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)



In committee (Senate), as of Oct. 31, 2018

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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.


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.


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

September 21st, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I am sure the hon. member for Ottawa West—Nepean proudly represents a number of people who work with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

She might find it strange that article 5 of this treaty actually prevents DND from potentially doing government-to-government transfers of assistance of a military nature, like we are doing with the peshmerga and our fight against ISIS. Canada's safe and effective regulatory regime for export of military equipment and such has never required such a drastic step as is in article 5 of this treaty.

Since the member also proudly represents a number of civil servants, I wonder if she would comment on why our current system is broken, the one we have had since the 1940s that leads the world, the one that has the Trade Controls Bureau, and the fact that the Export and Import Permits Act permits the government to have an area of control list banning countries entirely from getting anything from Canada?

A number of measures have effectively been regulated on a Canadian basis since the Second World War. We did not need the United Nations to tell us how to do this. In fact, our regime is superior to a number of the elements in here.

As an Ottawa and area member, could the member tell us what parts of the current regime, which Canada has been using successfully, have been failing are in need of Bill C-47?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to point out that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yellowhead.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-47, a bill that would create the legislative provisions to permit Canada to sign on to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. I want to begin by expressing that I have always been supportive of legislative measures and other efforts to establish international standards for arms transfers that seek to prevent illicit transfers of weapons around the world. I have no opposition to that aspect of the treaty; it is important that we halt the flow of arms to dangerous regimes and terrorist cells.

However, I will focus my comments today on an area of concern that I feel, under the government, is not being duly considered as a side effect of signing on to that Arms Trade Treaty. That is how this legislation, in signing the Arms Trade Treaty, would impact law-abiding gun owners such as hunters, firearms, and sports shooters like me.

I believe that any treaty such as this must contain explicit exemptions for civilian firearms or, at the very least, eliminate vague language and language that could suggest that firearms owned by civilians for recreational use could become subject to measures in the treaty. The treaty should recognize and acknowledge the legitimacy of lawful ownership of firearms by responsible citizens for their personal and recreational use.

As it is currently written, the treaty does not meet these conditions, and concerns from Canadian firearms owners have fallen on deaf ears from the government. A good example of that is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs saying the concerns of hunters and sports shooters are “bogus”. He is telling me that my concerns are bogus and obviously that points out how out of touch he is. I have to shake my head about a comment like that. Obviously he is not representing all the people in his riding, because every riding in this country has people who like to sport shoot.

I support some of the things that the UN does, but I also have some grave concerns. The international news in the last couple of days reports comments from British Prime Minister May, who basically is telling the UN to reform, clean up its act, or funds will be cut to it. There are other things that raise concerns for me and a lot of other Canadians.

While in government, the Conservative Party took time to analyze this treaty and its impacts on the firearms community in Canada. The government is seemingly looking at this issue as a one and done type of deal. Sign on, pass the legislation the UN deems must be passed, and call it a day. It is not quite that simple, and concerns have been raised about the implications of this treaty, as I alluded.

I was honoured to serve alongside the Hon. John Baird, former minister of foreign affairs, and it was during his tenure that this treaty was at the forefront of public debate. Minister Baird took his time in making a decision, as he knew how complicated this matter was. He noted that the vagueness of the language in the treaty had the potential to create situations wherein backdoor firearms registries could be created. He asked that civilian firearms be removed from the scope of the treaty and that it be made explicit. When this request was not met, the decision was made to not move forward with signing on to the treaty. That is what should be happening today.

I understand that, when the Liberals made this promise, they were in opposition and it made for a nice 2015 campaign promise. I know they did not understand the complexities that come with the implementation of these treaties, and they still do not. However, I am asking the government now to consider all the impacts and all the concerns that have been presented. They are not bogus. The government is typically hellbent on consulting. For example, at this very moment, there are currently 87 open consultations, and this is great, if it were really true. It is great that the government will hear concerns on a number of issues.

My question is this. Why will the government not hear from firearms owners? Why will it not at least give firearms owners an opportunity to voice their concerns with this treaty?

It is ironic that one of the Liberals' open consultations right now is on their proposed tax reforms for small businesses, farmers, and physicians. They opened this consultation process in the middle of summer when many Canadians were on vacation and when all farmers were busy working the fields. It is actions like this that make me wonder if the government really wants to hear input or whether it is simply consulting for the sake of saying it consulted.

