Bill C-36 (Historical)
An Act to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases
This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in May 2004.
Pierre Pettigrew Liberal
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
May 14th, 2004 / 1:20 p.m.
Dick Proctor Palliser, SK
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak in the House, even in the dying minutes of the 37th Parliament of Canada in all probability.
I am pleased to speak on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus to put a few things on the record with regard to an act to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
I note that the purpose of Bill C-36 is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases while ensuring respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Canadian Bill of Rights.
To that end, the bill aims to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable disease in Canada. It is said to apply to everyone as well as conveyances, travelling both out of Canada as well as entering the country.
The legislation that is introduced here today is described as an update of the Quarantine Act to address new issues as a result of the spread of new communicable diseases that have come to public light in recent years.
I am thinking of course of SARS which had such an impact a year ago in Canada; West Nile virus, which seems to affect Saskatchewan more than any other provinces in Canada or at least it did last year; and indeed, the avian influenza that is ravaging the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.
This bill is also being described as the first step in a series of legislative initiatives to establish a framework for public health including the creation of a public health agency for Canada.
I suggest that this is certainly long overdue legislation. We note that the Quarantine Act dates back to 1872, a very long time ago, upwards of 160 years. Certainly, it needs to be updated in view of these new diseases that have been identified in recent years and undoubtedly are the forerunner to more and new interesting things that will impact on us in the coming years.
Under the proposed legislation the minister will gain the power to appoint screen officers, quarantine officers and environmental assessment officers; establish quarantine facilities at locations in Canada; take temporary possession of premises to use as a detention facility when required and necessary; and divert conveyances, airlines, cargo ships, et cetera, to alternate landing sites.
The stakeholders in all of this include of course the provincial and territorial governments, as the member from the Bloc Quebecois noted in his remarks a few moments ago. It also includes health professionals, industry advocacy groups and members of the Canadian public. We are told they have been consulted on the proposed legislation during the health protection legislation consultations held last year and earlier this year.
However, it is important to stress that provincial and territorial public health officials have a significant role to play. They, along with other stakeholders, will continue and need to continue to participate in the consultations that will follow on Bill C-36.
The updated Quarantine Act will add an additional layer of protection by providing strong, flexible and up to date legislative tools that will allow us to respond quickly to prevent the export of communicable diseases. It is also more focused on airline travel rather than marine travel, so we are told.
Just as an aside, I believe that it was the government of Mike Harris in the Province of Ontario that, a few years ago, eliminated most of the public health officers in that province and said that they were not required any more; that we did not need public health officers in this modern new day and age. We found out, to our chagrin and regret, that it is not the case as a result of pandemics like SARS and West Nile virus.
I do not mean to pick on the former government because generally, I think there has been a diminution on public health over recent years across the country. We have come to realize that we should not have let our guard down, so to speak, in this important area.
Provincial and territorial governments are now seeing the mistakes that have resulted because of that and are ramping up support and finances to ensure that we have a strong public health sector in this country.
I am optimistic that working together with the provinces and territories we can rebuild public health and take it back to where it once was, but also modernize it so we are up to speed to deal effectively with these potential outbreaks when they come along.
Some measures, such as those contained in the bill, are obviously needed. Considering the act has not been changed since the late 1800s, some updating is required to reflect the global characteristics of travel that we are coming to see. I am sure the world will continue to become a smaller place in the years to come.
Another positive point in the proposed legislation is that it recognizes the threat to public health and proposes a way in which to prevent the spread of a communicable disease in Canada as a result of international travel.
There are also a couple of negatives in the bill that need to be identified. Although the legislation seems to be sound in principle, it does have the potential of leading to abuse of power by officials. We have some concern with regard to the level of authority the bill would appear to give to quarantine officers and screening officers. For example, people suspected of having an illness could be held for an indeterminate period of time. It is not clear from the legislation what kind of compensation would be available for people thus affected.
There are also gaps in the proposed legislation around the authority to act by the screening and quarantine officers and that needs to be reviewed closely. That includes the right to place travellers in isolation for an indeterminate amount of time.
Provided that these safeguards are put in place and adequate clarification is provided, we in the NDP consider it reasonable to support the bill. It is long overdue. We do note, as the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservative Party have also indicated, that it is the 11th hour of this 37th Parliament. One cannot help but wonder about the depth of commitment from the government opposite in bringing forward this legislation at such a late date.
