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View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the unanimous 38th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue”.
The reason this report is unanimous is that the members worked together in a fashion that would do credit to our Parliament and the functioning of committees. I particularly want to take this opportunity to single out each of the members of the committee for their contributions, particularly the member for Montarville for his experience as a CBSA officer and his quarterbacking skills; the member for Laurentides—Labelle, who speaks faster than I can think; the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore for his thoughtful interventions; the member for Brampton North for her practical insights; and the member for Toronto—Danforth for her really pointed questions.
I also want to recognize the vice-chair, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his really helpful steering of the committee; the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who asked very pointed questions from his police background; as well as the member for Yellowhead, who also asked very pointed questions due to his police background; and the member for Beloeil—Chambly, who was reasonable and helpful throughout the entire committee process. It is a real example of how, when committees work together, they will succeed and provide very helpful insight.
Finally, I want to draw members' attention to the first recommendation of the committee, which states, “The Committee recommends that, in the next Parliament, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security establish a sub-committee dedicated to studying the public safety and national security aspects of cybersecurity, with potential areas of inquiry including international approaches to critical infrastructure protection, impact of emerging technologies, and cyber supply chain security.” One of the things we really learned out of this study was that this field is moving so fast that the Parliament of Canada needs to stay on top of cybersecurity in all of its manifestations.
It has been a great honour for me to have chaired that committee and I would like to think the success of the committee is entirely due to the co-operation among the members. I look forward to the government's response tabled pursuant to Standing Order 109.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-98, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I also want to endorse the general comments on the way in which we are so well served by those officials who are clerks and analysts. In this instance, I also want to compliment and appreciate the co-operation of my vice-chairs, the members for Beloeil—Chambly and Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, and all of the members of the committee, along with the House leadership who have moved the bill in a very expeditious fashion because it is of great importance to the Canada Border Services Agency.
I also want to generally compliment the working of the committee. We have gone through something in the order of 13 major pieces of legislation, plus numerous reports, plus numerous private members' bills and we have had a collegial atmosphere that has served us all well. I am thankful to present the bill and this report.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this might be an appropriate moment to remind colleagues that it is an ancient right of citizens to present petitions to the Crown, notwithstanding what the member might think.
These petitioners are concerned about devices that have been planted in their brains without their knowledge and consent, affecting a variety of health issues. The petition is signed by hundreds of people from across Canada.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. member for his work as vice-chair on the committee. It has been a pleasure to work with him and the hon. member from the NDP. I would describe it as a high-functioning committee.
Given that there is a general consensus by all parties that Bill C-98 is an important bill and that there has not been a great deal of disagreement among the parties, and given that the committee members work well together, would the hon. member be prepared to deal with this bill in an expeditious manner at committee, and would he be prepared to let the motion for second reading come to a vote today so that it can be referred to the committee and avoid all of the angst that comes with time allocation motions?
It seems to me that in the House there is a fairly significant consensus, so why not let it come to a vote and be referred to the committee? Then I will solicit my hon. colleagues' co-operation in laying on additional meetings for dealing with Bill C-98.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, let me ask a blindingly obvious question. The Liberal government agrees with the bill. The official opposition agrees with the bill, and the NDP agrees with the bill.
Why, therefore, are we not simply allowing debate to collapse rather than there being an almost express invitation to have time allocation? It seems that the time would be much better used by voting to send the bill to committee. This is a good committee. It works hard,. It is open to amendments. It listens to witnesses. There is good co-operation, particularly from her NDP colleague from Beloeil—Chambly. It is an obvious case where the committee could do its work, do it expeditiously, and move this bill to the next stage, which is back to the House after committee stage. Why not proceed and let us get on to other business?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we have just seen a classic example of people not being able to get out of their partisan lanes.
We now know that the Liberals, the Conservatives, the NDP and the Green Party agree that Bill C-98 is a good bill and that it should move forward. However, what are we going to do? We are going to spend the rest of today, and possibly into the next sitting of the House, talking about a bill that we all agree is a good bill.
Every day that we talk about it here is a day we cannot talk about it in committee, which means that we cannot hear witnesses on the very issues the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands raised. We cannot deal with the issues the previous speaker raised, and we cannot bring in witnesses who have useful things to say about the operation of this bill.
