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Results: 1 - 15 of 78
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2019-06-20 10:08 [p.29464]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the unanimous 38th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue”.
The reason this report is unanimous is that the members worked together in a fashion that would do credit to our Parliament and the functioning of committees. I particularly want to take this opportunity to single out each of the members of the committee for their contributions, particularly the member for Montarville for his experience as a CBSA officer and his quarterbacking skills; the member for Laurentides—Labelle, who speaks faster than I can think; the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore for his thoughtful interventions; the member for Brampton North for her practical insights; and the member for Toronto—Danforth for her really pointed questions.
I also want to recognize the vice-chair, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his really helpful steering of the committee; the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who asked very pointed questions from his police background; as well as the member for Yellowhead, who also asked very pointed questions due to his police background; and the member for Beloeil—Chambly, who was reasonable and helpful throughout the entire committee process. It is a real example of how, when committees work together, they will succeed and provide very helpful insight.
Finally, I want to draw members' attention to the first recommendation of the committee, which states, “The Committee recommends that, in the next Parliament, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security establish a sub-committee dedicated to studying the public safety and national security aspects of cybersecurity, with potential areas of inquiry including international approaches to critical infrastructure protection, impact of emerging technologies, and cyber supply chain security.” One of the things we really learned out of this study was that this field is moving so fast that the Parliament of Canada needs to stay on top of cybersecurity in all of its manifestations.
It has been a great honour for me to have chaired that committee and I would like to think the success of the committee is entirely due to the co-operation among the members. I look forward to the government's response tabled pursuant to Standing Order 109.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Madam Speaker, I will continue my speech on this very serious matter.
This week the Liberals moved a motion declaring that they would accept just two of the four amendments proposed by the Senate and that they were rejecting the important amendment on terrorism. The two amendments they retained were administrative ones.
Also, we did not support this bill because it makes it harder for law enforcement and security agencies to prevent attacks on Canadian soil, since they no longer have any threat disruption powers. Furthermore, the bill creates information silos among our agencies, which creates problems. I have said this before and I will say it again: information sharing is fundamental.
The Senate's first amendment is to part 2 of the bill, which deals with the intelligence commissioner. The amendment adds a new clause under the “Foreign Intelligence Authorization” heading. This new clause would allow the intelligence commissioner to refer a matter back to the minister with a description of the condition that would have to be added to the authorization in order to make the conclusions reasonable. This amendment would affect the Communications Security Establishment in particular and was recommended by the commissioner.
We support this amendment because it improves the bill by increasing communication and feedback between the information commissioner and the minister, thus reducing administrative formalities. We also proposed this amendment at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Unfortunately, the government rejected it.
The second amendment pertains to counselling the commission of a terrorism offence—I keep bringing it up and we will talk about it again and again—under the “Criminal Code” heading. Those few words make a world of difference in these 260 pages. This amendment broadens the scope of the wording slightly, given that some of our witnesses felt that the term “counselling” was too narrow. We support that amendment because it significantly improves the wording, ensuring greater certainty regarding how counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence should be interpreted. For an offence to have been committed, there is no requirement that:
(c) the accused knows the identity of the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity; or
(d) the person whom the accused counsels to carry out the terrorist activity knows that it is a terrorist activity.
This amendment addresses concerns specific to online terrorist propaganda. We do not understand why the government rejected this amendment proposed by the Senate, which is dominated by independent Liberals.
Despite two positive amendments, this legislation is still flawed. Aside from our unconditional support of part 6, we cannot support Bill C-59.
I will close by mentioning a few examples of serious flaws.
Part 4 amends threat reduction powers by limiting guaranteed powers to seven types of actions, one of which raises the question of whether non-invasive actions require a warrant. That action is described as interfering with the movement of any person. That means a CSIS agent on the ground would need a warrant to give false information to someone who could help the agent meet conspirators. It would also prevent a CSIS agent from warning the parents of a child who is being radicalized unless the agent has a warrant. These changes place an additional administrative burden on our agencies, which, without additional funding, will have to take agents out of the field so they can take care of paperwork.
Information silos are another problem. Part 5 was created in response to privacy protection groups that were unhappy with the fact that government institutions may share information, of their own accord or at the request of another institution, about activities that pose a threat to Canada's security. This creates a silo effect, which national security experts decried.
When ordinary Canadians look at the government, it seems complicated to them. There are many different public servants and many different departments. They often say that people do not talk to each other. Part 5 further complicates the exchange of information that is crucial to protecting national security. People have to be able to communicate. Information silos hinder communication. Leading national security advisors expressed concerns, but the government did not want to change its approach.
The third important element is threat disruption. Part 7 raises the threshold for recognizance orders and peace bonds, making it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor problematic individuals and disrupt threats before they occur.
This clause replaces the following words from the Criminal Code, “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is likely to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity” with “suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, is necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.
It all comes down to two words: “likely” is replaced by “necessary”.
Instead of having serious concerns or information about a likely terrorist activity, we now have to be sure that the arrest is necessary. This complicates things. If there is any doubt, we have to back off. Terrorist activities tend to develop quite quickly. People who plot attacks might take months to think about and plan them, but others might quickly decide that they feel like doing something on Sunday, for example. When we get information quickly we have to be able to react quickly. Bill C-59 encumbers the process.
The powers provided for in Conservative Bill C-51 were aligned with those of our allies, including Norway and Finland. We modelled our bill on other democracies that believe freedom and security go hand in hand.
In summary, Bill C-59 is a heavy bureaucratic tool that will not ensure public safety, but will undo what the Conservative government put in place to safeguard the security of Canadians.
I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the order for the consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, be discharged and the Bill withdrawn”
View Leona Alleslev Profile
Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to such an important bill today.
Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a very important turning point in the Second World War and one where Canada was overwhelmingly able to contribute and further the cause of peace and security in the world.
