Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

In committee (House), as of Oct. 27, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

The enactment amends the Criminal Code to add new investigative powers in relation to computer crime and the use of new technologies in the commission of crimes. It provides, among other things, for

(a) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;

(b) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;

(c) a warrant to obtain transmission data that will extend to all means of telecommunication the investigative powers that are currently restricted to data associated with telephones; and

(d) warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake.

The enactment amends offences in the Criminal Code relating to hate propaganda and its communication over the Internet, false information, indecent communications, harassing communications, devices used to obtain telecommunication services without payment and devices used to obtain the unauthorized use of computer systems or to commit mischief. It also creates an offence of agreeing or arranging with another person by a means of telecommunication to commit a sexual offence against a child.

The enactment amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.

The enactment also amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise here today to speak to Bill C-46. We will probably study Bill C-47 either later today or tomorrow. Bills C-46 and C-47 are very closely related to each other and, for those watching us, have to do with cybercrime.

It appears that the Canadian government has finally entered the 21st century and wants to address the very serious problem of cybercrime. Before going into the details, I would like to give some background. There was a convention, if we can call it that, known as the convention on cybercrime. That convention was the subject of many meetings. In fact, there were 27 different versions of the convention on cybercrime before the final version was drafted and signed by many countries, including Canada, the United States, Japan, South Africa, and even the Council of Europe. All the countries that signed the convention undertook to introduce one or more bills to implement the convention on cybercrime. That is precisely what the government is doing here today.

We can examine the technical details of the bill in committee. Yes, the Bloc Québécois agrees that Bill C-46 should move forward and be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. This will also probably be true for Bill C-47.

Bill C-46 should allow police forces to adapt their investigative techniques to modern technologies like cellphones, iPods, the Internet, as well as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that link today's online world. This bill will give police forces access to such technologies.

When a bill like this is introduced there is one thing the government and parliamentarians must not forget: the bill must not infringe on basic rights even though we are trying to properly equip our police forces to deal with crime. All of this is being done in response to what happened in 2001. Even though we know that work on cybercrime began in 1995, the events of September 2001 had a substantial impact. That is when governments realized they did not have the means to intercept certain communications. Before and after 1995, and even before and after 2001, surveillance was used. It was very easy to realize you were being followed. We are not talking about a James Bond movie here. We are not nearly as sophisticated as the show 24, where the characters are totally equipped to deal with crimes of this nature. We needed to find tools to help deal with cybercrime and make them available to our police forces.

Cybercrime is very subtle and very insidious. It is everywhere today. The members opposite, especially those from the Conservative Party, talk about the luring of children or what some people attempt to do with computers, namely slowly but surely approach children to have sexual encounters.

It is much more than that. I am not saying that the luring of children is not a serious crime, far from it. This is an extremely serious crime. There are also other crimes that are much more subtle, including identity theft and the planning of major crimes. Just look at the London subway bombings. They were planned right here in Canada. Somewhere near Toronto, attacks were being planned with global targets. Here in Canada, the police thanked an individual whose assistance was instrumental in foiling a crime about to unfold in Great Britain.

Cybercrime has become a global phenomenon. Today, we cannot simply say that cybercrime only occurs in Canada, Quebec, or Ottawa and the surrounding region. Cybercrime is a global phenomenon and it has to be addressed globally. That is the purpose of Bill C-46 and Bill C-47, which we will study in the coming days.

There is something worrying me. We will have to carefully study the intrusion into the personal life of an individual. I hesitate to say this because the line between the intrusion into the rights of an individual versus the protection of society is increasingly blurred. We will have to keep a very close eye on this as we study the bill. We must ensure that citizens do not run the risk of being more vulnerable to an intrusion into their private lives. I do not think that anyone in this House is against adapting legislation to the new realities in technology and crime.

I believe that it is abundantly clear that criminals, especially those working on the Web, are brilliant for the most part. Anyone who can use such tools as Facebook or Twitter and the whole Internet is intelligent enough to hatch a good plan for a crime.

We are very close to that reality when we see someone using their cell phone, sending coded messages and providing information over the Internet. We have to follow this up. I will give the example of the transfer of “illegal” funds to tax havens. I spoke about this when debating Bill C-42 and Bill C-52. Today, criminals who use computer technology are increasingly smart. Thus, police forces must be equipped to deal with them. That is the objective of Bill C-46.

