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

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

Summary

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

This enactment amends the 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)

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to debate Bill C-47, a bill that would implement an international arms control treaty. Bill C-47 lays bare a fundamental difference in the foreign policy approach of the Conservative official opposition and the Liberal government. I agree very much with my NDP colleague that the difference is that the Liberal government is primarily concerned with optics as opposed to real results for Canadians, lots of nice fancy window dressing with little or no results.

Previously, my colleague on this side of the House formally laid out the practical problems we have seen with this legislation, and the practical reality that we already have a strong system of arms control in this country that achieves the stated objective.

We oppose the bill on the grounds that it complicates existing arms control mechanisms that are working extremely well at present, and that, in the process, it introduces substantial problems for responsible, law-abiding Canadian firearms owners. I want to take this opportunity to discuss some issues we have in terms of this proposed legislation.

In real terms, Canada already has a strong and effective system of arms control that in practical effect exceeds the system proposed by the UN treaty. The current system includes the Trade Controls Bureau, which, through the responsible minister, has the ability to prevent us from supplying military equipment to countries where those exports might threaten Canadian security, or in cases where the weapons could be used in an internal or external conflict in general. The current system also includes provisions that allow a complete ban on trade with high-risk countries. Further, it is currently set that the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, and Statistics Canada collect all such information on goods exported from Canada.

Some might argue that signing on to this UN treaty is important to aligning Canada with other nations. In previous deliberations on this legislation, though, one of the members opposite referenced the nations that had initially signed on to this treaty. However, if we look at the ratification record of countries, we note that the countries accounting for a majority of the sales of military equipment have not signed on to it. Therefore, in actual fact, this treaty is not at all about establishing an effective international regime that we can all align with.

At best, despite amendments, we are in a place where Canadians know one thing for sure, that they cannot trust the government on firearms legislation. We are at that point yet again. 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.

This legislation effectively recreates the federal gun registry by requiring the tracking of all imported and exported firearms, and requires that information be available to the minister for six years. Firearms groups and individual owners have repeatedly expressed concerns about the implications of this. They want a strong system of arms control, but they point out that we already have one.

Beyond that, firearms owners are generally frustrated by a constantly shifting classification system that does not provide any meaningful certainty to law-abiding gun owners in Canada. A firearm that is considered legal today could be considered illegal tomorrow, without even the due process of an order in council.

Let us address the trust issue that many law-abiding Canadians have with the government. With respect to the Liberals' new gun legislation, Bill C-71, it does nothing to address real crime and gun violence. It is essentially a regulatory bill, not a public safety bill. What is apparent is that it was drafted without any thought of what it would do to law-abiding firearms owners, like farmers, hunters, collectors, and sport shooters. There is nothing in that proposed legislation that addresses any of the real gang and gun problems facing Canadian families, police, rural communities, first nations, inner cities, border agents, or the issue of rural crime.

Legislation should be about the values and merits of what Canadians need to improve their quality of life, what they need to protect their communities. Legislation should be about empowering people to prosper, not the Liberal Party.

We have heard what Canadians need for safer communities. In ridings like mine with vast rural areas, police can sometimes be hours away. Rural Canadians often feel they are left to fend for themselves. With crime rates increasing by 41% in rural parts of Canada over the last few years, the bill would do nothing to address the needs of rural Canada. However, it has the potential to turn rural Canadians into criminals if they own a firearm.

The reality is that many Canadians have firearms because of where they live and because their livelihood depends on it. Many need a firearm to deal with aggressive predators and to protect their livestock. Others need it for their work, like farmers who might have to put down an animal or control rodents. Sadly, in some rural communities, due to excessive crime, some Canadians feel they need firearms to defend themselves. There are many reasons that rural Canadians need firearms, and they own them legitimately.

Recently at a summit on guns and gangs, police referenced the increasing number of gangs involved in gun violence. This violence often stems from drug related crimes, with shootings often related to gangs protecting their territory. Guns acquired by drug dealers and gang members are almost always acquired through the black market, via smuggling and theft. We know that those involved in gang related shootings do not register their guns; they do not get a licence to own a firearm. They will not show a licence to buy a firearm; they do not go through a background check. They do not submit to police scrutiny. The only people who do that are law-abiding Canadians.

