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Results: 1 - 15 of 573
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 17:48 [p.29421]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the sponsor of the motion, the member for Milton. Since I have been working on the public safety file, I have seen the consequences these cases can have on people's lives. If I may, I have more I would like to say on the subject.
I should point out that I support the member's motion. During the previous Parliament, we supported the legislation that was introduced. We had many disagreements with the previous government on matters of law and order and on how to achieve our public safety objectives. We did not agree on how to protect our communities or how to promote rehabilitation. That is also important to achieving our public safety objectives.
In that context, we supported the Victims Bill of Rights. It is also important to understand the impact these crimes have on the victims. In some cases, repercussions can last an entire lifetime, depending on the seriousness of the crime. There are gaps with respect to the enforcement of the act and the resources available to the Parole Board of Canada.
One example comes to mind, and that is the legal obligation to inform victims when there has been a change in the status of an offender who could cause them harm, particularly in the case of the most horrific and violent crimes. In recent years, some high-profile cases have brought to light how badly the law is being enforced. Some victims were not informed or were not informed in a timely manner, which does not respect the spirit of the law that was passed.
The government surely does not intend to change the law, but it must ensure that these organizations have the resources they need to keep victims informed in accordance with existing legal obligations. That is one of the reasons why I support the motion.
It is not easy. In this digital age, there is a 24-hour news cycle and the news is available on television and on our phones. We know that, unfortunately, horrific crimes are being committed in every part of our society.
We need to look at this in several stages. I am sorry that I missed part of the parliamentary secretary's speech. At the end, I heard her talk about crime prevention. That too is important. From what I see and hear, victims often do not want other individuals or families to go through the same grief or trauma as they did.
Another way to show respect for victims is to prevent similar crimes from being committed against other individuals or other groups in our society. Unfortunately, as hon. members know, we have a lot of work to do in that regard. We know there are aggravating factors that can lead to a crime being committed. We need to address the housing crisis, deal with mental health issues and reduce poverty. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, people are in situations where their own illness or their difficult circumstances take them down a very dark path that has significant repercussions on the lives of other innocent Canadians. It is a scourge on our society. I think we can all agree that we need to address all this.
Something else that needs to be considered is the objectives of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is key to achieving public safety objectives. I have said that several times since the beginning of my speech, but it is important. Unfortunately, that is rarely a popular aspect to address.
There are significant, palpable tensions within our criminal justice system. They reflect the need to understand that these crimes involve victims, who need respect and adequate resources so they can get on with their lives and feel like justice has been done.
At the same time, we also have rehabilitation objectives that, sadly, do not always align with the popular will. Since becoming the NDP critic, I have seen several cases. Listening to the parents of victims, I can only imagine the grief and rage they must be feeling. Those feelings are completely normal. No one here would blame them.
That being said, we need to gear the system towards rehabilitation, not to diminish the impact of crimes on victims or the importance of victims, but to ensure that our society is safe. The issue of record suspensions is a good example, even though the offence in that case is not a particularly heinous crime. In the case we are talking about now, these are people who will be in jail for the rest of their lives and who will never get to seek that kind of relief. However, I still want to cite some statistics, because they are relevant, even though the crimes in this case are very different from the crimes that are eligible for a record suspension.
First, 95% of people who were granted a record suspension did not reoffended. Second, three-quarters of Canadians believe that record suspensions, which allow individuals to reintegrate into society, are a positive thing. As I said, these statistics are about a program that does not necessarily apply to the crimes addressed by my colleague's motion, but I did want to mention them, because we need to acknowledge the importance of rehabilitation.
No matter how serious a crime may be, if the system allows an individual to reintegrate into society, we, as legislators, want this to be done with zero, or almost zero, chance of reoffending. This is also important for other inmates. Prison is often referred to as a crime school, and we obviously want to avoid that.
Since my time is running out, I will get back to the main point and reiterate that we support the motion. We do, however, have many concerns.
