. It looks like there is the potential for it to have more lay persons on it than actual experts in the field, which concerns me. I am concerned that this is the fear of enforcement to try and derive the result needed. There have to be adequate provisions within this act to ensure bad players are held accountable.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, the regulation-making power we give the government through legislation, in some sense, requires us to trust the government to put those regulations in place in a way that respects the public interest. The challenge we have when it comes to privacy is the that government does not have a great track record with respect to its own actions and its respect for privacy. This raises some concerns about whether we trust the government to enact these regulations in an effective way and properly enforce them.
    Does the member have further comments on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I have the same concerns. The track record is not there with the government as it relates to privacy. We have seen this in a variety of different areas where it has not taken this sort of thing serious. That is all the more reason the bill needs significant review to ensure we get it right.
    Mr. Speaker, on that particular point, I would remind the member opposite that the legislation before us today went through a lengthy process of having all forms of consultations with many different stakeholders, industry leaders and even our standing committee, which has also incorporated many thoughts within the legislation.
    I have heard that in the last two years information on the Internet has almost doubled. We can only imagine what it will be two or three years from now. This type of legislation is badly needed and it is a good starting point at the very least. Would the member not agree?
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely, it is valuable, but it really raises the question about why the Liberals would prorogue Parliament. Why would we not get on with these things? This is the kind of legislation that has been delayed. The government has been studying it. It is one thing to take consultation before developing legislation, but it one's interpretation of what was heard from the consultation. Until we actually hear from people on what they think, now that they see this legislation in writing, we cannot necessarily determine if it will get to the goals to which we aspire.
    Mr. Speaker, another concern I hear from Canadians is about threats to their privacy from foreign actors, perhaps foreign state actors, and the need for the government to respond to that threat.
    Does the member have a comment on how the legislation would impact concerns about foreign threats to our privacy?
    Mr. Speaker, there are no specifics in this particular act that would deal with that directly. That is all the more reason this particular piece of legislation needs more study.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Uighur Muslims in China

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise the plight of over three million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims who are interned in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China. The Chinese government continues to subject them and other Turkic Muslims to forced labour, physical and psychological torture, and forced organ harvesting. Uighur women suffer forcible sterilization.
    The Chinese government's method of political and anti-religious indoctrination, destruction of cultural sites and forcing Uighurs to denounce themselves as Muslims is akin to cultural genocide. I call on all our allies and partners to demand the closure of the concentration camps and the release of all detainees. I urge the passage of Bill S-204, which would criminalize organ trafficking and make it a punishable offence for Canadians to partake in transplant tourism.

  (1400)  

Youth Leadership

    Mr. Speaker, as the world grapples with the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, young people are demonstrating their continued leadership.
     In my riding, one of those leaders is Owen Durk. He is a grade seven student from Sir Isaac Brock Public School who safely organized a neighbourhood food drive this past week in support of the Guelph Food Bank. In just one day, Owen and his family collected over 325 pounds of food that will help people in our community to overcome hunger during this holiday season.
    I want to thank Owen for the care and kindness he has shown for others. I encourage all Canadians who can to support their local food banks. I congratulate Owen and ask him to keep up the great work.

Edward Humeniuk

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember Edward Humeniuk.
     Edward was a true pioneer of the Alberta oil sands. As an inventor, Edward played a significant role in developing state-of-the-art technology crucial to separating waste from bitumen. This technology has helped shape the oil sands refining process, and this process is still utilized today.
    Alberta oil sands are the cornerstone of the Canadian economy. Every year, they generates billions in revenue for the government and create tens of thousands of jobs across our country. The oil produced is used to heat our homes, power our cars and create products we use every single day.
    Like many others of his generation, Edward Humeniuk's work was an integral part of getting our province and our country to where it is today.

[Translation]

Sudbury

    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians, including my constituents in Sudbury, deserve a safe and affordable home. That is why the Government of Canada is working with the City of Greater Sudbury to redevelop a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment into affordable housing.
    Yesterday, on behalf of the minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, I joined Brian Bigger, the mayor of Greater Sudbury, to announce that the federal government is spending $566,000 to acquire the building on Sparks Street. The city will build a community housing building with 14 affordable housing units.

[English]

    Last year, again on behalf of CMHC, I announced a $1.36-million investment in the Wade Hampton House in Sudbury. Operated by March of Dimes Canada, it provides affordable and supportive homes to at least 12 individuals with moderate to severe brain injury.
     As we know, Canada's new rapid housing initiative will keep some of Canada's most vulnerable people and families safe, including many in Sudbury. That is why we will continue making these historic investments in affordable housing across the country.

[Translation]

Twelve Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, from tomorrow until December 6, we will be observing the 12 days of action to end violence against women. This year, the campaign is running against the backdrop of the pandemic.
    The lockdown has made things even more difficult for victims of domestic violence, and the Fédération des maisons d'hébergement pour femmes, which represents women's shelters across Quebec, has launched an appeal aimed directly at men. The Fédération is urging men to speak out if they witness violence happening in the workplace, to a friend or family member, or in public, or if they witness unacceptable behaviour such as sexist or violent jokes.
     Men are also encouraged to sign an online pledge to end violence against women and to share the campaign handouts challenging other men to get involved.
    Manon Monastesse, the director of the Fédération, said, “It is important for men to get involved. We will never be able to end violence against women without men. They need to model good behaviour for young men.”
    I encourage everyone to don a white ribbon, the universal symbol for this campaign, because everyone needs to know that violence may not always leave a mark, but it always hurts. Now is the time to act.

[English]

Oil and Gas Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has embarked on a campaign to reset our economic system. He parrots the language used by global elites, telling Canadians that he needs to use this pandemic in order to build back better. The problem with this radical agenda, however, is that it leaves Canadians in the lurch.
     Sadly, the criteria for the Prime Minister's better future is purposefully killing off industries that do not resonate with his reimagined envisioned world. Supporting the Canadian energy sector will not get him into the suave parties held in Davos or a seat on the UN Security Council, so in his mind the industry is not worth investing in. As a proclaimed environmentalist, his anti-energy campaign is dumbfounding because Canada's oil and gas industry actually has some of the highest environmental standards in the world. By restricting Canada's energy he is indirectly boosting production in other countries where environmental protections do not exist and where human rights atrocities happen daily.
    The Prime Minister would rather have unethical blood oil shipped into our country, rather than have ethically produced oil shipped out. If the Prime Minister truly wants to build back better for Canadians, he must change his tune and he must start supporting this local industry.

  (1405)  

Iran

    Mr. Speaker, exactly one year ago, thousands of Iranians exercised their fundamental right to peaceful protest following an abrupt increase in the price of fuel. These peaceful protests were met by a brutal government crackdown, leading to the death of over 300 innocent civilians and dozens upon dozens of arbitrary arrests. Two months later, Flight 752, carrying 176 passengers and crew, was mercilessly shot down over the skies of Tehran by two missiles fired by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
    This abhorrent pattern of behaviour is further reflected in the unjust treatment of the iconic Nasrin Sotoudeh, the human rights lawyer, and the horrific execution of Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old wrestling champion. These atrocities by the Iranian regime should not be ignored. No Iranian deserves to live amidst constant repression day after day, week after week and year after year.
     For all these reasons, I would like to thank our government for sponsoring a resolution at the United Nations condemning the flagrant disregard for human rights by the Iranian regime. The international community should never look the other way. We must continue to hold the Iranian government to account and demand that it immediately end terrorizing its own people.

