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Results: 241 - 300 of 602
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:01
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I have just two quick points.
Again, as I said, the first is that this is something the minister is doing. We don't have to run around with access to information requests, as has been the case in the past, notably under the previous government with the ministerial directive related to information obtained under the use of torture. I'm just wondering.... I can't amend my own amendment, but while I would find it far from sufficient, if a member would propose an amendment adding wording that would protect information that “may be injurious to national security”, I would be okay with that, even though I don't think it's necessary. The minister regularly talks about directives here and directives there. We're not dealing with operational specificity, but just with broader guidelines.
Again, if someone wants to present that amendment to make it more palatable for the Liberal side, I'm willing to—I'm trying to find a new metaphor here instead of just the water in the wine—take a step back from going as far as I believe we need to go to at least get something in the bill to this effect.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:04
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Just as a follow-up, for any changes that were made to NSIRA, would they be mandated with reporting back to the public or is that just something that could potentially happen?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:04
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But the report could.... It's at their discretion at the end of the day as to whether they...?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:05
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If I may ask, Chair—and I should know this, but I don't off the top of my head—I believe the minister has published some ministerial directives: in what forum is that usually done?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:05
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—some points on part of the answers I just received?
There doesn't really seem to be a clear precedent for where it would be published. I think that, given that the Gazette does deal with.... It's not regulatory change, but in some ways it could be seen as similar. In the absence of that, I think it's difficult to legislate what's going to appear on a minister's website or something like that. Again, I can't amend my own amendment. I'm somewhat disappointed that there's no appetite to try to make it more palatable, to at least codify what the minister says he wants to do.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:08
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Before I go any further, I do want to state that I would have a recorded vote on this particular amendment.
Essentially, the wording as it currently is in the legislation is “defensive cyber operations or active cyber operations aspects of its”—“its” being the CSE—“mandate must not be directed at a Canadian or at any person in Canada.”
My amendment would add “and must not infringe a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” This is in keeping with the preamble. Again, it's something that some may argue is redundant, but I feel that the more it's codified, the better.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:10
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Mr. Chair, I find that argument kind of odd, given that the bill before us, this Liberal Bill C-59, proposes to CSIS the exact wording that I'm proposing for the aspects of the bill dealing with the CSE.
I would assume that the bill, then, would be causing the same problems that Mr. Spengemann is alluding to already in its initial drafting because it's the same wording that's being proposed to change the CSIS Act. This was brought up by the Canadian Bar Association when they appeared before committee. I'm not sure I follow, but at any rate....
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:17
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Thank you, Chair.
Just for the benefit of the record, on page 100 of the bill, under “98 Subsections 12.1(2) and (3) of the Act are replaced by the following...,” if we go down we see, under Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “(3.1) The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is...”, and I'll spare everyone reading it through. I've indicated where it is.
That's in addition to the preamble of part 4, which deals with CSIS. As with what I'm proposing here, we're seeing a situation where there's a preamble mentioning the charter and also further in the legislation, in relation to the mandate, and that's where the inspiration comes from. That's on page 100, line 29 through....
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:19
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Can my colleague perhaps explain the rationale behind removing “a right or freedom guaranteed by” the charter? I'm wondering what....
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:20
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Chair, if colleagues would go back to page 100 and part 4 relating to the CSIS Act, with regard to warrants and threat disruption powers, that's the exact wording that's used in the opposite sense, in infringing on rights with the obtention of warrant, but it says “The Service may take measures under subsection (1) that would limit a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms only if...” and so on and so forth.
I think the wording I've proposed, even though the sense is different, going from a positive to a negative, infringing on the right or protecting it, regardless if that's the wording that's there, I don't see the need to change my amendment.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:25
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I'm just wondering what those types of unintended consequences could be.
CSIS, in the legislation under BillC-51 in the last Parliament, obtained the power to, through a warrant, infringe on the charter. If not, it was understood that they couldn't. I'm just making sure. Is there a situation where you wouldn't want to have this kind of safeguard in place?
