Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Tse, safeguards related to the authority to intercept private communications without prior judicial authorization under section 184.4 of that Act. Notably, the enactment

(a) requires the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Attorney General of each province to report on the interceptions of private communications made under section 184.4;

(b) provides that a person who has been the object of such an interception must be notified of the interception within a specified period;

(c) narrows the class of individuals who can make such an interception; and

(d) limits those interceptions to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

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.

Votes

March 20, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague who just asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice the question, hit the nail on the head. The problem with Bill C-55 is that we find ourselves passing this bill at the last possible minute. As we say in English, time is of the essence. If this bill is not passed by April 13, we will have a legal vacuum.

I would like to make some clarifications so that we know what we are talking about.

Section 184.4 of the Criminal Code is very clear. It talks about interception of communications in exceptional circumstances. If Bill C-55 is not passed in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada decision, rendered last year in R. v. Tse, section 184.4 will no longer exist. Currently, this section states that, in exceptional circumstances:

A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where:

People are concerned about their conversations being intercepted and heard. Under section 184.4, which was at the centre of R. v. Tse, the conditions for the officer are that:

(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;

In other words, there was absolutely no other way to obtain authorization for this type of interception.

(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an intervention is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property;

This means that, after all due diligence, there is no possibility of obtaining authorization. That is a little difficult in the city. In Gatineau, for example, justices of the peace are available practically 24 hours a day for this type of authorization. The chances that it would be impossible to obtain authorization and that section 184.4 of the Criminal Code would not apply are great. These are truly exceptional cases, and it is important to put that into context.

There must also be reasonable grounds to believe that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm. Serious harm must be more than just a possibility; it must be imminent.

The third condition is as follows:

(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.

It should also be said that the ruling in R. v. Tse did not require a review of interception in its entirety. I appreciate what my Green Party colleague was trying to do with her amendments. But since time is of the essence, we should be concentrating on what the Supreme Court has asked Parliament to do. We were not asked to review the entire reporting process and so on. Yet the majority of the member's amendments address those topics, which were not even mentioned in the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court said the unless a criminal prosecution results, the targets of the wiretapping might never learn of the interceptions and would be unable to challenge police use of this power. There is no other measure in the code to ensure specific oversight of the use of section 184.4.

After all that I have said about this section, if that were the case and a person was never criminally prosecuted, it would be quite possible that he would never know that he had been the target of a wiretap or that his conversations had been intercepted. That is the crux of the issue in the R. v. Tse ruling.

The Supreme Court said that in its present form, the provision fails to meet the minimum constitutional standards of section 8 of the charter. I would like to emphasize the word “minimum”. The NDP is not saying that Bill C-55 is a legislative model when it comes to wiretapping, interception or invasion of privacy as set out in part VI of the Criminal Code. Those are exceptions.

Still, before voting on my colleague's proposed amendments and on Bill C-55, we should consider whether the measures and changes proposed by Bill C-55 respond to the guidance provided by the Supreme Court of Canada:

An accountability mechanism is necessary to protect the important privacy interests at stake and a notice provision would adequately meet that need, although Parliament may choose an alternative measure for providing accountability.

Those who take the time to read Bill C-55 will see that it calls for an accountability mechanism. People whose communications are intercepted will be notified of the interception.

Still according to the Supreme Court:

The lack of notice requirement or some other satisfactory substitute renders s. 184.4 constitutionally infirm.

That is all the Supreme Court of Canada said in R. v. Tse. Without sufficient information, we still do not know whether section 184.4 is excessively broad in scope because it confers power that may be exercised by peace officers as well as police officers. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court did indicate that it considered the matter. As always, the Supreme Court will not rule until the matter has been debated, nor will it rule on the matter debated unless it goes before the court. With respect to the issue of who would be given permission to carry out the kind of interception set out in section 184.4, the Supreme Court did not discuss it and made no decision on the matter.

One good thing about Bill C-55 is that, even in the absence of a decision by the Supreme Court, it restricts the scope of section 184.4 to police officers and other persons employed for the maintenance of the public peace by removing the term “peace officer”.

Section 2 of the Criminal Code lists just about every category of public officer, from mayor to meter reader. Indeed, virtually every type of public officer was covered, giving the impression that the scope of the provision was fairly broad. The power conferred under section 184.4 is one that should not be given to just anyone. In that regard, I am pleased that the government brought forward a bill that addresses one of the issues that the Supreme Court raised but did not rule on. As I see it, in matters of criminal law, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The rights of persons subject to trial are at issue here. Insofar as providing an opinion is concerned, Bill C-55 is the Conservatives’ response to the Supreme Court’s request.

