An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)

Sponsor

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Sept. 25, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-47.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Export and Import Permits Act to

(a) define the term “broker” and to establish a framework to control brokering that takes place in Canada and that is undertaken by Canadians outside Canada;

(b) require that the Minister take into account certain considerations

before issuing an export permit or a brokering permit;

(c) authorize the making of regulations that set out additional mandatory considerations that the Minister is required to take into account before issuing an export permit or a brokering permit;

(d) set May 31 as the date by which the Minister must table in both Houses of Parliament a report of the operations under the Act in the preceding year and a report on military exports in the preceding year;

(e) increase the maximum fine for a summary conviction offence to $250,000;

(f) replace the requirement that only countries with which Canada has an intergovernmental arrangement may be added to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List by a requirement that a country may be added to the list only on the recommendation of the Minister made after consultation with the Minister of National Defence; and

(g) add a new purpose for which an article may be added to an Export Control List.

The enactment amends the Criminal Code to include, for interception of private communications purposes, the offence of brokering in the definition of “offence” in section 183.

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

June 11, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)
June 11, 2018 Failed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments) (reasoned amendment)
June 4, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments) (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments) (report stage amendment)
May 30, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)
Oct. 3, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

June 11th, 2018 / 3 p.m.
See context

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to get up in this House many times to talk about how proud our government is to see Bill C-47 move through Parliament so Canada can accede to the ATT. Here is what Bill C-47 would allow Canada to do. It would allow Canada to set an example for countries that do not have effective arms controls. It would enshrine international human rights law and gender-based violence, in law, as criteria for arms exports, and it would control arms brokering. It would allow Canada to do all of that, and the NDP voted against it all as well.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here today to speak to Bill C-47. Through this bill, our government will move forward on an important commitment we made to ensure that Canada finally accedes to the Arms Trade Treaty.

I am sure that everybody in the chamber will agree with me in saying that all countries have an obligation to take action against the violence that is fuelled by the illicit trade in conventional weapons.

The ATT is the first international treaty that seeks to tackle this illicit trade and, in doing so, take steps against the violence that this trade perpetuates. The ATT sets an essential standard for the international community. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to international and regional peace, security, and stability. It seeks to reduce human suffering and promote co-operation, transparency, and responsible action by countries.

It is due time that Canada join our partners and allies in our accession to the treaty.

I am also proud of the amendments that the foreign affairs committee has made to strengthen the bill. Our government heard from committee members and civil society that they would like to see the ATT criteria placed directly into the legislation, including the considerations of peace and security, human rights, and gender-based violence, and we supported the committee in making these changes. The criteria for applications to export arms from Canada will now be embedded directly into Canadian law.

I am proud to point out that we also made sure to include the consideration of gender-based violence or violence against women and children as a fifth key criterion in this legislation.

We have also made a significant change to the legislation by including a substantial risk test in what is now being proposed. This means that, for the first time, there would be a direct legal requirement for the government to refuse export permits for items where there is a substantial risk that they would be used to violate the criteria.

Bill C-47 would allow Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, allow Canada to meet its international obligations, and, significantly, ensure that Canada holds itself to a higher standard in the export of arms.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs said before the foreign affairs committee in February, it is long overdue that Canada join many of its NATO and G7 partners by acceding to the ATT. We have heard support for the Arms Trade Treaty from civil society, from non-governmental organizations, and from Canadians. We also heard the clear desire to do better and to be ambitious in our strengthening of Bill C-47.

Originally, we had planned to place the criteria by which exports are judged, including human rights, into regulation, but we heard from committee members and civil society that they would like to see the Arms Trade Treaty criteria placed directly into legislation. Once again, let me reiterate that this would include the consideration of peace and security, human rights, and gender-based violence.

Going further than that, the bill now includes a substantial risk clause. Such a clause would mean that Canada would not allow the export of arms if there was a substantial risk that they would be used to commit human rights violations. This is a significant decision. It would mean changes in how Canada regulates selling weapons. This is the most significant change to how Canada evaluates the export of military goods in over 30 years. It is simply the right thing to do.

The Arms Trade Treaty is the result of growing international concern about the direct and indirect consequences of the global arms trade, which perpetuates conflicts that violate human rights and hinder development. We must provide constructive, rules-based leadership on the international stage and with our partners to promote peace, security, and prosperity around the world.

The Arms Trade Treaty recognizes the right of states to engage in the legitimate and responsible trade of arms. It requires that those weapons be exported responsibly. It is aimed at ensuring that individual states have an effective export control system in place to regulate the legitimate arms trade while, at the same time, using transparency measures to combat illicit trade. It requires all its state parties to adhere to a high standard when assessing the export of conventional weapons to ensure that they are not used to commit human rights abuses, violate international humanitarian law, or contribute to international terrorism or organized crime.

It is important to note that the ATT does not require its member states to automatically halt all exports to countries with challenging geopolitical or security situations. Rather, states must assess the risk of an individual export and consider options to mitigate potential risk. In other words, states must apply due diligence in considering exports and weigh both the risks and the benefits of specific exports of conventional arms.

It is also important to note that, despite some claims to the contrary, the ATT does not and will not affect domestic ownership of firearms. This principle is even enshrined in the preamble of the treaty, which recognizes “the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership and use are permitted or protected by law”.

Bill C-47 does not affect domestic gun controls. Bill C-47 does not create a gun registry. Despite this reality, the Conservatives are trying to fearmonger and make things up, which I am not surprised they are doing. They have put forward a motion that ignores the reality of Bill C-47.

As I noted, our government is committed to returning Canada to its rightful place among global leaders in promoting responsible arms trade. It is shameful that Canada has not already become party to the ATT. We are alone among NATO allies, G7 partners, and even the OECD states in not having signed or ratified the treaty. Canadians want better of their government. They expect us to participate in multilateral efforts to ensure that any transfers of conventional arms are done responsibly.

Bill C-47 sets a high standard that lives up to the letter and the spirit of the ATT and reflects the leadership role that Canadians expect Canada to play in this most important area.

The ATT also specifically requires that states assess their exports against the risk to peace, security, and human rights, as well as against the risk of violence and gender-based violence. That is an important issue to consider in modern-day export assessments, but one that was not officially taken into account 10 or 20 years ago.

Our government intends to have Canada go even further than required by the ATT with regard to gender-based violence and violence against women and children. We are therefore proposing that exports not only be assessed against the risk that such horrible situations could occur, but also, unlike the ATT itself, against the same standards that are used for all of the other ATT considerations. That means that gender-based violence and violence against women and children will also be subject to the substantial risk clause.

