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Results: 1 - 60 of 302
View Chris Warkentin Profile
CPC (AB)
View Chris Warkentin Profile
2021-06-17 10:04 [p.8631]
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Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, in relation to its study on the protection of privacy and reputation on platforms such as Pornhub.
I would like to thank the analysts and the clerk for their diligence and support to our committee during this horrific testimony and challenging report.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2021-06-03 17:11 [p.7926]
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Mr. Speaker, There have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That routine motion No. 97, standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons concerning the reappointment of Daniel Therrien as Privacy Commissioner, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2), be deemed adopted on division.
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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-03 17:11 [p.7926]
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All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
I hear none. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
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View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2021-05-11 14:46 [p.7061]
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Mr. Speaker, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien is raising serious alarm bells that Bill C-11 would undermine the fundamental privacy rights of Canadians. As a case in point, Clearview AI broke Canadian law when it took millions of photos of Canadians without their consent for its controversial facial recognition technology. The Privacy Commissioner is saying that Bill C-11 would actually protect the interests of companies like Clearview over the rights of Canadians.
Why are the Liberals using Bill C-11 to rewrite the privacy laws and stack the deck in favour of corporate outliers such as Clearview over protecting the rights of Canadian citizens?
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View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-05-11 14:46 [p.7061]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question, because I think we share a commitment to protecting the privacy interests of all Canadians. That is why we very much value the advice that we receive from the Privacy Commissioner.
While it is important to ensure that we provide the national security intelligence establishment and law enforcement with the tools they need to keep us safe, at the same time we must always make an effort to ensure the protection of the privacy interests of all Canadians, and we will—
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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-05-10 18:44
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Question No. 575--
Ms. Lianne Rood:
With regard to providing the COVID-19 vaccine to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members serving abroad: (a) what specific measures are in place to ensure that CAF members serving abroad receive the vaccine; and (b) what is the timeline for when the (i) first dose, (ii) second dose (if applicable), of the vaccine has been or will be administered, broken down by the name of vaccine manufacturer (Pfizer, Moderna, etc.) and the country where CAF members are serving in?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 576--
Ms. Lianne Rood:
With regard to the 2021-22 Main Estimates and the amount of $53,132,349 listed under the Department of Finance, for "Debt payments on behalf of poor countries to International Organizations" pursuant to section 18(1) of the Economic Recovery Act: (a) what are the details of the payments to be made under this item, including the (i) name of international organizations receiving payments, (ii) amount, (iii) country for which debt payment is made on behalf of; and (b) what are the details of all payments made through this or similar items in all main and supplementary estimates since 2016, including the (i) name of international organizations receiving payments, (ii) amount, (iii) country for which debt payment is made on behalf of?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 577--
Ms. Lianne Rood:
With regard to the national vaccine management information technology platform (NVMIP): (a) what are the functionalities of the NVMIP; (b) which provinces and territories are currently using the NVMIP; and (c) what are the details the government has related to the usage of NVMIP by the provinces and territories, including (i) the date each province or territory began to use the NVMIP, (ii) which functionalities of NVMIP are each province or territory is using, (iii) the date each province or territory began using each of NVMIP's functionalities?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 578--
Ms. Louise Chabot:
With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Thérèse-De Blainville, in each fiscal year since 2019-20, inclusively: what are the details of all grants and contributions and all loans to any organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) date the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 579--
Ms. Louise Chabot:
With regard to resolving complaint files associated with the Phoenix pay system: (a) what is the total number of tickets or claims pending; (b) of the claims in (a), how many have been waiting to be resolved for (i) 6 to 12 months, (ii) 12 to 24 months, (iii) over 24 months; (c) of the claims in (a), how many are from citizens residing (i) in Quebec, (ii) in the constituency of Thérèse-De Blainville; (d) of the claims in (a), how many have been identified as priorities by complaint resolution directorates; and (e) of the claims in (d), how many were in the category (i) 1, missing pay, (ii) 2, leave of absence or layoff, (iii) 3, promotion, secondment or acting position?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 580--
Mr. Tim Uppal:
With regard to the Prime Minister's comments in the Chamber on March 23, 2021, that "We will continue to ground our decisions based in science and evidence": what specific science or evidence does the government have that proves that quarantining at a hotel is safer than quarantining at home?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 581--
Mr. Tim Uppal:
With regard to allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces and the actions of the Minister of National Defence, since November 4, 2015: (a) how many reports of alleged sexual misconduct were brought to the attention, either formally or informally, of the (i) Minister of National Defence, (ii) Office of the Minister of National Defence, broken down by year; and (b) for each instance in (a), what specific action, if any, was taken?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 582--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to the government's decision to extend the interval between certain COVID-19 vaccines by up to 105 days: (a) what assessment has the government made on the impact of this decision of those who are suffering from cancer; and (b) what is the government's response to concerns raised by a study from King's College London and the Francis Crick Institute, which found that delays in administering the second dose of more than 21 days leave cancer patients vulnerable to COVID-19?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 583--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to accounts locked by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) between March 13, 2021, and March 22, 2021, over concerns that usernames and passwords may have been hacked: (a) how many accounts were locked; (b) what was the average number of days impacted accounts were locked; (c) did the CRA notify each account holder in (a) that their account would be locked, and, if so, how were they contacted; (d) on what date did the CRA become aware that usernames and passwords may have been hacked; (e) how did the CRA become aware of the hacking; (f) is any recourse or compensation available to individuals whose information has been compromised as a result of their CRA information being hacked, and, if so, how do they access such recourse or compensation; and (g) have any specific measures been taken since March 13, 2021, to ensure the future safety of information shared online with the CRA, and, if so, what are the details of each measure, including the date of implementation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 584--
Mr. Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay:
With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Papineau, in each fiscal year since 2018-19, inclusively: what are the details of all grants and contributions and all loans to any organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) date the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 585--
Mr. Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay:
With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, in each fiscal year since 2018-19, inclusively: what are the details of all grants and contributions and all loans to any organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) date the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 587--
Mr. James Cumming:
With regard to government advertisements launched on Facebook since March 13, 2020: (a) how many advertisements have been launched by month and what were the corresponding campaigns for each (e.g. employment insurance, citizenship services, tax credits, grants, etc.); (b) for how long was each advertisement active online; (c) what were the insights for the advertisements launched, broken down by each advertisement, including the (i) number of people reached, (ii) percentage of women and men reached, (iii) age­group ranges reached, (iv) federal, provincial, or municipal regions targeted, including postal codes, if applicable; and (d) how many staff are provided with or have access to the Facebook advertisement data collected from each campaign, broken down by ministerial exempt and departmental staff?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 588--
Mr. Kerry Diotte:
With regard to accommodating the work from home environment for government employees since September 23, 2020: (a) what is the total amount spent on furniture, equipment, including IT equipment, and services, including home Internet reimbursement; (b) of the purchases in (a), what is the breakdown per department by (i) date of purchase, (ii) object code it was purchased under, (iii) type of furniture, equipment or services, (iv) final cost of furniture, equipment or services; (c) what were the costs incurred for delivery of items in (a); and (d) were subscriptions purchased during this period, and, if so, what were the (i) subscriptions for, (ii) costs associated for these subscriptions?
Response
(Return tabled)
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8555-432-575 Provision of the COVID-19 v ...8555-432-576 Debt payments on behalf of ...8555-432-577 National vaccine management ...8555-432-578 Federal spending in the con ...8555-432-579 Complaints related to the P ...8555-432-580 Quarantines at a hotel8555-432-581 Sexual misconduct in the Ca ...8555-432-582 COVID-19 vaccines8555-432-583 Locked accounts at the Cana ...8555-432-584 Federal spending in the con ...8555-432-585 Federal spending in the con ... ...Show all topics
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:09 [p.7006]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk about this report. It is a very important one. The discussion of the Investment Canada Act has been very lively for many years.
This report is the result of a motion from the member for Calgary Nose Hill, and there was much support to bring it to fruition. I want to thank all the witnesses who came forward to present and also those who made submissions. I also want to thank the staff. Our legislative crew is excellent. The researchers and analysts always did a good job during the process on a very complicated issue. We have a report that is quite extensive, about 50 pages of materials that have been condensed, reflecting some of the concerns that emerged from the sale of Canadian companies, but also the loss of sovereignty, in some respects, in the lost investments.
I will start, though, by discussing something that took place in the debate tonight that related to the parliamentary secretary. It will be interesting to see how the Liberals configure their position out of that. I asked about recommendation 2, which is, “That the Government of Canada introduce legislation to amend the Investment Canada Act so that thresholds are reviewed on an annual basis.” The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, if we think it is significant, responded by saying he supported the recommendations of the committee, yet the Liberals put in a dissenting opinion. They could have put in a supplementary opinion, but they put in a dissenting opinion, which said, “Under the ICA, the annual net benefit review thresholds are reviewed and revised by the Minister on an annual basis, rendering the proposed legislative amendments unnecessary.”
Since the parliamentary secretary represents the Prime Minister, I am wondering whether he is having second thoughts to the committee members or to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, who did not address this, or whether the parliamentary secretary is freelancing by himself on this issue. I do not know which it is, but it will be interesting to sort that out because that is the reality of what has been presented to us today.
The reality is that the thresholds have been raised over a number of years and have created quite a concern among Canadians and businesses. They have been raised because of the iconic ones that we have lost, Falconbridge, Inco, a whole series that are name- and brand-recognizable firms. However, what has been presented, and what the previous speaker so eloquently discussed, is that there are smaller firms right now that go under the radar of the threshold and are gobbled up on a regular basis. In fact, there has been an exponential increase.
Part of the discussion we had at committee and part of the report is that, under COVID-19, a lot of vulnerable businesses could be purchased by non-democratic governments. I do not want to speak to just one particular country at the moment, but the reality is that some countries are using their public assets to purchase Canadian companies. With the COVID-19 issue related to the vulnerability of businesses, we have a lot of start-ups and medium-sized businesses that are very vulnerable to this.
This issue goes back quite some time, at least from my perspective. I first raised it at the industry committee with regard to non-democratic governments buying Canadian companies back in 2004. I had discussed it before, but we actually had hearings at that time. There was a headline in The Globe and Mail, “Chinese bid prompts MPs to eye revising investment act”. That was because of Noranda being purchased by China Minmetals.
At that time, I raised the question as to whether it is appropriate to have that type of investment, because it is a non-democratic government. It is not necessarily that it is China, but there are others as well. China decided to go on a purchasing spree after 2000 across the globe, and that included Canada. If we look at the sliding scale of purchases and investments, they are quite significant. That brings up a lot of questions about privacy and control of ownership of different types of assets, and, I would say, it has played itself out in terms of the housing market and speculative approaches that have had significant consequences for Canadians.
I pushed for it, and it came back in Parliament again in 2007. A Toronto Star article said, “Security may be factor in buyout review”. When I pushed for Industry Canada to look at this again, it was about looking at a national security clause in review, which has now been introduced as part of it, because a lot of companies were being purchased that were important to our national security.
