Fighting Foreign Corruption Act

An Act to amend the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act

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

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 Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act to

(a) increase the maximum sentence of imprisonment applicable to the offence of bribing a foreign public official;

(b) eliminate the facilitation payments exception to that offence;

(c) create a new offence relating to books and records and the bribing of a foreign public official or the hiding of that bribery; and

(d) establish nationality jurisdiction that would apply to all of the offences under the Act.

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.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, while we do support this bill and its ultimate passage, we would love to be able to see the bill get even stronger in terms of the potential for amendments, whether by Liberal members of Parliament or NDP members of Parliament, or whether it is private members' bills on the order paper.

Is the idea of trying to enhance the legislation by amendment something the member would like to see the government accept?

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:40 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course, we can always hope that, at some point, this government will want to improve the bills presented here, particularly when they are reviewed in committee, when experts are heard and when amendments are proposed. That is certainly our role.

I think the opposition has played it very well so far by presenting amendments precisely to improve the legislation. That is what we want, because we raised some issues during the debates here.

It is going to be very important to be able to propose amendments in committee to improve the bill. We strongly hope that the government will listen to reason, pass these amendments with enthusiasm and show an openness that it has not displayed so far.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:40 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased that this bill was introduced, but it is disappointing that it came from the Senate.

Last year, other bills on the same topic were rejected. Now, a door has opened. This bill addresses corruption of foreign public officials. The NDP is in favour of clear rules requiring that Canadians and Canadian businesses abroad be accountable and responsible.

We will support this bill so that it can be sent to committee. However, there needs to be some ambition here. This bill is lacking many components that would implement basic standards to ensure that companies doing business overseas respect human rights and are congenial. Those standards would allow Canada to become a model country in doing business overseas.

During a Senate committee meeting on February 28, 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said the following:

...our government's priority is encouraging jobs, growth and long-term prosperity...It is reflected in the need to position Canada as a reliable supplier of resources which emerging markets need to grow...

We need to position our country as a reliable resource. We need to be a model country, but there is still work to be done in that regard. I would like to talk about what is happening with certain Canadian countries abroad. I will just give a few examples.

We sometimes think that things are wonderful everywhere. We talk about corruption elsewhere without looking in our own back yard. For example, there are Canadian public servants who receive bribes. Turn on the television and you might be shocked to see what is happening here in Canada.

There have been some examples on television, on the CBC. For example, the RCMP investigated a Canadian mining company's activities in Mexico. The story did not end well. The people in the concerned area in Mexico did not want the Canadian mining company, Blackfire, to set up shop in Chiapas, and that resulted in criminal activity.

In March 2010, the coalition MiningWatch Canada informed the RCMP and provided proof that money had been paid to the mayor of Chicomuselo. However, nothing really came of it because the RCMP also needs the means to investigate. Bills are great, but it is hard if there is no money to implement them.

Finally, the Mexican spokesperson in this story was killed. No one knows who killed him, but he was a harsh critic of a Canadian company. The company was accused of killing him, but no one could prove it. It is odd that this man, who fought to defend his land and ensure that the mining company conducted its business properly, got himself killed. That gives us food for thought. Just go to Radio-Canada for the source.

As far as Guatemala is concerned, last year we welcomed a group of people who came to talk to us about the way Canadian companies operate in these countries. They were talking about the involvement of security staff from Canadian companies in recent acts of violence that could result in civil suits.

I am talking about Tahoe Resources, a Vancouver-based company. This company sets up in a region without consulting the people who live there, those who will have to live with the impact of its activities on the environment and the water they consume.

These Canadian companies are giving us a bad name because the people are not going to say it was the Canadian company's fault; they are going to blame Canadians. We have to be careful. Yes, it is a matter of corruption, but the problem is even broader than that. We have to be more ambitious and draft a bill to crack down on offending companies.

Tahoe Resources' project heightened the conflicts in the region. Civilian security officers came down on the community and hurt people, some seriously. We do not want that. We want good relations.