Adding more processes and background checks for law-abiding citizens would do nothing to effectively combat gang related gun violence. Nothing the Liberals have proposed will deal effectively with gangs and their acquisition of illegal weapons, and there is no mention even of gangs, organized crime, or smuggling in the bill.

I talk about all of that because we have a piece of legislation before us that is supposed to work to ensure that international dealings and trade in arms is done responsibly, and that when Canada is exporting weapons or other types of military equipment, we ensure that it is done in a responsible way.

However, there are three problems. The UN treaty does not do that. In fact, what we currently have in place in Canada is extremely effective, and we have already discussed a number of times the already effective way that we export firearms. One wonders, therefore, why are the Liberals so intent on ratifying this agreement.

There are six main arms dealers in the world and three of them have not even signed onto this. We know that the government is quite fascinated with doing things the UN wants, not always thinking about what is in the best interests of Canadians or people who are affected by what the UN says and does. We know that the Liberals like to take their direction from the UN.

In this case it is going to have a negative effect on law-abiding Canadians. Indeed, because of what we have previously seen in Bill C-71 and from the Liberal government generally, members will know that the Liberals introduced the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry and that firearms owners in Canada have been battling with the Liberals for years and years. Liberals think that law-abiding gun owners are criminals.

The bottom line is that Canadian firearms owners just do not trust the Liberals when it comes to any kind of legislation around firearms. In this case, our regime has been adequate. Fulfilling a political promise is one of the reasons I think the Liberals want to do this, because the Prime Minister said he would ratify this particular agreement. However, we know that he made a whole lot of promises without actually thinking through the implications and that he has broken the majority of them.

The NDP have their reasons and we have ours, but I do not think anybody would be heartbroken or surprised if the Liberals just scrapped this. This bill is not a good bill. It is not going to do anything to effectively combat illegal parts of the international gun trade with our best interests in mind.

The big six arms trading countries are Russia, China, the United States, France, Germany, and the U.K. I will wind up by noting that the countries that are not part of the arms trade treaty include North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, and China. Here, I would say that there is sort of theme with the government in who it likes to challenge and who it just kind of lets go to do their own thing.

I thank the House for this opportunity. I believe very strongly that we just need to scrap this piece of legislation and get on with the business of actually doing things to control illegitimate, gang related gun crime.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the member across the way said that Russia and China are not part of the agreement or pact. It is interesting that she would be pointing that out and suggesting that Canada should join Russia and China and not be a part of it. I take no offence to what it is she is trying to infer, but from where I was sitting, it sure sounded like that was what she was trying to imply. She might want to reflect on those particular comments.

The other thing I want to raise is this, and maybe the member could provide a response. If we look at the record-keeping requirements in Bill C-47, they are the same as those when Brian Mulroney was the prime minister and the requirements that were in place prior to him. Would she not agree that those records are actually positive things to keep?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 12:40 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak today to Bill C-47. Through this bill, our government is going to move forward on an important commitment that we made to Canadians to ensure that Canada fully accedes to the Arms Trade Treaty. The ATT sets an essential standard for the international community to contribute to international and regional peace, security, and stability, and to promote co-operation, transparency, and responsible actions by countries.

I am also proud of the amendments that the foreign affairs committee has made to the bill. We heard from committee members and civil society that they would like to see the ATT criteria placed directly into legislation, including the considerations of peace and security, human rights, and gender-based violence. Therefore, the government supported the committee in making these changes.

We have also made a significant change to the proposed legislation by including a substantial risk test. That would mean 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 strengthen our arms export system and finally allow Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty.

