Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Tse, safeguards related to the authority to intercept private communications without prior judicial authorization under section 184.4 of that Act. Notably, the enactment

(a) requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Attorney General of each province to report on the interceptions of private communications made under section 184.4;

(b) provides that a person who has been the object of such an interception must be notified of the interception within a specified period;

(c) narrows the class of individuals who can make such an interception; and

(d) limits those interceptions to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

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.

Votes

  • March 20, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in support of Bill C-55, the response to the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Tse act.

Bill C-55 is essential in maintaining the ability of police to protect Canadians from serious harm. It aims to ensure that the police retain their power to conduct wiretap without prior judicial authorization where it is needed immediately to prevent tragedy from occurring. The exceptional authority under section 184.4 of the Criminal Code allows police to proceed to intercept private communications without prior judicial authorization when an interception is urgently needed to respond to an imminent threat, such as kidnapping, a bomb or a hostage situation.

The Supreme Court of Canada held, in R. v. Tse, that the authority under section 184.4 of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional. However, the court suspended its declaration of invalidity until April 13, 2013, in order to allow Parliament to address the constitutional deficiencies of section 184.4. The amendments in the bill would respond to this decision, make 184.4 constitutionally compliant and add some additional limitations and accountability safeguards to use as exceptional authority for situations of imminent harm.

The authority to intercept private communications, under section 184, must be carefully tailored to balance the competing interests of the protection of privacy and the need to act quickly to protect persons and property from serious harm. The amendments to section 184.4 of the Criminal Code proposed in Bill C-55 would ensure needed accountability and transparency, while maintaining essential capability for police to respond swiftly in a critical situation.

Bill C-55 was studied by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and has been returned to the House without amendment. I would like to signal that the government greatly appreciates the assistance the House has provided in moving this essential bill forward as quickly as possible, while giving its important proposals due consideration.

To assist in its deliberations, the committee received written submissions from the Canadian Bar Association's national criminal justice section and heard from witnesses representing the Criminal Lawyers' Association and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. I am happy to report that these witnesses expressed support for the main elements of Bill C-55 and made very positive comments on the value and importance of the bill.

I would like to take a few minutes to go over the major components of Bill C-55. As indicated by the bill's title, and as I previously mentioned, the amendments proposed in the bill are needed to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Tse. In the decision, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the authority under section 184.4 was unconstitutional, due to the lack of an accountability safeguard such as an after-the-fact notification. Bill C-55 would remedy this constitutional deficiency by adding requirements to the Criminal Code for after-the-fact notification to persons whose private communications have been intercepted under section 184.4. The notice would need to be provided within 90 days, unless an extension was granted by a judge.

In the decision of R. v. Tse, the Supreme Court also suggested that the government might wish to consider adding a reporting requirement, although it was not needed for constitutional compliance. The government is implementing this suggestion in Bill C-55, which proposes to amend the Criminal Code to require detailed annual reporting by the federal minister of public safety and the Attorneys General of the provinces on the use of section 184.4. This requirement essentially mirrors the existing reporting requirement under section 195 of the Criminal Code, which has always been considered an important mechanism to increase transparency in the use of wiretaps. Such annual reports are intended to form the basis for a public evaluation of police use of section 184.4 of the Criminal Code.

Bill C-55 also proposes to limit the availability of the authority to wiretap under section 184.4 to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code in place of the broader reference to “any unlawful act”. This limitation was not seen as necessary by the Supreme Court, although it was favoured by the lower court in the Tse decision. The amendment was also commented on favourably by the witnesses who appeared before the committee to discuss the bill. The proposed change to the term “offence” makes for a narrower category of unlawful acts and is consistent with other wiretap authorities in part VI of the Criminal Code, which are also limited to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

The Supreme Court of Canada also indicated in its decision in R. v. Tse that the government might wish to consider whether the broader category of peace officer under section 2 of the Criminal Code was too broad and whether to restrict the use of section 184.4 to a narrower group of individuals, such as police officers. The Supreme Court observed that this might be beneficial from a constitutional perspective, although it did not rule on this issue. The government agrees with the Supreme Court's suggestion. Accordingly, Bill C-55 restricts the use of section 184.4 to police officers instead of peace officers. As the law presently stands, section 184.4 powers can be used by peace officers, which is a broader category of persons that includes officials such as mayors and reeves as well as fishery guardians and customs and excise officers.

