House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Gatineau
Québec

Liberal

Mark Assad Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled “Hands across the border: Working Together at our Shared Border and Abroad To Ensure Safety, Security and Efficiency”.

International Trade
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) and on behalf of the Minister for International Trade I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the trade update 2002 third annual report on Canada's state of trade.

Technology Partnerships Canada
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Industry and in accordance with Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual report of Technology Partnerships Canada for 1999-2000 and 2000-01.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Finance. This report is in connection with its order of reference of April 19, 2002, in relation to Bill S-40, an act to amend the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.

The committee has considered Bill S-40 and I am pleased to report it without amendments.

Patent Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-460, an act to amend the Patent Act.

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to introduce the bill, an act to amend the Patent Act to remove the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations.

This measure would significantly reduce the costs of drugs to Canadians and has to be part of any comprehensive pharmacare strategy to reel in skyrocketing drug costs.

The bill would eliminate a piece of patent legislation whose only function is to artificially prolong high profits for brand name drug companies.

By activating this process, these corporations receive automatically a 24 month injunction preventing generic drug manufacturers from producing cheaper versions of drugs whose patents would otherwise have expired.

It is time to end this unjustifiable perk given to brand name drug companies and to take this small step toward ensuring access for all Canadians to necessary prescription drugs.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I wish to present a petition on behalf of constituents living in Parkhill, Thedford, Grand Bend in the riding of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex who call upon parliament to protect the health of seniors and children, and save our environment by banning the gas additive MMT as it creates smog and enhances global warming.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

May 2nd, 2002 / 10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I suggest that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from May 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-55, an act to amend certain acts of Canada, and to enact measures for implementing the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, in order to enhance public safety,, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Before we proceed I would like to mention that yesterday an amendment was tabled in the House by the hon. member for Port Moody--Coquitlam--Port Coquitlam, which I took under advisement. The amendment is now deemed to be in order. Therefore those members who spoke after the hon. member for Port Moody--Coquitlam--Port Coquitlam tabled the amendment are considered to have spoken on the amendment.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to see you in the Chair.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to complete my remarks on Bill C-55. I am also glad to know that the amendment has been accepted. It is very much the thrust of the last number of speakers who feel it is entirely inappropriate that the bill be considered by the transport committee.

The number of provisions found within this cumbersome and convoluted omnibus bill predominantly deal with security issues. They touch upon matters which would best be considered by the justice and human rights committee of which you were once a member, Madam Speaker.

That would lead to at least a greater level of scrutiny which would allow members of that committee and the public generally, through that committee, to see what a sham it is for the government to be presenting this bill at this time knowing that the measures currently found in the Emergencies Act lead to a greater level of scrutiny by the House of Commons and a more expeditious enactment of emergency measures should the government choose to go that route.

The Emergencies Act is more timely and more open to judicial consideration. It allows cabinet to be more in the loop whereas under Bill C-55 one could have ministers of the crown, specifically the minister of defence, acting in a unilateral and unchecked arbitrary way.

Yesterday I compared the Emergencies Act and Bill C-55. Clearly there is greater safeguard and an ability for the public to have checks and balances in place that threaten civil liberties. Yet this demonstrates time and again that the government would like to do away with the hassles of coming to parliament and being accountable. It wants to do away with the scrutiny that would take place at a committee level. That is the ruse and the constant effort by the government to bypass or sidestep any kind of accountability. Bill C-55 is perhaps the most blatant example that we have seen in years.

Bill C-36, the earlier terrorism bill, at the very least went through a rigorous and onerous examination in the chamber and the justice committee. I suspect that may be the motivation behind floating this one by members of parliament and referring it to the transport committee where it would not receive the same level of scrutiny.

Headlines in editorials spoke volumes yesterday as to how the journalistic community viewed the bill: “New public safety act threatens civil rights”; “Anti-terror: take two”; and “Freedom will keep us safe: The revised public securities act is still too undemocratic”.

These are damning condemnations. They talk about the reluctance of the government to use the Emergencies Act because it would require all party scrutiny. Scrutiny is extremely important, I am quick to add, to ensure that civil liberties are not infringed upon, that property rights are respected and upheld, and that the private information of Canadians is not infringed upon.

