Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2018-12-10 11:03 [p.24627]
Mr. Speaker, before I get into the debate on the bill, I would like to acknowledge that this is our last week in this place not only for the year, but it is the last time we will be sitting here in Centre Block for the next decade. I would like to thank everyone who works behind the scenes to make this place run smoothly for those of us who are honoured to be elected and serve Canadians here in this beautiful building, which is going to be restored over the next 10 years. Hopefully, it will take only 10 years. On our behalf, I thank all the staff, from Parliamentary Protective Service, to administration, to custodians and everyone in between.
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
I appreciate this opportunity to speak to Bill S-240. As vice-chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, I can say that the subject of black market organ harvesting is not a new one. Indeed, Bill S-240 is the fourth iteration of a bill that has been through many parliaments. These bills were written largely in response to credible and appalling reports concerning organ harvesting in China.
Organ trafficking is considered an organized crime, with a host of offenders including the recruiters who identify the vulnerable persons, the transporters, the staff of the hospital or clinic and other medical centres, the medical professionals themselves who perform the surgery, the contractors, the buyers and those at the banks that store the organs. The Subcommittee on International Human Rights has studied the issue of organ harvesting in China numerous times and has issued at least two lengthy reports and a number of statements. The reports discuss in gruesome detail the establishment within China of an actual organ-harvesting industry.
The first source of organs for transplants apparently was prisoners who were sentenced to death and executed. A second source of organs was prisoners of conscience. The earliest of these were the Uighurs, Chinese Muslims from the eastern part of the country. The chamber will recall the more recent reports of up to one million Uighurs being rounded up by the government of the People's Republic of China and forceably placed into re-education camps.
In our subcommittee, we heard that while China's official central government's statistics indicate that approximately 10,000 organ transplantations take place per year, the numbers may actually be as high as between 60,000 and 100,000 organ transplants per year. The one population that ultimately became the principal victims of China's organ-harvesting industry was the country's Falun Gong followers. Falun Gong is the adherence to the Falun Dafa spiritual practice that originated in China. According to testimony that our subcommittee heard on November 3, 2016, China's organ-harvesting industry developed in tandem with its systematic repression of Falun Gong.
I will admit to being a bit skeptical initially about reports on organ harvesting in China. The idea of taking another person's organ to sell on the open market suggests a level of depravity that ordinary decent human beings find difficult to fathom. However, the more I learn about human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government against its own people and more and more credible accounts, my skepticism dissipates into reluctant belief. In fact, in recent hearings in the Subcommittee on International Human Rights looking into the human rights situation of the Uighurs in China, we heard that the Chinese government has been forceably taking DNA and blood samples from Uighurs. Chillingly, those of us who follow these issues immediately began fearing the Chinese government might be looking for yet more organs to harvest from this population.
It is time, therefore, that the international community come together on this issue and establish the conditions that will render the organ-trafficking industry unprofitable. While the majority of organ trafficking occurs abroad, measures must be taken to ensure Canadians waiting on long organ donation lists are not perpetuating this brutality by purchasing trafficked organs. Trafficking in human organs is an abhorrent activity that should be included in Canada's Criminal Code. Further, Bill S-240 proposes amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to ensure that receiving organs or benefiting economically from this illicit trade would also make a permanent resident or foreign national inadmissible to Canada.
The NDP supports Bill S-240 as we oppose all forms of trafficking in organs. We believe it is important to ensure that Canadians who have their names on the long organ donation lists are not inadvertently contributing to the demand for this horrendous crime.
As this is the fourth bill on organ trafficking in 10 years, the NDP calls for cross-party co-operation to ensure the swift passage of Bill S-240 and for this issue to be finally taken seriously. In addition to supporting this initiative, more should be done to encourage ethical, safe organ donation domestically. Canadians contribute to organ trafficking primarily through a phenomenon called transplant tourism. It is the most common way to trade organs across national borders. Recipients travel abroad to undergo organ transplants and there is currently no law in Canada against this practice.
Unlike the United States, Canada does not have a centralized list of people waiting for an organ. The Liberal government actually voted against a bill in 2016 that would have supported the creation of a national registry to help identify those wishing to donate organs and those who need them. Canada is the only developed country without national organ donation legislation, such as the 1984 United States National Organ Transplant Act. The Government of Canada should seriously consider the feasibility of a presumed consent system for organ donation where individuals opt out instead of opting in to organ donation.