This comes from my interest in it representing Windsor, Ontario where the manufacturing centre has been part of our DNA since our establishment as a community and as part of Canada. During the First and Second World War and recently, manufacturing has been part of our heritage. In fact, during the Second World War, we were very much a logistics centre for producing materials to fight fascism.
I have always viewed manufacturing as part of our national structure of defence and also our national importance of connecting people to jobs and meaningfulness and also self-determination. If we did not have that capability, we would not be able to do the things that we do today. Back at that time, it was maybe more raw materials and turning them into things that were used, versus today where there is lack of that vision.
I will always remember and I reference quite often the Prime Minister going to London, Ontario and saying that we actually had to transition out of manufacturing. That was pretty offensive because we do not need to just do rip and ship. One of the tragic things about our oil and gas industry is that we do not have enough refining capacity. I have seen Oakville, for example, lose Petro-Canada. I have seen several other refineries close down as opposed to being invested in, often because of the loss of Canadian control or they no longer became investment opportunities because of a lot of different issues. We lost the capability there.
We have lost some of the capability right now for our forestry industry, as we have a lot of our industry co-owned between Canada and the United States. There does not even have to be collusion, there can just be a disinterest in competing against ourselves and lowering market prices because there is no real interest to do so.
Canada has had some of our natural resources purchased. I mentioned the mining industry to be prioritized because it goes to foreign markets for value-added manufacturing that the Prime Minister wants us to transition out of. That is unfortunate because the value-added economy of manufacturing is important today in this new age for innovation.
When we are looking at solar, wind, alternative energy and also the innovation that is taking place, I often point to what is taking place in Detroit, basically two kilometres from where I am right now. It has billions of dollars going into new electric vehicles and manufacturing there and we do not have the same here. We have some piecemeal and some very important projects taking place that are exciting, but we do not have a national strategy and we do not have the same type of investment taking place. In fact, in Detroit there was over $12 billion of investment in the last number of years and for all of the Canada in the last five or six years, we were at around $6 billion, which is basically not in the game any more with respect to where we should be.
This report did get a response from the minister. There have been some modest improvements to the bill and there has been some strengthening related to national security review, but they did not make some of the bigger changes that we had asked for. I had done some work with Unite, a labour union in British Columbia. It represented a number of companies that had basically been taken over by the Chinese state. I will not get into the full details, but I am going to read this recommendation that has not been implemented:
That the government of Canada immediately introduce legislation amending the Investment Canada Act to allow for the establishment of a privacy protection review of and the ability to enforce Canadians’ privacy and digital rights in any ICA approved acquisition, merger, or investment.
That is the one that I want to talk about. The one that did get pushed through, which I am pleased about, also allows for divestment issues to take place and the minister did move on that. That is important.
I want to pivot because we are looking at some of our privacy laws right now and people need to be aware that we have a Privacy Commissioner in Canada. The United States does not have that; other places do not have privacy. Our privacy laws affect everything from our capability to be involved as a citizen and our own personal life, but also our businesses, and our ability to share information, to work collaboratively and to be connected in terms of mergers and so forth in a more modest way.
We have asked for this to be part of the actual law, because with those expectations we can keep data and information under a review process. I will give a specific example of the Canada census, which I had worked on, to show the vulnerabilities.
It is ironic, because the census is taking place right now, and I encourage everybody to sign up for it. My riding, for a lot of different reasons, has one of the lower rates of compliance, which needs to be improved. Often it is because of language, but there are other reasons as well. However, it is important to fill out the census for government supports and services, and a whole series of things.
At any rate, at the time, our census was actually outsourced to Lockheed Martin. It may sound bizarre to some people that an arms manufacturer would actually get hold of our Canada census, but it did. It had won the contract, and it did that in a number of places. However, because of the Patriot Act, it was going to assemble our data in the United States. It would have allowed all of our census information to be vulnerable to the Patriot Act.
The way the Patriot Act works in the United States is that we would not have control over our data. The U.S. can access that data and then the company that is actually giving it up through the act is not even allowed to report it to us. The act is a fallout from 9/11, when a series of laws were put in place.
The data was going to be moved from Canada, but we fought hard, and we were able to get the data to stay in Canada and actually be processed here, protecting the data from that.
Ironically, Lockheed Martin is no longer doing our census. It was one of those things where we outsourced to be “efficient”, but it turned out to be a loss, because we had to actually pay more money. On top of that, the company is no longer around, and we are back to where we started from, and so that shortcut did not work.
I really believe that there should be a privacy screen as part of takeovers. When we look at the complications that Facebook and other companies have had with some of the privacy breaches, even being held hostage, it is important to note that we are very vulnerable, but we still do not have laws to protect companies.
The University of Calgary had a security breach and actually paid money to have its privacy protected. We do not even have a sense of the entire situation right now, because a number of companies have compromised privacy. They make payouts and different types of restitution, but they do not have to make it public. Some of it does go public but some of it does not; it just depends upon the situation.
When we look at foreign takeovers and the Investment Canada Act, I would point to a few takeovers that have really affected people in their day-to-day lives.
My colleague raised Lowe's and Rona, and I thank him for that, but it is a great example of the consequences, because we have lost competition there. We basically had two competing companies that have been erased off the chessboard, so to speak. Now we are very vulnerable, and there is no motivation to compete. In fact, not only is there less competition, it has made housing more difficult, fixing up our properties more difficult and small businesses are more dependent upon one provider. It has had significant economic consequences.
I opposed that merger and appealed to the government to stop it, but the government refused. I think the parties signed a side agreement to maybe keep their headquarters here and that is about it. However, eventually the stores closed, and I cannot think of a worse situation that we have right now, because we are now dependent upon a one-source provider. We have lost those jobs, but more importantly, the competition.
Another example, which may seem less significant but true, is when Future Shop was taken over by Best Buy. Again, how did that benefit consumers? We lost another competitor, the Canadian franchise company of Future Shop, and for electronics, we are made very vulnerable to being one-source supplied. We have lost that competitive element.
One of the worst examples ever is Zellers being bought out by Target. Here we had Zellers making a profit during a time when chain retail was having difficulty. It had a union, wages just above minimum wage and benefits. Then Target came in, bought up Zellers and promptly shut the stores down in a failed operation. The jobs were lost, the workers lost their benefits, and we lost competition, and for nothing. We had a phony U.S. chain come in here and basically do a social experiment. We lost a significant part of our retail market economy. We have not recovered from that in many respects, because we do not have that type of competition any more.
I think about London, Ontario, where Caterpillar took over Electro-Motive. That was an important one, because those were good manufacturing jobs. That was about union busting and driving out competition.
One of the more iconic ones was when Stelco was taken over by U.S. Steel in Hamilton. We still are feeling the repercussions of that. We lost production capacity, which was an important part of our long-term history of manufacturing steel in the Hamilton region. An exceptional skilled-labour workforce was thrown out because U.S. Steel wanted to wind down operations.
I do not think we are going to continue having the type of situation we are seeing at the moment because of COVID. However, we have a lot of situations with smaller companies. There can be a better way.
I do not want this to be a negative speech because it is about raising awareness. There have been some wonderful cases where we have fought back and we have seen Canadian companies remain. I would point to the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. In 2004, the Australian company BHP Billiton was trying to take over the Potash Corporation. We fought that and were successful.
The second example I can think of is MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates and Canadian space and satellite technology. We were able to prevent some of that takeover, and some of that is Canadian innovation.
I want to touch on something that is often forgotten. When we look at some of the tax on research and development, and incentives such as SR&ED credits and a whole series of others, we have to remember that as we are building up some of these companies, and providing subsidies for them to do research and development, we should have an obligation to stay Canadian and so should they. That is one of the things that we have to recognize. When we are giving incentives, whether they are direct or indirect subsidies, there is an obligation and an investment by the Canadian public. Therefore, if we were going to have a so-called free-market economy, where we get government out of the way, we would not be doing tax credits or subsidies for a whole series of things. We choose them as a democracy and as an innovative society to make advancements. If we do not actually get the fruits of those investments, they do not make any sense at the end of the day.
We have talked a bit about thresholds, but we are not seeing the action that we need to. We have much more work to do on this, and so much awareness is necessary. It is a very complicated file, but there is no doubt that it is sometimes captured in some of the iconic companies in the bigger acquisitions that take place. Let us not forget the small and medium-sized businesses that fly under the radar and under the requirements for review, that we just get notifications that we are losing. That is a poor choice for a country, especially if we are trying to build up our small and medium-sized businesses. We need to protect those assets and develop them better.
