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View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Through you to the witnesses, thank you for attending today.
Minister, I have two questions. The first one is that I don't really believe that Canadians have been properly advised—especially given your two portfolios—about the minority groups in Canada that you've talked about who are being targeted by ISIS, and about Canada's military mission and why it's needed.
Secondly, we're talking about military missions, but Canada's strategy and our government's initiatives have a humanitarian nature to them and a broader scope.
Could you talk about those two issues?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Could you talk about the government's broader scope and initiatives in the area? We talk about the military equipment, etc., but we're also doing humanitarian work in these areas.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
There is one other quick topic because of course it's been in the news recently. President Obama announced that the United States would be sending approximately 400 additional troops to Iraq.
Can you speak to whether there are any plans to expand our Canadian Armed Forces' role in Iraq?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
This is nothing but an obviously puerile, pathetic political move. What it's designed to do, quite frankly, is the following. As we approach an election, of course, somebody is trying to usurp the very important work this committee has to do, and that is to review legislation. This is parliamentary tradition in this country. This is the way this committee is set up.
My friend across the way says there are lots of other things we could study. There's no end to things we could study, but we are very much time limited in this Parliament, and I think what we need to do is get on with this.
Mr. Easter is great. He's been here 20-some years. He really knows how to pull political strings. He knows how to garner the limelight and how to get things in the limelight and to make accusations.
This committee is not a court. The Information Commissioner has done what she thinks is appropriate. He uses the right words when he says “alleges”. Every time somebody alleges something, if we're going to be sucked up into some kind of political move just to placate some people who want to score some points because they may not be doing well in the polls or something else, that's too bad. That's sad. But I won't be part of a political game.
We have legislation before this committee. Let's get on with it, and if we have time to study things appropriately before the end of the 41st Parliament, let's do it. But let's get on with the job at hand, and let Mr. Easter scurry over to the finance committee and do his tricks. Maybe the cameras will be on. He'll get a few minutes on the nightly news, to make an allegation that in the end will be moot, because the Supreme Court of Canada has said that Parliament is supreme. Parliament said destroy the records. The records are destroyed. End of story.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and to keep this appropriate and proper, through you to my fellow committee members, as was mentioned the people who really make this committee work, I call them the unsung heroes, are the Library of Parliament, our analysts, and the clerk.
I tell everyone I meet that the only non-political people, the people you can go to for a straight answer if you need one, the people who are always there to help you and not set little traps for you are those at Library of Parliament, the analysts and the clerks. These are the people who actually make this place work, the technicians, the folks who make sure we have enough to eat and drink, and see to our needs, like unplugging things and plugging things. And of course, there are the translators, who I think try to do their best to sometimes use the proper words when we can't find them.
After nine years on the committee and three parliaments, I must say that of the committees that I've sat on and been a part of during that time—of course, we sit in for our members—I always feel right at home at this committee. Despite my sparring with Mr. Easter, I respect every member of Parliament.
I was at a class of gifted students in three different grades and I always try to be somewhat apolitical. I tell them to talk to their parents, go on the Internet, find out who they are first, then see which political party best represents who they are and recognize, as I did, that you may change, that you may change your political views as time goes by.
Mr. Chair, when someone leaves this place—this is my second retirement—there's always some bitter sweetness and this is for sure is bittersweet. I have to say that in only one Parliament did this committee not work that well and it was a minority government, so things got pretty hairy. But, generally speaking, this is the best committee I've ever been on in both this and the last two Parliaments.
I must say, Randall, LaVar hit it right, when we went to another country, you represented yourself and us in the true style of what a member of Parliament in another country should do. You made sure there were differences, because there are, but you did it in a way that if we all used....I must admit if I used your tact and your way, I'd be prouder of myself at times. You are a true gentleman. Your whole team has reflected well on your party.
I don't think we've ever said anything truly hurtful to each other at this committee. When I had my little tirade with Wayne, it was political in nature, it was not personal in nature, and I think he understands that. I think we all do.
Everybody sees us during question period and I call it a blight on our democracy because we should respect our political leaders, but that respect has to start with us. I always say that question period starts off with the question: “Why are you the worst government that ever existed? You're a bunch of liars and cheats, etc.” Then we get up and respond: “We are the best government that ever was and you can blah, blah, blah”. If we want people to respect us, we need to respect each other and we need to show that. I don't think that's ever going to stop with question period.