Technologies do not just benefit criminals and are also available to police. The Bloc Québécois believes that it is important and rather urgent for police to be equipped to detect not just crimes that have been committed, not just those about to be committed, but those that are being planned. We have to be one step ahead of the criminal planning a crime and able to intervene before an offence is committed. That is the objective of Bill C-46.

However, we must avoid allowing the police to use their investigative tools to gain access to a very large amount of information—it goes that far—but we must also monitor some peoples' activities on the Internet to learn more about their private lives. It goes far beyond listening to telephone conversations. This bill goes much further than that.

However, we must find a balance between the fundamental rights to privacy and safety. That is what this is all about. Is the right to privacy more important that the right to safety? That line is easily crossed by police officers or unscrupulous individuals.

We must remember that some police offers were convicted of having used the computer system of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec to monitor a spouse's new friend and watch over the movements of that individual. Those police officers were convicted because they had taken private information.

We must be very careful, and this will probably be the most important debate over the next few months. The Ligue des droits et libertés has raised some concerns. We must be careful, we must be prudent, we must be aware, and we must realize that there could be some slip-ups. When it comes to truly addressing security concerns, is protecting the rights of individuals less important than protecting society? That is a debate that will have to be held when the time comes to examine the bill in committee.

It is clear, and I would like to share a little about what the Ligue des droits et libertés has said. According to the Ligue, the bill constitutes an unprecedented invasion of privacy. It has brought up the following points. The government is presenting its bills as a way to make the necessary changes to traditional investigative powers for electronic surveillance to adapt to new communication technologies. But there is no comparison between the information transmitted through a telephone conversation and information that circulates freely.

Moreover, unlike telephone conversations, which leave no trace unless they are recorded, modern communications leave a trail in computer memories that can be detected long after the fact. That is a very important point, and I hope that nobody in this Parliament or in Canada or Quebec believes that once an email has been sent, it is over and done with. Unfortunately for them, I have bad news, because when people send an email using their computer or even their BlackBerry, there is always a trail. Their hard drives retain information about every email ever sent, and that information can be retrieved. That is where we find ourselves in a grey area.

But the Ligue des droits et libertés adds that everything we do in our everyday lives could come under police investigation. They will have access to lists of the websites we visit, emails we send and receive, credit card purchases, purchases of all kinds—clothing, books, winter gear—our outings, our movements abroad and in Canada, gas purchases, on-line and ATM banking transactions and medical information. Naturally, the list might get even longer.

We have to be prudent. I do not necessarily share all of the concerns expressed by the Ligue des droits et libertés, but they are urging us to be prudent. As parliamentarians, we have to use our judgment. We have to tell police forces—the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, the Ontario Provincial Police and other police services in large municipalities—that there are lines that must not be crossed once Bill C-46 is passed.

I firmly believe that one thing is for sure: police forces must have the tools they need to deal with crime in the 21st century. Yes, armed robberies and bank heists are still happening, although less frequently according to the latest statistics. We still hear about corner store hold-ups and all kinds of other assaults. But there is now a new kind of crime called cybercrime. We have been looking for ways to fight it since 1995. We have to make sure we have the tools to do that.

I listened closely to what the Ligue des droits et libertés said, and I feel that we have to be careful. The Ligue says that the bill provides little or no protection against unreasonable seizures without a warrant. The authorities will be able to obtain subscriber data even though the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act recognizes that this information is private. This is provided for in Bill C-47, but the authorities could still obtain this information. Without a warrant and on the basis of a suspicion, an officer will be able to ask a service provider to keep the contents of all your communications. It is like asking the post office to photocopy all your mail in case something should happen. I feel that people may go a bit too far sometimes, but this serves as a reminder that we must be cautious. I do not necessarily share the views of the Ligue des droits et libertés, but as politicians, we have to listen to both sides of the story.

The Ligue des droits et libertés also says that with a warrant obtained on the basis of a mere suspicion, an agent will easily be able to compel the service provider to turn over all its lists and so on. I believe that this is a bit dangerous, and we will have to address it when this bill is studied in committee. The Ligue added that with a warrant, which can be obtained on the basis of reasonable grounds to believe—less stringent conditions than for wiretapping—the content of your communications could be intercepted.