The bill also contains some things that the Supreme Court did not request. All of the provisions amending section 195 of the Act and the requirement for various types of reports have been added to ensure greater accountability. Who would not want that? Certainly more can be done at some point in the future.

However, as to whether Bill C-55 will respond to the questions and guidance of the Supreme Court of Canada before April 13, 2013, all of the witnesses who testified before the committee were of the opinion that it will.

All of the witnesses, whether they represented the Canadian Bar Association or the CLA, were unanimous in their support of Bill C-55. They made a number of minor suggestions. However, since it was not their job to resolve all of the problems concerning interception but rather to address the issue of the constitutionality of section 184.4, I am reasonably satisfied with the responses provided by departmental officials.

All of the questions which the member raised in her amendments have been answered by the minister or by Department of Justice officials. In this regard, there is no need at this point in time and given the context of Bill C-55 to go forward with what my hon. colleague is proposing. We received the answers to our questions when the bill was studied in committee.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her statement.

I read all of the testimony given in committee, and, as I said earlier when I addressed the House, the minister answered my colleague’s questions. Nevertheless, some serious questions remain concerning this bill.

Does my colleague agree with me that the changes brought about by today's amendments would improve the bill?

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will answer the question as follows.

When we looked at the definition of police officer or when we had queries about the contents of reports, we understood that much of this falls under provincial jurisdiction. Therefore, I think we have to focus on the answer to be given to the dictates from the Supreme Court of Canada.

This does not mean that we cannot study the other aspects in greater depth, but they give rise to other problems. I personally do not have a clear-cut answer as to whether using the amendment creates more problems than it solves. That is what was raised by this type of amendment.

Regarding the R. v. Tse case, it would be preferable to leave the text as it stands. Later on, other steps will perhaps have to be taken in terms of wiretapping or interception. However, on the basis of R. v. Tse, the response is more than appropriate.

There are still questions about closing the definition of “police officer”, as my colleague wants to do. Witnesses told us that this would cause some problems. In some places, the situation is perhaps not described in the same way, but there is already a clear picture of this other person who keeps the peace.

Regarding the fact that time is limited, I think that the government will have to take the blame, because it is the government that is pushing for this exercise to be carried out so quickly. That being said, the only question the House must ask is whether the response to the principle requested by the Supreme Court is appropriate. The answer is simply: yes. Unfortunately, what is left leads to too many other questions.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Gatineau for her speech.

I would like to come back to the exceptional nature of Criminal Code section 184.4. She expressed her views on this issue very clearly. This is an important key to understanding the extent to which this section is limited in its scope.

Her speech made me think about how imminent the threat has to be to cause a police officer to use these section 184.4 provisions rather than the provisions of sections 186 or 188, for example, of the Criminal Code.

I would appreciate it if the member would go into a little more detail about this issue of imminent threat that could justify and support the fact that section 184.4 is simply being amended by replacing the term “peace officer” with “police officer”?

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned with regard to section 184.4, the imminent threat is not the only factor involved in making that interception; the peace officer must have reasonable grounds to believe it is impossible to obtain the consent of a justice of the peace. So there is a set of criteria.

Limiting access to section 184.4 to peace officers or police officers, within the obvious meaning of that term, was another way of shutting a door that could have been opened before the courts in future and on which the Supreme Court could have ruled.

Sometimes we get the impression the government does not really check its bills to ensure they comply with the charter. For once, however, and this is rare, we sense that the government has listened to the Supreme Court's decision here.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating a lot of what has been said here today, I want to elaborate on a few things, notably part VI of the Criminal Code, which deals with the activity of intercepting communications and thwarting crime as a result of that.

The reason we are here is the decision in R. v. Tse. When it came down, it seemed kind of odd at the time. It was just on the other end of the fiasco we had with Bill C-30, when it was introduced in the House. At that time there was a huge public campaign to thwart Bill C-30 because of the overarching measures contained within it and how it went against the spirit of privacy. When it comes to section 8 of the charter, and the charter itself, the charter challenges would have been ad nauseam for a lot of this bill.

Why the government did not wait in this particular case until after the decision is beyond me. It knew it was coming. Nonetheless, as a result of that it brought the bill into the House and then took it back out because of the public campaign against it, I would assume. As a result, we now have this bill, which complies with the judgment that came down from the court case in April 2012.

Here we find ourselves at the last minute on the eve of April 2013. We were given ample notice and yet here we are, up to the last minute. Why the Conservatives would push the envelope like this, I am not quite certain. However, in doing that, Bill C-55 now looks at the decision that came down and how it goes against the Constitution.

