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Results: 1 - 15 of 36
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
This is nothing but an obviously puerile, pathetic political move. What it's designed to do, quite frankly, is the following. As we approach an election, of course, somebody is trying to usurp the very important work this committee has to do, and that is to review legislation. This is parliamentary tradition in this country. This is the way this committee is set up.
My friend across the way says there are lots of other things we could study. There's no end to things we could study, but we are very much time limited in this Parliament, and I think what we need to do is get on with this.
Mr. Easter is great. He's been here 20-some years. He really knows how to pull political strings. He knows how to garner the limelight and how to get things in the limelight and to make accusations.
This committee is not a court. The Information Commissioner has done what she thinks is appropriate. He uses the right words when he says “alleges”. Every time somebody alleges something, if we're going to be sucked up into some kind of political move just to placate some people who want to score some points because they may not be doing well in the polls or something else, that's too bad. That's sad. But I won't be part of a political game.
We have legislation before this committee. Let's get on with it, and if we have time to study things appropriately before the end of the 41st Parliament, let's do it. But let's get on with the job at hand, and let Mr. Easter scurry over to the finance committee and do his tricks. Maybe the cameras will be on. He'll get a few minutes on the nightly news, to make an allegation that in the end will be moot, because the Supreme Court of Canada has said that Parliament is supreme. Parliament said destroy the records. The records are destroyed. End of story.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and to keep this appropriate and proper, through you to my fellow committee members, as was mentioned the people who really make this committee work, I call them the unsung heroes, are the Library of Parliament, our analysts, and the clerk.
I tell everyone I meet that the only non-political people, the people you can go to for a straight answer if you need one, the people who are always there to help you and not set little traps for you are those at Library of Parliament, the analysts and the clerks. These are the people who actually make this place work, the technicians, the folks who make sure we have enough to eat and drink, and see to our needs, like unplugging things and plugging things. And of course, there are the translators, who I think try to do their best to sometimes use the proper words when we can't find them.
After nine years on the committee and three parliaments, I must say that of the committees that I've sat on and been a part of during that time—of course, we sit in for our members—I always feel right at home at this committee. Despite my sparring with Mr. Easter, I respect every member of Parliament.
I was at a class of gifted students in three different grades and I always try to be somewhat apolitical. I tell them to talk to their parents, go on the Internet, find out who they are first, then see which political party best represents who they are and recognize, as I did, that you may change, that you may change your political views as time goes by.
Mr. Chair, when someone leaves this place—this is my second retirement—there's always some bitter sweetness and this is for sure is bittersweet. I have to say that in only one Parliament did this committee not work that well and it was a minority government, so things got pretty hairy. But, generally speaking, this is the best committee I've ever been on in both this and the last two Parliaments.
I must say, Randall, LaVar hit it right, when we went to another country, you represented yourself and us in the true style of what a member of Parliament in another country should do. You made sure there were differences, because there are, but you did it in a way that if we all used....I must admit if I used your tact and your way, I'd be prouder of myself at times. You are a true gentleman. Your whole team has reflected well on your party.
I don't think we've ever said anything truly hurtful to each other at this committee. When I had my little tirade with Wayne, it was political in nature, it was not personal in nature, and I think he understands that. I think we all do.
Everybody sees us during question period and I call it a blight on our democracy because we should respect our political leaders, but that respect has to start with us. I always say that question period starts off with the question: “Why are you the worst government that ever existed? You're a bunch of liars and cheats, etc.” Then we get up and respond: “We are the best government that ever was and you can blah, blah, blah”. If we want people to respect us, we need to respect each other and we need to show that. I don't think that's ever going to stop with question period.
Behind the scenes, we have our political handlers, we have the people who feed us the questions, we have the things we're trying to say. Hopefully, someday, Randall, we'll adopt a kinder, gentler way, and I hope I'll see that, but I don't think I'll see it in my lifetime, but it may happen.