Behind the scenes, we have our political handlers, we have the people who feed us the questions, we have the things we're trying to say. Hopefully, someday, Randall, we'll adopt a kinder, gentler way, and I hope I'll see that, but I don't think I'll see it in my lifetime, but it may happen.
This is the time, when you're leaving, as Shakespeare said—of course, I'm not dead, but I'm referring to my political career—“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. Let's just say I'm burying all the old bones, and I'll try to have nothing but good memories of this place.
To all of you from me, a very heartfelt thanks, and an apology if you felt hurt by anything I said. It was strictly political, and we know we all hold different views, but we all have—as Diane mentioned in her hope—the best interests of our country at hand. If we always remember that, I think this country will continue to be the best place on God's good earth to live, to raise a family, and to work.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and through you to the witnesses, thank you for attending today.
First of all, let me just tell you quite frankly, Mr. Lapensée, that I cannot think of a more professional organization than your organization. When I started this job about nine years ago, I felt totally safe, and I continue to feel totally safe and totally proud of the fact that I have a group of men and women who are there to make sure that my day goes well and that we are protected to the extent possible for any human being. Please don't take any of my questions as a slight to that statement, because that statement is the first one.
You were asked the question of how you compare with other legislative assemblies. We have, of course, 10 legislative assemblies in Canada. Because of my background with the Ontario Provincial Police for 30 years, I am familiar with the Ontario Government Protective Service, which oversees the protection of provincial members of Parliament in Ontario. Its umbrella organization or overseer is the Ontario Provincial Police.
I know of no instance where the Speaker of the legislative assembly saw a problem with the Ontario Provincial Police in their functioning with the Ontario Government Protective Service. You may have some information, and if you do, please give it to this committee. Are you aware of any instances where there have been problems with that type of organizational structure?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm given to understand that the Ontario Provincial Police oversee, or are sort of the umbrella, but that the actual provision of the service is done by the OGPS, which is somewhat similar but not identical to what we're dealing with here today. I am not that familiar with it.
I also want to say, Mr. Lapensée, that in my experience policing is of course transitional. In the Ontario Provincial Police, we amalgamated with other police forces. Change is painful. I understand that. There are always questions in people's minds.
But what I have found with that type of change in professional organizations such as yours, where everyone knows his or her job function, is that given a healthy dialogue or exchange between your organization and management—which would be the Speaker of the House of Commons and then, of course, the Privy Council.... We've had witnesses from the Privy Council who have indicated that not all the nuts and bolts have been put together here, but the outline is here.
The Auditor General has made some statements, and I'm going to ask a couple of questions of him.
I guess the question for the Auditor General would be on the way I understand your job. As explained here, you don't look at the nuts and bolts. You say, “Okay, what is the job requirement?” What's the organizational structure? What are they supposed to be doing and are they actually doing it? Also, are they doing it with reasonable financial backing? Do they have sufficient money to do the job they're doing? Then you make recommendations.
If you find fault with what I've just said, would you correct me on that?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
So you would look at an organizational chart from the view of whether it appears to be sufficiently efficient to do the job it's supposed to do.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Would you agree with me that having organizational structures consisting of several different silos but with communications between them would be less efficient than an organizational chart with clearly defined roles and an ability for people exercising their duties within that single organizational chart, as opposed to several organizational charts...? Do you agree that the flow of information, the efficiency and effectiveness of that single organizational chart would tend to be better than having several different organizational charts and several different organizations?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
You say the act is only about disclosure, and disclosure means to the person whose passport is being.... I'm asking these questions as a citizen or one of my constituents may ask me.
I'm going to know that my passport is revoked, and if there's any question around public safety, specifically national security, that there's certain information that may not be disclosed to me. That would be reviewed by a judge who would determine, by meeting a threshold, that it's reasonable and proportional under the circumstances that the passport is being revoked or cancelled at that time.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
That's correct, but it would be one omitting any information that might endanger the life or the source of information of such a nature as it would begin to cause Canada a problem with her allies and/or disclose a source that would imperil someone's safety.
Mr. John Davies: Yes.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you very much.
You also mentioned some of the.... The question was about the definition of national security. We understand that certain acts have definitions in them, and you alluded to several different acts that mention what national security means. But in its simplest form, could you, for the benefit of my constituents, for someone at home, describe, through the chair, what you would tell them national security really means under these circumstances we're discussing today?