I will conclude my speech by again thanking the staff and the analysts for all the work that went behind this report. I know that some have diminished the importance of this debate for different reasons in the House of Commons, but I appreciate it because it has been important. At least we have it on the record, and I know that the House of Commons worked really hard to present issues in front of the government and the minister, as food for thought and also for making a difference.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 555--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to the Canadian Coast Guard fleet renewal and the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS): (a) what is the list of each vessel, including the (i) name, (ii) region, (iii) home port, (iv) area of operations, i.e. north or south or both, (v) year commissioned, (vi) notional operational life, (vii) current age, (viii) percentage of operational notional life, as of 2021, (ix) planned end of service life (EOSL), (x) age at the end of EOSL, (xi) percentage of notional operational life at EOSL, (xii) confirm whether funding has been provided for a replacement or not, (xiii) how much funding has been provided or allocated, including taxes and contingencies for each vessel replacement, (xiv) date funding provided, (xv) date on which a replacement vessel is expected to be (A) designed, (B) constructed, (C) commissioned; (b) what are all the reasons why the polar icebreaker was removed from the Seaspan’s umbrella agreement in 2019 and substituted by 16 multi-purpose vessels; (c) what are all the risks identified with building a polar icebreaker at the Vancouver Shipyards; (d) what are the proposed scope, the schedule and the draft or anticipated budget for the replacement of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and the CCGS Terry Fox polar icebreaker; (e) what is the summary of risks, including the (i) scope, (ii) budget, (iii) schedule, related to building the offshore oceanographic science vessel and the multi-purpose vessels; and (f) what are the anticipated benefits for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard of adding a third shipyard to the NSS?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 556--
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
With regard to the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS): (a) what is the full budget for the Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC), including (i) design, (ii) construction, (iii) licences, including intellectual property (IP) licences, (iv) spares, (v) taxes, (vi) contingencies, (vii) any specific infrastructure required for building the CSC in Halifax and all associated costs and considerations; (b) what is the total expected cost or value of the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policies on each vessel built under the NSS, including an explanation of how these costs are calculated and how the ITB costs are validated; (c) what is the list of estimated costs that the ITB policies is adding to each vessel under the NSS, and the summary of any discussion had at the NSS Secretariat, Privy Council Office or at the deputy minister level regarding costs of the ITB policies as it relates to NSS; (d) what is the summary of any analysis conducted on the ITB policies, and a comparison in relation to any similar policy existing in the United Kingdom or in the United States frigate programs; and (e) what is the full costing of the first Arctic and offshore patrol ship, including the cost of (i) design, (ii) IP licences; (iii) construction, (iv) commissioning, (v) taxes, (vi) profit, (vii) contingencies?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 557--
Ms. Raquel Dancho:
With regard to data breaches involving Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), including data breaches that may have involved IRCC facilities or subcontractors abroad: (a) how many data breaches have occurred at IRCC or CBSA since January 1, 2020; (b) what are the details of each breach, including the (i) description or summary of the incident and the date, (ii) number of individuals whose information was involved, (iii) whether or not individuals whose information was involved were contacted, (iv) whether or not the Privacy Commissioner was notified, (v) whether or not the RCMP was notified; (c) how many RCMP investigations related to data breaches involving IRCC or CBSA have either been initiated or are ongoing; and (d) what were the results of the investigations in (c)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 558--
Mr. Dan Mazier:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), since January 2020, broken down by month: (a) how many phone calls did the CRA receive from the general public; (b) what was the average wait time for an individual who contacted the CRA by phone before first making contact with a live employee; (c) what was the average wait or on hold time after first being connected with a live employee; (d) what was the average duration of total call time, including the time waiting or on hold, for an individual who contacted the CRA by phone; and (e) how many documented server, website, portal or system errors occurred on the CRA website?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 560--
Mr. Damien C. Kurek:
With regard to the government’s quarantine requirement for travellers arriving by air, broken down by point of entry (i.e. airport where the traveller arrived in Canada): (a) how many travellers have been (i) arrested, (ii) charged in relation to violations of the Quarantine Act; and (b) how many individuals have been charged with a Criminal Code offence related to an incident at a quarantine facility, broken down by type of offence?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 561--
Ms. Elizabeth May:
With regard to the defrauding of many Canadians, including CINAR, facilitated by the Isle of Man offshore trust scam: (a) what steps have the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and any other government agencies taken to track and trace funds obtained illegally and held in offshore accounts; (b) what efforts have the CRA, the RCMP, the CSIS, and any other government agencies taken to recover the funds defrauded from CINAR and other Canadian investors; (c) what were the specific roles of respective government departments and agencies in the secret KPMG amnesty deal relating to the Isle of Man; (d) what role, if any, was played by the Department of Justice in aborting a Standing Committee on Finance study into the matter; and (e) what specific lobbying activities occurred with the Prime Minister or others in the federal government relating to the Isle of Man scam, including by the Liberal Party of Canada treasurer and retired KPMG partner, John Herhaldt?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 562--
Mr. Randall Garrison:
With regard to the government’s commitment to address the practice of conversion therapy in Canada: (a) what steps are being taken, at the federal level, to prevent this practice from taking place; (b) how, and through which programs, is the government proactively promoting and applying the Canadian Guidelines on Sexual Health Education, as an upstream prevention strategy, for affirming the sexual orientation and gender identities of LGBTQ2 young people before they may be exposed to conversion therapy; (c) what resources will the government be providing to survivors who have experienced psychological trauma and other negative effects from conversion therapy, through interventions such as counselling and peer supports programs; (d) how is the government planning to work with faith leaders, counsellors, educators and other relevant service providers to equip individuals with tools to identify and stop conversion therapy; and (e) what steps is the government taking to address numerous recommendations received from the United Nations to harmonize sexuality education curricula across jurisdictions in Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 565--
Mr. Denis Trudel:
With regard to federal government investments in housing, for each fiscal year since 2017–18, broken down by province and territory: (a) what was the total amount of federal funding allocated to housing in Canada; (b) how many applications were received for (i) the National Housing Strategy (NHS) overall, (ii) the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (iii) the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, (iv) the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, (v) the Rapid Housing Initiative under the projects stream, (vi) the Federal Lands Initiative, (vii) the Federal Community Housing Initiative, (viii) Reaching Home, (ix) the Shared Equity Mortgage Providers Fund, (x) the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, (xi) the NHS's Solutions Labs Initiative; (c) of the applications under (b), for each funding program and initiative, how many were accepted; (d) of the applications under (c), for each funding program and initiative, what was the amount of federal funding allocated; (e) of the amounts in (d) allocated in the Province of Quebec, for each funding program and initiative, what is the breakdown per region; and (f) of the amounts in (b)(xi), what criteria were used for project selection?
Response
(Return tabled)
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2021-05-04 18:46 [p.6660]
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Madam Speaker, it has been brought to light that Canada's visa application centre in China has been subcontracted to a Chinese state-owned company run and operated by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. The company that was awarded the contract, VFS Global, has confirmed at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration that the Canadian government knew right from the beginning that services were being subcontracted and that it was informed of the ownership structure of the company.
This happened under the watch of the Harper government, and clearly the Conservatives were asleep at the switch. Former immigration minister, Jason Kenney, now the Premier of Alberta, said he did not know about it. I cannot help but ask how on earth he did not know about something as significant as that. It speaks to the level of his incompetence and disregard for the important work conducted by Canada’s visa application centres.
The saga does not end there. In 2018, the contract was renewed by the Liberal government, yet no changes were made. In fact, Public Services and Procurement Canada confirmed that it did not even know that services in Canada’s visa application centre in China had been subcontracted to a company owned by the Beijing police until The Globe and Mail brought it to their attention in February 2021. The Liberals say they underwent a vigorous process for the contract renewals. However, somehow the Liberal government was still oblivious to the fact that Canada’s visa application centre is effectively run and operated by people hired by the Beijing police.
It really shakes one's confidence about the government’s vetting process and makes one wonder what sort of security checks are done. Was CSIS even consulted on this? A former CSIS director was quoted as saying, “I cannot think of a more promising entry point for China’s cyberspies.” According to Richard Kurland, “The VFS organization may have more personal information on applicants for immigrant services than entire countries do.”
It has been reported by The Globe and Mail that 86% of staff are being hired by the company owned by the Beijing police. In what world would having 86% of the staff employed by an arm of the Beijing police be a good idea, when they are receiving the kind of sensitive information that visa application centres handle? Since the subcontractor is a Chinese-owned state firm, according to Chinese regulations the party's secretary must be the chair of the board of the company and the general manager position must be filled by the deputy party committee secretary. This means the subcontractor handling Canada’s visa centre services is run and operated by the party secretary and deputy party secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
I went on Google and was able to find the minutes of the CCP meeting in which it appointed its party secretary and deputy party secretary to these positions. Can anyone imagine that the chair of the company running and operating Canada’s visa application centre in China is the party secretary of the CCP branch in that region and the general manager is the deputy party secretary? They have to swear an oath of allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, and it is their duty to execute the will of the party. That is where their first loyalties lie. If we were prospective applicants, would we feel confident that our personal information for the immigration application is being handled by a company owned by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau? If the Chinese get wind of the fact that a pro-democracy activist or someone who is sympathetic to the Uighurs in China is trying to get a visa to Canada, do we not think they would be in jeopardy?
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View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Peter Schiefke Profile
2021-05-04 18:50 [p.6660]
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Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the chance to address the question from the hon. member.
I want to start by emphasizing that safeguarding applicants' personal information and privacy is always the top priority for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC, and the Government of Canada.
In fact, IRCC uses visa application centres, or VACs, to provide administrative support and biometric collection services in local languages to visa applicants. VACs do not play a role in the decision-making process and are expressly forbidden to provide any visa-related advice to applicants. All decisions are made by highly trained IRCC officials.
As well, all immigration information gathered at VACs is transmitted directly to Canada and is stored in Canada. This is a one-way process and operates similarly to a client-facing web page. No immigration data is retained at the VACs, and Canadian officials closely monitor the activities of VACs around the world to ensure that privacy standards are met, as per Canadian laws. In addition, the Government of Canada performed its due diligence in vetting the contractor, VFS Global, and has required that all employees in VACs who have access to personal information, including subcontractor employees, are screened to Canadian standards.
I should also note that Public Services and Procurement Canada's contract security program, in partnership with IRCC, commissioned the lead Canadian security agencies to establish the required measures. Their advice was an integral part of the contractor screening process and was used to identify the risk mitigation strategies that should be considered when opening VACs around the world.
As the hon. member understands very well, there are risks to operating in any foreign environment, and the Government of Canada is well aware of the risks of operating in China. IRCC officials closely monitor the activities at visa application centres to ensure that our stringent privacy standards, as detailed in the contract, are met.
As part of this work, since the beginning of the contract, IRCC has regularly carried out audits and inspections for compliance at all VACs around the world. This includes both scheduled and unannounced audits and site reviews conducted by IRCC officials. Since 2018, IRCC has reviewed and conducted over 20 site visits to VACs in China alone. IRCC video cameras also monitor every time biometrics are submitted.
The contractors must notify Canada immediately of any data breaches at the VACs, as well as any other situations or difficulties that may arise or will have an impact upon the scope of the work, security and protection of personal information included. IRCC is responsible, in consultation with PSPC, for determining whether a reported problem constitutes a privacy breach, and if a privacy breach were to occur, a report would be created to report how the breach occurred, the remedial actions being taken and the mitigation measures proposed by the contractor to prevent reoccurence. No privacy breaches have been reported to date.
VFS Global has been compliant with its security requirements pursuant to its contract with the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada will continue to improve and implement measures to enhance security requirements, especially in the international context.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2021-05-04 18:54 [p.6661]
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Madam Speaker, the government did not even know until recently that the visa application centre operating in Beijing is owned by the Beijing police. The Liberals keep on saying, “Don't worry, be happy”. It does not matter that the information never gets into the system or that the information is wiped clean after 30 days on the network. The fact of the matter is that a prospective applicant's situation may be compromised on day one. The minute they walk into that office and hand their file over to staff, who have been hired by Beijing police, they may be compromised.
In the United States, the handling of the visa application services in China is being done in-house.
My question for the Liberal government is this: Why can Canada not do the same, ensure there is absolute full protection and bring that service back in-house? We should not have a visa application centre in China operated and run by the Communist Chinese Party. We should not be doing that.
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View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Peter Schiefke Profile
2021-05-04 18:55 [p.6661]
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Madam Speaker, I will repeat for the benefit of my hon. colleague that VACs do not play a role in the decision-making process and are expressly forbidden to provide any visa-related advice to applicants.
In fact, as I stated, all immigration information gathered at VACs is transmitted directly to Canada and is stored in Canada. This is a one-way process, and it operates similar to a client-facing web page. All VAC employees with access to personal information obtain security screenings, and PSPC, in partnership with IRCC, engaged lead Canadian security agencies to inform the measures required.