A second major step for Canada's accession to the ATT will be to ensure that we meet the requirements of article 10, which requires each state to regulate brokering. Brokering involves arranging the transfer of arms between a second and a third country. Brokering itself is not a crime, and responsible arms brokers can play a legitimate role in arranging and facilitating sales. However, there have also been far too many cases of unscrupulous arms brokers putting profit ahead of human lives. Transactions facilitated by these brokers have seen weapons transferred to conflict zones, even zones under UN arms embargoes, or to terrorists and criminal gangs. Nevertheless, Canada is coming late to regulating brokering. Almost all of our close partners regulate this activity. We seek to bring Canada up to speed.

However, Canada cannot deal with the risks of the unregulated or irresponsible arms trade alone. If we want to guarantee that the ATT will be successful, we need to make sure that it is adopted and implemented effectively by as many states as possible. This is why our government contributed $1 million to the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation. This fund provides direct assistance to help states accede to the ATT and fulfill their obligations by strengthening their export controls. Canada's accession to the ATT will help us collaborate more effectively with our international partners to counter the negative effects of conventional weapons in conflict zones.

We have also developed a partnership with international NGO Small Arms Survey to combat the flow of illegal arms in the Lybia-Chad-Sudan triangle. The results of the survey will help Canada implement concrete follow-up measures to reduce the flow of illicit weapons through the channels identified by the NGO and make a real contribution to the everyday lives of those in the region who live under the threat of conventional weapons.

I would like to make a final point about Bill C-47 and the Arms Trade Treaty. Some have criticized this bill for not going far enough or have taken issue with certain parts of it. I do not agree. We have gone back to the drawing board numerous times to accept amendments and challenge ourselves to make it stronger each and every time. That being the case, I try to understand where these perspectives come from. Just the same, I would encourage those persons, including some members of the House, not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. The objective of the Arms Trade Treaty is to “[p]revent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion”. Canada should and must play a role in combatting this diversion and the violence it creates. Let us not lose sight of the real aim of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The aim of this legislation is not to end the defence industry, as we may infer from the comments of some of the members opposite throughout debate in the House and at committee. This industry is integral to our economy and key in supplying our own military. Whether or not some members of the House think the changes to Canada's arms export system go far enough, we should not ignore the fact that including the ATT criteria in legislation and creating a new and legally binding substantial risk clause are the most significant changes to how Canada evaluates the export of arms in over 30 years.

We need to work together to ensure that Canada can join the Arms Trade Treaty. Our allies all did it years ago. This is our collective duty. Let us not cut off our nose to spite our face. Let us be proud of the changes brought forth in Bill C-47.

Let me close by saying that I firmly believe that Canada can once again take a leadership role on this issue in joining the ATT. I encourage all my colleagues in the House to support this bill.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by reminding the House of certain facts, to counteract the falsehoods spread by some government representatives over the last few days. For example, they claim we are opposed to Canada's accession to the Arms Trade Treaty. It may be trendy to spread fake news, but these people know full well that what they say is not true. We have always supported Canada's accession to the Arms Trade Treaty. In fact, we have been pushing for it for years. However, we want to do it properly. We want to accede to the entire treaty, not just half or a third. The bill before us does not do that. I want to read out part of an email I just received from Project Ploughshares, which is probably the best-known arms control organization in Canada. The email says:

“Last day of debate on Bill C-47 for Canada to join the Arms Trade Treaty.”

I would really like my colleagues across the aisle to pay attention to this:

“Do not confuse merits of the ATT with merits of the Bill.”

The email goes on to say:

“Big shortcomings remain in export controls, eg loophole re exports to US.”

We support the Arms Trade Treaty, but because of these big shortcomings, we cannot support the bill to implement the treaty. That is why I cannot support it, the NDP cannot support it, and experts cannot support it. Experts have expressed satisfaction with the few changes that the government accepted, but as of today, they still oppose the bill. That is why 33,000 people wrote to the minister to ask that this bill be withdrawn and replaced with a better one that includes and covers our exports to the United States.

When people from the government spread falsehoods, I am usually patient, but this makes me really mad. These people should be ashamed of themselves. They say that the New Democrats are opposing the accession to the ATT. That is a bit rich. It is the NDP that has been pushing for years for Canada to accede to the ATT, but we want to do it well and completely, not as a half-baked measure. Bill C-47 would not do that well. It does not reflect the letter or the spirit of the treaty and it may weaken the treaty. That is why I cannot support it. That is why, as I said above, experts in arms control, as of today, still oppose Bill C-47 and why 33,000 Canadian citizens wrote to the minister and asked her to fix the bill.

The Liberals are twisting the facts. By doing so, they are disrespecting the experts. What are the main problems? Since I know my time is running out, I will sum them up very briefly. First, there is the issue of exports to the United States. More than half of our exports go to the United States.

When I say that more than half of our arms exports go to the United States, we do not even know if it is 52% or maybe 57%. Who knows, it could be 62%. Why? It is because we have absolutely no information on those arms exports to the U.S. With this bill, not only will our arms exports to the U.S. not be covered, but even when we asked for the small step of reporting to Parliament about those exports, the Liberals refused. There is no transparency at all, no willingness to give Parliament, this House, some sort of power to oversee the sometimes very troubling issue of our arms exports.

We will remember that twice we have tried to create a committee that could provide oversight of our arms exports, and twice the Liberals have turned it down. Why does it matter? It is a matter of principle, transparency, and democracy. It matters also because under the Trump administration, the Americans are lowering their standards for arms exports. We have seen, for example, that some Canadian equipment goes to the United States and then becomes part of shipments that go to countries like Nigeria. We have cut our arms sales to Nigeria, but now Canadian arms are finding their way to Nigeria through that loophole. I have a problem calling it a loophole, because it is so huge. It is like a doughnut with a large three-foot hole in the middle. It is amazing. They say, “Oh yes, we are acceding to the treaty.” No, I am sorry, we are not acceding to the treaty. We are just putting our big toe in the water, and not more than that. This is a huge hole.

A few weeks ago, there was a big story about a sale of helicopters to the Philippines. They were going to the Philippines without requiring an export permit. How interesting, selling helicopters to the army of a president who boasted that he had once thrown someone out of a helicopter and was ready to do it again. Why did it not need an export permit? It did not need one because the deal was organized through an agreement with the Department of National Defence and a Canadian commercial corporation, and it was deemed that helicopters are not military equipment, so it just went through. It created a hoopla. Of course, Canadians were upset by that. What we are learning now is that the company is planning to send the helicopters to the U.S., and then they will go on to the Philippines. There is no control over end-users.