This is a classic example of some dysfunctionality in this place at a level that is really quite distressing. Everyone agrees that this is a bill that needs to be passed. This is a bill that needs to hear witnesses. It is going before a committee that I have the great honour of chairing and that functions at a very high level. The member for Beloeil—Chambly is a very helpful and co-operative member, as is the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. Both are vice-chairs of the committee who help with getting legislation through. I daresay that there is not a great deal of distance between the government's position and the opposition parties' positions. The situation continues to evolve.
As the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said, this sounds like an egregious set of facts for which there is no oversight body. That is why we are here. It is to get an oversight body put in place for the CBSA.
The CBSA apparently interacts with between 93 million and 96 million people on an annual basis. That is about three times the population of Canada on an annual basis. Some are citizen interactions, some are permanent resident interactions, some are visitor interactions and some are refugee claim interactions. I daresay that with 93 million to 96 million interactions on an annual basis, not every one will go well. That is something we are trying to correct.
There is something in the order of 117 land border crossings, some of which are fully staffed, such as at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport or wherever, but others are simply a stake in the ground. There are about 1,000 locations across this long border over four time zones. The CBSA facilitates the efficient flow of people and goods, and it administers something in the order of 90 acts and regulations. It administers some of those acts and regulations on behalf of other levels of government.
In addition to having 93 million to 96 million interactions on an annual basis, the CBSA collects about $32 billion in taxes, levies and duties over the course of the year.
This is an enormous organization. It has enormous numbers of interactions with people, services and goods, and I dare say, not every one of them goes the way it should, as much as we would like to say otherwise. Hence the bill before us as we speak.
I heard the other speaker say that we have not had enough consultation, and the speaker before that said that all the government does is consultation. They cannot have it both ways. Either there is too much consultation or there is too little consultation.
All I know is that we have very little legislative runway left. We are speaking on a Friday afternoon about a bill that we all agree on, and by speaking on it, we are in fact preventing the bill from proceeding to committee, where it could be dealt with. I would be absolutely delighted to give up my time in order to let debate collapse and allow us to go to the vote, but there does not seem to be a huge amount of enthusiasm. Therefore, regrettably, members are going to have to listen to me talk for the next 15 minutes about a bill that we all agree on.
The unusual part of the situation in which we find ourselves is that unlike the case with the RCMP, unlike CSIS, unlike various other security services, there is no actual oversight body. That is a clear gap in the legislation.
Bill C-59, which I had the honour of shepherding through the committee, is an extraordinarily complicated piece of legislation.
I know, Mr. Speaker, that you love flow charts and appreciate the way in which legislation proceeds, and I commend you. The flow chart produced by Professor Forcese on Bill C-59 shows that Bill C-59 is extremely complicated in making sure that there are enough supervisory bodies for the various functions of CSIS, the RCMP, CSE, etc., spread over quite a number of agencies. There are at least three ministries responsible, those being defence, public safety and global affairs. It is an extraordinarily complicated piece of legislation. We anticipate and hope that it will return from the Senate and receive further debate here—though hopefully not too much—because it is really a revamping of the security architecture of our nation.
One of the gaps, as has been identified by other speakers, is the absence of an oversight body with respect to the activities of the Canada Border Services Agency. I expect to have an interaction with the Canada Border Services Agency in about two hours. Many of my colleagues will similarly be having interactions with the Canada Services Border Agency within a very short period of time, and I am rather hoping that my interaction and all of their interactions will go well, as I dare say they probably will.
The committee is now in place, and I want to talk about one further piece of legislation that has passed and is functioning, Bill C-22, which established the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. In addition to its reporting function to the Prime Minister, there is a reporting function to the public safety committee. I know you, Mr. Speaker, were present as the chair of that committee presented his first report to the public safety committee. I have to say that while listening to the interactions with the chair of that committee, I felt that the questions by the members of the public safety committee were of quite high calibre and gave very pointed and useful insight into the work of that committee.
Bill C-98 fills a gap. It is being strengthened and renamed the public complaints and review commission, or the PCRC, and will have, in effect, a joint responsibility for both the RCMP and the CBSA. If the PCRC were to receive a complaint from the public, it would notify the CBSA, which would undertake an initial investigation. I dare say that this would resolve a great percentage of the complaints the public may have. In fact, 90% of RCMP complaints are resolved in this way.
