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View Rachael Harder Profile
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 19:43 [p.29432]
Mr. Speaker, today in the House we are discussing Bill C-75. The bill is supposed to strengthen the justice system. It is meant to better protect Canadians. It is meant to reduce delays and it is meant to modernize the criminal justice system.
In part, it does this by facilitating the administration of justice down to the provinces. However, the reality is the bill is yet another example of the current government's dirty habit of saying one thing but doing another. It is known as Liberal hypocrisy, or sometimes people refer to it as Liberal logic.
At the end of the day, this will in fact severely damage Canadian society and our justice system as a whole. Despite the rhetoric from across the way and despite the current heckles, the Liberals decided that they would not properly consult with stakeholders. They rammed the bill through without giving it careful consideration, without paying attention to the call for further discussion and certainly without adequate debate in this place.
As a result, Canadians are stuck with a piece of legislation that has a number of flaws that are very significant in nature. One of the flaws has to do with hybridization. Putting aside the issue of reducing the penalty of very serious crimes for just a moment, which I will come back to, hybridization also results in many crimes being moved from Federal Court into provincial court.
The Canadian Bar Association had this to say with regard to hybridization. It said this“would likely mean more cases would be heard in provincial court. This could result in further delays in those courts”. In other words, we already have a backlog within our justice system and the Canadian Bar Association is saying that Bill C-75 would result in an even further backlog, which is problematic because these individuals do need to go to trial. These cases do need to proceed, so holding them up even further is actually an injustice to the victim.
Furthermore, it should be noted that it is the government's chief responsibility to care for the safety and well-being of its citizens, to defend the vulnerable, to create laws that put the rights of victims first, which is why it is extremely alarming to see that the Prime Minister is actually pandering more to criminals than standing up for victims.
Bill C-75 reduces penalties for some very heinous crimes including participating in a terrorist group, trafficking women and girls, committing violence against a clergy member, murdering a child within one year of birth, abducting a child, forced marriage, advocating for genocide or participating in organized crime.
The members opposite do not like it when I say those things, it is an inconvenient truth for them, so their heckling gets louder and louder, but the truth cannot be concealed. These heinous, unthinkable acts would have a reduced sentence under Bill C-75.
Conservatives believe in the safety of Canadians being put first. They believe that it should be the number one priority of any government. We will continue to speak up on behalf of victims and we will continue to advocate for them to come first in our justice system. It is very important for me to stand here today and to speak to this piece of legislation because the rights of victims and the rights of communities must come first.
We have a Prime Minister who is much more concerned about pursuing his own agenda than he is about acting in the best interests of Canadians. It is not just with Bill C-75, it is with other pieces of legislation and other decisions being made by the government as well.
Bill C-71, which is the firearms legislation, was rammed through by the government earlier this spring. This was an attack on law-abiding firearms owners. Bill C-71 was rammed through without the government taking concern for the advice of law enforcement agents. It was rammed through without them actually consulting with legislative experts. It was rammed through without the Liberals taking the time to consult with and listen to Canadians.
When those in power turn a deaf ear to the people that they represent, arrogance incapacitates any ability for them to exercise logical thought or common sense. That is exactly what has happened under the current government.
The irony in all of this is that while the Liberals are letting criminals off the hook for committing atrocious crimes such as forced marriage, trafficking, terrorist activity and genocide, they insist on demonizing those who hunt or use their rifles for sport shooting. It is absolutely ludicrous. In what world does this make sense?
From the start, the Liberals did not want to debate Bill C-71. They did not want to consult, because that would mean they would need to listen and then would be held accountable to act on the things that they heard. Instead, the Liberals decided to push Bill C-71, the firearms legislation, through the House. They told Canadians that the bill is for their safety and protection, but it does nothing of the sort. It fails to address gang violence, it fails to address illegal firearm acquisition and use and it fails to address rural crime and violence. Bill C-71 simply goes after those who are already following the law, while rewarding criminals with shorter sentences or allowing them to walk away altogether.