Why do I bring that up? This is a piece of legislation respecting national security matters and one that we must take very seriously, given the nature of the threats that are facing not only Canada here at home, but the world, at this point.
For the first time in many years, we are seeing the rise of great powers. We are seeing an increase in the number of threats that are facing our country, and those threats are not coming only in terms of troops on the ground or weapons or guns being fired. Those threats are coming from what we call non-traditional or asymmetric threats. We can be sitting at home and we find that information manipulation, cyber-threats and online instigating of violence are having a significant contribution on people who would want to commit these acts.
We must be vigilant. Democracy is fragile. Those men who sacrificed their lives 70 years ago for what we have today must be honoured. How do we honour them? Yes, we remember the incredible sacrifice they made, but we have also been entrusted with preserving the security and the values for which our nation stands going forward.
What are those values? Those values are safeguarding the freedom of individual liberty, the principles of democracy and the rule of law. Every time any one of those things is eroded, we must stand and be counted to ensure that we do honour their memory and we remember what exactly they fought for and what we must also fight for into the future.
What would Bill C-59 actually do? Bill C-59 is trying to make it appear that the Liberal government takes national security threats seriously. In a world of increasing threats, the government wants to show that it is doing something. Unfortunately, it is more about show than actual reality.
Significant parts of the bill take existing legislation and muddy the waters. They make it weaker. They make the wording so that it is more difficult to execute on. Instead of giving money to the areas that will further pointy-end national security efforts, the government is putting money into more bureaucracy and more red tape and ensuring that nothing actually gets done.
This is highly disconcerting. If Canadians do not understand what the threats are, and if our national security agencies and our law enforcement people have less ability, less legislation, weaker and more confusing legislation and more bureaucracy to execute on making sure we are safe and secure, then what exactly are we trying to accomplish?
That is one of the more fundamental reasons why Conservative members cannot support the bill. It is a lot of bureaucracy. It is a lot of smoke and mirrors. It is an attempt to make it look like the Liberals are taking national security seriously, when in fact it compounds the problem and confuses the issue.
The Liberals have combined it all into one organization, the national security and intelligence review agency, and we are not able to see what that organization is going to do and what its mandate will be.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2019-06-04 16:49 [p.28514]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
The bill would help bring the proposal outlined in budget 2019 to life and help improve the lives of Canadians, including my constituents in Brampton West.
For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to speak to many pieces of legislation in the House and provide my voice on how our government's policies would improve the lives of my constituents in Brampton West. Budget 2019 is the accumulation of four years of making Canada a better place to live for all Canadians.
Let me talk about the current economic situation.
First and foremost, for the last three and a half years, Canada's economy has been booming. We have been investing in our middle class. One of the first things we did was cut taxes for the middle class. We introduced initiatives like the Canada child benefit. We are putting more money in the hands of those who need it the most. With that, we have created an environment of growth.
Since November 2015, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the finance minister, Canadians have created over one million jobs. One million more families are better off than they were before. If we compare our record, that is one million more jobs created in the last three and a half years than the Harper Conservatives could do in 10 years. The majority of these jobs are full-time. The unemployment level is the lowest it has been in decades. We have lifted more than 300,000 children out of poverty. A typical Canadian family is $2,000 better off under our plan than it was under the Stephen Harper plan back in 2015. That is real change, and we know our plan is working.
While it is important to celebrate the milestones that we have achieved, it is also important to acknowledge that a lot of work needs to be done.
Today in Canada, especially where my constituents live in Brampton West, once affordable properties are now out of reach due to high demand. Therefore, in budget 2016 and in budget 2017, we established Canada's first-ever housing strategy that would invest $40 billion over 10 years to build and repair affordable housing units. This gives future homeowners greater options when looking at the housing market and makes housing accessible to more people than ever before.
In budget 2019, we are taking another step to support first-time homebuyers, including new immigrant families in Brampton West. To help make home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers, budget 2019 introduces the first-time homebuyer incentive. This incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers, who have the minimum down payment of an insured mortgage, to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the homebuyers plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time homebuyers greater access to their registered retirement savings plan to buy a home. I know this initiative will benefit many young families in Brampton West looking to purchase a home or a condo. It gives them the option to put more money down by accessing a larger portion of their savings and helps them deal with the cost of living by lowering their monthly mortgage payments.
I would like to talk a bit about our health care.
Our health system is one of which Canadians are extremely proud. We all recognize that it is one of the best systems in the world. From my background as a registered nurse, I have seen the impact it has not just in our communities, but in hospitals. We also recognize that the cost of prescription medication is a significant barrier to many Canadians to get the treatment they need. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for a prescription and putting food on the table or going without needed medication simply because he or she cannot afford it.
To address these challenges, budget 2019 announces steps to move forward with a national pharmacare program. This is very important to my constituents in Brampton West. We have been advocating for this with the government and in my previous role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.
We are establishing the Canadian drug agency. This new national drug agency would build on existing provincial and territorial successes and take a coordinated approach to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians. Negotiating better prices could help lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians up to $3 billion per year in the long term. The extra savings would mean more money going to my constituents and more investments in Canadians.
We are also creating a national formulary, a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs, to be developed as part of the Canadian drug agency. This would provide the basis for a consistent approach to formulary listing and patient access across the country. It would set out a clear path toward a national pharmacare program.
In addition to these essential steps, we are introducing a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, to help Canadians get better access to the effective treatments they need.
These changes will put the foundation in place as we wait to hear from the advisory council later this year on the implementation of national pharmacare.
This budget provides more money directly to the communities and municipalities that need it. Through a doubling of the gas tax fund infrastructure top-up, our government will be transferring more money directly to municipalities so they can fund projects that are important to their communities.