In addition to the development and coordination of an advanced interprovincial organ-sharing system, the federal government must also facilitate the implementation of best practices and promote professional education and training opportunities. Canada is way behind on the issue of organ trafficking. In fact, the Council of Europe has had a convention against trafficking in human organs since 2008, and as of 2017, it has been ratified by 47 member states. Several countries, including Taiwan, Spain, and Norway, have already passed similar legislation. It is time for our country to catch up with the rest of the world and we can begin doing so today by supporting this bill.
It is not lost on many human rights defenders listening to this debate today that it is a profound anniversary marking the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago. Those sentiments are inextricably linked after the horrors witnessed in World War II and the conviction of never again. I submit that those sentiments are profoundly linked here as well to Bill S-240. After World War II, the world sought to ensure such madness ensued against humanity never happened again. Organ harvesting and trafficking are a nauseating reality and we must put a stop to them. Canada must act and must start by passing Bill S-240.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill S-240 and to take this opportunity to respond specifically to comments that have been made by many colleagues so far in this debate.
This bill, as members may know, would make it a criminal offence to receive an organ taken without the consent of the patient. This issue is morally clear-cut, and I think all speakers have agreed to that basic idea.
We are coming up towards the second reading vote, where we will vote on the legislation's principle. Members who have questions about some of the particulars but agree with the general principle should give this bill speedy passage at this stage so that we can make any necessary amendments at committee stage and still ensure that the bill becomes law before the next election. If further delays by Liberal members hold back progress in this Parliament, then we will have to start at square one in the next Parliament.
During previous speeches, members made observations about the extraterritorial application of Canadian law proposed in this case, that under this bill someone would be charged for getting an organ overseas for which there had not been consent. Members have generally agreed that we should be concerned about the basic human rights of non-citizens, and that we should seek to prevent Canadians citizens from violating the human rights of others while abroad.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice discussed some of the challenges associated with prosecutions involving extraterritoriality. He noted that these cases can be difficult and expensive to prosecute, since they might require Canadian law enforcement to gather evidence overseas. This can be the case with extraterritorial prosecutions, but I would make two observations to counter concerns about the challenges associated with extraterritorial prosecutions in this particular case.
First of all, we should not fail to criminalize bad behaviour just because prosecution is difficult. Even if we are only able to prosecute a small number of cases, the deterrent effect of the law will go a long way. We criminalize child sex tourism already, presumably recognizing the challenges involved in prosecution but also hoping that the law and the possibility of prosecution deter and reduce these crimes.
Second, though, organ trafficking and harvesting is a special case insofar as prosecution should be relatively easier than prosecutions for other crimes where extraterritoriality is involved. Recipients of trafficked organs are a special case because they will necessarily have prior and follow-up medical needs, and the transplanted organ will have a clear physical indication of a transplant. Circumstances related to the transplant will give doctors, and therefore law enforcement, clear indication of whether a person showed gross negligence around verifying that the donor consented.
Let us consider a concrete example and imagine that a patient is on a waiting list for a heart. He says to his doctor, “Doc, great news, I'm going to get a new heart. My cousin set me up. I'm going to Beijing six weeks from today, and I'll come back with a new heart.”
The doctor is perplexed. She replies, “That's not really possible. If there's a heart available for you, they're not going to keep it in the freezer for six weeks. The only way to plan that far in advance would be if doctors over there knew with certainty that someone who is a perfect match will die right before you arrive.”
This is a case where lack of consent is relatively clear, even if the patient may not fully understand at first. If someone is receiving a vital organ from a recently healthy patient in a country where organ harvesting is common, and is being told well in advance when an organ will be available, it becomes absolutely clear that someone else is being executed in order to remove the organ, on a schedule based on the availability of the patient.
In this hypothetical case, there is some very strong evidence already that can help lead to a conviction. That evidence exists based on the medical needs of the patient to consult with a physician here in Canada before and after.
In the scenario I have laid out, ideally, the doctor would advise the patient of what is likely going on. If the patient proceeded to receive the trafficked organ, the doctor would currently have no recourse, legal or otherwise. However, if Bill S-240 passes, a doctor in that situation might stand a better chance of persuading the patient to try a different path.