First, as I mentioned, we need adequate resources and ministerial direction to ensure that the current law is applied so that victims remain informed.
Second, there are some gaps with respect to the type of information provided, and we believe that the law should be updated in that regard. As the motion states, the government must address this issue to reconcile privacy and victims' needs. For example, the motion speaks about individuals' absences when on conditional release, but they are usually granted for medical reasons. It would be appropriate to inform victims when such absences are granted and to explain the process to them so they are better informed. A victim who is better informed is better able to achieve the desired goals, which is to get their life back on track and to grieve. We want to avoid revictimizing them.
We must consider all these factors, determine whether the law passed in the previous legislature was properly enforced, then think about how we can update it. That would be quite appropriate.
Earlier this week, in another debate on another bill, my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona spoke about an important element that I feel is very pertinent to the motion we are debating. He stated that the laws passed by Parliament often include a review period. Laws are reviewed after three or five years. However, this is often not done, or we seem to think that it is not important. It is our duty, as parliamentarians, especially in the case of a law on victims' rights.
I thank the member for Milton. I support her motion and I urge the government to take this opportunity to ensure that we do all we can so that there is also room for victims in this process.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 22:13 [p.29448]
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. This bill is being offered as a product of all of Parliament, while we reject any of the substantive amendments that the Senate is bringing forward.
Certainly, I do not want to be an apologist for the Senate, with some of the legislation it is holding up. In particular, Senator Pate, who worked on this, is someone who comes from the community of civil society, of folks who have worked on these issues for a long time. The reason I say that is because the bill was panned by every witness who came to committee. In fact, the Ontario Superior Court, when it offered the extension to the government, which has allowed this unconstitutional practice to fester for four years now, said that there was nothing in its mind that seemed to indicate there would be any remedial effort brought forward.
What I find really frustrating and baffling about the bill is that ultimately it is just a rebrand, and I am not the only one saying that. Many others have said it as well, including Senator Pate.
I want to ask the member a question. Judicial review has been offered. It was offered years ago, even decades ago, by Justice Arbour when she was looking at some of these issues. The reason why was because we were essentially changing someone's sentence, we were extending someone's sentence by adding additional punishment through the system.
Does the member not recognize that? If the government truly believes there will be an undue burden on provincial courts, is that not because the practice has been used in such an abusive way that it would require that additional judicial oversight?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 22:23 [p.29449]
Mr. Speaker, to go back to the last answer, I would like to quote for the parliamentary secretary Dr. Adelina Iftene who is a law professor at Dalhousie University. Following these amendments and the response to the work that Senate Pate was doing, she said:
The government claims that these units don’t fall under the definition of solitary confinement because the amount of time prisoners would be alone in their cells is 20 hours versus 22 hours. While that falls within UN standards...The UN standards state that meaningful contact of two hours or less per day is also considered solitary confinement.
Do the Liberals not believe that living up to the UN standard is the very least they could do, but they have not?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 22:54 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, like my colleague from Oakville North—Burlington, I do want to thank the member for his service and say what a pleasure it was to work together on the public safety committee. He is certainly a straight shooter, and it led to probably some of the best witness testimony we could get. At the risk of mixing metaphors, it was also a bit disarming. I think we tend to like to be verbose at committee, but getting to the point is something we could do more of. My thanks to him for that.
I do want to ask the member this question. We have talked a lot about consultations. He mentioned it in the context of correctional officers. We both know from being at the committee that most of the major stakeholders on this file, if not all of them, told us at committee that they were not consulted.
There was a first go that the government had at this, Bill C-56, which never got to be debated at second reading when it was tabled in 2017. This bill was tabled late last year, and we are now finalizing debate. I just wonder what my colleague thinks about this. While there is a tight timeline and he is talking about rushing it, the reality is that with the Ashley Smith inquest and some other things, this has been on the agenda even before the government took power.