I would like to take this opportunity to assure the House that the proposed definition of “police officer” already exists in the Criminal Code in the context of dealing with forfeiture of proceeds of crime. It also exists in other statutes. It has been judicially interpreted as only including those who are statutorily appointed to carry out duties of preservation and maintenance of the public peace.

Privately hired individuals, such as security guards in shopping malls or office buildings, do not fit within this definition, as they are not statutorily appointed. I should also mention that in looking at section 184.4 of the Criminal Code and the additional restrictions on its use proposed in this bill, it is important to remember that section 184.4 already provides a number of important limitations on its use. It can only be used where other powers are not available due to the urgency of the situation. The interception must be immediately necessary to prevent serious harm, and the communications that are to be intercepted must be those of the victim or the perpetrator. These restrictions, together with the amendments proposed in this bill, would ensure that the use of this exceptional authority is appropriately circumscribed.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has carefully reviewed the bill and supports it. The proposed safeguards and requirements in the bill not only meet but exceed the court's directives for constitutional compliance under section 184.4 of the Criminal Code.

I encourage all members to support Bill C-55.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. I am glad that he understands the almost superhuman effort that we have all had to make to ram through this bill.

We all know that the Minister of Justice introduced this bill on February 11, despite the fact that it is a fairly important document given that it responds to a Supreme Court ruling.

We have had one question throughout the process and for a fairly long time now. The decision rendered by the court on April 13, 2012, in R. v. Tse gave the government one year to respond. Yet this question has not yet been answered. As we approach the final stage of consideration of this bill in the House, I believe it is important to better understand why the government waited so long and to see whether there is a lesson that can be learned here.

We have had to examine amendments to the part of the Criminal Code entitled “Invasion of Privacy” faster than a speeding bullet. I think that the government should learn something from this.

I am wondering whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice can say whether the government has learned anything from the process that just took place.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I would like to thank the members of the opposition who are part of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for having worked with us to get this bill passed quickly. It is very important for the safety and lives of those we should be protecting.

We are being criticized for how long it took for this bill to be introduced. But the justice department wants to be sure that it diligently examines a law's constitutionality.

We know that in this case, the Supreme Court suspended the bill, saying that it had shortcomings but that it was neither completely useless nor completely unconstitutional.

We therefore made another attempt and took our time going over it with a fine-tooth comb in order to correct the flaws and to ensure that it meets all of the constitutional requirements. We know that intercepting a person's communications is still an extreme measure to take.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, since we have the decision of the Supreme court in R. v. Tse, one would think that we now would be very cautious in this place to ensure that we not do just barely enough to ensure charter compliance but that we take every single step recommended to us by experts to ensure charter compliance.

I ask the parliamentary secretary why we did not take the advice of the Canadian Bar Association, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Criminal Lawyers' Association to ensure that we have additional oversight measures, including having lists that show when a wiretap did not lead to arrest and ensuring that the policemen who make these decisions without warrant record their reasons for having reasonable, probable grounds for doing so.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, we all aspire to ensure that matters of constitutionality are safeguarded. However, in instances when there are emergent needs to protect the safety of the public, it is not always possible to take measures such as making very copious notes or taking steps that may slow down the process that ultimately leads to guarding our safety.

While we respect the member's amendments in regard to having a full and complete record as to why a wiretap was used versus having obtained judicial authorization, emergent circumstances dictate that it is not possible to always write copious notes as to why such emergency measures were taken.

It is a matter of balancing the security of the public and the charter rights of citizens, and we feel that the bill, as it stands, meets all those requirements.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech. He said that the justice department paid close attention to constitutionality. As we know, the government's initial reaction to the R. v. Tse case was to introduce Bill C-30.

Could my colleague explain why Bill C-30 was so bad? Why did the minister push the bill so far given that it went against the will of the people but particularly given that it went against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and what the Supreme Court was asking for?

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-30 will not move forward. We listened to what the public was saying and we reconsidered. That does not mean that in the future we will not propose bills that give police the tools they need to protect the public. However, Bill C-30, as it was written, will not move forward.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the praise from my hon. colleague regarding our cooperation in meetings of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

I would like to ask my colleague if his party will learn from this and if, in the future, the justice priority will pertain to respecting the charter and the Constitution, rather than the Conservative political agenda, as has often been the case.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about legislation that has an impact on the private rights of individuals, it is always easy to allude to a political platform. However, the exercise requires finding the balance between the rights of individuals and the rights of the government to protect those individuals.

