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  • Her favourite word is commissioner.

NDP MP for Terrebonne—Blainville (Québec)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 49.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, since I do not have a lot of time, I will get straight to the point.

Cyberbullying is an extremely important issue and the NDP wants to do something about it. We suggested splitting the bill in order to pass this part quickly. I want to reiterate that, because it seems that the members across the way are under the impression that this issue is not important to us. That is not true.

We are deeply concerned about the fact that the government is in the process of creating an entirely new system to gain access to personal information. I heard Conservative members say that this will change nothing when it comes to accessing personal information, but that is not true. Providing protection to Internet service providers who voluntarily comply with a request and hand over information, or who do so on their own initiative, is extremely problematic.

We have the Supreme Court's ruling in the Spencer case before us. We have not really had the chance to hear what the government has to say about this. We do not even know whether this bill is constitutional. I am not sure. Some telecommunications companies, such as Telus and Rogers, have even said that they no longer respond to requests from government agencies because they now believe it is not constitutional. Why can the government not open its eyes and realize that such things as an IP address do indeed constitute personal information?

As the court stated in its ruling, you need a warrant to obtain this information. There have been decisions against creating an entire system, a back door, for calling a telecommunications company to obtain personal information. I believe that the government has a duty to consider this before simply cutting off debate and quickly moving to a vote.

I would like to add that we are constantly being told that these requests are made in exceptional circumstances. That is not true. We saw that the Canada Border Services Agency made more than 13,000 requests in one year. Only two of these requests were listed as being required for national security reasons. I am sorry, but their argument does not hold water.

Furthermore, we were told that these requests are transparent and subject to review. However, there is no transparency. There is absolutely no oversight. When I asked the government in writing for the data for the past 10 years from all agencies, it did not have the data. The government has no record of the requests. How can we have a transparent system without even having the necessary data?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that we are talking about the urgency of adopting provisions on cyberbullying. The NDP has always said that we need to adopt this part very quickly. Nonetheless, we want to properly assess the parts that may cause serious problems when it comes to protecting Canadians' privacy.

What is more, the Minister of Justice responded to my colleague from Gatineau by saying:

“It is not our duty to slow things down here”.

I am sorry, but it is our responsibility. As parliamentarians, we must be sure to uphold the Canadian Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.

Can the Minister of Justice tell me why he does not even want to sit down and address the Supreme Court ruling to see whether the provisions of Bill C-13 are indeed constitutional?

Petitions September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the third petition aims to put an end to unfair fees and ripoffs. People in my riding are sick and tired of the never-ending fees. By presenting this petition, we are hoping to help families make ends meet.

Petitions September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is calling on the Government of Canada to reject Canada Post's proposed service cuts and explore other options to modernize the crown corporation's business plan. Terrebonne is one of the cities where door-to-door delivery will be eliminated by 2015. People are very worried about that and wish to express their disapproval.

Petitions September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present three petitions today.