Airline Industry

    Mr. Speaker, we know that the pandemic has hit the air industry hard and we stand ready to deliver financial assistance and other supports. As the Minister of Transport previously announced, our government is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector.
    However, I have heard from many constituents who have been negatively affected by airline refund policies related to COVID. Many are frustrated that they are stuck with vouchers for trips that they cannot even take due to COVID. They are essentially providing interest-free loans in the thousands of dollars to the airline industry and that is just not right.
    I am pleased that the minister indicated that no taxpayer money will be going to the airline until we receive a commitment around refunds and until we can ensure continued regional connectivity. As a government, we must protect important industries as well as all Canadians and their interests. That is exactly what we shall do.

Global Nexus for Pandemics

    Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the impact infectious disease can have on our population, society and economy. These diseases pose an existential threat to Canada.
    Before COVID-19, there was H1N1, SARS, Norwalk, West Nile, Ebola, measles and polio all within the last 50 years. Although the next biological threat is inevitable, the ability to cause human and economic devastation is not. For that reason, McMaster University recently announced the timely launch of the Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats in Hamilton, Ontario.
    The Global Nexus brings together leaders from a multitude of disciplines all devoted to one goal: preventing future pandemics and mitigating global health threats. Along with the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery, the Global Nexus will build on McMaster’s record of being a leader in comprehensive infectious disease research.
    We know the threats and solutions to serious health challenges are often found outside the lab. The work of McMaster’s Global Nexus will create a bulwark against future biological threats to protect Canada and the world.

[Translation]

Max Gros-Louis

    Mr. Speaker, Thursday was the final day of funeral ceremonies in Wendake to honour Grand Chief Max Oné Onti Gros-Louis of the Huron-Wendat Nation. For three days, hundreds of people came to pay their respects and honour his memory. I know that there have been many tributes to him in the House, but I humbly wanted to add my own.
    Since I come from Sainte-Foy and I represent the riding of Louis-Hébert, which is part of the Nionwentsïo, the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat Nation, it is important for me to pay one last tribute to this charismatic, rugged man who governed his nation for more than 30 years and helped unite the first nations peoples, whom he spent his whole life proudly and honourably defending both in Quebec and in Canada, as well as on the world stage.
    It is a duty that he always fulfilled with wisdom and simplicity. His life was a shining example, an inspiration to guide others. He was the type of man who had a sense of history and his place in the hereafter.
    Grand Chief Gros-Louis, tiawenhk.

  (1410)  

[English]

Israel

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations rejected the preamble to the first resolution in this year's annual barrage of one-sided, prejudicial, anti-Israel resolutions sponsored by countries properly characterized as jackals of the world's body, but directed by the Liberal government, he voted for it.
    Canada's leading Jewish organizations had pleaded before the vote to withhold support for regimes focused not on peaceful pursuit of a two-state solution but on demonizing and delegitimizing the state of Israel.
    The Deputy Prime Minister tried to justify the vote, proclaiming “Canada will always stand with Israel,” but she also suggested obliquely that Canada's side-taking was really a vote against populism, authoritarianism and rights abuse.
    Really? Canada broke with long-standing policy again to vote against Israel and support a resolution sponsored by Venezuela, Syria and North Korea.

Lobster Fishery

    Mr. Speaker, the small, beautiful fishing villages that dot West Nova from Lower East Pubnico to Digby are getting ready to head back to the sea for the all-important District 34 lobster season.
    When bigger boats are tying up for the winter, Canada's most important fishery gets under way. Fishers have worked hard to provide a moderate living for their families, and they once again brave the cold, and sometimes angry, north Atlantic.
    To add to the normal anxiety that a new season brings, these fishers find themselves in the middle of a fishing crisis created by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans' inaction. The crisis has taken disproportionate turns. Violence took the dialogue space and is still a constant threat between commercial and indigenous fishers.
    I flagged this very important and sensitive issue to the minister months ago, so commercial and indigenous fishers could continue to work together safely and with understanding. We are still waiting for answers, and the minister's lack of leadership is unacceptable and shameful.
    I want to reiterate my support for all fishers in West Nova who are deeply affected by this crisis, and I continue my work to ensure that it comes to an end quickly and peacefully. Good luck to all the fishers with their upcoming fishing season, and please stay safe.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, with COVID-19 rates skyrocketing, the stress on young people and recent graduates is incredible. They lost their summer employment, they have few job options, and those available are often low-paying and put them at risk for COVID-19.
    Recent graduates from the University of Alberta, King's University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, all post-secondary institutions in my riding, are struggling to get by. By rushing to give almost $1 billion that was supposed to go to students to their well-connected friends, the Liberal government has left students and recent graduates in the lurch.
     At the urging of the NDP, the government implemented a moratorium on student loan repayments in the spring to give some relief to recent graduates. However, as of September 30, the student loan moratorium ended, despite Canada's descent into a second wave. Extending the interest-free moratorium on student loan repayments could make the difference recent graduates need to get through the winter. Canadians can count on New Democrats to fight for young people, pausing loan payments and getting rid of interest on student loans altogether.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, today the appeal court began hearing the challenge to Quebec's Bill 99 on its right to self-determination.
    The Bloc Québécois would like to reiterate that the Quebec people have an inalienable right to self-determination. We want to reiterate that democracy means 50% of the votes plus one vote. We want to reiterate that the Quebec people are the only masters of their future, which will be decided in the National Assembly and not here. We strongly condemn the federal government's participation in this attack on Quebeckers' freedom of choice. We denounce the Government of Canada for participating in a course of action that is tantamount to authoritarianism. We denounce the fact that, once again, Ottawa is using Quebec taxpayers' money to fund its bid to violate their rights.
    I will close by quoting staunch federalist Robert Bourassa, who said that no matter what anyone says or does, Quebec is and always will be a distinct and free society capable of taking charge of its own destiny.

  (1415)  

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, history will judge the Prime Minister on his treatment of both female cabinet ministers and MPs during his tenure. It is easy to say the right words and throw the feminism label around, but it is actions that tell the story.
    It is now clear that an internal pattern of behaviour is extending into the Liberals' approach to governing. Not only did the Liberals ignore the Wet'suwet'en elected chiefs when they negotiated the memorandum of understanding, they completely disregarded the Wet’suwet’en Matriarchal Coalition. These women simply wanted jobs for their people. They were stripped of their hereditary titles by male chiefs who then gave the titles to men who opposed the GasLink project. This has forced them to go to the Canadian and B.C. human rights tribunals.
    Disregarding these female leaders is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand. It is time for the Prime Minister to walk the talk and stop ignoring those who deserve to be at the negotiating table.

National Housing Day

    Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday marked National Housing Day in Canada, and a time to reflect on where we are in our mission to reduce homelessness and provide all Canadians with a safe and affordable place to call home.
    Our Liberal government has invested across Canada to increase access and affordability to housing through the recent launch of the billion-dollar rapid housing initiative, the $105 million investment in our reaching home program, the increased funding for on-reserve housing, the launch of the first-ever, 10-year Inuit housing investment fund and the increased federal transfers to provinces and territories. We have stepped up, and we continue to create solutions to homelessness and housing affordability. Our national housing strategy is a 10-year plan that helped 530,000 families find safe, affordable housing and reduce homelessness.
    Reducing homelessness and providing Canadians with affordable housing is a priority for our government, and we are going to continue to work hard to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home.