The New Democratic Party caucus supports the principle of the bill. We would favour referring it to the health committee for further study and clarification.
May 14th, 2004 / 1:05 p.m.
Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC
Mr. Speaker, today, on what appears to be the last day of the session in the House of Commons, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-36, to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
Mr. Speaker, for your benefit and that of Quebeckers and Canadians, I would simply point out how cynical it is to be debating this bill on our last day in the House. When they read in the title of the bill “to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases”, people will conclude it is very important, and I agree that it is very important to make regulations to prevent the spread of contagious and communicable diseases such as SARS and the West Nile virus.
But was there any urgency to introduce this bill? Not likely, for the simple reason that the SARS crisis in Canada is more than a year old, and the same it true of the West Nile virus. So, there was no urgency. If there had been, the bill would have been introduced much sooner.
There was no urgency because, in Canada, the protection of public health is a provincial responsibility. It is as simple as that. Can we blame the provinces for reacting poorly to the SARS crisis or the West Nile virus? No we cannot. I think the provinces had what they needed to cope with such situations. Things like this happen and we have to react. We are glad we got through them, but there is still the threat of a recurrence.
Why does the federal government want to debate this bill today, the last day? This bill repeals and replaces the Quarantine Act. Its purpose is to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases in Canada. It is applicable to persons and conveyances, such as planes or boats, arriving in Canada. That is why it was called the Quarantine Act. That was the federal government's only responsibility.
Why change the title of the act? Is it for good press, to look good, to say that they have legislation to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases? Public health safety is a provincial responsibility. What the government is doing today—before calling an election in a few days—is trying to look good and get good press in case something terrible such as another SARS crisis happens during the campaign, in which case it will be able to say that it did something.
The only thing the federal government has done since SARS and the West Nile virus is to support the provinces, which is its responsibility. It did what it had to do. The problem is that when it wants to discuss these matters on the international stage with other countries, it is not Canada that is responsible for public health, but the provinces. Such is the harsh reality.
This is why we are debating in the House today, at the last minute, a bill that tries to tell those who read it that it aims at preventing the introduction and the spread of communicable diseases and that the responsibility for doing so will rest with the federal government, when all of this is completely false. In reality, public health is a matter of provincial responsibility. This is how things work in the Canadian federation.
I have no problem talking about it. The problem is that we want to skip all the steps in the discussion of this bill. However, to look good and to get good press, we still need a consistent text. The government has given itself new powers in these areas, and this is precisely what concerns us, the very fact that it is doing so.
I will quote the short preamble to the bill which says in its penultimate paragraph:
It contains provisions for the collection and disclosure of personal information if it is necessary to prevent the spread of a communicable disease or, under certain circumstances, for law enforcement purposes.
We are talking about the collection of personal information. This prompts us to react. We must be sure that the bill does not violate the charter of rights and freedoms. We do not mind personal information being collected, but we have to remember the whole debate on security in air travel that took place in committee and the long list of witnesses we had to hear in order to end up with a respectful piece of legislation. We should not forget either the statements made by the Privacy Commissioner, who expressed a lot of concern. Once again, we are talking about the collection of personal information.
Yet they want to get this bill passed without even any discussion in committee, without any chance to hear the new privacy commissioner comment on whether what the bill calls for meets his expectations in terms of the protection of rights and freedoms.
The last paragraph of the summary reads as follows: “It also provides the Minister of Health with interim order powers in the caseof public health emergencies and enforcement mechanisms to ensurecompliance with the Act.”
Of course, all interim orders have been thoroughly scrutinized by the Bloc Quebecois for the pure and simple reason that they have the same power as a regulation.
This means that there is no need to go before the House of Commons, before the members, for a minister to adopt such a measure. As result, this confers extraordinary powers on a minister, particularly where public health is concerned. These powers include acquiring drugs and vaccines and obliging people to take these drugs and be given these vaccines. We have always been opposed to this aspect.
Do hon. members recall the error made by the former health minister in requisitioning non-patented drugs, supposedly because of the urgency of the situation. There was no measure like this in place at that time. As a result, we were able to bring it to this House and rap the minister across the knuckles for making such a decision without consulting Parliament and complying with the legislation in place, namely the Patent Act of the Parliament of Canada.
