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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 2477--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the Investments to Combat the Criminal Use of Firearms (ICCUF): (a) what has been the total cumulative federal actual spending on ICCUF since its inception; (b) what are the total number of firearm prosecutions initiated; and (c) what are the total number of successful firearm prosecutions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2480--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the total number of serving RCMP officers in each province for each year since 2001: (a) how many were charged with a criminal offence that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (b) how many were convicted of these crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (c) of those charged with these crimes, how many remained on active duty, broken down by crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; and (d) how many lost their jobs as a result of these criminal charges that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2485--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to corrections to government websites since January 1, 2016: (a) how many corrections have been made to erroneous, incorrect, or false information placed on government websites; and (b) what are the details of each correction, including the (i) website address, (ii) information which had to be corrected, (iii) corrected information?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2486--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to Access to Information Requests received since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many requests required extensions in excess of (i) 180 days, (ii) one year, (iii) two years; (b) in how many cases was the information released in the time period noted in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; (c) in how many cases did the government fail to provide the documents in the time period set out in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; and (d) what is the longest extension for requests currently being processed, broken down by each department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2487--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
With regard to concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about information shared on Facebook: (a) what specific safeguards does each department and agency have in place to ensure that information individuals share with government entities on Facebook is not exploited; (b) does any government department or agency collect information obtained through Facebook, including on interactions individuals have with the government on Facebook and, if so, what are the details, including (i) type of information collected, (ii) number of individuals who have had information collected since January 1, 2016; and (c) what specific action, if any, has each department or agency taken to safeguard information since the concerns were raised by the Commissioner?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2488--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to the establishment of the Canadian Drug Agency proposed in Budget 2019: (a) where is the Canadian Drug Agency, or the transition office set up to create the Agency, located; (b) will the Agency be a stand-alone Agency or a division of Health Canada; (c) how many employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to the Agency or the establishment of the Agency; (d) which government official is responsible for overseeing the creation of the Agency; and (e) what are the details of all consultations the government has conducted in relation to the Agency, including (i) name of organization, individual, or provincial government consulted, (ii) date, (iii) type of consultation, (iv) results of consultation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2489--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministers between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2490--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministerial exempt staff members between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) recipient, (iv) department’s internal tracking number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2491--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the government’s sale of assets over $1,000 since January 1, 2016: (a) what were the assets sold, specifying (i) the asset sale price, (ii) the name of the purchaser, (iii) whether multiple bids were received, (iv) for what amount the asset was purchased by the government, (v) the reason for the sale; (b) was a third party used for the sale and, if so, (i) what is the name of the third party, (ii) was this contract tendered or not; (c) in the case where a third party was used, how much was the third party paid for their services; (d) for the government’s sale of stocks, (i) how much of the stock was sold, (ii) how much does the government still hold; (e) for sale of privately held companies in which the government held a position, (i) does the government still hold a position in the company, (ii) did the government have a market assessment done before the sale and, if so, by whom, (iii) what was the difference in the amount the government projected from the sale and the actual amount received; (f) how much income did the asset bring in during the year prior to its sale; and (g) how much was spent marketing the sale of each asset?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2492--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2016-17, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis; and (e) what were the findings of each analysis in (b) and (d), broken down by expenditure?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2493--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to government advertising since January 1, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on billboards, advertising and other information campaigns, broken down by (i) date released, (ii) cost, (iii) topic, (iv) whether any analysis of the effectiveness of the advertising campaign was carried out and, if so, the details of that analysis, (v) medium, including publication or media outlet and type of media used, (vi) purpose, (vii) duration of campaign (including those that are ongoing), (viii) targeted audience, (ix) estimated audience; and (b) what are the details of all records of related correspondence regarding the aforementioned billboards, advertising and other information campaigns broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2494--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to penitentiary farms, and agriculture and agri-food employment operations of CORCAN: (a) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions presently engaged, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (b) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions planned to engage in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (c) are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions engaged, or will they be engaged, in agriculture and agri-food employment operations, at any time, off of Correctional Service of Canada premises and, if so, to what extent, at what locations, by whom are those locations managed, in what numbers, and for what purposes, listed by location; (d) does Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any contracts or relationships, with respect to labour provided through agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by contract or relationship; (e) does the Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any supply agreements, with respect to products generated by agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by agreement; (f) of the $4.3 million allocated over five years in Budget 2018 for agriculture and agri-food employment operations at penitentiary farms, how much has been spent, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year; and (g) what funds have been spent from Correctional Service of Canada's capital budget on infrastructure, equipment, and improvements to penitentiary farm and agriculture and agri-food employment facilities at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year since 2015?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2495--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to Parks Canada water level management: (a) on the last occasion in June, July, or August 2018, for which data is available when a 12 inch stop log was removed from the Bobs Lake Dam, (i) what was the maximum water level increase (in centimetres) measured at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively, (ii) what was the period of time before the maximum water level increase was registered at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively; (b) what are the water levels on Christie Lake, in 5 centimetre increments, from 154.5 metres to 156 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL) in relation to the rates of water flow, in cubic meters per second (CMPS), leaving Christie Lake at Jordan’s Bridge (at the east end of Christie lake); (c) what are the water flow rates on Christie Lake, in Cubic Metres per Second, leaving the Bobs Lake dam, less the out flow rates at Jordan’s Bridge, in 0.5 CMPS increments, in relation to the rate of water level rise, expressed in Millimetres per Hour; (d) how will the new Bobs Lake Dam be managed to mitigate upstream and downstream flooding and the potential resultant environmental and property damage; (e) what have been the daily water levels, from January 1, 2000 to the present date, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam, (iv) Lower Rideau Lake; (f) what have been the daily maximum water flow rates, in cubic meters per second, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2496--
Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:
With regard to government contracts awarded to IBM since January 1, 2016: (a) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to IBM; (b) what are the descriptions of these contracts; (c) what are the dollar amounts for these contracts; and (d) what are the dates and duration of each contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2497--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the government’s claim that it’s Senator selection process is “non-partisan”: how does it reconcile this claim with the Globe and Mail story which stated that “The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledges that it uses a partisan database called Liberalist to conduct background checks on prospective senators before appointing them to sit as independents”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2498--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to partnerships signed between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Huawei since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each partnership including (i) date signed, (ii) duration of partnership, (iii) terms, (iv) amount of federal financial contribution; and (b) does the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor approve of these partnerships?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2499--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the approximately 103,000 non-citizens who were found to be on the National Register of Electors illegally: (a) how many voted in the 42nd General Election, held in 2015; (b) how many voted in each of the 338 electoral districts in the 42nd General Election; (c) how many voted in any federal by-election held since October 20, 2015; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by each riding where a by-election has been held?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2500--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
With regard to government commitments and the 271 commitments which, according to the Mandate Tracker, the current government has failed to complete as of May 3, 2019: (a) what is the government’s excuse or rationale for not accomplishing each of the 271 commitments not listed as completed or met, broken down by individual commitment; and (b) of the 271 commitments which have not been completed, which ones does the government anticipate completing prior to October 2019?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2501--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With respect to the West Block of Parliament: (a) is West Block subject to the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, is the building subject to regular fire safety inspections, and on what dates have fire safety inspections taken place since January 2017; (b) is West Block subject to any other form of fire or safety codes or acts and, if so, what are those codes or acts, and what is the extent to which West Block is subject to each; (c) does West Block, as a whole, comply with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified; (d) is each space within West Block in compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified, broken down by room or space, as applicable; (e) has each of West Block’s stairwells and exits been inspected for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what were the details of instances where concerns, instructions, or conditions were expressed or imposed for compliance purposes; (f) is West Block, or any space or part thereof, subject to or in receipt of any exemptions or waivers to the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what are the details for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the exemption or waiver, the authorizing section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act, the reason for the exemption or waiver, the date of application for the exemption or waiver, the date the exemption or waiver was granted, by whom the exemption or waiver was granted, any instructions or conditions that accompanied the exemption or waiver and, if applicable, the date on which the exemption or waiver expired, will expire, or was revoked; (g) has West Block, or any space or part thereof, since January 2017, had a request for an exemption or waiver denied and, if so, identify for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the request for exemption or waiver, the applicable section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act under which the request was denied, the reason for the denial, the date requested, the date the exemption or waiver was denied, by whom it was denied, and any instructions or conditions that accompanied it; (h) what spaces in West Block have been identified as being potentially hazardous due to a likelihood of congestion in the event of a fire, evacuation, or other emergency, identifying in each instance the space, the identified hazard, the reason, and any amelioration actions or procedures that have been adopted; (i) have any complaints or concerns been received respecting West Block’s doorways, exits, stairwells, or exit, emergency, or traffic flow signage and, if so, identify in each instance the nature and details of the complaint or concern, the date on which it was received, the institutional or professional affiliation of the source of the complaint or concern, and any actions taken to ameliorate it; (j) respecting installed exit signage, which consists of overhead or high, wall-mounted rectangular signs featuring a white human figure on a green background, what requirements, guidelines, or standards governed and informed the selection, design, placement, and function of this exit signage; and (k) respecting installed exit signage, what are the reasons for using the white-on-green signage, versus red, text-based signage or other types of signage?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2502--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to federal government investrnents in housing, for each of the fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the city of Vancouver; (b) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (c) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the city of Vancouver (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (d) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (e) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the city of Vancouver for (i) Non-Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co­operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co­operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (f) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway for (i) Non­Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co-operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co-operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (g) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the city of Vancouver; (h) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (i) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the city of Vancouver; (j) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2503--
Mr. Don Davies:
What is the total amount of federal government funding for each fiscal year from 2015-16 to 2019-20 allocated within the constituency of Vancouver Kingsway, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative, (iii) amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2504--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Allowance for people aged 60 to 64 program: (a) how many people receive this allowance each year; (b) how many people apply; (c) how many request are approved; (d) for the request that are denied, what are the three most common reasons invoked; (e) how many people are deemed ineligible, and what are the three most common reasons; (f) what was the total budget to deliver the program, broken down for the last five years; (g) what was actually spent in the last five years, broken down by province and territory; (h) how many full-time equivalent and part-time equivalent work directly on the program; (i) how much does the program cost to administer; (j) how is the program marketed; (k) what were the advertising costs and how much was budgeted and spent in the last five years; (l) has the government reviewed this program and, if so, what was found; and (m) for the reviews in (l), are there reports of reviews available online and, if so, where?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2477 Investments to Combat the ...8555-421-2480 Serving RCMP officers8555-421-2485 Corrections to government ...8555-421-2486 Access to Information Requests8555-421-2487 Concerns raised by the Pri ...8555-421-2488 Establishment of the Canad ...8555-421-2489 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2490 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2491 Sale of assets8555-421-2492 Expenditure contained in e ...8555-421-2493 Government advertising
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View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, entitled “International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy”. Indeed, it was an honour to host 10 countries representing over 400 million people in Ottawa. The first meeting was held in London, a co-effort with my co-chair Damian Collins from London. I want to thank everyone who pulled it together and made it such a great event and also all the witnesses who travelled such long distances to make it the International Grand Committee that it was.
I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, entitled “Privacy of Digital Government Services”.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for your services over the last four years and have a great summer.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2019-06-13 15:23 [p.29070]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to the message received from the other place with regard to Bill C-58, an act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I would like to recognize that this is my first official duty debating a piece of legislation as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, who is a fabulous minister, I might add.
I also want to acknowledge the many stakeholders who were involved in getting Bill C-58 to this point, starting with our colleagues in the other place, who conducted a very thorough and thoughtful study of this bill.
I must also recognize the contributions of parliamentarians and stakeholders and particularly the contributions of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner in the development of Bill C-58, as well as, of course, our colleagues on the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics who worked long and hard on the amendments being proposed.
I would especially like to note the interventions of a number of indigenous organizations, their influence on the matters we are considering today and with whom the government is committed to engaging more closely on these matters in the future.
Together, the ideas and suggestions in the letters and presentations at both committees contributed to ensuring that the concerns of Canadians were taken into consideration and reflected in the final version of the bill.
I would remind the House that the bill would implement some of the most significant changes to the Access to Information Act since it was introduced more than 30 years ago, changes which have not been seen since the advent of the World Wide Web. This is part of the Government of Canada's continuing effort to raise the bar on openness and transparency.
We believe that government information ultimately belongs to the people it serves, and it should be open by default. That is quite simply a fundamental characteristic of a modern democracy, and the bill reflects that belief.
In that context, we welcome many of the proposed amendments that would further advance this objective. I would note, however, that two of the amendments would effectively legislate matters that are beyond the intent of the bill, whose purpose, I would remind the House, is to make targeted amendments to the act.
Those targeted amendments include providing the Information Commissioner with the power to make binding orders for the release of government information and the creation of a new part of the act on the proactive publication of key information.
For the reason that it goes beyond the intent of the bill, the government respectfully disagrees with the amendment that would limit time extensions to respond to a request to 30 days without prior approval of the Information Commissioner.
The government is declining this proposal because these provision have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the context of the targeted review that led to Bill C-58. This proposal risks having unintended consequences, particularly for the office of the Information Commissioner.
The government does agree with our friends in the other place that the time extension provisions merit further study. These will be examined as part of the full review of the act which Bill C-58 requires to begin within one year of royal assent.
For the same reason, the government respectfully disagrees with the proposal to create a new criminal offence for the use of any code, moniker or contrived word or phrase in a record in place of the name of any person, corporation, entity, third party or organization. Once again, the provisions of the Access to Information Act concerning criminal offences have not been the subject of consultation or thorough study in the targeted review. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to review changes to this provision in the context of a full review.
A third amendment of concern would require the Information Commissioner to review the operation of proposed part 2 of the act regarding proactive publication and report the results to Parliament on an annual basis. Giving the commissioner oversight of proactive publication by institutions supporting Parliament and the courts would create the potential to infringe on both parliamentary privilege and judicial independence. For this reason, the government respectfully disagrees.
It is also proposed that the Information Commissioner's ability to receive and investigate complaints related to fees and time limit extensions be removed from the act. While the government recognizes the intent of this amendment, which relates to some of the other proposals that were advanced, the commissioner's authority to receive and investigate complaints regarding waiver of fees would be removed from the act, an outcome I am certain hon. members on all sides of the House would agree is undesirable.
Similarly, as the amendment with respect to the extension of a time limit was not agreed to, we must preserve the powers of the Information Commissioner to receive complaints concerning time limits and to investigate these complaints, and therefore this amendment is not necessary.
With these few exceptions, the government is pleased to accept the proposed amendments in the message from the other chamber, subject to some technical adjustments to ensure the proper functioning of these provisions.
For example, we agree with the proposed amendment that would eliminate the government's authority to set and collect fees, apart from the application fee. As the government has committed to Canadians, it will continue to charge no fees other than the application fee of just $5.
A related amendment proposed in the message would retain the right of requesters to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner regarding decisions to waive the application fee. While the Senate amendments would have removed that right, we consider that the Information Commissioner should continue to have oversight over the way the authority to waive fees is exercised by institutions.
Some of the amendments proposed in the other place would foster and, in some cases, require more extensive consultations and better communication between the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This is paramount to continue to ensure privacy protection while the government seeks to foster more openness and better access to government documents.
The bill already provides the Information Commissioner with new power to order the release of government information. To ensure that this does not compromise the right to privacy, an amendment proposes that the Information Commissioner must consult the Privacy Commissioner before ordering a release of personal information. This amendment also proposes that the Information Commissioner have the discretion to consult the Privacy Commissioner when investigating a complaint regarding the application of the personal information exemption. Both of these and some related amendments were suggested by the commissioners themselves, and the government has previously indicated that it supports these amendments. We believe they will strengthen the protection of personal information and further safeguard Canadians' privacy rights.
The government also accepts an amendment that would retain Info Source. Government institutions will continue to be required to publish information about their organization, records and manuals. Canadians seeking to exercise their right of access to government records will continue to have access to this tool.
As hon. members are surely aware, the government processes tens of thousands of access requests each and every year. It is an unfortunate fact that in a small number of cases, the requests are made for reasons that are inconsistent with the purposes of the Act. They may be made to harass a certain employee or work unit, for example. Such requests can have a disproportionate effect on the system and slow down resources on legitimate requests.
The government agrees with the amendment from the other place that the power of government institutions to ask the Information Commissioner for approval in order to refuse to act on requests should be limited to requests that are vexatious, made in bad faith or that would constitute an abuse of the right of access and would backlog the system. That would enable government institutions to focus their efforts on legitimate requests after having obtained approval from the Information Commissioner.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the main objectives of Bill C-58 is to provide the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders for the processing of requests, including the disclosure of records.
The commissioner would be able to publish these orders, establishing a body of precedents to guide institutions as well as users of the system.
Originally, in order to give the commissioner time to prepare to assume this power, it would not come into force until one year after royal assent. However, the commissioner has asked that this power be available immediately upon royal assent. Reflecting the value it places on the commissioner's perspective, the government has already indicated its support for this amendment.
Another amendment asked for the Information Commissioner to file her orders in Federal Court and have them enforced as Federal Court orders. Under Bill C-58, the Information Commissioner's orders are legally binding without the need for certification. We believe that this amendment is unnecessary and would add a step in the process.
However, the government will look at these amendments at the one-year review of the act, with a year's worth of experience under the new system.
Providing the Information Commissioner with the power to issue binding orders to government and institutions is not a trivial change. It is a game-changer for access to information. Whereas now the Information Commissioner must go to court if an institution does not follow her recommendations, Bill C-58 puts the onus on institutions. Should they disagree with an order by the Information Commissioner, institutions will have 30 days to challenge the order in Federal Court.
As for the courts, I would remind the House that the government accepted an amendment that would ensure that Bill C-58 does not encroach on judicial independence. As the House knows, part 2 of the bill would impose proactive publication requirements on 260 departments, government agencies and Crown corporations, as well as the Prime Minister's Office, ministers' offices, senators, MPs, parliamentary entities and institutions that support the courts.
The amendment would also enshrine in law the proactive publication of information of great interest to Canadians, particularly information relevant to increased transparency and responsibility with regard to the use of public funds.
This includes travel and hospitality expenses for ministers and their staff and senior officials across government, contracts over $10,000 and all contracts for MPs and senators, grants and contributions over $25,000, mandate letters and revised mandate letters, briefing packages for new ministers and deputy ministers, lists of briefing notes for ministers or deputy ministers, and the briefing binders used for question period and parliamentary committee appearances.
Putting these requirements into legislation will ensure that Canadians will have access to this kind of information automatically, without having to make a request. It will impose a new degree of transparency on this government and on future governments.
As passed by the House, Bill C-58 would require similar disclosure by the judiciary.
Concerns have since been raised about the impact that the publication of individual judges' expenses could have on judicial independence, and those concerns are exacerbated by the fact that, due to the traditional duty of reserve, judges express themselves only through their judgments and can neither defend themselves nor set the record straight. The amendment proposed in the message that would require the publication of judges' expenses according to each court, rather than on an individual basis, would address these concerns and include additional measures to increase transparency.
The government also welcomes and accepts the amendment to remove the specific criteria requiring requesters to state the specific subject matter of their request, the type of record being requested and the period for which the record is being requested.
This was included in the original bill as a way to ensure that requests provided enough information to enable a timely response.
We listened to the Information Commissioner's concerns about this clause and especially to the indigenous groups who told us that these provisions could impede their access rights. I just want to note that this amendment, along with several others proposed in the message, was suggested by the former Treasury Board president when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in October.
The proposal and acceptance of this amendment reflect the government's commitment to guaranteeing that indigenous peoples have access to the information they need to support their claims and seek justice for past wrongs, for example.
As members can imagine, when it comes to records that are several decades or, in some cases, more than a century old, asking someone to state the specific subject matter, type of record and period requested may constitute a barrier to access.
I also want to assure the House that the government has taken careful note of the feedback from indigenous groups who felt that the governments did not consult them properly when drafting Bill C-58.
To respond to these concerns, the government supported the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, the National Claims Research directors and the Indigenous Bar Association in surveying selected first nations researchers and policy staff about the issues they were encountering with respect to access to information, compiling and analyzing the results in a discussion paper, and undertaking a legal review of Bill C-58.
Nonetheless, we recognize that further work is needed, with greater collaboration between the government and indigenous groups. I would draw the attention of the House to a letter written by the former president of the Treasury Board and sent to the committee in the other place. The letter detailed specific commitments to engaging indigenous organizations and representatives about how the Access to Information Act needs to evolve to reflect Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples, including how information and knowledge of indigenous communities is both protected and made acceptable.
This engagement, as with all engagements with first nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, will be founded on the fundamental principle of “nothing about us without us”. The government is committed to ensuring that programs, policies and services affecting indigenous peoples are designed in consultation and in collaboration with them.
In that regard, I would remind the House that this bill represents only the first phase of the government's reform to access to information. A full review of the functioning of the act would begin within one year of royal assent of Bill C-58, with mandatory reviews every five years afterward to ensure that the Access to Information Act never again falls so far out of date. I would add that the government recognizes that engagement with indigenous communities and organizations needs to be a central part of these reviews of the act.
In conclusion, I would recall for the House that in its fifth global report, issued in 2018, Canada was ranked number one in the world for openness and transparency by Open Data Barometer, well ahead of many other nations, including many so-called advanced countries. I would note that in this most recent report the author states:
The government’s continued progress reflects a strong performance in virtually all areas—from policies to implementation. Its consistent political backing has been one [of] the keys to its success.
Bill C-58 would continue to advance our progress toward more open and transparent government.
I again thank our friends in the other place for helping to make a good bill even better. I share the Information Commissioner's opinion that Bill C-58 is better than the current act and urge all members to join me in supporting it.
View Wayne Stetski Profile
NDP (BC)
View Wayne Stetski Profile
2019-06-07 13:18 [p.28768]
Madam Speaker, in the 2015 election Bill C-51 was front and centre in my riding. There were rallies held across the riding against Bill C-51. People were really angry with the Conservative government for putting it forward. They were almost equally angry with the Liberals for supporting it at that time.
Regarding this current bill, Bill C-59, I want to quote from Cara Zwibel, acting general counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She said:
All Canadian laws must comply with the Charter. Bill C-59 tries harder than its predecessor, but fails to fix some of the unconstitutional elements...contested in...Bill C-51. Troublingly, C-59 also allows intelligence agencies to engage in conduct that threatens freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy, and public safety. The government has taken a first step, but a great deal more is needed. Canada must get it right on national security.
I am interested in my colleague's comments on this statement that Bill C-59 continues to threaten freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and public safety.
View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-07 13:19 [p.28768]
Madam Speaker, with respect to privacy, I refer the member to the comments of the Privacy Commissioner, who has provided testimony that directly contradicts what the member is saying. At least the NDP has been intellectually consistent with respect to the elements of Bill C-51. The Liberals voted for it, and now they are undoing it. The Liberals praised some of the elements on preventative arrest and now are caving on them. I think that is due more to electoral fortunes that anything else.
I refer the member for Kootenay—Columbia, and anyone protesting in his riding, to look at the testimony of Patrice Vincent's sister, Louise Vincent, from March 2015, who said:
It would have probably been able to prepare even more material for the attorney general who, with a lower burden of proof, would have agreed to issue a warrant. On October 20 of last year, Martin Couture-Rouleau very likely would have been in prison, and my brother would not be dead.
Law enforcement knew that this young man, Mr. Rouleau, was a threat, and in fact, they had discussed with the Crown whether the burden for preventative arrest could be met.
We are not requiring no burden, but we are also not saying to law enforcement that they have to be ready to go to trial if they fear that there is an imminent risk to public safety and security. Patrice Vincent had not done anything to Mr. Rouleau. He had a uniform on, and law enforcement could not protect him. That is why our laws have to reflect the world we live in, not a perfect world, not a dream world. We have to balance rights and liberties alongside public safety and security.
Putting the threshold too high puts Canadians at risk, and that is why we have been consistent on this point. The Liberals have not been. At least that member has been consistent, and I respect that, but we, forming the next government, will have to make sure that we can tell Canadians that we will always make their safety a priority.
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2019-05-16 17:57 [p.27979]
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to be able to stand and speak on behalf the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge. He is a dear friend, and I believe that this is a very important piece of legislation that he is bringing forward here in the House. It is an honour to speak on it.
I would also like to thank Senator Percy Downe for introducing this bill in the Senate. It is a shame that the government plans to oppose it, but I hope government members will listen to all of the reasons that this bill makes sense for the government and for Canadians.
It is timely to be speaking about Bill S-243 now, as the majority of Canadians just finished filing their taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency. We also just found out that the Canada Revenue Agency wrote off $133 million owed by a single taxpayer.
CRA employees discussed the large writeoff in an internal memo in September of 2018, and the media reported on this memo in April. However, we do not know who the taxpayer is or whether it is a person or a corporation. We also do not know whether this writeoff is related to government subsidies, which is something Canadians should know.
The aim of this bill is to keep the CRA accountable for tax collection efforts. It would also require the CRA to report on the tax gap, which is the difference between taxes owing and taxes actually collected. The bill would also require the CRA to publish information on convictions for domestic and offshore tax evasion. Data shows that the offshore tax gap for the 2014 tax year was between $0.8 billion and $3 billion.
The CRA has published information about the tax gap related to the goods and services tax. In 2014, here the offshore tax gap was estimated to be about $4.9 billion. The CRA has also shared the domestic personal income tax gap for that same year, 2014, at $8.7 billion. In that one year, the money owed for the tax gap, which could have been as high as $16 billion, could have funded many programs or eased the tax burden for many Canadians.
Conservatives believe in making life more affordable for Canadians and in keeping taxes as low as possible to stimulate the economy. When the government loses a significant amount of money because of a tax gap, it means that taxes could be raised for the rest of us. This penalizes law-abiding Canadians.
I support Senator Downe's bill, which is sponsored by the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge here in the House, because it makes sense and makes the CRA and those Canadians not living up to their responsibility to pay taxes more accountable.
Some Canadians are concerned that reporting on the tax gap could threaten their privacy, but this bill balances the privacy of individuals with transparency and accountability for the CRA. The information would be reported to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, so its intent is not to name and shame average Canadians.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia all report on their tax gaps. These governments all indicate that they report this information because it helps their revenue departments understand how and why non-compliance occurs. This information is helpful to policy-makers, who can then make better-informed decisions about tax policy and also help the government better manage its resource allocation.
Canada should have this system. Mandating measurement of the tax gap ensures that future governments and parliaments have all of the information necessary to take action on the tax gap.
Many of us are aware that offshore tax evasion is a problem in Canada. Almost 1,000 Canadian taxpayers, including individuals, corporations and trusts, were named in the Panama papers three years ago.
The CRA told media last month that it had identified 894 taxpayers and had finished reviewing 525 of these cases, resulting in $14.9 million in federal taxes and penalties. This number will rise as audits continue.
Although the CRA told the media the amount of taxes assessed, it did not say how much of that money has actually been collected. Senator Downe's bill, if passed, would require the CRA to report that type of information to Canadians. As I mentioned before, this type of information would be incredibly helpful to our policy-makers. Many other countries use this information, and Canadians would be better served if our policy-makers also had this kind of information.