I am wondering what the member thinks of the fact that there was the opportunity to consult and there was the opportunity to get it right, but now there have been some court decisions, a rushed timeline and a bit of legislative dropping the ball, if I am allowed that turn of phrase. What does the member think about that situation?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 22:56 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, I will be proposing an amendment at the end of my speech. Please let me know when I have one minute remaining.
I would like to share with the House a few important quotes.
First, I will go over the topic I just raised in my question to the hon. member for Yellowhead. In Canada, administrative segregation is a scourge. It has been overused for many years and was an issue well before the current government came to power.
During the previous Parliament, two of our colleagues, the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, who was the critic, and the former member for Alfred-Pellan, Rosane Doré Lefebvre, who was the deputy critic, asked many questions about the inquest into the tragic circumstances surrounding Ashley Smith's death. I invite all parliamentarians who wish to speak about that case to read that file.
It is horrifying to see that this teenager, this child, was killed. The findings of the inquest attest to the negligence and abuse in the prison system. The Correctional Service of Canada has to take responsibility for its role in this tragedy.
It is all the more troubling when we consider that members of her family, namely her mother and her sister, if I remember correctly, came to testify before the Senate committee. Senator Pate, who was doing amazing work on this file long before being appointed to the Senate, had invited them to testify. In their testimony, the family members said they were disappointed and furious with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety, who were supposed to make improvements to ensure that the circumstances surrounding Ashley's death never happened again. They invoked her name and her memory to justify their approach, but in the end this approach will not help resolve the situation at all.
Since the Liberals took office, two courts and the Supreme Court have granted extensions and the government has requested a stay because the legislation before us has not yet passed. The courts found what we have known for a long time, namely that excessive use of administrative segregation is unconstitutional.
That pronouncement is deeply disturbing. We know of numerous cases of abuse. Incidentally, those cases of abuse are not exclusive to federal institutions. However, given our jurisdiction and the limited time we have left, we cannot delve into the many troubling cases that worry us, including the one that happened recently in Ontario.
It is important to bear in mind that the remedy the government is proposing is no remedy at all. In fact, it is quite the contrary. The reason so many stakeholders, and in certain cases, the loved ones of victims of the abusive use of solitary confinement, have deplored this is that all we have is a rebrand. It is solitary confinement under a different name.
As is unfortunately too often the case with the government, we have to propose amendments and make changes to bills, pointing out there are a few things that might be better. Experts agree that the courts will continue to find this practice, even if under a different name like structured intervention units, to be unconstitutional. I will come back to this with some quotes I pulled up earlier, which I want to share with the House.
Bill C-83 was one of the first bills that came before our committee and was opposed by all the witnesses. Rarely had I seen this until quite recently, although there have been a few since then. I am sure Liberal members could pull out a couple of quotes to say that corrections officers think this would be an okay approach. However, the witnesses were opposed to this approach, because a variety of things were not in place that needed to be.
One of the Senate's proposed amendments is to require judicial approval for an inmate to be held in solitary confinement. This is nothing new. Justice Louise Arbour conducted an inquiry into riots at an institution in Saskatchewan. She noted that the overuse of segregation has an impact on inmates.
Judges sometimes impose sentences of imprisonment as part of their duties and authority. However, when segregation is overused, this means that institutions, their managers and, ultimately, the Correctional Service of Canada are altering the judge's decision. They are modifying the sentence handed down by the judge. This was Justice Arbour's argument, which is why she advocated for the use of judicial supervision.
What is particularly troubling to me is that I proposed an amendment, now Senator Pate has proposed an amendment and these amendments are being rejected by the government. My understanding, after hearing the parliamentary secretary's speech earlier tonight, is that it would cause an increased workload on provincial courts. Ultimately, the sad and tragic thing about that argument is that the only reason it would cause an increased workload is because of the abusive use of solitary confinement as so many individuals are being subjected to the practice when they should not necessarily be.