With these measures, a Minister of Health could, in an emergency situation, acquire all manner of drugs for purposes deemed worthwhile by himself. He could break all existing laws because these interim orders take precedence over any other legislation in place.
Because of this, measures were added to the airline safety legislation, as well as some relating to emergency security, to ensure that at least some measures would go through Privy Council in order to ensure compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the legislation in place, including the legislation governing orders in council.
You will have understood that the Bloc Quebecois does not agree with the fact that the government is introducing this bill at the last minute, without wanting to send it to committee. However, we agree with the principle of the bill. Nevertheless, it must be sent to committee to ensure that Quebeckers and Canadians do not see their rights and freedoms violated by this bill and to ensure that there will be no involvement of ministers that might compromise the situation that they are in now.
There is still a filter that we must respect. This bill must be introduced and sent to committee to have witnesses heard. As I said, we would like to hear the privacy commissioner, community health groups and provincial representatives. Of course, the government is giving itself new laws.
I have no objection with the fact that the government has called this legislation the Quarantine Act. However, it is replacing the Quarantine Act. This is what this bill is all about. Indeed, the enactment repeals the Quarantine Act and replaces it with another. It was a federal responsibility, but the protection of public health is a provincial responsibility.
We simply want to ensure that we do not find ourselves, yet again, with duplicate jurisdictions and that the government is not going to create another administrative level that will cost money and do what is already being done very efficiently in each of the Canadian provinces.
I want to go back to my initial point: is this legislation important? The answer is yes. Is this act so urgent that we have to pass it without referring it back to a committee? The answer is no. Because ultimately, if this legislation had been so urgent, it would have been passed immediately after the SARS crisis, or after the discovery of the West Nile virus. The government would have said “Are there measures that we cannot take, but that a bill would allow us to take?”. This is not the case with this bill.
Canada reacted as it should. The provinces did their job. They looked after the public's health, as they should under the Canadian Constitution. Everyone did what they had to do.
As regards quarantine, I agree with the government which, is indeed responsible for quarantining people who come to Canada by plane or by ship. There are also other ways to enter the country. Travellers can then be quarantined. I am not opposed to modernizing the Quarantine Act.
However, it must be done in compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We must not give to public servants or ministers unwarranted powers.
That is the only issue here. That is why the Bloc Quebecois feels that, when a bill which is important but not extremely urgent is before the House, we should give it proper consideration and send it back to committee to hear witnesses. Some of these witnesses might consider the bill violates our rights and freedoms. As I said earlier, we could hear from the privacy commissioner and other stakeholders and very important witnesses. Community health officials from the various provinces could come and tell us if they see any amendments the federal government could make. That could easily be done.
The problem is that the government has not been governing in the past six months. This bill could have been introduced as soon as the Prime Minister took office. However, all the government has done in the past six months is try to find the right election date. In the meantime, consideration of all the bills was postponed. We should have addressed this bill. We should have been told more about such an important bill even if it is not extremely urgent. It has to go through all the legislative process and be sent to the committee so that we can hear witnesses to ensure that the public is well protected. That was not done.
It is being introduced today on the eve of an election. Once again, we worry that another public health crisis might occur, one for which the government has done anything since the last crisis, that is since SARS.
May 14th, 2004 / 12:50 p.m.
Carolyn Bennett Minister of State (Public Health)
Mr. Speaker, it was a little over a year ago that Canada was confronted with a mysterious disease that would go on to claim the lives of 44 Canadians, temporarily cripple the economy of Toronto, and take an enormous toll on this country's public health workers and health care providers who worked valiantly to prevent the loss of more lives. What we came to know as SARS provoked a health crisis unlike any other we have seen in recent years. We made every effort to control the spread of the virus to protect the lives and livelihood of Canadians.
One of the first steps we took in the days immediately following the outbreak was to deploy Health Canada employees as quarantine officers to provide health assessments for travellers who appeared to be ill or who may have been exposed to the disease. We instituted health alert notices to advise travellers about its symptoms and the steps to take to protect themselves, as well as health alert notices with questionnaires to passengers on incoming direct flights from Asia where the disease originated. The health alert notices were also later available to rail and bus passengers in Ontario.
