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

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, last fall the government promised that it would listen to the concerns of members of parliament and Canadians with regard to Bill C-42 and it has. Bill C-55 improves on Bill C-42.

This bill will improve the safety of Canadians, while protecting their rights and their privacy.

I would like to briefly outline for the House how the proposals contained in Bill C-55 would affect the defence portfolio and the National Defence Act. I will begin with controlled access military zones.

One of the most substantial changes in the new bill is the replacement of the military security zones as defined in Bill C-42 with the new controlled access military zones. These zones would be temporary areas designated to protect defence establishments as well as Canadian forces and visiting forces' personnel and property, both on and off defence establishments. This would include, for instance, a Canadian, American, Italian or French ship that might be anchored in one of our harbours, or perhaps a Royal Air Force aircraft or two that would be temporarily staying at a civilian airport.

The new controlled access military zones are more limited than originally envisioned and have more restrictions on their use and purpose. For example, these zones would only be designated where they are considered reasonably necessary to ensure the safety and security of Canadian forces or allied personnel or equipment.

In other words, there would be no sweeping designations for international conferences, such as the one at Kananaskis. There would be no sweeping designations, as some people suggested, to cover an entire province or city. That was never the intent, but certainly people expressed fear about it.

In addition, the authority given by the minister of defence cannot exceed one year. Only the governor in council, the cabinet, could approve a renewal and only if it is deemed reasonably necessary, a fact that could always be tested in the courts, that the designation be in place for a period longer than one year.

These zones would help us better protect our military personnel, equipment and establishments from the possibility of terrorist attacks. They would make us a more responsible ally when it comes to protecting visiting forces.

Following our consultations, we introduced a second series of amendments concerning the protection of defence systems and networks.

Provision in Bill C-55 would give the Department of National Defence and the Canadian forces the authority to protect their information technology without compromising the privacy of individuals. Defence systems and networks play a critical role in the daily operations of the Canadian forces both at home and in the field. As such they are high value targets for attack and for manipulation.

Under the new legislation the Minister of National Defence would have the authority to permit the department and the Canadian forces to intercept communications into, from, or through defence computer systems. This is very similar to a provision in Bill C-36 that involved the civilian oriented Communications Security Establishment in the defence of government departments and their systems. This would be done only in order to identify, isolate or prevent the harmful, and I emphasize the word harmful, unauthorized use, interference or damage to the information systems.

These authorities would be strictly for the protection of our systems. They would have nothing to do with listening to private conversations or eavesdropping, nor would they apply to actions that would more appropriately be covered under the government's acceptable use policy or the criminal code. They are however, essential to protect our information technology systems here at home and abroad. In the case of controlled access military zones, they would make Canada a more reliable international partner. Our IT systems are often closely integrated with those of our allies and we cannot afford to be the weak link in that chain.

The privacy of Canadians would remain paramount when it comes to applying these new authorities. A number of safeguards regarding the use and retention of intercepted communications have been incorporated into this provision. For example, the commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment will be responsible for reviewing activities carried out under this authorization.

Nothing in this part of the bill will in any way affect the powers or the role of the privacy commissioner who has previously looked at these kinds of systems in connection with CSE and has found them to be quite satisfactory.

Let me turn to the establishment of the reserve military judges panel. There are six provisions in the bill that apply to defence. This is another one. The amendment is designed to provide the chief military judge with a mechanism to access qualified reserve officers with prior experience as judges in the military justice system.

The establishment of this panel would ensure that our military judiciary has the same flexibility as currently exists in the civilian court system. It would provide an effective and efficient mechanism to respond to short term increases in demand for judicial services. At the same time it would prove beneficial when competing demands or conflicts limit the availability of the permanent cadre of military judges. The amendment is about efficiency and due process, which I believe Canadians would support.

Another element in the legislation is job protection for members of the reserves. Our ability to generate forces in the event of an emergency can in part depend on the compulsory call out of reservists. Should this situation arise, we have a responsibility to ensure that these members do not lose their civilian employment. The bill would ensure that they are reinstated with their civilian employers in equivalent work upon their return from the call out. The proposed amendment would mean that reservists would not have to choose between possibly losing their livelihoods and breaking the law that requires them to serve on call.

