Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act

An Act to facilitate combatting the laundering of proceeds of crime, to establish the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and to amend and repeal certain Acts in consequence

This bill was last introduced in the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in October 2000.

Sponsor

Paul Martin  Liberal

Status

Not active
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament.

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

October 24th, 2006 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I am pleased to state our position on Bill C-25, which is now before us.

At the outset, I would reiterate that the Bloc Québécois plans to support this bill. Obviously, we will take all necessary measures, in committee and elsewhere, to ensure that the right of citizens to protection of personal information is respected.

That said, with respect to the principle underlying the bill, the Bloc Québécois has always felt that fighting terrorist activity funding is one of the greatest challenges in fighting terrorism. The provisions in this bill will also apply to the fight against organized crime, which has been a Bloc Québécois priority for a long time now.

We have introduced a number of bills to make things more difficult for organized crime. As you know, one of our colleagues in this House, the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, has been working for a long time now to protect Quebec farmers who have been taken advantage of by organized crime groups that used their land to grow illegal crops. We will continue to pursue our long-standing fight against organized crime.

We also think that this bill will enable Canada to comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.

I will begin by providing some background on the bill to put it into context.

On December 15, 1999, the then Secretary of State, the hon. member for Willowdale, tabled, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Bill C-22, to combat money laundering. It was quite similar to Bill C-81, presented earlier in 1999, which simply died on the order paper when that session of Parliament prorogued.

The broad purpose of the bill was to remedy shortcomings in Canada’s anti-money laundering legislation, as identified by the G-7’s Financial Action Task Force, FATF, on Money Laundering in its 1997-1998 report.

In addition, the FATF recommended that reporting requirements in Canada be made mandatory—rather than voluntary, as is currently the case—and that a financial intelligence unit be established to deal with the collection, management and analysis of suspicious transaction reports.

Bill C-22 was passed and since then it has been mandatory for regulated financial institutions, exchange offices, casinos and other financial intermediaries to report suspicious financial transactions.

Another of the bill's objectives was to put in place, together with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, a system for reporting large cross-border movements of currency. The bill also provides for the creation of a new independent agency, namely the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, which will receive and administer the information reported.

Bill C-22 was enacted on June 29, 2000, and replaced the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act then in effect.

We are now going from Bill C-22 to Bill C-25, with which we will try to go further than we did at the time.

The Conservative government is proposing to amend Bill C-22 with the bill we are debating in this House today to increase financial institutions' duties to keep records and report suspicious transactions, with a view to eliminating money laundering and funding for terrorist organizations.

I will come back to that in further detail later in my presentation, but first, the bill extends the application of the act to all organizations that, in addition to dealing in securities, deal in other financial instruments.

So we are also going to add persons and entities that transmit funds by any means or through any intermediary.

Previously, this obligation to report information was provided for in section 83.01 of the Criminal Code, which stipulated that the RCMP or CSIS should be notified of the existence of property belonging to a terrorist group. So we will be going a bit further for any transaction that seems suspicious.

The other new thing in this bill is the prohibition against anyone opening a bank account for a person or an agency if the client’s identity cannot be established; this seems logical. Under this bill, any financial institution dealing with a politically exposed foreign person—I shall come back to this a little later on—should make sure that senior management has given its approval before undertaking a transaction with this type of individual.

We will take the necessary steps to make sure that, if a Canadian bank is dealing with a bank or another institution, it is a real bank, not a fictitious one, a shell bank. That too seems to be quite an appropriate precaution.

Bill C-25 requires foreign subsidiaries of Canadian banks to comply with the same rules as Canadian banks. So we are going to try and extend our actions to the limit of our powers.

Finally an official of the revenue department will now have the power to transfer any information transmitted by another official under the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. This power is designed to more readily combat the financing of terrorist organizations through so-called charitable organizations or through electronic funds transfers.