The Government of Canada is aware of the risks of operating in China and our assessments of China have evolved since VACs were originally contracted. As I stated earlier, we will continue to keep Canadians and their personal information safe. As always, we are looking for ways to improve our already robust system, particularly in the international context.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-04-19 12:03 [p.5781]
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Mr. Speaker, I am certain that you will find unanimous consent for the motion that, notwithstanding any standing or special order or usual practice, at 3:59 p.m. today or when no member rises to speak, whichever comes first, Bill C-11, an act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts, be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2021-04-19 12:04 [p.5781]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been discussions among the parties and I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practices of the House, at 3:59 p.m. today, or when no member rises to speak, whichever comes earlier, Bill C-11, an act to enact the consumer privacy protection act and the personal information and data protection tribunal act and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts, be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2021-04-19 12:08 [p.5782]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute honour for me to rise in the House to speak on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport. I am speaking in support of Bill C-11, an act to enact the consumer privacy protection act and the personal information and data protection tribunal act and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts. It is also known as the digital charter implementation act.
From the earliest days of my first run for office, the residents of Davenport have approached me to tell me how concerned they are about the security of their personal information. They are literally running after me in the streets to say that this is an issue of great importance to them. I can assure members that it is not just Davenport residents who are concerned. The Privacy Commissioner published a survey in 2019 that found that 92% of all Canadians were concerned about their privacy, with 37% of Canadians being extremely concerned. This means that nine out of 10 Canadians are worried about their privacy.
I know that the third wave of this pandemic is the most pressing issue for all of us right now, and rightly so, but it has not made our privacy concerns go away. Indeed, this pandemic has had the opposite effect, given that most, if not all, our lives have moved online, from work to worship to shopping to social gatherings. This is a front and centre issue.
Davenport residents are not comfortable entrusting all their data into the black hole of the Internet, managed mainly by big multinational tech giants. These companies have been operating with outdated regulations and limited transparency. As Canadians right now, we have no choice. We are all used to downloading apps or signing up for things online that come with long privacy policies and consents requests. I do not know about everyone else, but most of us do not have time to read all the online terms and conditions that are often in legalise and not easy to understand. That is why I am happy that Bill C-11 would require plain-language consent requests.
We are also too used to being peppered with targeted ads and content based on the websites we visit, with no consent or even knowledge about algorithms that track our actions. It is impossible to keep track of how our personal data and how our online actions are being used or abused, whether it is to misinform others or even more nefarious purposes like identity theft.
That is will I am glad that Bill C-11 is before the House. It marks a huge leap forward in our privacy laws. Canada must do all it can to protect the data of all our residents, and Canadians should know exactly how their data is used with maximum transparency. We should have the right to manage what data is kept online and what is deleted.
Canada must also keep up with the rapid growth of the digital economy, as hundreds of companies and organizations are now handling our personal data. Other countries have already acted on this. The E.U. passed the General Data Protection Regulations in 2018. Its rules require that other countries meet its standards to do business, to exchange data across borders. This means that if we want Canadian businesses to continue to have an edge in European markets, we have to modernize our privacy rules. It is imperative that we move now, as aggressively as possible, and for all these reasons, we must pass the digital charter implementation act.
What would the bill actually do? First, the bill introduces the new consumer privacy protection act that updates the old PIPEDA act, which was first passed in 2001. Second, the bill introduces the personal information and data protection tribunal act to create an oversight and enforcement body for the new privacy rules. Third, it would retain the measures of part 2 of PIPEDA under the new electronic documents act. The measures in the bill are built upon three key goals: consumer control, responsible innovation and strong enforcement and oversight.
Let me just touch very briefly on how the measures in the bill would meet each of these goals.
First, how do we give consumers more control? Bill C-11 would modernize consent rules and would require companies to ask for consent in plain language, which is great. The bill would also give Canadians the right to data mobility. That means they could direct one organization to share certain data with another for a specific reason. For example, they could direct their banks to share financial information with another bank.
Next, it would give Canadians the right to withdraw their consent for the use of their data. It would allow people to direct a company to delete whatever personal information it has about them, including on social media platforms, which would give control of personal data back to Canadians. The bill also clarifies that even information that has been de-identified is still personal information. Even if a company removes people's names from its data, this bill would ensure that the data still belongs to those people. It has to be protected, and companies need their consent to use it.
Finally, the bill requires transparency for use of algorithms and AI. It would give every Canadian the right to request an explanation of how and why an automated system made a choice or prediction about the individual. I am hoping that at some point, we are allowed to relay what companies can and cannot do with that information.
The second goal is enabling responsible innovation. We want our country to stay globally competitive, support innovation and unlock the potential of data to create incredible value and improve our lives, but we need to support that innovation in a way that guarantees the right to privacy. The bill would simplify consent rules so that companies are not burdened by seeking consent for every use of information, even when consumers reasonably expect it. This is good for business and also helps Canadians make meaningful choices. Rather that being bombarded by consent requests full of legal jargon, consumers will see plain language requests when it really matters.
Bill C-11 would also allow Canadians the choice to contribute their data for the common good. It would allow businesses to share de-identified data with certain public institutions to power social benefits like public health and infrastructure. Lastly, the bill would allow businesses to submit their codes of practice to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure they comply with the law. This kind of transparency and streamlined regulation is both good for businesses and good for Canadians.
The third goal is strong enforcement and oversight. With any new regulations, we absolutely need stronger enforcement and oversight. Indeed, I know that is something the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has long requested. What would this bill do? It would give the commissioner that power, including forcing an organization to comply with privacy laws and ordering a company to stop collecting data for personal information. It would also create the personal information and data protection tribunal, and the Privacy Commissioner could also ask the tribunal to impose fines. We would have the stiffest penalties in the G7. For small transactions, the fine would be 3% of global revenue or $10 million, whichever is greater, and for more serious violations, the penalty is up to 5% of global revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater.
I mentioned earlier that Davenport residents have been raising this as a concern to me for five years now. I have received a number of letters, so I want to pay tribute to all those who have written to me through the years to indicate that this continues to be an issue. I know they will be very happy to hear that we are moving forward on this legislation.
This bill is the first of many steps our federal government will take to protect Canadians' privacy and harness our country's potential in the digital age. Our current privacy laws were passed in 2001, and in 20 years the pace of change has left those laws badly out of date. We will need to keep doing more to stay on top of rapid changes, looking at both the threats and the opportunities. Davenport residents and, indeed, all Canadians demand that we continue to do all we can to keep our privacy and data security laws updated in a way that protects them, while still enabling data to be used for innovation and economic growth.
In 2019, we set out a vision for the Internet in the digital charter. That vision is of an Internet that serves the public good and guarantees certain rights, like the right to control and consent, the right to transparency and portability, the use of data for the common good and the need for strong enforcement and accountability.
I am proud that our government has introduced this bill to implement the digital charter and guarantee these rights to Canadians. We have seen big new challenges, and we have stepped up with real solutions. I ask all of my colleagues for the speedy passage of this bill.
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View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-04-19 12:18 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that we are trying to update the legislation to reflect our digital reality.
The member commented on the Privacy Commissioner and the additional powers that would be given. We have seen quite a number of privacy data breaches from the federal government, especially from the Canada Revenue Agency. Would the Privacy Commissioner have the ability under this legislation to fine the government or order the government to stop collecting private information because it is not adequately protected?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2021-04-19 12:19 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that it does not matter whether it is the federal government or any level of government; we are all really concerned about any type of these breaches. The honest answer to her question is that I actually do not know if the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is able to. I will ask about it.
My sense is that it is what we are trying to do, so I would hope it would also incorporate the federal government and the different levels of government. I do not know the answer. I hope it would be the case, but I know it does have the power to order businesses to do that. I will look into it and get back to the hon. member.
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View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-04-19 12:20 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her speech.
What our Conservative colleague said is true. This bill does not seem to apply to the government.
I have another question. There is another flaw with respect to the identification of individuals. There is nothing in the bill to force banks, for example, to institute a strict policy for the identification of individuals, nor is there any kind of fine system that would compel them to do so.
Is the government open to a series of amendments on this issue?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2021-04-19 12:20 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons I am eager to move forward with this legislation is that it is good to have these types of discussions in committee. If there are improvements to be had and ways we could even strengthen what is already an excellent bill, there is always an opportunity to do so at committee.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-04-19 12:21 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, as we know, big corporate data privacy breaches are becoming more common every year, and Canadians are concerned about how the big tech giants like Facebook are collecting and using information. Privacy is now a household issue that really affects everyone.
My concerns are around the private rights of action, which would allow individuals and groups of consumers to seek compensation in court. This has been effectively used in the United States to remedy violations. However, it is unnecessarily so burdensome in Bill C-11 that it effectively makes it unusable. For example, if the Privacy Commissioner does not investigate and rule on a complaint, an individual has no right of action. If the Privacy Commissioner does investigate and rule on a complaint but the tribunal does not uphold it, the individual has no right of action. Additionally, if a two-year timeline is exceeded for whatever reason, individuals lose their right of action, basically making it a right only in theory but not in practice.
Does my colleague agree that the bill needs to be amended to fix this?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2021-04-19 12:22 [p.5784]
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Mr. Speaker, believe me, I am very concerned about data and ensuring that Canadians have complete control over the data they are sharing: who uses their personal data and for what purposes. A fundamental objective of this bill is to give control and consent, to ensure transparency, portability and interoperability, and to have strong enforcement and real accountability. If there are some additional measures the hon. member thinks should be considered, I would suggest that it be brought up in committee.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-04-19 12:23 [p.5785]
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Mr. Speaker, I would put to the hon. member this quote from Jim Balsillie, from an article in the National Post in March: “The algorithms that push this content are addictive by design and exploit negative emotions—or, as Facebook insiders say, 'Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness.'”
This bill would not address that problem. Is the government open to amendments in committee to deal with this aspect of the dark web?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2021-04-19 12:23 [p.5785]
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Mr. Speaker, the point the member brought up is something I personally worry about as well. It really bothers me that my actions online are fed into some sort of an algorithm or AI system and translated in specific ways I have no control over. I would like to believe, and do believe, that all these types of amendments would be very open to consideration within committee.
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View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-11 and data privacy.
Many in Parliament know of the previous work that has been done by the access to information, privacy and ethics committee. We dealt with this in 2018 around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. We came together in London for the first meeting of the International Grand Committee, which represented nine nations and close to half a billion people. We have all seen how data manipulation can be misused by big tech, and our efforts in the International Grand Committee were really to set the stage for what we can do together to push back on some of big tech's practices and hopefully reform those practices. As chair of that committee, I was especially pleased with the efforts of all the parties in the room. In their speeches, the member for Beaches—East York, the member for Timmins—James Bay, my own colleague from Thornhill and many others took this on, as we care about all Canadians' data and privacy.
It is laudable that Bill C-11 attempts to combat some of the concerns that we have and crack down on some of those practices that have been concerning for many years. It deals with things like algorithm accountability, which has been mentioned by some colleagues today, personal access to data, de-identification of information, and certification programs for big tech so that there is a certain set of standards to be followed. Some of these moves have already been taken up by some in big tech who are doing this on their own to some extent. Stiffer penalties are recognized in Bill C-11, as well as private right of action.