During its study of Bill C-47, the committee considered the issue of the NDP motion. It chose not to accept the amendment. The amendment we are discussing would require the minister to reconsider the risk of arms that have already been issued export permits, based on “any information that could effect the original determination”. The fact of the matter is, this power already exists. Under the current law, if new information emerges after a permit has been authorized, and before all of the goods and technology covered by that permit have been exported, the minister already possesses the power to amend, suspend, cancel, or reinstate any permit issued. Global Affairs Canada has even released a recent example of this power in action.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on February 9, Global Affairs Canada conducted a thorough investigation last summer into the state of security in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.

The committee found no conclusive evidence that Canadian-made vehicles were used to commit human rights violations. That was—

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Madam Speaker, as I was saying before the interruption, as part of its investigation last summer, Global Affairs Canada found no conclusive evidence that Canadian-made vehicles were used to commit human rights violations. That was the independent and objective finding of our public service.

Export licences for these vehicles were immediately halted on receipt of information shared by the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh.

I can assure the member opposite that this power of suspension would be used again if and when necessary.

The proposed amendment by the member also does not reflect the text or spirit of the ATT. The text of the ATT states:

If, after an authorization has been granted, an exporting State Party becomes aware of new relevant information, it is encouraged to reassess the authorization

That is the authority that the Minister of Foreign Affairs currently has and exercises.

The motion before us is broader than anything contemplated by the treaty. It would also significantly create additional administrative risk and could impact the competitiveness of Canadian industry. This is in contrast to the current approach, which employs an evidence-based risk assessment, allowing resources and attention to focus on higher-risk export destinations, and sensitive goods and technologies.

Imposing a legislative requirement in order to call for a review every time without first considering the veracity or reliability of the information could burden export control operations, cause uncertainty, and impose an extra administrative burden on both the Canadian industry and government, which is responsible for the regulations.

This amendment could also have the detrimental effect of resulting in higher-risk cases not receiving the proper attention they require. In that sense, not only would it be redundant but it could also be harmful.

Let me turn now to the deletion motion put forward by the Conservatives.

I will state clearly that Bill C-47 would not impact domestic gun laws, it would not affect gun controls in Canada, and it would not create a new gun registry. In fact, the ATT preamble recognizes the “legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities”.

The objective of the ATT is to ensure that international trade in conventional arms does not contribute to international conflict and instability or to violations of human rights. It does not target the lawful, responsible use of firearms, nor does it prevent the lawful, responsible sale, export, or import of weapons.

Of course, it should come as no surprise to anyone on this side of the floor that the Conservatives are choosing to ignore the reality of Bill C-47 and are instead seeking to scare Canadians by pretending that this bill would do something that it would not in fact do, and it will come as no surprise to Canadians that the Conservatives are once again placing partisan politics above human rights. This is exactly the sort of politics that Canadians voted to get rid of in 2015.

The reality is that parts of the Export and Import Permits Act dealing with record-keeping have been in effect in Canada for years. In fact, they were in effect under the former government and under governments preceding that. Why did the former government not try to change it during its 10 years? It is because the reality is that Canadians have no issues with these parts of the Export and Import Permits Act.

Greg Farrant of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said that:

...the keeping of and retention of records by importers, exporters, firearms dealers, and end-users for defined periods of time that is referred to in the bill, without being required to turn these records over to the government on demand, is something that most in the industry already do for insurance and other purposes.

All clause 11 would do is add the term “organization” to the existing authorities to ensure that organizations would also be subject to existing record keeping requirements. This clause would simply remove the clarity that organizations would also require permits. In fact, the committee inserted a “for greater certainty” clause into the bill to make it crystal clear that the changes to the EIPA would not affect domestic gun use or control.

However, here we are, once again, with the Conservatives trying to delete this clause, which directly addresses the very concerns they are raising.

Our government is proud of the important commitment we have made with Bill C-47. The bill would amend the Export and Import Permits Act to allow Canada to accede, finally, to the Arms Trade Treaty.

This treaty is the first to address the illicit trade in conventional arms. It establishes an essential standard for the international community. It is high time that Canada joined the many NATO and G7 partners by acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty.