Most Canadians work hard all year and diligently file their taxes. These are honest people who would never attempt to cheat the government. However, we see wealthy Canadian individuals and corporations attempt to cheat the tax system all the time.
Tax money is used to fund services we enjoy, such as health care, transit and roads. The CRA should be able to say how much money it has collected as a result of the Panama papers. This is in the Canadian public interest.
Similarly, it should be allowed and able to tell us why $133 million was written off for a single taxpayer. That money could provide significant funding for public services, and Canadians deserve to know why this taxpayer or corporation received special treatment while the rest of us diligently work to pay our fair share.
I have had many constituents complain about dealings with the CRA, including poor levels of service or the agency repeatedly requesting documentation that has already been provided to a different branch. The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman, which operates at arm's length from the CRA, has experienced an increase in complaints over the last few years. In 2017, the taxpayers' ombudsman said the biggest complaints were: first, the struggle to even get through to the CRA call centre, which can be a huge headache, especially around tax time. Other complaints included receiving inconsistent and incorrect information from the call centre agent and the lack of information sharing between different branches of the CRA. Many Canadians have been asked to produce the same information or documents more than once, because the person's file was not properly shared between departments.
The taxpayers' ombudsman called these problems “systemic” and said there are other deeply rooted problems. The CRA acknowledges that it needs to do more to better serve Canadians, and representatives from the agency will be travelling across Canada over the next month to conduct in-person consultations on how the CRA can improve its services. I have no doubt they will receive plenty of feedback. I am hopeful that the CRA will take this feedback and then implement it to create a better-run system, which Canadians deserve.
I know it is not just the CRA that has these problems. A recent Auditor General report found that other government departments, including immigration, employment insurance and the Canada pension plan, did not answer their phones for the millions of Canadians who called them in 2017 and 2018. It is obvious the government needs to make huge improvements to give Canadians the accessible service they require and deserve.
I hope these consultations by the CRA are fruitful and we will see a service improvement in the near future. I know how seriously Canadians take the CRA, except for wealthy Canadians who keep their money in offshore accounts without thinking of the consequences. For many Canadians, getting a letter from the CRA is anxiety-inducing, and dealing with audits and investigations can cause high levels of stress.
When Canadians owe the CRA money, most work to pay that money back, whether it is through installments or a lump sum payment. Most people would not dream of running out on the bill, so to speak, so they should not be unfairly penalized when corporations and wealthy Canadians run out on their tax obligations.
If this bill passes, it means increased accountability for the CRA, which is in the best interests of taxpayers. The changes proposed in this bill require the CRA to report on all convictions for tax evasion in addition to reporting the tax gap, as I mentioned earlier. This data would be reported to the Minister of National Revenue in the CRA's annual report, which is tabled in Parliament. The Minister of National Revenue is also required to provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with data to calculate the tax gap.
These amendments, which would be inexpensive to implement, would increase transparency, which the government allegedly values. Publicly available reports on the gap between income taxes owed and taxes collected will provide a metric for judging the efficacy of measures to combat income tax evasion. This is important information for Canadians to have access to. Many other western nations publicly post this information. Canada is already behind standard practice in this regard. Conservatives support any measures to enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the public service.
Bill S-243 is a common-sense amendment to the Canada Revenue Agency Act, and I support the amendments.
I thank Senator Downe for his work on this bill, and the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge for helping to get the bill through the House of Commons. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill today.
View Deborah Schulte Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Deborah Schulte Profile
2019-05-16 18:06 [p.27980]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member from the other place, who initiated this bill, for his efforts to bring attention to Canada's tax gap through Bill S-243, and the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge, who sponsored this bill so that we can have a healthy debate on it in this House.
Our government agrees that when the tax gap information is publicly available, it demonstrates a commitment to transparency and helps to identify opportunities to make a fairer tax system for all Canadians. Bill S-243 has put a spotlight on the importance of understanding Canada's tax gap. We thank the senator for that.
The Minister of National Revenue has been very clear about her commitment to fighting tax evasion and to measuring the tax gap, helping to shine a spotlight on the cost of tax evasion.
I find it a bit rich to hear the Conservative opposition members speak in support of the bill. They seem to have completely erased from their memory the Harper government's attacks on the PBO and the utter refusal to consider studying the tax gap. As a matter of fact, I would like to draw the attention of members to what the former vice-chair of the public accounts committee and Conservative MP for Don Valley West, John Carmichael, said in 2014, when talking about the tax gap. He decided to explain to the opposition the mechanics of measuring the tax gap in order “to explain why deriving such an estimate would be overly complex, inefficient, and a total waste of time.” He followed this statement by saying that studying the tax gap was “nonsensical”.
Let us talk about something that is nonsensical: the Conservatives pretending to care about measuring the tax gap and wanting more transparency for Canadians. We have 10 years of Harper's track record on tax evasion to know that studying the tax gap is no priority for that side of the House. Unlike my colleagues on the other side, I am very proud of my government's track record on this issue.
While we agree with the spirit of this bill, due to the requirements and importance of protecting the confidentiality of taxpayers' information, and our concerns related to the proposed legislative vehicle in this bill, our government cannot support it.
This bill asks to change the Parliamentary Budget Officer's model of access to information by compelling the Minister of National Revenue to provide data to the PBO through amendments to the Canada Revenue Agency Act. This act is not the right legislative vehicle to change the PBO's model of access to information. lt would pose concerns for the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The current report to the PBO is issued in a format that protects taxpayers' information. This bill would also create an unnecessary administrative burden for the CRA, as the tax gap is already being reported on.
Allow me to elaborate. To start, Bill S-243 would require the Minister of National Revenue to collect, compile, analyze and abstract statistics on the tax gap every three years and to publish them in the annual report to Parliament of the Canada Revenue Agency. The CRA already publishes research and estimates on various components of the tax gap and has a strong public commitment to continue to do so. Therefore, adding a legislative requirement to collect, compile, analyze and abstract statistics on the tax gap in the CRA's annual departmental results report is unnecessary.
The CRA already has a dedicated team in place to study the tax gap. Through the work of this team, the CRA has published four reports pertaining to the tax gap. Unlike the allegations of the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques in his speech, the government took immediate action. In June 2016, the CRA published a conceptual study on tax gap estimation. At the same time, it published the tax gap estimates for the goods and services harmonized sales tax. In June 2017, the CRA published tax gap estimates on domestic reporting and payment non-compliance by individuals. In June 2018, it published a report on tax gap estimates on offshore non-compliance by individuals on the international scale. In June 2019, the CRA will release its fifth report on the tax gap, which will provide information about corporate income tax non-compliance.
These reports are published on the Canada.ca website. They describe the methodology the CRA used to estimate the tax gap. They also provide information on the CRA's compliance efforts to reduce these gaps. Collectively, these reports provide the basis for a more comprehensive tax gap estimate.
Therefore, yes, we agree that the tax gap is important to measure. That is why it is already being done.
I would now like to bring to members' attention the requirement in the bill for the CRA to provide the PBO with the data collected and compiled on the tax gap as well as any additional data the PBO considers relevant to conducting a further analysis of the tax gap.
Members may know that the CRA already provides the PBO with information on this tax gap, and it is in a format that does not compromise taxpayer confidentiality. This bill simply does not amend the appropriate act. In fact, these proposed changes run the risk of creating confusion about the PBO's existing legislated access to information. Indeed, amending a departmental statute such as the Canada Revenue Agency Act would not broaden access to taxpayer data or information. This bill should require significant and consequential amendments to legislation directly related to providing taxpayer data, such as section 241 of the Income Tax Act or section 295 of the Excise Tax Act to make such a change, but it does not.
What this would not change, however, is the CRA's commitment to continue to work closely with the PBO, the Privacy Commissioner and Statistics Canada to determine how best to share the relevant information necessary for the work of the PBO while also protecting the confidentiality of taxpayers' information.
Last, I would like to touch on the stipulation in Bill S-243 that would require the CRA to provide in its departmental results report a detailed list of all convictions for tax evasion, including a separate list for overseas tax evasion. Similar to the commitment to reporting the tax gap, the CRA has already been providing this information at Canada.ca since 2017. The available information identifies individuals, corporations and trusts convicted in the courts for tax evasion or for failing to file income tax returns. It includes convictions that have links to money and assets located offshore.
The CRA's departmental performance report already includes information about convictions. The CRA also offers a service that notifies subscribers about enforcement activities. Given these efforts, it is clear that the CRA already provides significant information about its enforcement activities, just like what is being requested in Bill S-243.
Once again, I thank the member from the other place who initiated this bill for his commitment to ensuring that Canadians have greater access to information about non-compliance. Our government will continue to report on the tax gap to ensure that taxpayer information is and stays confidential and will continue to remain transparent in our fight against tax evasion. That is what we have been doing for the past three and a half years and that is what we will continue to do.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-05-16 18:14 [p.27981]
Mr. Speaker, for the people watching today, what Bill S-243 would do, in technical jargon, is amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act to require that the CRA report on all convictions for tax evasion, including international tax evasion, and that the tax gap or the difference between estimated taxes owing and actual taxes collected be included in the annual report it submits to the Minister of National Revenue for tabling in Parliament. It would require the minister to provide data for calculating the tax gap to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
The Conference Board of Canada estimates the tax gap at between $9 billion and $50 billion. That is a lot of money. What could that be used for? It could be used to reduce the deficit, spend money on things that we need and maybe not tell veterans in Canada that they are asking for more than we can give.
I find the parliamentary secretary's speech ridiculously hilarious and I do not even know how to summarize her defence of voting against this bill. I am going to give this lecture to the CRA bureaucrats in the lobby who wrote that audacious speech that she did not even bother to edit before coming in here and reading it.
To the CRA bureaucrats watching, first, none of us on this side of the House would be the man and then take the man's talking points into the House of Commons to argue why CRA bureaucrats would not provide this data for not doing their job, number one. That is just ridiculous. It is actually laughable.
Second, some poor political staffer put the one attack line in her speech. My colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge made a wonderful comment, which was summarized as follows: “Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves for not doing 10 years ago the thing that we are not going to do today.”
Come on. We know that this is important, which is why my colleague has spoken against it, but the delicious part of the argument to not support it was the argument of privacy for financial records.
I am going to give credit in a nod of bipartisanship to this point. The lobby coordinator of the New Democratic Party, Anthony Salloum, said it is really rich for the Liberals to be making an issue about the privacy of personal banking records when it was they who wanted Statistics Canada to dive deep into people's individual banking records and then stood day after day in the House of Commons saying it was all good. They said there was no problem with the government being able to see if people went to the 7-Eleven at 10 o'clock at night and bought a delicious blue Slurpee, because that is the role of government.
They did that for a month. Day after day, they said it is the role of government, that the man should be able to see everything people buy, that there is no issue with privacy and everything is A-okay. Now, today, they are saying that Canada Revenue Agency bureaucrats are all of a sudden concerned with privacy.
As a member of Parliament, I have to hire someone in my office just to do casework, and I have had cases in which people had their files locked in some CRA bureaucrat's desk or left by the water cooler. The incompetence of this bureaucracy is staggering at best and irresponsible at worst. Anytime somebody stands in the House of Commons to talk about privacy, that person should at least read the speech that the bureaucrats provided and think about whether it makes the individual sound like a super-villain. I think the parliamentary secretary forgot to do that today.
In all seriousness, we need to ensure that we are addressing the issue of the tax gap, because it is a source of revenue that we are not tapping into and it disadvantages Canadians who are paying taxes fairly if we are not collecting taxes in an appropriate manner. In fact, it creates a disproportionate burden of taxpaying on one aspect of Canadian society as opposed to another.
Since I have a moment to talk about the Liberal government's ability to prosecute tax evaders, I am going to point to a CBC story in 2018 that talked about governments around the world being able to recover $500 million in taxes thanks to the Panama papers.
However, the article said that this is in stark contrast to the CRA's effectiveness at catching offshore tax cheats and comes in the wake of a CBC investigation that found that few, if any, of the criminal convictions the agency cites in defence of its record have anything to do with offshore tax evasion.
In fact, of the court cases the government had cited in Parliament to defend its record on cracking down on offshore tax evasion, a 2017 CBC article said that few, if any, had anything to do with millionaires hiding money in overseas tax havens.
As a further point of proof, the parliamentary secretary's boss, the Minister of National Revenue, or the minister of bluster, since she has a tendency to stand in the House and repeat nonsensical talking points that have nothing to do with the question asked, said in 2016 that her agency had already started to identify 45 targets for audits. However, three years later there are no tangible outcomes.
The nice thing about this bill is that it would force the bureaucrats who wrote that very staid and weird speech to determine what our tax gap is on an annual basis and help ensure that Canada is retrieving those taxes, so that complying Canadians do not shoulder this burden of taxes on their own.
I want to point out the government's hypocrisy. When it saw that it was potentially losing billions of dollars to tax evasion, its action was to increase taxes on law-abiding Canadians. In terms of the results of its tax increases, my colleague, the shadow minister for finance, made a wonderful intervention in the House that is worth repeating.
He stated that the CRA data that had recently been released demonstrated that “in the first year after the tax increase took effect, the government actually collected $4.6 billion less from the wealthiest 1%.”
He went on to say:
Finance Canada released documents almost exactly a year ago today in its annual financial report, on September 19, 2017, in which it revealed almost exactly the same phenomenon. Revenues went down from the wealthiest 1%.
As my colleague pointed out, the government said that this was all “due to one-time factors”, but we know there were some wealthy individuals who moved money around to avoid paying their fair share.
It is worth pointing out that one of those individuals was the Minister of Finance himself; the minister of the french fry yacht. He announced a tax increase to take effect on January 1, 2016. He sold shares in his own company, Morneau Shepell, just 30 days before that, in order to ensure his capital gain would be taxed at the earlier, lower rate and he would not have to pay the same higher taxes he imposed on everyone else.
We see the Liberals' record and the absolute ridiculousness of making the argument on privacy after they were going to allow Statistics Canada to look at Canadians' personal banking records. We see the track record of the Minister of Finance on this. We understand that bureaucrats are not motivated to have transparency in terms of their efficacy. The role of the executive branch is to go to bureaucrats and thank them for their public service and let them know that it has a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers and is going to make these changes. This is what we need to do in this place.
By voting against this bill, we understand what real change means to the Liberal government. It means absolutely nothing.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-14 10:40 [p.27729]
Madam Speaker, I am glad to be joining this debate on the most exciting of subjects, tax and a tax treaty. For those constituents of ours who are tuning in on CPAC this early morning, or who have come to watch in the gallery, this is as exciting as this place is going to get, I think, until question period. I see the parliamentary secretary nodding his head, because he knows this too.
I am also glad his intervention covered so much subject matter beyond Bill S-6, because that now allows me to delve into the government's record on taxes, its management of different public policy issues like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, consumer confidence in Canada and business confidence in Canada, as well as how the government has approached Bill S-6.
I will start with an observation about this tax treaty and some of the comments made by the parliamentary secretary. He seemed to be placing Bill S-6 within the confines of trying to achieve greater tax fairness and doing other great things with the Government of Madagascar. He said the bill would make sure that Canadian companies and Canadian taxpayers who may be doing business in Madagascar would not be double taxed, and that it would increase trade and do all of these wonderful things.
However, when I asked officials a question at the Standing Committee on Finance, we heard there was such a small number of tax filers with tax filings in Madagascar that each instance raises confidentiality concerns. Officials from Finance Canada responded to me that these concerns are such that, “consistent with the taxpayer confidentiality protections in the Income Tax Act, the department is precluded from releasing these data”.
This may be why Bill S-6 comes from the other place, the Senate side. The department told me in this official letter to the Standing Committee on Finance that there are so few tax filers impacted by this that the department would not be able to release the data. I had asked which sectors of the Canadian economy and which sectors of the Madagascar economy would be affected, and whether there were any good examples. I did a quick Google and DuckDuckGo search, and I was able to find that Sherritt International was one of the companies in question. It is mostly a mining consortium. There was very little else that I could find.
To the credit of the Department of Finance, it did a pretty thorough review. It reviewed sources including the T1134 information return on foreign affiliates of Canadian taxpayers, the T1135 information return that collects data on specified foreign property holdings, the T106 information return on non-arm's length transactions with related non-residents, and Schedule 21 to the T2 corporate tax return on foreign income tax credits. The department examined all of the years to 2011 and then the subsequent years.
For those still able to follow, either in the public gallery or at home, Finance Canada did a thorough search to double-check how many of these filings would include Madagascar in some way, and they are actually very, very few. Perhaps the tax treaty will enable more business to be conducted by Canadians in that particular country, and there are opportunities yet to be found for this tax treaty and the consolidation of some of the rules to make it simpler for individuals to do business in both. I was unable to find an instance through any international organization or online that showed that Madagascar was behaving like a tax haven. I think that assuages some of the concerns individuals may have had.
I am sure the government knows that I will be supporting this piece of legislation as well. There was no concern about curbing tax evasion through Bill S-6, or about a potential increase in tax evasion. In fact, this is a very small piece of legislation that does not do what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance said. It is not part of a broader approach. If there are so few tax filers that the information cannot be released, then the impact is negligible. Therefore, it cannot be counted as part of the government's broader plan.
I am pouring out my heart here on what I believe about Bill S-6 and its contents, having spent several meetings at committee looking at this particular piece of legislation. I am feeling lighter. As the Yiddish proverb goes, when one pours out one's heart, one feels lighter, so now that the parliamentary secretary has poured out his heart about the government and what he believes its achievements are, I am going to do the opposite. I am going to poke holes in a couple of things he said. I am going to poke holes in some of the Liberal government's achievements, including in some of the statistics it likes to use.
At committee we asked both Global Affairs and Finance Canada for information on the specifics of Bill S-6 and who it would impact. We were told the bill would impact the mining sector. We were also told that detailed information could not be released because it would compromise the privacy of certain tax filers.
That is unusual. In prior cases, when we have done these tax consolidation treaties or signed up to multilateral international instruments with respect to taxes, such as Bill C-82, which was the tax treaty of tax treaties, it was always tens or hundreds of thousands of Canadians who would be impacted. That included Canadian-controlled private corporations in Canada. There would be many of them, so it was easier for us to estimate the impact.
The parliamentary secretary mentioned base erosion and profit sharing, which is not a fixed section in this particular piece of legislation. We have already had legislation to cover that off.
When I mentioned to my kids, who are very young, with my oldest being 10, that I debated an obscure bill called the Canada-Madagascar tax treaty, the first thing they wanted to talk about was King Julien and Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, the famed characters from Penguins of Madagascar and the other movies in the Madagascar series. My kids were thrilled to watch that series when they were younger, and they are still thrilled to watch it today.
However, this piece of legislation is not about that. I am sorry to burst their bubble but this, unfortunately, is not about King Julien or those four little penguins.
The parliamentary secretary went off on a tangent at one point. He mentioned that the tax treaty in Bill S-6 would increase consumer confidence, and that it was part of a slew of policy decisions the government has been making to increase both consumer and business confidence. If he had bothered to check the latest statistics posted by different economic analysis bodies online, or if he had bothered to check the Conference Board of Canada, he would have seen that consumer confidence is just as low as it was in 2015. It has not improved since then. We can see that in our communities. I can see it in cities and towns all over Alberta.
However, there is more consumer confidence in Alberta now that we have Premier Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party in charge. A new cabinet has been sworn in, and on Tuesday of next week the members of the legislative assembly will be sworn in. I hope we will know the new plan for the province on Wednesday.
Some of that plan has already come out. The government of Alberta has already announced that it will get rid of the punishing provincial NDP carbon tax, which was far more punishing on Albertans and Alberta businesses than the federal backstop. That does not mean the backstop is any good. It does not mean the federal carbon tax is any better.
The Alberta government is basically proposing to return to the old system, which was working. It was the first system to put a price on carbon for the largest emitters, not directly on consumers. The system worked. It was lauded all across North America at the time. It did not punish consumers directly for their behaviour, but was specifically aimed at the largest emitters, who were making it part of their business plans. That is the difference. May 31 is the last day of the Alberta carbon tax.
We can really see consumer confidence returning in Alberta. People are more confident now that they have a government that is on their side and will back up the decisions of private businesses, everyday Albertans, the mom-and-pop convenience stores, the local dry cleaner and the small oil and gas servicing company that has somehow managed to just get by over the last few years.
Albertans are on the cusp. They know that prosperity might return with the right decisions being made by their government to get involved, not to make decisions for them but to support them in the decisions that will create new jobs, create more business investment and lead to higher returns in terms of corporate and personal income taxes.
That is how consumer confidence returns, not by having what we have seen from the federal Liberal government over the past four years. The Liberals created a situation here in Canada that made it impossible to build a pipeline. Energy east was cancelled because of regulatory red tape. Northern gateway was cancelled by cabinet order. There already is a functioning Trans Mountain pipeline, but the Liberals caused a situation in which Kinder Morgan saw no real means to get the expansion built. It was losing construction seasons to it, so the government expropriated it. The government bought it for $4.5 billion.
Now we know from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the government not only overpaid for the pipeline project by $1 billion but will also need to extract another $8 billion to $9 billion from the taxpayer to build this pipeline.
There has been talk of legislation and there has been talk of an expedited process, but we are waiting until later in June to find out whether this pipeline will get perhaps half a construction season. We know that construction seasons in Canada are short. Basically, there is a construction season and then there is winter. These are essentially the two seasons we have in Canada. Most people who live in big cities know this, as they have experienced it. We are going to lose a second construction season, and this does nothing but reduce business confidence and reduce consumer confidence.
How can Canadians have faith in a government that purchases a pipeline, overpays for it, and loses money every single month operating it? When the interest being paid on the debt is subtracted from the tolls charged on the pipeline, Liberals are losing money every single month operating in the most profitable part of the energy sector, which is shipping.
As I hear constantly from the Minister of Natural Resources, who is from Edmonton and should know better, as once the oil gets to the west coast, 99.95% of the product shipped out of the port of Vancouver goes to California. Those are not my statistics; I am not making them up. I asked the Library of Parliament to confirm them for me. This is from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. The port itself has said that 99.95% of the product goes to California to feed the refineries there.
Therefore, this is not about reaching new markets on the current pipeline, and perhaps not even on the future pipeline. A series of public policy decisions led to a situation such that a private company felt unable to build a pipeline because of obstruction at the federal and provincial levels. Those obstructions are not gone; they have just become purely governmental. All the decision-making is on the government side.
When I knocked on doors in my communities and for my provincial counterparts, which I did during this past election in Alberta, I heard time and time again that people have no faith whatsoever in the Liberal government's ability to deliver on the construction of a pipeline and no faith in the government's ability to manage public finances.
The parliamentary secretary mentioned the Liberals' great plan to increase affordability for the middle class and that Liberals reduced the tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%. I remind the parliamentary secretary and all members of the House that the biggest tax break from those tax changes went to every single member of Parliament in this chamber. Those who were earning $45,000 or less got zero. They received no benefit whatsoever from that tax cut, but because of the way the progressive tax system works, every single member of Parliament in this chamber got over $800 off their taxes at the end of the day.
That is what the Liberal government did. Those of us in this chamber are not the middle class, but the Liberals did this and claimed it was for the benefit of the middle class. They gave themselves a bigger tax cut than they gave not so much to the working poor, but to people trying to get by and get ahead, people who are taking jobs that many people do not want to take. They work hard for the wages and salaries they earn.
Instead, they received higher payroll taxes. There has been a CPP increase as well, which is taking away from their income at the end of the day and taking away their ability to choose how they want to save.
The second part is that they have a carbon tax to pay. We heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance speak to this, and in the scenarios he noted, he gave OECD numbers. A colleague of mine mentioned that a family on the lower income scale with two kids would not be getting back all of that money. The parliamentary secretary's numbers only make sense if we include the child benefit, which is just a re-badging of the old universal child care benefit. It is the original Conservative policy that was introduced when the government wanted to introduce a universal, one-size-fits-all, cradle-to-old-age welfare system. Whereas the government would take care of our children directly under this system, the UCCB was meant to empower parents, and that is how we should be looking at it.
The government claims that if we look at all government policy together, the carbon tax is not so bad. However, that does not help the kind of family my colleague mentioned, which is not seeing these rebates.
As well, if we look more closely at the GGPPA, which is the acronym for the government's carbon tax bill that is over 200 pages long, and then if we look at this latest budget document and some of the implementation portions of it, including the algebra formula that implements the rebate program for the federal carbon tax, we see that there is a provision that would allow the minister of finance to exclude any money he or she wishes from the rebate. A finance minister could give it to any other minister he or she wants, for any program, infrastructure or purpose. It is right there in the formula. There is no guarantee in the legislation that Canadians would receive any sort of rebate on the carbon tax, and it will never replace the full amount.
It is absolutely illogical and irrational to say that 100% of the collected tax will be returned to those who pay it. There always is and there always will be an administrative cost in collecting a tax, unless people think that public servants work for free and they think the lights and the heating in this place come for free, and they do not. It has to cost a certain amount of money, which is why we say the government is misleading them. The way the government presents the facts around the carbon rebate and the carbon tax is ingenious, but it is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. It is as simple as that.
To return to the point of consumer confidence and how we have not seen it return, some of the facts on LNG speak for themselves. In the case of LNG, 78 billion dollars' worth billion worth of projects in Canada have been cancelled since 2015. Those are LNG projects that have been completely abandoned by the companies that were proposing them. Tens of thousands of potential well-paying construction jobs, many of them unionized, are gone. They will not be created, because that $78 billion to put people to work has been removed from the private sector. That is an important fact to remember.
The only large-scale project that I am aware of that is going ahead is LNG Canada's project. LNG Canada is a consortium. Mitsubishi is involved and Petronas is involved. The only reason that the consortium went ahead with the project is that it has an exclusion and an exemption from the carbon tax. Of course a company will go ahead and build a large-scale industrial project, as LNG Canada is proposing to do, when it gets an exemption to a tax.
I cannot imagine any regular, everyday, hard-working taxpayers being told by the Liberal government that CRA is going to give them an exemption this year so that they do not have to pay taxes because they are doing so well in producing jobs and growing their business or are earning a higher salary because they work hard. Nobody gets that type of exclusion or exemption.
I will spend my last two minutes on my favourite subject, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, because Madagascar, this country that we are signing a tax treaty with, is a member of this bank. As I said, the parliamentary secretary, by going on a tangent, has allowed me to go on a tangent here. Madagascar is a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. As far as I know, it has not received any project yet. It has only spent $15 million to $20 million, which is a paltry sum compared to the nearly half a billion dollars that Canada has set aside. That same money is being used to build pipelines all over Asia, including in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh and the suburbs of Beijing.
I am pouring my heart out here. As my Yiddish proverb said, I am feeling lighter from being able to speak about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. If we in Canada are unable to build pipelines, which are the safest way to move energy, it seems absolutely wrong to be giving a half a billion dollars to governments in Asia and to the China-controlled, Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
I support Bill S-6, a small piece of legislation coming to us from the Senate, but I do not support the government's agenda and its repeated failures to get large-scale energy infrastructure built in Canada. I do not support the government's policies that have undermined business confidence and the confidence of Canadians. October cannot come soon enough. The current Liberal government is not as advertised.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2019-05-14 20:06 [p.27809]
Madam Chair, I will speak to two issues: access to justice in both official languages, and genetic discrimination. I will speak for about 10 minutes. Then I will ask the minister questions in both official languages.