The first petition was signed by people in my riding who want to ensure that the former Saint-Maurice shooting range is decontaminated within a reasonable time frame and that the wetlands and the imperilled flora and fauna in the ecosystem are protected and preserved. I have several hundred signatures and petitions, and I am very proud of my constituents who made the effort to collect these signatures.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to requests by government agencies to telecommunications service providers (TSPs) to provide information about customers' usage of communications devices and services: (a) between 2001 and 2013, how many such requests were made; (b) of the total referred to in (a), how many requests were made by the (i) RCMP, (ii) Canadian Security Intelligence Service, (iii) Competition Bureau, (iv) Canada Revenue Agency, (v) Canada Border Services Agency, (vi) Communications Security Establishment Canada; (c) for the requests referred to in (a), how many of each of the following types of information were requested, (i) geolocation of device, broken down by real-time and historical data, (ii) call detail records, as obtained by number recorders or by disclosure of stored data, (iii) text message content, (iv) voicemail, (v) cell tower logs, (vi) real-time interception of communications (i.e. wire-tapping), (vii) subscriber information, (viii) transmission data (e.g. duration of interaction, port numbers, communications routing data, etc.), (ix) data requests (e.g. web sites visited, IP address logs), (x) any other kinds of data requests pertaining to the operation of TSPs' networks and businesses, broken down by type; (d) for each of the request types referred to in (c), what are all of the data fields that are disclosed as part of responding to a request; (e) of the total referred to in (a), how many of the requests were made (i) for real-time disclosures, (ii) retroactively, for stored data, (iii) in exigent circumstances, (iv) in non-exigent circumstances, (v) subject to a court order; (f) of the total referred to in (a), (i) how many of the requests did TSPs fulfill, (ii) how many requests did they deny and for what reasons; (g) do the government agencies that request information from TSPs notify affected TSP subscribers that information pertaining to their telecommunications service has been requested or accessed by the government, (i) if so, how many subscribers are notified per year, (ii) by which government agencies; (h) for each type of request referred to in (c), broken down by agency, (i) how long is the information obtained by such requests retained by government agencies, (ii) what is the average time period for which government agencies request such information (e.g. 35 days of records), (iii) what is the average amount of time that TSPs are provided to fulfill such requests, (iv) what is the average number of subscribers who have the their information disclosed to government agencies; (i) what are the legal standards that agencies use to issue the requests for information referred to in (c); (j) how many times were the requests referred to in (c) based specifically on grounds of (i) terrorism, (ii) national security, (iii) foreign intelligence, (iv) child exploitation; (k) what is the maximum number of subscribers that TSPs are required by government agencies to monitor for each of the information types identified in (c); (l) has the government ever ordered (e.g. through ministerial authorization or a court order) the increase of one of the maximum numbers referred to in (k); (m) do TSPs ever refuse to comply with requests for information identified in (c) and, if so, (i) why were such requests refused, (ii) how do government agencies respond when a TSP refuses to comply; (n) between 2001 and 2013, did government agencies provide money or other forms of compensation to TSPs in exchange for the information referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) how much money have government agencies paid, (ii) are there different levels of compensation for exigent or non-exigent requests; (o) for the requests referred to in (a), how many users, accounts, IP addresses and individuals were subject to disclosure; (p) for the requests referred to in (a), how many were made without a warrant; (q) do the government agencies that request information from TSPs keep internal aggregate statistics on these type of requests and the kind of information requested; and (r) do the government agencies that request information from TSPs notify individuals when the law allows or after investigations are complete that their information has been requested or disclosed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to requests by government agencies to telecommunications service providers (TSP) to provide information about customers’ usage of communications devices and services: (a) in 2012 and 2013, how many such requests were made; (b) of the total referred to in (a), how many requests were made by (i) RCMP, (ii) Canadian Security Intelligence Service, (iii) Competition Bureau, (iv) Canada Revenue Agency, (v) Canada Border Services Agency, (vi) Communications Security Establishment Canada; (c) for the requests referred to in (a), how many of each of the following types of information were requested, (i) geolocation of device (broken down by real-time and historical data), (ii) call detail records (as obtained by number recorders or by disclosure of stored data), (iii) text message content, (iv) voicemail, (v) cell tower logs, (vi) real-time interception of communications (i.e. wire-tapping), (vii) subscriber information, (viii) transmission data (e.g. duration of interaction, port numbers, communications routing data, etc.), (ix) data requests (e.g. web sites visited, IP address logs), (x) any other kinds of data requests pertaining to the operation of TSPs’ networks and businesses, broken down by type; (d) for each of the request types referred to in (c), what are all of the data fields that are disclosed as part of responding to a request; (e) of the total referred to in (a), how many of the requests were made (i) for real-time disclosures, (ii) retroactively, for stored data, (iii) in exigent circumstances, (iv) in non-exigent circumstances, (v) subject to a court order; (f) of the total referred to in (a), (i) how many of the requests did TSPs fulfill, (ii) how many requests did they deny and for what reasons; (g) do the government agencies that request information from TSPs notify affected TSP subscribers that information pertaining to their telecommunications service has been accessed by the government, (i) if so, how many subscribers are notified per year, (ii) by which government agencies; (h) for each type of request referred to in (c), broken down by agency, (i) how long is the information obtained by such requests retained by government agencies, (ii) what is the average time period for which government agencies request such information (e.g. 35 days of records), (iii) what is the average amount of time that TSPs are provided to fulfil such requests, (iv) what is the average number of subscribers who have their information disclosed to government agencies; (i) what are the legal standards that agencies use to issue the requests for information referred to in (c); (j) how many times were the requests referred to in (c) based specifically on grounds of (i) terrorism, (ii) national security, (iii) foreign intelligence, (iv) child exploitation; (k) what is the maximum number of subscribers that TSPs are required by government agencies to monitor for each of the information types identified in (c); (l) has the government ever ordered (e.g. through ministerial authorization or a court order) the increase of one of the maximum numbers referred to in (k); (m) do TSPs ever refuse to comply with requests for information identified in (c) and, if so, (i) why were such requests refused, (ii) how do government agencies respond when a TSP refuses to comply; and (n) in 2012 and 2013, did government agencies provide money or other forms of compensation to TSPs in exchange for the information referred to in (a) and, if so, (i) how much money have government agencies paid, (ii) are there different levels of compensation for exigent or non-exigent requests?

