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Results: 1 - 26 of 26
View Annick Papillon Profile
View Annick Papillon Profile
2014-12-03 19:40 [p.10161]
Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise on behalf of the people of Quebec on this important issue. I am obviously speaking of the Quebec City Armoury.
On October 31, I asked a simple question in the House: Quebeckers have been waiting over ten years for the government to refurbish the Quebec City Armoury. They waited for six years, almost seven, for an answer that would allow them to go ahead with other tourism and cultural projects that are very promising for Quebec City. Having waited over six years, can they finally believe the minister when she says that the work really will begin in 2015 and will be completed for the 150th anniversary celebration in 2017? We asked: When will we see a backhoe on the armoury grounds?
Now we are being told that work will begin in summer 2015. We learned that the department planned to have a backhoe on the Plains of Abraham in summer 2015. The 150th anniversary celebrations will take place in summer 2017. That is a short timeframe.
I have good reason to be skeptical, since even the department itself acknowledges that the deadline is very tight and that, given its complexity, the armoury project will require an extremely skilled workforce. We are talking about expertise in masonry, tinsmithing, metal roofing and heritage woodworking to maintain the historic style of the Quebec City Armoury. This is a heritage gem that is of crucial importance to Quebec City; it is located next to the Plains of Abraham, which of course are very historic. We must not cut corners here. This must be beautifully and properly done, and it must be done now.
It is appalling that we have had to wait all these years, more than six years in fact, as though this was not important to Quebec City. The people of Quebec City are feeling abandoned on this matter. It seems that the Conservative government, which promised to rebuild the armoury in both the 2008 and 2011 election campaigns, might have to make the same election promise again next time. People are fed up. Frankly, it makes no sense. I deplore this attitude, because it is absolutely ridiculous.
The deadline is extremely tight for a project as complex as the armoury, because it is a heritage building. I therefore think it is unfortunate that the government did not allow for contingencies. Unforeseen circumstances may arise. The Plains of Abraham was a battlefield. During the reconstruction, artifacts or even bones may be found. When the labour schedule was drawn up to ensure that the work on the armoury is finished by the summer of 2017 for the 150th anniversary celebrations, was any time allotted to deal with unforeseen circumstances? If something unforeseen does happen, will it throw off the entire schedule so that the scaffolds will be up all around the armoury for another five years and for the 150th anniversary celebrations?
Is that what Quebec City deserves? I say no. It does not make sense that the Conservatives abandoned Quebec City when they promised not to drop this file.
This evening, I am asking for a straight answer because this situation is really shameful. The armoury is an important part of our heritage.
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-12-03 19:44 [p.10162]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the member for Québec. I welcome the fact that she asked for an adjournment debate on this question.
In fact, the government knows that there is a great deal of interest in Quebec City in this very project, and for good reason. It is one of our historical treasures here in Canada. The government recognizes the importance that Quebeckers, and in fact all Canadians, place on the Quebec armoury.
The armoury is expected to offer a space for the Voltigeurs of Quebec regiment to use for ceremonial and administrative purposes. The proud history of the Voltigeurs, Canada's oldest French-Canadian infantry regiment, will be preserved.
Infrastructure forms an important pillar in the Canada First defence strategy. In line with that, we are moving to replace or refurbish a significant portion of our defence facilities.
The Department of National Defence holds a large number of properties to support the Canadian Armed Forces, including some 21,000 buildings and 800 parcels of land covering 2.25 million hectares. Let me assure the member opposite and this House that the building will showcase the proud military history of the armoury, remind people of its cultural importance, and at the same time remain accessible to the public.
In April 2008, a fire damaged the Grande-Allée Armoury in Quebec City. The armoury is an historic site and has received heritage building recognition by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office. The armoury served as home to the Canadian Armed Forces regiment les Voltigeurs de Québec, and it will continue to play a significant role for our cherished regiment.
Immediately after the fire, our government committed to rebuilding this important building in the heart of Quebec City through significant investments under Canada's economic action plan. These investments are an investment in growth, job creation, and long-term prosperity for Quebec City.
The armoury will be rebuilt as a multi-purpose building. The facility design provides for areas commemorating the military history of the armoury, federal government offices, and multi-purpose space accessible to the public. As previously mentioned, it is also expected that the facility will serve as the administrative and ceremonial home of the Voltigeurs regiment.
There have been consultations with the stakeholders involved, and our government has announced when various contracts were awarded or when major milestones have been achieved. We remain committed to continuing on this path. Officials have advised us that according to the current timeline, work will begin in 2015 and should be completed in 2017. Once it is rebuilt, the Manège militaire will reflect the beautiful city of Quebec, a city rich in the early history of Canada. It will be as beautiful as any work of art, but living and vibrant and looking to the future.
It is good news for the local economy, good news for the Canadian military, and good news for the city of Quebec.
View Annick Papillon Profile
View Annick Papillon Profile
2014-12-03 19:47 [p.10162]
Mr. Speaker, I am very familiar with the armoury, as I live just a few steps away. I have lived there for many years. I am originally from Quebec City, so I am obviously familiar with the history of the armoury.