If the Liberals did open a consultation process on the Arms Trade Treaty, they would hear that firearms owners have a number of very specific concerns. Of particular concern is article 5 of the treaty, which contains several sections, but particularly sections 2 and 4 are quite concerning. Section 2 states:

2. Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.

Section 4 follows up on section 2 by stating that:

4. Each State Party, pursuant to its national laws, shall provide its national control list to the Secretariat, which shall make it available to other States Parties. States Parties are encouraged to make their control lists publicly available.

Those in the firearms community, including me, are concerned that the vague phrasing of these sections has the potential to create a national and/or international registry, which could include civilian firearms and would then be made public. It is a real fear that this could come out of the bill. When expressed, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears with no response from the government. Again, it really does not want to consult or hear.

I can speak first-hand to the level of concern that Canadians have with Bill C-47. I recently sponsored an e-petition. In fact, I have it beside me on my desk, and I will table it in the House tomorrow. The petition was initiated in Prince George, British Columbia. This petition calls on the government to not sign onto the UN Arms Trade Treaty and to not pass Bill C-47 into law as is. If this did not happen, the petitioners call on the government to amend Bill C-47 to not include any of the sections and subsections that would require importers, stores, and individuals to keep any records of any imported or exported firearms, or any article that falls into the brokering control list. Furthermore, the petitioners call on the government to amend the bill to eliminate the penalty for not keeping adequate records, which the legislation states carries a fine not exceeding $250,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both.

This petition has 4,584 signatures on it from ridings right across the country, from ridings of some of my colleagues sitting beside me, and more than likely from ridings of colleagues across the way. They include signatories from every province and territory across the country. That is how widespread this is. The support is also very evenly distributed across the country and does not seem to have any sort of regional bias.

It is a shame that the government must learn about this from me. It would know this information itself if it had done the right thing in the first place and given firearms owners an actual opportunity, a real consultation, to voice their concerns. Unfortunately, this is standard practice. The Liberals give lip service and do not really carry out the consultation in a real, truthful manner. This seems to be the standard practice for the government when it comes to relating to firearms owners in Canada, no matter what the issue.

Given that the government refuses to listen to firearms owners and concerned stakeholders in the firearms community, I would like to take a few moments to read some of the comments from these groups. However, as I must conclude, I will not get a chance to read some of these comments from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, the president of the National Firearms Association, and others.

With that, I look forward to taking questions from my colleagues across the way. Lastly, I would urge the government again to do the right thing and do the consultations.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick


Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, my colleague indicated toward the beginning of his speech, and I do not want to directly quote him and misquote him as he misquoted me, that he seemed to agree with the intent of the bill, which would allow Canada to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty and ensure that international trade in conventional arms would not contribute to international conflict and instability that we know negatively impact women and children more than a lot of other vulnerable groups. The treaty is about import, export, and international brokering environments. My colleague seemed to agree with the notion that it was a good idea and that he could support it.

Let me disabuse him of his misunderstanding of what this bill is not about. It is not about domestic gun controls. Nothing in Bill C-47 affects domestic controls on the lawful and legitimate use of firearms. Second, it would not create a registry of conventional arms. Record keeping for the import and export of arms in Canada has existed since the 1940s. It existed under the Conservative government. Bill C-47 would leave in place the same record keeping of conventional arms that was used under the former Conservative government.

If he agrees with what the bill would do and now has an understanding of what the bill would not do, will he now agree to support it?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-47, an act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code. The bill would officially bring Canada into line with the UN Arms Trade Treaty, also known as the ATT.

In a news release issued on April 13, after the bill was tabled, the government stated, “The ATT is about protecting people from arms”.

We have been hearing all day today from our friends across the way about people being harmed. It makes me wonder who the government wants to protect.

Law-abiding firearms owners and merchants are not a threat. In my experience as an RCMP officer, most weapons-related crimes in Canada are committed with firearms that are obtained illegally or usually stolen.

