Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-11 18:48 [p.28954]
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I do not feel, as leader of the Green Party, that I had adequate opportunity to debate what has happened with Bill C-59, particularly since it went to the Senate.
However, I want to say on the record that although it is not the perfect bill one would have wished for to completely remove the damage of BillC-51 from the previous Parliament, I am very grateful for the progress made in this bill. What I referred to at the time as the “thought chill sections” of the language were removed. One example was the use of the words “terrorism in general” throughout Bill C-51.
The bill was tabled January 30, 2015, which was a Friday. I read it over the weekend, came back to Parliament on Monday and asked a question in question period about whether we were going to stop this bill that so heavily intruded on civil liberties.
Bill C-59 is an improvement, but I do not think I have had enough time to debate it. I wish the hon. minister could give us more time. I want to see it pass in this Parliament, but I wish there was a way to allow time for proper debate.
View Guy Caron Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the minister and the House that, when BillC-51 was introduced in the previous Parliament, the Liberals who were in opposition at the time voted in favour of Bill C-51, regardless of all the freedom of expression and privacy issues it might cause, not to mention other measures that endangered Canadians more than they protected them. In contrast, the official opposition New Democrats voted against Bill C-51.
Bill C-59 makes some improvements, but as civil liberties groups have said repeatedly, it fails to resolve a number of major problems related to use of data and privacy protection.
I would like to know why the government was in such a hurry to move forward without properly addressing the major issues with Bill C-51 that are still present in Bill C-59.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-07 12:48 [p.28764]
Madam Speaker, we will have to disagree on information sharing. Both BillC-51 and now with a slight rejigging or perhaps cosmetic change at best in the bill before us is not going to necessarily increase public safety, but certainly forces us to run the risk of finding ourselves in a situation where human rights might be violated.
I will go back to the example I gave in my speech. On the surface, it might make sense to Canadians who are watching to think that we are going to share information between agencies. However, we said at the time of the debate on BillC-51 that the RCMP, CSIS and any other agency in Canada that worked to ensure public safety needed more resources to more effectively do their work to keep us safe.
We see some unintended consequences. If Consular Affairs has to share information with CSIS, for example, when CSIS might be engaged in a different type of activity or with different objectives, we know that is where we can find situations like the one Maher Arar went through when he was detained abroad and subject to torture, as well as many others, tragically and disturbingly. That is where we disagree.
Information sharing, as it existed pre- BillC-51, the Conservative legislation in the previous Parliament, was adequate. Again, additional resources to these agencies would have been the way to go. That is what we said at the time and that is what we continue to say today.
View Wayne Stetski Profile
NDP (BC)
View Wayne Stetski Profile
2019-06-07 13:18 [p.28768]
Madam Speaker, in the 2015 election BillC-51 was front and centre in my riding. There were rallies held across the riding against Bill C-51. People were really angry with the Conservative government for putting it forward. They were almost equally angry with the Liberals for supporting it at that time.
Regarding this current bill, Bill C-59, I want to quote from Cara Zwibel, acting general counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She said:
All Canadian laws must comply with the Charter. Bill C-59 tries harder than its predecessor, but fails to fix some of the unconstitutional elements...contested in... Bill C-51. Troublingly, C-59 also allows intelligence agencies to engage in conduct that threatens freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy, and public safety. The government has taken a first step, but a great deal more is needed. Canada must get it right on national security.
I am interested in my colleague's comments on this statement that Bill C-59 continues to threaten freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and public safety.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-06-18 18:33 [p.21183]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that so many changes have been made to our anti-terrorism legislation, which are reflected in Bill C-59. I have stood in this place a number of times and complained that the government held consultations but did not listen. I am happy to say that this is not one of those times.
I submitted an extensive brief to the joint consultation, headed by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety. When I read Bill C-59, I felt very gratified that this legislation was drafted with an eye to the recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the Air India disaster and the failure of our security system at that point resulting from our agencies' inability to talk among each other to share information that could have prevented that terrible tragedy. It also appeared to me that the drafters paid attention to the results of the inquiry into the atrocious treatment of Canadian citizen Maher Arar.
There are still weaknesses in this bill. I would have preferred, as the hon. member knows, to remove any kinetic powers from CSIS. Its power to disrupt plots may still prove to make us less secure than we were, given that CSIS was originally intended to be about information collection only, and it left the RCMP to take action on the ground for kinetic activities.
Overall, this is a substantial improvement over the situation in which we found ourselves in 2015 with the speedy passage of what I still call the “secret police act” or what was then BillC-51.
This is a comment, more than a question to my hon. colleague, just to say on the record that I am pleased to vote for Bill C-59, although I would have preferred we had gone further and removed more of the things launched in BillC-51.
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