However, there are many other things I am concerned about that are simply not in the bill, or there are huge exemptions that a freight train could run through, which would neutralize the bill in many respects.
First, privacy as a human right is the number one thing that I do not see in the bill. Many have said, from our efforts, that privacy as a human right needs to be foundational to any legislation. Conservatives recently passed a policy that deals with this exact principle:
The CPC believes digital data privacy is a fundamental right that urgently requires strengthened legislation, protections, and enforcement. Canadians must have the right to access and control collection, use, monitoring, retention, and disclosure of their personal data. International violations should receive enforcement assistance from the Canadian Government.
Clearly, this is a concern of many. We have heard from countless witnesses and experts. Jim Balsillie, who has been mentioned already this morning, warned us of what can happen if we do not take this seriously.
I will talk about the exemptions in the bill that concern me, and my copy of the bill is very well highlighted for some of the errors that are in it.
There is “Exceptions to Requirement for Consent.” A meaningful consent is another principle that we really need to address in the bill, and it has been mentioned already. If children have an app they like to play games on, all that has to be done to basically hand over their data is just a little check box in order to play the game, and we call that “meaningful consent”. Bill C-11 says that it attempts to fix that, but I will go over the exemptions.
“Exceptions to Requirement for Consent” states:
An organization may collect or use an individual’s personal information without their knowledge or consent if the collection or use is made for a business activity described in subsection (2)
This is the list of activities in subsection (2) that are exempt from meaningful consent:
(a) an activity that is necessary to provide or deliver a product or service that the individual has requested from the organization;
(b) an activity that is carried out in the exercise of due diligence to prevent or reduce the organization’s commercial risk;
(c) an activity that is necessary for the organization’s information, system or network security;
(d) an activity that is necessary for the safety of a product or service that the organization provides or delivers;
(e) an activity in the course of which obtaining the individual’s consent would be impracticable because the organization does not have a direct relationship with the individual; and
This is the big one:
(f) any other prescribed activity.
I appreciate the Liberal members stating that this bill is an effort to get us to a better place around data privacy in Canada, but exemptions like that in the legislation need to be addressed. That is why our party talked about getting Bill C-11 to the industry committee to have a fulsome discussion of its good parts and of what needs to be fixed and strengthened. Sadly, the current government has decided to send it to the ethics committee instead of where it should go. Some of the audience today might understand why. Because of the government's many ethical lapses and failures, it would like to use up all of the time it possibly can with other legislation, such as Bill C-11. Only ethics violations should really be discussed at the ethics committee. It is unfortunate that this is going to be pushed to the ethics committee. My hope for legitimate changes to the legislation may be muted by a rush to get through it, and it may not be given due diligence, as many Canadians are expecting it should.
I want to thank the Canadians who have come to me over the years to talk about their concerns around the way our data is collected. Many years ago I coined the phrase that our online data is essentially our digital DNA. It is who we are online, and we need to do all we can to protect the information and data of Canadians. In this new era of social media being in the public square, we need to do our due diligence as legislators to make sure that it is protected as much as possible. Unfortunately, although the effort is laudable, this legislation simply falls short. That is why, from our perspective, we want to see it go to committee and hopefully changes can be made there.
There is an old saying: “Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I do not think we can call this legislation good quite yet.
I wanted to thank some of the guests we had before us. There has been some discussion that not enough has been heard regarding privacy and digital issues online, but we had countless experts from Canada and heard from experts around the world. We heard from Shoshana Zuboff and many witnesses at our International Grand Committee who really set the blueprint for what can be done with digital and data privacy. We have a way to make it better.
Our Privacy Commissioner made many suggestions. We see some of those in this legislation regarding increased fines and stiffer penalties for big tech if they misuse people's data or have lapses with that. However, the legislation still falls short. My hope is that it gets to committee so the committee can get a really good eye on it and have the chance to propose some fixes to those exemptions and other holes in the legislation.
I look forward to any questions.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-04-19 12:33 [p.5786]
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Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies and I may be known around this place to rarely agree with each other, but I want to salute him for his leadership on this work. We are 100% aligned in that we need to do much more to, in his words, deal with the appropriation without consent of our digital DNA. I agree with him: It is unfortunate this is going to the ethics committee instead of industry, but it is one of those files that has feet in both committees.
What does he think would be the most important amendment to make to this legislation, or should we scrap it and start over as some critics are suggesting?
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View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her comments and kind words.
The most important thing would be to recognize privacy as a fundamental right or a property right. It needs to be recognized with that significance. The rest comes from that being at the top of the pyramid, because if that fundamental ideal is not there many other reasons can be made not to legislate appropriately. However, if that is the foundation we have a great place to go with the recognition of how serious data is. It really is our digital DNA. We need to protect it as such, and apply rules to big tech and other companies so they use it appropriately.
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View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2021-04-19 12:35 [p.5786]
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Mr. Speaker, regarding Bill C-11, the Privacy Commissioner has stated that he is concerned with the government's new definitions of commercial activity and consent rules. The current bill actually has much less protection of privacy than the previous definition.
I wonder whether the member could comment on that. Does he share those concerns? Should the government be making amendments in this regard?
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View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I do share those concerns. In my work as the former ethics chair, I have gotten to know our Privacy Commissioner professionally, and I really heard the case for having stringent protocols around data. Again, this bill is supposed to deal with those concerns, and I listed the exceptions, even for the requirement to consent. Members can use the analogies they want, but a truck could drive through it. When there are huge exceptions for uses of data this bill should tighten them up, not open them more widely and broadly. I think this is what needs to be addressed in committee, and my hope is that it will be at ethics.
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View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2021-04-19 12:37 [p.5786]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies for bringing to the attention of the House some of the errancy of Bill C-11. In particular he noted that this bill should be heading to the industry committee, and it has found its way back here because the Liberals are trying to prevent the ethics committee from doing its work on other very important issues, such as scandals. I acknowledge that.
The member also talked about some exceptions in the bill that would make it less effective than it should be, and I am wondering this: Are there any exceptions in particular that he finds particularly grievous?
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View Bob Zimmer Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, there are many provisions that might be legitimate, given that, between a bank and a person who deals with that bank, there are agreed-upon arrangements. However, there is an exception in place, where it says the organization may collect or use an individual's personal information without their knowledge or consent, if the collection or use is made for business activity described in subsection 2, and that description is for “any other prescribed activity.”
That essentially means the door is wide open for however that corporation wants to use that person's data. “Any other prescribed activity” means that if it decides it wants to use the data for x, y or z, that is up to the corporation. It does not appear to be up to the individual. Things like this need to be tightened up in the extreme. We also need to allow consumers, who want to have their data used, to give corporations their data for a good reason. It must have high fences, so that a corporation cannot use it for anything else and cannot sell it. The biggest concern I have, with all our understanding of data, is of people being manipulated by their data, and our kids being manipulated by their data. People's ever-increasing time spent on smart devices is concerning to everybody in Canada, and we need to make sure that corporations are only using data they are allowed to, in ways they are allowed to.
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View Stephanie Kusie Profile
CPC (AB)
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2021-04-19 12:39 [p.5787]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to be here today and to contribute to this debate on Bill C-11. I have been here for four years. It is hard to believe, as I just had my anniversary on April 3, that I have been serving the good people of Calgary Midnapore for four years, which I am so fortunate to do. At this point in my political career, if I do not believe that the messengers themselves are sincere, I have a hard time believing the message. It is really hard for me to think about and understand a policy if I do not have a lot of good faith in the individual or entity from which it is coming.
There stems one of the two struggles that I have with this bill: I do not genuinely believe in the sincerity of the current government to protect Canadians. I have seen this from many perspectives, both past and present. My second concern is a sort of generalization, but it still remains that I see the government doing things in a half-hearted effort. This is along the same lines as my first point about insincerity.
When I refer to my past experience with this, I am drawing upon my time as the shadow minister for democratic institutions. Bill C-11 is relevant to that because, during my time as shadow minister, the Digital Charter was announced. If not legislation, this was certainly an important policy announcement that was supposed to carry a lot of weight. At the time, we were debating Bill C-76, which would have major implications for future elections. The digital conversation, along with foreign interference and foreign influence, had a lot to contribute to the discussion around Bill C-76.
When the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry made his announcement at that time, along with the minister of democratic institutions, it felt very flat. It felt as though it was one of those commercials for children on a Saturday morning or, since the current government likes to insult Conservative institutions so much, perhaps a video from PragerU. It really did not come across with a lot of sincerity or a lot of teeth. It just seemed to do what the government likes to do, which is a lot of virtue signalling.
This bill also reminds me of the tribunal composition. It always concerns me a little when the government creates a body that has any type of implication in the direction of Canadians' lives or industry. I am thinking of the Leaders' Debates Commission, which I believe significantly impacted the debates framework in the last election. I recall the question from the member of Parliament for Provencher to the previous speaker. If we look back now, the debates commission included one of the Kielburger brothers. It is very interesting that we find this here today.
One thing I am concerned about within the framework of the Bill C-11 legislation is that the current government members always find a way to take care of their friends. We have seen this with SNC-Lavalin, which we are still dealing with the implications of here today as we go through the pandemic; with Mr. Baylis, the former member of Parliament; and, as has been alluded to before, the WE Charity scandal, which the previous speaker indicated. Unfortunately, this legislation is being sent to ethics rather than industry in an effort to delay that. Even in the context of Bill C-11 and what this is supposed to do, I worry about government members taking care of their friends.
I mentioned that the second part of my concern was that the current government does everything half-heartedly. I believe that includes this legislation, without question.
We look at the possibility of information being shared with other parties. The bill would allow an organization to transfer an individual's personal information to a service provider without their knowledge or consent. Regarding the right to have the collecting party delete collected information on request, it somewhat deals with that, but when I have tried to unsubscribe, in some situations it has definitely been unsuccessful.
We also see in the bill the right to opt out of the sale of personal information where an organization may transfer an individual's personal information to a service provider, again, without their consent or knowledge. This is a theme that I am seeing in terms of the government addressing things half-heartedly and Bill C-11 definitely falls within this.
Also, we have seen this half-hearted response with the pandemic from the very beginning in terms of the government's eliminating the warning system prior to the pandemic's arrival; the return of personal protective equipment, which showed such a lack of foresight for the necessity of its use not months later; and the slow closing of borders that we saw at the very beginning, and in my position as shadow minister for transport I have seen incredible, draconian measures that were inserted at a result of poor response earlier on. It is the same with any situation when the longer we allow something to fester, the greater the response it requires later on. Unfortunately, Canadians are paying the price of the inaction. There is also the rapid testing and of course vaccines, which is a complete failure of the government and of the Prime Minister .