Diabetes Awareness Month

    Mr. Speaker, November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of supporting Canadians living with diabetes.
    This month I had the pleasure of meeting Raina, a young Orleans constituent with type 1 diabetes, and the delegate for JDRF. I was quite impressed with her presentation as part of JDRF's awareness campaign, and I congratulate her for her commitment to helping those suffering from juvenile diabetes.
    As co-chair of the all-party caucus on juvenile diabetes, I support the work of JDRF Canada in partnership with CIHR. Their professionalism and stewardship led to many advancements, giving Canadians living with type 1 diabetes a better quality of life.
    This year, as we celebrate 100 years of insulin, thanks to Canadian scientists Banting and Best, we are reminded that insulin is no cure, and that only by supporting research can we get closer to eliminating juvenile diabetes.
    Before moving on, I just want to remind the hon. members that S.O. 31s are 60 seconds long. I noticed they went over, and they are good messages so I did not want to interrupt. Unfortunately, we do not want to postpone question period because everyone is looking forward to it.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the government always claims to stand with our long-time ally Israel, until it matters. Once again the Liberals voted against Israel at the United Nations. When asked to explain her vote, the Deputy Prime Minister compared Israel to authoritarian regimes.
    Will the Prime Minister demand an apology for the Deputy Prime Minister's insult of an ally of Canada?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is a strong ally and a close friend of Israel. We are committed to the goal of a lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state peacefully side by side with Israel. We are consistent with the Canadian position long held by governments of all political stripes. Canada's vote was a reflection of our long-standing commitment to the right of self-determination for both the Palestinian people and for Israelis.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is consistent in disappointing our allies. The Liberals voted against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Even Michael Levitt, who was a Liberal MP, just weeks ago criticized the vote and said that it demonizes Israel. Maybe that is why he left this chamber. Now Mr. Levitt's former colleagues are comparing Israel to an authoritarian regime.
    Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to publicly disavow the comments from the Deputy Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, as a government we have consistently stood up in support of Israel, in defence of our friend and ally, and we will continue to. We have stood up consistently against the illegitimate singling-out of Israel through one-sided votes at the United Nations. We have continued to do that, but we also recognize the right of Palestinian self-determination, which is something we recognized in that recent vote, while at the same time oppose the broad efforts to single out and delegitimize Israel.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told the House that Canadians would be the first in line to receive the vaccine. Today, he admitted we are going to be behind many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Reuters is even reporting that Mexico will receive a vaccine before Canadians.
    How many more months will it take to flatten the curve because the Prime Minister has been unable to rapidly secure a vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Leader of the Opposition might not have been following this too closely, but Canada is actually being lauded as one of the countries that has achieved the best and largest portfolio of potential vaccines for its citizens. We are not certain yet which vaccines from which companies are going to be most effective or are going to arrive first, so Canada stepped up and has secured millions of doses of vaccines for Canadians that will be arriving in the coming months.
    We are going to continue to ensure that Canadians get the protection they need so we can get through this pandemic together.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, the Conservatives have been sounding the alarm that this government sent us to the back of the line for vaccines. Today, the Prime Minister admitted that Canada is behind the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and others.
    How much longer will Canadians have to wait because this slow government put us at the back of the line?
    The opposite is true, Mr. Speaker.
    Since the beginning, we have been negotiating and signing contracts with a record number of companies that could produce a vaccine, because we know that we need to make sure Canadians have access to millions of doses of the vaccine and we do not know exactly which company will produce which vaccine quickly and most efficiently. That is why we created one of the best portfolios of potential vaccines in the world. As I said, we will be able to deliver vaccines to Canadians in early 2021.
    Mr. Speaker, on September 30, the Prime Minister promised the House that Canada would be the first country to get a vaccine.
    Two months later, he is admitting that he was wrong. He does not have priority access to the vaccine. We are still at the back of the line. The first Americans will be vaccinated in a few weeks.
    When will Canadians be able to get vaccinated?
    Mr. Speaker, I completely understand why Canadians want to know when the vaccines will arrive.
    It is because we are all very eager to turn the page on this pandemic. That is why it is so important to keep distancing. That is why the federal government is working with the provinces so that they can impose restrictions that will help flatten the curve, and that is why Canada made sure to secure more vaccines per capita than any other country. It is because our government has demonstrated that we are able to manage this pandemic and help Canadians.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, none of the Prime Minister's answers to my esteemed colleague's questions are even remotely valid.
    Allow me to summarize: Canadians and Quebeckers will not be getting the vaccines at the same time as other western powers, period. The health of thousands of people is at stake. Let's face facts: The longer we wait, the more lives will be at stake. The Prime Minister is making up excuses for the inexcusable.
    Will the Prime Minister fix his mistake and immediately enter into negotiations to ensure that Canadians and Quebeckers get the vaccine at the same time as the Germans, the Americans and the Brits?
    Mr. Speaker, we knew from the beginning that we would have challenges because, unlike the Germans, the Americans and the Brits, we do not have the capacity for mass vaccine production in Canada.
    We therefore had to secure larger quantities of vaccines than those other countries, and that is exactly what we did. We were even criticized by the international media for the quantity of vaccines we managed to secure. We have the best portfolio of vaccines of many countries around the world.
    We have done our job to ensure that Canadians receive vaccines quickly and with certainty, even in these extremely uncertain times—
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    Mr. Speaker, quantity is not the issue. The issue is when, and when is a major problem.
    By waffling, hinting and leaving things unsaid, the Prime Minister is letting us know that Quebeckers and Canadians will have to wait, they will have to be sick, and in some cases, things will get worse.
    He is blaming it on the pharmaceutical industry, but why was Canada's pharmaceutical industry not in the race? Maybe the Liberals should be asking themselves that question.
    Who negotiated those bad agreements? Was it the same people who go around thinking they can lecture everyone else, including the provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, we are not here to lecture the provinces. We are here to work with the provinces. That is why we delivered record amounts of PPE and a record number of tests. That is also why we transferred $25 billion to the provinces to help get kids back to school and ensure a safe reopening.
    We will be there to work closely with the provinces and to help businesses and people as we go through this process. We have a plan and an approach. We have promised to always be there for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise. People are worried about their families and about their health. The U.S. and England have announced a plan to distribute a vaccine as early as next week.
    Why is the Prime Minister making Canadians wait? What is Canada's game plan? When will Canadians have a vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have secured access to more vaccines than any other country.
    We have the best portfolio of vaccines and we have purchased up to millions and hundreds of millions of doses of potential vaccines. We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and reduce the number of cases in order to protect Canadians.
    That is why we are also working to ensure that the provinces have rapid tests, that we have PPE and that Canadians and Canadian businesses everywhere have the support they need.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. People across the country are afraid. Communities are afraid, communities like Nunavut, where under-resourcing puts people at an extreme risk. The United States and England have announced plans to roll out vaccines as early as next week.
    What is the plan in Canada? Can the Prime Minister let Canadians know what the plan is? When will Canada receive the vaccine?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite well knows, Canada has successfully signed contracts to have the best portfolio of potential vaccines of any of our peer countries around the world. We have done this to ensure that Canadians have access to a vaccine regardless of which vaccine companies land first or which vaccine companies have the best vaccine. We needed to make sure that Canadians would have access to these vaccines. That is exactly what we have done.
    We are working with partners, including the provinces and territories, to ensure that vaccine distribution will be rapid and seamless, and as I have said a number of times before, the vaccine will be entirely free.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last week the House of Commons passed our Conservative motion asking the government for a robust plan to, among other things, combat Communist China's growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians. The Liberals are clearly scared and intimidated by the CCP, and they voted against it.
    Yesterday when we asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to say if he will respect the democratic will of Parliament, he gave no answer, so I am going to ask the Prime Minister this: Will he show some intestinal fortitude and, after five years, present a plan to deal with the threat of the Chinese Communist Party?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to foreign policy, there should be much political debate. I answered, yesterday morning, over two hours of questions, more questions than any minister has ever answered on China.
    Our policy is very simple: to be firm and smart. That is what we have done when it comes to the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and obtaining consular access to them. That is what we did, being firm and smart, when it came to Hong Kong and standing up for the freedoms and liberties of the people of Hong Kong. If the Leader of the Opposition would speak to them, he would see that Canada was at the forefront of defending the freedoms and liberties of the people of Hong Kong.
    Mr. Speaker, speaking of yesterday, to add insult to injury, the foreign affairs minister said that Canadians who feel intimidated or threatened by bad CCP actors should simply call their local police. At the very same time, right now there are 19 public servants working to help Bill Morneau get his OECD soft-landing seat, but the Liberals refuse to put any effort, resources or political capital into protecting Canadians who are threatened by the CCP.
