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  • His favourite word is veterans.

Liberal MP for Charlottetown (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 39.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the chair of the justice committee for his speech. There are a couple of matters he raised that I would invite him to come back to. First, toward the end of his speech, he indicated that every single witness who appeared before the committee whose family was touched by cyberbullying was strongly in favour of the bill. I would ask him to recall the testimony of Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, who spoke very passionately about not wanting to see privacy rights taken away in the name of her daughter. I would invite the member to perhaps adjust what he said with respect to that generalization on the part of victims.

I also want to come back to his comments with respect to witnesses. As the chair of the committee, he would be very well aware that the Liberal Party requested that the wireless association of Canada testify, but it was not invited. We did not hear from telephone companies. Could the member provide us with any explanation as to why the government did not invite telephone companies? Are the opposition parties solely to blame for the fact that we did not hear from telephone companies, companies that are going to receive immunity under the bill?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for his service on the justice committee. He brings a perspective to the committee from his many years of police work that is extremely valuable.

I would like to ask him about the immunity provision contained in the bill. We heard a lot about it during the hearings. We have heard the government say that the immunity provision really does not do much. It does not convey any new powers.

We did not hear anyone at committee say, “We asked for this”. We did not hear that from law enforcement. We did not hear from any telco, so they could not tell us whether they asked for it.

Could the member offer any rationale for why it was there? What was the demand for an enhanced immunity for telephone companies included in the bill?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we all agree on the aspects of the bill that deal with the non-consensual disclosure of intimate images. The problem, as the minister knows, is with the non-consensual distribution of subscriber information, which is done without a warrant and on a voluntary basis.

My question for the minister relates to the advice that he receives from the Department of Justice. It is the Department of Justice lawyers who put together the bill. At the time they put together the bill, their view of the appropriate safeguards around subscriber information was in accordance with what the law was at the time the bill was put together. That changed in Spencer. That changed when the hearings were finished. In the Spencer case, it was those Department of Justice lawyers who argued that subscriber information does not attract a reasonable expectation of privacy. Given that the advice that the minister received in putting together the bill was subsequently found to be incorrect by the Supreme Court of Canada, does he not agree that it is now time to go back to the drawing board?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in his last answer, the minister indicated there has been wide consultation and that the bill has been informed by officials within his department. My question is with respect to the role of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and whether his opinions and his views on the bill should be taken into account. He testified at committee that he had numerous concerns with regard to the bill, whether it is the immunity that is afforded to telephone companies, or the lack of any reporting required by telephone companies as to the volume and types of inquiries they receive for voluntary disclosure.

Given these concerns expressed by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, concerns that were subsequently, basically, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Spencer decision, could the minister inform the House of the importance, if any, and relevance of the opinion of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with respect to the bill?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the reason that the members on this side of the House continue to seek legal opinions is that there is a glaring inconsistency between what the minister says about the constitutionality of the bill and what was said by virtually all other legal witnesses who testified at committee. It seems as though the only ones that hold a view consistent with the minister's are those on the payroll of the Department of Justice, yet we are not allowed to see their opinions.

My question relates to the $175,000 Ipsos Reid survey that was withheld from the justice committee. Given that parliamentarians have never heard a witness testify with respect to this poll, because it was withheld, and given that officials within the minister's department said that the poll contained useful information in crafting the bill, does the minister think it is fair to limit debate in the House to two more days when we have a piece of useful information that has never been examined by the committee?

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister indicates he feels the bill is constitutional, but his is pretty much a lone voice among those with legal training who testified before committee.

What we know is that the Supreme Court has given Parliament until December 20 to act, if it decides to do so. That is the timeline. We have three months, and we are looking at limiting debate to two days. A pre-study has already commenced in the Senate. Senator Linda Frum indicated she does not expect to see any amendments at the Senate. All of the amendments at committee, save one that was proposed by the official opposition, were rejected. The bill already appears to be on a fast track.

Given that there are still three months before there will be a gap, have there been any meaningful efforts to come to an agreement with respect to a fair amount of time to debate the bill? If not, does it not seem a bit heavy-handed to take the debate down to two days when there are three months to deal with a complex social problem on which the Canadian public is extremely divided? We learned that from a $175,000 poll which was withheld from the justice committee until the hearings were done.

Canadians care about this. Canadians are divided on this. Yet it seems as though, unless the minister can tell me otherwise, there has been no real attempt to come up with a fair amount of time for debate. Rather, a heavy-handed measure is being taken here.

Ethics September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Mike Duffy's trial on 31 criminal charges represents the chance of a lifetime for the Prime Minister. He now has an opportunity to demonstrate from the witness box that he really is tough on crime.

The Prime Minister now knows the dates of the trial and that he will be a material witness. So as he said when authorizing the $90,000 payment, is the Prime Minister good to go?

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the EI premium debate we are having hits home for me, being from Prince Edward Island where there are more than 20,000 who rely on the EI program. On the benefit side of the equation, the government has gutted EI. That has drastically affected small business operators, particularly in the tourism sector in my province.

I heard the member speak glowingly about the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. This would be the same Canadian Federation of Independent Business that this morning said, “Love the [Liberal Party] plan to exempt small biz from EI premiums for new hires over 2 years. Lots of job potential”.

Does the member still align with the position of the Canadian Federal of Independent Business, and will he be supporting the motion?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to be here and to talk about telephone companies. However, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights did not hear from any witnesses who represented telephone companies.

Does the member share the parliamentary secretary's opinion that the testimony of these representatives was not relevant and that the blame for not calling these witnesses falls squarely on the opposition?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary restating the government's position with respect to the innocuous nature of that immunity provision. We do not share their view, but their view is indeed clear. Given that it is innocuous, it really defies explanation as to why it is there to clarify existing law. Was it really that unclear?

My question for the parliamentary secretary relates to the witnesses who were called before committee. We had asked that the head of the Canadian wireless association appear, and he did no, nor did a single witness from a telecom company. Given that some, but not all, of the telecom companies have changed their practices with respect to co-operating with authorities as a result of the Spencer decision, does the parliamentary secretary not agree that it is now time for Parliament to hear from them? We have not heard from them yet.