The problem is with what the Conservative government did. This armoury caught fire in April 2008. Budget after budget after budget after budget, this government did nothing. It has not taken action and it is leaving gutted buildings in a key area for tourism in Quebec City. That is absolutely shameful. The government tells us to wait. Quebec City is tired of waiting. We want this armoury ready as soon as possible.
I do not think that the government understands that we are on a very tight schedule now, since it is complicated to organize all of the highly specialized workers for this project, and there will not be enough time if unforeseen circumstances arise. Unforeseen circumstances always arise. We are in politics, and everyone here should know that unforeseen circumstances always arise. We do not understand. There will be scaffolding during Quebec City's Carnaval in 2017, for sure. However, I do hope it will be gone by the summer of 2017.
I expect some serious answers. The same goes for the Quebec Bridge. That is a heritage gem that is part of the very identity of Quebec City, which is incredible. This government needs to take action and needs to understand the historic importance of the most beautiful capital in North America.
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-12-03 19:49 [p.10162]
Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the member for Québec that we want to make sure we get this right. We want to make sure that it still encompasses all the great history that is there and that it is still a tourist attraction, as the member alluded to.
Our government is proud to support the reconstruction of the Grande-Allée Armoury, a centrepiece of Quebec City's rich architectural landscape and its proud military past. The reconstruction of this national historic site of Canada will generate jobs in Quebec and culminate in an exciting new space that will host cultural and community activities, provide government offices, and be a tribute to the Voltigeurs de Québec.
Officials expect that reconstruction will begin in 2015, once a construction company has been chosen, and completion of the work is expected in 2017. Through this project we are supporting local jobs in Quebec City and allowing all to enjoy the armoury for years to come.
This is good news for the local economy, good news for the Canadian military, and great news for the city of Quebec.
View Jack Harris Profile
View Jack Harris Profile
2014-10-31 11:41 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, it seems that the Conservatives have a budgeting problem at the Department of National Defence. On average, over the last 7 years the Conservatives have underspent 23% of funds allocated to defence.
It is a major part of the surplus, but it is happening while mental health services are chronically understaffed; critical procurement, like the joint support ships and fixed-wing search and rescue, have been delayed for years; and while soldiers are being forced out of service before they qualify for pensions.
Does the minister really think that is good planning?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-10-31 11:42 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, the end of the Afghanistan mission naturally led to a drawdown in the defence budget. The fact remains that in the last year that the Liberals were in office, DND's budget was around $13 billion, and now the budget is well over $18 billion and is scheduled to increase.
When we first took office we made several purchases, including four C-17 Globemaster strategic lift aircraft, 17 Hercules tactical airlift craft, 15 Chinook helicopters sitting in Petawawa, and we have new Leopard 2 tanks. All of these purchases have greatly increased the capabilities of our forces in Afghanistan, and of course here at home.
View Jack Harris Profile
View Jack Harris Profile
2014-10-31 11:42 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, 23% a year for 7 years, but it is not just budgeting at DND that is not working.
The minister has yet to explain what he is going to do about the over 6,000 combat uniforms that were lost or stolen last year. This is a serious security concern, given that an individual could use these uniforms to gain access to secure facilities. Even more disturbing, what about the 10,000 weapons and other accessories that are also on the missing list?
What does the minister plan to do to address this problem and deal with the serious security issues involved?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-10-31 11:43 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, in cases where there is serious theft or loss of public property—there is an offence here that is an illegal act—a thorough investigation is conducted. The total value of the public property lost due to illegal acts this year was $7 million less than the year before, and the majority of losses that can be attributed are due to damaged aircraft and not stolen equipment.
The Canadian Armed Forces have instituted force protection measures to ensure the safety and security of our men and women in uniform.
View Élaine Michaud Profile
Mr. Speaker, the theft of 6,000 combat uniforms and thousands of firearms is not just a matter of money. Of course it is a great financial loss, but it also threatens the safety and security of our soldiers and of Canadians. Clearly, there was negligence, and the minister must be able to explain how this happened.
The thieves now have thousands of military uniforms and could very well use them for malicious purposes. What measures will the minister take to ensure that this situation is brought under control?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-10-31 11:44 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, improvements to the inventory management process have been made and are reflected in the significant decrease in lost items this year compared to the previous year.
With respect to equipment, the thefts of a reported 3,815 stolen items were actually empty magazine cartridges. The remaining items were low-sensitivity items, such as holsters, field packs, cases, and training aids, and not actually weapons.
As I have said, all cases of theft or loss result in a thorough investigation by military police.
View Annick Papillon Profile
View Annick Papillon Profile
2014-10-31 11:44 [p.9055]
Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers have been waiting over six years for the government to refurbish the Quebec City Armoury. They have been waiting six years for an answer that would enable them to go ahead with other tourism and cultural projects.
Having waited over six years, can they finally believe the minister when she says that the work really will begin in 2015 and will be completed for the 150th anniversary celebration in 2017? When will we see a backhoe on the armoury grounds?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-10-31 11:45 [p.9056]
Mr. Speaker, these types of infrastructure are very important to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. We will be working with the department to ensure that this is looked at in a very expedited manner.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, we debated one of the most serious issues that has come before the House in many years. We decided whether we would ask our men and women in uniform to join with our allies in the fight against ISIL.
