Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2019-06-11 18:44 [p.28954]
Mr. Speaker, it is clear in the amendments included in Bill C-59 that the right to civil protest, the right to demonstrate and the right to express one's point of view within the normal laws and procedures of Canada are all clearly protected. That was an issue under BillC-51, and we have corrected that by virtue of this legislation.
I point out as well that both the government and parliamentary committees have consulted about this legislation with the Privacy Commissioner, and the Privacy Commissioner's advice has been taken very seriously in the crafting of this legislation. As I say, the debate has been an extensive one. Every dimension of this new law has been thoroughly ventilated through one House of Parliament or the other.
I point out that the debate has gone on for so long that certain previous provisions of national security law have expired while waiting for the new law to come into effect, so it is time to vote and to take a decision.
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 Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-11 19:46 [p.28958]
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to give a little ad at the beginning of my speech. Tomorrow is an important day. June 12 is Philippines Independence Day. I want to invite all members from all sides of the House to come out after their caucus meetings and walk across the street from West Block to SJAM to participate in the Filipino heritage event.
I want to add my thoughts in regard to Bill C-59 and I will approach it in two ways. First I will speak to the process that has brought us to the bill before us today and then I will provide thoughts in regard to some of the content of the bill itself.
To say that the issue of security and freedom is a new debate in the House of Commons would be a bit of a stretch. I can recall the debates surrounding BillC-51 several years ago when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. He brought in that piece of legislation. At the time, the Liberal Party, as the third party, actually supported that legislation.
However, we qualified that support in a very clear way. We indicated throughout the debate that there were some fundamental flaws in BillC-51, and that if we were to ultimately win in the election of 2015, we intended to bring forward some changes that would rectify some of those fundamental flaws.
I can recall the hours of debate that took place inside the chamber by members of all political parties. I can remember some of the discussions flowing out of the committees at the time. There was a great deal of debate and a great deal of controversy with the legislation. Even while campaigning during the last federal election, it was a topical issue for many people. It dealt with issues of an individual's rights versus having that sense of security. I always made reference to the fact that Liberals understand how important individual rights are. That is one of the reasons I often highlight that we are the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
If we take a look at the original BillC-51, even though the principles were very admirable and we supported it and voted for it, even though at the time we received some criticism, we made it very clear that we would make changes.
This is the second piece of legislation that has attempted to make good on commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. I really enjoy is being able to stand up in this place and provide comment, especially on legislation that fulfills election commitments, starting with our very first bill, BillC-2. That is a bill I am very proud of, and I know my caucus colleagues are very proud of that bill. It concerns the tax break for Canada's middle class. There is the bill we are debating today, Bill C-59, the second part of a commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election, which talks about the issue of public safety and privacy rights. Yet again, we have before us another piece of legislation that ultimately fulfills another commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election.
I mentioned that I wanted to talk a bit about the process. In bringing forward Bill C-59, I do not think we could come up with a better example of a minister who has really understood the importance of the issue, or who has gone far beyond what any other minister in the Stephen Harper era ever did, in terms of consultation.
Even before the bill was introduced, we received input from thousands of Canadians, whether in person or through the Internet. We also received input from members of Parliament, particularly from many of my Liberal caucus colleagues. We were afforded the opportunity to share with the minister and the caucus some of the issues and concerns that came out of the last election. A great deal of consultation was done. The minister on several occasions indicated that the comprehensive dialogue that took place allowed for a substantial piece of legislation at the first reading stage.
Shortly after that, the bill was sent to committee prior to second reading, which allowed for a more thorough discussion on a wider scope of issues. The bill was debated at report stage and then at third reading. It was sent to the Senate, which has sent back amendments, which is where we are today. That process indicates that we have a government, as the Prime Minister has often indicated, that thinks the roles of our standing committees and the Senate can improve legislation. We have seen many changes throughout this process. This bill is a stronger and healthier piece of legislation than it originally was at its first reading stage.
I wanted to give that bit of background and then do a comparison regarding why the government had to move closure just an hour ago. I want to make it very clear to those individuals who might be following the debate, whether it is on Bill C-59 or other pieces of legislation.
We have an official opposition party that is determined to work with the NDP, and I often refer to it as the unholy alliance of the Conservatives and the New Democrats. They work together to try to prevent any legislation from passing. They will do whatever they can to prevent legislation from passing. It does not take much to do that. At the end of the day, a few members can cause a great deal of issues to prevent legislation from passing. There is no sense of responsibility coming from the opposition side in regard to working hard for Canadians and recognizing the valuable pieces of legislation that would be for the betterment of our society. In fact, those parties will put up speaker after speaker even on non-controversial legislation, because they have no real interest in passing legislation. If it were up to the Conservative opposition, we would still be debating BillC-2. The opposition members have many different tools, and they have no qualms about using them. Then—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-07 13:14 [p.28768]
Madam Speaker, I was here when Stephen Harper brought in BillC-51. We voted for it, even though we recognized back then that it needed significant changes, and part of this legislation deals with some of those changes. We brought in legislation earlier dealing with what was a major flaw in Bill C-51, which was not having the parliamentary oversight committee. This government rectified that problem. We made a commitment to Canadians.
The difference between us and the Conservatives is that we look at individual rights and charter rights and privacy as being as important as security and safety, and in fact we can do both at the same time. This legislation is a good example.
When my friend was talking about the no-fly list, it was as if the Conservatives know how to get it right, when in fact BillC-51 set up the environment that put many children onto the no-fly list. It was Stephen Harper who complicated it and made it more difficult, such that more children were put on the no-fly list.
In the future, are some of my colleague's proposed changes going to rectify the problems that Stephen Harper put in, which in good part this legislation and previous legislation have already addressed?
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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