Speaker's Ruling September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome all of the members here in the House back to Parliament. The New Democrats worked hard this summer. They met with their constituents and knocked on a lot of doors to find out about people's priorities. I myself am so glad that I know more about the issues and concerns that matter most to the people of Terrebonne—Blainville.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to debate Bill C-520. Since I am a member of the committee that studied this bill, I feel confident talking about just how bad it is.

I would like to begin by saying that the NDP will always seek to strengthen political impartiality and transparency in Parliament. The NDP believes that Parliament cannot function well without these values, which underpin its credibility and that of its institutions. My NDP colleagues and I fully embrace the principle of political neutrality and transparency.

I also believe that any bill whose purpose is to implement measures based on these principles must be drafted with great care and attention to detail. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Bill C-520. Not only is it badly written, it is also yet another sorry attempt by the government to cover up its own failures in terms of parliamentary accountability.

Other than the title—which, by the way, is a smokescreen—the content of Bill C-520 is useless, redundant and tinged with malice. Still, Canadians will not be taken in. They are well aware that the true purpose of this bill is to intimidate agents of Parliament, the very people whose mandate is to protect Canadians from the government's abuses.

This shows yet again that the Conservatives do not want to be accountable to anyone.They want to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and they could not care less about democracy. With a bill like Bill C-520, they are not even trying to hide the fact. This is another sorry example of the Conservatives' way of doing things: a witch hunt targeting those who would bring them into line.

The NDP strongly opposes this bill, which is rife with flaws, omissions and sinister motives. We are very proud of our work in committee. We worked hard to force the government to eliminate the worst parts of Bill C-520. Even so, this bill serves no purpose, and that is what I would like to demonstrate today.

When the hon. member for York Centre appeared before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to defend his bill, he described it as “imperative” and “critical”. Using such an alarming tone suggests that the political neutrality of agents of Parliament is often threatened. That is what my colleague, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay, was trying to find out more about. He asked the member for York Centre whether he had any examples of partisan activities conducted by any of the nine offices of the agents of Parliament who are subject to his bill. Oddly, the hon. member for York Centre had no concrete examples to provide. Not one.

It is odd that Bill C-520 is meant to address a problem that does not exist. Even more strange, or more worrisome, I should say, is that during review in committee we found out that the hon. member for York Centre did not contact any of the nine offices of the agents of Parliament when his bill was being drafted, even though they will be directly affected by the proposed measures in the bill.

If the hon. member had bothered to take this more seriously and had held consultations, he would have soon realized that we already have a whole series of laws and codes of ethics governing the offices of agents of Parliament and that those laws and codes impose political neutrality on anyone employed by those offices. For example, most of the offices of agents of Parliament are already regulated by the Public Service Employment Act, the Political Activities Regulations and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

Other laws are in place to ensure the political neutrality of offices that are not subject to the Public Service Employment Act, such as the office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who is appointed under the Parliament of Canada Act. This statute takes political neutrality into account in the appointment process. What is more, the commissioner's office is governed by a code of values and standards of conduct that specifically and thoroughly addresses political activities and neutrality. A number of other agents of Parliament have their own code of conduct that complements the current legislative regime.

As hon. members can see, we already have a host of laws and public policies that ensure the political neutrality of agents of Parliament and their employees.