Focusing on women offenders in particular, I presented an amendment at committee to end the practice completely in women's institutions. Why? The figures demonstrate two things. One is that the number of women in solitary confinement is infinitesimal. The practice is not necessary for maintaining security in our institutions, which is obviously the primary reason it is used most of the time. The second is quite simply that pregnant women, women with mental health problems and indigenous women are the women most often negatively affected by the abusive use of solitary confinement. There is certainly an argument to be made about that, but at the very least, it should be with judicial oversight.
In fact, the argument might also be made that Senator Pate's amendment goes too far. I do not think so, which, as I said, leads us to support the amendment, but there are other routes as well. I proposed an amendment that sought a longer period of 15 days before judicial oversight would be required. It is certainly a much longer and wider threshold than what Senator Pate is proposing. That was also rejected.
The fact of the matter is that the issue we are facing here is quite contradictory. I want to go back to another issue that was raised by the parliamentary secretary about the burden we would be putting on provinces. The parliamentary secretary mentioned the burden on provincial mental health hospitals and institutions. That is one of reasons I wanted the Senate amendments. Members will forgive me for not recalling the exact amendment, but this was being proposed.
We look at the same Public Safety department, through the work of my provincial colleague in Queen's Park, Jennifer French. It has fought the Ontario government for years over the fact that it has contracts with Public Safety Canada to detain, in some cases with dubious human rights parameters, immigrants who have sometimes not even committed crimes and have uncertain legal status in our country. When that is the purview of the federal government, these individuals are treated very poorly.
I do not have the title with me, but I would be happy to share with them a great report in the Toronto Star two years ago, if I am not mistaken, on some of these individuals. One individual, for example, in the U.S. was apparently accused of stealing a DVD, but was never found guilty in court. He came to Canada, was working through the process for permanent residency and due to a variety of issues, he is now being detained in a provincial prison under poor circumstances, without the proper accountability that a normal detention process would have. Even though that is the responsibility of the federal government, there are issues like overcrowding and such, and that is through subcontracting that the federal government does with the provinces.
Why am I talking about a completely different case? I am simply trying to demonstrate the government's hypocrisy.
The government has no qualms about working with the provinces. In some cases, it even forces them to implement legislation and various mechanisms related to our legal and correctional systems. Now, the government wants to use the provinces as an argument to continue violating inmates' rights.
As promised, I will share some quotes. I want to share two of them with the House.
First of all, I want to go to the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling granting the second extension, in April. Certainly my colleagues who are lawyers will not appreciate me selectively quoting. It is always a dubious and dangerous game, but I will do so for the sake of expediency. The court said this:
Extensive evidence is put forward outlining the legislative process, the steps necessary to implement the Bill [Bill C-83]including cost, staff training, infrastructure, public consultations.... But this court remains where we were when the first extension was argued: we have virtually nothing to indicate that the constitutional breach identified by the application judge is being or will be addressed in the future.
It is pretty clear from that quote and that extension, and not even the initial judgment ruling that the practice was unconstitutional, that this is an issue the bill will not resolve.
I sort of opened the door to this at the beginning, and I did not quite finish that thought, but I did want to come back to it, because I just mentioned the second extension.
Bill C-56 was tabled in 2017, the first attempt by the government to deal with this, because it was, after all, part of not one minister's but two ministers' mandate letters, the minister of justice and the Minister of Public Safety. As I said, it was a debate that began in the previous Parliament and even before through a variety of public inquiries and the like.
Finally, we get to Bill C-83, which was tabled late last year. Here we are now, at the eleventh hour, having it rammed through, because the government, quite frankly, did not do its proper homework. It is problematic, because here we have the Liberals asking for extensions and having to go now, in the last few weeks, to the Supreme Court, of all places, to get an additional extension. The thing is that the witnesses at committee were not consulted. No one was consulted except the officials in the minister's office, and they all came to committee to tell us that.
I would like someone to explain to me how this could be an issue when the Prime Minister included it in his 2015 mandate letters for the ministers responsible. A bill was introduced in 2017, and two decisions by two different courts, the B.C. Supreme Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, were handed down in late 2017 and early 2018. Then Bill C-83 was introduced in late 2018. Then not one, not two, but three applications were filed for an extension to implement what the courts had requested.