This is a pragmatic and a moral concern.

We will not be able to recruit new members if they risk losing their jobs when called out compulsorily. At the same time we cannot oblige our people to serve and not protect their employment. These measures will ensure that the dedicated men and women of the reserves are treated fairly when they make the sacrifice to serve their country.

I might add, if they are volunteering for a service such as they have in some of our past natural disasters, such as the ice storm, or the floods in the Saguenay or the floods in the Red River, that would continue to be on a voluntary basis as it has been in the past. In this post-September 11 world with the possibility of a terrorist attack and if an emergency arises in which there has to be a compulsory call out, it is only in that context we would use the job protection provisions. It is only in the context of an emergency compulsory call out.

Dealing with the word emergency brings me to the next component of the amendment and that is the definition of emergency. The proposed amendment simply modernizes the definition of emergency found in the National Defence Act by making clear reference to circumstances of armed conflict that fall short of formally declared war. It will now be defined as “insurrection, riot, invasion, armed conflict or war, whether real or apprehended”.

The difference from the previous longstanding legislation are the words “armed conflict” and the word “whether”. The word “whether” is put in the English text to make it balance with the French text. Insurrection, riot, invasion or war have always been there.

Not too many wars are actually declared these days even though there is armed conflict. There has not been a war declared by this country since the second world war even though there are a number of conflicts that have been called war in the colloquial sense. In the popular jargon when we refer to such things as Korea or gulf or Afghanistan, the word war is frequently used but they are not involving Canada or our allies in an actual declared war. The words “armed conflict” help to bring things up to date in that respect.

I stress that this would in no way lower the threshold for declaring an emergency. Rather it aligns the definition with the new security environment in which wars are seldom declared, as I have said, and threats are often posed by groups other than states.

The amendment is important because a number of important powers under the National Defence Act, such as the authority to retain Canadian forces members on service beyond the date on which they are entitled to be released, are tied to the existence of an emergency as defined in the act.

The sixth and final provision that involves defence in Bill C-55 amends the clause regarding aid to the civil power. This is really the same as it was in Bill C-42. Most of the provisions are the same as they were in Bill C-42 except for the controlled access military zones.

The provisions of the bill would allow the Minister of National Defence to provide appropriate direction to the chief of the defence staff to ensure the Government of Canada has the ability to manage simultaneous or multiple requests for assistance during an emergency.

Requests for aid to the civilian authorities will continue to be made directly to the chief of defence staff.

In conclusion, we have listened to the concerns of Canadians and have presented a bill that responds to the security threats that face Canada, that protects individual rights and protects privacy. It makes us a strong partner in the international fight against terrorism. It further improves the ability of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian forces to protect Canadians from terrorism and its effects. I strongly recommend that the bill be supported.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Five members have stood on questions and comments. If they all keep their questions short, we will be able to get all five questions in for the minister and that applies to the minister's answers too.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I have four specific questions. They are very brief and I will ask the minister to address them specifically.

First, in the House we have heard a lot about the issue of ministerial accountability, ministerial power, timing and the issue of obtaining cabinet approval or actual referral to the House. In view of the comments he has heard in the House today, I would like him to put those arguments to rest. This is his opportunity to respond to the biggest objection that is coming from this side of the House.

Second, he talked about no sweeping power over Kananaskis. Then what is the legal context that is anticipated to protect the area of Kananaskis when the big international conference happens? If the bill is not going to deal with it, what is contemplated for the legal context of protection? What is going to be used?

Third, regarding reservists, there are improvements but I am questioning the minister about the exit interview, the thank you, and the whole process when a reservist returns to Canada. It is different from a regular force member who goes back to the unit. Reservists return to Canada and go back to their jobs. It seems they are just dumped into the street without proper recognition of what they have done, proper debriefings as to what their experiences were, and transition mechanisms to go back into the street.

Fourth, we have a request before the House that the bill be split. The minister has taken great pains both in the introduction and before he sat down, to say that he has listened to Canadians. I hope he has listened to the House and will respond specifically. Will he respond to our request to split the bill?

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, first of all I have not heard the previous discussions so I am not totally aware of what has been said about the subject of ministerial accountability.

