Bill C-25 (Historical)
Public Service Modernization Act
An Act to modernize employment and labour relations in the public service and to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Canadian Centre for Management Development Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in November 2003.
Lucienne Robillard Liberal
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
November 7th, 2003 / 1:15 p.m.
I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
Bill C-45, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal liability of organizations)--Chapter No. 21.
Bill C-25, an act to modernize employment and labour relations in the public service and to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Canadian Centre for Management Development Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts--Chapter 22.
Bill C-6, an act to establish the Canadian Centre for the Independent Resolution of First Nations Specific Claims to provide for the filing, negotiation and resolution of specific claims and to make related amendments to other acts--Chapter 23.
Bill C-459, an act to establish Holocaust Memorial Day--Chapter 24.
Bill C-55, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2004--Chapter 25.
Bill C-37, an act to amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts--Chapter 26.
Bill C-50, an act to amend the statute law in respect of benefits for veterans and the children of deceased veterans--Chapter 27.
Bill C-48, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (natural resources)--Chapter 28
Bill S-21, an act to amalgamate the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and The Canadian Association of Financial Planners under the name The Financial Advisors Association of Canada.
First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
November 6th, 2003 / 6:35 p.m.
Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON
Madam Speaker, I can tell that the member is quite passionate about this and would really like a specific answer.
The question of harassment in the workplace is complex and has many dynamics. Treasury Board has been finding ways how to best manage this problem. Many of the large departments have already introduced values and ethics programs, and others are in the process of doing so.
I wish to inform the member that the Public Service Modernization Act, Bill C-25, which was passed in the Senate on Tuesday requires that informal conflict resolution systems be established and applied in each department.
I would hope that she is in agreement that this is a positive development that will lead to a common goal that we all share, which is a harassment free workplace.
November 6th, 2003 / 11:30 a.m.
Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak today on Bill C-20, now at report stage.
Last week, the House unanimously adopted a motion that made quite clear how distasteful we all find those who exploit or hurt the most precious members of our society, our children. They are also the most vulnerable members of our society. Our children need all the protection society can provide. If society cannot protect those we hold most dear, it has failed to do its most fundamental duty.
Members are sometimes taken by surprise. Sometimes that is good; other times it is not. This week, I was extremely surprised to receive an e-mail message from Mr. Sharpe himself. I think that the parliamentary secretary also got one. For this pornographer—because that is what he is—to write to the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as a legislative analyst and legal commentator of our work is very perplexing, to say the least.
From the outset, the Bloc Quebecois has been trying to protect our children from individuals like Mr. Sharpe. We are trying to ensure that our children cannot be hurt or exploited by perverts with rather warped notions about human relationships.
During committee meetings, there were numerous debates, including one on the defence of serving the public good. Initially, the defence of serving the public good was not defined or set out in Bill C-20 and so was quite broad. One after the other, numerous witnesses and experts appeared before the committee to tell members that the concept of public good had to be defined. In committee, the Bloc Quebecois moved an amendment in this regard, which served as the inspiration for the final definition found in Bill C-20. As a result, this bill was improved in committee.
One of the Bloc Quebecois' amendments concerns minimum sentences, and I wish the government had been open to this. The public feels—and I understand this—that sentences for sexual predators and child pornographers are not tough enough.
It was in response to this concern that we proposed an amendment prescribing a minimum sentence. For example, for a maximum sentence of ten years, I proposed a minimum sentence of one year. It is a rather short sentence, but it is enough to send an important message to the effect that the elected members of this House and the general public want to ensure that the sentences imposed upon these perverse and twisted individuals are harsh enough.
I was hoping that the government would seize this opportunity to have a debate of a much more general nature on minimum sentences.
I had the support of both Alliance members and Progressive Conservative Party members, as well as some government members. Unfortunately, I did not have time to convince a sufficient number of them.