That is interesting. I have a great deal of respect for my colleague from Oakville North—Burlington. Earlier, when she asked the member for Yellowhead a question, she stated that it might be more beneficial for correctional officers if we were to pass the bill so as not to have to impose the will of the courts upon them.
Personally, to defend human rights and prevent people from dying in our prisons due to excessive use of administrative segregation, I would like the courts' restrictions and terms to be imposed. Of course, that is what we wanted to see in the legislation.
On a similar note, I would like to come back to the UN rules concerning segregation, which are known as the Nelson Mandela rules.
They cover a number of factors: the number of consecutive days in administrative segregation, the number of consecutive hours in administrative segregation and the number of hours spent outside the cell. Viewers might see that last point as problematic, but when inmates are outside their cells, they are not frolicking in wildflower meadows. I hope my colleagues will forgive my humorous tone when talking about such a serious issue. All that means is outside the cell used for administrative segregation. The rules also mention the importance of meaningful human contact.
Now I would like to read the quote I read a small part of when I asked the parliamentary secretary a question.
Dr. Adelina Iftene is a law professor at Dalhousie University. I will read the full quote and I ask for colleagues' indulgence. She said:
The government claims that these units don’t fall under the definition of solitary confinement because the amount of time prisoners would be alone in their cells is 20 hours versus 22 hours. While that falls within UN standards, the amount of time prisoners would have meaningful contact with other human beings–-two hours per day--does not. The UN standards state that meaningful contact of two hours or less per day is also considered solitary confinement. The government simply cannot argue that its proposed regime is not segregation. Passing a bill that does not include a cap on segregation time and judicial oversight will lead to another unconstitutional challenge.... Refusal to pass the bill with amendments would be a sign of bad faith, disregard for taxpayers’ money and for the rule of law. It is disheartening to see such resistance to upholding human rights at home by a country that champions human rights abroad.
That drives home the point that the window dressing may have changed, but the store still carries the same goods. Please forgive my use of such a light-hearted expression. The system is the same, and it still has harsh and sometimes fatal consequences for people.
Some people argue that there are public safety reasons for this and that some of these inmates have committed horrible crimes and deserve to be punished. However, by far most of the people subjected to excessive use of administrative segregation struggle with mental health problems. That is a problem because these people are not getting the care they need for either their own rehabilitation or to ensure public safety objectives are achieved and they stop posing a threat to communities and society. Excessive use is at odds with our mental health and rehabilitation goals, and that is bad for public safety. I would encourage anyone who says this measure will improve public safety to think again because there is a situation here we really need to address.
I have a lot more that I would like to say, but my time is running out. As members can see, this problem has been around for years. Many stakeholders gave inspiring testimony, despite the sombre issue and our discouragement with regard to the government's proposals and inaction. What is more, what the Senate has been doing when it comes to some of the bills that were democratically passed by the House is deplorable. I am thinking of the bill introduced by my colleague from James Bay and the one introduced by our former colleague from Edmonton, Rona Ambrose, on sexual assault. That being said, Senator Pate has done extraordinary work. She has experience in the field. She used to work at the Elizabeth Fry Society. She knows what she is talking about, much more than anyone in the House. I tip my hat to her for the amendments that she managed to get adopted in the Senate. I support them.
Accordingly, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Jonquière:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act, be now read a second time and concurred in.”
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 23:22 [p.29456]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her kind words, which are very much appreciated.
Indeed, this is a complex file. As I said earlier today during the debate on another motion, when dealing with public safety and correctional institutions, people often talk about individuals who do not deserve any sympathy, and with good reason. However, we have a duty to make sure they are rehabilitated. That is one of the objectives of the Correctional Service of Canada. It it also an objective that we all should share, for reasons I mentioned, namely public safety. After all, any effort we can make to lower recidivism rates will contribute to public safety.