The PCRC would also be able to conduct its own investigation of a complaint if its chairperson was of the opinion that it would be in the public interest to do so. In those cases, the CBSA would not start an investigation into the complaint.
Therefore, in effect, there is an ability on the part of the CBSA to say it is not going to refer it to mediation or some further investigation, but to simply assume the jurisdiction and move forward with it. To make that request, the complaint would have to be made within 60 days of receiving notice from the CBSA about the outcome of the complaint. The idea here is that the complaint does not just languish.
When the PCRC receives a request for a review of a CBSA complaint decision, the commission would review the complaint and all relevant information and share its conclusions regarding the CBSA's initial decision. It could conclude that the CBSA's decision was appropriate, it could ask the CBSA to do a further investigation or it could assume the jurisdiction and investigate the complaint itself.
The commission can also hold public hearings as part of its work. At the conclusion of the PCRC investigation, the review body would be able to report on its findings and make recommendations as it sees fit, and the CBSA would be required to provide a response in writing to the PCRC's findings and recommendations.
In addition to its complaints function, the PCRC would be able to review, on its own initiative or at the request of the minister, any activity of the CBSA, except for national security matters. I think that is an important thing to take note of, because we do not want national security matters dealt with in an open and public forum, if at all possible. Then it would be reviewed by the national Security Intelligence Review Committee, under Bill C-59, which hopefully by then will be passed and brought into force.
PCRC reports would include findings and recommendations on the adequacy, appropriateness, sufficiency or clarity of the CBSA policies, procedures and guidelines, the CBSA's compliance with the law and ministerial directions, and the reasonableness and necessity of the CBSA's use of its power. On that latter point, the members previously have indicated instances where one would reasonably question the use, reasonableness and necessity of the CBSA's interactions with members of the public. Hopefully, with the passage of this bill and the setting up of the PCRC, those complaints would be adjudicated in a fashion that is satisfactory to both the service and members of the public.
With respect to both its complaint and review functions, the PCRC would have the power to summon and enforce the appearance of persons before it and compel them to give oral or written evidence under oath. It would have the power to administer oaths and to receive and accept oral and written evidence, whether or not the evidence would be admissible in a court of law. That provides a certain level of flexibility. As this is not a criminal case, we are not asking for a standard of beyond reasonable doubt; rather, by passing this legislation and giving these authorities, we are trying to create an environment in which issues can actually be resolved.
It would also have the power to examine any records and make any inquiries that it considers necessary. However, beyond its review and complaint functions, Bill C-98 would also create an obligation on the CBSA to notify local police and the PCRC of any serious incident involving CBSA officers or employees. That includes giving the PCRC the responsibility to track and publicly report on serious incidents, such as death, serious injury or Criminal Code violations involving the CBSA. Hopefully, we could reasonably anticipate a reduction in these incidents by virtue of just the very existence of this entity because, as has reasonably been said by speakers previously, there is nowhere to go when one has a complaint with the CBSA.
Operationally, the bill is worded in such a way as to give the PCRC the flexibility to organize its internal structure as it sees fit, and to carry out its mandate under both the CBSA Act and the RCMP Act. The PCRC could designate members of its staff as belonging either to the RCMP unit or the CBSA unit. Common services, such as corporate support, could still be shared between both units. There are several obvious benefits that can be generated by operating in this fashion. For example, expertise could be shared between the RCMP and the CBSA. Hopefully, by doing so, the agency would be strengthened. Clearly identifying which staff members are responsible would also help with the management of information.
In addition, a vice-chair and chair will be appointed to the PCRC, which would be mandatory. It would ensure that there will always be two individuals at the top who are capable of exercising decision-making powers.
Under Bill C-98, the PCRC would establish and publish an annual report covering each of its business lines, the CBSA and the RCMP, and the resources devoted to each. The report would summarize their operations throughout the year, such as the number and types of complaints and any review activities, and would provide information on the number, type and outcomes of serious incidents. I am hopeful that this will be a readily accessible report, transparent to all, so that those who follow these issues can operate from the same set of facts.