It is very clear that what the current government likes to do more than anything is deceive Canadians. It is less about the safety, well-being and security of our country and more about appearing to be doing something good. If the government took Canadians seriously and really took the position of honour that has been bestowed upon it seriously, then it would genuinely want to strengthen our justice system and our borders. It would genuinely want to invest in front-line responders and make sure that illegal firearms are taken off the street and that people are kept safe in this country, but the current government is not interested in actually governing well. The current government under the current Prime Minister is more interested in its appearance, its image.
The Prime Minister told veterans that they cost too much. Meanwhile, he handed $10 million over to a convicted terrorist, Omar Khadr.
An hon. member: Shame.
Ms. Rachael Harder: It is shameful. I'm glad you recognize it.
The Prime Minister insists consistently on putting criminals before victims. This is wrong, because Canadians elect a government to look after their safety, security and well-being, to ensure that this country is running on all cylinders, that Canadians have a vibrant future that they can dream for, work toward and step into and be excited about for their children and grandchildren. The bill we are discussing today, Bill C-75, which makes changes to the criminal justice system, actually puts this country at risk and victims in serious danger. It rewards criminals.
The role of every government is to keep citizens safe. It is to facilitate an environment of economic prosperity in which people are free to use their time, their talent and their energy to build wealth and achieve the financial outcomes they desire. This means protecting our borders, investing in necessary infrastructure, decreasing taxes, exercising fiscal restraint and scrapping unnecessary regulations. It means respecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians and celebrating the contributions of those who work hard, rather than turning them into criminals. I am talking about the retired widow who lives next door to me, the local business owner who serves coffee when I go there, the medical practitioners who look after our health, the students who dream for a vibrant future and the veterans who have faithfully served this country. These are the faces that government should be looking into when it makes decisions to rule this country.
During his time as prime minister, John Diefenbaker told party members, “I was criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can't help that; I am one”, and so it is today. Just as the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker did all those years ago, my colleagues and I on this side of the House are committed to standing up for everyday Canadians, those who work hard and want a vibrant future not just for themselves but for their children and grandchildren.
When we mess around with the justice system with a bill like Bill C-75 and when we reward criminals who commit some of the most heinous crimes imaginable and allow them to go free or we diminish their sentence to a mere fine, we depreciate the value of our country and we fail to look after the well-being of Canadian citizens.
In this place, there are 338 of us who were elected to do far better than that. I would expect much more from the current Prime Minister and much more from the members who govern with him. There is no greater honour than to serve in this place, to be elected by the people of Canada and to have the opportunity to function as a voice on their behalf. I would call upon this House to steward that honour and to vote this bill down.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-19 21:56 [p.29445]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the motion respecting the Senate Amendments to Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous Languages, be deemed adopted;
(b) the motion respecting the Senate Amendments to Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, be deemed adopted;
(c) Bill C-98, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be deemed to have been concurred in at the report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed;
(d) Bill C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, be deemed to have been concurred in at the report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed on division; and
(e) when the House adjourns on Thursday, June 20, 2019, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Friday, June 21, 2019.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2019-06-18 10:11 [p.29264]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-98, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I also want to endorse the general comments on the way in which we are so well served by those officials who are clerks and analysts. In this instance, I also want to compliment and appreciate the co-operation of my vice-chairs, the members for Beloeil—Chambly and Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, and all of the members of the committee, along with the House leadership who have moved the bill in a very expeditious fashion because it is of great importance to the Canada Border Services Agency.
I also want to generally compliment the working of the committee. We have gone through something in the order of 13 major pieces of legislation, plus numerous reports, plus numerous private members' bills and we have had a collegial atmosphere that has served us all well. I am thankful to present the bill and this report.
View Richard Cannings Profile
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from hundreds of Canadians, who point out that over 30,000 Canadians die annually from medical errors; the third leading cause of death in this country. The only resort they have for compensation is tort law, which ties up our courts and is financially and emotionally devastating.
All provincial governments transfer millions of taxpayer dollars to the Canadian Medical Protective Association to finance lawyers to fight these claims from patients. Because of this unfair advantage, only 2% of patient lawsuits are successful. Seven countries use no-fault health care compensation for medical errors.