One thing I do want to say before I begin is how much I have appreciated the opportunity to work with the Minister of Justice. Since he has been appointed, he has been nothing but a pleasure to work with, and I want to thank him for that.
One of my concerns is the issue of access to justice in both of Canada's official languages. I represent a bilingual riding where two-thirds of the population speaks English and one-third speaks French.
In my view, all Canadians from all provinces and territories should have access to justice in both of Canada's official languages.
One of the things that I was pleased with is that at the beginning of our tenure at the justice committee, we proposed a unanimous report that asked for the reinstatement of the court challenges program, with both an official language component and an equality component. That program was restored by this government, and I appreciate that, because it allows official language minority communities throughout the country to seek funds in order to challenge government rules that pose a challenge to their charter rights. That is something that the government did that I really appreciate.
We looked at that at the justice committee. At the justice committee, when we were doing our access to justice study, we also proposed that funding be offered to allow provinces to create templates for lawyers that allow them to enter into contracts in both official languages throughout Canada. It was actually frightening to hear that in some provinces, contracts could not be drawn up in both official languages because lawyers did not have access to templates. One of the things I am really pleased with, which I will get to a little later, is that the government has offered funding to improve that access.
Another thing that is very important is for judges to be able to hear witness testimony in both official languages.
The government's action plan for official languages delivers on many of the recommendations made by the Commissioner of Official Languages and his counterparts in Ontario and New Brunswick in the 2013 report entitled “Access to Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary”.
Our action plan takes a multidimensional approach that guarantees that participants in Canada's justice system have better access to justice in both of Canada's official languages.
First, in many cases, access to justice would be moot without a justice system capable of rendering justice in both languages. To that end, in October 2016 there were reforms to the Superior Court appointments process, and those measures are contained in the action plan to enhance the bilingual capacity of the Superior Court judiciary. These changes have increased the transparency and accountability of the appointments process while laying the groundwork for a longer-term vision for continuous improvement, including in the area of bilingual capacity.
The other important change regarding judges is the process for appointing judges to the Supreme Court of Canada. Our government set out to make this process more open, transparent and accountable and to ensure that judges appointed to the Supreme Court are truly bilingual.
We followed that process when we appointed Justices Malcolm Rowe and Sheilah L. Martin. I am sure that we will do the same thing when we find a replacement for Clément Gascon.
Ultimately, it is very important to ensure that all judges appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada are bilingual, and one day, that might be the case for appeal court judges as well.
I am really proud of that progress.
I would also like to talk about a couple of other things we have done with respect to bilingualism. The justice committee, once again unanimously, amended Bill C-78 so it would ensure people have the right to divorce in both official languages across Canada. One of the things we heard from witnesses from British Columbia and a couple of Maritime provinces such as Newfoundland was that one could not obtain a divorce in French in those provinces. That is shocking.
A divorce proceeding might be the only encounter a person has with the justice system, and it is a very emotional time. As a witness, a person would not want to have to talk to a judge about such emotional things in a language that is not their mother tongue. That is what was happening in some provinces in Canada.
I am proud that the Standing Committee on Justice unanimously recommended changing Bill C-78.
I am proud that the government agreed to that recommendation. That is what passed this House of Commons and I hope will pass the other place.
I also want to talk about the enhancement of the access to justice in both official languages support fund under the action plan for official languages 2018-2023. This grants and contributions program provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions and provincial and territorial partners, including provincial courts, to improve access to justice in official language minority communities.
Beyond the existing amounts, our government has committed to additional funding of $13.75 million over five years to improve access to justice in both official languages. These new investments will enable the consolidation of current access to justice activities for official language minority communities, the creation of new fields of activities and the re-establishment of operational core funding for eligible community organizations.
In addition to this funding, consultation with stakeholders is key.
I know that our Department of Justice organizes an annual meeting as part of the advisory committee on access to justice in both official languages. This advisory committee brings together legal representatives of official language minority communities and spokespersons for these communities, such as the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and the Quebec Community Groups Network.
I know this money will go to a good cause. We heard from these groups how difficult it was in certain cases to obtain access to justice in both official languages. Despite constitutional and legal rules, people who come from a small rural community often have a difficult time finding an attorney and a court that will hear them and work with them in their language. The more tools governments across Canada, including our federal government, can offer to this process, the better the chance all Canadians will have of seeking access to justice in their official language.
I also said I wanted to talk about one other thing, which is genetic discrimination. This House, by majority, adopted a law to prohibit genetic discrimination. That was a proposal that was unanimously adopted by the justice committee. The previous minister of justice did not agree with that, and a factum was filed by the Government of Canada in the Quebec Court of Appeal, saying that the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act adopted by a majority in Parliament was not within the criminal law power of Parliament.
I have noted with interest that the government has now filed a factum in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, which highlights the importance of privacy and the chance that such a law would be intra vires the privacy interests or the right of Parliament to legislate on privacy issues.
Madam Chair, I am going to ask my first question to the Minister of Justice now. Mr. Minister, could you explain to the House the privacy arguments advanced in the factum on the genetic discrimination bill before the Supreme Court of Canada?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee. With respect to the power to regulate insurance, the legal argument has not changed. On that particular point, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled five to nothing in favour of provincial jurisdiction.
However, what we have done in the argument is admit that, should there be a privacy basis for the grounding of such a right to the information generated by genetic testing, we would be open to that. That is quite an important opening and is very respectful of the will of Parliament.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table five petitions today.
The first petition was started at a time when Statistics Canada was reported to be collecting personal and banking information belonging to Canadians without their knowledge and consent.
The petitioners call upon the government to ensure this does not happen. They raise concerns about the need to set standards to prevent this sort of thing from ever occurring in the future.
View Larry Miller Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Miller Profile
2019-04-09 10:18 [p.26841]
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of tabling petition e-1924, signed by 2,450 Canadian citizens.
This is a petition to the Government of Canada stating that whereas the Government of Canada has broken the laws that cover the right to privacy, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, by authorizing Statistics Canada to collect the personal, financial and banking information and history from Canadian banks and credit bureaus for 500,000 citizens and residents, and the government has no right to our private financial information, and the act is both illegal and immoral, the Government of Canada and Statistics Canada do not have the right to this information without our signed authorization for the privacy act, we, the undersigned taxpayers of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to cease and desist collection of information of Canadian citizens' private financial affairs and demand that the Government of Canada put an immediate end to Statistics Canada's compelling Canadian financial institutions and credit bureaus to transfer any financial information, detailed or otherwise, from any taxpayer to Statistics Canada.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)

Question No. 2246--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the use of prescribed medical marijuana by clients of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC): (a) how many medical marijuana users are there, broken down by year from 2015 to present; (b) how many VAC clients are prescribed, on a daily basis, (i) three grams or less, (ii) four grams, (iii) five grams, (iv) six grams, (v) seven grams, (vi) eight grams, (vii) nine grams, (viii) ten grams, (ix) any other amount; (c) for each of the prescriptions in (b), what is the form of the marijuana being dispensed, namely (i) dried, (ii) oil, (iii) cream, (iv) suppository; (d) how many VAC clients are permitted to grow their own marijuana for prescribed medical use; (e) what evidence, reports, scientific studies or other studies have been used as a frame of reference to evaluate the use, prescription or denial of the prescription of medical marijuana; and (f) have any of the studies in (e) been used as justification for the government's proposed reduction of the maximum allowed amount of medical marijuana prescribed to VAC clients to three grams per day in cases where there is no medical approval for prescribed amounts of medical marijuana of over three grams per day?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2247--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the use and cost paid by the government for prescribed medical marijuana and prescribed pharmaceuticals used by members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, and administered by Veterans Affairs Canada: (a) what was the total amount paid annually, broken down by year from 2015 up to the current year, 2019, for (i) medical marijuana, (ii) Diazepam, (iii) Clonazepam, (iv) Trazodone, (v) Zopièlone, (vi) Wellbutrin, (vii) Effexor, (viii) Celexa, (ix) Seroquel, (x) Ambien, (xi) Remeron, (xii) Nabilone, (xiii) Valium, (xiv) Prazosin, (xv) Oxycodone, (xvi) Demerol, (xvii) Dilaudid, (xviii) Fentanyl, (xix) Mirtazapine, (xx) Gabapentin, (xxi) Baclofen, (xxii) Propranolol, (xxiii) Targin, (xxiv) Pantoprazole, (xxv) Nortriptyline, (xxvi) Ketoconazole, (xxvii) prescribed pharmaceuticals, including opioids and other pain relief medications; and (b) what evidence, reports, scientific studies or otherwise have been used as a reference or a basis for the use, prescription or non-use or non-prescription of the pharmaceuticals or medical marijuana?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2249--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
With regard to the government’s Small Communities Fund first announced in 2014: what are the details of all projects under the program, including (i) recipient of funding, (ii) province, (iii) municipality, (iv) project start date, (v) projected completion date, (vi) amount of funding pledged, (vii) amount of funding actually provided to date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2250--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to videos produced by the government for internal usage since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of all such videos, including (i) date, (ii) duration, (iii) title, (iv) purpose, (v) intended audience; and (b) for each video in (a), what were the total expenditures, broken down by type of expense?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2255--
Mr. Phil McColeman:
With regard to the use of taxi chits by the government, broken down by department or agency, and by year since January 1, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on taxi chits for government employees; and (b) broken down by ministerial office, including the Office of the Prime Minister, how much has the government spent on taxi chits for ministerial exempt staff?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2256--
Mrs. Sylvie Boucher:
With regard to polls administrated by the government since October 25, 2017, and broken down by department or agency: (a) how many public opinion polls have been administered; (b) what amount has been spent on polls; and (c) what are the details of each poll administered including (i) start and end date, (ii) pollster or vendor, (iii) list of all poll questions and subjects, (iv) results of each poll?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2257--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
With regard to classified or protected documents, since January 1, 2016, broken down by department or agency, and broken down by year: (a) how many instances have occurred where it was discovered that classified or protected documents were left or stored in a manner which did not meet the requirements of the security level of the documents; (b) how many of these instances occurred in the offices of ministerial exempt staff, including those of the staff of the Prime Minister, broken down by ministerial office; and (c) how many employees have lost their security clearance as a result of such infractions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2259--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to monitoring studies of recreational fishing areas in the federal riding of Manicouagan since 2013: what are the results of analyses concerning (i) the shellfish resource, (ii) the location of shellfish farms, (iii) the sources of pollution, (iv) the presence of toxicity, (v) the presence of marine biotoxins?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2260--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to the $75 million in federal assistance to the Atlantic provinces to combat spruce budworm in Budget 2018, what are: (a) the briefing notes prepared for (i) the Privy Council Office, (ii) the Office of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, (iii) the Office of the Prime Minister, (iv) the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources, (v) any other federal department; (b) all stakeholders consulted, including (i) how they were consulted, (ii) the dates of these meetings, (iii) the briefing books for these meetings, (iv) correspondence with these stakeholders; and (c) the research used for developing this federal assistance, including but not limited to (i) analyses, (ii) studies, (iii) data, (iv) reports?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2261--
Mrs. Marilène Gill:
With regard to the airports within the federal riding of Manicouagan, since 2000, what is the amount of annual revenues related to (i) taxation, (ii) operations, (iii) leasing collected by: (a) Transport Canada; and (b) the Canada Revenue Agency?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2262--
Mr. Scott Duvall:
With regard to pensions for the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of federal agencies or any other federal organization, since November 2015: (a) how many CEOs are deemed not to be part of the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act, broken down by (i) CEO, (ii) organization; (b) how many times has the Governor in Council ordered a CEO to participate in the public service pension plan, broken down by (i) year, (ii) CEO, (iii) federal organization; and (c) for each of the CEOs deemed not to be part of the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act, what are the detailed justifications for their non-participation in the public service pension plan for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2264--
Mr. Scott Duvall:
With regard to consultation called “Consultations on enhancing retirement security” in which Employment and Social Development Canada has been involved: (a) what is the total number of stakeholders consulted, broken down by (i) provinces, (ii) electoral ridings, (iii) organizations representing pensioners, (iv) organizations representing workers, (v) organizations representing employers; (b) how many submissions were received; (c) how many analyses were carried out by those responsible for the consultation; (d) how much research has been done by those responsible for the consultation; (e) how many targeted outreach activities were carried out by those responsible for the consultation; (f) how many stakeholders raised the issue of the tight deadline for submitting documents; and (g) what was the total amount spent on the twitter hashtag #YourFutureMatters?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-02-28 10:50 [p.25893]
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House to provide some of my thoughts and comments.
Over the last few years, I have witnessed a different approach to Canada's military, a positive approach. I want to take a more holistic approach in my address on this legislation. This is an important bill and opposition members have recognized that fact. They too feel this is good legislation.
The bill has gone through first and second reading, through committee stage and report stage. We are now into the third and final aspect of its passage, and that is a good thing.
Bill C-77 is long overdue. It proposes to make our military justice system a bit more in sync with our civil system. There is fairly universal support for the government in advancing the legislation in order to accomplish that.
I had the good fortune to serve in the Canadian Forces for a few years. Even though I never experienced it directly, indirectly I got a sense of military justice and the justice regime. I can recall first-hand during my boot camp days the supervisor, or the master corporal in this situation, telling us what our obligations were.
In the military justice world one has an obligation to show up when asked to show up. When members of the forces are scheduled to do something, they best be there unless they have some sort of medical condition or have a very good reason for not showing up. If a member is scheduled to be on duty, he or she is expected to be there. That does not necessarily apply with the same sort of weight in civilian life.
The previous speaker made reference to the idea of being absent without leave. An important part of the training that was instilled in me and thousands of others as we went through boot camp was that there was a difference between military life and civilian life. One of the issues highlighted with respect to that was the idea of the military's ability to provide discipline to ensure its members would be where they were supposed to be. When I reflect on that today, I understand the importance of that.
Serving in the military is very unique. It is an absolute honour and privilege. As a member of Parliament, as well as in my days as a member of a legislative assembly, I have always, without exception, acknowledged the fine work the women and men in our forces do, whether it is the air force, the special units, the navy or military. I appreciate and value their contributions to our society in both current and past military actions protecting Canadians. Whether in peace missions or fighting the mighty Red River when it has overflowed, our military plays a critical and vital role with respect to our country. We will always be there for our military.
Even though we have only been in government for a little over three years, we have not only talked about taking action, but has also delivered on a number of different fronts.
What we are debating today is just one aspect of that. It is about military justice.
Let me go back to the training I received. When we were told that we had to show up, that we had to be somewhere, the consequence of not being there could lead to a court-martial and a criminal record. Even though there might be a reason, a relatively weak reason at times, for an individual not being where he or she was supposed to be, it would potentially lead to a criminal record.
I believe, as I would have believed back then, that this is not necessarily a fair consequence in all situations. That is why it is a good that the legislation brings the consequences more into line with what happens in civilian life. For example, now much more discretion will be allowed if someone is found to have been AWOL or has not shown up where he or she needs to be at a specific time. This does not mean the individual will receive a court martial. The same threat level is no longer there.
Members of the forces are incredible individuals, with a very strong sense of commitment to duty and country. Ultimately this will have a minor impact with respect to service to country, yet can have a very positive impact on what happens when someone from the military retires.
As we have heard from other speakers, when members of the Canadian Forces decide to retire or have the opportunity to retire, whatever the circumstances might be, we want those members to have the opportunity to continue with successful employment into the future. Having a criminal record has a negative impact on the ability of service members or former service members to get employment for which they are eligible. It is not fair that members of the forces would receive a criminal record for a charge that someone in the civilian sector would not receive. In part, I believe that is why we see good support for the legislation from members of the opposition. We recognize that we can do more to reform our laws that would allow that kind of an issue to be resolved positively.
Insubordination is another example. In civilian life insubordination is treated quite differently than it is in the military. The legislation would also deal with that. This is an opportunity to look at good legislation that advances our Canadian Forces in a positive direction and to get behind it.
One encouraging issue in Bill C-77 is that we would ensure indigenous sentencing provisions would be taken into consideration. This has been taking place within our civilian population. This is different from what the previous government proposed. We need to understand and appreciate that the indigenous factor needs to be taken into consideration. We see that in our civil court system and it has proven to be successful. Therefore, I am glad to see that in this legislation.
There is something we often talk about in the House in regard to legislation on criminal matters. We often hear about the importance of victims and protecting or enhancing the rights of victims. It pleases me that we would establish something new with this legislation within the law on military justice, and that is a declaration of victims rights. That is long overdue. I am glad that we have a government that has incorporated into the legislation respect for victims rights.
What does that mean? It would allow, for example, the right to have information. It would also allow a right to protection. Equally important is participation in the process. Where it is possible, restitution would be of critical importance.
I had the opportunity to serve as chair of a youth justice committee. One of the more progressive changes we started to see at the tail end, before I actually had to leave the committee a number of years back, was the idea of restitution, or restorative justice. As much as possible, that is a wonderful tool that needs to at least be considered. When we think of victims and the idea of restorative justice, we need to incorporate victims whenever we can. It really makes a difference for victims.
I would like to give an example of what that sort of justice means to victims. A victim subjected to an offence is afforded the opportunity to participate by sitting down with the perpetrator and assisting in developing the consequence for that behaviour. At the level of a youth justice committee, dealing with young offenders under the age of 18, I had the opportunity to witness that on a couple of occasions. I was very encouraged by it. The victim was better able to get an appreciation of what had taken place and at the same time feel that the impact on the victim was taken into consideration.
With respect to other aspects of the legislation, it says the following:
It amends Part III of the National Defence Act to, among other things,
(a) specify the purpose of the Code of Service Discipline and the fundamental purpose of imposing sanctions at summary hearings.
This legislation would ensure that there is a quicker processing of justice. It would also “protect the privacy and security of victims and witnesses in proceedings involving certain sexual offences”.
Many Canadians who follow debates in the House might not be familiar with the fact that there is a civilian system of justice and a military justice system. Something I discovered in the discussions on this legislation was that in certain situations, a military person who commits an offence will go through the civilian justice system as opposed to the military justice system. An example is in regard to sexual assault. In certain situations, there is discretion in our system to enable civilian courts to deal with military personnel who are convicted of committing an offence.
I mentioned that I served in the military. I served in Edmonton, in air traffic control, as an assistant at the time, working out of Lancaster Park. Just south of Lancaster Park, in Griesbach, there was a military detention centre on the base. It was somewhat new to me, but people being held in custody for a sentence of more than two years would go to a federal facility for civilians. For any sentence under two years, offenders would be detained, in part, in military facilities.
The legislation would include the following:
(d) make testimonial aids more accessible to vulnerable witnesses;
(e) allow witnesses to testify using a pseudonym in appropriate cases;
(f) on application, make publication bans for victims under the age of 18 mandatory;
(g) In certain circumstances, require a military judge to inquire of the prosecutor if reasonable steps have been taken to inform the victims of any plea agreement entered into by the accused and the prosecutor.
The legislation again highlights the importance of victims rights:
(i) provide for different ways of presenting victim impact statements;
(j) allow for military impact statements and community impact statements to be considered in all service offences;
(k) provide...that particular attention should be given to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders;
As I indicated earlier, that is completely new to the legislation, and I believe it has fairly good support on both sides of the House.
The legislation would also,
(m) provide for a scale of sanctions in respect of service infractions and for the principles applicable to those sanctions;
(n) provide for a six-month limitation period in respect of summary hearings;
As I said, this legislation has some new aspects that would further enhance what was introduced in the House a number of years ago. Members across the way appear to recognize the value of the legislation, and I hope they will allow it to go to the next step, which is the Senate.
The modernization of our military law is a positive thing, and it is part of a holistic approach this government is taking in being there for the Canadian men and women who serve in our forces. I am thankful for the opportunity to share some thoughts on the matter.
View Andy Fillmore Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Andy Fillmore Profile
2019-02-28 16:49 [p.25944]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to join colleagues here today for the third reading debate of Bill C-77, an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.
I must say that it is my profound honour to represent the city of Halifax in this place. The riding of Halifax includes the home of Canada's east coast navy and the Maritime Atlantic Command, or MARLANT. It includes elements of the 5th Canadian Division, the great Mighty Maroon Machine. It includes elements of the 12 Wing Shearwater air force base and, of course, all of their families. All these servicemen and women call Halifax home. Over these years, I have developed many lasting friendships as I meet them on base or on ship and as they meet me in their member of Parliament's office.
I am so pleased that this bill is before us. With it, our government is going to be strengthening victims' rights within the military justice system. With Bill C-77, we would also enshrine a declaration of victims' rights in the code of service discipline within the National Defence Act. We would also ensure victims' rights are respected and, notably, that we are providing victims the right to a victims liaison officer, who will help victims navigate the often confusing justice system. The bill would also enhance the speed and fairness of the summary trial system to address minor breaches of military discipline.
I am very proud to be in this House today to contribute to our government's efforts to have the military justice system continuously evolve to comply with Canadian laws and values, and we will ensure it remains responsive to both accused and victims. Reforms are building on Canada's military justice system in the long, proud history that it has of helping to maintain a high level of discipline, efficiency and morale within the Canadian Armed Forces, and it is in that spirit that our government has committed to reviewing, modernizing and improving our civilian and military systems of justice.
I am happy to reiterate what many of my colleagues around the House have said today: While some of the changes we are proposing to the National Defence Act are minor and some are considerably more significant, at their core each strives to make sure that the military justice system remains relevant and legitimate.
The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed on multiple occasions that the military needs a military justice system. Our military justice system contributes to the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale in the Canadian Armed Forces, but what is more, the military justice system is needed to deal with cases of breaches to military discipline that have no equivalent and no raison d'être in Canada's civilian criminal justice system.
I will now offer a broad overview of the changes that we are proposing through Bill C-77.
To start, the amendments will clearly enshrine victims' rights in the military justice system and make sure adequate support is put in place to support them by adopting a more victim-centred approach in the military justice system. To do that, Bill C-77 proposes to add a declaration of victims rights within the code of service discipline. This declaration will ensure that the victims of service offences are informed, protected and heard throughout the military justice process.
The declaration provides victims of service offences with four new rights.
The first is the right to information, so that victims understand the process that they are a part of, how the case is proceeding, which services and programs are available to them and how to file a complaint if they believe their rights under the declaration have been denied or infringed.
The nature of the military justice system is unique, and understanding it can be difficult and even sometimes intimidating. For those reasons, this legislation includes the appointment of the victims liaison officer to help guide victims through the process and inform them of how the system works. Under the victims' right to information, they would also have access to information about the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who has harmed them.
The second core right in the legislation is that of protection, so that victims' privacy and security are considered at all stages of the military justice system. Moreover, where it is appropriate, it will ensure that their identity is protected. It also ensures that reasonable and necessary measures are taken to protect victims from intimidation or retaliation.
The third right is for participation, so that victims can express their views about the decisions to be made by military justice authorities and have those views considered. This right also includes the right to present a victim impact statement at a court martial so that the harm they have suffered can be fully appreciated at sentencing. In addition, it will be possible to submit military and community impact statements to the court martial. These will convey the full extent of the harm caused to the Canadian Armed Forces or the community as a result of the offence.
The fourth right is to restitution, so that the court martial may consider making a restitution order for all offences when financial losses and damages could be reasonably determined.
The next notable change introduced by this legislation relates to how indigenous offenders are sentenced. This is also a change that stems from the evolution of Canada's civilian criminal justice system and our desire to ensure that the military justice system reflects our times while remaining faithful to its mandate.
In the case of the military justice system, the changes introduced by Bill C-77 will make the system faster and simpler. The summary hearing will be introduced and will address minor breaches of military discipline in a non-penal and non-criminal manner. This new system will be more agile, timely and responsive. More serious matters will be directed to courts martial, and there will no longer be a summary trial.
The summary hearing will only deal with a new category of minor breach of military discipline termed a service infraction. All service offences that are more major in nature will be dealt with at a court martial. There will be no criminal consequences for service infractions, and military commanders who conduct summary hearings will be limited to non-penal sanctions to address them.
This approach has the added benefit of improving the chain of command's ability to address minor breaches of military discipline fairly and more rapidly. We expect that this will enhance the responsiveness and efficiency of military discipline, thereby contributing to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In 2017, our government launched Canada's defence policy, “strong, secure, engaged”. It is a policy that charts a course for the defence of Canada for the next 20 years. It puts our people first and at the heart of what we do. It spells out clearly how the government will support the Canadian Armed Forces as an organization and support its women and men in uniform as our most important asset. On the whole, that policy is a commitment to take concrete steps to give service members what they need to continue excelling in their work, as they always have.
The military justice system is central to how the Canadian Armed Forces accomplishes what it does every single day. It sets up the framework for service members to maintain an outstanding level of discipline and a high level of morale so that they can successfully accomplish the difficult tasks we ask of them. Knowing that they are protected by a military justice system that keeps pace with Canadian values and concepts of justice builds great unit cohesion among our forces as well.
It is a pleasure to see this legislation progress to second reading, as we continue to make every effort to deliver for the women and men of our armed forces and for all Canadians.
The drive to be fair, to be just, and to restore that which has been harmed is a drive that dates back to the very foundations of our country and our armed forces. Today we are taking steps in the pursuit of justice, steps to take care of victims while we seek to ensure justice is served, steps to ensure that indigenous peoples in the military justice system receive the same considerations when sentenced as those in the civilian justice system and steps to uphold justice within our military so that they can continue defending this country.
I thank every member in this House who will be supporting this very important bill and working with us toward that very worthy goal for the servicemen and women in Halifax, across Canada and indeed around the world. It is just the right thing to do.
View Mike Bossio Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House today. I would like to use my time to share how this government is supporting victims of inappropriate conduct by members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Last year, our government introduced legislation in the House that proposed to add a declaration of victims rights to the military's code of service discipline. This is good news. It shows that military justice in the country continues to evolve in the best interests of Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces.
When victims display courage by coming forward with a complaint, we must ensure they are supported fully. Anything less would be unacceptable. Every victim, whether a Canadian Armed Forces member or civilian, deserves to be treated with trust, dignity and respect. This legislation shows that the government recognizes the harmful impact of service offences on victims, the military and society. It reconfirms this government's commitment to strengthen victims rights in the military justice system. It is our view that the legislation advances Canada's position as a global leader in support for victims.
The proposed amendments in the bill will strengthen and uphold victims rights within the military justice system, while ensuring these rights mirror those in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Simply put, the legislation creates and extends rights for victims in four specific areas: the right to information about how the military justice system works; the right to protection of security and privacy; the right to participation by expanding how victim impact statements can be presented at a court martial; and the right to restitution for damages or losses. These rights would be available to any victim of a service offence when he or she comes into contact with the military justice system.
Let me expand more on each of the four rights.
The first is the right to information. Any victims of a service offence have the right to general information about their own role and how Canada's military justice system works. They will be informed about the services and programs available to them. They will have the right to know how their case is progressing within the military justice system. This includes any information related to the status and outcome of investigations and the prosecution or sentencing of the person who harmed them. It is vital to keep victims informed during what can be a complex and foreign process. However, it is only the first step.