Certainly, what the Ligue des droits et libertés is saying is important. It is calling on parliamentarians to be careful when we print and pass legislation, but especially when we apply it. Once the law is passed, it may be too late to amend it. I will say one thing right now: police forces must be equipped to deal with cybercrime and 21st century crime. It is clear that crime prevention is one promising solution. The police will need to be able to prevent such crimes, and that takes equipment.

Obviously, the authorities have to try to uncover a plot before it is carried out. Once a crime has been committed, it is a little late to intervene, even if the criminals are brought to justice. In closing, if the authorities can thwart the crime before it is committed, I believe that this bill is a step in the right direction.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my hon. colleague. There is no doubt this bill provides police forces with additional tools. What bothers me is the question of striking a balance between basic human rights and privacy. I think we do need to give police the tools they need to arrest criminals, but I also read what the Privacy Commissioner said about this:

Privacy is a critical element of a free society and there can be no real freedom without it.

Canada is currently on a dangerous path towards a surveillance society.

This makes us all think of Big Brother. I have a question for my colleague. How can we ensure that this bill really gives police forces sufficient guidelines so that privacy and basic human rights are respected?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Trois-Rivières for her question.

I will not beat around the bush. This will probably be the greatest challenge facing the committee that examines this bill, that is, trying to set guidelines to balance individual rights and the rights of society, and indicating how far police forces should go. Indeed, as the Supreme Court put it so well, the police cannot go on a fishing expedition. They cannot intercept just anything or do anything they want under the pretext that possibly, perhaps, something might be happening. No, guidelines are needed.

As legislators, we definitely must tell police forces that they cannot cross certain lines. I agree with Ms. Stoddart that the greatest challenge with respect to this bill will definitely lie in its implementation. We will probably need detailed definitions of the tools that will be available to the police to prevent crime. Indeed, with this bill, police will go from being involved in arrests, and therefore the punishment of crime—since police generally become involved after the crime is committed—to the prevention of offences about to be committed, since police will be able to intervene before the crime is committed. That is what cybercrime is all about. That will be the challenge.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
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Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's speech. If memory serves me correctly, in 1948, George Orwell wrote the book 1984. He wrote about a society that is quite similar to the one the Conservative government wants to give us. In 1958 or 1959, Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged, which also described a similar society. Yann Martel, a very prolific Quebec writer, has been sending books to the Prime Minister and the 38th book he sent was a book by Ayn Rand.

Does my colleague not think that our Prime Minister and the government should learn from the past, from what already exists, instead of trying to get us to pass bills on law and order quickly without taking into consideration everything that might happen as a result of these bills, all the consequences these bills might have on society, on all individuals and on all human beings?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Laval. She is absolutely right. I do not think that we should be too hasty in passing this bill. Yes, we should pass it here in the House so that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security—which is where it will probably go—or the Standing Committee on Justice—it does not really matter—can study it. That is where the real work will be done.

My colleague is absolutely right. We cannot have cameras all over the place watching everything and everyone for no particular reason. Where exactly do we draw the line? Somewhere between the rights of the individual and the rights of society. The line is a very thin one. The Supreme Court has urged parliamentarians to exercise prudence before making laws that infringe on the individual rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The debate in the coming months will focus on that. I have tremendous respect for my Conservative colleagues, and I hope that they will not try to rush this bill through. Clearly, we have to take the time to work on it properly. The Convention on Cybercrime has been in the making since 1995. It has taken 27 attempts to get to what we have now. I am sure that we can take a month or two to examine this bill properly.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
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Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was very impressed with the speech by our colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue. I think that the concern he expressed about the need to protect privacy and civil rights in general in a bill like this is exactly right. There is another thing, though, that is very important and that is the need to ensure that the authorities have the effective means to control crime in the hyper-technological society in which we live.

Will this new bill give the police more effective means to control such crimes as money laundering or transfers to tax havens?

Do such provisions exist in this new bill? Could my colleague tell us a bit about that?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. He is perfectly right. I will say what I said before, namely that this bill will be studied by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I sit on the committee and will be very concerned with a close study of this bill.