The annual report would be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Presumably, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security would be able to review that report, call witnesses and examine the functionality of the entity.
The new public complaints and review commission proposed under Bill C-98 would close a significant gap in Canada's public safety accountability regime.
As I said earlier, the number of interactions we have with Canadians, visitors, landed folks, refugee claimants and others is quite significant, because Canada is open to receiving not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, but millions of people crossing the border on an annual basis. The legislation is long overdue.
I would urge my colleagues to get out of their partisan lanes and let the bill move to committee. The complaint seems to be that the bill is last minute and will therefore never see royal assent. Well, the bill will certainly never see royal assent if the chamber holds it up. All parties are responsible for House management, and I would urge all party representatives who are responsible for House management to let the bill move to committee sooner rather than later.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. Service standards have not always been met, and this is true throughout a variety of agencies across all governments. The member's representative on the committee, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, should, as his number one concern, raise that very issue.
I would like to answer the question for the member directly, but I cannot, for the simple reason that we have not heard from witnesses, the officials, and, in particular from the minister, on that point.
Again, my core suggestion is to move the bill out of the House and into the committee.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as I have listened to several hours of speeches thus far, there have been significant concerns raised by the hon. member, such as the concern raised previously about time standards and service standards.
Much of the debate, however, has been taken up with how ineffectual or whatever either the government or the opposition parties are. There has been a lot of partisan stuff, back and forth. What I regret about this place is that the time allocated for debate does not actually result in debate about significant concerns to be raised about this bill itself. Rather, we spend endless amounts of time talking about how bad the other parties are.
In this particular instance, I would urge my colleague that if there are concerns that his very able representative has, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, those are best dealt with at committee.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right; I have been here a long time. For some bizarre reason the people of Scarborough—Guildwood keep sending me back here. I am rather hoping that they will do it one more time.
My comments are directed to the issue of House management, and House management is an all-party function. When we take up endless amounts of time over what is perceived to be party positioning or party advantage, we actually waste House time. Possibly one of the reasons that the number of bills passed is not up to the previous Harper standards is that the opposition has spent a lot of time talking about partisan issues rather than getting to the issue.
The issue itself about the unions is a legitimate point. I expect that the unions will be before the committee, if not as the number one witnesses, then certainly as the number two witnesses. I cannot really comment on whether they were consulted because this is not the forum in which to address that issue. The forum to address that issue is at committee itself. If the hon. member wishes to send me, as chair of the committee, the name, address and location of the union people whom he thinks need to be heard from, I am more than happy to have them come as witnesses.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have absolute confidence in the hon. member's contribution to the flow of legislation through the House.
We are getting to the end of a Parliament and frankly, we should be looking in the mirror. There are times that this place is thoroughly dysfunctional. It is even dysfunctional on things that we agree on, which is really quite sad.
Moses came down with the Ten Commandments. I am sure that we could have at least four weeks' worth of debate, whether it should be 10 commandments, or 20, or two, for no particular advantage to the Canadian people.
I wish that the bill would come to our committee sooner rather than later. I would urge hon. colleagues over the course of this afternoon to reflect on the fact that if we are to have any chance of seeing Bill C-98 receive royal assent, the bill needs to move along and it needs to move along today.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, last week, the world lost a great Canadian, Jean Vanier.
Born to privilege, this erudite intellectual and social visionary pursued the simple idea that we are all made in the image of God, that we have “unique value”, especially those among us who have been discarded by society. He lived what he believed.
The origins of the worldwide l'Arche movement were in a modest home with two intellectually challenged adults. Now there are 147 communities around the world, 31 of which are in Canada.
Tens of thousands of Canadians have spent time in a l'Arche community, sometimes called “a university for the heart”, among those who society has treated as discards and have learned lessons that have influenced their life paths in profound ways.
Jean Vanier used his formidable gifts to follow the teachings of Jesus. His life was a road less travelled, his influence, both temporal and eternal. It was a life well lived.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in my capacity as the chair of the public safety and national security committee.
The hon. member for Lakeland made an intervention last week. Regrettably, I had no notice of the intervention, and I would have preferred to bring my point of intervention after hers, but it is what it is. The hon. member was concerned about the pace at which Motion No. 167 was proceeding through the committee. I want to offer some observations with respect to that particular motion.