To continue this scenario, we must also talk about money laundering. Money laundering occurs when the revenue arising from criminal activity is converted into goods whose origin is difficult to trace, and has, in fact, been deliberately hidden. Thus proceeds of crime are disguised in an attempt to make them look legitimate.

Generally these are goods or assets arising from the illegal drug trade or other criminal activities, such as cigarette smuggling, burglaries and so on.

Since money laundering and the criminal activities it attempts to camouflage are clandestine in nature, understandably it is fairly difficult to get an accurate idea of the situation. The experts estimate, however, that between US$300 billion and US$500 billion worth of criminal funds enter the international financial markets every year.

The federal government estimates that between $5 and $17 billion is laundered in Canada every year. This is a significant amount of money. Although it is difficult to know the exact amount, given the source of the money, this gives us an idea of the seriousness of the problem.

The repercussions of organized crime go beyond mere economic consequences and the violence it causes. The social costs involved are also very high.

Obviously, regarding this area of the problem, we will try to resolve the issue of funding terrorist organizations. Terrorist groups are resorting more and more to the use of charities to ensure funding. Under the guise of charitable organizations, terrorist groups successfully accumulate the funds they need to plan and execute terrorist acts.

Furthermore, since the implementation of measures aimed at fighting large, structured terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, we are now faced with several independent, separate cells. While larger organizations need enormous amounts of money to finance their operations, weapons purchases and international movements, the new wave of terrorism does not need as much money to achieve its ends. Thus, there is a greater need to develop means to fight against this type of funding.

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering—or FATF—was created in 1989 at the G-7 summit in Paris. Its primary objective is to fight money laundering and the funding of terrorist activities. The task force now exists and has 33 members.

I would now like to talk in greater detail about the provisions that amend Bill C-22.

The first thing that Bill C-25 amends in Bill C-22 is the mandatory reporting of suspicious transactions in clauses 5 to 11. Under Bill C-22, the reporting of suspicious transactions, which is currently voluntary, would become mandatory. The obligation to report would extend to non-banking financial institutions and certain other businesses. Therefore, the reporting requirements would apply to regulated financial institutions, casinos, foreign exchange traders, stock brokers, insurance companies and persons acting as financial intermediaries, such as lawyers and accountants.

Bill C-25 will add to the list all organizations that make electronic funds transfers, issue or redeem money orders or traveller's cheques or deal in financial instruments. Departments and agents of the government that sell prescribed precious metals will also be subject to the legislation. These persons and institutions would be required to report certain prescribed categories of financial transactions as soon as they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the transactions are related to a money laundering offence.

Bill C-25 includes a measure pertaining to what are called “politically vulnerable” individuals. An institution will not be able to do business with this category of individuals without first obtaining the approval of senior management. Who are these politically vulnerable individuals, as defined in the bill? They include heads of state or government, members of the executive council of a government or members of a legislature, deputy ministers or people of equivalent rank, ambassadors or attachés or counsellors of an ambassador, presidents of state-owned companies or state-owned banks, heads of government agencies, judges, leaders or presidents of political parties represented in a legislature and holders of any prescribed office or position. All these people are considered politically vulnerable. Before an organization does business with them, its senior management will be informed and will have to act accordingly.

Bill C-25 also sets out more stringent rules and responsibilities for banking institutions. For any interbank transaction, the Canadian bank shall ensure, under sanction of law, that the corresponding foreign counterpart is not a shell bank, which makes sense. In addition, all foreign subsidiaries of a Canadian bank must follow rules that apply to Canadian banks located in Canada.

According to the provisions of the bill, not reporting this type of transaction will constitute an offence subject to a fine of not more than $2 million or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years on conviction on indictment and a fine of not more than $500,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months for a first offence on summary conviction. In the case of a second offence, there is a fine of not more than $1 million or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year on summary conviction.

Bill C-25 extends these provisions to all new entities governed by this regulation.

