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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thanks to the committee for the opportunity to speak.
Thanks to Mr. Poilievre's intervention, I don't have to recite the jobs questions I asked at the justice committee.
I'm deeply troubled by what faces us. All of you around the table I regard as friends, and I try to approach things in a very non-partisan way, which is very hard on the eve of an election. Everybody goes into hyper-partisan mode then, and this is, in a lot of ways, red meat right before an election. I know that, but something is really wrong here. Something is deeply wrong here, and I beg my friends around the table to allow Mr. Dion to speak to us.
I thought I knew what had transpired in the SNC-Lavalin mess based on the testimony of our former justice minister and former attorney general. Her chronology, her notes, I thought covered everything that had occurred, and I believed her every syllable, but Mr. Dion's report has shaken me far more than our former attorney general's testimony, and I'll tell you why.
We now know there were meetings that took place on the edge of other international gatherings, like in Davos, including the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau and the CEO of SNC-Lavalin, and that the idea of changing our law to insert a deferred prosecution agreement into the Criminal Code came from SNC-Lavalin for their use specifically.
No wonder the machinery of government began to panic when the plan wasn't working out. There was a hiccup because the justice minister and attorney general at the time respected the principle of prosecutorial independence and wouldn't intervene against the section 13 report of the director of public prosecutions.
This is a critical point: There were other ministers involved. I thought and still think, because I bend over backward to be fair to everyone concerned, that part of the reason the Prime Minister doesn't realize what he did was wrong is that he didn't receive a decent legal briefing from his Clerk of the Privy Council. None was provided to him by the clerk or by his staff, but he did receive a decent legal briefing from Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former minister of justice and attorney general, who told him, “Watch what you're doing. You're interfering in prosecutorial independence”. I know she didn't sit him down and get out a chalkboard and explain it. She didn't think she had to.
What I find really troubling about what Mr. Dion uncovered is the idea that in any government governed by the rule of law a minister of justice and attorney general's position would be so deeply undermined by her colleagues.
I know that a lot of Liberals have said it was wrong of her to tape Michael Wernick. I understood why, under the circumstances, she felt it necessary, but the deeper distrust is to imagine that a report from a former Supreme Court judge, a very respected jurist, John Major, peddled by SNC-Lavalin's lawyer, also a former Supreme Court judge, Frank Iacobucci, blinded people around the cabinet table—because of the power of those justices' titles and the previous work they have done on the Supreme Court—to the reality that the only legal advice they should have been taking was from their own lawyer, the attorney general.
However, what is really shocking to me is that they peddled this report undermining the judgment of their cabinet colleague, the minister of justice and attorney general. They peddled it without even sharing it with her. I ask my Liberal friends to imagine for one minute a scenario in which Jean Chrétien allowed his cabinet colleagues to circulate a memo undermining Irwin Cotler. Can you imagine Pierre Trudeau allowing his cabinet colleagues to circulate a memo undermining the judgment of John Turner?
This is really scandalous. The Prime Minister is guilty here of the kind of offence for which resignation is appropriate. I leave it to him. I'm not calling for his resignation, but it does strike me as beyond belief that this kind of thing could go on. It's not a small matter. It shouldn't be covered up. We really do need to ask Mr. Dion what he uncovered. We need to hear his opinion on the nature of further remedies and how many steps we should take to ensure that cabinet confidentiality is removed so that those nine additional witnesses can be heard.
I also want to say very clearly that I don't think this is a partisan issue. I think it is systemic. It is shocking that the senior civil service of this country could be manipulated by a transnational corporation in this fashion, and I think lots of other transnational corporations may have the same kind of access. This is systemic regardless of who is in the PMO. Regardless if it's a Conservative or a Liberal government, we have to ensure that the machinery of government, our civil service, is not at the disposal of transnational corporations to do their bidding.
I don't think it's about the Prime Minister and making this a political football in the election campaign. I think it's a much larger issue and I think it is systemic. I'd like to hear from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
I think we now have a moral obligation to protect our democracy against the power of large global firms.
Right now our democracy looks weakened by this. We need to get to the bottom of it.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to make a couple of quick points in response to some of the points put forward by my colleagues. I am not a voting member at this table, of course.
First of all, it's a really hard issue for all of us here around the table, but I have to say that—following somewhat from your point, Mr. Erskine-Smith—I found it unhelpful to describe this case as the Prime Minister telling people that he wanted them to break the law. For what it's worth, I maintain that, to this day, I don't think the Prime Minister understands that what he did was wrong, which is maybe equally troubling or more troubling. I think he's maintained that view because the people around him were overwhelmed by the fact that former Supreme Court judges were telling them what to do and were undermining their Attorney General, who happened to be a younger woman and indigenous, and this part of the story bothers me.
What should the former attorney general have done? I want to remind my friend Mr. Erskine-Smith of her testimony to the justice committee. She said to those lobbying her on behalf of SNC-Lavalin that if they have additional evidence, that goes to the decision-maker, who in this case is Kathleen Roussel, director of public prosecutions. Our former attorney general said, on the evidence, that she had told those lobbying for SNC-Lavalin that if they had a representation on a threat to jobs and they send it to her, she would ensure that it is put before the director of public prosecutions so she can take it into consideration. Such a letter was never sent.
It's also disturbing to me that so many people—and I would like to have before the ethics committee many of them who were mentioned in the testimony of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould—were given access by our former attorney general to the section 13 report, which is highly confidential, of the former director of public prosecutions. They declined to read it and seem to have lost it, including a number of political staff in the PMO, the deputy minister of the Department of Justice herself and the former clerk of the Privy Council.
To Mr. Erskine-Smith's point that a corporation can have good people and bad people, that's all true, but this corporation is charged in its corporate state; it is charged as a corporate person. There are no individual officers charged. The corporation must face full trial, which is why I go to one last point, Mr. Chair.
