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Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Peter MacKay  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, most notably, for

(a) a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender;

(b) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;

(c) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;

(d) a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications;

(e) warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake; and

(f) a streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to an authorization to intercept private communications by ensuring that those warrants and orders can be issued by a judge who issues the authorization and by specifying that all documents relating to a request for a related warrant or order are automatically subject to the same rules respecting confidentiality as the request for authorization.

The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that the spouse is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution with respect to the new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

It also amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.

Lastly, it amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters 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.

Votes

Oct. 20, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 29 on page 14 the following: “(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protections for personal information affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Spencer 2014 SCC 43.”
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting the short title.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
March 26, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day after the day on which this Order is adopted shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Report StageProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have some leading precedence to this. The bill needs to be through by December 22. If it is not, then certain things will happen.

However, from a perspective of Bill C-13, the bill recognizes the importance of modernizing the Criminal Code and police techniques. Police forces cannot work in the century behind us right now. They need to get into the 21st century. The bill would do that.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for his service on the justice committee. He brings a perspective to the committee from his many years of police work that is extremely valuable.

I would like to ask him about the immunity provision contained in the bill. We heard a lot about it during the hearings. We have heard the government say that the immunity provision really does not do much. It does not convey any new powers.

We did not hear anyone at committee say, “We asked for this”. We did not hear that from law enforcement. We did not hear from any telco, so they could not tell us whether they asked for it.

Could the member offer any rationale for why it was there? What was the demand for an enhanced immunity for telephone companies included in the bill?

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I join with the Liberal justice critic in complimenting the member for his experience as a police officer and how that helps the committee do its work.

In respect of that, I thought he made a good speech about what was meant by the term “transmission data recorder”. A lot of comment has been made in the House and elsewhere about the difference between the standard of reasonable grounds to believe versus reasonable grounds to suspect.

As a police officer, could he tell us what is necessary to prepare that kind of warrant application before the court, how much more time is required to prepare a warrant under the threshold of reason to believe and how would that delay an investigation in a matter where a young person was being harassed over the Internet?

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

David Wilks Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his good work on the justice committee.

The fact is that the police need time, especially in this electronic age, to put investigational tools together and the information that is required for a warrant.

When we talk about a preservation order, that is only to hold data in place so police forces can then go back to a judge to ask for additional warrants to actually look at it. Otherwise, they are not even looking at it. They are just providing the opportunity to do that.

However, police need that time. In this digital age where everything, as I said in my speech, can be moved in the flash of a light, police officers need to slow it down so they can create the proper evidence and information for the judge to make a good decision on reasonable and probable grounds.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act, and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

The title is cited as “protecting Canadians from online crime act”, and I have to say at the beginning that I am constantly bothered by the way the government names its bills.

The naming of the bill goes to the heart of the way the government operates in titling its various legislation. There is a lot of spin and a certain amount of deception, because this bill would not actually protect Canadians from online crime in any discernible way. It would provide investigative tools to police and new offences, but all this assumed conduct would be in progress or would have already occurred; it would not be prevented by this legislation.

It has to be said, in fairness to the government, there is some preventive aspect in the fear of the penalties among people who would do these kinds of things. However, as is so often the case with the Conservatives, the title is exaggerated and, I would say, deceptive. Members have heard me say a number of times in this House that we have now had eight years of deception from the current government.

The principal incentive behind this legislation has been the growing problem of cyberbullying, which has led to some tragic consequences. There is no question cyberbullying is a scourge on our society and that cyberbullying is a particular strain on our young people. We could go through all kinds of cases of that, and other speakers have. The Liberals are supportive in principle of legislative measures that would provide law enforcement with additional tools to combat cyberbullying. This is an area where the Criminal Code urgently needs to be updated to reflect the realities of modern technologies.

We believe, however, that legislative measures alone, while helpful, are insufficient to combat cyberbullying, and we urge the government to commit to a broader, more holistic strategy to deal with cyberbullying that also includes public awareness resources for parents, kids, and the general public.

The Liberals introduced cyberbullying legislation in the last session that would have modified some Criminal Code offences to cover modern technology, as is done in Bill C-13. The Conservative members and the New Democrats voted against that legislative measure in the last session.

