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

Awaiting royal assent, as of Dec. 6, 2018

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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)

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
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Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the opposition House leader to speak to the government House leader on the questions that she has just raised.

In the meantime, this afternoon we will continue with report stage of Bill C-74, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1.

Following this debate, we will turn to Bill C-47, the arms trade treaty, also at report stage.

Tomorrow morning, we will begin third reading of Bill C-57, an act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act. Monday and Wednesday shall be allotted days. Next week, priority will be given to the following bills: Bill-C-74, budget implementation act, 2018, No. 1; Bill C-69 on environmental assessments; Bill C-75 on modernizing the justice system; and Bill C-47 on the Arms Trade Treaty.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thoroughly enjoyed your reading of the amendments and I think you did a splendid job getting through them all. I hear a member opposite saying “on division”. These are two of my favourite words spoken in this Parliament. I will want to see those recorded votes when they happen.

I am rising today to speak to Bill C-47, which is a bill that would implement an international arms control treaty. In preparation for speaking on this bill, I went through past interventions given by other members in which they contributed their thoughts as to the impact that the bill will have on their constituents. I went through the intervention from the member for Portage—Lisgar on this particular bill, and that is where I would like to begin.

I am going to refer to the bill as the companion bill to Bill C-71, which is a piece of firearms legislation that the government has introduced as well. I do not think we can look at either of the bills separately. I look at the bills as logically following one from the other. They have the same idea behind them.

In the intervention, the member said:

At best, despite amendments, we are in a place where Canadians...cannot trust the government on firearms...Despite earlier attempts through Bill C-47, the government has failed to recognize the legitimacy of lawful firearms ownership and has moved to create all sorts of unnecessary problems and red tape for responsible firearms owners.

We see in the companion bill to Bill C-47, which is Bill C-71, that in fact the government is making lawful and legitimate firearms ownership more complicated, more complex, and more difficult for Canadians.

Firearms ownership allows Canadians to hunt and participate in sports like sharpshooting, and to prepare for biathlon. This is a part of our inheritance and heritage that Canadians enjoy. There are Canadians who have been doing these types of activities for generations in Canada. It is a great part of our Canadian history and it is part of our dual national history. Both French Canadians and English Canadians have been participating in these types of activities and have contributed to the growth of Canada's lands in a dominion that formed our great Confederation.

Another member said about Bill C-47:

Most critically, it effectively recreates the federal gun registry by requiring the tracking of all imported and exported firearms and requires that the information be available to the minister for six years. Given that those are calendar years, it could be up to seven years.

Firearms groups and individual owners have repeatedly expressed concerns about the implications of [those six years]. They want a strong system of arms control, but they point out that in fact we already have one.

We know that many of the provisions that are being proposed in this ATT are already being done. There is nothing really new here. We know there is already tracking and recording, and more of it is being done right now. The Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada collect information on all items exported from Canada and classify these items using categories negotiated by the World Customs Organization. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves why we are implementing a treaty that will simply add onto red tape and the bureaucracy that we already have here in Ottawa.

The previous member I spoke of also went into some of the details. Both the ATT and its companion bill, Bill C-71, do not mention organized crime and will, in fact, do nothing to stop gangsters from obtaining firearms in Canada and using them in their illicit activities, because people who do not obey the law today and who participate in gangsterism and gang activities will not obey the law either way. They are earning their living through illicit activities like counterfeiting and human trafficking, so they will not be interested in caring about the contents of Bill C-47 and its companion bill, Bill C-71. This is simply more bureaucracy and more red tape being imposed on law-abiding Canadians, who of course are going to try their best to obey the law.

An argument that could be made too on Bill C-47 is that it is actually going to impose restrictions on the Department of National Defence, which is traditionally exempted from the export control system so as to be able to provide military aid or government-to-government gifts, such as the loaning or gifting of equipment to another government or a potential ally that we are supporting.

In spending this past weekend at the spring session of the NATO organizations meetings in Poland, I was able to hear from other member states that are looking forward to receiving more support from the Canadian government, Ukraine and Georgia. Our allies in the Baltic states are all hoping to see Canada step up and provide more support. They are satisfied with what we have done up to now, but they want to see more of it, so how does it make it simpler for us to add the Department of National Defence to the list of those who have to comply with this export control treaty?

In fact, it will make it more complicated and more bureaucratic. There will be more red tape involved in trying to support our allies in NATO, and it does not help in any way. That is in article 5 of the ATT.

There are other countries we could be supporting as well. We may want to provide them with additional support. I remember that in the past two and a half years the Canadian government said it would support the Kurdistan Regional Government's fight versus ISIS. I am privileged to chair in this House the pro-Kurdish group, the Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds. I have spoken to many Kurdish leaders, both in Canada and outside of Canada, including Syrian leaders and others, who at one point were promised they would be able to obtain Canadian weapons to support the fight versus Daesh. Those weapons eventually never came.

Would it have made it simpler to impose more red tape, more arms controls on people we are supporting publicly and encouraging to take the fight directly to terrorist organizations like Daesh, which were trying to set up a proto-state? No, it would not. That is my concern with treaties such as this one, which I will be opposing and happily voting against.

There is a Yiddish proverb that goes, “Uphill we always climb with caution, downhill we dash, carefree.” I am afraid we are dashing carefree down this hill. There is the perception that more government, more red tape, and more bureaucracy makes us safer, makes our communities better, and achieves some type of vague public policy goal whereby more government equals greater safety for Canadians. Tell that to rural Canadians. Tell that to people who live just south of my riding, who are afraid enough at night that they turn off their porch lights so people do not know their homes are there. That way, they do not have to deal with Calgary gangsters coming out to rural communities to commit crimes, to invade their homes and steal their property because it is easier than doing it in the city because there are fewer police officers in our rural communities. It is just a fact of life that there are fewer people and fewer police officers. It is simple logic. It just happens that way.

I hear the member for Foothills saying it is in his riding, and there are many members with ridings next to each other. My kids actually go to school in his riding. This is something rural Canadians have to deal with. How would Bill C-47 help them? It would not. It would not make life any easier for them, and neither would the companion bill, Bill C-71.

Law-abiding Canadians are going to keep abiding by the law. They are going to obey the law. We can count on firearms owners to do just that every single time. Therefore, why are we dashing carefree down that hill, expecting that more government, more bureaucracy, more red tape at the bottom of the hill will somehow keep us safer? They can introduce all the rules they want in the world, and it still will not help.