We also need to uphold human rights. To repeat some of the quotation I read, we champion human rights abroad and denounce how prisoners are treated in other countries. I will not name any, but we can all think of some examples. It is important that we be consistent here at home.
We must acknowledge that human rights abuses can adversely affect the mental health of Canadian citizens, whether criminal or not, and then those individuals continue their journey as inmates in a correctional institution. In some cases, it can even cause the deaths of certain individuals, in all kinds of tragic circumstances. We need to recognize that there is a still a great deal of work to be done.
In closing, I am very disappointed that the government has done nothing even though it clearly said it would fix the problem. Civil society is progressing, but the government is satisfied with what it has done. Unfortunately, regardless of what the parliamentary secretary said earlier, the Liberals agreed to amendments that are, at best, cosmetic and, at worst, watered down and much weaker than what was put forward initially.
I believe this measure comes to us from the minister's office and does not take into account the goals Canadians want us to achieve. It certainly does not reflect what we heard from people who are involved in this issue and have spent decades working to improve our communities, in part through the correctional system.
I thank my colleague for giving me the opportunity to recap.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-19 23:25 [p.29457]
Mr. Speaker, since this may be the last time to speak on this issue, which we have had the chance to work on, I want to thank the member for her advocacy and the opportunity we had to work together.
As I mentioned in a previous response, the public safety file is a challenging one because we are sometimes swimming upstream when it comes to dealing with complicated issues that are not always the issues that garner the most sympathy from the public, but they do have important outcomes for our communities and for many individuals in Canada.
We were able to accomplish many important things, and I thank the member for that and for her continued advocacy. As she mentioned, while we might disagree, I certainly know that, at the very least, she is a persistent voice in the minister's ear on some of these issues.
I am never going to speak against any further investment on issues that I believe are important, and certainly the investments she talked about are important. It does leave me to raise a final concern with the remaining few seconds that I probably have left. There were some specifics I raised at committee, concerns that I had with some of the wording of the bill.
Often, as I mentioned earlier, corrections officers do not have the resources, or even if there are mental health resources in an institution, they might not always be readily available at the time of an incident. Therefore, it sometimes makes it challenging for them to make the decision that leads to the best mental health outcomes.
My concern is that some aspects of the bill are phrased in such a way that there could be a potential loophole. Some of those concerns were alleviated, but others still remain. I am pleased to see them continue to go in that direction, but unfortunately we will have to agree to disagree on the substance of the bill.
I do not believe that this is the right approach. I want to see strong parameters around the use of solitary confinement in the country, in line with the court decisions we have seen, with UN standards and certainly with judicial oversight. That is the direction I believe we need to go in.
Again, I want to say that it has been a pleasure to work with the member and hopefully we can push these issues forward in the years to come, even if it is not in these roles or any other roles that we might play in this place.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-18 15:04 [p.29311]
Mr. Speaker, people from my riding are here in Ottawa to protest against the Telus tower that is being forced on Otterburn Park. Students Romane, Laurence and Emma-Rose from École Notre-Dame launched a petition signed by about 100 students to protect their magnificent woodland.
If the minister will not listen to the citizen movement or to the municipality, will he listen to the young people who want to protect the environment from the Telus tower? Will he block the tower in Otterburn Park?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-17 20:55 [p.29235]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. He did a good job explaining the flaws in the access to information bill currently before us, but I would like to take this opportunity to say that we need to look even further. As he mentioned in his speech, the government came on the scene saying that it would be the most transparent government in the history of the universe. The Liberals talked about being open by default. However, my colleague pointed to various things that have thwarted those efforts. One example is omnibus bills, which my colleague mentioned.
How can we properly scrutinize bills when the details that will have the greatest impact on Canadians's lives are presented over dozens of pages in a bill that is 100-pages long? Ultimately, that approach means that there is very little transparency and not enough consultation on the part of the government. It is ironic that the government is always going on about consultation, since it only seems to consult Canadians when it does not want to do something. When consultation is needed to improve a bill, there is no consultation. My colleague could talk a little more about that.