Again, I feel we're in a situation where if these things are being done and the spirit is there, then why oppose it? The section that's being amended is related to the activities. I think there is a distinction that Canadians' rights and freedoms and directing at a Canadian or a person in Canada.... Your rights and freedoms can be violated even if CSE is conducting activities related to something or someone else who's not a Canadian or a person in Canada.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:26
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Mr. Chair, I was wondering if Mr. Millar was able to answer the question I posed about unintended consequences?
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View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2018-04-23 17:26
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I think the idea is to make sure we don't work against the Charter of Rights. Everyone agrees with that.
Maybe the expert will explain why we use different verbs. When you read the paragraph Mr. Dubé refers to, using the verb.... In the paragraph, we say “limit” in CSIS, “limit a right”, where, I guess, in English—and I'm a French-speaking person—you cannot limit a charter. You can limit something of a charter, like limit a right, whereas in our case, we just say “infringe”. We don't cause prejudice to a charter, which is the sense of what she says. Maybe that explains why we have a bit different wording. The use of the verb is not the same. But the idea, at the end of the day, is to prevent infringement against the charter. Maybe the expert can confirm if this makes sense.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-23 17:30
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In a situation where, if we look at section 24, where we can acquire and disclose publicly available information and then we have information acquired incidentally, activities aren't being directed at Canadians or persons in Canada, but it could be an infringement on a right or a freedom guaranteed by the charter.
I think there's a distinction, which is why I think my amendment is important here. I think it's important to protect Canadians in a context of CSE's activities, even if they're not being directed directly at a Canadian or a person in Canada.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:08
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Thanks, Chair.
I won't be moving NDP-7 because I one-upped myself.
NDP-8 is the better version of NDP-7. It was submitted 24 hours later.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:08
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Absolutely. Thank you, Chair.
This is following testimony from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. It is an amendment that seeks public reporting on the number of warrants requested for the use of CSIS's threat disruption powers. Those who were on the committee at the time will recall that Mr. Coulombe, director, was testifying there was a troubling lack of clarity after the use of those powers, even though they confirmed that they had been used. We believe this is appropriate in order to have a better understanding of these powers, which are not really supposed to be part of CSIS's mandate. Its raison d'être is to not have these types of powers, but that's a debate we'll get to with later amendments.
It also seeks to have public reporting on the activities carried out by the national security and intelligence review agency. This is, once again, in keeping with the spirit of accountability and transparency that the agency seeks to accomplish, by having public reports on its activities.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:11
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Once again, when I hear words like “likely” and things like that, I would say this amendment is not exhaustive. It prescribes certain things that should be published but certainly leaves discretion for the agency to publish more. Once again, I don't see why we continue to reject things by saying they will “likely” happen, the “odds are”, etc., when we should be codifying these things as much as possible.
Moreover, as I said, this will be debated in later amendments, but at the end of the day, as far as we're concerned, threat reduction powers should not be part of CSIS's mandate. That's been an ongoing debate since former BillC-51. In the meantime, in the same way that there would be accountability for other forms of law enforcement if these powers are going to exist, I do think it's appropriate that they be reported on, as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said in its testimony to this committee.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:14
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The review agency's report discusses the type of information and structure used by the Communications Security Establishment, the CSE. A recommendation comes from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, but also from the Citizen Lab, which has dealt extensively with issues related to the CSE.
We understand that the legislation remains vague about the type of information that can be collected and what will be included in the report. However, given the rapid evolution of technology, it is most appropriate that we have as much information as possible about the CSE.
I think it's fair, just as anecdotal evidence, to require more information to be published about what CSE is doing. We need to look no further than the estimates process, which to their credit was corrected on social media, where we weren't seeing the proper breakdowns being provided.
I know this is not directly linked, but once again, to the earlier point I made, I think codifying additional accountability is appropriate. That's what this amendment seeks to do, once again, in keeping with Citizen Lab's and CCLA's recommendation to this committee.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
For our part, we are concerned about the disclosure of information on the organizations in question. We may be wrong but we would like some clarification on this. We believe this information could be intercepted by foreign intelligence agencies. At some point, the strictures of Canadian organizations will have to be updated.
Are we right to believe that being too open might be problematic? My question is for Mr. Davies or Ms. Henderson.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:19
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Thank you, Chair.