The bill before the House today would place Canada at the forefront of our allies and partners in implementing the spirit and letter of the Arms Trade Treaty, and it would allow Canada to hold itself to a higher standard on the export of arms.

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I enjoy it when my friend speaks extemporaneously because it is usually based more on hyperbole than on fact. The challenge we face with the government is that we have two bills, Bill C-47, which we are debating today, and, I would suggest, its companion, Bill C-71, the Liberals' way for reintroducing the long-gun registry via the backdoor. He claims he is not doing that, but Bill C-71 requires record taking, this time not at the home, but at the store, and record retention.

Now by bringing in brokers with respect to Bill C-47, the Liberals are essentially allowing for a UN-led long gun registry. Several Liberal members, such as for Kenora, Northumberland—Peterborough South, Peterborough—Kawartha, know that people did not like the divisive approach of the Allan Rock gun registry. Now the Liberals are bringing it back by stealth through two pieces of legislation.

If the member is sincere with respect to Bill C-47, will he use his immense influence in the caucus to pull back Bill C-71 so we can say that they are not tied together?

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, my colleague across the way is fairly knowledgeable about House proceedings and today we are debating Bill C-47. That said, we have told the Conservative members that what they are saying is just not true. It is factually incorrect. One would think that our bluntness would make them stop telling those untruths, but they do not. A case in point is the question by the member opposite.

I do not know what more the government can do to try to say to the official opposition that if they listened to what Canadians are saying, that the type of legislation we are passing today is based on the fact that we made a commitment to bring in such legislation, they would recognize the value it provides. It provides Canada with an opportunity not only to protect a very important industry in different regions of our country, but also allows us to continue to be strong advocates of human rights and peace initiatives around the world. There is so much more that Canada can do in terms of world leadership, and this is one of those pieces of legislation that feeds into that.

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I enjoy debates because sometimes I have a few notes prepared for them. However, if Canadians are watching this debate, it is better for me to rebut some of the ridiculous positions just outlined by the deputy House leader for the Liberal Party and so ably and ridiculously outlined by the parliamentary secretary.

If Canadians are concerned about why Bill C-47 is before this House and perhaps why Canada did not sign onto the UN Arms Trade Treaty, I will explain why that did not happen under the former Conservative government. I will also explain our concerns about Bill C-47 and its companion bill, Bill C-71, which has sports shooters, lawful gun owners, and hunters concerned about a return to an Allan Rock style of gun registry of the past. These are valid concerns, and I am going to show why reasonable questions have been asked of the current government by Canadians, but have been ignored. Not only have they been ignored, but the Liberals are also trying to create a wedge between urban and rural Canada, the same old things we saw from Allan Rock and Jean Chrétien decades ago.

In their remarks, the Liberals have said that the Conservatives are saying things that are not true. My friend said it is crystal clear that the lawful use of firearms would not be caught up in Bill C-47 and Bill C-71. I am going to explain why the former Conservative government did not sign onto the UN ATT. I would note that several other countries have not done so either.

As we heard at committee from Steve Torino, who was involved at the time with the Canadian delegation and the advisers to the government on the UN Arms Trade Treaty, Canada was consistently asking for a carve-out for the lawful and cultural use of firearms by hunters, aboriginal Canadians, and sports shooters. Canada was consistently advocating for a specific carve-out in the body of the treaty. Canada under the Conservative government did not just roll over. We expressed our desire to see an outcome that was fair to our citizens. We could not get that, so we kept pushing. The current government rolled over, and there was no such provision in the UN treaty. In fact, the only reference to the lawful use went in the preamble to the treaty, which states:

Mindful of 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.

Unfortunately, a reference in the preamble is not a specific treaty provision or section. It is insufficient. In fact, I quoted University of Toronto law professor, Kent Roach, at committee and I will quote him to this House to say that it is a mug's game to rely on a preamble. The parliamentary secretary seems to think it is sufficient. Professor Roach said this about preambles:

Preambles can oversell legislation either by expressing unrealistic hopes that are not always supported by the fine print or the text of the law or by suggesting that “we can have it all”.