The Speaker is giving me the sign that I have one minute left, and here I was going to read to the chamber the list of states that have neither signed nor acceded to the ATT and the states that have signed but not yet ratified the ATT. It would have been riveting reading for the members of this House to understand exactly the number of states that are not participating in this treaty. Many of those who will not be participating in this treaty are arms dealers and many of them share weapons among themselves. They are not regimes that can be expected to obey any type of international law in the near future. For the most part, these are regimes we do not count among our friends, either. The governments that will obey this agreement are law-abiding, lawful western governments, and this measure would be restricting their ability to support their allies overseas.

I will be happily voting against this bill—it is a bad bill—as well as the companion bill, Bill C-71, and I look forward to the debate in this House.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleague, the member for Calgary Shepard, who articulated so very well the issues we are facing, certainly not only in rural Alberta but in rural communities across the country.

I would like to start by telling a story about an incident that happened in my constituency not long ago. Friends of mine told me about burglars coming into their house. Their children were in the basement. It was the middle of the day. They came down the stairs to the basement, armed. Their very large 17-year-old son was able to walk up the stairs and scare these burglars off, but they were very concerned about what could have happened to their three kids who were home alone that day. Of course, the burglars did not leave empty-handed; they took four vehicles from the farm on their way out the gate.

This is what residents throughout rural Canada are facing right now: a steep increase in rural crime. The Liberal government had an opportunity over this past year to address this issue.

I was very proud to be a member of the rural crime task force, which was made up of several Conservative Alberta members of Parliament. We held town halls throughout the province over the last six or seven months. We put together a list of more than a dozen very strong recommendations that we will be presenting to the government later this spring.

Many of the messages we heard from constituents were clear, no matter which open house we attended throughout Alberta. People were asking for stiffer penalties. People were asking for action against gang violence. People were asking for action to be taken against the illegal gun trade. People were asking for programs to address mental health. So many of these crimes are just a revolving door. A criminal robs a farmyard, goes to jail, gets a minimal fine, and is back out there, sometimes in hours, sometimes within days, repeating the crime.

Not one single time did I hear from the hundreds of Albertans that what they were really looking for was not one but maybe two gun registries. They were certainly not looking for a reduction in sentences for serious crimes.

When we look at the action the Liberal government is taking, it is going in the exact opposite direction that every rural Canadian is asking for. Rural Canadians are asking for stiffer fines and penalties and jail time. Canadians are asking for resources for our police services. Canadians are asking for a focus and a priority on safe communities. They are not asking for the Liberal government to ram through three bills that go against every single message we are getting from rural Canadians.

Let us take a look at Bill C-75, reforms to the Criminal Code and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which would take dozens of crimes that were federal crimes and reduce them to summary conviction offences that may receive sentences of two years less a day. These include possession of goods from crime, theft, terrorist acts, and kidnapping children under 14 years old. I do not know where the common sense comes from with such a bill.

Canadians are asking us for exactly the opposite. I have not heard from one single Canadian that we need to address rural crime by reducing sentences to solve the problem. The government is not just reducing it from 10 years but is reducing it so that they may get a fine and be back on the streets. That is exactly what we are trying to prevent. It does not make sense. It is certainly frustrating for Canadians in our rural communities to see that this is the direction the government is going.

One of the first jobs of any government, no matter what the level, is to protect its citizens. This does anything but. It sends a very poor message to Canadians across the country who are looking for their government to stand up and protect them. The Liberal government is doing the exact opposite. It is going out of its way to ensure that criminals are the ones who are the priority.

Let us take a look at Bill C-71, which is on the Firearms Act. It would do nothing to address gang violence. It would do nothing to address gun crime. It certainly would not do anything to address rural crime issues.

This is another attack on law-abiding firearms owners and establishes another back-door gun registry. I would argue that Bill C-47 is another back-door gun registry. When the Liberal government has multiple opportunities to address the real crime issue, and I am being specific about that, because that is something that hits very close to home in my constituency, the Liberals put up window dressing on taking a hard stance on violent crime and gun crime, but all they are doing is attacking law-abiding firearms owners, who are certainly not the problem.

I am going to tell another story of a man in my riding, Eddie Maurice, in Okotoks, who many members may have heard of, who is now charged with a crime. He was protecting his property and young daughter from burglars who were going through his yard, his acreage. I can guarantee that the burglars on his property had not gone to Canadian Tire to purchase their firearms and make sure they were registered.

These bills are attacking the wrong people, and that is what Conservatives are finding to be incredibly frustrating with these two bills that are being rammed through by the Liberal government.

What Canadians are looking for is a Liberal government that is going to support them. Bill C-47 would not reduce illegal weapons coming into Canada. It would not reduce rural crime, and as I said before, it would not reduce gun violence or gang violence.

I would like my Liberal colleagues, during the question and answer period, to explain to me how, with the suite of legislation they are trying to ram through by the end of this session, I can go home to my constituents and tell them with all sincerity that I feel we have taken steps to protect their homes, properties, and families. I do not believe these bills would do any of those things.

When Conservatives were in government, a similar bill was before us, but we did not follow through on signing the arms treaty, because we were concerned about the limitations and the impact it would have on law-abiding firearms owners.

I would also point out that the Liberal government had some difficulty meeting some of its promises in its first mandate, but the promise I heard, in the words of the parliamentary secretary, is that it would in no way put any government restrictions on law-abiding Canadian citizens. I would argue that these pieces of legislation would do just that. If the Liberal government were concerned about putting forward legislation that would not impact law-abiding citizens, the language in this bill should have provided a certain level of certainty and legal assurances for Canadians that this would exempt them from some of these registrations. However, it asks our law-abiding firearms owners to go through even more hoops rather than addressing what I think is the most serious issue, and that is crime, especially in rural communities.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that for any government, the safety of Canadians and our communities is paramount and should be among its top priorities. I would ask my Liberal colleagues on the other side in government to take a hard second look at what their priorities are. Instead of attacking law-abiding firearms owners, put your focus on ensuring that rural communities are safe. I will be voting against this piece of legislation, because it does not do that.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have to start by saying what a delight it is tonight to hear the Conservative members from Alberta giving accolades to Premier Notley for taking strong action to protect rural Albertans. It certainly is an important issue, but it is absolutely not what we are here to debate tonight. I am pleased to say that I will be the first speaker tonight who will actually speak to Bill C-47. My colleagues and I are opposed to this bill, but for completely different reasons.

