Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Now we will move to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. We had no amendments that were proposed by anyone, but we'll go through each clause and see if anyone wants to offer any.
(Clauses 2 to 4 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Now we move to the short title of the bill. All those in favour of the short title?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An. hon. member: On division.
The Chair: Are there any amendments to the title of the bill? Did you rethink the title by any chance? Would you like to call it something else?
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
All those in favour of the title of the bill?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An hon. member: On division.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An hon. member: On division.
The Chair: Shall I report the bill to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: That takes us through the bill. The bill is now adopted by committee without amendment, and I will report it back to the House today after question period.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I see that our witnesses are at the table and members are here.
We are now moving to clause-by-clause.
(Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to)
(On clause 3)
The Chair: We have PV-1.
Mr. Manly.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
This amendment would specify that neither current nor former officers nor employees of the Canada Border Services Agency may sit on the public complaints and review commission. This amendment does not appear in Bill C-98, but in the parent act, the RCMP Act. The ineligibility paragraph under subsection 45.29(2) of that act would exclude current or former members from service on the PCRC, and under that act, “member” has a specific definition that means an employee of the RCMP. Presumably, current and former agents of the CBSA should be excluded from sitting on the PCRC as well. This amendment would make that crystal clear.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have a couple of questions. One is for the officials that are here about this particular amendment, and one is for Mr. Picard, actually.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
No, but seriously.... I appreciate what the RCMP Act says, but I've always been curious to know if there's some distance between service and a commission like this. Even as a public servant now, to work as an investigator on this end, how that would preclude someone from being impartial, someone who has some understanding of the business to be able to be of value to service to the public in this commission.... I'm at a loss to understand why that would be something we would want to even consider.
Could the officials help me understand whether this is something that is consistent with legislation or is the intent of Bill C-98?
Evan Travers
View Evan Travers Profile
Evan Travers
2019-06-17 17:38
The intent of this bill is not to impose a restriction on who could become a member of the commission by virtue of having formerly been employed by the CBSA. The amendment offered by Mr. Manly would impose on former CBSA members the same restriction that currently applies to former RCMP members. We have not put that forward as part of the bill.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Picard, you started out in the service this way, and you've had some distance since then. Do you see this as being something that would cause disruption or cause the public to be concerned about the fairness, the non-bias of a commission if it employed someone who used to work with CBSA in years past?
View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2019-06-17 17:39
In all cases, I don't think experience should diminish someone's capacity to act. I would vote against that.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
I'm just wondering, through you Chair, if Mr. Travers can explain the inconsistency between the fact that the RCMP are forbidden but former CBSA members are allowed in this legislation.
Evan Travers
View Evan Travers Profile
Evan Travers
2019-06-17 17:39
We worked mostly on the CBSA-related elements. With respect to those elements, the decision was made not to impose a similar requirement for former employees of the CBSA. They are different kinds of workforces. The CBSA tends to engage summer students and the like, who may spend only a few months with the agency. In order to allow the Governor in Council, the body that would make appointments to the commission, discretion in picking the best candidates, we did not include that restriction in this part of the bill.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
Chair, if I may, it seems like a pretty glaring inconsistency. You're going to have an organization that's now going to handle complaints for two different public safety entities. On the one hand, certain individuals—I take your point about the types of experiences—will be allowed. That's a very specific example, but it basically means that someone who served 30 years as a border officer and who is, with all due respect to the great work that they do, in a bit of a conflict of interest....
I assume that is why the RCMP Act was drafted the way it was. It was to avoid the old adage of police investigating police. I know that it's called “public” now, but I'm just wondering if the civilian nature of it is a bit lost by this pretty important inconsistency that will now exist throughout what is supposed to be one organization. Could you perhaps offer us what the thinking was behind that?
Evan Travers
View Evan Travers Profile
Evan Travers
2019-06-17 17:42
I don't want to speak to the intent of the RCMP Act or the provisions that are there. I was not involved in their drafting or their development.
With respect to the bill that is before you, we've provided our advice to cabinet through our minister, and this is the bill the government has come forward with. If there are concerns or questions, it may be that the minister would be better placed to speak to the policy intent behind that distinction.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
I have a very quick question.
I'm not going to support this amendment, but I just wanted to ask a question on the RCMP ban. Who is currently banned? Is it RCMP members in the meaning of the act, or any employee of the RCMP?
Jacques Talbot
View Jacques Talbot Profile
Jacques Talbot
2019-06-17 17:43
Here, the persons who are subject to the current provision are the members of the RCMP, the members of the force.
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