An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Status

Not active, as of March 7, 2008
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment replaces sections 83.28 to 83.3 of the Criminal Code to provide for an investigative hearing to gather information for the purposes of an investigation of a terrorism offence and to provide for the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person to prevent them from carrying out a terrorist activity. It also provides for those sections to cease to have effect or for the possible extension of their operation.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Extension of Sitting HoursRoutine Proceedings

June 9th, 2008 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I would like at this time to move the standard motion that can be made only today. I move:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 27(1), commencing on Monday, June 9, 2008, and concluding on Thursday, June 19, 2008, the House shall continue to sit until 11:00 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated last week in answer to the Thursday statement, this is we have work to do week. To kick off the week, we are introducing the customary motion to extend the daily sitting hours of the House for the final two weeks of the spring session. This is a motion which is so significant there is actually a specific Standing Order contemplating it, because it is the normal practice of this House, come this point in the parliamentary cycle, that we work additional hours and sit late to conduct business.

In fact, since 1982, when the House adopted a fixed calendar, such a motion has never been defeated. I underline that since a fixed calendar was adopted, such a motion has never been defeated. As a consequence, we know that today when we deal with this motion, we will discover whether the opposition parties are interested in doing the work that they have been sent here to do, or whether they are simply here to collect paycheques, take it easy and head off on a three month vacation.

On 11 of those occasions, sitting hours were extended using this motion. On six other occasions, the House used a different motion to extend the sitting hours in June. This includes the last three years of minority government.

This is not surprising. Canadians expect their members of Parliament to work hard to advance their priorities. They would not look kindly on any party that was too lazy to work a few extra hours to get as much done as possible before the three month summer break. There is a lot to get done.

In the October 2007 Speech from the Throne, we laid out our legislative agenda. It set out an agenda of clear goals focusing on five priorities to: rigorously defend Canada's sovereignty and place in the world; strengthen the federation and modernize our democratic institutions; provide effective, competitive economic leadership to maintain a competitive economy; tackle crime and strengthen the security of Canadians; and improve the environment and the health of Canadians. In the subsequent months, we made substantial progress on these priorities.

We passed the Speech from the Throne which laid out our legislative agenda including our environmental policy. Parliament passed Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, to make our streets and communities safer by tackling violent crime. Parliament passed Bill C-28, which implemented the 2007 economic statement. That bill reduced taxes for all Canadians, including reductions in personal income and business taxes, and the reduction of the GST to 5%.

I would like to point out that since coming into office, this government has reduced the overall tax burden for Canadians and businesses by about $190 billion, bringing taxes to their lowest level in 50 years.

We have moved forward on our food and consumer safety action plan by introducing a new Canada consumer product safety act and amendments to the Food and Drugs Act.

We have taken important steps to improve the living conditions of first nations. For example, first nations will hopefully soon have long overdue protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and Bill C-30 has been passed by the House to accelerate the resolution of specific land claims.

Parliament also passed the 2008 budget. This was a balanced, focused and prudent budget to strengthen Canada amid global economic uncertainty. Budget 2008 continues to reduce debt, focuses government spending and provides additional support for sectors of the economy that are struggling in this period of uncertainty.

As well, the House adopted a motion to endorse the extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, with a renewed focus on reconstruction and development to help the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country.

These are significant achievements and they illustrate a record of real results. All parliamentarians should be proud of the work we have accomplished so far in this session. However, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.

As I have stated in previous weekly statements, our top priority is to secure passage of Bill C-50, the 2008 budget implementation bill.

This bill proposes a balanced budget, controlled spending, investments in priority areas and lower taxes, all without forcing Canadian families to pay a tax on carbon, gas and heating. Furthermore, the budget implementation bill proposes much-needed changes to the immigration system.

These measures will help keep our economy competitive.

Through the budget implementation bill, we are investing in the priorities of Canadians.

These priorities include: $500 million to help improve public transit, $400 million to help recruit front line police officers, nearly $250 million for carbon capture and storage projects in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, and $100 million for the Mental Health Commission of Canada to help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.

These investments, however, could be threatened if the bill does not pass before the summer. That is why I am hopeful that the bill will be passed by the House later today.

The budget bill is not our only priority. Today the House completed debate at report stage on Bill C-29, which would create a modern, transparent, accountable process for the reporting of political loans. We will vote on this bill tomorrow and debate at third reading will begin shortly thereafter.

We also wish to pass Bill C-55, which implements our free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association.

This free trade agreement, the first in six years, reflects our desire to find new markets for Canadian products and services.

Given that the international trade committee endorsed the agreement earlier this year, I am optimistic that the House will be able to pass this bill before we adjourn.

On Friday we introduced Bill C-60, which responds to recent decisions relating to courts martial. That is an important bill that must be passed on a time line. Quick passage is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our military justice system.

Last week the aboriginal affairs committee reported Bill C-34, which implements the Tsawwassen First Nation final agreement. This bill has all-party support in the House. Passage of the bill this week would complement our other achievements for first nations, including the apology on Wednesday to the survivors of residential schools.

These are important bills that we think should be given an opportunity to pass. That is why we need to continue to work hard, as our rules contemplate.

The government would also like to take advantage of extended hours to advance important crime and security measures. Important justice measures are still before the House, such as: Bill S-3, the anti-terrorism act; Bill C-53, the auto theft bill; Bill C-45 to modernize the military justice system; and Bill C-60, which responds to recent court martial decisions.

There are a number of other bills that we would like to see advanced in order to improve the management of the economy. There are other economic bills we would like to advance.

These include Bill C-7, to modernize our aeronautics sector, Bill C-5, dealing with nuclear liability, Bill C-43, to modernize our customs rules, Bill C-39, to modernize the Canada Grain Act for farmers, Bill C-46, to give farmers more choice in marketing grain, Bill C-57, to modernize the election process for the Canadian Wheat Board, Bill C-14, to allow enterprises choice for communicating with customers, and Bill C-32, to modernize our fisheries sector.

If time permits, there are numerous other bills that we would like to advance.

These include Bill C-51, to ensure that food and products available in Canada are safe for consumers, Bill C-54, to ensure safety and security with respect to pathogens and toxins, Bill C-56, to ensure public protection with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods, Bill C-19, to limit the terms of senators to 8 years from a current maximum of 45, and Bill C-22, to provide fairness in representation in the House of Commons.

It is clear a lot of work remains before the House. Unfortunately, a number of bills have been delayed by the opposition through hoist amendments. Given these delays, it is only fair that the House extend its sitting hours to complete the bills on the order paper. As I have indicated, we still have to deal with a lot of bills.

We have seen a pattern in this Parliament where the opposition parties have decided to tie up committees to prevent the work of the people being done. They have done delay and obstruction as they did most dramatically on our crime agenda. They do not bother to come and vote one-third of time in the House of Commons. Their voting records has shown that. All of this is part of a pattern of people who are reluctant to work hard.

The government is prepared to work hard and the rules contemplate that it work hard. In fact, on every occasion, when permission has been sought at this point in the parliamentary calendar to sit extended hours, the House has granted permission, including in minority Parliaments.

If that does not happen, it will be clear to Canadians that the opposition parties do not want to work hard and are not interested in debating the important policy issues facing our country. Is it any wonder that we have had a question period dominated not by public policy questions, but dominated entirely by trivia and issues that do not matter to ordinary Canadians.

The government has been working hard to advance its agenda, to advance the agenda that we talked about with Canadians in the last election, to work on the priorities that matter to ordinary Canadians, and we are seeking the consent of the House to do this.

Before concluding, I point out, once again, that extending the daily sitting hours for the last two weeks of June is a common practice. Marleau and Montpetit, at page 346, state this is:

—a long-standing practice whereby, prior to the prorogation of the Parliament or the start of the summer recess, the House would arrange for longer hours of sitting in order to complete or advance its business.

As I stated earlier, it was first formalized in the Standing Orders in 1982 when the House adopted a fixed calendar. Before then, the House often met on the weekend or continued its sittings into July to complete its work. Since 1982, the House has agreed on 11 occasions to extend the hours of sitting in the last two weeks of June.

Therefore, the motion is a routine motion designed to facilitate the business of the House and I expect it will be supported by all members. We are sent here to engage in very important business for the people of Canada. Frankly, the members in the House are paid very generously to do that work. Canadians expect them to do that work and expect them to put in the time that the rules contemplate.

All member of the House, if they seek that privilege from Canadian voters, should be prepared to do the work the rules contemplate. They should be prepared to come here to vote, to come here to debate the issues, to come here for the hours that the rules contemplate. If they are not prepared to do that work, they should step aside and turnover their obligations to people who are willing to do that work.

There is important work to be done on the commitments we made in the Speech from the Throne. I am therefore seeking the support of all members to extend our sitting hours, so we can complete work on our priorities before we adjourn for the summer. This will allow members to demonstrate results to Canadians when we return to our constituencies in two weeks.