It was, in fact, referred to the committee on May 30, 2018, which is roughly a year ago. I would just note that the language of the motion was that it should be “instructed” to undertake, which I would note is not an obligation to undertake. Nevertheless, the committee did hear from the hon. member fairly shortly thereafter, on June 12, as she presented her concerns on Motion No. 167.
Subsequent meetings were held on October 16, October 18, October 23 and October 30. Then, through November and December, the committee was seized with other committee business, namely supplementary estimates, Bill C-83 and a variety of other things. This is an extraordinarily busy committee with private members' bills, private members' motions, supplementary estimates, main estimates and government business.
The first consideration of a draft report occurred on December 4, and then subsequently on March 20. After hearing all of the witnesses and the intervention by the hon. member for Lakeland, receiving four briefs, hearing 19 witnesses and having seven meetings, there is significant disagreement in the committee as to what the report should say, not only the body of the report in recitation of the testimony but also the recommendations. I would be remiss if I did not note that there is significant disagreement in the committee.
In addition to all of the above, I would just note, as you, Mr. Speaker, are considering the hon. member's intervention that, one, the referral is not a mandatory referral, and if the Speaker does do an intervention, I would like that to be taken into consideration; two, this is a very busy committee; three, there is very significant disagreement in the committee as to the way forward; and four, there is consequence to the continuous disruptive nature of House business. Just this motion alone takes all committees off their business, and of course, like all of the other committees, we have suffered the consequence of all these motions.
As due consideration is given to the motion by the hon. member for Lakeland, I would ask that those things be taken into consideration as well.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have my Kleenex at the ready, in case I cannot get through this. I want to continue the theme that the hon. member has spoken about, which is that this is a God moment. Seldom do we hear a speech in this chamber that is filled with such honesty, such directness and such frankness. There was such candour that I actually looked up the definition of “candour” in the dictionary while he was speaking. It said “he spoke with a degree of candour unusual in political life”.
Indeed, the hon. member's speech was unusual in the political life of us all, because we do not speak with candour, as we should. That is the tension of people of faith who work in this chamber. The priorities and beliefs of faith do not always line up with the needs and desires of being a practising politician. I know that the hon. member has faced that tension. I know that many of us in this chamber face that tension. I would say that the hon. member has navigated that tension about as well as any of us, because his candour in his admission of his faith in Jesus Christ is not something we hear every day in this chamber. In some circles, frankly, it is frowned upon.
The hon. member has, from time to time, joined us all at the prayer breakfast. It is probably the one hour in the entire week when we are no longer Liberals, no longer Conservatives, no longer NDP; we are just members of a faith community. Then as members of a faith community, we actually pray for each other. I know the hon. member has been a subject of our prayers in the last while, as have others, to be frank.
I would ask the hon. member how he has navigated that tension, but I would also ask him whether he has sung with his singing colleagues the song with the lyric “thou hast taught me to say...it is well with my soul”?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association respecting its visit to London.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, today is a good day for corporate social responsibility in Canada. In the 10 years since the introduction and ultimate defeat of Bill C-300, the responsible mining bill, Canada has evolved from a strong resistance to naming an ombudsman for the Canadian office of responsible enterprise. This office will help support Canadian companies around the world to operate in accordance with international human rights standards.
Could the Minister of International Trade update the House on the appointment of the ombudsperson and the establishment of her mandate?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, thank you for that generous five minutes.
I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-83. I join this debate in two capacities: as an interested member of Parliament and as the chair of the public safety committee, which reviewed the bill, heard the witnesses and put forward quite a number of amendments to the original bill, which in some respects reflects the interest in the bill and how the government was open to amending the bill at committee.
The bill would replace the existing administrative segregation system with structured intervention units. The new SIUs would ensure a separation from the general prison population, which is sometimes necessary for security reasons. Even those witnesses who had actually been segregated prisoners emphasized the need for some mechanism by which a prisoner is separated from the general population. This, however, does not mean separation from rehabilitative programs, mental health care and other interventions.
