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  • Her favourite word is budget.

Liberal MP for York West (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Committees of the House October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am quite curious as to why we are not going forward with this. We are here to work, and that is what this is all about.

Seniors October 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the depths to which the Conservatives will sink to attack our seniors is shocking. Conservatives started by taxing income trusts and then delaying old age security, but now they want to go even further. Finance officials confirm that the budget bill would hit not-for-profit health centres' facilities with a bill for HST. That is right. After taxing investments and delaying pensions, the budget is again targeting seniors for collection. We know that winter is coming and Conservatives clearly have their hands in our seniors' pockets.

Did they really think that nobody was going to notice this?

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am sure we share equal concerns on some of these things.

Dr. Michael Geist, who is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law, certainly has flagged a few issues that we will have to deal with at committee, but the idea that many of these organizations can release Canadians' information if requested, without informing the individual that this information has been requested and is done in secret, cannot help but set off a few alarm bells. I wonder if my colleague is equally concerned that this is the case, as Dr. Geist has referred to, and will we have an opportunity at committee to look at how to tighten that up?

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, some extensive work was done at committee but not enough.

I have a real problem with the Senate introducing bills that should have come through our committees, which would give our committees the time to discuss and work on these bills. I do not support bills coming through the Senate, or through what I call the back door. This is the first House that legislation should come to and it should be done at our committee level.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned, as we were with Bill C-13, but hopefully we will do a thorough examination of it at committee. We will not support the legislation if we do not see some changes and some clarifications when it comes out of committee. I am much more hopeful. We have been able to do some good non-partisan work at the industry committee and I look forward to continuing to have that opportunity.

We must keep in mind that this is about protecting Canadians' privacy rights, especially given the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling that the Senate chose to ignore. I suspect that will be front and centre and it will be our job as opposition to continue to remind the government at committee that there is a Supreme Court ruling on Canadians' privacy rights and it should be reflected in the final recommendations that come back to the House.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, as is the case with much of the legislation that the government puts forward, it puts two or three good things in that we want to see happen, especially issues such as cyberbullying and so on, the issues that Canadians truly care a lot about, but it also throws in a bunch of other things that we equally have concerns about. It comes down to weighing the pros and cons of which parts are the better parts to deal with.

Cyberbullying is an important issue right now. It is in the headlines. It is important that we do everything we can to protect our young people from cyberbullying. Not passing Bill C-13 meant it would have taken another year or maybe two, by that time another election, and other young people would have continued to be exposed to some of those issues. We had to close our eyes, say a prayer, say half a loaf is better than none and that we would be able to protect some children from this. Taking one step forward is exactly what we had to do.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be on my feet, adding a few comments on my concerns with Bill S-4.

I have to begin by saying that I am disappointed that the bill had to come from the Senate, rather than being introduced in the House as part of the ongoing committee work that we would have been doing. The government chose to have it introduced in the Senate and brought in through the back way.

On this side of the House, we will support sending the bill to committee. We have some very serious concerns when we combine the impact of Bills C-13 and S-4, but in order to ensure that we are being open and fair on this issue, that we understand it thoroughly, and that it does keep Canadians' interests in mind, we will support it going to committee. Hopefully, at that point, we will have sufficient time to get answers to the various questions of concern.

We are back discussing the Conservatives' type of approach, which is that one is either with them or against them. If we vote against the bill, it means that we are not interested in privacy rights, and if we vote for the bill, there is another side.

It is another one of those bills that continue to be very divisive in the House at a time when these are the kinds of privacy issues that we should be trying to work out together. I do hope that when we get to the industry committee, we have a good group there so that we can do some serious work in a non-partisan way. Maybe we can strengthen the bill in the end, by listening to some of the experts who have sincere concerns about it.

I do not mean to start out on a negative, but the truth is simple. We all need to be part of the debate today.

The way that the government looks at personal information, protection and privacy has already been subject to a Supreme Court ruling, and we have to give consideration to that. It is one thing to play partisan politics in the House and think that we are playing to the political base, but it is important that we listen to the rulings of the Supreme Court on privacy issues.

There are clearly those who have tried to make it sound like anyone who does not support the government is supportive of criminals. We have heard that before. However, the discussion is not as simple as that. The government's record on information protection has been embarrassingly negligent, so forgive me if I am not convinced that the recent scheme is worth passing without intense scrutiny.

We should all remember the matter of that lost hard drive, which held the social insurance numbers, medical records, birthdates, education levels, occupations and disability payment information of about 5,000 Canadians. That was lost. Perhaps the government wishes to plead incompetence on that side, or maybe it was an accident. We always like to be fair, so maybe it was an accident. Either way, the way that the government manages information needs extra study, which is why I am speaking on this today.