Not very many Canadians have the privilege of the time that we have at home in our ridings, away from our work. People do not begrudge us those privileges. They think it is important for us to connect with them. However, what they expect in return is for us to work hard. They expect us to put in the hours. They expect us to carry on business in a professional fashion. The motion is all about that. It is about doing what the rules have contemplated, what has always been authorized by the House any time it has been asked, since the rule was instituted in 1982. That is why I would ask the House to support the motion to extend the hours.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 5th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, this week we have focused on the economy by debating and passing at report stage the budget implementation bill as part of our focused on the economy week.

The bill guarantees a balanced budget, controls spending and keeps taxes low without imposing a carbon and heating tax on Canadian families.

It also sets out much-needed changes to the immigration system in order to maintain our competitive economy.

It will also include the new tax-free savings account, TFSA, an innovative device for individuals and families to save money. That bill is now at third reading and we hope to wrap up debate tomorrow on the important budget implementation bill to maintain the health and competitiveness of our economy.

Next week will be we have work to do week. Since the Speech from the Throne we have introduced 59 bills in Parliament.

These bills focus on fighting crime, sustaining our prosperous and dynamic economy, improving Canadians' environment and their health, strengthening the federation, and securing Canada's place in the world.

To date, 20 of these bills have received royal assent, which leaves a lot of work to do on the 39 that have yet to receive royal assent. I know the Liberal House leader suggests perhaps we should work on only three, but we believe in working a bit harder than that.

To ensure that we have the time necessary to move forward on our remaining legislative priorities, I will seek the consent of the House on Monday to extend the sitting hours for the remaining two weeks of the spring sitting, as the rules contemplate. I am sure all members will welcome the opportunity to get to work to advance the priorities of Canadians and get things done.

I will seek in the future the consent of the opposition to have next Wednesday be a special sitting of the House of Commons. This is to accommodate the special event about which the Liberal House leader was speaking. The day would start at 3 p.m. with an apology from the Prime Minister regarding the residential schools experience. I will also be asking the House and its committees to adjourn that day until 5:30 p.m. to allow for solemn observance of the events surrounding the residential schools apology. Residential school survivors and the chief of the Assembly of First Nations will be offered a place of prominence in our gallery to observe these very important formal ceremonies in the House of Commons.

Tomorrow and continuing next week, we will get started on the other important work remaining by debating the budget implementation bill. After we finish the budget bill, we will debate Bill C-29, to modernize the Canada Elections Act with respect to loans made to political parties, associations and candidates to ensure that wealthy individuals are not able to exert undue influence in the political process, as we have seen even in the recent past.

We will also discuss Bill C-51, to ensure that food and products available in Canada are safe for consumers; Bill C-53, to get tough on criminals who steal cars and traffic in stolen property; Bill S-3, to combat terrorism; Bill C-7, to modernize our aeronautics sector; Bill C-5, dealing with nuclear liability; Bill C-54, to ensure safety and security with respect to pathogens and toxins; Bill C-56, to ensure public protection with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods; Bill C-19, to limit the terms of senators to eight years from the current maximum of 45; Bill C-43, to modernize our customs rules; Bill C-14, to allow enterprises choice for communicating with customers; Bill C-32, to modernize our fisheries sector; Bill C-45, regarding our military justice system; Bill C-46, to give farmers more choice in marketing grain; Bill C-39, to modernize the grain act for farmers; Bill C-57, to modernize the election process of the Canadian Wheat Board; and Bill C-22, to provide fairness in representation in the House of Commons.

I know all Canadians think these are important bills. We in the government think they are important and we hope and expect that all members of the House of Commons will roll up their sleeves to work hard in the next two weeks to see that these bills pass.

Official Languages ActPrivate Members’ Business

May 13th, 2008 / 6:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to join the debate today on Bill C-482. I must say at the outset that I have a great deal of respect for the member for Drummond, but I profoundly disagree with her on this bill. The bill is extremely dangerous from the point of view of a francophone from outside Quebec. It would give precedence to the French language in federal institutions in Quebec. I can only imagine the repercussions in the other provinces.

First, there is the whole issue that the federal government must respect the Constitution. I will not go into the details of that subject because my colleague from Ottawa—Vanier has very clearly spelled out the matter of constitutional principles. However, I do not understand how anyone could introduce a bill here, in this House, that goes against the Constitution of Canada. I want to look at practical reasons.

The Official Languages Act that was adopted in 1969 has protected and continues to protect our country’s two official languages. The act puts both official languages of our country on an equal footing. I will be the first to admit that there are many challenges to overcome. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, where there is a strong concentration of francophones in one province and where we encourage and celebrate multiculturalism—which is another factor that adds to the complications in an officially bilingual country—it has never been easy to find a balance in all of the issues related to official languages.

Nevertheless, we have made enormous progress. The Official Languages Act was essential to the growth of our minority francophone communities. The member for Drummond said that the use of French is declining in Quebec and everywhere in Canada.

However, we must talk about positive changes. In Manitoba, for example, there 45,000 people of francophone descent, but in principle, 110,000 people speak French. These people completed French immersion or second language courses. In British Columbia, parents, especially from immigrant communities, stand on the sidewalk all evening to register their children in immersion courses. This is really an interesting and significant phenomenon.

Significant changes are occurring in terms of respect for the two official languages. Let us take, for example, the group Canadian Parents for French, which last year or the year before celebrated its 25th anniversary in Manitoba. It is an exceedingly positive group for francophones right across the country.

In this age of globalization, people are realizing that knowing two or three languages is becoming the norm, not the exception. The hon. member will recall a study we did together on democratic reform. We visited England, Scotland and Germany, where she had an interpreter with her. In fact most of those we met spoke two, three or four languages and offered to speak French. That is today's reality.

I do not understand the strategy of turning inward and trying to stick to a single language. It makes no sense in today's world.

I do understand that we want to protect our language. We live in this great anglophone sea that is North America. However, today's youth must not be held back. The teaching of both official languages must be encouraged as must their use in the workplace. Our young people must be given every opportunity.

I have never understood why there has not been greater cooperation between Quebec and francophones outside Quebec. There are 6 million francophones in Quebec, but there are 2.6 million francophones in Canada's other provinces. Once again, in this great North American sea of 330 million people, it seems to me we would do well to work together—cooperatively—more closely and to join forces. But no, it is just not done to acknowledge that there are francophones living outside la Belle Province or that immersion programs are working extremely well. It would not be politically sound for a separatist party to admit that its distant cousins were managing quite well and that there were vibrant communities to be found in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, Vancouver, Regina, New Brunswick and even Alberta.

What was really heartbreaking was the Bloc's vote against Bill S-3, a bill that was vital for minority francophone communities. I can say for a fact that not all the Bloc members supported the decision by the leader of the Bloc.

The Bloc Québécois members who sat on the Standing Committee on Official Languages were torn by this decision. They knew that Bill S-3 was essential to the survival and development of francophone communities outside Quebec. Despite this, it was decided that they should vote against Bill S-3. How can that be good for the Canadian francophone community?

The other day, one of the Bloc members said that Quebec is a francophone nation. That disappoints me. How does a statement like that make the anglophones in his riding feel? That member does not necessarily represent everyone. That bothers me greatly. Anglophones and allophones also have the right to a representative that takes their interests to heart.

Things are changing. For example, in Manitoba, Premier Doer just created the Agence nationale et internationale du Manitoba. It is a francophone Manitoba Trade. We understand the added value of francophones in our province. It is the exact opposite of what is happening in the world and in all of the other Canadian provinces. In Quebec, they want to withdraw into themselves. I do not understand this senseless ideology.

As I said earlier, Canadian Parents for French is the most vocal group in terms of early immersion in New Brunswick. This group is essential for francophone communities.

Instead of seeing this withdrawal, I would rather see the Bloc Québécois work with us to restore the court challenges program and to put into place a new official languages action plan. It would be constructive and would advance French throughout Canada, including in Quebec.

In my opinion, the bill introduced by the member for Drummond would have the opposite effect, and I cannot support a bill that could harm our language. We have all worked too hard to preserve it.

May 1st, 2008 / 10 a.m.
See context

President, Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick

Marie-Pierre Simard

At the same time, Bill S-3 was voted on. It was on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. The following Monday, the federal government decided to streamline border services, customs. The only francophone district in the Atlantic provinces was merged and it became an anglophone district.

S-3 may be working, but some people are not talking. When it comes to respecting the partners, I sometimes get the impression it is mandatory compliance. I won't elaborate any further on that, so that you may make up your own mind on the issue. Moreover, I would not want to take up Mr. Gravel's time.

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

When we return to the study of Bill S-3, the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry will have 10 minutes left for questions and comments.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this debate on Bill S-3. I will start by saying that the Bloc Québécois is opposed in principle to Bill S-3.

The Bloc Québécois has a responsible approach to analyzing such bills, because we believe that any anti-terrorism legislation must strike a balance between maintaining safety, which is very important, and respecting the other fundamental rights.

With this in mind, the Bloc Québécois became very involved in the review process of the Anti-terrorism Act and its application, a review which is provided for in the act itself. From December 2004 to March 2007, the Bloc Québécois listened to witnesses, read submissions and interviewed specialists, members of civil society and law enforcement officials. As usual, the Bloc Québécois was passionate, professional and thorough in its work.

During the specific review of the two provisions in Bill S-3 by the Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act, the Bloc Québécois clearly stated its position on the investigative hearings and on recognizance with conditions. The Bloc Québécois thought better guidelines for the investigative process were needed.