As effective as those measures were, we had to face the fact that our current legislation is outdated. The existing Quarantine Act has remained largely unchanged since the adoption of the first Quarantine Act in 1872, a time when automobiles and jetliners were the stuff of science fiction.
Needless to say, times have changed. We live in an age when people move from continent to continent in hours and days rather than weeks or months, often in airplanes and ships whose confined spaces provide a perfect breeding ground for highly communicable diseases to spread.
Infectious diseases move like wildfire across the planet today. Diseases do not respect borders, so we know that we will face repeated threats to public health in the future.
Among the hard lessons learned from the experience of SARS is the need to strengthen our quarantine legislation to help prevent the introduction and spread of both emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases.
We began that process last June. To address the immediate problems we faced, we amended the Quarantine Act to include SARS on the schedule of infectious and contagious diseases and to prescribe an incubation period of 20 days for anyone exposed to the virus.
As a result of the regulatory changes, quarantine officers were able to exercise the necessary control over people entering into or departing from Canada and suspected of having SARS but who were not taking the required precautionary measures. It was necessary to take these measures in several cases to protect the health of the public.
We knew, however, that much more had to be done to ensure we would be able to react quickly to other emerging, and often unprecedented, threats to public health. That is why we thoroughly examined the Quarantine Act. The quarantine provisions were included in a health protection legislative review, as part of a legislative renewal Health Canada had undertaken to achieve and maintain the highest standards of health protection for the benefit of Canadians, today and in the future.
We undertook extensive consultations this past winter with provincial and territorial government representatives, health professionals, industry, advocacy groups and members of the public, seeking their insights and advice.
We heard repeatedly that while the current health protection system has served Canadians well, the time has come to update and integrate our existing laws into a stronger, comprehensive and flexible public health system. That is precisely what Dr. David Naylor as well as the Senate committee which studied SARS recommended we do.
As a response to concerns about the spread of communicable diseases, we decided to move forward immediately with new quarantine legislation, while the remainder of the health protection legislation renewal continues as planned.
The legislation before the House today delivers on our pledge to court many of the problems brought to our attention by recent events such as SARS, which underscored how fast and how hard disease can hit our health care system. With Bill C-36 we will replace the outdated quarantine legislation with an improved and modern Quarantine Act so we can better protect Canadians from the importation of dangerous communicable diseases and ensure Canada can meet its international obligations to help prevent the spread of these diseases beyond our borders.
Where there are incidents of risk to public health, the act continues to allow for public health measures at Canadian points of entry such as: screening travellers entering and leaving Canada, whether by customs officials or detection devices; referring travellers to a quarantine officer who may conduct a health assessment, order a medical examination, vaccination or other measures, order the traveller to report to a public health authority, or detain anyone refusing to comply with measures to prevent the spread of the disease; requiring owners of public transport conveyances, such as jets or ships, to report an illness or death of a passenger before arrival in or departure from Canada; detaining either passengers or conveyances until there is no longer a risk to public health; and inspecting such conveyances and ordering their decontamination or destruction, if required.
As well, the modernized act we propose would provide the Minister of Health with additional powers. For example he could appoint screening officers, environmental health officers and analysts as well as quarantine officers; establish quarantine facilities at any location in Canada; take temporary possession of premises to use as a detention facility if necessary; and divert airplanes and ships to alternate landing sites. While these powers would only be used in rare instances where circumstances warrant, these changes are essential if we are to keep pace with emerging infectious diseases and protect the health of Canadians.
I want to assure parliamentarians that even though the legislation will allow for the collection of information for public health purposes, Canadians' privacy rights are guaranteed. While the updated act authorizes the sharing of personal health information, the authorization to do so is limited to what is required to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
This is what citizens clearly want. They want the assurance that we are taking every possible precaution to prevent the spread of communicable diseases that could put their personal health and the welfare of their communities at risk.
The updated Quarantine Act will give us an additional layer of protection by providing strong, flexible up to date regulations that will allow us to respond more effectively to ongoing and future health risks while ensuring adequate protection for human rights.
My colleague, the Minister of Health, and I are extremely proud of the legislation, a critically important first step forward in a series of improvements the Government of Canada is making to strengthen our public health system.