The second major set of amendments made by this bill, clauses 12 to 39, covers the declaration of significant transborder movements of currency. Individuals who import or export large amounts of currency or monetary instruments, such as travellers cheques, must report these to a customs officer. Failure to do so may lead to seizure of the currency or instruments transported unless the individuals decide not to proceed further with importing or exporting them. A mechanism is put in place for that purpose, and we will add, in clauses 15 and 16 for example, provisions authorizing customs officers to search a person or the vehicle of a person if they suspect on reasonable grounds that the person has secreted on or about their person currency or monetary instruments not reported pursuant to the law.

Another provision will make it possible for Canada to enter into an agreement with the customs agencies of foreign states which have similar reporting requirements for transborder movements of currency and monetary instruments.

The third important element is the creation of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada covered under clauses 40 to 72. This bill will create this new government agency, which will be independent and will be responsible for gathering and analyzing the reports it receives under the legislation. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada will be a central repository for information about money laundering activities across Canada.

The proposed legislation authorizes the centre to provide key identifying information of suspicious transactions to the appropriate police force if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information would be relevant to investigating or prosecuting a money laundering offence.

It is important to note that the role of the centre will essentially be to gather information, process it and determine the potential problems and suspicious cases that will be passed on to the police forces. They will be in charge of determining whether to take action or not. I had a chance to meet, at the Standing Committee on Finance, someone from an existing organization in Canada that does similar work. I imagine the centre and the agency will join forces to try to identify suspicious patterns in a series of financial transactions.

The centre will also raise awareness among and provide information to the public on this type of problem. It will also be authorized to subpoena witnesses and to make an order for the production of documents.

I would like to close with the offences covered in the legislation in clauses 74 to 82. The sanctions for breaching these requirements are described in these clauses.

Bill C-22 implemented tough criminal penalties for serious offences. Bill C-25 will implement administrative penalties for less serious offences in order to ensure that the rules are respected by all players in the financial system.

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

October 23rd, 2006 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

As I speak today, I am thinking about the reality we have faced for the past several years, that is, the increase in terrorist activities and the tools we have tried to put in place to fight against terrorism. As we all know, the Bloc Québécois took up a major challenge in the past regarding the fight against organized crime.

I would remind the House of the battle waged here, led by the Bloc, to enact anti-gang legislation. Many individuals have continued that battle, including the leader of the Bloc Québécois and hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie and the hon. member for Hochelaga—a young child in his riding was unfortunately a victim of organized crime warfare. My former colleague, Michel Bellehumeur—who is now a judge, but who was the justice critic at that time—successfully led one offensive after another, as did Richard Marceau, regarding the elimination of the $1,000 bill. The Bloc Québécois' credibility is well established here, as it is in many other areas.

We have led battles and we have helped to develop the best laws possible. Today, we are discussing legislation that the Bloc Québécois will support because it will enable Canada to comply with the recommendations of the financial action task force on money laundering. This is a group that was created by the G-7 to examine in depth the issue of the financing of organized crime world wide. The group can make recommendations to all countries on ways of countering criminal use of money. It has been said that money is the sinews of war, and it is the same in the fight against terrorism.

There is a real battle that can be fought on the ground in terms of propaganda, but there is also the whole issue of financing. Let us hope that we can do our share in a meaningful and concrete way.

However, at the same time—this will be a continuing concern for the Bloc—during the committee stage, we must ensure that in the application of the law we are not faced with the excesses we have already seen, such as in the case of the treatment of Maher Arar by the RCMP. We know that the RCMP slipped through the cracks in existing mechanisms to end up accusing Mr. Arar and that he suffered unacceptable treatment. In the final analysis, Mr. Arar suffered harm that will be very difficult to repair.

In the previous instance, it was the case of an individual. Today, we are dealing with the financing of terrorism. We must ensure that in the application of this law that there is no similar hole in the legislation.

I am referring, for example, to the fact that under the law an official of the Department of National Revenue would have the power to forward information that was sent by another official under the provisions of the charities registration act. That information could be forwarded to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

This could be done in good faith and be completely legal. It could involve the forwarding of relevant information; however, we must ensure that there are safeguards to prevent excesses.

