Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2018-06-11 15:50 [p.20617]
Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-59.
The question is on Motion No. 1. The vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 2.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2018-06-11 15:50 [p.20617]
Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you seek it, you will find agreement to apply the results of the previous vote to the current vote, with Liberal members voting no. Please add the member for Winnipeg South as well.
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2018-06-11 15:59 [p.20618]
Mr. Speaker, in all the excitement of voting, I believe I rose twice. I just want to make sure my vote is counted in the negative.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2018-06-06 15:18 [p.20356]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of the House a matter concerning the notice of time allocation regarding Bill C-59. Bill C-59 was referred to committee before second reading and is now before the House at report stage.
If you read Standing Order 78(3), Mr. Speaker, it allows a time allocation motion to cover both the report and third reading of a bill provided that the bill is consistent with Standing Order 76.1(10).
Standing Order 76.1(10) refers to a bill that was sent to committee after second reading, not before second reading.
Standing Order 76.1(10) is the Standing Order that deals with the report stage of a bill that was referred to committee before second reading and Standing Order 78(3) does not refer to it.
Therefore, there is no provision in our Standing Orders that would allow a time allocation motion to cover both the report and third reading stages of a bill that was sent to committee prior to second reading.
I concede time allocation motions have covered both the report and third reading stages of some bills that were referred to committee before second reading; however, no member had ever objected to this practice nor pointed out to the Speaker that it was simply out of order. The fact that the former opposition turned a blind eye to this breach does not make it right.
Since Bill C-59 is the first in this Parliament that has been referred to committee before second reading and notice having been given to time allocate, now is the time, Mr. Speaker, for you to take a look at this matter and ensure the government begins following the House rules.
Finally, I would add one point to my submission. Standing Order 76.1(10) deems the report stage of Bill C-59 to be an integral part of second reading. We are actually talking about two stages plus third reading, another situation not anticipated by Standing Order 78(3).
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2018-06-06 15:20 [p.20357]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am pleased to inform the House that proper notice was in fact given last night. There was a point of clarification. If the member checks Hansard and reads just a bit further on, as a member who was here until midnight, I can assure him clarification was indeed given.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2018-06-06 18:21 [p.20373]
Madam Speaker, I have a very quick point of order.
I rise to respond to a point of order raised earlier today by the hon. member for Red Deer—Lacombe with respect to the notice of time allocation given on Bill C-59 yesterday evening.
I would like to offer that House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 673, states:
In the case of a bill referred to committee before second reading, the motion can pertain to both the report stage and second reading stage as well as the third reading stage. The amount of time allocated for any stage may not be less than one sitting day or its equivalent in hours.
A good example of this was when the previous Parliament, on May 28, 2015, adopted a motion for time allocation at report stage and second reading stage and at the third reading stage, as referenced in footnote 142 on page 673 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice.
As such, I would argue that the notice is indeed in order.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2018-06-06 20:29 [p.20386]
moved:
That in relation to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and second reading stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and
that at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and second reading stage and at expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the third reading stage of the 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 said stage of the Bill then under consideration shall b3 put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-59 is the government's answer to our BillC-51 on national security, which we introduced in response to attacks that took place in Canada. The Liberal government said our bill was no good, so it introduced Bill C-59.
Recently, Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi, who is known to have committed brutal crimes as an ISIS executioner, admitted to the CBC and the New York Times that he travelled for terrorist purposes. During a podcast interview, he proudly recounted what he did over there. It was from that podcast that CSIS and the RCMP learned what he did.
Can the minister tell us how Bill C-59 will improve situations like that now that these agencies have less power than before?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:33 [p.20387]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. gentleman's question, but I beg to differ with his interpretation. The fact is that the changes we are in the process of making with Bill C-59 would bring much greater clarity to the law. It would make the constitutional authorities much more clear and distinct so that our police and security agencies would have a much better sense of the scope and impact of their powers.
In consultations with those authorities, and I obviously had the opportunity to discuss these issues with them quite frequently, they said the one thing that bedevils their work is uncertainty, a lack of clarity, and doubt about what they have the authority to do and not do. In Bill C-59, clarification is brought to a great many matters with respect to CSIS and other agencies, which would make them more effective in conducting the important work they do to keep Canadians safe and to safeguard rights and freedoms.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-06-06 20:35 [p.20387]
Mr. Speaker, this is the Liberal approach to Canadians' rights and freedoms in action. We saw the minister, the Prime Minister, and others on the front bench in the previous Parliament vote for the Conservatives' Bill C-51 and then say, “We don't like this bill. We're going to do better. We promise to do better. Just vote for us in the next election.”
Here we are, at 8:35 on a Wednesday evening, debating in the House of Commons a time allocation motion, because the Liberals sent the bill to committee before second reading. They said that this part of the process would allow them to accept amendments that were outside the scope of the bill, and they were going to listen to them.
I had 120 amendments. Four were adopted after adopting Liberal wording. Of 25 Conservative amendments, zero were adopted. Of the half-dozen Green amendments, none were adopted.
Could the minister explain to me why time allocation is the way to approach what they claim is the biggest change to national security legislation in the last 30 years?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:36 [p.20387]
Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. gentleman that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and Security did very good work on this legislation. It heard from at least three dozen witnesses. It received some 95 briefs, and it amended the legislation no fewer than 40 times. The result of those 40 amendments was to take what the experts had previously referred to as a very good piece of legislation and strengthen it in a number of ways. I am very happy to accept those 40 amendments.
I also remind the House that this legislation is based upon the most extensive public consultation about national security ever in the history of Canada.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
View James Bezan Profile
2018-06-06 20:37 [p.20387]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his intervention and for his hard work on this file. I also want to say a proper thanks to the minister for bringing the bill forward, because it is time we updated our security arrangements with the different agencies. It is important that we bring about the ability to defend ourselves from cyber-attacks and enhance our cybersecurity so that we can go on the offensive, as well, to eliminate those threats. I think the minister would find, on the Conservative side, that we support that.
However, there were over 250 amendments brought forward at committee, and here again, we are having debate limited, and again we cannot raise the issues and concerns we have. We ask the government to kindly allow democracy to work and allow each and every one of us to raise the issues that are important on Bill C-59.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:38 [p.20387]
Mr. Speaker, I read in the media the other day comments from that hon. member indicating words to the effect that by and large, Conservatives support this legislation. I appreciate his support for Bill C-59.