The bill would not cover all of government, because the bill would make amendments to the Import and Export Permits Act, and the Canadian crown corporation is not covered by that act, as officials have told us.

Then we have the issue of reviewing permits in the event of new developments. That is in the treaty, so why does the government not want to include it in the legislation? I do not get it.

When new information comes to light and when new developments arise, the government should make it its duty to review the permits that have been granted. I could go on about this for hours. In fact, I probably have talked about this for hours over the past few weeks. I invite everyone to read my blog on the issue and my Twitter account, where I am very active.

I described all these shortcomings in this bill and talked about what a bad bill it is. More to the point, experts have described this as a bad bill that is full of holes.

My final concern is about countries that claim they are complying with a treaty, but in fact are only doing it halfheartedly and badly so. That weakens the treaty for the rest of the world. As a result, other countries may well decide to follow suit. What Canada is in the process of doing is complying with a small part of the treaty, but mostly it is undermining it. That is not going to happen on my watch, and that is why I will be moving a motion.

I move, seconded by the member for Victoria:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“this House decline to give third reading to Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments), because it:

a) doesn't require the Minister of Foreign Affairs to reassess existing export permits should new information about human rights abuses be revealed post-export;

b) does not allow for exports of military goods to the United States to be licensed, tracked, or reported back to Canadians in any way;

c) goes against the spirit and the letter of the Arms Trade Treaty.”

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have tremendous respect for my hon. colleague, but I am tremendously disappointed to hear that she is trying to block this legislation from moving ahead to third reading.

Let us be clear. The Arms Trade Treaty, all of the Arms Trade Treaty, once Canada accedes to it, is legally binding on Canada, both under international law and under Canadian law. However, to do that, we need Bill C-47 to pass, because this is the enabling legislation that is a precondition to Canada acceding to the treaty.

There are child soldiers, and women who are being raped, and human rights defenders, and all of these people around the world who do not want to wait anymore. This delay by my hon. colleague is actually going to cost a lot of people around the world.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question. Is it not true that we need this bill to accede to the treaty, and once we accede to the treaty, it will be fully and completely legally binding on Canada?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join others in saluting my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her tenacity and her long-standing support of the treaty as well as for pointing out the government's false narrative, if I can call it that, about the bill, the NDP's position on the bill, the position of those 33,000 people who provided their input on the bill, and the experts who agree that it is far from a good arrangement.

In her speech, the member talked about social media and Project Ploughshares, a well-known group, which suggested that one must distinguish between the treaty and Bill C-47. It has long supported the treaty, as has she, but it points out that “shortcomings” remain in the export controls, such as the loophole with respect to exports to the United States. That was the burden of the amendment by my colleague. I would ask her to elaborate on that so-called loophole.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her remarks.

I would like to ask her if she thinks that what we are seeing in this bill is textbook Liberal government. Its tendency is to introduce a bill and telegraph appealing messaging about progressive values and improving society, but anyone who looks beneath the surface can see that business takes precedence over everything else. The same thing is happening with tax havens: the government is delivering all the right lines, but meanwhile, it keeps legalizing more and more tax havens. How about the fight against climate change? After parading around in Paris at COP21, the government is now making radical moves to extract even more dirty oil from the oil sands, which in no way helps address environmental issues.

Is that what we are seeing with Bill C-47 too?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the people of Ontario for electing a new PC government yesterday. It was a great victory. I think they made the right choice by electing a government that can serve the people, first and foremost, and no one other than that.

I am pleased on this beautiful morning to talk about Bill C-47, a piece of legislation that does not achieve its stated purpose. I have spoken about the bill before. It is ineffective, unfair, and a step backward. I mean every word I say about the bill. The bill is a further example of the Liberals doing what they do best, chasing an optic while ignoring the tangible effects of their actions.

Canada has a robust and effective system of arms control that has served it well for decades and will continue to serve us for as long as we need. I called Bill C-47 a step backward, and I mean that quite literally. The system that we currently operate under meets or exceeds anything proposed by the UN treaty. It is a fact that our current protocol exceeds the requirements of the UN treaty contained in the bill before us.

I have the honour and pleasure of sitting on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. When we were studying the legislation, Amnesty International appeared as a witness to discuss the legislation. Their testimony was quite interesting. Indeed, we were able to gather very important things from the witnesses who appeared before committee. Amnesty International is a very trusted and well respected organization on the world stage and in Canada. We wanted to get its opinion on the difference between the proposed legislation and the current regime we already have in Canada. Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International told us on October 31, 2017, “in the critical aspects where we need strengthening, it is not a step forward”. If we are not making substantive progress, then why are we doing what we are doing?

We know that the United States, Russia, and other major countries making up the majority of the sales of military equipment have either not signed or likely will not ratify the treaty. As is the case with many ineffective international treaties, the key participants in the trade are not part of the treaty. We have a right to ask these questions before we adopt anything that comes our way, no matter where it comes from. The bill cannot be part of an effective international regime because we know that the Arms Trade Treaty is being ignored or boycotted by major players in the international arms trade. That is something we also have to pay attention to, because we are not the only player on the world stage, and we have to consider looking at those major players before we consider any law, or piece of legislation, or any treaty we have to agree to, because it means so much to Canada. We have to be very careful when considering what we are doing.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, when speaking about Bill C-47, we must remind ourselves to mention the current regime we have in Canada regarding arms trade control. Since 1947, when Canada adopted such a control regime, the minister has had the ability to prevent the supply of military equipment to countries for a variety of reasons. These reasons include that they are security threats, are involved in internal or external conflict, or are under sanction by the United Nations. We have the ultimate control over the arms trade in Canada, and it is something we have always been proud of and will continue to be.

Canada can utilize a blanket ban on trade with at-risk countries through the use of the area control list. A blanket ban means that we use all the methods we have and all the tools to put tight control on arms and military equipment that can harm innocent civilians. Under the area control list, we have the Export and Import Permits Act. Through the Governor in Council, a country can be placed on this list. At the current time, for example, North Korea is on that list.

Again, our current protocol is very strong, probably the strongest the world has ever seen. On top of that, we already heavily restrict many specific items that may be of concern, including military and missile items and chemical or biological goods, just to name a few. Furthermore, Canada already tracks and records more than what is required under the Arms Trade Treaty. Our arms control system, as I said earlier, is very tight and very strong to be able to deliver beyond any threat that may occur anywhere those arms go, including any country, regime, or army, around the world.