It is clear to us that this exceptional measure should be used only in specific cases in which it is necessary to prohibit activities where there is imminent peril of serious damage, and not in the case of misdeeds already committed.

The Bloc Québécois also firmly opposed section 83.3 dealing with preventive arrest and recognizance with conditions. Not only does this mechanism appear to us to be of little, if any, use in the fight against terrorism, but also, we believe that there is a very real danger of this provision being used against honest citizens.

The Bloc Québécois believes that terrorist activity deemed dangerous can be disrupted just as effectively, and in fact more effectively, by the regular application of the Criminal Code, and without the potentially harmful consequences of preventive arrest.

As a result, we recommended the abolition of this mechanism and we won on February 27, 2007. Today, as always, the Bloc is consistent, and our position on the issue has not changed.

I would add that the investigation process should not be reinstated unless major changes are made to it, which Bill S-3 does not do. Moreover, preventive arrests have no place in Canada's justice system because of the potential consequences and the fact that other, equally effective, provisions are already in place.

As we all know, Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), was read for the first time in the Senate on October 23, 2007. The purpose of the bill is to reinstate two provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act that were abolished when the sunset clause was allowed to expire. The vote on the sunset clause was held on February 27, and parliamentarians did not extend the provisions. That was the will of the House as voted.

I am surprised that the government is bringing back in this bill two clauses that have already been debated and defeated in a vote right here in the House of Commons.

Perhaps we could look at what section 83.28 of the Criminal Code, on investigative hearings, was all about. Under this provision, a peace officer could, with the prior consent of the Attorney General, apply to a provincial court or superior court judge for an order for the gathering of information. The order, if made, required the named person to appear before a judge for examination and to bring any thing in his or her possession.

The person named in the order had the right to counsel and was required to answer questions, but could refuse to do so in order to avoid disclosing information protected by any law relating to privilege or disclosure. The presiding judge was to rule on any refusal. The person was not excused from answering a question or producing a thing on the ground that that could incriminate him or her. In fact, the person simply lost the right to remain silent. However, no information or testimony obtained during an investigative hearing could subsequently be used directly or indirectly in other proceedings, other than a prosecution for perjury or contradictory evidence.

In our opinion, investigative hearings were not useful. Moreover, they were never used. In the normal course of an investigation, the police can already question witnesses and conduct searches to obtain documents. This is possible under the current law, which means that, in a way, Bill S-3 is seeking to reintroduce almost exactly the same provisions we refused to extend.

If we look more carefully at recognizances, arrests and preventive detentions, section 83.3 of the Criminal Code dealt with recognizance with conditions. A peace officer who believed that a terrorist activity was going to be carried out and who suspected that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions or the arrest of a person was necessary to prevent the terrorist activity could, with the prior consent of the Attorney General, lay an information before a provincial court judge. That judge could order that the person appear before him or her. A peace officer could arrest the person named in the information without a warrant if the arrest was necessary in order to prevent a terrorist activity from being committed.

The person detained in custody had to be taken before a provincial court judge within 24 hours or as soon as feasible. A hearing known as a show-cause hearing was then to be held to determine whether the person should be released or held longer. This hearing could not be adjourned for more than 48 hours.

If the judge determined that there was no need for the person to enter into a recognizance, the person had to be released. If the judge determined that the person should enter into a recognizance, the person was bound to keep the peace and respect other conditions for up to 12 months. If the person refused to enter into such a recognizance, the judge could order that person to be imprisoned for up to 12 months.

I will repeat, this provision had never been invoked before it was abolished. That is not surprising because police officers could, and still do, use the other provisions of the Criminal Code to arrest someone about to commit an offence.

Section 495 of the Criminal Code states:

(1) A peace officer may arrest without warrant

( a) a person ... who, on reasonable grounds, he believes ... is about to commit an indictable offence;

The person arrested must then be brought before a judge who can impose the same conditions as those in the Anti-terrorism Act. The judge can even refuse bail if he believes that the person's release would endanger public safety.

If the police believe that an individual is about to commit a terrorist act, it is because they are aware of a plot. They probably know, based on wiretap or other surveillance information, that a criminal act is about to be committed. Therefore, they have proof of a plot or attempt, and need only lay a charge in order to arrest the person in question.

They will eventually go to trial, at which time that person will have the opportunity to present a full answer and defence. The person will be acquitted if the suspicions are not justified or if there is insufficient proof to support a conviction.

It seems obvious to us that the apprehended terrorist activity would have been disrupted just as easily as if section 83.3 had been used. However, it is this provision that is most likely to give rise to abuse and this concerns the Bloc Québécois greatly.

It may be used to brand someone a terrorist on grounds of proof that are not sufficient to actually accuse him but against which he will never be able to fully defend himself. This will prevent him from travelling by plane, crossing the border into the United States and probably entering many other countries. It is very likely that he will lose his job and be unable to find another. These are serious consequences for the person affected by this provision.

One could compare this situation to that of Maher Arar upon his return from Syria, before he was exonerated by Justice O'Connor. If this new, temporary provision of the Criminal Code had been used, a judicial decision could have imposed conditions because of apprehended terrorist activity. The general public would see that person as almost certainly, if not definitely, a terrorist.

Terrorist movements often spring from and are nourished by profound feelings of injustice. A parallel fight against these injustices is often conducted by those who want to correct them through democratic means. Such people have made a positive contribution to the transformation of the societies in which we live today. They have often been the source of many of the rights that we enjoy.

It is inevitable that political activity will bring terrorists and non terrorists together. Very often, the latter will not even be aware that the former are involved in terrorism. The planning of terrorist activity is by its nature secret, of course. In order to determine whether a person is part of a terrorist network, as we saw in the Arar case, security organizations will monitor a person's contacts. For a judge to be able to order incarceration and, subsequently, the imposition of bail conditions, it is sufficient that the judge be convinced, and I quote, “that the detention is necessary in order to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, having regard to all the circumstances, including the apparent strength of the peace officer's grounds and the gravity of any terrorist activity that may be carried out”.

In other words, the apprehension of serious terrorist activity and grounds that appear founded will suffice.

It should also be noted that the person arrested need not be the one that is thought likely to commit a terrorist act, but only and simply a person whose arrest “is necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity”.

There is an important nuance there that is both astonishing and disturbing. It can include innocent people who are unaware of the reasons for which terrorists are soliciting their aid in a planned activity while concealing the real reasons they are asking for aid.

Some see in the reference to section 810 of the Criminal Code an indication that our criminal law already uses a procedure similar to that set out in section 83.3. While there is a similarity in the procedure followed in these two sections, there is a very big difference in the consequences of applying these two sections.

Section 810 states that a person can be summoned, not arrested, before a judge, who can order that person to be of good behaviour.

After listening to all the parties and being satisfied by the evidence adduced that there are reasonable grounds for the fears, the judge cannot commit that person to a prison term unless the person refuses to sign the recognizance.

If the person signs the recognizance and respects the conditions, he or she remains at liberty, will not be sentenced and will thus have no criminal record.

This provision and section 83.3 that we rejected are very different in nature and have radically different consequences. There is also no comparison between the impact that the use of section 83.3 and section 810 would have on someone's reputation.

When the decision is made to depart from the fundamental principles underlying our system of criminal law, there is always a risk that these measures will later be applied in a manner totally different from those foreseen. That was the case with the imposition of the War Measures Act in 1970, which saw the incarceration, among others, of a great poet, a pop singer, numerous relatives of people charged with terrorist activities and almost all the candidates of a municipal political party.

In light of this analysis, we decided not to support the extension of this measure. For one thing, it is of little, if any, use in the fight against terrorism, and second, there is a very real danger of its being used against honest citizens. In addition, a terrorist activity deemed dangerous can be disrupted just as effectively, and in fact more effectively, by the regular application of the Criminal Code.

As we mentioned on several occasions, Bill S-3 is virtually identical to the two measures that were abolished, namely the investigative hearing, under sections 83.28 and 83.29 of the Criminal Code, and the recognizance with conditions, under section 83.3 of the Criminal Code. Except for a number of technical amendments, such as the rewriting of some parts to make minor clarifications, there are only three substantive changes.

Let us take the change made to the investigative procedure. As regards the standardization of that procedure, the “old” investigative process made a distinction based on whether the terrorism offence had already been committed, or was going to be committed.

In a case where the terrorism offence had not yet been committed, the judge had to be convinced—in addition to meeting other criteria—that “reasonable attempts have been made to obtain the information”—

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 1 p.m.
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Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from across the way on her speech. She defends her arguments and her party's position passionately and with conviction. Further, she knows very well that the Bloc Québécois and the NDP will vote against Bill S-3

This makes me think about how each time I see a woman rise in this House, I am reminded of how few of us there are. I would like to take this opportunity to urge the parties to recruit more women so they can speak out in this House. Perhaps then the debates would be more informed and they would be different. I think members know what I mean. We would like more women in this House, and I urge the parties to recruit more for the next election, so we can have equal representation by men and women.

That said, I would like to ask my colleague what bothers her the most about this bill. What bothers her and affects her the most? What does she think is hiding behind this bill? I would like to know.