    Why is the Prime Minister so afraid to stand up to the Communist government in China?
    Mr. Speaker, the member should look at the international community and see that Canada has been at the forefront of the response when it comes to the Uighurs, when it comes to Hong Kong, when it comes to standing up. Being firm and smart is what Canadians at home want us to do.
    When the member asked about Canadians wanting to lead international organizations, we should all be proud that Canadians are putting themselves forward to lead international organizations. We are doing everything in accordance with Treasury Board guidelines and in accordance with precedents that have been set by this government when it wants Canadians to sit on the boards of international organizations.
    Well, Mr. Speaker, we can see exactly where these Liberals' priorities are and it is to help their friends get soft landings.
    When over 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong were threatened by the Chinese ambassador, the Prime Minister said and did nothing. Yesterday, the foreign affairs minister suggested to these Canadians at home and abroad that they should listen to themselves and call their local police. Not only is this outrageous, it is cowardly.
    Instead of assigning 19 bureaucrats to work on Bill Morneau's OECD seat, will the Prime Minister get his priorities straight and take real action to protect Canadians at home and abroad from Communist China?
    Mr. Speaker, let me set the record straight for Canadians who are watching at home. Canada was the first country in the world to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. That is leadership. That is Canada. That is being firm and smart. That is what Canadians watching at home want from this government and from all parliamentarians when it comes to foreign policy. We have no lessons to take from the Conservatives. We will be firm and we will be smart. That is what Canadians expect from us.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, based on the Prime Minister's response to the Leader of the Opposition, I want to clarify that Mexicans will be getting the COVID vaccine before Canadians.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has robust experience in delivering vaccinations and the distinct advantage of a public health care system that builds on strong provincial and territorial expertise and relationships.
    We have procured a diverse portfolio of vaccines, as the member opposite knows, more per capita than any other country. Canada is well positioned to successfully vaccinate Canadians against COVID-19.
    Mr. Speaker, what the minister is saying is that Mexicans will get vaccinated before Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is putting words in my mouth.
    In fact what I am saying is that Canada is a world leader in vaccination, and has delivered massive vaccination campaigns before. Building on that expertise and leadership, working with provinces and territories, we are very confident that we will be able to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians.
    We have the most diverse portfolio in the world. We have options for more per capita than any other country in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, Reuters reported today that Mexicans will be vaccinated in December. The Prime Minister cannot give a date for when Canadians will be vaccinated.
    If the health minister will not answer that question, what about this one? The procurement minister says that Mexicans will be vaccinated before Canadians because the health minister cannot get her department together on approvals, but then the Prime Minister is saying that it is actually the procurement minister, because she did not negotiate contracts that allowed for domestic manufacturing capacity.
    What is the reason why Mexicans will be vaccinated before Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, all of government is working together, hand in glove, right now to ensure that we have access to vaccines for Canada, and in fact our work has proven to be very fruitful.
    We have options on seven promising candidates, three of which are in regulatory review already as we speak, those three showing tremendous promise in their opportunity to protect people against COVID-19. We are working with provinces and territories on a deployment plan, building on the expertise that Canada already has in vaccinating massive numbers of Canadians every single year.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, all parties in the House have recognized that French is in decline in Quebec.
    Now is the time to walk the talk. This morning, the Bloc Québécois introduced Bill C-254 to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. The Government of Quebec, with robust support in the National Assembly, has called for this.
    Now that the government admits that French is in decline in Quebec, will it listen to Quebec and support our bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure my colleague that I have been in contact with my Quebec counterpart, Simon Jolin-Barrette. We spoke recently, actually.
    We have been in constant communication because we both want to protect French in Quebec, while respecting the English-speaking minority. As a result, our government will respect Quebec's jurisdictions, in addition to our own, because we also want to protect the one million French-speaking people outside Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that he supports Bill 101.
    Now he must prove it. This is not the first time that the issue of applying Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses has come up. Quebec has been calling for this for a long time, as its current government is doing. We told everyone that we were going to introduce a bill to address this issue.
    Will the government stop dithering and tell us, yes or no, if it will support our bill?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a wonder why the Bloc Québécois is looking for a fight at any cost when the fact is that we agree on protecting the French language. We want to work together to do just that.
    I am saying to my colleagues that we should work together. We are reaching out. Let us ensure that the importance of French is recognized in Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Official Languages would like Canadians to believe that the French language is important.
    Can she explain why her Liberal colleagues are obstructing and paralyzing the Standing Committee on Official Languages? This has prevented us from introducing a motion calling on the minister to introduce her bill on the modernization of the Official Languages Act before Christmas.
    Does this mean that the bill is not yet ready even though they promised it five years ago?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague of certain facts. I believe that my colleague is new to the official languages file and has just demonstrated a certain interest in the issue.
    For the first time ever, we recognized the need to protect the French language in the throne speech because French is a minority language in Canada. We are also the first government to recognize that we must do more to protect our French language.
    In the circumstances, yes, we will modernize the Official Languages Act, but we are also waiting with great interest for what the Conservatives will do on this file because, quite frankly, they have no credibility when it comes to protecting the French language.
    Mr. Speaker, the work of the Standing Committee on Official Languages has been at a complete standstill for the past five meetings. Recently, we were not able to move a motion. We are wasting time with the Liberals. The Senate, the Commissioner of Official Languages and the organizations all agree that the Official Languages Act needs to be reformed.
    What is stopping the minister from introducing her bill before the holidays?
    Mr. Speaker, committees are independent. I encourage my colleagues who sit on the committee to continue to work hard on official languages and their significance.
    One thing is clear. We have a common desire to do more for the French language. We really need to be able to look at what we can do to mitigate the linguistic insecurity that we are seeing in our country and to ensure that we are able to talk to each other in our beautiful French language today and for generations to come.
    I will be pleased to work on modernizing the Official Languages Act.
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Liberals have been blocking the work of the committee for weeks, and we have been waiting for years for a law to modernize the Official Languages Act. Could the truth be that, much like the member for Saint-Laurent and the Quebec president of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Liberals do not believe that the decline of French in Quebec and elsewhere in the country is real?
    If such is not the case, can the minister tell us why the government does not support the Government of Quebec's desire to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that one is either for or against a strong francophonie in Canada. It would be inconceivable to look at Quebec alone without looking at all francophones across the country. We cannot say one thing to Quebeckers and the opposite to everyone outside Quebec. I am tired of hearing the Conservatives' double-talk.
    What are they doing not only to protect the French language and recognize the decline of French in Montreal, but also to protect Campus Saint-Jean in Alberta?
    Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to wave her arms in the air and lecture everyone.
    I sent her a letter talking about the urgent need for action to modernize the Official Languages Act. That is what all the representatives of organizations across the country are asking for, and they want it introduced before the holidays. Consultations have been held. Reports have been submitted and recommendations tabled.
    If French is so important to her, can the minister commit to introducing the bill to modernize the Official Languages Act before Christmas, as everyone is calling for, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I did receive my colleague's letter.
    It was the first time in five years, since I took over the official languages file, that I finally received something ostensibly concrete.
    That said, I look forward to working with my colleague. We like taking a co-operative approach. I have said this to my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I will say it again to my Conservative colleagues: Let us work together to make sure that we protect the French language and all linguistic minorities in this country.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Max Johnson is an amazing local artist in Bella Bella. When I first met him two summers ago, he was painting artwork on the front of the new big house in his community. It was heartbreaking to later hear that he and his granddaughter had been racially profiled by BMO staff in Vancouver and had been handcuffed by police for trying to open a bank account.
    Now we have learned it was Indigenous Services Canada who told the bank manager they should call the police. Will this minister apologize, and inform this House of the steps he has taken to investigate this situation and ensure that it never happens again?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, incidents like this should never happen again. The incident in question was exceedingly alarming.
    I would invite the member opposite, and indeed all Canadians, to review the 911 transcript. It is unclear at this time, but if there is any trace that Indigenous Services Canada, or any part of the Government of Canada, was involved in that type of advice, as well as what information was conveyed when they relayed what was alleged, we will get to it. We will take responsibility for that action, apologize, move forward and ensure that status cards are respected by all Canadians within this country.

