House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add something to the discussion. One of the testimonies was from Roch Tassé, the national coordinator for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. He talked about the fact that this is not just about the personal information of Canadians, but the impact on businesses as well. He said:

Disclosure of personal information to the Department of Homeland Security on passengers travelling to certain destinations, particularly Cuba, could lead to unpleasant consequences. For example, this information could be used to identify Canadian companies that do business with Cuba or to penalize travellers who have visited Cuba by subsequently refusing them entry into the U.S. How will Canada ensure that the U.S. will not use the secure flight program to apply its Helms-Burton act, which imposes penalties on foreign companies doing business with Cuba?

I ask my colleague, given the fact that he has done quite a bit of research on it, is he concerned about that?

The other question I would ask him to answer, because I did not quite get an answer from our Liberal counterpart, is whether or not he believes that if this legislation is not passed, the United States would stop all flights from going over there, given that money goes into its economy when Canadian flights go into the United States?

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me begin with the hon. member's last point. It is true that in the classic pattern of gunboat diplomacy, the Americans are watching the Parliament of Canada with the implied threat that if we do not pass this legislation and therefore forfeit, surrender and undermine Canadians' right to privacy when travelling on airplanes that may go over even a little corner of the United States, that they will actually close American airspace to their best friend and largest trading partner in the world. This is an absurd situation. Again, we do not make good policy with a gun at our heads. This is something we should find intolerable as Canadians.

It reminds me of the gunboat diplomacy that I have personally experienced with the Devils Lake water boundary dispute where Lloyd Axworthy, Gary Doer, the premier of Manitoba and I went to Washington, urging the Americans to live up to the Boundary Waters Treaty and not talk about an inter-basin transfer of water that will contaminate the Red River and Lake Winnipeg with organisms, foreign invasive species, et cetera.

They simply looked at us and said, “You Canadians have to understand one thing. When it comes down to doing what is good for you and what is good for us, we are going to do what is good for us. Thanks for coming. Do not let the door hit you on your way out”.

That is the kind of relationship we seem to have and this government seems to negotiate on its knees. It does not negotiate from a position of strength, dignity or pride, or upholding the rights and privileges of Canadians. It negotiates on its knees, subject to threats by the American government that it will somehow close airspace--

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing.

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague was not quite finished his thought and I am hoping he will finish the thought.

I see this over and over again. We have seen it in the House. The Bloc members were actually not supporting this legislation initially and all of a sudden they have changed their minds. This is because of lobbying by the big airline companies of the United States, I am sure.

The Bloc members have a self-interest. We thought they actually stood up for the rights of people. We think it is very sad that they are actually supporting this type of legislation.

Could my colleague explain a little bit more about the information that would be provided and how it would impact the privacy of Canadian citizens?

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for pointing that out. I am very concerned. In fact, I am afraid the underlying forces driving this legislation are not reason or logic or doing what is in the best interest of Canadians. The underlying pressures driving this legislation are unbelievably aggressive lobbying by well-connected Conservative lobbyists who just flip-flop through the revolving door, from the PMO to lobby firms and back again with their little wish list.

We all know Canadian lobbyists are undermining democracy. We are following the American model. One day Tim Powers and Geoff Norquay are the head of big lobby firms and the same day, or that night, they will be on TV being interviewed as Conservative Party strategists who have just walked out of the PMO with the Conservative Party line. No wonder we get legislation that is not in the best interest of Canadians shoved down our throats, under the threat of terrible consequences of not being able to fly over American airspace, when things are being driven by well-connected Conservative lobbyists undermining democracy.

In my view, and I maintain this, having lobbyists is like having bats in the attic. They cannot stand the light of day, are almost impossible to get rid of and if they are left there too long, they rot the timbers of the building.

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the position taken by the member from Mississauga that we should not worry about this, we had not negotiated that part of it and that we should pass the legislation anyway.

We have seen the abuse by the Americans of their no-fly list and the number of errors, and this came out at committee. Their no-fly list is still permeated with errors that oftentimes have very negative consequences for the people who are the subject of those errors.

Could the member, who has been here for awhile, talk about the attitude of going ahead, doing this and then waiting to see what the outcome is going to be, as opposed to setting in place what the regulations should be, what the guidelines would be and what the absolute protection would be, in writing, in legislation, on both sides of the border?

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a lawyer, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh asks a very relevant question.

We have been asked to buy a pig in a poke. We have been asked to put in place the underlying principles and the framework of an agreement, the details of which we do not know. We would not buy a house without reading the fine print, but we have been asked to buy a pig in a poke and to trust the government that it would never enter into an arrangement that would be detrimental to the best interests of Canadians.