If we're looking for a real motive, we don't have to look far. Some of the most celebrated corporate giants in this country are businessmen with good reputations, people like Gwyn Morgan, former chair of Encana and a major fossil fuel lobbyist against climate action, who was chair of the board throughout the time the alleged bribery took place, and chair of the governance committee. There were a lot of people on the board of directors—whom I won't list—whose reputations could be hurt if what I suspect might be heard in the evidence in open court is actually heard, because these are not just bribery charges of a small nature. This is about working hand in glove with the Gadhafi regime and paying millions of dollars.
By the way, as to the whole idea that SNC-Lavalin has been washed pure as snow, they haven't changed their auditor. Deloitte was their auditor then and Deloitte is their auditor now, and somehow never noticed that $50 million went missing in bribes in Libya.
I think what we're looking at is corporate Canada exerting its influence to not have to face a full trial because reputations would be harmed. I think that's enough of a motive to start leaning on the Prime Minister, the finance minister, the President of Treasury Board and all their friends.
We need to ensure that Canadians understand that this isn't about small things and the Shawcross principle. That's a bridge too far for most Canadians to care about, and I accept that; I get that. But it's really important that Canadians know that no future government, no future prime minister, should ever allow pressure to be brought to bear to stop a full and open trial of the alleged criminal activities of this corporation.
Under the principles of deferred prosecution agreements, as understood in international law, economic disadvantage to the corporation is not a relevant factor. We need to understand that we should protect workers always, but we must not protect criminality because the people whose reputations could be hurt are powerful. You bet they're powerful: They've blocked climate action for quite a while.
I am afraid that this corporation needs to face a trial on the evidence that Kathleen Roussel, as director of public prosecutions, decided under a section 13 report disqualifies them from a deferred prosecution agreement by law.
That's what our former attorney general looked at. That's why she exercised her due diligence to ensure the decision by the director of public prosecutions. I agree with Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith once again. It was a very good move that the former Conservative government brought in the director of public prosecutions and insulated that office from political interference. That's all quite right and good. Canadians need to know that this is about a corporation charged with crimes we don't know, up to and including killing people—we don't know. Evidence is under the section 13 report. We need to have it come before an open court.
That's why I think the pressure was brought to bear. Powerful men have powerful friends. I still think that our Prime Minister needs to understand—and I don't think he does—that what he did was wrong, and he needs to apologize to Jane Philpott, Jody Wilson-Raybould and the people of Canada.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
No.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
This amendment would specify that neither current nor former officers nor employees of the Canada Border Services Agency may sit on the public complaints and review commission. This amendment does not appear in Bill C-98, but in the parent act, the RCMP Act. The ineligibility paragraph under subsection 45.29(2) of that act would exclude current or former members from service on the PCRC, and under that act, “member” has a specific definition that means an employee of the RCMP. Presumably, current and former agents of the CBSA should be excluded from sitting on the PCRC as well. This amendment would make that crystal clear.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I apologize that I need to put this on the record. I'm here because of a motion passed by this committee. I continue to object to its terms. It deprives me of my rights that I have under our process and procedures of Parliament.
Absent your motion, I would have the right to present this amendment at report stage, which would mean that I could be at one committee at a time. That's as opposed to yesterday, as an example, where there were two committees going through clause-by-clause at the same time, and I had amendments that I presented at both. It's an onerous provision, and I wish you hadn't passed that motion.
I'm here somewhat under duress, but I seize the only opportunity I will have to put forward these amendments.
This amendment was recommended on the advice of Cindy Blackstock and others. We want to change and improve the description of the purpose of the legislation.
The goal of the amendment is to ensure that the legislative purpose is acknowledged to:
(c) prevent, as much as possible, the removal of Indigenous children from their communities; and
(d) establish measures to facilitate the provision of adequate, equitable, sustainable and long-term funding for Indigenous groups, communities and peoples to enable them to exercise their legislative authority in relation to child and family services and to provide services that are comparable in quality to those offered to non-Indigenous children, while taking into account their unique cultural, social, economic, geographic and historical needs and circumstances.
What this is clearly attempting to do, I believe, is absolutely consistent with the intent of the legislation overall. It makes it clear that the purpose of the legislation is to respond to issues like the sixties scoop to make sure that sort of thing doesn't ever happen again, and that child and family services in indigenous communities have, as a purpose under this legislation, avoiding removing indigenous children from their communities.
I hope we can receive your support to improve the legislation.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you. I'm jumping in at this point because if this amendment from the NDP is defeated, my next amendment, Green Party 10, would be immediately also defeated. No? Can we still make the argument on the next amendment?
All right, then. In that case, thank you. I take the clerk's advice. I shall wait. Perhaps this amendment will be carried.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes, but I saw a gathering momentum.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to present this.
This is, as colleagues in the NDP have mentioned as well, that “the child's right to live free of maltreatment” should be incorporated into the legislation. This was in the evidence from many witnesses, but particularly Dr. Blackstock as well as the Carrier Sekani Family Services brief, which pointed out that in the essence of the bill the best interests of the child must include the factor that, in any proceeding, it be considered how we ensure that this child's right to live free of maltreatment is recognized in the application of the legislation.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
This is to insert an entirely new clause that would appear just before the existing clause 11. It's, again, in relation to a great deal of evidence we have heard before this committee showing that we really should create a stronger sense that the primary objective of the provision of child and family services in relation to indigenous children must incorporate the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality under Jordan's principle to ensure access without financial barriers.
