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Results: 16 - 30 of 106
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-29 14:25 [p.3795]
Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues who spoke on this bill. Whether they agreed with it or not, I appreciate that they took the time and effort to speak in the House today.
When I ran for office, I was incredibly concerned about the Canadian economy. I am a proud Canadian and a proud Albertan, and I am absolutely proud of our resource sector, which has been fuelling a lot of our economy.
Bill C-48, which would be displaced by my Bill C-229, was never about marine traffic transportation safety or ecological life in northern B.C. It really was a bill that restricted the ability of the strong oil and gas sector to continue to grow. It has become even more apparent now, with the debate over Keystone XL and our ability to get our products to market.
There has been a massive exodus of energy dollars from Canada. We can argue that is world demand, but I am not part of that argument. If we look at recent history, Norway has planned a massive expansion into the Arctic for expanded oil and gas. In Russia, Vostok Oil is planning a massive expansion. The U.S. has become one of the largest exporters of oil and gas, and a lot of that is coming out of Canadian reserves.
Canada has this fantastic position, in that we are the third-largest reserve in the world and we have this enormous opportunity to extract our resources in a safe and environmentally friendly way and play into the market.
Over the last few days, we have been discussing a trade agreement with the U.K. It is interesting to look at the U.K. Where do its imports come from? Norway, the U.S., Algeria, Russia and Nigeria are its big suppliers. Canada is not even a player. Canada is 97% into the U.S. and 3% into the international market.
I firmly believe that we can safely extract oil and gas within our country and ship it in a safe fashion. It is not like we do not have tanker traffic in this country. We have tankers going up the east coast, delivering crude to refineries there, and we all realize that the St. Lawrence has consistent tanker traffic day in and day out. We are able to do that in a safe fashion and protect the environment and our citizens.
Let us not forget that our federal debt-to-GDP ratio is at about 15% and growing. We are looking at a federal debt in excess of $1 trillion by the end of the year. We have the highest unemployment rate in the G7. Oil is one of our largest exports, primarily to one customer.
Does anyone really think that Canada can come out of this massive recession without a strong oil and gas sector and without being part of the international market? We have the opportunity to gain market share. We have the opportunity to displace players who do not follow the same rules we do as Canadians.
This is a bill that would right a wrong and fix an incredibly discriminatory piece of legislation. It is a bill that is essential for an industry that has helped fuel the economy of Canada, and I am incredibly proud of it. It is essential for the thousands of workers who are proud of their work in that sector and the product they produce. It is essential for manufacturing in Canada in a variety of fields. It is essential to the environment. If Canada has the opportunity to displace those bad players, we can do that with some of the most stringent environmental and labour standards. It is essential to respect the right of the provinces to get their product to market.
I live in a province that feels that it has been left out. I believe this is an opportunity for us to right a wrong, get Albertans and Canadians back to work, and be proud of the work that we can do here in Canada.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-28 14:59 [p.3719]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister needs to get two million doses to Canada every week to make his September timeline. This week, Canada received zero out of the two million, and next week does not look much better. This is not a role model. Lives are at stake.
My son, who is compromised, finally had hope when his two caregivers had appointments for their vaccines, but that quickly evaporated when they were cancelled due to lack of supply. This is not a poker game the Prime Minister is playing where he can bluff his way through.
How does the Prime Minister plan to get two million doses next week after getting zero this week?
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-25 17:41 [p.3445]
Madam Speaker, I rise today virtually to speak to Bill C-14 on Robbie Burns Day, a second act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19.
I really do not need to speak to the detriment COVID has placed not only on Canada but on the rest of the world. The ways in which we have had to change the way we eat, sleep, learn, work and visit have been turned upside down for nearly a year. At this point, it seems like there is no end in sight. It is frustrating beyond belief, and the damages are real and significant.
Bill C-14 would implement certain measures announced in the 2020 fall economic statement regarding the most pressing items. This would include increasing the Canada child benefit; eliminating interest on Canada student loans and Canada apprentice loans for at least one year; amending the Food and Drugs Act to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations to seek additional information from companies about food, drug and medical devices to, for example, assess the safety of these products; as well as amending the Borrowing Authority Act.
I think we can all agree that government investment and spending has been absolutely necessary to help Canadians through this pandemic. Canadians largely continue to be left without a plan, a timeline or a guarantee of what the future might look like as we head out of this pandemic.