While I appreciated the government bringing the matter before the House at all, it is too bad the motion was just for show. The Prime Minister had already made up his mind about our involvement and brought the issue to Parliament as a formality.
Let us set that aside for a moment. The real issue here, and the broader issue, is often the Conservatives' pattern of limiting debate whenever and wherever they can and silencing their critics at all costs. The government moved its motion on a Monday afternoon; by Tuesday evening, the debate was over. Clearly the government had already decided and had made its commitments.
That day marked the 79th time that the government used time allocation or closure to curtail debate. The Conservatives have set the record for limiting debate in the House. Their use of time allocation and closure is totally unprecedented in the history of Canada.
It used to be the Conservatives who spoke out against this practice. When he was in opposition, the member for Calgary Southeast, now the Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, gave quite an impassioned speech: “It is regretful...that the government has failed to restrain its liberal use of what really should be a rare lever to limit debate in this place”, he said, calling it “the sledgehammer of debate”.
I wonder if he still feels that way. I know I do, and I know many Canadians do.
These tactics have an especially undemocratic effect for independent MPs and members of small parties. It is difficult to get a chance to speak on time-allocated bills or motions on which closure has been used.
I had planned to speak to the motion about entering the Iraq war when closure was moved. Our role in Iraq is important to me and to my constituents in Thunder Bay—Superior North. I was prepared for that debate, but I was denied the chance to speak on behalf of my constituents.
We are discussing defence here tonight, so perhaps the reason the Conservatives seek to limit debate is to distract from their repeated blunders in this area. The Conservative government promised to provide the light after the Liberals' decade of darkness and revitalize our military, but it failed miserably. We have been waiting over 20 years for replacements for both the Sea King and the fixed wing search and rescue aircraft, and that goal is still not accomplished.
As a former pilot myself, the status of our search and rescue fleet is particularly worrisome to me. Canada is the second-largest country on the planet, and we have the longest coastline in the world. Much of our population is remote and spread across vast regions. This makes our search and rescue planes critically important, but more than 12 years after the planes were supposed to be replaced, we are stuck with the same outdated, underperforming fleet.
The same goes for Canada's Coast Guard. Just this morning, the Parliamentary Budget Officer revealed that the Conservatives have not budgeted enough to pay for Arctic patrol ships, even after they scaled back their plans. So much for our Prime Minister's boasting about Arctic sovereignty.
The Conservatives should stop using time allocation and closure to such incredible excess. They are not succeeding in hiding their mistakes, particularly when it comes to their mismanagement of defence procurement.
Will the government please stop unilaterally shutting down debate, whether on defence or on dozens of other issues crucial to Canada?
View Chungsen Leung Profile
View Chungsen Leung Profile
2014-10-28 18:20 [p.8912]
Mr. Speaker, let me set the record straight and clarify the situation for the member.
The Government of Canada has remained committed to keeping Canadians apprised on our mission against ISIL. Unlike the previous Liberal government, it has always been the practice of this government to consult Parliament on combat missions and to hold a vote. As such, I would remind my esteemed colleague that Canada's contribution to the fight against ISIL was in fact debated in the House of Commons on October 6 and 7. I am proud to say that the majority of my colleagues made a decision to support our mission to Iraq.
Since that time, the government has held technical briefings on this issue and has also introduced a motion at the Standing Committee on National Defence requesting National Defence officials to provide committee members with an update on our mission. The motion was adopted by the committee on October 7, 2014, and the briefing will take place in the coming weeks.
The government, and our men and women in uniform, are taking strong action to respond to the obvious security and humanitarian crisis created by ISIL. Sadly, this terrorist group continues to commit horrific acts and cause untold suffering. Canada will not stand by indifferently while ISIL operatives continue to persecute ethnic and religious minorities and drive more and more Iraqi civilians from their homes and into uncertainty.
The humanitarian and refugee emergency in the region continues. The brutal crimes committed against women and girls continue. The government has already dedicated $10 million to fight crimes that are targeted against girls and women, especially sexual violence, in addition to other humanitarian aid measures.
Recent events have shown that extremism and terrorist sentiments can affect Canadians on our home soil. If permitted to remain in Iraq, ISIL will continue to inspire more hatred towards peaceful and democratic values. We saw this recently when ISIL called for the targeting of Canadians in their own homes.
There can be no greater responsibility for a government than the safety and security of its citizens. That is why the government has decided, supported by a vote in the House, to meet the threat of ISIL at its source.
In August the Canadian Armed Forces commenced airlifting military supplies from donor countries to the Iraqi forces. Over a million and half pounds of military supplies donated by Albania and the Czech Republic were successfully delivered to northern Iraq. Members of our armed forces have been deployed to assist and advise Iraqi forces in effectively countering ISIL.
Last week, additional military contributions to the coalition efforts in Iraq departed from several Canadian Forces bases and wings. A strike force of CF-18 fighter jets departed Canada to join our allies and partners in conducting air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq just last Wednesday. A CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller and two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft will provide key reconnaissance and support capability to the mission.
Canada will not stand idly by in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe caused by ISIL.
View Bruce Hyer Profile
Mr. Speaker, obviously the Conservatives would prefer to distract from their mistakes when it comes to defence instead of considering a new course of action or, heaven forbid, actually supporting democracy here in the House. The facts speak for themselves. The replacement of crucial equipment from search and rescue planes to patrol ships has been mismanaged.