This is the time, when you're leaving, as Shakespeare said—of course, I'm not dead, but I'm referring to my political career—“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. Let's just say I'm burying all the old bones, and I'll try to have nothing but good memories of this place.
To all of you from me, a very heartfelt thanks, and an apology if you felt hurt by anything I said. It was strictly political, and we know we all hold different views, but we all have—as Diane mentioned in her hope—the best interests of our country at hand. If we always remember that, I think this country will continue to be the best place on God's good earth to live, to raise a family, and to work.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I think I should have reversed my notes, but I'll start from the beginning.
I think it's important that Mr. Garrison laid out the number of witnesses and the length of time, and I'll address that near the end of my comments.
The parliamentary secretary has indicated that the government is prepared to have eight meetings, 48 witnesses, 16 hours of debate here or 16 hours of debate/witnesses.
It brings to mind my friend across the way in several other discussions on several other bills saying that he failed to see an air of cooperation and he really looked forward to seeing some cooperation from the government with regard to the number of meetings and witnesses.
I agree with him that this is an important piece of legislation. Having been on this committee, I do not agree that it is more important than the previous anti-terrorism bills to which I was a party in the debates and with the witnesses, etc. I think this bill adds to it.
I don't think it is quite accurate or necessary to say it should have the same number of hours, etc., because it adds to the tools in our tool chest as legislators to be able to provide those tools to our agencies that are there to keep us safe. I think that air of cooperation has been laid out before this committee through the amendments we've seen, and I'll give my friend an opportunity to answer why we couldn't meet somewhere in the middle.
I suspect the air of cooperation still exists, and if he wanted to take the time to sit with the parliamentary secretary, maybe we could even work a little more, but if he's intransigent that it has to be 25 and it has to be this number of hours, then a lot of what was said in the past rings hollow to those who might want to follow this committee.
When I listen to a lot of what has been said, there are a few things our grandparents and folks always mention, that the greatest way for evil to persist is when good people do nothing. We see an evil in our world society called ISIS. Its tentacles have now reached well within the fabric of Canadian society. This bill adds to the other terrorism legislation to begin to cut off those tentacles, or at least to allow the agencies that are designed to keep us safe to do something about it.
It's not blind trust, but I trust the men and women in the RCMP, CSIS, and other agencies to keep us safe. I think some checks and balances are needed and I think this legislation has built within it the checks and balances needed for this particular piece of legislation. Then we have another agency that oversees it, and we know who they are.
My observation when we talk about oversight, and I've seen this a little throughout this entire Parliament, is that every time the government brings forward legislation to allow the men and women who work in our agencies, whether it's the RCMP or CSIS or other agencies...we have the opposition saying they really trust them, but we need to keep an eye on them a little more closely than we already do and then they vote against the legislation because it doesn't do that. I wonder if the average Canadian would agree with it.
I know it's anecdotal, but when it comes to the folks that I meet in the coffee shops and talk to at various meetings and functions that I go to, in all fairness some have concerns, but the vast majority feel that our agencies that are there have the right controls on them and in the end our court system will, if need be, be brought into play to make sure there are the checks and balances that need to be there.
My friend across the way talked about polls, etc., that if they know this, this will happen, but if they didn't know that, that will happen. I somewhat agree that we as politicians need to put less faith in polls. The poll I put my faith in will occur this October 19. I say to my friend, if we're so wrong and you're so right about the need, it won't be me, it will probably be you. Maybe the tables will be turned. We need to just take a big deep breath and stop looking at polls and begin to look at what's needed in our society. I believe we're living up to the mandate provided to us as a government to make sure....
I say this almost in all the meetings I have with my constituents when we talk about either health issues or public safety issues. The first responsibility of the government is the health and safety of the citizens. Because of that threat I referred to at the beginning, with its tentacles within the fabric of Canadian society, the government needs to do something about the health and safety of its citizens by bringing in legislation that allows....
We didn't dream this up. The government doesn't dream these things up. This is as a result of conversations with organizations such as CSIS, the RCMP, and other agencies, with their saying they'd like to do more but they don't have the tools to do it. That's why this legislation is being brought in.