Many of my colleagues have already brought up section 184.4, which in this particular situation allows the police officers to intercept imminent communications. In other words, in any particular situation they do not need the paperwork to get that done.

Section 184.4 was originally composed as follows:

A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where

(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;

It goes on to state:

(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property;

The final point under (c) of section 184.4 states:

(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim....

Here we have a situation where some people may feel we are circumventing the privacy issue for the sake of the immediacy of what is happening; we are able to intercept without certain legal authorities.

There is no doubt that for us and for millions of Canadians, on the surface this would cause a lot of concern, certainly for privacy. Police officers do not need that particular authorization under certain circumstances in order for them to intercept the communications, and therefore this is what we are struggling with right now.

The question was put forward and an opinion is now with us regarding this particular case.

The principal amendment addresses the fatal flaw identified by the Supreme Court. In this situation, Bill C-55 provides that after-the-fact notice be sent, as is the case for other forms of interception. That is what this is coming down to. The court decided this is not congruent with the charter because of the fact that the after-notice was not present in this particular situation. This is where the court has asked us to have a look at it and this is why we have Bill C-55. I certainly agree and voted in favour of it during second reading.

Essentially, this comes down to part VI of the Criminal Code. At the very crux of this is how we deal with the centrepiece of federal legislation on electronic surveillance by law enforcement agencies.

The court summarized the current scheme of part VI of the code as follows, and I would like to thank the Library of Parliament for providing some of this information, the legislative summary:

Part VI of the Code makes it an offence under s. 184(1) to intercept private communications. Sections 185 and 186 set out the general provisions governing the application and the granting of judicial authorizations for the interception of private communications.

There we have it. The interception of these private communications, electronic surveillance of a potential unlawful act, is written in part VI, and it talks about the legal authority to do so, whether it be authorizations or judicial authorizations. Section 184.2 is the other part of that, providing for judicial authorization with the consent of one of the persons being intercepted for up to 60 days.

Let us get to the crux of what we are talking about today. In 1993, Parliament introduced two provisions to permit interceptions without judicial authorization in two exceptional cases. Those would be section 184.1, which permits interception with a person's consent, and what we are talking about here today, which was ruled upon, section 184.4, which authorizes the power to intercept private communications in an emergency for the purpose of preventing serious harm. Neither of these two sections is subject to the requirement to report to Parliament or to provide after-the-fact notice.

This bill is going to change this, so that after-notice is sent to the particular people involved in the investigation, which is incongruent with other sections where other people were surveyed under judicial authorizations or had their communications intercepted.

The other part they got into on this particular case, which was very interesting, was about reporting to Parliament, as well as changing “peace officer” to “police officer”. As many of my colleagues have already pointed out, within the code itself, the idea or definition of a peace office as described is very broad indeed. We are talking about, as my colleague from the NDP pointed out, mayors, reeves and court officers. It is a very broad description. What has happened here is that the bill has taken it and defined it down to a police officer.

I will get to the amendments from my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands in a moment.

In doing so, the other part would be that the court examines the text of section 184.4 closely, with particular attention to phrases that limit its scope. The court concluded that Parliament had incorporated objective standards and strict conditions into the provision itself. That part was fine. The onus would remain on the Crown to show in any particular case that the conditions for the use of section 184.4 had been met. Nonetheless, as I pointed out, the court was concerned that there was no requirement that authorities notify individuals after the fact that their private communications had been intercepted. That is not congruent with other means of judicial authorizations to find and intercept people's private communications.

The final thing was whether to report to Parliament or not. In other places and in other sections, the court considered reading in a notice of requirement, but determined that this would not be appropriate. That is one of the measures it considered. However, because of the notification, the court ruled it to be against the charter. The section on reporting to Parliament was something it added. In it, the court says that “electronic surveillance under the Code is an effective investigation technique used especially by law enforcement agencies” and therefore requires a reporting to Parliament from the Minister of Public Safety and the Attorney General of Canada. Currently, they prepare an annual report on law enforcement's use of warrants for video surveillance and certain authorizations to intercept private communications pursuant to part VI. The ruling here is, and this particular bill addresses, that incongruent with part VI, it allows the reporting within Parliament procedure to continue as well.

I did not have much of a chance to talk about the amendments currently here. My colleague talks about the record keeping, which I have some trouble with, particularly because of the machinations involved. This is an immediate situation, in cases of using section 184.4, and I will therefore be voting against this particular measure, as well as other measures, which I am sure I will get into in questions.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, in general, we on the opposition benches are supportive of the revised Bill C-55. However, as the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor noted at the beginning of his remarks, the government had since April of last year to make the changes to sections of the Criminal Code dealing with emergency wiretaps without a warrant. Would the member care to speculate as to why it is that we find ourselves here at the last moment trying to get the bill through the House?