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill S-3 again, because I have spoken previously on it.

I would like to spend a few minutes retracing where this bill came from. I was a member of Parliament when this bill came forward in its first incarnation. It was Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism legislation. It came forward after the attack on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. It went through the House very quickly.

I remember at that time getting up to speak to the legislation. In fact, the NDP caucus opposed the legislation. We believed that the path being taken by the then Liberal government in this massive new venture of anti-terrorism legislation was not warranted.

We had grave concerns at that time about the impact it would have on life and civil liberties, particularly on Canadians who were originally from the Middle East, who were part of the Canadian Arab or Muslim communities, because after September 11, there was a shift in what was taking place in our society. Many things changed, one of which was the legislation that came forward.

The debate was not that long. In fact, one of the concerns the NDP had back in 2001 was how quickly the legislation was being pushed through Parliament. This was very serious legislation that made very significant departures from the process of law that we understand in this country. We said that the two clauses we are dealing with today, seven years later, were particularly offensive.

Because there was so much debate about those two clauses, which happened to deal with investigative hearings and preventive detention, it was agreed by the government, finally, that those clauses could be sunsetted. They would come under a review so that Parliament would have to examine the legislation and those specific clauses again.

The Anti-terrorism Act passed very quickly. The Bloc at that time may have opposed it as well, I am not sure, but it was basically the NDP and maybe the Bloc who voted against it. The Conservatives and the Liberals voted for it. We knew it would come back for debate and of course that happened. We had that debate a short while ago, because we knew those two clauses would become null and void unless they were somehow continued or reintroduced by March 1, 2007.

On February 27, 2007 there was a vote on those two clauses and, interestingly, they were defeated. It was a very important moment in the House of Commons to see that after a full debate in the House by all political parties, the NDP, the Bloc and some members of the Liberal Party defeated those amendments.

The government has reintroduced, with virtually no changes or very small changes, the same two amendments dealing with investigative hearings and preventive detention. The NDP is standing for the third time to speak out against this legislation.

These clauses have actually never been used. They are an affront to a democratic society. They create a path and a process that we do not want in this country.

Whenever I have spoken at community meetings or public hearings about security issues, more often than not, people voice their very significant concerns about the kind of legislative initiatives that are being undertaken as a result of September 11, and about how much has changed in our society in terms of security. Many people have been targeted, particularly visible minorities.

I want to pay tribute and respect to the organizations that have never given up in speaking against this kind of legislation, and this legislation in particular, whether it is at parliamentary hearings or at hearings that have been organized in the community. There are people in this country who have remained vigilant even in the face of sometimes a public appetite to have greater security measures. There have always been organizations like the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Arab Federation, the Muslim Association of Canada and many others who have always come forward to warn and alert parliamentarians about the dangers of this legislation.

It is very important that we remember that. Sometimes in the furor and frenzy of when things happen, people feel threatened and insecure, and it is very easy for governments to play a very opportunistic role, to play on those fears and to bring in the kind of draconian legislation that we have seen with the Anti-terrorism Act.

We have come to see over the passage of a number of years now that that legislation was not needed. Therefore, it is somewhat concerning and surprising that yet again we are debating this bill, that we are debating these two particular clauses. The Conservative government, with the support of the Liberals, is prepared to re-enact these amendments that have already been voted down by the Canadian Parliament.

When I speak to my constituents, they are very concerned about what is taking place in this country. For example, this weekend is the fourth annual summit of the security and prosperity partnership. It is taking place in New Orleans. Our trade critic, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, is one of the members who will be participating in a very broad people's summit, as opposed to the leaders' summit in New Orleans that is going to be discussing what is called the SPP.

The Council of Canadians, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, CEP, the United Steelworkers, and many other organizations will be heading to New Orleans, probably today, to participate in the SPP people's summit. Just as we saw at Montebello at the leaders' summit, where the Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the U.S. and the President of Mexico met behind closed doors to discuss security and trade issues, that will take place in New Orleans.

I am very glad that those members of civil society, and there are 30 organizations that are hosting the people's summit in New Orleans, will be there to push for and demand accountability from these leaders, who are trying to further this incredible agenda, the economic, political, cultural and security agenda between our three countries, and the integration of Canadian society politically, economically and culturally into the United States.

Many people are hugely concerned about this. I wanted to raise this today as we are debating this bill because I think that they are very much related. We have seen so many different processes that we are not even barely aware of. Sometimes we get leaked information. Sometimes we find out about what is going on, but all of these processes are taking place behind closed doors.

There are some people who have access. Business elites have access to this process. In fact they have their own forum for raising these issues and bringing them to government. In terms of the Canadian Parliament, people generally, or organizations or the labour movements, civil society, have no access to this process. A lot of this process, in terms of the security and prosperity partnership has to do with security measures in developing a common front of security measures, a merging of the American system with the Canadian system.

We know that anytime we cross the border. There are many of my constituents who, for no apparent reason, have experienced terrible interrogation and investigation at the border, and sometimes have been refused, all under the guise of security.

It really comes back to the broadness of the bill and what it represents. Although the bill has very specific measures in it, to me, former Bill C-36 and Bill S-3, the one we are debating today, exemplify this environment of heightened security, of control by the state, of the clampdown on civil society, the clampdown on individual rights and liberties. This is something that we should really stand up against.

I am very proud that in the NDP we have done that historically. Whether it is the War Measures Act in Quebec, whether it is the internment of Japanese Canadians during the second world war, there are these moments in our community's history where we have to make a decision as to whether or not what is being laid down has a basis and merit, or whether it is actually, in the long run, undermining the fundamental principles of a democratic society. We in the NDP believe that the anti-terrorism legislation did just that. It fundamentally changed Canadian society.

There was a feeling at the time that this really would not affect many people. It was somehow those people; it created an environment of them and us. It is a very dangerous situation when we identify a group of people as being a threat. That is precisely what this legislation does. We have to take the attitude that when civil liberties of any minority, whether it be religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender or whatever it might be, any discrimination, any singling out is not only a threat to that group, but it is a threat to all people.

Even if we do not feel immediately threatened or if we do not feel that we are the ones who are being targeted, we have a responsibility to speak out in defence of civil rights and civil liberties for all people. In my community there are people who feel very strongly about that. They are very concerned about the direction that we have taken in the last seven years.

It was actually because of the anti-terrorism legislation that a few years ago I introduced a bill to eliminate racial profiling in Canada. It was a very interesting experience to introduce that bill. When I introduced it, I held a number of hearings across the country, and I was quite taken aback by the response I got in different cities from people who came forward with personal experiences about having been targeted. It has always taken place.

Racial minorities in this country have always been targeted, but it escalated and went off the charts after September 11. I heard from people that it was both random and systemic. The chances of being held up at the border, particularly at airports but also at ground crossings, greatly increased if one looked like a member of a certain community, if one was Muslim, or wore the hijab, or was a member of a minority from the Middle East. That became very clear in talking with people and hearing about people's experiences.

The bill that we introduced to eliminate racial profiling is very important. I am very pleased that the bill has been reintroduced by my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas and it is now Bill C-493. We hope it will come forward for debate in the House one day because I think there is very strong support for that bill.

We also know the experience of Maher Arar and the horrendous situation that that one individual faced in terms of a complete denial of his basic human rights. He was sent to the U.S. with Canadian complicity and then to Syria, where he remained in jail for so long. He was tortured. It was only because of the work of his wife, Monia Mazigh, his family, his community and broader civil society that the issue finally came forward and there was a public hearing.

It is again one of those moments in Canadian history where people feel that a grave injustice was done, although it is good to know that because of the public pressure, there was a public hearing and finally an apology made.

However, what that family went through is something that probably none of us will understand or be able to relate to because it was so deep, so grievous and so harmful. We must learn from that experience.

In light of all of those things that have happened, here we are in 2008 debating whether or not two clauses in the bill should continue. We have already voted once that they should be defeated, that they should be left null and void as a result of the date the sunset clauses came into effect.

I would hope that we in the House could abide by that. We have had a vote. It was taken in February 2007. The clauses were defeated by 159 to 124 members. I am hoping that might happen again this time. The Conservative government has reintroduced these clauses and is hoping they will go through.

I am hoping very much that there is enough expression, will and solidarity in the House from the NDP, the Bloc and maybe some members of the official opposition that we can again defeat these amendments as unnecessary.

We look at our global community and Canada's part in that, and read about what is taking place in the world today. People do not want to see this kind of legislation. This legislation will not do anything to stop food riots, to improve food security, whether in Canada or around the globe. It will not do anything to improve the health of developing nations, eliminate starvation or help the millions of children and families who are suffering needlessly because of the incredible inequities in resource development and wealth distribution on our planet.

This legislation does not address those issues at all. In fact, it exacerbates a global system that is based on U.S. domination in terms of foreign policy and the war in Iraq, and certainly Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan. All of these things are connected.

Yet, if we talk to people and ask them what they are worried about and what they want to see us, as parliamentarians, focus on, people will tell us that they want to look at legislation, programs and policies that actually improve equality and social justice in our world. They want to see us focus on those priorities and to deal with those terrible inequities that exist.