I want to say to any Canadian who is listening to this speech, if they are upset because their business is closed, their children are at home and not at school, they have not seen their family in 18 months, there is a third wave, it is the fault of the Prime Minister for so poorly preparing for the later stages of this pandemic. This is another half-hearted response that I have referred to.
We have also seen this unfortunately within the defence committee. The government was willing to turn its back on women all across the country in not believing the stories and yet it is willing to investigate the unfortunate situation of the member for Pontiac, who is an incredible individual might I say. My husband and I had the good fortune of travelling to Israel with him and I will stand in solidarity with him.
In kindergarten, I was painting a picture and when I was done, I had taken off my smock and was standing there in my slip when my good friend, Kim Crocker, who I later had the pleasure of serving with in student council with in high school said to me, “You're standing there in your slip” as all the fine women of Calgary Midnapore did wear at that time. My point is the Liberals have turned their backs on women at the defence committee as well.
If there is something good to be said about this piece of legislation, in my capacity as shadow minister for transport, many right-to-repair organizations and the small repair shops across rural and suburban Canada have said that Canadians have the right to own their data.
Colleagues within the Conservative Party will argue that this is a property right and a human right. As we advance in the digital age, I believe more and more that this is a human right, that our history of data will one day be almost synonymous with our DNA.
I will leave it there. I do not believe in the government's sincerity of protecting Canadians. I believe that so much that the Liberals do is a half-hearted effort. For both of these reasons, I stand here today in regard to Bill C-11 with a lot of questions about the legislation, but the belief that I am not certain whether this legislation goes far enough.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2021-04-19 12:50 [p.5788]
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Mr. Speaker, when the member for Calgary Midnapore started her speech, she pretty much started and ended it the same way, which was by saying “I do not...believe...[the government's sincerity] to protect Canadians.”
I find that quote so incredibly troubling. It is one thing to come into this House to debate policy and to challenge each other to make better laws and better policies, but to suggest that somebody lacks sincerity to do good is just taking it to a whole new level.
If the member does not think that the government is sincere in its desire to protect Canadians, could she then share with us what she thinks the government is trying to do, apparently maliciously, to Canadians?
I think what the member means is that she is not happy with the legislation, but I do not think she means that the government and this side of the House lack the sincerity to try. Could the member clarify that?
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View Stephanie Kusie Profile
CPC (AB)
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2021-04-19 12:51 [p.5788]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, who we are all so familiar with at this point.
He is right. No, actually I do question the government's sincerity. More importantly for Canadians, as we head into the end of the spring session and into the summer, I question its competence. I actually think that is just as important, if not more so. There are always the two questions, is it evil, is it incompetent? Evil is a strong word, so I will not touch on that. However, incompetence, for certain, over and over again here.
To the member for Kingston and the Islands, he is correct. I would actually say it is perhaps more incompetence than insincerity.
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View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2021-04-19 12:53 [p.5789]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to expand on two points.
Bill C-11 leaves out an important aspect regarding online identity protection to prevent fraud, such as identity theft. In addition, the government is not addressing its own problems, since the bill does not apply to the federal government, even though the government's online identity checks are clearly inadequate.
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View Stephanie Kusie Profile
CPC (AB)
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2021-04-19 12:53 [p.5789]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
I did see that in the digital charter as well as in Bill C-11, but it is not enough, and that is not the only thing we saw that was inadequate. I think that is the case with all bills. Attitude is also a factor. In my speech, I gave a lot of examples where we can see that this was not enough.
In my opinion, it started two or three years ago with the digital charter. Bill C-11 is a good start, but it is not enough.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2021-04-19 12:54 [p.5789]
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Mr. Speaker, I agree with her, we absolutely need to protect people's data. I have the same sorts of concerns with the current government. I had the same concerns with the former Conservative government, as well, because it also failed to act and now people's private information is getting out in droves.
Could the member respond to that?
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View Stephanie Kusie Profile
CPC (AB)
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2021-04-19 12:55 [p.5789]
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Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of serving on the HUMA committee with my colleague from Winnipeg Centre. I hope that she is doing well. Unfortunately, we have never had a federal New Democratic Party government, so I would not be able to comment on its performance, had it ever occurred in Canadian history.
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-04-19 12:55 [p.5789]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to join the debate on this important issue, the data charter implementation act. I will be diving into what is a large bill and addresses a large spectrum of some of the issues we face in the world in which we live that have been exacerbated by COVID in so much of what we do, such as in this place, the evidence of which is that I am participating in this debate from Battle River—Crowfoot in Alberta. The fact is that digital has been transformed over the last number of months with COVID before us and I will be getting into different aspects of the bill, some of the things I think are laudable and some of the concerns that I have.
The previous member for Calgary Midnapore did a great job on her speech. I would note that we saw in the background that there is snow on the ground. That is certainly one of the interesting things about our country. It is often joked that if we wait a few minutes, the weather will change. That has certainly been the case in East Central Alberta. I would like to take a moment of my time to talk about the wildfires that started and were part of what has really consumed a significant amount of time over the last number of days.
It has been very dry in Battle River—Crowfoot since the snow melted and although there has been some moisture that has lessened the likelihood of those fires, I want to take a moment to thank all of the firefighters, volunteers and volunteer professionals. It is often a misconception that volunteer firefighters are somehow inferior to their full-time counterparts in the city. There have been a number of grass fires over the last week or so in my riding, but one particularly large one received a tremendous response. Four or five fire departments from different small communities reached out, worked together, along with hundreds of community volunteers, and put out this particular fire.
I would note how important it is that we take fire safety seriously at a time when moisture is needed. There was a little of it over weekend and I received more than just a few comments. Rarely are people thankful for snow in April, but those who saw the threat of fire were thankful for the moisture that came this past weekend. As a reminder to all those watching, they should be careful when they are in rural areas and there is such a threat of fire, as there is today, and thank all those who put their lives on the line to protect folks in this area and across Canada.
I will go on to the substance of what we are debating here today. There are two major parts to Bill C-11. Part 1 would enact the consumer privacy protection act and various aspects involved with the protection of personal privacy. At a time when everything we do is online, it is a significant topic of conversation that needs to be discussed. Part 2 would enact the personal information and data protection tribunal act, which would establish a tribunal to hear appeals related to personal information and privacy.
As the world has become more digital, so much of our lives is detailed online and so much of the information we see goes through a filter. I hear from constituents who talk to me about the things they see on Facebook or other social media platforms, even the advertisements they see when they google something or the fact that we even refer to searching for a term on the Internet as “googling” speaks to the extent to which our information is online. We certainly see the need for stronger protections to ensure that Canadians' data, their information and, ultimately, their rights are protected. Certainly, we have had a lot of conversation around privacy as a human right and, further, what the property rights are in terms of data that is online. We see Bill C-11 as an attempt to address that.
I have listened with great interest to some of the Liberal speeches on this matter, and a lot of the points brought up are certainly laudable in their goals. However, the proof will be in the implementation. There is certainly a lack of clarity. There are also no concrete measures outlined here to ensure that the goals and ideas talked about in the preamble, as well as the words spoken by the minister and various Liberal members, are actually translated into actionable items that do what is in the best interest of Canadians. This is of particular concern on an issue like this.
We have seen unprecedented scandal and mismanagement. We have seen a level of access to the highest offices in this land for those who can afford to pay and those who happen to have the Prime Minister and his staff on speed dial. A bill like this, where billions of dollars and corporate interests are at stake, should force every Canadian to pause to think about, when we say this will be implemented and it will be informed by regulation, what the process is between a bill's implementation and ensuring that it is effectively implemented through regulation. What sort of lobbying will take place? Who will benefit? I think these are valid questions that need to be asked.
We have seen that Canadians have very little trust in the Liberals when it comes to ensuring that their best interests are served when the Liberals are getting phone calls from their well-connected friends and the businesses that they associate with.
As this bill will likely go to committee, these are the sorts of questions that have to be asked to ensure that, when it comes to the data and privacy of Canadians, when it comes to being online, and when it comes to some of the transparency mechanisms, every aspect is clearly parsed out, so Canadians can trust that the regulations are not simply being sold to the highest bidder, those who have the most expensive lobbyists, or lawyers who happen to be able to get face time with those in the Prime Minister's Office.
Some will suggest that this is cynical, or that it is simply not true. We could go through a long list of the failures of Liberal scandal and mismanagement over the last five years. None is more obvious on that front than this reality. Using definitive language and a word like “reality” can often get politicians into trouble, but I say the reality is that there is a clear call to ban Huawei from Canada's 5G network, yet the Liberals, the government, have refused to act on that simple demand.
It leaves one to draw conclusions about who is able to influence the government's decision-making process. Conservatives have and will continue to stand up for the rights of Canadians and that includes the right for Canadians to have privacy online.
There are some laudable goals in this bill. I would suggest that all Parliamentarians here believe we need to address the issues that are brought up in this legislation. We have to ensure that we do that. The Liberals will, without a doubt, as they already have done today, blame the opposition for delay tactics, blocking committees and various other things.
The reality is that we have seen time and time again the Liberals bring something forward such as a bill. They will then demand it be passed, even though the very reason for some of those delays are entirely of their own making. However, they later learn that they made mistakes that could have been identified through things such as full democratic discourse and comprehensive committee research.
Earlier today, the Liberals blocked a motion that would have sent this to the industry committee. There is a reason this deserves full consideration, and certainly Conservatives are doing our part to ensure we have a fulsome debate, so Canadians can get the answers they need on this important subject.
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View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2021-04-19 13:06 [p.5790]
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Mr. Speaker, there are thousands and even millions of applications.
Some of these applications use games to draw people in, in the form of a quiz, for example. They then retrieve the information from the user's contact list. When the user gives their consent by clicking on the button, most often without carefully reading the rules, their contact list is sent to an organization or business.
I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about the flaws in the legislation when it comes to such applications.
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-04-19 13:07 [p.5790]
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Mr. Speaker, the question emphasizes how complex the series of issues surrounding digital privacy is. It could be an application a child installs on a phone. When we click on that “agree” button, rarely do people read the sometimes thousands of pages of terms and conditions we agree to. Sometimes it is enlightening to even just take a moment and see what one is agreeing to.
Although there have been steps taken by the private sector to address some of those things, for example, app stores having verified apps versus unverified apps and what not, this touches on the whole host of challenges associated with ensuring digital privacy and that Canadians ultimately have a right to ensure their data is protected.
Further to that, digital information often does not necessarily have clear borders. This is not only a Canadian issue. It is a worldwide issue, especially as servers often exist in different jurisdictions. There are many challenges that exist around that, which is why this debate today is so important.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2021-04-19 13:08 [p.5791]
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Mr. Speaker, the member will not be surprised to hear I am disappointed in some of the remarks he made during his intervention.
Toward the end, he expressed displeasure with the fact that the House did not pass the unanimous consent motion brought forward and that we stopped it. We also put one forward, which was identical, for this bill to go to the committee it was assigned to. I know there are some discrepancies and different opinions as to where the bill should go, but even the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said this bill has feet in both committees.