It's nice to use legal terms, but when my constituents ask, I need to be able to explain it to them. It's not that they're less intelligent than we are, but they don't deal with the specificities of the law every day.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
It was important, I think, in the statement you just made, that if there is any kind of question as to whether or not it is national security, it would go before a justice to make a determination whether that is indeed correct.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
For those very concerned about the rights of the person whose passport is being temporarily suspended or cancelled or revoked, there is an appeal process that goes before an independent party, a judge, who makes those determinations. It's not the heavy hand of the state.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
If somebody were to ask me, and you were sitting at the table with me and we were talking about what reasonable and proportional is, I think we would all have a reasonable understanding of “reasonable”. But when we talk about proportional, we're talking about the seriousness of the situation, aren't we, and whether the state is being reasonable under the circumstances?
Could you give me an example that you may be aware of in which proportionality would have to be weighed by a justice?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Just as a quick last question, we hear in the news about someone, mainly from among younger persons but not necessarily, who may be going over to another country to take part in a jihadist action or something to that effect. Let's say that the passport is going to be temporarily revoked for an individual like that and the individual says, “Really, that's just a rumour; I'm just going over to see my aunt or my uncle, or my cousin is getting married.”
If the government oversteps its bounds of reasonableness, that person appeals to a judge and the judge decides. Am I correct there?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
That's a protection to the public to make sure that the wrong people aren't being prohibited.
Ms. Ritu Banerjee: That is correct.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Thank you.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and through you, thank you to the witnesses for appearing today.
Thank you for mentioning the need to make firearms regulations more simple so that the average person who owns a firearm, or even a pellet gun, or a BB gun, can rationalize its use. I'll be asking another witness a different question, based on my grandkids, but let's get around to some of the testimony that was given and to some of the questions asked at our last meeting.
You mentioned in your opening statement that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters delivers a hunters safety course on behalf of the Province of Ontario. I guess it would be more appropriate, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, to say that it's in collaboration with the Province of Ontario, based on a curriculum that you both have agreed to. You also mentioned that you give the firearms safety course in conjunction with the federal regulations.
Would it be correct to say, with regard to the 100,000-odd members of your organization, that you speak on their behalf, and that the credibility of your voice would be representative of most hunting and fishing organizations throughout Canada, with whom you converse on a regular basis, from coast to coast to coast? In your opinion, would you say that most would be agreeable not only to this bill but to the opinions you've expressed here?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Would you say that one of the primary responsibilities you would take on as an organization, and your members accept wholly, is that you are conservationists first, because you want to conserve our fish species and you want to conserve the game animals that we hunt? I say “we” because I am a member. I am an avid hunter. I'm also a member of Safari Club International.
Would you not agree that conservation is the number one issue that we deal with, and that your members, in addition to conservation, simply want to be able to engage in angling and hunting, and want those laws that govern those two activities so that they can understand and properly teach their children and other people proper fishing and hunting responsibilities?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for mentioning that, because that was actually going to be my next question.
To your knowledge, based on the fact that you are intimately involved with hunting and fishing, not only in the Province of Ontario but across this great country of ours, would you say that some folks wouldn't realize that, if this legislation does not go through, some—and I will say so publicly—overzealous police officer who goes into a house and sees a BB gun in the corner might look at the Criminal Code and say, “My goodness, there is a charge here”?
Most police officers wouldn't lay a charge unless there were some other indications, something very serious in conjunction, but would you agree that if we leave the Criminal Code and firearms regulations in such a complicated way, because of a whole mishmash of different people who think they are doing good things, the majority of those folks who want to engage in a lawful, peaceful, and healthy pastime could end up being on the wrong end of the law?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
The following questions are primarily directed towards Dr. Austin.
Dr. Austin, I know there are records kept in hospitals with regard to injuries. Would I be correct to say—you're a pediatrician—that most of those injuries involving young people are fairly serious injuries such as knocking out of teeth, injured eyes, and concussions, which would be the result of games like hockey, baseball, being hit in the head with a bat, and a hockey puck in the mouth? I have a few teeth missing because of playing hockey when I was very young. Also, I wonder if there are statistics with regard to knives. I do know that with my grandchildren and me, one of the first weapons we were given as Boy Scouts and as hunters—we're hunters and fishers—was a knife.
Yet, as a pediatrician, I don't see you advocating for the registration of knives, baseball bats, or even Nerf guns. My grandkids, who are going to be visiting today to see grandpa near the end of his career as a politician, got some Nerf guns. I know for a fact that their mom and dad are explicit that they don't shoot near the eye, because if you use a Nerf gun and it hits the eye, it can cause an eye injury or, for sure, pain.