Let me say that in the context of this bill, the minister is responsible for only doing what is reasonably necessary. He or she must have a recommendation from the chief of the defence staff. The minister, whoever the minister happens to be at any time, cannot go off and do anything on his or her own. A very clear recommendation must come up the chain of command from the Canadian forces.

Furthermore the minister has to advise people. There is a requirement to put notice in the Canada Gazette unless there is a security reason not to do that, but by and large the requirement is to do that. There are other provisions that say the minister can notify people in the local community, et cetera with respect to anything that might have an effect on them in the designation of an access zone.

Furthermore the minister is accountable to the House. The minister sits in the House. Every day the minister is called upon to answer questions. Within 24 hours of the minister making any designation, the opposition would be on its feet asking the minister to justify what was being done. If in fact there is a--

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I apologize to the minister. We will show the same courtesy to the minister as we showed the member asking the question please. I want to get in every member who wants to get in on questions and comments.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, four questions can be asked a lot faster than four answers can be given.

Let me go on to the next one about no sweeping powers in Kananaskis and what is going to protect it. It is the police. The police have the responsibility.

The RCMP can create the same kind of cordoned off areas that we are talking about here in military access zones. It does it on the basis of common law as it has been doing for hundreds of years in the common law context. It has been doing it since Canada has been around. It has that kind of obligation and framework to do that.

We are going to be in support but we certainly cannot designate Kananaskis as a military zone. It is not in the provisions of this bill. We are there in support of the RCMP. It has the responsibility on the matter.

I have not heard the argument on a split bill and cannot comment on that.

In regard to reservists, I do not know that it is directly related to what is in the bill. We are not talking about those who serve in a voluntary capacity. Those who serve overseas on peace support missions are still in a voluntary capacity, not on a compulsory call out.

We have not done a compulsory call out since Korea. I do not know when we might do one, but given the reality of security matters in the post-September 11 world, we want to provide for the possibility that we might do that.

With respect to exit interviews and things like that, we have a program going now. We have an office now for the land force reserve restructuring. A lot of them are land force members that we are talking about here in terms of peace support operations. We are beginning to make very substantial changes and improvements in the condition of services for reservists.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

May 2nd, 2002 / 1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to the minister, who said he had understood what people wanted and that that was what had finally convinced him to make amendments to Bill C-42. The terminology is the biggest change to the bill. He has gone from military security zones to controlled access military zones. The minister's powers, however, remain practically the same. That is what people were afraid of.

Regarding the powers given to the Minister of National Defence, members should examine subsection 4 of section 260.1. It reads as follows: “The dimensions of a controlled access military zone may not be greater than is reasonably necessary—”. This is pretty sweeping.

How will this be interpreted by the Minister of National Defence, who showed a distinct lack of judgment throughout the Afghan prisoner affair. He did not even feel the need to inform the Prime Minister or cabinet that our troops had taken prisoners, when everyone was on the alert and it was an issue internationally. He did not have the judgment for a simple decision like that. How is he going to interpret the term reasonably necessary? And how is he going to justify these interim orders, when sections 3, 5 and 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act do not even apply to these entire sections of the legislation.

As members are well aware, under sections 3, 5 and 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act, regulations are checked to ensure that they are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is all very fine and well to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the charter, but the first opportunity that the government has to demonstrate that the charter means something to it, it introduces Bill C-55, and excludes entire sections of the legislation from the application of the charter. Does it not think that it is making a mistake with this bill and that it is treating the comments it has received from Canadians and Quebecers with arrogance?

The Liberal backbenchers who never say anything are another fine example. They are there to be yes men and they let anything through.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member is wrong in just about everything he has said, including his comments about Afghanistan.

There is a big difference. We have listened to people in the House and to Canadians. We took out the subsection which said that the government could declare virtually any area as a military security zone. We are back to the original purpose and intent which is to protect military equipment. If we have a ship visiting, we need to be able to give it police protection and military police are the appropriate means of protecting it.

Members will remember that when the USS Cole went into Yemen it was not properly protected. There was a terrorist attack and people lost their lives. We obviously do not want that to happen to either our troops or any visiting troops who might be here.