It is unfortunate that the provincial government in Ontario is impeding the flow of federal dollars to our municipalities. This has been having a tremendous effect in my community in Brampton.
We are working directly with our municipalities to ensure that essential projects move forward. I am proud to be part of a government that is working with municipalities on behalf of Canadians and delivering for them.
Brampton will be receiving close to $50 million through this fund so that it can invest in services that Bramptonians rely on most, such as public transportation, recreation centres and our parks.
We have seen what is happening in Ontario. While the provincial Conservative government is failing and continuing to make cuts on the backs of Canadians, our government continues to deliver for Canadians.
Our government is also thinking forward by investing in the new frontier for our safety. That frontier is cybersecurity. Digital technologies are increasingly knitted into the lives of Canadians, so in order to protect our information, we need a plan. Canada's skilled workforce and world-class universities can help us become leaders in cybersecurity research and development.
To promote collaboration among Canadian cybersecurity centres of expertise, budget 2019 proposes to provide $80 million over four years to support Canadian cybersecurity networks across Canada that are affiliated with post-secondary institutions. The funding proposed in budget 2019 would mean that institutions like the Ryerson University cybersecurity centre in Brampton will get the funding they need to create well-paying jobs and solidify our cybersecurity infrastructure.
This cybersecurity centre was part of a project by Ryerson University to establish a full satellite campus in Brampton, something the Brampton community and all members from Brampton advocated for years. The campus would have provided a post-secondary education experience for young Bramptonians closer to home. It would have created jobs and attracted new talent to Brampton. The project was unfortunately, once again, gutted by the current provincial Conservative government.
Where it made cuts to our health care, education and communities, we will continue to invest in and for Bramptonians and make those investments.
Canadians are among the most skilled and highly educated workers in the world. However, today the evolving nature of work means that people may change jobs many times over the course of their working lives or may require new skills to keep their jobs in a changing economy.
That is why we are providing Canadians with a tool called the Canada training benefit. This program would help provide more choices for my constituents so they can find the jobs they need to be successful in fulfilling their careers, while also not endangering their current employment.
The changes we have brought forward over the last four years and the changes included in this budget make me extremely proud of our government, which recognizes the importance of investing in the middle class. I hope to be part of this truly progressive government over the years so we can continue to bring real change and keep bringing investments into Brampton so our constituents can continue to thrive, not just in Brampton but in communities all across Canada.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, it is my honour to welcome parliamentarians from Argentina, Chile, Equador, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore and the United Kingdom to Ottawa. They join us here for the second meeting of the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. Together we represent over 440 million citizens, all of us looking for ways to protect the privacy of our citizens in this digital age.
Over the next three days, we will hear from experts about the issues surrounding big data and privacy as well as about how we can work to find solutions to protect the rights of our citizens. Representatives from all major tech companies will also be giving testimony. To that end, I once again urge Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to respect the will of lawmakers and comply with our subpoena and show up.
To my international colleagues, welcome to Canada.
View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karina Gould Profile
2019-05-27 15:13 [p.28060]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to share an update with Canadians on our efforts to safeguard the 2019 federal election.
As everyone knows, Canada's 43rd general election will take place this October.
Elections are an opportunity for Canadians to be heard and for Canadians to express concerns and opinions through one of the most fundamental rights, the right to vote. However, this election will also experience an unprecedented amount of scrutiny.
In recent years, we have witnessed foreign actors looking to undermine democratic societies and institutions, electoral processes, sovereignty and security.
Their malicious, multi-faceted and ever-evolving tactics constitute a serious strategic threat. Tools that were once used to strengthen civic engagement are being used to undermine and disrupt democracy.
Such malicious activity strikes at the heart of trust. It threatens to erode faith in democratic institutions. We must be prepared for this. We cannot allow this trust to be broken.
I can assure the House that our government takes this issue very seriously. A growing awareness of global cyber-threats has, if anything, strengthened our resolve to preserve the things we treasure.
We have taken steps to understand the possible threats to our democratic institutions, where they come from and how they could affect our electoral process.
We have a comprehensive and solid plan to anticipate, recognize and respond to these threats.
This plan is based on four pillars: enhancing citizenship preparedness, improving organizational readiness, combatting foreign interference and expecting social media platforms to act.
The plan builds on the important legislative changes made in Bill C-76 regarding the online ad registry, banning platforms from knowingly accepting foreign funds for ads, strengthening enforcement provisions, and clarifying the language around false statements and impersonation of candidates, parties and electoral officials.
It is impossible to halt all attacks, but we must work together to mitigate the impact of interference in our democratic processes.
This includes governments, political parties, social media platforms and citizens.
Canada has one of the most-connected populations in the world. Almost three-quarters of Canadians use online platforms regularly like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Online platforms have had a revolutionary impact on Canadians’ lives. They bring us together in ways unimaginable to previous generations. They make possible the sharing of ideas on an unprecedented level.
Yet, throughout the world's democracies, we see an online threat environment where malicious actors interfere with and try to influence the outcome of elections. These attacks are malicious. Sometimes they can be well masked and hard to detect. These threats can weaken our confidence in our democratic system and processes.
In January, as part of our plan of action to protect the election from foreign interference, we announced our expectation that digital platforms would step up their efforts to combat cyber threats and foreign attempts to manipulate their communities.
I am here today to update Canadians on our progress in securing voluntary action from major platforms. We have been engaging digital platforms in ongoing, good-faith discussions.
We have attempted to reach consensus on a common set of expectations to protect the integrity of the 2019 election.
We have had productive conversations, but these discussions have not come without challenges. Our guiding objective throughout these discussions has been simple. We want to see meaningful action to protect our democracy and our citizens.
The best way to do that is to be transparent, to be transparent about what we as a government are doing, but also insisting that platforms be more transparent with Canadians about where their information is coming from, who is behind the information they consume and with whom they are engaging online.
