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Results: 1 - 15 of 496
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-19 11:32 [p.15347]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect Parliament to get results on issues that matter. A bill by an NDP member to ensure that transgender people have the same rights as everyone else and a bill to give more autonomy to members of Parliament have both passed in the House. Yet the undemocratic Senate is killing them, just like it did with Jack Layton's climate change bill. The government ordered its senatorial troops to pass Bill C-51 without amendment. Why the double standard?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-15 15:23 [p.15072]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the effort he has put into the motion. We worked together on committee.
It is very important, for the record, that everyone knows that the committee sent it back to the House in order that the report could be voted on, so people could express their own views. However, the committee is not recommending this system. It is a formal mechanism so that the vote can take place here, but the committee is not recommending the system. It is not not recommending the system either. It is here for everyone to make their own choice.
I still find the argument about it being a waste of time to do it the way we do now to be a little odd. There are not a lot of things that newly elected MPs could do differently, as one of the first acts they do after being elected, that are more important than electing the most important officer of the House.
It allows people to bond a bit. It allows people to spend time with people across the aisles. It is meant to be a vote that is both secret and that spans the aisle. Also, as this is one of the Houses in the Westminster world that turns over the most, it allows newcomers to come to learn who the candidates are with each successive ballot.
I am strongly in favour of maintaining our current system, and I will be voting against concurrence in the report.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-12 11:32 [p.15011]
Mr. Speaker, this is not just some suggestion the minister can just take or leave. We are talking about a unanimous judgment in Canada's highest court. The Supreme Court carefully weighed the evidence and found that the Conservative government's medical marijuana policies are not in the best interest of public health.
I understand that the Conservatives do not really believe in evidence-based policy and that they love to throw blue meat to their anti-judiciary base, but will the minister now stop attacking the court and do her job to implement the decision?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-11 16:43 [p.14984]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech, as at the second reading stage, I learned a lot.
I want to ask the member if he could follow up a bit on the way he talks about animals not having a voice, saying that he did not expect that the justice system would ever allow a direct voice from animals, for obvious reasons.
Our colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette seemed to be extremely exercised by the idea that animals would have rights of any sort. Yet, the way my colleague speaks of animals suggests that we are in the universe of intrinsic interests, the kinds of interests that are worthy of generating rights that create duties for us to respect. The idea that we only protect animals for instrumental reasons, because the service animal is somehow instrumentally useful to public security, as the reason for a law like Quanto's law seems to me to be completely missing the mark of why this bill has been introduced.
Would my colleague comment on whether he believes that the intrinsic value of animals is part of why this bill needs to be supported?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-11 16:52 [p.14985]
Mr. Speaker, as usual, our colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent has given an incredibly reflective and indeed philosophical speech.
If we ever get to the point of finally considering comprehensive reform in animal protection, mostly in the Criminal Code because of federal jurisdiction, does she feel that one of the problems with legislation that has come to the House, and been resisted over the last decade or so, is lumping animals into one category? Working animals for example, animals that are fished and hunted and also companion animals, all of them tend to get lumped into the same general language. Does she think that one of the ways forward might be to make some distinctions that would help unblock some of the ships passing in the night on this issue?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-10 14:44 [p.14872]
Mr. Speaker, it is not only about abusing public money for fishing trips and wedding anniversaries. The Senate is also an undemocratic institution that has blocked important legislation passed by elected members of the House.
The Senate killed Jack Layton's climate change accountability act. It is quietly doing away with a bill to bring equality to transgendered people.
Last night it passed Bill C-51 with no sober second thought whatsoever, despite overwhelming public opposition. Not a single amendment was proposed.
Why are Conservatives defending this illegitimate institution that rejects the democratic will of Canadians?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-09 13:12 [p.14798]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for an excellent speech, which set out a lot of the problems with Bill S-2. I particularly like the way in which he drove home at the very end the combined effects of transnationalization and privatization of norm-making; and how, through ambulatory statutory regulation, one more nail in the coffin of parliamentary and democratic sovereignty would be put in place; and that the inability of Parliament to keep track of external norms as they change and enter into our legal system, without Parliament having anything to say about it let alone know about it, is almost frightening.