Therefore, only fools rely on preambles, and we have heard a good dose of their perspective here this morning.

As a lawyer, I want to see something in the print of the treaty. That is what Canada was pushing for, and we should not sign treaties until we are satisfied that aboriginal use of firearms, hunting, and traditional and cultural uses are considered to be fair and that some of the most lawful Canadians who do so are respected. These same Canadians have asked the parliamentary secretary and the Liberals to provide that same specific exemption in Bill C-47. In fact, Greg Farrant from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and Steve Torino, as I mentioned, were working on these. Our committee acknowledged that it would be reasonable to put this provision directly in Bill C-47, because we cannot rely on the preamble at law. That did not happen. Indeed, the Conservatives were prepared to work with the government on Bill C-47 if we could get that bare-bones, reasonable assurance. Therefore, when the Liberals stand in the House and suggest that we are misleading Canadians or that we are not telling the truth, I will go to any of their ridings and have this same conversation there, because I am not using talking points from the Prime Minister's Office.

I know this bill and the history of it, and what Canada was asking for is reasonable. It is reasonable to say that first nations can continue to use rifles and to do their traditional hunt. That is protected by Supreme Court decisions. With respect to lawful ownership in Canada, some of our most law-abiding citizens use their right responsibly.

Once again, Bill C-47, with its companion Bill C-71, sets up this dynamic in which the Liberals are trying to portray some Canadians as being unreasonable or as being risks, and that is divisive.

What is also divisive is the suggestion that without the bill, we would be able to sell arms to countries where there is gender-based violence or human rights crimes. In fact, Wendy Gilmour, who is the director general of the government department that manages the country control list and these controlled goods, said clearly at committee that the ability to control exports based on sanction, human rights abuse, and violence, and therefore to preclude arms sales, has existed since 1986. In fact, she referred to the memo from Joe Clark on the ability to stop arms sales in these circumstances. Last I checked, he was a Conservative member of Parliament at the time.

It is misleading Canadians to suggest that without Bill C-47, we are suddenly going to be selling arms in situations where there is ethnic cleansing or gender-based violence. Once again, that is misleading and unfair, and I would invite the parliamentary secretary to look at the committee transcripts wherein his senior official acknowledges that this has been true since 1986.

In fact, in my last speech on this issue, I noted that since the 1940s, Canada has had a superior arms control regulatory regime compared to the ATT. It is superior on many fronts. In fact, the area control list right now only contains one country, which is North Korea. However, for decades, through legislation and regulation, we have had the ability to stop all trade of all goods with any country. Wendy Gilmour, the deputy general, acknowledged this in committee, when she said:

Indeed. The purpose of the area control list is to give the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Canada the ability to control, but not necessarily restrict, the movement of any items to a country listed on the [area control list].

For decades, we have been able to responsibly control the movement of military goods and nuclear materials. Canada has actually been a leader in this.

Since 1986, with the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney, we have also been able to restrict based on concerns with respect to human rights abuses, and a range of other things. Canada is a responsible player. Therefore, when the government puts up Bill C-47 and its companion Bill C-71 to once again sow division, it is doing so based on a premise that is not only false, but it is misleading. If it thinks that a preamble provides the appropriate protection for the lawful use of firearms by Canadians and indigenous Canadians, it is showing it does not understand that it should fight for Canadian interests when it is negotiating an international treaty. Furthermore, since Bill C-71 is being brought in shortly after Bill C-47, there are real concerns by some Canadians that the government is bringing back the gun registry of the Chrétien-Rock era and it will be providing for the provision of records, or this same approach to the United Nations.

That is terrible. Canada should be very proud of the fact that we have one of the most responsible regimes for the trade of military-type goods and controlled goods, and we have had it since the 1940s. In fact, this week in Ottawa, we are going to see the defence and security industry at the CANSEC show. It will include tens of thousands of Canadians who work in the defence and security industries. We have been a world leader on satellite technology and aerospace. We were the third or fourth country to have controlled nuclear fission. We are leaders in these technologies, and we are also leaders when it comes to regulation.