On NDP-9.1, I'm seeking clarity on the consequential amendments, because I have a few in there and this would kick-start a longer process. I'm wondering about that before I proceed.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:19
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Thank you, Chair.
As you know, one of the most controversial aspects of former BillC-51 was the information-sharing regime that was put in place, known as SCISA, and Bill C-59 brings essentially a cosmetic change alone to that regime. As far as we're concerned, this remains a problematic system to have in place. NDP-9.1 and the consequential amendments seek to fully repeal the elements of the bill that allow for this information sharing to take place.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:21
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Since this is the part of NSIRA act that deals with the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, these are just consequential amendments to remove all the references in the efforts that we're making to fully repeal that. Every reference in the bill, whether it's in this part or in part 5, is being deleted. This is seeking to remove this part, since if our efforts were successful, and we did manage to repeal these problematic elements, then it would obviously require these types of consequential amendments in the NSIRA act. It has nothing to do with NSIRA's mandate proper. It's a cleanup.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:23
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I say this with all due respect to my colleague. I think that we've studied this bill for a number of months now. I think it's fairly safe to say that members on the other side already have a sense of how they will be voting on part 5 and on the amendments that are tabled related to that. It's just that I'm following the procedural rules here that were imposed on me. I've drafted all the necessary amendments. I can assure my colleague that I will be more than happy to move all those amendments to fully repeal this problematic part of the bill, and this is just due diligence. It was the law clerks of the House of Commons who helped us put all this together, so my fate is in their hands and they were, as always, very helpful.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:26
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Mr. Chair, even though they're not admissible, I still get to state the case, do I not?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:26
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I appreciate that, Chair. I hear the roaring train coming my way.
Once again, these are just consequential amendments related to the full repeal of all the information-sharing provisions in Bill C-59, which are just cosmetic changes to what was in Conservative BillC-51.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair and dear colleagues, Bill  C-59 is an omnibus bill. So there are already a lot of stages and steps. I don't think we can accept the argument that it adds something. It's already complex. As my colleague mentioned, when Mr. Fadden, the former national security advisor, came to testify before the committee, he confirmed that it was really complex and difficult to understand. I think we should take into consideration the fact that a man like him is telling us that it isn't clear and that he hopes the committee will try to find solutions to make things better.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, let me add that, at the moment, all these interactions remain unclear. The problem is interactions between agencies. The purpose of our amendment is really to allow the Minister of Public Safety to clarify these interactions by providing accurate descriptions. Once Bill  C-59 is in effect, we will be a bit like the Tower of Babel.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:45
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I was going to make the same comment.
I would like to know what my colleague Ms. Dabrusin's objective is with amendments LIB-7 and LIB-12. I'm not a lawyer and I don't know if the powers granted by these amendments would be the same as what is proposed in amendment CPC-13.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:56
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Thank you, Chair.
This is related to the testimony we heard from the RCMP complaints commission. It seeks to add proper clarity with regard to who has the authority over complaints made with regard to the RCMP when it's of national security in nature and when it's not. This was a concern they raised on their ability to do their work. I think it's important clarity.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:57
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The way it was described to us by the head of the complaints commission was that, if the commission sends a complaint that is national security in nature to NSIRA, and NSIRA deems that your evaluation is incorrect, that it's not national security and it's not part of their mandate, then the complaint is dead in the water after that.
I understand points that are being made about professional courtesy and efficiency, but at the end of the day, accountability is not always as efficient perhaps as we would like. I certainly don't doubt the intentions of these bodies, but I think that, by codifying a proper back-and-forth in the event the complaints commission deems it to be of national security in nature and NSIRA has an opposing view, the complaint can still be handled by the complaints commission in the appropriate fashion.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 11:59
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I just find, as we go through these amendments, that a lot of things are being taken on blind faith, and there's a hesitancy to codify things. Again, this is something that the head of the complaints commission raised as his concern about his ability to do his job. I think it speaks for itself that an esteemed head of a commission testified before the committee and raised this concern.