Again, I point out that this legislation is the product of extensive consultations. Fifty-nine thousand people responded online with respect to the proposals we have now before the House of Commons. Eighteen thousand submissions were received by email. Town hall meetings were held across the country in places like Halifax, Markham, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Yellowknife. The standing committee held numerous meetings in preparation for the legislation. Social media was engaged, with Twitter and online conversations. There were 17 engagement meetings held by various members of Parliament across the country and 14 in-person sessions with experts from civil society.
All the results of that have been published so that all Canadians can see what everyone was saying to everyone about the content of this legislation.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, from the 41st Parliament, we have reams of quotes from Liberals regarding the use of time allocation by the then Conservative government. The quotes we have from the member for Winnipeg North would fill several pages.
What we have seen over the last couple of weeks is the government's use of time allocation and using the bare minimum, allocating five hours for debate on this legislation, on BillC-69, which was done just before this, on BillC-75, and on BillC-76. The list goes on.
I have a simple question for the Minister of Public Safety. Given his party's record when it was the third party in the 41st Parliament, does he not feel the slightest bit of shame and contrition over the complete reversal of his position, now that he occupies that side of the House?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:40 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, it is the function of Parliament and the committees of Parliament to deliberate, debate, discuss, take legislative proposals, seek amendments, and go through that valid exercise in democracy, but it is also the function of this place and the committees of this place to ultimately, having heard all the evidence and all the information, to take a decision and actually vote on the decisions that reflect the best interests of Canadians. That certainly is happening in spades with respect to Bill C-59.
There has been extensive consultation, the largest in Canadian history. There has been a full process in Parliament, and now, as we come to the conclusion of the deliberation stage, we are getting closer to the point when it will be time to vote and take a decision.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-06 20:41 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, as I was unable to rise earlier tonight on time allocation on BillC-69, I will say, parenthetically, that I find that time allocation even more offensive than this one, because we were time allocated in committee as well. I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-69, and I had clause-by-clause amendments on Bill C-59. At least, to the credit of the Bill C-59 time management, we were allowed to debate all the amendments on Bill C-59, on public security, but we were stopped from debating two full bills' worth of amendments on omnibus Bill C-69.
Why is it required at this point, on a bill that has much that is good in it, to stop this place from being able to have a full debate? It is anti-democratic.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:42 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the hon. member's interventions and her comments with respect to Bill C-59.
There has been a huge amount of input already, including ample public consultation for a full year before we even introduced the legislation in the first place.
Now, at this stage of the legislation, there will be another five hours of discussion in the House, and following that, another five hours of discussion in the House, which should be ample time for all serious proposals and propositions and comments to come forward, based upon what has already been the most extensive--
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
2018-06-06 20:43 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his responses so far. He elaborated on the comprehensiveness of the consultations, with about 70,000 inputs on this piece of legislation.
I am wondering if he could speak to the testimonials from key stakeholders and experts on this piece of legislation, because my constituents in Whitby would like to know what the experts say about Bill C-59.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:44 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, as with all complicated pieces of legislation, and as is the natural disposition of experts in whatever field, there are various opinions. However, some of the most prominent commentators from, for example, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and the University of Toronto, and former heads of various security agencies across the country, who usually, perhaps, are in the category of being critical of legislation of this type, have described this as the most significant overhaul of public safety and national security legislation in Canadian history, certainly since the CSIS Act was originally introduced in 1984. They described the changes we have made as progressive and aimed at a very important balance. Number one, keep Canadians--
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2018-06-06 20:45 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, we heard before from a New Democratic member who pointed out, rightfully, that on a Wednesday evening, the government has now guillotined debate in the House for the second time on two important pieces of legislation. That is 41 times in this Parliament the Liberals have done so.
This bill was not a huge priority, as far as I know. It was reported back from committee on May 3, and it had one day of debate on May 28, so why the rush so suddenly now to force the House to consider the matter on an evening with five hours left and to then shut us down completely?
It is a brutal way of proceeding with the business of the House. Attempting to say that public consultation is a substitute for debate in the House is absolutely wrong.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:46 [p.20388]
Mr. Speaker, there was a huge opportunity on Monday afternoon to have four, five, or six hours of debate. The opposition members chose a different procedure to occupy the day in a different way and pre-empted their own debate with the tactics they used. They did it again this afternoon in the House of Commons. There could have been ample debate on many important topics in the House. Instead, they chose to fritter away the time that has been made available.
It is obvious that the opposition has no interest in serious, substantive debate. Members are overwhelmed with tricks and tactics that abuse the process, and the business of the country must go forward.
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2018-06-06 20:47 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, the minister's depiction was rather disingenuous about what is happening here in the House today, and I take exception to it. The people in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh followed the issue of BillC-51 in earnest, and all of these comments and consultations the minister is bragging about now were actually presented to all of us in this place in earnest.
Those comments were meant to foster meaningful debate in the House. No one sent comments to the minister, and I guarantee that, thinking for one minute that it would mean that he was going to cut off debate in this place on a bill like Bill C-59. We have been following this issue for a long time. The minister tabled this last year, in the dying days of our spring session. We then heard nothing, and today he is going to pull the rug out and brag about consultations. It is very disingenuous.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:48 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, the opposition cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, members said we took far too long to discuss it with Canadians and present the legislation, which came in June of 2017, and then they said we were hurrying things too quickly and not allowing enough time for public discussion and debate. The reality is that we undertook to have the most extensive consultations in Canadian history. We did that throughout 2016.
We took all of that advice and information on board. We presented legislation in June 2017. We put it out in public for Canadians to examine, review, and weigh carefully, and then we brought the legislation before the House for debate. In the course of that debate, we put it to the committee before second reading so the committee could have maximum flexibility. The committee heard three dozen witnesses, received 95 briefs, and made 40 amendments. That seems to me to be the product of a democratic process that is working.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
View James Bezan Profile
2018-06-06 20:49 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, the fog of hypocrisy is so thick that it is clouding the public safety minister's memory. He cannot even remember that when he was sitting in opposition for 10 years, including a stint as a member of the third party, he used the exact same democratic and parliamentary procedural argument used today, namely the opposition's role and responsibility to hold the government to account. He stood in this place and said that our government was wrongly stifling debate, and he is now being very hypocritical. He is essentially calling the pot black when he is the kettle.
I can tell you right now that this minister has way overstepped the correct parliamentary procedures that we follow in this place. To criticize the Conservatives, in my opinion, is contempt of this place.
The minister needs to apologize for that comment and understand that we have a responsibility as the official opposition to question every piece of legislation and motion the government brings before the House, including Bill C-59, which deserves to be debated in the full context in which it was supposed to be dealt with in this place.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:50 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, this is from an hon. member who was quoted in the media a few days ago as saying that, by and large, he supports this legislation. I thank him very much for that support.