These citizens call on the government to establish a mandatory error reporting system to facilitate learning from our mistakes, mandate courses on empathy and compassion for all health care workers, and establish a public inquiry to determine fair methods of compensation for medical errors, including arbitration, mediation and a no-fault health care compensation board, using the funds now transferred to the CMPA.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 2439--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to the Visitor Welcome Centre complex on Parliament Hill: (a) in what year were the plans for both the current Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex first included in the Long Term Vision and Plan or, if the year pre-dates the Long Term Vision and Plan, in previous long term plans for the Parliamentary Precinct, including the identity of the applicable Parliamentary Precinct plan; (b) what body or bodies (i.e. Parliamentary Precinct Branch, elements of the Parliamentary Partners, Parliamentary Precinct Oversight Advisory Committee, architectural consultants, other bodies, etc.) first recommended the footprint and current plan for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex; (c) did the Parliamentary Precinct Oversight Advisory Committee provide the Parliamentary Precinct Branch, the Minister of Public Works, or any other organization, with recommendations or observations with respect to the Visitor Welcome Centre complex, including dates, recipients, and details of those recommendations or observations; (d) what is the approval milestone record for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex plan, including the dates on which, and the mechanisms through which, approvals were granted and funding was appropriated; (e) when are reports respecting deficiencies in construction, engineering, design and architecture of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex provided to the Parliamentary Precinct Branch, and when and to what extent is the information contained in those reports provided to other partner organizations; (f) when Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex is completed, how many public entrances and exits will exist, where will they be located, and what will be each one’s capacity, relative to the others; (g) with respect to Phase 1 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex, when Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex is completed, will the function of Phase 1 as the main visitor entrance and screening point remain the same, or will its functions be relocated, expanded, or replicated elsewhere in the complex; (h) with respect to the services presently located in Phase 1 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex, including visitor security screening, the Parliamentary Boutique, and other visitor services, when Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex is completed, (i) what will be the disposition of those services, (ii) will they be replicated in multiple locations, (iii) will they be expanded, (iv) will they be relocated, (v) where will they be expanded, relocated, or replicated, as applicable; (i) what is the currently projected completion date and cost estimate for Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex; (j) what funds, and for what purposes, have already been expended on Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex; (k) with respect to contracts that have been engaged for Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex, (i) how many contracts have been engaged or signed, (ii) what is the value of each contract, (iii) what parties are subject to each contract, (iv) what is the purpose and function of each contract, (v) when was each contract engaged or signed, (vi) what is the termination date or milestone of each contract, (vii) what are the penalties for premature termination or alteration of each contract; (l) what are the formal mechanisms or instruments through which the Parliamentary Precinct Branch receives authoritative direction, recommendations, advice, approvals, or other feedback from (i) the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, (ii) the Treasury Board Secretariat, (iii) the Cabinet, (iv) the House of Commons, (v) the Senate of Canada, (vi) the Library of Parliament, (vii) the Parliamentary Protective Service, (viii) any other body; and (m) with respect to the formal mechanisms or instruments referred to in (l), what are the details of each communication received by the Parliamentary Precinct Branch respecting Phase 2 of the Visitor Welcome Centre complex from each source listed in (l) since 2001, including for each instance the (i) date, (ii) source, (iii) recipient(s), (iv) subject matter, (v) description, (vi) mechanism or instrument used to convey it?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2440--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to “March madness” expenditures where the government makes purchases before the end of the fiscal year so that departmental funds do not go “unspent”, broken down by department agency or other government entity: (a) what were the total expenditures during February and March of 2019 on (i) materials and supplies (standard object 07), (ii) acquisition of machinery and equipment, including parts and consumable tools (standard object 09); and (b) what are the details of each such expenditure, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date of expenditure, (iv) description of goods or services provided, including quantity (v) delivery date, (vi) file number?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2441--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to government expenditures on membership fees, broken down by department, agency and Crown corporation, since April 1, 2018: (a) how much has been spent; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) name of organization or vendor, (ii) date of purchase, (iii) amount spent?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2443--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