The following is an excerpt from what I have read. The bill also allows “for warrants”—that is to say search warrants or warrants in cyberspace—“to enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things…. Police would be able to remotely activate existing tracking devices”.

That is dangerous and someone is going to have to explain it to me properly. I think, though, that this provision will make it possible to track money before it leaves Canada and disappears somewhere in the islands or in tax havens. We have to be able to track this money, and hopefully, this bill will make it possible. They also want to be able to track cars. Therefore, chips will be placed in them. How many luxury automobiles have been stolen and are now somewhere in the Emirates, in Russia, or somewhere else? Henceforth we will be able to track them with chips, locate them virtually anywhere, and send search warrants to get them in Russia or elsewhere.

I have been talking about vehicles, but it could be something else. That is a good thing. We should be careful, though, not to cross the line between individual rights and the protection of society. The RCMP already said that it was ready and was expecting this bill. I am looking forward to its appearance before us to explain how it intends to do this.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
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Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission
B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to represent the good people of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission and to speak in strong support of Bill C-46, which proposes changes to the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act in order to bring criminal offences and investigative powers up to date with 21st century technologies.

Bill C-46 is an important piece of legislation. We are all very well aware that technology has been changing rapidly over the last couple of decades. Some my age or thereabouts have a hard time keeping up with the technological changes. These changes have changed the way that crimes have been committed and the type of evidence that police need to gather when investigating such crimes. Developments in technology have changed the nature of the crimes themselves, as well as the nature of the investigations required to combat them.

In many ways these changes have also made the world a smaller place. It used to be the case that overseas communication took days or weeks, sometimes even longer than that.

It was not all that many years ago, Mr. Speaker, you might recall that I lived in the Philippines for a number of years. I lived several hours north of Manila, the major centre. The only way to get information back and forth to my family and friends was the old-fashioned way, by letter. We did not have a telephone where I lived. In fact, there were no telephones in the town. People had to go to Manila.

The only way I could make a phone call was to drive to a neighbouring slightly larger town about an hour away, stand in line, wait for a telephone booth, hope the operator could connect me at the appropriate time and then pay quite a bit. Now in the Philippines I am told that per capita there are more cell phones than in Canada. Anywhere people go there now, they are able to be connected throughout the world. That is what has been happening.

Money can be moved from a bank in Singapore to an account in Switzerland by a person in Saskatchewan, of all places, without any trouble at all. These technologies have opened up a world of possibilities for Canadians and Canadian businesses, but they also create new challenges for law enforcement and criminal justice. Because of the global nature of these challenges, global solutions are needed.

Investigators face some of the most significant challenges brought about by these technologies.

Before I talk about the international nature of the problem we face and how this bill responds to it, let me talk in more general terms about cybercrime.

What is cybercrime? There is no universally accepted definition. It has had a number of definitions. It certainly includes crimes perpetrated over the Internet but also any crime in which computer-based technology is used, things as relatively harmless as spam, some would say, to much more important and serious things such as the exploitation of children.

Internet child pornography, for example, has become a $2.6 billion industry. The latest RCMP estimates indicate that there are 60,000 identified IP addresses in Canada accessing child pornography. People may be surprised to know this but the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children documented that 85 children are reported missing every hour, not every day, every week or every month, but every hour, totalling more than 750,000 missing in a year. Many cases involve luring schemes facilitated online.

There is identity theft, which is very serious. In fact, in 2006 almost 8,000 cases were reported in Canada.

There is securities manipulation where wrong information is put online and the price of securities, stocks and so on go up or down in relation to that information. The markets are manipulated in that way.

There is the serious threat to critical infrastructure. It is estimated by some that the next threat to national security will be either the disruption of electronic commerce or the creation of an emergency situation.

All of these things are very costly. There are social costs certainly, but there are economic costs as well. We do not know how much these things cost. There really is no way to add them all up.

A study released earlier this year by McAfee estimated that hacking, Internet fraud, denial of service attacks and high tech mischief cost the world economy more than $1 trillion a year in lost business revenue, which is a huge cost. There is no reason to think these things will decline so we need to take them very seriously.

