Evidence of meeting #34 for Justice and Human Rights in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was masks.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Tony Hunt  General Manager, Loss Prevention, London Drugs Limited
  • Steve Rai  Inspector in Charge, District Three, Operations Division, Vancouver Police Department
  • Paul Champ  Legal Counsel, BC Civil Liberties Association
  • Lincoln Merraro  Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
  • Michael Byers  Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Thanks.

Monsieur Jacob.

May 3rd, 2012 / 12:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Hello.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses for being with us this morning. My first question is for Mr. Lincoln Merraro.

If I'm not mistaken, you manage a private security company. First, what was your initial training? Then, could you tell me what type of ongoing training you and your employees have as private security agents.

12:45 p.m.

Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Lincoln Merraro

I'll answer that in two ways. One is that I'm the manager for security at Pacific Centre. I'm not a licensed security guard. We employ contract security guards. The training they get is mandated by the province. They are licensed. They go through 40 hours of training, covering everything from human rights to customer service to powers of arrest. I was also—

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

So there are 40 hours of ongoing training a year?

12:50 p.m.

Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Lincoln Merraro

That's the initial training.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Initial training? Okay. Thank you.

12:50 p.m.

Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Lincoln Merraro

Yes. They can do a whole host of other training segments to augment their initial training as well.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

So, am I to understand that they don't necessarily have, any more than you do for that matter, any training in law, on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, on rights and freedoms of expression and association, in psychology, or other matters?

12:50 p.m.

Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Lincoln Merraro

I have a diploma in law enforcement security. For the guards, part of their training is the Criminal Code and all aspects of law—not to the fullest extent, but yes, they are trained in those areas.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Okay. So they are trained. They have an obligation to have how many hours of training per year?

12:50 p.m.

Senior Security Manager, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

Lincoln Merraro

There's not a set amount of hours per year. They are licensed by the province.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Okay, very well. Thank you very much, Mr. Merraro.

My second question is for Mr. Champ.

You said that Bill C-309 would limit the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the right to the presumption of innocence, and, I also think, the right to freedom of association.

I have a letter from the executive director of the Quebec Bar, Mr. Claude Provencher, that he sent to the sponsor of Bill C-309. The letter said the following:

We are concerned about the widely-reported case of a demonstration at Montebello in Quebec, on August 20, 2007, during which police officers, disguised agents provocateurs, tried to encourage protesters to act in a violent way that could have justified an intervention or arrests.

I would like to know what your position is regarding the Quebec Bar's fears.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

We're way over time. A short answer, please.

12:50 p.m.

Legal Counsel, BC Civil Liberties Association

Paul Champ

I'll give a very quick answer.

In that situation, as in 2007, it was a protest involving the presidents of the United States and Mexico and Prime Minister Harper. The provocateurs in that circumstance were actually police officers. There were Quebec police officers wearing masks, pretending to be protesters, mixing themselves into the crowd, and trying to incite other members of the crowd to start a riot and cause an escalation.

That is a concern that I didn't expand on at the end of my remarks. I was getting to it just a bit.... There are concerns out of the G-20 protests in Toronto, for example, where there was a concern that police were engaged in an excessive use of force. There have been independent reviews by the Special Investigations Unit and the Independent Police Review Director that there were many circumstances of excessive use of force.

With this new provision, I'm worried that people wearing a mask—perhaps for legitimate purposes—are going to have a big target on their backs when some unfortunate bad apples in police forces decide that it's now an unlawful assembly and it's time to start swinging billy clubs.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Thank you.

Mr. Woodworth.