Second, a victim's right to protection must be considered in any matter in which a service offence has been committed. That is why the bill extends victims the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages in the military justice system. The legislation would give victims the right to have reasonable and necessary measures taken to protect them from intimidation and retaliation. Victims can also request that their identities be protected. This is paramount to ensuring that victims rights are protected when they come into contact with the military justice system through no fault of their own. It will protect vulnerable participants by giving military judges the power to order publication bans, the power to allow testimony outside of the courtroom and the power to prevent an accused person from cross-examining a victim in a court martial.
The third way this government is recognizing victims is by enhancing their right to participate in the military justice system. We are doing this by expanding how victim impact statements can be presented at court martial. We are also enabling victims to share at various stages of the legal process their views about decisions that affect their rights and to have those views considered by appropriate authorities. This will ensure that the views of victims and the harm and loss they have suffered can be fully considered by appropriate authorities in the military justice system. It will also allow for a community impact statement to be submitted, describing the harm, the loss and the overall impact of a service offence on the community.
In addition to victim and community impact statements, the bill would enable the submission of a military impact statement on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces when one of its members commits a service offence. Such an impact statement could describe the harm done to the discipline, efficiency or morale within the unit or to the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole. The statement would be taken into account alongside victim and community impact statements. The victim's right to participate before courts martial is a crucial part of recognizing the losses, damages or wrongs he or she has suffered.
The fourth and final right for victims in the legislation concerns their right to restitution. This will ensure victims can ask a court martial to consider ordering restitution for damages or losses when that value can be readily determined.
These rights will be guaranteed for any victims of a service offence committed by a service member should they come into contact with the military justice system. We are committed to ensuring victims are treated with dignity and respect and we are taking this responsibility seriously. We owe it to victims and to their families.
I have a number of families in my riding serve. I have the Kingston armed forces base on one side and the Trenton air base on the other side of my riding, so I have a number of serving members and veterans who live within my riding. I have worked closely with the MFRC in Trenton, which provides incredible services to members of the Trenton air base. The Military Family Resource Centre is a valuable resource that provides a number of different types of services to military service personnel. This is another reason why I am so pleased to make this speech today. This is so important to the families, the service personnel and the many thousands of civilians who work in the military at these two bases.
By maintaining discipline, efficiency and morale, the military justice system helps the Canadian Armed Forces achieve its mission here at home and around the world. Adopting the declaration of victims rights in the Code of Service Discipline will strengthen the rights of victims within the military justice system. It will ensure that victims have the right to information, protection, participation and restitution when they have been wronged. It will reinforce Canada's position as a global leader in maintaining a fair and effective military justice system, one that evolves in harmony with our civilian laws.
For all these reasons, members on this side of the House will be supporting the bill. I am so proud to be part of a government that has brought forward a bill that will make such a difference in the lives of military service members and their families.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 2030--
Ms. Elizabeth May:
With respect to the Trans Mountain pipeline purchased by the government on August 31, 2018: (a) did the Minister of Natural Resources seek a cost-benefit analysis of acquiring the existing pipeline and of building an expansion; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, (i) when was the analysis sought, (ii) when was the finalized analysis received, (iii) in what format was the finalized analysis received, for instance as a briefing note, a memo, a report, etc.; and (c) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what are the details of the analysis, including (i) name and credentials of the author or authors, (ii) date of publication, (iii) the WTI/WCS differential used in the calculations, (iv) the range in years from which data on Canada’s oil industry was captured and analyzed for the study, (v) the impact of an expanded pipeline on jobs in the Parkland refinery, (vi) the estimated number of construction jobs and of permanent jobs created by the expansion project, (vii) the projected construction costs of the pipeline expansion project, (viii) an assessment of the impacts of a tanker spill or pipeline leak on British Columbia’s tourism and fisheries industries, (ix) the government’s liability in the event of a spill or leak, broken down by recovery costs for marine, alluvial, and land-based ecologies (including but not limited to remediation, rehabilitation and restoration of sites and species, especially endangered species) and financial compensation for loss of livelihood and involuntary resettlement of human populations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2031--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
With regard to infrastructure projects which were approved for funding by Infrastructure Canada since November 4, 2015: what are the details of all such projects, including (i) location, (ii) project title and description, (iii) amount of federal funding commitment, (iv) amount of federal funding delivered to date, (v) amount of provincial funding commitment, (vi) amount of local funding commitment, including name of municipality or local government, (vii) status of project, (viii) start date, (ix) completion date, or expected completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2032--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to cyberattacks on government departments and agencies since January 1, 2016, broken down by year: (a) how many attempted cyberattacks on government websites or servers were successfully blocked; (b) how many cyberattacks on government websites or servers were not successfully blocked; and (c) for each cyberattack in (b), what are the details, including (i) date, (ii) departments or agencies targeted, (iii) summary of incident, (iv) whether or not police were informed or charges were laid?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2033--
Mr. Richard Cannings:
With regard to the Elementary and Secondary Education Program offered by Indigenous Services Canada, broken down by province and territory: (a) how much funding was budgeted for the program for each fiscal year since 2014-15 to date; and (b) how much has been spent on the program for each fiscal year since 2014-15 to date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2034--
Mr. Richard Cannings:
With regard to communication between the Office of the Prime Minister or the Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and persons employed by or on the board of directors of Waterfront Toronto: what are all instances of communication from November 5, 2015, to date, broken down by (i) date, (ii) person in the Office of the Prime Minister or of the Minister, (iii) subject matter, (iv) persons with whom communication occurred and their titles, (v) method of communication?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2036--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to the Canada Child Benefit: (a) how many recipients of the benefit (i) are permanent residents of Canada, (ii) are temporary residents of Canada, (iii) have received refugee status, (iv) have made asylum claims that have not yet been adjudicated; (b) what is the total amount of money that has been paid out to the recipients in (a)(iii); and (c) what is the total amount of money that has been paid out to the recipients in (a)(iv)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2042--
Ms. Michelle Rempel:
With respect to border crossings occurring at unofficial Canadian ports of entry between January 1, 2017, and October 30, 2018: (a) how many border crossers have had family members later present themselves at an official point of entry to claim asylum using the exemption in the Safe Third Country Agreement for family members; and (b) how many of the cases described in (a) are currently at the Immigration and Refugee Board?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2043--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to applications for cannabis licences approved by Health Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency under the Cannabis Act and the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations: (a) how many licensed producers are structured within family trusts; (b) how many licensed producers have a criminal history; (c) what measures were taken to ensure there was no criminal history; (d) were the criminal histories of the parent companies of licensed producers analyzed; (e) how many licensed producers are associated with individuals with a criminal history; (f) how many parent companies of licensed producers are directly or indirectly associated with individuals and businesses with a criminal history; (g) how many licensed producers were reported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; (h) are the parent companies of licensed producers required to obtain a security clearance, and if so, how many parent companies of licensed producers are there; (i) what are the sources of financing of licensed producers, broken down by jurisdiction; (j) what is the detailed ownership structure of each licensed producer; and (k) what specific measures did Health Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency take to identify the true beneficiaries of licensed producers?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2045--
Mr. François Choquette:
With respect to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages: (a) to which branch of the government does the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages belong, according to the Official Languages Act; (b) before the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages, had the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ever covered the expenses of the appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages; (c) if the answer to (b) is negative, why did the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages agree to pay the expenses for the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages; (d) who precisely approached the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to have it sign and pay for a contract with Boyden for the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages; (e) has Parliament ever authorized the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to pay for expenses incurred by the government; (f) if the answer to (e) is affirmative, what are the authorizations in question; (g) did Parliament have access to the services from Boyden for which the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages paid in relation to the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages; (h) if the answer to (g) is negative, why; (i) how, in detail, did the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ensure that the money that it spent for the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages was used for the appropriate purposes; (j) does the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages have all the details of how the money that it paid for the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages was spent; (k) has the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages ever authorized Boyden to subcontract services; and (l) what was the total amount that the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages was prepared to pay to cover expenses related to the most recent appointment process for the Commissioner of Official Languages?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2046--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to the Correctional Service of Canada's Prison Needle Exchange Program: (a) what consultations were done with the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers prior to the pilot program launching; (b) on what dates did the consultations in (a) take place; (c) who was in attendance for the consultations in (a); (d) how many inmates are registered for the program; (e) how many needles have been given to inmates in the program; (f) what are the index offences of inmates registered for the program; (g) what plans, if any, exist to begin the program at other penitentiaries; (h) is an inmate's participation in the program noted in their correctional plan; (i) is an inmate's participation in the program disclosed to the Parole Board of Canada; (j) what safety measures, if any, have been put in place to protect correctional officers from needles that are now in circulation; (k) how many cases have been found of inmates not in the program being in possession of needles sourced to the program; (l) how many needles have been returned to administrators of the program; (m) how many needles have gone missing as a result of inmates losing or not returning them; (n) where does the government suspect that the remaining or missing needles are located; (o) how many inmates have been subject to disciplinary measures for either failing to return a prison exchange needle or being in violation of the program's regulations; and (p) what is the rate of inmate assaults on correctional officers since the program began?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2047--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to infrastructure projects approved for funding by Infrastructure Canada since November 4, 2015, in the Waterloo region (defined as the ridings of Kitchener—Conestoga, Kitchener South—Hespeler, Kitchener Center, Waterloo, and Cambridge): what are the details of all such projects, including (i) location, (ii) project title and description, (iii) amount of federal funding commitment, (iv) amount of federal funding delivered to date, (v) amount of provincial funding commitment, (vi) amount of local funding commitment, including name of municipality or local government, (vii) status of project, (viii) start date, (ix) completion date or expected completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2048--
Mrs. Alice Wong:
With regard to funding allocated in the Main Estimates 2018-19 under the Department of Employment and Social Development: (a) what are the details of funding for programs targeted at seniors, including (i) amount of funding allocated per program, (ii) name of program, (iii) summary of program; and (b) what are the details of all organizations which received funding to date through the allocations referenced in (a), including (i) name of organization, (ii) start and end date of funding, (iii) amount, (iv) description of programs or services for which funding is intended, (v) location (i.e. riding name)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2049--
Ms. Tracey Ramsey:
With regard to federal spending in the riding of Essex, for each fiscal year since 2015-16, inclusively: what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to every organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose of the funding?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2050--
Ms. Tracey Ramsey:
With respect to the federal agency Invest in Canada and its board of directors: (a) what is, to date, the total amount of expenses of the Chair of the board and the members of the board, broken down by type of expenditure; (b) what are the details of implementing a national strategy to attract foreign direct investment to Canada; (c) how many new partnerships have been created, to date, with the departments or agencies of any government in Canada, the private sector in Canada, or other Canadian stakeholders interested in foreign direct investment; (d) how many activities, events, conferences and programs to promote Canada as a destination for investors have so far been created; (e) how much information has so far been collected, prepared and disseminated to assist foreign investors in supporting their foreign direct investment decisions in Canada; (f) how many services have been provided to foreign investors, to date, in respect of their current or potential investments in Canada; (g) who are the foreign investors that the agency has met, to date; (h) what are the suppliers outside of the federal public administration which the agency has used to date; (i) what, to date, are the providers of legal services outside the federal public administration on which the agency has relied; and (j) what are the filters and anti-conflict-of-interest requirements to which the members of the board are subject?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2051--
Ms. Tracey Ramsey:
With respect to the appointment process of the Chair and the members of the board of directors of the federal agency Invest in Canada: (a) did the President and any other member of the board disclose to the Deputy Minister any advice that, if adopted and executed by Invest in Canada, would provide them with a personal or professional financial gain, or bring one to a member of their immediate families or to any organization to which they are affiliated; (b) are the Chair or any other member of the board authorized to disclose to the members of other boards of directors (i) documentation, (ii) deliberations, (iii) records, (iv) advice obtained, (v) updates, (vi) commission data; (c) did the President or any other member of the board report an apparent conflict of interest; (d) did the Chair and any other member of the board object to a discussion or formulation of a recommendation that would conflict with their other interests; and (e) to what regulations, laws or policies relating to conflicts of interest and ethics are the President and any other member of the board subject?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2052--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to problematic issues related to the Phoenix pay system and the implementation of mixed pay teams in the 13 departments in June 2018: (a) what is the evolution of the cumulative backlog, broken down by department; (b) how many people were underpaid by the Phoenix pay system, in total and broken down by department; (c) how many employees experienced a total pay disruption, broken down by department; (d) of those employees in (c), broken down by department and sex, (i) how many did not receive any pay, (ii) how many had other errors related to pay; (e) what is the average error processing time, broken down by individual complaint; and (f) how many hours of overtime were required to address these issues, broken down by hours of work and costs incurred per pay period?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2053--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With respect to applications for the disability tax credit (DTC) by persons with type one diabetes which were rejected after the changes in wording to the letter to physicians in 2017 and were reviewed after the same changes in wording were reversed: (a) how many applications were reviewed; (b) how many of the applications in (a) were approved upon review; (c) how many of the applications in (a) were rejected again upon review; (d) how many of the applicants in (b) were notified of the approval; (e) how many of the applicants in (c) were notified of the rejection; (f) how many of the applicants in (c) were not notified of the rejection; (g) how many of the applicants in (c) appealed the rejection; (h) how many of the applicants in (f) were eligible to appeal the rejection; (i) how many of the applicants in (h) passed the due date for appeals without knowing about the rejection of their applications; and (j) had all applicants in (b) successfully appealed the rejection of their applications, how much would the aggregate disability tax credit claims cost on an annual basis?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2054--
Mr. Jim Eglinski:
With regard to Canadian National Railway’s (CN) potential discontinuance of a portion of the Foothills Subdivision and Mountain Spur in Alberta: (a) what analysis has the government undertaken of the potential impacts of this discontinuance; (b) what plans does the government have in place to address and mitigate the impacts; (c) what is the government’s position with regard to accepting the line at a cost not higher than the net salvage value of the rail line; (d) what is the government’s estimate of the current net salvage value of this rail line; (e) is the government aware of any other plans by CN to discontinue any other portions of the rail line, and if so, what are these plans; and (f) does the government plan to include funding for the Foothills Subdivision and Mountain Spur and other similar cases in Budget 2019?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2056--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to federal contracts with SNC-Lavalin: (a) are there any contingency plans in place for the 148 existing contracts in the event that SNC-Lavalin becomes ineligible to receive government contracts; (b) has the government sent tenders, letters of intent, or requests for quotation to SNC-Lavalin since April 27, 2013; (c) if the answer to (b) is affirmative, on what occasions was this done and what were the projects in question; (d) for all contracts awarded to SNC-Lavalin since 2013, what were the successful bid amounts; (e) for all completed contracts awarded to SNC-Lavalin since 2013, what amount of money was actually disbursed for each contract; (f) for any contracts that were amended after being awarded since 2013, (i) what contracts were amended, (ii) for what reason were they amended; (g) in general, what is the process for approving amendments to contracts; (h) which buildings owned by the federal government does SNC-Lavalin currently maintain or manage; and (i) what incidents, broken down by category (e.g. critical, health and safety, security) and date, have occurred in government facilities maintained or operated by SNC-Lavalin, or in SNC-Lavalin facilities occupied by government departments?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2057--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regards to the Statutes of Canada, 2018, Chapter 16 (Cannabis Act), where Part 6, Section 93(2) of the Regulations state that "...cannabis may contain residues of a pest control product, its components or derivatives, if they do not exceed any maximum residue limit, in relation to cannabis, specified for the pest control product, its components or derivatives under section 9 or 10 of the Pest Control Products Act...": (a) has Health Canada defined a maximum residue limit for residual chemicals in recreational cannabis as a commodity; (b) if the answer to (a) is positive (i) what is the maximum residue limit, (ii) have the public databases on maximum residue limits been updated to reflect the maximum residue limit for recreational cannabis; (c) if the answer to (a) is negative, does Health Canada intend to define a maximum residue limit for residual chemicals in recreational cannabis; (d) if the answer to (c) is positive, when does Health Canada intend to publish the maximum residue limit for residual chemicals in recreational cannabis; and (e) if the answer to (c) is negative, will Part 6, Section 93(2) of the Regulations apply to recreational cannabis as a commodity?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2058--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regards to applications for visitor visas since January 1, 2016, broken down by calendar year: (a) what number of people from Pakistan have applied for a visitor visa; (b) for each applicant in (a), what number were identified as Christian on their passports; (c) for each applicant in (b), what number were granted visitor visas; (d) for each applicant in (c), what number of adult applicants had annual incomes of 252,000 Pakistani rupees (PKR), or 3,000 Canadian dollars, or less; (e) for each applicant in (d), what number of people claimed asylum in Canada; (f) for each applicant in (e), what number were granted asylum; and (g) for each response provided in (a) through (f), what is the breakdown by gender?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2059--
Mr. Bernard Généreux:
With regard to expenditures related to the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix: (a) what is the total cost of all expenditures to date; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) vendor, (ii) description of goods or services, (iii) quantity, (iv) amount, (v) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2060--
Mr. Earl Dreeshen:
With regard to the “capability gap” in relation to military aircraft and fighter jets: what are the details of all briefing documents related to the matter since November 4, 2015, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) summary, (vi) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2061--
Mr. Alexander Nuttall:
With regard to Statistics Canada’s plan to harvest data from Canadians’ bank accounts: for each of the next five years, what is the projected revenue that the agency will receive as a result of selling information or statistics obtained as a result of the project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2062--
Mr. Scott Duvall:
With regard to public consultations planned in Budget 2018 concerning retirement income security following the "Sears" case, between February 2018 and November 2, 2018, broken down by month: (a) did the Minister of Seniors conduct public consultations; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, which individuals and organizations did the Minister of Seniors consult; (c) what are the recommendations or conclusions of the persons and organizations consulted, broken down by person and organization consulted; (d) in which municipalities did these meetings take place; (e) in which electoral districts did these meetings take place; and (f) were the Members of Parliament representing the constituencies referred to in (e) invited to these meetings?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2063--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's May 14, 2018, decision to suspend the processing of permanent resident visas for adoptive children from Japan: (a) who made the decision; (b) what was the rationale for the decision; (c) what evidence was provided to support the decision; (d) have officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada communicated with the State Department of the United States with respect to the decision; (e) have officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada communicated with the British Columbia Director of Adoption with respect to the decision; (f) why did Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada approve visas for the Japan-born adoptive children of five families from British Columbia in June 2018 despite the suspension on adoptions from Japan; (g) what are the specific questions on which Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is seeking clarification from the government of Japan; (h) what were the responses, if any, that the government received from Japan; (i) what concerns, if any, does the government have with the Japan adoption program; and (j) has there been a change in policy with regard to adoption from non-Hague countries?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2064--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS), broken down by fiscal year 2016-17 and 2017-18: (a) what was the budget for the FTCS; (b) how much of that budget was spent within the fiscal year; (c) how much was spent on each component of the FTCS, specifically, (i) mass media, (ii) policy and regulatory development, (iii) research, (iv) surveillance, (v) enforcement, (vi) grants and contributions, (vii) programs for Indigenous Canadians; (d) were any other activities not listed in (c) funded by the FTCS and, if so, how much was spent on each of these activities; and (e) was part of the budget reallocated for purposes other than tobacco control and, if so, how much was reallocated?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2066--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the federal agency Invest in Canada: (a) what is the remuneration range for its Board of Directors; (b) what are the details of all travel expenses incurred by Invest in Canada since its inception, including for each expenditure the (i) traveller, (ii) purpose, (iii) dates, (iv) air fare, (v) other transportation, (vi) accommodation, (vii) meals and incidentals, (viii) other, (ix) total; (c) what are the details of all hospitality expenses incurred by Invest in Canada, including for each expenditure the (i) individual, (ii) location and vendor, (iii) total, (iv) description, (v) date, (vi) number of attendees, including government employees and guests; (d) will the agency’s travel and hospitality expenditures be subject to proactive disclosure and, if not, why; and (e) since Invest in Canada’s inception, what are the details of the contracts awarded, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2067--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s YouTube channel since November 4, 2015: (a) how many full-time equivalents manage the channel; (b) what are the titles and corresponding pay scales of the full-time equivalents who manage the channel; (c) how much has been spent on overtime pay for the full-time equivalents who manage the channel; (d) how much has been spent on developing content for the channel, and how much is earmarked to be spent for the remainder of the 2018-19 fiscal year; (e) how much has been spent on promoting content for the channel, and how much is earmarked to be spent for the remainder of the 2018-19 fiscal year; (f) is there a cross-platform promotion plan to share content from the channel to other digital media platforms; (g) are the costs associated with the plan described in (f) included in the YouTube budget, or do they fall within the budget of the other platforms; (h) what are the digital media platforms used to promote or share the Minister’s YouTube content; (i) what is the monthly expenditure on the channel, broken down by month; (j) what is the cost associated with each video on the channel; and (k) what is the annual expenditure on the channel, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2068--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to Government of Canada electric vehicles: (a) how many electric vehicles does the government have in the greater Ottawa area; (b) of the vehicles in (a) what are the makes, models, and years for each of those vehicles; (c) when were these vehicles purchased, broken down by amount purchased per month; (d) how many charging stations does the government have in the Ottawa area; (e) of the charging stations in (d), when were they installed; (f) to date, what is the cost of the installation of charging stations; and (g) what is the kw/h used at the charging stations by month since they have been installed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2069--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the government's Mandate Letter Tracker tool: (a) what is the methodology in determining the current status of a commitment; (b) what metrics are used to differentiate between a commitment which has “made progress” and those that have “made progress toward ongoing goal”; (c) what metrics are used to determine if a commitment is “facing challenges”; (d) which department is responsible for the mandate letter tracker; (e) how many full-time equivalents monitor and maintain the mandate letter tracker; and (f) of the FTE’s in (e) what are their employment classifications?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2073--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to the business activities of the Royal Canadian Mint (the Mint) for the fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017: (a) what was the total revenue received from the Mint's numismatic business activities for each year; (b) what was the total revenue received from the Mint's bullion products and services function for each year; (c) what were the total profits earned from the Mint's numismatic business activities for each year; (d) what were the total profits earned from the Mint's bullion products and services function for each year; (e) what countries did the Mint provide numismatic products to in each year, broken down by the percentage of business activity in each country; (f) what countries did the Mint provide bullion products to in each year, broken down by percentage of business activity in each country; (g) what was the total value of bullion products sold by the Mint to Canadian customers for each year; (h) what are the names of the Canadian distributors and customers that the Mint sold bullion products to in each year, broken down by the value of bullion products sold to them; (i) what was the total value of numismatic products sold to Canadian distributors and customers for each year; (j) what are the names of the Canadian distributors and customers that the Mint sold numismatic products to in each year, broken down by the value of numismatic products sold to them; (k) what was the total value of bullion products sold by the Mint to American distributors and customers for each year; (l) what are the names of the American distributors and customers that the Mint sold bullion products to in each year, broken down by the value of bullions product sold to them; (m) what was the total value of numismatic products sold to American distributors and customers for each year; (n) what are the names of the American distributors and customers that the Mint sold numismatic products to in each year, broken down by the value of numismatic products sold to them; and (o) what is the alphabetical list of all approved bullion and numismatic distributors and customers that the Mint sells to for each year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2074--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, since its creation: (a) what is the number of meetings held with Canadian and foreign investors, broken down by (i) month, (ii) country, (iii) investor class; (b) what is the complete list of investors met with; and (c) what are the details of the contracts awarded by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2077--
Mr. Alupa A. Clarke:
With regard to all Government of Canada communications (meetings, emails, letters, telephone calls, teleconferences, etc.) regarding (i) the emission of red dust in Limoilou and Québec, (ii) all other possible emissions from the Port of Québec’s industrial and port activities, including various dusts and noxious odours in Limoilou and Québec, (iii) public health, (iv) all forms of emissions under the responsibility of the Ministère des Transports du Québec, in particular from nearby highways, (v) all forms of emissions from the Québec incinerator, (vi) all other forms of dust and emissions that may come from other areas, broken down by subject: what are the details of each communication, including (i) the date, (ii) the sender, (iii) the recipient, (iv) the title and subject, (v) the type of communication, (vi) the file number, (vii) the content surrounding each subject since November 4, 2015, between the government and (a) Port of Québec authorities; (b) the office of the Mayor of Québec; (c) the Government of Quebec; (d) the MNA for Jean-Lesage; (e) the MNA for Taschereau; (f) Quebec Stevedoring Company Ltd. (QSL), formerly Arrimage du Saint-Laurent; (g) companies operating on Port of Québec lands?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2078--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to government spending and charges laid pertaining to matters of national security: (a) how much has been spent annually since 2015 by each department investigating and prosecuting Vice Admiral Mark Norman, specifically (i) the RCMP, (ii) the Public Prosecution Services, (iii) the Privy Council Office (PCO), (iv) the Department of National Defence (DND), (v) the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), (vi) any other department or agency; (b) how much has been spent by each department investigating the 1,366 incidences of actionable financial intelligence on money laundering identified by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) in 2017, specifically (i) the RCMP, (ii) the Public Prosecution Service, (iii) PCO, (iv) any other department; (c) how much has been spent by each department investigating and prosecuting the 462 terrorism financing and threats to the security of Canada identified by FINTRAC in 2016 and 2017, specifically (i) the RCMP, (ii) the Public Prosecution Services, (iii) PCO, (iv) DND, (v) the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), (vi) any other department or agency; (d) how much has been spent by each department investigating and prosecuting the 187 actionable financial transactions related to money laundering, terrorism, terrorism financing and threats to the security of Canada identified by FINTRAC in 2016 and 2017, specifically (i) the RCMP, (ii) the Public Prosecution Services, (iii) PCO, (iv) DND, (v) CSIS, (vi) any other department or agency; (e) how many charges related to specific incidences of terrorism financing reported by FINTRAC were laid in (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017, (iv) 2018; and (f) how many of the cases in (e) have resulted in successful prosecutions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2079--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Liechtenstein leaks, the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks: (a) how many Canadian taxpayers were identified in the documents obtained, broken down by information leak and type of taxpayer, that is (i) an individual, (ii) a corporation, (iii) a partnership or trust; (b) how many audits did the CRA launch following the identification of taxpayers in (a), broken down by information leak; (c) of the audits in (b), how many were referred to the CRA’s Criminal Investigations Program, broken down by information leak; (d) how many of the investigations in (c) were referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, broken down by information leak; (e) how many of the investigations in (d) resulted in a conviction, broken down by information leak; and (f) what was the sentence imposed for each conviction in (e), broken down by information leak?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2080--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to real estate and office space leased by the government from private sector businesses since November 4, 2015, broken down by department or agency: what are the details of all the contracts, including (i) vendor; (ii) amount; (iii) start and end date of the contract?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2081--
Mrs. Kelly Block:
With regard to Transport Canada’s Community Participation Funding Program: (a) what are the details of all recipients of funding under the program since November 4, 2015, including the (i) recipient, (ii) amount, (iii) start date of the related activity or event, (iv) description and title of the activity or event, (v) purpose of funding; and (b) what are the details of all applicants who were denied funding under the program, including the (i) name, (ii) date of application, (iii) summary or description of the event related to the proposal, (iv) reason why the funding request was denied?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2082--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to the $6 million budget for the Leader’s Debates Commission: what is the breakdown of how the $6 million is projected to be spent by standard object and line item?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2084--
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
With regard to government contracts with Cossette Communication Inc., especially the decision to pay $499,800 to come up with a brand, logo, name and website for FinDev Canada: (a) on what date was the FinDev Canada contract signed; (b) on what date was the Minister of International Development or the Minister’s office informed that the contract in (a) existed; (c) who authorized the amount of the contract in (a) to be increased from the original value to $499,800; (d) what was the rationale or justification for increasing the original value of the contract in (a); (e) what are the details of all other contracts any department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entity has entered into with Cossette Communication Inc. since November 4, 2015, including the (i) date and duration (ii) amount, (iii) final contract value, (iv) original contract value, if different than the final, (v) justification for increasing the original contract value, if applicable, (vi) detailed description of goods or services provided, (vii) name of advertising or other campaign relevant to the contract; and (f) what is the total value of contracts entered into with Cossette Communication Inc. since November 4, 2015?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2086--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regard to Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) in Canada for the three most recent tax years available: (a) what is the total number of TFSAs, broken down by age groups (i) 15 to 24, (ii) 25 to 34, (iii) 35 to 54, (iv) 55 to 64, (v) 65 and above; (b) what is the total value of TFSAs, broken down by amounts (i) under $100,000, (ii) $100,000 to $250,000, (iii) $250,000 to $500,000, (iv) $500,000 to $1,000,000, (v) over $1,000,000; (c) how many individuals have a TFSA; and (d) how many individuals have multiple TFSAs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2087--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
