House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is fundamental about this opposition day motion that the Liberals are bringing in has to do with democracy. A democratic society has due process, rule of law and all of the fundamentals that come with a democratic society, and an independent judiciary. We do not want to live in a country in which the state has all the power and individuals have absolutely no rights. That is why we reference the Charter of Rights and Freedoms here. It is the main bill under which every single piece of legislation must flow. The charter tries to find a balance, which is what we are talking about here, between the rights of individuals to privacy and their own sense of personal integrity, and the security of the state.

How do we find that balance? How do we, in the name of security of the state, find a way to ensure that we at the same time do not trample on the rights of individuals? That is where process comes in. That is where the rule of law comes in. In any democratic society, there are some very fundamental processes we must look at, such as an independent judiciary, due process and rule of law, as well as freedom of expression and freedom of the media, whether it be the Internet or any other kind of media.

There was a time when a very famous Liberal prime minister spoke about the state not getting into the bedrooms of the nation. We can extend that to say that there has to be a limit to the state getting into the hard drives of the nation. If there is a reason to suspect that individuals are guilty of criminal activity, treason or any other kind of terrorism or act against the state, there is due process. I want to give an example of why this bill goes so far and in fact would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recently there was a widely publicized, huge sting operation with respect to a child pornography ring in Canada. The police were highly successful, as 22 people were charged, 75 charges were laid, 25 search warrants were obtained, and 16 communities across Ontario were fingered. However, it was done under due process of law. There was reason to suspect and warrants were given. The police officers found a way to do that under the current Criminal Code, and under due process of law. We know, therefore, the process of law is working well. When individuals are suspected, the necessary tools are there and working.

I have just come back from Vienna where I was at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We were talking about repressive regimes that have flouted due process of law to pick people up on trumped-up charges without any presumption at all or proof of guilt, put them into prisons and torture them. Canada was very firmly opposed to this. A big part of what we are looking at in terms of the OSCE is to create democratic societies.

Canada cannot on the one hand speak against something in the real world, saying that we are opposed to it and support democracy and the rule of law and then on the other hand at home take this insidious way to undercut the rule of law and suggest that there are bogeymen under every bed. We cannot afford to do that in this country. If we are going to have credibility in the world because we stand up for freedom of speech and the rights of individuals, stand against terrorism, support security of the state and do so under due process of law and independent judiciary, then we need to do it here at home. We cannot have two standards. Canada cannot do one thing at home and say another thing abroad. That is what we are talking about.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be a template. It should be a benchmark against which we hold up everything we hope to do in terms of rule of law in this country to see whether it stands up to the charter or violates it. That is what a judiciary looks at when looking at any kind of legislation. The Parliament of a land does not supersede the rule of law. The Parliament of the land is driven by the rule of law. It must succumb to the rule of law itself.

Therefore, we cannot have what we see happening here. When people oppose this kind of violation of the rule of law, we cannot decide that those people are wrong, that they belong with a group of criminals, that they are crooks, pornographers or whatever they call them. There is a standard by which a state must judge its own citizens. We live in a free and democratic society where civil society and opposition parties can oppose what they feel is an infringement of the rule of law, an infringement of democracy. However, when they do oppose, it is not right that they are then subjected to all kinds of suspicious language and people who say that they belong to some kind of subversive group or a criminal activity is going on within those groups.

That is what happens in oppressive regimes, such as in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine. At certain points in time, their leaders are thrown into jail because they happen to belong to the opposition and disagree with the government. We cannot do that in this country. We have stood as a bastion throughout the world as a country that believes in democratic principles and the rule of law.

There is no need for this kind of bill. We have a process and it works. If the police, a member of CSIS or a minister is suspicious of an activity going on, he or she can go to a judge who will, as an independent person in a democratic society, say that it sounds good and that he or she will issue a warrant to seize. However, to do this at the whim of the police, of the minister or of CSIS, tells us that we believe there are certain institutions that are above the law. There is no institution that is above the rule of law in this country. We also cannot go around as a state spying on our citizens for no reason at all. If we have a good reason, it will stand up to a warrant.