As hon. members know, in addition to the new health protection legislation, we are moving on multiple fronts, including the creation of a new public health agency for Canada, the appointment of the first ever chief public health officer, and the development of a pan-Canadian public health network founded in five regional centres of collaboration across the country.
These innovations ensure better communication and collaboration among partners and will build on the expertise and strengths we already have in many areas of public health and communicable disease control to ensure Canadians are safeguarded by a seamless public health system throughout the country. Taken together, they will help ensure that Canadians are fully protected from outbreaks of emerging diseases such as SARS and whatever else awaits us in the future.
Given that we cannot predict what the next infection will be or when it may surface, we need to be ready, so we need this improved legislation now. By introducing a new and modern Quarantine Act, Canada will be better positioned to respond to any and all potential threats to the health and well-being of our citizens.
It is clear that the health and safety of Canadians is a priority of the government. Canadians expect no less. With the passage of the progressive legislation we are debating today as part of the larger public health strategy, I am confident we will not let them down.
With the passage of the progressive legislation we are debating today as part of the larger public health strategy, I am confident we will not let them down. Thank you for your attention.
May 14th, 2004 / 12:50 p.m.
Thunder Bay—Superior North
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994
May 14th, 2004 / 12:45 p.m.
The Deputy Speaker
I declare the motion carried on division.
(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)
Bill C-36. On the Order: Government Orders
May 12, 2004--The Minister of Health--Second reading and reference to the Standing Committee on Health of Bill C-36, An Act to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
Business of the House
Oral Question Period
May 13th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.
Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform
Mr. Speaker, the true miracle is the number of bills we have been able to pass, notwithstanding their opposition to them.
This afternoon, the House will continue with the opposition day motion. Tomorrow, we will return to Bill C-34, the migratory birds legislation. This will be followed by a motion to refer to committee before second reading Bill C-36, respecting communicable diseases. We will then return to Bill C-33, the Fisheries Act amendments, Bill C-10, respecting marijuana, and Bill C-23, respecting the first nations.
When the House returns on May 25, it will resume this list and take up bills that are introduced or reported from committee in the interim.
Thursday, May 27, shall be an allotted day, something that may not interest them.
May 12th, 2004 / 4:30 p.m.
Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC
Mr. Speaker, I believe it is now known that the Bloc Quebecois is in favour of the principle of this bill. We obviously recognize that any provision in the Criminal Code that facilitates the administration of justice is a positive thing.
This bill will contribute to the administration of justice, because it will provide additional guarantees with respect to sentencing.
Mr. Speaker, I believe you were a member of this House a few years ago when a heinous crime was committed against a young girl named Manning. There were a few difficulties at the trial because the way in which the bodily substances had been collected for establishing guilt was called into question.
If memory serves me correctly, we passed at first, second and third readings, in 48 hours, a bill on the creation of a national DNA databank and the administration of evidence in the case of DNA samples. It was done quite quickly. Public indignation was extremely high. At around the same time, in 1995, 1996, or 1997, we discovered with horror the influential power of organized crime.
I will turn 42 tomorrow. Imagine that. I must stop saying I am 41, with a birthday coming tomorrow.
I did not grow up hearing as much about organized crime as the member for Mercier, who has clearer memories than I of the commission of inquiry into organized crime. People came to know more about it, or at least people a little older than me, because of the CIOC. Things calmed down for a while, and then by the mid-90s our communities began to realize how much power organized crime again had.
We know that three conditions are required for organized crime to flourish: a relatively rich society, a society with well-developed means of communication, and a society where there are guarantees of rights. As far as communications are concerned, we know that ports, highways, and airports are unfortunately often the focus of those engaged in smuggling.
So where is the link between that and Bill C-35? It used to be possible for a judge to issue a warrant for collecting bodily substances from an inmate or accused. This would provide DNA profiles to be kept in a national data bank under RCMP responsibility.
The way DNA profiles were assessed, and the way they were taken, was governed by the category of offence. There were two categories of offence. The first was primary designated offences, where it was virtually automatic for a judge to order a DNA profile. This category of offence includes generally extremely serious offences under criminal law.
Now section 487.04 of the Criminal Code lists the offences, including those for which a DNA profile may be ordered.