The better we understand the information we are consuming, the more empowered we are with how we use that information.
That is why today I am presenting Canada's declaration on electoral integrity online. It details basic responsibilities for digital platforms and the government.
To ensure the integrity of online content, we expect platforms to intensify efforts to combat disinformation and inform Canadians about efforts to safeguard the Internet ecosystem, to promote safeguards to address cybersecurity incidents, to protect against misrepresentation of candidates, political parties and key electoral officials and to ensure privacy protection.
For its part, the government will ensure that platforms have clear points of contact for election-related matters during the pre-election and election periods.
To promote greater online transparency, we expect platforms to help users to understand when and why they are seeing political advertising and to ensure that terms and conditions are easily accessible, communicated in a manner that is easy to understand and enforced in a fair, consistent and transparent manner.
For its part, the government will implement the critical election incident public protocol to ensure that public communications on potential incidents are clear and impartial.
To provide greater authenticity, we expect platforms to remove fake accounts and inauthentic content from their platforms, assist users to better understand the sources of information they are seeing and block and remove malicious bots.
In return, platforms and the government will work with civil society to support efforts aimed at improving critical thinking, digital literacy and cybersecurity practices and will facilitate the sharing of information within relevant legal mandates on emerging developments and practices that help to protect Canada's democracy.
We are encouraged that Microsoft and Facebook have agreed to support this declaration, and on behalf of Canadians, I urge other platforms to follow suit in the coming days.
I wish to stress that the wild west online era cannot continue. Inaction is not an option. Disinformation must not stand.
Our citizens demand and deserve no less.
In recent years we have seen foreign powers strive to manipulate online platforms to achieve their narrow disruptive goals.
We have seen false information presented as fact. We have seen divisions stoked. We have seen concerted efforts to undermine democracy and unravel social cohesion.
The government has a responsibility to protect Canadians from such foreign threats. We will continue our work with platforms over the next few months to measure progress against the expectations set out in this declaration. I commit to keeping Canadians informed of that progress.
This is a call to action for digital platforms, the latest call amid a growing international demand that platforms do more to protect their users.
I call upon digital platforms that are operating in Canada and that care about protecting our election to join Microsoft and Facebook and publicly commit to meeting these expectations.
Democracy is rooted in the trust people have in the process and in the legitimacy of the outcome. Canadians are knowledgeable and engaged.
Canadians can be reassured that as they prepare to exercise their right to vote, we are working hard to prepare for a free, fair and secure 2019 federal election so that we can continue to uphold the trust and confidence we all share in our democracy.
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2019-05-27 15:23 [p.28061]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has dismissed the importance of our democratic institutions over the last four years as it goes about its policy agenda.
Our democracy and our democratic institutions are the foundation of our system of governance and one of the primary reasons for our country's prosperity and success. Canadians deserve and expect a healthy democracy, which includes a competitive multi-party system, secure and regular elections as well as significant public access and transparency.
The Liberal government has failed to uphold these principles. Through Bill C-76, which received royal assent in December, it introduced a pre-election period whereby political parties are subject to numerous restrictions, including spending limits. However, during the pre-election period, the government is not subject to the same restrictions on activities. The government is still allowed to conduct numerous activities, such as town halls that are paid for by taxpayers instead of the Liberal Party. This will put opposition parties at a severe disadvantage.
The Liberal government knows that the Conservatives are its biggest threat leading up to the election, and that we have consistently out-fundraised the Liberal Party over the last several years. Liberals are using these spending cap provisions in Bill C-76 as a part of their attempt to rig the next election in their favour.
Foreign interference in our elections is a serious global threat. The Communications Security Establishment reported that there was foreign interference in the 2015 election, and it is expected that there will be more in this year's election. Every vote cast by a Canadian citizen matters, and the Liberal government should be working harder to keep foreign entities from undermining our democratic institutions. Unfortunately, the government is not taking the necessary steps to eliminate the possibility of foreign influence in future elections.
Omnibus Bill C-76 encompassed a vast number of reforms, but one of the key objectives of this bill was to implement policies that would prevent foreign interference in our elections through third party financing regulations. Canadians deserve to know where the money for elections is coming from, and it is up to the Liberal government to ensure that third party entities are being fully transparent. However, the government has left extensive loopholes, which would allow for foreign interference in our elections to still occur.
At the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, our party put forward numerous amendments at the committee stage of this bill to fix this. Regrettably, the Liberals used their majority to vote these amendments down. If the Liberal government were serious about preventing foreign influence or interference, it would have considered and passed these amendments. Instead, it is continuing to allow Liberal-friendly foreign special interests to interfere in our elections.
On October 31, 2018, the Liberal government announced the creation of a debates commission, which is to be implemented for the 2019 election. It has essentially created a new and unaccountable office to oversee elections and interpret vague and poorly worded regulations. By unilaterally imposing new rules around televised leaders' debates, the Prime Minister is once again attempting to rig the election in his favour.
There is absolutely no reason or precedent for the executive branch of government to impose election regulations without even a debate in the House of Commons. It is an affront to our democracy.
A debates commission, as long as it is under the prerogative of the government, will have difficulty remaining entirely independent from the government of the day. Elections must be decided by Canadians in a transparent electoral system that is fair for all parties. This is not what is happening under the Liberal government. It unilaterally chose the commissioner for the debates' commission when it was recommended that it be chosen through consensus of the House of Commons.
The criteria to participate in the leaders' debates was also determined by the Liberal government, when it was recommended to be determined by an independent advisory board. How debates are formatted has a tremendous impact on elections and on how Canadians view their potential leaders. It has been made evident that the leaders' debates are best left in the hands of parties, candidates, the press and Canadian voters to negotiate, not the government.