With regard to the leaking of information from Cabinet meetings or Cabinet committee meetings, since November 4, 2015: (a) of how many instances of leaked information is the government aware; (b) how many individuals have been, or are, under investigation for leaking such information; (c) have any ministers been investigated for leaking such information and, if so, which ones; and (d) have any former ministers been investigated for leaking such information and, if so, which ones?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2088--
Ms. Lisa Raitt:
With regard to communication sent or received by Statistics Canada since January 1, 2017: (a) what are the details of all communication between Statistics Canada and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Office of the Minister or the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary of contents, (vii) format (email, letter, teleconference, etc.); (b) what are the details of all communication between Statistics Canada and banks or other financial institutions, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary of contents, (vii) format (email, letter, teleconference, etc.); and (c) what are the details of all communication between Statistics Canada and the Office of the Prime Minister or the Privy Council Office, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary of contents, (vii) format (email, letter, teleconference, etc.)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2089--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to the government’s “price on pollution” or carbon tax: what was the “price on pollution” or carbon tax revenue that the federal government received as a result of the 2018 dump of 162 million litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River in or around Longueuil, Quebec?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2090--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to expenditures related to the Fall Economic Statement in November 2018: (a) what is the total of all expenditures related to the statement; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) vendor, (ii) date, (iii) amount, (iv) detailed description of goods or services, (v) location of vendor, (vi) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2091--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to the government’s policies and protocols in relation to spider sightings and sending government employees home: (a) how many employees from Shared Services Canada were sent home as a result of the alleged spider sightings at the building located at 2300 St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, in 2018; (b) on what dates were employees sent home; (c) what is the breakdown of how many employees were sent home on each date in (b); (d) were any dangerous spiders discovered as a result of the sightings and, if so, which ones; (e) how much did the government spend on fumigation, investigations or other activities resulting from the sightings and what is the detailed breakdown of such expenditures; and (f) what are the government’s policies and protocols for when spiders are allegedly sighted on government property and when to send employees home?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2092--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regards to the three proposed tax provisions in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement to accelerate business investment and their impact on provincial revenue: (a) has the Department of Finance calculated the forgone revenue estimates for provinces and, if not, why; (b) what are the calculated forgone revenue estimates, broken down for each fiscal year until 2023-24, (i) for each province, (ii) by provision; (c) how many times has this topic been discussed with the government and has the question been raised with the Minister or Deputy Minister and, if so, has the Minister provided a response and, if so, what was it; (d) has there been any briefing with detailed information on the matter and for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is (i) the date, (ii) the title and subject matter, (iii) the department's internal tracking number; (e) were provincial officials notified of the government's intent to change these provisions and their fiscal implication and, if not, why; (f) which provincial officials were contacted; (g) which provinces shared concerns about revenues loss stemming from these provisions; and (h) what was the nature of these concerns?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2093--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to the August 2018 letter sent by the Minister of Health to the then Quebec Health Minister warning that the government would cut health care transfer payments to the province if it continued to allow patients to pay out of pocket for medical exams: (a) which other provinces or territories have received similar warning letters from the Minister since November 4, 2015; and (b) what are the details of each letter, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) nature and summary of the warning?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2094--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard Statistics Canada’s plan to harvest financial transaction data and the claim by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development that he found out about the plan through the media: (a) on what date did Statistics Canada begin developing the plan; (b) on what date did Statistics Canada notify banks or financial institutions about the plan; (c) on what date did Statistics Canada notify the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development about the plan; and (d) on what date did Statistics Canada notify the Privacy Commissioner about the plan?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2095--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to expenditures on cellular services by the Privy Council Office (PCO) and the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO): (a) what is the total of all such expenditures since December 1, 2015, broken down by month; (b) what is the total number of devices in use, broken down by month and type of device; (c) what is the average expenditure for cellular services per device, per month; (d) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by (i) PCO, excluding exempt staff, (ii) exempt staff in the PMO, (iii) exempt staff in other ministers offices under the PCO (Government House Leader, Minister of Democratic Institutions and Minister of lntergovernmental Affairs); and (e) what is the breakdown of (a) and (b) by vendor or service provider?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2096--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the Prime Minister’s trip to France in November 2018: (a) who took part in the trip, broken down by (i) exempt staff of the Office of the Prime Minister, (ii) Members of Parliament, (iii) Senators, (iv) employees of the Privy Council Office, (v) other guests; (b) for each of the participants identified in (a), what were the costs of the trip, broken down by (i) total cost, (ii) accommodation, (iii) travel, (iv) meals, (v) all other expenses; (c) what were the details for all of the hospitality activities and events during the trip, including (i) the dates, (ii) the cities, (iii) the number of attendees, (iv) the total costs; and (d) what agreements or arrangements were signed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2097--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the Minister of Finance’s trip to China in November 2018: (a) who went on the trip, broken down by (i) Minister’s staff, (ii) Members of Parliament, (iii) Senators, (iv) departmental employees, (v) other guests; (b) for each person identified in (a), what were the travel costs, broken down by (i) total cost, (ii) accommodation, (iii) travel, (iv) meals, (v) all other expenses; (c) what are the details of all events and representation activities during the trip, including (i) dates, (ii) cities, (iii) number of participants, (iv) total costs; and (d) what agreements were signed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2098--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the speech made by the Minister of Finance to the Canada China Business Council in November 2018: (a) did the Minister know that journalists had been denied access before making his speech; (b) if the answer in (a) is affirmative, why did the Minister agree to make his speech if journalists were excluded; (c) what are the government’s guidelines regarding journalists’ access to events involving ministers; (d) did the Minister follow the guidelines in (c); and (e) what is the government’s position on the prohibition on journalists during the Minister’s speech?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2099--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to land owned by the Department of National Defence on the slopes of Mont-Saint-Bruno: (a) what are the department’s plans for this 441-hectare wooded area adjacent to the national park; (b) will it respond favourably to the request by the executive committee of the Communauté métropolitiane de Montréal, Mouvement Ceinture Verte, Fondation du Mont-Saint-Bruno and the Municipality of Saint-Bruno-de-Mantarville to incorporate the area in its entirety into Mont-Saint-Bruno provincial park; and (c) when will the Department of National Defence make a decision on the sale, transfer or retention of the area?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2100--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
With regard to the consultations and roundtables with stakeholders launched in October 2018 by the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction in relation to firearms: (a) what are the details of each consultation or roundtable discussion, including (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) stakeholders in attendance, (iv) Ministers or Members of Parliament in attendance; (b) who decided which stakeholders would be invited to the discussions, and what criteria was used; and (c) what is the complete list of stakeholders who were (i) invited, (ii) attended the consultations or roundtables?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2103--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regards to Budget 2016 Growing the Middle Class and the median wage income: (a) what are the details of all documents, including spreadsheets, used to create Chart 1 Real median wage income of Canadians, 1975-2015, in the Budget, broken down by (i) median wage income of women, (ii) median wage income of men, (iii) median wage income; (b) is the data regarding the median wage income of Canadians available for the most recent years after 2015 and, if so, which years; and (c) if the answer to (b) is affirmative, what are the details of all documents, including spreadsheets, regarding the median wage income of Canadians for each of the most recent years available after 2015, broken down annually by (i) median wage income of women, (ii) median wage income of men, (iii) median wage income?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2104--
Mr. David Tilson:
With regard to the process for renewing expiring permanent residency cards: (a) what is the average processing time for a card renewal; (b) what is the average time between when an application for renewal is received by the government and when the replacement card is ready; (c) what is the specific process the government undertakes for card renewals; (d) what specific options are available to residents who wish to travel abroad and have submitted their expiring card to the government as part of the renewal application, but who are still waiting for the government to provide them with a replacement card; and (e) what specific changes will the government make in order to make it easier for permanent residents to travel aboard during the renewal period?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2107--
Mr. Larry Miller:
With regard to the Prime Minister’s tweet on December 2, 2018, pledging $50 million to Education Cannot Wait: was this funding approved by the Treasury Board before or after the Prime Minister posted the tweet?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2108--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to government policies and procedures: what are the government's policies and procedures when a sitting Cabinet minister is being investigated by the RCMP?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2109--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to the Safe Third Country Agreement: how many individuals have been exempted from the Safe Third Country Agreement due to the presence of a relative in Canada who crossed the border “irregularly” since January 1, 2016?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2110--
Mr. Larry Maguire:
With regard to the government's prompt payment consultation process, since consultations started: (a) how many meetings have taken place and where did they take place; (b) how many individuals or companies have participated; (c) how many responses have been received; (d) what are the total costs to undertake the consultations; (e) when are the consultations ending; and (f) when will the consultations and information collected be provided to the Minister's office?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2111--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
With regard to the government’s Connect to Innovate Program first announced in the 2016 Budget: (a) what is the total of all expenditures to date under the program; and (b) what are the details of all projects funded to date under the program, including (i) recipient of funding, (ii) name of the project, (iii) location, (iv) project start date, (v) amount of funding pledged, (vi) amount of funding actually provided to date, (vii) description of the project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2112--
Ms. Rachael Harder:
With regard to the Prime Minister’s recent comment that “There are impacts when you bring construction workers into a rural area”: to what specific impacts was the Prime Minister referring?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2113--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to expenditures on furniture rentals by the government since January 1, 2016, broken down by department or agency: (a) what is the total of all expenditures; and (b) what are the details of each expenditure, including the (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date of the contract, (iv) delivery date of the furniture, (v) duration of the rental, (vi) itemized description, including the quantity of rentals, (vii) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2114--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to projects funded since May 1, 2018, under the Atlantic Fisheries Fund: what are the details of all such projects, including (i) project name, (ii) description, (iii) location, (iv) recipient, (v) amount of federal contribution, (vi) date of announcement?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2116--
Mr. Dane Lloyd:
With regard to flights taken on chartered or government aircraft by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of all flights, including (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) number of passengers; and (b) what are the details of any contract related to the flights in (a), including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date and duration of contract, (iv) description of goods or services?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2118--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake and the revelation at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on December 3, 2018, that certain programs at the base were either being moved to Ottawa or are under consideration to be moved to Ottawa: (a) what is the complete list of programs which are either being moved or are under consideration for being moved out of Cold Lake, and to where are each of those programs possibly being moved; and (b) what are the government’s projections regarding the number of individuals subject to transfer away from Cold Lake as a result of each move in (a), broken down by program?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2119--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to the Minister of International Trade’s trip to China in November 2018: (a) who went on the trip, broken down by (i) Minister’s staff, (ii) Members of Parliament, (iii) Senators, (iv) departmental employees, (v) other guests; (b) for each person identified in (a), what were the travel costs, broken down by (i) total cost, (ii) accommodation, (iii) travel, (iv) meals, (v) all other expenses; (c) what are the details of all events and representation activities during the trip, including (i) dates, (ii) cities, (iii) number of participants, (iv) total costs; and (d) what agreements were signed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2120--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to ministerial permits: (a) how many Temporary Resident Visas issued under ministerial permit have been granted, broken down by month between November 2015 and December 2018; and (b) how many Temporary Resident Permits issued under ministerial permit have been granted, broken down by month between November 2015 and December 2018?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2121--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to requests from Members of Parliament for Temporary Resident Visas: (a) what is the number of requests received from Members since January 1, 2016, broken down by year; (b) what is the number of requests received, broken down by individual Member; and (c) what is the number of requests granted, broken down by individual Member?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2122--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to requests from Members of Parliament for Temporary Resident Permits: (a) what is the number of requests received from Members since January 1, 2016, broken down by year; (b) what is the number of requests received, broken down by individual Member; and (c) what is the number of requests granted, broken down by individual Member?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2123--
Mr. Mark Warawa:
With regard to the Canadian delegation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland: (a) what is the total number of members of the delegation, including any accompanying staff, broken down by organization; (b) what is the title of each member of the delegation, broken down by organization; (c) what is the total allocated budget for the delegation; and (d) what is projected or estimated travel and hospitality expenses for the delegation, broken down by type of expense?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2124--
Mr. Jim Eglinski:
With regard to the lack of enforcement actions by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA): (a) what is the budget of the CTA for the calendar years (i) 2013, (ii) 2014, (iii) 2015, (iv) 2016, (v) 2017, (vi) 2018; (b) what is the number of complaints received by the CTA between 2013 and 2018, broken down by year; (c) what is the number of cases where the CTA representatives turned away any complaints by passengers between 2013 and 2018, broken down by year; (d) what is the number of enforcement actions taken between 2013 and 2018, broken down by year; (e) why has the number of complaints received by the CTA quadrupled between 2013 and 2017, while enforcement actions have seen a near four-fold decrease during the same period; (f) for what reason has the CTA taken no enforcement action against Air Canada for defying Decision No. 12-C-A-2018; (g) why did the Minister of Transport not investigate the allegations of fabrication and fraud levelled against CTA staff who turned away valid complaints by passengers; and (h) what steps has the Minister of Transport taken against the airlines and crew involved in defrauding consumers and authorities in what was referred to as the "Mexican Game", where airlines misled aviation authorities and its passengers about unscheduled stops on flights from Mexico?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2125--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to government expenditures on Canada Goose products since November 4, 2015: what are the details of all expenditures, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) description of the product, including the volume, (iv) rationale for the purchase, (v) file number?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2126--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to expenditures on hospitality by Environment and Climate Change Canada from December 2, 2018, through December 6, 2018: what are the details of each such expenditure, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) location, (iv) vendor name, (v) number of individuals in attendance, (vi) description of the event, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2127--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
With regard to applications for grants and contributions to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Canada Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, the Northern Ontario Economic Development Initiative and Western Economic Diversification Canada, since November 2015: (a) what applications were first approved by officials within the agencies and organizations listed above, but then rejected by the Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, broken down by agency and organization; and (b) what applications were first refused by officials within the agencies and organizations listed above, but then approved by the Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, broken down by agency and organization?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2128--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
With regard to the pensions of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of federal agencies or other federal organizations, since November 2015: (a) how many CEOs are deemed not to be part of the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act; (b) how many times did a minister or any other public office holder order that a CEO be deemed to be part of the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act, broken down by (i) name of CEO, (ii) federal organization, (iii) minister or public office holder responsible for the order, (vi) the rationale behind the order; and (c) what is the estimated total pension income, broken down for each case where a CEO has been deemed part of the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act further to an order?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2129--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
With regard to Health Canada’s re-evaluation decisions, including RVD2017-01, Glyphosate, and the “Monsanto Papers”: (a) how many and which studies are currently being re-evaluated by Health Canada; (b) for each of the studies in (a), when did Health Canada make the decision to re-evaluate it; (c) has Health Canada verified the independence of the studies in (a); (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what was the detailed process for verifying the independence of the studies; and (e) does Health Canada have information that approved independent studies were written by Monsanto and, if so, since what date, broken down by study?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2130--
Mr. Matthew Dubé:
With regard to the taxation of businesses, since November 2015: (a) how many Canadian businesses have not paid tax for each of the following fiscal years (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017, (iv) 2018; and (b) how much tax was deferred by the businesses in (a) in fiscal years (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017, (iv) 2018?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2131--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to reports of a $355,950 sole-sourced contract to pay Torstar Corporation, which was cancelled following a complaint to the Procurement Ombudsman: (a) what was the original purpose of the contract; (b) which minister initially approved the contract; (c) does the government have enough employees to monitor parliamentary committees without hiring the Toronto Star; and (d) what is the total number of government employees whose job involved, in whole or in part, monitoring parliamentary committees?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2132--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to classified and protected documents, since January 1, 2017, broken down by department or agency: (a) how many instances have occurred where it was discovered that classified or protected documents were left or stored in a manner which did not meet the requirements of the security level of the documents; (b) how many of the infractions in (a) occurred in the offices of ministerial exempt staff, including the staff of the Prime Minister, broken down by ministerial office; and (c) how many employees have lost their security clearance as a result of such infractions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2133--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to funding on infrastructure and the Prime Minister’s comment that “there are impacts when you bring construction workers into a rural area”: (a) does the Prime Minister’s comment represent the position of the government; (b) how many cities, towns, villages and rural municipalities have declined funding for infrastructure projects because such projects would involve bringing in construction workers; and (c) have any mayors or elected officials of rural towns or cities requested that the government not provide infrastructure funding for projects which would lead to more construction workers and, if so, which ones and what towns or cities do they represent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2134--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the MV Polar Prince and the Canada C3 expedition: (a) since the ship was certified to carry an aggregate of 60 individuals, including passengers, crew and special expedition personnel, why was the vessel over capacity for 6 of the 15 legs of the journey; (b) since the ship was certified to carry 12 passengers, why were more passengers onboard for all 15 legs of the journey; (c) was the Minister of Transport aware that the ship was carrying more individuals, and passengers in particular, than that for which it was certified; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, when was the Minister made aware; and (e) did the Minister approve the vessel to be over capacity and, if so, why?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2135--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs: what are the details of all lawsuits settled by the Department between January 2016 and December 2018, including (i) title of case, (ii) reason for lawsuit, (iii) litigants, (iv) legal fees, (v) fiscal total of the settlement?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2136--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the government’s response to Q-1982 regarding the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office located at 365 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba: (a) why was the government’s rationale for no longer allowing access to the general public without an appointment not provided in the response to Q-1982; (b) what is the government’s rationale for not allowing access to the general public without an appointment; (c) how many clients were served at this location between January 2015 and September 2018, broken down by month; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c) by purpose of visit (Employment Insurance, obtaining a status card, etc.)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2137--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to the government’s response to Q-2006 that the Global Affairs Summit Management Office did not incur any expenses for yoga teachers for the Prime Minister during the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix: (a) did any other departments or agencies incur yoga-related expenses during the G7 Summit in Charlevoix and, if so, what are the details of such expenses, including amounts; and (b) who paid for the Prime Minister’s yoga instructor in Charlevoix during the time of the G7 Summit?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2138--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to government and Canadian Armed Forces policies for the Vimy Officers’ Mess in Kingston, Ontario: (a) on what date was the booking accepted by the Department of National Defence or the Canadian Armed Forces for the December 19, 2018, Liberal Party fundraising event with the Prime Minister, which was subsequently cancelled; (b) what is the title of the individual who initially accepted the booking; (c) did the Privy Council Office advise the Office of the Prime Minister that attending a partisan event on Canadian Armed Forces property violated government policy and, if so, when was such advice given; and (d) why did the Prime Minister initially agree to attend an event which was in violation of government policy?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2139--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
With regard to Hillside Cottage (1915), the oldest structure in Banff National Park: (a) what measures are being undertaken to preserve and restore the structure; (b) what measures are in place to prevent the decay, vandalism or incidental destruction of the structure; and (c) what is being done to promote and recognize the history and significance of the structure?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2140--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the proposed Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor project for a pipeline between Fort McMurray, Alberta, and Grassy Point, British Columbia: (a) has the government conducted an analysis of the impact of Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, on the proposed project and, if so, what are the details of such an analysis, including the findings; and (b) will the government exempt vessels transporting oil in relation to the project from the moratorium proposed in Bill C-48?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2141--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to the number of RCMP officers: (a) what is the total number of active RCMP officers as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) December 1, 2018; (b) what are the names and locations of each RCMP detachment; and (c) what is the breakdown of the number of RCMP officers assigned to each detachment as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) December 1, 2018?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2142--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to government resources used to handle the situation involving illegal or irregular border crossers and asylum seekers, since January 1, 2016: what is the number of RCMP and CBSA personnel whose duties were, in whole or in part, assigned to handle the illegal or irregular border crossers, broken down by (i) province, (ii) month?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2143--
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach:
With regard to the Minister of Youth, the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, the Youth Secretariat and the Youth Policy for Canada: (a) what is the decision-making flow chart for the Prime Minister’s Youth Council; (b) what is the total amount spent and the total budget for the Youth Council since it was established, broken down by year; (c) what amounts in the Youth Council budget are allocated for salaries, broken down by (i) year, (ii) position, (iii) per diem or any other reimbursement or expense (telecommunications, transportation, office supplies, furniture, etc.) offered or attributed to each of the positions mentioned in (c)(ii); (d) what are the dates, locations and number of participants for each of the meetings held by the Youth Council since June 2017, broken down by (i) in-person meetings, (ii) virtual meetings; (e) how much did the government spend to hold each of the Youth Council meetings mentioned in (d), broken down by (i) costs associated with renting a room, (ii) costs associated with food and drinks, (iii) costs associated with security, (iv) costs associated with transportation and the nature of this transportation, (v) costs associated with telecommunications; (f) what is the decision-making flow chart for the Privy Council’s Youth Secretariat, including each of the positions associated with the Youth Secretariat; (g) what is the total amount spent and the total budget of the Youth Secretariat since it was established, broken down by year; (h) what amounts in the Youth Secretariat budget are allocated for salaries, broken down by (i) year, (ii) position, (iii) per diem or any other reimbursement or expense (telecommunications, transportation, office supplies, furniture, etc.) offered or attributed to each of the positions mentioned in (h)(ii); (i) what is the official mandate of the Youth Secretariat; (j) what is the relationship between the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and the Youth Secretariat (organizational ties, financial ties, logistical support, etc.); (k) is the Youth Secretariat responsible for youth bursaries, services or programs; (l) if the answer to (k) is affirmative, what amounts were allocated to these bursaries, services or programs since they were established, broken down by (i) the nature of the bursary, service or program funded, (ii) the location of the program, (iii) the start and end date of the bursary, service or program; (m) who are all the people who are working or have worked on the Youth Policy for Canada as part of the Office of the Prime Minister or the Office of the Minister of Youth, broken down by role and by start and end date; (n) what consultations were carried out in connection with the youth policy, and what are the dates, locations and number of participants for each consultation held, as well as a description of the topics discussed, broken down by (i) in-person meetings, (ii) virtual meetings; and (o) how much did the government spend to hold each of the consultations mentioned in (n), broken down by (i) costs associated with renting a room, (ii) costs associated with food and drinks, (iii) costs associated with security, (iv) costs associated with transportation and the nature of this transportation, (v) costs associated with telecommunications?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2145--
Mr. Kevin Sorenson:
With regard to the $19,682,232.17 spent by Environment and Climate Change Canada on payments to other international organizations (object code 2319) during the 2017-2018 fiscal year: what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) recipient, (ii) location of the recipient, (iii) purpose, (iv) date of the expenditure, (v) amount?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2146--
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach:
With regard to the pipelines passing through the region of Vaudreuil-Soulanges: (a) since 2008, how many hydrostatic tests and any other safety tests (integrity, corrosion, etc.) have been conducted on all the pipelines over their entire length from Ontario to Quebec, broken down by (i) pipeline, (ii) type of test, (iii) date, (iv) federal entity or contractor, (v) test location and province, (vi) test result; (b) when requesting flow reversal for the 9B and Trans-Northern pipelines, did the government or any other entity calculate the greenhouse gas emissions upstream and downstream of the project; (c) if the answer in (b) is affirmative, what are the upstream and downstream emissions for each of the projects; (d) since 2008, how many leaks have there been on all the pipelines, in either Ontario or Quebec, broken down by (i) pipeline, (ii) location and province; (e) for each of the leaks in (d), what is (i) the quantity of the spill in litres, (ii) the company responsible for the pipeline, (iii) the direct or indirect cost to the federal government, (iv) the date of the spill, (v) the date on which the government or one of its regulatory agencies became aware of the spill; (f) since 2008, have the official emergency response plans been sent to the municipal public safety authorities and the regional county municipality for each of these pipelines; (g) if the answer in (f) is affirmative, for each plan sent, what is (i) the date it was sent, (ii) the date of confirmation of receipt, (iii) the names of the sender and the recipient; (h) since 2008, what are the details of all the cases of non-compliance, deficiencies and violations of federal laws and regulations found by the National Energy Board with respect to the pipelines, including (i) the date, (ii) a description of the deficiency found and the corrective action requested, (iii) the location of the deficiency, (iv) the pipeline and the name of the company that owns the pipeline, (v) the amount of the fine paid; (i) for each case of non-compliance, deficiency or violation in (h), on what exact date did the National Energy Board or a federal government department follow up with the respective companies and verify that the corrective action had been carried out; (j) for each follow-up in (i), what actions were taken; (k) since 2008, how many detection system failures have been identified by the National Energy Board on the pipelines and what are the details of each failure, including (i) the date, (ii) the pipeline, (iii) the location, (iv) the reason for the failure; (l) for each pipeline, in the event of a spill in the Soulanges area, what is the expected time (i) to detect it, (ii) to stop the flow of oil, (iii) for emergency services to arrive on site; and (m) where are the companies that have been hired to respond to a spill in the Soulanges area and how long will it take them to arrive on site?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2147--
Mr. Daniel Blaikie:
With respect to the Energy Services Acquisition Program and the modernization plan for the five heating and cooling plants and the associated infrastructure, including pipes and tunnels, in the National Capital Region: (a) has the government conducted any studies or evaluations of the plan, including but not limited to (i) a cost-benefit analysis of proceeding with the plan as a public-private partnership as opposed to a fully public implementation, (ii) an estimate of the plan’s impact on the heating and cooling plants’ greenhouse gas emissions; (b) for each study in (a), what are the details, including (i) dates, (ii) titles, (iii) file numbers, (iv) value for money analysis, (v) metrics developed to assess the benefits of using the public private contract; (c) what are the consequences of this privatization with respect to (i) the number of public service jobs required for the maintenance and operation of the heating and cooling plants, (ii) the reliability of the heating and cooling plants, in particular, during extended power outages and when emergency repairs are required, (iii) site security and the security impact for any buildings served by the heating and cooling plants; (d) in what way were the relevant public sector unions informed of the plan, including (i) dates, (ii) process for consultation, (iii) timeline for participation; (e) in what ways was the input from the relevant public sector unions considered in the decision to move forward with the plan; (f) in what ways were the associated public unions informed of the ultimate decision; and (g) what are the projected impacts and planned changes on (i) the municipal infrastructure, (ii) the rest of the system outside of the heating and cooling plants themselves?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2148--
Mr. Daniel Blaikie:
With respect to the document “Allocations from Treasury Board Central Votes for Supplementary Estimates (A), 2018-19”, published online: (a) for each allocation from “Vote 25--Operating Budget Carry Forward” and “Vote 35--Capital Budget Carry Forward” to a given “Organization”, what is the corresponding “Authority”; and (b) why are authorities listed proactively for each allocation under “Vote 5 – Government Contingencies” and “Vote 40 – Budget Implementation”, but not those under “Vote 25 – Operating Budget Carry Forward” and “Vote 35 – Capital Budget Carry Forward”?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2030 Trans Mountain pipeline8555-421-2031 Infrastructure projects8555-421-2032 Cyberattacks8555-421-2033 Communications with the bo ...8555-421-2034 Elementary and Secondary E ...8555-421-2036 Recipients of the Canada C ...8555-421-2042 Unofficial ports of entry ...8555-421-2043 Cannabis licences8555-421-2045 Office of the Commissioner ...8555-421-2046 Prison Needle Exchange Program8555-421-2047 Infrastructure projects in ...