Once again, while I have no doubt about common sense or intentions on the part of these different bodies, I think that making sure that the official channel is there for that information to go back to the complaints commission and be dealt with appropriately is proper. There are times, when we're looking for accountability and transparency, when codifying things in law can be appropriate and not just taken on blind faith.
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View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2018-04-19 12:00
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With all due respect, blind trust plays no role here. These institutions, which I have some experience with in the field, have improved and developed over the years. The exchange of information in this type of file is in the common interest. So, the understanding of how these agencies operate in the field is not the result of blind trust, but rather of long practical experience.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:01
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I want to raise the issue that, without questioning the ability of public servants and so forth, I've been doing this long enough to know that there are certainly many times when departments don't communicate effectively. Again, I just don't see the problem in making sure that it's there in the law. If everyone believes that it's something that's going to happen anyway, then I don't see the harm in codifying it to make sure that what everyone around this table seems to believe will happen anyway will happen. This is part of the law. At any rate, it seems to already be a foregone conclusion.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:04
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The debate is the same as the one we just held. Once again, we want to make sure that the legislation clearly dictates what everyone seems to take for granted. The logic we followed is based on the testimony of the commission head. He said very clearly that he wanted to see this provision in the bill so that he could work as best as possible with this new body.
I will add one point that I did not raise during the debate on amendment NDP-10. During the debate on Bill C-22, for example, we were told that there were a lot of things to study, that it was difficult, that it was a new entity, that best practices should be included, and so on. But I think, with respect to the creation of this new body, that by codifying as much as possible, we make sure that no complaint will be inadequately handled because the new organization has not been sufficiently well grounded to do its work with the commission.
Again, I think it's appropriate, but given the fate of amendment NDP-10, I imagine NDP-11 amendment will be the same.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:07
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I'm intrigued that a member who just told me my amendment would create inefficiencies is now proposing amendments that would have the notifications being required, which essentially would also arguably be an efficiency. Essentially we're asking the same thing, but going only one way and far less stringently. I'm having a hard time following the logic, but at any rate I'll support the amendment with a lot of water in my wine.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
My remarks are close to those of Mr. Dubé. We have the impression that this will only add a layer of paperwork and documents to complete.
Can the merits of that be explained to me?
We do not necessarily oppose this idea, but we would like to know if this will generate more paperwork.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
I imagine that your answer will be the same as for the other amendment, Mr. Davies.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:09
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I don't understand why we would adopt amendments where we're informing them in writing, but we can't adopt amendments where they would just send the frigging complaint back to them. It makes no sense to me at all, but at any rate once again for the same reasons I'll support it, but it's just bizarre, quite frankly.
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View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2018-04-19 12:11
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If I may, Mr. Chair, because this amendment is a bit more sensitive and sensitive, I will take a little more time to explain it.
Torture is still a very sensitive issue in Quebec. All the consultations I've done for the government show me that this is true in the rest of Canada as well. In the last two years of this process, I have never heard of stories of torture in Canada. It is therefore certain that torture is envisaged in the context of exchange of information between countries.
In September 2017, Minister Goodale issued new departmental guidelines to avoid complicity in cases of abuse by foreign agencies, guidelines which have been warmly welcomed by the security community.
In committee testimony, professors Craig Forcese and Peter Edelman of the Canadian Bar Association, both wanted the 2017 departmental directive to be enshrined in legislation. That's why today I am proposing an act to prevent complicity in cases of abuse by foreign entities, to make it very clear that Canada will not be an accomplice to torturers around the world.
More technically, the proposed legislation requires the Governor in Council to issue instructions for the disclosure, request and use of information that would result in a serious risk of ill-treatment of an individual or is likely to result from ill-treatment inflicted on an individual by a foreign entity. Instructions must be given to the chief of the defence staff, the deputy minister of National Defence, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the president of the Canada Border Services Agency and the chief of the Communications Security Establishment.
Micheal Vonn from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association also appeared before the committee to discuss the problem of secret legislation and directives. Professor Wesley Wark said it was very important that departmental directives be made public. That's why the last component of this legislation is that its instructions are made public. There is no reason for guidelines on torture to be decided behind closed doors.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:13
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank my colleague for his amendment. We have long been waiting for these measures to be inscribed in law.