With regard to “repayable” loans and contributions given out by the government since January 1, 2016: what are the details of all such loans and contributions, including (i) date of loan or contribution, (ii) recipient’s details, including name and location, (iii) amount provided, (iv) amount “repaid” to date, (v) description or project or purpose of loan or contribution, (vi) program under which loan or contribution was administered?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2444--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to management consulting contracts signed by the government since June 1, 2018, broken down by department, agency, and Crown corporation: (a) what was the total amount spent; (b) for each contract, what was the (i) vendor name, (ii) amount, (iii) date, (iv) file number; (c) each time a management consultant was brought in, what was the desired outcome or goals; (d) how does the government measure whether or not the goals in (c) were met; (e) does the government have any recourse if the goals in (c) were not met; (f) for which contracts were the goals met; and (g) for which contracts were the goals not met?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2447--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to government procurement and contracts for the provision of research or speech writing services to ministers, since June 1, 2017: (a) what are the details of contracts, including (i) the start and end dates, (ii) contracting parties, (iii) file number, (iv) nature or description of the work, (v) value of contract; and (b) in the case of a contract for speech writing, what is the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) audience or event at which the speech was, or was intended to be delivered, (iv) number of speeches to be written, (v) cost charged per speech?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2448--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to expenditures on consultants, since January 1, 2018: what are the details of all such contracts, including (i) amount, (ii) vendor, (iii) date and duration of contract, (iv) type of consultant, (v) reason or purpose consultant was utilized?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2449--
Mr. David Anderson:
With regard to individuals who have illegally or “irregularly” crossed the Canadian border, since January 1, 2016: (a) how many such individuals have been subject to deportation or a removal order; and (b) of the individuals in (a) how many (i) remain in Canada, (ii) have been deported or removed from Canada?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2450--
Mr. David Anderson:
With regard to all contracts awarded by the government since January 1, 2018, broken down by department or agency: (a) how many contracts have been awarded to a foreign firm, individual, business, or other entity with a mailing address outside of Canada; (b) for each contract in (a), what is the (i) name of vendor, (ii) country of mailing address, (iii) date of contract, (iv) summary or description of goods or services provided, (v) file or tracking number; and (c) for each contract in (a), was the contract awarded competitively or sole sourced?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2451--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to the $327 million announced by the government in November 2017 to combat gun and gang violence: (a) what specific initiatives or organizations have received funding from the $327 million, as of April 29, 2019; (b) what is the total of all funding referenced in (a); and (c) broken down by initiative and organization, what are the details of all funding received as of June 1, 2018, including the (i) name, (ii) project description, (iii) amount, (iv) date of the announcement, (v) duration of the project or program funded by the announcement?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2453--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to cabotage or coasting trade licenses granted by the Minister of Public Safety or the Minister of Transport: (a) how many cabotage or coasting trade licenses were granted to foreign vessels in (i) 2016, (ii) 2017, (iii) 2018; and (b) what is the breakdown of the licenses granted in (a) by (i) country of registration, (ii) tonnage of vessel?
(Return tabled)
View Glen Motz Profile
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege, as always, to rise in the House and speak to legislation. As we near the end of this parliamentary session, one that precedes an election, we really should be wrapping up work rather than starting new work, as we all know.
Bill C-98 proposes to repurpose and rename the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to the “Public Complaints and Review Commission” and expand its mandate to review both the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency.
In 2017, I began working as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. In studies on the border agency and when the agency came up in discussions on another bill, Bill C-21, the issue of oversight and complaints was discussed. Professor Wesley Wark, from the University of Ottawa, who was previously a special adviser to the president of the Canadian border security agency said:
[T] he committee should encourage the government to finalize its plans for an independent complaints mechanism for CBSA. There have been discussions under way about this for some considerable time now.
We were told that the minister already had a plan back then, was already dealing with it and that we did not need to. During his appearance at the Senate committee regarding the border security's oversight, the minister said:
The CBSA, however, does not have independent review of officer conduct, and that is a gap that definitely needs to be addressed....
