House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was egypt.

Topics

Animal Welfare
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I, too, have a petition with dozens of names of Canadians right across the country calling upon the House of Commons and Parliament assembled to bring forward and adopt into legislation Bill C-544, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption), thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption.

Afghanistan
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of Canadians to end Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

In May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw Canadian Forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with agreement from the Liberal Party, broke his oft repeated promises under the parliamentary motion and, furthermore, refuses to put it to a parliamentary vote in the House.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors' pensions right here in Canada.

Polls show that a clear majority of Canadians do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament to bring the troops home now.

Animal Welfare
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition on behalf of constituents, not of mine necessarily, but from the Guelph area in central Ontario who are calling upon this Parliament to bring forward Bill C-544, which was introduced by my colleague, the member for British Columbia Southern Interior. It talks about horses as companion animals, not as animals for consumption. Many of us who may live rural or may not live rural have had opportunities to be around horses and know they truly are companion animals and not a resource for consumption.

The petitioners call upon the House to bring forward that bill expeditiously and stop the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption.

Animal Welfare
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to support Bill C-544. This deals with horse meat products that are currently being sold for human consumption in domestic and international markets and are likely to contain prohibited substances. The petitioners, who are from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, are supportive of the bill from the member for British Columbia Southern Interior, Bill C-544.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to adopt into legislation an act that would amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Situation in Egypt
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

February 2nd, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Chair has received an application for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Toronto Centre. I would be pleased to hear the hon. member's submissions on that point now.

Situation in Egypt
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wrote to you yesterday, asking that the House have an opportunity to debate, on an urgent basis, the situation currently under way in Egypt for two reasons.

It is important for the House to have a chance to discuss what the consular reaction and other reaction has been to events affecting Canadians. Equally important, the House needs to have an opportunity to discuss the unfolding situation which, day by day, indeed, hour by hour, becomes more difficult and more serious.

I would hope very much that you would recognize this, Mr. Speaker, as an urgent situation, one where the House would benefit from having a discussion this evening.

Speaker's Ruling
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for the submissions on this point. I am aware of the apparent urgency of the situation. Accordingly I am inclined to permit the debate to proceed in accordance with the hon. member's request.

The House will sit later this evening for the purpose of dealing with the matter.

The House resumed from February 1 consideration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say it gives me pleasure to speak to this bill, but that would not be accurate. There are few bills that have come before the House in the time I have been here that are more misguided, represent a more serious threat to the fundamental interests of Canadians and are so unworthy of any member's support in the House of Commons. This is Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act.

The bill would amend the Aeronautics Act to require Canadian airlines to send personal information of passengers to foreign security services. What information would be forwarded is determined by requirements laid out, and it is fair to say, in hitherto secret agreements with other countries. Details of those agreements have not been released. However, it is known that Canada has signed or is negotiating agreements with the European Union, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Panama, the Dominican Republic and the United States.

Details of the agreement between the European Union and the United States for the same information transfer are troubling. That agreement, which we have seen, allows the following.

It requires airlines to provide information forwarded in what's known as the passenger name record, which is the file that is created either by a travel agent or airline when a person books a vacation. The passenger name record can include the following information: a person's credit card information; who the person is travelling with; the hotel; other booking information such as tours or rental cars; any serious medical conditions of the passenger; any dietary preferences; an email address; employer information; telephone information; baggage information; and any medical conditions that may be noted on the file.

The information collected can be retained by the United States for up to 40 years. The information may be forwarded to the security service of a third nation without the consent or even notification of the other signatory. No person may know what information is being held about him or her by the United States and may not correct that information if there are errors. The United States may unilaterally amend the agreement as long as it advises the EU of the change. There has already been one amendment whereby all documents held by the EU concerning the agreement shall not be publicly released for 10 years. Therefore, we would be left in the dark as to what documents those may be.

These are the kinds of concerns that are raised by the present bill. In essence, the bill is to allow data mining of Canadians' personal information by foreign security services. There is a danger that unless this bill is agreed to, the United States could close its airspace to Canadian aircraft. While this threat may result in pressure to pass the bill, it is unlikely the United States would actually carry through with this threat.

We have a number of concerns about the bill and I believe it is supposed to apply to any Canadian airline that would fly over America airspace.

We know that when Canadians choose to enter the United States, they will voluntarily relinquish a certain amount of their privacy rights. This is because they make a deliberate decision that when they enter into the sovereign area of another country, they can fully expect to comply with that country's laws. The bill would force Canadian airlines to deliver that information to U.S. homeland security when a Canadian aircraft would not even be going to the United States but may simply touch U.S. airspace.