Some of this material was taken from a website put out by the Global Centre for Securing Cyberspace, interestingly based in Calgary, Alberta. Its mission is to proactively protect people, property and commerce from cyberspace-enabled attacks through the facilitation of cross-sector collaborations with law enforcement, government, industry and academia. There are some very helpful resources on that site that I would recommend to my colleagues and to anyone listening to this debate. People will find some very helpful things on the site if they are at all involved with the Internet or the computer.

Some of these attacks in cyberspace, cybercrime, can come from outside Canada. Our authorities need to be able to co-operate with authorities in foreign countries to investigate these crimes and to bring the criminals to justice. In order to make this co-operation effective, we, along with our international partners, need to have available a standard set of tools capable of facilitating these investigations in the new technological environment.

We believe that the ratification of the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime and its additional protocol on xenophobia is an essential component of enabling these types of internal and international investigations. This convention is the only international treaty that is specifically designed to provide the legal tools to help in the investigation and prosecution of computer and Internet based crime, as well as more general crimes involving electronic evidence.

In conjunction with the necessary amendments in Bill C-46 to the Criminal Code and the other acts, ratification of the convention would put Canada in a position to effectively conduct modern investigations with an international component. Ratification of the convention would also assist foreign signatory countries by allowing them to access the Criminal Code's new investigative tools in appropriate cases.

I would like to read some paragraphs of the preamble of this convention so members will get a sense for what it is all about. It states:

Convinced of the need to pursue, as a matter of priority, a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime...;

Conscious of the profound changes brought about by the digitalisation, convergence and continuing globalisation of computer networks;

Concerned by the risk that computer networks and electronic information may also be used for committing criminal offences and that evidence relating to such offences may be stored and transferred by these networks;

Recognising the need for co-operation between States and private industry in combating cybercrime and the need to protect legitimate interests in the use and development of information technologies;

Believing that an effective fight against cybercrime requires increased, rapid and well-functioning international co-operation in criminal matters;

And this is an interesting one:

Convinced that the present Convention is necessary to deter action directed against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, networks and computer data as well as the misuse of such systems, networks and data by providing for the criminalisation of such conduct, as described in this Convention...

And so on.

It is an important convention. Canada was involved in the development of it, along with the Council of Europe. It does a number of important things, each of which plays a part in enabling investigations.

The first thing it does is it requires signatory states to adopt a minimum set of standards for computer-related crimes. For instance, the convention requires that countries criminalize illegal access to computers. This is basically a hacking offence. It also requires the criminalization of illegal interception, data interference, system interference and misuse of devices.

Now, to be clear, most of those activities are already criminal offences in Canada. The few gaps that remain would be closed with the rest of the amendments proposed in the bill that we are debating today.

The types of crimes we are talking about here are exactly the kinds of crimes that do not respect orders very well, and that is why we need co-operation from our global partners to fight them. We need to ensure our partners are not letting their own citizens hack into Canadian computer systems. We also need to ensure that we all have similar laws to ensure we can prosecute crimes in Canada that have connections to other countries.

The convention covers other types of crimes committed using computers. For instance, the convention prohibits the distribution of child pornography over the Internet, a crime that we have been working hard to fight here in Canada. The convention's additional protocol on xenophobia and racism also broadens the scope of the convention to cover criminal behaviour relating to hate, racism and xenophobia disseminated over computer systems.

We need to do our part and encourage other countries to join us in these important fights. Ratifying the convention and its additional protocol is a necessary step in that direction.

There is another side to what the convention does, which is equally important. The convention also creates a set of investigative tools that every state party will need to fight the kinds of crimes we have just been talking about. These are really important investigative tools in a world where data can be deleted in the blink of an eye. The convention requires that all its signatory states have this kind of mechanism in place. This will be of significant help to our international investigations.

As one can imagine, cross-border investigations are more complicated than domestic ones, which means that they can go more slowly. In order to ensure that vital data in a foreign country is not lost, we need to work with our partners so we will all have such tools available to us.

The convention would also require that we adopt a number of other important investigative powers and that these same tools be adopted by our partners. This common approach to the investigation of computer crimes will speed up the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-border investigations immeasurably.