After they have debated the actual principle of this bill and its general appropriateness, the committee members should pay particular attention to the issue of protection of personal information. I would like the privacy commissioner to appear before the committee so that she could say how the act for which she is responsible applies to the reality of Bill C-25 and to the regulatory framework defining how to track the financing of terrorist groups so that such financing is clearly opposed and minimized, and how at the same time the rights of individuals will be respected.

We should recall that Bill C-22 was the forerunner of Bill C-25, which we have before us. It was tabled on behalf of the Minister of Finance in 1999 and intended to counter money laundering. That was Bill C-22. It was very similar to Bill C-80, presented in May 1999, but died on the order paper when the House was prorogued.

The general objective of the bill was to correct the shortcomings of Canadian legislation respecting money laundering, as they were identified in the 1997-98 report by the FATF, the financial action task force on money laundering, created by the G-7.

In addition, the FATF recommended in its report that any provisions respecting reports in Canada—which at present are voluntary—be made public and that a financial information unit be created with the responsibility of gathering, managing, analyzing and distributing reports of suspicious operations and other relevant information. So it was an international committee that made the recommendations and the 1999 bill was designed to put them into force.

That bill was passed. Since then it has been mandatory for regulated financial institutions, exchange offices, casinos and other financial intermediaries to report suspicious financial transactions. Another of the bill’s objectives was to put in place, together with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, a system for reporting large cross-border movements of currency. A lot of money changes hands. We will see a little later that the quantities of money are very significant.

Furthermore, the bill provided for the creation of a new independent agency, namely the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. This centre receives and administers the information reported. Bill C-22 was enacted on June 21, 2000, and replaced the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act then in effect.

The Conservative government is proposing to amend Bill C-22 with Bill C-25, which we are debating today. This new bill is designed to increase financial institutions' duties to keep records and report suspicious transactions, with a view to eliminating funding for terrorist organizations. The idea is to achieve greater transparency in the circulation of money. Banks are institutions that are responsible for the quality of their work. In my opinion, in the fight against terrorism, they need much clearer and more specific guidelines and instructions. Let us hope that this bill will clarify the situation.

First of all, the bill extends the application of the act to all organizations that, in addition to dealing in securities, deal in other financial instruments. Targeting securities alone does not go far enough, in light of terrorists' investment methods. The act also applies to persons and entities engaged in the business of remitting or transmitting funds by any means or through an intermediary to electronic funds transfer companies or of issuing or redeeming money orders, traveller's cheques or other similar negotiable instruments. In other words, the framers of the bill became aware of all the actions and the financial and monetary transactions that the bill needed to cover to try and control the circulation of money used to finance terrorist activities. The people who sell prescribed precious metals will be subject to Bill C-25.

The new bill prohibits any entity from opening an account if the bank cannot establish the identity of the client. The bank must be certain that it knows the identity of the client. Furthermore, the bill ensures requires any institution that does business with a politically exposed foreign person, foreign judge, head of state or minister, to obtain the approval of its senior management before entering into a transaction. Thus, safeguards are established. Such requirements apply to all sectors. For example, in the case of electronic funds transfers, the bank or other business must include the name, address, account number and all client reference numbers, whether sending or receiving such transfers.

This is where we must consider the issue of authorization given to officials of the Canada Revenue Agency to disclose information to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. We will have to be very vigilant to ensure that we do not erode the right to protection of personal information and to establish an appropriate balance so that the legislation falls within the desired framework.

Of particular concern is the laundering of proceeds of crime, which is the conversion of the proceeds of criminal activities into goods making it difficult to trace the proceeds to their criminal origins. It consists of hiding proceeds of crime by making them seem legitimate. It is money laundering. A large portion of these goods and assets are derived from the illegal drug trade and others result from criminal activities such as burglary and cigarette smuggling. The criminal activities that they seek to hide are, by their very nature, clandestine activities. It is difficult to have a precise idea of the extent of money laundering operations.