Why is this bill important and why is it important that we get it right? Canada is now the second-largest arms dealer in the Middle East. In the past 25 years, Canada has sold $5.8 billion in weapons to countries with deeply questionable human rights records. In 2014-15, only 10 export permits were denied out of over 7,000 applications. Reports over the past year have indicated that Canadian sales of military-related equipment have increased to countries with poor human rights records.

It is time for the federal government to step up. I am pleased to say that the response to my colleague, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, has been the same as the response to me on this issue, in terms of the Liberals' attitude to the arms trade deal.

Over 30,000 people have signed an Avaaz petition since last Friday asking the Liberals to fix this bill. The petition reads:

As a concerned Canadian, I strongly urge you to pass an arms bill that will stop exports to any party involved in human rights violations, and to close the crazy loophole with US arms exports. It's unacceptable for Canadians to have zero visibility into where our weapons end up and we urge you to ensure that bill C-47 addresses that.

As I mentioned, in my almost 10 years in this place, the most responses I have ever received from my constituents have been those opposing the sale of the LAVs to Saudi Arabia. There we are: Canadians are not happy with the approach the government is taking.

Therefore, while we welcome the decision by the government to move forward and to become a state party to the Arms Trade Treaty, we are deeply troubled at the approach it is taking because, frankly, it is not living up to the treaty.

When the Liberal government announced that Canada would finally accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, my colleagues and I, particularly my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie, were thrilled. Of course, my former colleague, Paul Dewar, was outspoken on this for all of the years he was in the House of Commons.

Sadly, instead, Bill C-47 is one more broken Liberal promise. They are not, in fact, taking the action necessary to actually implement in Canada, into Canadian law, the full Arms Trade Treaty. As many people have said, they make a mockery of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The first derogation from this treaty is a massive one, in that the bill does not cover any of our exports to the United States. We do not know the exact percentage, and I will tell my colleagues why in a minute, but well over 50% of our arms exports are to the United States. We do not know the actual percentage because those exports are not tracked, and not even reported. Thus, we have no idea how many of our arms are being sold to the United States. This is important because we exclude from this bill any arms that are manufactured by a Canadian manufacturer here in Canada, but sold by another nation. That is, in fact, what has been going on with Canadian manufacturers of arms for export. They simply sell them to an American entity or a similar entity they have incorporated in the United States, and those in turn sell them to foreign entities who are major human rights violators. This is all the more important now as President Trump is lowering the bar for export to countries that are serious human rights violators.

Members here will recall the proposed sale of helicopters to the Government of the Philippines. They will remember that the president of the Philippines had boasted about throwing a man from a helicopter and that he would do it again. However, there are reports the company in question now plans to send helicopter parts to the United States, assemble them there, and then send them to the Philippines. Clearly, that is a cannon hole we are shooting through this arms treaty. It violates the letter and spirit of the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty calls for universal adherence. That means that Canada should have laws in place that prohibit any sale by Canadian corporations to nations that are major human rights violators.

The second derogation is that in some cases in Canada an export permit is not even needed. Agreements between the defence department or with the Canadian Commercial Corporation do not require a permit, and they are free to sell to whoever they want. Those are also exempted from this bill.

What does Bill C-47 do to solve the problem? It does next to nothing, because Canadian corporations that are major arms manufacturers and traders have already figured out how to get around this, and the Liberal government is enabling that with this bill before us right now.

There was the infamous case of the light armoured vehicles, LAVs, sold by a Canadian manufacturer to Saudi Arabia. Despite clear reports of human rights violations, the current government refused to even investigate the sale. First, it suggested that the deal had already been completed by the Conservatives. Then it denied that there was any real evidence of the nefarious use of the LAVs by Saudi Arabia. Then, when the reports became so clear that there were in fact human rights violations going on with those very LAVS, it investigated, but again denied there was proof of human rights violations enabled by the use of Canadian LAVs.

There is also the embarrassing case of a UN report of a Canadian company selling 170 armed vehicles to support the brutal civil war in South Sudan. I just sat through a briefing by Global Affairs officials advising us of all the aid that Canada is giving to a number of African nations, including South Sudan, because of this brutal war. Human rights observers, including UN experts, have documented how South Sudan's army has engaged in massacres, rapes, looting, arbitrary arrests, and a scorched-earth strategy against civilians since the war erupted. Tens of thousands have died in the violence since then, making it one of the world's bloodiest conflicts. A UN expert panel said in a report submitted to the Security Council that the armoured vehicles sold to South Sudan were manufactured by the Canadian-owned Streit Group at a factory in the United Arab Emirates. The company simply takes the parts, has them put together in another nation, and then sells them to these human rights violators. It is absolutely absurd for Canada to be saying that we should be imposing sanctions on South Sudan and pouring in dollars to deal with the human rights abuses when in fact we are putting in place a law that would enable Canadian manufacturers to sell the very arms that are causing the atrocities in South Sudan.

In closing, we have heard from tens of thousands of Canadians who are absolutely opposed to the direction the government is taking. It is an international embarrassment. If the government wants to be on the Security Council, it should take back its bill, revise it, and make it consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 8:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here tonight to speak to Bill C-47. I want to note right up front that I am a bit disappointed that the government seems to have disengaged from the debate.

This is my first opportunity to consider this issue, and I am happy to stay here until midnight tonight. I was looking forward to the opportunity to ask questions and to hear the answers. It is important for Canadians as we debate this important issue.

The Liberals have a majority government and they will get the bill through, but to disengage, to not even participate in the debate is a bit disappointing.

Before I get into the specifics of Bill C-47, I want to draw attention to the connection among Bill C-71, Bill C-75, and Bill C-47. It speaks to the Liberals ideological perspective on things that are not driven in practicality.

Bill C-71 is the Liberal government's back door firearms registry. In spite of what the Liberals say, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it is a duck. They claim the bill will protect cities from guns and gangs. People who have only lived in big cities like Toronto, Montreal, or Ottawa, might not understand that a law-abiding hunter or farmer who lives in a rural area considers a firearm a tool. It is a tool for ranchers and hunters. It is a tool for indigenous people.

Bill C-47 would impact law-abiding hunters and farmers, as would Bill C-71, but not in a practical way, not in a way that would make a difference. It would not make a difference in guns and gangs in cities, especially Bill C-71. However, it would create an added level of bureaucracy for many of our rural communities and our hunters and farmers.