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. It seems to me that the pattern in this particular case, which is similar to what the Conservatives brought about with the Senate reform, is to push it to the very last minute to seek opinion.

What is most bizarre is that the Conservatives introduced Bill C-30, which caused the most trouble, yet they knew that the decision from the Supreme Court was pending. If they had that decision, they would probably have had a better launching pad for Bill C-30. Unfortunately for them at the time, Bill C-30 became a hornet's nest of opposition across the entire country. They had to scrap it, step back and then wait for the Supreme Court decision to move ahead with Bill C-55, which by the way, may point out that the current legislation is better than they had imagined. It has been tested with the fixes we are doing here today, such as with section 184.4. It points out that the current laws in place were sufficient with a few tweaks here and there, and that is what we are doing with Bill C-55.

Therefore, the hornet's nest created around Bill C-30 was not really necessary. Apparently, because they pulled the legislation back, I guess they did not even agree with what they wrote, as bizarre as that may sound.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor for his speech. It was a great privilege for me to work on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for a number of months and thus to associate with the member for Mount Royal, who, as everyone remembers, was Minister of Justice at another time.

The member for Mount Royal has often raised concerns regarding the rule of law in the creation of new statutes. That is something quite fundamental because we have seen the government make some mistakes in that regard.

Following his speech, I would like my colleague to give us more details on this question of the rule of law and on the protections afforded by such fundamental instruments as the charter in developing legislation or amendments to the Criminal Code.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague. Obviously any modern, advanced, progressive democracy puts provisions in place to protect the privacy of each and every individual. However, that has to be weighed with the protection of our society, and in this particular situation, we must make sure that undue harm would not come to others. Yes, the rule of law has to be followed, but we also have to protect privacy. This is the balancing act we have here.

In the judgment that came down in R. v. Tse, the court noted that the interception under section 184.4 is limited to urgent situations where there is an immediate necessity to prevent serious harm and judicial pre-authorization is not available with reasonable diligence. Therefore, we have to put the safeguards in. We have to be narrow and specific as to how this would be executed.

In the particular case of section 184.4, judicial authorization is not required. Right away that tells us that it could be a fundamental breach of privacy, and essentially that is what it is. However, due to the egregious circumstances dictated in this particular situation, which require short notice, we have to make provisions within our rule of law so that the police officers could execute within that situation, so that no harm would be brought upon another individual.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to address Bill C-55.

I did not work directly on this bill as a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights because I unfortunately left that committee, although I fortunately have the great privilege of sitting on the Standing Committee on Finance. However, I have excellent memories of my time on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, despite the problems the members the New Democratic Party are facing on that committee.

In reference to the question I put to my colleague who previously spoke with regard to the rule of law and basic protections, we have moved a motion in the context of Bill C-55. That is why the member for Mount Royal spoke on the subject. He shared the same concerns when he was Minister of Justice. This is an excellent example of the reconciliation of imperatives. We can reconcile certain imperatives even though we belong to different parties. I remember some good exchanges I had with the member for Mount Royal over the fact that he approved of a number of measures we had taken.

Like all of my NDP colleagues, I support Bill C-55. However, I am going to be quite harsh. Objectively, Bill C-55 was a pleasant surprise. I think the government was compelled to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. Yet, even today, as reported in the Globe and Mail, the justice minister continues to reiterate his full support for Bill C-10, the omnibus bill that unfortunately was passed and will create many problems.

Portions of certain sections of the Criminal Code and other acts that were amended by Bill C-10 could eventually be invalidated. Moreover, this bill has created an excessive amount of work for Parliament. This situation could have been avoided if the government had been open and much more rigorous that it generally is. I would remind the House that Bill C-55 is the exception.

Of course, reinventing the wheel or showing too much originality was not possible, because the decision was very clear and compelled the government to find solutions that meshed perfectly with the Supreme Court’s observations.

This brings us back to our duty as elected representatives and as members of these important and fundamental committees known as the standing committees of the House of Commons.

We have a responsibility to stay informed and adapt to today’s realities on an ongoing basis, all the while complying with immutable principles. We have a responsibility when it comes to passing legislation.

In this regard, I hope that Bill C-55 will serve as a model for the government and will prompt it to be more disciplined and especially to show more respect for all of our country’s institutions. The government must start by showing respect for the Canadian justice system, for Canada’s Parliament, a fundamental institution, and more especially for the House of Commons.