Experts estimate that, overall, some US$300 billion to US$500 billion in criminally derived funds enter international capital markets annually; $300 to $500 billion is a lot of money.

In Canada, the federal government estimates that between $5 billion and $17 billion in criminal proceeds are laundered in this country each year. There was therefore a need to take action and find a way of shedding light on these transactions in order, at least, to reduce them as much as possible.

There is also the problem of the financing of terrorist organizations. We know that terrorists were going so far as to take advantage of charitable organizations and ultimately use them for purposes other than those they were intended for. We need to re-consider things in this regard as well to be sure that we can also follow the financial transactions.

The financial action task force on money laundering established in 1989 is an international organization which wants to ensure that the different countries around the world have legislation for dealing with this problem. However, we have seen a major increase in terrorist group activity over the last few years. I think that we need to move faster and provide more support. The FATF’s mandate was renewed in 2004 to run until 2012, and it will continue to monitor the situation.

Through the mandatory reporting of suspicious transactions, this bill will ensure that we do not suddenly find ourselves in a situation where a whole series of suspicious transactions have to be identified because they were not being followed. The mechanism being put in place will hopefully take care of this.

In regard to the reporting of major cross-border currency movements, the bill will ensure that certain precious metals are also regulated and included in the currency to be reported.

There are two provisions authorizing customs officers to search people or the vehicles of people when the officers have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the people are hiding on or near their persons currency or monetary instruments that were not reported in accordance with the act's regulations. Finally, a new provision makes it possible to conclude cooperation agreements between Canada and the customs agencies of foreign countries that have similar requirements to report cross-border movements of currency and monetary instruments.

The comparison I made with the Arar affair also applies here. We must ensure that we are not creating a ripple effect by inadequately protecting personal information. When we give information to a foreign agency, we must ensure that we do so in accordance with the law and that the other country uses it in accordance with the law. We must not damage people's reputations because of incorrectly conducted transactions. In this case, it might not end with the kind of torture Mr. Arar suffered through, but it could damage reputations. We must be vigilant in ensuring that, if necessary, this bill is amended in such a way as to guarantee the protection of personal information.

The third important element is the creation of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada covered under clauses 40 to 72. This is the framework, the organization, the structure that will ensure the implementation of this legislation. We hope the centre can operate because it will be responsible for analyzing and evaluating the reports it receives, as well as other information. If necessary, it will provide information to law enforcement organizations. It will also be responsible for making recommendations to the Department of Justice, the RCMP or other organizations. Here, too, we must be vigilant to ensure that the management and analysis of personal information are done correctly.

Bill C-25 sets out guidelines concerning individuals and groups eligible for registration with the centre. Any person whose name appears on the list of terrorist groups, who was convicted of terrorist activity or of participating in, facilitating, instructing to carry out or inciting to commit terrorist activities, who was convicted of participating in organized crime activities, or who was convicted once on indictment or more than once for fraudulent transactions or for an offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, except for consumption, is eligible to register.

Clearly, what we are seeking is a comprehensive framework that will allow for proper intervention regarding cash flow linked to terrorists. Accordingly, the Bloc Québécois believes that this bill deserves our support.

It also includes serious offences so that criminals are well aware of the seriousness of their actions.

To conclude, I refer back to my comment on privacy. I would like to see this bill passed as quickly as possible, given the study that will be required in committee. Indeed, it must be carefully studied to prevent individual cases from slipping through security and, above all, to prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from being penalized by such legislation.

Significant amounts of money circulate in this area of activity and this legislation could, in due course, have implications for human life. Terrorist activities funded at the source by this type of monetary flow often lead to the deaths of innocent bystanders.

It is a fine idea to create tools to stop this money from circulating, but we must strike a balance with the protection of privacy.

The Bloc Québécois supports the principle of this bill. We will see if, through amendments, we can adapt it more to the reality of these people and make it more compliant with the Privacy Act.