I am coming to the conclusion of my comments today and I am glad that I was able to speak to the bill, as I have before. I will speak whenever it is necessary, as will my colleagues in the NDP, because we believe that we play a very important role in the House of standing up.

We take our role very seriously. We come here to vote. We do not sit on our hands. We challenge the government's agenda and we speak for a majority of Canadians who, if they had a direct vote in this, would not be supporting this legislation, Bill S-3, today.

I hope that when we get to the vote, there will be enough members of the House to defeat this, as we did before, and to recognize that these amendments are not necessary. They have not been used. They are not needed. We should focus our attention and our priorities on the issues Canadians really want us to in terms of building healthy, safe communities, respecting our environment, and promoting social justice in our world.

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with the closing remark of my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel. He always comes to the House well prepared. He made a very informative and well-researched speech on the concerns he has with Bill S-3. We have many of the same apprehensions about the bill. I was particularly interested in two points my colleague raised on which I would like him to comment.

One is the lack of respect shown to the will of Parliament and to the voice of committees. In fact Parliament and the standing committee at the five year review rejected the implementation of these terms and conditions and wanted them to cease. We believe that the voice of Parliament should have primacy. The government of the day should have listened, taken note and acted accordingly, not to reintroduce these same measures through an unelected chamber like the Senate.

There is a second thing on which I would like the member to comment. I believe that one of the basic fundamental tenets of our judicial system is the right to remain silent when accused, or in a hearing, or in a courtroom setting. We only suspend the right to remain silent with very robust corresponding measures, such as, in the case of a parliamentary committee, there is no right to remain silent, but the information gleaned at that committee cannot be used against the person in any subsequent proceeding.

That does not seem to be the case in Bill S-3. There is no right to remain silent and the information given cannot be used directly against the person, but it may be used as derivative testimony, or derivative evidence in some further proceeding.

Would my colleague agree this has to be addressed? The right to remain silent cannot be compromised unless there are corresponding protections introduced.

Criminal CodeGovernment Business

April 18th, 2008 / 12:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois about Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions).

People listening to us need to understand that the Bloc Québécois opposes the principle underlying Bill S-3. The Bloc Québécois has taken a responsible approach to analyzing this issue. All legislative measures concerning terrorism must strike a balance between safety and respect for other basic rights.

That was the principle guiding the Bloc Québécois in its involvement in the review of the Anti-terrorism Act and its application, a review called for in the act itself. Between December 2004 and March 2007, the Bloc Québécois heard witnesses, read briefings, and interviewed specialists, civil society representatives and law enforcement agencies.

During the Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act's specific study of the two provisions in Bill S-3, the Bloc Québécois made its position on investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions clear. The Bloc Québécois felt that the investigative process needed to be better defined.

In our opinion, it is clear that “this exceptional measure should be used only in specific cases in which it is necessary to prohibit activities where there is imminent peril of serious damage, and not in the case of misdeeds already committed”.

We were also firmly opposed to section 83.3, dealing with preventive arrest and recognizance with conditions. Not only do we feel that this measure is of little, if any, use in the fight against terrorism but, more importantly, there is a very real danger of its being used against honest citizens.

The Bloc Québécois finds that a terrorist activity deemed dangerous can be disrupted just as effectively, and in fact more effectively, by the regular application of the Criminal Code, without the harmful consequences that a preventive arrest can trigger.

Therefore, we recommended abolishing this approach, and we won our point on February 27, 2007. Today, our position has not changed.

The investigative process should only be reinstated if major changes are made to it, which Bill S-3 does not do. Moreover, preventive arrests have no place in the Canadian justice system, given their possible consequences and the fact that other provisions which are already in place are just as effective.

Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions) was introduced and read for the first time on October 23, 2007. This bill seeks to reinstate two provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act that were abolished when their sunset clause was allowed to expire. The vote on the sunset clause took place on February 27, 2007.

I was a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in 2001, when we passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which provided for a five-year review. It is during that five-year review that the vote on the sunset clause was held, again on February 27, 2007, and that is when Parliament decided not to extend that clause.

Sections 83.28 and 83.29 of the Criminal Code, which were abolished following the vote on the sunset clause, dealt with investigative hearings. Under these provisions, a peace officer could, after obtaining the attorney general's prior consent, ask a provincial court judge, or a superior court judge, to make an order for the gathering of information.

If granted, the order required the person named therein to appear before a judge, to be questioned and to produce everything in his or her possession. The person named in the order had the right to retain a lawyer, and was supposed to answer questions put to him or her, but could refuse if answering a question would disclose information protected by any law relating to non-disclosure of information or to privilege. The presiding judge was to rule on any refusal to answer. The person was not to be excused from answering questions or producing things on the ground that it might incriminate him or her. Essentially, individuals were to be deprived of their right to remain silent.

However, no information or statement obtained during an investigative hearing could subsequently be used directly or indirectly in any other criminal proceedings, other than a prosecution for perjury or giving contrary evidence. Investigative hearings were not useful. They were never even used, thus proving that section 83.28 was not necessary.

Moreover, as part of a regular investigation, the police can already question witnesses and carry out search warrants to obtain documents.

Bill S-3 seeks to reintroduce this mechanism, section 83.28, which was abolished by the vote against the sunset clause, in a nearly identical form.

With respect to recognizance, arrest and detention, section 83.3 of the Criminal Code addressed recognizance with conditions, with the prior consent of the Attorney General. A peace officer who believed that a terrorist activity was about to be carried out and who suspected that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person, or the arrest of a person, was necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity, could lay an information before a provincial court judge. The judge could order the person to appear before him or her. A peace officer could arrest the person without a warrant if the arrest was deemed necessary to prevent the terrorist activity from being carried out.

The person detained was to appear before a provincial court judge within 24 hours or as soon as possible thereafter. Then a show-cause hearing was to take place to determine whether the person should be released or further detained. The hearing could not be delayed longer than 48 hours.

If the judge determined that it was not necessary to have the person sign a recognizance, the person was to be released. If, however, the judge determined that the person did have to sign a recognizance, then the person was required to keep the peace and comply with the other conditions that had been imposed for up to 12 months. If the person refused to sign the recognizance, the judge could order that the person be incarcerated for up to 12 months.

This provision was never used. Section 83.3 was added to the Criminal Code but, five years later, when it was abolished, it had never been used.

That is not surprising, because police officers could and still can use other Criminal Code provisions to arrest someone about to commit an indictable offence.

Section 495 of the Criminal Code states:

(1) A peace officer may arrest without warrant

(a) a person...who, on reasonable grounds, he believes...is about to commit an indictable offence;

Section 495 already existed. There is a good reason why the police never made use of the new provisions in section 83.3, which is why it was allowed to expire in 2007.

The dissenting opinion in the report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security gives the following explanation with regard to section 495 of the Criminal Code:

The arrested person must then be brought before a judge, who may impose the same conditions as those imposable under the Anti-terrorism Act. The judge may even refuse bail if he believes that the person’s release might jeopardize public safety.

Section 495 already enables the police to make preventive arrests. There was therefore no need for section 83.3.

The dissenting opinion goes on about section 495 of the current Criminal Code:

If police officers believe that a person is about to commit an act of terrorism, then they have knowledge of a plot. They probably know, based on wiretap or surveillance information, that an indictable offence is about to be committed. Therefore, they have proof of a plot or attempt and need only lay a charge in order to arrest the person in question. There will eventually be a trial, at which time the arrested person will have the opportunity to a full answer and defence. The person will be acquitted if the suspicions are not justified or if there is insufficient proof to support a conviction. It seems obvious to us that the terrorist act thus apprehended would have been disrupted just as easily as it would have been had section 83.3 been used. However, it is this provision that is most likely to give rise to abuses. It may be used to brand someone a terrorist on grounds of proof that are not sufficient to condemn him but against which he will never be able to fully defend himself. This will prevent him from travelling by plane, crossing the border into the United States and probably from entering many other countries. It is very likely that he will lose his job and be unable to find another. One could compare this situation to that of Maher Arar upon his return from Syria before he was exonerated by Justice O’Connor...If this new and temporary provision of the Criminal Code were used, it would be a judicial decision to impose conditions because of apprehended terrorist activity. The general public would see that person as almost certainly, if not definitely, a terrorist. Terrorist movements often spring from and are nourished by profound feelings of injustice...The fight against these injustices is often conducted in parallel by those who want to correct the injustices through democratic means— The former made a positive contribution to the transformation of the societies in which we live today. They are often the source of many of the rights that we enjoy.

It is inevitable that political activity will bring the first and second groups together. Very often, the former will not even be aware that the latter are involved in terrorism. The planning of terrorist activity is by its nature secret.

...

In order to determine whether a person is part of a terrorist network, security officers make use of electronic surveillance, but, as we saw in the Arar case, they also monitor the contacts of someone—

Now, to be able to order incarceration and, subsequently, the imposition of conditions of release, it is sufficient that the judge be convinced “that the detention is necessary in order to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, having regard to all the circumstances, including the apparent strength of the peace officer’s grounds...and the gravity of any terrorist activity that may be carried out.”