Understandably, there can be differences of opinion, and the government may not always agree with the views expressed by members of the opposition parties. However, the government has a responsibility to respect these views and the fact that people have different opinions. It also has a duty to respect the principle of accountability, which unfortunately is too easily flouted.

In the case of the committee that I had the privilege to serve on last fall, too often the government denied the obvious and rejected the opinions of experts whose positions were quite clear. It is truly a shame. After all, while it may be possible to some extent to defend ideological stances, these have absolutely no place when it comes to governing and establishing conditions for a just and fair society.

The government has made that mistake over and over again.

I repeat, Bill C-55 is a pleasant surprise. In the wake of what my hon. colleague from Gatineau said, I will come back to some important points related to section 184.4. They may seem like minor details, but these changes are important. They do not affect the essence of section 184.4.

The bill defines the term “police officer”, which applies to section 184.4. The bill then continues:

A police officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication if the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that (a) the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part; (b) the interception is immediately necessary to prevent an offence that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and (c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would commit the offence that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.

My colleague from Gatineau accurately explained the special nature of section 184.4. Let us not forget that sections 186 and 188 cover virtually every case that would justify a warrant to breach a person's privacy. There are, of course, cases in which the imminence or urgency of the situation, when it is a matter of minutes or hours, would permit someone in authority under the Criminal Code to act quickly without permission to provide genuine assistance and intervene to prevent mischief or a crime.

This is perfectly reasonable. The only problem is with the consequences of such an action. The amendments made to the various parts of section 195 are particularly important. We strongly support them simply because they provide a form of transparency and openness that allows for self-discipline and generally avoids any abuse of police power. First of all, no one wants abuse of this kind from the police. Police officers who possess this extraordinary power ought not to be exposed to situations of potential abuse by themselves or others against anyone here in Canada because it could lead to serious breaches and the public's loss of confidence in police departments.

We believe that section 195 is a step in the right direction in terms of accountability, and that it would set out clear guidelines for the application of section 184.4. In my view, this constitutes significant progress. It is a fundamental and necessary improvement. It would deal with the problems inherent in R. v. Tse that were before the Supreme Court.

I would like to end by saying that it was a pleasure to be able to comment on Bill C-55. I think, and especially I hope, that it will be passed relatively quickly. It is nevertheless deplorable that the government took so long to allow us to review it in this House.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 1 p.m.
See context

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent speech.

I would like to point out that Bill C-55 is the Conservatives' latest attempt after their Bill C-30, if I am not mistaken, failed.

Why do the Conservatives have these kinds of failures? It is obviously because they try to fast-track everything. They want to move very quickly and not allow debate. The two omnibus budget bills are indisputable proof of that.

Does my hon. colleague think that the Conservative government should now ensure that all justice bills are in line with the charter and the constitution, instead of simply basing bills solely on its political agenda and short-sighted ideology?

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his question.

I think that there is cause for some legitimate concern. I did not talk about the case of the former Department of Justice jurist who said that, unfortunately, the groundwork was not being done at the department. That case is obviously running its course.

What is very disappointing is that the government continues to deny it and insists on fast-tracking flawed bills at all costs.

Bill C-30 was particularly disappointing. Fortunately, public pressure made the government back down. Bill C-55 fixes some things that Bill C-30 would not have fixed. Bill C-30 would have unfortunately created more problems than solutions.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his speech and his new role on the Standing Committee on Finance of which I used to be a member. I know that my colleague will do incredible work there. I am now a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

As my colleague mentioned, hon. members will recall the comments made by the Minister of Public Safety with regard to Bill C-30. He said that anyone who did not support the bill stood with child pornographers. This shows that there is a lack of understanding and a problem with regard to openness and discussion.

The hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville talked about how flawed Bill C-30 was. The bill was supposed to make the corrections required by the Supreme Court ruling.

I would like the hon. member to comment on the Minister of Public Safety's views and on Bill C-30.

Motions in AmendmentResponse to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse ActGovernment Orders

March 18th, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague and congratulate him on his new role as a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I am sure that he will do a remarkable job there. He had an excellent track record as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance.

Frankly, the Minister of Public Safety's inappropriate remark is disappointing and shows the government's worrisome lack of openness when it comes to governance and accountability.

The Minister of Public Safety's verbal attack aside, the fact remains that he is responsible and accountable to the House. In my opinion, he seems to want to do as he pleases with impunity. However, things do not work like that in society. Whether it is in the smallest unit of society, namely, the household or family unit, or in community life in general, when an individual interacts with hundreds of people, he has to be able to make concessions and think about others, something the Minister of Public Safety seems incapable of doing.