As members said earlier, our government's priority is to promote jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, but not by destroying our neighbouring countries. I have another example: the police search of SNC-Lavalin.

Nonetheless, I will close on a note of hope. Earlier, one of my colleagues was talking about Pascua-Lama in Chile. This is another Canadian company. The local people demonstrated for months, but the company kept operating. The same people went to court and won. The government had no choice. It had to put an end to the activities of the Canadian company. The company was unable to set up there because it had no consideration for the local people.

This brings me to another point. In Spanish we say that we must have un acuerdo social, une licencia sociale. We must get along socially. It is similar to a driver's licence, but it is social license. It means that these companies, except for the corruption issue, are very honest. That is what we hear. They must consult people and explain to them how their mining activities may affect their lives. Before doing anything, they must secure social license. Otherwise, this leads to conflicts in the country, and they do not want that.

We signed free trade agreements with these countries and we do not want to create problems there. We want wealth for both sides.

In Chile, a court ruling forced one of the largest gold companies in Latin America, the Pascua-Lama mine, to stop all its activities. The Chilean justice felt that the project did not meet environmental standards. It is a good thing the country had some environmental standards. In the end, the company will not leave. It is now negotiating to resume its activities next year. That is great. We should not expect this to happen overnight.

This is a good bill and the NDP will support it, but we must go further. We must be more ambitious. Canada has an opportunity to be a role model. For a long time, the United States was always mentioned as a role model. If Canada creates jobs, if it establishes mines elsewhere, if it develops a policy with a minimum of social agreements that respect people's way of life—and not just the environment—it may become a role model, and other countries will open their doors to us. We will be proud of what we will be doing abroad.

The bill is particularly important for the mining industry, of which the NDP is a strong supporter. In the past, Bills C-323 and C-486 were not passed. The time has come to retrieve them and to read them. Then, perhaps members opposite will realize that we were not so wrong and that the NDP was right on target, because it was able to look a little further, instead of thinking only about the money going into the companies' pockets. Moreover, these companies often do not even pay taxes in the countries where they settle.

I invite all hon. members to be more ambitious and to dream of a country that can behave like a good big brother and be a role model. This is a start, but it is not the end. We must go further.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:50 p.m.
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Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the speeches from the NDP, and I want to point out that every opportunity the NDP has to criticize Canadian companies, Canadian jobs and Canadian workers around the world, it seems to take those opportunities to put down Canadian companies, Canadian job opportunities and Canadian initiatives.

Throughout her speech, the member talked about examples. I am wondering if she is aware that as Canadian companies go around the world to different countries, quite often in these countries they actually have higher standards than the countries themselves. Our companies are working to increase the economic viability of the countries they are operating within. They are actually raising the level of economic development and wages in these countries. If Canadian companies do not do that, it is going to be companies from other countries that do it, and they may not have the absolutely high standards that we do.

As Canadians, we want to see our companies out there in the world. I would argue with her that we are leaders. We have some of the best companies in the world in development.

She has stated that the New Democrats would like to support this bill. I wonder if she could put forward the amendments they would be considering so we could have a look at them instead of having them dropped on us during committee. I would like to see how she would improve the bill because I think the bill is very good the way it is.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:50 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

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

In the past, some members of my party introduced bills on this subject, but they were not approved, which is a shame.

Canada does indeed have high standards, but these apply only when companies are based in Canada and not when they are based abroad, unfortunately.

I provided examples and mentioned that people had been killed, in addition to talking about conflicts. These examples have even been reported in the newspapers. In Chile, for example, the company acknowledged having lost the case, but indicated it would renew negotiations with the locals. Operations will therefore resume, but with some basic standards.

I therefore propose adding to the bill the fact of having a social agreement, consent among the locals at the site where the Canadian company will be operating. If there is consent, there is no problem. Alternatively, if there is no consent, violence will occur, and this is what should be avoided.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be fairly clear on the position of the Liberal Party of Canada on this legislation. We see it as a step forward, but we also see it as a lost opportunity, in that the government could have done a whole lot more. We have seen that demonstrated. In particular, a member of Parliament from the Liberal caucus brought in the sunshine bill that would have had more of an impact. Ideally, I would love to see some of these amendments to give the bill more strength.