We first must recognize that there will be no economic recovery without a solution to this health crisis. As the rest of the world continues to receive vaccines and a return to a sense of normalcy in respective countries, Canada has fallen behind, not only in the past few weeks but since the inception of COVID-19. We continue to ask for rapid testing and whether it will become available for working in spaces for the vulnerable population like long-term seniors' homes and caregiver settings.
Today I have listened to the government say that it is all under control and that we have have minor setbacks. I have to emphasize that purchase orders are not a measure of performance; vaccines in arms are. As of Sunday, Canada has administered 816,557 vaccine doses. In comparison, the U.S. had administered over 20 million. On a per capita basis, the U.S. has so far inoculated 5.2% of its population. We stand at 1.1%.
Our country remains shut down, just like it was at the beginning of the pandemic. This is exclusively a responsibility of the federal government with vaccines and rapid testing. We were originally expected to receive vaccines in the next few weeks. Prime Minister Trudeau has said that Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses by the end of March—
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-25 17:44 [p.3446]
My apologies, Madam Speaker.
It is clear that there is no plan for the vaccine rollout just as there is no plan to get the economy back on track.
Rapid testing has been available in Europe for months and the U.S. approved take-home tests back in 2020. We are not even running in the same race.
As we discuss the bill to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2020, I want to first focus on the amendment to the Borrowing Authority Act and the Financial Administration Act to increase the maximum borrowing authority of the government.
The $1 trillion question is becoming a $1.8 trillion question. How is the federal spending going to position our country for post-pandemic success? Amidst this never before seen federal stimulus spending, where is our strategic economic vision for the future? How will this affect generations yet to come?
The debt-to-GDP ratio will rise from 31% last year to 56% next year. That is below the 66% ratio that led to a near default in 1996, but we are getting awfully close. The Bank of Canada projects that business investment will grow at .08% over the next two years, failing to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2023. Consumption will grow at 4.7%, five times faster than investment. Consumption and government spending will represent about 80% of the economic growth for the next two years, while investment and exports will be less than zero.
The government has announced $100 billion infrastructure spend over the next 10 years. The problem continues to be, however, that no matter how much it announces or how amazing the results will be, Canadians continue to be left in the dark as to what is the plan for how their money is going to be spent. Spending that does not improve productivity, lower costs or create opportunities for additional revenue will just continue to put us on a debt spiral.
In the face of this insurmountable debt, Canada's finance minister spoke about unlocking preloaded stimulus, fuelled by Canada's savings to tackle this debt. The fact is that in a country of 37-odd million, with an average household savings of $852 per year, this is not exactly what I would call a cure-all for the economic situation in which we have found ourselves.
On the other hand, we are a vast country, one of abundant resources, world-class institutions, providing cutting-edge research, and technology industries producing innovative solutions to everyday issues. If we are going to service this more than $1 trillion debt, we are going to have to dig far deeper than our own pockets and work with all that we have and all that this country can offer.
Canada fell out of the top 10 ranking of the world's most competitive economies. We have fallen near the bottom of our peer group on innovation, ranking 17th. We have the highest unemployment rate in the G7.
With a country of our size and the sparsity of population we have, there is no way that we can rely on our internal economy to lead us to recovery. Canada will need massive growth and exports to fuel any kind of recovery. Spending in infrastructure should be predominantly focused on those things that improve productivity, competitiveness and access to markets. Private sector innovation is what is going to lead us into the future and provide us with the technology we need to shift to both global sustainability and reinstate us as one of the world's economic leaders.
In 2019, mineral fuels, including oil, accounted for 22% of our country's total exports, the number one exported product. We have the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world and the third-largest exported, primarily to the U.S., which now is of huge concern because of the Keystone decision.
Now is not the time to restrict export growth, but rather see an expansion of our capabilities in all sectors, including oil and gas. There is a market opportunity for resources, which are extracted both ethically and to an ever-improving environmental standard. The world wants more of what Canada produces. Canada is home to incredibly strong industries in minerals, agriculture, forestry, pulp, paper and all forms of energy production, such as tech, aerospace, fisheries, to name a few.
The world faces a confluence of changes and technology advantages that are fundamentally altering the relationship between individuals, economies and society.