The new bill adds to these sexual exploitation of person with disability, and causing bodilyharm with intent—air gun or pistol.
Also added are: administeringnoxious thing with intention to endangerlife or cause bodily harm; overcoming resistanceto commission of offence; robbery; extortion; breakingand entering a dwelling-house; and finally, intimidation of ajustice system participant or journalist.
Hon. members might recall that we had three bills to fight against organized crime. Bill C-95 was very important. I was the first member of Parliament to introduce an anti-gang bill. On August 9, 1995, in my riding of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, a car bomb went off on Adam Street, right across from the Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus church. A young man, Daniel Desrochers, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, was killed. That is why we started looking for the best means to dismantle organized crime.
The first piece of legislation we had against organized crime offences was Bill C-95, which was introduced by the then justice minister, Allan Rock. I think I am allowed to name him, since he is no longer a member of Parliament. The main offence that was mentioned in Bill C-95 was the criminal organization offence. If five or more persons were part of a group, or if these five persons had committed five indictable offences in the last five years for which the maximum punishment was imprisonment for five years or more—the three fives rule—we had a criminal organization offence.
Do you know what happened? Major gangs such as the Hells Angels, the Bandidos and the Rock Machines started spinning off satellite criminal groups. They recruited people who did not have a criminal record but who joined gangs in order to get their badge. It became extremely difficult for the Crown to lay charges under Bill C-95.
Bill C-95 was all the more difficult to administer because, a few years previously, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling, the Stinchcombe decision. This extremely important criminal law ruling imposes obligations on the Crown.
As we know, criminal investigations may last three, four, up to seven years. The process is an extremely long one. Under the Stinchcombe ruling, the Crown must disclose all of the evidence it has against the accused. That meant that a police officer involved in shadowing during an investigation, in a bar for example, had to table the notes that allowed the investigation to progress.
The Stinchcombe ruling was extremely controversial. Of course, coming from the Supreme Court, it created new law. The attorney general could not appeal the ruling. It made it very difficult to bring investigations to an end, and it thus became necessary to further refine the administration of evidence and hence the gathering of DNA samples.
So, we got Bill C-95. Then came Bill C-24 and Bill C-36. There was a lot of legislative activity in criminal law. Today the three fives rule has been simplified. An organized crime activity is described as three persons engaged in certain offences.
The new bill refers to journalism. Quebeckers or even people in the gallery might remember the attack on the journalist Michel Auger in the parking lot of the Journal de Montréal .
Mr. Michel Auger, a crime reporter, was victim not only of intimidation but of an attack on his life. As a matter of fact, it is the former member for Berthier—Montcalm, Mr. Michel Bellehumeur, now a Quebec court judge, who had suggested that bill include a reference to the intimidation of not only members of Parliament, police officers, judges and commissioners, but also journalists.
We want to see Bill C-35 go to committee as soon as possible.
May 12th, 2004 / 3:10 p.m.
Resumption Of Debate On Address In Reply
Speech From The Throne
February 12th, 2004 / 11:25 a.m.
Dan McTeague Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON
Mr. Speaker, we need to balance the question of security in a modern age with individuals who are concerned, as the hon. member and all of us in the House of Commons are concerned, about civil rights.
The legislation under which Ms. O'Neil's belongings and other things were intruded upon not only deals Bill C-36 but previous legislation as well. We need to look at the legislation because it is clearly inconsistent with Canadian values. I want to look at it. I believe the House of Commons will do just that.
Resumption Of Debate On Address In Reply
Speech From The Throne
February 12th, 2004 / 11:25 a.m.
Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my friend on his appointment. I know he has spoken out on a number of occasions about human rights, particularly about the human rights of Canadians overseas.
I want to ask him a very specific and brief question about a shocking episode that happened here in Canada: the search by a large number of RCMP officers of the home of journalist Juliet O'Neil. I think many Canadians were appalled at what happened in those circumstances. That flowed directly from Bill C-36, the government's so-called anti-terrorism legislation that was passed in the weeks after September 11. That member voted for that legislation.
Does he not recognize that the potential for very grave abuses of human rights, which we as New Democrats identified at that time by voting against the bill, has become a reality? Would he not agree that we should go back to the drawing board, scrap that legislation and come up with legislation that more carefully reflects the respect for human rights--