She might say to him, “You might not know this, but you taking an organ under those circumstances almost certainly means that it is being taken from an unwilling patient, who is being executed in order to get you an organ. Receiving an organ taken from an unwilling source is a serious criminal offence in Canada, even if done abroad. If you proceed with this, any physician who sees you in Canada will be legally obligated to report that you have received a transplanted organ and the circumstances of that transplant will become clear.”
It is hard to imagine a patient proceeding with his original plan after being presented with these new criminal law provisions and a reasonable probability of detection. While this is a case of extraterritorial application of criminal law, the medical realities mean fewer practical challenges.
The parliamentary secretary also mused about whether the reporting provisions in this legislation are overbroad. In an effort to ensure that any case of organ harvesting and trafficking is detected, a doctor is required to report the presence of a transplanted organ in every case. Might a narrower reporting mechanism achieve the same purpose?
The proper scope of the reporting mechanism is a good issue for the committee to study and should not be an impediment to those considering whether or not to support the bill at second reading, but still, l have a couple of observations at this point.
First of all, the parliamentary secretary argued about both the challenges of extraterritorial prosecution and a potential overbroadness of the reporting provision. The broadness of the reporting provision is precisely aimed at responding to what would otherwise be the challenge of prosecution; the one is a partial solution to the other. Further, it should not be particularly complex or onerous for the government to keep track on a list of those who have received an organ transplant, such that it can be verified if an organ was received properly. Requiring that reporting happens in every case ensures that those who participate in organ trafficking would be held accountable.
There are a few other points to make in response to what has been said. The member for Edmonton Centre mused about whether this legislation should include cases in which organs are purchased. He notes, quite correctly, that the bill presumes that a person who sells his or her organs is doing so from a position of vulnerability and therefore the bill proposes not to allow the selling of organs under any circumstances.
I appreciate that the member for Edmonton Centre acknowledges both sides of this question, saying as well, “...I also recognize...the need to ensure that individuals, often from developing countries, who may be vulnerable to abuse given their own economic situation, are protected from potentially exploitative practices.”
Let me make three points in response to this question about whether or not the bill should include a prohibition on purchasing organs abroad. First of all, this is also a subject where the application could be altered at committee. I would be sorry to see these provisions removed from the bill, but their presence should not be an impediment to supporting it at second reading given the possibility of amendment.
Second, the case the member for Edmonton Centre used, wherein a person goes overseas to buy an organ, in an environment with well-defined laws protecting the rights and the safety of the donor, is largely a fiction. There is a very small number of countries in the world where the buying and selling of human organs is legal and they are almost all very poor countries where the levels of health care are not anything resembling a respectable or desirable level. The decision by a healthy and aware person to sell their organ in a safe environment might be an interesting hypothetical for a philosophy seminar, but we should bracket that question and support measures that deal with the overwhelming reality of organ trafficking cases that involve exploitation.
Third, Canada does not allow the buying and selling of human organs domestically, so it is consistent with our Criminal Code to recognize the risks inherent in the commodification of human organs and the inherently exploitive nature of relationships in which people are selling body parts.
A number of members have said that there are no known cases of this practice happening in Canada, but whether or not the taking of human organs without consent has ever happened in Canada, the fact is that here in Canada it is already illegal and the bill deals with international organ trafficking, something we know is big and growing. It would be foolish to assume no involvement by Canadians in organ harvesting and trafficking. We have indeed heard anecdotally from hospitals of people going overseas to receive organs in China, although the particulars of the involvement of Canadians are obviously difficult to quantify. In the absence of a law prohibiting this practice, information about those going overseas to receive illicit organs should be released.
Let us move forward with the bill as quickly as possible and stop the excuses and delays. Let us make sure that we get this done before the next election.
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2018-12-10 11:22 [p.24630]
Madam Speaker, I want to talk about sections 36 and 37 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in my speech, which already address inadmissibility grounds with respect to criminality, serious criminality and organized criminality. That will be the majority of what I will be speaking about in my speech.
I am pleased to be able to take the floor to discuss Bill S-240, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which proposes new criminal law responses to tackle the issue of organ trafficking.