We recognize that whether it is bribery, corruption or kickbacks, these types of things occur and have a devastating impact on many countries around the world. Even though we have 95%-plus in terms of excellent companies that contribute in many different ways to many different countries, a small fraction of companies cause a great deal of concern, and we should all be concerned. This is the reason we believe that the legislation is necessary.

Canada needs to play a stronger leadership role, and bringing forward legislation is one of the ways we can do that. We hope to see the government being open to amendments. Would the member not agree that the government would be best advised to accept amendments to enhance and give strength to Bill S-14?

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:55 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member did not ask a question, he made a comment.

We fully agree that this is indeed a first step. I think the people on the other side of the House agree as well. The fact still remains that we can improve the bill and go further. I want to emphasize that we need some ambition.

I think Canada will lead by example. If it can sit at the table and talk to people from other countries as equals, a bright prosperous future will open before all of us. We must continue in this direction. This is a first step.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:55 p.m.
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NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very interesting speech. I would also like to congratulate her for the exemplary work she does in her riding. I would like her to keep up the good work.

Her speech was very interesting, especially because she highlighted the problems that we see outside Canada. That is the impetus for the bill that is currently before us.

Sometimes the problems that we have to solve abroad originate here. We must not hide the fact that Canadian corporations working abroad do not always act ethically. I believe that this bill could do much to defend the rights of people outside Canada.

We believe in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We also believe that people who live outside Canada should have fundamental rights and that we have an obligation to protect them.

It is true that Canada's reputation abroad is sometimes dubious or is declining. Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. On a number of occasions, Canada has shown that it is not interested in protecting rights outside the country. I believe that my colleague made some very interesting points about that.

Does my colleague believe that the bill is enough to restore Canada's international reputation? Do we have to do more?

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2013 / 8:55 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is just a first step. I know that full well.

I see the work being done with ParlAmericas and with friendship groups in other countries. However, even the members who are part of other associations feel we could be going further. It is a first step, but it is not enough.

This bill lacks ambition. They need to be more ambitious, and they need to listen to members on the other side of the House. They need to listen to the opposition. We have plenty of good proposals. They need to listen to us. That is what democracy looks like: working together and not simply saying that because they have a majority, they can do whatever they want. We have very good ideas and we will share them for everyone's benefit.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10 a.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to begin debate at second reading of Bill S-14, the fighting foreign corruption act.

On February 5, our government announced further steps to combat corruption and bribery by tabling amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, or the CFPOA.

Canada has long played a prominent role on the international stage in combatting corruption. Bill S-14 signals our commitment to further deter and prevent Canadian companies from bribing foreign public officials.

The amendments proposed in Bill S-14 are intended to ensure that Canadian companies continue to act in good faith in the pursuit of freer markets and expanded global trade. They also signal our commitment and our expectation that other countries do the same.

The CFPOA has been in force since 1999 and was first introduced to implement our international obligations under the OECD anti-bribery convention and two more anti-corruption conventions through the OAS and the UN.

In essence, the CFPOA makes it a crime in Canada to bribe a foreign public official to gain a business advantage abroad. It also makes it possible to prosecute a conspiracy to commit or an attempt to commit such a bribery. It covers aiding and abetting the commission of bribery, an intention in common to commit bribery and counselling others to commit bribery.

Laundering property and the proceeds of crime, including the proceeds of bribery offences, as well as the possession of property and proceeds, are already offences under the Criminal Code. The new offences being created in the CFPOA would also be captured by these Criminal Code provisions once they were in force.

The six proposed amendments included in Bill S-14 are intended to answer the call for enhanced vigilance. They demonstrate a comprehensive approach to fighting bribery and signal our government's strong and unwavering commitment to that fight. I will explain each of these in turn.