Conservatives like to talk tough, but we would rather see them really stand behind our soldiers and our veterans and provide them with the equipment they need and the missing support they need when they come home. Money would be better spent in areas like that than on needlessly changing the names of our armed forces.
Do we really need to be spending millions to change the buttons on our military uniforms when we could be purchasing much more needed equipment to adequately support our forces?
View Chungsen Leung Profile
View Chungsen Leung Profile
2014-10-28 18:24 [p.8913]
Mr. Speaker, Canada is taking action with our allies and partners to confront the serious threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and beyond its borders.
ISIL's continued presence in Iraq is the main obstacle to getting help to the people who desperately need it. More than a million people have been displaced in Iraq and their struggle to survive continues. Let us also recall that humanitarian workers and journalists have been indiscriminately murdered by ISIL. For these reasons, Canada will continue to work with our allies and partners in a coalition of over 40 countries to conduct air strikes against ISIL in order to degrade its ability to threaten us and terrorize the people of Iraq.
The government has not taken these actions lightly. They have been carefully debated in an open forum in the House of Commons.
In closing, I would like to thank the brave men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces who stand ready to protect Canada and to face the greatest of challenges with honour and dedication to duty.
View Bruce Stanton Profile

Question No. 429--
Ms. Joyce Murray:
With regard to Canadian Defence Advisor, Canadian Defence Attaché and Canadian Defence Liaison hospitality events requiring ministerial approval from January 1, 2012 to the present: for each event, (a) what was the total departmental incremental cost; (b) what was the cost for each line item in the Summary of Event Cost on the Event/Hospitality Request Form; (c) what was the total number of participants; (d) what was the guest list; (e) what was the location; (f) what was the stated activity; (g) what were the declared reasons for higher level approval; (h) what was the maximum cost per person approved; (i) what was the number of guests listed; (j) what were the types of hospitality expenses requested; (k) what were the estimated costs for each type of hospitality expense listed; (l) what was the date; and (m) what was the title, purpose and description?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), at this time the incremental costs of Canadian defence advisor, Canadian defence attaché, and Canadian defence liaison hospitality events requiring ministerial approval since January 1, 2012, are estimated to be approximately $685,000.
With regard to subsequent questions (b) through (m), Canadian Armed Forces data about hospitality events is not centrally tracked. The research required to generate a response involves gathering information from different sources for hundreds of events. It was not possible to complete this research within the time allotted.

Question No. 446--
Mr. Scott Andrews:
With regard to the Department of International Trade's Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union and the subsequent creation of a Federal-Provincial fund of $400 million to support industry enhancements in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL): (a) what are the terms, in draft or complete, of any agreement between the government and the government of NL pertaining to this fund, including but not limited to, management provisions, project parameters, annual funding levels and potential project approval process; (b) how will this funding be used to play a key role in assuring the success of seafood harvesters and processors in NL; (c) what details of this agreement was completed on or before October 29, 2013; and (d) who were the negotiating representatives participating from the government and the government of NL pertaining to this funding arrangement?
Hon. Rob Moore (Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, insofar as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, ACOA, is concerned, with regard to the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement and the subsequent creation of a federal-provincial fund of $400 million to support industry enhancements in Newfoundland and Labrador, with regard to (a), details of the federal-provincial fund are still being determined. The Government of Canada will be negotiating the approach to management provisions, project parameters, annual funding levels, and potential project approval process with the provincial government, in consultation with industry stakeholders.
With regard to (b), details of how the funding will be used are still being determined.
With regard to (c), this information is not available in ACOA’s departmental files.
With retard to (d), this information is not available in ACOA’s departmental files.
View Andrew Scheer Profile

Question No. 444--
Mr. Scott Andrews:
With regard to Finance Canada: during the period from fiscal year 2005-2006 to fiscal year 2012-2013 inclusively, what was the average interest rate paid each year on total government borrowing, including but not limited to the issuance of bonds and treasury bills, and any borrowing from financial institutions?
Mr. Andrew Saxton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, The government publishes annually, in the Public Accounts of Canada, the average interest rate for each major category of outstanding market debt, including marketable bonds, treasury bills, retail debt, Canada bills, and foreign currency notes, along with the average rate on total market debt.
This information is available in PDF format from Library and Archives Canada through the following links:
For 2005-06, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2006/v1pa06-e.pdf, table 6.10, page 6.10.
For 2006-07, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2007/P51-1-2007-1E.pdf, table 6.10, page 6.10.
For 2007-08, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2008/49-eng.pdf, table 6.10, page 6.9.
For 2008-09, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2009/49-eng.pdf, table 6.10, page 6.9.
For 2009-10, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2010/v1pa2010e_revised.pdf, table 6.9, page 6.9.
For 2010-11, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2011/Vol1pa2011e_revised.pdf, table 6.8, page 6.9.
For 2011-12, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2012/49-eng.pdf, table 6.8, page 6.9.
And for 2012-13, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/201/301/public_accounts_can/pdf/2013/2013-vol1-eng.pdf, table 6.8, page 6.9.