The Liberals, while in government, also introduced legislation that would have addressed new technologies back in 2005. The current government is only now figuring out that police need these tools to keep up with technologies that are increasingly a part of today's crime.

We believe that a balance must be struck between civil liberties and public safety, particularly when it comes to warrants that may be intrusive and overly broad. We do not support the measures that were in Bill C-30, the previous bill, which even the Conservatives had to withdraw because of Canadian outrage. Sadly, some of this bill duplicates the rejected Bill C-30, such as word-for-word reproductions of the change to subsection 487.3(1) of the Criminal Code and, except for one word, the changes to sections 492.1 and 492.2 regarding warrants.

We are very concerned about efforts to reintroduce “lawful access”, which the Conservatives promised was dead. Why the current government continues to tag on measures that push the envelope, so to speak, on privacy issues makes no sense to me. The immediate issue is important and cannot be lost, so we feel we have to support it, but why do the Conservatives play politics with everything, using cyberbullying to get what they wanted in the old Bill C-30?

My colleague, the member for Charlottetown, raised a question in the House in which he asked the minister to split the bill, but that was refused. That would have made a lot of sense, in that both aspects of the bill could have been studied in their own right and the cyberbullying aspect of the bill could have been dealt with very rapidly.

This omnibus bill touches upon everything from terrorism to telemarketing to cable stealing to hate speech, and in some parts is an affront to both democracy and the legislative process.

In particular, the bill resurrects elements of the old Bill C-30, Vic Toews' famous “either stand with us or with the child pornographers” bill when he was the previous justice minister. Many in this House will remember that.

The past justice minister, now the Minister of National Defence, promised Canadians on February 11, 2013, while killing Bill C-30:

We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30, including the warrantless mandatory disclosure of basic subscriber information or the requirement for telecommunications service providers to build intercept capability within their systems.

He went on to say:

We've listened to the concerns of Canadians who have been very clear on this and responding to that.

I heard what the previous speaker said, and he dealt with this issue somewhat. However, there is a real question in this legislation as to whether the minister's words hold true or not. Again, it goes to the heart of why the bill was not split so that both aspects could be dealt with appropriately.

We must ensure that adequate protections are included in the bill to protect the civil liberties and privacy interests of ordinary Canadians. We are very concerned that with this omnibus bill, under the guise of cyberbullying prevention, the government is slipping things through the back door.

Ultimately, while we agree the Criminal Code must be updated to keep pace with technology, the hodgepodge bundling of bills is highly problematic. Some of it, such as the changes to the hate speech provisions and the introduction of the cable stealing offence, has been presented without any explanation of why the modifications are being made and without making any rational connection to cyberbullying.

We agree with the need to address cyberbullying and support the creation of a new offence for the unwanted distribution of intimate images. We also agree that some of the Criminal Code sections being modified are woefully out of date and must be amended to better reflect modern technology.

We strongly disagree, however, with the use of omnibus legislation that precludes nuanced discussion and debate on disparate issues. Moreover, we strongly disagree with the reintroduction of the universally panned legislation on lawful access from the old Bill C-30.

In short, we believe the provisions of the bill would unnecessarily infringe the civil liberties and privacy interests of Canadians. While we support this legislation, we want to place on the record that, as has happened in the past with the government's so-called crime agenda, the courts could ultimately find that many of the provisions of Bill C-13 would be illegal.

It would have served the government and Canadians well had the government accepted some of the concerns that were raised, allowed some amendments at committee, and, most notably, accepted the demand by my colleague, the member for Charlottetown, to split the bill, with the cyberbullying elements contained in a stand-alone bill rather than in what we are now debating.

Report StageProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the concept of splitting the bill. We have heard a lot about this, and we heard about it in committee.

I do not know if he has had an opportunity to read the testimony from the justice committee's hearings on this bill. He would note that the committee studied it for 10 days. It heard from more than 40 witnesses, and there was extensive discussion about the investigative powers provisions of the bill. I fail to understand what more could be added if a separate study of all that was done again, with the same witnesses coming before the committee again.

The member probably heard Mr. Canning's comments when he said that we need this bill and that the police need these tools to prevent another tragedy such as the one that befell his daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons.