The military bases pretty well have that kind of protection but there are a lot of port visits that are done by ships or even by aircraft to civilian airports. We might need to put a little cordon around them and have military police patrol them. That is all we are talking about here.

Under the common law, civilian police already have all these authorities. We are just talking about the same authority in regard to the protection of military property. It has in fact been narrowed in scope substantially to what is reasonably necessary to serve the purpose and intent of the bill. The purpose and intent of the bill is to protect military equipment.

If a minister attempts to be unreasonable about it he can be taken to court. The government can be taken to court, just like in any other provision and just like in the common law relevant to the civilian police. They have been doing this for ages. What about the fact that they cordon off areas and have police patrol them? We can take them to court too if we think it is unreasonable. This provides for that as well.

The Bloc has made some issue about the question of claims here, because it does not provide for lawsuits on the basis of claims. It provides for claims however that can be made against the government and funds provided from the consolidated revenue account if anybody is injured or, for example, if the cordoned off area means that people cannot get into their businesses and they want to claim for loss of business revenue. That provision is the same as it is in civilian law. The bill just makes it consistent with civilian law.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I guess I will have to fit my questions into my speech seeing as I did not have an opportunity to ask the minister any questions.

While the minister is still present, I will start with one of the things raised in the question and answer period concerning the status of reserve military personnel and the way in which the bill provides for them to be able to return to their jobs after being called up in an emergency. I acknowledge that this is not just in Bill C-55 but that it was also in Bill C-42. Even though I do not like most of the bill, I am pleased with that particular aspect of it because we do owe our reservists that much. When they are called up in an emergency situation they should be guaranteed that they can to return to their jobs.

What I would urge the minister is for the government at some point to go further than this and create a similar regulation or a similar piece of legislation for reservists who volunteer for peacekeeping missions. It seems to me that we would be able to make better use of our reserve forces for these kinds of missions if more people were free to volunteer and were guaranteed that they could return to their jobs after participating in such missions.

If I heard the minister correctly, those kinds of missions are not covered by Bill C-55, so I am not misrepresenting the case. I urge on the minister that the government at some point should consider this. I know there are plenty of people in the reserve and within the military community at large who feel that this is something that should occur in any event. It would create a situation where better use could be made of our reserves.

While I am on that topic, one of the things that has always struck me over the years here in the House is how little controversy there has been about the use and the role of the reserve armed forces. This is one of the things that has always been a mystery to me. This is one area of defence spending in which there is no controversy. If the government announced tomorrow that it was going to spend more money on the reserves, there would not be an opposition party that would be critical of it. This has been true for a long time and yet it never happens. This is one thing government after government could have done without the kind of criticism that it might expect on nuclear submarines, on this helicopter, on that helicopter or on whatever. This is the one thing governments could do and there would not be a peep and yet it does not do it.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

We are doing it.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Well the government is doing it awful slowly if it is doing it. I guess it is trying to do it in a way that nobody notices.

We know the problems the military is having with recruitment and with infrastructure. Some of our armories are the only places where we can walk in and feel like we are having a time travel experience. Our armories do not look any different than they did in 1965 when I first started going as a cadet. If I ever want to revisit my past I just have to go there and I will see that absolutely nothing has changed except that the rifle ranges are closed down because proper equipment has not been provided and a whole bunch of other things that used to be there are not there. However I did not get up to make a speech about the reserves. I am here to talk about Bill C-55.

With respect to Bill C-55, we in the NDP were opposed to Bill C-42 and we are opposed to Bill C-55 in spite of some of the changes that have been made. The minister pointed out changes that have been made with respect to controlled access military zones. The change between Bill C-42 and Bill C-55 is a change for the better in the sense that it does limit in a way what the previous bill did not, and that is the application of this particular power of the minister of defence.

I understand the difference between being able to designate areas around equipment, personnel and entire areas that contain that which the forces have been assigned to protect. That is fair enough. However what the minister has not answered is whether or not the insertion of equipment or personnel into the area that is to be protected or in close proximity to those which are to be protected could then become a rationale for doing in effect what was possible in Bill C-42.