The fact of the matter is, the opposition has numerous opportunities for debate and discussion. If it chooses to use its time in a different way, that is its choice.
Ultimately, though, it is incumbent upon Parliament that, once a good, strong debate has taken place and there has been ample time for debate in the public arena, to take decisions. After several more hours of debate on this topic, which will run over the next several days, it will be time for members of Parliament to weigh all the issues, both pros and cons. If the opposition chooses to vote against the legislation, that is entirely its prerogative.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2018-06-06 20:51 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, I had an interaction on social media last week with one of my constituents who was very impatient about the fact that BillC-51 was still in place. The constituent remarked, “You said you were going to change things. We elected you to change things. You have not changed things. Why are you not changing things?”
The public is very anxious to see this move forward, as the previous government was politicizing security.
Could the minister comment on how, once the bill is enacted, there would be a new open, and third party review of security matters, depoliticizing the process of security?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:52 [p.20389]
Mr. Speaker, probably the single most important change we are implementing though Bill C-59 is to create a much stronger and more comprehensive review process. Instead of having individual review agencies that only have the authority to examine a single security or police agency, which is the case now, we are creating a new, comprehensive body called the national security and intelligence review agency. It would have authority across the entire government of Canada. The silos will be gone, and the review will be able to follow the case, the issue, and the evidence wherever it may be in any department or agency of the Government of Canada.
That will be complemented by the work of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It will also be complemented by the work of the new intelligence commissioner, who will, for the first time ever, create actual oversight and not just review things after the fact.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the minister said earlier that many experts, including former security advisers, were consulted. Richard Fadden, who everyone remembers, was the national security adviser. When he appeared before the committee, he said that Bill  C-59 was beginning to rival the Income Tax Act for complexity. In his opinion, some subsections were incomprehensible and he hoped that the committee would help the government improve that situation.
Furthermore, Christian Leuprecht from Queen's University and the Royal Military College indicated that he respected the suggestion that CSIS should stick to its knitting. With regard to certain issues, he said that, yes, in the best of all worlds, we would want the RCMP to take care of some things, such disruption and whatnot. However, he also went on to say that the RCMP is struggling on so many fronts already that we need to figure out where the relative advantage of different organizations lies and allow them to quickly implement this.
Why is the government not listening to the former national security adviser, Mr. Fadden, who in my opinion knows what he is talking about? Why is the government not listening to Mr. Leuprecht?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:54 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the issue of complexity, unfortunately in this world issues related to public safety and national security are not simple. They are complex. They require expert work by our security and intelligence agencies and police forces. They also require expert work by the review agencies that examine the operations of the police and CSIS. We are improving the standards by creating the new national security and intelligence review agency. We are creating, for the first time ever, an opportunity for oversight before the fact rather than after the fact, complemented by the committee of parliamentarians.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have just been checking the legislative record for Bill C-59. This bill was reported back to the House on May 3. When it came up for its first bit of debate at report stage on May 28, I think we had a couple of hours of debate. However, the only person who was able to engage in debate at report stage was the minister. The minister has been a member of this place for a long time. He knows that report stage is an important process wherein this House, as a collective body, gets to consider the work of the committee. I understand that the committee's work is very important and that the committee has gone through a long process. However, equally important is that this House consider the work of the committee at report stage. Therefore, I ask the hon. Minister of Public Safety this. How is it right to limit debate at this very important stage to five hours when he is the only person in this House who has spoken to this bill at this very important stage?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:56 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, the first speaker at this stage of the debate was in fact the hon. gentleman's colleague, the NDP critic for this piece of legislation. Therefore, indeed, other people have participated in the debate, including the NDP.
The fact of the matter is there are five more hours of discussion. I would note with respect to the work at report stage that there were only three amendments proposed by the opposition in total, which would indicate a degree of satisfaction with the legislation. The opposition members had the perfect opportunity to propose an unlimited number of other amendments. They did not. They proposed three, and we're debating those three.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Pam Damoff Profile
2018-06-06 20:57 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, having been on the public safety committee that travelled across Canada to hear from Canadians, as well as doing a study on the national security framework before we even got to Bill C-59, and then having heard from the witnesses the minister has spoken about, I wonder if he could speak to how the amendments reflect the testimony we heard, as well as how extensive those amendments were as a result of it coming directly to committee after first reading
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 20:57 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, the committee itself would be the better judge of how the actual amendments reflected the testimony it heard. Let me give one very significant example on the issue of intelligence activities conducted in other countries, not in Canada, that may involve the risk of torture or mistreatment in those other countries. It was very clear from the testimony before the committee, as well as the comments made by members of the committee, that they wanted to put into law very strong provisions to protect against any Canadian complicity in behaviour overseas that might involve mistreatment or torture. We have had that protection until now through the vehicle of ministerial directives. However, members of the committee wanted to make that tougher. They wanted to see those ministerial directives reflected in the law itself. Indeed, a whole new section was added that will ultimately be a standalone piece of legislation to ensure that there are very strong protections in Canadian law against any behaviour on the part of Canadians that would in any way be complicit in mistreatment or torture.
View Mike Lake Profile
CPC (AB)
View Mike Lake Profile
2018-06-06 20:59 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, while this debate has been going on, I had an opportunity to look at some old Hansards. I found one from May 2013, when the hon. member was in opposition. He stated:
obviously it is unfortunate when debate in the House is curtailed by the use of time allocation or closure. That impinges upon the democratic right of members of Parliament to adequately consider matters that are before the House.
He said that five years ago. How could the hon. member stand in the House for the last half hour completely unashamed by his own blatant hypocrisy?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 21:00 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, the accuracy or not of a particular quote depends on the facts of the matter and the context in which the quotation is taken. Here, in the course of the last half-hour, I have laid out for people to judge how extensive the consultation was before the legislation was introduced.
Secondly, the fact is that we referred the legislation to committee before second reading to give the committee maximum flexibility to deal dealing with amendments. Then when the committee got to the work of clause-by-clause, after they had heard three dozen witnesses and received 95 briefs, they amended the legislation no less than 40 times. Now we are into the final stages in Parliament, which will include five more hours of debate, and then another five hours. That gives ample opportunity for the opposition to participate and make any worthwhile contribution they might care to make. If the last half-hour is any indication, I will not hold my breath.