The first amendment, the introduction of nationality jurisdiction, would allow us to prosecute Canadians or Canadian companies on the basis of their nationality, regardless of where the bribery takes place in the world. Currently, we can only do so after providing a substantial link between the offence and Canadian territory.

The second amendment would provide exclusive authority to the RCMP to lay charges under the act. This would ensure that a uniform approach is taken across Canada and would raise awareness of Canadian businesses regarding the RCMP's primary role in the CFPOA investigations.

The third amendment, the elimination of the words “for profit” from the definition of “business”, would ensure that bribery applies to all, not just those paid by businesses that make a profit.

The fourth amendment would increase the maximum jail term to 14 years. It is currently punishable by a maximum of five years' imprisonment and unlimited fines. The possibility of unlimited fines will remain as it is.

The fifth amendment creates a new books and records offence specific to foreign bribery. International anti-corruption treaties to which Canada is a party require that measures be put in place to ensure that individuals and companies do not “cook the books”. The penalties for the new offence would mirror those of the foreign bribery offence; that is, a maximum of 14 years of imprisonment and unlimited fines.

The sixth and final amendment would eliminate the facilitation payments exception. Currently, the act states that payments made “to expedite or secure the performance by a foreign public official of any act of a routine nature” do not constitute bribes for the purposes of the CFPOA. The CFPOA also provides for an inclusive list of acts of a routine nature.

For the benefit of all members, a facilitation payment is a payment made to a foreign public official to do something that he or she is already obligated to do, such as deliver the mail on time. Conversely, payments that are made to receive a business advantage constitute bribes, which are already illegal under the CFPOA. As a result of the elimination of the facilitation payments defence, this would not create a competitive disadvantage for Canadian companies in international markets. Bribes are illegal under the legislation of every OECD country.

In order to ensure a level playing field for all businesses, Bill S-14 provides for the delay of the coming into force of the elimination of the facilitation payments exception to allow Canadian companies to adjust their own practices and internal policies, if they have not already done so, to ban the use of facilitation payments in their day-to-day operations. This time to adjust is all the more important given that some other countries continue to allow facilitation payments.

With Bill S-14, our government has taken a proactive role in raising awareness of its zero-tolerance position, and we are taking a proactive role in raising awareness of the risks of engaging in corruption abroad.

It is incumbent upon us to appreciate this bill for what it is: that being a clear message that Canada means business and that our government's top priority is securing jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Corruption does the opposite. Corruption erodes economic growth and long-term prosperity. Corruption fosters an environment conducive to allowing other crimes to flourish.

Foreign bribery undermines economic prosperity by corroding the rule of law that is the basis of market freedom. The global fight against foreign bribery is intended to create a level playing field for all international businesses. The bill provides us with a strong tool for creating the conditions for Canadian businesses to play by the rules and for Canadian businesses to succeed. Canadian companies can compete with the best and win fairly. Recent cases right here in Canada demonstrate the need for continued vigilance and the importance of effective enforcement.

Our government remains committed to combatting foreign corruption and has already developed and implemented an array of regulatory and legislative tools with which to do so. A number of federal departments, agencies and crown corporations play key roles in Canada's fight against foreign bribery. They work in close co-operation in Canada's two-pronged approach to foreign bribery: enforcement and prevention.

In January 2008, the RCMP established its international anti-corruption unit, which is dedicated to enforcing and raising awareness about the CFPOA. Comprising two teams, strategically located in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and Calgary, a major nucleus for industry, trade and finance and a hub for Canada's extractive industries, it has complemented enforcement efforts with substantial awareness-raising and training.

In addition, the legal framework that established the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in 2006 further enhances prosecutorial discretion in Canada. Since its establishment, the PPSC has also created a position in Ottawa for the purpose of advising the two RCMP teams on ongoing investigations.

To date, under the CFPOA, there have been three convictions, and two cases are pending. There are 35 ongoing investigations. The penalties are increasing substantially with each new conviction. This is good news for Canada. With the adoption of these new amendments, we can expect to hear even better news.

