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Results: 1 - 15 of 1242
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
That was very efficient, Chair.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'd like to ask one question to each of our guests, starting with Mr. Biggar, and thank you all for being here. You spoke very well about the false or the fictitiousness of individual fraud. I want to talk a little and ask your opinion on the existing international register for voters abroad.
We heard from the Chief Electoral Officer that they do test, they check it out. They send out mailings to ensure that a person is still there, and if the person doesn't reply within a certain time they're taken off the list. From the time that checking mail has been sent to the time the election is nearing, what are the chances of fraud in the following scenario?
Elections Canada has a person on the international register. They've confirmed they're there. They send them a special ballot at the time of the election, but it turns out the Canadian has since moved and they've forgotten to take their name off the register in that period of time. They've either moved back to Canada or they've moved somewhere else. Say the Canadian was in Mexico City, and a Mexican now lives there. That Mexican opens the special ballot envelope, fills it out, and votes fraudulently in the Canadian election.
Do you see this as a real scenario, a really likely problem of that form of individual fraud, which the minister seems to be concerned about?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you.
Professor Milner, you situated your presentation in the general decline in voter interest particularly amongst youth. One of the concerns we have with this bill, apart from how it generally signals that it should be hard for everybody to vote, is the not uncommon scenario in which a student goes abroad and takes up residence for graduate work. Thousands of Canadian students do that and they have wherever they went to university listed as their last place of residence. The problem is that almost everybody they would know who could attest to their last place of residence would also have been students who quite likely would have moved on.
Do you believe that is a problem on top of the fact that the minister has drafted a new provision intended to make sure that no identification issued outside of Canada can be used to prove address? That's not the way it's been worded. It's been worded in a very clumsy fashion and it actually excludes individual leases, so if a student has been in a house rented by an individual person, that lease can no longer be used as proof of former residence. Do you see those two barriers on their own as being indicative of the problem that this bill represents?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Quite simply, I think we need an in camera session or a partial session of the committee where all independents are invited to be briefed by whomever you think makes sense, whether by yourself as chair or by other members, and maybe by Monsieur Parent, who's going to be the lead actor in a lot of this.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
I would say it might take a bit more than 15.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
It has to be a bit in their hands because we need to respect the independents' need to say that this report, when it finally becomes public, is something they can support so that it can easily get through the House.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for being here.
Mr. Speaker, you indicated that around $6.5 million will be needed for implementing new security measures and you described some of them. Others, obviously, you can't. Quite obviously, as estimates, this dovetails with aspects of the budget implementation act, wherein there's a new organization of security on the Hill with regard to something called the parliamentary protective services, the PPS. That's what we're now going to be calling it, PPS.
It won't be any surprise to you that at least this opposition party has some concerns about how all of this could play out. It's important for everybody to know that the new bill requires that the new director of the PPS be an active member of the RCMP, who will serve under the dual authority of you and I believe the Speaker of the Senate. Apart from the PPS being entrusted with security throughout the precinct and on the Hill, there's also some reference to “an arrangement” for the RCMP as an independent entity to somehow fit into all of this.
The employees association for the House of Commons protective services has just appeared before the public security committee to express some of its concerns, and I think they relate to how well this money is going to get spent. Are there problems?
Ultimately, they say, “Our concerns about upholding parliamentary privilege remain”, and the organization “does not believe that it is in the interest of our democracy to give control of security within the Legislative power to the Executive power, this said”—and this is important—“with the utmost respect for the quality of the work of the RCMP in its primary mission—which is not the protection of the Parliamentary Precinct.” That's the concern that's been put on the table by the current people who are protecting us within the buildings as such, and I think we need to take them seriously.
The first question I have is this. Is it clear from the way this has now been structured that you, as Speaker, and the Speaker of the Senate will jointly be in charge of appointing, or deciding, and/or recommending the new director of the service? Is that clear? Or could that turn out to be something that comes from elsewhere in the system?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you. I respect the way you've had to answer that, Mr. Speaker, but at the same time, with respect, it hasn't directly answered the question of whether or not the selection of the head of the PPS, who has to be an actively serving RCMP officer, will be for you and the Senate Speaker. Could that somehow end up as the association is concerned? I quote:
It is entirely possible that this “arrangement” [within the budget bill] provides that the decision-making level in the selection process lies somewhere in the RCMP, somewhere in the [Privy Council Office], or within the Department of Public Safety...which would appear to [the employees association] to be yet another dent into parliamentary privilege and into our democratic system.
We could ease their concerns if we knew that the appointment of the director of the PPS, an RCMP officer, is actually the choice of you and the Speaker of the Senate.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
There's another concern. There's going to be a triple reporting mechanism for the head of the PPS: the Speaker of the Senate, you, and I guess the head of the RCMP, or the deputy commissioner, perhaps, for federal policing of the RCMP. It's not at all clear how the coordination will take place. One of the concerns that the employees association for the current House of Commons protective service has expressed is, “The triple-allegiance—
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Could I just read the quote?
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Okay. I quote:
The triple-allegiance of that person...[the head of the PPS]...would inevitably create a conflict, since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and oaths made under this legislation would compel the new PPS Director to disobey the House or Senate Speakers, and obey only the Commissioner of the RCMP.
I'm just putting it on the record on behalf of the employees association that this continues to be a concern for them.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
—this is quite obvious. Mr. Watters himself has said why this question is completely out of order. This has nothing to do with the estimates and I would ask you to please rule it out of order.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Great. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker, for the sake of completeness, I guess, this is more a question of whether you can assuage the concerns of the House of Commons protective services employees association. In their brief this morning to the public security committee, they said that the association “is concerned that the [budget implementation bill] does not uphold the commitment made by the Speaker of the House in his motion”—they say motion, but it was your statement—“of February 25, 2015...guaranteeing the employment of all employees of the House’s Protective Services”. They're worried that the bill does not reflect that clear commitment that you made.
I'm just wondering if you have any comments to add.
View Craig Scott Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you so much.
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