I will not comment on the political platform. We believe that we always do what is necessary to find the balance between the rights of the public and the rights of the government.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my Conservative colleague some questions.

I would like to know why the minister waited so long between introducing Bills C-30 and C-55 if we are in such need of a bill like this in Canada.

I would also like to ask him if, like the NDP, he also disagreed with the minister when the minister made very disgraceful comments to the effect that anyone who opposed the original bill was siding with pedophiles.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find this bill very interesting, because it recognizes the emergency needs of police officers to get information to save lives. However, as the Supreme Court pointed out, there was a lack of accountability measures, which would, in the long term, affect the free and democratic rights of citizens.

In light of the Supreme Court decision on this, was that part of the reason the government killed the lawful access bill, in which there were very few provisions to protect accountability for average citizens, let alone potential criminals?

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

What process must a bill go through in order to obtain the constitutional approval of public servants? Some would say that this process is not as clear or as effective as it should be.

How did Bill C-30 manage to get through that process and make it to the House of Commons, where we immediately saw that it was unconstitutional? How did that bill make it to this House, only to be withdrawn by the Conservatives, who then introduced Bill C-55, which is before us here today?

What was the process and why was such a process needed, when it probably cost taxpayers money since this had to go before the Supreme Court?

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, when the constitutionality of legislation is reviewed, a very rigorous process is always used. This procedure has been in place for many years. It has been used by our government as well as the previous Liberal government.

I also note that a number of decisions have been brought before the courts, which ultimately recognized the constitutionality of our legislation. Thus, a rigorous process is in place. I will not speak to Bill C-30, because, as I said, we are not moving forward on that.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his question, my colleague from Sherbrooke put his finger on the problem that resulted in the introduction of Bill C-55. It is very clear; it is obvious. The government can indeed say that Bill C-30 was withdrawn as a result of public pressure because that is true. I hope those who are watching us right now are happy realizing that it is possible to take action together when something is as absurd as Bill C-30. The problem was so obvious that it was extremely easy to raise a public reaction.

I cannot repeat it enough: section 184.4, which the government is trying to save following the decision in R. v. Tse, appears in a part entitled “Invasion of Privacy”. This is an exception provided for in the Criminal Code for extremely specific cases.

When the government, through the Minister of Public Safety, introduced Bill C-30, it launched an attack against anyone who would dare say anything against the bill. We were off to a very bad start. That behaviour triggered a popular movement such as we rarely see in matters concerning the federal government.

I said that my colleague from Sherbrooke had put his finger on the problem. For several hours now, we have been debating that deficiency, which was reported by a government employee, a Department of Justice lawyer concerned about the orders he was receiving from his superiors and his department. When a compatibility analysis of government or Senate legislation is needed, public servants are asked to cut corners.

This is an allegation. As a lawyer, I take note. Thus far, it is strictly an allegation, not a proven fact. However, it has to raise serious doubts. If we take our role as legislators seriously, this should immediately raise red flags.

Make no mistake about it: the problem with Bill C-30 was so obvious that the government decided to reverse course. We are not used to that with a government such as the Conservative government. The government is not very humble when it comes to admitting its mistakes. This is a major admission, and I believe a mea culpa is absolutely in order.

However, this situation raises the question that my colleague from Sherbrooke asked. Bill C-30 should never have passed the charter compatibility test. Is that clear enough? The government was bent on saying that that bill was the way to solve all surveillance-related problems, pedophilia-related problems and whatever other problems. It had cast a wide net.

It did not take a brilliant legal mind to realize that there were serious problems of invasion of privacy. It did not take a brilliant legal mind to realize that the government had to be stopped and told that Bill C-30 would not pass a court test. It did not even solve the problem raised in R. v. Tse. It was very broad. Thank goodness the government reversed course.

