An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations)
Russ Hiebert Conservative
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Subscribe to a feed of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-377.
- Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
- Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), be concurred in at report stage with further amendments.
- Dec. 12, 2012 Passed That Bill C-377, in Clause 1, be amended by : (a) replacing lines 1 to 7 on page 2 with the following: “(2) Every labour organization and every labour trust shall, by way of electronic filing (as defined in subsection 150.1(1)) and within six months from the end of each fiscal period, file with the Minister an information return for the year, in prescribed form and containing prescribed information. (3) The information return referred to” (b) replacing lines 26 to 31 on page 2 with the following: “assets — with all transactions and all disbursements, the cumulative value of which in respect of a particular payer or payee for the period is greater than $5,000, shown as separate entries along with the name of the payer and payee and setting out for each of those transactions and disbursements its purpose and description and the specific amount that has been paid or received, or that is to be paid or received, and including” (c) replacing lines 33 to 35 on page 2 with the following: “(ii) a statement of loans exceeding $250 receivable from officers, employees, members or businesses,” (d) replacing line 4 on page 3 with the following: “to officers, directors and trustees, to employees with compensation over $100,000 and to persons in positions of authority who would reasonably be expected to have, in the ordinary course, access to material information about the business, operations, assets or revenue of the labour organization or labour trust, including” (e) replacing lines 11 to 14 on page 3 with the following: “consideration provided, (vii.1) a statement with a reasonable estimate of the percentage of time dedicated by persons referred to in subparagraph (vii) to each of political activities, lobbying activities and other non-labour relations activities, (viii) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements to” (f) replacing lines 22 to 25 on page 3 with the following: “provided, “(viii.1) a statement with a reasonable estimate of the percentage of time dedicated by persons referred to in subparagraph (viii) to each of political activities, lobbying activities and other non-labour relations activities, (ix) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on” (g) replacing lines 33 to 40 on page 3 with the following: “(xiii) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on administration, (xiv) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on general overhead, (xv) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on organizing activities, (xvi) statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on collective bargaining activities,” (h) replacing lines 1 and 2 on page 4 with the following: “(xix) a statement with the aggregate amount of disbursements on legal activities, excluding information protected by solicitor-client privilege, (xix.1) a statement of disbursements (other than disbursements included in a statement referred to in any of subparagraphs (iv), (vii), (viii) and (ix) to (xix)) on all activities other than those that are primarily carried on for members of the labour organization or labour trust, excluding information protected by solicitor-client privilege, and” (i) replacing lines 4 to 13 on page 4 with the following: “( c) a statement for the fiscal period listing the sales of investments and fixed assets to, and the purchases of investments and fixed assets from, non-arm’s length parties, including for each property a description of the property and its cost, book value and sale price; ( d) a statement for the fiscal period listing all other transactions with non-arm’s length parties; and ( e) in the case of a labour organization or” (j) replacing line 29 on page 4 with the following: “contained in the information return” (k) replacing lines 33 to 35 on page 4 with the following: “Internet site in a searchable format. (5) For greater certainty, a disbursement referred to in any of subparagraphs (3)( b)(viii) to (xx) includes a disbursement made through a third party or contractor. (6) Subsection (2) does not apply to ( a) a labour-sponsored venture capital corporation; and ( b) a labour trust the activities and operations of which are limited exclusively to the administration, management or investments of a deferred profit sharing plan, an employee life and health trust, a group sickness or accident insurance plan, a group term life insurance policy, a private health services plan, a registered pension plan or a supplementary unemployment benefit plan. (7) Subsection (3) does not require the reporting of ( a) information, regarding disbursements and transactions of, or the value of investments held by, a labour trust (other than a trust described in paragraph (6)(b)), that is limited exclusively to the direct expenditures or transactions by the labour trust in respect of a plan, trust or policy described in paragraph (6)(b); ( b) the address of a person in respect of whom paragraph (3)(b) applies; or ( c) the name of a payer or payee in respect of a statement referred to in any of subparagraphs (3)(b)(i), (v), (ix), (xiii) to (xvi) and (xix).”
- Dec. 12, 2012 Failed That Bill C-377, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 20 on page 1 with the following: “labour organization is a signatory and also includes activities associated with advice, commentary or advocacy provided by an employer organization in respect of labour relations activities, collective bargaining, employment standards, occupational health and safety, the regulation of trades, apprenticeship, the organization of work or any other workplace matter.”