Innovations in a diverse set of fields, including robotics, genetics, AI, sustainable energy and traditional sectors, are all individually imperative to economic recovery. These innovations, just as we have come to rely on in a pandemic, will be evermore important to lead us out of it. Prioritizing innovation today is a key to unlocking post-pandemic growth; the quality and the quantity of our research and development, ensuring that IP that is developed in Canada stays in Canada; policies that encourage new employees and employees to come to Canada to help support these industries; and, most important, tax policy that encourages entrepreneurial growth and expansion rather than penalizes it. If ever Canada were in a position that we needed to grow and grow our exports and support our entrepreneurs and businesses, this is now the time.
I look forward to the government putting forward a budget that will actually demonstrate how we are going to do this and how we can ensure future generations have the same opportunities that many of us have had today.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-25 17:51 [p.3447]
Madam Speaker, the reality here is that we are going into an enormous debt that future generations are going to be faced with paying it back. It will have a massive impact to future generations. That is why I tried to outline in my intervention the importance of growing our economy.
For all the stories we have heard about creating programs that will create short-term stimulus inside of the country, we absolutely have to be focused on external exports. That is where the opportunities will come for future generations. That is where the opportunities will come for my kids and my grandkids. That is what we should be focusing on in the future.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-25 17:53 [p.3447]
Madam Speaker, if the member had listened closely to what I said in my intervention, he would have heard that we were supportive, absolutely, because we had to do something. The greater question is where we go from here. The greater question on this bill with its debt ceiling is what the government will spend the money on going into the future.
We have supported the existing programs, but there is talk of phenomenal spending: $100 billion into potential infrastructure spending with no clear plan on how it will be utilized. The programs, to a certain extent, were effective. However, we can only look at this one metric: We had the second-greatest spending of the G7 and we still have the highest unemployment rate. To me, that is not a judge of performance.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2021-01-25 17:56 [p.3448]
Madam Speaker, I am not familiar with that exact report, and so I will take that under advisement and I will have to read through it. I do think that tax increases are not necessarily an impetus for economic growth. Of course, we are going to have to do whatever we do hand in hand with a solid climate strategy to make sure that we responsibly develop our resources and grow our economy at the same time.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-12-07 15:52 [p.3048]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. It is a great honour to speak to this opposition motion today.
When the world caught the news that multiple vaccines for COVID-19 had finally been approved, that this horrible year was finally about to come to an end, there was great relief and a sigh from across the world. That was until we realized that help was on the way for many of our close international partners including the U.K., U.S.A., Germany and Mexico and their economies might be able to reopen and their citizens would start to engage in normal life again, but Canada would have to wait. Granted, today's news was great. It is fantastic news that we will see the first vaccines coming to Canada, but certainly for our economy to re-engage we absolutely need to see far more, as soon as possible.
The government spent $44 million on upgrades to the National Research Council's Royalmount vaccine production facility in Montreal, and that is despite the Prime Minister saying that there would be no vaccine manufacturing in Canada. Unfortunately, the upgrades at that facility still are not finished and are not projected to be finished until 2021, so that really lagged our ability to produce vaccines and thus put us further behind many other countries.
Most people need some kind of certainty, and “as soon as possible” just does not work. With the variety of vaccines that have been announced and the contracts that the government has put in place, it seems entirely reasonable to ask, once they are approved, what the timing would be when Canadians can expect to see these vaccines, and to give the provinces the latitude to know what is coming down the pipe so they can start making arrangements for these vaccines that Canadians so desperately need to land at their pharmacies or to whatever execution method each of the provincial governments would use.
Our opposition motion today highlights the unequivocal fact that a lot of Canadian business owners are in distress and I am sure many of the members have heard this. Business owners need help just to survive while waiting until some form of rapid testing or a robust vaccination plan rolls out. They are really struggling.
Forty-six per cent of business owners are worried about the survival of their businesses. We hear a lot about essential services. For many of the business owners whom I speak to, their businesses are essential to them. They are essential for their livelihood. They are essential for them to look after their families and to generate incomes. It is essential for them that they get back to work. Some are working at reduced activity, and I really admire their ingenuity in trying to make the best of what is a very difficult situation.