Bill C-75 is about Liberal ideology, not practicality. Some people commit pretty serious and significant crimes. Bill C-75 proposes to reduce sentences. Do the Liberals want to reduce sentences for terrorist activities, or for crimes such as administering a noxious substance or date rape? If something ever happened to my daughter, I would be absolutely appalled if the sentence was reduced.

There was a very disturbing court case in Kamloops involving the death of a young girl. The Twitter world was filled with people, saying justice was not done with respect to the the sentence given to the person who murdered this child. Everyone had a sense that justice had not been done, yet Bill C-75 would further reduce criminal sentences for what would truly be horrific crimes.

I will get into the specifics of Bill C-47. This legislation was introduced in April, 2017. Let us talk about time management. It was introduced in April, 2017 and we are now going into June, 2018, with late night sittings so the Liberals can get what they believe to be important legislation through the House? That significantly indicates bad management of House time.

Bill C-47 would control the transfer of eight different categories of military equipment. The one we find to be the most troubling is category 8, small arms and light weapons. I understand an amendment was introduced at committee that would add “The Brokering Control List may not include small arms that are rifles, carbines, revolvers or pistols intended for hunting or sport, for recreational use, or for a cultural or historical purpose.”

It was quite a reasonable amendment, but it was voted down. I wanted to ask the government tonight why it voted it down because it would have given many of us greater comfort in how we looked at the bill.

The government tends to look at anything the UN does without criticism. If the UN says we should do this, the Liberals tend to say, absolutely, how fast, and how quickly. They do not spend as much time as they might reflecting on what we do in Canada.

I would beg to differ from my colleague from the NDP. We do have a responsive system. We have a Trades Control Bureau. To a greater degree, this system has worked pretty well. Would it be better to have something that everyone uses? Absolutely, if everyone used it. We only need to look at the list of the countries that have not or will not signed onto this agreement. We have to recognize that this agreement will not accomplish what it is intended to accomplish.

I encourage anyone who might have an interest in this issue to go online and look at the list of countries that have signed on to the treaty and implemented it. However, look to the larger category of countries that have said no. People will quickly recognize that we are not creating a solution in Canada. We are going to be creating increased challenges.

Another area that the Liberals should be reflecting on is this. The Department of National Defence has always been excluded from our internal systems. Under this treaty, it will be included. Is that going to affect the nimbleness of our military, its ability to respond in a rapid response? Perhaps the the Liberals have not done as much due diligence in that area. We need to ensure our military can react rapidly to trouble spots around the world and send assistance. We often thought that sending assistance was the correct response. This does nothing for law-abiding citizens.

Yesterday in the House, the Liberals voted for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Over a year ago, at the UN, they committed to its implementation. With respect to Bill C-71, today at committee one of the first nations leadership said “We had no consultations”. This is another example where the Liberals are telling them what they are going to do. I would suggest that the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne would say that with the borders between the U.S. and Canada, the bill would impact the people, that the council did not even know about it. The fact is that over a year and a half ago, the Liberals committed to consultations under article 19, but they have not followed through in any meaningful way to that commitment.

I am disappointed that we have not had engagement, but, quite frankly, the treaty goals in the bill will not be met. Meanwhile we will create some new regulatory burdens for our Department of National Defence and people in the fishing and hunting community who will keep having to do more and more under a Liberal government. I am sure they must be terribly frustrated. This is one more example of its lack of understanding on that issue.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

Madam Speaker, once again, it is a pleasure to rise in this place to give my comments in tonight's debate on Bill C-47, but before I do so, perhaps I can expand upon a couple of the comments made by my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, who talked a little about the procedural aspects of what is happening tonight.

If anyone is actually watching these proceedings tonight, they would notice that there is no debate happening. We are scheduled for debate, we are supposed to be having debate, but “debate” means that there are two sides debating, and the Liberals have chosen not to participate in this debate. That is their prerogative, and they can certainly do as they wish, but from a procedural standpoint, I would like to point out a couple of items.

Number one, if the discussion on Bill C-47 collapses, and by that I mean if no further speaker stands to offer comments, it means that the bill would get passed. Why is that important? It is because, as the government knows, there was an offer made earlier tonight to members on the government side that if Bill C-47 collapsed—in other words, if no one got up to speak—and if the government would not introduce another bill, we would all go home. Not to make it appear that we do not want to do our jobs, the reality is that every extended hour we spend in this place is costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. The lights have to remain on, staff have to be here, security has to be here, the cafeterias have to remain open, and, ultimately, Bill C-47 will be passed. The government knows that, it has a majority, yet we sit here wasting taxpayers' dollars and not even participating in the debate.

I find it shameful that members on the government side who say they want to actively debate will not even comment on their own legislation. I will put on the record that the government is playing games here. We could all be cutting back on the expenses that taxpayers are being forced to pay, but Liberals do not see it that way, and I find that almost unconscionable. That is on the procedural side of things.

I will turn my remarks now to Bill C-47. I will make a couple of brief comments on the bill itself, which of course is about the Arms Trade Treaty. The reason I am bringing it up is the fact that any arms treaty should recognize the legitimacy of responsible gun owners who wish to own guns for their personal use, for their recreational and sporting activities, but the treaty does not recognize the legitimacy of that. For that reason, and that reason alone, I cannot support Bill C-47.

However, we should not be surprised, because this is just the latest in a long litany of Liberal attempts at gun control that have ended badly. The member for Sarnia—Lambton referenced it just a few moments ago when she talked about the failed Liberal long gun registry back in the 1990s and early 2000s. For those who have perhaps forgotten the history, let me remind them that in 1995, then justice minister Allan Rock introduced the long-gun registry as a piece of legislation in this place, ostensibly and purportedly, according to him, that it would save lives.

History has taught us many things, and one of the things it has taught us about this failed attempt at a good piece of legislation was that the long-gun registry did nothing to save lives. What it did do, as was found out in later years, was cost Canadian taxpayers billions upon billions of dollars. In fact, in 1995, the then justice minister, the hon. Allan Rock, stated in this place that, by his estimations, the long-gun registry, once fully implemented, would only cost $2 million a year. At that point in time, many people took him at his word, because there were no real records or precedents for what a registry of that sort would cost taxpayers, but, luckily, for the taxpayers of Canada, a former colleague of mine, Mr. Garry Breitkreuz, from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, knew that this figure of $2 million was obscenely low, that it certainly could not be anywhere close to that and that it would cost much more. Hence, for years thereafter, Garry Breitkreuz filed ATIPs, access to information requests, time after time, month after month, year after year, getting limited, if any, response from the government.