- March 14, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
May 9th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
May 9th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
May 9th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
Jeff Watson Essex, ON
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, we're not having an examination of Bill C-377. We are talking about how to make infrastructure dollars go a little further.
I think the first question was definitely in line, and I wasn't intervening on a point of order at that point, but this conversation is now departing from the actual study. Now she wants commentary on Bill C-377.
May 9th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
Regional Director, Eastern Ontario, Christian Labour Association of Canada
CLAC would be subject to the exact same reporting requirements as any other trade union in Canada under Bill C-377. When the bill was first introduced, we certainly did make submissions to the government in terms of some flaws that we saw with the bill. But to answer your question, we would be subject to the exact same reporting requirements.
May 2nd, 2013 / 2:50 p.m.
Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC
Mr. Speaker, they are trying to piss off the unions with Bill C-377 and irritate the people at VIA Rail, CBC and Canada Post. They are sticking their noses into the business of all those organizations, but meanwhile they do not even know what they did with $3 billion. We are not talking about $1 billion or $2 billion but $29 billion in taxes that they are unable to collect. They need to get their own house in order before they start meddling in the affairs of others. When these organizations have problems, the Conservatives say that those problems are not their responsibility and that the organizations are independent. Yet, when it comes time to interfere for ideological reasons, these organizations can kiss their independence good-bye. The most ridiculous thing about this situation is that the Conservatives are saying that the bill will help to improve management.
How can a minister who lost $3 billion claim that the CBC—
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1
May 2nd, 2013 / 1:40 p.m.
Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON
It is even a war on working people. I thank the minister for making sure I got my terminology correct.
We were given the role of Her Majesty's official opposition two years ago today, and almost immediately the Conservatives began their assault on working people in this country.
Canada Post locked out its workers, and despite being at arm's length from the government, the government not only legislated them back to work, but that legislation included reducing the workers' wages and attacked their pension plan.
Shortly after that, the government went after the workers at Air Canada, twice, legislating them back to work before a strike or lockout even began, again with conditions unfavourable to workers.
Later, the government legislated another private company back to work: Canadian Pacific Railway, a private company. I remind the House that it was not even a public corporation or a crown corporation.
Air Canada then closed its maintenance bases in Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto. Despite the government's assurance that those bases and those workers would be protected, the jobs are now performed elsewhere, and the Conservative government sat on its hands and did nothing.
Caterpillar closed its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ontario, after getting a lovely cheque from the Prime Minister during the election campaign. The workers were tossed out and production moved to the U.S.
The U.S. government then loaned money to Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador to buy its locomotives in the United States. The U.S. government is loaning money to a Canadian company to buy American. How ironic is that? Again, the Conservatives did not even raise a finger to help the workers. We do not have a buy Canadian policy. Nothing in the budget suggests we should be buying in Canada.
However, the Conservatives had not finished. They attacked working Canadians again by demanding they work an additional two years before retiring. The Prime Minister announced this broken promise in Davos, Switzerland, I guess because he is afraid of facing Canadians on issues as big as that.
Next, the Conservatives attacked workers unlucky enough to need access to the safety net called employment insurance. They have reduced the number of weeks of payment, raised the premiums and put in place new rules that demand workers take jobs that pay up to 30% less and can be up to an hour's drive away. Of course, that 30% less becomes a vicious circle and a downward spiral, because the next time individuals are laid off, they have to take 30% less, and the next time they are laid off, another 30%, until finally they are paying to work.
While workers were trying to fathom those changes, the government made it easier for employers to not hire Canadian workers by easing rules for importing workers from other countries. A staggering 338,000 such workers are in Canada now, in jobs ranging from food service workers in fast food restaurants to airline pilots. Banks are even so bold as to ask the outgoing laid-off staff to train their foreign replacements.
This is not what we should be doing in this country. This is not what we want in a budget, to have Canadian jobs fleeing as fast as we can get them out the door in favour of cheaper foreign labour. That is not how to run this economy, and the Conservative government is running our economy quickly into the ground.