I would like to read the comments of Mr. Allan Hubley, who is the father of Jamie Hubley, who was bullied right here in Ottawa. He said:

Bill C-13 in my view is meant to help reduce cyberbullying and help police obtain the evidence needed to punish those among us who prey on our beautiful children. Our children need you to use your power as parliamentarians to protect them. Parents across Canada are watching and hoping you will do something to help them.

Remember the words of Churchill and please ensure change is progress by passing this bill and giving law enforcement the tools needed.

I wonder if the member could comment on that and tell us if he still thinks that this bill needs to be delayed and split and studied another time.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary, to a certain extent, misses the point. The bill should have been split long ago. We are not suggesting that today.

We accept the reality that we have to support this bill, but a better process could have been instituted whereby there could have been more debate on both aspects.

The fact of the matter is that telephone companies were not witnesses. No one involved in the Spencer case in the Supreme Court was invited as a witness.

I am sure that you know already, Mr. Speaker, that I am not on the justice committee. However, at the committee that I operate in, because of the government majority there is a certain weighting toward witnesses that the government wants, witnesses who will talk their language. If I might say so, the way the Conservative government operates in committee has undermined the committee process, and it is undermining the very essence of how democracy works in this country.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

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

Sometimes it feels as though the debate on Bill C-13 is a dialogue of the deaf. There are two things going on at the same time here. There is the section that deals with cyberbullying and the illegal distribution of images. Then, there is the much more complex section that takes up about 40 of the bill's 52 pages. Some witnesses in committee expressed some serious concerns about this part. The Supreme Court also examined the issue in R. v. Spencer.

The NDP submitted 36 amendments in committee, but they were all rejected. I mentioned a dialogue of the deaf, since we all tried to split the bill so that we could make sure everything was done right. The parliamentary secretary asked what other witnesses the committee could have heard from. We could have heard from experts to explain how the Spencer ruling affects the bill. That did not happen, since the ruling came after the study was done.

Could my colleague speak to that?

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the member basically confirms her own point by raising the fact that there were 36 amendments. None were carried. There was an amendment by the Liberal member for Charlottetown to have a compulsory review in three years. Those might not be the exact words that were used, but it was amended by the committee to do it in seven years. That is a wee bit of progress, in that there is a compulsory review in place.

However, it comes back to my original point: this is a government that is operating in a very dictatorial way. It fails to take ideas from all members of the House, including the opposition parties, that would make bills better. These ideas would do a better job for all Canadians, and perhaps even prevent some of the Supreme Court challenges that are being tossed back at the government as legislation that does not meet the test of the charter.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-13.

I will put my speech aside, because I want to respond to the accusations just made by the member opposite. I am actually the chair of the justice committee, and as chair, part of my responsibility is to make sure that everyone gets a fair opportunity to be heard. I think members of the committee work very well together, to be perfectly honest.

The way it has worked and will continue to work at committee is that each party is able to submit the names of witnesses they would like to hear from. Based on the numbers we get, we ask members to prioritize who they would like to hear from, because time may run out.

If I recall correctly, there was no set time for this particular bill. If the committee did not hear from certain segments, it was because those witnesses were not recommended or brought forward. The committee did not call those witnesses not because the government was trying to do something inappropriate but because the witnesses were not asked for. The government cannot be blamed for not calling witnesses who were not asked for.

Conservatives had an opportunity to ask for witnesses. New Democrats asked for witnesses and the Liberals asked for witnesses. I take some offence that the member said this was not done appropriately. It was absolutely done appropriately. It was done in this committee in dealing with Bill C-13 and is done for all other legislation that comes to the committee.

I think the committee is operating well, and everyone has an opportunity to have their say. If parties, including my own, want to hear from witnesses, they can put them on the list. There will be a discussion as to how many meetings there will be on it, and then we will hear from those witnesses. That is how it has worked and will continue to work as long as I am in the chair. We will see if that continues.

I also want to respond to the issue of splitting this omnibus bill. I have the bill in front of me. It is in French and English, as all bills are. It is 53 pages long, plus 12 pages of explanatory notes. It is not a very big bill. If members can read it in both languages, that is great, but let us assume that most read in one language or the other. That would make it about 25 or 26 pages long. It did not need to be split, in my view. I think there is lots of opportunity to talk about all the issues. It is not a very difficult bill to grasp. I think someone could read it in a few hours.

