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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.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member for Charlottetown. We all heard members on the Conservative benches tell us that Ms. Todd had taken back some parts of her testimony. The committee worked based on the testimony heard. The testimony will certainly be recorded in parliamentary history. We all sympathize with what she has been through.

I think that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice is laying it on a bit thick with his question regarding recommendations. I do not think that the minister's colleagues in the provinces and territories asked him to go as far as changing the burden of proof so that people could obtain the private information of Canadians. A number of experts, including Mr. Fraser, as quoted by the member for Charlottetown, Michael Spratt, and also Michael Geist, came to tell us that it was dangerous to change the burden of proof for obtaining private information to “reasonable grounds to suspect” instead of “reasonable grounds to believe”. Could my colleague comment on that?

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree. A few experts testified in committee. All of them, in particular Mr. Geist, highlighted this subject.

Mr. Geist has written a few articles on the impact of the Spencer decision since his testimony. This decision is very important and is very relevant to the debate. A number of things have changed since the committee's meetings. I think that we need to continue the debate. For example, we did not hear from the telephone companies, and those are essential witnesses.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:15 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in today's very important debate on Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime act.

Bill C-13 would provide a strong criminal justice response to the problem of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, much like bullying in general, is a very complex social phenomenon that requires the attention of all segments of society. Most bullying behaviour is not a criminal behaviour and should be dealt with outside of the criminal justice system. However, we know that the reach of the Internet, the speed at which information can be shared, and the ability to act anonymously have made cyberbullying a serious concern.

This problem cannot be fixed simply by enacting a new law that would adequately cover all instances of this behaviour, but that does not mean that the criminal law cannot be strengthened in this area. This is why Bill C-13 provides a targeted response within the government's broader commitment to address the issue of bullying and cyberbullying.

If passed into the law, the proposed Criminal Code amendments would create a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images with accompanying complementary amendments. The second main purpose of Bill C-13 is to provide the police with tools to give them the ability to address all crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence.

Let me state the obvious here. All of the elements of Bill C-13 logically go together. Police will be able to more effectively and efficiently investigate the proposed new offence and other crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence with the proposed legally authorized tools.

Absent the new production and preservation orders proposed in Bill C-13, there would be no tool in the Criminal Code to enable the preservation and ensure that important evidence is not deleted. There would be no tool designed for production of specific subsets of tracking data and transmission data, nor would there be a tool to assist in tracing a communication by using one order with multiple providers. Without these tools, law enforcement's ability to protect Canadians from online crime and cyberbullying would be seriously hampered.

I would like to focus my remarks today on a specific provision included in Bill C-13, proposed subsection 487.0195(2) of the Criminal Code, which would provide immunity from civil and criminal liability to persons who voluntarily assist police. In a nutshell, proposed subsection 487.0195(2) would amend existing subsection 487.014(2) of the Criminal Code, which was enacted in 2004 with the creation of production orders in the Criminal Code. Subsection 487.014(2) was designed to clarify that the new production orders were not intended to preclude ongoing voluntary assistance where such assistance was not precluded by law and to reconfirm existing legal principles that such assistance would not create any liability, either civil or criminal.

When new authorities such as production orders are created in law, the result can be that common law authorities are displaced. This was not the intent when production orders were introduced into the Criminal Code in 2004, nor is it the intent with respect to the updates to production orders and the new preservation authorities proposed in Bill C-13.

The ability of the public to voluntarily assist police is essential to effective policing and a core component of ensuring public safety. Police may request information on a voluntary basis in many situations, including general policing duties that may not relate directly to investigating a crime, such as requesting information so they can contact family members when there is an accident.

However, I want to be clear. Bill C-13 would not create a new authority for voluntary assistance. It would simply clarify that any existing authority for voluntary assistance continues to be in place where not prohibited by law. It would also not create a new protection from civil or criminal liability but reconfirms the existing protection. This provision simply reconfirms existing legal principles that if an entity is legally permitted to turn over data to the police, then that entity will not be subject to civil or criminal liability for doing so. If an entity is prohibited by law from disclosing information, for example, by legislation or by contract, then immunity will not be available.

The minor revisions to existing subsection 487.014(2) that are proposed in Bill C-13 are primarily to make the provision more transparent and understandable by specifying that the protections from civil and criminal liability that are currently provided in section 25 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the protection of persons acting under authority, apply not only in the context of the current production orders but also in the context of the new production orders proposed in Bill C-13. The proposed amendments would also reflect the addition of preservation demands and orders to the Criminal Code.

