House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was auto.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Pablo Rodriguez

Come on.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Absolutely.

In 2004, costs associated with identity theft were in excess of $50 billion in the United States. That is huge. Identity theft is costly for consumers, banks, business people, and governments as well. The federal government has to initiate legal proceedings while the police must check all complaints. Provincial governments lose money through health card fraud and, eventually, medical insurance. Non-Canadians have fake cards. It is the government, and in the end every one of us, that pays for it all. Health cards are passed among foreigners who are not even Canadian citizens and do not have a Canadian identity. Those people come here to be treated at taxpayers' expense. That is truly unacceptable.

In 2002, the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus estimated that consumers, banks, credit card companies, stores and other businesses lost $2.5 billion as a result of identity theft. Once again, citizens are forced to cover these losses.

In addition to these financial losses, victims of identity theft suffer damaged credit ratings and compromised personal and financial records. As I said earlier, some people cannot cross the Canada-United States border because they have been the victims of identity theft.

According to a very interesting 2006 Ipsos Reid poll, one Canadian adult in four, that is 25%, or about 5.7 million Canadians, reported being a victim of identity theft or knew someone who had been a victim. We can see how common it is, how absolutely necessary this bill is, and how it could be broad enough to stop this. I will say again that this bill is no replacement for a very good education campaign. We absolutely need to have both.

In conclusion, I want to say that the Criminal Code is an unwieldy instrument for fighting identity theft. The rules of evidence are strict but necessary; we agree on that. It is important to harmonize with the civil laws so that, in some cases, the civil law alone can be used to recover lost funds.

Other measures will have to be put in place to effectively fight identity theft and recover lost funds.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you will find consent for the following motion:

I move that:

Notwithstanding Standing Order 93(1)(b), the recorded divisions requested for Private Members Motions M-297 and M-295, currently scheduled to take place immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 instead take place at the conclusion of question period earlier that day; and that if a recorded division is requested on Private Members Bill C-309 later today, that the vote also take place at the conclusion of question period on Wednesday, June 17, 2009.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. Chief Government Whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (identity theft and related misconduct), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, like auto theft, identity theft requires a multi-pronged approach. We need strong criminal laws, which we are dealing with in this bill and which are long overdue. We need resourced police investigators. As I indicated before, we have examples in Winnipeg where people complain about credit card fraud and they are told to take a number with the 30 other people in line and to consider it a civil matter because the police do not have either the resources or the legislative power to deal with it.

The member mentioned that a more alert, more informed consumer is very important. However, we also need to deal with more technology, more secure smart cards. This has been an issue for quite a number of years.

As a matter of fact, the first smart cards were looked at by the Bob Rae government back in 1990, when it was looking at how many Americans--

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

I should remind the hon. member that even though the member for Toronto Centre was not a member at that time, he is a member now, so you will have to refer to him by his riding instead of his proper name.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I simply mentioned it to illustrate that the changes in technology issue has been a long time coming. Ten years ago, the Conservative Government of Ontario was looking at a smart card proposition. It was going to do that in conjunction with the banks, which were bringing out a smart banking card.

I believe that certainly half the problem is getting rid of the cards we have right now, which are the cause of a lot of the problems.

In any event, I would like to ask the member whether he agrees with that or whether he has any observations about where the smart card program is going to take us.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question, because I feel he is quite right. The technology should first be applied to social insurance cards issued by the federal government, which are still nothing more than little pieces of plastic that can be easily seen and identified by everyone. Why not have a very sophisticated smart card that only certain people would be able to read? Indeed, such a card should not be used to rent a car or buy a cell phone. It should be used when beginning a new job, when going into an employment insurance office or when one needs a permit from the government. Thus, only people with official status should be able to read the card.

We are a long way from the little plastic card with a nine-digit number that has been around for nearly 30 or even 40 years. We have come much further than that. I agree with my colleague 100%. We must embrace technology. This bill will not cover everything. The government must also embrace technology. I agree. I mentioned awareness campaigns several times. They are a crucial and very important complement to the legislation.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the province of Quebec is governed by the Civil Code. I would like to add that I am the deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and that at the meetings of this committee, we frequently talked about the differences between Quebec, with its Civil Code, and the rest of the country, with its common law in French or English.

Are there any specific things that apply to this bill in the beautiful province of Quebec because of the Civil Code and that would be different in the rest of the country?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question very much.

This is not my area of expertise. I am not a lawyer myself, as I was an architect in my professional life. It is difficult for me to say. I do know that the Civil Code has specific provisions that will have to be coordinated and considered for a law like this one, but I do not know what they are. I am sorry.