This has been recommended by, to mention just one witness, the Yellowhead Institute, and using the primary objective clause found in the Canada Health Act as a template has been suggested to us. That's the basis on which this particular amendment has been drafted to try to draw on the Health Act as a template and precedent and on the advice of numerous witnesses to ensure that the provision of child and family services has an overarching primary objective found in this legislation.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Well, I just want to push it a little bit. I find it hard to imagine that this language—that is to protect, promote and restore the well-being in accordance with principles of the best interests of child, cultural continuity, substantive equality—could possibly constrain the exercise of indigenous jurisdiction. It's to guide the federal jurisdiction in implementing the legislation to ensure that we really are focused on the needs of indigenous children. Obviously, I would love you to change your minds on this, but I don't find that objection to be particularly credible. I don't want to insult you by saying that, but I really can't see how it encroaches on indigenous jurisdiction to say that we want to protect indigenous children in a way that is focused on their particular circumstances and all that we've learned through the development of substantive equality through Jordan's principle.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
This amendment, like previous amendments that I presented, would ensure that a child has a right to live free of maltreatment.
By the way, years ago, in the previous Parliament, the government of the day used G for a government amendment. It didn't want to give me G for Green, so it gave me PV for Parti vert.
That's why we're currently discussing PV-12.
This amendment incorporates in section 11 the safety, security and well-being of the child. It would, again, ensure the child's right to live free of maltreatment that would jeopardize his or her safety and security. A brief summary and recommendation came from Dr. Cindy Blackstock with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thanks to Cathy for that.
I do have pending, when we get back to definitions, a definition of maltreatment. A lot of this is consistent, of course, with UNDRIP, in the way that we want to tie this bill in with UNDRIP. The right to live free of maltreatment is one of those considerations.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Madam Chair, I'm just going to say parenthetically that so many of these amendments that some of us in this corner feel very strongly about came to us from indigenous communities that were asking us to bring them forward. It's particularly sad to see that last defeat.
This amendment is similarly related to prenatal service and the unborn in looking at the extent to which a voluntary prenatal service is consistent with what's likely to be in the best interests of the child after the child is born. This service should be provided to an indigenous mother with concern for a child not yet born. It asks for a voluntary prenatal service that's consistent with the best interests of the child to be incorporated into the legislation as proposed, as part of clause 14.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Just as a comment on where we're disagreeing, many amendments coming from opposition parties are looking at creating more of a positive duty on behalf of the federal government to ensure that there is protection for children and that they not be subjected to removal because of, for instance, socio-economic situations, and that there actually be more of a responsibility on the part of the federal government.
I understand what I'm hearing from my friends on the other side, which is that, well, this is a framework and all those other things can be determined. I guess philosophically where it comes down for me is that the framework is still there and the negotiations of agreements can still happen, but this gives us a chance to create a clear legislative direction to the federal government that there's a positive duty to ensure that socio-economic inequalities not lead to children being placed in situations that are unequal, unfair and amount to maltreatment, particularly in terms of removal of children from families because of socio-economic conditions, including poverty, lack of adequate housing and so on.
Rather than read out my whole amendment, which is a lengthy one, I just provide that summary. This is again in the interest of creating language that says this legislation is to ensure that those inequalities not lead to removal of children.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In the context of the motion I mentioned earlier, we are actually here—Jane Philpott, Jody Wilson-Raybould and I—with no ability to move our own amendments; they're deemed moved. We can't withdraw our own amendments; they have to be withdrawn by someone else. We can't amend our own amendments or amend each other's amendments, because this motion was designed to deprive us of rights, not increase our rights.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This is again in the context of children who have been taken into care already. The legislation as currently drafted in subclause 16(3) says that there will be a decision to have a reassessment on an ongoing basis of whether it's appropriate to place the child in different circumstances. My amendment seeks to place the standard of regular reassessments in the context of what's in the best interests of the child as opposed to the threshold of what is appropriate. The language here is that there must be “regular reassessment of whether it would be in the best interests of the child” and also that the reassessment “may be conducted at the request of a child's family member”.
This comes come from a lot of the testimony that was heard before this committee—the Yellowhead Institute, the director general of child and family services reform, Isa Gros-Louis—that we want to incorporate the fundamental concept here that when there is a child in care, away from his or her family, there be a regular reassessment, with the structure and framework being around the best interests of the child, and the family members having an opportunity to request that reassessment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In amendment number 16, we propose clause 17.1. It says:
17.1 For greater certainty, nothing in subsection 16(1) or 20(1) restricts the ability of an Indigenous group, community or people to exercise its legislative authority in relation to child and family services by placing an Indigenous child with a family that is comprised, in whole or in part, of persons who are not members of the Indigenous group, community or people, as long as the family agrees to promote the child's culture, language and family origins, to the extent that doing so is consistent with the child's best interests.
This comes from a very clear recommendation that is again from Dr. Blackstock. It's important that we know how attachments and emotional ties take place. If the child is placed in accordance with 16(1)(a) or (b), but the parent or family with whom the child is placed is non-indigenous, how does that then work in the best interests of the child? This amendment attempts to deal with that particular question of cultural continuity obligations, even where a child is in a non-indigenous home.
(Amendment negatived)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This amendment falls at line 15 on page 10, and is part of an effort to ensure that the inherent right to jurisdiction over child and family services includes the authority to confer decision-making powers to independent indigenous bodies or to judges empowered to decide similar matters under provincial legislation.
This was part of the recommendation by Justice Sébastien Grammond in the article “Federal Legislation on Indigenous Child Welfare in Canada”, which I'm sure all of you have reviewed.
I hope this amendment would be well-received because I think it does a substantial amount to prepare the ground to ensure that indigenous decision-making governs child and family services, which is the goal of the government, as we've heard throughout this committee hearing. The inherent right to jurisdiction being acknowledged in this legislation, at this point, in this clause, would move us substantially in that direction.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 18 agreed to)
(Clause 19 agreed to)
(On clause 20)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This is to add regulations to prescribed measures for the negotiation of coordination agreements. This is to open up the scope for regulations that will help with the negotiation of coordination agreements. I think it works particularly well with Jane Philpott's amendments to section 32, which are also coming up, so that we can detail the aspects of the coordination agreements and the negotiations process that could be regulated by order in council, by the Governor in Council.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I don't see it as an expansion. We know that the bill's focus is going to be on ensuring that there are negotiated agreements. In moving forward in negotiated agreements, you may in fact need to have regulations. If you don't have the empowering section here in the legislation for such regulations, you'll have to go back and amend the act later to be able to bring in regulations that may be needed.