The history of firearms in Canada goes back as far as the country itself. Let us be fair. The Dominion of Canada Rifle Association was founded in 1868, and I do not think there is a province in Canada today that does not have a branch of that association. We have hunters who rely on firearms to provide food for their families as their forefathers did, as the earliest settlers in Canada did. We have farmers who rely on firearms to protect their livestock, as the early settlers did. We have sport shooters who rely on firearms to compete in competitions in the same way as a competitive tennis player relies on his or her tennis racket. We have firearms collectors who seek guns in the same way stamp collectors search for stamps.

The firearms community is a large and diverse group in Canada. These are law-abiding and responsible Canadians, yet the current government seems to think it needs to protect people from firearms. There is a lot of fearmongering today about all the deaths. Somebody before me just quoted that 80 women were raped because it was done at gunpoint and that two thousand people were dying each day because of guns. Let us truly look at where we are on this. Those members fail to realize that firearms have been part of many Canadians' livelihoods for decades.

As the previous speaker stated, we need to look at international gun control and we need to prevent the flow of illegal firearms. However, most important, we must listen to and hear from Canadians. One thing the Liberal government has failed to do is listen to Canadians.

When law-abiding firearms owners or Canadian companies purchase a weapon outside of Canada and wish to import it across the border, they must declare it to Canada Border Services Agency. A great deal of documentation is required and all this bill would do is add unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, red tape, and more cost.

It has been mentioned in the House many times today that Canada is probably one of the leading countries in the world with gun control. In fact, we have met 26 of the 28 standards in the ATT. We are probably much more regulated and have better gun control, quality control, export control, and import control than ATT will ever have.

Our previous Conservative government dealt with the UN Arms Trade Treaty when it came into force in December 2014. Its purpose, as we all have heard, is to regulate the international trade of arms so they are not used to support terrorism or international organized crime. I do not think there is anybody in this room who does not support that. I do not know about them, but I do not think farmer Joe in northern Saskatchewan is supporting international organized crime when he imports a rifle, whether he intends to use it for hunting, protecting his livestock, or sport shooting. We are going a bit overboard with the bill. That is why so many of us have stood on this side of the House and have spoken about our concerns. We are speaking for the average Canadian. They want to be heard, and that side does not want to hear them. We have to speak for them.

Our former Prime Minister Harper requested that civilian firearms be removed from this treaty in 2014, yet the UN ignored the request to respect the interests of Canadians and refused to remove civilians from the language of the treaty

What did our previous government do? We did not sign it. We stood up for Canadians. That is what the Liberal government is failing to do. We refused to sign the treaty at that time. The Liberal government is ready to sign a document that is not good for firearm owners. It does nothing to improve the safety of Canadians. This is my opinion. My colleagues across from me may disagree, but let me remind them of something.

The former foreign affairs minister, Stéphane Dion, even admitted this in his own press release issued in June 2016. To paraphrase, it stated that Canada already met the vast majority of its obligations. The treaty was designed to bring other countries up to the high standards that Canada already applied to its export control regime. Therefore, why are we going this way?

During the summer, I attended the Edson rod and gun club range. It is located in a remote part of my riding. The reason it is way out at the end of my riding is because it is one of the longest ranges in Canada. I went there because there was going to be a group called Got Your Six at the range that weekend. Its members were there last year, as was I. This is a group of current and retired military police, firemen, first responders, and civilians. It is a great organization. Members may not have heard of it. It is a charity shooting competition group that raises funds and creates awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Last year, it gathered for its first competitive shooting tournament. It was a popular event. It was amazing to watch the military and civilian marksmen hit a target a mile away time after time. More astounding to see was the camaraderie between the men and women, which is like a brotherhood, by shooting weapons in a competition. They were also gathered there to talk about and help others with post-traumatic stress disorder. That is only a small group of the thousands of Canadians who either sport shoot, hunt, or collect firearms.

This year the same shooting competition quadrupled in attendance. Men and women came from across Canada, some for the competitiveness, many for the camaraderie and fellowship they share as the current and former guardians of our country and the world. These people are not a threat, even though there were all types of weapons there. These people are just a small representation of the thousands who enjoy shooting at local ranges, hunting, or collecting firearms. This bill would not help them in any way. Rather, it would only complicates things for them.

Before we spend a fortune in tax dollars limiting more rights and freedoms, is there a pressing and urgent need for Canada to join the UN Arms Trade Treaty? No.