I wonder whether you would like to comment on that, as opposed to just firearms, because we're singling them out because they look bad: there's that firearm that you said really looks intimidating. I was a police officer for 30 years and there are replicas; there are plastic guns.
We had an incident where an intellectually challenged young man was sitting by the highway with a plastic gun and he didn't realize what was happening. Of course, police were dispatched and a very bad thing could have happened.
Why do we have to make criminals out of parents and young people because they put the BB gun under the bed or in a closet that wasn't locked?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
No, but my companion here is nodding his head yes.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and through you to the witnesses, thank you for being here today.
Minister Kenney, our government recently increased DND's escalator to 2%. In the coming years, that will increase to 3%. You've already indicated several areas in which this will impact DND and Canadian Forces long-term funding. I've always believed that politics are all local and that the people who pay their taxes that we're spending on our Canadian military need to know in practical terms what that means to the Canadian Armed Forces and to them.
You've mentioned, of course, that the budget keeps increasing—personnel, salaries, etc.—but what can they look forward to with these additional funds that they can be proud of in regard to what their government is doing for them?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for mentioning that. Having been in uniform for 30 years, I know how important it is to have the proper uniform and equipment to do your job.
When I asked about the practical implications, that development at CFB Trenton—which is currently in my riding and will be in the new Bay of Quinte riding—means more than just the $800-million-plus that we've spent on infrastructure at the base. What it means to the community, Minister, as I think you've reminded me of in the past, is that payments in lieu of taxes go to that municipality so they can complete their infrastructure and the municipality doesn't have to raise taxes on the local people. Those kinds of investments at our bases, etc., have a multiplier effect.
My next question would be for Minister Fantino.
Thank you for being here, Minister. The main estimates show that there is an increase of $16.1 million to the Communications Security Establishment to further support their mandate. Without getting into any details on specific operations, because I know there is confidentiality around that, can you explain why this is necessary to protect the interests of Canadians in this new day and age?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Minister.
Minister Kenney, another important element that we've been talking about, and it's substantive and once again relates to CFB Trenton and many other locations, is the Canadian Forces' search and rescue function. Can you comment on the current state of Canada's search and rescue equipment and any plans to replace and upgrade this equipment?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Minister, in previous questioning my Liberal friend across the way failed to mention a $600 million cheque written by the then Liberal government for the cancellation of the EH-101s, which we now have to buy at about two or three...and you can comment on the real cost of that. Today translated—I am told by military personnel who are now retired, because they don't speak when they're not retired—that would equate to over $1 billion in today's dollars, well in excess....
Of course, one of the great purchases by the previous government for a buck was some submarines that at a great cost now are of benefit to our navy. I wonder if you could comment on how much it cost to refurbish those?
In regard to improvements to the LAVs , the previous Liberal member in my riding talked to my Rotary club about this great deal for us that we know had no safety components, and of course we now have improved LAVs and I know that our government improved their capabilities because of the experience in Afghanistan.
I think one of the benefits to our soldiers was the use of the Chinooks in Afghanistan so they wouldn't have to drive over roads peppered with IEDs. We had to buy back or borrow Chinook helicopters from the Dutch, I believe, that still had Canadian markings on. Now we have of course ordered Chinooks.
All politics are local. At CFB Trenton I was present when the then leader of the opposition, along with Mr. O'Connor, who was your predecessor as Minister of Defence, talked about our strategic and tactical lift, which means a lot to the people of Trenton because to facilitate those two abilities of our air force, we had to begin a huge capital project—and not only at CFB Trenton.
So I wonder if you might like to comment on some of the issues that I have brought up?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
I really enjoy being told that it was a previous Conservative member of Parliament, a cabinet minister and actually prime minister, who brought in the original FACs, which the outdoors community had no problem with. It's only when the Liberals tried to up the ante and brought in the long-gun registry.... She never brought that into law and quite frankly would not have gotten it past most Conservatives in this country. I need to get that out of the way.
When the opposition talks about tracking sales, that's code for a new kind of registry through the back door; that's what it's all about. In actual fact, they're not entirely wrong, because under the old FAC, there was a tracking of it, and we might have had something like that anyway without all the kerfuffle, but the Liberals, always trying to one-up everybody else, brought in the long-gun registry, and we know what that caused in this country: great debate.
I'd also like to talk about safe storage and proper handling of such things as BB guns and pellet guns. For the edification of those here, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters works in partnership with the Ontario government in delivering the hunter safety courses. Of course, because they support this legislation, one would have to assume that their partners in education also would support this piece of legislation, which I agree with you is simply bringing common sense back. Here's what you would have.