Why does my colleague think the government did not adequately consult people, particularly the Information Commissioner? If the government had done its job properly, it would have produced a better bill. In the end, we did not get the intended results.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-17 21:48 [p.29242]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. She eloquently explained our role here.
We are debating a bill on access to information. The term privileged information is often thrown around. What I find interesting is that information is considered a privilege. In Ottawa, only a select few, such as the government agencies that respond to our requests or the ministers, have access to certain information. The idea is to protect the privilege, or information, that we have.
Information has an impact on people's lives, mostly thanks to the media. Journalists use privileged information to uncover stories or report on the government's actions, for example.
While my colleague was giving her speech, I was looking through the requests received by departments. The Minister of Health has not yet responded to an access to information request regarding her department's response to the opioid crisis.
The purpose of the bill is to make information more accessible to the public. Could my colleague explain why the bill does not meet this objective?
If we are supposed to look at the glass as half full instead of half empty, how can we make information more accessible, in accordance with the law, instead of hiding it?
I do not think the bill meets these objectives.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-12 15:12 [p.28995]
Mr. Speaker, we have been calling on the federal government to respect Otterburn Park and its residents for years.
The Prime Minister went to Mont-Saint-Hilaire to prance around and talk about the environment. Telus wants to build a tower in the Mont-Saint-Hilaire Biosphere Reserve green zone, which he visited on Monday.
Will the Prime Minister respect the environment in my riding, listen to residents and ban the tower in Otterburn Park, or will he simply use our green heritage as his backdrop?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-10 15:05 [p.28814]
Mr. Speaker, the Canada Border Services Agency is still the only public safety agency in Canada that does not have an external review process.
CBC reported that a Canadian woman, Jill Knapp, went through a traumatizing experience because of the CBSA.
For years, I have asked the minister to keep his promise and table legislation to correct this. Bill C-98 is too little, too late and another broken promise.
Why did the minister wait until the eleventh hour before tabling a bill that would allow proper scrutiny of CBSA and allow us to protect Canadians' rights?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-07 10:30 [p.28740]
Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his speech.
I have two questions for him. The first is about the Senate amendments before us today. Some may think I am getting hung up on what seems like a minor detail in an omnibus bill, but I just want to figure out the government's approach and go back to something my colleague mentioned.
This process should not be partisan, yet there is a certain partisan tinge to the amendment that changes the review period for the act from five years to three. I presented this amendment in committee, and it was rejected. Now that the Senate is presenting it, however, the government is all for it.
Could the minister explain to me why the government changed its mind about a detail that is so trivial but was recommended by the committee's witnesses?
My second question is about the Canada Border Services Agency. The minister has been promising almost since day one to create a review body for the Canada Border Services Agency. Now we finally have a bill that does that, but with so little time left in the session and the bill not even at committee stage yet, the odds of it passing are low.
Since the government was tabling an omnibus bill anyway, why not throw in what we now see in Bill C-98, so that people whose rights are violated at the border can get at least some recourse?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-07 10:36 [p.28741]
Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for the acknowledgement. However, I would like to come back to the second question I posed to him in my first round, which is regarding CBSA.
As colleagues in the House know, CBSA is the only national security agency that does not have its own dedicated review and/or oversight body. The minister is proposing one in Bill C-98, but I want to know why he did not do that in the legislation before us, when it has been promised for a number of years now. The fact is that Bill C-98 has not even gone to a committee in the House yet, much less been brought to the Senate. Therefore, it seems less and less likely that it would be adopted, and we know that this is an important mechanism that is required.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-06-07 11:26 [p.28750]
Madam Speaker, KPMG clients accused of sidestepping our tax laws are getting a free pass. Once again, the Liberal government granted them amnesty. The privileged are well served by the government. A friendly agreement is never far when we know whose door to knock on.
Will the Liberals end this preferential treatment and enforce our tax laws fairly?
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