If members think that this is just an academic exercise, I direct their attention to the front page of The Globe and Mail this morning. It read:
Ontario will not appeal a judge’s decision to abandon a charge of first-degree murder against Adam Capay, the 26-year-old from Lac Seul First Nation who spent more than 1,600 days in solitary confinement before a public furor over his plight forced officials to send him to a secure hospital.
The very issue that we are debating today is on the front page of The Globe and Mail. The article continued:
In deciding against an appeal, the province is consenting to a scathing ruling from Justice John Fregeau that set Mr. Capay free last month and faulted the ministry of corrections for allowing a term of solitary that was "prolonged, egregious and intolerable.”
In particular, he found that the jail’s procedure for reviewing Mr. Capay’s segregation was “pro forma, perfunctory and meaningless”....
Further on, there is some disaggregation of the errors and omissions:
At the time, nothing was controversial about the initial decision to lock him in solitary confinement. Correctional officers have authority to segregate a prisoner if they believe he could harm himself or others. On average, 472 provincial inmates faced segregation every day in 2012.
But in the Capay case, the institution started racking up serious errors and omissions that led directly to his release without trial.
The Supreme Court long ago ruled that people keep some residual rights and liberties after the courts send them to prison. If those residual rights are further reduced by being placed in segregation, the state must hold regular review hearings of the decision.
In Ontario, the law requires segregation review hearings to be held at the institutional level....
The article goes on to discuss Mr. Capay's case, but also the larger issue and that is the larger issue that we are facing today.
As I said earlier, when we heard testimony from various witnesses, those who actually had been subject to segregation and those who were supporting those who had been subject to segregation all argued for the need for segregation. The bill fits with the broader approach to corrections, which is based on the fact that public safety is best served by effective rehabilitation and treatment.
Naturally, there are some inmates who will never be granted any form of conditional release by the Parole Board. They are mostly people serving life sentences who will never progress to the point where the risk they pose to the outside can be managed outside of a correctional institution.
I see that my all too generous five minutes are now up and I will be delighted to resume after question period.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will resume where I left off, which has to do with the utility of committees. I noticed that was a theme of question period, that committees are assigned tasks and committees doing their work make significant differences. Therefore, I want to go over a number of the significant differences the committee made with respect to the original Bill C-83 and the Bill C-83 that is before us as amended by the committee. We listened to witnesses and suggested changes to the government, and in many instances the government listened to the committee and made those changes.
The bill now includes a strengthened health care review system. If the warden disagrees with a recommendation from a health care provider to move inmates in or out of SIU or to alter their conditions of confinement, the committee or senior CSC personnel, external to the institution, would review the matter. That was a Liberal amendment.
The Conservatives contributed an amendment, which said that a new provision would allow CSC staff to recommend to a health care professional that an inmate be assessed under certain conditions, such as self-harm, emotional distress, adverse drug reaction, etc.
The NDP-Green Party amendment reinserted the principle that CSC and the parole board impose the “least restrictive” measures, consistent with security. The language existed for 20 years until the previous government changed it to “necessary and proportionate”. Least restrictive is back in, thanks to the amendments provided by the NDP and Green Party.
The NDP wanted a meaningful four hours of face time. Therefore, when CSC records the fact that an inmate did not get his or her four hours out, it would now have to include in the report the reasons for refusal.
About 14 or 15 different amendments were provided by all parties. Those amendments strengthen the bill and recommend the bill to the House.
The bill would enshrine in law the principle that medical professionals in CSC must operate independently of correctional authorities. It would also require CSC to consider systemic and background factors when making decisions that would impact indigenous people in federal custody.
None of this is a panacea. Even once the bill passes and the considerable resources to implement it are put in place, there will remain a lot of work to do.
One of the amendments I did not mention was that we insisted on a five-year review. Therefore, this is an open bill. It is not a panacea, but it is to be recommended. The effective rehabilitation and safe integration of people who have broken the law is essential for public safety. That is why I support the legislation and commend it to hon. colleagues.
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Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I have the delight of chairing what I regard as an excellent committee. The members work well together. The partisanship occasionally flares up, but it is by and large minimal.
With respect to this bill, there was some divergence of opinion regarding what amendments should and should not be included. However, I note that of the 14 or 15 amendments, six were from opposition parties.