There are a number of issues in the bill, but the process at committee did not limit members to talking about just certain parts of the bill. Members could have brought forward witnesses and we could have had a discussion, which we did, on all parts of that bill. I have to take some offence on the issue of what happened.

As we know, as the minister and the previous speaker on this side have pointed out, the bill would do a number of things, but in general, it would create a new offence for the distribution of non-consensual pictures on the Internet.

I did not know how big a problem it was, to be perfectly honest. I had not really experienced it in my office or had anyone come to see me. I took the opportunity to ask my daughters, who just graduated and are in university now. They were able to illustrate to me a number of actual cases, in their own high school, of young women who had had photos taken of them that were then posted on different people's sites as revenge or cyberbullying. This was a surprise to me.

That does not make the news. What makes the news is when it goes too far and the bullying is so egregious that someone, unfortunately, takes his or her life. Then it makes big news. This is a problem that is happening every day in every community across this country, so we needed to act.

There was mention of the previous legislation that was brought forward in Bill C-30, and appropriately so. The government recognized that there were some issues that needed to be dealt with, so we brought it back, took it off the table, and redid the bill.

We made changes based on the public and the response in this House in terms of the changes that needed to be made. I believe that those were made. Do we get credit as a government for making those changes? No, and the previous speaker criticized us, saying that we did not do it right in the first place.

I am sure that opposition members believe that they are perfect, and maybe even some of us think we are perfect on this side, but let us be honest. We had a bill in front of us, we recognized that there were some issues, we took it back, and we made changes and improvements. We addressed those problems and brought something back that we could all pass.

I am not sure what the NDP are doing. I heard from the last speaker that the Liberals are supporting the bill going forward, and I appreciate that.

I do not think as a government that we should be criticized for hearing the concerns and then making changes. I will agree that there were a number of amendments put forward, 30-some amendments, and one, on a review period, did pass, which I personally supported. I do not vote on the committee as the chair, but I do support that.

As we all know, it takes some time for legislation, especially with the Criminal Code, to get through the system, get in place, and get tested in practice. I think it will take some time before this piece of legislation is tested, and that length of time for the review is appropriate.

The other issue we heard a lot about was that the bill would give the police a lot more power than they already have. I think the issue on Bill C-30 was that it looked like the police could do things without a warrant. Well, this bill would clearly resolve that issue, in my view.

Bill C-13 clearly indicates that for preservation orders and for the police to be able to do their jobs in terms of attacking the problem of cyberbullying in particular cases, they need judicial support to move forward.

I think it is important to give the police those tools. In this electronic environment of the Internet, things move so fast, on or off, we need to be able to do that.

We experience that around here all the time. If a member of Parliament makes a mistake or does something on the Internet, and somebody catches it, a few hours later, if not less, it is gone. We have all experienced that in this House with members of Parliament doing things on electronic systems.

When it is a criminal activity, we need to have the police able to go after it quickly. We need to give them those tools to make that happen. I am very supportive of the opportunity for the police to be able to do their work.

We have been asked as a government to do something about the cyberbullying problem. This is not an easy area to legislate. We cannot legislate cyberbullying to stop. It is not that easy. I appreciate that we have looked at opportunities and issues in terms of addressing cyberbullying through our legal system, which is what this bill would do.

Bill C-13 would give the police better tools to track and trace telecommunications. It would streamline the process of obtaining multiple warrants so that the police could execute their jobs.

The witnesses we saw whose families were affected by cyberbullying were fully supportive of what we were doing. I want every member of this House to think about that. If it was their son or daughter whose photo was online and who was being bullied, would they want the police to be able to act to resolve the issue and have a penalty for cyberbullying? I believe the answer is yes, and it is yes for the vast majority of Canadians. That is why we need to support Bill C-13.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, who is also the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In my opinion, he is taking offence at very little; we are not criticizing him for the number of meetings that were held or the quality of the witnesses. However, we asked some witnesses whether it would not be more prudent to wait for the Supreme Court's ruling, which was handed down just a few hours after the time provided for the clause-by-clause review had ended.

On one hand, I agree with my colleague that this is an important issue and that we want to help the victims, parents, families and everyone involved so that they can rest easy. On the other hand, I want to be able to guarantee them that the work we are doing here will not be dismissed out of hand by an impending ruling.