The federal government has named the eight Canadian organizations that will sit on a special advisory panel tasked with determining the eligibility to receive part of the Liberal government's $600-million media support fund. A healthy democracy relies on an independent press, free of political influence. It should never be up to any government to determine which media outlets receive government support and which media outlets do not.
The Prime Minister is compromising both the independence of the media and the integrity of our electoral process with this election year bailout.
Including Unifor in the panel that will determine eligibility for a $595-million bailout package will also greatly undermine the credibility of this panel's work. In the 2015 general election, Unifor was a registered third party that conducted massive amounts of partisan advertising. It is an extremely partisan group and has campaigned extensively against the Conservative Party. In November, it even published tweets calling itself the “leader of the official opposition's worst nightmare”. This is just the latest example of the Liberal government trying to stack the deck in its favour to get re-elected in October.
Although the Liberal government is fighting hard against the opposition and abusing its powers, we will use every tool at our disposal to continue to hold the Prime Minister accountable when he fails to protect our democratic institutions. We will fight his desperate and pathetic attempts to rig the next election in his favour.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2019-05-27 15:29 [p.28062]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for her speech. I think we agree on the threats to Canadian democracy.
As much as we agree on the analysis of the threats that Canadian democracy faces in an age of social media, I have to say that I found the minister's statement today quite disappointing, in a number of respects. She was quite explicit that part of the purpose of her statement was to give some reassurance to Canadians so that they will not have to worry in the next election, and if they do worry, that there will be tools available to them to ensure they are getting good, credible information, that their neighbours, friends and family members are also getting good, credible information. They will not be the victims of the kinds of misinformation campaigns we have seen in elections in other countries or in referenda.
We know very well that there was controversy surrounding the Brexit referendum and the way that social media was used to be able to get certain results. Therefore, foreign interference is a real thing and an emerging threat, and we have heard from Canadian experts that Canada will not be spared from it.
We were hoping today to hear something from the minister that would give us some reassurance that the Liberals are not going to continue on the path they have so far, which is to ask really nicely of social media platforms, who have shown no interest in substantially changing the way they do business, to suddenly have an epiphany and do things differently. Facebook is in conflict right now with Canada's Privacy Commissioner because the Privacy Commissioner has criticized Facebook's practices. He has said that it needs to do more and has enumerated a number of ways that Facebook can do more to protect the privacy of Canadians from the breaches by foreign actors to influence politics in other countries.
However, instead of seeing any meaningful commitment to that kind of change, we hear words like this. Even one of their four pillars says that the Liberals are simply expecting social media platforms to act. They are not going to require them to act. They are not going to force them to act. They are just going to expect it. They say that we should be reassured by the fact that they announced their expectation that digital platforms would step up their efforts. We should be reassured by the fact that the minister said they have attempted to reach consensus on a common set of principles. They mention again and again their expectation of social media platforms, but they are silent on how they intend to require social media platforms, which so far have shown a real resistance to changing the way they do business, to actually change.
For the government's part, all it has committed to today, that I can see, is that it is going to essentially set up a hotline for social media platforms so that if they have questions about their own business and how they might change, they will know who to talk to in government. I find this kind of distressing. We heard from the minister today that apparently the government has been having good conversations with the social media platforms for a long time. Therefore, I find it kind of strange that an important thing the government would do with companies, which it has apparently been having a long-standing dialogue with, is making it clear who these platforms would contact. Presumably if the government has been negotiating with them, it should already be clear who they would contact. I do not think that Canadians should be particularly reassured by a minister who promises that she has spent a lot of time working on this, and the best she can do is to say that if social media platforms have a question, they will make sure there is someone there to pick up the phone. I think that Canadians, given the threat to our democracy, expect more from their government.
Likewise, we hear from government that it has developed a critical election incident public protocol, and the only thing it is going to do, other than the hotline, is to observe it. That is to say, it would report on incidents after they have happened, which does not give any real assurance to Canadians that the government is doing what it takes to ensure these things do not happen.
We in the NDP understand that it may mean taking a more regulatory approach instead of going cap in hand to social media giants and asking them to pretty please change the way they do things, or would they consider doing it this way instead of that way? It is ultimately leaving it up to them, and leaving it up to Canadians to find out, very likely only after the election, whether those things had actually happened and whether they were successful or not.
We understand that there is no silver bullet here. There is no one person or one party with all the ideas to guarantee Canadians that there will not be the kind of foreign interference we have seen in other elections. However, we certainly expect that the government would be doing much more than what we have heard today.
We could expect that when the Privacy Commissioner criticizes Facebook for not acting in good faith and not complying, the government could step up and defend Canada's Privacy Commissioner to Facebook and offer him the tools he says he needs in order to take on those web giants.
We could expect more from a government whose oversight panel consist largely of deputy ministers appointed by the government, when the traditional approach on elections-related issues is to ensure that all parties are represented and that officers of Parliament who are impartial and not related to the government of the day are the ones to take the lead and provide the leadership we so desperately need on this kind of issue.
Those are the kinds of real and concrete measures that could have been announced today in the statement, but they were not. It gives me no reassurance and I know it probably does not provide Canadians much reassurance that the government is seriously committed to doing something about this problem as opposed to paying lip service to it while the Liberals continue to coddle up to their corporate friends in the backrooms. That has been the real theme of the government and unfortunately we see that influence at work in the statement the minister made today.
View Carol Hughes Profile
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-05-27 15:36 [p.28063]
Does the hon. member for Montcalm have the unanimous consent of the House to participate in this debate?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Luc Thériault Profile
View Luc Thériault Profile
2019-05-27 15:36 [p.28063]
Madam Speaker, we indeed need to act to ensure that elections are held according to the rules without any cheating or outside interference via social media. We must ensure that the content that people see and share is based on facts and reality. We must ensure that there is no impersonation. The measures that the minister just outlined are not enough.