As early as March, 56% of business owners said they had no more capacity to take on debt during this emergency. That is a phenomenal number, and even debt does not necessarily solve the problem. During the first wave, the government determined which were considered essential and non-essential businesses. Their businesses were absolutely essential for their livelihoods. A lot of large corporations, such as Costco and Walmart, would still be able to benefit and sell products that a lot of small businesses sell as well, so the small business owners really want to get back to work.
A simple fact is that there will be no recovery if there are no businesses left, so the government has handed out about $240 billion in the first eight months of the pandemic. Not to say that we should not have been spending money, but that is about $952 million a day between March 13 and November 20.
While the government members had been starting to talk about their great reset stimulation and other singular-driven goals, we are spending virtually more than any other country in the G7, but we have the highest unemployment, so it is obvious that some of these programs are not working for their intended people. The Liberals have been stingy in regard to spending on what Canadians need, but what people really want is to get back to work and earn a paycheque.
The federal government must support employment by removing barriers to job creation, such as taxes and regulation. This is something that we could do that does not cost anything and creates that opportunity for businesses, particularly around interprovincial trade barriers.
The government needs to fix the large employer emergency financing facility, the LEEFF program, by reducing restrictions and amending the interest rate schedule. As of today, there are only a couple of companies that actually have used this particular program that the government has put forth. It strikes me that it would be time to fix this, do something with it and make sure that it is more accessible for companies.
Postponing the increase of the Canada pension plan payroll tax plan for January 1 again is a tax burden on businesses that they just cannot afford. They are not in a position to increase their input costs and, quite frankly, they have nowhere to pass it on. Postponing the increase of the carbon tax and the alcohol escalator tax plan for 2021 is not to say that we should not have the increase, it is just that these small businesses cannot have this kind of input cost in their businesses at this time.
The motion also calls for complete details on the highly affected sectors credit availability program by December 16, including criteria when the businesses can apply, when the sectors are eligible and when repayment will be required. Giving details like this should not be a battle. The government often announces these programs, but with details to follow. I can say from what I hear from businesses that they want certainty. These plans are clear as mud, there is a bunch of smoke and mirrors and the Canadian public needs to know.
We have the hangover. Kevin Page, who served as the PBO for five years, says he can hardly make sense of the 223-page fall economic update, saying after spending an evening going through the charts and all the verbiage, he had difficulty even understanding where it is at. We cannot sit idly while the rest of the world recovers. We cannot sit by while the world starts to move along. We need a plan. We need a timeline. We need to understand when vaccines are going to arrive and when we are going to be able to get back to business.
Ultimately, we know that the long-term cure for the ailing economy cannot be sustained by government programs no matter how many are provided to help small business. Whether the government wants to believe it or not, the debt we are accumulating, in excess of $1.1 trillion, will be unsustainable. If we continue along this path, we will effectively ruin any chance for future generations, our children and grandchildren, from realizing the immense possibility that once lay before us when we were their age.
We need a plan that will unleash private sector companies. Let them get back to work and create jobs. The investment plan that the government talks about I hope is in assets that will help improve productivity and our export potential. Canada, at the end of the day, is a relatively small country that has enormous potential and resources and it needs to be able to sell to other people in the world. There is a tremendous opportunity to unlock the IP that many companies in this country have and put policies in place that would support that export capacity. Handouts are not the answer. All of the businesses I talk to want to be able to execute their plans, but they want the government to put policies in place that encourage them to invest and do not stop them from investing.
We need to recognize and support our strategic sectors, allow them to grow and make sure we understand what our strategic advantage is. As nice as it would be to rely solely on ourselves for economic growth, the hard reality is that in order to flourish economically, limiting our recovery efforts by internal selling, selling to ourselves, will never get us out of this hole. We need to get focused on what we can do to make sure we can get people back to work and create an environment where Canadian companies are competitive and able to sell their goods and services all over the world. That is what they want to do, that is what they want to focus on and that is what we need the government to get focused on.
The vision of growth and prosperity after this pandemic must include a recovery for all. It has never been more important than now. It is important for creating opportunities for Canada's youth now and in the future instead of burdening them before they even have a fighting chance.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-12-07 16:03 [p.3050]
Madam Speaker, that would suggest there is a direct correlation between the programs that are put in place and what the provinces are doing to try to limit the spread of this horrible health crisis. I acknowledge that we have a significant issue with the health crisis.