I would like to spend my time discussing the bill's proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Members will likely be aware that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sets out a number of rules governing who is and who is not admissible to Canada. In particular, division 4, part 1 of the act specifies a number of situations where a foreign national or permanent resident will be inadmissible to Canada for reasons of security, for reasons of criminality of various types, or for having engaged in human or international rights violations.
Section 35 specifically articulates the grounds upon which a permanent resident or foreign national would be inadmissible for reasons of violating human or international rights, such as where the person has engaged in genocide or war crimes. Bill S-240 proposes to amend this section to provide that a permanent resident or foreign national would be inadmissible to Canada for having engaged in conduct that would constitute an offence captured by any of the four new offences proposed in this bill. This amendment raises interesting issues that I look forward to hearing more about during our debates here in the House.
In determining whether someone is inadmissible, Bill S-240 would require the minister to be satisfied that the individual engaged in conduct that is captured by the bill's proposed new offences. In the summary of the bill, it notes that the minister who would be responsible for making such determinations would be the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. However, it is my understanding that the minister who is responsible for the inadmissibility sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is the Minister of Public Safety. It is unclear to me whether the sponsor of the bill is proposing that the ministerial responsibility for this new ground of inadmissibility be different than what is currently the case. It is important to ensure that the bill would not result in a situation where ministerial responsibility is either misunderstood or inconsistently applied in this act.
I would also be interested to hear more from the bill's sponsor in the House of Commons as to whether amending section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is appropriate, given the focus of the section is on international rights violations. It is not clear to me why the amendments are proposed here, rather than in sections 36 and 37 of the act, which deal with inadmissibility on the grounds of criminality, serious criminality and organized criminality.
I would also like to note that another private member's bill, Bill C-350, introduced by the sponsor of Bill S-240 in the House, dealing with the same issue, would amend section 37 instead of section 35. There appears to be some uncertainty as to where this kind of change should be made, and I am interested in hearing more about this in the House.
More fundamentally, I wonder whether this type of amendment is even needed. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act already contains a number of different grounds upon which a person may be found inadmissible to Canada. Specifically, sections 36 and 37 of the act already address inadmissibility on grounds of criminality, serious criminality and organized criminality. These provisions, in my view, are broad enough to capture the conduct targeted by the proposed amendment. For example, permanent residents or foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada for engaging in serious criminality. While “serious criminality” is not defined, the provision makes clear that it includes engaging in conduct abroad that was an offence in the place where it occurred and that if it had been committed in Canada it would constitute an offence punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 10 years' imprisonment.
Under this rule, a foreign national or permanent resident who engages in conduct that would be criminalized by the offences proposed in Bill S-240 would be inadmissible. I wonder then what the rationale is for specifically enumerating a new ground of admissibility.
The same holds true for subsection 36(2), which states that a foreign national is admissible to Canada for having been convicted of an offence outside of Canada that, if it were committed in Canada, would have constituted an indictable offence.
Beyond the question I have already raised concerning the need for specific amendments of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, I would like to spend a few moments talking about what may be unintended consequences of Bill S-240.
As has already been discussed in previous speeches, one of the proposed new offences will criminalize any person who obtains or facilitates obtaining an organ from the body of another person where he or she knows or was reckless as to whether the organ was obtained for consideration. Others have spoken about how this would capture individuals who travel abroad to obtain an organ that was purchased in a country where it would be legal to do so. However, it is not only limited to this conduct.
For example, proposed subsection 240.1(3) will also criminalize medical practitioners who participate in the organ transplant surgery in the country where it is legal to do so. Under Bill S-240, that person will also be inadmissible to Canada. I wonder if this is an appropriate outcome.
I raise these questions because I strongly believe we need to fully appreciate the implications of any legislation that is brought before us. I do not believe that to this point, Bill S-240's proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act have benefited from the kind of detailed debate that is required. In fact, based on my review of the parliamentary record, I could not find a single question raised in the other place about the implications associated with Bill S-240's immigration-related proposals.
There can be no doubt that the issue of illicit organ trafficking is a serious one. There equally can be no doubt that we, as parliamentarians, are united in our concern and commitment to identifying appropriate solutions to address the behaviour of those who would seek to exploit the vulnerable, with no regard for their health or well-being.
Nevertheless, we should not let the seriousness of the issue detract from our responsibility to closely examine and, where possible, improve upon legislation that is brought before us. A number of issues have been identified with Bill S-240 that require more detailed examination, and I look forward to our continued consideration of them.