For the folks at home, I'd like to remind them that on most of our legislation, such as the travel abroad and travel protect, and other legislation as I've mentioned, the folks across the way, Her Majesty's official opposition, generally votes against them. Then they say the reason they did is not necessarily because it's bad legislation, but because there are not enough checks and balances. As my teachers, my parents, and especially my grandparents have said, actions speak louder than words. What did you do? What was the result of what you did? It doesn't matter what you said. It's what did you do?
One of the other observations that I made is that the third party, having been in government, tends to, when it sees legislation, maybe not always like it precisely. In the past, on some of the legislation—and we're talking about Bill C-51 here, this piece of legislation—they've indicated that they have issues with it but generally they're prepared to vote for it because, having had the responsibility of government, they understand why the government is doing that. I think that is part and parcel of why they are voting for it: because they do see the value in the legislation and they do see some of the checks and balances they'd like to see. They also know that sometimes three-quarters of a loaf of bread is better than no bread at all, and in this case understand the need for this anti-terrorism legislation.
My friend mentioned that we have to be careful that we don't have court challenges. Well, I can tell you that if you have enough money, there's a plethora of legal firms and lawyers out there who will take any cause to court. If we were always afraid of legal challenges, we wouldn't pass any legislation other than what currently exists. The government has a responsibility and I as a legislator have a responsibility, and that is to meet the challenges of the day, the issues du jour if you want, if necessary with the appropriate legislation, as I previously mentioned, to keep the men and women in our society, my citizens, your citizens, our constituents, safe as best we can.
There are no ulterior motives other than that one simple motive. That's my motive. That's been my motive for now pretty close to 40 full-time years of public service. It is to ensure that I do everything in my power to keep those people for whom I am responsible as safe as I can.
That's why I'm suggesting once again that we take a little break as soon as we've talked ourselves out, hopefully, in a short period of time. The parliamentary secretary and the other two parties should get together and work in the interests of cooperation. So often it has been brought to our attention that we see that occur. If it can't occur, then I hope in the future, should we meet again on a piece of legislation, we don't get that thrown in our face.
I heard one of the comments was regarding disruptive activities and that we have to be careful what kinds of activities we're disrupting. I recall yesterday during question period the leader of Her Majesty's official opposition say throughout, well barn burnings, etc. If we bring that up and a few other things, this piece of legislation does have built within it, when it comes to disruptive activities, that CSIS has to go before a judge.
We're accused of judge bashing and not really paying attention to judges. Well, we've built into this legislation on purpose the requirement to have to go before a justice before some of these, I will admit, serious things such as disruptive activities allow those authorities to exercise their mandate. We just want that significant oversight and permission before they do it and are permitted to go ahead. I think it well covers that.
My friend across the way mentions that we need experts to come and tell us. Yes, that's why we're prepared to talk to 48 witnesses. We need warrants for disruptions, so we do have this judicial oversight in many of the instances where the government felt that there needed to be caution because of the nature of the action. That's why we bring in a third party who will make sure that the activities engaged in are appropriate to meet the circumstances.
As far as monitoring is concerned, I've talked about the judicial oversight. It's important for Canadians to know that—this is just off the top of my head; somebody can raise a point of order if they wish to correct me in the number of years, and please feel free to do so—for about 40 years or so, CSIS has exercised its mandate with very few instances where they have exceeded it.
The additional powers that are going to be given to CSIS and the RCMP.... I'd like to deal with CSIS in particular, because their track record—and remember I said actions speak louder than words—has been very good. There's no reason to believe that the men and women of CSIS are going to, on a regular basis, exceed the powers that they have been given in the past and that this proposed legislation gives them. Their track record is such that they deserve to have the tools they need to meet this new increasingly grave threat to Canadian society.
My friend mentioned that the role of judges has been changing over the past while and I agree with him. The role of judges has been expanding significantly over the past 20 to 25 years in order to meet the charter challenges.