It would have been wiser to wait for the ruling. That was certainly a valid request. It is impossible to conduct a study without knowing the outcome of the ruling. We cannot ask constitutional experts questions about a ruling that has not yet been issued. There is no need to take offence to that. In this case, we did not feel as rushed as we did in other cases, but it certainly would have been better to wait until the ruling was handed down.

I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that. How could the witnesses share their opinions on a ruling that had not yet been issued?

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague across the way. She does an excellent job on behalf of her party at committee.

It would not be wise for this committee or any committee to wait until the Supreme Court decides on the issue. I am not a lawyer, but if we look at the decision that was brought down, it defined activities of the police, but it did not change what was in the bill.

The wheels of justice move relatively slowly in this country. Getting legislation through the House moves slowly. Cyberbullying is one of those areas that is not moving slowly. It is progressing every single day. We needed to act, and we acted appropriately.

If in the future, after this is reviewed, if changes to legislation need to be made based on rulings from the Supreme Court, that can happen, but we should not have to wait until the Supreme Court has decided on everything. As elected officials, we decide here in the House.

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank the chair of the justice committee for his speech. There are a couple of matters he raised that I would invite him to come back to. First, toward the end of his speech, he indicated that every single witness who appeared before the committee whose family was touched by cyberbullying was strongly in favour of the bill. I would ask him to recall the testimony of Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, who spoke very passionately about not wanting to see privacy rights taken away in the name of her daughter. I would invite the member to perhaps adjust what he said with respect to that generalization on the part of victims.

I also want to come back to his comments with respect to witnesses. As the chair of the committee, he would be very well aware that the Liberal Party requested that the wireless association of Canada testify, but it was not invited. We did not hear from telephone companies. Could the member provide us with any explanation as to why the government did not invite telephone companies? Are the opposition parties solely to blame for the fact that we did not hear from telephone companies, companies that are going to receive immunity under the bill?

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October 1st, 2014 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will start with the second question first. If there are witnesses that any of the parties wanted to see but did not invite, it is their fault that they did not hear from them. If the Conservative Party did not desire to hear from telephone companies and did not put them on the list, they would not be invited. I do not recall any telephone companies being on the list to be invited. My recommendation to the committee is that if there are people or organizations that members want to see, get them on the list. If they are a priority, make them a priority. As a group, we will decide how many meetings to have, and it is usually based on how many witnesses we have. If there are only a few witnesses, there are fewer meetings.

With regard to Carol Todd, she did not want privacy rights trampled on, and I do not believe the bill tramples on any privacy rights.

Report StageProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, since I do not have a lot of time, I will get straight to the point.

Cyberbullying is an extremely important issue and the NDP wants to do something about it. We suggested splitting the bill in order to pass this part quickly. I want to reiterate that, because it seems that the members across the way are under the impression that this issue is not important to us. That is not true.

We are deeply concerned about the fact that the government is in the process of creating an entirely new system to gain access to personal information. I heard Conservative members say that this will change nothing when it comes to accessing personal information, but that is not true. Providing protection to Internet service providers who voluntarily comply with a request and hand over information, or who do so on their own initiative, is extremely problematic.

We have the Supreme Court's ruling in the Spencer case before us. We have not really had the chance to hear what the government has to say about this. We do not even know whether this bill is constitutional. I am not sure. Some telecommunications companies, such as Telus and Rogers, have even said that they no longer respond to requests from government agencies because they now believe it is not constitutional. Why can the government not open its eyes and realize that such things as an IP address do indeed constitute personal information?

As the court stated in its ruling, you need a warrant to obtain this information. There have been decisions against creating an entire system, a back door, for calling a telecommunications company to obtain personal information. I believe that the government has a duty to consider this before simply cutting off debate and quickly moving to a vote.

I would like to add that we are constantly being told that these requests are made in exceptional circumstances. That is not true. We saw that the Canada Border Services Agency made more than 13,000 requests in one year. Only two of these requests were listed as being required for national security reasons. I am sorry, but their argument does not hold water.

Furthermore, we were told that these requests are transparent and subject to review. However, there is no transparency. There is absolutely no oversight. When I asked the government in writing for the data for the past 10 years from all agencies, it did not have the data. The government has no record of the requests. How can we have a transparent system without even having the necessary data?