An Act to amend the Customs Act

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Customs Act to authorize the Canada Border Services Agency to collect, from prescribed persons and prescribed sources, personal information on all persons who are leaving or have left Canada. It also amends the Act to authorize an officer, as defined in that Act, to require that goods that are to be exported from Canada are to be reported despite any exemption under that Act. In addition, it amends the Act to provide officers with the power to examine any goods that are to be exported. Finally, it amends the Act to authorize the disclosure of information collected under the Customs Act to an official of the Department of Employment and Social Development for the purposes of administering or enforcing the Old Age Security 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

Dec. 11, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act
Sept. 27, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again the government wants to cut our speaking time short, but we will be questioning the minister this morning to find out why.

Today we are talking about Bill C-21, which was introduced by the Liberals in 2016 but is part of what the Conservatives had started at the time.

We have an important relationship with the United States when it comes to exchanging information. We can all agree on that. This ensures everyone's safety and helps in obtaining important information.

However, there is currently a bit of a trust issue with our partners. Regarding what is currently happening with Huawei, three of the Five Eyes countries have decided that Huawei must be banned from their systems. Here at home we are creating a climate of mistrust, and I know that there are countries, including the United States, that are starting to question Canada.

Can the minister tell us whether Canada is still a trustworthy partner for our Five Eyes partners? Decisions are currently being made that cast doubt on this relationship and may also have an impact on Bill C-21.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, one of the great functions of the Parliament of Canada, particularly the House of Commons of Canada, is to provide members with an opportunity to debate the great questions of public policy that come before the House. In addition to debating, we also have the obligation, on behalf of our constituents, to decide; that is, to listen to all sides of the argument and to then vote to come to a conclusion on a matter.

Bill C-21 has been before this House for a considerable length of time. It was considered at length in the Senate. The Senate made one very technical amendment having to do with the limitation of a time frame. It referred the matter, as amended, back to this House. What we are considering at this stage is that one very narrow question: Do we or do we not accept the time-limit issue raised by the Senate?

I have had the opportunity, as Minister of Public Safety, to present to this House several pieces of legislation dealing with important national security concerns. I would say that Bill C-21 is probably the one measure that has achieved the largest degree of cross-party consensus and the largest degree of support and consensus in both Houses of Parliament.

I listened enthusiastically to the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who spoke at great length the other day about his fervent support for Bill C-21. Obviously, it is time to vote on the matter upon which, it seems, most members of Parliament agree.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, three or four days ago, in House sitting time, the official spokesperson on this legislation for the official opposition, the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, gave a very extensive speech in which he reviewed Bill C-21, including the technical amendment made by the Senate, with which the official opposition is in full agreement. That is what he told the House, and I welcome the position, on the part of the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, that there is no further dispute, argument or debate with respect to this particular matter. It is a technical matter having to do with the time frame specified in the legislation, and it is a subject upon which the official opposition says it is in complete agreement.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, I think if we asked most Canadians who travel back and forth across the international border between Canada and the United States, they would say that there is a system in place for checking on security issues about people who come into the country, and equally, there is a system in place for checking the facts and figures when a person leaves the country.

In fact, the former is true but not the latter. We do not have and we have never had a system whereby we record departures from the country. That has been observed by many members in the House as a significant gap in our security architecture, and many members, on all sides of the House, have said that this gap should be filled. That is exactly what Bill C-21 would do.

Recognizing that there are 400,000 people every day who go back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border, and recognizing that there is $2.5 billion in trade that goes back and forth across that border every single day, it is obviously important to expedite that legitimate trade and travel while at the same time making sure that the border is sound and secure.

Bill C-21 would fill an important security gap upon which it would appear every member of the House is in agreement. Therefore, it is time to vote and put a system in place that will serve the best interests of Canadians.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, I would note with respect to the points that were raised by the member for Yorkton—Melville, Bill C-21 is not an omnibus bill. Bill C-21 has been subject to extensive consultations, both inside and outside Parliament. Bill C-21 enjoys a large consensus of support, including the support of her party. It is a very technical amendment that is before the House now to be voted upon, one that was originally raised in the committee proceedings, incidentally, by the NDP and subsequently raised again in the Senate.

After all of that work, there is a consensus that this is the right measure to introduce, and since there is no substantive disagreement, it is time to call the vote and settle that question.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, last night we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. During that ceremony there was discussion about the migration of people and how it has been increasing over the recent past, climate change being part of that and wars being part of that. It highlights how important it is for us to have a good regime in terms of our border controls and movement of people in the turbulent times we are living in.

How does Bill C-21 fit in terms of our commitments to the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights of people to a country? Could the minister comment on that briefly?

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, Bill C-21 is an important part of our national security architecture. It will provide for records to be kept when people leave the country. Right now those records are kept if one is a foreign national or if one is a permanent resident, but they are not kept if one is a Canadian citizen. The view of security experts is that is an important gap in our national security structures.