I saw a perfect example of that in my previous occupation. It used to be relatively easy to get a search warrant, but in this day and age, because of some of the history, the demands on police are increasingly such that in order to get a search warrant or other warrants—and this does tie directly into Bill C-51, and that's why we have this judicial oversight—you need to go before a justice.
I've seen pictures of information to obtain a search warrant that literally filled legal boxes, piled high. I won't go into the specific cases, but there was the case of the Church of Scientology and some of the search warrants and I can recall huge volumes.
When my friend indicates that the role of judges has been expanded, I agree that it has been. It is neither good nor bad, but it is necessary in most cases.
To say that this will increase their role, I don't think it will increase it any more than any other piece of legislation that we have brought in or that has been brought in in the past by both Liberal and Conservative governments.
When we deal with information sharing, my friend and the parliamentary secretary alluded to recent cases in Edmonton and some other places. If need be, I'll go into those, particularly to show three areas that this piece of legislation covers that I believe would have prevented these young folks from leaving Canada. The mother actually explained to the media what occurred, and had CSIS been able to provide information to her on exactly what they knew, if my memory serves me correctly—and I'm probably going to be looking at that particular case and informing my constituents and Canadians as to the specificity of it—she said she would have ripped up their passports.
I think this information sharing is necessary, and the opposition is saying that we need to give them a specific case. Well this is just one time when we can do that to show that this legislation is in fact needed in order to prevent young folks in the future.... Hopefully, it will provide their parents with the information necessary to work with authorities to de-radicalize and prevent some terrible things from happening.
When my friend said that he doesn't think it's an exaggeration to say generally...I find after that statement comes the exaggeration, albeit, if you listen closely, you'll hear the words “may”, “could”, “it's possible”. It's possible for anything to happen. All things are possible, but I would suggest, based on what I previously said about the responsible attitude of CSIS and the RCMP and their history surrounding those things, that they will probably not happen.
Again I go back to Canadians and their faith in organizations such as CSIS and the RCMP. I'm going to make this statement, and I don't think it's going to shock any of the people around this table. I think most Canadians trust CSIS, trust the RCMP, and trust the other agencies that are there to keep them safe and to keep all of us safe more than they trust politicians. I think that they trust judges and the judicial system more than they trust politicians. That's why in Bill C-51 we've put in judicial oversight to make sure that those authorities that Canadians trust have the tools and resources they need.
I made another note with regard to resources, and my friend's saying we need to provide more resources to those entities. Well, I would say we actually have done that in numerous budgets since 2011. Again I am recalling those famous words “actions speak louder than words” because in those budgets that have allocated more money towards our agencies, Canada's official opposition has historically voted against all of those budgets designed to do so. They'll say it was because it had too much of this, that, or the other thing, but once again I say that what you said is irrelevant and it comes down to what you actually did.
One of the other things is that I belonged to one of those agencies which, when asked, always said that it's not enough and we need more. We all know that especially when you talk to government or anyone else and you ask if they have enough, they always ask for a little bit more. Whether it's in a labour negotiation or in any kind of negotiation, we always want more, figuring that we're not going to get what we want, so we better ask for more.
When we come to resources, let's get those witnesses in here. Let's talk about those resources and let's talk about what is really needed and maybe, just maybe, as a result of Bill C-51, those additional resources will be provided. But first we have to get Bill C-51 in there.
We heard mention of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and some other very recent tragic events. Most of those events are still under investigation. Even though I would like to make comment, I do not like to make comments about incomplete investigations. Why? Because it's not respectful of the people who are engaged in the investigation. I know the media needs to fill the paper or the television time. They talk about the right of Canadians to know what's going on, but as legislators.... And I don't question it and I'm not making judgments on it; I'm just saying that, as legislators, I think we need to wait until we see the results of the investigation before we begin to say that somebody did too much and they shouldn't have or somebody didn't do enough. Let's wait until that's done.
Let's also make sure that when we do see the results of that investigation, we do give the investigative agencies the tools they need to do their job.