Mr. Chair, while I agree absolutely with the spirit behind Bill S-205, I cannot support its detail at this time for—
View Glen Motz Profile
Madam Speaker, I will continue with the public safety minister's comment at committee:
[T]he government is launching, almost immediately, a public consultation process on our national security framework that will touch directly on the subject matter of this bill, and I need that consultation before I can commit to specific legislation.
Well, that was almost three years ago. To say that the bill is late would obviously be an understatement. It has taken the minister over three years to bring forward this legislation. That is quite a long time for a minister who said he was already working on something in 2016.
In keeping with his recent history on consultations, there appears to have been little or no external consultation in preparation for the bill. Hopefully, at committee, the government will be able to produce at least one group or organization outside of the government that will endorse the legislation. However, I am not holding my breath.
The government even hired a former clerk of the Privy Council to conduct an independent report. Mel Cappe conducted a review and provided his recommendations in June 2017. It was only because of an access to information request by CBC News that Parliament even knows of this report.
A CBC News article noted:
The June 2017 report by former Privy Council Office chief Mel Cappe, now a professor at the University of Toronto, was obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act....
[A] spokesman for [the] Public Safety Minister...would not comment directly on Cappe’s recommendations, but said the government is working on legislation to create an “appropriate mechanism” to review CBSA officer conduct and handle complaints.
The proposed body would roll in existing powers of the civilian review and complaints commission for the RCMP.
The government and the minister had the recommendations two years ago, yet they are bringing this forward at the last minute. It appears to be an afterthought. Again, in February of this year, the minister said that they continue to work as fast as they can to bring forward legislation on oversight for the CBSA.
Perhaps the Liberal government was just distracted by its many self-inflicted wounds. It created many challenges for Canadians, and now it is tabling legislation in the 11th hour that deals with real issues and asking parliamentarians to make up for the government's distraction and lack of focus on things that matter to Canada, Canadians and our democracy. These are things like public safety, national security, rural crime, trade, energy policies and lower taxes.
There is an impact to mismanagement and bad decision-making. The Liberals' incompetence has had a trickle-down effect that is felt at every border crossing and also across many parts of the country.
We know that RCMP officers had to be deployed and dedicated to dealing with illegal border crossings. When the Liberals set up a facility to act as a border crossing in Lacolle, Quebec, RCMP officers were there covering people entering into Canada. Those RCMP officers were not commissioned that day. They were pulled from details across the country. They were pulled from monitoring returned ISIS fighters and from monitoring and tackling organized crime. They were taken and redeployed, most likely, from rural detachments across the country. We know that in my province of Alberta, the RCMP is short-staffed by nearly 300 officers. It is not a surprise, then, that there was a rise in rural crime while this was going on. Rural crime is now rising faster than urban crime.
However, it is not just the RCMP that has been impacted by the mismanagement at the border. It is also border officers, who will have the added oversight created through Bill C-98.
CBSA officers told me and many other MPs about more shifts and about workers being transferred to Manitoba and Quebec. The media reported that students were taking the place of full-time, trained border officers at Pearson airport. This is the largest airport in Canada, and the impacts of having untrained and inexperienced officers monitoring potentially the top spot for smuggling and transfer of illegal goods are staggering.
We have a serious issue in Canada at our borders, one that is getting worse. We know from testimony given during the committee's study of Bill C-71 that the vast majority of illegal firearms come from the U.S. They are smuggled in. At the guns and gangs summit, the RCMP showed all of Canada pictures of firearms being smuggled in as part of other packages. The minister's own department is saying there is a problem with smuggled goods, contraband tobacco and drugs coming across our borders.
Rather than actually protect Canadians, we are looking into oversight. Do not get me wrong. Oversight is good, but it is not the most pressing issue of the day.
The media is now reporting that because of the Liberals' decision to lift visas, there are many harmful and potentially dangerous criminals now operating in our country. This comes on the heels of reports that there are record-high numbers of ordered deportations of people who are a security threat. There were 25 in 2017. There are also record-low removals. Deportations were about or above 12,000 to 15,000 per year from 2010 to 2015, but that is not what we are seeing now. The Liberals, even with tens of thousands of people entering Canada illegally, are averaging half of that.