However, there are protections in this legislation to make sure that human values and rights are properly respected. For example, all of the advice from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner is very thoroughly taken into account to make sure that privacy issues are not violated. In fact, the specific amendment that we are considering right now, which is the subject of the time allocation motion, is an amendment that was put into the bill in the Senate because of the advice of the Privacy Commissioner. What we are doing at this moment, in fact, is we are taking steps to follow good advice from the Privacy Commissioner about how to respect dimensions of human rights.

I would also point out that in terms of the information that is collected and shared under this legislation, it is information that is nothing more or less than what can be found on page 2 of one's passport, which means that there is no intrusion into personal privacy as a result of this matter.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to question the Minister of Public Safety. A few moments ago, he said that most of this issue had been discussed, that Bill C-21 had been debated previously and there is only one amendment coming from the Senate. Why does he not simply let the debate continue as it should in this House so that all members who wish to speak would have the opportunity? If it has been thoroughly discussed, surely no further members would stand to speak to it. Obviously, there are more members who have concerns and want to speak.

The government does not want to hear the concerns from the opposition, so it has imposed time allocation. Why not let the debate unfold and collapse when members have had their chance to speak?

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, we could have continued to debate that. I have a question for the minister.

I am well aware that Canada and the United States exchange information about the people who cross the border in both directions. However, under Bill C-21, would information about illegal migrants be exchanged in the same way given that these people do not arrive at official ports of entry?

Will the Americans be advised of the arrival in Canada of people from the United States? Is there a procedure in place for those people who have a warrant for their arrest in the United States?

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, the point the hon. gentleman is making is an interesting one.

He says that the Conservatives agree with the technical amendment. They agree with the thrust of Bill C-21. There has been debate here, in the standing committee and in the Senate. That debate has gone on for a considerable length of time, and it does appear, at the end of that discussion, that a consensus has been arrived at and everyone is supportive of the legislation, except the member would like the debate to continue with no specified end point in sight.

That is the problem one constantly faces with this dilemma of time allocation. Do we have debates that go on interminably with no conclusion, or when it appears that a reasonable consensus has been arrived at, do we take the necessary procedures to actually call the vote and take a decision?

The Parliament of Canada is the most important debating society in our country, but it is more than that. It is the most important decision-making body in this country. We have had the debate. It has been reasonable. It has been extensive. Consensus has been arrived at. It is time to vote.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, it is all a matter of reasonability in the circumstances.

The fact of the matter is, in dealing with Bill C-21, the government has been eminently reasonable. I would say that the representatives of the opposition have spoken from the very beginning about their support for the principles of this legislation. Participation in the committee was ample and extensive. Amendments were made. Improvements were made to the legislation. The same is true in the Senate. There was a very good discussion in the Senate. There was a very key conversation about the protection of privacy and putting a limit on the time over which certain information could be retained by government agencies.

The discussion of the substance of the bill has been thorough and constructive. Now that the House has identified a very clear consensus, the time to leap over the procedural hurdles has arrived, and the House can take a very well-informed vote on whether or not we support Bill C-21. I suspect we do, because it is in the public interest and it is a piece of legislation that has enjoyed broad support from the very beginning.

Consideration of Senate AmendmentCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a few minutes left to talk about Bill C-21. The days go by, but not every day is the same. On Friday, when I started this speech, the debate was proceeding democratically and properly. Every member of the House who wanted to speak to this bill had an opportunity to do so. A few minutes ago, a time allocation motion was adopted. The government has once again decided to limit MPs' speaking time. My colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles is lead on Bill C-21 and we had a lot to say about it.

I cannot understand why it took so long for the Liberals to bring it back to the House for debate. This bill was first introduced in 2016. Today, at the last minute, with just four days to go before we break for the holidays, the government decides that getting Bill C-21 passed is suddenly a national emergency and introduces a time allocation motion. Once again, it is muzzling opposition members who had some important comments to make about Bill C-21.

Since I have the floor, I want to take this opportunity to say how much I have loved this magnificent House of Commons. This may be my last chance to speak in this chamber for the next 10 years, although I do plan to come back here when the House reopens. It is important to set goals and be optimistic. Just because this is the last time I will be giving a speech this year, it does not mean I am not planning to be here 10 years from now.

The people of Mégantic—L'Érable have put their trust in me, and I definitely intend to keep earning their trust. I do not think a single day has passed without me thanking someone for the immense privilege of being entrusted by the people of Mégantic—L'Érable with the responsibility of representing them here on Parliament Hill.

There is history here in the House of Commons and Parliament. Many bills have been debated here. Parliamentarians who have participated in House of Commons debates have witnessed changes in society. When members rise in the House of Commons, they must always do so with dignity. That is why we always rise respectfully, keeping in mind the men, women and young people from various communities who elected us and gave us a very clear mandate to speak on their behalf so that people across the country can share their point of view and have their say on various bills. I take this role very seriously. I tend to do this in private, but today I would like to thank the people watching and my colleagues. I would like to thank the people of Mégantic—L'Érable for granting me this amazing privilege, for giving me the extraordinary opportunity to come here bearing their messages.

