An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights)
Peter Julian NDP
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
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February 8th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.
Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB
Mr. Speaker, I have privilege today of tabling a petition from residents of Ponoka, High Prairie, Lacombe, Oyen, Hanna and Edmonton, Alberta. They are bringing to the attention of the House that it is essential that Canada maintain, promote and enhance its role in upholding human rights and sustainability worldwide. That includes the condemnation of practices of Canadian and other corporations forcing displacements, social conflicts, violent disruptions of protests against unfair employment practices, poisoning local water and the destruction of farmland and fisheries. They are bringing to our attention that Canadian legislation must be reformed to hold accountable those who violate human rights or harm the environment.
They call on members of the House to support Bill C-323, the international promotion and protection of human rights act and thereby create a new civil cause of action to enable the Federal Court to hear claims for a violation of international laws outside of Canada.
Federal Courts Act
October 5th, 2011 / 3:10 p.m.
Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-323, An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights).
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to re-table my bill on corporate responsibility. This was formerly Bill C-354 in the 40th Parliament. The bill is called the international promotion and protection of human rights act.
This is an innovative bill which mirrors the U.S. alien torts claims act. It has given rise to a very healthy and ongoing debate in civil society. It has been developed in close co-operation with Nick Milanovic, who is the adjunct professor at the Department of Law at Carleton University, and Mark Rowlinson, counsel for the United Steelworkers. The bill has been endorsed by the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers and many other civil society groups, experts and concerned Canadians.
The bill calls for extending the authority of the Federal Court system to protect foreign citizens against a broad range of human rights violations committed by Canadian and non-Canadian corporations and persons operating outside Canada. It would allow lawsuits in Canada for a host of universal human rights violations, such as genocide and torture, as well as activities that significantly destroy the environment or violate key international labour rights.
Canada's judicial system protects Canadians from abusive conduct by corporations or individuals and should no longer permit some Canadian corporations to violate human rights abroad. These continue to be committed abroad with impunity by some bad apples, some Canadian mining companies and other companies. This has an impact and, as a result, we need to ensure that we have a court system that responds to the needs of these foreign nationals.
The bill is an important step in expanding the jurisprudence to protect citizens living abroad from human rights abuses that take place. I hope the bill will get broad support from all members of Parliament.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)