We have recent evidence, experience and empirical evidence from which to draw. There is the absurd situation of a do not fly list where a freely elected Canadian member of Parliament cannot get on an airplane in his own country because of a list being kept in Washington, DC. We have recent examples, like the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen subject to the overzealous trading of information between countries, which caused an atrocity in that regard.

We do not know the details of the agreements being entered into with other countries. We do know the details of the one agreement that has been released, and that is between the United States and the European Union. In that case, every time people travel, the right to information they will have is their credit card information, who they are travelling with, what hotel they are staying at, other booking information such as tours or rental cars and any medical condition they may have.

Personal credit card information and personal health records will now be in the hands of another nation. Canadians' sovereign right to privacy is being compromised and undermined by this legislation. It should be condemned. We should be unanimous in our condemnation of a foreign nation intruding in our Canadian national sovereignty and the absolute obligations of the government to protect the sovereign and fundamental freedoms of privacy.

We have a right to know what the government is doing. It does not have an absolute right to know what we are doing.

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-42 today. I am the tourism critic for the NDP. More important, I am a Canadian citizen who is concerned about this tremendous erosion of Canadian privacy and sovereignty. The bill has serious implications on Canadian travellers taking international flights over but not into the United States.

The bill should be defeated. It is quite clearly nothing but data mining by the United States. I can understand why it would ask. I cannot understand why we would say yes, especially when it is not reciprocal. It is an unwarranted invasion of Canadians' privacy in many ways.

It is disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising, that the Conservative government would introduce such a bill. It might be reasonable to assume that foreign governments would want carriers to provide names and personal details for flights that would be landing on their soil. Unfortunately, Bill C-42 goes a ridiculous amount further. It would have airlines provide personal information. We heard the member from Winnipeg list many of the kinds of personal information that would be given to a country that travellers were just flying over.

Let us explore some of the implications of the bill. Apparently, a passenger leaving Canada on a vacation to Cuba, which many Canadians do although the Americans do not like it because they do not like Cuba and do not like us going to Cuba, could have their name, birthdate and over 30 other pieces of personal information subject to screening by the Department of U.S. Homeland Security. It would also be checking that information against various databases, including the infamous U.S. no-fly list. If people's names are on the American no-fly list, they will not get on that flight nor will they know the reason why. As well, it may not be just a one-time occurrence. Effectively, they may never be able to get off that U.S. no-fly list and may be banned from all flights leaving from Canada but flying over U.S. airspace for a very long time.

There are already examples of misuse. For example, there is the story of Hernando Ospina. He is a journalist for Le Monde diplomatique, whose Air France flight from Paris to Mexico was diverted to Martinique just because he wrote an article that was critical of U.S. foreign policy.

Another example is Paul-Émile Dupret. He is a Belgian researcher with the European Parliament. His flight from Europe to the World Social Forum in Brazil was diverted, not because he was a security threat but because he campaigned against the transfer of European travellers' information to U.S. authorities.

Who will be on the no-fly list after our speeches here today? Will members of the House of Commons end up on the U.S. no-fly list?

How can the government assure Canadians that this type of political misuse will not occur if Bill C-42 is passed? Apparently, the U.S. has told our government that it needs everyone's personal information so it can check it with its various lists of people who it does not want flying so there are less false matches and less problems. It is saying, “Let us clear your passengers for you.” Our government is going along with this. Is this laziness? Are we really that desirous of letting someone else take over the security checks of our citizens flying to a third country via U.S. airspace? We will simply have to accept that they do not get to fly internationally anymore because we have given a foreign government a veto over Canadians travelling abroad.

I hope all the members of all the parties in the House come to their senses, vote against Bill C-42 and preserve Canadian rights and Canadian sovereignty.

Strengthening Aviation Security Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please. The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North will have 15 minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

Conestoga College
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, from investing in knowledge infrastructure to credits for tools for tradespeople, we are helping Canadians achieve their potential.

I often praise the University of Waterloo, and why not? UW hosts Canada's pre-eminent school of engineering and is the MIT of the north.

However, in the senior design competition at the 2011 Ontario engineering competition, it was not UW that took home top honours. It was Conestoga College. That is right. My constituent Ian Hillier of Petersburg, with Jamie Hobson, David Timmerman and Brian Montgomery-Wilson, won out over teams from universities and colleges across Ontario, including the University of Waterloo.