I'm afraid I can't point to testimony. It just seems to me that a way of ensuring the bill can function well in the future is to have the authority to bring in regulations if you need them. If you don't need them, you never need to have this section, but if you do need regulations in relation to coordination of the different agreements that are being negotiated, you won't have that power.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Am I allowed to ask the officials a question?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
If my amendment is accepted, I don't see any downside to having that as a further fleshing out of the ways in which we might be wanting to use the regulatory powers in section 32 by providing some additional guidance around that. From the point of view of officials, is there anything negative that occurs as a result of this amendment?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Just for clarity, if you look at section 32, we are talking only about regulations in the context of any matter that may be provided for in regulations made under section 32, so I don't see how that expands the scope. I'm sorry. I just wanted to bring it back to that section, because the way we've drafted it is to say “in the regulations made under section 32”.
Anyway, I think we don't have support for it, but this wasn't an attempt to expand the scope but to make sure we have the regulation powers when we need them.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This again goes back to an effort I have been consistently making to ensure that the legislation includes the concept of the right of a child to live free of maltreatment. I have already cited the various witnesses who made this point: Carrier Sekani Family Services, Dr. Cindy Blackstock.
The amendment inserts the language around:
safety, security and well-being of Indigenous children at risk of, or experiencing, maltreatment;
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
This comes from evidence, and the brief from the Chiefs of Ontario:
It is helpful that s. 20(5) anticipates the need for “dispute resolution mechanism”[s], to be developed in the regulations.
It is odd, though that it requires, as a precondition for accessing ADR, that all three parties to the negotiations have already made “reasonable efforts”. This seems counterintuitive, since the failure of one or more parties to make reasonable efforts is exactly what may drive the need for dispute resolution.
If you look at the existing text of the legislation 20(5), the section in the brief the Chiefs of Ontario were referencing starts with:
If the Indigenous governing body, the Minister and the government of each of those provinces make reasonable efforts to enter into a coordination agreement but do not enter into a coordination agreement, a dispute resolution mechanism provided for by the regulations made under section 32 may be used to promote entering into a coordination agreement.
The effect of my motion is to have a very straightforward section that simply says:
a dispute resolution mechanism provided for by the regulations made under section 32 may be used to promote entering into a coordination agreement.
It removes the precondition of failure after best efforts, as recommended by the Chiefs of Ontario. I know the way this was drafted had good intentions, but you really have an unintended consequence that an alternative dispute resolution is outside the reach of people who need it most, if any one of the three bodies hasn't yet made good, reasonable efforts, and hasn't yet reached a point of failure. You need an alternative dispute resolution at exactly that moment, to get things to work. It may be outside of your reach.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This amendment was recommended by the Yellowhead Institute. The current language is permissive. It says the minister may gather information respecting child and family services, and so on. In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls for action, action number 2 called on the federal government to collaborate with the provinces and territories in producing annual reports specifically on the subject matter of this legislation, and producing reports on the number of indigenous children in care compared with non-indigenous children, the reasons for apprehension, total spending on preventative and care services, and the effectiveness of interventions.
My amendment creates a positive duty on the minister to gather information in order for the minister to fulfill the obligations the government has previously said it has committed to delivering, which is the recommendation for calls for action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A simple change from “may” to “must” makes this provision in section 27, the role of the minister, much more effective in meeting the TRC's call to action number 2.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
There are a number of witnesses whose evidence went into the formulation of this amendment. We have spoken briefly in the rubric of another one of my amendments about section 32 and the regulation-making powers.
The current legislation states:
If affected Indigenous governing bodies were afforded a meaningful opportunity to collaborate in the policy development leading to the making of the regulations, the Governor in Council may make regulations
It was pointed out by a number of Justice Dawson's references to significant cases, particularly in terms of the Mikisew Cree case and the Haida Nation case, that meaningful consultation is more than a process of exchanging information. The language in the current draft, “If affected indigenous governing bodies were afforded a meaningful opportunity to collaborate”, is quite different than meaningful consultation, particularly given the jurisprudence around that language and what it conveys.
My amendments replace the existing subclause 32(1) with a positive duty on the minister to ensure that there is meaningful consultation with affected indigenous governing bodies in policy development leading to the making of these regulations. Then, of course, it ties it back into the Constitution Act and ensures that there's scope for provincial governments collaborating within their own areas of jurisdiction.
I think it strengthens the regulation-making powers, and it certainly ensures that discussions or “opportunity to collaborate” language, which is pretty flimsy, are replaced with significant meaningful consultation within the context of existing court decisions and our Constitution.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I'm sorry, Madam Chair. This was withdrawn so it shouldn't be popping up now. We emailed the committee on May 15 to withdraw it, because the one we just went through, which was rejected, was more to the point.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This is the preamble. Of course, the preamble is helpful. It's not the operative part of the bill, but future courts will have reference to the preamble for determining—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Oh, we're back in definitions. I'm sorry; I thought we were following in order and doing definitions last.
This definition as currently found in the definition section says, “child and family services means services to support children and families, including prevention services, early intervention services and child protection services.” The amendment I'm proposing is based on recommendations from Dr. Blackstock and Carrier Sekani Family Services to say that it means services to protect children from maltreatment, to assist families in safely caring for their children, including primary, secondary and tertiary prevention services, etc. It strengthens the definition of what child and family services means, to be beyond supporting families and children and to be about primarily protecting children and assisting families.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I can anticipate the clerk is going to say there is a problem, because as many of my amendments that have now been defeated attempted to use the word “maltreatment” I also proposed to amend the definition section so the word “maltreatment” would be defined.