View Len Webber Profile
View Len Webber Profile
2018-12-10 11:30 [p.24631]
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill S-248, a Senate bill that was brought forward to the House by the Conservative member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. I know the member is passionate about this issue and has worked hard to bring this legislation to this point, so I thank him.
The RCMP has stated the obvious. It says that there are far more people in the world in need of a new organ than there are organs available. As in any market where a dollar can be made because demand far outweighs supply, people can turn to the black market to find what they need. When a person's life is on the line, the will to survive may override morals.
As members in the House may know, I have been a passionate advocate for finding improvements to Canada's organ and tissue donation systems. While 90% of Canadians support organ donation, just 20% are registered as organ donors. There are 4,500 Canadians desperate for a life-saving transplant, and 250 die each year before that life-saving transplant becomes available.
If we can increase the supply of organs, we can reduce or eliminate the desperation that leads people to take such drastic measures to save their own lives.
The problem of organ trafficking is not just a Canadian problem. The World Health Organization says that 10% of all organ transplants involved a trafficked organ. This is about 10,000 a year, every year.
The country of Iran stands alone in the world as the only nation with a legal organ trade. However, the trade is closely monitored and it has eliminated the wait-list for kidneys. However, I do not believe the end justifies the means either.
On a positive note, it has spurred the rate of donations from deceased donors in Iran. It is important to note that deceased donors are not paid.
Organ trafficking is a horrible phenomenon that can be crudely reduced to this: Rich nations take advantage of poverty in poor nations to satisfy their need for organs. A Harvard study showed that the main purchasing nations were the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan and, yes, Canada. We target nations in South America, Asia and Africa. In Indian alone, it is estimated that 2,000 kidneys are sold each year.
This trade is big business. Profits are estimated to be between $600 million U.S. and $1.2 billion U.S. per year.
Organ trafficking is done through what is generally known as “transplant tourism”. Those in need of a transplant travel to one of these poorer nations to undergo their transplant under the auspices of a vacation. There are even websites that offer all-inclusive transplant packages for these so-called tourists. A kidney transplant, for example, will mean a transplant vacation costing anywhere from $70,000 U.S. to $160,000 U.S. Canada does not have a law that prevents this.
While kidneys are the most commonly traded organ, it does not stop there. Other common transplants involve hearts, livers, lungs, pancreases and corneas. Human tissue is also illegally traded.
The trade involves three basic groups, according to the United Nations' global initiative to fight human trafficking: traffickers, who force or deceive victims into giving up an organ; victims who have their financial desperation used against them to give up their organs; and victims who are deceived into a medical procedure during which they have an organ removed without their prior knowledge.
Like any other illegal trade supported by organized crime, there are many layers of offenders. There are the recruiters, both for donors and recipients; the vulnerable people, who are the victims; the immoral medical people and facilities; the buyers; the facilitators; and more.
What do we do to address this problem? Of course, if we had enough donors in Canada, people would not be desperately mortgaging their homes or spending their retirement savings to get that life-saving transplant.
I do not blame people who are facing death for taking whatever steps they can to save themselves. They are just as much a guilty party in this trade as they are a victim of the trade. However, we need to take a stand on this issue if we are to stop it.
Before I go any further, it is important to clarify this would not prevent a truly informed and consenting person from donating an organ to someone in need. We are talking about unethically obtained organs.
Bill S-240 seeks to amend the Criminal Code to create new offences in relation to trafficking in human organs. It would also amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide that a permanent resident or foreign national would be inadmissible to Canada if the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship were of the opinion that he or she had engaged in any activities relating to trafficking in human organs.
We face an interesting problem in the world of illegally obtained organs. Unlike other contraband items, customs officers cannot just seize an organ at the border. How can we tell if that tourist coming back to Canada has the same heart he or she left with weeks earlier? It would be a very difficult crime to detect. In many ways, the only way to detect this activity would be when those Canadians would go to their doctor, who suddenly would notice they had surgical scars and signs of a new organ.
Section 240 of the bill would require health professionals to notify a designated authority of such activity for investigation. Anyone found guilty of contravening these new prohibitions would be subject to up to 14 years in prison. I have concerns about the kind of relationship this would set-up between doctors and patients, but there really is no other way to do this.