In other words, the apprehension of serious terrorist activity and grounds that appear founded will suffice—

It should also be noted that the person arrested need not be the one that is thought likely to commit a terrorist act, but only and simply a person whose arrest “is necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity.”

There is an important nuance there that is both astonishing and disturbing. It can include innocent people who are unaware of the reasons for which terrorists are soliciting their aid in a planned activity while concealing the real reasons they are asking for aid.

Some see in the reference to section 810 of the Criminal Code an indication that our criminal law already uses a procedure similar to that set out in section 83.3. While there is a similarity in the procedure followed, there is a very big difference in the consequences of applying these two sections.

Under the current section 810, a person can be summoned before a judge, but not arrested. The judge can order that person to enter into a recognizance to keep the peace.

The judge cannot commit that person to a prison term unless the person refuses to sign the recognizance, after listening to all the parties and being satisfied by the evidence adduced that there are reasonable grounds for the fears.

If the person signs the recognizance and respects the conditions, he or she remains at liberty, will not be sentenced and will thus have no criminal record.

...

This provision and section 83.3 that we [rejected] are very different in nature and have radically different consequences.

There is also no comparison between the impact that the use of section 83.3 and section 810 would have on someone’s reputation.

When the decision is made to depart from the fundamental principles underlying our system of criminal law, there is always a risk that these measures will later be applied in a manner totally different from those foreseen. That was the case with the imposition of the war measures act in 1970, which saw the incarceration, among others, of a great poet, a pop singer, numerous relatives of people charged with terrorist activities and almost all the candidates of a municipal political party.

In light of this analysis, we have decided not to support the extension of these provisions. First, it is of little, if any, use. These two sections went unused during the five years they were in effect. Second, there is a very real danger that this provision might be used against honest citizens.

A terrorist activity deemed dangerous can be disrupted just as effectively, and in fact more effectively, by the regular application of the Criminal Code.

That is why I have taken the time to explain sections 83.28 and 83.3 of the Criminal Code: Bill S-3 is practically identical to the two measures that were eliminated, namely investigative hearing—sections 83.28 and 83.29 of the Criminal Code—and recognizance with conditions, which is similar to section 83.3 which was eliminated. If we count technical amendments, such as minor clarifications, there are still only three substantial amendments.

They amended the investigative procedure in order to standardize it. The previous investigative procedure depended on whether or not the terrorism offence had already been or would be committed. If the terrorism offence had not yet been committed, the judge had to be convinced—along with other criteria—“that reasonable attempts have been made to obtain the information” outside of the investigative procedure. This was not required for offences that had already been committed.

Bill S-3 standardizes the procedure and requires “that reasonable attempts have been made to obtain the information by other means” through investigative hearings in both cases.

The second minor amendment concerns the limit on detention. Bill S-3 adds a limit on detention when someone who is under investigation is being detained because there is a risk that they will evade service of the order or because they did not attend the examination.

An examination of the review in committee led to the following. Aside from the fact that the Attorney General of Canada and, in the case of section 83.3, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, must include in their annual report on the use of the two provisions their opinion on whether the provisions should be extended, the most important amendment is to ensure that the provisions will be subject to a comprehensive review, before the sunset clause expires, either by a Senate committee, a House committee or a joint committee that Parliament or one of its houses will have designated or created for this purpose. Within one year after the committee starts the review, it must submit its report to Parliament, along with recommendations on whether the provisions should be extended.

In short, not only were the comments of the Bloc Québécois not taken into account, but neither were the numerous recommendations by the two committees, both House and the Senate, who seriously examined the issue. The Conservative government prefers to do whatever it likes, forgetting that in a democratic and free society, there must be a real balance between ensuring safety and respecting other fundamental rights.

The Bloc Québécois has been acting in this responsible manner since 2001. I was on the Standing Committee on Transport when the Anti-terrorism Act was passed and we were the ones who presented the famous sunset clause to ensure that there would be a five-year review. In 2007, Parliament decided to abolish these provisions because they were never used. Again, the Conservatives do not care about the different committees and recommendations from all the experts and they decide to restore measures that had been abolished by this Parliament in 2007.

Perhaps I should read from the Bloc Québécois dissenting opinion.

The Anti-terrorism Act, a measure adopted rather quickly following the events of September 11, 2001, required its provisions to be reviewed three years after the bill became law.

The Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act was responsible for reviewing the legislation, as a five-year review was required. In October 2006, the subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security tabled an interim report specifically on the two measures contained in Bill S-3. Although the Bloc Québécois agreed with some of the subcommittee's findings, it felt that the two provisions should not be kept as they were worded then.

The Bloc Québécois explained its reasoning by signing a dissenting opinion, which I will now read.

From the outset, it must be understood that this is a preliminary report that addresses only two sets of provisions in the Anti-terrorism Act; namely, those pertaining to investigations and preventive arrests as provided for in sections 83.28, 83.29 and 83.3 of the Criminal Code, as amended by section 4 of the Anti-Terrorist Act.

We concur with the description of the specific historical context that led to the adoption of the Anti-terrorism Act.

We also agree with most of the recommendations made in the majority report of the Committee, which aim to provide better guidelines for the investigation process. This exceptional measure should be used only in specific cases in which it is necessary to prohibit activities where there is imminent peril of serious damage, and not in the case of misdeeds already committed.

We, like other members of the Committee are also of the opinion that another review of the provisions ten years after their coming into force is needed and would make it possible to better assess whether the provisions should be extended or allowed to expire.

We would have preferred a three-year period; however, we are willing to support the opinion of the majority...

However, we do not agree with the Committee members’ opinion regarding the preventive arrests provided for in section 83.3 of the Criminal Code, as introduced in the Anti-terrorism Act. Our reasons are as follows.

Terrorism cannot be fought with legislation; it must be fought through the efforts of intelligence services combined with appropriate police action.

There is no act of terrorism that is not already a criminal offence punishable by the most stringent penalties under the Criminal Code. This is obviously the case for pre-meditated, cold-blooded murders; however, it is also true of the destruction of major infrastructures.

Moreover, when judges exercise their discretion during sentencing, they will consider the terrorists’ motive as an aggravating factor. They will find that the potential for rehabilitation is very low, that the risk of recidivism is very high... This is what they have always done in the past and there is no reason to think they will do differently in the future.

Thus, given this representation by our members on the sub-committee, it is important that Parliament understand that the Bloc Québécois will vote against Bill S-3, which seeks to reintroduce measures abolished by the House in 2007. The Bloc Québécois continues to have an advantage over the other parties in this House. We are always responsible and true to ourselves.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 18th, 2008 / 10:30 a.m.
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Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to mention that yesterday marked the departure of the head of parliamentary interpretation, Monique Perrin D'Arloz, who worked at the House of Commons for 35 years. On behalf of all parliamentarians, I want to thank her for being our voice. I attended the reception in honour of her departure. I thank her for being so dedicated to all the members of this House.

It is rather troubling to talk about Bill S-3. To understand this bill, you have to start with the 2001 terrorist attacks, which showed us that there was a connection between civil societies and terrorism. There were many expressions of solidarity from Canada. In his memoirs, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien talks at great length about the close historical relationship between Canada and the United States. President Kennedy once told John Diefenbaker, “Geography made us neighbours. History made us friends.” We have a special relationship with the United States that sometimes has advantages and sometimes disadvantages.

All Quebeckers and Canadians were shocked and saddened to see the twin towers collapse, because they felt for the people involved.

Nevertheless, a few months later, Anne McLellan, who would become the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, but was then the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada, acted with some haste. Certainly, those were troubling times. No one in this House wants to minimize the events of September 2001.

But now we have had time to look back on things. The Anti-terrorism Act that was introduced was studied, clause by clause, by a special legislative committee. If I remember correctly, our colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel and the current defence critic, the member for Saint-Jean, represented the Bloc Québécois on that committee.

There was a certain collective anxiety and very strong pressure from the Americans, who had passed the Patriot Act. I do not want to talk about that American legislation, which goes much further than the Canadian legislation, but there was a sort of collective psychosis that may have led us to ignore human rights and major civil liberties a little too easily.

That does not mean the Bloc Québécois is minimizing the risk terrorism presents to society. The Bloc Québécois has long been interested in the entire issue of organized crime. An entire generation representing this House followed the work of CIOC. I was eight when the work of CIOC began, but others will remember quite clearly the tainted meat scandal. Many Quebeckers followed the CIOC proceedings. This was an opportunity to see that organized crime was not just a theory, but that it had taken root in the community.

Then there was a period of calm. In the 1990s, unfortunately, organized crime began to run rampant again, especially in large cities like Montreal. There was a fierce battle over the drug market. In my riding of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, this battle resulted in the car bomb attack that took the life of young Daniel Desrochers on August 9, 1995. This led us, and all parliamentarians in this House, to wonder how effective the measures in the Criminal Code were for dismantling major organized crime networks.

Today we are going a little further: we have to deal with terrorism.

Terrorism, in its contemporary form, attacks civil society through what are called undifferentiated attacks. It can be bombs in a subway, where groups, not individuals, are the target. When public buildings are attacked, no one in particular is targeted. Civil society is under threat. It is more serious and more difficult for law enforcement agencies to foil, investigate and dismantle terrorist networks that have a much broader scope than organized crime ever did.