I'm going to stop there and say that since every attempt to insert the word “maltreatment” has been defeated, it is likely not going to be acceptable to insert the word “maltreatment” now in the definitions.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Again, this may have the same fate because I'm attempting here to provide a definition of “meaningful consultation”. I've made other attempts in other amendments to ensure that we remove words like “collaborate”, “enter into conversation”, whatever it was and use the legal term required by our Constitution, “meaningful consultation”, so that definition is likely also to be unacceptable at this point because “meaningful consultation” isn't used in the legislation.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This definition is to add the words “parent”, “prenatal” and “substantive equality” into the definition as found. You can see it in my amendment that amends the bill, after line 36 on page 3, and provides a definition of “substantive equality”. Now this is a term used in the legislation and I would hope that we could provide this definition.
Again, this was provided by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, whose work on substantive equality and Jordan's principle.... She is acknowledged as a leading expert. I'm sure she would agree that she doesn't speak for all first nations people.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 1 as amended agreed to)
(On the preamble)
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
This is part of the reference in the preamble to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society. The Government of Canada will affirm that decision as part of the preamble of this legislation. Of course, that was Dr. Cindy Blackstock's organization's ongoing efforts to ensure that indigenous children received substantially equal treatment to non-indigenous children.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In this amendment, it's important to include the word “exclusive”. The current legislation just says “right of self-government...includes jurisdiction”, so by replacing just that one word it would be “right of self-government, which includes exclusive jurisdiction”, which is also a recommendation from Dr. Blackstock.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes. You'll recall, Mr. Chair, that I'm here because of the motion this committee passed, in which I am not allowed to vote on things, or move things. The one thing I am allowed to do is to follow your instructions to show up on the time-limited time and speak to my amendments. I do wish to speak to it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I like to keep it on the record, because I hope that after the next election, no MP in my position will ever be subjected to the motions that were passed in the last government and this one.
In any case, after the election, we'll have more than 12 MPs, so I won't be subjected to it, but it's not fair or nice for any smaller party.
Here's the motion. It's very clear. I think you've all heard the evidence, and I'm sure are sympathetic to the concerns of the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, that the very people we're trying to help with this legislation may be disadvantaged, because they'll be in the midst of their sentence. They won't have been able to pay their fines, so they can't apply, because the time limits, in the way the act currently reads, are such that a person is ineligible to make an application for records suspension until the expiration of their sentence, or including the payment of a fine.
The amendment I'm putting forward here, PV-1, is to say that we would change that to “regardless of whether or not any sentence imposed” or “the payment of any fine, has expired”.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This will be very straightforward to present, because the rationale matches the one I presented on—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I can't challenge the chair, withdraw my own amendment, or do much else but show up when I have to, based on the motion you passed.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
There you go. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I could make it more heart-rending if you would like it to be.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I think you've covered the full range of A to B.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
On this one, I believe, as we've gone forward we've had some conversations, and I do want to acknowledge that I think we may have a way forward on this that will allow it to be passed. Rather than take up any time right now in terms of how we're going to deal with the exception to revocation and exempt records, I'm going to ask Julie if she wants to chime in right away, because I think we have a shared approach.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Again, since Julie has left it for me to speak to the rationale behind this—and it was in the evidence that was before the committee, particularly from Solomon Friedman, who represents the practice of criminal defence—there is a real injustice in having a criminal record hanging over one's head for an offence that is no longer a criminal offence. This lifts the requirement to prove good conduct and to obtain the suspension in the first place.
This subamendment complements that. I am very grateful that we have found a solution in a tweaking of the language in my amendment.
Thank you very much.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I love my plug-in hybrid. It has an 8.8 kilowatt hour battery. I just thought I'd let Tom know that it's fantastic. I didn't get any rebates.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
We could carpool.
Voices: Oh, oh!
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 53 as amended agreed to on division)
(Clauses 54 to 110 inclusive agreed to on division)
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
This amendment is based on a joint brief from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice Canada, Environmental Defence and Équiterre. This amendment is necessary to ensure that the minister will make public any decision not to initiate a special review that would otherwise be required when an OECD member country prohibits all uses of a pesticide.
Subsection 17(2) of the Pest Control Products Act mandates a special review if an OECD member country prohibits all uses of a pesticide for health or environmental reasons.
Proposed subsection 17.1(2) would introduce an exception allowing the health minister discretion to determine whether additional information is available that warrants a special review under section 17(2) of the act. With no clear criteria set out for making such a determination and no notice or consultation requirement, this provision lacks transparency and could prevent appropriate consideration of the environmental and health information that another jurisdiction relied on in deciding to prohibit all uses of a pesticide. This lack of transparency runs contrary to efforts to enhance confidence in Canada's pesticide regulatory system.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Madam Chair, congratulations. I have not spoken to this committee with you as chair, so I hope it won't offend you that, before I begin to put this amendment forward, I have to state on the record the various reasons that I so regret that every committee was asked to pass the identical motion that requires me to show up at committees at clause-by-clause.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
It is true that, in fact, at this very moment, I should be at the fisheries and oceans committee, where the bill I am sponsoring, Bill S-203, is being presented and witnesses are being heard. I can't be in two places at once, so I presented what I could and ran here, because I believe this bill is very important, but so is the bill before the fisheries committee now on ensuring that whales and dolphins aren't kept in captivity.
If it weren't for the motion passed by this committee, I could have brought forward the amendments I have before you now at the report stage. The effect of the motion that was originally put forward by Harper's PMO, and then repeated by this Prime Minister's PMO, is that I have to be in two places at one time. I'm sure it's taking years off my life, and I don't mean that rhetorically; I mean it literally.