We know that the CBSA is not ignoring these issues and security threats. It just lacks the resources, which are now dedicated to maintaining an illegal border crossing and monitoring tens of thousands more people.
This failure is not just my opinion. It is the opinion of many Canadians.
A Calgary Herald headline from last August read, “Confidence in [The Prime Minister's] handling of immigration is gone”. The Toronto Sun, on May 29 of this year, wrote, “AG report shows federal asylum processing system a mess”. Another reads, “Auditor General Calls out Liberal Failures”. The news headlines go on and on.
This is not something the minister did when he implemented reforms in Bill C-59, the national security reforms. Under that bill, there would be three oversight agencies for our national security and intelligence teams: the new commissioner of intelligence, with expanded oversight of CSIS and CSE; the new national security and intelligence review agency, and with Bill C-22, the new parliamentary committee. This is in addition to the Prime Minister's national security adviser and the deputy ministers of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
Oversight can be a good thing. Often, because of human nature, knowing it is there acts as a deterrent. From my career, knowing that police are nearby or ready to respond can deter criminals, and knowing that someone will review claims of misconduct will add credibility to an already reputable agency, the CBSA.
It is probably too bad that this was not done earlier, because it could have gone through the House and the Senate quite easily. It could have been a law for a year or two already, perhaps even more. Sadly, the late tabling of the bill seems to make it a near certainty that if it reaches the Senate, it might be caught in the backlog of legislation there.
The House and the committee can and should give the bill a great deal of scrutiny. While the idea seems sound, and the model is better than in other legislation, I am wary of anything the government does on borders. It has not managed our borders well and has not been up front with the House or Canadians about that. In 2017, the Liberals told us that there was nothing to worry about, with tens of thousands of people crossing our borders illegally. They said they did not need any new resources, security was going well and everything was fine.
Well, the reality was that security was being cut to deal with the volume, provinces and cities were drowning in costs and overflowing shelters, border and RCMP agencies were stretched and refugee screenings were backing up. According to the ministers, everything was fine. Then, in the budget, came new funding, and in the next budget, and in the one after that. Billions in spending is now on the books, including for the RCMP, the CBSA and the Immigration and Refugee Board.
What should we scrutinize? For one, I think we should make sure to hear from those people impacted by this decision, such as front-line RCMP and CBSA officers who will be subject to these evaluations.
A CBC article had this to say:
The union representing border officers has heard little about the proposal and was not consulted on the bill. Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), said the president of the CBSA also was left in the dark and could not inform the union of any details of the legislation.
How reliable is legislation when the agency it would actually impact and involve was left out of the loop?
It seems odd that the Liberals would appoint one union, Unifor, to administer a $600-million media bailout fund just after they announce a campaign against Conservatives, and, yet, the border services officers union is not even consulted about legislation that impacts it. I would hope that consultations are not dependent on political donations and participation.
That is why Parliament should be careful about who sits on this new agency. We do not need more activists; we need experienced professionals. We need subject matter experts. We need people with management expertise. We need to make sure that the people who work on these review organizations are appropriately skilled and resourced to do their work. We need to make sure that frivolous cases do not tie up resources, and that officers do not have frivolous and vexatious claims hanging over the heads.
We need to make sure that Canadians do not need to hire lawyers to get access to the complaints commission and its process.
We need to make sure that the minister and his staff, and other staffing leaders across the public safety spectrum cannot get their hands inside the processes and decisions of these bodies. We need the agency to have transparent, clear processes and systems that are fair to applicants and defendants alike. We need to make sure that these processes do not eat away resources from two agencies that are already strapped for bodies.
I hope there is time to do this right. I hope there is the appropriate time to hear from all the relevant witnesses, that legal advice is obtained, and that we have the appropriate time to draft changes, changes that, based on the minister's track record, are almost certainly going to be needed.
As the House begins its work on this legislation, I trust the minister and his staff would not be directing the chair of the public safety committee to meet their scripted timeline, which seems a little difficult to be done now with only a week remaining. Knowing that the chair is a scrupulous and honoured individual, he certainly would not suggest that legislation needs to be finished before we can hear the appropriate testimony.