When we talk about the government showing intolerance to debate and they bring in closure—and I'm using the words that were used. Time allocation is the nice touchy-feely term. As my friend across the way said, he likes to use the word “closure” because it has that ring to it.
We are an offspring of our mother Parliament, Westminster. I didn't know this, at least it may have been told to me before, but occasions like this bring to mind that in Great Britain, most legislation is debated in the House for one day, and members have to indicate to the Speaker that they wish to speak to the debate. The more members, the less time they get, and in some cases, my little bit of research indicates that it could be two to three minutes. They have to get their point across and they have to stay in the House during the debate, or they get struck off the list. Now after they speak, I guess, they could sneak out because they've already said their piece. Then it goes before committee in much the same system as we have. I believe, but I haven't gone into the committee structure that much, at committee it doesn't stay there that long.
When Canadians hear that we want to have 25 meetings and talk these things out, I'll bet that the majority of people out there, other than the odd person who might think they'd like to watch especially if we televise this.... With 25 meetings, 50 hours of debate, I'll bet that the average Canadian would say, “You politicians talk things to death”. I hear that all the time. “Get on with it. Do your job, and every four years, in the case of a majority government, we'll decide if you did your job well enough and we'll kick your butt out of there if we don't think you did a good job”.
I say to the official opposition, take us up on that offer of eight meetings or let's take a little break and see if we can't come to a better decision, because Canadians expect us to do something.
Maybe in the enclaves in which you socialize they think we need 25 or 50 meetings, but I'm going to say that I doubt that very much. Most Canadians think that the hours of debate we've already had in the House and the time we're going to take at committee is more than enough. I risk their ire if I talk too long, because what they expect is action, and I go back to what I said: actions speak louder than words. So let's get on with the job. Let's show an era of cooperation. Let's take a break and let's talk about coming down from 25 meetings and let's talk about seeing if we can't come to providing a better service to the people who are paying the shot to keep the lights on in here and all the people working to make sure these meetings bear some fruit.
I mentioned, of course, the incident in Edmonton. The woman said, “I would have ripped her passport up. There is no way I would have let her leave if I knew she was going to the craziest war zone in the world”. She further said, “If they had shown me the e-mails...”. I repeat to Canadians, CSIS is not permitted to show those e-mails. She said, “If they had shown me the e-mails between my sister and this girl, if they had let me listen to the recordings of them planning on going places”—and I'm leaving out a name here—“it would have given the family more to act on”. Then she said, “They told us she had been interacting with people they thought were dangerous and were influencing her in a negative way, but they didn't give us enough information. It was very vague”.
It had to be vague.
My friend across the way says that well, they did talk to the family. Yes, they did, but they weren't permitted to give them all that information. That's why we need to have information sharing. That's why that is necessary. It gives them more freedom rather than taking it away. It gives the parents the freedom and the ability to do that which parents want to do, which is to protect their children.
That's one perfect example, just one, of why this legislation is necessary, so I implore my friend to remember what he said at previous meetings about previous legislation and do be prepared to meet us halfway and Canadians will be well served.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, I can assist my friend across the way by saying we want to hear from them, too. That's the whole point. But we don't need to hear the same thing from 50 people. We need to hear from a broad base of witnesses. If you recall, our motion allows for more than 50 people from across Canada to give testimony.
If the point is that we need to hear from x number of people more to only repeat what others said, I will be addressing the committee with some of the groups that will be here. I'll wait until that happens, because it's not part of my point of order. But the more we talk about needing to hear from witnesses, the less time we're going to have to hear from witnesses because those members just keep talking about needing to hear from witnesses. We will hear from 50.
Mr. Chair, I don't think there are many Canadians out there.... There will be some, and we know what part of the spectrum they're from, that will think 150 is not enough, but quite frankly, for the average reasonable Canadian, 50 people talking about it, as well as all the parliamentarians talking about it, would be sufficient.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
[Inaudible—Editor]...voted against it.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I believe the majority of Canadians know a filibuster when they see one. Only in Ottawa, playing with the rules of debate in Parliament, do we talking heads think that filibusters are smart, that we played this rule against that rule. Canadians out there don't want to see that kind of nonsense. This place costs a lot of money to run. I think we need to stop this nonsense and get on with it.