I may be wrong, but I understand there is yet another retroactivity clause in Bill S-2 that would basically clean up the use of these kinds of clauses in the past by saying that any previous use would be governed by Bill S-2 and therefore would not be a problem. Am I correct in that, and does the member have any comment on that?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-09 13:56 [p.14803]
Mr. Speaker, I will be correspondingly brief in my speech.
I have spoken on Bill S-2 before. I join my colleagues from Gatineau and Charlottetown in indicating that this bill is a sleeper. It would have major implications for the health of our democracy, and it deserves to receive a lot more attention in the media than it has.
The ability of governments to use ambulatory incorporation by reference to smuggle in over time rule changes processed by outside agencies, transnational and private agencies, or even mixed agencies on which governments sit, and the possibility of that would be greatly enhanced by this piece of legislation. Ultimately, it is a piece of legislation that would continue a whole variety of actions by the government over the last four years as a majority and almost ten years in government that seriously undermine our democracy.
I would suggest that, rather than go in this direction, we have to think seriously about how to beef up the current joint committee on the scrutiny of regulations in the Senate and the House of Commons. We should possibly consider the need for an officer of Parliament. I would suggest that a commissioner for statutory and international instruments is probably something that needs to be discussed. It would be an officer who would make sure that the House is not just on top of static incorporation by reference, but incorporation by reference of external documents as they occur. It would then make sure, in the reporting fashion, that the House knows that something has changed that may be of consequence but that the House has had no say in until that point in time.
I indicate that such a commissioner, for example, would look at both statutory instruments, regulations and their like, and international instruments, treaties and their like, because in the globalizing legal environment in which the government is operating, it is those two features, executive action and transnational action, that are increasingly joining hands and taking away governing space from publicly elected legislators.
The bottom line is that this bill needs safeguards. Some four amendments were brought forward by the official opposition in committee. All of them were rejected, as usual, by the government. If we took the problems that the official opposition had and still has with the bill seriously, we would be looking at how to enhance the oversight and review functions of this body over the regulation-making authorities, not undermining it, as Bill S-2 would.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-05 11:10 [p.14641]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence seems to be in denial. He pretends to be unaware of the existence of my Motion No. 517, tabled one year ago, on discriminatory discharge of Canadian Forces LGBTQ personnel, despite correspondence with me on Motion No. 517 back in February and March.
In the House the minister talks only about the lawful presence of LGBTQ men and women in the military since 1992. He ignores the long period when they were treated as subhuman under a Canadian Forces administrative order entitled “Sexual Deviation - Investigation, Medical Examination, and Disposal”.
Disposal is what we do with garbage, not human beings. My motion calls on the government to issue an official apology and to revise service records to reflect the honourable service of those LGBTQ men and women discharged from or forced out of the military during this period.
I want to recognize and thank members of the We Demand An Apology Network for their perseverance, especially Darl Wood and Gary Kinsman. I join the network's members in calling on the government to finally apologize and acknowledge this period of cruel discrimination.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-05 11:36 [p.14646]
Mr. Speaker, the Senate is in total disrepute. Even former Conservative prime minister Mulroney agrees that the Senate is facing an unprecedented crisis.
The Auditor General's report will confirm just how deep the rot runs. It has never been clearer that it is not only possible but it is necessary to abolish the Senate. The Supreme Court has told us how, so will the Minister for Democratic Reform tell us whether the Conservatives will finally let Canadians get rid of this thoroughly discredited institution?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-02 16:35 [p.14498]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill S-4, and I would like to do so by addressing three themes. The first will be how Bill S-4 reflects rather badly on our democratic process. The second theme will be that Bill S-4 is already hopelessly out of date. It is behind the technological times. The third theme is that there are worrisome features in Bill S-4 to the extent that it would inadequately protect privacy, even within the limits of what it is trying to do.