However, the point I was trying to make to the member was that we should do a comparative of the programs we put in place and the amount of money we are spending versus the unemployment rate, and then compare that to other countries. Other countries actually have results that are comparable, if not better, than ours when it relates to illness during the pandemic. It still strikes me that these programs could be more efficient and more effective, and that we could get more people back to work while keeping them safe.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-12-07 16:05 [p.3050]
Madam Speaker, in fact we have supported many of the programs that the member talks about. The reason we have supported them is that we realized that, when the government shuts down the economy, there has to be a reaction to that.
What the member missed from what I was saying was that there is a lack of certainty and a plan for how we will start to move out of this. The government announced 100 billion dollars' worth of potential stimulus spending with no details or concrete plan. Businesses need to understand the strategy, how we are going to grow our exports and how we are going to grow our economy. The time is now. It is not to wait another six months and then start to develop it. The time is now.
We should get moving and we should see a budget so that we can better understand where the government is going and in what direction it expects to go forward.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-12-07 16:07 [p.3051]
Madam Speaker, the reason the carbon tax is an issue at this point in time is that businesses can sorely afford to have added input costs into the production of their goods and services. That is the issue. This is not a discussion around the environment. It is purely that they cannot afford it. If the member looked at the statistics I mentioned earlier in my remarks, many are going to fail. One thing they cannot afford is added taxes and burdens going into the future.
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-11-25 14:48 [p.2412]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister tried to excuse his failures by saying that Canada does not have any domestic production capacity for vaccines. Did he just realize that we have been in a pandemic for eight months? The Prime Minister has admitted that getting Canadians first access to a vaccine was not the priority for the Liberal government.
Why on earth did the Prime Minister give $173 million to a Quebec company, Medicago, to develop a vaccine and manufacturing facility and then state we do not have any production capacity?
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-11-25 14:49 [p.2412]
Mr. Speaker, that does not help today. The Prime Minister has had eight months to deal with this. I have a son who is compromised and worries every day about his health and the health of his caregivers. We have no rapid tests, no vaccine access and no manufacturing. The Prime Minister said that the citizens of vaccine manufacturing countries will likely get the vaccine before manufacturers ship internationally.
Let us ask him this again. Did the Prime Minister even bother to negotiate the right to manufacture the leading vaccines in Canada?
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-11-24 13:40 [p.2315]
Mr. Speaker, does the member believe there has been adequate consultation regarding this legislation, particularly with the provinces that have their own privacy acts covered under PIPEDA?
View James Cumming Profile
View James Cumming Profile
2020-11-24 13:43 [p.2315]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great opportunity to rise today to speak to Bill C-11.
We are surrounded by data that seems to be out of control, lost by corporations, sometimes stolen from governments. Data that we voluntarily give up about ourselves is being collected billions of bytes at a colossal rate. It has a tremendous impact on our privacy and what is being calculated or inferred about us in our daily lives, such if we have a good credit rating, or if we can buy a car or when we go for drinks with a colleague. All of this is very much apparent today, particularly during this health crisis when people are definitely at home and using the Internet to a greater extent.
Everything we do today has some impact on data. Whether we take an Uber or order a meal, that data is collected. Quite frankly, we need to ensure people's privacy is protected.
Why does privacy matter? It is a question that has arisen in the context of this global debate, made worse by this pandemic, where millions around the world have come to rely on computers to carry out a function for their very lives. When we hear arguments about Internet privacy. A lot of what we hear about this mass surveillance is that there is no real harm due to this large-scale invasion, that people have nothing to hide. Those engaging in bad acts have a reason to want to hide and care about their privacy.
This is presupposed on the assumption that there are good and bad people in the world. Bad people who plot to take down governments and plan public attacks are the people who have reason to care about their privacy. By contrast, there are good people, people who go to work, pay taxes, care for their children and use the Internet, not to plot civil destruction but to read the news and find recipes. These people are doing nothing wrong and have no reason to hide.
In a 2009 interview of the long-time CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, when asked about the different ways his company was causing the invasion of privacy for hundreds of millions of people around the world, he said, “If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.” There are many issues with this statement, one being that this is the very Eric Schmidt who blocked his employees at Google from speaking with the online Internet magazine CNET after it published an article full of personal private information, which was obtained exclusively through Google search and Google products.