Bill C-377, a government bill in private member's bill clothing, attacks the unions that help support these workers by subjecting those unions to mountains of red tape. So much for being the party of red tape reduction.
Now we have Bill C-60, the next anti-worker salvo in the government's arsenal of weapons aimed at workers in this country. I notice that, as of today, the government is afraid of debating that bill. It has now limited the ability of this House of Commons to actually bring to this House of Commons issues with regard to this bill, in front of every member of this House. Instead, the Conservatives have given us time allocation, which will force the bill to be voted on in four days, after only four days of debate.
There are 60 separate acts of Parliament that will be discussed in only four days.
How on earth are we, as representatives of the people, going to give the proper accounting of how we looked after their interests over the course of the next four days? I stagger to think how we can do it.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport has mused about eliminating the Rand formula, another attack on working people in our country. The Rand formula is a uniquely Canadian solution to the problem of union membership, which was put forth in the 1940s and is a model around the world of how to protect employers and union members, yet the government would perhaps try to attack it.
The Minister of State for Transport has suggested on a number of occasions that the wages at Canada Post are too high. He would attack wages. That is part of the problem we have with the government. Each time we turn around, the government is trying to lessen Canadian wages and expectations of job and wage. Foreign workers are allowed to be paid 15% less than the prevailing Canadian wage, yet we are supposed to think that is a good thing. The government is driving down wages time after time with its policies and formulas, and even this budget would do it again.
How would it do it specifically? It would do it by attacking, through the Treasury Board, the collective bargaining process in crown corporations. Some 49 crown corporations would now have to face the government, supposedly at arm's length, but the arm is in a stranglehold around the neck of the crown corporations and their workers.
By that arm's length now permitting the Treasury Board to determine how much money these crown corporations get, which the government does already, the crown corporations would be faced with trying to make do with what they have. The government has already lowered the budget for VIA Rail. It has lowered the budget for all of the crown corporations, generally, across the system.
Now the government wants to go in and tell the crown corporations how to do business with their workers. It has not consulted with anyone on these changes.
The Treasury Board can apparently change a crown corporation's bargaining mandate at any time in collective bargaining, which could force the employer to engage in regressive bargaining, going backward. That is what the Conservatives seem to want to do. They want to take Canada backward as fast they can and take wages backward to make us compete with low wages in parts of the world with which we have no business trying to compete.
The Treasury Board could dictate that a crown corporation violate countless rules under the Canada Labour Code. We have the Canada Labour Code for a reason. It is to govern the working relationships between federal employers, including crown corporations, and their workers in a manner that everyone can read and understand. Now we have the Treasury Board saying it is going to set different rules and not pay attention to the Canada Labour Code. I do not know if that would survive a court challenge, but it is scary nonetheless.
The Treasury Board can have one of its employees present at bargaining to ensure that the crown corporations follow its dictates. Not only will the big hand of Big Brother be no longer at arm's length, but it will be right there at the table. Big Brother will be watching as they try to bargain with their employees in a manner that is fair, reasonable and just, which is what we want in this country.
The Treasury Board can also dictate that a crown corporation can change the conditions of employment for a non-union employee at any time. There are laws against that in this country, called the Canada Labour Code, which the members opposite should read one of these times. The Canada Labour Code suggests that it would be tantamount to a constructive dismissal and is illegal. It is illegal here in Canada to constructively dismiss individuals by changing their terms and conditions in a way that they can no longer stand. That would be challengeable under the Canada Labour Code.
The provisions that have come to us in the form of Bill C-60 are, unfortunately for us, just another salvo in the war against the working people in this country.
April 25th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
Paul Moist National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
My name is Paul Moist. I'm the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. We're very happy to appear in front of you and spend a few moments talking about infrastructure and its financing.
We work alongside the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. We have tens of thousands of municipal members and a total of just over 600,000 members across Canada. I was pleased to interface to some degree with the government as part of the FCM's municipal infrastructure forum.
We're going to focus today largely on public-private partnerships vis-à-vis infrastructure financing. I guess we approach it from a public policy point of view. Our overriding concern is with public finances and the delivery of services, but we don't question for a moment the historical partnership between the private sector and the public sector.
You folks are all familiar with that traditional procurement and the issuance of tenders for design and for building. For the most part, that served Canada for decades. The public sector provides financing usually, historically, because it can borrow at a lower rate, and the public sector in Canada generally delivers the services in structures that are built by the private sector.