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
NDP (BC)
View Sheila Malcolmson Profile
2018-06-06 21:01 [p.20390]
Mr. Speaker, the government, for the second time today and the sixth time in a week has shut down debate, doing the bare minimum on major bills that Canadians have been waiting for years. Members have just voted on time allocation for Bill C-59.
This is a quote from the previous Parliament. I invite the minister to tell me who said this, and if it was a Liberal or a Conservative. It reads:
Canadians do not like it and they are waking up to the way the government is doing things. Who would have thought that Canadians would be familiar with procedures such as prorogation or time allocation during debates or the use of in camera in committees? Slowly but surely, Canadians are beginning to understand these procedures and beginning to question what the government meant when it promised, six and a half years ago, to be open, transparent and, most of all, accountable. I believe Canadians are beginning to feel that there is a contradiction between what has been promised and what is actually being done by the government.
I want to hear the minister's guess if it was a Conservative or a Liberal who said that, because it is hard for me to tell.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-06-06 21:02 [p.20391]
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that a judgment call needs to be made when dealing with legislation, in terms of assigning an appropriate amount of time for legislation to be considered thoughtfully and carefully. If the opposition chooses, rather than to engage in debate, to use parliamentary time for other purposes, then they are in fact forgoing their own opportunities.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2018-06-05 21:23 [p.20316]
Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage and third reading stage of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters.
Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2018-06-05 22:53 [p.20329]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
In regard to the notice I provided earlier in this place, I would like to clarify that it was concerning the proceedings at the report stage, and the second and third reading stages of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-05-28 17:13 [p.19762]
moved:
Mlotion No. 1
That Bill C-59 be amended by deleting the short title.
Motion No. 2
That Bill C-59, in Clause 49.1, be amended:
(a) by replacing lines 13 to 15 on page 43 with the following:
“3 (1) The Governor in Council must issue written directions to all deputy heads prohibiting”
(b) by deleting line 25 on page 43 to line 2 on page 44.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the third motion, which pertained to one of my amendments, was not selected by the Chair, but I will still come back to the important points about it in a few moments. Just because it was not selected does not mean we cannot talk about it.
We are near the end of what has been a very long road with this government on an issue that dates back to even before the Liberals took office. Obviously, we must recognize that Bill  C-59 is the result of the Liberals' approach. On one hand, during the last Parliament they supported Stephen Harper's draconian bill, Bill C-51, and on the other, they claimed that there were a lot of problems with the bill. The Liberals told people not to worry, however, because when they took office they would fix all of those problems. That was problematic for obvious reasons. If the bill was so flawed, posed so many problems with regard to national security matters, and violated Canadians' rights and freedoms, the Liberals should not have voted to pass it, and yet that is exactly what was happening with Bill C-51.
Let us fast-forward a little. After the Liberals were elected, they waited two years to introduce the legislation. They said that they had to hold public consultations. I will come back to that.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or CSIS, used the power to disrupt threats bestowed upon it by Bill C-51. CSIS confirmed that in committee.
While we waited those two years for the government to consult, even though the election promise had been to consult on a specific piece of legislation, this was open consultation, or so it would seem. However the problem was, and many experts decried this, the fact that the government's green paper seemed to indicate, through some of the notions that were put forward, that some of these aspects were already a foregone conclusion. There was a definite bent more toward the side of intelligence gathering and law enforcement, and certainly a lack of substantive points being made in favour of the other side of that, which was protecting Canadians' rights and privacy.
Too often the Liberals, in the committee in particular, like to put the word “balance” forward. As we heard from representatives of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, when they presented at committee, balance implies that something is being taken away from one side or the other to achieve said balance. For us, the question of rights and liberties, and certainly the protection of Canadians' privacy, is not something that can almost be a victim of that type of compromise required to achieve said balance.
The other aspect that was not included in the public consultations, but that eventually became a central topic in our committee study, is the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE.
CSE, as members will know, is under the purview of the Minister of National Defence and its mandate is given to it by the National Defence Act. However, despite promises to no longer come forward with omnibus legislation, the Liberals have taken something that is the purview of the Minister of National Defence, something that the national defence committee has the institutional memory to study, all due respect to me and my colleagues on the public safety committee, and put it into this legislation.
That ended up taking up inordinate amounts, and rightly so, of time at the committee. These new powers being given to CSE and the huge change being made to CSE's mandate took up a lot of space and led to the most questions, not just from members but also from some of the experts who were there. Quite frankly, as far as we are concerned, many of those questions still remain without answers.
For example, there is the issue of CSE's cyber defence capabilities, as well as its offensive and active capabilities. The experts asked many questions on that subject. I introduced an amendment in committee to eliminate these powers, but it was not intended to compromise the safety of Canadians or our cybersecurity. We still kept CSE's defensive powers and capabilities in place. However, we had the right to ask questions, as I did with the senior CSE officials, though I did not get satisfactory answers, especially about what all this means for our country's military future.
CSE is governed by the National Defence Act, but it is a civilian agency, not a military one. However, Bill  C-59, and now the federal budget and the legislation that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness says will be tabled this fall, is opening the door to capability sharing between CSE and Canadian Forces to improve our cyber capabilities in a military context or even in war zones.
I posed questions to the chief of the CSE and other officials who were present throughout different stages of the study. I said that there was some debate in the context of international law as to what sovereignty meant in this digital age. An act of war is when one infringes on someone's sovereignty, but is a server part of one's sovereignty? What is the role that data is playing in this? Certainly, colleagues who work on the trade file had similar concerns that they raised.
I asked these questions in the context of information-sharing capabilities with Canadian Forces. All I was able to get as an answer was that this stuff was already being done and it was better that it be codified in the law with all the protections, oversight, and review. Pardon me for being glib, but that all comes with that. However, it is not enough. If a foreign state actor, as the bill describes, engages in some kind of activity, we are talking about the Minister of National Defence having the capability to interfere with intellectual property and to be engaged in an active way.
In this era, when the federal budget is talking about more and more capability sharing between police and intelligence services, which let us not forget is what CSE is, ultimately, as it is not any kind of offensive entity but rather deals with foreign intelligence, and then to involve the Canadian Armed Forces, we are going down a slippery slope. This is not an issue I raise. It was one that witnesses raised time and again throughout this study.
Part of the reason why I tabled amendments, which were unfortunately voted down by the Liberals at committee, was to remove these elements, not because we disagreed, although they certainly are concerning, but because they required proper study. They should not have been part of omnibus legislation. They had nothing to do with the previous BillC-51. Nor were they part of the public consultations that both the minister did and the committee did.
