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Track Bob

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is mentioned.

Conservative MP for Mississauga—Erindale (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 47.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the justice committee heard from a number of family members of victims of cyberbullying, including Allan Hubley, the father of Jamie Hubley. I do not know if the member had an opportunity to review the testimony before the justice committee, but I will quote Mr. Allan Hubley. He stated, “When we were younger, you always knew who your bully was. You could do something about it. Now, up until the time this legislation gets enacted, they can hide behind that.” Mr. Hubley continued, “Not only does it start to take the mask off of them, but through this legislation there are serious consequences for their actions.”

Bill C-13 introduces a number of measures to take the mask off the perpetrator, such as production orders that allow for the disclosure of certain information. I wonder if the member opposite could explain why he is opposed to judicially authorized measures that will help unmask those that exploit others online, such as Jamie Hubley.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his work on the issue of cyberbullying. I know he cares about it quite deeply. I also thank him for the bill he brought before the House.

He will know, because he has studied this issue quite extensively, about the recommendation of the cybercrime working group, which is a group of experts in the law that report to the federal-provincial-territorial ministers of justice. It recommended that in order to address cyberbullying, we needed to provide police authorities with some additional powers for investigation. They include data preservation demands and orders, new production orders to trace specified communications, like we had in the Amanda Todd case, and new warrants and production orders for transmission data. I would like to assure him that nothing in Bill C-13 allows for new warrantless release of information.

Could he tell us if he disagrees with the recommendations that are contained in Bill C-13? Perhaps he could tell us why he thought his bill would work without them.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the Spencer decision of the Supreme Court in his speech. Perhaps he did not have an opportunity to hear the speech I made earlier, but I will just quickly restate my position, which is that the provision in Bill C-13 that he refers to says that where a person is not prohibited by law from sharing information with police authorities, they will not incur any civil or criminal liability.

The Spencer decision of the Supreme Court said that in specific circumstances where telecom companies, which is one small part of information that might be provided to law enforcement authorities in cases like this, do that voluntarily, going forward, that will not be permissible by law. Therefore, this provision of Bill C-13 simply upholds the decision of the Supreme Court in Spencer. In other words, it has clarified the law, and the provision specifically says it is things that are not prohibited by law from being disclosed. What was previously disclosed voluntarily in that specific situation can no longer be voluntarily disclosed without prior judicial authorization.

However, there are other things that can be. It is a general rule of law that people have a right to co-operate with the police, and we wish them to do so in order to keep our citizens safe.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member was a member of the justice committee when we studied this bill, and I believe she sat through almost all of the hearings.

If I follow her argument, she said that the NDP proposed a bill that was one paragraph long. It talked about the institution of criminal sanction for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We all agreed on that, so we could have just passed it, but then we had to spend time at committee dealing with that aspect and all of these other things. We actually spent most of our time talking about the investigative powers.

I did not quite follow the logic, because I think what she said was that everybody agreed on that criminal sanction. We say, and the Cybercrime Working Group also says, that, in addition, we need to provide the law enforcement authorities with some powers so they can properly investigate such crimes and bring people to justice for those crimes. She admits that we had significant debate about those issues, because she said that it was pretty much all that we discussed when we heard from the witnesses.

I would appreciate it if she would tell us specifically what other witnesses we should have heard from. Her party put forward a list of witnesses and the committee strove to hear from them all. In addition, specifically, what provisions is she concerned about that were not discussed or debated at committee? I think everything she is concerned about was debated.

She disagrees with the decision that the committee made, but they were debated. Maybe she could fill us in on what was not debated and what other witnesses we should have heard from.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it was clear to me that when the member called for the separation of Bill C-13 into two parts, one of which is the criminal sanction against the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, that she had not read the report of the CCSO, Cybercrime Working Group, dated June 2013, called “Cyberbullying and Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images”.

These are experts from every province and territory of Canada. They are the expert legal advisors who advise the provincial and territorial ministers of justice. The member has probably heard, if she has been here for the duration of this debate today, what the experts recommended in recommendation number 4. However, nobody is addressing what investigative powers that are recommended by the experts the government should enact in the Criminal Code.

Which of these provisions does the member disagree with? She is saying to separate it and to pass the non-consensual distribution of images part, which would not give the police any power to investigate anything. It would not stop anything from happening, the next Amanda Todd or Rehtaeh Parsons or Jamie Hubley, and the list of victims goes on.