More importantly, the member talked about what has been going on in this House. There are so many pieces of legislation I would like to see us discuss here, such as conversion therapy. However, it took us, because of Conservative stall tactics, about seven months to pass the fall economic statement. Does the member really believe it is the Liberals who have been slowing down the legislative process in the House?
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-04-19 13:09 [p.5791]
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Mr. Speaker, there it is again. I find it unsurprising but incredibly troubling the sort of rhetoric that comes from that side of the House, especially when the simple answer to the question is that there was a delay of 35 days. That is the legacy of this Prime Minister, who is covering up his WE Charity scandal, and it is 35 days of delay because of prorogation.
The government is in charge of the legislative agenda of this House. It is incumbent upon every member of Parliament to stand up for their constituents and ensure their voices are heard. I hear the hon. member across the way speak so flippantly about this somehow being a Conservative problem, and he could not be more wrong. He and all members of the government should look in the mirror and acknowledge this is a Liberal problem.
Further, there have been bills related to COVID relief programs that have had to come back to this House three separate times. When it comes to debate, had there been fulsome democratic discourse in the beginning, they would not have had to come back three times to fix Liberal mistakes. I will take no lessons from the members opposite, who are somehow blaming Conservatives for a delay, when the reality is they are in government. It is their mistakes causing these problems, and there was a 35-day delay because of the Prime Minister's prorogation and the covering up of the WE Charity scandal.
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View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
2021-04-19 13:11 [p.5791]
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Mr. Speaker, I am always honoured to participate in parliamentary debates, especially when there is an important and pressing topic such as what we have in front of us today.
Stronger legal protection for both consumer protection and data privacy needs to be improved, and this is impossible to deny. It might be tempting to say that Bill C-11 is timely, but instead, we should be clear with ourselves that it is well past the time for us to address these issues.
The kind of improvements Canadians need are long overdue, and the government has been slow to act. For years the Liberals have done a lot of talking about it, but it always seems to take them a while to get around to doing anything. They have been talking about a digital charter for years.
This bill was introduced back in November. Five months later, we have had very little time to debate it so far in second reading. I hope they are looking at various ways to possibly amend this bill to get it right. As the official opposition, we want to actually get things done for Canadians.
As the world becomes more digital and interconnected, it is extremely important to make sure people are fully protected in every possible way. In this process, filled as it is with the promise and potential of amazing developments with technology, there are also risks. Each new form of connection can also provide openings to be used against people. Besides the usual bad actors who are always looking for any new occasion to commit crimes, there are more subtle trends that, if we are not careful to check them, could work against everyday people's best interests, such as through invasive levels of data collection. To put it simply, people are not products. We have to make sure they are never treated as such.
As Canadians, we must always ensure that our society upholds fundamental rights and truths. Every person, whether they are acting as a customer or a private citizen, should have the ability to manage their affairs as they see fit and decide for themselves who will have access to their property. They should not find themselves in a position in which they are living at the mercy of powerful interests, whether it is the private or public sector.
We should expect to see stronger protections for privacy and for personal information. There is some clear language in this bill concerning corporations and institutions. However, more importantly, what about when people are interacting with the government? Much more importantly, what about when the government decides to interact with the people, whether they want it to or not? We do not have to go too far back in the past to remember when Statistics Canada wanted to look through Canadians' bank accounts and financial information. This makes me wonder how this kind of thing will be handled going forward under this legislation.
Of course, there is a lot more that could be said about the many ethical scandals directly coming out of the government over the last five years. Is it any wonder that people would be second-guessing the government's commitment to handling their information? Let us go back, though, to what is already in the bill for private entities.
More than words, we need better and stronger protection in action. Is that what we can expect? A few weeks ago, the Privacy Commissioner spoke on Bill C-11. He said:
The government has set out important objectives for the bill, including increasing consumers’ control over their data, enabling responsible innovation, and establishing quick and effective remedies, including the ability to impose significant financial penalties. I support these objectives. Unfortunately, my analysis of the bill’s provisions leads me to conclude that they would not be achieved.
With further definitions and allowances made under this bill, he goes on further to say, “this would result in less consumer control than under the current law.” He also points out, “some of the new consent exceptions are too broad or ill defined to foster responsible innovation.” In particular, he says “one new exception is based solely on the impracticality of obtaining consent. Such an approach would render the principle of consent meaningless.”
Again, what will get this done for Canadians? I want to support this bill because of what it should be doing, but these types of points, as expressed by the commissioner, need to be thoroughly addressed at committee. Canadians deserve greater clarity from this process.
Aside from the government's own activities and operations, along with those of its various agencies, we have to question how much of a priority it is to protect Canadians from external threats to their privacy and security. How the government has handled Huawei might be the best example.
While the Liberals talk a big game when it comes to Canadians' privacy, their inaction on one of the most important and recent privacy concerns with Huawei shows that they do not actually take serious action. I ask member to remember last fall, when opposition parties passed a motion calling on the government to decide whether Huawei would be allowed to participate in Canada's 5G infrastructure.
The government has not only ignored Parliament on this issue. It has also ignored Canada's most important strategic allies. The rest of the Five Eyes alliance have taken decisive action to either ban or significantly curtail the role of Huawei in their telecommunications infrastructure, yet the Liberal government has not listened to their warnings. The United States, in particular, has played a vital role in pushing back against Chinese incursions into democratic nations' security and their citizens' privacy.
Based on its security intelligence, it has warned Canada that including Huawei's technology in our 5G networks would compromise our national security and the integrity of the Five Eyes partnership, yet the Prime Minister has done nothing. The Liberal government must finally have the courage to stand up to China and ban Huawei from participating in our 5G network.
While the government may pretend banning Huawei's participation would limit Canada's access to 5G, the reality is that there are safer options.
Last June, for instance, Bell Canada announced a partnership with Ericsson to help develop its 5G network across the country. Ericsson, of course, is based out of Sweden, with which we have excellent diplomatic relations. Both Sweden and Canada are dedicated to advocating for human rights around the world. Telus also partnered with Ericsson in addition to Nokia and Samsung.
Comparatively, Huawei has a proven track record of breaking the law and stealing information. In fact, Huawei was indicted by the American Department of Justice. To quote from its statement at the time, it charged Huawei for “stealing U.S. technology, conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, racketeering, and helping Iran to evade sanctions, amongst other charges.”
The Communist Party of China is the greatest threat to western nations, to national security and to the integrity of our institutions. If the government does not prevent Huawei from playing a role in our 5G networks, it will be giving the CCP a leg up in its quest to establish itself as the world's next superpower. Canadians are nervous about the role China is playing in their lives and the CCP's access to their personal information, and they should be. We know Huawei has close ties to the governing regime. Its founder is even a member of the CCP. This is the same oppressive government that, according to the allegations of its own citizens and residents, has harassed them while living here or has threatened their families in China.
When 5G finally takes off across the country, millions of Canadians' personal information will be transmitted through telecommunication infrastructure. We cannot in any way allow the Chinese government to get its hands on that critical information.
I have something else to say about the failure of the government to provide for rural Canada and for the needs of my constituents. The first principle of the digital charter is universal access. The government has failed to deliver on this need for rural and remote areas. Universal broadband funding has seen delay after delay.
I could speak on and on about various ongoing issues.
With rural broadband, as it is listed in the charter, the universal access side to it is extremely important. At this time of year, many people back home are looking to get into seeding, to get the crops in for the year. We are starting to see more and more how broadband and cell coverage is such an important factor in the practices of farmers, even for ranchers. It is vital infrastructure.
We say that we will vastly protect people's private information, yet we do not even have the infrastructure in place for people to connect to the Internet. If they do, when it is very slow and not responsive to them, it makes it even that much harder for them to be aware of what they are checking a box for or reading through. It makes it that much harder to properly download the information or to figure out what information will be taken from them. That, in and of itself, takes time and it takes a lot of effort. Therefore, when we have a serious conversation on protecting the needs and information of our citizens and we do not even have adequate infrastructure in place, we have to ensure we address some of those concerns first and foremost. This legislation will not accomplish any of that.
Getting to the principle of the bill, it is great we are having a discussion on this. We need to definitely address some of the fundamental concerns that the bill tried to raise. I look forward to continued debate on this. I also look forward to when the bill gets to committee, so we can see some amendments to it and we can start to take a serious approach to the needs of our constituents and of Canadians.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-04-19 13:21 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, our government brought forward the digital charter back in 2019. We recognized that Canadians were increasingly reliant on digital technologies to connect with each other, to buy goods and services or to access information. The new consumer privacy protection act would give Canadians more control and greater transparency over how companies would handle their personal information.
Would the member not agree that having a timely passage of the legislation is, in fact, in all our best interests, in particular the interests of Canadians?
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View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
2021-04-19 13:21 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, yes, it is important to ensure we have this debate and, yes, the timely passage of the bill would be great. However, the issue is that it has been five months, and this only the third day it has been up for debate.
Only one party is in charge of the legislative calendar, and that is the Liberal government. If it wants to see a timely passage of the bill, I would hope that we would have more opportunities to debate it and that there would not be four-month gaps between the times that are set aside for debate on such an important bill as this one.
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
View Rachel Blaney Profile
2021-04-19 13:22 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have seen again and again, and this concerns me, is that we often see the government trading off privacy rights and not looking at the other priorities. Could the member talk about how we can ensure that privacy rights are respected and that they can work with other priorities? It does not have to be one or the other.
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View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
2021-04-19 13:23 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, we definitely want to see a process that makes it very transparent and up front. We are starting to see a little more effort. For example, when we go to a website, we will see an acknowledgement that it uses cookies and we have the opportunity to go through it. We have a little more control over what kind of information the website may or may not be taking from us. However, we need to see that more transparent approach, particularly when the government is interacting with us. We need to see the kind of information it will using, gleaning and taking for its benefit. There needs to be more conversation and focus on that.
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View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2021-04-19 13:23 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague has brought up a lot of great points, especially around the issue of Huawei.
The House passed a motion requiring action from the government on Huawei, yet we have seen nothing. At the same time, it is bringing in Bill C-11, which has some laudable points in it, but does not address one of the biggest elephants in the room, which is Huawei. The government has refused to ban it from our country. Huawei is well known for stealing information and sharing it with the Chinese communist government.
I wonder if my colleague could tell me why he thinks the government is so reticent to ban Huawei, as the House has demanded.
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View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
2021-04-19 13:24 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, we continue to see a pattern over and over, where the government delays and decides to not take a principled approach or principled stand on these issues. The issue with Huawei goes much further than just simply whether it is the right company for 5G or not.
Number two in the 10 principles of the charter is safety and security, and we are talking about the safety and security of our citizens in Canada and abroad. We have been seeing a regime in place that is looking to use facial recognition software to persecute its own people. Our government needs to take a very serious, strong and principled approach when dealing with Huawei, respect the will of Parliament to ban Huawei from 5G and take a strong stance and make it known that Canada we will defend our citizens.