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the airport in Windsor has become a success story after 20 years of investment by the municipality, but now the privatized NAV Canada is threatening the public achievement and safety record by putting Windsor in a study to remove the air traffic control tower, making it an uncontrolled airport.
     An uncontrolled airport would eliminate commercial passenger air travel and create significant safety problems for cargo and private planes due to a complex airspace that has five airports in the area, including public and private, and those of the U.S. National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard.
    Will the Minister of Transport stop this nonsense that is threatening jobs, business, investments and public safety?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear that there will never be a compromise with the safety of air passengers.
     As we know, the number of passengers has dramatically reduced by about 90%, and that includes many fewer aircraft in the air at the moment. Nav Canada, which is our air traffic controller, is examining that situation. It has an enviable safety record, and it is reviewing certain requirements with respect to service needs. Let me just be very clear that Transport Canada will work with Nav Canada to ensure that safety remains uppermost for all Canadians.

International Aid

    Mr. Speaker, members of the Filipino community in my riding of Surrey Centre and communities across the country are extremely concerned and worried about loved ones after two typhoons hit the Philippines this month.
    Super typhoon Goni hit the Bicol region in early November, leaving people dead, injured and displaced. In its wake, Goni was followed by typhoon Vamco, whose destructive winds and torrential rainfall triggered extensive flooding in several areas, including metro Manila.
    Can the Minister of International Development inform members of the Filipino community how our government has responded to these tragedies?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Surrey Centre for raising this important issue and for his tireless advocacy for the communities in his riding.
    Our government has responded to both typhoons, Goni and Vamco, through Canada's emergency disaster assistance fund by providing the Canadian Red Cross with $240,000 for relief operations and to help meet the emergency health, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene needs, as well as focusing on disaster risk reduction, community engagement, protection and gender inclusion services.
    When typhoon Vamco hit land almost two weeks later, we quickly responded with another $40,000 contribution to the International Federation of the Red Cross's relief operations to help provide—
    The hon. member for Carleton.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals announced a big, new program to supposedly rescue the jobs of employees of large employers. With the relief program, we assumed they might want to help the airline workers, 20,000 of whom have lost their jobs; the countless hotel workers who no longer have a paycheque; or, God forbid, the hundreds of thousands of energy workers out west who are now jobless. None of them got help.
    Who got the biggest chunk of cash from that program? It was consultants and insiders. The firm Lazard Frères & Co. was the largest recipient with $3.6 million, and another $22,000 went to two former PMO staff. Why is it only Liberal insiders that enrich themselves off these programs?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share with the hon. member that the premise underlying his question is false. In fact, more support has gone to businesses that are keeping workers employed than has gone to help set up the programs.
    The contracts the member is referring to simply establish the Crown corporation to administer the program and put integrity measures in place, so that we know the money is going to workers. If he does not think this actually benefits Canadians, I would ask him to talk to his members from places such as Orillia, Abbotsford or Sarnia who are still on the payroll today because of the program that is supporting them.
    Mr. Speaker, it is actually Liberal middlemen who are getting rich off the program because, again, this program, the LEEFF program, has furnished the largest sum of money to Liberal financial insiders. Now we are starting to get a sense of where all this money is going.
    We have a $380-billion deficit, but only $175 billion has gone to CERB, wage subsidies and CEBA loans for small businesses. Is it not becoming clear that Liberals saw this pandemic as an opportunity not to save the livelihoods and lives of Canadians, but to enrich Liberal insiders with political influence?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, that question is absolutely ridiculous. I remember being on the phone through the middle of the night early in the spring talking to workers who did not know where their next paycheque was coming from and businesses owners who did not know whether they would be able to keep workers on the payroll.
    We have advanced programs such as the wage subsidy. Three million Canadians are still going to work as a result of that program. The CERB kept food on the table for nine million Canadians, and the Canada emergency business account has provided direct support to over 700,000 businesses.
    We are going to continue to listen to Canadians. I would urge the member to take part and be helpful in providing advice on the basis of what he is hearing, but if he does not want to, then we will go through this without him.
    Mr. Speaker, we have, from the very beginning, supported the basic programs to save jobs and provide incomes to people for whom lockdowns have cost their paycheques, but those programs only account for $175 billion of the $380-billion deficit, a deficit which equals $40,000 for the average family of four. Nobody knows of a single family that has received $40,000 from this government since the March pandemic outbreak.
    Is it not becoming increasingly clear that the bulk of the cash is going to Liberal cronies and insiders who have stepped in between the government and Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, again, the member is putting forward falsehoods in an attempt to spin a political narrative that suits his interests, rather than the interests of Canadians. The reality is that he says now that he supports some of these programs. At the outset of this pandemic, he said that the Conservatives would never support big fat government programs to get Canadians through this pandemic. His leader, more recently, has described CERB as being completely messed up.
    The reality is that it is not a leader who waits to find out whether something is popular before he or she decides to support it, it is an opportunist. We need more leadership to get us through this pandemic and less political opportunism.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, it really says something when the best attribute the member can ascribe to his program administration is that they are big and fat. We want programs that are effective in helping Canadians. They want fat for their friends, and that is exactly what they have delivered.
    Speaking of the upcoming fiscal update, the finance minister has said that her government will impose limits upon itself to avoid the brutal external restraints of international capital markets.
    Will the government tell us exactly what limits it will impose on the new debt it is piling on the shoulders of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, it was Oscar Wilde who described a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. We value, on this side of the House, keeping food on the table for nine million Canadian households. We value keeping three million Canadian workers on the payroll. We value supporting over 700,000 Canadian businesses to help them keep the lights on.
    I look forward to November 30, when the minister will present the fall economic statement to this House to identify for Canadians how we will continue to support them to get them through this pandemic, and ensure that the recovery is inclusive, prosperous and sustainable for all.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, our farmers cannot count on the federal government. It promised them it would protect supply management, but it sacrificed them for three agreements in a row. Then it promised full compensation for their losses. The dairy sector got a cheque in 2019, but there has been nothing since.
    The government is presenting its economic update on Monday. Will it reveal the details of compensation for all supply-managed producers and for processors?
    Most importantly, this time will it budget money now for future years?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that we understand the supply management system very well and that we are protecting it. We protected it from Donald Trump, who wanted to dismantle it.
    In the summer of 2019, we announced $1.75 billion for dairy producers. Less than a year ago, we sent $345 million in initial compensation to 11,000 producers. We will keep our promises.
    Mr. Speaker, we want details and a timeline. Farmers cannot count on the federal government. That is why we need to make supply management inviolable so it will never again be used as a bargaining chip for trade agreements.
    The Bloc Québécois introduced a bill to prevent any further attacks on supply management. Today the Union des producteurs agricoles asked all parties to vote in favour of that bill.
    Will the federal government prove its support for supply management and support our bill?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, again, the supply management system is essential. It is extremely important for the vitality of our regions and our family farms. We stood up for them against Donald Trump, who wanted the system dismantled. Less than a year ago, we paid the first installment of compensation of $345 million to our 11,000 producers and we kept going.
    In fact, we also just protected the supply management system during our negotiations with the United Kingdom.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, after trading away access to Canada's dairy market, our farmers and processors are still waiting on the Liberal government to honour its commitment on trade compensation payments.
    We want the date. When will the compensation be delivered to Canadian farmers and processors?
    Mr. Speaker, supply management is very important for agriculture in Canada. It is very important for our rural vitality. It is important to protect our family farms. Less than a year ago, 11,000 dairy farmers received $345 million. We will follow through on our commitment.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will give the Minister of Agriculture another chance to respond to a very simple question: When will compensation go out to farmers, and particularly dairy farmers? They have written to us, and I have a Zoom meeting scheduled with them tomorrow evening in the hopes of being able to give them some good news.
    I will give the minister a chance to respond. When will the next round of compensation for dairy farmers be paid? I think that is an extremely simple and clear question.
    Mr. Speaker, again, I would remind hon. members that in July last year we announced $1.75 billion over eight years to our dairy farmers as compensation for the Europe and trans-Pacific deals.
    Less than a year ago we paid the first installment of compensation of $345 million to our 11,000 dairy farmers and I assure the House that we will respect our commitment.
    Mr. Speaker, dairy farmers have been anxiously awaiting the money the Liberal government promised them to compensate for the market share they lost after free trade agreements were signed with our trade partners.
     Will the government act to establish some predictability and do so before December 31, 2020? Can the Minister of Agriculture confirm that?
    Mr. Speaker, I assure you that the supply management system and all of our dairy, poultry and egg producers are very important to the Canadian economy, to Canada's agriculture sector, to the vitality of our regions and to protecting our family farms.
    That is why we are protecting the system. That is also why we have committed to compensating our farmers and processors in response to various new agreements. It has been less than a year since we paid out the first round of compensation, and I assure the House that we will keep our promise.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have changed their ways of life to keep each other safe. I am especially proud of my constituents in Cape Breton—Canso for all their efforts. In Nova Scotia, we have seen a surge in cases and that is cause for great concern. We need everyone to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID—19, and downloading the COVID Alert app is a great way to do that. Given the increase in cases, I am very pleased the COVID Alert app is available in my home province of Nova Scotia.
    Could the Minister of Health inform Canadians of the importance of the COVID Alert app and how it will keep us safe?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his great work on the Standing Committee on Health.
    The COVID Alert app is indeed an important public health tool that will help Canadians identify if they have been exposed to COVID—19. Over 5.4 million Canadians have downloaded the app to protect themselves, their friends and their families. The app protects the privacy of users, but also helps alert users if they have come into close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID—19. It is an extra layer of protection for users and a way to help our hard-working public health workers across the country. I encourage all Canadians to download the COVID Alert app today.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister recently said, “it has never been easier for families to reunite.” Meanwhile, hundreds of families have been unable to reunite since the onset of the pandemic. The Liberals promised these families would be reunited with a new 14-day processing deadline back in October, but hundreds of cases missed that deadline.
    Graeme in Calgary is eager to reunite with his American fiancée Courtney. The last time they saw each other was five months ago when she gave birth to their son. Apart from a bizarre request to provide proof of their relationship, they have not heard anything in over a month. Maybe the baby would be proof enough of that relationship. I am not sure.
    Why did the Liberals break their promise to separated families?
    Mr. Speaker, far from breaking that promise, we are living up to it every day, and that includes in meeting the service standard with regard to reuniting families. We are prioritizing and accelerating spousal applications. We have allocated 40,000 spaces under the parent and grandparent program. This is a government that is committed to reuniting families, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of all Canadians.