This existing provision, which did not receive any attention when it was first enacted in 2004, attracted considerable criticism in the media and during committee hearings on Bill C-13. Indeed, this provision was wrongly reported as providing police with warrantless access to personal information and has been inaccurately described as a means of opening the floodgates of data between the private sector and the police.

In addition, some have also called for the deletion of this provision as a result of their interpretation of the June 2014 unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Spencer.

I wish first to confirm what the government has stated all along, a view supported by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Spencer: that proposed subsection 487.0195(2) does not create any new search and seizure powers. Second, the proposed section continues to be required for those who continue to voluntarily assist the police where not prohibited by law. Those words are very specifically spelled out in the proposed legislation.

Specifically, the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Spencer said in paragraph 73 of the decision that the existing voluntary disclosure and immunity provision is “...a declaratory provision that confirms the existing common law powers of police officers to make enquiries”, as indicated by the fact that the section begins with the phrase “for greater certainty”. The decision makes it clear that Bill C-13 does not, and never did, create new police powers to access telecommunications data without a judicial warrant.

In R. v. Spencer, the court expanded the privacy protections afforded to information related to an Internet protocol, or IP, address in certain circumstances, thereby taking this information out of the realm of information that can be provided voluntarily. However, the court did not suggest that voluntary disclosures were now impermissible. Rather, it held that voluntary assistance could still be provided in exigent circumstances, or pursuant to a reasonable law, or where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. This clearly leaves scope for permissible voluntary assistance and provision of information without judicial pre-authorization.

Since the R. v. Spencer decision still allows for voluntary assistance to police in those circumstances, the clarification and the protection from immunity contained an existing subsection 487.014(2) and proposed subsection 487.0195(2) are still needed.

Bill C-13 was thoroughly examined by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The committee amended the bill to require a parliamentary review of proposed sections 487.011 to 487.02 of the Criminal Code—i.e., the new preservation demands and orders, the updated production order scheme, and the assistance order provision—seven years after these provisions come into force.

I agree with this amendment and said so at the justice committee. Given the highly technical nature of these reforms, I believe that a parliamentary review would be helpful to assess if the reforms have achieved their intended impacts. This amendment may also serve to alleviate some concerns expressed by privacy advocates, as it provides a future opportunity for inquiry into the privacy impacts of the legislation.

In summary. Bill C-13 was strengthened at committee and deserves to be passed into law in the form in which it was reported back to the House. I urge all hon. members to make this possible by ensuring the swift passage of the bill.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I recognize a lot of things other members of the Conservative benches have already said on this topic.

I am particularly interested in a few issues, which I touched upon earlier with previous speakers. The article was rather interesting. I sometimes meet people who fight their whole lives to get their message across.

I would like to share another quote from the article entitled, “Why anti-‘revenge porn’ pioneer doesn’t like Canada’s cyberbullying law”, written by Anna Mehler Paperny and published today on Global News.

Mary Anne Franks is one of those people who travels all over the world defending the rights of people who are attacked after their images are shared on the Internet.

Here is what she said:

But Franks’ more serious objections have to do with the bill’s contents: “It seems like a way to get Canadians to accept a greater intrusion on the part of government and police into their personal lives and using revenge porn as a pretext for doing that, which is incredibly upsetting. … We don’t want to use a legitimate recognition of harmful behaviour as a pretext for violating people’s civil rights.”

I would like to hear what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice thinks about Ms. Franks' rather harsh criticism of the Conservatives' legislation. Did they receive any legal opinions regarding the Spencer decision that the opposition and official opposition benches would have an interest in seeing? It would be interesting to see what kind of information they have that we do not, aside from comments that this decision tears Bill C-13 apart.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments and questions by my colleague from the justice committee. She will know that the Spencer decision had been mooted in the lower courts and that everyone was quite well aware of those arguments. I think everyone on the Justice committee at the time that this bill was studied was aware of the arguments that were put before the Supreme Court.

The opposition seems to have a position that the government should wait for the courts to make decisions in cases. There are dozens of cases before the courts of this land at any given time, but what our government needs to do and intends to do is rebalance our justice legislation between the rights of the accused and the rights of the victims in order to restore people's faith in the justice system. We think Bill C-13 does that with respect to cyberbullying. We are implementing the recommendations of the cybercrime working group, and the member will know that those provisions are very necessary in order to allow the legal authorities to investigate such crimes and prevent these crimes from happening again in the future.

We need to move quickly. The member has called for a split of the bill. She will know that virtually every expert who was called by the opposition appeared before the committee, that these issues were significantly debated, and they will be debated again when the Senate debates the bill.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary restating the government's position with respect to the innocuous nature of that immunity provision. We do not share their view, but their view is indeed clear. Given that it is innocuous, it really defies explanation as to why it is there to clarify existing law. Was it really that unclear?