Where does that leave us today? There is a saying that I think is very appropriate here, “When all is said and done, there is often a lot said and little done.” There have been four bills before Parliament in the past 10 years on organ trafficking, but yet we stand here today and continue to talk. It is time we get something done instead. Until we take aggressive steps to stop organ trafficking, the practice will continue to victimize thousands more every year.
Let us get the legislation enacted before the next election. If we do not, the whole process would have to start all over again. What a waste of time and money that would be. Thousands more could be victimized in the process.
At the same time, let us pass legislation like Bill C-316, my bill, which would help eliminate the demand for organ trafficking. Let us also focus more effort on acting on the recommendations of the health committee to improve our domestic supply of organs and tissues. Let us better promote the registration of organ and tissue donors, so our supply will exceed our demand. Honestly, imagine a day when people come to Canada to get a life-saving transplant because we have too many available organs. Would that not be an amazing goal?
Again, I applaud the Conservative member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for putting the legislative proposal forward in the House. I look forward to voting in support of it.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I am going to start by tying up a loose end. Some members have spoken and raised the question of whether, effectively, this is already captured by other provisions of the Criminal Code.
The parliamentary secretary to the minister of science made comments that might be construed to this effect. She spoke about provisions around human trafficking, including human trafficking for the purpose of the organ, which can be applied extraterritoriality. She also spoke about how the harvesting of human organs would likely involve the commission of other crimes, such as assault if it were to take place here in Canada.
However, I want to be clear that human trafficking for the purpose of extracting an organ and the trafficking of organs are two different things. For example, someone who receives a harvested kidney is not, strictly speaking, engaging in human trafficking, but organ trafficking; hence, the need for new offences with clear extraterritorial application.
While organ harvesting would necessarily involve other offences, those offences, like assault, do not have extraterritorial application. There are no current laws that involve the extraterritorial application of prohibitions against the trafficking of human organs. My friend from Kitchener South—Hespeler spoke about whether existing provisions around inadmissibility could be applied in this case. He spoke about serious criminality and organized criminality.
Let us be clear, first of all, that we have not seen prosecutions related to this in the past, and colleagues who think that the existing provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Act or the Criminal Code are sufficient should hopefully be able to point to cases where this crime has actually been prosecuted. Given that none have been raised in the House, it suggests to me that we actually do need to clarify and strengthen the offences such as they exist.
In terms of this issue of serious criminality and organized criminality, we are talking about offences that offend any basic sense of morality but are not necessarily illegal in the country where they take place. We have spoken about the case of one country that seems to have systemized and organized process of organ harvesting from political prisoners. Therefore, provisions that deal with inadmissibility to Canada based on the commission of an offence in the country where it is committed would not apply in this case, because someone might be doing something involving organ harvesting and trafficking from political prisoners. That is legal and, in fact, state policy in one country, but we would seek to apply the extraterritoriality provisions here in Canada.
There is a need for laws to address an issue that is perhaps hinted at around the edges of the existing provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Act and the Criminal Code, but is very clearly not explicitly illegal. Again, if members opposite think that those provisions are sufficient or do exist, then they should be able to point to cases where prosecutions have happened. As my colleagues have quite effectively pointed out, we know that this happens and that Canadians are involved, and yet we are not seeing prosecution of it.
Regardless of whatever arguments one might make about the text of the law, the fact that this is going on without its being prosecuted should be clear enough evidence that we need to strengthen the legislative work. If nothing else, the reporting mechanism in this legislation would create a mechanism whereby these extraterritorial offences could be effectively prosecuted.
The other points that have been raised have been responded to effectively by my colleagues. I just mention as well quickly that the member for Kitchener South—Hespeler spoke about the possibility that medical practitioners could be deemed inadmissible to Canada in cases where they might be involved in something related to this.
Those who are involved in illicit organ harvesting and trafficking could be deemed inadmissible to Canada, but there is ample space in the legislation proposed for the discretion of the minister. Inadmissibility to Canada is based on assessments made by the Government of Canada, which can weigh various criteria in each case. If there were a concern about people being caught up in the net of this who should not be, again that would be dealt with by the provisions that allow discretion. In fact, the legislation says that prosecutions under Bill S-240 cannot proceed without the explicit consent of the attorney general. These are ample provisions to ensure that there is not some indirect application to people whom it should not be applied to.