Finally, after years of diligent and persistent requesting of the government for pertinent information on the cost of the gun registry, it was revealed that the gun registry did not cost $2 million, but $2 billion.

What did it accomplish? Did it accomplish anything? Did it save lives? Well, I am here to argue that it most certainly did not. Why not? It is because the one fundamental flaw in the rationale and reasoning of Allan Rock, back in those days, supported by every Liberal in Canada is seemed, was that criminals do not register guns.

We have seen over the years an influx of illegal handguns and other guns coming across the border from the United States to Canada, but the people who brought these illegal guns across the border had no plans to register their weapons. Therefore, the gun registry legislation was absolutely worthless. To say it cost $2 billion for a worthless piece of legislation and call it obscene is being kind to the word obscene. It absolutely was one of the largest fiscal mistakes the former Liberal government has made in that party's long history.

I do not think the current government has learned anything from these past mistakes, because we see them time and time again trying to introduce legislation that would in fact be a back door gun registry. Whether it be Bill C-47, Bill C-71, or Bill C-75, we know that what the Liberals would love to see is another gun registry being enacted here in Canada. However, I can assure members that if they try to do that, if they try to force their position on Canadians, on rural Canadians in particular, legitimate gun owners would again be absolutely beside themselves. The first time the Liberals tried to force the gun registry on legitimate gun owners and on rural Canada, the reaction was visceral, and it will be again.

I will conclude with a true story that happened when I was on the campaign trail in 2004. During the campaign, when I was door-knocking, I did not know the gentleman living at the residence I visited, but I saw in my identification that he was a former RCMP officer. I naturally thought that he was probably going to be in favour of this. Well, how wrong I was. When I got to the door, I was met with hostility on every issue I brought forward to the point where I actually started losing my temper, which I normally do not do, particularly when I am door-knocking. It finally got to a point, after many arguments on different issues, that the gentleman asked me “What do you think you're going to do about the gun registry?” I said, “We're going to scrap it”. He said “I worked for the gun registry”. I said “Well, in that case, don't vote for me”. He said, “I won't, and get off my doorstep”.

I was laughing by the time I got to the sidewalk because it was so bizarre, but it just illustrates the visceral reaction that so many people have about this very contentious issue.

The gun registry that the Liberal government of the day tried to force down the throats of rural Canadians was something that should never have happened in the first place, but it did, unfortunately. However, for $2 billion in taxpayers' dollars, it is something that Canadians, particularly rural Canadians, will never forget, and because of that, when they see the current government introducing legislation like Bill C-47, Bill C-71, or Bill C-75, they harken back to the dark days of the 1990s when the Liberal government tried to force this obscene long-gun registry down their throats.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on the Liberal government.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my friend's comments to try to spin this, but the reality is that he knows as well as I do, although he probably will never admit it, that there was an agreement that was proposed to the members opposite that if Bill C-47 were left to collapse, there would be no new legislation introduced tonight. Members would simply go home and save the taxpayers, I would say, probably at least $30,000 or $40,000 from our not staying here until midnight.

That is the right of the members opposite to say no. We will gladly stay here until midnight and debate the merits of Bill C-47, but what I find absolutely unconscionable is that there is no participation by the Liberals. They were the ones who introduced this bill. They were the ones who put it on the schedule for debate tonight. It was them not us, yet they are not putting up even one speaker to support or defend this legislation. That is the worst of all scenarios, game playing and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

Madam Speaker, I will be brief because I know that our time is tight. Quite frankly, resources could be best spent in perhaps increasing the police forces across Canada and perhaps in educating well-meaning and recreational hunters and shooters about the proper use of guns. However, to suggest that this piece of legislation or Bill C-71 would do anything to combat crime is a farce, because the legislation does not say anything about that. We do have a problem with crime, particularly rural crime, in this country, but Bill C-71 does not address that and Bill C-47 certainly does not. If the Liberals are serious about trying to prevent and eliminate crime across rural Canada, there are better ways to do it than this.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, I am here tonight to talk about the arms control treaty. I would like to say that I am delighted to be here, but I find that when the government decides to force us into these midnight sittings and then chooses not to participate in the debate, it is a bit of a one-sided conversation. Normally, when I show up to bring my viewpoints on why I am going to oppose a piece of legislation, I am looking to hear from the government about why it thinks this legislation is such a good idea, but I guess I am not going to hear that tonight.

First, I will talk about arms internationally, and then I will talk a bit about arms at home and some of the concerns I have with the bill.

First, there is this arms treaty that the UN is trying to get people to sign on to. My first concern is that there are a lot of countries that have not signed on to it. One of them, of course, is the U.S. This is concerning to me. If this was such a great treaty, a lot of countries ought to be signing on.

Here in Canada, we have the Trade Controls Bureau, which supposedly keeps us from shipping weapons to places where they would be used in internal and external conflicts, and used by people who commit human rights violations. I had the opportunity to sit at committee this afternoon, and the member for Edmonton Strathcona has already testified that she asked a question about arms that are being shipped through the U.S. into South Sudan.

This is not an isolated incident. There are parts of guns that are being assembled in other countries and sent to places where there are conflicts and human rights violations. She gave a statistic showing that the applications for these permits are pretty much all approved. Only 10 out of 7,000 in 2014 were turned down. Therefore, it appears that there is not enough traceability from where parts begin or arms are created to where they ultimately end up. That is something that ought to be fixed if we are really trying to meet the intent of the bill, which I think is to try to make sure we control where arms are going.

I was fortunate enough to go to Geneva, Switzerland with the World Health Organization as part of the Canadian delegation with the health minister. I was astounded when I was there to hear some of the members from countries across the world talk about how 684 hospitals were bombed last year. This is unbelievable and totally against the Geneva convention. In many cases, the weapons that are being used are weapons originating in countries that did not intend for them to be used in such a way. Therefore, we definitely need to tighten this up.

The Congo, for example, is at the point where its minister of health is talking about rebuilding its structure and having only 44% of the country with any kind of medical service access. It is definitely a serious issue.

If we focus on arms internationally, I talked about having better traceability. Definitely for those places that we know are committing human rights violations, we should have some eyes on the ground there to detect and eliminate those passages.