We cannot try this new thing in which a minister would make a decision and then would ask an ISP to have technology to tap into someone's Internet. We do not do that with phone tapping. There must to be a warrant for phone tapping and due process must be observed. I keep repeating the words “due processes” because I am talking about democracy and the rule of law. I am trying to get the government to not run away with the idea that because it has a majority it is bigger than anything else, that it has suddenly become a dictatorship and that it does not need to answer to anyone for anything.

This is one of the things that concerns many of us. We hear that the government, having realized that it went too far, is saying that it will send the bill to committee and listen to the amendments. I must say that, since we have come back under a majority government, the committees have been hijacked by the government. Under the rules of Parliament, the committees must make their own decisions about what they will study and what they will do. They are the authors of their own destiny and their own agenda. This is not happening anymore. If anyone dares to speak out or to bring forward a motion at committee that the government does not wish to have, the meeting immediately goes in camera and nobody knows what is going on. This is government thinking that committees and the institution of Parliament in a democratic society is an extension of government. It is not. It is a democratic entity unto itself and this kind of stuff needs to stop.

The government came into power saying that it would look at smaller government, that it would stay out of the lives of people and that it would not encroach. Here we have a government that is tearing up the gun registry and the names of people. It is cancelling the gun registry because it does not want to get into the private lives of its citizens and yet with Bill C-30 it would be snooping into the private lives of its citizens without due process. This is what we are talking about. If this legislation is actually conforming with the rule of law, it would not violate the charter, which is what it is currently doing.

I would ask the government to stick to the principles of democracy, listen to the amendments, be guided by them and, if they are good, adopt them. It should not try to suggest to the world that it is listening to the committee and having amendments but then voting against them and using its majority to stop any kind of change whatsoever. I appeal to the government to go back to the principles of democracy, start behaving, start listening to what it hears from the opposition and to start respecting Parliament and the rule of law.

Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we had two Liberal bills, Bill C-416 and Bill C-74. Clause 6 and clause 24 of the Liberal bills went further than this government's bill does. Lo and behold, between those two bills, there were no changes whatsoever.

The previous member said that the Liberals like to listen and make changes and yet in the 38th and 39th Parliaments there were no changes whatsoever. In the two bills that they introduced, they went further than the bill we have introduced.

Do the Liberals not see that the reason they continue to go further and further away in this chamber is that they flip and flop and, unlike the NDP perhaps and unlike this party for sure, they do not have the best interests of Canadians at hand? They only have the best interests of the Liberal Party and how they can score some cheap political points on the backs of all Canadians who want to be safe and secure.

Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, talking about cheap political points, I think the government woke up one morning after the bill was tabled and realized that Canadians did not have time for this bill and that Canadians were astounded by this bill.

Again, if the bill can pass what we call the sniff test, which is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it does not violate the charter, then that is okay. However, this bill violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is absolutely clear.

The member can talk about whatever bills he wants but if they violate the charter they will not stand.

Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre will have three minutes remaining for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on this motion.

Safe Night Off Winnipeg Streets
Statements By Members

February 28th, 2012 / 1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week, I participated in a very special Winnipeg event that helps sex trade workers to be safe from violence, harm, hunger, homelessness and exploitation for one night. This event is called Safe Night Off Winnipeg Streets or SNOW. It is an overnight gathering I have participated in for years as a concerned mother, friend and woman.

It allows participants to take a break from the street to enjoy one night in a warm, secure environment surrounded by friends. Free haircuts, makeovers, food and health care are provided. There are also people to talk to about information or resources that can help.

Today I want to personally thank the organizers and volunteers who work together to show exploited women, transgendered and two-spirited individuals that we care. I applaud people like Dianna Bussey of the Salvation Army, Karen Roth of Sage House and Kristi Havens from Mount Carmel Clinic who have put countless hours into this outreach. Their efforts in collecting donations to provide each participant one night of pampering are commendable and I encourage Winnipeggers to support this worthy cause.

