Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise to debate this matter. I am pleased as well to second this bill, brought to us by the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. It is the work of Senator Ataullahjan from the other place, the Senate, that led us here. I understand the bill passed with enormous support in the other place and I am hoping that it will have the same level of support here in this place.
Canada is a bit behind the times on this. I note, for example, that the Europeans have for quite some time had a convention entitled “Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs". The hon. member has already set out the cross-party support an initiative like that has had in this place for very many years, and it seems to me that the time has come to join the Europeans and other countries to deal with the scourge of trafficking in human organs this bill seeks to address.
I note that the bill “amends the Criminal Code to create new offences in relation to trafficking in human organs [and tissue]. It also amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible to Canada if the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is of the opinion that they have engaged in any activities relating to trafficking in human organs [or tissue].”
The hon. parliamentary secretary pointed out quite properly the difficulty sometimes of going after people in other jurisdictions. Of course, that has not stopped Canada dealing with sex trafficking, as has been pointed out, or “sex tourism” as it is called. We know that is the case. Also there is a section in Bill S-240 that would require any proceedings to be instituted only with the consent of the Attorney General, therefore making it likely that we could address these practical problems, to which he made reference, through that intermediary.
The scourge of organ trafficking is absolutely appalling and its exponential growth should cause concern for every member of this place. In her speech, the senator referred to situations that sound like horror movies. She cited the following:
Waking up in a weary haze in an unfamiliar house on the outskirts of Delhi, India, Khan was greeted by a stranger in a surgical mask and gloves. As he began to ask where he was and what had happened, he was told very curtly, “Your kidney has been removed.”
As another exposé published in the Haaretz newspaper indicates, thousands of Sudanese refugees living in Cairo have fallen victim to the illegal organ trade. These people are among the most desperate and easy prey for people who can simply push them aside, often by putting a mask with anaesthesia over their mouths, taking them to the back of a private clinic and removing organs, the most popular being kidneys, livers and others, and then sending them home after a while, still drugged, maybe unconscious, without the organ in question. Last year Professor Seán Columb of the University of Liverpool published a study showing a connection between the organ-harvesting industry and the societal exclusion of minorities and refugee groups in Cairo.
This is a huge problem. It has grown exponentially according to the experts, in part, as the parliamentary secretary pointed out, due to the fact that the demand has grown and the supply has become limited.
I feel that some practical steps have been taken recently in this place. The member for Calgary Confederation has introduced in the House Bill C-316, which would deal with information from tax records being used for an organ donor registry. That is another initiative I was proud to second and support. As the population ages, the demand will likely increase and these crimes by organized criminals will increase as well.
I do not want to spend much time on this bill. To me, it is a quintessential no-brainer. I want to join the Europeans. I want to join others around the world who are recognizing the scourge of organ trafficking and, as a Canadian, stand proudly with them and deal with this very real problem.
As my friend said earlier, we do not have a problem if we can come together, as other jurisdictions have, and say let us get this done in this Parliament to make a difference in people's lives right now.