However, the question remains: how did this bill pass the compatibility test, which is mandatory? It is not the official opposition, the NDP, that says so, but rather the Department of Justice Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They provide that no legislation shall be introduced in the House where there are serious and reasonable doubts as to its constitutionality or compatibility with the charter. Bill C-30 is the most striking evidence that there is a problem somewhere in the Department of Justice in transmitting this analysis which has been conducted for the benefit of the Minister of Justice. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

I am not saying that his intention is to mislead the House. Telling us that this is the way things have been done since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force is not a compelling reason to say everything is fine. It is not fine at all, and no one seems very concerned about it. They just coast along, hoping that cases will not wind up in court.

I moved a motion in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to strike a committee that would analyze the question and assess the kind of directives that could be given so that legislators in the House could determine whether their role was being properly fulfilled. The question was discussed for two days, and I have to say that a Conservative colleague considered siding with us because he agreed that this was important. It does not matter whether we are left-leaning or not, everything must be done properly and we must take the time to examine the bill, failing which we may cast doubt on all bills introduced in the House.

Every colleague who sits on a committee must question the minister on the kinds of studies that have been done to ensure compatibility with the charter and the Constitution of Canada. We have some doubts that this is being done properly. Even a Conservative nearly gave in. Probably two days elapsed before he was intercepted by the party's higher powers, who told him not to get involved. The official response was that it had been done like that since the time the Liberals were in power. To me, it is no excuse to say that we can do something wrong because someone else did it just as wrong. I believe there has to be a readjustment, and Bill C-30 was a good example of that.

Bill C-55 has been introduced. I want this to be clear in people's minds: Bill C-55 is much more limited than Bill C-30, and it caused a shake-up when it comes to wiretapping and invasion of privacy.

Why did the official opposition go along with the minister and the government, who had to pass Bill C-55 at the eleventh hour? The decision in R. v. Tse is like Damocles' sword. The Court gave the government until April 13, 2013, to make the changes required by the ruling in R. v. Tse. As a result of the decision, section 184.4 had to go.

Some people, like me, truly believe in human rights and the importance of privacy and rights that are protected by the charter. I also believe that we must have this kind of provision in a free and democratic society such as ours. At the time, section 184.4 stated:

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;

Therefore, he must have reasonable grounds to believe that the urgency of the situation is such that it is impossible for this peace officer to obtain an authorization on the basis provided for in this section.

I will continue reading section 184.4:

(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.

This section is very important in the context of police work. In addition, it is applied in exceptional circumstances. However, in R. v. Tse, the Supreme Court of Canada held that there were problems of accountability and that it was very likely, when applying section 184.4, that there was no reference to the fact that the person who has been the subject of a wiretap must be notified. A person could have been wiretapped without ever knowing it because they were never taken to court or charges were never laid against them.

That was the only way individuals would know they had been wiretapped and a communication intercepted.

The Supreme Court said:

In its present form, the provision fails to meet the minimum constitutional standards of section 8 of the Charter.

The Court was referring to minimum standards, minimum constitutional standards to bring section 184.4 into compliance with section 8 of the charter.

The Supreme Court went on to say:

An accountability mechanism is necessary to protect the important privacy interests at stake and a notice provision would adequately meet that need, although Parliament may choose an alternative measure for providing accountability.

The Supreme Court of Canada also considered whether section 184.4 was meant for not only police officers, but also what are known as peace officers.

Once again, I encourage people to read the definition of “peace officers”, which is several pages long. It includes municipal mayors, meter readers, and much more. Pretty much anyone who moves and has an official public service title falls under the definition of “peace officer”.

The Supreme Court reserved judgment on this because it was not the subject of the argument or evidence before the court.

I am glad that the Minister of Justice took this matter off the Minister of Public Safety's hands. That is one good thing because then he spent some time reading and trying to understand what the Supreme Court of Canada said on April 13, 2012, even though there was not much time left for that.

As an aside, when the parliamentary secretary said that they had done a thorough job of ensuring their bill was constitutional, I had to laugh because, up until February 11, the government's response was Bill C-30. That left very little time to come up with Bill C-55. Maybe that is why the government did not want to take any chances. For once, they figured that they could not be too careful, so they limited the definition of “police officer” and even removed the notion of “peace officer”. They also added accountability mechanisms with respect to the people whose communications are intercepted and to reporting to the House of Commons.

Is it perfect? No, as my Green Party colleague said. That is the conclusion we came to in committee. Much more could have been done. If I had been in charge of drafting this bill, I would probably have added a few things.