A special thanks goes out to the participants who shared their personal pain with me that night. I will not forget them and I will pray for their safety and well-being.

Cross-Country Skiing
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize the recent athletic achievements of Sudbury native Devon Kershaw who continues to do Canada proud by shining brightly on the world stage.

After proudly representing Canada at both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, Devon has continued to demonstrate athletic excellence in his chosen sport of cross-country skiing by winning gold in two World Cup events as well as placing fourth in the demanding multi-stage Tour de Ski and twice finishing third, all this in just the past seven weeks.

Devon now sits third in the overall cross-country point standings, a truly remarkable and historic achievement for a Canadian Nordic skier.

As we begin to build toward the 2014 Olympics in Russia, Canadians from coast to coast to coast salute Devon's remarkable achievements and stand behind him 100% in his continued pursuit of excellence as he keeps doing Sudbury and Canada proud.

Original Humboldt
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian history is important and that is why I wish to bring to the attention of the House the great work done to bring alive the history of Original Humboldt.

Original Humboldt was part of the 1876 Dominion Telegraph Line. The Humboldt telegraph station was built in 1878 by George Weldon, whose wife, Catherine, would become the first female telegraph operator in the west.

During the 1885 Resistance, Original Humboldt became a military site used as a storage and supply depot under Lieutenant Colonel George T. Denison. The Humboldt telegraph station became a critical link as the station remained untouched during the Resistance, allowing continued contact with Ottawa.

On April 30, 2009, Original Humboldt land was presented as a gift to the city of Humboldt. Since that time, Original Humboldt has been developed by volunteers working through the Humboldt and District Museum who did the restoration without government subsidy.

Many more people will know that over a century ago, Humboldt represented a new frontier using a new technology: the telegraph.

I congratulate the Original Humboldt committee for its great work.

Polish Canadian Community
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton has an active and vibrant Polish community. The centre of its community is St. Mary's Polish Church in Whitney Pier.

Over 100 years ago, Polish immigrants came to Sydney to work in a new steel plant. They not only worked hard in the plant and raised families, they built a wonderful church and community.

This weekend, I was honoured to attend the church service at St. Mary's. It was a wonderful event highlighting traditional Polish dress and language. After the event, the congregation blessed our buses and we went on a pilgrimage to St. Ninian's Cathedral in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A church service was held at the cathedral to highlight the Polish community and showcase the importance of St. Mary's Church to the Antigonish diocese.

Today I rise in the House to recognize the great contribution that St. Mary's and the Polish community have given to Cape Breton and all the rest of Canada. May they continue to do so for many years to come.

Citizenship Ceremony
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the incredible privilege of being with hundreds of students from the Aldergrove Community Secondary School as we witnessed people becoming new Canadians. The Aldergrove secondary students gained insight and appreciation for what it means to be a Canadian as 51 people from 24 countries were honoured at their official citizenship ceremony.

Canada is a country where people from every cultural background have bonded together to create one of the most diverse, harmonious, successful societies on Earth, and that includes Aldergrove.

In fact, Aldergrove is the community currently featured on the reality TV show Million Dollar Neighbourhood, which has increased community spirit, helped more than 100 families and benefited Aldergrove as a whole. People there realize how wonderful Aldergrove is and how blessed they are to live there.

Where is Aldergrove? In beautiful Langley, the hub of the Fraser Valley.

Bullying
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, every seven seconds in Canada a child is bullied. In fact, far too many people in our workplaces, communities and schools are victims of bullying behaviour.

Tomorrow many in my riding of Newton--North Delta will mark Pink Shirt Day. It is a campaign that began in 2007 when two brave students decided to take action after witnessing a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

This year, the City of Surrey, Surrey RCMP and CUPE Local 402 launched a new youth film contest that focuses on ending bullying. I commend them, as well as the Surrey Board of Trade, which is focusing on bullying in the workplace.