There is a lot of trust and faith needed for the House to work well on legislation like this and many other pieces, trust that is built through honest answers to legitimate questions, trust that is reinforced by following integrity and the need to get it right, rather than the need to just be right.
I hope, perhaps just once in this legislative session, we could see the government try to broker such trust on Bill C-98, but I will not hold my breath.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-12 18:48 [p.29030]
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to get up and speak to this important issue. I would like to start by recognizing the voters in Nanaimo—Ladysmith and thank them for seeing fit to elect me; and my team, my volunteers and my family, for supporting me through this process. This is my first time to have an opportunity to speak in Parliament. This is an interesting bill to get up and speak to.
My sister is a police officer. She has served some 23 or 24 years with the Ontario Provincial Police. She knows that when police are caught doing things they should not be doing it reflects poorly on all police officers. We need to respect the work that our men and women in uniform do: members of our armed forces, members of our police forces and members of the Canada Border Services Agency. It is very important to have oversight of these bodies, so that when there are legitimate complaints from citizens, they do not taint an organization.
I have just been reading a news article about a woman who was strip-searched coming into Canada and treated very poorly. There are many cases like this. When we cross the border, we enter a legal no man's land where we have no rights and we must do what we are told. When we are asked to hand over our cellphone and computer and give over the passwords, we are giving away some of our most personal information and letting people dig into our lives. When people are disrespected in this process, they need a proper way to complain about how they have been treated.
Bill C-98 would create an independent review and complaints mechanism for CBSA. This is very important. The objective is to promote public confidence in the system and for the employees. Those employees deserve to have confidence in their work and what they do. They deserve confidence and they deserve the respect of the public. The existing Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP would assume responsibility for review and complaints for the CBSA as well. It would be renamed as the public complaints and review commission, and be divided into RCMP units and a CBSA unit with similar powers, duties and functions and some modifications.
Why do we need this bill? Why do we need this oversight body? The CBSA is the only federal law-enforcement agency without an oversight body. It holds significant powers, including to detain, search, use firearms, arrest non-citizens without a warrant and conduct deportations.
We had a case in which the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands had to defend an indigenous man who was handcuffed, detained and taken away from his home during Christmas because he had an issue with his citizenship. He had been a resident of Penelakut Island and he was an indigenous person who has rights across the border. Indigenous communities and first nations in some cases do not recognize the border because the border is a false line that runs through their territories. For this person to be treated in this way, being bound, detained and forced from his home in this ruthless way, was highly problematic. It is important to have a complaints commission and somebody to review these kinds of cases and look at the conduct of the officers who were involved.
View Paul Manly Profile
It is reported that the CBSA investigated over 1,200 allegations of staff misconduct between January 2016 and mid-2018. The allegations included sexual assault, criminal association and harassment. At least 14 people have died in custody since 2000. Those are incredible statistics, and a good reason why we need some oversight over this agency.
The public complaints commission would respond to a review conducted as a result of PMB S-205 in the 42nd Parliament and the 2015 Senate report “Vigilance, Accountability and Security at Canada's Borders”.
In the fall of 2016, the Minister of Public Safety announced the government's intention to address gaps in the CBSA's framework for external accountability, a feature already present in countries like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and France.
I know we are getting late in this Parliament and we are early in the stages of this bill, but I think it is very important that we work on getting this through so that we can pass it before the House rises so there would be proper oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency. Then people would have a process to go through where they would have confidence, and other members of the CBSA would know there is a way for people who are bad apples in the system to have proper oversight over the kinds of actions they have taken, and the citizens of this country and the people travelling here can be confident that they will be treated with respect and dignity at our borders.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-12 18:55 [p.29030]
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague and the other half of the Green Party caucus in this place on his first speech. I also thank the voters of Nanaimo—Ladysmith for growing us as a party, as well as the individual efforts of this particular community leader to be in this place and speak out as he has.
I want to add to the context around the story that he relayed.