Question No. 459--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard: (a) how many foreign and domestic fishing trawlers were boarded outside the 200-mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, as well as the Flemish Cap, in 2013; (b) how many warnings, if any, were issued to the fishing vessels; and (c) how many official citations, if any, were issued to the fishing vessels?
Hon. Gail Shea (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in 2013 Canadian fishery officers, acting in their capacity as Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, NAFO, inspectors, conducted a total of 145 at-sea inspections, three domestic and 142 foreign, outside the 200-mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks as well as the Flemish Cap NAFO regulatory area. During this time period there were 13 citations issued and no warnings.

Question No. 460--
Mr. Ryan Cleary:
With regard to the Department of National Defence: (a) how many foreign and domestic fishing trawlers were boarded outside the 200-mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, as well as the Flemish Cap, in 2013; (b) how many warnings, if any, were issued to the fishing vessels; and (c) how many official citations, if any, were issued to the fishing vessels?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in 2013 the Department of National Defence did not board any foreign or domestic fishing trawlers outside the 200-mile limit on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks or the Flemish Cap, did not issue any warnings, and did not issue any citations to fishing vessels.
View Jack Harris Profile
View Jack Harris Profile
2014-05-08 14:49 [p.5146]
Mr. Speaker, in 2005, Canadians strongly rejected the idea of participation in American missile defence. They were opposed to a system that would weaponize space and drive an arms race, but now a source has told Global News that the government is considering participation in a new missile defence program.
Can the minister tell the House if his government will participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence program?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-05-08 14:50 [p.5146]
Mr. Speaker, Canada has declined to participate in ballistic missile defence in the past, and no decision has been made to change this policy. We will continue to monitor international developments and will also continue to ensure both the safety and security of Canadians both at home and abroad.
The member is vice-chair of the House defence committee. The defence committees in both the Senate and over here in the House are studying missile defence and the defence of North America respectively, and we should let those committees continue their work.
View Élaine Michaud Profile
Mr. Speaker, once again, the minister responsible for the file cannot even confirm or deny whether Canada will take part in a missile defence program. It is simple: either we intend to take part, or we do not intend to take part.
The cost of a system like this is astronomical, and the system's success has yet to be proven. Could the minister please tell us whether his government intends to take part in a ballistic missile defence program? If so, could he also explain where he intends to find the money?
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-05-08 14:51 [p.5146]
Mr. Speaker, I just said that there has been no change to the policy. We made the decision not to participate in ballistic missile defence. The member, as a member of the national defence committee in the House of Commons, should wait until we actually finish our study. We will have some collaboration and discussions, make a recommendation, and report back to the House of Commons.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
View Rob Nicholson Profile
2014-03-31 14:44 [p.4059]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad to give the hon. member clear responses and clear direction. We have increased defence spending over 27%. It is unprecedented the commitment that this government has made. Yes, we too take all of these matters seriously. They have been a priority of this government, and this will continue.
View James Bezan Profile
View James Bezan Profile
2014-02-04 10:40 [p.2517]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety.
I am pleased to speak on the unique history of the Communications Security Establishment Canada and the vital role it has played in working with its partners to help keep Canada safe. Over the course of its existence, CSEC has grown from a small unit to a vital organization at the heart of Canada's security and intelligence community.
To achieve the important work it undertakes, CSEC has a staff of approximately 2,100 employees. Let me say that again. It has 2,100 employees. They do not have the capability to sit there and listen to every phone call and every email that is going over the airwaves, through Wi-Fi, on broadband, and across cyberspace every single second. CSEC does have sophisticated computers and tools that it employs in doing its work. It also has a staff with specialized skill sets, including engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, and linguists.
However, as the House may know, Communications Security Establishment Canada's beginnings stretch back to World War II. Its forerunner, the Examination Unit, was Canada's first civilian office solely dedicated to the encryption and decryption of communication signals. Prior to 1941, signals intelligence, or SIGINT, as it was known then, was entirely within the purview of the military.
At the beginning of the Second World War, the Canadian Armed Forces were already collecting ciphered signals from enemy military and foreign mission communications traffic. Canadian military intercepts of enemy signals were used mostly to locate enemy positions and movements. Such information was shared with our British and American allies.
It was with the Nazi occupation of France that Canada was encouraged by its allies to put together a civilian office that would decrypt signals traffic content, such as messages from the Vichy government and other military and diplomatic communications. On occasion, depending on the type of communications, some content would be analysed by specialized military SIGINT units. However, it was the newly created civilian Examination Unit that would regularly decipher content and disseminate intelligence to Canadian Foreign Affairs as well as to the allies.
By 1945 the disparate SIGINT collection units of the navy, army, and air force were co-located with the Examination Unit. By the end of the war, these military and civilian units were able to coordinate signals intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination so efficiently that their success was a primary justification for the establishment of a new peacetime Canadian cryptologic agency, known as the Communications Branch of the National Research Council of Canada.
The creation of a peacetime civilian organization allowed for 180 individuals, with highly developed and virtually irreplaceable skills and expertise, to continue the work they were doing during the war, under the direction of the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Edward Drake. This was done with as little disruption as possible to the collaboration that had developed between Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom in sharing signals intelligence.
