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Results: 1 - 15 of 20391
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2020-02-07 10:22 [p.1076]
Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Châteauguay—Lacolle, where both the Lacolle border crossing and Roxham Road are located, I am proud of the way that our officials, in both the CBSA and the RCMP, have handled in a legal, humanitarian way the irregular entry of people crossing Roxham Road. Many residents in my riding work at the Lacolle border crossing. They have told me that they were hampered four or five years ago by cuts that were made by the Conservative government to their operations, cuts that hampered the security measures that they have to take on a daily basis.
I welcome the legislation. I would like to hear my hon. colleague's remarks on this issue.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:23 [p.1076]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Shepard.
I am pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
The Conservative Party of Canada will always protect the integrity of our borders and ensure that the Canada Border Services Agency has the people and equipment it needs.
A public complaints commission will improve general oversight and help the Canada Border Services Agency do its job even more effectively.
I have a few questions for this government. First of all, why did it wait so long to fulfill a 2015 election promise and amend the act? This Liberal government definitely has a habit of putting commitments off until later. If it was so important in 2015, it should be urgent now that it is 2020.
This bill is a copy of Bill C-98, which died on the Order Paper at the end of the 42nd Parliament. During its study of Bill C-98, the committee heard from just seven witnesses, including the minister and five officials who reported to him. I hope that this time, the parliamentary committee will have the freedom it needs to study this bill as thoroughly as it deserves and to hear testimony from more witnesses. We are going to make sure that all stakeholders are heard during this parliamentary committee study and that we get all time we need to do our job properly.
I want to take this opportunity to commend my friend and colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his tireless dedication to the issue of public safety in Canada. I admire the way he gets things done and his attendance record in the House. Our whole caucus is very proud of him, and I tip my hat to him.
Our border services are also very important for protecting our economy and the safety of the foods we import. I would like some assurance from the Liberal government that our free trade agreements with our partners and other countries are fair and equitable.
Also, does the government complete all the necessary checks at the border to ensure that we are importing foods that meet environmental and safety standards equivalent to those enforced in Canada?
With regard to aluminum, will the government allow Chinese aluminum produced with coal-fired Chinese electricity to enter the country, rather than using aluminum produced here in Quebec with hydroelectricity? This is certainly not something we would expect from a government that claims to care about the environment. It is clear the government is not walking the talk.
I want to come back to the Liberal government's consultation process. Did the government ask the opinion of front-line RCMP and CBSA officers? If so, what were their concerns and how were they taken into account?
I also think there is a need to reassure Canadians about the independence of the commission. If the past is any indication, this government has a tendency to interfere with the work of independent commissions.
Recently, we saw the Prime Minister interfere in one of the Auditor General's files, and we have not yet gotten to the bottom of that situation. We, on this side of the House, still have questions about the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's report in that regard. We hope to have the co-operation of all members of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to launch a transparent study on that.
That said, I have no doubt that the debate on Bill C-3 is necessary and has merit.
However, I do think that it is more urgent to tackle the increasing number of illegal firearms in Canada, the gang shootings, the overdoses, mental health issues, legal backlogs, incidents of repeat offenders attacking Canadians, and human trafficking in this country. Why is this bill the government's top priority coming into this 43rd Parliament when there are all kinds of other pressing issues that should be handled first?
The Liberal government seems to want to address issues on which there is some form of agreement to avoid important societal debates. There is so much work to do to keep our country prosperous and safe. The government has been moving at a snail's pace since it came to power. It is playing the part of the grasshopper and doing whatever it wants, instead of taking care of the urgent issues.
Here is one important issue that should be a priority in the agenda of this spineless government, as I have already mentioned in the House in a members' statement. Canada is a country rich in natural resources, such as crude oil and natural gas in the west and Newfoundland and Labrador; hydroelectricity in Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia; nuclear energy in Ontario and New Brunswick; and last, but not least, the shale oil and gas, coal, solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy used in various provinces and territories. Our country is so fortunate to have all of these resources. So many countries would love to have Canada's resources to help lift them out of poverty.
This prompts us to ask other important questions. How are all these energy resources transported within Canada, to serve all the provinces and territories, and how are they exported out of Canada, to the U.S. and other countries? Do we have adequate infrastructure? Are these methods of transportation safe and reliable enough to ensure an uninterrupted supply or, as was the case in the recent propane crisis in Quebec, are we relying on a single transporter? What about the environmental and economic impacts? Do we have energy security? Many questions deserve answers. That is why I would like to see the creation of a national commission on energy security. In my view, Canada's energy sector stakeholders should work together as part of a large-scale national consultation sponsored by the federal government. We must have the courage to get our heads out of the sand and talk about the energy sector. Unfortunately, this is a wedge issue in Canada right now, when it should be something that brings us all together from coast to coast to coast.
I strongly urge parliamentarians from all parties to initiate this discussion, which is crucial to the future of our country. This dialogue with every stakeholder in the energy sector will make it possible to develop a serious strategy for the future of Canada's energy sector by creating a national commission on energy security.