In terms of what we have offered the opposition, we started out, quite frankly...as the motions and subamendments and all these amendments to subamendments to subamendments.... We've shown goodwill. We started out with three meetings. They said 25 meetings. We said eight. They said 25. If we took a break, we might even come to another number, but I suspect very strongly they'll say 25.
Canadians deserve better than a bunch of talking-head politicians gabbing away, thinking they are scoring some points with the media, thinking, “Well, maybe some smart thing I say will get on three minutes of the news”. I just hope and pray that....
The majority of Canadians won't even hear what we're saying, won't even see what we're saying. A few people will be watching CPAC and some other program that might carry a few little excerpts. People will think they got the full message, but they didn't. There's some stuff we can't talk about because it was in camera, but we heard it all; it's been all blurted out probably throughout today.
I won't take up a lot of the time of the committee. I sometimes jokingly say to my fellow constituents that some days Ottawa appears to be 20 square miles surrounded by reality. I think that today is proving that point.
Mr. Chair, I'll give up my time here, but I have to tell you that I'm getting near the end of my tether. If I start to see repetition upon repetition.... I know what the rules are, and you're bound to follow those rules, but Canadians deserve better than what's happening here.
Thank you.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, I've been preached to by the other side telling me how I need to do my job as a parliamentarian, especially how I need to do my job as a member of this committee. I've been on this committee for nine years. My intervention was very short. It wasn't part of a filibuster. It was designed to let my constituents and Canadians know that what Mr. Harris is doing with the other side is a filibuster. They're hoping to score political points by playing the rules of this austere establishment to get their point across. As I said, we have been more than cooperative on this side with regard to the numbers of witnesses. No Canadian believes that hearing from 40 to 50 witnesses is too short. They have made their point. Every speaker on the other side has made their point that they need to have 25 meetings and close to 75 or 100 witnesses. Mr. Chair, this is getting out of hand. Canadians should be sick and tired. I can get 50 or 200 people to call his office and tell him how wrong he is. That's the joke about saying “all kinds of Canadians”; well, they fired up their interest groups.
Mr. Chair, with all due respect, we need to be talking and hearing some new points as to why we need to hear from witnesses. If they don't have any new points, then Mr. Chair, I would respectfully suggest that the chair bring this whole debate to a head. This is getting ridiculous and anybody who has followed it so far can see through all the horse pucky that's coming out.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, no, I didn't say that. It may have been said, but I did not say it. Please, Mr. Harris, you can check the blues—
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
—but anyway, Mr. Chair, I know your ruling was that each individual member could say the same thing that another member said, as long as that member didn't repeat again what he had said.
I'll go back to the waste of time this exercise is. It is nothing short of a filibuster. I have kept my comments as short as possible, hoping and praying that the other side would come up with something new. Instead, they play—again I say it—those rules we have that are designed to make us look smart in our own realm, but I don't think Canadians find them smart.
I want to respect the other side. Let's hear from witnesses. Therefore, Mr. Chair, my point of order is that, as we have repeatedly been forced to point out, the NDP is blocking this committee from actually hearing from witnesses who they claim they want to hear from by repeating the same points and the same issues over and over again. I am asking you to decide to put the question on the subamendment, the amendment, and the main motion now, so that this committee can get back to work on the bill. I'm asking for a decision from the chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I think you know me well enough to know that I do the following point of order with great respect to you, but I respectfully wish to challenge your decision to not put the question on the subamendment, the amendment, and the main motion.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I would like to say that I believe there was a filibuster and Canadians should be happy that they heard everything that the NDP had to say and they heard what we had to say and therefore I move for adjournment.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair, this is an interference in a parliamentary process.
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