Despite the fact that I don't welcome this opportunity, I do appreciate that the individuals around this table aren't responsible for what's happened to me.
With good will, I will put forward my amendment, which is to speak to the issue of how we define “indigenous governing body”. This, of course, is found in the definitions section at clause 2. The current definition, as in the legislation at first reading, would exclude governing bodies that fall outside the Indian Act and the colonial system that was established for how indigenous nations govern themselves.
This, of course, was brought to the committee by Jennifer Wickham, the executive director of the Witsuwit'en Language and Culture Society. We do know from the Delgamuukw case, for example, that Witsuwit'en land is unceded and that they have been extraordinarily courageous—as all indigenous peoples have—in hanging onto culture, tradition and language in the face of oppression and colonialism. In the case of Witsuwit'en, for example, there is a still unbroken lineage of hereditary chiefs, and the hereditary chiefs and the traditional hereditary government on unceded land are not included under the Indian Act, so hereditary chiefs and governance such as that on Witsuwit'en territory would be excluded from being able negotiate to get access to funding and so on.
I'm hoping that this amendment will meet with your approval. It merely extends the definition of “indigenous governing body”, as found at clause 2, with the words “including a traditional hereditary government of unceded lands that is not provided for under the Indian Act”, etc.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
The Conservative amendment is also very good in specifically referencing Métis, although I believe the Métis would be more likely to fall in this definition.
We've had recent actions by the federal government that suggest it doesn't believe hereditary chiefs on Witsuwit'en territory have any rights. The appearance of militarized RCMP to arrest hereditary chiefs protesting peacefully suggests a lack of respect for hereditary governments.
In particular because of those recent arrests, I find it unlikely that they would qualify under this legislation to negotiate for funding if we didn't specifically recognize the integrity and the authenticity of hereditary chiefs who are operating within a framework that falls outside the Indian Act.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
This amendment covers quite a few spots within clause 5. They amend the bill to more accurately reflect some of the really excellent testimony from those involved in indigenous education—the First Peoples' Cultural Council and the evidence of Dr. Onowa McIvor from the University of Victoria.
I'll just try to summarize them by saying that in the first line, “by replacing line 24 on page 4”, that's dealing with the evidence we have before us that the word “fluency” isn't as acceptable or as accurate in indigenous education, as it is evolving. Dr. McIvor did note that some people still use “fluency”, but there is a shift in the field of indigenous language revitalization to use language like “proficiency” and “restoring”, which is the effect of the first subpart of my amendment.
The other part of my amendment would replace some of the language here that speaks to supporting learning and education, to be more accurately reflecting...“to create new speakers, including language nests, immersion programs, schools and mentor-apprentice programs”.
Just to digress for just half a tick, I know that a lot of you around this table don't have the same experience in your own ridings, but it is so exciting for me that in our community on Tsartlip First Nation there is Sencoten immersion education. The kids are so turned on and so excited to be able to sing songs and play with each other exclusively speaking Sencoten. These kinds of things should be recognized as this important legislation goes forward.
Lastly, I've included, at the encouragement of Dr. McIvor's testimony, the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by speaking specifically to articles 13 and 14. Although I can't move it myself, if anyone felt like helping me out here, I really should have included article 16, based on the evidence that article 16 of UNDRIP gives indigenous peoples the right to establish media in their own languages. I know I can't amend my own amendment.
That's the substance, in brief, of my second amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I just want to say that, in terms of committee protocol, as a non-member of the committee, I can have no view on this, as my amendments are deemed to have been moved, but if I were a member, I'd find this a friendly amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I appreciate the tolerance of the chair in letting me have the floor again. I wanted to clarify some of the language around language nests and mentor-apprenticeship programs, just to remind the committee that this was language that came from the First Nations Summit. Of course, it was Chief Ed John who testified, but he testified here on this bill on behalf of the First Nations Summit, so there was quite a lot of indigenous—
With all due respect to my friend Georgina, I can't speak as an indigenous person, obviously—I'm a settler-culture Canadian—but in looking at this evidence, there certainly was a very substantial indigenous component to the language that Gordie has brought forward.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
It wouldn't be friendly at all.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I just want to understand the rationale. I think “proficiency” is better than “fluency”, but not a great deal hangs on it in terms of how the bill operates. However, a great deal hangs on the recognition of articles 13 and 14 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Maybe Randy could give us some rationale for why (c) is unacceptable. I think (b) as amended still carries some good changes within it, but without articles 13 and 14 of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, I think the whole amendment is very weakened.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you. I apologize for the absence. I was also doing adjournment proceedings this evening. The fun never stops, Madam Chair.
This amendment is derived from the evidence of Wanda Wilson, President of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre. What I'm attempting to do with the amendment to clause 23, line 3 on page 9, is to replace the language that we currently find in order to strengthen the notion of reclaiming and revitalizing, and also so that the office of the commissioner will include such efforts through research and assessments. That's why there's an addition to subclause 23(b) to:
support the efforts of Indigenous peoples, including in their research and assessments, to re-
Then the clause would continue as it did before.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you very much.
This is similar to amendments I brought forward some time ago in terms of replacing the word “fluency” with the notions of building proficiency, restoring and maintaining. These occur in clause 24 at line 3. Rather than saying “maintain fluency”, my amendment would say the following:
those languages or identifying measures to build proficiency and restore and
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
I'd urge my friends across the way in the Liberal Party to look at this one and consider whether you couldn't let it pass.
We have the evidence from Jennifer Wickham from Witsuwit'en territories that what we see happening, in her words, when we talk about research and community studies, is, “The concern is that our communities have been researched and researched, and we don't have access to that information.”
It currently says “community assessments” in subclause 24(2):
The research or studies referred to in paragraph (1)(b) may take into account, among other things, community assessments.