Richard Germaine, in December 2013, was, for members in this place listening to the shocking story, taken from his home just before Christmas. His wife was a survivor of residential schools. Uniformed men, with no warning, showed up at his door, took him from his home and put him in leg irons to transport him to a holding cell. We were able to mobilize because, thankfully, he had some contact with academics, University of Victoria anthropologists and those working on biological anthropology with respect to developing community gardens based on the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people of Penelakut Island. We got a lawyer, we paid for the lawyer and we got Richard Germaine out of a holding cell where he was about to be deported. The previous minister of immigration, Chris Alexander, was helpful. We regularized his citizenship because he was an indigenous person from the United States.
That was a horror story. I will never forget it. It made me realize, as my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith said, most of the people working in uniform in this country are fine and upstanding, but that story shook me to my core, especially when Richard Germaine told me that all the other people in that holding cell were deported within 24 hours and the guards there said, “Who do you know? How did this happen? Nobody gets out of here.”
I want to thank my hon. colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith. I am making a comment, not so much a question.
I have a feeling there are other events this evening of a less weighty nature, so I will end there, unless my hon. colleague wants to add anything.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-12 18:57 [p.29031]
I thank you for relating that story again. I remember talking about that experience.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-12 18:58 [p.29031]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for relating that story again and the importance of ensuring that we have the proper oversight to make sure those honourable men and women in uniform have the respect and confidence of our citizens and the people travelling to this country. Our borders are a legal no man's land and we need to make sure we have that proper oversight for people who do have legitimate complaints when they are mistreated at the border.
View Carol Hughes Profile
Is the House ready for the question?
Some hon. members: Question.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-12 19:00 [p.29031]
Madam Speaker, I rise to raise a question I initially asked on May 30, not long ago.
While the procedures for Adjournment Proceedings call for being allowed to ask for such a debate when the answer received is not sufficient, I think I am within the rubric of our rules in asking for this further debate on the issue. However, for the record, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness answered my question fully, capably and responsibly. My concern was that we learn from this experience.
I will repeat what I asked back on May 30. There was, and remains, a very terrifying episode for the community of Pikangikum First Nation, which is way out west in Ontario, so far that it is almost in Manitoba. It is a fly-in, remote community. Approximately 4,000 people live in this first nations community. The people there were surrounded by fire.
When I rose to ask the question that day, I had just heard that the chief and the community had called out for help. She actually called out for my seatmate, the hon. member who used to be the minister of Indigenous Services. Through her, I heard that the planes had not been able to land. A Hercules that was flying in to rescue people could not land because of the smoke. It was clearly a terrifying emergency situation. My question for the minister was what was the federal government doing.
The mobilization of resources to help that community was impressive. With the fire less than one or two kilometres from the community, thousands of people were removed to safety, with the Hercules aircraft flying in and out over a period of days.
My question is this. What have we learned from this? One of the things that struck me about it, when I read the newspaper reports, was that the community had lost power, had lost land lines, had lost cell service and it was surrounded by smoke. There was an immediate health issue.
This is exactly what happened the summer before last in Ashcroft, British Columbia, where my husband is from. I talked to the deputy fire chief. People were on an evacuation alert. They had to be ready to be evacuated because of the fire. At that moment, they were without electricity, without cellphones and without land lines. They only had one road out of town. They also had an acute health issue, because people could not breathe.
The deputy fire chief told me to be prepared for these events in the future and that people were talking about what they should do when they lost power and the use of cellphones and land lines. She concluded that Ashcroft, B.C. needed to get a really big bell and put it at the fire station to warn people of evacuations. It so resonated with me.
I held my town hall meetings in the Gulf Islands in January. On December 20 of last year, we had a windstorm so severe that trees were down in the roads. This lasted 10 days, through Christmas. There was no power, no land lines, no cellphones. Just like in Ashcroft, the community self-organized, got chainsaws out and removed the trees on the roads, which we know is illegal. However, since there was no power, people felt they were safe. People took the trees off the roads, they self-organized and they went to check on their neighbours and friends.
My point is this. We are in a climate emergency. The things we think we can count on, such as our devices and our electricity, will be gone. We will be dealing with tornadoes, floods and fires. What is Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness doing to prepare for what is happening now?
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