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadians do not have access to reliable high-speed Internet. Due to the lack of service, thousands of residents in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte cannot work, learn or connect with loved ones during this pandemic. Rural Canadians feel like they are intentionally being left behind. The universal broadband fund was announced in March 2019. In June, we were promised help was on the way. Finally, 150 days later, applications are open.
    How can the residents in my riding be assured this will at long last result in real change for under-serviced communities?
    Mr. Speaker, because of our government's investments, tens of thousands of households over the next month will be connected to this essential service, because of the universal broadband fund and everybody who worked so hard to develop the program. Canadians like those in my hon. colleague's community can reach out to us and can figure out which program works best for them. Is it the rapid response stream? Is it the core stream? Whatever supports they need, we are here to support them.
     If my colleague wants to reach out to my team, that would be a good first step. We are here to help.

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, experts and leaders from the disability community have been overwhelming in their call for reasonable amendments to Bill C-7: Leave in place the 10-day waiting period, which can already be waived; ensure that people will actually be consulted on the requested date and still be free to withdraw consent and change their minds; and ensure that people do not have death pushed on them by someone else.
    These are reasonable modest amendments to support autonomy while protecting the vulnerable. Why will the government not support these reasonable amendments?
    Mr. Speaker, medical assistance in dying is a complex, difficult issue, and it is deeply personal. Canadians have diverse and evolving views and we took care to consult with Canadians across Canada. There were over 300,000 participants in our online survey as well as round tables from coast to coast to coast.
    What we heard about the 10-day waiting period was univocal. It caused suffering in people. It caused people not to take their pain medication in order to be capable of maintaining that final consent. Their decision was made before that 10-day period started, so we are removing it.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, energy efficiency is one of the quickest and cheapest ways of meeting our climate change commitments.
    It is also an excellent way to reduce energy costs for Canadians. In the 2019 budget, our government invested an additional $950 million in the green municipal fund, or GMF.
    Can the parliamentary secretary tell us how energy efficiency helps our economy, the environment and all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle for her hard work.
    Energy efficiency is a hidden fuel. It is good for the climate, good for the pocketbook and good for job creation. Since the GMF was created 20 years ago, it has provided funding for 1,360 projects and prevented 2.7 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road. Other major efforts are under way to make homes, buildings and industrial processes more energy efficient.
    I would like to invite members to read the green municipal fund's annual report and the report to Parliament under the Energy Efficiency Act for 2018-19, which was tabled in the House.

  (1505)  

[English]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Veterans Affairs Canada began calling veterans last week who were eligible for and already receiving the diminished earning capacity determination and telling them that they suddenly were not eligible. Injured veterans rely on this benefit to support their families, but VAC only gave them days to prove their continued eligibility or lose their income.
    If the government has lost proof of eligibility for any program, that is its problem. Now we are going into the holidays. Can the minister commit to fixing this and not asking our veterans to prove their eligibility again?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question and know that she cares. I will look into this situation and address it promptly to make sure that the veterans receive the benefits they should receive in a timely manner. That is what we will do.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, both Liberal and Conservative governments have negotiated trade deals that fail to uphold Canadian values and protect Canadian interests. These deals have deepened our trade relations with anti-democratic regimes, with countries where freedom of speech is stifled and journalists are jailed. We sell arms to countries with horrendous track records on human rights.
    Will the government learn from past mistakes, like the disastrous Canada-China FIPA, and prioritize environmental, democratic and human rights standards in our trade relations?
    Mr. Speaker, we all agree that trade needs to represent the values and interests of Canadians, and let me be clear about what those values are. We believe human rights are at the very core of our international policy. We believe the economy and the environment can go hand in hand and are mutually beneficial. We believe that everyone should benefit from trade, including women, LGBTQ2 businesses and indigenous peoples.
    I can assure my hon. colleague and all Canadians that our trade policy will always be motivated by what is in the interests of Canadians.

[Translation]

    That is all the time we have.
    We have several points of order. We will start with the member for Salaberry—Suroît.