I recommend this attitude of openness in amending bills to all ministers, frankly. The committees can do useful work if they are allowed to do it. Indeed, if members on the committees assert themselves in a collective fashion, the legislation going into committee can be improved before leaving committee.
As I said, this is not the end of our addressing solitary confinement. There are more things to be done. This is not a panacea bill, but it is a bill to be recommended to members.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I partially agree with my hon. colleague in that there was considerable criticism of the original bill presented to the committee. However, that is the point of a committee. Members listen to testimony and suggest amendments. These amendments are before the House as we speak. There are 14 amendments, six of which are from opposition parties. If that is not appropriate committee work, I do not know what is.
The other gun to the head, so to speak, is that there are two outstanding lawsuits. If we do not move this legislation forward, there will be no solitary confinement units or segregation units in prison. That would be a shame.
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Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I request unanimous consent for the following motion: Recognizing that 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka and honouring the tens of thousands of lives lost and countless victims displaced during this 26-year war; and recognizing further that the Government of Sri Lanka has made insufficient progress in implementing its commitments on reconciliation, accountability and transitional justice and that frustrations persist among those seeking to heal the wounds of all those who have suffered; therefore, the House of Commons calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to fully implement its obligations under the Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 and to set a clear timeline bound strategy for ensuring a process of accountability that has the trust and confidence of the victims, including the families of those who have disappeared.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 30th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to its report.
Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and particularly to compliment the public safety committee, which has worked admirably throughout this entire year.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-423, An Act respecting the fight against certain forms of modern slavery through the imposition of certain measures and amending the Customs Tariff.
He said: Mr. Speaker, in the arc of Judeo-Christian history, the seminal event is the enslavement of the Israelites by the Egyptians, and the subsequent flight to freedom. That is embedded in the theology and psyche of Jews and Christians alike.
The gospel of Jesus talks about freedom throughout. Of course, unfortunately, the lineup of theology and practice does not always occur. Regrettably, the entire British Empire was built upon the notion of slavery, and its economic underpinnings were slavery.
It took possibly the most significant member of Parliament in the history of Westminster Parliament, namely William Wilberforce, to destroy the underpinnings of the British Empire by destroying slavery.
Unfortunately, slavery is still here. In fact, members will be shocked to know that there are more people enslaved now than there ever were at the height of the Atlantic slave trade.
This bill gives an opportunity for consumers to know whether, in fact, anywhere along the supply chain of the product they are buying or the service they are using, slave or forced labour conditions applied.
I am anticipating that this bill will receive both pan-Canadian support and cross-party support. It is my honour to introduce this bill and my hope that it moves through the process quickly.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 29th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security regarding Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 28th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security concerning Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back, under very constrained timelines, with extensive amendments.
I want to take this opportunity to thank staff, officials and members for their extensive co-operation in presenting this report to the House today.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in the debate. At times we do not recognize our blessings in our country for the way things are unfolding. I would like to attribute it all to the government's wisdom, knowledge and political acumen. That is, of course, a critical point. Nevertheless, as a nation, we do have many blessings and many things to be thankful for, and we do not recognize some of the things for which we should be thankful.
For the first part of my speech, I will focus on the issues of trade. The government has signed three trade deals in the past while, the most recent being the CPTPP, an acronym that is challenging at the best of times. It includes 16 countries, six of which are Asian countries. We only had one previous trade deal with an Asian country, so it is like getting six new trade deals simultaneously. It reduces our dependence on one market. We have seen what our dependence on one market can create for us, which is an unhealthy dependency. The last Conservative questioner talked about the gap between Alberta crude and other oils, and we do sell it at a significant discount because we are dependent entirely on one market for that product.
This is a good deal, and I am glad to see that we ratified it and moved it forward. Ironically, the U.S. is on the outside looking in. We have 16 nations that are now prepared to trade with each other on a fair trade basis, and it is a better situation for us all. In fact, if we are to pursue a trade deal with China, it is probably better that we pursue a trade deal with this collective rather than on an individual basis. There is significance to this trade deal, which has yet to play out.
The second deal was the CETA, which was the European deal. I will give credit where credit is due. The previous government did a lot of the heavy lifting with respect to that deal. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs completed the deal, and it is now in place. Access is something in the order of about 300 million to 400 million people in 20 plus countries. This is, again, a tremendous opportunity for us to diversify our market.