My amendment proposes that the office of the commissioner, when conducting research:
may take into account a community assessment, with the consent of the Indigenous community in respect of which the assessment was undertaken, as well as other things.
I then insert a new subclause (2.1) that says:
The Office must keep the Indigenous community informed of the progress of any research or studies that it undertakes under subsection (1), must recognize the community's contributions in its final report and must provide it with a copy.
This is completely non-controversial. One would hope that in 2019, as a recognition of the disrespect of the decades and decades of studies about indigenous peoples but not with indigenous peoples, not for indigenous peoples, that this would correct that gap quite substantially.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Just to remind members of the committee, I'm here with no powers whatsoever. I'm not a member of the committee. My amendments are deemed to have been made. I can say nothing about it, pro or con.
I'd prefer the entire amendment to be carried. But I'm in the weirdest position in the history of the Parliament of Canada, with a special motion passed in every committee that essentially applies only to me. That's my problem.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
But thank you for asking me, Randy. It was very charitable.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
This is again related to evidence that we heard from two of the witnesses, Wanda Wilson from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, and Jennifer Wickham from Witsuwit'en. Clause 25 currently refers to “Support offered by Office”, and what this amendment does is specify a bit more, stating that:
(c.1) promote and assist research and scholarship, collect, store and update data, archive collections, and facilitate knowledge sharing among Indigenous groups in respect of the language;
There's just a bit more specificity about the functions and keeping them as close as possible to the first nations communities involved.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I was also made aware that this was a possibility, but this provision to protect intellectual property for research, technologies and certification standards did come up in evidence. Intellectual property rights are certainly within the frame of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and are very clearly connected with the work that we're doing in this bill towards expanding, restoring and preserving indigenous languages. There will be innovations that come along with that, and intellectual property protections will certainly make sense, particularly around the registering of their own trademarks within indigenous communities.
I won't go into the full amendment in all its detail because, as you mentioned, there might be one part that was a problem, but we don't want to prevent indigenous communities from licensing and otherwise making available property that is their own intellectual property. That's the key concern: that we not inadvertently deprive indigenous communities of something that they would otherwise have.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
As this amendment is very similar to my next one, I'm just wondering if it's seen as a line conflict or whether we'll proceed to my amendment in any event.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Sorry. Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes. My views are, as I mentioned, not material, but, yes, I thought it might make it easier to say.... But I can't remove my own amendment just to save you time, because I don't have the power to do that.
But it does the same thing.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Just as a suggestion to my friend Wayne, most legal language would use “shall” instead of “must”. It has the same effect, but I would suggest that it would probably read more typically as “shall”.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
It's very simple. Everybody around the table is familiar with it. The current draft speaks of the languages spoken. That could preclude other forms of language, such as sign language, so my amendment would change “spoken” to “used”.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
I identify myself to Mr. Wernick as someone who has stated publicly that he transgressed the line.
I would suggest, and maybe you can agree, that when we use the word “partisan”, I would never suggest for a moment, Mr. Wernick, that you were a strong lifetime Liberal or strong lifetime Conservative. I think your evidence is consistent with being willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.
My question to you is: Had you ever met Frank Iacobucci in the context of anything in the four months that has been described to us by Jody Wilson-Raybould's testimony? Did you have a chance to talk to him in that four-month period about anything?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In your previous history of public service, for a remarkably long time you were deputy minister at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and our former attorney general, of course, was a prominent indigenous leader with the B.C. Assembly of First Nations.
Did you have any relationship with her prior to her time as attorney general, in that context?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In the context of your evidence here today, we had a discussion about it being cut-and-paste language from the OECD agreements about how to understand the term “national economic interest”, but it is clear that subsection 715.32(3) says that the public prosecution must not consider the national economic interest as a factor.
Isn't it a fair inference from that that you would not consider a jobs argument in deciding whether to bring a public prosecution or not?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In the public interest then, Mr. Wernick, in preparing advice to cabinet, what work did you do to assess the threat to jobs? Did you look at the commitments made to the Government of Quebec not to move headquarters, as mentioned? Did you look at the current financial status of SNC-Lavalin? Did you in fact have an independent assessment of whether there would be any impact on jobs from a decision to proceed as the director of public prosecutions had decided to proceed?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thanks, and I'm going to disclose that I'm friends with the witness and I would be okay with a first name basis, if that's okay with you, Gerry.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I am surprised that in your evidence you don't make reference to two people who I think played a very big role in this drama, the Clerk of the Privy Council and the lawyer for SNC-Lavalin.
I'm going to ask how it is that you don't seem to recognize that the heaviest intimidation of our former attorney general came from one-on-one meetings with the Clerk of the Privy Council on September 19 and with that following phone call on December 19?
I will let you know I completely believe every word we heard from Jody Wilson-Raybould, without a doubt, so how is it that your evidence doesn't make reference to his actions, and did you know that he was going to phone her at home on December 19 and make veiled threats?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I would only say, Gerry, that I still think that your evidence could be consistent with Jody Wilson-Raybould's to the extent that you were massively distracted by other events out of town for four weeks and could have forgotten things, but I don't find contradictions to the extent of he-said-she-said.
I'll move on to Frank Iacobucci, who is described in the one-on-one meeting that the former attorney general had with the Clerk as “not a shrinking violet”. In the same period of time when there was a lot of pressure from SNC-Lavalin, Mr. Iacobucci—who of course is a distinguished former Supreme Court judge—was retained by the Prime Minister's office to handle the indigenous consultations on the Kinder Morgan matter.
Did that lead to you having conversations with SNC-Lavalin's lawyer on the subject of these threats that they might leave the country?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Can I ask, then, if you sought independent evidence of any evidence that there was a threat to jobs? This is all riding on the threat to jobs, but based on their 2018 audited financial statements, SNC-Lavalin currently has $15 billion in back orders. They have a very secure financial situation, with gross revenues of $10 billion.