In terms of arms at home, it is important to state that we currently do not have a problem with law-abiding gun owners in Canada. We have to state this again and again. We are not having difficulty with law-abiding gun owners in Canada. We will kill more people with drug-impaired driving than we will with lawful guns in Canada. The Liberal government is rushing to legalize marijuana, which will double the number of people killed in that way. The Liberals are pretending there is a problem where there really is not.

The problem in Canada is guns and gangs in big cities, which is a problem with people who do not obey the law. If they do not obey the current gun laws, they are not going to obey future gun laws. It would be naive to think otherwise. That point cannot be made often enough. There is no problem with lawful gun ownership in Canada.

I have heard the testimony of some witnesses who talked about rural ridings. I happened to have a contingent of rural ridings in Sarnia—Lambton, perhaps not as rural as some of the people who have spoken, but there are a large number of folks there who are gun owners, many of whom are farmers. When there are no police close by or the police response time is measured in hours, not minutes, people need protection. Not only that, there are many times when one may have to take action. In the place where I live, we have cougars. It has not just happened in one year, but in multiple years, that when the weather is mild the cougars come down and attack the pigs and horses on the various farms around and the farmers have to shoot them. That is protection. I have friends who have a lot of horses. If a horse has to be put down, they do it humanely and they use a gun. In the rural environment, guns are a tool that is used wisely.

I have said before and I will say again that we do not have a problem with law-abiding gun owners. The other thing I would say is there are a lot of people who hunt for enjoyment or who have guns to practise shooting at a shooting gallery. I do not personally own a gun. However, I do not begrudge those who want the right to do so. I know that a lot of the people in the rural environment where I live have multiple guns. They have a different one for pheasant, for turkey, for moose, and for the deer. Apparently, there is quite a skill to this whole thing. What all Canadians want is to make sure that we take more control of things that could kill multiple people. We have all seen the news when people take a weapon that can shoot 50 rounds and really do huge damage. Therefore, I think there is a way of balancing that and making sure that the people who are getting guns are of sound mind. Everyone would agree that is also important.

This legislation does nothing to address any of that. This legislation, along with Bill C-71, is really a backdoor gun registry. It is bringing that back. I appreciate the history that the member for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan gave me, because I do recall that the long-gun registry did not turn out well for the Liberals. Bill C-47 and Bill C-71 will bring them to the same fate.

The other thing is that the bill is introducing a lot of red tape, bureaucracy, record keeping, and costs to businesses. I am not a fan of that.

If we talk about Bill C-71, the sort of partner legislation to this bill, there are a lot of unanswered questions about who does the background checks, who assesses that they are okay, and how people access the records. There is language that suggests it is a judicial process. What does that mean? Does it mean one needs to get a warrant to get that information? Is that information generally available to security organizations? Who can really access that information? Those questions need to be answered.

Also, in Bill C-71, I do not know why the government would take out the authorization to transport guns to and from gunsmiths, gun stores, border points, and gun shows. If people who own guns have to get their gun fixed, they have to take it to a gunsmith. Eliminating people's ability to transport guns to a gunsmith seems ridiculous. Similarly, if people are a fan of guns, they would go to gun shows. How would they get the guns there if they are not allowed to transport them? It just seems like a lot of roadblocks are being put up for people who are law-abiding citizens with whom we do not have an issue.

Overall, when I look at this legislation, it appears to me that it does not address the goal, which is to make sure that arms do not fall into the hands of people who would use them for human rights violations, in conflicts, or against Canada. It also does not do anything to address the issues with crime in Canada due to guns and gangs. For that reason, I will strongly oppose this legislation.

I would repeat that it is really too bad that the government has chosen not to put up any speakers in this debate tonight.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, the Liberal government has fallen behind on its legislative agenda. It is forcing parliamentarians to stay late into the night to study its bills because it is incapable of moving its legislative agenda forward. Now it is asking us to debate an important bill that speaks to significant Canadian and, dare I say it, Liberal values, like freedom and respect. However, the Liberals refuse to talk about it. It is utterly baffling. It would be all the more baffling if we were talking about another bill to legalize a certain substance, but that is not the topic of tonight's debate.

It is somewhat surreal that only the official opposition, the second opposition party, and the others are interested in debating this major bill governing Canada's arms exports to other countries. I will come back to this, because it speaks to fundamental values we hold. There is a general tendency to puff up with pride when this subject comes up, but when the time comes to choose between profits and respecting certain rights, the Liberal government shows its true colours. Again, this bill is not reflective of the standards, values, and principles that we have embraced as a society and that the government claims to care about here and around the world.

Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge the tireless work and absolutely amazing job being done by my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie on this file, specifically at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. I also want to applaud her assistant, Jennifer Pedersen, who has been doing fantastic work on this file for years now.

This evening we are debating Bill C-47, introduced by the federal government, which should be capable of applying the principles of such an important treaty as the Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT. The Arms Trade Treaty is pretty simple. The general principle states that we should not sell arms to a country if we have any reason to suspect, based on overwhelming evidence, that it might use those weapons against civilian populations, either its own or in neighbouring countries.

Unfortunately, we seriously doubt that the Liberal government's Bill C-47 will manage to address this very basic concern. We must prohibit the sale of weapons to countries that violate human rights. This leads us to reflect on some philosophical and political questions. Who are we as a society? What role do we want to play in the world? What is our own identity? If we are proud to be a country that respects human rights here and abroad, we cannot have a double standard. Human rights are not optional. We cannot be satisfied with respecting them only when it suits us, only to make an exception when other interests prevail.

Respecting human rights means always. As progressives, New Democrats, and humanists, we want to make sure those rights are respected. That is part of our values as Quebeckers and Canadians. We cannot say one thing and then do the opposite. Unfortunately, Bill C-47 provides absolutely no guarantee that our identity and the image we want to project to the world will be respected.

Let us remember that, once the Liberals took office, they signed an export permit for the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. We now know that those weapons were used against civilian populations in Saudi Arabia and likely against civilian populations in Yemen, a neighbouring country torn by a very intense civil war. However, the Liberals tried to mislead us. The Prime Minister told us that there was no problem and that Canada had only sold Saudi Arabia Jeeps, or vehicles that were practically buses.

It turns out that the Jeeps in question were armoured vehicles, some light and some heavy. Normally, a government that respected the principles of the Arms Trade Treaty would not have signed the export permit.

I understand that a contract had been signed previously, but the government still could have exercised due diligence, respected our international commitments, and refused to issue the permit because there was too great a risk that those weapons would be used against the civilian population. Instead, the Liberal government decided to thumb its nose at all of those values and sign the export contract for the weapons.