The third deal is the one that got all of the ink, namely, the USMCA. The USMCA deal is always going to be a critical deal for us because of our relationship with the Americans on the North American continent.
If there is a lesson to be learned out of all of these trade deals, it is that we need to lessen our dependence on one market and get into other markets. Hopefully, the combination of these deals will get us into other markets, at least a billion people, possibly as many as two billion people, and in the order of 40 plus countries.
One plus one plus one actually makes more than three, because the collective of being able to ship into and out of North America to Europe and the Pacific nations is of enormous benefit to those businesses that operate out of Canada.
Let me turn now to the state of the economy. As I indicated earlier, we are blessed. There have been some very prescient moves made by the Government of Canada, which have paid off. We have just signed the largest private deal in the history of Canada, the $40-billion LNG deal. That was done in a way that recognized a lot of the claims by indigenous nations along the length of the pipeline and at the terminus. That is, ultimately, a really good opportunity for western Canada.
On the monetary side of things, inflation is largely under control. That is entirely due to the stewardship of the Bank of Canada. Interest rates are creeping up, which creates some situations where debt, particularly private debt, is at risk, but by and large, the monetary side of things is quite good.
On the fiscal side of things, we have a fairly robust economy, the top-performing economy in the G7. We have, as I said, the largest private deal ever in Canada in the history of private business. We have historically low unemployment rates. At this point, the economy has created something in the order of 500,000 new jobs in the last three years.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is in a steady state. I, like others, would be keen to see debt reduction, but at the same time, I am concerned about the major issue of growing income inequality. In some respects, the government has rightly attempted to address the issue of growing inequality among Canadians. I think we can all agree that monetary or economic gaps among citizens are to be reduced in as many instances as possible. We started off with the middle-class tax cut, which was a significant reduction in income tax for middle-class Canadians, and in a very courageous political move, we increased the rate for the top 1% of tax filers.
Small business rates have been reduced from 11% down to 9%.
One of the most significant social initiatives ever taken by any government was the Canada child benefit, where nine out of 10 families with children will benefit. Those who need it most get the most. For my riding of Scarborough—Guildwood, which I have the honour to represent, that means $100 million a year. A lot of kids are growing up in Scarborough—Guildwood and there are also a lot of poor families in Scarborough—Guildwood. The combination of the two means that benefit is of real significance to those families.
That means there is money ending up where we want it to end up, mainly in the hands of people who need it. That money will immediately be returned to the economy in the form of food and clothing purchases, transportation, etc. It gets circulated back as opposed to giving tax breaks to those who possibly do not need them. Those monies generally go into savings. While not exclusively dead money, it is money that is “languid” as opposed to money going into the CCB benefit, which is active. This is all to reduce income inequality in Canada.
Those who want to live the American dream should move to Canada, because the reality is that people move out of the lower quartile of wherever they were born at twice the rate than if they were American. That is significant because it shrinks income inequality among Canadians and when we shrink income inequality among Canadians, we all benefit.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member asked a legitimate question. Alberta is a resource-based economy and lives and dies on its resources. Ten years ago, Alberta was king of the hill and doing very well, because its resources were in demand. Regrettably, we have not been able to diversify the market, hence the TMX purchase and the attempt to bring some other market into play for the resources that Alberta wishes to sell.
I agree with the member that we should not be selling at a discount. As long as Alberta is selling at a discount and does not have access to other markets, I think that times will more difficult, unnecessarily, for Albertans.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, the hon. member asked a question in the context of a government that has done more on the feminist concerns than pretty well any government in history, and that includes pay equity. It also includes moving status of women to a department.
These are issues that have been historical injustices. The government has moved massively in redressing these historical injustices, and I hope that in a very short period of time, the hon. member will not need to ask a question such as that.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I always appreciate the comments of my hon. colleague, but it seems to be settled at this point that Alberta crude sells at a discount. It does cost more to upgrade it. I agree with that. It does cost more to ship it. I agree with that. However, we are dependent on one market. That is where we sell 98%, 99% of the crude. When we are dependent on one market, we know we are going to be in a vulnerable position when it comes to sale.
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