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View Karen McCrimmon Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
2018-12-07 12:18 [p.24572]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of the legislative amendment to Bill C-21 that has been proposed by our hon. colleagues. The legislative amendment we are debating today is reflective of similar concerns expressed by the House in its consideration of the bill, namely that the personal information collected under Bill C-21 be retained for a period of 15 years. The Senate, in consultation with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has provided additional wording to ensure that the Canada Border Services Agency would only be authorized to retain the data it collects for a period of not more than 15 years.
Privacy protection is part of the very design of the entry-exit initiative. For one, agreements would have to be established with the CBSA and other government departments for the sharing of information. Included here are requirements for the completion of privacy impact assessments to identify exactly how collected information would be used, as well as the measures taken to protect privacy before the new system becomes operational.
Importantly, when Canada's Privacy Commissioner appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, the parliamentary committee that examined this bill, he noted that, “...there are important public policy objectives that this initiative is trying to address and that the personal information in question is not particularly sensitive. ” In the Senate, the Privacy Commissioner further expressed his general satisfaction with the bill and the extent to which his office had been consulted throughout the process.
Our government understands the need to provide Canadians reassurance that information-sharing initiatives have proper safeguards and review. Through Bill C-59 Canadians have seen that the government is serious about ensuring effective review of Canada's security agencies. We would be more than meeting the expectations of Canadians with this new degree of legislative review, and importantly, this scrutiny would align us with our Five Eyes counterparts that already have such measures in place. The entry-exit initiative has broad public policy benefits, as the Privacy Commissioner acknowledged. Bill C-21 would benefit Canada in many ways, the most important being that it would enhance the security and effectiveness of the Canada-U.S. border and in so doing, increase the safety of our citizens.
Let me first remind the House how information is exchanged today. Canada currently collects basic biographic information on people coming into Canada, such as who they are, where they are from and how long they are staying. This information helps our officials identify and respond to potential threats. However, when it comes to those leaving the country, we collect information on only a small subset of these people, meaning that at any given moment we have an important information gap. While we know who enters Canada, we do not have a full picture of who is leaving.
The main problem with this information gap is that we might miss the exit from our country of individuals escaping justice or seeking to join radical groups abroad, or of known high-risk travellers and their goods, such as human or drug smugglers or exporters of illicit goods.
With this in mind, I will review briefly what Bill C-21 would do. When someone enters the U.S. from Canada at a land border crossing, basic entry information such as name, date of birth, citizenship, passport number and time and place of entry, the kind of information that is already collected from everyone entering the U.S., would be transmitted from the U.S. to the CBSA. In this way, the record of a person's entry into the U.S. would become a record of the person's exit from Canada and vice versa.
This would be new. Currently, at land ports of entry the U.S. and Canada exchange exit information on only a subset of people, including third-country nationals, non-U.S. or Canadian citizens; permanent residents of Canada who are not U.S. citizens; and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are not Canadian citizens.
With this bill, the data collected would be expanded to include all people exiting Canada by land.
The bill would allow a similar situation for a person leaving Canada by air. When someone enters the U.S. by air, his or her basic information would need to be provided to the CBSA. This information would be transmitted from the airlines to the CBSA so that the agency has information on everyone exiting Canada by air.
The benefits of this expansion of data pertaining to individuals exiting the country are many. For example, it would help our officials to respond quickly, and sometimes pre-emptively, to the outbound movement of known high-risk travellers and goods. It would identify individuals who do not leave Canada at the end of their authorized period of stay. It would verify whether applicants for permanent residency or citizenship have complied with residency requirements and would deliver faster client services for permanent residency and citizenship applications. It would allow us to respond more effectively in time-sensitive situations, such as amber alerts. It would allow us to stop using valuable immigration enforcement resources to find people who have already left Canada. It would allow us to provide reliable information in support of those making admissibility decisions and those carrying active investigations related to national security; law enforcement; or immigration, citizenship or travel document fraud. It would allow us to better interdict the illegal export of controlled, regulated or prohibited goods from Canada.
All told, the entry-exit initiative is another example of how Canada is keeping pace with the rest of the world and living up to its emerging position as a leader in border management.
In closing, I would like to say a few words about the CBSA and how Bill C-21 would help its officers better carry out their important work.
As all members know, the CBSA plays a key role in protecting Canada's physical and economic security by detecting threats at the border. Operating 24-7 in a risk-management environment, the agency relies heavily on information, including data on who is coming, who is going and when.
Currently, border officers know who is coming into Canada but do not know who has left. This is a blind spot that could prevent officers from tracking potentially dangerous Canadians as they head overseas, such as human traffickers.
Without a doubt, for all Canadians, the men and women of the CBSA need to have the proper basic tools, and that includes information, to deliver on their mandate of maximizing our safety and security.
For this, and a host of other reasons, I encourage all hon. members to join me in supporting this amendment and this important bill.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act.
Our caucus is supportive of the bill, and I am pleased to rise to renew that continued support. However, I cannot help but look at Bill C-21 and compare it with another bill before the House, Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. There are significant differences between the two. The question of differences especially comes to mind with the recent passing of former United States President Bush and the eloquent eulogy offered by former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney. The friendship and skill of these former leaders stands in contrast to our leader today.
Bill C-21 was the product of two former national leaders, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Obama. The legislation was based on an effort to improve security and trade. The two leaders were noted for making history. One re-crafted Canadian Conservative politics while the other re-crafted a new vision for American presidents. Neither could be found making the kind of erroneous tweets or statements of their successors. Despite ideological and cultural differences, they improved trade and worked together to deal with challenges, like the global economic crisis. The difference between our former leaders and the new one today could not be more stark. For me, these two bills tell a similar story. Bill C-21 is based on the work of a predecessor.
At committee, we heard numerous people speak to the relevance, importance and balance of Bill C-21. Concerns were raised, but they were manageable and moderate. In contrast, Bill C-83 fails in every way that Bill C-21 seems to succeed. Not one witness provided support for Bill C-83 at committee. The committee could not determine exactly what or how the bill would work, or even if it would meet any of promises the Minister of Public Safety made. Bill C-21, on the other hand, is a bill to implement improved border co-operation and security that would benefit both the United States and Canada. It would boost jobs and opportunity. It would reduce the regulatory burden on honest and hard-working Canadians. It would provide safe and effective borders, and it would support Canadians who follow the rules and respect the law.
In the incredible riding of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner in southern Alberta, which I have the privilege and honour of serving, we have five ports of entry between Canada and the United States. These border crossing are critical for local, regional and national economies. Products, services and people cross the border daily. Unfortunately, despite funding being set aside in 2015 by the previous government, the Liberals have yet to deliver a dime to improve and expand border crossings in my riding. That is yet another example of the way the Liberals have continued to ignore the needs of Alberta's economy.
One of the features of Bill C-21 is the collection of personal entry and exit information at the border. This information will provide better intelligence and understanding of security and trade, and ultimately better security and a stronger economy. Naturally, collection of information in the age of big data does raise concerns. This is the only issue that surfaced during Senate review.
The Senate has offered an amendment to clause 93.1, which reads:
Subject to section 6 of the Privacy Act, information collected under sections 92 and 93 shall be retained for 15 years beginning on the day on which the information is collected.
The Privacy Commissioner was concerned that the original amendment by the public safety committee would not provide enough certainty. I understand that it is the Privacy Commissioner's role to be concerned and to identify what could go wrong and how things could be abused. He stated:
The words “shall be retained for 15 years” clearly indicate that information cannot be destroyed before the end of the 15 year period. Then, there are no words to prescribe what happens after the end of the period.
I would suggest this is a friendly amendment, a minor edit over a concern about the language used to achieve the same objective. I will quote from the Hansard of the Senate. Senator Mary Coyle stated the following about the testimony of the Privacy Commissioner:
...in order to achieve greater legal certainty, section 93.1 should be amended in order to clarify that the data collected under sections 92 and 93 shall be retained by the agency for a period of not more than 15 years, so to a maximum of 15 years. He said:
'It would be desirable...to achieve greater legal certainty to amend section 93.1 to clarify that it applies only to CBSA and that it is a maximum period.'
That is, the 15-year maximum period. I have personally verified with Mr. Therrien regarding the wording of the amendment agreed to by the committee and he agrees it captures his concern regarding the retention period for the CBSA.
She further noted the following:
Bill C-21 gained broad consensus from all parties in the House of Commons and we have heard a similar level of agreement in this chamber.
I would note that it is not surprising that the Senate would find few issues with this legislation. The bill achieves many important objectives for Canada and Canadians.
The better use of information concerning people and goods that enter and leave the country will ensure that the government is better informed. It will also make life easier for immigrants and permanent residents who currently have to prove their time in the country, instead of a clear record being available to government. Informed government is better government.
The bill will support faster and more effective trade between our countries, as trusted businesses will be able to move their goods more efficiently across the border without barriers. In contrast, border agents will be able to better identify and target problems, focusing enforcement on the issues rather than honest Canadians trying to go about their business.
Like all legislation involving the collection of information, we must be conscious of the collection and use of data. As the Privacy Commissioner noted, the majority of the issues raised are addressed in the bill and the bill strikes the right balance.
Unfortunately, Bill C-21 is still not an answer to many of the issues caused by the Liberal government and faced by Canadians and our country at the border. There continue to be tens of thousands of illegal border crossers, costing taxpayers an estimated $1.1 billion, including numerous impacts on provinces. For example, the capacity of local and regional social systems are maxed out; there is a four-year backlog in asylum claims that continues to get longer; and resources from communities across the country, including CBSA border officers, RCMP and immigration officials, have been redeployed to Lacolle and other problem areas, leaving communities short-handed.
Provinces have run up massive costs, for which the federal government has offered pennies on the dollar by way of reimbursement. More than two years later, and now with two ministers, there is still no clear plan to secure the border and re-establish an orderly refugee and immigration system.
Trade between Canada and the U.S. continues to be problematic, as steel and aluminum tariffs have put manufacturing and construction jobs at risk. The energy sector continues to be subject to the whims of foreign influencers who are aligned with the anti-energy ideologies of the Liberal government.
I hope the House can move quickly to move Bill C-21 forward. The Liberal government has created a long list of problems, crises, and regional divides that need the attention of members to undo the damage to families, businesses and workers.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-12-07 12:49 [p.24576]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion dealing with the Senate's amendments to Bill C-21.
The story of Bill C-21 is long and highly problematic, not to say sordid. I will read some excerpts, but first I would like to say that I am naturally in favour of the Senate's amendment. I will explain why.
The story of Bill C-21 is an interesting one, because it was a bill tabled almost three years ago.
It is unfortunate. I am thinking in particular of the No Fly List Kids, a group well known to members of this house. It is a group of parents who have children on the no-fly list who are false positives, because they share a name with an individual on this list who has been flagged.
The reason I raise this issue is that when these parents originally came to Parliament Hill and asked the government to respect commitments that had been made to fix this issue, they were told by the government, and the Minister of Public Safety more specifically, that they would have to lobby the Minister of Finance, because it needed money to the redress system. They did that. They talked to the Minister of Finance. It was fantastic. The money was announced in the last budget. It was a non-partisan effort I was proud to be part of.
Then what happened? We heard that Bill C-59 needed to be adopted, an omnibus piece of legislation dealing with a whole slew of national security elements, one chapter of which, in a bill hundreds of pages long, dealt with the no-fly list. Conveniently, we were saying that the bill needed to be facilitated at the time the bill arrived in the Senate, and it was being held up there.
How does this connect to Bill C-21? Allow me to explain. The Minister of Public Safety's press secretary made one thing clear to the media: the money is there, and Bill C-59 must be passed.
As the months passed, Bill C-21, which was introduced in the House nearly three years ago, also got held up in the Senate. A month or two ago, at the same time the parents of the no-fly list kids were lobbying the Senate to quickly pass Bill C-59 and fix this horrible problem, the same spokesperson for the Minister of Public Safety said that Bill C-21 also needed to be passed more quickly. After three years, and one year in the Senate, the bill finally passed.
I do not want to cast doubt on anyone's good faith, but there is a problem, because I see nothing in Bill C-21 to address this scourge, which has been around for too long and makes life hard for these parents whenever they take their kids to the airport. This debate gives me the opportunity to say this to the House, because even though these parents are a non-partisan group, I am a partisan politician, and so I have no qualms about criticizing the government for trying to exploit this problem to rush its legislative agenda through. If it had done its work properly, the bill would not have gotten held up in the Senate the way it has.
With that point made, I want to address more specifically the amendments from the Senate. I am pleased to see that the Senate has improved on an amendment I presented at the public safety committee that was supported by all colleagues. My amendment was to actually prescribe a retention period for the data Bill C-21 would deal with at the border.
Just to give the background on this, the New Democrats opposed Bill C-21, despite some things in the media I read in June saying that the bill quietly passed in the House. No, we opposed this bill, and we raised some serious concerns about it at committee.
One of the concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner was the fact that we would be collecting entry and exit data at the border and sharing with the Americans “tombstone“ data, as the Minister of Public Safety morbidly calls it. That data is concerning, because what we are seeing in the national security field, and CBSA is no exception, is a larger net being cast over the type of data we collect. The minister listed a bunch of laudable goals for collecting data dealing with kidnapped children in, for example, horrible custody cases, dealing with human trafficking and cracking down on people who are abusing EI and the OAS system. We will get back to that in a moment.
These goals, certainly on paper, sound laudable. However, that should not diminish the privacy concerns being raised, particularly with respect to the current administration we see in the U.S. collecting this type of information. What civil society tells us about these issues is that there is a web of inference. In this large net being cast in the national security field, data that might seem innocuous, collected for legitimate purposes, can be easily shared with other agencies through this information-sharing regime for a variety of objectives that might not necessarily be the intent of the legislation.
In that context, we heard the concerns that the Privacy Commissioner raised about the data retention period, which was essentially unlimited. The amendment I presented set a time limit of 15 years and was based on a recommendation from the commissioner himself. I read in the media that civil society felt that period was too long. I understand their concerns, but ultimately, we relied on the Privacy Commissioner's expertise.
After my amendment was adopted and the bill was passed by the House, in spite of the NDP's opposition, the Senate heard testimony from the Privacy Commissioner. He pointed out that the wording of the amendment as adopted could be interpreted to mean a minimum of 15 years rather than what we actually intended, which was a maximum of 15 years. He himself said that this might not have been the committee's intent.
The Senate therefore made a correction and improved an amendment that I was pleased to present. I was also pleased to have the support of the other parties on the committee. Obviously, we support the Senate amendment.
The amendment put forward by the government today also supports that amendment. Accordingly, although we oppose the bill, we do support today's motion to adopt the Senate's amendment.
I want to take a moment to address this. I raised some of the concerns at the time on Bill C-21. Earlier I enumerated some of the things the minister said. However, there is another piece, and that is the issue of OAS and EI.
We had the appropriate ministry representatives at committee. They talked about all the great savings they were going to see and about the abuse of the EI and OAS systems. I find it fundamentally offensive to talk about savings in systems and programs that are there to help the most vulnerable in our society. The officials at committee even acknowledged that they believe in the good faith of the people who are claiming EI and receiving OAS.
Here is the problem. I will refer to some news articles that appeared in June of this year. For example, the Canadian Snowbird Association talked about its concern about the kind of information, or lack thereof, being shared, the personal information being shared, in an effort to potentially crack down on supposed abuses. For example, a situation as innocuous as people overstaying a day in a condo they own in the U.S. could mean that they would have their OAS payments or other government programs docked when they came back to Canada, in some cases. On the flip side, with the IRS in the U.S., people are being turned away at the border when they try to return to the U.S. to visit friends or family or to stay in a secondary residence they might have there. Certainly, there are concerns being raised.
I want to open some parentheses here and say that the NDP certainly understands and agrees that we do not want to see these systems abused, because essentially that would mean money is being stolen from those who actually need it. However, we also have to understand that when we are talking about information-sharing in an effort to crack down, I think there need to be more robust parameters in place with respect to how we are communicating with those individuals who could be affected.
Another concern I have obviously has to do with the employment insurance system. I am sure my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and my colleague from Churchill—I apologize, but I forget her riding's full name, which is long—can attest to how badly the EI system needs to be improved.
We are talking about the spring gap, the notorious 15 weeks, the problems that still have not been solved despite the government's rhetoric. What does the government do? It sends officials from the department in question to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security so they can boast about all the money being saved by sharing additional information on travellers with the Americans.
I do not mean any disrespect to our interpreters, but I am going to repeat what I said earlier in English. I completely understand that the government wants to stop the abuse of the system and make sure that the money is going to the right recipients. At the same time, I also understand that priorities seem to be a problem for this government.
It is funny that I talked about the no-fly list at the beginning of my speech. The minister was bragging about the fact that very few identifiers are shared in the system that Bill C-21 is proposing. He talked about basic information and said that that information appears on page 2 of the passport. This creates another problem, because when there are not enough identifiers, it can be very difficult to identify an individual in the context of a government program, the Canada Revenue Agency, and so on.
I need to look no further than in my own family. My younger brother's spouse has a twin sister with the same first initial, but a different social insurance number. They have the same surname, the same birth date and the same first initial, but a different SIN. What happens? They have to fight on a regular basis to have their identity recognized when undergoing a credit or background check. They have all kinds of problems with the CRA, government programs and banks. In short, they have had problems in the past. Unfortunately for them, they will continue to have these problems throughout their lives. Still, I hope they will not.
I am pointing this out because having only a few identifiers, as the minister reassures us, can create problems. For example, someone receiving EI who has not travelled to the United States, but who shares the same name and date of birth with another person who has, could be incorrectly identified by the department, which is not even the same one that receives the information. The Canada Border Services Agency receives the information, which it then passes on to the Department of Employment. As members, we work often enough with government agencies to know that mistakes can be made along the way. I say this with all due respect for our great public service.
Those mistakes are even more troubling for a variety of reasons. First, I specifically asked those representatives in committee about EI, OAS and other payments. I asked them what they would do if there was a mistake, or what if people had their EI cut off because they were told they had gone to the U.S., but they had not. The response I got, if people can believe it, was that they would need to take it up with CBSA.
What happens with CBSA? It is the only national security agency in the country that does not have a dedicated oversight body. Is that not convenient? That is extremely problematic and a far from satisfying response when the most vulnerable, who desperately need EI benefits, are cut off all because of a mistake was made in an effort to share even more information with the U.S., at its request. This whole system stems from that.
Moreover, I pointed out that there was a complaint system built into the law, but CBSA needed the proper oversight. The minister has promised that time and again over the last three years, since he has responsibility for this portfolio, and it has not happened.
Bill C-59, for example, would result in the biggest overhaul to our national security in the last 30 years. Despite all the reassurances about the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, the new oversight body, colloquially called the super-SIRC, would only deal with CBSA in the specific context of national security. CBSA is always deals with national security at our borders. However, the question could be posed whether it is an issue of national security when people have their EI cut off because of information collected by CBSA. That question remains unanswered. The fact that it is unanswered is exactly why we have a problem, among other things, with Bill C-51.
I want to raise one last point. Representatives of the Akwesasne First Nation came to both to the House committee and the Senate committee. The community lies across border. Representatives explained to us that they had children who were born in upstate New York and then lived in Canada. They had folks who sometimes worked in the U.S. Sometimes they needed to start in Canada, go through the U.S. and come back to Canada just for the commute home because of the geography of their location. I am pleased to hear they can cross those borders, because those borders should not be imposed on them as the first peoples of this land.
They already deal with certain difficulties, based on the information CBSA shares with appropriate ministries for different government benefits, with receiving the benefits to which they are entitled. Therefore, we can imagine that under a regime like that proposed in Bill C-21, those problems could be exacerbated. Unfortunately, there is no special dispensation for folks like that in the legislation, and that is also a concern.
In conclusion, I am glad I was able to reiterate the reasons for which the NDP opposes Bill C-21. We understand the desire to improve the flow at the border, work with our allies, and ensure that nobody abuses our social programs. However, we believe that Bill C-21 allows for yet more information sharing, despite inadequate protection for citizens' rights and privacy.
We should all be particularly concerned about the fact that Bill C-21 is the first stage of what could become a more extensive information sharing regime in the coming years. The Prime Minister and the U.S. President committed to enhancing border co-operation, but this is not going to make things better. This is about fingerprinting people, searching cell phones, and possibly even having our officers and theirs work in the same space. That came up during talks between the U.S. President and the Prime Minister.
All of these plans are still in their very early stages, and I do not want anyone telling me I am getting worked up and scared, but we have every reason to be concerned, especially considering how the current U.S. President behaves and how we protect our citizens at the border and on our own soil when they need social programs they are entitled to.
The bill's intentions are honourable, but the execution is poor. We support the Senate's amendment, but we still oppose Bill C-21.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2018-12-06 10:55 [p.24484]
Madam Speaker, a number of aspects of Bill C-51 are positive. Among other things, Bill C-51 would clarify the scope of section 276 of the Criminal Code in respect to the twin myths. As the minister correctly pointed out, it would codify the Ewanchuk decision as well as the J.A. decision.
With respect to the Senate amendments, I wholeheartedly agree with the minister's comments and the reason for rejecting those amendments, however well-intentioned they are.
However, one area of concern that I do have is with respect to the defence disclosure requirements, whereby any record relating to the complainant would have to be disclosed and an application would have to be brought 60 days before trial. Again, we are not talking about records involving the sexual activity of a complainant, which are protected by section 276. We are not talking about therapeutic records, which are protected by subsection 278.1. We are talking about any record relating to the complainant. There was significant concern that this was overly broad and that the process would be unwieldy with respect to potentially thousands of records that would have to be litigated before a trial and how that might contribute to delay.
Could the hon. minister comment on that?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I want to comment again on the efforts that were made at both committees and the improvements the House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has made.
With respect to the comments around expanding the rape shield provisions and on defence disclosure, I appreciate the conversation that took place at committee. I assure my hon. colleague that with respect to disclosure requirements, to sustain expanding the rape shield provisions to sexual communications and creating a regime for the admissibility of private records in the hands of the accused would not impose a reverse or defence disclosure obligation.
The Crown is not entitled to receive evidence. Nor is the defence required to hand it over. They are rules of evidence which govern the admissibility of the evidence in sexual assault trials and not rules of disclosure.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2018-12-06 11:05 [p.24485]
Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-51, a massive omnibus bill. Perhaps it is not surprising that when we are talking about a massive omnibus bill, there are some positive aspects in it and other aspects with which I and my colleagues on this side of the House have some concerns.
One of the positives of Bill C-51 is that it seeks to remove sections of the Criminal Code that have been found to be unconstitutional by appellate courts. This is a welcomed effort to help clean up the Criminal Code. Likewise, it seeks to remove sections of the Criminal Code that are obsolete or redundant, which again is a welcome effort to clean up the Criminal Code.
As I alluded to in the question that I posed to the minister a few moments ago, while the government is moving forward with the removal of obsolete sections and sections of the Criminal Code that have been found unconstitutional by appellate courts, it is disappointing that the government has still failed to move forward with the removal of sections of the Criminal Code that have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The minister is quite right that Bill C-75 does include the removal of those unconstitutional sections. However, as I pointed out to the minister, it was all the way back in March 2017 that the government introduced Bill C-39.
Bill C-39 is a very straightforward bill. It is not controversial. There is support on all sides of the House for the passage of Bill C-39, and yet for whatever reason, after the minister introduced the bill on March 8, 2017, it remains stuck at first reading. It is stuck at first reading with really no explanation. This is an issue that I have spoken to on a number of occasions because it really hits home in the community of St. Albert which I am very fortunate to represent.
When we talk about unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code, zombie sections, and their removal from the Criminal Code, perhaps it sounds a little abstract and academic. However, the consequences of failing to keep the Criminal Code up to date can be very serious.
We saw that in the case of Travis Vader, who was charged and convicted of two counts of second-degree murder of Lyle and Marie McCann, an elderly couple from St. Albert. They were murdered in 2010. It was a very complicated case. The family waited a number of years for justice to arrive. Just at the moment they thought justice had arrived, they found out that, in fact, it had not because the trial judge applied a section of the Criminal Code that is inoperative as the basis for convicting Travis Vader of two counts of second-degree murder. I am referring to section 230 of the Criminal Code, a section that had been found to be unconstitutional going back to 1990, and yet there it was in the Criminal Code.
That prompted the justice committee, on which I serve as a member, to write a letter to the minister calling on her to introduce legislation to repeal these unconstitutional sections. It was a letter that was sent by the chair of the committee, the hon. member for Mount Royal, all the way back in October 2016.
Following that, I stood with the McCann family in December 2016, when we had a press conference in St. Albert to urge the minister to move forward with legislation. Again, to the minister's credit, she did move forward in a relatively quick fashion because the bill was introduced, as I mentioned, on March 8, 2017. Then nothing happened. It stalled.
I have been in touch with the McCann family. They just cannot understand why, on something as simple as removing unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code, sections that are of no force or effect yet remain there in black and white purporting on their face to represent the law, remain in the Criminal Code.
The minister has not been able to explain why the government could not pass Bill C-39, why that bill is stuck at first reading, why it needed to be copied and pasted into Bill C-75, an omnibus bill. Bill C-75 is a massive bill which, frankly, is controversial in many respects. It saw a number of amendments at the justice committee and is, undoubtedly, going to receive a whole lot of scrutiny when it goes to the Senate. It will likely be months and months and months before the Senate is able to address Bill C-75. Meanwhile, those unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code are going to be there.