After that, I do not understand how the Liberals can show their faces on the international stage and say that they are champions of human rights and that they want to win back Canada's seat on the United Nations Security Council, when they are not even capable of abiding by that treaty. The government introduced a bill to say that it will abide by the treaty, but there is no guarantee that it will do so.

In fact, there is a giant gaping loophole the size of the Grand Canyon in this bill.

Before moving on to that topic, I want to mention that the Liberal government's current bill includes absolutely nothing for re-evaluating existing export permits. Even if we were determined to act in good faith and there was no information or event to suggest that these arms could be used against civilians, there still should be an export permit re-evaluation mechanism.

However, Bill C-47 includes no measure for re-evaluating permits, even if there are credible allegations of human rights violations. That means that we are rushing to sell arms before getting all the information, and once the other country violates human rights and attacks civilians, we wash our hands of the whole thing, because there is no export permit re-evaluation process. It is quite incredible.

The huge loophole I was talking about a minute ago is that all exports of military goods to the United States are exempt. Under Bill C-47, exports of military materiel, arms, equipment, or partial equipment to the United States do not fall under the ax of the Liberal government's Bill C-47.

That means that we could sell arms to the United States, which could then sell them to a dictatorship that might attack civilians. There is nothing we could do about that under this bill.

We could sell a piece of equipment, a rifle part or a cannon part, to the United States, which could then sell them to people or governments that violate human rights and that would not fall on the chopping block of Bill C-47. Such sales represent half of our exports.

The Liberals have managed to circumvent the Arms Trade Treaty. If this bill had teeth, half of our exports could not be evaluated by this bill. It is unfathomable.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to stand today to speak to Bill C-47. In some ways, I think the bill is connected to Bill C-71. I was very much looking forward to speaking to this bill, because the good people of Peace River—Westlock sent me here, and one of the mandates I ran on was to protect the rights of firearms owners in Canada. I am incredibly pleased to speak to this.

We, on the Conservative side, have always stood up for the rights of firearms owners. I was particularly interested in being here tonight to see what the Liberals had to say and to hold the Liberal government to account on what they had to say about this particular bill. We have been here this evening for a very long time, and we have not heard from a single Liberal, not in the time I have been sitting here.

It is disappointing that we have not been able to hold them to account and ask the tough questions that need to be asked. I see that the member for Kildonan—St. Paul is here this evening. I know that the member for Kildonan—St. Paul is a big fan of mine, and she always likes to participate in debates. We sit on committee together. I know that she definitely enjoys my speeches.

This evening she has not been engaged whatsoever with the topic at hand. She has not participated. She has not given a speech. She has not even asked a question. I have been very disappointed with the member for Kildonan—St. Paul that she has not outlined her opinion on Bill C-47. I have not heard a single word from her. She has been sitting here all night. We have been laying out our opinions on the bill. We have been telling Canadians what the good people of Peace River—Westlock think and have to say about firearms rights and this backdoor long-gun registry the Liberals are bringing in, particularly with Bill C-47 but also with Bill C-71.

I was looking forward to hearing what the member for Kildonan—St. Paul had to say. I know we have a great relationship. We work together on committee. We rarely agree on things, but we definitely like to spar back and forth. I was looking forward to hearing what she had to say this evening. Unfortunately, to this point, anyway, she has not gotten up to ask any questions or to lay out her opinions about this particular bill. I am not sure what the people from Kildonan—St. Paul think about that. I hope to hear from her.

Bill C-47 is an important piece of legislation. It brings Canada in line with the UN treaty that was previously signed. I am not quite sure if I am totally excited about that. I know that the Liberal government has undermined Canadians' trust in it whenever it comes to firearms. When this particular bill was introduced, I remember sitting here with the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies. We went through the bill together.

I remember being triggered by some of the words in there: “list”, “permit”, “record”. These are words firearms owners in Canada are not excited to read whenever there is any kind of firearms legislation. If we see words like “list”, “permit”, “record”, “registry”, or “registrar”, it sends alarm bells to firearms owners across Canada. I know that when the bill came in, we had a look at it. Those words appeared in Bill C-47 69 times.

We put out a call to firearms owners across Canada, and believe me, we heard back, loud and clear, that Canadian firearms owners, licensed firearms owners, do not trust the Liberals whatsoever when it comes to handling their rights in Canada.

We heard back strongly that this was not the direction we needed to go. The Conservatives, being the adults in the room this evening, have brought forward an amendment that would help alleviate the fears. We do not often like to help the Liberals when they stick their foot in it, but this time we thought, for the sake of the country, we would help them. We proposed amendments to help out Canadian legal firearms owners to make sure that their rights were protected, because that is, in fact what I was sent here, on behalf of the good people of Peace River—Westlock, to do, to stand up for the rights of firearms owners.

This is just part of the ongoing trend of lack of accountability from those folks. We see it again tonight, when they are not willing to stand and defend their own legislation. We see it time and again. In the Liberals' last platform, I heard over and over again how they would have a new level of openness, that there would be transparency on every level. However, tonight we are debating important legislation and nobody is laying out his or her view of the bill.

One of the other things that is very concerning about the government is that it does not see past city limits. When I say that, I am thinking specifically of the rural crime issue in Canada, particularly in Saskatchewan and Alberta. It is tied to some degree to the downturn in the economy. We have seen a correlation in the downturn in the economy with a rise in rural crime. I lay the blame for that squarely at the feet of the Liberal government. It has done nothing to protect the Canadian economy. In fact, it has thrown gasoline on the fire when it should have brought out the water hose. We have definitely seen the wrong output from the government. Then, to top it all off, when it should be focusing on the economy, it brings forward anti-firearm legislation. That just shows how out of touch the Liberal government is with the Canadian population.

After Liberals introduce this legislation, they turn tail and run. They cannot even stand in this place and defend their actions when it comes to Bill C-47, tonight in particular. I was looking forward to sparring on this legislation, but here we are with the NDP and the Conservatives are having a robust debate in the House of Commons. It has been significantly frustrating to pin down the Liberals when it comes to holding up the rights of Canadians.

I go back to the language in the bill. I mentioned earlier that words like “list”, “permit”, “record”, and “registry” show up 69 times in Bill C-47 and over 30 times in Bill C-71. However, there is no mention of gangs or gun violence whatsoever. This shows that Liberals do not understand the issue. The issue is not a particular firearm. The issue is that they have undermined the economy and Canadians' respect for firearms.

