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 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to speak about Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the government's response to the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Tse.

As my colleague explained, I now have the pleasure of sitting on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Before that I sat on the Standing Committee on Finance. Now, I have the pleasure of working with our justice critic, the member for Gatineau. Since becoming a member of this committee and working with her, I have discovered that her knowledge of the justice field is incredibly broad and that she does extraordinary work. As with all the files on which she has worked, she led the team very capably and clarified our position on Bill C-55.

Our position is clear: we are in favour of Bill C-55 because it is a step in the right direction. We have supported the bill at every stage because it resolves one of the legal problems in the Criminal Code. The R. v. Tse ruling made it possible to tell the government that the Criminal Code, as enacted in 1993, with the wiretaps provisions, was unconstitutional. I will discuss this unconstitutional aspect a little later on.

I believe the bill is a step in the right direction. It updates the wiretapping provisions that the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled unconstitutional. In the R. v. Tse decision, the Supreme Court of Canada found that an emergency wiretap authority without a court authorization in situations of imminent harm could be justified under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Certain amendments therefore had to be made. Section 184.4 of the Criminal Code was enacted in 1993 and was unconstitutional, primarily because it contained no accountability measures. I repeat, section 184.4 must be used only in exceptional circumstances. It is an emergency measure. Wiretapping is an infringement of privacy. However, in certain cases, such as in the cases discussed, it is a necessity, as it also involves public safety.

We as legislators must balance the two aspects: public safety with freedom and the right to privacy. Fortunately, this is what the bill does. The law as it was in the past made it impossible to achieve this balance.

The Supreme Court made a rather pressing and important point in its decision. According to the Supreme Court, the Criminal Code, as it stands, is unconstitutional. The court therefore directed the government to introduce a bill to address the problem. The Supreme Court gave the government until April 13, 2013, to enact amendments to ensure that the justice system can function legitimately. Unfortunately, when the government took power, it introduced many bills that it felt were more important, but did not really do what the Supreme Court asked of it.

I will return to Bill C-30, but I would like first to discuss Bill C-55 in more detail. The issue here is the reporting requirement for interceptions of private communications. This is important. We need to know what is going on and we need accountability. This bill concerns the requirement to report, which is important.

Bill C-55 provides that any person who has been the object of an interception must be advised within a period of 90 days to three years. Several questions were raised about the three-year time period, but after hearing witnesses, in particular those from the Department of Justice, we understood that there were reasons that made this acceptable. Of course, the time period will not always be three years. We hope that it will be shorter. However, we are reassured by the fact that those who have been under electronic surveillance will be advised thereof. The bill also restricts what categories of people can make such interceptions.

One of the problems with Bill C-30, which I would like to discuss further, is that it allowed almost anyone to do so, and placed certain obligations on telecommunications companies and so on. Now that has been clarified somewhat. The bill says that the police have the right to intercept communications. Witnesses raised questions about whether this should be clarified and whether it should go still further. Should it be a higher-ranking officer, such as a police supervisor? When we heard the witnesses and thoroughly analyzed the question, we found the definition adequate in terms of being understandable, particularly when applied more broadly to the Criminal Code.

I would like to say more about Bill C-30, because the Supreme Court requirement told the government to come back with a bill that was not unconstitutional by April 13, 2013. We are aware of the fact that it takes a great deal of time for a bill to work its way through the parliamentary legislative system.

The government began by introducing Bill C-30.

Bill C-30 required telecom providers in Canada to monitor user data and be prepared to hand over personal information to authorities without a warrant or judicial oversight. We saw that as a big problem, and a lot of members stood in the House and said that, including my colleague from Terrebonne—Blainville, who is the NDP critic.

He is an incredible colleague who fought very hard. The public also helped us by expressing its opposition to this bill.

Canadians must not forget what the Minister of Public Safety said at the time.

On February 13, 2012, the minister, in answer to a question on Bill C-30, said:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the opportunity to tell him that every province unanimously supported moving forward with the legislation that was introduced first under the Liberal government, by his party. As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier. We are proposing measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide the police with the lawful tools that they need. He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.

When we look at history, we know the government made a huge mistake with the bill, and it knows it. Bill C-30 was wrong. The fact that a minister could speak that way and then come back and say that maybe it was a mistake and the bill went too far, it was not maybe, it really did. When he spoke like that, it showed narrow-mindedness. If Conservatives want to collaborate and work on better legislation, especially after the Supreme Court told us to do it, we hope there will be better preparation by members opposite in the future.