What we have seen over many years, if not decades, is that the departmental directives were not sufficient. Certainly this is extremely important, especially when we think of cases that are still relevant today, such as I had the opportunity to raise yesterday during question period.
In short, I am very happy to be able to support my colleague's initiative. It must also be said that a significant follow-up will have to be ensured in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures in time and place. After all, all too often the consequences of information sharing, as my colleague said, do not happen here in Canada. It is rather as a result of the sharing of information that we observe this kind of blunder.
I commend my colleague for his efforts, and I am happy to support them.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Indeed, torture is an extremely delicate topic, and it has major implications for people's lives.
However, in our opinion, there is one essential point with respect to national security. Of course, we are against any form of torture—we agree on that, I want my words to be clear—from Canadian organizations or from anywhere in the world. We are totally against that.
However, for us, one point is clear, and we have discussed it over the years. Take the case of information from a foreign source that would involve the safety and security of Canadians or Canadian infrastructure, such as an attack, and that would have been obtained in a way that we don't support, through a form of torture, for example. We consider that, in such a case, for the protection of Canadian interests and especially of citizens, our security agencies should be able to intervene, despite the fact that the information would unfortunately have arrived in a way that we do not wish.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
You have to get along well, and it has to be well recorded. The information that will come out of here should not go in the opposite direction of what was said. We agree on everything written there. There is no problem.
As for the spirit of the law, we all agree. Only the question of information from foreign agencies, which is dealt with in paragraph 3(1)(c), on page 51, is problematic. We just want to make sure that if Jordan's intelligence services, for example, send us information, we won't have to evaluate its quality. As Ms. Damoff mentioned, the information could be wrong. Suppose that the Jordanians send us information critical to the safety of the Canadians, and that they had to use a little force to obtain this information. I am talking about Jordanians, but it's only an example. If Canadians are in danger, we want to be able to use that information.
The rest of the bill doesn't cause us any problem. We support it 100%, except for the lawful denial of information from countries where some form of torture may have occurred. I think it's reasonable on our part.
We propose that paragraph 3(1)(c) be removed.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:26
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Thank you, Chair.
In terms of hearing experts on it, this situation came up numerous times during the testimony on this bill as something that was missing from the bill. It came up numerous times during the consultations that we did as part of Canada's national security framework review. I would echo what Ms. Damoff said in the sense that the only times we've ever seen information sharing leading to torture have been situations where lives were not in danger. They were extraordinary renditions in other countries and information being shared in that way.
I think we're in a situation here where it's clear that the public safety objectives that parliamentarians want to achieve are better achieved by not using this kind of information, without even getting into the obvious point of who we are as a country and what we want to accept.
At the end of the day, frankly, the things that we want to be combatting through the public safety objectives that we're achieving, the horrible things that go on, whether terrorism or other crimes, this is when those people win as far as I'm concerned, when we're finding ourselves in a situation where we need to debate whether or not we're going to use this type of information. The experts all agree there's never been a situation where lives were saved or could have been saved had this type of information been used.
I would just once again echo my support for Mr. Picard's amendment and say that the fact that the bill was referred here before second reading gives us the opportunity to do something like this. As far as I was concerned in my initial criticism of the bill, and as Madam May said, I still have other points that are problematic, but this was a huge omission. To have it in here is certainly a very positive step.
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View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2018-04-19 12:31
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I would like to thank all my colleagues for their comments on this amendment. The content and the seriousness of the thing demonstrate the importance of this subject.
It's important to remember that the amendment is part of Bill C-59. And the amendment has a dual purpose: the protection against torture and the assurance that we must protect rights and freedoms.
With this amendment, the government is reiterating its position and intention to be an international leader and a model for the protection of rights and freedoms. This amendment therefore has its place, and it has been long awaited. I invite everyone to vote for it.
Thank you.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:34
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This amendment is similar to the one I proposed for the first part of the bill to allow Parliament, that is, the Senate and the House of Commons, to approve the appointment of proposed members for the review agency. In this case, I am proposing the same thing, but this time the appointment of the intelligence commissioner.