The CBNRC was renamed the Communications Security Establishment in 1975, and the organization was given its first legislative mandate in 2001, which was contained within the National Defence Act. Of course, in 2001 there was a Liberal government.
The legislative mandate is threefold. First, CSEC collects foreign communication signals intelligence to support government decision-making for national security, defence, and foreign policy. Second, CSEC provides IT security advice, guidance, and services that help secure systems and networks of importance to the government and the information they contain. Finally, it provides technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies under their respective mandates. Here CSEC acts under the legal authority of the requesting agency it is assisting, and it is subject to any restrictions on or conditions of that authority. That includes any applicable warrant issued by the court, and it needs a court warrant.
It is important to note that all of CSEC's activities under this mandate are reviewed by the independent Communications Security Establishment Commissioner.
CSEC's place in government was changed in 2011 to that of a stand-alone agency within the National Defence portfolio. This was to reflect the fact that CSEC evolved into a full member of Canada's security and intelligence community with its security and intelligence role codified in legislation.
I note that prior to becoming a stand-alone agency, information regarding CSEC was included in broader reporting to Parliament through the Department of National Defence. Since becoming a stand-alone agency, CSEC now appears in the main and supplementary estimates as well as in the public accounts, making its financial information more available to parliamentary scrutiny then ever before.
I have given a bit of a history lesson on CSEC. Now I would like to say a few words about how it works with its domestic and international partners.
I can assure my colleagues that despite the civilianization of Canada's cryptological capabilities following the Second World War and CSEC's change to a stand-alone agency, it has and continues to support Canada's armed forces and our troops on the ground.
As mentioned, the Canadian Armed Forces has been involved with CSEC and its predecessors doing signals intelligence since 1941. This is a unique partnership based on a history of trust and mutually compatible objectives.
Operating under its foreign signals intelligence collection mandate, CSEC supported Canadian military operations throughout and long after the end of the Cold War. This was indeed the case when it came to supporting our troops during our mission in Afghanistan. CSEC has provided intelligence support for the Afghanistan mission to meet a broad array of Government of Canada and military requirements, ranging from force protection to governance. I note with pride that CSEC played a critical role in helping to protect the men and women of our armed forces against threats from insurgents.
CSEC has continued to support the forces in the post-2011 Canadian mission in Afghanistan. Following the November 2010 announcement of a continuing training mission in Afghanistan, CSEC's efforts have been directed to ensuring sustained intelligence support throughout the combat withdrawal period. Of course, CSEC has also provided support to military operations in regions other than Afghanistan, and it will continue to do so whenever our troops may be at risk in the performance of their duties.
Beyond its relationship with the military, as a member of Canada's security intelligence community, CSEC also works closely with a number of other domestic partners, such as the RCMP and CSIS, consistent with its legislative mandate to provide assistance to law enforcement and security agencies. These relationships are vital to CSEC's success and can take the form of intelligence sharing, technical advice, and where appropriate, lawful operational collaboration.
That being said, in all of its activities, CSEC is prohibited from targeting the communications of persons in Canada or of Canadians anywhere in the world under its foreign intelligence and cyberprotection mandates.
Turning now to the international stage, CSEC's closest partnership is multilateral and is referred to as the Five Eyes. This partnership is rooted in our World War II alliance and includes the U.S. National Security Agency, the United Kingdom's Government Communications Headquarters, the Australian Signals Directorate, and New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau.
CSEC receives and shares intelligence with the Five Eyes and when doing so must comply with Canadian law. CSEC cannot ask its international partners to act in a way that circumvents Canadian laws. In turn, its partners cannot ask CSEC to do anything on their behalf that they cannot do on their own under their legal frameworks.
I am pleased to note that in his 2012-13 annual report, the CSEC Commissioner noted that CSEC does take measures to protect the privacy of Canadians in what it shares with our international partners. In fact, the commissioner praised CSEC's chief:
...[they] have spared no effort to instill within CSEC a culture of respect for the law and for the privacy of Canadians.... I can say with pride and confidence that CSEC is truly being watched.
CSEC provides valuable foreign intelligence that protects and promotes Canadian interests while also safeguarding the security of Canada from foreign threats and cyberattacks. Throughout its long history, CSEC has contributed significantly to Canada's own security and to that of our allies and has done so in accordance with Canadian laws, including the Privacy Act.
Again, protecting the privacy of Canadians is law, and CSEC follows the letter and the spirit of that law. It has helped to keep Canada safe from foreign threats, has provided lawful assistance to law enforcement and security agencies, and has helped to protect our troops, all the while making the protection and the privacy of Canadians a priority.
View Corneliu Chisu Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to join today's debate on the Communications Security Establishment of Canada, CSEC. I would like to take this opportunity to underline the important role that the Communications Security Establishment of Canada plays in protecting Canada and Canadians. Last night, the chief of CSEC appeared before a parliamentary committee to speak to the lawfulness of CSEC activities. He clearly explained how CSEC works to keep Canadians safe and explained the agency's continued commitment to lawfulness and privacy. I was very happy to have CSEC behind me when I was fighting in Afghanistan with the Canadian army.