In the final analysis this comes down to trust. Do we trust the government not to have a hidden agenda or not to abuse the language that we see in Bill C-55? It is a hard thing to get a hold on. It is a bit like what we talked about when we were debating Bill C-36. If we had been debating Bill C-36 not in a context where protesters had been pepper sprayed at APEC, rubber bulleted at Quebec City, et cetera, maybe we would have had a more trusting feeling about the government when it came to Bill C-36. We still have not been able to build up that appropriate sense of trust so that we can take at face value what the minister says about these new controlled military access zones not being available for purposes like Kananaskis, although the minister has been very clear that it is not intended and cannot be used for Kananaskis. We will know soon whether the minister was telling the House something that is not true.

With respect to the difference between Bill C-42 and Bill C-55, it seems to me that we have a bit of sleight of hand here in the sense that there is the illusion of more parliamentary involvement than there was in Bill C-42. There was no illusion of parliamentary involvement in Bill C-42. We cannot accuse Bill C-42 of being involved in any sort of sleight of hand. However in Bill C-55 interim orders would have to be tabled in the House of Commons within 15 sittings days and therefore we would have the opportunity theoretically of these interim orders being the object of debate in the House of Commons. I grant that, except that we all know that simply to be tabled in parliament does not mean that it will be debated in parliament or voted on in parliament because the government controls parliament. Except in the situation of minority parliaments or in the situation where we had a much freer political culture than we do now in the House, the government controls parliament. In fact when the Minister of Transport was being interviewed on this he said “It will be tabled in parliament and you know, an opposition MP might be able to move a motion to have it debated and the government might even support it”. The word is “might”.

What we are saying is that if we really wanted parliamentary oversight and wanted an opportunity for parliament to debate this we would not leave this to the whim of a government that might be sensitive about what it had just done 15 sitting days ago. We might want to mandate that parliament would have to debate it within a certain timeframe, perhaps not 15 days, but perhaps within a certain timeframe after it has been tabled, whatever, but we would not leave it subject to the parliamentary dictatorial powers of a majority government as to whether or not that ever actually came up for debate.

That is certainly one of the concerns that we have. The fact is that the interim orders themselves, as has been argued by other members in the House, are inferior substitutes for the kind of powers that the government now has under the Emergencies Act, except that the Emergencies Act of course would have to involve parliament in a much more meaningful way than these interim orders potentially involve parliament.

Quite the contrary to what the government is saying, it may not be that now it has listened to Canadians and now it is trying to involve parliament. It may be that we just have a more sophisticated run around parliament in Bill C-55 than we had in Bill C-42 which was a rather blunt instrument and more transparently contemptuous of parliament than Bill C-55. Of course, if the government wants to claim otherwise, then we look forward to rather extensive study of this in committee, which brings me to my second point.

There was an emergency, so the government said. Clearly there was an emergency after 9/11. However whatever emergency Bill C-42 was intended to address, certainly could not have been much of an emergency, if the bill could sit on the order paper for months.

Now the Liberals have been listening to Canadians. I do not remember hearings on Bill C-42 because we never even had the first round of debate in this House about it. It never even got to the NDP and the Tories when it came to the debate on second reading, but the Liberals have been listening. If one were to listen to the rhetoric of the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Transport and the Prime Minister, one would think we had a thorough debate about this. Now we have to get this through by the end of June.

Four months of idleness on the part of the government with respect to Bill C-42 and now it is a big emergency. We will not be able to have extensive committee hearings. It is the same old show. It is the same as with Bill C-36. Anything that is important, we have to get it through in a hurry. The legislation can sit on the order paper for four or five months with no problem, but now we have to get this thing into committee, have hearings and it has to be all over and done with by the end of June.

The government really has its nerve when it comes to Bill C-55. It is a parliamentary outrage that it would expect us to say that there is an emergency, as if it has been acting as if there were an emergency when in fact it has not.

I put the government on notice to the extent that the NDP is able to influence matters here. I get a similar feeling from other opposition parties that we do not see any grounds now for some kind of unholy rush, particularly when Bill C-55 is not a reduced, or ameliorated or amended version of Bill C-42. What we have are entirely new measures inserted into Bill C-55. I am thinking in particular of the measures to do with the revelation of lists of passenger on planes.