We have, of course, mostly young people using BB guns and pellet guns. I know my two grandchildren have received gifts of those, and their fathers go out with them to teach them proper firearm safety such as you talk about. The opposition talk about the value of education. I'd like to talk about the value of education as given by mom and dad. We don't need the big hand of the state in every form because in some legislators' eyes you can't trust mom and dad to do the good thing but have to have the state do it. My dad taught me firearm safety beginning with BB guns. So I have to agree with you there.
Here's the problem I have with the current legislation, if we don't adopt this bill to deal with a flaw in the law. We potentially could have a lot of young people ending up in young offenders court because they put the BB gun in a closet and didn't lock it up or didn't put a trigger lock on it. That's what would happen, as far as I'm concerned, because police officers, like anybody else, each interpret the law, and that's why all the laws say a police officer “may” charge.
When I became a police officer, we were told that you lay a highway traffic offence when a warning won't suffice. I can tell you, having a son in the police, that the education is completely changing. It's that you charge people first, unless you think a warning will suffice. So there is a change.
I have to agree with you. When any private member of Parliament sees something that they think needs to be corrected in law, it is their right to bring legislation forward. To suggest that any member of Parliament bringing a private member's bill forward who happens to be part of the governing party shouldn't bring it in, that it should be the party that does so.... You're right: we have a duty as legislators to do it.
If you wouldn't mind, given what we heard about injuries that could be sustained by BB guns and pellet guns, could you talk about the injuries that could be sustained by knives or baseball bats? I wonder whether you'd like to talk about any of the subjects that I've just ranted over.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and, through you, to the witnesses, particularly the minister, for appearing today.
Minister, in your opening remarks you mentioned the additional fiscal room, particularly around the $300 million in budget 2015, which will be going towards national security measures. I'm wondering if you could expand on that a little by talking about the fiscal support and what that enables in terms of the tools and the additional support our security agencies need to do their jobs.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Minister.
Perhaps I could change topics a bit. You mentioned, of course, in addition to your previous remarks, the national disaster mitigation program. As we know, in many areas, and in particular in western Canada, there was some major flooding. I wonder if you could talk about the proactive or preventative program—because it makes a lot of sense—and how it should help the provinces plan for future events and mitigate damages.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses for attending here today.
In my riding is the municipality of Port Hope, and of course this government has committed significant funds over the years to the cleanup of low-level radioactive waste, which was not necessary for health reasons because Health Canada did multiple studies and found that there were no diseases caused by this. What did occur in this community was a lightning rod for the anti-nuclears from all around the world to come here and tell us how to do our job. The good thing is that Natural Resources Canada, under the ministerial leadership since we've taken office....
I wonder if you could give, for the benefit of Canadians and my constituents.... I believe in 2001 a previous government allocated funding for the low-level radioactive cleanup. I forget the exact amount, but it was between $250 million and $300 million. My complaint upon election, and several years later, was that all of that money was used for meetings and licensing requirements, and not one teaspoon of soil was moved.
I went and lobbied a previous natural resources minister that we needed additional funding because of the problems that were caused to this community unnecessarily, which caused a very negative economic hardship to the community, so much so that some local businesses were closing down and people were...from the cities because of the negative press, primarily through the Toronto Star—which I refer to as the red star—which said some very uncomplimentary things about the community that were not substantiated by scientific fact.
I wonder if you could let the community know about the $1.2 billion investment that this government is making to finally, in a world-class way, clean up the low-level radioactive waste.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
We are pleased, in the community, although we always want things to happen a little faster, but things are happening and it's very positive. Just for the folks at home and any constituents who will be reading the blues, this is a world-class cleanup. For communities from around the world that have low-level radioactive waste and are looking at ways to clean it up, this is a.... The rest of the world is looking at this as the way to do it. I thank you for that.
I'll move along to some other very important issues. Canada has the world's longest coastline. We have the second-largest land mass, and some 80 million tonnes of oil is shipped off Canada's east and west coasts. Responsible resource development, of course, is an important part of the government's economic plan to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.
Could you let us know how the government is working to protect Canada's water from ship pollution and to help ensure that marine transportation is done in a safe and efficient way?
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for appearing today.