We are calling on the government to do something about rural crime and they bring forward firearm legislation that only goes after law-abiding citizens. If the law is changed, these citizens will comply with it. It is why they are called “law-abiding citizens”. It is why they have firearms licences. It is why they lawfully own firearms.

Criminals are not too concerned about where or how firearms are purchased. They are going to be out there regardless. We need to ensure we hold the government to account. We need to ensure that when we try to target issues like gang violence in the country, we put forward legislation that will do that. If we want to target gangs, we should be resourcing our police departments properly.

I will definitely be voting against Bill C-47.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:45 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Madam Speaker, it is fascinating to hear the opposition complaining about having to be here, and this is only day three of extended hours.

The Conservatives say they are willing to stop debate on Bill C-47, but only if the government agrees not to call any other legislation. That makes no sense. They have been complaining about not having enough time to debate legislation, and extending the hours allows them to debate important legislation, so why do they suddenly not want to debate?

The government has been asking for information. The NDP has provided it, but the Conservatives have refused to provide it. Why do they ask for more debate time and then complain about getting it?

The government has spoken on this legislation, and we are now ready to advance it to the next stage. I would encourage opposition members to share information, as there is a better way to work in this place if they are willing to do so. We have not seen their desire to do so yet, but perhaps there is a way forward to be better.

They say they are eager to debate legislation, and yet they forced a vote on Bill C-57 when the House supported the bill. They did the same thing for private member's bill, Bill C-391.

If Conservative members can confirm that no members want to speak to Bill C-47 and they are prepared to let the debate collapse, then we would most certainly be happy to see the clock at midnight.

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May 31st, 2018 / 9:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I would be happy to stay here all night to debate this piece of legislation.

I was hoping for a question from my hon. colleague from Kildonan—St. Paul. I did ask for her to interact with me earlier.

It is great to be here tonight, and I was hoping to hear what the Liberals had to say about this particular piece of legislation. We have been here for several hours now, but I have not heard a peep from the Liberals on Bill C-47, the Liberal government's backdoor long-gun registry. I am happy to be here tonight to debate Bill C-47.

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May 28th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, when the Liberal government announced that Canada would finally accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, I was very happy, and I congratulated the government at that time. For years now, the NDP has been asking Canada to join this important, life-saving treaty that addresses important issues such as gender-based violence and the illegal arms trade, which is a major destabilizing force internationally.

This boils down to one more broken Liberal promise. They say they want to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, but Bill C-47, which is before us today, respects neither the spirit nor the letter of that treaty.

The current bill was described by an expert to whom I spoke as making a mockery of the Arms Trade Treaty. Even though we in the NDP wanted, and have pushed for years, Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, we cannot support the bill because it does not respect the treaty. It does not respect either the letter or the spirit of the treaty.

In fact, this bill is full of holes. It might as well be a sieve that lets everything through, even the important bits. The first hole, a massive one, is that this bill does not cover any of our exports to the United States.

We have to take into account that over 50% of our arms exports are to the U.S. When I say over 50%, I do not mean 51% or 52%; I mean it could be 55%, 60% or 65%. In fact, we do not even know. Officials tell us that it is over 50%, but we do not know what the actual percentage is because those exports are not tracked and are not reported. In committee, when I said we should at least report on our arms exports to the U.S., one of my Liberal colleagues answered that it was difficult to report on something the government did not track. That is a problem.

It should be tracked, especially right now when President Trump is lowering the bar for export to countries like Nigeria. This risk that arms or components produced in Canada find their way to a range of countries where we would not want to see those arms is even greater.

Members will recall when the sale of helicopters to the government of the Philippines hit the news. When this news became public, everyone remembered that the President of the Philippines had boasted about throwing a man from a helicopter and said that he would do it again. Everyone was busy trying to stop the deal. The Philippine authorities were a bit insulted, and the plan was dropped. However, there are reports that the company in question now plans to send helicopter parts to the United States, assemble them there, and send them to the Philippines. They found a good way to get around the act. This poses a practical problem in that we have no control over more than half of our arms sales.

This violates the letter and the spirit of the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty calls for universal adherence. We cannot pick and choose, saying that exports to one place will be covered by the treaty, but exports to another place will not. This is not how treaties normally work, and this is not how this particular treaty works.

I would like to get back to the sale of helicopters to the Philippines. People are asking how this could have happened and how the minister approved an export permit for these helicopters to the Philippine government.

The problem is that an export permit was not needed. The agreement between the two defence departments was brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation. That is another gaping hole. These are nevertheless exports of a sensitive nature made without the requirement to obtain the minister's approval or an evaluation of the risk of these arms being used to commit human rights violations. This a gaping hole in how we manage Canadian exports.

What does Bill C-47 do to solve this problem? Guess what, absolutely nothing.

Bill C-47 does not even cover the activities of the Department of National Defence or the Canadian Commercial Corporation, so there is a huge loophole, and we do not know whether that loophole will still be wide open. Export to the U.S. is not reported on, not covered by the treaty. DND and CCC are not covered by the treaty. What is left is shrinking all the time.

This legislation should be sent to the shredder, because it is basically flawed. I am not the only one to say this. All of the experts are saying it as well, but, of course, the Liberal government will not listen to them. The government will ram through this legislation even though it could weaken the actual treaty. I always wonder where Canada is in the world. To me, it is not back on the world stage.

That would be the ideal solution, but the Liberal government will not do it. However, at least we are trying to improve it a bit. This amendment would close another crucial element of the Arms Trade Treaty that is not covered in the current bill. It would make sure that if an export licence has been given and new information comes to light, the minister has to reassess the export permit. I hope that my colleagues will support that. It is part of the treaty and it should be in the bill. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the minister refused to do so.

Here I will rest my case.

Motions in AmendmentExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her work in committee.

I find it unfortunate that she is now expressing her opposition to Canada's accession to the ATT. The NDP once took the principled stance that Canada should be a leader in regulating the sale of conventional arms around the world. I am not surprised that, once again, NDP members have abandoned their principled position in favour of partisan opposition in their stance.

I do want to correct the record, though. Bill C-47 will see the entirety of the Government of Canada accede to the ATT. All of the organizations and departments which the member referenced will be a party to ATT standards. It will allow Canada to play a leadership role in regulating the sale of conventional arms worldwide.

Why is the NDP once again proposing to abandon its principled position that will help Canada play a leadership role in the world?