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing ActGovernment Orders

October 20th, 2006 / 12:25 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps my colleague from Hull—Aylmer wanted to ensure that I had a good audience for my speech. Then again, perhaps he asked for a quorum call because I was talking about the Liberal Party, which claimed to be the great defender of citizens' interests because of its fight to protect personal information even though it failed at the task when it was in power.

Under that party's mandate, more personal information than ever ended up in foreign hands, largely because Canadian banks were allowed to do business with affiliates in the United States. Laws protecting personal information are not the same in the United States as they are in Canada.

Honest citizens were sometimes harassed by foreign parties trying to sell them all kinds of products, especially banking services. Canadian banks allowed their American affiliates to make personal information available. This all happened on the Liberals' watch. I hope that the member for Hull—Aylmer wanted more people to hear my speech. I hope it was not because of the part where I said how poorly the Liberal government performed when it was in power.

The Bloc Québécois will support Bill C-25 in order to protect personal information and privacy. Quebeckers and Canadians can count on members of the Bloc Québécois to defend and protect their interests in committee by having the Privacy Commissioner and the Access to Information Commissioner appear before the committee to explain what is good about the bill and what should be added in order to protect personal information. It is all very well to take action against money laundering, terrorist activities and organized crime, but we must also protect honest citizens who could end up under investigation for nothing.

I will provide some background, since Bill C-25 did not come out of nowhere. Despite the Conservative government's good faith, it did not invent the wheel. One thing is for certain, the Conservatives did not invent Kyoto. Everyone agrees on that.

Bill C-25 is a successor to Bill C-22, which was introduced by the Liberal government and broadened the coverage of the act. Bill C-25 amends Bill C-22. In other words, Bill C-22 made it mandatory for federally regulated financial institutions, currency exchange businesses, casinos and other intermediaries to report suspicious financial transactions. Suspicious financial transactions are cash deposits exceeding $7,500.

The former government's Bill C-22 applied to financial institutions, currency exchange businesses, casinos and other financial intermediaries. The Conservative government is broadening this coverage and therefore increasing the responsibility of all agencies which, in addition to dealing in securities, also deal in other financial instruments, and of all persons and entities engaged in the business of remitting funds or transmitting funds by any means or through any person, entity or electronic funds transfer network, or of issuing or redeeming money orders, traveller’s cheques or other similar negotiable instruments.

We can offer our congratulations to the Conservative government for having extended monitoring activities to include not only banks and institutions that transfer money regularly, but also to other entities that are often not openly included. This applies to electronic funds transfers and businesses that sell or purchase money orders, travellers' cheques and other negotiable items. Thus, monitoring activities have been extended. We do not want these organizations used for money laundering. I think we can support this.

It also extends to government departments and agents that sell precious metals under regulation. Members of the Bloc Québécois pointed out that there is some degree of illegal trade in diamonds and gold, among others, which are not necessarily liquid assets, but are precious metals that can be used as currency in money laundering.

I believe that the Conservative government listened closely and covered these potential complaints from various stakeholders.

Previously, all the entities targeted by the legislation had to contact the centre, under section 83(1) of the Criminal Code, which sets out the obligation to inform the RCMP or CSIS of any property that belongs to a terrorist group. The new bill adds section 8 of the United Nations Suppression of Terrorism Regulations. Those entities must therefore contact the RCMP and CSIS.

The new bill prohibits all entities from opening an account for an individual if that person's identity cannot be established. Not only is there no obligation, entities are in fact prohibited from opening a bank account. The bank must then contact the RCMP or CSIS directly to launch an investigation.

Furthermore, the bill states that prior to doing business with a politically exposed foreign person—a judge, head of state, minister or other individual who has held a specific office—the institution must obtain the approval of senior management before entering into any transaction with the individual.

Thus, one cannot do business with exposed persons from another country or who would be likely to carry out types of transfers or financing for terrorist activities. They are required to obtain specific authorizations from senior management of banks.