That is important. I know the answer I will get is that all the issues relate to national security. That is not enough. We need to be able to examine these issues more thoroughly, and that is certainly not the feeling we got.
Lets continue to look at part three of the bill that has to do with CSE. One of my amendments was unfortunately deemed inadmissible by the Chair, because it was too similar to another amendment I had proposed and that my colleague, the leader of the Green Party, had also proposed. The motion was almost word for word what the experts had suggested. It had to do with publicly available information. We will come back to this concept.
The concept, as it currently exists, is important because it gives CSIS and CSE the power to collect publicly available information. With respect to CSE, we were told over and over again that its mandate does not concern Canadians, since the legislation explicitly prohibits it from targeting Canadians. We must be careful, though, and we have to read part three of the bill, subclause 23 and 24, and the next few subclauses.
Subclause 23 indicates that, despite the ban on targeting Canadians, the centre can collect publicly available information for study and research purposes. In short, it lists a number of things to advance its mandate. Even collecting information inadvertently is allowed. This is very problematic.
We tried to do a few things to fix that. The first was to change the definition of “publicly available information”. That is because when I asked representatives of the CSE if the information that Cambridge Analytica legally but immorally stole from Canadians and others throughout the world through Facebook would be part of publicly available information under the definition provided in this legislation, I got a one-word answer, which is rare in these parts. It was “yes”.
What does my amendment propose to do? The Liberals said not to worry, that they would deal with it. They put in the words “a reasonable expectation of privacy”. That is good. That was part of my amendment as well, as was it part of the amendment brought by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. However, there is a whole slew of information missing from that. Allow me to read it to the House, since unfortunately it was deemed inadmissible and voted down by Liberals at committee.
It states that it would also include, along with information where Canadians have a reasonable expectation of privacy, “information that is published or broadcast only to a selected audience or information that is subscribed to or purchased illegally”, in other words, the prohibition on information purchased illegally. That is the problem with these amendments sometimes when one is reading them without the rest of the text that follows. Why is that important? It is important because despite the assurances that we got, there are a lot of questions about this. These are questions and concerns that some of the foremost experts in the field all have as well.
I also proposed an amendment for a catch-and-release principle, for information acquired incidentally on Canadians by the CSE. If it truly does not need the information captured incidentally, I understand it. That happens sometimes when one is going to study the information infrastructure in Canada. Therefore, we had a reasonable compromise, which was that if it happens, the centre has a responsibility to get rid of it. That was another amendment that was voted down by the Liberals on the committee.
I could speak at length about the CSE aspects, but I have only 20 minutes for my speech. It just goes to show how complex and worrisome the new concepts are and how we are far from having enough time to address them today. I would even say that we had very little time in committee as well. I have been in Parliament for seven years, and for the first time since becoming an MP, even though I can be quite verbose, my mike was constantly cut off and not through any fault of the chair, but because we simply did not have enough time to get into the details. I am not blaming the committee chair, who does excellent work on this study. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time for this conversation.
I want to come back to something more specific that affects more than just CSIS. I am talking about one of my amendments that were deemed admissible. Amendments that go beyond the scope of a bill can be proposed when that bill is referred to committee before second reading, as this one was, and the Liberals took advantage of that.
The Liberals used that opportunity to essentially present a new bill into the legislation dealing with the question of information obtained under use of torture, which bafflingly the Conservatives voted against. However, we do not have time to get into that today.
I voted in favour of it, for two reasons, but it does not go far enough, and we are going to get to that. The first reason is because the fact that it was even on the table was an acknowledgement that the status quo is not good enough, that the ministerial directives right now are not good enough, and that having these concepts more explicitly enshrined in law is always a good thing. Even though some of these symbolic statements in legislation sometimes seem to be only that, symbolic, they guide the decisions made and the advice given when these agencies seek legal opinions and so forth. On that front, it is a good thing. The other reason I supported it was because it is better than nothing. However, the language that remains is that the Governor in Council “may” issue directives to deputy heads. At the end of the day, we remain in the same situation we were in before. These were all recorded votes, so Canadians can check them.
Let me say for the record that I offered more explicit amendments to nearly every section of the bill that dealt with one of these agencies, putting in an explicit prohibition on using information that may have been obtained under the use of torture. Every single Liberal and Conservative on the committee voted against them. That is absolutely shameful.
Here is the motion that is before us today: that “The Governor in Council must issue written directions to all deputy heads...” At the very least, even though we are still dealing with ministerial directives, that obliges the government of the day to issue the directions, even though we already know that the directives themselves have loopholes. Even if the current directives, I will acknowledge, are stronger than the ones in the previous government, there are still holes in them, and those holes need to be addressed.
It is sad to see that my amendments, which would have at least done something to prohibit the use of that type of information, were defeated through the committee process.
Speaking of my amendments, I want to mention one thing I forgot at the beginning of my speech, since I think the Canadians watching us will find it interesting. The government said that it was open to suggestions from the opposition. I suggested 120 amendments, and just four of them were accepted by the Liberals. Three were accepted on the condition that I use the Liberals' wording, and the other was accepted because it was just a preamble. Not a single one of the Conservatives' 25 or 29 amendments was accepted. Not a single one of the Green Party's 55 amendments was accepted either.
The Liberals proposed amendments. Anyone can look at them, they are public. The Liberals put forward one amendment and decided to withdraw the others because they had an inferior one to replace them. I therefore proposed the Liberals' amendments myself, and they voted against their own amendments. That speaks volumes about the process.
I have just three minutes left, and I have only spoken about one part of the bill. I just spent 20 minutes giving a speech on the flaws of a single part of a bill that has 10 parts. That tells you everything you need to know about the flaws in this bill, not to mention the fact that CSIS retains its power to disrupt and to detain without any right to counsel, as was the case with the former Bill C-51.
Without mentioning that apart from changing the word “sharing” to “disclosure”, even though the word “disclosure” was there, what was qualified by groups like the B.C. Liberties Association, among others, as a cosmetic change at best to the information sharing regime remains in place. It was one of the biggest criticisms we had, and a reason for voting against BillC-51 in the previous Parliament.
We will get to that through a future point of order, but hopefully we can vote on different elements of the bill. There are two parts that are good, review and oversight. Despite the fact that we tried to make changes to the review body to make it more accountable to Parliament and less to the executive, it was rejected. With the real-time oversight of the intelligence commissioner, we tried to make that a full-time position. I was not able to propose those changes, as they would require royal prerogative, which I, as an opposition member, do not have. Perhaps I can enter a final plea, although at report stage it is probably too late for that.
