Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
One of the key principles underlying responsible parliamentary government is that the House of Commons holds the power of the purse. This amendment that we're proposing will make the tabling of a budget with financial information mandatory to give MPs time to assess the budget before the beginning of the fiscal year. With the public relations brochures we get from time to time in the form of economic action plans, which are devoid of detailed accounting, and with budgets tabled in April instead of February and March, this government has eroded parliamentarians' ability to perform their duty in holding the government accountable on spending.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
We can't have or we shouldn't have a government that's afraid to borrow to build the infrastructure we need because it's worried about the penalties that might occur. This amendment will make it so this legislation is careful not to restrict borrowing for prudent capital investment.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
This amendment deletes the clauses within the bill that will allow for secret evidence as well as evidence inadmissible in a Canadian court of law. It also requires an appellant to be informed of the minister's case against them, not just “reasonably informed”.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
This amendment appoints a special advocate to be present whenever an appellant and their counsel can't be present due to issues of national security. This is the scheme from security certificates. In my opinion, these secret trials are unjust, but at least a special advocate would make things a bit more fair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Again, this amendment deletes the clauses within the bill that allow for secret evidence and for decisions to be made based on evidence that neither the opponent nor the counsel has even seen.
It also requires the opponent to be actually informed of the minister's case, and not just “reasonably informed”.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This amendment appoints a special advocate to be present whenever an appellant and their counsel cannot be present due to issues of national security. If we have enough information to revoke somebody's passport, we should have enough to look into charges of laying a recognizance without conditions. A special advocate would at least make sure that the person accused who can't defend themselves has someone looking out for them.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
There are very good reasons for and against extending privilege to patent agents. However, this needs to happen in a separate intellectual property bill, partly because it's extremely controversial. In the meantime, things could be clearer if these common law principles were present here. This amendment seeks to incorporate the elements of the Wigmore test.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This one will be very short.
This amendment would do exactly the same thing as PV-14 but for trademark agents. I should perhaps use that bit of extra time to explain the Wigmore test. It was summarized by the Supreme Court in 1991, in the Gruenke case:
The Wigmore test as to whether or not a communications is privileged requires that: (1) the communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed; (2) this element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties; (3) the relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be [diligently] fostered; and (4) the injury...to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Together is fine. It makes sense, they do the same thing.
This bill changes the years of copyright for a song recording, not a song, but a recording from 50 years to an astounding 70 years. The big three foreign record companies lobbied the Prime Minister directly for this, and this came hidden here in this omnibus budget bill with no study or consultation.
Our amendments will change it back to 50 years, still very long, but more reasonable. Numerous studies in Europe have shown that extending the copyright for sound recordings does not benefit artists at all, but does benefit the big record labels. The artists quite often don't hold the copyright for the sound recording, while they do for the actual song, which goes for 50 years after death.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment seeks to do two things, as recommended by James Haga, VP of Engineers without Borders. The first is poverty reduction, and specifically that Canada's development goals should be at the very heart of the development finance initiative's, DFI's, core mandate. Second, DFIs' investments should complement but be quite distinct from Canada's official development assistance.
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment doesn't have anything to say about pay or non-pay, and it's very simple and straightforward. It emphasizes part of the point that Mr. Rankin was making, that on this point alone legislation would be better than regulation and make it certain.
This amendment will make sections 247.1 to 247.4 of the Canada Labour Code applicable to federal interns, and these are the sexual harassment provisions only.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you very much.
I'll start with amendment PV-27. We have serious and deep reservations on two major points. The first is the potential for such a service to unintentionally place what is now wholly legislative jurisdiction, the protection of parliamentary privilege, into the hands of the executive.
The second is the job security—
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Sorry. I stand corrected. Thank you very much.
This amendment would undo the change proposed by Bill C-59 to expand the maximum natural gas exportation licence to 40 years from the current maximum which is 25. Recognizing the importance of responsible and sustainable resource development, this change would mean that all stakeholders would get fewer opportunities to revisit projects that had previously received approval, depending on their positive or negative impact on the environment and economies of the communities that they affect.
As West Coast Environmental Law, a B.C. environmental law advocacy group that opposes the change, says, “It is quite possible that something thought to be a good idea today may not be in 25 years' time with the advent of climate change, economic shifts, increasingly harmed environment, and other potentially unforeseen alterations to the landscape. By lengthening the maximum term of licencing we're removing our ability to revisit these important questions and continue to ensure that our decisions are working to the advantage of everyone.”
Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
You have to listen to a few words again.
We have serious and deep reservations on two major points here: the first is the potential for such a service to unintentionally place what is now wholly legislative jurisdiction, that being the protection of parliamentary privilege, into the hands of the executive; the second is the job security of the men and women of the current House and Senate parliamentary protective services.
That's it.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
No, I'm sorry, that is not it. I'll be quick with the other part.
This amendment would remove the language that could have implied that the Minister of Public Safety would be on equal footing with the Speakers in determining the terms and conditions of the arrangement whereby the RCMP will supply security services. It must be clear that the Speakers are wholly responsible for the terms of the deal, with the minister playing a consultative role only. “For greater certainty” clauses have no statutory impact, and the language in the operative section must be clear.