In other words, CSEC operates within all Canadian laws. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is the law, and CSEC follows the letter and spirit of that law. Under both its foreign intelligence and cyberprotection mandates, CSEC does not target Canadians anywhere in the world or any person in Canada. CSEC may also lawfully assist federal law enforcement and security agencies under their specific legal authorities; for example, any applicable court warrants. All of the CSEC activities are reviewed by the independent CSE commissioner, who has never found CSEC to have acted unlawfully. In fact, he has specifically noted CSEC's culture of lawful compliance and genuine concern for protecting the privacy of Canadians.
Let me further emphasize that the foreign intelligence activities of CSEC are critical to fulfilling the government's commitment to address emerging threats to our sovereignty and economy, posed by terrorist cyberattacks, while ensuring that Canadians' fundamental privacy rights are protected.
Government has no higher calling than the protection of our sovereignty and our citizens. Canadians understand that this means we require serious capabilities to deal with serious threats. Today, Canadians face vastly different threats to our security, threats that rely on blending in with the everyday to evade detection.
Terrorists, hostage takers, and others who seek to harm Canadians or the interests of our country use the Internet and other modern communications technologies to plan, recruit, and carry out their plots. In the face of this threat, CSEC plays an integral role in protecting Canada and Canadians against terrorism. By targeting and intercepting foreign communications, decoding them, and then analyzing them, CSEC detects the activities of foreign terrorist networks and their operational plans. In fact, the agency's efforts have revealed plots to attack Canadians and allied personnel overseas before these plans could be executed. It has also uncovered foreign-led efforts to attract, radicalize, and train individuals to carry out attacks in Canada.
Although the days of the Cold War may be over, the threat to our security and our economy from foreign espionage still exists. Last week, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service highlighted once again that a number of foreign intelligence agencies continue to gather political, economic, and military information in Canada through clandestine means. CSEC has helped to identify and defend our country's interests against the actions of these hostile foreign intelligence agencies.
Our government has advanced several key efforts to enhance our perimeter security. These efforts rely on the latest in foreign intelligence about the illicit transfer of people, money, and goods. CSEC is an important provider of this vital intelligence. In any state, a strong economy is integral to national security. Foreign intelligence provided by CSEC is critical to securing Canada's interests by providing context about global events and crises that can impact Canada's economy and our foreign relations.
As outlined in the last budget, our government believes that innovation is a keystone of economic growth. The protection of the intellectual property of Canadian businesses from cyberthreats is paramount to ensuring Canada's continued economic prosperity. Further, we must protect Canada's critical infrastructure, on which we all rely, from the danger posed by cyberthreats.
I should note that CSEC never shares foreign intelligence with Canadian companies for their commercial advantage.
Of course, CSEC's foreign intelligence work is also based on a long history of support to our military and contributes to the protection of our deployed Canadian men and women overseas, whether they are in uniform or in civilian service to our country. I thank CSEC for protecting me while I was in Afghanistan.
Further, the unique technical capabilities of CSEC are also often harnessed in the service of our law enforcement and security agencies. These agencies may lawfully request that CSEC provide technical and operational assistance in their investigations under the local authorities, such as court warrants. This means that CSEC also contributes to Canada's domestic security.
Every day, the efforts of the talented men and women who work at Communications Security Establishment Canada help to ensure our nation's prosperity, security, and stability. Their success is hard won and depends on their ability to keep one step ahead of foreign targets overseas. This means that these foreign targets need to remain unaware of the methods and technology that may be used against them.
It is, however, also important that Canadians have a general sense of the activities taking place at CSEC and how they better protect them. As a stand-alone agency since 2011, more information is available than ever before on the activities of the organization. It appears in the public accounts and in the parliamentary estimates.
To take this further, the organization has also taken significant steps to provide additional information through its public website, and its officials are always ready to appear before committee to answer important questions, just as the Chief of CSEC did last night.
I would like to once again repeat that the foreign intelligence activities of CSEC are conducted in full compliance with Canadian law. This important work is always undertaken with the utmost concern for protecting the privacy of Canadians, which is CSEC's most important operational consideration. In the words of the independent CSEC Commissioner, “...the protection of the privacy of Canadians is, in the eyes of CSEC and its employees, a genuine concern”. The ongoing work of the independent CSEC Commissioner and his staff will continue to provide robust reviews of CSEC activities.
By providing valuable foreign intelligence, CSEC contributes significantly to Canada's own security and to that of the global community. Canadians can continue to count on this organization's efforts to safeguard the security of Canada from foreign threats while, at the same time, it acts in full accordance with the law and protects the privacy of Canadians.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, it is my pleasure to join the debate today.
As a Canadian Conservative, I view with alarm any development or operation of government that extends its reach into the daily lives of Canadians. Big government and faceless bureaucracies are the purview of the socialist, left-wing, left-of-centre governments and their supporters. It was Big Brother who implemented the hated long gun registry. Big Brother is responsible for forcing rural Canada, without consultation and at great cost to taxpayers, to accept industrial wind turbines in their rural communities. It is Big Brother who would be listening to private conversations.
I am pleased to assure my constituents in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke that when it comes to the creep of Big Brother and big government, I will oppose anything that reduces their privacy and the privacy of all Canadians. Within limits, I will not, at the same time, compromise the safety and security of Canadians.