In that context, I think it's even more important than for the first part of the bill because the commissioner will, for the first time, conduct real-time monitoring of transactions and approvals. It is therefore a matter of having the approval of the House of Commons, and not just an appointment by the Governor in Council of the person recommended by the Prime Minister. I think it is entirely appropriate given the importance of this position.
As I said during the debate on this other amendment I had proposed for the first part of the bill, Parliament must already approve a number of important posts, including those of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Auditor General. I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to apply the same principle to the equally important position of the intelligence commissioner.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:37
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I suppose the Prime Minister making a recommendation of who's in the position is inherently political. If the Prime Minister has that purview as a politician, an elected one—not directly elected mind you, but I think folks understand my meaning—then I don't see why we couldn't do this. As I said, all these other positions are normally filled with such candidates. Unfortunately, that's not been the practice lately, as we saw with the debacle around the official languages commissioner.
Chair, you'll recall, you were a member at the time, the Liberal Party staged a walkout on the vote on the Auditor General in the last Parliament, the candidate that was put forward. Certainly I don't think this type of thing besmirches the ability of the person to do their job. I think it's an accountability mechanism on the Prime Minister and the selection that he's making for this unprecedented but important position. Contrary to the point that was made, I believe it is in line with existing practices with regard to how many of these types of watchdog positions are filled. Again, I think that falling back on the fact that we've seen less accountability should not be a reason for rejecting more accountability in the context of an amendment such as this.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:38
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Thank you, Chair.
This conflicts with NDP-13, but the objective of course was to have other options out there in the event that it failed.
Based on some of the testimony we heard, in order to have a larger pool of candidates this would allow current judges to be appointed to the role of the intelligence commissioner as well. Again, I think there is no harm in having a larger pool, given the importance of this role. Again, not to be critical or cast any aspersions or doubt on the ability of retired judges, but as I said, it is something that was brought up and I think it does not force the selection of someone who is active but simply brings them into the pool.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
I understand my colleague's argument.
However, from a technical standpoint, can the mandate of a sitting judge not be suspended while the judge is serving as a commissioner? Is there not a way to withdraw that judge's legal powers while serving a term as commissioner?
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
The problem Mr. Spengemann raises is that a judge cannot serve both the executive and the judiciary. I wanted to know whether a judge could be deprived of his or her legal powers while serving as commissioner, which would open a possibility.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:44
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I apologize. I can't recall who asked the question of which witness, but it was asked if even retired judges would be in a potential conflict of interest given that they had played the role before, that they have colleagues and such. Witnesses rightfully pointed out that this would not be a concern. I feel that, the way the system is structured, judges regularly make decisions based on decisions of other courts and other judges. I understand the point that's being raised, but at the end of the day there is a concern about having a sufficient number of candidates who are willing, as well, to fill the role.
I'm also concerned by this accountability to the executive. While it's part of the executive branch from a technical perspective, the commissioner is approving, or not, actions of ministers in the same way an acting judge would be approving warrants for national security agencies and others. I think this notion that they would somehow be conflicting with each other is no different from an instance when a court case gets referred to the Supreme Court and there are duelling perspectives there, and such.
Again, I think that having a larger pool of candidates is appropriate.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:47
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Once again, without wanting to call into question the person who had filled this position, I think that having the intelligence commissioner limited to one term, which is what the amendment proposes, gives the maximum independence possible without having to be at all concerned with the renewal of the term. Interestingly enough, this was a suggestion made by Monsieur Plouffe, who would be the person who will be occupying this role, it stands to reason, given the changes in the legislation, and who is presently the CSE commissioner. Given that someone who occupies what is essentially a similar role right now, which will be evolving, says that this would be appropriate to ensure that they're not distracted by a renewal of term, I believe it's an appropriate amendment, as I said, to maximize the independence of the position.
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View Michel Picard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Michel Picard Profile
2018-04-19 12:48
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The function itself requires complete independence and being both a judge and a commissioner would create a conflict of interest, which wouldn't be appropriate.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-04-19 12:49
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I'm not sure this comment concerns the amendment. It limits the mandate to a non-renewable term.
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