We are now looking at Bill S-4, but one cannot look at Bill S-4 without considering the implications of its companion legislation. Bill C-13, which is also before the House this week, would make it a crime to transmit pictures without consent, and it would remove barriers to getting unwanted pictures removed from the Internet. The stated intent of the bill is positive, but I have serious concerns with the provisions that would grant immunity to telecom companies that provide subscriber information to the police without even so much as a warrant.

I raise the issue, given that last April, Canada's interim privacy commissioner revealed that nine telecommunications companies received an average of 1.2 million requests from federal enforcement bodies for private customer information every year. That amounts to nearly 3,300 requests each and every day.

Those are shocking numbers, and it could be argued that the bill has, in effect, already been rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Last June, in an unrelated case, the court declared that law enforcement requires a warrant to get even basic subscriber data. Bill S-4 would allow private companies to share telecom subscriber data between themselves, something that would seem to contravene the Supreme Court's ruling.

How could that possibly be? Did the Senate miss this detail or did it fail to consider the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling? The truth is that the Senate passed Bill S-4 just days after the Supreme Court ruling, without even studying the implications. I guess the government is less concerned with that than pushing ahead with both Bill C-13 and Bill S-4. It is a lack of respect for the Supreme Court as well as Parliament.

Put simply, the legislation represents a paradigm shift in the way we deal with the release of private information. Traditionally, privacy laws outline the rules and procedures needed to protect information and personal data, but in this case, the legislation sets out circumstances under which that material can be released. Clearly, the implications of this change have not been fully considered and should be explored by the committee prior to passing final judgment on the pros and cons of the measures contained within Bill S-4.

My party and I will be voting to send it to committee for what we would hope is a thorough examination. Liberals want to ensure that law enforcement officials have access to the information they require to keep us safe, but a blank cheque approach is inappropriate. A blank cheque approach has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and promises limited success in advancing societal protections when considered holistically. Why not take the time to do this right?

In a world where crimes involving data theft, identity fraud and online stalking are on the rise, protecting data is crucial. Data is not simply information. It is a commodity, it is power, and it is the doorway into the private lives of so many people. Liberals are deeply concerned that the government's commitment to safeguarding the personal information and privacy of Canadians is less than absolute. I am not suggesting the government is malicious. I do not believe that, but I fear it just does not understand the implications of Bill S-4.

Notwithstanding certain faulty or short-sighted legislative measures introduced by the government in the past, Canada is facing a genuine paradigm shift with respect to privacy protection, but privacy protection cannot be taken lightly. Whether protecting personal information from unscrupulous business interests, Internet stalkers and identity thieves, or rogue states bent on economic espionage, information security is crucial.

With these concerns in mind and as a leap of faith and confidence that our committee will have a chance to thoroughly examine this, I will be voting in favour of sending the bill to committee for further study. However, in return, I am also asking the minister to allow the committee to do its work honestly and freely without the involvement of the leadership so that the committee is allowed to really examine it thoroughly to ensure that if this goes forward, it goes forward with what I would hope would be unanimous support in the House on something as important as Canada's privacy rights. I believe that is quite doable, because at the end of the day we have the same objectives, to ensure Canadian privacy laws are strong and that Canadians are protected.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member has concerns about Bill C-13, the recent anti-bullying bill that was passed in the House, and the implications to Canadians' privacy when the two bills are combined.

Religious Intolerance October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Office of Religious Freedom was notified of a possible plan to target and kill Ahmadis in Lahore, Pakistan, by the country's largest terrorist group, known as the SSP. Local sources have said that the SSP is vowing to teach the Ahmadis a lesson.

Threats like this are not to be ignored by anyone. We will all remember May 2010, when an attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed 90 and wounded another 120 Ahmadis. These brazen attacks were carried out in two Ahmadiyya mosques during prayers, against men, women, and children who simply wanted to worship in peace.

Canada needs to move quickly to engage with Pakistan in a way that ensures the safety of all Ahmadis. Religious freedom and security are not just notions for Canadians; they are basic human rights. Canada must do what it can to protect those freedoms around the world.

Employment October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today the Parliamentary Budget Officer disputed the Minister of Finance's claim that the government's so-called small business job credit will create 25,000 jobs. According to the PBO, this tax credit will create 800 jobs over two years and is going to cost taxpayers more than $550 million. That is $700,000 per job.

When are the Conservatives going to drop their flawed tax credit plan, admit they are out of ideas, and adopt the Liberal plan?