However, the House will have to answer this fundamental question. Would we rather get rid of section 184.4 and end up with no provision, or do we think that Bill C-55 answers the questions and carries out the orders of the Supreme Court of Canada?

To us, the answer was very clear. Some witnesses even came to tell us that they supported the bill. The Canadian Bar Association, the CLA, the groups that sent us briefs: they all agreed. Would they have added some additional provisions regarding the reports? The Supreme Court of Canada never said that Parliament should receive reports regarding the attorney general of Canada or the provinces. However, we looked into it and examined this issue. It is not easy, because it is difficult to move forward if there is no discussion.

This bill was rushed. Normally, if things were done properly, we would have taken the year that the Supreme Court gave us to consult and see what could have been done better, to see whether the provinces were with us and whether they had a problem with sending us the reports that they will have to provide. All of this was clear to us.

People in committee were clearly asked whether Bill C-55 in its current form was a suitable response to R. v. Tse.

The context in which the court only asked the person whose communications were intercepted to provide notice within a certain time, without specifying that time limit, fully meets the criteria established by the Supreme Court of Canada. Furthermore, time limits were specified and the concept of a peace officer dropped.

For once, things were properly anticipated. This does not mean that there will not be any challenges. On the other hand, the witnesses we heard said that these kinds of provisions are not applied often.

Yesterday, the Green Party member said that it would perhaps be necessary to withdraw the proposed amendment. I am relieved to hear this, because we were told the same thing in committee. A 24 hour time limit was suggested. It becomes difficult when you begin to examine these criteria. The danger is the tendency to treat situations that are not dealt with consistently in every part of the country the same.

Here in Gatineau, it is probably much easier to obtain the authorization of a judge than in a more remote part of Canada where a judge may not be present at all times.

Clearly the provision is only applicable if it is impossible to obtain authorization within a reasonable time period. The basic rule in terms of interception of communications will still be to obtain authorization and to have reasonable grounds for the wiretap. Furthermore, the person doing the wiretapping will have to explain why.

As a result of the amendments, there is now an obligation to inform the person under section 184.4. If a person, whether or not that person has been charged, feels that his or her privacy has been completely invaded, recourse is possible and the police agency in question will have to defend its decision.

However, even the experts tell us that this provision is not used frequently. The expert on the committee reported that there had not been any requirement of this kind for almost six years. Sometimes things need to be placed in perspective.

While I do not want to lecture anyone, I am going to do so anyway. I seriously believe that the government should be aware of just how dangerous a game this is. The provisions of section 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act and section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which anticipate this exercise, are designed to prevent these situations as much as possible.

All lawyers know very well, as I do, that it is sometimes difficult to tell a client that their case is a sure thing. However, if our priorities include decency, prudence and the public good, then we would be reasonably satisfied that this law met the criteria and principles of the charter and the Constitution. We would not raise a point that had only a 5% chance of meeting our constitutional obligations and tell people, as I was told in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, that if they are not happy they can take legal action. It really bugs me when I hear things like that.

We are here to help the public and yet we tell them that if they are unhappy about our laws, they should take legal action and claim that there was an infringement of human rights. We already have some serious problems with access to justice. Not everybody is in a position to take legal action.

The government is grateful that we worked with it. However, we did not necessarily work with the government. We worked for Canadians, for the people and for the police forces that have to make use of section 184.4, an essential factor in the exercise of a police officer's duties in investigations. This section could not be allowed to simply disappear solely because the government stubbornly decided to introduce Bill C-30.

I am not at all unhappy that the government backtracked on that. We hope that things will work out better with Bill C-55. This will no doubt not be the last time we have to discuss these invasion of privacy provisions.

Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
Government Orders

March 19th, 2013 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Marc-André Morin Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question. Much like everyone on this side of the House, I find it a bit too easy for the government to downplay Bill C-30, as though it were a foolish mistake. That excuse worked up until last week. I felt insulted to have been associated with criminals and pedophiles. The entire debate completely shifted. It was shameful, and those who witnessed it were horrified. We are not the ones who counted Mr. Flanagan as a friend. I am tempted to use some unparliamentary language here, but I will refrain.

We feel that crime must be stopped, and we feel that it must be stopped effectively, not any which way and not with a piecemeal approach, as the newspaper headlines state.

Could my colleague elaborate on that?