I worked in northern Ontario back in the mid- and late eighties. The Shell Oil Company had two pellet plants that produced wood pellets in the area that I worked in, Iroquois Falls and Hearst, Ontario. I had a wood pellet furnace. It wasn't a furnace; it was a boiler. But I also had a European-style electric boiler. It ended up both were economical, except that the wood pellet required a little more energy to clean out every now and then, so I went with the easy way out, and like electricity, took the path of least resistance.
We're dealing with technology from the mid-eighties, some intellectual property. Have any of you considered going to a company like the Shell Oil Company and asking them for a feasibility study as to how to use your biomass to produce wood pellets? I'm told they only use steam and the natural lignin within the wood. There are no adhesives, so it's very environmentally friendly. I wonder if either of the northern governments have done any exploration on that end, because that company is very familiar with that particular technology.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, and just for your information, there were two reasons that those two communities and the Shell company ceased production.
The first was that all of a sudden natural gas became much cheaper. There was a decline in the cost of natural gas, so the efficiency or the economic reasons diminished. As well, there was a slowing down of the lumber industry; they got most of their biomass from bark and sawdust. But you're right, the technology.... I've done some research into it in the past, and you can chip your wood, etc.
Also, I don't know if you explored this, and I suspect it is a bit far-reaching for you, but in northern Ontario they're considering using biomass to produce ethanol, and of course, ethanol goes a long way to stretch your petroleum dollar. So I wonder if you've looked at various enterprises.
The other one is just to use either sawdust or wood chips to fire into a boiler at high speed and high temperature, and do something like they do in some of the Scandinavian countries. I know in Hearst, Ontario, most of the schools as well as municipal buildings were all built very close together, so you could have one power plant produce heat for a number of buildings. Have you looked into that? In most northern communities the buildings have been built close together.
Have you looked at that as energy efficient, not necessarily using biomass to make pellets but using different forms of biomass to produce heat? I'm told it can be self-sustaining also. You produce steam, which can be used to generate electricity.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Don't be so quick to be judging—
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The guiding principles within the act—specifically this is the anti-terrorism act we're dealing with—state specifically that “entry into information-sharing arrangements is appropriate when Government of Canada institutions share information regularly”.
Mr. Chair, I think that all this subamendment would do, quite simply for folks at home, is to just add another layer of bureaucracy, another hoop for people to jump through. I think what I just read is a guiding principle that all government agencies utilize currently. I think this is absolutely duplicitous, and I don't think it's necessary. It's just one additional step that we don't have to go through.
That would be my submission.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chair, Mr. Easter finds it necessary to be rather preachy about the motivations of what's happening with the government. We have never, on this side of the table, impugned the motivation of that member and I don't intend to do so.
He says there's a mistrust out there. I think it's the reverse. People have an expectation of this government to keep their safety in mind and to make sure that the evolving threat is adddressed. The threat's evolving. It's not static. The bad guys are constantly trying to find ways around how this country works and trying to use our freedoms against us. I believe that this act is a good balance for that. We need to be prepared and that's what this act does.
The officials time and time again, over the sharing of information, have said there's nothing in this act.... As a matter of fact the act is specific. It says right in there that we have to obey the current rules as far as information sharing goes. Every time we try to say this is just adding another layer, somebody accuses us of some clandestine motivation. All we want to do is put forward a simple change in the way we do things because there is a change in the way the bad guys are trying to get at us. That's what this bill does.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I believe that the security of Canada information sharing act would create clear authorities to share information. The manner in which this information is collected and used will continue to be governed by the receiving institutions' existing legal obligations and restrictions, including the Privacy Act's framework for the collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of personal information by government departments and agencies.
Canadian would and should expect that if one branch of government is aware of a threat to their security, this information would be shared with other branches of government in order to protect Canadians. The legislation has robust safeguards built in to protect the privacy of Canadians. We are not going to privilege the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I believe that the amendment is redundant and unnecessary since the new act does not create an obligation to share information. The institution retains that discretion to share or not to share information.
I think Canadians would expect that if one branch of government is aware of a threat to Canadians' security, that information would be shared with another branch of government to protect them. The legislation, as I mentioned before, has robust safeguards built in to protect the privacy of Canadians. I repeat that I am adamant, Mr. Chair, that we are not going to privilege the rights of terrorists over the rights of Canadians.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. To my friend, I always act as if hope springs eternal, but I do have some issues here.
I believe the information sharing act is intended to foster information sharing by all government departments and agencies, including those with no traditional national security responsibilities, with designated recipients.