In order to enable the police to help people, they need things such as the data preservation demands and orders. Does the member agree or disagree with that? They need new warrants and production orders for the transmission of data. Does she agree or disagree with that, yes or no?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

It is true.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend did not make that case very clearly at the time the justice committee was choosing witnesses to appear before the committee. However, I will point out that as a result of the Spencer decision, telecom providers have changed their practices, as is appropriate. They are applying the law, which is what the provisions of Bill C-13 do: they say that it is when “not prohibited by law”. If the Supreme Court has decided it is prohibited by law to release the information, then that would now be the law.

The telecom providers will have an opportunity to speak to that matter at the Senate hearings, I assume in a very few weeks. There is no way that the government can operate by waiting for the many cases that may be percolating through the court system on any given issue before moving forward. What the courts do is clarify, and that is what they have done in this case. In our view, they have not changed the application of Bill C-13 at all.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments and questions by my colleague from the justice committee. She will know that the Spencer decision had been mooted in the lower courts and that everyone was quite well aware of those arguments. I think everyone on the Justice committee at the time that this bill was studied was aware of the arguments that were put before the Supreme Court.

The opposition seems to have a position that the government should wait for the courts to make decisions in cases. There are dozens of cases before the courts of this land at any given time, but what our government needs to do and intends to do is rebalance our justice legislation between the rights of the accused and the rights of the victims in order to restore people's faith in the justice system. We think Bill C-13 does that with respect to cyberbullying. We are implementing the recommendations of the cybercrime working group, and the member will know that those provisions are very necessary in order to allow the legal authorities to investigate such crimes and prevent these crimes from happening again in the future.

We need to move quickly. The member has called for a split of the bill. She will know that virtually every expert who was called by the opposition appeared before the committee, that these issues were significantly debated, and they will be debated again when the Senate debates the bill.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in today's very important debate on Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime act.

Bill C-13 would provide a strong criminal justice response to the problem of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, much like bullying in general, is a very complex social phenomenon that requires the attention of all segments of society. Most bullying behaviour is not a criminal behaviour and should be dealt with outside of the criminal justice system. However, we know that the reach of the Internet, the speed at which information can be shared, and the ability to act anonymously have made cyberbullying a serious concern.

This problem cannot be fixed simply by enacting a new law that would adequately cover all instances of this behaviour, but that does not mean that the criminal law cannot be strengthened in this area. This is why Bill C-13 provides a targeted response within the government's broader commitment to address the issue of bullying and cyberbullying.

If passed into the law, the proposed Criminal Code amendments would create a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images with accompanying complementary amendments. The second main purpose of Bill C-13 is to provide the police with tools to give them the ability to address all crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence.

Let me state the obvious here. All of the elements of Bill C-13 logically go together. Police will be able to more effectively and efficiently investigate the proposed new offence and other crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence with the proposed legally authorized tools.

Absent the new production and preservation orders proposed in Bill C-13, there would be no tool in the Criminal Code to enable the preservation and ensure that important evidence is not deleted. There would be no tool designed for production of specific subsets of tracking data and transmission data, nor would there be a tool to assist in tracing a communication by using one order with multiple providers. Without these tools, law enforcement's ability to protect Canadians from online crime and cyberbullying would be seriously hampered.

I would like to focus my remarks today on a specific provision included in Bill C-13, proposed subsection 487.0195(2) of the Criminal Code, which would provide immunity from civil and criminal liability to persons who voluntarily assist police. In a nutshell, proposed subsection 487.0195(2) would amend existing subsection 487.014(2) of the Criminal Code, which was enacted in 2004 with the creation of production orders in the Criminal Code. Subsection 487.014(2) was designed to clarify that the new production orders were not intended to preclude ongoing voluntary assistance where such assistance was not precluded by law and to reconfirm existing legal principles that such assistance would not create any liability, either civil or criminal.

When new authorities such as production orders are created in law, the result can be that common law authorities are displaced. This was not the intent when production orders were introduced into the Criminal Code in 2004, nor is it the intent with respect to the updates to production orders and the new preservation authorities proposed in Bill C-13.

The ability of the public to voluntarily assist police is essential to effective policing and a core component of ensuring public safety. Police may request information on a voluntary basis in many situations, including general policing duties that may not relate directly to investigating a crime, such as requesting information so they can contact family members when there is an accident.