We also know that the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada collect information on exports from Canada of every single item that may be work-in-progress items or finished goods. We have those protocols in place, and as I said earlier, we are very proud of what we have been able to do.

Collectively, we are left with a process that amounts to little more than a virtue-signalling campaign by the government. It is unfortunate that politics gets into the issue. When we speak about our concerns and when we point out our views on this topic, the first thing that comes from the government is that this is fearmongering by the Conservatives, which, first of all, is not fair. It is not true that we are doing this. We are pointing out facts and logical positions we have taken for years. We have studied what we have and have made comparisons between what we are trying to adopt now and what we had before.

If this process is a total waste of time, then we must say so. We must protest and make sure that Canadians know about it so that at least they can understand what we are discussing here.

Speaking of Canadians, we know they want a strong arms control treaty, but guess what? They have one. It has been in existence since 1947. If we were to ask anyone out there, they would say that Canada has the best arms control regime or protocol in the world already, so why not adapt our existing one rather having to adopt another bill, another treaty, or other controls coming from another party, whether it is the United Nations or others? We represent the finest example of putting controls on such an important thing in the international community. Canadians need that clarification. Our job here in the House, as representatives of our constituents and every Canadian, is to clarify that and to make sure that Canadians know what the government is willing to sign onto in order supposedly to move us forward, and that it not take a backward step, as was said by some witnesses and in some of the consultations we had on our own.

This bill fails to address the potential adverse effects on law-abiding firearms owners. That area was discussed heavily at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is definitely an area the government has shied away from, even diminished, when it presented Bill C-47 in its current form.

Going back to Bill C-71, which is supposed to deal with those concerns, we know that when the Liberals introduced that bill, they confirmed that they were not concerned about the rights of hunters, farmers, and sports shooters. I recall at committee that we were trying to improve that area so that law-abiding Canadians would not fall victim to this whole process, but we were not able to achieve a result that would satisfy and take a fair stand when it comes to law-abiding Canadians, whether hunters, farmers, or sports shooters, who want to own firearms.

I have to mention that the former Conservative government requested that civilian firearms specifically be removed from the treaty in order to protect the interests of Canada's lawful firearms community. I recall Conservatives doing that. We did it in the House and at committee, and it fell on the deaf ears of the opposition at the time. It is unfortunate that we had to face that at the time. It is unfortunate that we have had to go through such difficulties. We are asking that it at least be fair. We are not asking for anything more than to be fair to hunters and farmers and, unfortunately, we have not obtained that.

The Liberals have decided to move forward with signing the ATT, with little or no consultation with lawful gun owners. They do not respect the legitimate trade in or use of hunting and sports firearms. Again, it bothers everyone out there, including we politicians, that despite the government's talk and advertizing of consultation, saying that it is now the government that Canadians have been waiting forever for to consult with and ask questions of, we have been left with very little or no consultation.

The irony is that the government always says that it hears people and has consulted, as if it is the only entity doing politics, or working with, or representing, or listening to people. We do listen to people. We receive letters, complaints, and phone calls, and we know that the government is not listening enough. While this is not surprising, it is definitely a continuation of a disappointing pattern of disrespect and disregard by the government.

In short, this bill is unnecessary. The first time I spoke on this bill at second reading, I said it was ineffective, unnecessary, and for sure a step backward. It will never be a step forward. It will basically diminish what we have done for years. Our record shows that we are leaders with our current regime, that we are world leaders in legislating the Arms Trade Treaty. Here we are in 2018, and supposedly we are doing things to make improvements, but this is a step backwards and it is unnecessary and not fair. As I have said, it is unnecessary, unfair, and ineffective.

Upon its implementation, we would be worse off than we are today. For all of the reasons I and many of my Conservative colleagues have mentioned, this bill would not serve Canada, Canadians, and the world as the government is claiming. We will not support it.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague for his comments on this bill, because he clearly knows a lot about it.

As I was listening to my colleague outline some of the things that our current regime includes, such as the trade controls bureau, the fact that heavily restricted items, such as military and security equipment, are already under good scrutiny by Stats Canada and the CBSA, as well as many other safeguards that my colleague pointed out, it was clear that Canada already has a very effective regime when it comes to the control of military goods and security equipment.

This is beginning to sound a little like what I remember years ago when the Liberal government, I believe under the environment minister Stéphane Dion, signed onto the Kyoto Accord. There was a big fanfare about our signing onto the Kyoto Accord. However, we know that under that agreement, nothing was accomplished in terms of greenhouse gas reductions.

Is this just another photo op to make Canadians feel good, but when they really look at it, they will find that we have a better system in place now than we would under Bill C-47?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean.

Our government entered office with a mandate to expand Canadian diplomacy and leadership on global issues. We are committed to promoting human rights and fostering peace. We are committed to ensuring that our foreign, defence, development, and trade policies can work hand in hand. It is with this in mind that I am so proud to be part of a government that is committed to an export control system that is transparent and that protects human rights at every stage of the assessment process.

Canada's export control regime is, by international standards, already one we should be very proud of. Canada promotes stringent transparency, and our export regime takes human rights into account during the assessment process. However, while I am proud of what has already been done to build Canada's export control system, I believe that to remain a global leader in human rights, we must continue to do better.

The changes we are proposing in Bill C-47 are about demonstrating Canada's commitment to human rights on the global stage so that we can hold our heads high, knowing that we continue to do our part as we align ourselves with our closest partners and allies in NATO and the G7. In other words, this is about returning Canada to the forefront of international peace and security efforts. As we make these changes, and as we build lasting policies that will advance Canada's engagement on the responsible trade of conventional arms, we need to take the care to ensure that we take an approach that works for Canada. We must build policies that work within the context of Canadian institutions and embark upon an approach to the implementation of the ATT that is practical, long-lasting, and bureaucratically feasible.

This is the first international treaty that explicitly acknowledges the social, economic, and humanitarian consequences of the illicit and unregulated trade in conventional arms. I think it is important to remember that what lies at the heart of this treaty is not bureaucracy or the motivation of partisanship but rather our collective obligation to advance the human security agenda and the international community's collective agreement that we must stand together if we are to protect the rights of those who live in insecure areas and conflict zones.

There has been fearmongering where this treaty is concerned. A debate that should have been centred on the protection of some of the world's most vulnerable people has instead been haunted by hollow, baseless speculation as to how this treaty might interfere with the rights and practices of Canadian gun owners.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said:

This treaty will not diminish anyone's freedom, in fact the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.

Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of Americans, the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our constitution.

This treaty reaffirms the sovereign right of each country to decide for itself, consistent with its own constitutional and legal requirements, how to deal with the conventional arms that are exclusively used within its borders.

If people are legitimate law-abiding gun-owners or users here in Canada, this treaty will not impact them. The United States signed the treaty, and given the centrality of gun ownership in the United States, I highly doubt that it would have done so had there been any domestic impact from this treaty.

For anyone who may have misread or misunderstood the Arms Trade Treaty upon first reading, let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that the preamble to the ATT both reaffirms the sovereign right of any state to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system, and recognizes the legitimate political, security, economic, and commercial interests of states in the international trade in conventional arms.

From day one, this government has believed in evidence-based policy. Not only does that govern our outward-facing policy, but it affects how we operate internally as well.

We do not have unlimited resources or personnel, and we have to use them very smartly and efficiently. NDP members think differently. They want to force officials to review permits any time new information comes to light that could affect the larger decision to grant a permit.

Our officials are experts in their jobs. They know better than any of us in this House what would constitute a meaningful enough change to trigger a review of either an export or brokering permit. We should allow them to focus their energies in areas where changes are significant and carry a real risk of impacting the eventual result. By pulling them off these important reviews to engage in less critical work, we are simply raising the possibility of not catching something in the high-risk cases that could have an extremely detrimental effect and impact on the ground. Legislation must be reasonable.

The minister has the power to review permits, and in fact, the minister has used that power. The Arms Trade Treaty encourages state parties to review permits when relevant information comes to light. When we have experts tell us that they have relevant information that mandates a review, rest assured that a review will be carried out.

At committee, we learned that export experts wanted us to place the Arms Trade Treaty criteria into legislation so that we could have clear guidelines on which the decision to issue export-import permits could be assessed. We did that.

These criteria are the following: a serious violation of international and humanitarian law; a serious violation of international human rights law; an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to terrorism to which Canada is a party; an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to transnational organized crime to which Canada is a party; serious acts of gender-based violence; or serious acts of violence against women and children. These are mandatory considerations. They must be taken into account before any decision is made.

This amendment is at the very heart of the Arms Trade Treaty as originally envisioned. It is a vital tool to help protect human rights all around the world. Of note is the language on gender-based violence, which goes beyond the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty. I am particularly proud of this effort on our members' part in committee to ensure that our foreign policy and development agenda align.

What else came out of committee? We now have a “substantial risk” clause in the proposed legislation. What does that mean? It would bind all future governments to the higher standards we are setting out in this proposed legislation. This clause would prevent the government from allowing for export or brokering if there were a substantial risk that it would lead to any of the acts I have previously listed. Prior to this amendment, there was no prohibition on allowing for export or brokering under these circumstances. It simply had to be considered as a factor.

The Arms Trade Treaty is a powerful tool, and acceding to it is a meaningful statement of our values. It is a way we can keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists and those who seek to do harm to Canada and its allies. The Arms Trade Treaty is a way we can reduce the risk that the trade of arms at the international level will be used to commit genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

As Canadians, we are blessed to live in a country where our strength is not measured only by our excellent defence forces or our resilient and growing economy. Our strength is measured by the people who inhabit this land who want to do good, not only in Canada but around the world. Our citizens demand that we engage with the world and that we continue to strive for peace and justice. That is the Canadian way, and that is the reason this government is going to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Arms Trade Treaty is an important treaty, which sets high common standards for export controls and seeks to prevent the illicit trade in, and diversion of, arms. Our government is committed to acceding to the treaty and doing so in a manner that meets the requirements of the treaty and the expectations of Canadians and our friends and allies in the international community. This legislation, Bill C-47, is required for Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. More people around the world are killed by conventional weapons, mainly small arms, than any other type of weapon.

Let us be clear about what this bill aims to accomplish. It is to stop guns from getting into the hands of foreign terrorists, war criminals, organized crime, and rapists. I am, frankly, stunned that the Conservatives and NDP both voted against this bill at report stage. I would have hoped that this bill would have passed unanimously. Every day that goes by, human rights defenders, women peace activists, and civilians are being killed.

As I mentioned in my previous intervention in the House, I have worked in conflict-affected areas around the world, and the women there implored Canada not to wait, to stop delaying the ratification of this treaty. They told me that their countries do not manufacture weapons. Every gun that is used to commit sexual violence, given to a child soldier, or used by armed militia groups was brought into their country. This bill would allow Canada to finally ratify this vital global treaty, which will stop the trade in illicit weapons and, in particular, finally regulate the brokering of weapons that is happening right here in Canada, simply because we are one of the last of our allies to ratify the treaty and to enact regulations on brokering. Even the Americans are ahead of us in this regard. In fact, the State Department has been working with Global Affairs Canada to help us revise and improve our brokering controls. The U.S. has already implemented controls that are consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty.

With that, I would like to address what the NDP is calling a loophole in the legislation, which is our separate defence and security agreement with the United States. This agreement is completely consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty. In fact, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg have almost the same kind of arrangement. Just because we have a specialized agreement with the Americans does not mean that there will be a free flow of guns from Canada to the U.S. to human rights-abusing countries, as the NDP would have us believe. In fact, we heard from the U.S. office of defence trade control policy and the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers that their controls regarding diversion of arms are often stricter than Canada's. For example, the U.S. end-user controls, the blue lantern program, controls on M and A and foreign sales of companies, and see-through rules on dual-use technology are actually more advanced than ours.

The Americans share our interest in making sure weapons do not end up in the hands of terrorists and criminals. For the NDP to use this as an excuse to actually vote against this legislation is, to me, more rooted in partisanship than in an actual desire to see innocent civilian lives being saved around the world, especially since our committee members worked so well together and passed some very substantive amendments to the bill at committee stage.

Let me address what the NDP said about going back to the drawing board. The fact is that we need Bill C-47, especially the brokering controls that are contained within it, in order to be able to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. Those who vote against the bill are, in essence, voting against the Arms Trade Treaty, because we need the bill in order to accede to the treaty. I would also like to point out that, once Canada adheres to the treaty, it is binding on Canada. Every single clause within that treaty will be legally binding, both under international law and, thanks to the committee work, also under Canadian law.

The Conservatives' argument that this bill will in any way impact domestic gun ownership is equally fallacious, but to assuage these concerns, the committee also passed amendments to even further reinforce and clarify this fact. Not one of the witnesses said that Bill C-47 would create a new gun registry. Again, I am disappointed that the Conservatives do not share our urgency about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and war criminals.