First, the government is relying upon the good faith of web giants. The minister's entire declaration was in the conditional tense. To ensure the integrity of online content, platforms would have do this or they would have to do that. The government stubbornly refuses to force web giants to follow the laws and regulations in place here. Can we really trust them? The answer is no. The founder of Facebook was very clear when he testified before the U.S. Congress. He believes that there should not be any regulations. He also indicated that it was up to the government to impose regulations if it so desired, and that he would do everything in his power to generate profits for his shareholders. That is the kind of person that Ottawa is protecting by failing to put in place a strict regulatory framework. The government is refusing to impose regulations on web giants to protect the integrity of our electoral system, just as it is refusing to subject them to the same tax laws as every other business. Ottawa keeps giving web giants more and more free passes.
Second, the government sees the mote in its neighbour's eye but not the beam in its own. The main reason we must be wary of interference and impersonation in federal elections is that the existing regulatory framework is full of holes. Fake news? There was plenty of fake news in the last election, including polls with incomplete data. I remember one party here making headlines with a commissioned survey in the riding of Papineau that indicated the Prime Minister might be trailing in his own riding. That was not the only riding, nor was it the only example. In fact, back in 2006, one firm had to apologize for misinterpreting polling data.
People are worried about foreign interference in our election. Everyone points to Russia and the last U.S. presidential election, but other nations interfering in federal elections is not the only thing we need to worry about. There is another factor that may interfere and make the democratic process unfair. That factor is most certainly present here in Ottawa; that factor is money.
As long as the old parties keep hosting exclusive cocktail fundraisers at $1,500 a head to sell preferred access to ministers and the Prime Minister, as long as they refuse to restore the old system of public funding for political parties based on votes received, as recommended by former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and as long as they continue to reject this democratic solution, we must guard against the influence of lobbyists on our electoral system.
There is another problem that the government refuses to address, namely the fact that anyone can vote in a federal election without having to prove their identity. Voters are not even required to produce photo identification. That is ridiculous. A person can vote without ID, even without a photo, as long as someone else is willing to confirm their identity, by taking an oath, of course. Think about that for a second. Anyone can vote in a federal election with their face covered up and without ID. This raises questions about the possibility of identity theft.
For all of these reasons, the Bloc Québécois is not impressed with the minister's statement today. We urge Canadians to be vigilant, because the federal government plainly has no intention of taking action to fix the flaws in the system.
View Carol Hughes Profile
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-05-27 15:41 [p.28064]
Does the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands have unanimous consent to participate in this debate?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-27 15:41 [p.28064]
Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I wish to reply to the minister's statement on the subject of the use of—
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-05-27 15:41 [p.28064]
Madam Speaker, I have just recently relocated so this is the first view I have had from this corner in eight years. I have always been in another corner and my desk may have a different microphone. We have accommodated the new Green Party member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith and I have been moved to a space where I have a much better view of the Speaker and do not need my earpiece to hear discussions even with heckling all around me, as in question period.
I want to respond to the minister's comment. The minister's speech on the subject of digital platforms and how we protect ourselves during elections is a critical issue. I want to put on the record that as leader of the Green Party, I do not suspect for one minute that the current government is trying to rig the election. I was quite shocked by the comments of my friend from Calgary Midnapore. I want to put on the record that the idea that the leaders debates are being in any way rigged must be called out right here, right now.
In the 2015 election campaign, as leader of the Green Party and member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands, I was invited to participate in those debates by the media consortium. The Conservative leader, the prime minister at the time, Stephen Harper, said that he would not participate in the debates run by the media consortium. Joined by then the NDP, he managed to get the debates, which reached over 11 million Canadians in 2011 and had been the way in which leaders debates had been run since 1968, cancelled, depriving Canadians of the opportunity to hear leaders of the various parties state their positions and appear on the same stage in the same format.
To now have a member representative of the Conservative Party attacking an attempt to create a non-partisan panel of experts, headed by our former governor general David Johnston, saying that this is an attempt to interfere and rig an election, I am sorry. I have been in too many election campaigns as leader of the Green Party. Every time, the person and the party trying to keep the Green Party off the stage was Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada. I will not stand by and pretend that it is not important for democracy that we have leaders debates and that they be televised.
I would really like to know whether the current leader of the official opposition is prepared to give his word that he will show up. The connivance and the backroom trickery around leaders debates has to come to an end. I have said this before that it would have been better if the Minister of Democratic Institutions had brought forward as a part of Bill C-76 a panel to run leaders debates.
However, I really find it offensive. I reject the notion about a panel where the debate commissioner is known to us. It is our former governor general David Johnston. That process is, by my appreciation at this moment having watched it unfold, a fair process despite missteps in not having it grounded in full consultation with all parties. It is a fair process and I want to step up and make it very clear that what the member for Calgary Midnapore said is not how I observed the process. It is an attempt at fairness after many elections that have been unfair, given connivance and backroom operations to shut down debates.
In this case, I do not see what the minister is offering as further evidence of Liberal connivance to rig the election. However, I do entirely agree with the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona that this is not enough.
This does appear to be a request of Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to do better. It is a request of those platforms to live up to our standards. I know those operations are trying to clean up their act. I have heard apologies in various media from the U.S. Congress where they have appeared. I have heard Mr. Zuckerberg say that he is sorry that Facebook information was misused. We are in a very serious crisis for democracy if the best we can do is hope for better from multinational digital operations that will see the Canadian election as small potatoes.
Digital platforms missed the boat. They did not pull down fake platforms, fake identities and fake users, as they should have. I recently saw that although they admitted that a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been placed on Facebook was altered to make her appear disreputable, they were not prepared to pull it down.
I do not want to go into the 2019 election trusting in the good intentions of Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. We are going to need to actually regulate. We are going to need to make sure that they pay fair taxes. There are many things we are going to need to do.