In addition, if a Canadian organization does business with a foreign bank, it is required to take measures to ensure that the foreign bank is not a shell bank, to obtain senior management approval, and to set out in writing all transactions.

In short, there is an obligation not only to know with whom one is doing business but also to scrutinize the banks with which one is doing business. Consequently, when a client wants to conduct transactions with foreign financial institutions, the bank is obliged to verify the credentials and to ensure that the sales, transactions or other operations are not fictitious. Its responsibility has been increased.

In the case of electronic funds transfers, the bank or other business must include the name, address, and the client's account number or other reference number, whether sending or receiving such transfers.

Electronic funds transfers are very popular now. The old bill was implemented in 2001 by the former government, which, once again, did not do its job. The new bill has been introduced for a reason. The Liberal government did nothing for five years. It did not manage to bring a bill into being. Obviously, things have changed since then, and significant numbers of financial transactions take place through electronic funds transfers. That is why the government introduced this new bill, which covers electronic funds transfers.

This new bill follows the United States' lead by requiring entities to establish a program to evaluate their ability to detect transactions that involve laundering the proceeds of crime and financing terrorist activities.

That is what the Bloc Québécois has trouble accepting. If we want to do what the Americans do, we should not only do what they do right, but avoid doing what they do wrong. That is why the Bloc Québécois is being so careful. This is about the ability to detect transactions that involve laundering the proceeds of crime. It would be nice to have that ability and to intervene, but we have to make sure we protect personal information.

Obviously, we will not be investigating. As we saw with the Maher Arar affair, we have to be careful with our investigations. Even with bank investigations, we have to be sure we have a situation that requires it. We cannot investigate just for the fun of it. We would risk arresting honest citizens who might find themselves under the microscope because we want to be just like the Americans, who figure that while they are at it, they might as well investigate a whole bunch of people. We must also avoid American-style mistakes, like casting too wide a net. They often proceed on the basis of race, religion, gender and so on. We are better off using a case-by-case approach and having really good reasons for investigating. Otherwise it is too easy to make mistakes.

The members of the Bloc Québécois will continue to defend the interests of Quebeckers and ensure that the Canadian government does not make the same mistakes as the American government. Any investigations with respect to detection must be justified, not conducted without good reason. Any evaluation of certain bank transactions cannot be done carelessly, because this could lead to honest citizens being investigated without cause.

Furthermore, we must ensure that no information on citizens who should not even have been investigated is shared with the United States, or any other country. In short, we must ensure that the Canadian government does not make the same mistakes as the Americans. Once again, only the Bloc Québécois can guarantee this to Quebeckers.

Bill C-25 subjects Canadian banks' foreign subsidiaries to the same rules as the Canadian banks themselves. It was high time, because the Liberals made the mistake of allowing our Canadian banks with foreign subsidiaries to share information, even though foreign laws often do not have the same respect for privacy. This is true of American laws.

To that end, Revenue Canada agents will now have the authority to give the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre any information they receive from another agent, under the Charities Registration (Security Information) Act. The aim of this new authority is to better fight against the financing of terrorist groups through charitable organizations and through businesses that perform electronic funds transfers. Once again, I would like to point out that the registration of charities must be carefully monitored, although charities are normally made up of honest citizens.

That is why the Bloc Québécois will fight tooth and nail for privacy and personal information protection. One may be open to the idea of all categories of organizations being monitored for money laundering, but efforts have to be made to ensure that charities, which bring together law-abiding citizens, not be subject, as they are in the United States, to a systematic analysis of their data bases or have their members subjected to money laundering analyses.

The Bloc Québécois will support Bill C-25, as long as honest citizens, honest Quebeckers are free from undue monitoring by government organizations eager to copy the Americans, who seem to think that, while they are at it, they might as well monitor or investigate just about everyone. We do not want that. That is not consistent with the philosophy of life and values that the citizens of Quebec have chosen for themselves. We want the privacy and personal information of honest citizens to be protected. Once again, they can count on the Bloc Québécois.