From my experience, this treaty places undue hardship on law-abiding gun owners and merchants. Canada already implements and complies with the vast majority of the treaty's obligations. We are a safe and law-abiding country, so why this unnecessary change? Why are we punishing responsible firearms owners with this legislation if Canada already meets the vast majority of its obligations?

I can agree with the overall goal of the treaty that aims to prevent illegal transfers of arms that fuel conflict, encourage terrorism, and support organized crime. However, I am concerned that the Liberals have not consulted lawful gun owners. It is not a big surprise, or maybe it is a big surprise considering the number of consultations they have held on almost every other issue, or so they claim. Because of this lack of consultation, they are moving forward with an arms treaty that does not respect the legitimate trade or use of hunting and sporting firearms in this country.

I was alarmed at a statement of the parliamentary secretary in his opening remarks regarding the bill. He talked about how we must lead by example, which our country has done. His other remarks with respect to even more robust legislation to come scare me.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec


Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Madam Speaker, I am trying to understand, from my colleague's speech, where he stands in terms of voting on this bill. He spent about 15 seconds saying that he supports the goal of Bill C-47. He then spent 9.5 minutes talking about something that is not an issue, but something we care deeply about and fully support, which is the lawful use of firearms by hunters, fishermen, and sports shooters.

That is not at issue in this bill. I am interested in and respect his strong feelings on the subject, but what I am interested in knowing is, will he vote for or against this bill, knowing that we would be the last G7 country to join our NATO partners and allies in ratifying this treaty?

If he does not vote for it, how will he explain that to Canadians? I am interested in hearing his answer.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, it has been a matter of shock and dismay to hear my colleagues from Conservative benches claim that anyone who reads this bill with an open mind, as I have, and cannot see a single thing that could possibly lead to an impact on domestic gun sales is somehow blinded by talking points. As an opposition member, I have a lot that I want fixed in Bill C-47, such as the loopholes that would allow weapons to be sold through the United States.

This is the Arms Trade Treaty. Its terms as a treaty speak directly to the illicit trade in arms, and the global export of arms. The Conservative talking points to create fear among legal gun owners make as much sense as complaining that in the acid rain negotiations the government of the day never consulted with people who make umbrellas.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-47. Before I speak to the bill itself, I want to thank my colleague from Calgary Forest Lawn for his learned comments. As he mentioned, he is the dean of our caucus and was first elected to this place on October 2, 1997, when I was in grade 7. I believe he holds the record as the longest serving parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs. It is always a pleasure to speak in his shadow.

I will be splitting my time with my friend and colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles. I look forward to his comments as well on this important issue.

I find it interesting that we are debating Bill C-47 today because, after all, this legislation was first tabled in the House of Commons on April 13, 2017, more than five months ago. Granted there was a summer recess in-between.

Over the summer, like many colleagues I had the opportunity to travel around my riding, host round tables, speak to constituents, hold stakeholder meetings, go to people's homes and speak about the important issues that are affecting them. I did hear about the ATT on a handful of occasions. I heard from a couple of people who were in favour of it and a couple of dozen who were opposed. That is the joy of democracy; there are people on both sides of the issues.

I find it interesting that we are debating this today when the opposition has yet to be given a single supply day in this period. We have also been told that there will be no supply day next week as well. Here we are debating the government's agenda but have been given zero opportunities to raise a motion in the allotted days we are entitled to as the official opposition. Is the government simply trying to avoid accountability on key issues that it knows it is hiding from? An example is the changes to the tax rules.

As I travelled in my riding this summer, I talked to people about these tax changes. I talked to farmers who want to pass on their farm to their daughters or sons, but these tax changes would potentially prevent them from doing so. I talked to the small business owner who may want to hire one or two more people but may not do so because of uncertainly. Family doctors are concerned because the changes may potentially impact their patients. These are people I am hearing from in my riding but here we are debating Bill C-47.

We are debating this treaty and its implementation today, which is interesting because the mechanisms that we have in place today, the rules that have been in place in Canada for many decades, already achieve what the government purports to want to achieve through Bill C-47.