Points of Order

Statements by Members  

    Mr. Speaker, during statements by members, the hon. members for Orléans and Labrador were not wearing their headsets, which meant that the interpretation in French was inadequate. As my party's whip, I would ask you to remind all hon. members of the importance of wearing their headset so that everyone can hear what parliamentarians are saying here in the House in both official languages.
    I would like to remind hon. members that when they are not in the House, they have to wear the headset with microphone issued by the House. It is very important to use it for two reasons. The first is so that people in the chamber can hear them. The second is so that the interpreters can properly understand what is being said in order to interpret for the people in the House who speak the other official language, whether English or French.
    I thank the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît for her point of order. This is something that is very important and gives us all the same opportunity to do our work.

[English]

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous support for the following motion.
    I move:
    That the House recognize the significant financial hardship that COVID-19 has caused to post-secondary students across Canada and, in an effort to alleviate such hardship, call on the Government to extend the moratorium on repaying student loans to cover October 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion please say nay. Hearing no opposition, it is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agree to)

  (1510)  

[Translation]

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie also on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That the House call on the government to recognize that French is the official language of Quebec and commit to working with the Government of Quebec to ensure that the Charter of the French Language is applied to federally regulated businesses operating in Quebec.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to moving the motion please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I would like to give the Minister of Official Languages the opportunity to retract what she said in answer to my question. She misled all parliamentarians and Canadians by insinuating that the Conservatives have not sent any letters over the past five years, which is completely untrue.
    I would like to remind members that it is not up the Chair to decide what is true or not true. The Chair's role is purely to ensure that the rules are followed.
    I would ask members who are rising on a point of order to indicate which particular Standing Order they believe has been breached.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I do not know which one it is, but I believe there is a fundamental Standing Order that requires members to speak the truth. If there is evidence to the contrary, members must rise and draw the attention of the House to the misrepresentation.
    That is exactly what the member for Richmond—Arthabaska did. The minister made a statement, and the member for Richmond—Arthabaska said that the minister misrepresented the facts. He has compelling evidence.
    In this case, it is not a matter of debate; it is a matter of the truth.
    I will take that under advisement and come back to the House with a ruling as soon as possible.
    I do want to remind members that someone may say something with which they do not agree. That is a matter of debate between two people with different perspectives.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to seek the unanimous consent of the House to table evidence showing that the Conservative Party has sent a number of letters to the minister regarding improvements to the Official Languages Act.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to moving the motion please say nay.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to what happened a few minutes ago in the House, you said that it was a matter of debate. I want to be very clear with you that this is not a matter of debate, it is a matter of facts. It is not as though the government were claiming that it is good and we were saying that it is bad. That would be a matter of debate.
    The government is stating that there have been no fundamental changes with respect to official languages for five years, whereas the member for Richmond—Arthabaska has real, compelling evidence showing that certain steps were taken. That is not an opinion, it is a fact.
    Facts are facts in the House, and I am again asking for unanimous consent to table these documents.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will ask for only those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member's request please say nay.
    Some hon. members: No.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1515)  

[English]

Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020

    Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to give my input on Bill C-11, the digital charter implementation bill. I am happy to give this input. It is a timely bill for Canadians because this bill is about access to people's information and, more important, how that information is monetized by others. At a time when big corporations around the world are earning billions of dollars very quickly from information, getting in front of this issue right now for Canadians is very important.
    What is being sold? Canadian information is being sold. What do Canadians privately own of their own data? This is the question that should be addressed in this bill. The converse of this, of course, is the targeted marketing and what Canadians get from the fact that they are giving away their information so they are getting back more services that might be tailor-made to them. It is one of those areas where the intent of Canadians not to give away their data and the result of that data that they willingly gave away, in many instances can be very contradictory. Let us tell Canadians first, as my colleague said here earlier, that they are the product.
    Phones are listening to us. Computers are listening to us. Sometimes, computers are watching us. Sometimes, when my sons at home have Siri on, they say, “Siri, turn on”. Siri comes on and I tell them, “Siri was listening the whole time because it just turned on when you told it to turn on.” A lot of information is being culled. We do not know which of that is resting with us, and which of that is public information to be monetized by somebody else.
    When I read this bill, I saw a bureaucratic solution designed by bureaucrats for use by bureaucrats, with what will be minor effect for the Canadian population in general. As much as we would like to make sure that we actually do deal with the issue around Canadians' private information that is provided online, we do need to make sure that it applies consistently across our country. It is a bubble created by a bureaucracy, and that bubble is lacking any consequences for mistakes and those mistakes will happen within the bureaucracies of the Government of Canada. In essence, from the Government of Canada's level, everything in this bill shows a complete lack of accountability for the government about how it might misplace or misuse Canadians' data.
    I recall, years ago, the government's approach to what was the no-call list. There was a lot of telemarketing going on at the time and the government came out with a solution. If people registered their phone number it would ensure they did not receive telemarketing. We all jumped on that because on our land lines at the time we were getting a lot of telemarketing. When that registration came up, of course my land line was registered and it said to put in my cellphone number too. I put in my cellphone number, and the next day I started receiving telemarketing on my cellphone where I never had before. What apparently happened is the Canadian government's site had been hacked and all that information was sold to telemarketers. It is a shame because it got no money for it. My information was given away for free and a whole bunch of telemarketers got something from the Government of Canada that was literally stolen from Canadians. Therefore, my data was somebody else's, without my consent, as a result of my contribution to the Government of Canada.
    Consumer pricing protection is something that would fall in the same type of realm. How do we make the Government of Canada accountable for what might happen with the data that we willingly give the Government of Canada? Will there be fines? Do we actually tell the Government of Canada that if it does not protect this information the Canadian government is going to fine the Canadian government and therefore the taxpayers are going to have to contribute to the government's fining itself? It is a bit of an around-the-world kind of trip, much like quantitative easing.
    The problem is, who has this information about me? I do not know, but the party I am forced to disclose the most information to, that I know about, is the Government of Canada.

  (1520)  

    Let us discuss how stopping that government body in charge of the information I provide is mishandled. That would be the Canada Revenue Agency more than anybody else. It has my financial information, all kinds of dates and my social insurance number. Frankly, having dealt with it for years, it is a disaster of an organization. It has the wrong information. It processes information badly. It is the worst organization to try and fix bad information. That is the Canadian government.
    Let us look at what happened in the last handful of months here with the CERB. Data was pilfered and Canadian payments during a pandemic were misdirected. How much of the $400 billion spent is legitimate and how much is as a result of data hacks that went to the wrong entities? Canadians are paying for these mistakes. Canadians are paying now and Canadians are going to continue paying for generations.
    The legislation looks like it is designed for large organizations. Let us start with banks. Banks are another organization that we provide a lot of information to and they have a lot of information about us because they handle our financial information. They know how much we are worth, they know how much we have on deposit and they know how much we owe on our mortgages. They are pretty deep as far as what they understand about us.
    There are all kinds of small businesses here, as well, that we need to apply. I want to read from this legislation something that should scare any small business person. This is about privacy management programs as required under this legislation. It states:
     Every organization must implement a privacy management program that includes the organization's policies, practices and procedures
     It further states:
the organization must take into account the volume and sensitivity of the personal information under its control.
    What does that mean and how do we interpret that? Further, an organization:
must ensure, by contract or otherwise, that the service provider provides substantially the same protection
    They have to ensure something nebulous is provided by their service provider when forwarding information.
    Let us get on the ground here. Someone can walk into a pharmacy and that pharmacy wants the Alberta health care number, which is private government information. The retailers want that information so they can continue to track certain things someone does. They know how much of a person's spending they have and they know how much they can market other products to that person if getting some kind of prescription. Government data is quickly translating over into retail data. That is not exactly something we want to provide.
    I will go further here because seniors are the people most affected by this. There are so many seniors who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. There are issues we go through as we age, including financial institutions, insurance companies and all service provides. Many take advantage of seniors in many respects because things get very complex. We want to make sure our seniors are taken care of in a system that continuously evolves, advances and gets more complex. That is something this legislation should take care of more than anything else.
    I do not like being just critical. There are also good things in this legislation and I am going to point them out. The purposes of this legislation are that an organization must determine:
each of the purposes for which the information is to be collected, used or disclosed and record those purposes.
     The information for consent is also required. Forms of consent are also defined within. The withdrawal of consent is there, as is the disclosure to cease that actual consent.
    Another good thing is there is a period for retention and disposal of data that we provide organizations. An organization must not retain personal information for a period longer than necessary. These are very good advances in the legislation. I thank the drafters of the legislation for that.