In early 2012, during the development phase to identify new ways for Canada to enhance its fight against foreign bribery, the government hosted the “Canadian Workshop: New Ideas for Canada's Fight against Foreign Bribery”. This was a means to consult with experts from Canadian businesses, law firms, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations on the issue of foreign bribery.

The workshop was held in Ottawa and provided an opportunity for discussions between government officials and key stakeholders on concrete steps that could be taken to improve the enforcement of the CFPOA, and to further encourage Canadian companies to prevent bribery before it happens and to detect it when it occurs.

Over 30 participants engaged in discussions on a number of foreign bribery related themes, including possibly amending the CFPOA, recognizing and resisting bribery solicitations, discouraging facilitation payments, voluntary disclosure, books and records offences, awareness raising, messaging to small and medium-sized enterprises, sectorial initiatives and education and training.

The Government of Canada continues to consider the views and ideas that were presented at the workshop, which was intended to be the first step toward increasing engagement and co-operation with key stakeholders on foreign bribery and corruption in the months and years to come. The results of that consultation are reflected in the bill.

These consultations complement the awareness-raising endeavours undertaken by the RCMP, which I mentioned earlier. Additional examples of the RCMP's participation in anti-corruption awareness programs and training include expanding its training of RCMP liaison officers before they depart for overseas assignments to include the issues of foreign bribery and the CFPOA.

The international anti-corruption unit has also established contacts for the Department of Justice's international systems group to ensure that priority is given to requests for mutual legal assistance in corruption matters. The RCMP has also made a number of presentations to external stakeholders, including presentations to local universities, non-governmental organizations, banks, trade commissioners, law firms, government partners, the Canadian Institute of Mining and numerous Canadian and international associations, experts and professionals.

As we can see from an enforcement perspective, we are on solid ground. As mentioned earlier, a number of federal departments, agencies and crown corporations play key roles in Canada's fight against foreign bribery. They work in close co-operation in Canada's two-pronged approach to foreign bribery: in enforcement and in prevention.

Another of these key departments is Public Works and Government Services Canada. Members will recall that effective July 11, 2012, PWGSC extended the list of offences that render companies and individuals ineligible to bid on contracts to include the bribing of a foreign public official under the CFPOA. This further demonstrates the government's zero tolerance position and is evidence of the variety of legislative, regulatory and policy instruments used in Canada's whole of government approach to combatting corruption.

From a prevention perspective, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade also engages in training and outreach. Information and training on the act and on Canada's international obligations to prevent and combat corruption are provided to heads of mission, trade commissioners and political officers.

In March 2010, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade adopted the policy and procedure for reporting allegations of bribery abroad by Canadians or Canadian companies. These provide guidance to Canadian missions on the steps that must be taken when allegations arise that a Canadian company or individual has bribed a Canadian public official, or other bribery related offences.

Canada is a trading nation. Our economy and future prosperity depend upon expanding our trade ties with the world. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs said on February 5, Canada is committed to the implementation of our international obligations on anti corruption.

These amendments will help ensure that Canadian companies continue to act in good faith in the pursuit of freer markets and expanded global trade.

It is now up to the House to demonstrate our commitment to combatting corruption. Canada is committed to strengthening its fight against corruption, and this bill is a reflection of that commitment. Bribery is not the Canadian way of doing business. We need to make this crystal clear today.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we on this side support the principle of the legislation. We want to see it go to committee to be studied.

However, I want to start off my question by noting the irony of this. It is coming from the Senate. If we look at who is in the Senate and the list of people who serve on international corporations and so on, there are some who right now are having some challenges with respect to tax havens. It is a little rich that the government is depending on the Senate to bring this bill forward. I will leave the irony to everyone who is looking at it.

Canada is a laggard when it comes to transparency. In fact, Transparency International ranked Canada the worst of all G7 nations in 2011. I know that one of the Conservative members is shaking his head. He should, because Canada is the worst in terms of transparency, not according to the NDP but according to Transparency International.