When the government was listening to Canadians, whenever that process took place, that invisible process that happened between when it first introduced Bill C-42 and when it withdrew it, I guess I missed it. I missed all those public meetings where Canadians were saying that they wanted the RCMP and CSIS to know every time they got on a plane and that they wanted to have that information in some big computer somewhere. I do not remember anyone asking for that. Maybe the RCMP and CSIS asked for it. However let us not kid ourselves. It was not something for which that Canadians were calling. The privacy commissioner has expressed very real concerns and objections to this.

There is a whole new dimension to this bill. We are supposed to pass it because now the government is in a rush. When it came to this, the government was in a coma for four months but now there has been a boom, it has woken up, little lights have gone on and now the rest of us have to just shove it on through. I do not think the opposition will go for that, particularly with respect to this new demand for information.

A Liberal member of the justice committee was quoted in the paper as saying there was no reason this provision could not be expanded. I am talking now about giving information with respect to lists of passengers on trains, buses and people who rent cars. Why do we not just find out the names of everyone who goes into Wal-Mart. Where does this end?

I thought this was to fight terrorism. There are ways to fight terrorism, including on planes, that we support. However we do not support using 9/11 to create everyone's nightmare of a big brother, where everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Not everyone knows; big brother knows the travelling habits of people. The credit card companies probably know already, but that is beside the point. Why does the government not just go there. That is certainly one thing about which we are concerned.

We think we are being offered a bit of a sleight of hand here as to what a great improvement Bill C-55 is over Bill C-42. We want to see a thorough process when it comes to this bill. For the government to expect that somehow now we will just let this thing go is a very serious mistake on its part.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Madam Speaker, the Minister of National Defence gave a speech in the House just moments ago. He was quoted in the paper as saying:

The previous bill did have this provision in it where the minister of defence could have designated the entire Kananaskis area, but that's not possible under this new legislation. The only thing that could be protected or cordoned off would be military equipment itself if it were stationary.

My colleague mentioned sleight of hand and issues of trust in his speech. Does he believe that perhaps part of the sleight of hand with this bill is found in clause 74 under proposed section 260.1, which was referred to by the Bloc member previously? By moving equipment into an area outside of a military establishment these provisions could then be extended to that territory, thereby doing almost a back door application of the same kind of military zones that were mentioned in the previous bill, Bill C-42. Does he see that as a possibility under this bill?

Although the minister may assure us that we should not worry, that everything will be okay and that is not what is intended here, once it is in law what is to stop this minister or any other minister or the Prime Minister from saying “I do not know” to “Just watch me” once it is in legislation? Would he agree with that possibility in this section of the bill?

Public Safety Act, 2002
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1:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, if I recall my own speech correctly, it seems to me I did raise this very matter that there may be loopholes in what we now have in Bill C-55 and that through the location or insertion of a particular piece of military equipment into a particular zone in proximity to an international gathering or whatever this could then be used. As the minister says, of course it could be challenged in the courts after the event.

I am glad to have the hon. member and his party on board in opposing Bill C-42 and to these measures. I remember when Bill C-36 came before the House the NDP was alone in expressing concerns about these security measures. I welcome the new found concern of the Canadian Alliance about the welfare of people who are protesting against globalization and various other things because it seems to me that a year ago, when we were expressing similar concerns about what had happened to protesters in Quebec City, we were scorned by people in the party of the hon. member. They have come a long way, and it just goes to show that some people are in fact teachable.

Public Safety Act, 2002
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1:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to get a little more follow up on the issue of the lists, specifically passenger lists on airlines. It was suggested this morning by our Liberal colleague from Scarborough--Rouge River that Canadians do not have any problem whatsoever with the RCMP and CSIS having passenger lists to check if there are terrorists.

Last night I listened to the privacy commissioner. His point was that there was not a real problem if someone was checking a list and identified a terrorist. Then the rest of the list is ditched. It is not kept on a master computer file or sent to the U.S. or anywhere else. Nor is it kept for a long period of time. However three months down the road it might be decided that alleged terrorists are travelling here and there and perhaps they should be checked out just in case they are doing something wrong, but they will not know they are being investigated.

Is that one of the real concerns that we should have with regard to the passenger lists?