This new realm that we're in, the so-called P3s, or public-private partnerships, sees many different functions coming open for debate and discussion now. It continues to be used as a form of, at times, off-book financing and is quite controversial in many quarters. The notion that you can spend more and do more infrastructure with little money down is one that you should examine really closely.
In our presentation, at the bottom of page 1, we talk a little bit about the United Kingdom. We note that the health minister of the current government in the U.K. talks about the health system being brought to the “brink of financial collapse” by their version of public finance initiatives. One of the witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, Professor Siemiatycki, called the U.K. experience a kind of ”an accounting mirage”. We don't want to replicate that experience in Canada, at least in CUPE's view. The price tag in the U.K. for outstanding PFI liabilities is just over £300 billion, which is almost $500 billion in Canadian dollars, or about $20,000 per family in the United Kingdom. It rests with the public realm now to deal with this level of debt.
In comparative terms, Canada is where the U.K. was before their P3 bubble burst. We're nowhere near as exposed as they are, but I guess what we say to you, Mr. Chairman and committee members, is to take a close look at what's going around.
In the last week, the Auditor General here in Ontario gave his preliminary results on the Mississauga gas plant. That was a form of P3 to deliver energy services in southern Ontario. It cost almost four times the actual construction cost to get out of that deal. Fourteen per cent interest rates to hedge funds based in the United States and the Cayman Islands. We're nowhere near the bottom of this one yet. In my opinion, this brought down the premier of Ontario. It's a P3.
In Quebec, the provincial auditor has found the McGill University Health Centre P3 much more costly than the public option. The auditors have not finished their work yet. Just two years ago, this project received the gold award in project financing from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. Today, warrants have been issued for the arrest of the former McGill University Health Centre CEO. SNC-Lavalin has been charged with fraud related to this project. You're all aware that the World Bank decided last week that SNC-Lavalin is in the penalty box for 10 years. The Government of Quebec has announced that there will be no more P3 hospitals in Quebec. The last chapter has not been written on the McGill health centre.
The U.K. Conservative government has moved towards restricting operations and maintenance as part of future P3s, as well as increasing transparency. We're kind of moving in the opposite direction, with PPP Canada effectively stating that operations and maintenance must be part of P3s that receive financing through the P3 Canada fund.
I met a month ago with the mayor of Regina. They're applying to the P3 Canada fund, as they've been advised it's the only way to access 25% financing of their $200 million waste water treatment plant. The mayor's in the Regina Leader-Post saying it's not his preferred option but it's the only way to access federal money.
Federal and provincial P3 agencies—not all provinces, but certainly Partnerships BC, and New Brunswick has an agency—are charged with the impossible task to promote P3s and to assess P3s. There's a conflict there. I'm not sure how you do both.
We know, when the truth comes out and the evidence comes out, that Brampton P3 hospital should have been built privately—of course—but it should not have been financed privately. The Auditor General delivered to Mr. McGuinty, when he assumed office in, I guess, 2004, the second year of his mandate, that he could have saved $200 million just by financing the Brampton hospital through conventional means, through the public realm.
I want to be clear that there's no question about who builds these things. There's no question about things being built well. There's no question about things being built on time.
Mr. McGuinty entered his premiership in 2003 questioning a very successful P3, one that's been written about, and that's Highway 407. It's a good highway. It functions very well. It's well built. It was built on time. It was a good investment for some investors. Mr. McGuinty thought the 99-year deal was a terrible investment for Ontarians. He wanted, in the public interest, to get at that 99-year deal. He went to court in his first six months in office, and was told that the deal was bulletproof from the point of view of the private consortium. It's a very good highway, built properly, built on time, and very good for certain investors, including some pension funds. But is it in the public interest for the amount of money the citizens of Ontario are paying for a highway that many don't drive on?
Lastly, Mr. Chairman—because time is running out—the committee is considering red tape reduction as well as P3s. We've read with interest Minister Clement's comments about reducing regulations and getting the burden off of businesses doing business with government. We kind of find that ironic, because more red tape is being added to the trade union movement. Bill C-377, which is still before the Senate, adds an extraordinary level of bureaucracy at a time when downsizing is occurring within the federal realm.