I appreciate the spirit in which the minister has brought forward this new declaration on digital platforms, sharing of information and keeping Canadians informed and up to date. However, much more is going to be required. I do not think we will get very far with kind entreaties. We are going to need to say that election campaign ads and the placement of profiles online will start requiring cleaning up the space, from abuse, misogyny and racism and giving oxygen to white supremacists.
We have to stop allowing any of the digital platforms to provide publication rights on their platforms to people who are not transparent about their names and addresses, and they must be verifiable. We must ensure that we apply the same kind of publication identity to digital platforms that our print media have from time immemorial. We do not allow someone to write to The Globe and Mail and publish something using someone else's name and identity. The newspaper requires people to give their names, addresses and daytime phone numbers. The same thing should be required for Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and any of the accounts out there that have the potential to steal an election.
By the way, as a small addendum, for anyone who does not understand the power of these entities to steal an election, I recommend the film Brexit. It was made as a dramatic film, not as a documentary. It is very close to being produced in real time. If members are is not aware of how dangerously these instruments can be used in a democracy to mislead and lie to people, they specifically target people who are prepared to believe a certain argument. They find out who they are. They run fake contests to collect people's information. That is why our dear friends in the Parliament of Westminster are in an ongoing hell on earth. It is because of the very actors we are talking about today.
View Bob Bratina Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bob Bratina Profile
2019-05-15 22:18 [p.27905]
Mr. Chair, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today.
I am pleased to spend the time allotted to me discussing the Communications Security Establishment, also known as CSE, and the important work it does in cyber-defence and cyber-protection, as well as the cyber-work performed by the Canadian Armed Forces.
CSE is one of Canada's critical security and intelligence organizations within the national defence portfolio. It is Canada's national signals intelligence agency and serves the national interest by providing foreign intelligence to inform government decision-making. CSE also has the mandate to provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies in performing their lawful duties.
However, I am here today to focus on the second part of CSE's current mandate: cyber-defence and cyber-protection.
CSE has more than 70 years of history providing advice and guidance, including more than a decade of operational experience in defending cyber-systems of importance to the Government of Canada.
We know that good cybersecurity is critical to Canada's competitiveness, economic stability and long-term prosperity. That is why we launched the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, as promised in budget 2018. This new centre will provide Canadian citizens and businesses with a trusted place for cybersecurity advice.
Through the newly established Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, we are provided with sophisticated technical expertise to help identify, prepare for and respond to the most severe cyber-threats and attacks against computer networks and systems and the important information they contain. It also provides advice and guidance so Canadians can better protect themselves.
In the short time since its launch last fall, the cyber centre has improved operational coordination, providing better cyber-protection and more efficient responses in cases of cyber-attacks. This has improved Canada's cybersecurity overall. It has also made strides in increasing public and industry awareness and engagement on all matters of cybersecurity.
Canadians can rest assured that their government is prepared to meet the cybersecurity challenges of today and tomorrow. Reliable, secure cyber-systems are vital to Canadians' daily lives. That is why, in our last two budgets, we have taken action to strengthen Canada's cybersecurity.
In budget 2018, we committed $507.7 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $108.8 million per year ongoing to support Canada's first comprehensive national cyber security strategy, which includes establishing the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.
Budget 2019 builds on these investments, proposing $144.9 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, to help better protect Canada's critical cyber-systems. For the cyber centre, this funding will support its advice and guidance to critical infrastructure owners and operators on how to better prevent and address cyber-attacks, no matter where they might originate.
Since October 1, CSE and the cyber centre have published key public reports to inform Canadians about the threats we face, including the first-ever unclassified “National Cyber Threat Assessment 2018” and the “2019 Update on Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process”.
In today's dynamic security environment, CSE's efforts to educate, protect and defend Canada and Canadians against cyber-threats are more critical than ever.
Protecting Canadians includes protecting our democratic processes from threats of foreign interference. This is why the Government of Canada has created a security and intelligence threats to elections task force, in which CSE plays an integral role. This task force also includes the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Global Affairs Canada.
The security and intelligence threats to elections task force works to counter covert, clandestine or criminal activities from influencing or interfering with the electoral process in Canada. It aims to prepare the government to assess and respond to threats to our elections.
However, CSE's work is not limited to the security and intelligence threats to elections task force. It is also working closely with Elections Canada to protect its infrastructure.
CSE, through the cyber centre, has offered cybersecurity advice and guidance to all 16 recognized federal political parties. It has also published companion resource documents for both Canadians and political campaigns on its website.
Pending the passage of Bill C-59, which is currently being studied in the other chamber, CSE would be able to provide more targeted advice, guidance and services to designated critical infrastructure owners upon their request. If passed, Bill C-59 would give CSE the mandate to conduct online operations to disrupt foreign threat attacks against Canadian systems. The same sophisticated cyber capabilities that CSE would employ could also be leveraged by the Canadian Armed Forces in support of military operations.
Cyberspace is becoming ever-more contested, and our adversaries are becoming more sophisticated. At the same time, our reliance on cyber is increasing. National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces recognize the importance of staying ahead of our adversaries in this environment. Cyber considerations must be built into everything the defence team does. Our government is ensuring that the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces have the tools and equipment they need to accomplish their important missions at home and abroad.
That is why “Strong, Secure, Engaged” includes several important initiatives to strengthen Canada's cyber capabilities, notably the new cyber mission assurance program and the creation of a new cyber operator trade within the Canadian Armed Forces.
As the nature of technological threats is evolving, using Canada's cyber talent is essential to face future challenges. We are determined to maintain a modern and agile force capable of responding to the technological challenges of today and tomorrow.
With the cyber mission assurance program, National Defence is considering cyber defence on all new equipment and technologies. That means identifying and addressing cyber-associated risks to military networks and equipment before buying. Cybersecurity is top of mind when the defence team assesses its current capabilities, fleets and infrastructure. It is deliberate and attentive in safeguarding computer networks, platforms and weapons systems, and networked equipment in key infrastructure.