Our government invested to expand and improve Conestoga's engineering facilities. How long then will it be until UW stops calling itself the “MIT of the North” and instead uses the more prestigious phrase, “Conestoga College of Universities”?

I ask members of the House, especially the member for Kitchener—Waterloo, to join me in congratulating Conestoga College and its students for this honour.

Roy F. Dickieson
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Roy F. Dickieson who passed away on February 17 at 91.

Roy was predeceased by his lifelong sweetheart Esther, after nearly 65 years of marriage. They had a family of six and, wow, 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Living his lifetime in New Glasgow, P.E.I., Roy was a dedicated church and community member who truly loved and respected his fellow man. He was a founder of many organizations: New Glasgow 4-H, Central Queen Funeral Co-op and Farmers Helping Farmers, to name a few. His passion was dairy cattle, especially Holsteins. While building a productive herd, he was an avid spectator, participant and judge at cattle shows as far away as England. Roy offered his time and expertise, from coaching hockey and being local school trustee to various directorships. He touched many lives.

Canada has lost a true role model. May we in the House extend our sympathies.

Claudette Poirier
Statements by Members

February 28th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to publicly congratulate a painter from my riding, Claudette Poirier, who is the president of an organization called Arts visuels Roussillon.

She is a busy artist. Countless exhibitions have showcased her works, which are known for their softness and use of light. And this tireless, caring woman has undertaken or supported countless projects as well.

Ms. Poirier, who retired from the École Polytechnique, painted an incredible mural in 1999 that serves as a stirring tribute to the 13 victims of the unforgettable tragedy that took place there on December 6, 1989.

In December 2010, Ms. Poirier was chosen to be part of Canada's 12-member delegation at the annual exhibition organized by the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This event, which is held at the Louvre, is one of the most prestigious international exhibitions of contemporary art. Ms. Poirier was able to exhibit her work and thus increase her visibility on the international stage.

I wish to thank and congratulate Claudette Poirier, a wonderful artist from Saint-Constant, who will now be known beyond our borders, where she will promote yet another marvellous aspect of Quebec culture.

Energy Prices
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, gas prices hit $1.30 this weekend in northern Ontario, based on speculation that unrest in Libya would disrupt oil supplies. Despite the fact that Libya produces less than 4% of the world's oil, prices have jumped more than 10% at the pumps.

For consumers, it is a one-way street with a hill that keeps getting steeper, especially in northern Ontario. The problem for consumers will not be limited to the price at the pumps. When energy prices go up, everything else follows. Food, travel and transportation will cost more and the cost of heating homes will go up, again.

For many of us who are reeling from the shock of just how much the HST is cutting into the bottom line, this is only salt in the wound. Every week I hear from more people who are stretched to the limit and, still, the government refuses to act on solid New Democrat proposals that would help consumers deal with the high cost of energy. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to reduce the tax on home heating. It is also time to implement a nationwide regulatory agency to monitor the price of oil and gas and to have an ombudsman to protect consumers.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, finding a family doctor continues to be a concern in my riding. I was therefore very pleased last week when the hon. Minister of Health announced federal funding to support the placement of more than 100 family medical residents in rural Canada.

Yet who was the first to complain of this much-needed investment? The members guessed it: the leader of the federal NDP.

Why was I not surprised when I heard of this criticism? This is the same NDP leader who voted against Canada's economic action plan. This is the same NDP leader who opposes our government's opening of agricultural markets through negotiated free trade deals. This is the same NDP leader who ordered his rural MPs to follow his lead and defeat a private member's bill to repeal the long gun registry.

It is obvious the leader of the NDP does not care about rural Saskatchewan. His criticism of rural Canada's need for doctors further proves that his party is out of touch. The NDP party can no longer claim to be the party of health care in Canada, but has become a party of extreme, out of touch special interest groups.

International Rare Disease Day
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, some 2.7 million Canadians are affected by 1 in 6,000 rare disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Most rare disorders are difficult to diagnose and are chronic, degenerative, progressive and life-threatening.

Families who face rare disorders lack access to scientific knowledge of their disease and quality health care. They face difficulties and inequities in accessing treatment and care.

Sadly, Canada is one of the only developed countries without a policy for rare disorders. As a result, Canadian patients are frequently excluded from many clinical trials and often have delayed access to treatment. Moreover, Canadian patients cannot always access drugs available to patients elsewhere. Only a fraction of the drugs approved in Europe and the U.S. are brought to Canada.

On International Rare Disease Day, let us all commit to working together to develop a national policy for rare disorders.