It is all too clear that, on the one hand, the Liberals did not want the Conservatives to criticize them for standing up for the rights and freedoms of Canadians and, on the other hand, they wanted to try to protect their progressive image in light of our legitimate criticisms that they have failed in their duty to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Despite all the time we were able to dedicate to the study, despite the public consultations, questions from experts, criticisms from members, and a grandiose announcement that the Liberals were going to do things differently in committee, still, all of our amendments were rejected. The same system will remain in place and not enough improvements are being made in terms of what the Conservatives proposed.
In conclusion, it is true that we are entering a brave new world. We certainly know that in this digital age. I acknowledge that the threats are evolving and we need to address them. There is no doubt about that. However, one thing is for sure: right now, the ability of these agencies to act is outpacing the protections that Canadians have for their rights and freedoms, and their privacy.
That, for me and my party, is completely unacceptable, because at the end of the day, if we truly want to defeat these threats and what they stand for, if we truly want to stand on the other side of that terror and on the right side of history, it means standing up for Canadians' rights and freedoms. This bill just would not do that, and we will continue to oppose it. It is absolutely unfortunate, because we heard that better is always possible, but it does not seem to be with this legislation.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2018-05-28 17:34 [p.19765]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on this file and on others that are important related to privacy and to industry. One of the most important things is a consistent set of understandable rules, and that is what the member's amendments were.
Canadians have been getting a series of emails from different Internet-usage organizations or companies warning about their privacy changes. That is because Canada is often a laggard when it comes to being progressive on this. Many companies are going to follow the European model to protect privacy. That is why people will get them from PlayStation, different service providers for music, and other types of organizations that are using international models.
I ask that the member expand upon some of the amendments he had at committee, which were very reasonable and in line with some of our competitors in terms of industry access and standards that we should have been moving forward on.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-05-28 17:35 [p.19765]
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that when it comes to the rapidly evolving information infrastructure in this country and throughout the world, these are the issues that come up. It was quite timely during our study that these things were in the news, such as Cambridge Analytica and all these types of things.
I will acknowledge that on the one hand, they bring to light the fact that we need to be prepared to deal with interventions from foreign state actors and parties operating in bad faith, and even companies, and do these kinds of updates and ask more of the private sector, as my colleague said. The other side of that coin, and another part of what this legislation deals with, is this. Those who know Alan Moore's graphic novel from the 1980s, Watchmen, will remember the question the book poses, which is “Who watches the watchmen?” That is the question we have before us.
Ultimately, CSE will say its duty is to protect Canadians and protect our information structure. No one is calling that into question, but at the end of the day, it is not a blank cheque to operate with impunity and without accountability. While the government may say that its new review mechanisms provide that accountability, it just is not enough when we look at these concepts in law that are not clear and when we look at these concepts brought before committee, before us as parliamentarians, and that were never part of the public consultations undertaken by both the government and our committee. We tried to make amendments to fix this. None of these amendments would have undermined CSE's ability to do its work. They would have protected Canadians' rights and freedoms, and that is the opportunity the government missed.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-05-28 17:37 [p.19766]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the arguments that have been put forward by the hon. member this afternoon. I would ask a question about specifically the member's second amendment, where he wants to insert in the operative sentence instead of the word “may”, the word “must”. Therefore, the sentence would read, “The Governor in Council must issue written directions”.
In the bill as it is now written, there is one section, subclause 3(1), that would create the general authority to issue directions. It says, “The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the appropriate Minister, issue written directions”. The very next section, subclause 3(2), goes further to say, in language that is quite similar to this amendment, “The Governor in Council must issue written directions in respect of the matters referred to in” the preceding paragraph.
Therefore, the point the hon. gentleman is making, that the requirement to issue these directions should be mandatory, not permissive, is, in fact, covered in the legislation as it is presently written, when we read subclause 3(1) together with subclause 3(2). I think that accomplishes the objective the hon. gentleman is seeking.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-05-28 17:39 [p.19766]
Mr. Speaker, this is the hard thing about amendments. Canadians listening to us will hear the amendment, and then a sentence is added in to a much larger text. What does that larger text say that the minister just quoted? It says that the Governor in Council “may” issue directives related to information obtained, and it then enumerates torture, abuse, all the bad things that happen in countries with less than stellar human rights records. It is the very type of information that we do not want CSIS or any other agency to be using. Therefore, they “may” issue directives related to that.
The next section that the minister talks about, where it says they “must”, is that in the event they choose to, because they “may” do it, they “must” issue it to the following deputy heads. Therefore, it is basically the list of who would get the directive if the minister chose to issue it. That is the problem here. My amendment would get rid of that grocery list of deputy heads. It says flat out that when it comes torture, the Governor in Council must issue a directive, and that is it.
Let us not get lost in this debate on this specific amendment. Let us ask Canadians to go back and read the transcript of the committee hearings. I read time and again into the record amendments that explicitly prohibited any of these agencies from using information, even if we suspected it was obtained through the use of torture. Listen to the recorded votes, as Liberal after Liberal and Conservative after Conservative voted against them. That is what they stood for. That is what they are standing for. There is no other way about it. When it comes to torture and standing up for human rights, directive are just not good enough.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2018-05-28 17:41 [p.19766]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his thoughts. Indeed, he is one of the hardest-working members on the committee. He offered many thoughtful amendments and has delved into this bill. He is to be commended for his hard work on the committee. However, this is a bill that we will never get entirely right. There is always the challenge between the human rights concerns and security concerns. It is eternally evolving.
I appreciate the hon. member's concerns, many of which I personally think to be quite legitimate. However, on the other hand, they are not set off against the security concerns. The people who have been writing about this bill seem to think that the government has struck the right balance.
I would be interested in the member's comments about Craig Forcese, from the University of Ottawa, who said that it is the “biggest reform of Canadian national security law since 1984....” He said that on accountability and review, we seem to have caught up to the 2006 Arar Commission, with real cleanup of CSIS threat reduction powers.
Craig Forcese and Kent Roach wrote that “solid gains—measured both from a rule of law and civil liberties perspective...at no credible cost to security...rolls back much of the unnecessary overkill of... Bill C-51.”
It seems to me that those people seem to think that balance is being obtained. While I think the hon. member's interventions are quite legitimate and thoughtful, I wonder whether he thinks that the comments by those professors reflect the appropriate balance in the bill.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-05-28 17:43 [p.19766]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his depth of sharing throughout the process of studying this bill. As I alluded to in my speech, it is not an easy task, considering the depth that we want to go into on these issues. However, there is that word again, “balance”. I do not want to mischaracterize what any of those esteemed professors have said, but they also said that when it came to threat reduction powers, basically the Liberals took something that was flagrantly unconstitutional under the Conservatives and made it more likely constitutional. As far as I am concerned, as a parliamentarian, that is not the kind of threshold I want to be striving for. I think we can do more than that.