The initial transaction costs for P3s, in terms of red tape, are more than double the estimated transaction costs for traditional procurement. I know that many smaller municipalities have petitioned all levels of government that they can't afford to compete even in bidding for P3s. They don't have the capacity. If red tape is part of your considerations here, there's a lot of red tape associated with just the consideration of the P3 process.
Local governments have to put their own money forward, and they're ultimately responsible for these services. We think they know what works best. Some opt for P3s; many don't. Some feel like they're being forced to right now.
Lastly, you're to consider as well increased private sector infrastructure—the private sector investing in itself. This is not our area of expertise, but as trade union leaders we do get to meet with the Governor of the Bank of Canada on a yearly basis. He's been very open to meeting with us. We asked him about his comments earlier this year about the private sector sitting on over $500 billion in capital and not reinvesting in and retooling their physical plants. Some people have been critical of Mr. Carney for making those comments, but we think your government, and governments prior to you, have tried to create an environment for business to flourish in Canada, including cutting their taxes.
When they're sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in capital, and there isn't really an evident labour force development strategy in the country—what's happening in the country is very controversial, including the temporary foreign worker program—we think that businesses, when you're helping their bottom line, have a responsibility to reinvest in Canada. We kind of agree with Governor Carney. Most of our comments were about P3s.
Last, Mr. Chairman, one witness who couldn't be here today is Professor John Loxley, and we've tabled, in both languages, a piece of work that we commissioned Professor Loxley to do. It's simply a guide on what questions municipalities should ask regarding P3s. We've distributed this to all local governments in Canada, and I commend that to you. I wish John were here. The value for money, the risk transference, the illusion of that is sometimes more than the reality.
We're very supportive of the Government of Manitoba bringing forward legislation to force more transparency at the front end of these infrastructure decisions.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 19th, 2013 / 12:55 p.m.
Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comment and his question.
In fact, he is absolutely right. The government says it wants a minimal state, to intervene as little as possible and let people do what they want. However, what it is doing is drafting bills that run completely counter to Conservative discourse and values. The government wants to be persnickety and impose more red tape and bureaucracy.
We saw this with Bill C-377, which also intrudes into the private lives of individuals. We saw it with Bill C-30, which gave the police forces a completely unlimited mandate so that they can go and see what people are doing, so that they can go into their computers and intrude into their private lives.
We know that there needs to be a balance between security and protection of private life. That is why the NDP supports the bill. However, the government is systematically going back on its promises and is even going against its own values and principles. Canadians are starting to realize this.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 19th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their moral support. I hope that my comments on Bill C-55 will stay on point. I would also have liked to hear my Conservative colleagues speak out about this important bill that their government has brought forward. Their silence today is deafening, aside from a few points of order that can be construed as attempts at badgering.
Fundamentally, the debate on Bill C-55 takes us back to the history of Bill C-30. Finally we have a Conservative government that has backed down and admitted the error of its ways, a government that has been forced to go back to the drawing board. This is not the first time the Conservative government has been taken to task, but it should happen more often. Unfortunately, we have a government that delights in improvising most of the time. It is guided by its ideology and completely blinded by certain libertarian or conservative principles, so much so that its actions are not guided by the facts, by science or by reality, but rather by personal views, as the justice minister pointed out.
Members may recall that Quebec’s justice minister had asked the federal justice minister some questions about a bill on minimum sentences for young offenders and in that instance, personal views had specifically come into play. In my opinion, Bill C-30 was also based on personal whims. It is a shame, really, because the privacy of our country’s citizens was threatened by the Conservative government, which adopted a very hostile attitude toward all those who dared call its bill into question.
Members may recall that the Conservative minister accused the opposition parties of siding with pedophiles simply because they criticized and opposed Bill C-30. Highly ideological stances like this adversely affect debate in Parliament as well as in our democracy.
It is important that I mention the employment insurance reform, which should have been based on impact studies illustrating the impact of the reform on a number of regions, on workers, and their families. It came to our attention that no impact studies were conducted. All’s well that ends well, however, when it comes to Bill C-30 because the bill was scrapped. This proves that when there is public outcry, and when people mobilize, the government can be forced to backtrack, even the Conservative government.