A few short decades of the Internet, once held as an unparalleled tool of democracy liberalization, have been converted into an unparalleled zone of mass indiscriminate collection. Enter 2018, when the EU has set the global standard for privacy regulation with the flagship general data protection regulations, known as GDPR, signalling to Canada that our 1990s era of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act did not have the teeth to take on big tech.
Bill C-11 would bring in additional privacy regulations. Replacing PIPEDA with CCPA would provide an opportunity for greater detail within the law rather than just relying on the interpretations of the Privacy Commissioner. This is a good thing.
The structure will include a personal information and data protection tribunal that will play a key enforcement role by reviewing all commissioner decisions and issue penalties for non-compliance. There will be an expert tribunal composed of three to six members, but interestingly enough it says there may be only one expert, which may be a deficiency in the act.
What are these new privacy rights? One is data mobility. Subject to regulations, on the request of an individual, an organization must, as soon as feasible, disclose the personal information that is collected from an individual and to an organization designated by the individual. Data mobility is a fact of life and this is a good thing. What format that data will be transferred in will need to be discussed.
On algorithmic transparency, if the organization has used an automated decision process to make a prediction or recommendation, then the organization must, on the request of an individual, provide an explanation of the prediction, recommendation or decision and the personal information that was used to make the prediction. It seems like a reasonable intent and is something it should be able to do without giving up the code.
With respect to de-identification, the bill states:
An organization that de-identifies personal information must ensure that any technical and administrative measures applied to the information are proportionate to the purpose for which the information is de-identified...
Then there is the new enforcement. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will have the order-making power that will enable the office to order compliance with the law and recommend significant penalties.
I should mention I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre.
In some cases, the recommended penalties are the highest in the G7, so they are significant. The expanded range of offences for contraventions of the law are a maximum fine of 5% for a global revenue of $25 million. There are administrative penalties as well.
One of the issues I see with this is that the legislation and penalties invoke fear, but there will be a question of whether there is adequate teeth for enforcement.
The law includes whistleblowing provisions that protect those who have disclosed alleged privacy non-compliance and a private right of action that will allow individuals to seek damages for loss or injury suffered through privacy violations.
There are new standards of consent. This has been a big issue for individuals. How many people have signed up to a site, with three pages of disclosure to which they are supposed to consent? I would argue that very few people will actually read that kind of detail. Therefore, there is an attempt within the legislation to use clear language and simplified consent. Given the depth of the legislation, that may be a difficult thing to achieve, but is a worthwhile goal.
Deceptive practices to obtain consent with false or misleading information renders the consent invalid and individuals can withdraw their consent at any time. There is the question of whether people are providing consent for multiple activities or just an individual activity. That should be clarified.
The realm of data is largely uncharted territory and we find ourselves asking the question of who owns our data. Our opinion is that people own their data and they should own their data.
The word “consent” is mentioned 108 times in the GDPR. In the first reading of Bill C-11, it was mentioned 118 times. This sounds great. Who could possibly be against the consent of data? Challenging consent seems counterintuitive in the world of privacy because it is so linked to us and our autonomy. However, it is both impractical and undesirable and serves to explain why our privacy law is in such a sorry state. It is imperative the legislation is written with as little room for interpretation as possible.
There are some standards within that bill. It states:
An organization may collect or use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if the collection or use is made for a business activity described in subsection (2)...
Under that subsection, it states:
(a) a reasonable person would expect such a collection or use for that activity; and
(b) the personal information is not collected or used for the purpose of influencing the individual’s behaviour or decisions.
The issue is this. If that is subject to interpretation, we could have a pretty broad interpretation of what it says. Hopefully this act, with the regulations that follow, will clearly define what is in and what is out.
At the end of the day, if we are using services, many services are disrupting, shaping and helping our lives in ways we could not have possibly imagined mere decades ago. Whether we like it or not, it is big tech that has provided these realities for us and the government should, as with any other key stakeholder, create meaningful, effective and collaborative policy but require consultation. It is one thing to consult in front, but now that we have legislation, we need to ensure we get it right. We need to ensure that industry, particularly small businesses, remain competitive. The bill is being sent for review to the privacy and ethics committee. There is a strong argument that industry committee should have a look at this bill as well.
Therefore, proper consultation must happen. There is nothing wrong with doing that. I hope the government will ensure the bill is properly consulted on.
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