My question for the parliamentary secretary relates to the witnesses who were called before committee. We had asked that the head of the Canadian wireless association appear, and he did no, nor did a single witness from a telecom company. Given that some, but not all, of the telecom companies have changed their practices with respect to co-operating with authorities as a result of the Spencer decision, does the parliamentary secretary not agree that it is now time for Parliament to hear from them? We have not heard from them yet.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend did not make that case very clearly at the time the justice committee was choosing witnesses to appear before the committee. However, I will point out that as a result of the Spencer decision, telecom providers have changed their practices, as is appropriate. They are applying the law, which is what the provisions of Bill C-13 do: they say that it is when “not prohibited by law”. If the Supreme Court has decided it is prohibited by law to release the information, then that would now be the law.

The telecom providers will have an opportunity to speak to that matter at the Senate hearings, I assume in a very few weeks. There is no way that the government can operate by waiting for the many cases that may be percolating through the court system on any given issue before moving forward. What the courts do is clarify, and that is what they have done in this case. In our view, they have not changed the application of Bill C-13 at all.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to rise and speak on a motion that I believe to be critical, so it saddens me that I will have to speak against it. It is 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.

Let me give a bit of perspective. In that regard, I want to congratulate my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who introduced Bill C-540 in 2013, following the tragic death of Amanda Todd and other victims of cyberbullying, including Rehtaeh Parsons. These deaths moved the nation. I would say that the feelings across the country were palpable. It did not matter whether one lived on the west coast, on the Prairies, or on the east coast; families right across Canada lived the pain that those families went through.

The bill put forward by my colleague was a fairly reasonable one. As members know, at that time the Conservatives introduced legislation as well, Bill C-30. Bill C-30 was from the minister of the day, who is no longer in the House. There was a huge, almost unprecedented reaction to that bill, especially through social media. Just to remind us all, Bill C-30 was called the “protecting children from Internet predators act”. That bill was rejected not only by the NDP, based on what was included in it, but also by privacy advocates and the public. That reaction forced the Conservative Party to back away from it.

I can remember some of the rhetoric from that time when it backed away from that legislation, which was ill thought out and an absolute invasion of privacy. At that time, I can remember hearing commitment from the government side that any attempts to modernize the Criminal Code would not contain the measures contained in Bill C-30. Now here we are on Bill C-13.

There are parts of this legislation that the official opposition heartily and happily supports. On more than one occasion we have suggested to the government that if it is serious about taking action on cyberbullying, it should separate the bill. We offered to expedite it through the House. It would have been law already.

However, once again I find the party sitting across from this side playing games with a very sensitive issue, producing a bill that has some good parts to it that we want to support but then throwing in parts that it knows will make it difficult for us to support the bill.

The NDP is never scared of hard work, whether it comes to standing up to speak on issues in the House and taking up allocated time spots, and normally filling in even for the government side because it does not take up all its speaking slots, or when it comes to committee work. In order to make this bill palatable and make it go through the House, the opposition put forward 37 amendments. They were all reasonable amendments that would have added some balance to the bill.

What is shocking is that the government did the same as it has done on bill after bill. It was its way or no way. It rejected every single one of those amendments.

The Canadian Bar Association came to present as well. I am not talking about a radical group here. I am talking about lawyers. The Canadian Bar Association expressed the same concerns as the NDP and other witnesses. It put forward 19 possible amendments to the bill, but not one of those amendments was taken into consideration.

Once again, the Conservatives are trying to bury things in a bill so they can get their agenda through, but at the same time they are trying to bury some legislation that is absolutely needed.

I have been a teacher all of my life. I am also a mother and a grandmother. The world has changed for our children. They are spending more time on the Internet or attached to their cell phones, although many of us are guilty of that too. They are socializing differently as well.

We have to look at modernizing the way we see bullying. It is no longer just about bullying in the playground, where a child is bullied physically or verbally, face-to-face. Cyberbullying allows for a certain amount of anonymity. We have seen the tragic results of that kind of bullying. We have seen its impact on young people.

It is upsetting for me today to speak against a bill that contains a component that I support. I would urge my colleagues across the way to take a second and consider that we could have the cyberbullying component in the bill turned into legislation quickly. We need to get off the ideological idea that we cannot have a simple bill that deals with one issue. We have to get off the ideological idea that other stuff has to be thrown in to get the ideological agenda done. It also gives those members an opportunity to stand up later and say that the NDP voted against this.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is true. I have heard my colleagues say that. I wonder if that is what drives members across the way when legislation is put together. Instead of tackling an issue like cyberbullying and the protection of our children, they mire legislation with other stuff just so they can have political talking points at a later date.