Let me come back to Bill C-55. It is fortunate that we still have courts in this country. It is fortunate that we have a Supreme Court of Canada to tell us which provisions need to be amended, because the Conservatives do not respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I said this in my previous remarks. I also know full well that the private member's bill, Bill C-377, which is a direct attack on unions and workers’ associations, also appears likely to end up in court.
It is good that the courts are reviewing these Conservative bills as they are probably unconstitutional, invade privacy and violate the right to organize. It is fortunate that we still have courts in our society that force the government to amend legislation that is unconstitutional so that it complies with section 8 of the charter, for example, which is the case currently with Bill C-55.
We need to remember that the reason the bill is before us today is because a judge determined at trial that section 184.4—which is the section that is being amended—violated the right, guaranteed under section 8 of the charter, to be protected against frisking, searches, abusive seizure, and that it is not a reasonable limit under the first section.
Today, the situation is being addressed and our legislation is being amended to ensure that it is consistent with our values and principles as a society, which not only seeks to ensure the safety of its citizens, but also to protect their privacy.
In this debate, it is important to remember what section 184.4 of the Criminal Code is about. It reads:
A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where
(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;
(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
It is important to know exactly what we are talking about but, for members of the NDP and most people of good faith, oversight and accountability mechanisms are also important. That is why the official opposition finds the provisions of section 195 and Bill C-55 acceptable; they give police officers less arbitrary power in certain situations.
In terms of public safety needs, we are aware that police officers must have these tools and access to them. However, such interception should not then be forgotten about. There must be follow up. That is why we are pleased to have these oversight mechanisms. We understand the concerns of those who were upset about the Conservative government's Bill C-30. This bill was a real attack on privacy given the authority it gave police to intrude on people's private lives.
We also must find a balance between the protection of privacy and the police forces' ability to do their work and maintain public safety. This balance has to exist even when the police are wiretapping and intercepting communications in order to protect the physical integrity of our constituents and prevent people from committing wrongdoings that could endanger the lives and safety of Quebeckers and Canadians.
It is all a balancing act. For once, we must admit that the bill before us is reasonable and balanced. I do want to reiterate that it was the court that twisted the government's arm and forced it to make changes. There is a deadline. Today we are debating this bill because we no longer have the choice. The court said that we had to resolve this issue by the beginning of April. We are lucky to even have this.
I would like to quote some testimony from committee. It demonstrates how the New Democratic Party feels. On March 6, 2013, Raji Mangat, the counsel for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, said the following at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights:
...the BCCLA [her organization] is pleased to see that Bill C-55 will limit the use of section 184.4 to police officers. This is in our view a sensible and necessary amendment that supports the rationale behind the provision, to provide a means by which law enforcement can prevent serious and imminent harm on an urgent basis.
On that note, the BCCLA is also pleased that Bill C-55 limits the application of warrantless wiretapping to circumstances in which the goal is to prevent the commission of an offence. The addition of a notice requirement to individuals who have been subjected to warrrantless wiretapping brings section 184.4 in line with other provisions in the Criminal Code. The notice requirement provides transparency and serves as an essential check on this extraordinary power to intercept communications without judicial authorization.
The reporting requirement in Bill C-55 is also a welcome amendment, as it will enhance police accountability. Together, the notice and reporting requirements bolster accountability and oversight in the use of warrantless wiretapping, and the BCCLA [her organization] supports amendments to gather more data.
If I may, I would like to digress and speak about safety, particularly the safety of people in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie when it comes to the railways and pedestrian crosswalks. It is important to have measures that encourage active transportation so that people can safely cross the railways we have in Montreal. I support all the groups and elected officials who are lobbying for this. It is important for improving the quality of life of the people of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 19th, 2013 / 12:40 p.m.
Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC
Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle: I believe there was a translation problem.
However, the people in this House also need to be aware that a Conservative government minister is accusing the official opposition of siding with pedophiles. I am not sure that is parliamentary language either.
I would also like to hear my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle talk about the Conservative government's wish to invade people's lives through Bill C-30, which was fortunately scrapped because it ran entirely counter to Canadian and Quebec values and to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Conservatives are doing the same thing with Bill C-377, under which they would compel labour organizations to provide information concerning them.
What does my colleague have to say about the Conservative government's desire to invade people's privacy?