I think that it is our duty as members of Parliament, elected by the people, to address this serious issue and to decide collectively to send a clear message to the judiciary. This message would say, “We, parliamentarians, believe that, because our children are so precious, so vulnerable and so dear to us, those who commit these types of offences cannot get away without a mandatory jail term”.
All this to say that the Bloc Quebecois is against the amendment brought forward by the New Democratic Party. I am still not clear what its purpose was. The Bloc Quebecois is asking members of this House to oppose this amendment. It is also asking them to support Bill C-25. We will come back to that at the third reading stage.
We are also asking the House to explore the possibility of imposing minimum sentences. This would ensure that those who prey on our children get the clear message that harsh punishment awaits those who commit these repugnant acts.
National Defence Act
November 5th, 2003 / 3:25 p.m.
John McCallum Minister of National Defence
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 96 of the Statutes of Canada, 1998, chapter 35, I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, the first independent review by the Right Hon. Antonio Lamer, PC, CC, CD, of the provisions and operation of Bill C-25, an act to amend the National Defence Act, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
I also have the honour to table, in both official languages, a second document on the comments by the Minister of National Defence with respect to the first independent review of Bill C-25, an act to amend the National Defence Act, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act
October 21st, 2003 / 1:45 p.m.
Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC
Madam Speaker, I often meet with Canadian and Quebec women's groups. I heard a comment this week and I would like to hear what the member for Lotbinière—L'Érable thinks about it.
First, people told me that if the House adjourns because of an election and if we in fact move up the implementation of the new electoral map, that will mean that what they have said to their members before the election will get lost. To them, this means that it will take almost a year before they can get an answer or a solution to their problems.
Somebody else asked me: “What do we do about Bill C-22 to amend the Divorce Act? What do we do about Bill C-25 on labour relations in the public service? What do we do about victims of harassment? What do we do about same sex marriage? What will happen with all these bills that people are waiting for? What will happen with poverty and social housing?”
That is what the women's groups were asking and it is also what I am asking my colleague.
Committees of the House
October 3rd, 2003 / 12:05 p.m.
Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON
Mr. Speaker, I move that the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, presented on Friday, June 13, 2003, be concurred in.
I understand that I have 20 minutes with a 10 minute question and comment period. I would like to advise the Chair that I will be splitting my time with the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.
The fourth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates was presented and tabled in the House on June 13, 2003. I would remind all hon. members that this report is the one page report in which the committee reported that it had lost confidence in the Privacy Commissioner.
I would like to read relevant extracts from the report, which states:
Officials of the offices of both the Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner, having acknowledged that they were testifying under oath and had a duty to speak the truth, have given the Committee information during a series of in camera hearings that has compelled Members to conclude, unanimously, that the Privacy Commissioner has deliberately misled the Committee on several recent occasions.
The report continues:
Committee Members believe the Commissioner has misled the Committee with respect to: (a) the circumstances under which the Office provided a copy of a letter from which one of the original paragraphs had been deleted; (b) a set of expense reports whose incompleteness was not acknowledged in the cover letter; (c) travel expense forms on which there had been an attempt to conceal, by the application of white-out material, certain information; and (d) the reasons for his failure to appear in person at a hearing on the Commission's main estimates. When these concerns were brought to the attention of the Commissioner or Office officials, some additional documents were provided but the Commissioner has continued to mislead the Committee with respect to these matters in subsequent letters and testimony before the Committee.
The report concludes:
Absolute honesty, in reporting to Parliament and its committees, is a central requirement for all officers of Parliament. Unconditional confidence in that honesty, on the part of parliamentarians, is essential if Parliament is to support its officers in their important duties.
Having deliberated upon the findings set out above, Members of the Committee are in unanimous agreement that they have lost confidence in the Commissioner. We are no longer able to believe that information provided by the Privacy Commissioner about his activities can be assumed to be accurate and complete.
Furthermore, evidence provided to the Committee raises concerns about financial practices in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and the Committee has requested by letter that the Auditor General conduct a comprehensive audit of financial practices at the Commission.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot. I want his constituents to know that he is an excellent member of Parliament who has earned a lot of respect in this place for the work he did to assist the committee to identify in the first instance some of the threads of evidence that led to this report. He is singularly responsible, and his constituents should know that he has been of enormous assistance to Parliament in addressing this most serious matter.
The Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates is a new committee. We have a number of responsibilities. One of them was to review Bill C-25, a very important bill on the renewal of the public service.
The committee reviewed this very extensive, comprehensive bill, Bill C-25, which came forward after two years of consultation in the preparation of the bill on behalf of the President of the Treasury Board and her department, on behalf of the Public Service Commission, and on behalf of all the representative groups. In the committee's review of the bill, one aspect of that bill and the discussion was the aspect of whistle-blowers. Whistle-blowing is a label given to a person who brings out information when they believe or allege that there is some wrongdoing, which may in fact come back on them in a punitive way, whether it be fear of reprisals, et cetera.
This is a very serious question and I want to assure the House that the President of the Treasury Board, in consultation with the committee and the other stakeholders in this matter, all of us, are working very diligently. In fact, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates now has struck a subcommittee to examine this more carefully to determine what steps might be appropriate to ensure over the long term that our very honourable and capable public service will have the protections it needs, not unreasonable protections but general protections, so that there are no frivolous allegations, but so that should there come to our attention even the slightest allegation of an impropriety or a violation of the Financial Administration Act or other aspects, they will have a venue to be able to bring that to the attention of those who are in a position to properly investigate and to address it as appropriate.
This was the environment in which our committee was first engaged: this aspect of the need for whistle-blower protection. As a consequence, the rest of our responsibilities involved the review of the estimates of a number of departments to look into the financial activities.
The member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot has been a champion for transparency and accountability, for access to information provisions, for protection of privacy, for the protection of the privileges of Parliament, but not unduly, and has championed that if we set standards, we should set standards by our own performance. He is working very diligently to show that parliamentarians are on side. It is extremely important and it is because of his contribution.
I will not be going into the details of how this has all unfolded, but in my brief time I did want to make the point very simply. I want Canadians to know this. Notwithstanding that a particular office, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, with approximately 100 employees, of which it has been identified that there are some people who have committed acts in violation of policies, procedures and maybe even criminal law, I want Canadians to know that this should not be taken as a broad brush indictment of the employees of the privacy commission, of the access to information commissioner's office, or of any other public service group or department.
Our work addressed solely the matters that came to our attention with regard to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. We did not conclude or have any evidence or any indication that the problems we identified in this one office were endemic outside that office. I want to assure Canadians that our public servants continue to be held in high esteem by parliamentarians for their work and the support they give to the processes of making good laws, of making sure that there is compliance with all the rules, the policies and procedures, and the laws of Canada. We had that evidence and the committee is very supportive of our very capable public service.
There is one key area I wanted to mention but that I do not have time to go into, so let me try to wrap up. We will, over the coming weeks and months, be addressing some of the points that came out, not only from the committee's fifth report wherein the details of what we found are laid out and available on the parliamentary website, but also from the Auditor General's report on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. There will be subsequent investigations ongoing, some even referred to the RCMP and to the tax authorities.
This will be with us for some time, but I want everyone to know that from what I can see in this place, parliamentarians are 100% in agreement, not only that each and every one of these matters has to be addressed and disposed of in the specific cases, but that we are committed as a Parliament to ensure that the tools and the changes are made to ensure that this never ever happens again.
Oral Question Period
September 16th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.
Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC
Mr. Speaker, I had to convince the minister to even get a passing reference to whistleblower protection in Bill C-25. The former finance minister who was responsible for creating the red book in 1993 promised it back then. For 10 years he had the money, he had the cabinet influence and yet all we have today is a memo.
When honest public servants try to report wrongdoing and political interference, will they be left unprotected?
Statements By Members
June 13th, 2003 / 11:10 a.m.
Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC
Mr. Speaker, between 1998 and 2002, the Liberal government spent $40 million on the Employment Equity Positive Measures Program. According to the report, which is posted on the web site of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, this program has contributed to building a modern public service. However, none of the recommendations in this report are found in Bill C-25.
Each year, Status of Women Canada spends $11 million on a gender-based analysis. However, some parts of Bill C-25 completely disregard employment equity measures.
Nor is the government introducing legislation to ensure the well-being of its employees. Some 21% of federal public servants claim to be victims of harassment. However, Bill C-25 makes no mention of concrete measures to counter harassment when, clearly, the Canadian government, as an employer, has the obligation to ensure the psychological well-being of its employees.
The Bloc Quebecois reprehends this government, which continues investing heavily in beautiful reports, without applying them or acting as an employer responsible for its workforce.
Public Service Modernization Act
June 3rd, 2003 / 3:35 p.m.
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the third reading stage of Bill C-25.
June 3rd, 2003 / 1:20 p.m.
Brian Masse Windsor West, ON
Madam Speaker, it is my privilege, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, to throw our support behind this beneficial change. We believe members of the RCMP play a significant role in contributing to Canadian society. This pension issue could be classified by some as housekeeping or just some type of modern modification, but in reality it is about building confidence and showing that we can do some small things that go a long way.
Members of the RCMP are very important to my constituency. They are the instant recognition for what a Canadian is and Canadian symbolism, showing confidence not only in a government but also demonstrating the pride that we have out there in a very overt way. A good place to look at that is in Windsor where we have so many different cultures and groups of new people coming to get their citizenship. One of the things that we always have is a member from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the ceremony. The constable is usually someone that is very personable and very involved with the actual ceremony itself, making a point to sign any autograph, to shake hands, to be part of photos and to say a few words of comfort as well as a congratulatory message. That is important because it exudes confidence in a nation and a confidence that we have which needs to be backed up. This pension addition is a minor modification, in a sense, but at the same time shows that we need to be doing the right things for them.
There are so many other different issues that we think about when we think about members of the RCMP. It is not just the colours of their uniform and the very overt way that we see their presence, whether it be on a horse or in a parade and those types of things, it is the work they do out in the field on a day to day basis. Once again, improving their actual conditions and their confidence in the government will only help that.
In our community and others, they represent the first line of defence in many ways for what is happening at our borders, the people who are needed to respond to more international matters. In our city, where we have a municipal force and a provincial force as well, the Mounties have a different stature than those organizations because they represent the nation. When we have issues they are certainly there providing another level of confidence that sits well with our other supports, be it those other organizations I mentioned, or our firefighters and other first responders that are so important.
Sometimes we take these things for granted because we have these traditions and we know we can always rely on them. Sometimes we forget to do the regular things that are necessary to ensure their long term viability. That is what the bill would do. It would ensure another piece of a larger puzzle and we will have it to pass on.
That is one of the reasons that we support this change. It is something that, once again, is going to show that there is a longstanding commitment behind the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. More important, the Mounties will improve their ability to feel confident in the work setting.
We have been debating most of the morning and over the last few days the working conditions of public servants. We know from the union's response that there are some concerns about Bill C-25 and their working conditions that are going to be enacted and the difficulty that they are going to face. That is the exact opposite from what this is, and that is unfortunate.
We have two situations here. In Bill C-25 we have some regressive actions that are being taken against those workers and the conditions in which they are going to have to live, but what we have here is something which will be of benefit to the RCMP. We think the way to go is to improve the morale of Canadians who are employed through government tax dollars.
In the last 10 years, far too many times there have been cases where those people have tended to be attacked by different individuals and organizations, and that is not right.
There certainly is an opportunity here to do more of what this recommendation says and with the changes that will happen. I hope the government learns something from this and applies it to Bill C-25. I hope it learns that it can do some of these things that sometimes are described as housekeeping but that actually do improve morale, that do improve the quality of service and that give security for those men and women who are serving this country, and their families, who also have to pay some price for being sometimes on the front line of public services. This is overdue for the RCMP and something that we in the New Democratic Party support.