The privacy commissioner, as is often his wont, has made a great deal of noise about problems that he has with the new bill. Yet I suspect that in a few days or weeks when amendments come in he will climb down off the curtains just as some of the other individuals such as the farcical ethics councillor. The supposed watchdogs are really anemic, toothless chihuahuas when we get right down to brass tacks and look at what they do in the wake of very dangerous and very intrusive legislation such as Bill C-55.

I can best describe the bill as one of confusion, an overlapping, cumbersome conglomeration of a power grab by the government. The public safety act, in and of itself, would not allow the government to act in a more timely fashion, nor would it allow it to act in a more safe and responsible way in response to an emergency.

It would allow the government with little consultation or consideration to empower a minister to make strong arbitrary decisions as they relate to a person's privacy and sovereignty over his or her property.

The idea that a military person could drive a tank or an army jeep onto someone's back lawn and declare it a military zone is the absolute ludicrous upshot of what the bill would empower the government to do.

A lot of time and effort went into drafting legislation that would confuse and distract members of parliament from the task at hand. We have before us a bill that touches on dozens of different areas of legislation, nine different pieces in particular. It talks about environmental protection, health, food and drugs, hazardous products, navigable waters protection, pest control, quarantine, and radiation. Where is the transport element in all of this? It should be before the justice and human rights committee. We support the amendment.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough for such a wonderful job of comparing Bill C-55 and the War Measures Act at the beginning of his dissertation yesterday. He was in the process of getting to the requirements of the committee and his beliefs as to where the bill should go with respect to study and witnesses.

The member for Churchill yesterday indicated her displeasure with the bill going to the transport committee and the amendment speaks to that. Could the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough expand on that? He talked about justice and human rights. There is a real opportunity for the defence committee because there are more security issues in defence in the bill than there are of transportation.

What would the benefits be to either the justice and human rights committee or defence committee and which one would he feel is better suited to hear this particular piece of legislation as opposed to the transport committee?

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Brandon--Souris. He has a longstanding interest in protecting the rights of his constituents and all Canadians. His question is well founded. Why the bill would go to the transport committee is a question that has astounded all members of the House since the bill was first introduced.

The main elements of the bill deal specifically with the civil rights and liberties of Canadians. They touch upon such things as privacy, property rights and protection from unlawful detention as well as the infringement of personal rights.

That is subject matter that should be considered by the justice and human rights committee. In an ideal world the bill should be broken up into several parts, perhaps a half dozen or more, because there are elements of justice that exist quite clearly. There are amendments to the criminal code regarding a hoax of terrorist activity and we endorse certain elements of the legislation.

I wish to be clear. There are elements that are necessary to plug in some of the holes or shortcomings that exist that have been discovered as a result of the September 11 incident, which have opened the eyes of many Canadians. Yet what we see in this omnibus legislation is a bill that throws together competing interests and a number of cumbersome attempts to address some of what the government perceives as shortcomings and elements that might require scrutiny and closer examination.

This is a tactical manoeuvre that is very Machiavellian. It is thought up by those in the Liberal government who draft legislation. They put these things together and force members of the opposition and in many instances members of their own party to vote for principles and ideas that they are fundamentally opposed to. One either has to swallow it whole or take none of it. Those are the options.

The government is not prepared to present straightforward legislation that would lead to more reasonable and focused debate. It brings in this monstrous mishmash of all kinds of different bills, confuse people and try to pass it through. The clear intent is to give more arbitrary, unchecked power to the government that does not bear the light of day, that does not require parliament to directly participate in important decisions such as declaring a military zone or allowing information about passenger lists to be simply passed over to a foreign country.

That is the type of decision making power that should be checked and have oversight. It is the type of legislation that should be brought before the justice committee. It should be divided up into the specific areas of which it is intended to touch upon. Shame on the government for once again trying to foist upon this Chamber and Canadians legislation that is so out of control and only focused upon putting more unchecked power in the hands of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from the Progressive Conservative Party. He, as many as others who have spoken so far, has verified the great concern we have as opposition parties as well as the concern that Canadians have over legislation which highlights the absolute ludicrous suggestion that transport should deal with a bill that so readily infringes on the civil liberties of Canadians.

I know in his professional background he might have had experiences and knowledge of cases where civil liberties were infringed upon. Would he mind highlighting how he sees the civil liberties of Canadians being infringed upon in what we generally consider would be normal democratic processes?