Accession to the Arms Trade Treaty received broad support from civil society, non-governmental organizations, industry, and Canadians, at second reading and while it was being studied in committee. However, we also heard the voices of those who are asking us to do better and to strengthen this bill. Our government took note of what was said at committee stage. We proposed additional amendments to Bill C-47 to strengthen it.

Under the ATT, the Minister of Foreign Affairs must take into account certain mandatory export assessment considerations, such as the risk that the export could be used to commit a serious violation under international, humanitarian, or human rights law. These are listed in article 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty, which includes undermining peace and security, committing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, terrorism, organized crime, and acts of gender-based violence.

The government had originally planned to put these criteria, including human rights, into regulation; but our committee heard from civil society that they would like to see the Arms Trade Treaty criteria placed directly into legislation.

We amended the bill by placing the ATT assessment criteria directly in legislation. Let me be clear: with this bill, the Arms Trade Treaty is binding on Canada both under international law and under Canadian law. To say that Bill C-47 is not fully consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty is absolutely untrue. In fact, with our committee amendments we actually exceed the requirements under the treaty.

For example, I am pleased that the committee accepted my amendment to add into legislation the ATT requirement that the article 7 criteria be subject to an overriding risk test that applies when there is a determination that there is a risk of certain negative consequences to the export.

In fact, the work of our committee shows what a significant difference we can make by adding or changing just a few words. We amended the bill to add the words “substantial risk”, meaning that, rather than the minister determining whether there is conclusive evidence that a certain arms export is being used for human rights abuses, now the minister must determine if there is a substantial risk of such abuses, which is much broader.

Even more important, we proposed that the wording be changed from “may” to “shall”, one single word change that is going to make a tremendous difference. It now says that the Minister of Foreign Affairs “shall” take into account all of the assessment criteria before issuing an export permit, as opposed to the more enabling “may” take into account. Again, this is an indication of the tremendous work of our committee.

This amendment imposes an obligation on the minister that does not exist in the current system. This means that the government will not allow the export of a controlled good if there is a substantial risk that it could be used for human rights abuses. In the enhanced version of Bill C-47, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is required to ensure that we are reasonably convinced that this controlled good will not be used to violate human rights.

To our knowledge, Canada will be the only country among our key allies to place the ATT risk test in domestic legislation.

In addition to placing the core ATT assessment considerations in legislation, we also wanted to add some measure of flexibility to these considerations in the future, without the requirement of having to return to Parliament.

The proposed changes to this bill not only meet the ATT criteria, but exceed them in some cases. Acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty will send a message to the international community that Canada is firmly committed to the responsible trade of conventional weapons.

The fact that we are going above and beyond the minimum requirements of the treaty in a number of areas demonstrates that we are fulfilling an additional challenge that we have set for ourselves to do even better.

I intend to continue working with my colleagues in the House on this important bill in order to finally take the necessary steps for Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that our committee heard from multiple organizations and groups, and listened to those groups in the amendments I outlined in my speech. In fact, Oxfam International testified before the committee that this would be binding on Canada. They said we should proceed with the legislation and with making sure Canada is adhering to the treaty.

One of my first goals when I became elected was to make sure Canada did not delay in adhering to the treaty. I really regret that the NDP is looking at further delays and possibly even not being able to pass it in this mandate in this Parliament. I implore this House to vote for Bill C-47, so we do not have to wait any longer for Canada to be a member of this treaty and of this international norm and collective arrangement.

Instruction to Committee on Bill C-71Routine Proceedings

June 4th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House of Commons to represent the fine people of Red Deer—Lacombe, many of whom are law-abiding firearms owners who are entrusting me to try to make some semblance of sense out of yet another attack on the law-abiding firearms community across Canada. I will do my best.

For those watching at home, we on this side of the House have moved a motion asking the public safety committee that is studying Bill C-71 for an opportunity to travel across the country and actually hear from affected parties and those who otherwise would not have an opportunity to come to Ottawa.

Just to put things into context of how we got here, this bill, Bill C-71, much to the dismay of the parliamentary secretary who spoke earlier and said that they have had all kinds of time to do this, is number 71. This means that it is not a very high priority on the Liberal government's index. The government has had almost three years to get to this point and table this legislation, and now it wants to ram it through the House as fast as possible. After less than seven hours of debate on this piece of legislation in the House of Commons, it was kicked over to the committee on a whipped vote, where of course all the government members voted in favour of it, including all of the members from the north, and I will talk about the north a little bit.

Now we have gone over to the committee and had two weeks of meetings. We had four two-hour meetings to talk with all of the witnesses that we need to hear from. That is simply not enough. We have to consider that we heard from the minister and the bureaucrats in the first meeting. Now that we have had the chance to have all the Ottawa bubblespeak, that basically gave us three meetings, for a grand total of six hours. In those meetings we had about two people per hour, so that means we have heard from about 12 different organizations and groups from all sides on this particular issue.

However, the real issue is that there are so many people who want to have an opportunity to actually address and talk to their government—to petition them, to make their case, to make their point.

As I go through this, if the changes in Bill C-71 actually addressed serious, violent crime or gun crime in Canada, it would actually have the full support of this House. There are things that all parties in this House can agree on. One of those is enhanced background checks. We can vary in our opinions on how effective that might be, but I do not think anybody here would disagree that enhancing background checks, going further back into an individual's history to see if there is a problem, to try to protect public safety, to try to protect people from becoming victims, to even try to protect people from themselves in certain circumstances, is going to be a bad idea. We can debate on how we are going to do that or the merits of one approach versus another and that could be implemented, but there would be a consensus in this House.

I told the Minister of Public Safety during the first committee meeting that if the government would simply table or put aside all of the other clauses in Bill C-71 that have nothing to deal with public safety and focus on that element of the bill, he would have the support of the Conservative Party, or the Conservative members of Parliament. He rejected that offer. He rejected it outright at that committee meeting. As a matter of fact, he went on to erroneously try to make the case that the measures that they are going to take are going to increase public safety.

I asked the minister point-blank, because he was trying to make the case that a source of firearms that are being used in crimes in Canada are actually domestically sourced. We know that statistically that is not true, because most firearms that are used to commit crimes have come across the border and most firearms that are used to commit crimes are not long guns. They are certainly not long guns of lawful firearms owners. In fact, Gary Mauser, a professor emeritus, actually gave us some very important statistics right from Statistics Canada that said that gun crime is lower in houses where there is a PAL holder. That is a possession and acquisition licence. It is outside of those homes, such as a home in the rural part of Canada where we have maybe high crime rates. Those are thefts, so those are not firearms-related crimes, except for potentially, in some cases, theft of firearms.