We have to take action to help the vulnerable here. There are many details in this bill that should be discussed in greater detail at committee. If people have constructive ideas for amendments, doing so at committee is the right place for that.
However, let us make a clear statement on the principle of the bill. That is what we do at second reading. We go on the principle of the legislation. This is the fourth bill in 10 years on this. I think we should all agree with the principle that Canada cannot, in good conscience, consent to the trafficking and harvesting of human organs from nonconsenting people, that we can take a clear and moral stance on this fundamental human rights issue, the details of which can be worked out at committee to the extent they need to be.
Let us now, at second reading, take a clear stand and move this forward by sending it to committee.
View Carol Hughes Profile
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The House is suspended until 12 o'clock.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I might as well use this time to raise a matter of order. I know that the Speaker may need to come back to the House on it, but it is something that requires some clarification.
Standing order 53.1(2) indicates that a take-note debate ordered by the House pursuant to section 1 of the Standing Orders shall begin at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment and any proceedings subject to standing order 38, what we conventionally call “late shows”, shall be suspended on that day. My reading of that provision is that those late shows are suspended, which means that a member whose late show is scheduled to expire that day could schedule that late show for the following day.
Standing order 38 refers to the fact that late shows have to be scheduled within a set period of time, but that set period of time applies to sitting days.
My reading of standing order 53.1(2) is that a member's late show suspended on the current day can be rescheduled for the next day even if the current day is the expiry date. That is my reading of it.
I would like to have some clarification from the Chair about whether or not I can schedule a late show tomorrow for one that was supposed to take place today.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2018-12-10 11:47 [p.24633]
Madam Speaker, I rise on that point of order. You can reflect on the comments mentioned by the member if you like, but I believe that the House was actually suspended, so if anything, that point of order should be stricken from the record.
View Carol Hughes Profile
Thank you to both members. Both points were done in conjunction. I will come back to the House if need be on this.
View Carol Hughes Profile
At this point, the House is suspended until 12 o'clock.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2018-12-10 12:00 [p.24633]
That in relation to the Senate amendments for Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of Senate amendments to the bill; and
That fifteen minutes before the expiry to the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the Senate amendments of said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required, for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the state of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
View Carol Hughes Profile
Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
The hon. member for Durham.
View Erin O'Toole Profile
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2018-12-10 12:02 [p.24634]
Madam Speaker, I guess it is fitting for this government that we, in the final days of sitting in this chamber, are again talking about its favourite parliamentary procedure, time allocation, something that the Liberals said that they would never use when they were in opposition. Today we have time allocation on Bill C-51, particularly on the amendments by the Senate, the same Senate the Prime Minister said he was liberating by appointing independent senators to, because he wanted their feedback. He wanted additional debate. Today, they are once again shutting down that additional debate in the House.
This once again is an example of the Liberal government ramming things through. I am going to remind my friend from Winnipeg North that in 2011, the first time he spoke about time allocation, the first of many times he complained about it, he said that its use would mean he was “abandoning every principle I have on parliamentary tradition”. Abandoning principles seems to be all they have done in government.
My question is for either the minister or the member for Winnipeg North regarding the desire to have independent input from the Senate, with the changes made to the other place by the Prime Minister. Bill C-51 is an example of that additional insight from the Senate. I spoke last week on it. Why is the government curtailing debate on Bill C-51 through the use of time allocation? Once again, the Liberals are not adhering to their promises on omnibus bills or time allocation, nor are they keeping with the Prime Minister's promise to have an independent Senate that could provide input on bills. Why are they using time allocation and discounting the input from Senator Pate and others?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the comments by my friend and colleague across the way. My favourite parliamentary procedure, one of the favourite duties I have in this place, is passing good laws that are informed by robust consultation.
I believe the member for Winnipeg North would agree with me that we have had substantial debate on Bill C-51. The bill benefited from the very direct engagement of the hon. members in the other place. We have taken serious account of their message back and have recognized that their proposed amendment is well intentioned. We are committed to continuing to work with the hon. senators and Canadians generally, as we seek to move forward and look at the law of consent and the incapacity to consent. This is something on which there will be ongoing discussion, dialogue and commitment by our government.
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