A perfect case in point is that since the 1940s, through the Export and Import Permits Act, the government has had the ability to exclude and prevent the sale and export of any number of items, including what it is trying to achieve through this legislation. One need only look at the export control list under the auspices of the Export and Import Permits Act to find that much of what the government is trying to achieve is already in place: group 1, dual use; group 2, munitions; group 3, nuclear proliferation; and group 4, nuclear-related dual use.

The government is once again using a symbolic gesture in an area where issues are already addressed through existing mechanisms that previous governments of all stripes have put in place over the years. For it to try to change to a system with no noticeable improvement is unfortunate and, frankly, not a good use of the House's time when there is so much more that we parliamentarians, that we Canadians, can be debating in this place on behalf of our constituents.

The collection of data, the collection of information, is also interesting when the fact of the matter is that under the regimes that are currently in place here in Canada through the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada, a lot of the information on items that are exported from Canada is already being collected and provided to the appropriate agencies within Canada, and yet the government here today is bringing in yet another bill to collect information that is already being collected.

What is interesting as well is that this is not the only tool at the disposal of the government. The government has many opportunities to restrict the sale of goods to foreign entities. One example is the area control list. Currently the only country that Canada has placed on that list is North Korea, but it is certainly open to the government to place any number of countries on that list if it has sufficient grounds to cut off all exports to that country. I do not think there is anyone in this chamber who would disagree with placing North Korea on that list. I think that would be right and correct, and all Canadians would agree with that.

If the government has concerns about another entity, as it has in the past, for example, with Myanmar and Belarus, which have both been on this list, the government could register those concerns through the area control list and add a certain country to the list to block exports altogether to that country. That is especially the case when we are looking at regimes that may use any number of products against their own citizens or against those in the region, something that we would strongly oppose.

I find it interesting to talk about the measures that are already in place and their strength, but do not always just take our word for it. I would like to quote a government official, from a June 2016 Globe and Mail article. In the article he is quote as saying that he believes we already have sufficient restrictions on arms exports:

“Canada already has some of the strongest export controls in the world which means that we already meet the vast majority of the obligations under the arms trade treaty,” said the senior official in a briefing.

In a real sense, this treaty was designed to bring other countries—many of whom have no export control regimes in place—up to the high standards that Canada and our like-minded allies already apply through our robust export control regimes," the official said.

That brings me to my next point, the other countries that are missing from the ATT, namely Russia, China, India, and the United States, which has signed it but not yet ratified it. Whether or not it will is not a decision for this House to make, but certainly one that is questionable given where it now is.

That is not say that we as Canadians should not act on the world stage. Certainly, we Canadians have always played a leadership role on the world stage. I think of our former government playing that leading role internationally on a number of fronts over the past 10 years.

However, to sign on to this treaty and to bring forward the legislation to ratify it at this point, without the key players having signed on or ratified it, I think is a challenge. Mr. Speaker, I think you would agree that it raises more concerns than it answers.

In preparing a few remarks for today, I came across the press release from Global Affairs Canada when this bill was tabled on April 13, 2017. It states:

To implement necessary changes, in March 2017 Canada announced an investment of $13 million to further strengthen the country’s export control regime.

Granted, I was relatively young in 1995, but I remember another Liberal government promising that a certain long-gun registry would cost $2 million, and yet, over the years, the Auditor General found it cost upwards of a $1 billion.

I find it interesting that the government is proposing a $13 million price tag, but has not yet tabled a coherent plan for how that $13 million will be spent and where the cost overrides may or may not arise if that $13 million is used up relatively quickly.

I have heard members on the other side go as far as saying that claims or concerns of law-abiding gun owners are “bogus”. It is really bringing down the tone and the level of debate in the House to dismiss the concerns of legitimate, law-abiding gun owners as bogus.

I am very proud of my family. My late grandfather came to Canada in 1952. In 1974, he helped co-found the Swiss Rifle Club near my home town of Mitchell. I was proud, as a kid, to have been able to join him and my father at the rifle range to learn about the safety of guns and rifles, and I am proud of the legitimate gun owners in my riding and across Canada.

I know that my time has come to an end, but I look forward to continued debate on this matter and the questions that may come my way.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join the debate on Bill C-47, the act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code.

When it comes to imports and exports, the Canada Border Services Agency officers are on the front lines. They are responsible for enforcing the Canadian laws governing the people and goods that come into our country.