However, the gun crime in those communities where there is actually a victim is far lower than in communities where there are fewer firearms owners. This tells us that criminals do not follow firearms legislation. They never have. They never will. That is why this legislation makes little to no sense.

I am a firearms owner. I am a hunter. I grew up on a farm. I have had a firearm in my hand ever since I was legally able to do so, whether it was for vermin control or pest control. When I was in army cadets, I would use an old Lee-Enfield that was converted to a .22 to shoot targets. I participated in biathlons. I have successfully been around firearms my whole life and I have not been shot to date. I am completely confident in all of my friends and family members who own firearms and use them responsibly. I have no issues or concerns whatsoever.

What does concern me is that manufactured hyperbole is used in a political sphere to generate dissension and to create the illusion of a problem. We heard from the Criminal Defence Advocacy Society, as my colleague from Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner just quoted, that there is no evidentiary proof. I asked the Minister of Public Safety at committee where the report is from his department that says how many people will be saved with this legislation. I asked for the numbers of crimes that will be reduced and how many gun deaths will be reduced by this legislation. He does not have an answer for these questions because this is a politically-driven bill based on emotional arguments.

I am a law-abiding firearms owner and I do not want anyone to get hurt with a firearm. As a person who understands firearms, I am not saying I am a technical expert, but I have been around them my whole life. I know what the law-abiding firearms community thinks and does because I am one of them. If good proposals or measures were brought forward, I would help the government of the day convince the law-abiding firearms community that they were good measures, but I cannot in good conscience stand here and say that this is what Bill C-71 is.

We did not hear from a single witness from the north. In the Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunavut, hunting and fishing is a way of life, and more people do it than do not. All three members of Parliament from the north were elected as Liberals, and two of them are still in the Liberal caucus. None of them came to the committee to voice their questions or concerns. The member for Central Nova came asking questions. He was talking like a Conservative when he was asking his questions at committee because he has heard from his voters that this is an area of absolute concern. There was not one witness from the north, even though the motions were moved.

Here is who did not have a chance to testify: Randy Kuntz, a retired Edmonton police officer, who was summoned to the committee but did not have the time. Wes Winkel, the president of Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, was another. Not one witness appeared before the committee to represent the sellers or retailers in this country. As a matter of fact, in all of the questions that were posed by my colleagues across the floor at committee when it comes to the mandatory provisions of dealing with record keeping, which most store owners already do for warranty purposes and so on, the only people who were asked about it were the chiefs of police.

I am going to go back to that, because we need more clarification. When I asked the Minister of Public Safety about warrants and warrantless access to firearms records, the minister actually did not know, but he said that investigating officers would need a warrant. Then he said that the chief firearms officer, who is a police officer, would not need a warrant. Then the bureaucracy stepped in and tried to help him out with his claims. It seems that during an investigation, a police officer must get a warrant in order to access the records of a private store owner as part of their investigative process. However, a chief firearms officer can go in at any time, according to the legislation, and demand to see the records, and the store owner is then obligated to produce the records.

When I asked the chiefs of police before committee if it is that cut and dried, that black and white, their answer to my question was quite shocking. They said no, that is not the case. They said it is not cut and dried, not black and white. There are circumstances in which the chief firearms officer can pass on information to an investigating officer and vice versa.

It is not cut and dried. It is an argument that we have been asked to believe and asked to buy that is simply not true.

Why is the government so afraid of listening to store owners who sell these firearms? Maybe it is because it does not want people lined up at its door condemning the Prime Minister's tweet, which was false and misleading when he said in that tweet that when people buy a firearm or ammunition at a store, they do not need to provide identification. That was a patently false tweet, creating a misinformation campaign out there to justify this legislation.

I have never been to a store where I have been able to even touch the firearms. When I ask to see a firearm, which is in a locked cabinet, I am asked for my possession and acquisition licence. I have to lay it on the table before the firearm can be brought to me. If I want to buy ammunition, I have to provide that possession and acquisition licence or a possession-only licence in order to purchase it.

It is a patent misnomer that right now people do not have to provide identification in order to purchase a firearm or ammunition at a store. It is patently false. It is a misinformation campaign meant to justify the ends, which is this piece of legislation, which would do nothing for public safety.

Nicolas Johnson of TheGunBlog.ca spends all of his time talking about this issue. He has thousands of followers and is well connected. Why would we not want to hear the opinion of this individual, who represents so many firearms owners?

I moved a motion at committee on May 22 to hear from the Women Shooters of PEI. The Liberal government claims to be a feminist government that does everything, that puts women first and its feminist agenda first. It would not let the Women Shooters of PEI come to committee to testify. I guess when it suits the government's need to be feminist, it is feminist, and when it does not suit its need to be feminist, it is not.

Dr. Caillin Langmann, emergency medical resident in the fellowship program with the Royal College of Physicians in Canada, in the division of emergency medicine at McMaster University, is not going to be allowed to testify. He actually works in emergency.

Stacey Hassard, the leader of the official opposition of Yukon, is another person. Did I mention that not a single person from Yukon came to committee? Even the member of Parliament for that particular area did not come before committee. I remember his absence from this place for four and a half years, and I think it had a lot to do with this particular issue.

Another is Andy McGrogan, the president of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police. Why did we only hear from select police chiefs that the committee chair wanted to hear from? Why could we not hear from one from the west?

Richard Munderich, of the Ajax Rod and Gun Club in Ontario did not appear, and that is really too bad. The parliamentary secretary from Ajax vetoed the ability for his own rod and gun club to appear. He just made an impassioned speech in here, which was not really based on anything scientific or evidentiary. One would think that the parliamentary secretary who represents the Ajax Rod and Gun Club would want his own rod and gun club to testify before committee, but that did not work out.

Gord Zealand, from the Yukon Fish and Game Association, another expert from Yukon, was another voice silenced from the North on this particular issue.

We wanted Harvey Andrusak of the BC Wildlife Federation to come here. We wanted to have Darrell Crabbe of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation come here. We wanted Bob Kierstead, who is a shooting expert and an international firearms instructor, to come here.

We wanted Kerry Coleman from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and David Clement from the Consumers Choice Centre to come here.