While the Vader case is one case, it is not the only case that a section of the Criminal Code, an inoperative section, has been applied with real and significant consequences to the administration of justice. There was a case in British Columbia back in 2005 in which the trial judge in a murder trial left a copy of a section of the Criminal Code that was inoperative with the jurors. On that basis, the conviction of the accused was appealed. The British Columbia Court of Appeal ultimately upheld the conviction but only because of the fact that the trial judge's instructions to the jury were deemed impeccable by the Court of Appeal.
That is another case, so it is not just the McCann case. We have seen other cases, including the case in British Columbia.
To say that we will just get around to this whenever is not an excuse. It opens the door to another Vader situation, and if that happens, the government will be to blame. It certainly was not to blame for what happened in the Vader case but once that became apparent about the serious consequences that can come through inaction, the fact that it has been now two years, I think, just does not hold water and there really is no excuse. However, it does speak more broadly to the fact that the government, on the big things and the small things, just cannot get it done time and time again.
Another aspect of Bill C-51 when we are talking about inoperative sections of the Criminal Code was the unfortunate decision by the government initially to include section 176 of the Criminal Code among the sections that the government deemed to be obsolete. Section 176 is hardly redundant. It is hardly obsolete. It certainly is not unconstitutional.
Indeed, section 176 is the only section of the Criminal Code to protect clergy from having their services disrupted, something that is very serious and goes to the heart of religious freedom. The government turned a blind eye, the Conservatives called them on it and, as a result, tens of thousands of Canadians spoke out, telling the government that it was wrong.
To the government's credit, it backed down at the justice committee a year ago and agreed to remove the repeal of section 176, and rightfully so. However, not long after backing down on the removal of section 176, the government, in Bill C-75, hybridized section 176, so that instead of its being treated as a solely indictable offence, it would potentially be treated as a summary conviction offence.
While this specific change does not have a significant impact on the maximum sentence, unlike some of the other offences the government is hybridizing, it sends a message, and I would submit that it sends exactly the wrong message. It sends the message that disrupting a religious service, infringing on the freedom of religion of Canadians, not just any freedom but a fundamental freedom in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is not that serious. That is just wrong and why Conservatives have opposed it and stood up in fighting Bill C-75.
A lot of Bill C-51 relates to changes to sexual assault laws in Canada. As I indicated when I rose to ask the minister a question, many aspects of this bill include welcome changes to the Criminal Code with respect to sexual assault laws. Among the positives in Bill C-51 is that it would codify the Ewanchuk decision. That means it would make it absolutely clear that the defence of mistaken belief on the basis of a purported misapprehension or misunderstanding of the law cannot be advanced. It is a positive to have clarity on that and to have the Ewanchuk decision codified.
Another positive change the government is making with respect to sexual assault provisions is the codification of the J.A. decision. The J.A. decision makes clear that in no circumstances can a complainant be deemed to be giving their consent while unconscious. By way of background, in J.A., the accused said that no sexual assault took place on the basis that the unconscious complainant had consented to both being made unconscious and the sexual activity. That argument was successful before the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, holding that for there to be consent, that consent must at all times be contemporaneous; that consent must occur at all times at all stages of the sexual activity. Therefore, Bill C-51 would amend section 273 of the Criminal Code, which contains a list of non-exhaustive factors when consent is deemed not to have occurred. More particularly, Bill C-51 would amend that section to specifically include the word “unconscious” to make it crystal clear that in no circumstances will consent be deemed when the complainant is unconscious.
As the minister went into some detail about in her speech, there were some concerns raised by a number of witnesses, both before the justice committee when we heard from them about a year ago, as well as from witnesses who appeared before the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee. Essentially, their argument was that codifying R. v. J.A. really would not do anything, that the whole issue of consciousness has never really been an issue, and that prior to R. v. J.A. the courts were never really finding there was consent when complainants were unconscious. In that regard, the concern was that by adding the word “unconscious”, an unintended bright line would be established whereby arguments would be put forward that consciousness or lack of consciousness would be a bright line in determining the issue of consent. That was the argument.
That was part of the reason why Senator Pate put forward her amendments, her concern being that there could be some added confusion in those cases where the person was not unconscious, but, for example, highly intoxicated. Unfortunately, while the Senate amendments may have been well intentioned, they would simply cause more problems and solve a problem that really does not exist. They would establish untested factors, which would be litigated, dealing exclusively with the mental state of the complainant. We know from some of the decisions, including the Al-Rawi decision, that it was not the mental state of the complainant that resulted in the acquittal of the accused, but rather the failure of the trial judge to consider some of the other evidence. Therefore, again, the amendments are problematic.
In terms of the language in Bill C-51, it is sufficiently clear, because it speaks of unconsciousness, but then it speaks to all other circumstances outside of that, so the language is broad. On that basis, I am not convinced that it would create the bright line that was said to be a concern by Senator Pate and by some of the other witnesses who appeared before the justice committee. As for whether or not it should be codified, I do think it is helpful. It does provide some additional clarity, and so on that basis I do support that aspect of Bill C-51.
Another area where I agree with the government is in respect to the applicability of the twin myths under section 276. Section 276 of the Criminal Code prohibits using evidence of a complainant's sexual activity for the purpose of advancing two discriminatory myths, namely that the sexual activity of the complainant makes the complainant less believable or most likely to consent. What Bill C-51 clarifies is that in no circumstances may evidence be tendered for the purpose of advancing those twin myths. That is a step in the right direction.
However, one of the areas I do have some questions about with respect to section 276 is an amendment proposed in the bill related to the definition of sexual activity. In that regard, Bill C-51 seeks to amend sexual activity to include “any communication made for a sexual purpose or whose content is of a sexual nature.” There is some concern that the definition may be overly broad. It is understandable why in this digital age, for the purpose of section 276, it makes sense to include communications in the form of text messages with photos or videos, etc. However, there was some concern expressed by the witnesses that it would be broad enough to encompass communications that were immediately before or after the alleged assault, which could be highly relevant in properly determining the case. Communications that might provide some context as to what in fact took place might no longer be admissible as a result of the wording of that section. Therefore, while I support the objective of the section, and the intent of the amendment is a good one, I do have some concerns about its breadth and how it might impact the types of cases I referenced.
On the whole, Bill C-51 is a good bill, but my biggest concern is with respect to the defence disclosure requirements. The defence disclosure requirements require the defence to bring forward an application in order to admit any record relating to the complainant. That application must be brought at least 60 days before trial. What is wrong with that? There are a number of problems I see with it. First, the definition is extremely broad. The wording is “no record relating to the complainant”. To be clear about what that means and what we are talking about, it is not about a record of the complainant involving their sexual activity. That is captured in section 276 of the Criminal Code, relating to the twin myths I just spoke of.
We are not talking about records for which there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as health, therapeutic or educational records involving the complainant. They are already addressed in section 278.1 of the Criminal Code. What we are talking about is any record relating to the complainant. What type of record might that encompass? It could encompass just about anything, regardless of whether there was any connection to a reasonable privacy interest on the part of a complainant. We are talking about joint records. We are talking about Crown records. We are talking about records that might have been obtained by way of a third party application. So broad is the wording of this amendment, it could arguably relate to a record of the accused to the degree that the record was a basis upon which to cross-examine a complainant and therefore would relate to the complainant.
Why is that a problem when we are talking about all these records? We should just think about that for a minute. Let us think about it from a practical standpoint. Put aside issues of trial fairness. Put aside issues of the presumption of innocence. Think about it from a practical standpoint, the mechanics of how this is going to work. From that standpoint, there are very serious concerns.
If we are talking about any records, in most cases we could be talking about thousands of records the defence counsel would have to comb through and bring an application for, and a court would have to go through each record to determine its admissibility, not, by the way, on the basis of relevance and materiality but on the basis of eight factors provided for in Bill C-51, eight factors that have not been tested and have obviously not, to date, been litigated, because the bill has not been passed.
That would create a lot of uncertainty. It would create a lot of new litigation, and it would create the potential for real delay in our already backlogged courts. That would be an issue at the best of times, but it would particularly be an issue in light of the Jordan decision, where we have cases that are being thrown out due to delay, yet here is something that is likely to have a very significant impact on adding to delays. That is just if the defence counsel brings an application 60 days before the trial.
Again, thinking about how this might play out, there might be a record that does not seem to be that relevant, that does not seem to really assist the defence or relate to needing to be tendered as evidence, but an issue might arise at trial, and suddenly that record that did not seem very significant becomes extremely significant. Then what would we have? We would have a mid-trial application, with the possibility of a mid-trial adjournment, contributing to even more delay. That would slow things down. It would create delay, but for what purpose, what objective?
There are some who say that it would be consistent with the Mills decision of the Supreme Court in that this would guard against fishing expeditions on the part of an accused against a complainant, except for the fact that we are talking about records already in the control and possession of the accused. Therefore, there would be no fishing expedition to be had, because they would already be in the control of the accused. That argument that has been put forward does not hold a lot of water.
Another argument put forward is that it would protect the privacy of a complainant. A great deal of sensitivity is required to do what is possible to protect the privacy of complainants. I wholeheartedly agree with that. There is no question that victims are victimized when they go through the assault and can be victimized again as they go through the trial and the court process. There is no question that efforts need to be made to protect victims. However, again, we are talking about any record, regardless of whether the victim had a reasonable privacy interest and regardless of the nature of the document. As long as it related to the complainant in some way, one would need to go through this process. To the degree that it would protect complainants and the privacy of complainants, it would add a lot more than that due to the very broad wording of that section. That is a concern.
While it seems to go a lot further than necessary to protect a complainant, it would potentially have very significant consequences for the ability of an accused person to advance a defence, and ultimately, for the court to fulfill its role as a proof finder. It would significantly impact upon the presumption of innocence. It would significantly impact upon an accused person's right to make full answer and defence. When we speak about the right to make full answer and defence and how important it is, I cite the Supreme Court in R. v. La, wherein the court stated, at paragraph 43:
The right to make full answer and defence is one of the pillars of criminal justice on which we heavily depend to ensure that the innocent are not convicted.
How would this provision potentially impact the ability of an accused to make full answer and defence? In one significant way, it would impede the ability of an accused person to cross-examine a complainant. When we talk about cross-examination, I quote the Supreme Court again on the important role of proper, thorough cross-examination in getting to the truth. The Supreme Court said, in the Lyttle decision, that “without significant and unwarranted restraint” it is “an indispensable ally in the search for the truth.”
Cross-examination is an important tool to guard against wrongful convictions. One might ask how this disclosure would impact upon the ability of an accused to make a full answer and defence and undertake a thorough cross-examination of a complainant. It would in one very simple way. It would create a positive disclosure requirement ahead of a trial. This bill would mark the first time in the Criminal Code that there would be a disclosure requirement for an accused person to provide to the Crown in advance of a trial, aside from a handful of narrow exceptions that have been well accepted and are not in the least bit controversial. The bill would require not only that evidence be disclosed to the Crown before a trial but that the evidence be disclosed to a complainant. Not only that, under Bill C-51, a complainant would have the right to counsel at that application. Therefore, instead of two parties at the application, the Crown and the defence, there would now be three parties, the Crown, the defence and the complainant.
Let us think about what that would mean with respect to the trial. The defence would have records in its control. It would now be tendering them and having to argue why they were relevant and should be admitted. That would provide a whole lot of insight into potential lines of cross-examination and the strategy of the defence. That could have a huge impact when it came to trial.
There is no question that the vast majority of complainants are telling the truth, but not all complainants are telling the truth. I want to emphasize again that the vast majority are, but not every single complainant is. In those rare cases when a complainant was not telling the truth, this positive disclosure requirement would open the door to tipping off someone who was not telling the truth before it got to trial to understand the defence strategy and the potential lines of cross-examination. It would certainly give someone who was not telling the truth a huge advantage going into the trial. The person could change his or her story or address perceived shortcomings in the case against the accused.
It gets even more complicated than that because of what I referred to with respect to who the parties to the application would be, because it would not just be the Crown and the defence. It would also be the complainant's lawyer. The complainant would have the right to be represented through his or her lawyer.
However, if it was, for example, just the Crown that was a party to the application, and we did have a situation where a complainant was maybe not telling the whole truth on issues around preparation leading up to that application, those questions could be asked at the trial of the complainant, but because the complainant would be represented by counsel, suddenly those questions become subject to solicitor-client privilege. Again, it is another impediment to asking questions, to cross-examining a complainant.
Make no mistake, I fully support every step that is necessary to protect complainants, having regard for the sensitivity of sexual assault and the profound toll it can have on victims. However, the issue in this particular instance is that we are talking about something that is so broad, so unwieldy, that while the intention may have been a good one, it misses the mark when it comes to fully protecting complainants all the while doing much to undermine the ability of an accused person to make full answer and defence.
When I spoke previously on Bill C-51, I quoted Madam Justice Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court, which I think bears reading into the record again. Madam Justice Molloy, in the Nyznik decision in acquitting three individuals of sexual assault, stated that:
Although the slogan ‘Believe the victim’ has become popularized of late, it has no place in a criminal trial. To approach a trial with the assumption that the complainant is telling the truth is the equivalent of imposing a presumption of guilt on the person accused of sexual assault and then placing a burden on him to prove his innocence. That is antithetical to the fundamental principles of justice enshrined in our Constitution and the values underlying our free and democratic society.
Bill C-51, with respect to the defence disclosure requirements, does not strike the right balance of protecting the victim while guarding against the potential for wrongful convictions. Therefore, I flag that issue as a serious concern that I have. However, on the whole, there are positive aspects to the bill that we are happy to support.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2018-11-27 18:58 [p.24071]
moved that Bill C-417, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-417.
Bill C-417 seeks to amend section 649 of the Criminal Code, which is the jury secrecy rule. The jury secrecy rule prohibits a juror from talking about his or her experiences during jury deliberations for life. My bill would carve out a minor exception to the jury secrecy rule to better help jurors who are suffering from mental health challenges arising from their jury service to get the help they need.
Before I discuss the particulars of the exception proposed in my bill, it would be helpful to provide some context and some background to how I arrived at introducing this bill.
The bill arises from a study at the justice committee, of which I am a member, on juror supports. Indeed, it is the first parliamentary study on juror supports. In that regard, I would like to commend the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for his leadership in taking the initiative to bring about this study. It proved to be a valuable study that resulted in a unanimous committee report, with many important recommendations.
During the study, we heard from many former jurors who went through difficult trials and who were exposed to horrific evidence. We heard about the stress and anxiety that it caused them. We heard about how it impacted their relationships with others, including friends and family. We heard about the challenges they faced upon trying to return to work, upon trying to return to the life that they knew prior to jury service. We heard about the stress and anxiety, and even PTSD, they had suffered as a result of their jury service.
The testimony of these former jurors was extremely powerful. I would like to read into the record some of the testimony of the former jurors.
Mark Farrant, who served as a jury foreman in a particularly gruesome murder trial, said this of his experience:
Images would haunt me day after day, an unrelenting bombardment of horror. My daughter's red finger painting would hurtle me back to the scene of the crime and I would stare transfixed, seemingly out of space and time. Sometimes I would just start to cry for no reason at all. Intimacy with my spouse was impossible, and I found myself either sleeping downstairs on some kind of vigil, or sleeping in my children's rooms at the foot of their doors, if I even slept at all.
I began to see everything as a potential threat, and even began arming myself with knives “just in case”, I would say to myself, as I would take my children to the park to play. My daughter asked me one day why I was putting a knife in my jacket and I struggled to understand, even myself, why I was doing it, let alone to explain it to a three-year-old. I knew something was horribly wrong with me.
Indeed, something was horribly wrong. Mark Farrant was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his jury service.
Tina Daenzer, who more than two decades ago served on the Paul Bernardo jury, said:
At that moment I had no way to fully comprehend how bad it would be. Imagine watching young girls being raped and tortured over and over again. You couldn't close your eyes and you couldn't look away because your duty was to watch the evidence.
Many days I would go home in a fog, as if heavily medicated. I counted on my husband to care for our children and to assume most household responsibilities as I often had difficulty focusing on tasks after a day in court. Most nights the videos would play in my head over and over again. I had difficulty sleeping. Intimacy with my husband became nonexistent for a long time, even after the trial ended. I became afraid to go outside after dark, and to this day that still affects me. I have extreme distrust of strangers.
Then there is Scott Glew, who sat on a jury in a murder trial that involved the murder of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy. He said this:
To this day, I worry all the time that something will happen to my kids, that someone in their life will hurt them the way the victim was hurt. I am super vigilant and accused of being way too overprotective, but knowing what I know, I cannot be too careful with who looks after my kids.
That is just a part of what was a lot of testimony, very powerful testimony, of jurors who quite courageously shared their stories, shared their experiences, shared about how their jury service changed their lives forever.
We heard at the justice committee that one of the biggest impediments for jurors to get the help that they needed was the jury secrecy rule.
The jury deliberation process is one of the most stressful aspects of jury service. After all, it is a time when jurors are sequestered with 11 other strangers, sometimes for hours, days or weeks, where they have to go through the evidence methodically, sometimes very disturbing and gruesome evidence, and ultimately decide the fate of an individual. In the most serious of cases that fate may be to put someone away for the rest of his or her life.
In that regard, Tina Daenzer, who served on the Bernardo jury, described this of the jury deliberation process. She stated:
After the Bernardo trial ended, I was only sequestered for one evening, and basically I got the question, “What took you so long?” You can't answer that. You can't discuss what the other people in the room would like to do or not like to do.
Again, you've seen the evidence and you've decided that the person is guilty, but...you are still sending that person to federal prison for the rest of their life. You shouldn't feel guilty, but somewhere deep down you still do. Talking through those things could be quite helpful.
Dr. Sonia Chopra, a psychologist who appeared before the justice committee, has undertaken a fairly extensive study around former jurors. She identified, as a result of her interviewing many former jurors, that seven out of the top 10 stressors for jurors occurred at the time of the verdict and the jury deliberation process leading up to that. In her study, she included some of the comments from jurors about the deliberation process.
One juror said, “The deliberation room, that's where the stress began. The trial was fun.”
Another juror said, “I was just appalled with the jury. If there's a weak link, that's where it was.”
Another said, “Stress wasn't because of the trial; it was because of the other jurors.”
Another said, “Infighting with the jury was my only source of stress.”
Another former juror said, “Deliberations were stressful for me and I'd been holding it in.”
Another said, “After the verdict, I was crying.”
Taken together, it is clear that for it to be a Criminal Code offence to talk about those experiences to a mental health professional is a serious impediment toward jurors getting the help that they need.
That is where this bill comes in. It seeks to make a minor exception to the jury secrecy rule, namely that a juror, in the course of getting mental health treatment arising from their jury service, could share his or her experiences with a mental health professional who is bound to confidentiality post-trial. This is consistent with an important recommendation of our unanimous report.
I want to stress that this minor carve-out is in no way inconsistent with the rationale underlying the jury secrecy rule, including ensuring the finality of a verdict and protecting the sanctity of the jury deliberation process because, again, this exception would only apply post-trial to a mental health professional who is bound by confidentiality.
Therefore, it may come as no surprise that at the committee this received very widespread support from the witnesses, including from former jurors, mental health professionals and lawyers, including William Trudell, the president of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers. This is a non-partisan issue. It is a common-sense issue. It is about doing the right thing to help jurors get the help they need, by making a minor amendment to the Criminal Code.
In the non-partisan spirit of this bill, I am honoured that the member for Victoria, the NDP justice critic, who I have the honour to serve on the justice committee with, is the seconder of my bill. I am very pleased that the member for Mount Royal, who ably serves as the chair of the justice committee and played an important role in the study as chair, is supportive. I see my friend, the member for Oakville North—Burlington, who is a co-seconder, as well as other MPs on all sides of the House.
I am also very honoured that Mark Farrant, who is one of the leading advocates in Canada for juror supports, stood with me here in Ottawa when I announced this bill. Mark Farrant often says that jury service is the last mandatory form of service since the abolition of military conscription. In that regard, it is completely unacceptable that jurors are unable to get the help they need for doing nothing more than their civic duty. That needs to change. Bill C-417 would help change that, and on that basis, I urge the speedy passage of this bill.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Pam Damoff Profile
2018-11-27 19:13 [p.24073]
Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member could share with the House the other jurisdictions that have brought in this type of legislation and the impact that legislation may have had on drafting his private member's bill.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2018-11-27 19:14 [p.24073]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for Oakville North—Burlington for her support of this bill.
There is similar legislation in place in the state of Victoria in Australia. The evidence before the justice committee was that since that law was passed, it has worked quite well. There were no issues that arose from it. That makes sense. Again, we are talking about post-trial, totally confidential, in the context of meeting with a mental health professional.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2018-11-27 19:14 [p.24073]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for introducing this bill and for serving this House with his encyclopaedic knowledge of statutory law and of our legal system.
The member spoke very eloquently about the importance of providing mental health support to people who go through the traumatizing process of serving as jury members during trials on allegations of violent crimes. Can he also discuss how the existence of such mental health support may actually lead to higher-quality deliberations? Will members of a jury, for example, be able to deliberate more freely and more confidently, knowing that they will have support in the aftermath, than they are capable of doing right now?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2018-11-27 19:15 [p.24073]
Mr. Speaker, the member for Carleton raises a very important point. It was one that was raised by a number of former jurors and others who appeared before the committee. Knowing that following the conclusion of a trial they could go to a mental health professional and talk about all aspects of their jury service would go a long way to comforting jurors and would also encourage Canadians to step up to the plate.
Far too often, people who are called to serve on juries do not want to be on juries. Part of the reason is the very difficult circumstances former jurors have found themselves in post trial. This is an important step in that regard.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2018-11-27 19:18 [p.24073]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise, and I want to thank my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton for the private member's bill he put before us. It is consistent with the report by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which had unanimous approval.
I also want to salute my colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who, along with the member for Victoria and the member for Niagara Falls and all of the other members of our committee, have worked so diligently in bringing this issue to the fore.
Jurors throughout Canada have a serious issue. As the member for St. Albert—Edmonton reminded us when he quoted Mark Farrant, jury service is essentially the only compulsory service left in this country. It is the only time that members of the public often find themselves in contact with the justice system.
While the bill before us deals with a very important component of the issue, the study we did showed many flaws in the way we treat jurors in Canada. For example, it showed us that in some provinces, the rate that we pay a juror has not increased since the early 1970s and that there is a great divergence among provinces, with some provinces paying up to $163 a day and other provinces paying nothing for the first few days of jury services, leading to many people being unable to afford to be on a jury. We want juries to be representative of the public at large, and not simply one small group that can afford to do jury service.
We found that in some provinces, there have been excellent services provided post-trial to jurors in recent years, and some provinces have started real legal support programs. Other provinces have absolutely no legal support programs. As my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton said, one of our important recommendations was to ask the federal Minister of Justice to work with her provincial counterparts to ensure that all provinces are able to provide post-trial support for jurors.
We heard the quotes that were read by my hon. colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton. We heard compelling testimony before our committee that showed how deeply people were affected by their jury service. We heard that people have come out of a trial unable to take care of their children, unable to have relationships with their partner, unable to fend for themselves in the world, but dropping out of the world and secluding themselves. That is not an acceptable result in Canada today from a compulsory service that we ask of our citizens.
I would only hope that in addition to this very well-timed bill, there is more that can be done through the provincial and federal governments working together to improve the lives of jurors across Canada. The last thing we want is people disinclined to perform jury service.
As to the bill put forward by my hon. colleague, it lies purely within federal jurisdiction. This is an issue that is in the Criminal Code. It is an issue that results from the fact that in Canada, we have determined that it is generally inappropriate for jurors to discuss the matters that have arise during deliberations, except if they are somehow raised in open court or are the subject of a criminal proceeding. However, that is not the case in every jurisdiction in the world. In the United States, for example, jurors are able to speak freely about their experience in deliberation, which has led to many books. All of us can remember the O.J. Simpson trial and how many books came out of the Simpson jury.
Now, that is not the approach our committee is proposing. We are not proposing, and neither did any of the jurors who came before at committee propose, that jurors be allowed to enrich themselves by talking about juror deliberations in titillating or sensational trials. That is not the approach we are proposing. We took the time to listen to expert testimony from different jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and Australia. As my hon. colleague mentioned that we are proposing the model used in the Australian State of Victoria, which, by the way, has a coordinator for juries, a person whose entire job is to be responsible for making sure that the juror experience in that state is appropriate and that jurors are well taken care of.
We in Canada would be well advised, at the provincial and territorial level, to create the position of jury coordinator so there is someone who has overall responsibility. It would not just be for the purposes of one trial or one case, but overall in talking about the juror experience and making it better.
We have bailiffs, judges and others who, with appropriate training, can do excellent jobs, but that does not mean the experience should stop there.
We heard testimony of jurors being confined to small rooms and small spaces. We heard testimony of jurors being told to park next to the accused or next to family members of the accused, of walking into court next to people who were testifying at trial. All of this could be avoided if we had someone who had an overall responsibility of walking through our courthouses, determining how best to allow jurors to have a decent experience.
In this case, Victoria, whose jury coordinator, by the way, came from Canada, told us that it had an exception to the secrecy rule, which we have in section 649 in our Criminal Code. When it came to speaking to mental health professionals, jurors were allowed to do so and it was an exception to its general criminal principle that jurors could not talk about deliberations. This is exactly what my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton is proposing in this legislation.
In our report, we recommended using Victoria as an example, and that is exactly what the member has done. He has carved out a very small exception to allow those jurors who were or could be deeply affected by the deliberations to speak to mental health professionals. We heard about the most stressful parts of juror service. Jurors could have conflict with their fellow jurors in deliberation. They could be hearing about gruesome, horrific testimony. They could, for example, be even at a point where they would be in an altercation with fellow jurors because they were the only ones who believed the defendant should either be acquitted or found guilty.
Coming out of their service, while jurors can talk to a mental health professional about the other things that have impacted them during their service, in Canada we do not allow jurors or someone providing support to jurors, for example if the juror is hearing impaired, to talk to a mental health professional or other medical professionals about the stress they experienced in deliberations, which could be the major source of their stress.
Therefore, while it is well and good and excellent that we are pushing for provinces and territories to each have a mental health support program for former jurors, it still does not work as effectively if this exception is not created in the Criminal Code to also allow them to talk about their experience in deliberations.
My colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton has taken a recommendation, which was unanimously supported by all of the members of the committee, has taken a concrete example that exists in a different Commonwealth jurisdiction in Australia to show it can be done and he has put this into legislation. I dearly hope we can unanimously support this in the House and move it quickly toward the other place, so we can move forward down a path of helping jurors in an area of federal jurisdiction to be treated better when it comes to mental health services.
I think this is a very important piece of legislation. I thank my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton and all the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for their work. I hope this bill will be adopted very quickly.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak in favour of the legislation. Let us get it through.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
View Rob Nicholson Profile
2018-11-27 19:35 [p.24076]
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my colleague, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, for introducing this bill and giving me, as well as so many of my other colleagues, the honour of seconding the bill.
I remember my first time in Parliament, back in 1984, when my colleague Pauline Browes asked if I would second her motion to erect a statue to John Diefenbaker here on Parliament Hill. Needless to say, I was very proud to have that honour, and I am very proud to have this honour. I thank my colleague for that.