Our Canadian approach to energy will guide the economic destiny of future generations and how we position ourselves on the world stage. Let us take up our responsibilities as parliamentarians and legislators in the House, and ask the government to show leadership for the well-being of Canadians and for our economic prosperity.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-02-07 10:33 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I am going to pick up on what my colleague was saying about the transportation of goods on both sides of the border.
We are hearing from our farmers about a problem. Quite often, tanker loads of cows’ milk are being passed off as tanker loads of goats’ milk. This keeps the quotas a bit higher than what is actually being imported. I would like my colleague to comment on that.
Should complaints of this nature be addressed by a possible independent complaints commission?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:33 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for that important question. I talked about that a bit in my speech. The number of food inspections at the border should be increased to ensure that what is entering Canada is indeed what is being declared. If it is goats' milk that is being declared, then the border officer must ensure that it is indeed goat's milk. If it is cows' milk, then that is another story, because of supply management. It is really important that there be regular inspections at the border to ensure that the stakeholders who do business with Canada are truly honest about the cargo they are bringing here.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 10:34 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. He talked about a subject that is especially important to him.
I had the opportunity to do a lot of work with him on the propane crisis in Quebec last fall. We realized at the last minute that many sectors of Quebec's economy were at risk and that many sectors in Ontario were also affected by the crisis.
He raised a very interesting point about the energy commission and I would like him to talk more about that. I believe that the House should give this option more serious consideration.
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:35 [p.1077]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that my colleague asked this question and I thank him.
I believe that Canada is now at the point where we should take the time to talk about all types of energy and about energy synergy to determine how we will manage our energy supply in future. We must look into the ways that we can use all forms of Canadian energy for the well-being of Canadians for the next two or three generations. We have the opportunity to create infrastructure that will be used for the next 100 years. We must make wise choices.
In the future, there will still be a lot of oil, but there will also be a lot of electricity. I do not understand why it is so difficult for Quebec to sell electricity to Ontario. At present, it seems easier for Quebec to sell electricity to the United States, despite the fact that Ontario and Quebec are part of the same country and are not separated by a border. I understand that we must respect provincial jurisdictions. We should launch broad consultations because it is possible to create a richer Canada, especially in the long term, with a national commission on energy security.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 10:36 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I am very impressed by my colleague's comment about energy synergy. What a fascinating line of thinking. Instead of bickering over the issue of energy in Canada, we should be leveraging the strengths of each region and the capacities of our natural resources, such as hydroelectricity in Quebec, oil in the west and nuclear power in certain regions. That is a very intriguing debate. We should stop squabbling and focus on energy synergies. I think the member has illuminated a clear path to national unity.
Could he give us some details about energy synergy?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
View Jacques Gourde Profile
2020-02-07 10:37 [p.1078]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
This is a pivotal moment. Right now, in 2020, all parliamentarians need to set the course for this country's next 20, 40, 50 and 100 years. It is our duty to do so. Since we are fortunate enough to be in the House, we need to seize this opportunity to steer the Canadian economy in the right direction and ensure a prosperous future for our children, our grandchildren and, if we are lucky, our great-grandchildren.
Canada is lucky to have tremendous energy resources. We are the envy of the whole world. We need to take our job to heart and work together to put Canada on the path to globally unrivalled prosperity.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 12:17 [p.1097]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. The opposition is not going to dwell on this bill because we intend to support it.
However, we have a lot of questions about the government's decision to move so fast. Why is it in such a rush to adopt this bill when there are so many other issues of greater concern to Canadians right now? I would like my colleague to explain why passing this bill is as urgent as she said it was in her speech.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 12:18 [p.1097]
Mr. Speaker, I want to jump on the opportunity that I was just given, since my colleague mentioned openness and transparency.
This government likes to say how transparent it is every chance it gets. I would therefore like to know why my colleague's party voted against my motion calling on the Auditor General to review the federal infrastructure plan. That is important.
It is a question of transparency and oversight. Bill C-3 aims to increase oversight of an organization. The Liberals, despite being so transparent, refused to support my motion calling on the Auditor General to take a closer look at a plan worth $186 billion. That is a lot of money.
We are a little baffled by the Liberals' doublespeak about transparency. On the one hand, they want to rush this bill through, but on the other hand, they voted against my motion.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-07 12:33 [p.1099]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by congratulating my colleague from Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola for the excellent French he used in his speech. I think we can applaud him.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Luc Berthold: We know that it is intimidating to speak in a language other than one's mother tongue in the House. I find that my colleague makes a great effort to speak French outside the House.
I would like to know why it is important to him to speak French and to use that language to communicate with Canadians.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-02-07 13:25 [p.1106]
Madam Speaker, of course the commission must be independent, but how does my colleague feel about the lack of resources that forces officers to work longer hours? They are inevitably more tired.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to add my voice to the debate of Bill C-3 at second reading. This important piece of legislation would amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to establish a new public complaints and review commission for both organizations. This would give the CBSA its own independent review body for the first time.
Transparency and accountability are extremely important in any context. That certainly includes the public safety and national security sphere. Canadians need to have trust and confidence in the people and agencies that work so hard to protect them. Right now, among the family of organizations that make up the public safety portfolio, only the CBSA lacks a full-fledged independent review body dedicated to it.