On the security question, that element is important. New Democrats obviously take the security of Canadians seriously. We know that there are things like the police recruitment fund that was cut under the previous government. We support the continued efforts by the current government, and more can be done to counter radicalization. We understand that there is a challenge when it comes to prosecuting foreign fighters. That is an issue in the news, and it is obviously of great concern to folks. There are a lot of challenges that need to be taken on . However, as we said when we debated Bill C-51, there are changes that can be made without huge overhauls and overly broad powers to national security agencies that can accomplish just that. It is about having the political will to do it, to stand up and say that when it comes to being on the side of history, let us be on the right side and stand up for Canadians' rights and freedoms.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-05-28 17:57 [p.19769]
Mr. Speaker, at this point in the proceedings, we can get back to the topic of Bill C-59 for what is really, under our procedures, both a report stage debate and a second reading debate.
I am very pleased today to rise in support of Bill C-59, as it has emerged from the standing committee, the government's proposed legislation to update and modernize our country's national security framework. This landmark bill covers a number of measures that were informed very throughly by the views and opinions of a broad range of Canadians during extensive public consultations in 2016.
It was in that same spirit of openness, engagement, and transparency that Bill C-59 was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security before second reading. The committee recently finished its study of the bill.
I want to thank members of that committee for their diligent and thorough examination of the legislation, both during their consideration of the bill, and indeed, during their pre-study of this subject matter in 2016, which contributed significantly to the drafting of Bill C-59 itself.
An even stronger bill, with over 40 amendments accepted, is now back before the House. The amendments would bring greater clarity, transparency, accountability, and public reporting. One of the major changes made by the committee was the addition of a new act in the bill, entitled avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act.
Last fall we undertook to enhance and make public a previously secret 2011 ministerial directive to both CSIS and the RCMP that dealt with how those agencies should share and receive information with and from foreign entities when there was a risk that the information may have been derived by, or could result in, torture or mistreatment. Obviously, it is important to have ministerial directives governing such a serious topic.
The goal of my directive was to establish strong safeguards to ensure that information shared by Canada would not lead to mistreatment and that Canada would not use any information that could be tainted by mistreatment, with one exception. That is when it is essential to prevent the loss of life or serious injury.
The new avoiding complicity in mistreatment by foreign entities act would go a step further than ministerial directives. It would create a statutory requirement for such directives to exist in the form of orders in council, and not just for CSIS and the RCMP but for all departments and agencies that deal with national security. It would also require that each of those directives in the orders in council be made public.
This amendment, which is now in Bill C-59, is another example of how this legislation would strive constantly to achieve two things simultaneously. This bill would strengthen Canada's ability to effectively address and counter 21st-century threats while safeguarding the rights and freedoms we cherish as Canadians.
Bill C-59 is the result of the most comprehensive review of Canada's national security framework since the passing of the original CSIS Act more than 30 years ago. That review included unprecedented open and transparent public consultations on national security undertaken by Public Safety Canada and by the Department of Justice.
Several issues were covered, including countering radicalization to violence, oversight, and accountability, threat reduction and the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, the former Bill C-51. All Canadians were invited and encouraged to take part in the consultations, which were held between September and December of 2016.
The response to the consultations was tremendous. Citizens, community leaders, experts, academics, non-governmental organizations, and parliamentarians alike made their views and ideas known over the course of that consultation period. In the end, tens of thousands of views were received, all of which were valuable in shaping the scope and the content of Bill C-59.
With almost 59,000 responses received, the online consultation was what generated by far the largest volume of input. In addition to that, there were nearly 18,000 submissions received by email. In addition, public town halls were held in five Canadian cities: Halifax, Markham, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Yellowknife. This gave citizens across the country a chance to share their thoughts and opinions in person.
The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security held numerous meetings on the consultations. It even travelled across the country to hear testimony not only from expert witnesses, but also general members of the public who were invited to express their views.
A digital town hall and two Twitter chats were also organized.
Members of the public also had the opportunity to make their voices heard at 17 other engagement events led by different members of Parliament at the constituency level.
In addition, 14 in-person sessions were held with academics and experts across the country, as well as a large round table with experts from civil society.
I simply make the point that there was an extensive effort to be open, to be inclusive, to ensure that every Canadian who had something to say on this topic could have the opportunity to do that. This was not a process reserved for politicians in Parliament or for experts in ivory towers. This was an open, public, inclusive process, and Canadians let their voices be heard.
After all of that information was collected, the next step was to carefully analyze every comment, every submission, every letter, and all of the other forms of input. All of the views that had been expressed to the various consultative mechanisms have now been published on the Government of Canada's open data portal, so anyone interested in actually seeing who said what to whom throughout the whole consultation process can look it up and see what the dialogue was like.
In addition to that, an independently prepared report provides an overview of what was heard during the consultations.
While it would be difficult to summarize everything that we heard from Canadians in a consultation process that massive, I can speak to a few of the key themes and ideas that emerged.
As one might expect, given the thousands of submissions, there were widely differing opinions. That is what we would expect from Canadians who are very engaged in an important discussion. Certainly that was the case in these consultations.
The results make one thing perfectly clear. Canadians want accountability. They want transparency and effectiveness from their security and intelligence agencies. They want all three of those things, accountability, transparency, and effectiveness, together. They want the government and Parliament to achieve all of those things at once. Bill C-59 goes farther and better than any other piece of legislation in Canadian history to accomplish those three things together.
Canadians expect their rights, their freedoms, and their privacy to be protected at the same time as their security is protected.
Consistent with what we heard, Bill C-59 would modernize and enhance Canada's security and intelligence laws to ensure our agencies would have the tools they needed to protect us and it would do so within a clear legal and constitutional framework that would comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
There is no doubt in my mind that the legislation before the House today has been strengthened and improved by the result of the close work that was done by the standing committee. All the scrutiny and clause-by-clause analysis and consideration, all the debate around all of those various amendments has resulted in a better product.
When we tabled this legislation, and before the committee did its work, many of the most renowned experts in the country said that it was very good legislation and that it accomplished more in the field of national security than any other proposal since the CSIS Act was first introduced. That was a great compliment coming from the imminent experts who made those observations. However, now, after the debate, after all of the input, after all of the amendments, the legislation is even better.