This is the first time we have introduced legislation to Parliament to address this critical oversight with respect to jurors in our justice system. I appreciate that my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton and all those we have heard here are addressing this situation, which up to now has been basically ignored. I was justice minister for six and a half years. I do not remember any reports or memos with respect to the health and well-being of jurors. I am so pleased that we are taking steps, as my colleague, the member for Victoria, just pointed out, on something that makes common sense.
What we can get out of Bill C-417 is the protection members of a jury need. The member has proactively taken this issue that has been ignored for too long. The legislation effectively speaks to section 649 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits jurors from disclosing jury deliberations to anyone, other than in relation to obstruction of justice under subsection 139(2) of the Criminal Code. This new legislation would allow jurors, for the first time in Canada, to seek the help of licensed practitioners, such as psychiatrists and psychologists. I am so pleased to hear of the support.
When we were on the justice committee and heard some of the testimony and evidence, everyone was affected in some way or another. My colleague, the member for St. Catharines, still remembers, as we all do who live in the Niagara Peninsula, the gruesome details of the Bernardo trial. I remember that trial. Indeed, my colleague is correct when he says that the wounds from that trial have not healed. All I can say is thank God that man was not released on parole just recently. As a matter of fact, there are people who are still suffering and are still impacted by that trial. I heard from a constituent who was a friend of Kristen French. She reiterated that the nightmares from that trial live on in her family, friends and jurors.
We had compelling testimony at the justice committee from Mr. Mark Farrant and Mr. Patrick Fleming. Mr. Farrant has been an advocate for jurors and is one of those who has suffered PTSD, in addition to anxiety, depression and nervous shock, due to the distressing and disturbing evidence presented at the trial in which he served as jury foreman. The 2014 trial was that of Farshad Badakhshan, who was convicted of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Carina Petrache. She was stabbed multiple times before her body was burned in a fire. Mr. Farrant was subjected to viewing gruesome evidence over and over again. It should be no surprise to anyone that jurors are traumatized by being obliged to sit and watch graphic horrors repeatedly.
Tina Daenzer was another witness we heard from. She was the first one to be selected for the Bernardo trial. She had to listen and see all the terrible evidence introduced at that trial. She wanted to close her eyes and look away, but she could not, because she knew it was her duty to watch the evidence. At one point during the trial, Judge LeSage had to call a recess on her behalf, as she was having severe heart palpitations due to stress. She was referred to counselling. In his 29 years as a judge, Justice LeSage had ordered or recommended counselling for a juror on only two occasions, and the Bernardo trial was one of them. It should be noted as well that he himself sought counselling after that trial ended.
Ms. Daenzer ended her testimony by saying that counselling had helped her manage the trauma and anxiety and to get back to living her life. This speaks to the reason why Bill C-417 is critical to protect our jurors. If we want to continue to have jurors serve and to value their service, we need to ensure that they are provided avenues to reduce their stress, including the opportunity to talk about it and debrief afterward.
Many provinces do have juror support programs such as providing free counselling to former jurors. The bill would increase the effectiveness of those sessions, as it would allow jurors to further discuss the reasons why they had become significantly stressed. Many of our health care professionals who testified at committee supported this change, as they felt it would improve the health of former jurors without compromising the sanctity of our jury system, which medical professionals are bound to by confidentiality requirements.
I thank all the members who have been involved with this, the member for Mount Royal, the member for Victoria and, of course, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, for encouraging and moving forward with this at the justice committee. Because of that report, we are seeing Bill C-417 here today.
It is not without precedent. As members have heard, there are other jurisdictions that are having a look at this issue. In Australia in the State of Victoria they have had similar secrecy rules to Canada's, but its Juries Act 2000 now allows jurors to discuss juror deliberation in the course of their mental health treatment undertaken as a result of their jury service. As justice minister it was always very helpful to see what our colleagues in Australia did. They face many of the same issues we do in Canada. Both countries adhere to the Westminster model of Parliament and are in fact similar in many ways. I always remember when the Prime Minister of Australia was here about 10 years ago and addressing Parliament. He mentioned that Canada and Australia were like identical twins separated at birth. Indeed, having a look at what they do in other countries such as Australia is very helpful for us here in Canada.
One of the things I want to touch on, which I was pleased that my colleague from Mount Royal raised as well, is the lack of remuneration for members of the jury. To ask someone to sit on a jury for two weeks and then not pay them or to pay them $50 a day contributes to the stress these individuals suffer from. As my colleague pointed out, some provinces have not raised this amount since the 1970s. That is absolutely wrong. These people are an essential part of our justice system and they should not have that added stress of not being able to look after their homes. Even employers are stressed because they are losing their employees for perhaps long periods of time. I am hoping that in our discussions with our provincial counterparts to say that time has moved on, that will be one of the areas where we do get these people the kind of financial support they need.
The bill is within the complete jurisdiction of Parliament, and I am so pleased and honoured to be a part of this. Again, I thank all of my colleagues here for all of their wonderful support for this important bill.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2018-11-27 19:44 [p.24077]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-417, an act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors), initiated by the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
As is readily apparent this evening, the bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code to provide that the prohibition against the disclosure of information relating to jury proceedings does not, in certain circumstances, apply in respect of disclosure by jurors to health care professionals.
Our government indeed recognizes the crucial role in dedicated service of jurors in the Canadian justice system, as stated by a former juror, Mark Farrant, who was indeed quoted by the moving member, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton. Mr. Farrant said in his testimony before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that, “Jurors are an important pillar of the justice system.”
Members heard reference to Mr. Farrant, repeatedly, this evening.
Before November 22 of last year and February 8 of this year, that justice committee undertook a study that culminated in their report, “Improving support for jurors in Canada”, which was rendered in May of this year. The committee held eight meetings in Ottawa to hear evidence from witnesses, including former jurors, Canadian and foreign government representatives who work directly with jurors or in justice departments, Canadian and international lawyers, and other experts interested in the stresses that are associated with jury duty.
Again, those committee deliberations and that committee report have been referred to extensively in the speeches we have heard thus far tonight.
First of all, I want to indicate our thanks to the committee for their thorough study and their important report on this important issue. What I would like to do now is take a moment to explain the jury process in Canada, because understanding the roles that jurors are asked to play is necessary to finding solutions to assist them with the difficulties that can result from their very important public service.
For criminal cases, section 11(f) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a trigger. What that does is it grants any person charged with an offence the right:
....to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment.
As provided in section 471 of the Criminal Code:
Except where otherwise expressly provided by law, every accused who is charged with an indictable offence shall be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury.
When a person is charged with a crime listed in section 469 of the Criminal Code, the trial will automatically take place before a judge and jury, unless the person charged with the offence and the Attorney General agree to a trial without a jury.
In all of these types of criminal cases, the jury is called upon to reach a unanimous verdict, determining whether the accused is guilty beyond a standard of what is called “a reasonable doubt” based on the evidence presented by the prosecution.
In the context of civil cases, juries also have a role to play. While most civil cases are heard by a judge alone, a defendant may also have the right to a trial by judge and jury, depending on the nature of the case and the court. Civil juries must decide, on a balance of probabilities, whether the plaintiff proved that the defendant violated civil law. There are six jurors in a civil case and at least five of them are asked to agree upon a civil verdict.
Finally, there is also an aspect of coroners' inquests that is triggered when we discuss jurors. Coroners' inquests, which aim to inform the public of the circumstances of a death, require jurors as well. Jurors must respond to questions about the circumstances of a death and may make non-binding recommendations. Unlike civil or criminal cases, jurors in coroners' inquests are not required to render a verdict on anyone's legal responsibility.
Serving as a juror in any of these capacities that I have just outlined can involve significant stress. We have heard a lot of testimony and a lot of submissions today in this chamber about the stresses the jurors face. Those stresses have the potential to seriously affect a juror's life. What causes stress varies from one person to another, evidently. Several examples were raised by witnesses at committee. I would like to discuss some of these.
For many Canadians, being summoned for jury duty is the first and maybe the only experience they will have with the justice system. As a result, few prospective jurors are knowledgeable about what jury duty entails, and that unfamiliarity with the process itself often generates anxiety. Many individuals may therefore feel overwhelmed and stressed when they are summoned for jury duty.
As expressed by Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, “...jurors are moving into an environment that is very unfamiliar to them. This can be very intimidating, and that alone can be somewhat stressful.”
Being exposed to disturbing information is also a fundamental aspect of what jurors are faced with. Again, we heard extensively about this this evening.
It goes without saying that some legal proceedings deal with truly horrific and horrible crimes and involve traumatic and explicit evidence and testimony, which can include disturbing audio and video. This can be extremely stressful for jurors who are exposed to it.
We heard this quote earlier, but it bears repeating. Mark Farrant explained:
Images would haunt me day after day, an unrelenting bombardment of horror. My daughter's red finger painting would hurtle me back to the scene of the crime and I would stare transfixed, seemingly out of space and time.
With respect to deliberations, some jurors explained that they were uncomfortable with challenging group dynamics and the confrontations that sometimes occurred between jurors. Therefore, the deliberation process itself can be stress-inducing.
Other individuals spoke about their significant fear of making the wrong decision or rendering a verdict that would have a life-altering impact, fuelling the gravity of the task that was before them.
Former juror Michaela Swan told the Standing Committee on Justice:
...the most difficult process in serving as a juror was that of deliberations and the resulting post-trial discharge...It's confusing and highly complicated, but there is an immense drive to do the right thing.
There is also an abruptness of the end of the trial. Generally, after a verdict is rendered, the duty of jurors comes to an end. The committee heard repeatedly that for a number of jurors, particularly the ones serving on extensive and gruesome trials or inquests, the transition back to normal life was indeed challenging.
Former juror Patrick Fleming explained:
We need assistance getting back to our “normal” life. We are civilians who did not choose this path for ourselves nor are we trained to deal with this type of situation. Being a juror is a monumental job that has had a major impact on my life.
Many of the former jurors who participated in the committee's study described the difficulties they experienced once the jury task concluded.
Michaela Swan, who I mentioned earlier, stated:
Within 20 minutes of delivering a verdict, and after four days of being sequestered, I walked through an open parking lot with 11 other strangers and returned to normal life. I had Sunday to reconnect with my family and was back to work Monday.
As Patrick Fleming explained:
At the end of the trial, it was so abrupt. One minute I was reading a guilty verdict to five individuals, putting them away for 25 years plus another 25, and then the very next minute the court doors opened, and I was going home. Think about that.
With respect to section 649 of the Criminal Code, some jurors described feelings of isolation. Currently, in Canada, jurors cannot discuss the case with anyone as per section 649 of the Criminal Code itself. They are cut off from their family, friends and usual support networks with whom they would normally share troubling information and receive advice or encouragement. This also can be an added stress.
As Patrick Fleming explained:
I felt isolated from my family and friends. I would distance myself, and I could not share what I was going through....I felt guilty for not being present for my family emotionally and physically.
The important work undertaken by the committee clearly shows that it is possible to prevent or reduce the stress on the juror's experience, particularly by improving the preparation process and the conditions under which jurors fulfill their duties throughout the legal proceedings, as well as by providing jurors with psychological support as needed.
As was also mentioned earlier, it is a worthwhile investment. According to the WHO, every dollar invested in mental health results in about $4 worth of savings.
It is important that we continue to work with the provinces and territories to find solutions that support jurors and their mental health, including an examination of section 649 of the Criminal Code.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
View Pat Kelly Profile
2018-11-26 14:07 [p.23909]
Mr. Speaker, the problem of unauthorized Canada Revenue Agency personnel accessing confidential tax files is “on the rise” according to a CBC news report and the Privacy Commissioner. This comes a week before the sentencing hearing of a biker gang member who used his job at the CRA to illegally collect private information.
This is from the same government that cannot seem to understand why Canadians are squeamish about being forced to hand over their bank statements to Statistics Canada. Under the current minister, the CRA has been called out for its call centre, for incorrect information, for picking on disabled Canadians, for targeting single parents, for giving breaks to offshore evaders, and now for breaching Canadians' privacy.
The minister has been in charge for three years, and the agency's problems are getting worse despite a massive budget increase. It is time for her to act like a minister, take responsibility for her department and deliver an agency focused on service.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2018-10-30 10:37 [p.22992]
Madam Speaker, I asked a specific question and referenced the Chief Electoral Officer. I can also reference the Privacy Commissioner, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and our European and American colleagues. The justice department in the United States even warned us that we need to dramatically improve our security regime.
There is a natural tension that sometimes happens around making the rules about elections between what the parties want and what Canadians need. The Liberals, the Conservatives and previously the NDP wanted to keep our privacy over how we collect data. The problem is there are no privacy rules that apply to the political parties at all right now. All the experts, including the Chief Electoral Officer, have said that cannot be done anymore. Foreign influences are looking to attack our democracy by hacking into the party databases, and unless there are rules governing and protecting that data, our democracy is made vulnerable.
The Liberals know this. We have already studied this. The ethics committee studied this, and came out with a recommendation Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats agreed with. For the life of me, I honestly do not understand. With all these warnings and being a year away from an election, where the threat is there and there is a clear and present danger to allowing Canadians to exercise their franchise in a free and fair way, the Liberals looked at all those warnings, had all that research already done and said that they would like to study it more. This is code for Liberals saying no. When Liberals do not want to do something, they say that we should study it some more. We did study this. We have the evidence.
Can the parliamentary secretary offer us one reason why it was a bad idea to include some protections for data and Canadians' privacy and some protections for our democracy?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, it is interesting when the hon. member said that to study something means no. This bill came with 87% of the recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer. We have taken into account 87% of the recommendations, so to say that we did not study it is disingenuous. However, the fact of the matter is that we have talked about privacy. This is the first step in—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, yes, I withdraw the word. I should have used the word, “mistaken”. My apologies to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
With regard to privacy, we know that this is something, and Bill C-76 is the first step. It is going to make sure we start a process that needs to be developed further, and we will make sure that we look more closely at privacy as we go forward.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2018-10-30 15:07 [p.23032]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to table a rather large document. It is actually over 800 pages, and no, it is not the Liberals' omnibus budget implementation act. In fact, it is answers from the government in regard to how many departments, agencies, Crown corporations and other government entities have breached the privacy of Canadians. It is over 800 pages' worth, in less than two years, of when privacy has been breached. I wonder if I would have unanimous consent to table this.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-10-30 15:24 [p.23035]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in debate at this point on Bill C-76. I want to take the occasion to start with a bit of a broad historical sweep, albeit going back just to 2014. It is important for Canadians to know what is being accomplished with this legislation and what remains to be done. It is not perfect. I want to stress that, but I will be voting for it. I am also gratified that at least some of my amendments were accepted in the committee that studied the bill.
I want to go back to 2014, when the current hon. member for Carleton was the minister of democratic institutions. He brought forward a bill in that Parliament, Bill C-23, that was given the unlikely title, given its content, of the Fair Elections Act. I was a member of the opposition at the time, as leader of the Green Party, but I struggled with other members of the opposition, the New Democrats and Liberals, to try to stop that piece of legislation because it clearly had less to do with fairness than with trying to create favourable conditions for the governing party, the Conservatives at that time, going into the 2015 election.
Therefore, it is with a great deal of irony that I have heard a number of times Conservative members say that the Liberals are just trying to change the terms to make them better for their party.
We cannot forget the circumstances in 2014 when the member for Carleton introduced his bill. I hope that this will now be fixed by the changes to Bill C-76.
Going back to what the so-called Fair Elections Act did, it was consumed, as some members of this place still are, with a fiction—and I want to underscore the word “fiction”.
It is completely untrue. I want to stress that Canada does not have a problem with election fraud.
We do not have a problem of people disguising themselves, taking voter cards or any number of things that have been hinted at in the chamber in the last debate on Bill C-76. We do not have a problem of Canadians voting more than once under assumed identities. We have a problem of Canadians voting less than once. That is a serious problem, and that is why we needed the things that the so-called Fair Elections Act got rid of. These were things like being able to vouch for someone and being able to provide one's voter card as a piece of ID when going to the polls.
None of this would have been necessary if it were not for changes that the former Harper Conservatives made back at the very beginning of their first mandate. For the first time, they made it a requirement that Canadians produce a piece of government issued photo ID in order to vote. That, again, hinted darkly at the idea that people were voting more than once because we did not have enough checks on this problem. It was a non-existent problem then and does not exist now. It never existed. That is the evidence of several chief electoral officers, including Marc Mayrand and Jean-Pierre Kingsley, who both testified to the PROC committee that it was a non-problem.
Bill C-23 did a few other things. It took away some of the abilities of our Chief Electoral Officer to speak to us as voters when we needed information. One of those critical moments was, for instance, the election in 2011. The Chief Electoral Officer sent out a press release and got on the phone and radio. Robocalls were going on. Canadians were being misdirected, being told that their polling stations had changed. None of that was true. We had an investigation. I do not think it was ever adequately investigated. We know it took place, but we do not know who did it. That is a mystery that remains unsolved, but I think we know there was a gun lying on the floor, it was smoking, and several people standing around appeared to have used it. We have no conclusion, but we know for sure that voters who did not intend to vote Conservative were being told to go to polling stations that did not exist.
The Chief Electoral Officer then had the power to get on the radio and say “If you get a message on the phone that tells you it's Elections Canada on the line and your polling station has changed, ignore it. We have not changed any polling stations”. That was important.
What Bill C-23 did in 2014 was to take away the ability of the Chief Electoral Officer to do exactly that. It took away the ability of the Chief Electoral Officer to reassure Canadians that their polling stations had not changed.
There were a number of other things that the so-called Fair Elections Act did. One was to say that if there were a particularly long writ period, more spending would be permitted. That meant that the really big parties, like the Conservatives or the Liberals, and this was certainly to the advantage of the Conservatives in that election, could spend more money if the writ period were longer. They spent a lot of money. In that election, they spent just shy of $42 million. The people of Canada gave them half back, because of the way the so-called Fair Elections Act operated to their benefit.
Moving quickly, we had two pieces of legislation tabled in this 42nd Parliament to deal primarily with fixing all of the things that had gone wrong or were perverse under Bill C-23 in the 41st Parliament. In December 2016, we got Bill C-33. I was thrilled to see it, but it never got to second reading. Everything in Bill C-33 was added to Bill C-76, which emerged this year.
Let me just go through the great things that were in the original Bill C-33 and are now before us in Bill C-76. It gave the Chief Electoral Officer back the powers to warn people, to talk to Canadians, and to educate people in a non-partisan fashion. It got rid of the extended period in which parties could get more money out of the whole system. That is now in Bill C-76. It actually shortened up the period and restricted how much money big parties could spend, which means that the taxpayers will reimburse them less at the end, which is great.
The first part of Bill C-33, which has now come forward within Bill C-76, brought back the basics, namely that people are allowed to bring someone with them to the polls to say, “I know Joe. He's my brother-in-law. We live in the same neighbourhood. He's missing a driver's licence because his driver's licence has been taken away from him. I am here to vouch for him.” Students voting at university have a very difficult time proving where they live and thus that they have the right to vote.
Far too many people were denied their constitutionally enshrined right to vote in 2015. The Conservatives said that voter turnout went up. Sure it did. Voters were desperate to get rid of Stephen Harper, and they showed up in large droves. However, the reality is that hundreds of thousands of Canadians were denied the right to vote because of the changes to the Elections Act that we are now getting rid of.
What is also really good and entirely new is the concept that the Chief Electoral Officer, that is, Elections Canada, can go into schools and try to encourage 14-year olds to register to vote for when they turn 18. They can start, right away, knowing that they are registered so that they can begin to think about their civic duty to vote.
The lack of voter turnout among our youngest citizens is a real problem. I would love to see us reduce the voting age to 16. That is not in this bill, but a good first step is allowing Elections Canada to go into the schools to talk to the young people when they are in high school. Their civics education will feel far more real when they are personally registering to vote. It is not that they have the right to vote, but they are pre-registered for when they turn 18 and do have the right to vote.
Bill C-76 does a number of other things. I do not think we will ever do enough to deal with the threats to social media, things like Cambridge Analytica, the way that Facebook information can be mined, the way that Facebook ads can be targeted, and the use of fake news. Bill C-76 attempts to deal with this. I think we are going to have to come back to it and do more. I certainly support what they have done in this bill.
I certainly support having pre-writ election spending limits. This was a big vacuum in our laws. I think it is because the last time we looked at the Elections Act, no political party was spending money pre-writ. They kept their money and started spending it after the writ fell. It was not until Stephen Harper's attacks on Stéphane Dion in January 2007 that we started having attack ads outside of a writ period with no spending controls at all. Now we have spending controls.
What is missing? Here is the big gap. This was our opportunity to put political parties under our privacy laws. This legislation says that political parties must develop privacy policies and table them, but that is a far cry from having them under our privacy laws. It is a voluntary scheme. We need to put political parties under our privacy laws.
Back when Bill C-23 was going through the House in 2014, during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, I did try to get an amendment passed that would make political parties subject to the Privacy Act. No party supported that then. I really want to thank the New Democratic Party for supporting my amendment, which did not succeed, to set out that parties must adhere to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA. We did not succeed, but I thank the NDP for being with me on that.
We need to keep working for fair elections in Canada. Bill C-76 gets us a long way toward them.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2018-10-30 15:37 [p.23037]
Mr. Speaker, toward the end of my friend's speech, she talked about an issue that the committee heard about in great detail from the Chief Electoral Officer and from the Privacy Commissioner. We have seen reports out of the United States and the U.K. about elections or referenda or anything in which a democratic society these days goes through a vote. I say “these days” because what is significantly changed from a generation ago is the existence of the Internet and social media. Time and time again from the Chief Electoral Officer on down, the recommendations were clear that Bill C-76 did not do much of anything on privacy. My friend moved an amendment. It was strong. We moved one that we thought was not quite as strong but that might be more acceptable to the Liberals, and they voted both of those down.
Can the member describe for us what the risks are if the political parties as they are constituted right now have no obligations to protect the private data they collect from Canadians or have no obligations not to then leak that data to nefarious actors or to be stolen. The only thing the Liberals have left in Bill C-76 is that each party must have a non-enforceable statement on their website somewhere. That is the sum total of all the privacy requirements in this bill.
Having watched Brexit and the last U.S. presidential election and all of the threats described by our own intelligence agencies about the risks to our fundamental rights as Canadian citizens, I wonder whether Bill C-76 does enough to address these serious concerns.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2018-10-30 15:38 [p.23037]
Mr. Speaker, I commend my hon. colleague and friend from Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his diligence on this matter. There is a fairly chilling level of information about Canadians that is kept by political parties. Of course, we do not know all of it.
I remember the former Conservative member Garth Turner who published a book called Sheeple about his experience as a member of Parliament. He referred to the database held by the Conservative Party as FRANK, standing for friends, relatives and neighbour's kids. He related in the book how they collected data by going door to door and found out if someone hated a certain party and made note of that. If they found out that a person subscribed to a certain magazine, that information was kept. Canvassers tried to find out as much as they could about everyone, but that was just typical data collection taken to a new level, because now we are also looking at a new capacity to slice and dice the information and computer records. Then parties are able to start targeting riding by riding where the swing voters are.
Add to that the use of Facebook, the ability of the social media providers and others who are hacking into those systems to say they can tell us exactly who responded with likes to Facebook posts and use that information and post fake news that gets people to think they have to vote a certain way to protect something we know they care about. In other words, targeting voters with lies is made possible by keeping political parties from being subject to privacy protection.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2018-10-30 16:21 [p.23043]
Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about a part of the bill recommended by the Chief Electoral Officer, which was in the original bill, but the Liberals stripped it out of the bill. We tried to put it back in last night in a vote, and the Liberals voted against it. It is the part that would require political parties to provide receipts for their spending. As MPs, any candidate who has ever run for office here knows if an election claim expense is made at their local riding level, for example, $50 on food or $100 on rent, it has to be proven with a receipt. However, political parties do not. The reason the Chief Electoral Officer wanted this is there would be new powers for investigation in the bill, but those powers would not mean anything if the Chief Electoral Officer did not have the evidence, often with money, to track where the wrongdoing might have happened. This was something the Liberals agreed with then stripped out of the bill. The Chief Electoral Officer wanted it in the bill.
What exactly are the Liberals afraid of? They say that they trust the Chief Electoral Officer, appreciate him and think that he is the greatest guy, except when he makes recommendations like that one or that there should be privacy laws that parties have to abide by. Then they choose to ignore the Chief Electoral Officer and do not like his advice so much. Some would call that hypocrisy or inconsistency, people can choose the term because I do not want to imply one, but it is certainly wrong.
Why did Liberals deny these two important pieces: one, the protection of Canadians' privacy and of our elections, and two, a basic requirement the Chief Electoral Officer recommended, which would give him the investigative powers and evidence needed to catch people who are cheating in an election sponsorship scandal?
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2018-10-30 16:23 [p.23043]
Mr. Speaker, in fact we were both on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs when the Chief Electoral Officer appeared before the committee. He came to talk to us about what should be in the bill. The Chief Electoral Officer recommended 100 changes to the Canada Elections Act. Committee members agreed to 80% of the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2018-10-30 16:35 [p.23045]
Mr. Speaker, I have known my colleague and friend for some years. We have been in this place for a while and have seen a couple of ups and downs. I too share one of the concerns she has raised, which is the participation of young people and the growing sense of cynicism.
I would offer her party and leader this compliment. In the last election, they tapped into that sense of desperation and fear about our elections. A great number of young people supported her and her party with a sense that the current government would be different. Clearly, that was the promise.
When the Prime Minister was a candidate, he made some significant promises around our democracy that were quite captivating, particularly to young and progressive folks. One of them, of course, is the now infamous promise that 2015 would be the last election under first past the post. A number of my colleagues on her side got to share the experience of what that betrayal was like once the government said no.
Specifically on this, in general, a lot of people now get much of their news from social media. That is a leading way of distributing information. One of the risks to politics is the spreading of what is called misinformation and disinformation. We are combining that new power with the power of large, significant and complex databases. That is information that all parties gather on individual voters, not groups of voters, as she well knows, from the 1990s and early 2000s. The information we now have on individual voters, voting preference, voting history, age, telephone number, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, all sorts of incredibly personal information is gathered by political parties, yet there are no rules in place right now that say the parties have to keep any standards in protecting that privacy or what they do with that data. We are combining the great power of social media and being able to target individual voters.
On Bill C-76, the Chief Electoral Officer recommended strengthening privacy rules. The New Democrats put forward amendments to do that and the government rejected all of them. Why?
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the great work of my colleague. Sometimes I think we have all been here a little too long, but he has done some great work. It was terrific to work with him. I look forward to maybe another four or five years in the House of Commons, working together on issues that matter to Canadians.
Yes, that is a concern. Bill C-76 attempts to strengthen that as much as possible as we move forward. However, we have the challenge of social media, protecting individual rights and privacy rights. I note the bill stipulates that parties have to keep a list of all individuals called, with their phone numbers. There is a variety of things in Bill C-76 that attempt to strengthen that.
There will always be areas we can improve on and I expect there will be other changes after the next election on ways to continue to meet the current challenges that face us all.