The three agents of Parliament who testified before the committee did not provide any examples of a conflict of interest or political partisanship. Their employees are professionals who carry out their official duties in a strictly non-partisan way.

Clearly, the current system is working. It is effective and, as a result, Bill C-520 is unnecessary and redundant. It is therefore not surprising that the member for York Centre was unable to provide any examples of partisan actions.

If the government was really serious about its approach and was actually acting in good faith, it would have consulted all of the agents of Parliament and invited all of the agents affected by Bill C-520 to testify in committee. However, it did not do so. In my opinion, that was the least the government could have done.

When I read Bill C-520 for the first time, I wondered what the real motives of the member for York Centre were. After all, this bill does not solve a problem; rather, it is a solution that is looking for a problem.

We have to ask ourselves why such a bill is being introduced since, in addition to duplicating systems and creating overlap, Bill C-520 is seriously flawed. Well, I got an answer this past June.

Everyone agrees that Bill C-520 is an unfair attack on the agents of Parliament whose duty it is to monitor the Conservatives. We learned from an article in the National Post that the member for York Centre, the sponsor of this bill, accepted inappropriate donations from lobbyists that he met as part of his work on the Standing Committee on Finance.

This type of solicitation violates the guidelines issued by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, which prohibit MPs from targeting any organizations or individuals with which they anticipate having official dealings.

This is not the first time that this type of thing has happened. Over the past few months, even Conservative ministers have had to pay back donations that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner deemed inappropriate.

Clearly, the current government does not want to be accountable any more than it wants to be monitored. The agents of Parliament are doing an excellent job of protecting us from government abuse, since the Conservatives are being caught with their hands in the cookie jar on a regular basis.

Rather than following the rules, the Conservatives are seeking to undermine the credibility of those who monitor them by unfairly attacking those individuals. That is what happened with the former parliamentary budget officer and, more recently, with the Chief Electoral Officer.

Bill C-520 is nothing more than a cynical attempt on the part of the Conservatives to make Parliament less accountable to Canadians. It is very worrisome.

Canadians deserve a government that respects parliamentary institutions, not one that tries to circumvent the rules and take advantage of the system.

I would like to speak to another aspect of this bill that is of great concern to me, namely the privacy rights of employees in the offices of agents of Parliament.

This bill requires anyone who applies for a position with or works in the office of an agent of Parliament to produce a written declaration indicating any partisan positions they have held in the past 10 years. The bill also requires that the declaration be posted on the office's website. In my opinion, these requirements are unnecessary and violate employees' privacy.

Everyone knows that the Conservatives do not care about Canadians' privacy. That is blatantly obvious in this case.

Forcing office employees to publicly divulge this type of information could have serious consequences because their work location and political affiliations would be made public. What is more, in 10 years, an employee could have changed affiliations or completely ceased any political involvement.

Those kinds of factors could cause employees keep quiet instead of disclosing this information. In addition, they may be concerned about the impact such declarations could have on their career and therefore may be reluctant to disclose anything.

Thanks to the NDP's hard work and effort, we avoided the worst. When this bill was studied in committee, we got the government to back down and forced it to withdraw the most dangerous provisions in the original bill.

Unfortunately, the concessions the Conservatives made do very little to assuage our concerns, which are shared by the agents of Parliament. Bill C-520 is still a set of useless provisions that will lead to confusion and make agents of Parliament less independent.

The NDP will continue to work to protect the agencies of parliamentary oversight.

Our country deserves better than a selfish, mean-spirited government.

Privacy June 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice claims that a recent unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in Spencer is in keeping with the spirit of his cyberbullying bill. Fortunately, making a fool of oneself is not harmful to one's health.

Some provisions of Bill C-13 run completely contrary to this ruling. The bill allows businesses to turn over their clients' personal information without a warrant from a judge.

The minister does not have to sacrifice privacy in order to fight cyberbullying. Why is he doing that?

Privacy June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the Supreme Court reiterated that police must obtain a warrant from the court to obtain a customer's IP address.

This decision casts serious doubt on the constitutionality of Bill C-13 on cyberbullying.

In light of this ruling by the highest court, will the government finally agree to the NDP's request to divide Bill C-13 in order to combat cyberbullying and prevent the law from being struck down because it infringes on people's privacy?