As the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, which includes Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, I understand the importance of reliable intelligence in a dangerous world. This is particularly important when Canadian Forces personnel are sent overseas and put in harm's way. Our military require the proper intelligence to assess security threats. The women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces have a dangerous job. Let us make sure we do nothing to make it any more dangerous.
I thank the mover of today's motion for the opportunity to discuss the importance of the work done by the Communications Security Establishment Canada, CSEC, on behalf of the Minister of National Defence and all Canadians. In a perfect world, we would not need CSEC. However, it is a dangerous world, and in order to keep Canada safe, we have to keep one step ahead of those who would do us harm.
Canadians understand that CSEC was legislated by the mover of today's motion while his party was in power. Flawed legislation, Big Brother government, and not listening to the concerns of Canadians led to his party being reduced to third party status in the House of Commons.
If there were gaps or shortcomings in the way CSEC operated, as a right-of-centre Conservative, I would be one of the first to be critical. Under our Conservative government, CSEC respects and is bound by Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Privacy Act, and the Criminal Code of Canada.
By law, CSEC can only undertake activities that fall within its mandate. CSEC fully respects these legal parameters and authorities under which it operates under the National Defence Act. CSEC cannot direct its foreign intelligence or cybersecurity activities at Canadians anywhere in the world or at any individual Canadian. CSEC is specifically required to apply measures to protect the privacy of Canadians in the execution of its foreign intelligence and information technology security activities.
CSEC may assist federal law enforcement and security agencies under their legal authorities, such as any applicable court warrant.
The independent CSEC commissioner, an esteemed retired or supernumerary judge, reviews all CSEC activities and has never found CSEC to have acted unlawfully. Among the former commissioners are Supreme Court justices and one chief justice of Canada's highest court. The current commissioner is the Hon. Jean-Pierre Plouffe, appointed on October 18, 2013. While he reports to the Minister of National Defence regarding CSEC's activities, he does not take direction from the minister, the government, or CSEC.
The office of the commissioner is independently funded by its own budgetary appropriation from Parliament. It is the CSEC commissioner who decides independently what activities will be reviewed. The resources of the office of the commissioner are comparable to other similar review bodies.
In order to review the agency's activities, the commissioner is supported by an expert staff. The office has 11 full-time employees and contracts additional subject matter experts as appropriate and when required.
The commissioner and his staff have full access to CSEC employees, records, systems, and data and have the power to subpoena if necessary. The resources of the commissioner are also solely focused on one organization.
Since 1996, the commissioner has regularly reviewed CSEC activities for compliance with the law and protection of privacy and has made helpful recommendations to improve CSEC's programs. In other words, the commissioner has a sharp focus on compliance with the law and the protection of Canadians' privacy.
The commissioner's findings and recommendations for each of the reviews he undertakes during the year are sent to the Minister of National Defence. The classified report is necessary to provide a full account to the minister while at the same time protecting sensitive operational information under the Security of Information Act. The commissioner also submits an annual unclassified report on his activities to Parliament.
In addition, the commissioner is also available to appear before Parliament at any time. He most recently appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence in December to talk about his role. The commissioner spoke positively about his ability to fully review CSEC activities, his access to systems and staff, and the resources that are allocated to his office to undertake his important duties.
To date, CSEC has implemented all of the commissioner's recommendations related to privacy and is in the process of implementing recommendations from the most recent reviews.
If the commissioner encounters any activity that he believes may not be compliant with the law, he is obliged under our legislation to inform both the Minister of National Defence and the Attorney General, who will perform their own assessments of whether CSEC has broken the law. The commissioner also has a mandate to receive information from CSEC employees if they believe it is in the public interest to release special operational information about CSEC. This provides an avenue for employees to come forward with any concerns they may have without breaching the Security of Information Act. To date, no such complaints have been received.
To reiterate, the commissioner has never found CSEC to have acted unlawfully. In fact, he has specifically noted CSEC's culture of lawful compliance and genuine concern for protecting the privacy of Canadians. Like other departments, CSEC is subject to review by the Auditor General, the Privacy Commissioner, the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner of Official Languages, and the Canadian human rights commissioner. In addition to external review, CSEC's internal audit, evaluation, and ethics directorate also conducts regular reviews, and these reports are reviewed by an external departmental audit committee.
All of these forms of review help to reassure Canadians that CSEC and its staff respect and follow the law and protect the privacy of Canadians in performing the important roles in collecting foreign signals intelligence in addition to protecting the Government of Canada's important computer systems and networks.
CSEC's activities are also guided by legislation that was implemented through amendments to the National Defence Act in 2001. This legislation established CSEC's mandate in statute and included special measures to recognize the unique operating environment of CSEC.
Given the complex and global nature of cyberspace and telecommunications, CSEC's foreign intelligence and cyberprotection activities sometimes risk the incidental interception of the private communications of Canadians. This happens because there is no way to know in advance with whom foreign targets will communicate, including people in Canada.
The National Defence Act recognizes this. Under the law, and solely for the purpose of fulfilling CSEC's mandate to obtain foreign intelligence or protect Canadian networks, CSEC must obtain an authorization from the minister for any activity that may risk the incidental interception of private communications. These authorizations are valid for up to one year and are subject to strict conditions, which include measures to protect the privacy of Canadians.
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