I would like to see the Liberal government stop this divisive, inaccurate, and biased approach to legislation. I would be happy to come to Liberal ridings to debate these things, and not just in the House of Commons. These are the facts, and this is why we have concerns about both of these bills.

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, there is disinformation laden throughout the member's speech. Let me try to deal with a few pieces of it. First, it is clear in the ATT itself, and in Bill C-47, that in no way would this affect law-abiding gun owners domestically in Canada. Everything that the member opposite spoke about, the use of guns by law-abiding gun owners for recreation and social purposes in Canada, is not affected in any way by our accession to the ATT, and the Conservatives should stop spreading misinformation about that to Canadians.

Second, with respect to the aspects of the export and import permits act that allow the minister to consider certain criteria, they have been around since 1986, but they have not been codified in legislation, and there is no legal requirement. Does the member opposite intend to tell me that he does not think it should be a legal requirement for a minister to consider grave atrocities, peace and security situations, the upholding of human rights, and aspects of gender-based violence in the export of conventional arms? Should that not be a legal requirement for this government and any future government?

Sitting ResumedExport and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2018 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my friend's comments, because I think the Conservative government's concern with the UN ATT was related to the fact that cultural and lawful uses by indigenous Canadians and licensed Canadians was not being respected by legislation. For Canadians to think about this, would they like the protection on their home sale to rely just on an email that the lawyer sends the contract with, or on the contract itself? They would want that provision in law. That is why I cited Professor Roach from the U of T law school saying that preambles cannot be relied upon.

However, what is concerning is that all the federation of anglers and hunters and sports shooters wanted was a reasonable provision saying that the cultural and lawful use would be excluded from the bill. Not only was that ignored by the government, it then brought in Bill C-71, which is creating a new registry through the store system. Not only has the goodwill of all groups that wanted to pass Bill C-47 with these assurances in place been ignored by the Liberals, but they set up Bill C-71, which they premised upon guns and gangs; however, there is nothing in there for illegally smuggled weapons. At the same time, they are hurting our defence and security industries, as my friend from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman pointed out, in stopping lawful sales by our suppliers, at a time when if we lose this ability, we will lose suppliers for our own military.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague ended his speech by saying that this was not a delay tactic, that members in our communities had very real issues. He described one that was very heartfelt. I do appreciate the work he does on behalf of his constituents.

However, today we are supposed to be debating Bill C-47, about which I know the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie is very passionate, ensuring that Canada's cedes to the Arms Trade Treaty. I know that at some point along the way, we will hear the comments that members did not have enough time to debate this important legislation.

As I mentioned, the report was tabled in March 2017. The government provided a comprehensive report. We have heard from the parliamentary secretary, the minister, and others about the work we have done around this to ensure that each of the recommendations are fulfilled and that we try to make the experience for those immigrating to Canada as best as possible.

Does my colleague not think we should be debating Bill C-47, particular legislation that is very important to his colleague, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie?

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am here to talk about the sale of Canadian helicopters to the Philippines, whose president said that he once threw someone out of a helicopter and would not hesitate to do it again. He sees that as a good way to get rid of political opponents.

This sale was the subject of a deal between the Department of National Defence and the Philippines government brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation. When the sale in question became public knowledge, the government said the Canadian Commercial Corporation would have to review it. Finally people started asking questions.

The real problem was that the system did not catch the sale in time. We had the media, not the minister, tell us about it. Then the minister told us that she would closely scrutinize the export permit request. Maybe the minister did not know, but she would never see an export request because our system is full of holes. This is worrying.

As I said, this deal would have gone ahead and we would not had known about it if some investigative reporter had not been able to get the information. One has to wonder how many such deals have gone ahead without us knowing.

The helicopter story is not over, since there are reports that the company that wanted to sell the helicopters is now considering sending it in parts to the United States and then having the parts sent to the Philippines.

We can learn a lot from the Philippine helicopter story, since it exposes some major flaws in our current system, and these flaws will still exist after Bill C-47, to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, passes.