I recently read a piece by Charles-Philippe David, the brother of the leader of Québec solidaire. He wrote that the driving force behind terrorism in the 21st century has largely, but not exclusively, been based on religious considerations. No country is safe from terrorism, but some countries are targeted more than others. In political science and history classes, we learned that the United States was the world's police officer. Their interventionist international policy obviously makes them a bigger target.

I do not want to leave out an important component of the historical background. Shortly after 2001, the Liberals introduced a bill that the Bloc Québécois did not support. There was a lot of pressure at that point in time. The Bloc Québécois did not support the bill because we questioned how effective it would be. We did not want to downplay the potential for a terrorist attack. We knew that it was a real possibility, and we wanted emergency measures and plans to be in place. I know that the civil protection people were working on this. However, we did not believe that the measures proposed at that time were the right ones.

For example, there was the possibility that people might be arrested without charges. And that goes against a fundamental principle of our justice system. When we want to bring people before the courts, we have a constitutional obligation to present evidence in order to charge them. If it is a serious matter, we proceed by way of indictment so that we can bring the entire justice system into play, with a defence lawyer and a crown prosecutor. We present the evidence. If it is a very serious matter, we proceed with a jury, and a trial will follow.

Former minister McLellan's bill twisted the administration of justice in two ways. When Anne McLellan's bill was introduced in the House, it contained a sunset clause. At the time, we were told that the provisions of the act would expire after a certain period of time, following which a parliamentary committee would study them and we, as parliamentarians, would decide whether it was appropriate to extend them. I would point out that the House did not consider it appropriate to extend provisions in the Criminal Code concerning sections 83.28, 83.29 and 83.3. Accordingly, we voted against it, and most members of the House decided to allow the provisions to expire. The feeling was unanimous among members of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. If I remember correctly, the Liberals were divided and the government was unanimous.

What are we concerned about? First, we are concerned about the so-called investigative hearings. This is all based on allegations. No charges have been laid, nobody has been convicted; nobody has even been put on trial. The government is getting ahead of the justice system and once again, it wants us to support sections 83.28 and 83.29 of the Criminal Code. These are what they call investigative hearings.

Let me explain because this is somewhat technical and I would like our fellow citizens to understand what it is all about. A peace officer—a police officer to put it simply—may make an application to a provincial court judge—in Quebec, warrants are issued by provincial court judges—or a superior court judge with the prior consent of the Attorney General. It is correct to say, as our friend did earlier, that the consent of the Attorney General is required for an order for the gathering of information to be issued.

A peace officer or his agent may go before a superior court judge or a provincial court judge and explain that he would like to gather more information on a given individual because he has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual in question may have terrorist connections.

I remind the hon. members that we are talking about information in a context where no charges have been laid and no trial held, and that such an approach is totally arbitrary. The individual is required to appear before a judge. Hopefully, he or she will be notified in writing. The individual would be ordered, for example, to report to the Montreal courthouse next Tuesday, at 10 a.m., for an examination and to face justice. We are talking about an examination before a judge, where the individual will be required to answer questions. He or she may not refuse to answer.

In addition, the general principle whereby one has the right not to incriminate oneself does not apply under sections 83.28 and 83.29. The only exception, of course, is a person who has privileged information, for instance someone working for Criminal Intelligence Service Canada. These people are never required to disclose privileged information, the same way that police officers are never required to divulge their sources.

So, the examination is held before a judge, and the individual is required to answer the questions. Naturally, one might want to trivialize this. I heard earlier a government member say that the Attorney General was certainly necessary and that the person has the right to counsel. But do members not realize that we are talking about a situation where no charges have been laid against the person, yet he or she had to undergo questioning before any formal judicial process has been initiated? That is worrisome.

I must remind the House that this is similar to what happened with security certificates. That is another issue, but it follows the same logic. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration along with the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada can sign a certificate ordering that an individual be arrested, tried and convicted, without having any access to the evidence that led to his or her arrest.

At the time, it was my colleague, Michel Bellehumeur, member for Berthier—Montcalm, who is now a member of the judiciary, given his talent and experience, who had raised this issue. When we of the Bloc Québécois said this was somehow detrimental to justice and showed a lack of respect for fundamental freedoms, at the time, the Liberals refused to accept our arguments. The case went before the Supreme Court of Canada and, in January 2006 or 2007, the whole thing was of course declared unconstitutional. The government had to go back to the drawing board and introduce another bill. But we are not satisfied with that bill, because it designates a kind of amicus curiae, a friend of the court, who would have access to the evidence. Yet that friend of the court, who would be defending the accused, cannot share the evidence with his or her client.

Thus, we see some logic that is completely twisted and completely inexcusable with regard to some major constitutional guarantees. I would be willing to bet on this, even though I am generally quite cautious. I am not a man of great wealth, which is why I tend to be cautious. But I would be willing to bet that these provisions will find their way to the Supreme Court of Canada and that the government will lose again regarding the drafting of this bill.

It would be even more surprising given that sections 83.28 and 83.29 of the Criminal Code have never been invoked. Law enforcement organizations never used these sections once over a six or seven year period, that is from the time they were passed until the day of the failed vote to extend the sunset clause.

Why? Because there are other provisions already in the Criminal Code. As we learned in our law courses, pursuant to section 495 of the Criminal Code, a peace officer may arrest an individual and bring him before a justice of the peace if there are reasonable grounds to do so. Naturally, there must be some basis for this action. In fact, anyone can do this. For example, if I have reason to believe that my neighbour will rob a bank, I can go before a judge and lay the information. This person may be summoned to appear and may have to enter into a peace bond.

Naturally, these provisions apply to the issue of terrorist networks. We could not understand why we needed a new law when such provisions were already in place.

As for investigative hearings, they provide a means of obtaining information about individuals who have not even been charged. They may be brought before a judge and undergo an actual examination, even though they may have legal representation, without ever having been charged.

The second clause of Bill S-3, which seeks to bring back the two clauses which expired after the vote in the House, pertains to section 83.3 of the Criminal Code, which deals with recognizance and preventive arrest and detention.

The scenario is as follows. Again with the consent of the Attorney General, who is generally the Minister of Justice, a peace officer who believes that a terrorist act will be committed can require that a person sign a recognizance with conditions or ask that the person be arrested, if necessary, to prevent a terrorist act from being committed. This peace officer will lay an information before a provincial court judge. The judge will order the person to appear if the judge is convinced that this is necessary. According to the bill, the person will have 24 hours after the information is laid to appear. A show-cause hearing will then be held to determine whether or not the person should be arrested or whether conditions should be imposed on the person. Generally, these conditions pertain to the person's movements and contacts with certain people.

In short, the difference is that this person can be formally arrested.

It is true that the Criminal Code already contains section 810, which, if memory serves, was adopted when we studied the first anti-gang bill. The Bloc Québécois won that battle, which resulted in an anti-gang law. I clearly remember that at the time, senior officials wanted to bring down organized crime using the conspiracy provisions. They had a hard time understanding that we were facing a new situation where people were very well organized into networks and formed a veritable industry that terrorized big cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

Consequently, there are already provisions whereby individuals can be required, preventively, to keep the peace or not have contact with certain people. For example, in cases of sexual assault, the person must not be allowed to have contact with victims. Here, though, we have a situation where people can be arrested preventively, without being charged or tried.

Clearly, this bill is rather disturbing. I do not believe that the Bloc Québécois can support this bill, and we invite all members to reject it.

I will close by saying, once again, that the Criminal Code contains everything needed to intervene; we do not need these provisions.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 18th, 2008 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions). This bill raises some very important issues and fundamental questions about our justice system and our respect for civil liberties and human rights. I believe that this legislation compromises key principles of our justice system.

I want to begin with a quotation cited by Yusra Siddiquee, a representative of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, when he appeared before the Senate committee studying this bill. He quoted Justice Binnie of the Supreme Court of Canada, who said:

The danger in the “war on terrorism” lies not only in the actual damage the terrorists can do to us but what we can do to our own legal and political institutions by way of shock, anger, anticipation, opportunism or overreaction.

It is important to keep this in mind. We have to remember that these provisions and ones similar to them in many other countries grew out of the period immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, a period when all of us were concerned for our security and anxious and fearful.

There are two major provisions in the bill before us, one for investigative hearings and the other for preventive detention. These were part of the Anti-terrorism Act that was passed in the period immediately following September 11, 2001. In that original legislation, these particular provisions sunsetted after five years.

Under the terms of the sunset clause, the provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act relating to investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions were set to expire on March 1, 2007 unless extended by a resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament. A government motion to extend the measures without amendment for three years was defeated in the House of Commons on February 27, 2007 by a vote of 159 to 124, and the provisions ceased to have any force or effect.

That was the right decision. I am glad that the House took that decision. Now the government has reintroduced these provisions in this new legislation and that is the wrong decision. Both of these measures fundamentally compromise key principles of our justice system.

Let us consider first the provisions for investigative hearings. These provisions force someone to testify before a judge if he or she is suspected of having information about terrorist activity that has already occurred or that might occur. This provision directly compromises the right to remain silent, one of those fundamental principles of our justice system.

