Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As you've accurately predicted, my amendments touch every single place where the quite novel definition of “activities that undermine the security of” is replaced with the definition more consistent to other acts within the Government of Canada: “threats to the security of”.
If I may, I've picked a very short excerpt from the testimony of Professor Roach, which is that if this goes ahead as written, this definition will remain, “the broadest definition of...national security in the law books”. He went on to say:
This distinguishes this approach from a similar approach to protest taken in the CSIS Act which is indexed not to the overbroad and relatively novel concept of “activities that undermine the security of Canada”, but the more limited and traditional definition of “threats to the security of Canada”, [as] in [section] 2 of the CSIS Act.
I would put to my friends the Liberals in this committee, as well as my friends the Conservatives and New Democrats—obviously Monsieur Dubé and I agree on this—that there's no policy rationale that's been put forward and there's no explanation for having this quasi-sedition section, with language that is so overbroad that it can't be found anywhere else in legislation that accomplishes the same purpose, in security legislation or anti-terrorism legislation.
I hope my amendments will meet with success here, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I appreciate the view of the officials, but with all due respect to Mr. Fragiskatos, Professor Roach and the Canadian Bar Association aren't pikers, and this isn't, as we like to say, their first rodeo. Professor Roach is one of the country's leading experts in security law, and the same departments and the same Justice officials in the previous government gave us completely dangerous broad definitions such as “terrorism...in general” in part 3 of BillC-51, which made no sense, but they defended them just as vigorously to a committee then.
With all due respect to our officials here, there is no justification for having a different definition. It doesn't add confusion to the law to be consistent. It adds confusion to the law to use a novel definition that's found only in the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I thought that was defeated with amendment PV-27. It's again to replace “undermine the security” to the test of “threats” to the security of Canada.
I'm perfectly happy to put forward an argument in favour of it.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
That's wonderful. Let me then put it forward. I thought it was caught under the same argument.
At page 114, it would amend the clause so that the language would be replaced with the more traditional definition of threats to the security of Canada in order to strengthen the act.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Again, Mr. Chair, this is to restore the language that is more traditionally used as to threats to the security of Canada as opposed to undermining the security of Canada. I would hope that in this instance, perhaps, we could restore the CSIS definition.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Mr. Chair, I do believe that the evidence from many witnesses, as Mr. Dubé said, was that the disclosure requirements with the low threshold of “will contribute to the exercise of the recipient institution's jurisdiction” is far too low a threshold. For this kind of provision, the information sharing should be required to be necessary for the exercise of the recipient institution's jurisdiction. The testimony is very clear on this point, and this was one of the worst sections—although it's hard to pick the worst section of BillC-51, but this is one of the least improved in C-59. I would hope that this amendment would meet with approval at this point.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
No, I've spoken to this amendment.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This again pursues consistency in my efforts to remove the new language “undermine the security of Canada”, and revert to a more traditional, understood, legislatively predictable, and less murky threshold with “threats to the security of”. It would be wonderful to see it change in one place in the act, even as we go along.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This moves to a completely different area. This is to repeal the changes that were brought in by the previous government in BillC-51, which removed protections for named persons in security certificate proceedings. This was adopted following a 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in Charkaoui v. Canada.
The framework in place at the time allowed for non-disclosure of evidence in certificate hearings, and the court found that this did not impair the rights of people named in certificates. The legislative move by BillC-51 was to reduce those protections for named persons in security certificate hearings. You'll recall that there was evidence for this from Alex Neve of Amnesty International and from Professor Kent Roach of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
The effect of my amendment—and I'm certainly not going to read it because it is quite long and extends over several sections—is to repeal the entirety of the changes made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in BillC-51 of the previous Parliament, and to restore important protections to people who are affected by security certification proceedings.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
I appreciate that, Sven, but I think that's the wrong interpretation of Harkat. The Supreme Court of Canada found that these very changes were contrary to a charter guarantee. I will read from an interpretation of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to these very changes. It said:
The preservation of Canada's national security interests is of critical importance. At the same time, the Charter's guarantee of a fair hearing and due process before an independent and impartial tribunal is a non-negotiable condition of a free and democratic society. The delicate balance struck by the courts to protect those rights prior to the Anti-terrorism Act of 2015 should be restored.
So the advice of the Supreme Court of Canada is in favour of my amendments, which I'm putting forward right now.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
If this amendment carries, then it would affect mine, but if it doesn't carry, it doesn't affect mine. Is that correct?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
If you'd like me to speak to PV-37 now I will, which is to say that my amendment affects the period of days that are currently referenced in clause 134 in proposed Bill C-59 as 120 days. My amendment would return it to 90 days.
I think Mr. Dubé's is better, but I went with a compromise.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
l wish to remind you of the testimony of Kent Roach. He said that four months is a long time to be a wrongfully listed person.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
That would be appropriate at this point.
Think about the no-fly kids groups you heard from. Think about why the Liberals want to add more time to Stephen Harper's 90 days and go to 120 days. Just think about it, and please vote for my amendment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We're still within the sections that deal with the no-fly list and appeals against being on the no-fly list. I'll speak to both of my amendments at the same time, just to advance things for committee. They both speak to the same issue that was put forward by Kent Roach, by Alex Neve from Amnesty International, and by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The goal here is to appoint a special advocate so that during a no-fly list appeal hearing, where secret evidence is heard, there is an advocate for the public interest. Green Party amendment 38 sets out that there must be a special advocate. Green Party amendment 39 sets out the content of the responsibilities of the special advocate.
Again, this doesn't make any information public. It just ensures that the public interest is well represented. The use of special advocates, as I mentioned in yesterday's review of other clauses, stems from the post-9/11 anti-terrorism legislation of the Chrétien government, that if you're going to have security certificates, there be somebody there in the room who represents the public interest, because these hearings are extraordinary. They're secret. The rights of the individuals whose lives are being affected can't be represented by them in the room, so the special advocate's role is terribly important for protecting civil liberties in this country.
I hope you'll give full consideration to including both Green Party amendments 38 and 39, when the time comes. I know that Mr. Dubé will speak to one of these as well. To have a special advocate in that hearing room to represent the concerns of inappropriate use of information or inappropriate denial of rights is a safeguard—it does absolutely no harm—to ensure that we are consistent with what we do with security certificates, with what we do when we're impeding people's rights to travel into other countries.
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