Requiring information sharing arrangements for all information sharing under the act would be impractical. It also has the potential to be contrary to the act's potential intent, as information sharing could be delayed while the arrangements are being negotiated.
I would think that Canadians would expect that if one branch of government were aware of a threat to their security, I repeat, this information would be shared with other branches to protect them.
As I mentioned before, Mr. Chair, this legislation has robust safeguards built in to protect Canadians' privacy.
Thank you.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Well, I somewhat agree with my friend across the table, Madame Lefebvre. However, this amendment is redundant, as the Privacy Commissioner already possesses the authority to carry out investigations of any complaint in relation to the Privacy Act. Moreover, section 38 of the Privacy Act authorizes the Privacy Commissioner to make a special report to Parliament on any matter that he or she has in relation to the Privacy Act, period.
Lastly, under section 72 of that act, all government institutions, including Public Safety Canada, must submit an annual report to Parliament on the administration of the Privacy Act. These authorities would cover the sharing of personal information pursuant to the security of Canada information sharing act.
I don't know why we have to keep repeating things. That officer in Parliament already can single out, if he or she wishes, any particular breach or any concern they have with regard to the Privacy Act.
So I repeat, this amendment is redundant.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm reluctant to vote yes to this. I think the current arrangement is ample. I'll tell you why.
Currently, most of our airports—for sure the large ones, but most of our airports—are separate entities that operate in municipalities. Some municipalities are policed by the RCMP; for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, it is Peel Regional Police; in other jurisdictions, it's the Ontario Provincial Police—et cetera.
What this is requiring is to have an officer specifically assigned to duty at an airport. I can think of many small airports at which there might be four or five flights a day. I just think this is creating a burden where one need not be created. There have been no instances in which we have received, to my knowledge...there may be some, but no instances in which there were no officers available during a time of crisis that I can go into detail of—the ones I'm aware of—but there were police officers onsite. And if I remember correctly, the larger airports do have a 24-hour police presence.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I thank Mr. Garrison for some of his thought processes there. That got my thought processes going. In any of these consultations that he's done, I wonder if he's ever heard of a police department that refused to or that didn't send a police officer upon request.
I cannot think of any police department in the Dominion of Canada that, when asked for assistance in order to have people “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” would have said, “No, we're not coming.” They may have said that they couldn't come right away and would be there in a few minutes, but my experience in policing, although it's limited to Ontario, is that this would be a legitimate call for assistance and that it would be fulfilled.
I can understand that where we want to put everything in writing, well, then, I think it would be too much to handle. Really, I cannot see where a police department, when called by an airline that's saying they're going to give a person some bad news and their clerk or assistant is very concerned for her or his safety.... I'm sure they would send a police officer.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The intent of this provision is to give judges flexibility in granting a remedy on appeal. In some cases the court may consider it more appropriate to send the matter back to the minister for remedial action. This could happen, for example, where significant new information was presented since the original decision, or there has been a procedural irregularity. In these cases there's a strong public interest in maintaining the person on the list until the minister reconsiders the decision. The government therefore cannot support this legislation.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I believe the provision in Bill C-51 would allow the presiding judge to see all information relevant to the government's actions while still protecting sensitive information from public disclosure. The provision ensures fairness to the applicant while giving judges flexibility to consider information from a variety of sources. There is no reason to limit the judge's discretion in the manner proposed by this amendment.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The passenger protect program has been in existence since 2007. The government committed to enhancing the passenger protect program as a part of its response to the final report of the Air India inquiry. The proposed secure air travel act would provide a more solid legislative foundation for the passenger protect program and would reflect the new mandate under the purview of the Minister of Public Safety. The legislation provides strong safeguards, such as privacy protections, and more streamlined judicial review mechanisms. The bill also includes privacy safeguards, such as clear prohibitions on the disclosure of information except for specific purposes.
Mr. Chair, I believe that's sufficient to support the current legislation and not the amendment.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
We all pick and choose, to answer my friend across the way. Throwing a little potshot, as he is wont to do very often and being holier than thou, I don't think is incumbent on any of us. We do pick and choose here. We choose the amendments or not because we feel they are either enhancing the legislation or they're not. I don't want to cast aspersions. If it's so bad, then I'm sure the honourable member will be voting against it because he doesn't speak very positively about it. We can do these things or we can...but casting aspersions about other people isn't becoming, I don't think.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I won't repeat what I said with regard to NDP-13, except to say that I hope that the threat of terrorism goes away tomorrow, but I believe that when this act is no longer needed and becomes redundant, I am sure that our elected officials in Parliament, no matter who they are, would review any of the legislation if it isn't needed or acted upon. Until that occurs, I think we need legislation such as Bill C-51 to make sure that Canadians are afforded the best safety possible in a world that's very insecure.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
This amendment would remove the lowering of existing legal thresholds for obtaining a terrorism recognizance with conditions under subsection 83.3(2), and the terrorism preventative arrest provisions of subsection 83.3(4), because it proposes to delete all of Bill C-51's amendments in this area. However, this amendment would leave in the provisions of the bill that would propose the extension of judicial remand and the recognizance with conditions scheme from three to seven days, with periodic judicial review.