The RCMP has had such a body since 1988, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. The CRCC reviews complaints from the public about conduct of RCMP members and conducts reviews when complainants are not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of their complaints. This process ensures public complaints are examined fairly and impartially.
Canada also has an office of the correctional investigator, which provides independent oversight of Correctional Service Canada. The correctional investigator essentially serves as an ombudsman for federal offenders. The main responsibility of the office is to investigate and try to resolve offender complaints. The office is also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on CSC policies and procedures related to those complaints, the goal being to ensure areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed.
The CBSA really stands out in this context.
Before I go any further, it is important to point out that a fair number of CBSA's activities are already subject to independent oversight through existing bodies. Customs-related matters, for example, are handled by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. With the passage of Bill C-59, the CBSA's national security-related activities are now being overseen by Canada's new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. This agency is an independent, external body that can report on any national security or intelligence-related activity carried out by federal departments and agencies. It has the legal mandate and expertise to review national security activities and serves an important accountability function in our democracy.
However, a major piece is missing in the architecture of public safety and national security oversight and accountability. There is currently no mechanism for public complaints about the CBSA to be heard and considered. That is a significant oversight, given the scope of the agency's mandate and the sheer volume of its interactions with the public.
CBSA employees deal with thousands of people each day and tens of millions each year. They do so at approximately 1,200 service points across Canada and at 39 international airports and locations. In the last fiscal year alone, border officers interacted with 96 million travellers, both Canadians and foreign nationals, and that is just one aspect of its business. It is a massive, complex and impressive operation. We can all be proud of having such a professional, world-class border services agency.
In the vast majority of cases, the CBSA's interactions with the public happen without incident. Our employees work with the utmost professionalism in delivering border services to those entering the country. However, on rare occasions, and for whatever reason, things go less than smoothly. That is not unusual. People are human and we cannot expect everything they do will be perfect all the time. However, that does not mean there should not be a fair and appropriate way for people to air their grievances. If people are unhappy with the way they were treated at the border, or the level of service they received, they need to know that someone will hear their complaint in an independent manner. Needless to say, that is currently not the case.
The way things currently work is that if a member of the public makes a complaint about the CBSA, it is handled internally. In other words, the CBSA investigates itself. In recent years, a number of parliamentarians, commentators and observers have raised concerns about this problematic accountability gap. To rectify the situation, they have called for an independent review body specific to the CBSA. Bill C-3 would answer that call.
Under Bill C-3, the existing Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP would be given new powers and remain the public complaints and review commission, or PCRC. The newly established PCRC would consider complaints related to conduct or service issues involving either CBSA or RCMP employees. Those who believe they have had a negative interaction with a CBSA employee would have the option of turning to the PCRC for remedy and would have one year to do so.
The same would continue to be the case with respect to the RCMP. This would apply to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals. That includes people detained in CBSA's immigration holding centres, who would be able to submit complaints related to their conditions of detention or treatment while in detention.
The complaints function is just one part of the proposed new PCRC. The commission would also have an important review function. It would conduct reviews related to non-national security activities involving CBSA and the RCMP, since national security, as I noted earlier, is now in the purview of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. The findings and recommendations of the PCRC would be non-binding. However, the CBSA would be required to provide a response to those findings and recommendations for all the complaints. I believe that combining these functions into one agency is the best way forward.
The existing CRCC already performs these functions for the RCMP, and the proposals in the bill would build on the success and expertise it has developed. Combining efforts may also generate efficiencies of scale and allow for resources to be allocated to priority areas. On that note, I certainly recognize that additional resources would be required for the PCRC, given its proposed new responsibilities and what that would mean in terms of workload.
That is why I am pleased that budget 2019 included nearly $25 million over five years, starting this fiscal year, and an additional $6.83 million per year ongoing to expand the mandate of the CRCC. That funding commitment has also been positively received by stakeholders. With Bill C-3, the government is taking a major step toward enhancing CBSA independent review and accountability in a big way.
I was encouraged to see an apparent consensus of support for this bill in our debate so far. As we know, just eight months ago, the previous form of this bill, Bill C-98, received all-party support during third reading in the House during the last Parliament. In reintroducing this bill, we have taken into consideration points that were previously raised by the opposition parties, and we hope to rely on their continued support.
The changes proposed in Bill C-3 are appropriate and long overdue. They would give Canadians greater confidence in the border agencies that serve them and they would bring Canada in line with international norms in democratic countries. That includes the systems already in place with some of our closest allies, such the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
I am proud to be supporting this important piece of legislation. I will be voting in favour of this bill at second reading and I urge all of my hon. colleagues to do the same when the time comes.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I read the summary of this bill last night. That is a very important question and I thank the member opposite for bringing it forward. These are the kinds of questions that could be examined at the committee level.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I believe that the essence of this bill, and I think the essence of my colleagues' view in this House, is to ensure that accountability and transparency is sought out with the creation of this bill. I think Canadians expect that, however small the number of cases. I understand that there are approximately 1,200 cases reported per year. Every case is different, and every case is important.
Every Canadian deserves to be treated with respect, and we should ensure that accountability and transparency is sought in every process of every complaint.
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