Some exports to the United States are not controlled. The company could use this to circumvent the Canadian government. Then, there is the fact that Bill C-47 does not cover the activities of the Department of National Defence or the Canadian Commercial Corporation. This is what originally led us to this agreement, and nothing will end up being changed.

The Liberals say that they listened to experts about acceding the Arms Trade Treaty, but this is not true. The Liberals addressed a few issues, but the experts were primarily concerned about sales to the United States, and this problem will continue.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
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Orléans Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Leslie LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by noting that Canada strongly advocates for human rights in the Philippines. In fact, the Prime Minister and the foreign affairs minister raised our concerns directly with their counterparts in the Philippines at the most recent ASEAN meeting.

We also raised our ongoing concerns at the last universal periodic review of the Philippines in 2017. This included the need for the Philippines to end extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and detention, torture and harassment; prevent, eliminate, and end impunity for all forms of sexual violence; strengthen the protection of children's rights; and refrain from reintroducing the death penalty.

Like tens of thousands of soldiers wearing the Canadian uniform, I and many others like me have fought for human rights on behalf of Canada to protect the weak and the innocent.

While I cannot speak to the activities of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which falls under the responsibilities of my trade colleagues, to which my hon. colleague referred, I can say that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was abundantly clear about the particular contract raised by the member during question period.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, “I will conduct an extremely rigorous human rights analysis of any potential export permit application related to this contract”—specifically the Philippines—and “I have the power to deny a permit if I feel that it poses a risk to human rights and I am prepared to do so.”

I would also like to point to a key clarification, which is also related to my colleague's comments during the debate on Bill C-47 earlier today.

Under international law, when a state accedes to a treaty, it obviously agrees formally to be legally bound to the provisions of the treaty. For Canada, this includes all federal government departments, such as Global Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence, and crown corporations such as the Canada Commercial Corporation. This is exactly what the hon. member was talking about in terms of closing loopholes. Bill C-47 would do just that.

Acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty would ensure that the CCC is bound to the national provisions. This is a concern my hon. colleague has previously raised, and her concerns are being addressed.

I am, however, disappointed that my hon. colleague seems to have indicated that the NDP will no longer support Bill C-47, which is ironic because doing so would allow Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty and close the loopholes that quite rightly concern her. If this is so, then her party will be voting against ensuring the CCC applies the very criteria for which she has indicated such a passion.

Our government is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights around the world, and we remain committed to a strong arms exports system that Canadians can have confidence in.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that we are advocating for human rights in the Philippines. I am sure we are advocating for human rights in Saudi Arabia also, but on the other hand, we are selling them arms.

My colleague also said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would have done a human rights analysis of any potential export permit. What the government does not seem to get is that it did not need an export permit because of those loopholes.

Despite the Liberals saying that all government departments will be covered with that, I would challenge the parliamentary secretary to tell me where in Bill C-47 the Canadian Commercial Corporation is mentioned, or the Department of National Defence. In fact, Canadian officials have told us that Bill C-47 would not change anything in what the Canadian Commercial Corporation can do now and that DND would continue to have a separate system.

When the Liberals say they are closing the loopholes, they are the only ones saying they are closing the loopholes. All the experts disagree with them. I would like them to listen to what the experts have to say on this subject.

Foreign AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

May 28th, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Andrew Leslie Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada remains a strong defender of the rule of law and of human rights internationally.

In the Philippines, Canada takes specific and concrete action by recognizing and supporting human rights defenders, encouraging a free and open press, providing training on international laws governing human rights, and supporting the peace process in Mindanao.

We also are committed to a strong and robust arms control system that rightly takes into consideration human rights concerns. A key part of this is acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty through Bill C-47, which closes the very loopholes that my distinguished colleague is concerned about.

We encourage the NDP to support Bill C-47 at the appropriate time.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 20th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two reports from our standing committee.

I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, in relation to Bill C-47, an act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code, with amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled “Focused, Independent, and Patient: Building a World-Class Canadian Development Finance Institution”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.