The proposed amendment is inconsistent with the scope and principle, I believe, of this. I believe it is inconsistent with the scope and principle of Bill C-51, which seeks to make it easier to obtain a terrorism recognizance with conditions by removing the proposed lowering of the legal threshold. Therefore, we'll not be supporting it.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The amendment would change the current law, which requires that a police officer “suspects on reasonable grounds” that the detention of the person in custody is necessary in order to prevent the carrying out of a terrorist activity. Given the serious nature of a terrorist activity and the potential harm it could cause, raising the grounds here to “believes on reasonable grounds” would make preventative arrests more difficult, and thus would be inconsistent with Bill C-51's legislative objective to facilitate the use of these terrorism prevention tools, which, I might add, has been supported by the Supreme Court in the past.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I also recall the evidence, and I am not bringing in to disrepute the pieces of what the RCMP Commissioner and other police officers said, but when they were asked in general terms if this piece of legislation would be of assistance to them in carrying out their job and keeping us safe, there were emphatic in their positive response. The answer was yes.
For the edification of a lot of folks, we hear the Bar Association, etc.... I don't recall, in the nine years I've been here—and of course I am sure Mr. Easter will sling some really cool remark across, given his expert time as a politician here—I don't recall them ever coming before any committee I was on—I was on the justice committee and I've been on this committee for nine years—where they've never agreed with any piece of legislation we brought in. As a matter of fact, I think the best thing they ever said about one of the pieces of legislation was “Well, it really isn't needed; it's basically redundant and it isn't needed.”
I am going to remind folks of a few statements, and then I will tell you from where I extracted them and what bill they refer to:
[The] bill...is far-reaching legislation. In several respects, it calls into question many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy, some of them hard won, rights and freedoms that should not be abridged without good reason.
Then in their brief, they go on to talk about many things, and say how the piece of legislation was somewhat imperiling. They said:
Defining terrorism is not a simple task. Our courts have consistently refused to define the term.
We now know that they have now or that we have a definition now.
The proposed definition is too inclusive and unwieldy. It could catch activity that is not terrorist conduct, such as wildcat strikes or public demonstrations. We are also concerned about the potential for discriminatory impact.
I could go on and on. You know who said that, Mr. Chair? It was a submission on Bill C-36, the very same concerns that are expressed here. Bill C-36 has been upheld. The Supreme Court did require the government of the day to fix a few areas of it, but the basic bill was not changed significantly. That is what we hear again and again. It's the same people saying the same things about the same situation.
As my colleague, Ms. James, said that the world didn't come to an end. We have heard from witness upon witness—even witnesses from the other side have testified—that terrorism is evolving. They are changing. They know what the laws are, and they are adapting their methodologies to get around them. This bill just hopes to keep up with it—not get ahead of it, just keep up with it.
Thank you very much.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
On a point of order, I don't know what the parliamentary prosecution process is for one member of Parliament to mislead another member of Parliament, but Mr. Easter misled the parliamentary secretary who said that we were having pork tonight and it was not pork. It was turkey. I'll leave the punishment in your hands.
Some Hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Chair, to finish it all off I would have to say, from the opposition's perspective, it's the blind leading the blind.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I believe this amendment is not consistent with the intent of the bill, which is to give CSIS an effective mandate to reduce all threats to the security of Canada as defined in the CSIS Act.
By limiting the scope of the threat reduction mandate, the amendment would greatly reduce the value of threat reduction as a national security tool. Although the focus of Bill C-51 is terrorism, the rationale for a threat reduction mandate applies equally to the full range of threats to the security of Canada as defined in the CSIS Act. Opportunities to reduce threats have been identified beyond terrorism, but CSIS, lacking the necessary threat reduction mandate, has been unable to take advantage of those opportunities. We need to advantage them, and therefore I am not in favour of this amendment.
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