One of the things I am most proud of with respect to Bill C-59 is how it represents a dynamic shift in the review and accountability structure for our entire national security apparatus. Currently, some of our agencies that deal in national security have a review body that examines their work. CSIS of course has the Security Intelligence Review committee, SIRC. The RCMP has the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, CRCC. Those are a couple of examples. However, there is no unified review body that can look beyond one agency at a time and actually follow the evidence as it moves across government from agency to agency.
For the first time, Bill C-59 would fix this problem by creating the national security and intelligence review agency, or NSIRA. NSIRA is largely modelled on the often discussed idea of a “super-SIRC”, which would have the authority to review all matters of national security, whether they are with CSIS, or CBSA, or IRCC, or the RCMP, or Global Affairs, or DND, or anywhere else in the Government of Canada.
When we link that to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was recently created by the passage of BillC-22, Canadians can be assured that we have a review architecture in place that is required for the 21st century. It involves parliamentarians, through the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It involves expert review through NSIRA. In addition to that, it involves, for the first time ever, a brand new innovation that we have introduced, a new element of actual real-time oversight, which has never existed before, through the work of the new intelligence commission, which is also created by virtue of this legislation, Bill C-59.
We also worked to ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the central principle behind Bill C-59. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than the changes we have made to the former BillC-51's threat reduction measures.
When BillC-51 created these threat reduction measures, it created an open-ended, seemingly limitless course of possible action for CSIS to take. This bill would create a closed list of specific actions that CSIS could apply to a federal court for permission to undertake. It is open, it is transparent, while at the same time gives CSIS the tools it needs to keep Canadians safe.
Another part of the former BillC-51 that we have undertaken to dramatically improve is the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, or SCISA. After Bill C-59 is enacted, this new legislation will be renamed to the security of Canada information disclosure act, and it will not grant any new powers to collect information on Canadians. Rather it is a roadmap for how existing information related to a threat to the security of Canada can and should be shared between departments and agencies in order to mitigate or eliminate that threat.
It clarifies that advocacy, protest, dissent, or artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada, and it creates a robust review framework to ensure that information is being disclosed to other departments appropriately, with proper record-keeping at both ends of the process.
Next I want to touch on an issue that I believe almost every member of the House supports, and that is the fixing of the passenger protect program, or what is sometimes known as the “no-fly list”.
I imagine that virtually every member of the chamber has met with a member of the group called “No-Fly List Kids” at some point during this Parliament. To be clear, there are currently no children on Canada's passenger protect list. However, there are children and adults who may share a name with someone who is on the list. Former defence minister Bill Graham famously had to deal with this very problem when someone sharing his name was actually listed.
Fixing the problem involves both funding and new legislation. Bill C-59 will play an important role, allowing the government to collect domestic passenger manifests and screen the list itself, rather than sharing our passenger protect list with over 100 airlines around the world. What this means is that once the government is collecting the passenger manifests, it will be able to issue redress numbers to people who share a name with a listed individual. Anyone who has booked a flight to the United States in the past few years has probably noticed that their system has a box for a unique redress number. Once Canada's system is up and running, it will operate in a very similar fashion.
I would also note that we got the necessary funding to develop this new system this past March, in the most recent budget. This measure is another excellent example of ensuring that the rights of Canadians are respected while at the same time safeguarding national security.
There are many other important parts of Bill C-59 that I will not have the time in 20 minutes to go through in detail. However, I would like to just mention some of the others—for example, the new stand-alone legislation to modernize Canada's Communications Security Establishment. It has needed this modernization. It has needed this new legislation for a long time. Bill C-59 introduces that legislation.
There are also important changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which ensures that protections are afforded to young Canadians in respect of recognizance orders.
Changes in the Criminal Code would, among other things, require the Attorney General to publish an annual report setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into during the course of the year. Also, there are very important changes to the CSIS Act that would ensure that our security agents are confident they have the legal and constitutional authority to undertake their essential work on behalf of all Canadians, including, for example, the complex matter of handling data sets, taking into account the advice and judgments of recent decisions in the federal courts.
Should Bill C-59 pass, this historic piece of legislation would enhance Canada’s national security, keep its citizens safe, and safeguard Canadians’ constitutionally protected rights and freedoms.
For all these reasons, I would encourage all hon. colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-59. I am glad it enjoys strong support among Canadians generally and among some of our country's most distinguished experts in national security and civil liberties. We have been very fortunate to have the benefit of their advice as we have moved this legislation through the parliamentary process.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the member said in his speech that the central tenet of Bill C-59 is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I was under the impression that Bill C-59 was about protecting Canadians and national security. Let us keep that in mind.
During the clause-by-clause consideration at the public safety and national security committee, over 235 amendments were proposed. Interestingly enough, all 29 Conservative amendments were defeated by the Liberals, and all 43 Liberal amendments were passed.
Now, on one such amendment that was proposed at committee, we heard from national security experts. It was proposed by the Conservatives, but it does not matter who proposed it because it was about national security. This really should be a civil liberties bill, because twice as many witnesses at committee were either civil liberty individuals or lawyers, as opposed to national security experts.
One thing that was brought up by a number of experts was the disconnect between intelligence and evidence—
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, we heard from witnesses that the gap in Canada currently being able to effectively prosecute returning ISIS terrorists, or those who leave our country and return to join a terrorist organization, is the gap between intelligence and evidence. There were a number of great amendments, and one that specifically targeted that.
I am wondering whether the minister would be able to provide us with an answer. We did not really fix the gap. National experts told us that we needed to fix the gap if we really wanted to be successful. To me, the bill is still wanting in that regard.
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2018-05-28 18:19 [p.19771]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member began his question by wondering why, in a bill on national security, we would talk about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As I mentioned in my remarks, our objective through this whole process has been twofold: one, keep Canadians safe; two, safeguard their rights and freedoms. We need to protect national security, and we need to do so in a manner that is consistent with the charter.
I do not know if the hon. member sees a contradiction there, but quite frankly we do not. We think there is no contradiction in doing the right thing to keep Canadians safe, and also the right thing to safeguard Canadian rights, freedoms, and privacy. If the member sees that those two things are unalterably opposed to each other and that we have to choose either security or rights, then Canadians will be put in an invidious position.
Our determination is to achieve both together, and that is consistent with what we heard from Canadians in the last election. They said that they did not trust the Conservatives with their rights, and they did not trust the NDP with their safety. Canadians wanted both at the same time, and this legislation delivers both at the same time.
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