Speaking of messages, my constituents have a few to share about the Liberal government's failures in 2018. Reminding the government from time to time that it has missed the mark is one of the jobs our constituents have given us. I think the government was well wide of the mark in 2018.

I began my speech by talking about Bill C-21 and how the government is incapable of managing its time and that of the House and parliamentarians. At the last minute, the government is imposing a time allocation motion to force us to stop speaking. It has failed on this bill, and it would not be the first time.

I remember this government's promises and commitments to be open and transparent, to not use time allocation motions and to do politics differently. This is not different, it is worse than ever. It is just another one of the government's failures.

The pipelines are a failure across the board. Thanks to this government, Canadians can no longer benefit from this resource and the country cannot make money even though it has the means to do so. The current crisis is a Liberal failure.

We are here today talking about missed opportunities to support Canada's energy sector because this government and the Prime Minister said himself that it was time to slowly start moving beyond oil and gas. Everyone knows full well that this will take time. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has kept this promise and has started withdrawing Canada from the energy sector, especially the oil and gas sector.

Border security is another failure, especially in Quebec where a large number of migrants entered Canada illegally. This government did absolutely nothing to stem the flow of illegal refugees. It is another failure.

One of the things people talk to me about the most in Mégantic—L'Érable is the massive deficits. We remember the commitment the Prime Minister and all the Liberal MPs repeated countless times in 2015. The MPs from Quebec solemnly swore that this was the right time to borrow money to invest in infrastructure. They said there was no need to worry since they would run small deficits and we would return to a balanced budget in 2019.

When Canadians made a choice in 2015, the Liberal candidates promised to take care of all that and quickly return to a balanced budget in 2019. The Liberals said they would only borrow a small amount, like when you use your credit card at the store and pay the bill at the end of the month. The problem is that the Liberals have been using their credit card non-stop for three years and now they are realizing they cannot afford to pay the bill at the end of the month.

In my view, the Liberals' biggest failure has been their inability to manage our public finances and to fulfill their commitment to balance the budget in 2019. Our children and grandchildren are going to be the ones stuck paying the Liberals' credit card bill.

Lastly, I am extremely disappointed by this time allocation motion on Bill C-21. Unfortunately, it is consistent with the Liberals' poor record when it comes to time management in the House. Once again, they have failed across the board.

Consideration of Senate AmendmentCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, it is always interesting to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and his rhetorical flights, since, as an opposition member, he was always so outraged about time allocation motions. He had things to say about the big bad government that was using these motions.

This time, we agree with the government. We will support Bill C-21 and we were very proud to say so. We were pleased to be able to say that the government had done something good during its mandate. It would be implementing a proposal made by Mr. Harper's former government, which had made an agreement with Mr. Obama on the beyond the border agreement.

Unfortunately, when we try to give positive feedback to the Liberals, they cannot take it. They are so unused to it that they shut us down. That is what Canadians should remember.

Consideration of Senate AmendmentCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague about the exchange of information.

I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to listen to me so that he realizes that I am speaking about the bill and that there are still things we want to look into and talk about.

We support Bill C-21. We voted on this bill at second and third reading in the House.

The Senate returned the bill with one amendment. However, we have other things to say because the situation has changed since the bill was first introduced in 2016.

In 2017, a situation arose at the border following the Prime Minister's famous tweet. Therefore, today, we have questions about the exchange of information about illegal migrants. Will these people be subject to the law that is in effect? Does the bill have provisions to ensure that people who enter Canada through official ports of entry are subject to the same rules? Will the Americans be informed that these people are arriving in Canada? Do some of these people have criminal records in the U.S.? If so, the Americans may want to come looking for them and take them back.

We could have debated these questions in the House if a time allocation motion had not been moved.

In my opinion, these are very technical elements specific to Bill C-21.

Does my colleague know if the government thought about that before proceeding with a final vote?

Consideration of Senate AmendmentCustoms ActGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, dragging your heels is never a good idea and the Liberals have been dragging their heels on this file since 2016. We wanted to talk about it much sooner, but the government did not put the bill on the Order Paper.

The government took its time and, as a result, here we are today at the very end of the process, and we will not be able to discuss the important things mentioned by my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, even though the situation has changed considerably since that time.

All it took was one ridiculous tweet from the Prime Minister, who thought he was doing a good deed and bolstering our public image by saying that everyone was welcome in Canada. He then quickly moved on to something else.

Unfortunately, some people read that tweet and thought that Canada was welcoming them with open arms. As a result, these people thought that it was no big deal if they could not enter at a border crossing and had to find another way to enter Canada illegally.

The “Welcome to Canada” tweet cost $1 billion. That is indeed a completely new situation, and I fully agree with my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. These are elements that we absolutely should have discussed in our deliberations on Bill C-21.

Unfortunately, once again, the government refuses to allow us to discuss things that matter.