This amendment seeks to reduce any ambiguity about whom this new director will be accountable to. As the director will remain an active member of the RCMP under this act, it must be made clear that the Commissioner of the RCMP may take no actions to interfere with the role and duties of the director that may exist under the RCMP Act. While we don't presume that any responsible commissioner would take those actions, we must as legislators ensure that no commissioner could take any actions that would constitute breaches of our sacred and important parliamentary privilege.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
In my nomenclature, we would be going to.... I thought amendment PV-28 was the same as amendment PV-27, and I thought that amendments PV-29 and PV-30 were together.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Yes, please.
With the Mounties poised to provide security services in the precinct, it's important to recognize that some conflicts may arise out of this new security arrangement. One of our particular concerns is the matter of the execution of search warrants in the parliamentary precinct, which has been a topic of much debate historically in this place. We recommend that it be stated clearly in this act that the Speaker be guided by precedent on this matter to ensure that it be the Speaker and/or Speakers who is or are solely responsible to protect the powers, privileges, rights, and immunities of Parliament.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Mr. Chair, this amendment seeks to address some of the concerns raised by one of the witnesses from the House of Commons security services. That witness testified to the public safety committee that, while the motion passed in the House of Commons and the Senate guaranteed “continued employment”, this bill only guarantees that the day following the services' establishment, they will be transferred to the new service. It does not address the nature and length of their continued employment.
Given their long record of important service to this place, and in particular during the events of October 22, we hope that this amendment will reflect their concerns, and reassert and confirm this House's commitment to their continued employment.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Quebec's private sector privacy law was found to be inadequate by the EU, and countries are considering moving the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, from Montreal.
PIPEDA, the federal private sector privacy law, has been found by the European Union to be adequate. However, the federal government can't simply place WADA under its jurisdiction due to the Constitution.
The government is free to amend legislation, but it's not free to ignore our Constitution. Simply stating that WADA is now subject to PIPEDA is subject to challenge, because to do so calls into question the constitutional foundation of the entire law. If PIPEDA applies to non-commercial activities, it needs a different constitutional basis. By encroaching on provincial powers, in this case seeking to impose a federal law where a provincial Quebec law already applies, the government is proposing to solve one problem by creating a much bigger problem.
The Privacy Commissioner has raised the same concerns.
This amendment is to recognize that the government cannot simply legislate this agency into its jurisdiction, because constitutionally it belongs to the province.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Part 3, division 15, section 168 of Bill C-59 would create a non-exhaustive, open-ended list of applications subject to collection of personal biometric information for “verification purposes”.
Our amendment seeks to point out how much Bill C-59 opens up the possibility for collecting biometrics, and to point out the possibility of mission creep, as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association called it in the Senate committee.
The government could easily use this as a grab for the personal and private information of anyone coming into Canada, and use it for virtually any purpose. In fact, the Prime Minister is announcing today that all people requiring visas will need to give their biometrics. There are some legitimate reasons to collect biometrics, but we need to be cautious and need to be transparent.
This change within Bill C-59 came as a surprise and after no serious public study. We feel this is potentially quite dangerous. Thank you.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
Thank you.
A centralized database can often be easily hacked. When you combine this massive collection of personal information with the information sharing provisions of Bill C-51, what will prevent Citizenship and Immigration from sharing all the personal information they're collecting with many or all other departments?
Biometrics contain extremely sensitive and personal information. We have received no information about how this enormous database will be structured, or what kind of privacy protections it will have.
We're concerned about mission creep. It's a big concern. Biometrics are intrusive.
This amendment will seek to ensure that the legal standards, values, and rights established in Canadian privacy law for the treatment of personal information are not eroded, and that any sharing of personal information with other jurisdictions or states complies fully with Canadian standards of protection.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
This amendment was a suggestion by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland in the citizenship and immigration committee on May 28. We concur with his opinion. We need to place some limits on what can be shared with the RCMP.
Mr. Kurland said the following in committee:
The way it's stated biometric can be collected and then at some point-in-time related personal information is on the table. As the committee members, I'm sure, well know family composition forms are part of the immigration process. Their equivalent for temporary status is also part of the visa process and that means that your family tree and all the personal information in immigration databases can go out the door to the RCMP and travel to points abroad.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
May I converse with my staff for a moment?
We're not certain we understand the question, never mind the answer. Maybe he could repeat his question; I'll try.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
I think we can probably do them together.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
First, regarding PV-40, Bill C-59 brings in the possibility of automated decision-making. We could have a computer making decisions about who gets to come to Canada. This raises many questions, but it's hidden in this huge budget bill so we haven't been able to ask those questions.
PV-40 and PV-42 delete this section that allows incorporation by reference of these regulations related to the electronic administration of the act. Incorporation by reference means regulations could change over time when external bodies decide to revise those documents that have been incorporated by reference, and Parliament would have no further oversight role. These external changes would become law automatically with no further action required from the Canadian state, or from Parliament.
We feel this is not only not transparent but also downright undemocratic.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
GP (ON)
What this amendment is trying to fix is surprising. This amendment seeks to make it so that as veterans age, they don't see a decrease in the funding they receive from the government. It appears that currently in Bill C-59, when veterans reach the age of 65, they will actually receive less money, which makes no sense, as they're looking at increased costs of health care as they age, as we all age.
Thank you.
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