Once again, right in this legislation, the Conservatives are trying to hide controversial aspects of their failed Internet snooping bill, and they are slowing down the passage of an important bill that would protect our children. It is time for the games to stop. Let us just deal with what is real.

This is not just something that I am saying. It is quite moving for me. I would like to quote, for the record, Amanda Todd's mother, Carol Todd, who said:

I do not want my privacy invaded. I don't want young people's privacy compromised. I don't want personal information being exploited, without a protection order that would support individuals. I do not want any Canadian hurt in my daughter's name. I want her legacy to continue to promote hope, celebrate our differences, and give strength to other young people everywhere.

I plead with my colleagues across the way to do the right thing, separate the bill, and let us get it done.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, it was clear to me that when the member called for the separation of Bill C-13 into two parts, one of which is the criminal sanction against the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, that she had not read the report of the CCSO, Cybercrime Working Group, dated June 2013, called “Cyberbullying and Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images”.

These are experts from every province and territory of Canada. They are the expert legal advisors who advise the provincial and territorial ministers of justice. The member has probably heard, if she has been here for the duration of this debate today, what the experts recommended in recommendation number 4. However, nobody is addressing what investigative powers that are recommended by the experts the government should enact in the Criminal Code.

Which of these provisions does the member disagree with? She is saying to separate it and to pass the non-consensual distribution of images part, which would not give the police any power to investigate anything. It would not stop anything from happening, the next Amanda Todd or Rehtaeh Parsons or Jamie Hubley, and the list of victims goes on.

In order to enable the police to help people, they need things such as the data preservation demands and orders. Does the member agree or disagree with that? They need new warrants and production orders for the transmission of data. Does she agree or disagree with that, yes or no?

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to give a quote from Michael Geist. He said this over and over again, on the threshold needed to gain a warrant and the fact that the threshold is far too low in this bill. He said:

Given the level of privacy interest that is involved with metadata, the approach in Bill C-13 for transmission data warrants should be amended by adopting the “reasonable grounds to believe” standard.

It is not going to come as a surprise. There are some serious concerns already about this bill and the overruling powers it would give. We have already had the Supreme Court of Canada make a ruling that bars Internet service providers from voluntarily disclosing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their customers to law enforcement officials in response to simple requests. There is a possibility that this bill may be unconstitutional.

Why is it that the Conservatives, even when the courts have made a ruling, continue to go down that path? They seem to feel that they know better than our court system.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her speech.

I would like to ask her the following question.

Is it a responsible practice for legislators to repeatedly use these types of political tactics in order to try and hide previous bills in new ones and then turn around and say that we voted against a bill when we actually supported many parts of it?

Does the hon. member think that it is responsible for legislators to do that and to try and play politics with bills that are this important and issues that are this critical for Parliament?

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, a hard-working member, whom I know is stellar in his service to his constituents. He does amazing work here in the House as well.

This bill is all about politics. It is about playing politics. We have parts of a bill that the current government said would never come forward again, and elements of that bill in Bill C-13 right now that are from Bill C-30. This bill, or kernels of it, originated with the NDP, as I said, by my hard-working colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.If this bill were separated, we could have passed it months ago. That concerns me. However, once again, the Conservatives would rather bury things that get into invasion of privacy.

Even the mother, in one of our most tragic deaths, says that this bill goes too far.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House for the second time to speak to Bill C-13, which addresses cyberbullying.

When the government announced Bill C-13 to combat cyberbullying, everyone thought it was a good idea. Perhaps the government had finally come up with a good idea. Everyone here knows that cyberbullying is taking a heavy toll on our youth. The people who work on the front lines—psychoeducators who work in high schools, street outreach workers and everyone else who works with youth—know how bullying can destroy lives, individuals and families. Some cases have made headlines, including the case of young Rehtaeh Parsons. Unfortunately, we know just how far cyberbullying can go. It can lead to suicide. No one in the House would say that we can remain indifferent about an issue as important as cyberbullying.

In the first speech I gave on Bill C-13, I emphasized the need to take action on the ground. I could even draw a parallel with the speech I just gave this morning on Bill C-36. The Conservatives often think they can use justice to solve all the problems inherent in a given situation. In the case of prostitution, for instance, inherent problems include poverty, exclusion and mental illness. The same is true when it comes to bullying. Some of the factors involved in bullying cannot be addressed through criminalization.

The provisions of Bill C-13, which makes it an offence to distribute intimate images, are a good start. In fact, the bill fits in with the bill introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, which aims to prevent the kinds of situations that unfortunately led to the suicides of several young Canadians over the past few years.