The NDP was very pleased that the minister and the government admitted their mistake and realized that they had gone too far. There was no reason for them to attack the protection of privacy. The scope of their legislation was too broad and they were asking telecommunications companies to obtain information without a warrant. Canadians and my constituents were outraged. I heard this from many of my constituents.

OpenMedia came up with a campaign to go against it. Once in a while, the government actually listens to what people have to say, and I am glad it did. I wish the government would have done it before coming up with such a bill, but coming back with Bill C-55 is a good thing. The government has looked at what needs to be done. The Supreme Court was pretty clear that we needed to amend the law so that we followed what the charter said, which the government did. That is why we support it. It is really important that the rule of law, the Constitution and the charter be respected.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my colleague's comments. He is quite right about the first bill introduced to deal with this matter, Bill C-30.

I am wondering if he would talk about why it is important for the government to ensure, before introducing bills, that all the proper steps have been taken. First, its lawyers must examine the bill and the government must listen to the advice it receives. The problem should not be addressed when the bill is before the courts. Bills that make sense and that will work should be introduced.

Could the member talk a little more about the fact that the Conservatives may have problems with people who give them bad advice?

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

I would like to thank my colleague for her very fitting question.

We are here today with this kind of bill before us because the previous government—a Liberal government—did not do its homework with regard to complying with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We can indeed see the problem quite clearly in this case. Bill C-30 is one example, but many bills have been passed. As I explained in my speech, the government drafts bills on the back of an envelope, as it were, without really verifying whether they violate the charter. What is really troubling is that it is ultimately taxpayers who must pay more because there are costs. The government is sued by other provinces or other organizations and then has to draft an entirely new bill.

My colleague from Gatineau, our justice critic, was very clear on that point and she even moved a motion. We wanted to study the mechanism in place because we felt it did not work very well. In particular, someone like Mr. Schmidt said that the government was not doing its job, that it was not determining whether its bills in fact complied with the charter. So there is a problem in this area. The government should do its homework and work harder to ensure compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his speech.

This debate obviously concerns my amendments. I want to ask the member whether he supports the idea that it is very important for this House of Commons and for all members to make this bill as strong as possible, to make it comply with the charter. Politicians and groups of expert lawyers currently feel that the bill is a little too weak because we have not added the amendments to obtain more compliance reports or to determine whether a police officer can use this section of the Code.

That is my question.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her question.

In theory, yes, we agree that attention must be paid to the charter and that privacy must be protected. That is very important. Wiretapping must be used in emergencies and really on an exceptional basis.

My colleague raised certain points when we studied this bill in committee. First, we received assurances from the witnesses who were there. They represented all kinds of positions. They were not simply government people. We really got assurances in that respect. I know that my Liberal colleague also proposed an amendment regarding reports, but subsequently changed his mind. The witnesses told us that the provinces already had a certain duty to prepare reports in that respect.

Provincial law enforcement agencies have certain obligations they have to fulfill. We felt comfortable with the explanation that those were in line with what we wanted in terms of protecting civil rights and the right to privacy.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to add my remarks to the debate on Bill C-55. As we have seen, the Conservatives are learning a hard lesson about the proper consideration that should be put into drafting a bill. Unfortunately, this is being learned at the expense of the taxpayers.

Hard-working Canadians know that to save time and money, it is important to do things right the first time. As the old saying goes, and my mom was a seamstress, so I heard this a lot, “measure twice and cut once”. That is a phrase I hope the Conservatives will keep in mind when it comes to drafting legislation going forward.

It is important to assure Canadians that this chamber gives proper consideration to any and every bill before the House, especially those that affect some of the rights and freedoms most cherished by the Canadian people. While I am thankful that the judges of the Supreme Court are able to reinforce our charter rights and declare legislation unconstitutional if it violates these rights, I am in agreement with my extremely knowledgeable colleague from Gatineau, who expressed concerns in her speech to this bill at second reading about sending people to court. Again, it is not because I do not have faith in the courts. I have every belief that our courts work to protect Canadians and defend the Constitution. In fact, the need for tabling bills like Bill C-55 reinforces my statement. However, the process of this roundabout way of making legislation is costly, and there are problems accessing justice.

If we do our job properly the first time, if we give a bill the proper consideration when it is drafted and make sure that it complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the concerns of Canadians, we will avoid many of these issues. If we do our job to the best of our ability, then I have no issue with having to redraft legislation at the request of the court. It is the job not being done right the first time that I, along with hard-working Canadians, take issue with.