My question is to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Will the government go further than this? The G8 is coming up and we need to strengthen the EITI, which Prime Minister Cameron is pushing.

Will we actually sign on to go further than this, which is basically what happens when people get caught, and have full disclosure of Canadian extractives when they are doing business abroad?

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course, I understand that the NDP has a long-standing distrust and dislike of the Canadian extractive industry, which employs hundreds and thousands of Canadians and generates billions of dollars for the Canadian economy. It is a shame, because it is one of the great industries of Canada and makes Canada a global player in the world.

He mentioned transparency, so I would like to tell him about what Transparency International Canada has said about the bill we are here to discuss today. It said that Transparency International Canada is delighted that the federal government is moving to strengthen the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in accordance with Canada’s international obligations, and it encourages the government to ensure that “the RCMP has the necessary resources necessary to enforce the CFPOA” effectively.

The Hon. John Manley, a former deputy Prime Minister of Canada, said that good corporate citizenship at home and abroad is essential to Canada’s economic success and that these latest measures aimed at eliminating corruption and bribery will strengthen Canada’s already strong reputation for good governance and ethical business practices.

Ian Pearce, the Chief Executive Officer of Xstrata Nickel, one of those great Canadian companies the NDP does not want to support and does not think Canadians should be employed by, said that as a Canadian-based company with operations and projects around the world, it applauds the government’s efforts to combat corruption and bribery. It said that as part of the Xstrata Group, it is committed to the highest standards of personal and professional ethical behaviour and has a policy of zero tolerance towards any form of bribery or fraud.

These are some of the quotes people are making about this very important piece of legislation. I hope that my hon. colleague takes the time to read the legislation, and I look forward to debating it with him at committee.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, unlike the representative of the NDP, we basically agree with the bill and think it is a good idea. It is a welcomed initiative, and we hope that it sees its way into committee sooner rather than later and does not die the death of prorogation.

I am a little concerned. As the Globe and Mail has rightly said, Canada has ranked the worst in the G7 nations in fighting bribery. In fact, over the last period of time the Americans have had 227 prosecutions, the Germans have had 135 and we have had two. I would hope that this legislation would enhance the enthusiasm of the government for prosecutions. As the parliamentary secretary has rightly said, Canadians are fed up with reading about Canadian companies in their national media.

It is curious to me that while this legislation is welcomed legislation and will be supported by, it looks like, all the parties in the House, later on today my Bill C-474, the sunshine bill, which is a bill that would supply evidence for a prosecution, will be spoken against by the Government of Canada.

Why would the government on the one hand enhance its legislative ability and yet simultaneously make it more difficult for prosecutions to succeed?

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I appreciate the support of the member's party and other parties to move this bill as quickly as possible to the foreign affairs committee. As a member of that committee, I give my commitment that we will do everything in our power to move it through as quickly as possible. I agree with the member that this is important legislation.

It is interesting that the member points out that there have been three or four convictions so far under the current legislation. This was legislation that was introduced by his government. To the extent that there were things missing from that legislation, he perhaps may want to talk to some of his colleagues about that. However, his former colleague, the Hon. John Manley, has praised this bill. He said it is the right thing to do and has praised this government for moving quickly.

The OECD pointed out some of these issues to the Canadian government just two years ago. This bill was brought forward immediately to address those issues.

I think we will see more prosecutions, but I also believe that Canadian companies are very ethical. Generally speaking, Canadian companies are of the highest ethical standards in the world, and that is probably why we do not see more of these kinds of prosecutions.

With respect to the member's bill, we will be debating it later today. I will be speaking on it and look forward to talking about it at that time.

Fighting Foreign Corruption ActGovernment Orders

May 24th, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Stella Ambler Conservative Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue of global corruption is receiving significant attention both at home and abroad. I agree that the amendments before us today send a strong message that Canadian companies can compete fairly and that we expect other countries to do the same.

Can the hon. member tell us how recent uprisings in the Middle East and north Africa have made these measures so timely?