Upon closer examination of the bill, one can see that it refers to various subjects ranging from cyberbullying to terrorism, banking information, telemarketing and theft of a telecommunication service.

Most of the provisions have very little if anything to do with cyberbullying. This bill is similar to the Conservatives' previous Bill C-30, which allowed access to Canadians' personal information.

The parliamentary secretary said that it was debated extensively and thoroughly examined in committee. That is all wonderful, except that all the experts agree that the study should have been even more thorough when it comes to the provisions regarding access to information. That is why we asked that the bill be split. Unfortunately, because we ran out of time, the provisions on cyberbullying were not examined much, if at all. We focused on the access to information provisions.

This issue is very important for our young people, and I find it extremely unfortunate that the debate is centred around access to information. That has nothing to do with our young students or the young girl who is being bullied by her classmates or receiving hateful messages on Facebook.

Access to information will have no impact on this girl, or perhaps it will, unfortunately, if the government wants access to her private information, which would be too bad. This is not going to help young people who need their government to work for them and do something about this.

A number of experts said that Bill C-13, together with Bill S-4, might have extremely significant repercussions on access to our private information, including access without a warrant.

I also asked a number of questions about an oversight mechanism. I would like to point out that the Conservatives refused to adopt such a mechanism. My colleague from Gatineau proposed an amendment requiring the department to report to Parliament on the use of this type of power. I would like to note that section 184.4 of the Criminal Code has already been struck down by the Supreme Court, not because the mechanism allowed information obtained without a warrant to be shared, but because application of that section did not include any oversight mechanism or notification mechanism. According to the Supreme Court, the rights of people being wiretapped were intrinsically violated because they did not know they were being tapped. At the end of the day, without an oversight mechanism, we are giving the police and the government power without accountability. We can agree that we are giving nearly absolute power to the minister and police officers to access Canadians' information.

The Supreme Court was clear. I have not even touched on the Supreme Court's recent decision in Spencer, which reiterates that telecommunications companies do not have the right to turn Canadians' private information over without a warrant. It is a violation and it is unconstitutional because there is no oversight mechanism.

I made a comparison with section 188, which was not struck down by the Supreme Court. That section allows for warrantless wiretaps, but it includes an oversight mechanism. The department is therefore obliged to report to Parliament on warrantless wiretapping.

According to the Supreme Court, this is clearly unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the Conservatives refused to adopt our amendments on creating such a reporting mechanism, which is too bad. We can already see that part of the bill will likely be challenged in court or even deemed unconstitutional.

Who will be the main victims of that challenge? My colleague from Gatineau told us several times. The main victims of the Conservatives' incompetence at drafting bills and studying issues thoroughly are the victims of bullying. The main victims will not be parliamentarians, lawyers or judges. No, the main victims will be victims of bullying, who unfortunately will have to wait for a legal challenge—which could take years and could go all the way to the Supreme Court—before justice is served.

I would like to underline the fact that when the Minister of Justice held his press conference, he said that Bill C-13 only legislated on a specific issue, namely cyberbullying. I know of several articles that quoted him as saying that this was not an omnibus bill and that its only purpose was to legislate on cyberbullying.

However, this bill contains a clause that gives not only peace officers, but also public officers access to these powers. Several experts wondered who would have access to these powers. Who would have access to Canadians' information? Would it be only the police, and only in specific situations, or would it be public officers from Revenue Canada in other situations?

This bill is so badly written that, unfortunately, the main victims who will be denied justice will be victims of bullying. Is that really what the Conservative government wants?

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the member was a member of the justice committee when we studied this bill, and I believe she sat through almost all of the hearings.

If I follow her argument, she said that the NDP proposed a bill that was one paragraph long. It talked about the institution of criminal sanction for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We all agreed on that, so we could have just passed it, but then we had to spend time at committee dealing with that aspect and all of these other things. We actually spent most of our time talking about the investigative powers.

I did not quite follow the logic, because I think what she said was that everybody agreed on that criminal sanction. We say, and the Cybercrime Working Group also says, that, in addition, we need to provide the law enforcement authorities with some powers so they can properly investigate such crimes and bring people to justice for those crimes. She admits that we had significant debate about those issues, because she said that it was pretty much all that we discussed when we heard from the witnesses.

I would appreciate it if she would tell us specifically what other witnesses we should have heard from. Her party put forward a list of witnesses and the committee strove to hear from them all. In addition, specifically, what provisions is she concerned about that were not discussed or debated at committee? I think everything she is concerned about was debated.

She disagrees with the decision that the committee made, but they were debated. Maybe she could fill us in on what was not debated and what other witnesses we should have heard from.