On that first theme of democracy, we should recall that a lot of what has subsequently come through the House in a series of different bills started with Bill C-30, which I always called the Internet surveillance bill. It got so panned by experts and civil society that the government tried to take it off of the table in the House by sending it to committee for study before second reading. It then disappeared, because the government knew that too much in there had attracted too much early attention from Canadians.
I mention that, because parts of it have begun to reappear in bits and pieces since Bill C-30 disappeared.
Bill S-4 uses one of the same techniques as Bill C-30 to try to take it away from public scrutiny. It is ironic that the method it would use is one that was recommended by the McGrath committee in 1982 or 1984, which is to make better use of committees by having them look at bills before the principle of the bill has been fixed, by having the government send the bill to committee before second reading. That is between first and second reading. It would allow committees to effectively look at the bill as a strong draft from the government, but for MPs, presumably from all parties, to try to improve and perfect the bill without being hamstrung in the way we are now in our committee study of bills by the principle having been fixed, as it gets fixed when we go to second reading for a bill in principle.
Bill S-4 did get sent to committee and, surprise, surprise, with the way that the government has operated since I have been here and since it got a majority in 2011, there were no amendments. The government rejected every amendment and presented no amendments itself. It was as if it had not heard anything that had convinced it of anything, despite all of the witnesses who had appeared and who, in very measured tones and with a very focused analysis, had indicated that there were ways, even within the limited confines of what the government was trying to do in the bill, that the bill could be improved. However, the government, through its MPs on that committee, decided that the bill was fine as-is.
Look at House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, on page 742. It tells us what this procedure was intended to be when the McGrath report came down in 1982 or 1984. It was intended to be an empowering mechanism for the House in relation to government legislation. It was meant to create more of a partnership between MPs and the government. It says:
This empowers Members to examine the principle of a bill before second reading, and enables them to propose amendments to alter its scope.
In the end, this was a subterfuge. Who here is going to doubt that the reason it was sent to committee between first and second reading was to get it off of the agenda in the House, which can tend to lead to a bill receiving more public attention and producing the kind of civil society push back that we have seen meet the government's bills on and on for the last little while? It was a mechanism to reduce its visibility and to have it reappear just about now, with two weeks to go, when there is no steam, no energy, nothing left for civil society to get its mind around in terms of general resistance.
My colleagues have mentioned a problem with this bill, as with other bills that start in the Senate, which is a structural problem that will hopefully be dealt with after the next election by having the Senate put in its proper place. There is also something here, which is that there has been no acknowledgement by the government that this bill probably does conflict with the Spencer decision of 2014 in the Supreme Court of Canada.
This decision recognized the nature of the privacy interests in Internet users' data, including all the metadata that identifies various features of their existence on the Internet, and indicated that in a police context, warrants are needed in order to get access to that information.
PIPEDA, as amended by Bill S-4, would now allow private sector organizations, using the guise of fraud investigations, contractual breach investigations, et cetera, to request of any other private actor all that same information, and nothing is put in here by way of safeguards. It is as if the Spencer decision never came down.
We have had no opinion tabled anywhere from the Department of Justice, through the Minister of Justice, to say that under section 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act, the minister has assessed that Bill S-4 complies with the charter, even after the Spencer judgment. That is because the government never tables opinions and never takes charter arguments seriously.
The record is clear. Last year alone, something like a dozen judgments came from the courts, and 10 out of the 12 found that the government's legislation breached the charter or other principles of law.
The bottom line is that this bill is not a good story for democracy, but that again, I am sorry to say, is not a new story.
The second theme is that the bill has missed the boat.
This all started in 2007. That was when the PIPEDA review was mandatory under the statute, and very quickly a couple of different bills began to appear in the House. They just never got through the minority Parliament at all. Nothing really changed along the way. The government is still stuck back in whatever its thinking was around 2007.
Let me quote from the Library of Parliament's background paper on Canada's federal privacy laws. It says:
As advances in technology increase the ease with which information about individuals can be gathered, stored and searched, the need to protect the privacy of such information presents a rapidly evolving challenge for legislators.