Given Canada's geography, this means that, in real practice, every flight from Canada to Central America, South America, Cuba, Mexico would affect the privacy rights of Canadians. Every time a Canadian wants to fly to one of those places, his or her personal information is sent to the United States homeland security, even though that Canadian has made the deliberate choice not to fly to the U.S., but simply over American airspace.

I have heard the Conservatives stand in the House and say they cannot do anything about that, because it is American airspace and there has been an act in place for decades saying that every country can control its airspace. Let us seriously look at the validity of that argument.

The Canadian government sought and obtained an exemption from the act for domestic Canadian flights that would pass over U.S. airspace. A flight that originates in Vancouver and may go to Toronto and which may fly over the northern states of Minnesota, the Dakotas, et cetera, are excluded from the bill.

If one is flying from Vancouver to Mexico and it is needed for safety and security, then why is it not an equal concern when one is flying from Vancouver to Toronto, because in both cases the planes are flying over U.S. airspace? The fact that the U.S. government is willing to give an exemption to Canadian flights that fly over U.S. airspace, in some cases, proves there is no serious, legitimate argument to be made that there is any security threat by those aircraft.

Second, what has happened for decades? The act the Conservatives quote, which allows the U.S. to control its airspace, has been in force for many decades. Have we had any problems? We have had none.

The government, which threw over the long form census because the Canadian government had no business asking a Canadian citizen how many bedrooms they have in their home, will sign into law a bill that forces the private information of Canadians to be sent to a foreign government security service. I am talking about things like their medical condition, email addresses, credit card information. The government, which made such a big deal in the summer of sticking up for the privacy rights of Canadians, is selling their privacy rights down the river in the bill.

What mechanism would Canadians have to correct any errors? U.S. homeland security, by the mechanism contemplated in the bill, would send a message back to the Canadian airline, indicating whether the Canadian person named should be issued a boarding pass or not. The bill would allow U.S. homeland security the authority to determine whether a Canadian airline would issue a boarding pass to a Canadian citizen getting on a Canadian airline to fly to another country, yet that plane would not even land in the United States.

Talk about a fundamental violation of the mobility rights of Canadians. Talk about a fundamental violation of the privacy rights of Canadians. This is absolutely a shocking abdication of the Canadian government's responsibility to protect the privacy and sovereign and mobility rights of its Canadian citizens.

What about our sovereignty? It has been suggested that the bill may work in such a way that diplomats from a country like Cuba who are coming to Canada at the invitation of the Canadian government may not be allowed to fly over U.S. airspace.

Canada has charted an independent policy when it comes to Cuba. It is different than the United States, which does not even allow its businesses to trade with Cuba. Whereas Canada has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial trading and cultural relationship with that country. Are we going to turn over to the United States the decision whether the Canadian government, elected by the Canadian people, can even meet with representatives of a government that we may choose? This violates the principles of democracy.

The principles of democracy are no taxation without representation and no valid law-making without representation. By turning over to a foreign government like the United States the authority to determine whether a Canadian can choose to take his or her family to Mexico without any democratic redress of that Canadian citizen is a violation of democratic rights. To whom can that Canadian complain? That Canadian cannot complain to any democratic representative of the United States. U.S. homeland security has no administrative or democratic obligation or responsibility to a Canadian citizen. That is a fundamental violation of the democratic rights of Canadians.

I want to talk for a moment about a disturbing trend that has happened with the government as it completely sells out Canada's sovereignty to the United States.

This week the Prime Minister will go to Washington and he will start discussing what I call SPP 2, which we all thought was dead, an idea so flawed that Canadians rejoiced when they thought the this mechanism was over.

The SPP 2 would not only further the obligation of Canada to send private information on Canadian citizens to the United States, but also would call on Canada to harmonize its regulations with the United States on everything from cereal to fighter jets. We may face the prospect where a decision over whether a drug or a prescription medicine is allowed in Canada is determined by whether it meets the conditions of the food and drug administration in the United States.

The Liberals are trying to fool Canadians that they oppose this deal when it was the Liberal government of Paul Martin that started negotiations into the security and prosperity partnership.

I see an interesting trend in that the Liberals are taking all of the good of ideas that the New Democrats have championed over the last five years: opposing corporate tax cuts; opposing the SPP; proposing a cap and trade system. These are all ideas proposed by the New Democrats that the Liberals and the Liberal leader have opposed. Of course hypocrisy and sensitivity to contradictions are not exactly points for which the Liberal Party is known.