Before I speak further to the content of Bill C-55, we must reflect on its history. In 2012, the Conservatives introduced Bill C-30 as an attempt to resolve every conceivable problem related to surveillance. Thankfully, Canadians were not afraid to speak up to ensure that their rights and freedoms were protected from a government that sought to unreasonably limit them. Public opposition to this bill erupted in a swarm of online campaigns and a general backlash. To quote the B.C. Civil Liberties Association:

It incorporates many, many people into a web of suspicion that shouldn't be there. The growth of the database nation presents a grave danger to democracy.

It incorporates many, many people into a web of suspicion that shouldn't be there. This is what we are seeing over and over again from the Conservatives. They are basically trying to say that people on EI are criminals, because now they are sending police there. They are treating seniors with disrespect. They are trying to label people as if they were not abiding by the rules, and they are. It is the Conservatives who are not.

A poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion demonstrates that the majority of Canadians felt that the bill was too intrusive. The bill was not only very unpopular among members of the Canadian public, but it piled onto elements of the Criminal Code that are unconstitutional, as noted by the Supreme Court. This is reflected in the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Tse. In that decision, the judges of the court ruled that the emergency wiretap provision in section 184.4 of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional. The judges stated that accountability measures must be put in place. The court gave Parliament until April 13, 2013 to amend the provision to make it constitutional.

It is clear that Bill C-55 was drafted to respond to the concerns expressed by the courts, and at the eleventh hour, I must say. Specifically, Bill C-55 would require reporting on the interception of private communications made under section 184.4. It would narrow which individuals can intercept private communications. People who have been wiretapped would have to be notified. It would also limit the use of wiretapping to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

Finally, we would have some consideration given to accountability and notification. Both are necessary to protect the important privacy interests at stake. I am glad that Bill C-55 would consider the concerns expressed by the courts. We have to thank the Canadian public, which voiced its opinion on this.

It is a shame, however, that instead of considering these issues and trying to fix legislation that is already in place, we get bills like Bill C-30 that seek to further limit our rights and freedoms that are protected under the charter. Instead of ensuring that what we already have is working, the Conservatives attempt to pile on legislation that would further limit our rights and freedoms. This is the most ineffective and inefficient way to enact policy.

On this side of the House, New Democrats will continue to hold the Conservatives accountable with respect to the rights and freedoms of Canadians at every stage of the legislative process and will ensure that things are done right the first time. That is why I want to express my concerns about elements of Bill C-55. While the recommendations of the courts are being implemented, we must ensure that the bill is not simply an updated version of the wiretapping provisions the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional or the surveillance bill that the Canadian people so rightly opposed.

When considering this type of legislation, we want to make sure that we are equipping our law enforcement professionals with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. We want to do this in a way that limits the rights and freedoms of Canadians as little as possible. We want to ensure that the voices and concerns of the Canadian people are reflected in the legislation that is ultimately meant to protect them. As discussed by the Supreme Court, it is a matter of striking a reasonable balance between an individual's right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures and society's interest in preventing serious harm. At every stage of the process, we must consider these conditions.

This is no easy task and is not one we can simply glance over. The Canadian public expressed its concerns about the former Bill C-30, and we are committed to having those concerns reflected in Bill C-55. As stated by the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law, Dr. Michael Geist:

Bill C-30 may be dead, but lawful access surely is not. On the same day the government put the bill out of its misery, it introduced Bill C-55 on warrantless wiretapping. Although the bill is ostensibly a response to last year's...decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, much of the bill is lifted directly from Bill C-30.

Of course, all members are aware of the campaign that helped Canadians share these concerns with their MPs and challenged members to defend privacy.

My office is always receiving inquiries regarding the protection of privacy. Canadians jealously guard section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms under which everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.

However, no voter has ever come to the office to request that unreasonable limits be imposed on Canadians' right to privacy. With a government that is trying to pass laws that would allow it to spy on its citizens, Canadians have the right to be concerned.

On this side of the House, we will continue to oppose unreasonable search and seizure. The Conservatives must respect the reasonable limits that have been set out by the courts.

It is ironic that the Conservatives, who claim to want to reduce government intervention, are seeking to pass a legislative measure that will turn Canada into a country that is monitored in a Big-Brother-like fashion. Canadians are right to be wary of any legislative measure put forward by the Conservatives that limits the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the charter.

As we saw during the uproar in response to Bill C-30, Canadians are paying close attention on this front. Now it is time for the government to listen to Canadians as well as to the courts.