That challenge has not been met. It is as if the government does not know how much of an information economy we have rapidly, almost exponentially, year by year, evolved into being.
How about these basic facts?
The world's largest taxi company right now has no cars. It is the largest taxi company because it has information. That is Uber.
The world's largest accommodations company, Airbnb, owns no property, but it is the richest and largest company by virtue of how it owns information.
The world's largest retailer has absolutely no inventory. That is Alibaba, in China.
This is the world we live in now, and there is nothing in the PIPEDA amendments, in Bill S-4, to indicate the government is at all aware of what it means to be living in this economy.
We should think about the so-called Internet of Things. According to recent research, by 2020, 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. That is roughly an average of something like three or four per person on earth. There is no evidence that this bill even comes close to understanding the privacy issues that arise from the fact that we are increasingly living in a connected world in which our phones will be reporting on our heart rates, our fridges will report on our eating habits and even order our groceries, self-driving cars will be out there on the roads, and thermostats and smart meters will monitor our every movement. There is nothing in the bill in that regard. All I would say is that amendments that are 10 years out of date are not exactly something to write home about.
The third theme is the inadequacies and the problems in the bill.
Let me just list them. They have been mentioned before.
First, the way in which the bill deals with giving consent on the web is inadequate after the Spencer case.
Second, the loophole that allows for private organizations to pass on information without any kind of safeguard system analogous to a warrant system, on the simple basis that they are investigating breaches of agreement or fraud or financial abuse, is a recipe for incursions into privacy.
Third, I would end by saying that the reportability standard whereby, if there is a breach of data, a company or holder of the data must tell the person whose data has been lost on the basis of a real risk of significant harm is a subjective standard that is assessed by the company. There is no real system to ensure that it does not become a mechanism for breaches to be hidden from public view and hidden, therefore, from accountability.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-02 16:46 [p.14500]
Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleague would, but I think we will keep the topic on Bill S-4 today.
An hon. member: You raised it.
Mr. Craig Scott: I did raise it. You are correct.
Mr. Speaker, there are a whole range of measures that we would ask the Senate to consider to put itself in the proper relationship of complementarity to the House of Commons for so long as it exists. I will be releasing those measures at some point, but not at the moment. Meanwhile, we will do everything we can to convince Canadians and the other partners in Confederation that the Senate has seen its final days.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-02 16:48 [p.14500]
Mr. Speaker, the short answer—and I think I spoke to it in my speech—is yes, the government has generally lost the plot.
Privacy is more rhetorical from that side of the House, at least from the government ranks. I am not saying that is the case for all members of Parliament, but I do not think the Conservatives have any sense at all of where privacy absolutely needs to be taken seriously versus when it is used as a shibboleth for other kinds of agendas, as my colleague from Trinity—Spadina pointed out very well in his speech by noting that when privacy suddenly rears its head on such things as the long form census and the long gun registry, it does not quite rear the same head when it comes to privacy in the Internet context.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-06-02 16:50 [p.14500]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question and for all her work, without which I would not be even half as informed about this bill as I believe I am.
The issue is ultimately that the government is not at all interested in having Canadians know the extent of something even so comparatively innocuous as the government asking for voluntary disclosure of information from private companies. The minimum, for example, that certain witnesses asked for is just to have statistics that the Privacy Commissioner and everybody else could be looking at, so that people would have a sense of the scope of the phenomenon. Nothing like that is even in the bill, let alone a regime that would actually regulate the phenomenon.
The bottom line is that the more Canadians know about the scope of government access to private information, the more concerned they become. The government is quite far behind on this issue. I think the Conservatives have a tin ear when it comes to where Canadians are on privacy issues.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
2015-05-26 13:51 [p.14169]
Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the subclause and reference to creating a chief science officer. I wonder if my colleague could let us know whether this is intended to be the same as the parliamentary science officer that my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas proposed in Bill C-558.
Is there a distinction between the chief science officer and the parliamentary science officer? Is it the intention that the chief science officer would be within government, or would that position be an officer of parliament?
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