We wanted the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and la Fédération des chasseurs et pêcheurs du Québec to come. I think that is the first French I have spoken in the House in 13 years. As well, we wanted to hear from the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

We did not hear from a rural crime watch group. We did not hear from anybody dealing with these issues in rural Canada at all. We did not hear from Citizens on Patrol. We did not hear from any of these groups that are affected. We heard from nobody from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities or from the Alberta Association of Rural Municipalities. The government completely ignored all of these groups.

There are other stakeholders who wanted to appear. The Firearms Outlet Canada is a gun store in Ajax that wanted to come. The Wanstalls gun store wanted to come. Al Simmons, who owns a gun store in Hamilton, wanted to come. Sports Action is a gun store in Ottawa that wanted to come. Dante Sports is a gun store in Montreal that wanted to come. Cabela's, Sail, and Bass Pro Shops wanted to come. Nobody from any of these companies or their parent organizations was even invited or allowed to testify before committee.

This legislation would directly impact them, and I think this actually violates a fundamental principle of our democracy. When legislation is being passed that directly affects Canadian citizens, they should have the right to make a pitch to the government of the day on an issue that impacts their life, but again, that is why we are here as Conservatives.

Conservatives are respectfully asking for this House to say that the public safety committee has not had an opportunity to do its due diligence and it ought to go across Canada. This is my 13th year in the House, and I have seen committees go across this country to talk about issues that affect a lot fewer Canadians than this one, having hearings and discussions. This particular piece of legislation affects over two million firearms owners in Canada alone, not to mention everyone else who wants to have a say on the matter.

People are upset about this. The vendors and retailers are upset because they have not had a chance to have their say. Why are they upset? It is because this bill would do several things. It would create a registry. Whether the government wants to admit it or not, it is a registry. I am a former database administrator, so I know a bit about this. Every time there is a transaction, and there are going to be transactions, whether it is a business-to-business sale, a business-to-person sale, or a person-to-person sale, every one of those sales has to be validated by the government now. People who go to gun shows on Sunday had better hope somebody is at the firearms centre ready to answer the phone. That is another group that the committee did not speak to. Nobody from any of the gun shows across Canada was invited to testify before the committee.

None of the transactions at gun shows, or person-to-person transactions, will be allowed to go through if somebody at the firearms centre is not answering the phone. As a matter of fact, the bureaucrats said they were going to have to be given notice. All of the gun show owners will have to notify the government that they are having gun shows, so the government can properly staff it on the weekends. Does this sound like a recipe for success and the government serving the Canadian people well? I do not think so. However, those who happen to be tech savvy can enter all of the information from their possession acquisition licences, and the buyer can get the possession acquisition licence from the seller.

Nobody has answered this question. If I have a possession acquisition licence and the person selling me a firearm has a restricted possession acquisition licence, nobody is checking to see if the person is selling me the right firearm. As a PAL holder, I am only allowed to purchase non-restricted firearms, but somebody with an RPAL could have in their possession a restricted or prohibited firearm that they could try to sell me. Is the system doing anything to validate that?

The government says it is not keeping track of information on the firearms, but there will be a reference number, so part of that reference number is going to have all of the information from my licence. It has a terrible picture, but it gives my name, date of birth, address, hair colour, eye colour, and my weight. I do not want to disclose that. There would also be the same information from the other party, and each transaction would have to be tracked. It is not each transaction, but each item on the transaction. If I were to buy three firearms at a gun show, I would have three registries with three different reference numbers, with my name and personal information on each one of those records. The name of the person I bought it from would be on each one of those records, or easily looked up, and of course the firearm information that is being transacted.

When I asked the Minister of Public Safety what the provision in the legislation was for when it comes to creating this transaction, he said we need to be able to trace the source of the crime back to the original firearm sale. Already there is an onus on law-abiding firearms owners. If someone's firearm is stolen, or a person sells it to someone and that firearm is stolen subsequent to that, the government wants to know all the way back to where that firearm was originally manufactured, purchased, and imported into Canada.

I do not have time today to talk about Bill C-47 and the Arms Trade Treaty, all of the other factors, the other registries, and all of the other information that the government has on Canadian law-abiding firearms owners. I did not have a chance to talk about the continuous eligibility. Every day, every firearms owner is flagged. Firearms owners are intelligent people. They know what laws make sense and what laws do not make sense.

I am hoping that I get a plethora of questions so that I can further elaborate on why Bill C-71 would do nothing for public safety. It is a registry, whether the government wants to admit it or not. Something cannot be traced against data that does not exist. When the data exists, it is in a registry. Trust me, this is what I used to do for a living. I built multi-million dollar software systems. I know what a database is, as a database administrator and a data architect. This is a registry, just with another name.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think that with five time allocation motions over the last few days, it is becoming pretty clear that despite the election promises of the Liberals, they are essentially picking up where the Conservatives left off in how they manage House business. It is clearly a disappointment to Canadians who thought they were voting for something different.

However, the thing about time allocation is that we will hear a lot of members get up and say they want a chance to speak, and members must have that chance to speak. That is true, but the really nefarious thing about time allocation, in my opinion, is that there are all sorts of groups in civil society that want to weigh in on these bills, whether it is on a carbon tax or on Canada's accession to the arms treaty.

I was just talking to a colleague who told me that a petition was started on Friday, criticizing the government for Bill C-47's exclusion of Canadian arms exports to the U.S. for purposes of the Arms Trade Treaty. Today, that petition has over 30,000 signatures. Those are Canadians who want the time to make the case to the government to make those changes, and it is those Canadians in civil society who are also being robbed of the time to make a difference with respect to legislation.

I am wondering why the minister thinks it is acceptable to prevent civil society from weighing in on these bills.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech was admirable. I am appalled by the government's response to limit today's debate.

We have just five hours to analyze a bill with a massive scope. The bill is 550 pages long and amends 44 acts, including Bill C-47, which would impose a tax on people who use prescription medical marijuana. We are talking about children with cancer or children who suffer excruciating pain. This could have a negative impact on their quality of life.

The Prime Minister responded that this was for people who abuse marijuana and use it recreationally and who go see their doctors. He is indirectly accusing doctors of not doing due diligence and accusing people of abusing the system to avoid paying their fair share. Meanwhile, he is making patients suffer.

How could a government think this is responsible?

In terms of our democracy, if no members raise these issues, as my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway did, and if the government limits debate, we will lose this information since we do not have enough time to raise these issues in the House of Commons.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on my comments and I would particularly like him to tell us whether Bill C-47 should be withdrawn from the list of 44 acts being amended by Bill C-74.

Does he think that the government should withdraw Bill C-47 from the 44 acts amended by this bill?