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2021-04-19 13:25 [p.5793]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to joining the debate on Bill C-11.
“One who wants to know is better than one who already knows” is a Yiddish proverb, and members know I have a great love of them.
However, I want to go through the legislation before us, because a lot of constituents have written to me with major concerns. It is not that they dislike the legislation per se. They agree, as many members have said, with the principles and content, but the bill falls far short of their expectations.
As the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has said, it is an issue of control, who controls the information. My personal belief is that property rights are a human right, and our digital presence, our cookies, the way we look is their digital private property and it should really be treated that way. We have a come to time where we should extend our conception of what is a property right to our digital presence.
I remember knocking on doors in Mahogany in my riding. A gentleman who worked for a large IT company was very concerned about deepfakes, the ability for people to create some really lifelike images, voices and mannerisms of other individuals and the possibility for it to be used for a nefarious purpose, to mislead, misdirect and also to get money out of people. Imagine what type of use people could get out of deepfakes. I think of the past few years where we have seen a lot of companies make immense strides in providing a digital picture of people who never existed, but they look so lifelike that it is so difficult to tell if they are actually deepfakes. They trick our eyes and brains to think they exist.
On the issue of control, I have had constituents bring up issues of Clearview AI harvesting through facial recognition technology, the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandals. Closer to home in Calgary, is Cadillac Fairview and what constituents have termed “secret mall surveillance”. There was a panel put up in different parts of the mall, one of the biggest malls in Calgary, that were collecting information off the images of people going in. I cannot remember what the purpose was, but it was stopped once many people started to raise issues with what the information was being collected for.
It is an issue of control. There are principles in this digital charter, and I do not want to go over them too much. However, I want to raise issues specific to things like the right to opt out of the sale of personal information. That is a really big one. The GDPR does this already as does the European Union.
Sometimes when people go online, depending on the country source for the product or service purchase, after having clicked through terms and agreements, because many people do not read those, it will ask whether they are opting out of the sale of their personal information. That is missing in this legislation, and it really should have been in there.
Many constituents, like Chris MacLean in my riding, raised this as an issue, saying that they would like to have more control to consent to where their information would go. I could imagine certain situations where people are fine with their personal information being sold, perhaps some of what they give a particular company is not much and they feel it could have some type of purpose or there could be some controls put in place. However, this legislation does not have that.
Then there are the consent exemptions. I want to focus a little more on this one. This issue has been of major concern to people in my riding. As I mentioned, Chris had issues with it, Kevin Silvester, Shelley Bennett and Randall Hicks had issues with it. There is a lot of them. The issue is “for a public interest purpose” is how the government has defined it, that is socially beneficial purposes, clause 39 is one of them.
It kind of lists off government institutions, public libraries, post-secondary educational institutions, any organization that is mandated under federal-provincial law or by contract with a government institution. What if it contracted out a large government youth program, like the WE charity, and then it ran it. What kind of personal information would be collected? I know it has been embroiled in its own scandals of late. The ethics committee met this morning and discussed it even further.
It continues on to point four. This is subparagraph 39(1)(b)(iv) under the disclosures made to any other prescribed entity. Then there is paragraph 39(1)(c), the disclosures made for socially beneficial purpose. That is such a broad definition. Who gets to decide what is a socially beneficial purpose? I could drive two Hummers through that definition, working for a contracted out organization, perhaps collecting information, processing a program, a service on behalf of the federal government. I have major issues with the way that is structured, because it allows so many exemptions to be provided in interactions.
When we read about these organizations, it is a lot compared with any other prescribed entity. There are no limits on this prescription. There are no limits on what the federal government could prescribe as an outside entity and then our information would be shared with them. That is a consistent concern that my constituents have. They mostly focus on the business angle of it, but we know that the federal government oftentimes has a lot of contracting out of services, including IT services and procurement services. For the construction of ships, for example, the government does not own shipyards; it contracts that service out and asks someone else to do it for the government. When they do that, is there not a possibility, because it is for a socially beneficial purpose, that the federal government could decide just to share information quite broadly? I have an issue with it because I do not think it does a great service for Canadians.
There is another issue I have with one of the definitions provided. It is the definition being used in the law for how personal information is defined. It says, “an identifiable individual”. The example that I gave, that many of my constituents give as well, is an example from Calgary when, years ago, Cadillac Fairview, which owns the Chinook Centre in Calgary on the Macleod Trail, was using facial recognition and surveillance information. Maybe they were just tracking the flow of pedestrian traffic through the mall, perhaps to plan where the doors should be; I do not know this, but if the benchmark being used in the definition is “an identifiable individual”, how much effort is a company going to put in to identify someone? That is what makes it identifiable. When I read through the legislation, I have a hard time grasping how far this could go. Is there an expectation that the companies will not keep this information at all because they did not make it identifiable, so it is okay? Is it because the image is too grainy? Is it because their name is so common that it could be just about anybody? It is an imprecise definition that could have really been beefed up from the beginning instead of taking it to committee in such an incomplete format.
Those are the issues I found, just reading through the legislation and after so many of my constituents wrote to me. They still have major issues. What they want to see is a significant number of amendments brought forward to fix the legislation. There are a few ways to do that. The government could just draft a new piece of legislation and table it again and have it go forward. There are a lot of good things in the bill, like many members have said, that make it salvageable.
At the committee stage, that is where they get into it. I do really believe this should go to the industry committee. It may want to bounce the bill around to the different committees. I used to sit on the Standing Committee on Finance in the previous Parliament, and the government would apportion the omnibus budget bill to different committees and look at the parts in order to have the expertise. So much of this is about corporations and businesses that it should really go to the industry committee. Again, it is the industry minister who has tabled the law.
On the issue of identifiable information, the definition should include such information as people's email address, obvious personal information like location information, gender, biometric data, web cookies, political opinions and any pseudonyms they might use so the company or the organization that is collecting it can combine it all together. It does not have to be a private organization; it could be a public one, it could be a charity doing this; who knows? That could have been a much better definition than simply leaving it very open-ended as “an identifiable individual”.
Another matter that a lot of my constituents have raised is the playing field between a Canadian company based here where Canadian law can easily reach it with the fines that would be levied; and then international companies, perhaps based in Latin America, in parts of Africa, in Australia and other countries that have different privacy laws and how we would be able to find them and also collect the fines on them. That whole mechanism and the fact of a tribunal of three to six people and only requiring one expert is another issue.
I have tried to lay out as many issues as I have heard from my constituents in my riding. I mentioned that some of them had very specific concerns.
Much of the legislation is on the right path, but there are so many shortcomings. Like the previous member said, the issues here are data privacy and control, regarding who controls the information and where it can go and that the legislation is still unclear in certain parts, regarding who can deal with it; and exemptions and exceptions being given. Those two different concepts need to be fleshed out more in the legislation. It should be done at committee. It should be done at the industry committee first. If it needs to go to the ethics committee afterwards, so be it; but the industry committee should deal with it first, immediately.
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View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-04-19 13:35 [p.5795]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the things at issue, in terms of protecting Canadians from a digital perspective, is that we are seeing a lot more identity theft. We are getting a plethora of scams, where people have obtained our personal information or email addresses and whatnot and come after us. Could the member comment on what this bill would do to address those concerns?
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2021-04-19 13:36 [p.5795]
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Mr. Speaker, as far as I can tell, not much new in this legislation specifically deals with those types of issues. We have all seen the phishing scams, even on Parliament Hill, where people pretend to be banks, financial institutions or credit unions. It looks so real and the interaction is so real that people feel it was actually sent by the named institution. There is a lot more that could be done and witnesses could be brought forward at committee who could deal with it, but the industry committee is the right committee to deal with this bill.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2021-04-19 13:37 [p.5795]
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Mr. Speaker, I noticed that the hon. member highlighted the discussion around privacy rights. Privacy is a fundamental human right and this bill would fail to protect privacy rights. In terms of protecting children, it goes in the opposite direction. It has loosened the regulations when other countries are strengthening the rules around protecting children. It continues with a broken model of consent that pits individuals against corporations and political parties, which is a power imbalance.
I would ask the hon. member whether he thinks political parties should be included in this legislation and bound by the privacy rules.
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2021-04-19 13:37 [p.5795]
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Mr. Speaker, I will speak about the first part of his observation on privacy rights. Privacy rights should be property rights. That is where we should go and expand it, and that is the way it should be understood. I talked about, for example, deepfakes and the concerns I heard at people's doors, specifically in Mahogany. I had a constituent who spent a lot of time explaining it to me. It has panned out in public media about the misdirection and ability of people to be misinformed on something that looks so absolutely real. It tricks one's eyes and ears into believing the person is actually saying what is being said.
The member talked about algorithms. Many of us have children. I have three kids and they just love YouTube, but sometimes I wonder where the algorithm leads them based on the choices they are making as they are clicking. More than once I have had to stop them because the algorithm has gone completely out of control and showed them things that no child who is 10 years old should ever be able to see.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-04-19 13:38 [p.5795]
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Mr. Speaker, I see Bill C-11 as legislation that offers world-leading privacy and data protection. It also has some of the strongest fines among the G7 privacy laws. This is legislation that Canadians would support and it even seems that members on all sides support the legislation.
The government does not have a process like opposition days where things are voted on automatically. We are very dependent on opposition parties recognizing the importance of legislation and allowing it to get to the committee stage. I wonder if my friend could provide his thoughts on whether he believes the bill should move forward. We have had many days of debate, for example—
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2021-04-19 13:39 [p.5796]
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Mr. Speaker, the member is the parliamentary secretary to the House leader. He is participating in setting the agenda. It has been months since this legislation came to Parliament to be debated. He should perhaps look at his own schedule to determine how many more days the government could do this. I read directly from concerns of my constituents, and I invite all members to do that. That is exactly what I did. I printed off the emails because I wanted to discuss their specific concerns. That is what each of us should be doing and that is what matters the most.
This is not world-leading legislation. The GDPR in the European Union is world-leading. This is not that.
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View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2021-04-19 13:40 [p.5796]
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Mr. Speaker, Bill C-11 imposes obligations with regard to the collection, retention and disclosure of personal information, which is good. However, it does not require businesses to verify that the person they are dealing with is who they claim to be before authorizing a financial transaction.
In the interest of regulating banking practices and reducing fraud, should we not be requiring financial institutions to institute robust identity checks to prevent fraudsters from stealing someone's identity and using their personal information? Should banks not be required to include the number of fraud cases due to identity theft in their annual statements? Should they not be required to contact anyone whose identity may have been used fraudulently?
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2021-04-19 13:41 [p.5796]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île for his comments.
I agree with the first part of his question and his idea. I think people need to provide valid and informed consent. Many of my constituents have the same concern about private businesses sharing their personal information.
I agree with the first part, but as far as the second part is concerned, I would like to hear more debate on the matter before taking a position.
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