To all the young and not so young people in my riding who are victims of bullying, I say that together we will make it better. On Pink Shirt Day I am reminded of the famous quote from Tommy Douglas, “Courage my friends, 'tis not too late to build a better world”.

Surrey
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, Surrey, B.C. has been named the best place to invest in western Canada. A dynamic community full of opportunity, Surrey is positioned for prosperity and job growth with one of the lowest tax rates in the country and a city council determined to cut red tape.

Our government is also doing its part for Surrey with our own low-tax plan and record investment in people and infrastructure. There has been funding for the new City Centre Library, Fraser River flood protection, road and highway improvements, sewage treatment, public transit, cycling paths, hiking trails, and a new athletic park. All told, it adds up to tens of millions of dollars, more federal funding than under any previous government.

Working together with our provincial and municipal partners, we are ensuring that Surrey is one of the best cities in Canada in which to live, work and do business.

Rare Disorders
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House to welcome patients and families living with rare disorders who are visiting Parliament today with the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders. One in 12 Canadians suffers from one of 7,000 rare disorders, many of which are life threatening or severely debilitating. More than half affect infants and children, which can inflict a devastating toll on entire families and communities.

Twenty years ago there were few treatments for rare disorders, and today we celebrate the fact that there are nearly 400 therapies. Earlier this year our Conservative government announced a $67.5 million investment in personalized medicine, which will benefit many rare disorders patients and will support the development of additional therapies.

I would invite all my colleagues to join me in welcoming these patients and their families as they celebrate International Rare Disease Day tomorrow. Their spirit of hope is an example to us all.

Winter Festivals
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to address the House today on behalf of the people of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

Today I would like to highlight the winter festivals that showcase my region's spirit and energy.

Saint-Placide's Festi-Vent sur glace has been going strong for 14 years now. This one-of-a-kind festival puts on a very exciting show and gives the local economy a major boost every year. Unfortunately, Festi-Vent's federal funding was in jeopardy this year, but we put pressure on the government to admit its mistake in this case and restore funding.

Other not-to-be-missed events include carnivals in Ripon and Chénéville, Thurso's snowfest, the Plaisirs d'hiver festival in Fassett and Lachute, and Oka's Cinéglace, all of which showcase the cultural vitality of communities in my region.

I am proud to support our heritage and I hope that the people of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel will continue to breathe warmth and life into this cold season.

North Korean Refugees
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the latest reports of North Korean refugees in China facing the risk of being forcibly sent back to North Korea.

North Korea is a state where basic freedoms, including religious freedoms, are not respected. Disturbing reports include public executions, torture, arbitrary detentions, collective punishment, forced abortions in prison camps, and reports of increasingly harsh treatment against those who fled North Korea and have subsequently been repatriated.

Canada has raised this issue at the United Nations on multiple occasions. We call upon all parties, including China, to respect the principle of non-refoulement of refugees from North Korea.

I join the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in encouraging all parties concerned to find a viable humanitarian solution for these individuals.

New Democratic Party
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last election, Quebeckers turned their backs on a Conservative Party mired in scandal and they turned their backs on the Liberal Party, the sponsorship party—two parties that care more about the old ways of doing politics than they do about concrete action. Quebeckers voted for the NDP because they trust our party to get things done. Unfortunately, nothing has changed within the old parties: the Conservatives' election fraud and the Liberals' illicit Twitter attacks prove this. Fortunately, the NDP is here to get things done.

Again yesterday, thanks to the leadership of the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer, the NDP took concrete action to achieve Shannen's dream. Thanks to the NDP, we are one step closer to a Canada in which every child in every community has the right to the high quality education they truly deserve. Enough with the scandals. Quebeckers and Canadians can count on us. Let us work together. That is how the NDP is getting things done. That is what the NDP is doing as the opposition—