The NDP will continue to fight to uphold the rights and freedoms of Canadians. It is important that these rights and freedoms are given proper consideration before drafting and tabling legislation to ensure that things are done right the first time. We must ensure that the guidelines set out by the courts regarding this new bill are followed. We must ensure that it strikes a reasonable balance between an individual's right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures and society's interest in preventing serious harm.

Finally, we must ensure that all of this is done right the first time. We owe it to Canadians to ensure that anything that goes through the House is given proper consideration, especially when it involves the rights and freedoms of the Canadian people. Given the history of Bill C-30 and the Supreme Court decision in Tse, we believe that the current bill, Bill C-55, strikes a balance between personal freedoms and public safety. We expect that consideration of this sort be implemented in all bills passed before the House so that we do not get more bills like Bill C-30.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her excellent speech and the comments that she made about Bill C-55.

Throughout this early afternoon, I listened to what the other members had to say about the importance of this bill, which will remedy a flaw or close a loophole that the Conservatives left in Bill C-30, which is truly an aberration. The Conservatives ended up abandoning this bill because public pressure put them in their place.

The Conservatives are in the bad habit of doing things too quickly, without worrying about respecting the charter and the Constitution, for example. This is a problem that we do not mention often enough and a Conservative shortcoming.

I would like the hon. member to comment on omnibus bills such as Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, two bills that are nearly 800 pages long and that were examined very quickly. The government does not take the time to check whether it is abiding by Canada's key pieces of legislation, namely, the charter and the Constitution.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He is absolutely right. The charter and the right to privacy must be protected, something the government seems to forget. The government prefers to introduce legislation that quite often ends up before the courts. This does not protect Canadians, nor does it put to good use the taxes Canadians pay in order to receive services that help us to manage Canada.

Chris Parsons, from Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets, said, and I quote: “the Canadian government struggled to explain [Bill C-30]—and the need for all of its elements—to the public. In the face of public dispute over the legislation’s need the government sent the legislation to committee before second reading. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police strongly supported the government, as did individual police chiefs from around the country. This extended to calls for examples of where the legislation would have helped to resolve criminal cases.”

However, Canadians saw what this bill was really about. We are very glad that they managed to be heard.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, since we are talking about Bill C-55, I would like to add something important. In Bill C-30, and in the former act, the problem was the imbalance. We support Bill C-55 because it helps to restore balance. In the past, people were able to intercept telephone conversations without having to be accountable or needing to warn the person being spied on, which was inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is why it is important to do things properly. It is also why the NDP will always take these matters seriously and respect the charter and the Constitution.

I would like my honourable colleague to comment on the fact that the balance between the charter and justice is being restored.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do not know why the government has waited so long to address a relatively simple issue of freedom and public safety. We should be asking the government—and I am certain that my colleague would agree—to tell us whether, after this debate, its priorities when it comes to justice will be more in keeping with the charter and the Constitution, rather than the Conservative political agenda. That is the question we should be asking the government, as I am sure that the answer would be quite telling.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to take part in the debate on C-55, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, in response to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Tse.

As many of my colleagues pointed out during the previous debate, Bill C-55 is, I believe, a fair legislative measure that strikes a balance between protecting people’s privacy and preserving public safety.

The bill now before us at report stage amends the Criminal Code to provide safeguards related to the authority to intercept private communications without prior judicial authorization under section 184.4 of the Criminal Code.

Among other things, the bill would require 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. It also provides that a person who has been the object of such an interception must be notified within 90 days. Lastly, it narrows the class of individuals who can make such an interception and limits those interceptions to offences listed in section 183 of the Criminal Code.

In the decision in R. v. Tse, the Supreme Court of Canada found that a wiretap authority without a court authorization in situations of imminent harm could be justified under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the court declared that section 184.4 of the Criminal Code, which was enacted in 1993, was unconstitutional because it contained no accountability measures.

Specifically, the court found that section 184.4 of the Criminal Code violated section 8 of the charter because it did not contain a safeguard such as the requirement to notify persons whose private communications had been intercepted. The court therefore asked Parliament to adopt the necessary legislative measures to make this provision constitutionally compliant. The court gave Parliament until April 13, 2013 to amend the provision in question.

Therefore, I am delighted to attest to the government’s efforts to comply with the court’s decision by bringing forward the requested safeguards within the prescribed time frame. The Criminal Code amendments that are being debated today will therefore directly respond to the guidance from the court by adding the safeguards of “notification” and “reporting” for section 184.4.

As I mentioned earlier, this amendment appears to achieve a reasonable balance between respect for Canadians' privacy and the security that the state must provide through its laws.