I want to stress that cyber mission assurance takes place at every level, from the largest procurement projects outlined in SSE to the logistics officer overseas procuring goods for deployed personnel, to individual defence team members sitting at their computers. This is a coherent and enduring program that manages cyber-threats to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces is always in control of its actions. All of this helps to ensure that cyber-related disruptions do not interrupt military operations or the important business of security and defence.
As I mentioned, creating the cyber operator trade within the military was another important initiative in the defence policy. That includes new cyber operator roles within the reserve force that support the newly created cyber force, a specialized team of both military and civilian personnel.
This, combined with the changes that Bill C-59 proposes, would allow CSE to support cyber operations in Canadian Armed Forces missions when required and to deploy cybersecurity tools to defend Canada's critical infrastructure upon request.
CSE is proud to play a critical role in protecting Canada and Canadians from cyber-threats. Our top priorities are to protect, defend and educate in order to secure our networks from adversaries. As the reliance of Canada and Canadians on connected technology increases, so will the need for CSE and the Canadian Armed Forces and their cyber mandate.
Those are my remarks. I will use the remainder of my time, if I may, to put some questions to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.
View John Brassard Profile
View John Brassard Profile
2019-05-14 16:42 [p.27778]
Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today on Motion No. 203, a motion to protect seniors from fraud. I am pleased to see my colleague, the hon. member for Richmond Centre, take bold leadership in her role as the shadow minister for seniors.
Canada's seniors built this country into what it is today, and they continue to contribute through acts of volunteerism and giving of their time for the betterment of their communities. Every day we can find those in the senior demographic among the many volunteers at food banks, in coaching roles or organizing fundraisers for non-profits. Unfortunately, some seniors continue to work to stay above water so that they can make it to the end of the month.
Although I am pleased to speak on Motion No. 203, I am also disheartened at the necessity of this motion. Too often, Canadian seniors are the target of fraud. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians aged 60 to 69 are most likely to fall victim to scam artists. Scam artists can be a neighbour, a so-called friend or even family.
We are living in a digital age. It is not a rare sight to see a baby being entertained with an iPad or to see grandparents Skyping their grandchildren across the country. We all use technology. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that in this digital age, 51% of those who fall victim to things like mass marketing fraud are targeted online.
As legislators, we must take leadership to protect our most vulnerable, and I am proud to be a member of the caucus that stands up for our seniors and our most vulnerable. All of us, I am sure, would not want to see our loved ones fall for something like this, but it can happen to anyone. It is also commonplace for my constituency office to be visited by a senior who has unfortunately fallen into the trap of giving away personal information, oftentimes giving away money, and they are embarrassed by that.
I am also happy to note that the citizens of Barrie—Innisfil can expect an information pamphlet on CRA tax scams. It will land at their door either this week or next. I have sent it to every household in the riding. It will outline measures to recognize and prevent fraud.
It is important to know that there are many myths surrounding those who are targeted and fall victim to fraud. It is a common myth that mass market fraud targets those with lower levels of education. This is simply not the case. According to a report for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, fraud affects victims regardless of their level of education. It is also wrong to assume that the wealthy are more likely to be victims of fraud; nobody is immune. Besides actions against fraudsters, it is also important that the public, especially our seniors, be aware of and know the signs of fraud.
I would also like to highlight and applaud the work of the Barrie Police Service and the South Simcoe Police Service on their work and initiatives to educate our seniors about the different types of fraud. Sandycove Acres holds a seniors academy at which the South Simcoe Police come in and talk to residents in Sandycove Acres about how to prevent themselves from falling victim to fraud.
Three weeks ago I visited seniors homes to talk about seniors and to listen to their concerns. I also highlighted the importance of recognizing and preventing fraud and described how our office could help.
I must give credit, though, because we cannot overestimate just how smart these fraudsters are. As technology evolves and new methods of combatting fraud are put into force, fraudsters will always find new methods and new lines of attack. In my capacity as a member of Parliament, I am fortunate to speak with law enforcement officers, who always highlight the importance of the evolution of methods to combat fraud. Unfortunately, I hear over and over again that legislation has not changed or evolved.
If we look at combatting fraud through a legislative lens, we see that Canada is surely behind. I have spoken to numerous officers who say they struggle to find the tools needed to prevent and combat fraud, not only against seniors but also in terms of protecting children and other vulnerable citizens online.
I would like to highlight the improvements the previous Conservative government has made in the lives of our seniors.
It is astonishing to know that abuse happens to an estimated 4% to 10% of older adults in Canada. This includes frauds against seniors. Even more alarming, only one in five instances of elder abuse is reported.
In January of 2013, the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act was put into force. This amended the Criminal Code of Canada, which took age into consideration for criminal sentencing purposes.
In the 2014 budget, we also stood for victims, especially our seniors, by passing the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
The Conservatives have always stood behind seniors. The work the hon. member for Richmond Centre has done on their behalf is immeasurable. Under her guidance and the work of many in the previous government, the Conservatives have not only made strides in protecting our seniors, but leaving more money in their pockets as well. The previous Conservative government introduced measures like the age credit, the pension income tax credit, pension income splitting, as well as raising awareness and increasing digital and financial literacy.
Since seniors are our fastest growing demographic right now, it is also important that we build on the previous government's commitments to seniors, especially with respect to protecting elder abuse and fraud.
Once again, I am thankful for the South Simcoe Police Service and the Barrie Police Service, which, day after day, ensure that our seniors are protected against the evils that lurk behind those screens and also work so hard to bring justice to those who choose to harm our elderly.
I am looking forward to the motion being passed by the House and working with all hon. colleagues to protect those who mean the most to us, our seniors.
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