However, I want to be clear. Bill C-13 would not create a new authority for voluntary assistance. It would simply clarify that any existing authority for voluntary assistance continues to be in place where not prohibited by law. It would also not create a new protection from civil or criminal liability but reconfirms the existing protection. This provision simply reconfirms existing legal principles that if an entity is legally permitted to turn over data to the police, then that entity will not be subject to civil or criminal liability for doing so. If an entity is prohibited by law from disclosing information, for example, by legislation or by contract, then immunity will not be available.

The minor revisions to existing subsection 487.014(2) that are proposed in Bill C-13 are primarily to make the provision more transparent and understandable by specifying that the protections from civil and criminal liability that are currently provided in section 25 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the protection of persons acting under authority, apply not only in the context of the current production orders but also in the context of the new production orders proposed in Bill C-13. The proposed amendments would also reflect the addition of preservation demands and orders to the Criminal Code.

This existing provision, which did not receive any attention when it was first enacted in 2004, attracted considerable criticism in the media and during committee hearings on Bill C-13. Indeed, this provision was wrongly reported as providing police with warrantless access to personal information and has been inaccurately described as a means of opening the floodgates of data between the private sector and the police.

In addition, some have also called for the deletion of this provision as a result of their interpretation of the June 2014 unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Spencer.

I wish first to confirm what the government has stated all along, a view supported by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Spencer: that proposed subsection 487.0195(2) does not create any new search and seizure powers. Second, the proposed section continues to be required for those who continue to voluntarily assist the police where not prohibited by law. Those words are very specifically spelled out in the proposed legislation.

Specifically, the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Spencer said in paragraph 73 of the decision that the existing voluntary disclosure and immunity provision is “...a declaratory provision that confirms the existing common law powers of police officers to make enquiries”, as indicated by the fact that the section begins with the phrase “for greater certainty”. The decision makes it clear that Bill C-13 does not, and never did, create new police powers to access telecommunications data without a judicial warrant.

In R. v. Spencer, the court expanded the privacy protections afforded to information related to an Internet protocol, or IP, address in certain circumstances, thereby taking this information out of the realm of information that can be provided voluntarily. However, the court did not suggest that voluntary disclosures were now impermissible. Rather, it held that voluntary assistance could still be provided in exigent circumstances, or pursuant to a reasonable law, or where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. This clearly leaves scope for permissible voluntary assistance and provision of information without judicial pre-authorization.

Since the R. v. Spencer decision still allows for voluntary assistance to police in those circumstances, the clarification and the protection from immunity contained an existing subsection 487.014(2) and proposed subsection 487.0195(2) are still needed.

Bill C-13 was thoroughly examined by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The committee amended the bill to require a parliamentary review of proposed sections 487.011 to 487.02 of the Criminal Code—i.e., the new preservation demands and orders, the updated production order scheme, and the assistance order provision—seven years after these provisions come into force.

I agree with this amendment and said so at the justice committee. Given the highly technical nature of these reforms, I believe that a parliamentary review would be helpful to assess if the reforms have achieved their intended impacts. This amendment may also serve to alleviate some concerns expressed by privacy advocates, as it provides a future opportunity for inquiry into the privacy impacts of the legislation.

In summary. Bill C-13 was strengthened at committee and deserves to be passed into law in the form in which it was reported back to the House. I urge all hon. members to make this possible by ensuring the swift passage of the bill.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned that the government likes to wrap itself in the testimony of victims, as if there is something inappropriate about telling Canadians about the stories of victims that have led to this specific bill. Then he goes on to extensively quote from the testimony of Ms. Todd, which is terrific. I think people have a right to know what was said in committee.

I wonder if the member heard that Ms. Todd met with the Minister of Justice following her appearance at the justice committee and then did a subsequent CBC Radio interview about two or three days later. I wonder if the member heard that interview and what she said then. Maybe he could quote from that next time he has an opportunity. If he has not had a chance to hear that interview, I would be happy to provide him with a transcript. He would find that after speaking with the Minister of Justice, Ms. Todd understood why many of these investigative powers are necessary in order to prevent the kind of thing that happened to her daughter from happening again.

The member also did not mention what Glen Canning or Allan Hubley said about Bill C-13 or why they think these investigative powers are critical to ensure that what happened to their children does not happen to other children.

I would like the member to tell us if there are any parts of recommendation 4 from the Cybercrime Working Group report of June 2013 that he disagrees with. That group of experts said that those recommendations were necessary in addition to the criminal offence of distributing an intimate image to ensure that these types of crimes can be properly investigated and prevented. Perhaps the member could tell us about that.