Is there any evidence that jobs were actually going to be at stake by letting this go through the courts and letting the independent director of public prosecutions and the Attorney General do their jobs?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thanks for the latitude from my colleagues around the table.
If I were able to vote on this, I would ask that Jody Wilson-Raybould come back to respond to the evidence from Mr. Butts.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Gilakas'la. I want to ask something very clearly and then move to a different line of questioning from what others have been asking.
First of all, do you believe that, individually or collectively, the pressure to which you were subjected contravened the Criminal Code?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
There are a lot of power relationships we've been discussing. Most of the questions have gone to the power relationships around political actors, the chief of staff, the principal secretary to the Prime Minister and your role with two hats, judicial and cabinet hats.
However, there's a very prominent role being played by, I think, unusual actors in the civil service, where the power relationship is that the Clerk of the Privy Council is the boss of the deputy minister at the Department of Justice, and down through the chain, with you essentially acting as a bulwark to protect the independence of the director of public prosecutions.
I wanted to go back to your testimony, as there were a couple of places where you mentioned some things, and I wondered if they were concerning to you, and if so, why.
In chronological order, you mentioned that, on September 7, the deputy minister was able to have certain sections of the section 13 notice read aloud to her, but she did not want to receive or be given a copy of it. Was that in any way concerning to you? It's included in your testimony; I just wanted to pursue it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Going to September 17, you described the meeting you had requested of the Prime Minister on a different topic; it was supposed to be a one-on-one meeting, by which I infer that you did not expect the Clerk of the Privy Council to be present when you went to meet with the Prime Minister. Is that correct?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
In the context of the pressure that was being applied and the political concerns that were being raised, I'm going to put forward a positive statement and see if you agree.
The appropriate role for the Clerk of the Privy Council is to support an Attorney General who says, “You're on dangerous ground here; back off; this is political interference”. The job of the civil service is to remain non-partisan and give good advice. Did you think the Clerk of the Privy Council was behaving appropriately in applying political pressure to anyone, in this case?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Do you believe that the Clerk of the Privy Council appeared to be placing your deputy minister of justice under pressure that could have affected her confidence in her job security?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Okay.
Lastly, you said that you—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Okay. HÍS??E.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you.
I'm so grateful to you, Wayne. Thank you.
First of all, thank you. What a stellar panel of the thought leaders in Canada and the researchers on carbon pricing. On this conversation we're having, bearing in mind that you're not climate scientists and you handled some of those questions that weren't in your area, I'm very grateful to you for being here.
Some of the back and forth reminded me of a comment by a climate scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, who said recently—and I'm paraphrasing—that it's so strange that some people seem more afraid of taking action on climate change and are fearful of what that will cost them than they are of the failure to take action and the loss of human civilization. We have rather large risks that we're dealing with, and we're not dealing with them quite adequately.
I will parenthetically note to this committee, because I'm not a member of it, that maybe in camera you could consider linking by video conference with who I think is right now the leader globally in calling for climate action: 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden. Perhaps you can bring her in by video link.
I want to take the time I have, which I'm rapidly losing, to focus on what we can do beyond carbon pricing. Just to be really clear so you all know, I was the only opposition member of Parliament who voted for the whole budget in order to vote for carbon pricing, because it's that important. But it's way less than what's enough, because we now know that the Paris target, as we refer to it, of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, is wholly inadequate to hold us to 1.5°C, which we must do.
I want to direct this to you, David Sawyer, because I know you were the lead on a really big project called “Deep Decarbonization”, pathways to deep decarbonization, and did the Canadian piece. I wonder if you would share with us what your main findings were on the steps that Canada needs to take to really move to deep decarbonization.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Can I ask quickly where you would put efficiencies in the east-west electricity grid to deliver renewables?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Yes. I understand that you think it might be inadmissible.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
First, I'm only here because of the motion that was passed by this committee. I still object to the motion. I object to it restricting my rights at report stage by insisting I be at clause-by-clause. It's often very difficult for a sole member of a party to be at everything.
This evening, I'm sure you share that concern. We have the lighting of the menorah. I will be disappearing for a brief amount of time to be present at that.
I can't refer you to where it's present in the act, but we do need a definition of “gender-based violence”. Amending this was a recommendation from a number of witnesses before the committee, including the National Association of Women and the Law. The only thing I could suggest is that the definition of “family violence” within this bill opens up the possibility for a definition of “gender-based violence”. I submit that and hope that others will agree.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Of course, I accept your ruling.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
The amendment that the NDP has put forward at this point is quite similar to my second amendment. The chair hasn't decided that there's any reason the passage or defeat of Madame Sansoucy's amendment—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
That's right. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The long definition section that deals with all the definitions that relate to family violence and other forms of threats is amended by my proposal, which remains gender-neutral. I want to stress that.
What it does is import to the legislation the understanding that threats of violence can include threats made through cyberspace or on Facebook pages. A number of witnesses we've heard here have made the point that cyber-violence is actually one of the main forms of family violence now. To make that explicit, threats on Facebook, threats through texting, threats of sending intimate photos, and so on, are an important area of psychological violence and can lead people to suicide. It's a real threat, but it's much less personal than our conventional understanding of threats of violence, so I would urge the committee to consider this amendment favourably.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Iqra, with all due respect, I can't see how that makes sense. This is just for greater certainty and furthers the definition. This just ensures that it is included. It doesn't create confusion. It doesn't diminish any other interpretative, judicial or prosecutorial understandings of family violence. It merely makes explicit something that could be seen as somewhat in the virtual realm. It clarifies it, in a way, but it takes nothing away from the existing broad definition found within the act.
It is a positive and helpful addition. As you'll remember, of course, in the evidence, the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario was the specific witness that called for this change.
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