  (1525)  

    I have questions on some of the other parts of this legislation as well. On the transfer of information to service providers, organizations may transfer an individual's information to a service provider without the client's knowledge or consent. They would still be monetizing data that gets collected by one retailer or provider and—
    Unfortunately, time is up. I have been giving the member a bit of leeway.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Madam Speaker, I am encouraged that the Conservative Party has seen the value of the legislation to the extent that it wants the bill to go to committee, at which I anticipate amendments will be brought forward.
    Could the member provide further thought about the implications that have been suggested with respect to the Government of Canada. Does he feel there needs to be specific amendments related to the Government of Canada? Does he want the Privacy Commissioner to do more? What specifically is he thinking about? He referenced programs like the CERB and so forth.
    Madam Speaker, there are significant penalties in the bill, such as $20-million, $25-million or $30-million fines or 3%, 4% or 5% of global revenue from an organization. These are going to be pretty significant organizations if we are talking about global revenue. To this point in time, I have not seen how the government calculates global revenue, but I am curious. These types of things do not apply to ma and pa shops and people on the ground collecting information. It is geared toward large organizations.
    A question arises from that. We are talking 3% or 5% of global revenue that would flow to the Government of Canada for a transgression as opposed to an individual who lost data. Who still owns the data would be the big question.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member to present his conclusion. I would like to give him that opportunity, so he can tell us more about the enforcement powers he would give the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I have no specific recommendations on that topic at this time. However, I thank my colleague from Quebec for his question.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate some of the thoughtful things the member brought forward about small business, but also, like me, he has raised serious concerns about big banks and how they have not done their part during the COVID crisis.
    The Conservatives, like the New Democrats, have been rightly concerned about privacy, especially when the COVID-19 app rolled out and what it meant for privacy. The Conservatives have asked tough questions of government, like we have, that concern privacy remaining ineffective. Could the member talk about how there is no need for a trade-off between privacy rights and other priorities?
    Madam Speaker, when we talk about a trade-off, we talk about enforcement more than anything else. If we think about banks, which people often think about when they come to a conclusion about all the disclosure, particularly financial disclosure, they have been under compliance regimes for decades. In effect, when we get down to the ground and the people fulfilling those compliance regimes, we find that it gets watered down to the point where they do not understand those compliance regimes.
    Therefore, something that happens at a high bureaucratic level does not necessarily get translated down to the customer level. Getting a real piece of legislation like this down to the level of the clerk and the customer is a monumental task and will not happen overnight.

  (1530)  

    We have time for a brief question.
    The hon. member for Willowdale.
    Madam Speaker, I was listening very intently and I am grateful the member has acknowledged that the bill has great improvements and would allow Canadians to feel more secure.
    When it comes to the role of government, would the member not agree with me that the Privacy Act does apply to the government that may have some information on Canadians? Obviously that regime is robust—
    I do have to allow the member to answer. We are running out of time. When I say a brief question, I would ask members not to provide a speech.
    The hon. member for Calgary Centre, a brief answer, please.
    Madam Speaker, what I saw in the legislation did not indicate any penalties to the government for citizens whose privacy had been breached. I think for most Canadians, their number one provision of data is to the government, the party they trust the most. That is the party that should probably be the most liable to Canadians for any breach of data, yet there is nothing in the legislation that says that the government owes this duty of trust to Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the hon. member for Pontiac.
    I am pleased to rise today to speak about the digital charter implementation act, 2020.
     Digital technology is changing our economy and our society. Data is now a resource that companies can use to be more productive, to develop better products and services, which has unleashed a digital revolution around the world and which is even more evident during this time of COVID-19.
    At the same time, the rapid growth of data-driven industries and technologies is opening the doors to the potential of new and innovative uses of data to support the public good. Data drives the development of many of the algorithms and protected models that are key to our understanding of societal challenges. Examples include the use of data to support sound public health outcomes; enable smart city technologies, such as dynamic traffic management; and promote greater energy efficiency and sustainability through smart grid technologies.
    In Canada, public discussions around socially beneficial uses of data have focused on the emerging concept of the smart city in light of waterfront Toronto development proposals and other smart city initiatives considered by federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has recentred the discussion on the role of private sector data and innovation in supporting public health objectives. We are witnessing the central role that data is playing in managing the pandemic. Not only is data critical for tracking current outbreaks or predicting future outbreaks, it has also been used to inform how our health professionals manage critical supplies and ensure they are deployed where they are most needed.
    While data has proven to be of vital importance, stakeholders have identified the need for greater clarity around the legal frameworks governing data sharing between businesses and public sector institutions in the context of smart cities and public health.

[Translation]

    At the same time, Canadians' concerns over the protection of privacy and democratic responsibility underscore the importance of defining the conditions necessary to establish a certain level of confidence in any new framework. Data sharing can lead to innovative solutions that benefit society.
    However, Canadians need assurance that their privacy will be respected and that their data will not be misused. That is why the act to enact the consumer privacy protection act introduces a clear framework for privacy protection in data sharing for socially beneficial purposes.
    Under Bill C-11, organizations will also be obliged to obtain consent before disclosing personal information to other organizations. This is in line with the existing act and with most of the legislation on privacy protection in the private sector.
    However, in order to support responsible innovation, the bill makes one exception that will allow private sector organizations to disclose de-identified information to certain types of Canadian public institutions for socially beneficial purposes, without consent. This guarantees that businesses will be given the opportunity to participate in public sector initiatives that use data to contribute to the public good.
    In addition, by abiding by this framework, private sector organizations can take part in these data sharing activities with full confidence that they are complying with the bill. At the same time, the bill underscores the importance of oversight by democratically responsible public authorities.

  (1535)  

[English]

    As I mentioned, information that is disclosed in this manner would have to be de-identified, ensuring that individuals' privacy is completely protected. What is more, the act would prohibit using that information later to try to reidentify the individual. This prohibition would be tied to significant fines.
     This framework would allow Canadians to participate in initiatives directed at socially beneficial purposes without compromising their privacy. It would also ensure that Canadians benefit from the full power of data to create better solutions to some of the most complex policy challenges of our time.
    The scope of socially beneficial purposes would focus on areas of public interest that provide broad public benefits supported by use cases and lessons learned that have been identified through years of engagement between government, business stakeholders and civil society organizations.
     For example, ride-sharing and transportation service companies could potentially disclose de-identified aggregate data on the movement of their users to municipal authorities as modelling traffic patterns to help improve traffic flow, plan for better public transit initiatives and to improve road user safety.
    The law would set clear parameters on which public institutions could receive information under the new consent exception, such as health care bodies, post-secondary institutions, public libraries and other public institutions or private organizations with the mandate to carry out a socially beneficial purpose. Many of these public institutions already have robust data governance systems in place to ensure the integrity of information and protection of privacy and would be ready to take on new responsibilities that would be in the public interest.
    The framework for socially beneficial purposes woul