The bill proposes giving notice within 90 days to a person whose private communications were intercepted in a situation of imminent harm. It also requires the preparation of annual reports on the use of wiretaps under section 184.4. These amendments will also limit police authority to use this provision.

Like the experts who shared their views with the committee, I am of the opinion that the bill strengthens public safety while clearly limiting invasions of privacy. It also sets out a very strict framework for the use of wiretapping methods under section 184.4 and the related accountability.

The NDP believes it is absolutely essential that these investigation measures include oversight and accountability mechanisms that are clear and specific. We also have deep faith in our judicial institutions. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the interests of all Canadians, and it goes without saying that Parliament must comply with the ruling that was made according to our Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These are the very foundations of our democracy and we must respect them.

I join with my hon. colleagues in supporting this bill, responding as it does to a need in our society. In light of all the evidence heard in the House and in committee, there is no doubt that the proposed text is a fair compromise that reflects the expert opinions heard during the drafting and consideration of the bill.

Canadians have the right to be protected in extremely serious situations, such as abductions, bombings or other similar incidents. They also have the right to be protected from abuse by a poorly thought-out legal system, which may cause them harm.

The only thing I would like to point out is the fact that the government waited until the last minute to comply with the court's decision, when the official opposition has been calling for these changes for some time.

We all know that certain provisions were proposed in the now-defunct Bill C-30, but it was obvious that the government was going much too far in its desire to impose a law and order agenda on Canadians.

The opposition strongly criticized the flaws in Bill C-30 and its potential to create abuse when it was introduced in the House, and Canadians did not take kindly to this invasion of privacy in the name of Conservative ideology that panders to the Conservatives' electoral base.

As a result of political, media and public pressure, the Conservatives had no choice but to retreat and go back to the drawing board, consulting the players concerned. They came back with Bill C-55, a bill that is more thoughtful, more balanced and more likely to find consensus among the public.

However, it would have been more judicious and quicker to propose legislation like Bill C-55 from the start, in order to comply as quickly as possible with the court's decision.

Bill C-55 is proof that consensus, compromise, consultation and healthy debate in our institutions are not enemies of our democracy or of progress in Canada.

To conclude my remarks, I would like to invite the government to take the same action in all the bills it proposes and listen to the people, our fellow Canadians.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciated my colleague’s speech and her wish that the government would change its way of doing things.

It is important to realize, and I wonder whether she is aware, as I am, that it took a Supreme Court decision. The court simply put the repercussions of its decision of nearly a year ago on the back burner to force the government to take balanced action.

I also share her desire to see the government show somewhat more respect for the compatibility of these acts and regulations with the charter and the Constitution. I will not hold my breath, but at least we can salute the fact that the government did not really have a choice: it either had to come to this decision or lose the benefit of section 184.4 of the Criminal Code.

I would like my colleague to say more about this part of her intervention.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is completely correct about what she just alluded to.

What I fail to understand is that we have a charter and it is very easy to check whether a bill is unconstitutional before introducing it and moving on. There are people who can check this out from a legislative standpoint.

I cannot understand why it took two bills, Bill C-30 and Bill C-55, to achieve this result and for people being wiretapped to be protected, like our system.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we know, Bill C-55 is of great interest to me, particularly because it reveals and illustrates the extent of the Conservative government’s failure. The government always wants to move too quickly without showing any concern for our country’s most democratic and most important documents, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution.

On this topic, I would like my hon. colleague to explain how the failure of Bill C-30 and the recent introduction of Bill C-55 show that it is important, when drafting a bill, to take the time to ensure that it is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada's Constitution.

The fact that the Conservative government wanted to do everything in its power to push through Bill C-30, even though it respected neither the substance nor the spirit of the charter, is indicative of the government's lack of interest in and sensitivity to the importance of Canadian institutions.

That is the question I would like to ask my hon. colleague, particularly in view of omnibus bills like C-38 and C-45, which were put together very quickly and did not comply with the prescribed time limits.

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

March 18th, 2013 / 1:50 p.m.
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NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the government needs more respect for this process in drafting bills and in implementing bills that become laws.

Yes, we must also give police officers the tools to take action when they have reasonable grounds to believe that a situation is urgent. Yes, this is necessary if there are reasonable grounds to believe that immediate interception is important. We must also inform people who are under surveillance, but there is a process to follow.

If we want this country to remain a democracy—something we are proud of—we must be very careful about what we are doing. We cannot act based on panic and put innocent people under surveillance without warrants.