The convention would also create some new ways of co-operating on these investigations. For example, it would require that each country designate a point of contact that would be available 24/7 to give immediate assistance in these kinds of investigations. This type of mechanism would vastly increase the efficiency of cross-border investigations, which can be quite complicated to conduct.

As members can see, the ratification of the convention on cybercrime is a vital component of Canada's fight against cybercrime and its ability to investigate crimes in the modern world. The amendments in Bill C-46 would go a long way toward addressing these issues, but to make our fight against these crimes truly effective, we need to recognize their increasingly global nature.

Together, ratification of the convention and the amendments in this bill would ensure that we can respond to some of the difficult challenges that new technologies currently pose to the criminal law and criminal investigations.

I encourage all members in the House to give Bill C-46 their full support.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, at the conclusion of his speech, my colleague talked about modern investigations. One could conclude that Canadians might want to jump to the next conclusion and be concerned about what this might mean for law enforcement. Would law enforcement officials be able to monitor everyone's Internet, email or cell phone use if that happened to be the case?

I know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans understands how important it is to maintain a proper balance involving public safety, privacy and our rights and liberties.

I was wondering if my colleague could take a moment to comment on that. Does he see that as a concern in the bill if law enforcement is able to monitor everyone's email, Internet and cell phone activity?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raised an important issue that was raised in the House earlier today and earlier in this debate as well.

The whole notion of lawful access, which is one of the terms being used, is not about eaves-dropping on private conversations or monitoring web surfing or emailing habits of Canadians or even being permitted to read those. If this bill becomes law, law enforcement agencies will not be able to accept private communications or obtain transmission data without being authorized to do so by law. That is an important point and it needs to be clear.

Throughout the bill, transmission data is talked about as a concept, and that is about being able to look at header data rather than the content of an email itself. Privacy is protected in this bill.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Ligue des droits et libertés has expressed serious reservations about this bill. We would like to move forward with this bill but we must be careful.

For example, one provision of the bill would allow a judge to issue a preservation order for data if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed under the law of a foreign state. Unfortunately, not all countries have the same rights and freedoms as we have in Canada.

This week, we heard about a man from Saudi Arabia who spoke about his sexual experiences on television. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In a number of countries, homosexuality is a criminal offence. Does that mean that, if we accept these provisions, someone from another country could condemn a homosexual who came here to have a relationship with someone from Quebec or Canada and that this provision would be used to obtain information about the meeting of these two people? Would this person be prosecuted when they returned to their country? That worries me.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I heard her concern but I did not hear a question there.

All I can say is that this government and, I think, all Canadian governments are strongly committed to maintaining the rule of law in all of our legislation in the way we conduct business and in the way we expect Canadians who are governed by these laws to conduct their business as well.

The legislation includes a number of tools that are needed in the society in which we live today in this technological age. All of the access tools, the production orders, preservation orders, interception orders and search warrants would be required to be granted with lawful authority under the protection and governance of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Privacy Act, and so on.

These are very important conditions in Canadian law. I understand her concern, which she might want to raise at committee, but it is not a concern that I share.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:15 a.m.
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Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I noticed the member spoke briefly on the issue of privacy when asked an excellent question by a member on this side. I am concerned somewhat about the privacy issue because I have heard comments from my constituents. I know this Conservative government has stood up for privacy issues for Canadians and the privacy rights that they have.

I am particularly interested in the drafting of the bill itself and whether, in the drafting of this bill, the government looked at the issue of privacy and the issue of protecting privacy rights of Canadians in particular.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:15 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is quite right. Those are important considerations and the government is taking them very seriously.

In fact, there have been consultations on this for quite a while. In addition to our involvement with the convention, which I referred to in my speech, the Government of Canada has been consulting on this. It had some consultations in 2002 under a former government, again in 2005, and then, in preparation for the introduction of this bill, there have been some consultations at multiple levels. The issue of privacy has been one of those issues that has been front and centre in those consultations and discussions in order to ensure we get that balance exactly right.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act
Government Orders

October 27th, 2009 / 11:15 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly recognize and acknowledge my colleague's comments regarding the fact that it is a changing world and there is the need for new tools in the 21st century.

Does the member have an example that he could share in terms of something that might happen and how these tools could facilitate justice for the victims?