The refusal to testify at an investigative hearing can lead to one year of jail time. This can also reduce the right to silence for persons who are questioned by the RCMP or CSIS, in that if they are uncooperative with a police investigation, the possibility of having to go to an investigative hearing can be used to compel cooperation and compromise their right to remain silent.

Not everyone who chooses to remain silent is guilty. People may have very legitimate fears and concerns, such as fears and concerns about their own personal safety, for instance. Given the broad definition of terrorism in the Anti-terrorism Act, this provision is a problem, and the definition has come in for criticism over the years as well.

Many members who support this bill have said in debate that these are extraordinary measures that will be used in only the most serious of circumstances. I appreciate what RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said before the Senate committee. He stated:

First, and most importantly, the RCMP recognizes that these provisions were intended for extraordinary situations and, as such, we approach them with restraint.

My preference would be to not go down that road until it is proven clearly that the measures already at our disposal are not effective in dealing with the challenges of terrorism faced in our country. Those good intentions are noble, and I believe the commitment made by the assistant commissioner is sincere, but as the expression goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

These provisions represent a very serious departure and in reality could be used against people who are legitimately protesting or are viewed as dissidents by our society. They could be used to harass or even imprison such people.

This provision also puts a judge in the position of having to oversee an investigation. This is not the practice of our justice system and is not something that most judges have any experience with. This is a major departure, since investigations in our system are undertaken by police authorities.

Jason Gratl, the president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, put the concern this way:

The primary difficulty with investigative hearings is that they distort the functions of the judiciary and the Crown. In essence, the course of order-making power of the judiciary is brought to bear on an investigation. That power places prosecutors in the role of investigators, which is unlike their usual role. It also places the judiciary in the position of presiding over a criminal investigation.

The other provision, preventive detention or recognizance with conditions, is the other key part of this bill. Again, this compromises a key principle of our justice system: that one should be charged, convicted and sentenced in order to be jailed.

This provision would allow the arrest and detention of people without ever proving any allegation against them. It could make people subject to conditions on release, with severe limitations on their personal freedom, and again, even if they have never been convicted of any crime.

Jailing people because we think they might do something criminal is very problematic, to say the very least, and it is easily apparent how such a measure can be easily abused. It is very similar to the provisions of the security certificate legislation in our Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Under that legislation, five men remain either in jail or subject to incredibly strict release conditions, house arrest conditions, even though they have never been convicted of any crime in Canada.

Hassan Almrei remains in jail at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre, a double maximum security prison. He has been there for almost seven years now, ever since just immediately after September 11, even though he has never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime.

Adil Charkaoui, Mohamed Harkat, Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Mahjoub are prisoners in their own homes, guarded by their spouses and others. These situations are very unjust. It is wrong for this to be included in the immigration legislation. It is wrong to include this same kind of measure in our anti-terrorism legislation.

These measures open very serious files on individuals, files alleging that they have some connection to terrorism. These files are opened on people who have never been convicted of any crime. They can be based on allegations that have never been proven. How do they defend themselves in such circumstances?

In this corner of the House, we believe that the Criminal Code is the best way to deal with issues of terrorism. The NDP justice critic, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, in his minority report on the Anti-terrorism Act review, said the following:

There is no act of terrorism that is not already a criminal offence punishable by the most stringent penalties under the Criminal Code. This is obviously the case for premeditated, cold-blooded murders; however, it is also true of the destruction of major infrastructures.

Moreover, when judges exercise their discretion during sentencing, they will consider the terrorist motive as an aggravating factor. They will find that the potential for rehabilitation is very low, that the risk of recidivism is very high and that deterrence and denunciation are grounds for stiffer sentencing. This is what they have always done in the past and there is no reason to think they will do differently in the future.

I can think of no offence related to terrorism that is not already included in the Criminal Code. I can think of no circumstance of a crime committed as part of an act of terrorism that would not be dealt with in the strictest, toughest way by our courts.

For instance, counselling to commit murder is already an offence under the Criminal Code. Being party to an offence is also a crime.

The crime of conspiracy is well established under the Criminal Code and deals with the planning of criminal activity. Let us be clear. In the conspiracy category, no crime actually has to be committed for someone to be found guilty of conspiracy under the Criminal Code.

We also have hate crime legislation that outlaws the promotion of hatred against a particular group.

It should also be noted that peace bond provisions already exist in the Criminal Code and can be exercised when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person's life or well-being is threatened by another person. This provision has similar power to preventive detention, but more significant safeguards are built into the Criminal Code provision. No one has demonstrated to my satisfaction that this existing provision will not meet the needs of dealing with terrorist activity.

As Denis Barrette, spokesperson for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and la Ligue des droits et libertes has said:

—Canadians would be better served and better protected if the authorities rely on the standard provisions of the Criminal Code. The use of arbitrary powers and the lowering of the standard of proof are no substitute for police work carried out in compliance with the rules. Indeed, these powers open the door to miscarriage of justice and the significant likelihood of damaging the reputation of individual citizens...

If our police and intelligence authorities do not have the resources they need to investigate potential terrorist acts and to charge those responsible, then we should review their needs immediately.

We cannot consider the bill without considering the question of racial and religious profiling. Racial and religious profiling is a problem in terrorism related investigations and prosecutions. It is a reality for many Canadians, especially those in the Arab and Muslim communities, but also to other people in other racial minority groups.

The provisions of Bill S-3 do nothing to reduce such concerns or to protect Canadian citizens from such profiling. We have to struggle with the experience of Arab and Muslim communities in Canada in the post-September 11 period.

Imam Zijad Delic, the national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and formerly the Iman of the mosque in my community, brought some of the concerns of Canadian Muslims before the Senate committee. He noted their position that the Criminal Code could deal fully with terrorism-related crimes and that it best balanced security with human rights. He also noted that ensuring all Canadians participated fully in our society without having to be regarded with suspicion was very important. He said:

Education, engagement, participation and institutional integration through inclusion are far better alternatives....moving forward with good faith will create the atmosphere of trust, cooperation and engagement we need to make progress.

He also made a very direct plea at the committee when he said:

On policies and practices, profiling Canadian Muslims is an issue on which the Government of Canada and Canadian Muslims differ significantly. Muslims cannot accept that we are profiled as a security threat to our own country. If government policy is not engaged in profiling, its actual operational practices speak differently, as evidenced by many cases in Canada. Please do not give our law-and-order people more power without appropriate accountability....Canada does not need laws that will prevent its citizens from feeling accepted, embraced, safe and secure. Canada needs to rethink its approach toward this bill and to focus on bridge-building between government and the many communities and groups that make us the unique mosaic we are.

There is an important message in his statement. We must pay clear attention to the effect that legislation like Bill S-3 and its extraordinary provisions have in our communities, the effect that it will have on some law-abiding, honourable Canadians. If the legislation increases their insecurity, if it does not promote their safety, how can we believe that somehow it adds to the overall protection of Canadian society?

J.S. Woodsworth, the first leader of the CCF, once said, “What we desire for ourselves we wish for all”. We would be well advised to struggle with the meaning of that in the context of developing anti-terrorism and security measures that are experienced positively by all those Canadians who seek peace and justice, respect the law, promote values of equality and oppose terrorism.

I should point out that the NDP has a proposal to address racial and religious profiling in Canada in Bill C-493, which I tabled in the House. The original version of this bill was tabled by the member for Vancouver East and after consultations with members of the Arab, Muslim, black, aboriginal and South Asian communities, it was revised and re-tabled as Bill C-493.

That bill states that enforcement officers from the RCMP, Canada Customs, Canada Revenue Agency, the immigration department, Canada Border Security Agency, those operating under the Aeronautics Act or CSIS must not engage in racial or religious profiling. Those agencies must collect data to ensure this practice is not engaged and must put in place explicit policies and procedures to prevent it and to respond to complaints. They must also undertake an analysis of racism and how it functions in the context of the particular agency.

Racial and religious profiling is hugely detrimental to the stability and success of Canadian society. It must not be tolerated in any form. We must be explicit in our condemnation of it and ensure it is prohibited in law.

Denis Barrette also stated at the Senate hearings on Bill S-3:

These laws are used in emergencies, where fear and panic are at the forefront—somewhat like what happened at the time of September 11, 2001.

Fear is never a good adviser. It is rather in moments of peace and quiet that the importance of preserving rights and freedoms should be rationally assessed. It is obviously important to defend them in difficult times, but we must plan for how to protect them in difficult times.

It is easy to protect rights and freedoms in peaceful times. We must provide for the unpredictable and ensure that, in a moment of panic, legislation does not result in innocent victims because it was poorly conceived or because it was dangerous or useless.

I say clearly that I am opposed to Bill S-3 and the revisions it makes to the Anti-Terrorism Act, to reintroduce investigative hearings and preventive detention. We should instead let the Criminal Code of Canada do the job, a job it is fully capable of doing. We must also ensure that our police and intelligence authorities have the resources they need to carry out their investigations effectively and with respect for all Canadian citizens for human rights and for civil liberties.

The House resumed from April 17 consideration of the motion that Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), be read the second time and referred to a committee.