I would like to take a few minutes to acknowledge the CBSA's officers, because the work they do and the huge responsibility they have in keeping Canadians safe and keeping goods moving into our country rarely make the headlines. I think every member in this House is aware of how important CBSA officers are. They keep our country safe, and I know I speak for many when I thank them for their dedication and their vigilance.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the Customs and Immigration Union for their leadership. I want to thank the national president, Jean-Pierre Fortin, and his team for the fantastic work they are doing. My team and I will be meeting with Mr. Fortin very shortly for what we expect to be some very fruitful and informative discussions.

Let me be clear about this. The Conservative Party has always supported efforts to establish international standards for arms transfers that help prevent illicit transfers that fuel conflicts and encourage terrorism or organized crime. We also believe that the treaty in question should recognize and acknowledge the legitimacy of lawful firearm ownership by responsible citizens for their personal and recreational use, including sports shooting, hunting, and collecting.

The spirit of such a treaty would obviously focus on military and security equipment. If the treaty language cannot make the difference between military equipment and hunters and sportsmen, that language must be reviewed.

In September 2016, the CSSA, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, called on Minister of Foreign Affairs to re-examine, re-evaluate, and re-think the decision on the treaty. In other words, the Liberals are sloppy in their approach to representing Canadians. As a matter of fact, it leaves Canadians unsure of who the Prime Minister is working for. Is he looking to impress the U.N. or is his heart with Canadians?

The Liberals are unfair to Canadians. As is the case for small business, there have been no consultations addressing concerns about how this bill could affect hunters, sports shooters, and recreational users. The Liberals have never been very concerned about these people and have never taken them seriously in the past. Today, the same thing is happening. The Liberals do not care about them and in light of the bill they introduced, Bill C-47, I am convinced that they have no intention of considering their concerns in the future, either.

Canada already has an internal system for monitoring and controlling the exports of military and security equipment, which meets and even exceeds the conditions of the UN treaty. The government will therefore have to demonstrate why we need to enhance the process already in place.

The Government of Canada's Trade Controls Bureau is responsible for enforcing the the Export and Import Permits Act. This bureau has made it possible for the minister to prevent the sale of military equipment to various countries for many reasons, including security risks.

The Liberals must explain what precisely it is missing. We have yet to be shown that the Trade Controls Bureau is not effective. We already have what we need in Canada.

Canada already limits the movement of military material that is strategically used in two ways, including nuclear energy and materials, missiles, chemical or biological products, and cryptologic equipment.

I spoke earlier of the CBSA role. CBSA and Statistics Canada collect information on all items exported from Canada and classify the information using categories negotiated by the World Customs Organization. Do members think we are doing enough? I think so. Now, if that is not enough, I will also tell members that Canada has a blanket ban on risk countries under the Export and Import Permit Act.

Through an act of Governor in Council, a country can be placed on that list. Therefore, we are well covered here. However, the Liberals have tabled Bill C-47, and the burden is on them to show why we must sign this treaty.

Canada is already doing better than the treaty in question. Canada is a world leader in the diplomatic process. Canada is a model for other countries to follow, not the other way around. I am proud of my country. I am proud of our parliamentary system. I am proud that Canada is easily the best country in the world to live, to work, and to raise a family.

Since we will be debating this bill over the next few days, I hope that we can talk about it from the standpoint of what is currently happening in Canada. Canadians' needs have to be considered as we debate this bill. Then we can consider the needs of the UN.

Let us not forget that we could work with our NATO and UN allies, and that we will continue to do so, for example to restrict arms sales to North Korea.

We will also work in conflict zones and we will prevent anyone who might threaten world peace from pursuing technological activities. Of course, Canada will always be a partner for peace.

When we talk about responsible countries leading the way by example, no country other than Canada comes to mind. Countries that do better than Canada simply do not exist. It is time that we recognized that.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. Even if he did ask it in English, he did so very politely.

My colleague raises an issue with Bill C-47 that merits discussion. He wants to know if I have seen the provision about brokering. It just goes to show that instead of clearly stating whether hunting firearms are excluded or not, this government is using jargon to try to throw people off. This issue will certainly need to be discussed and clarified to determine whether the UN treaty protects hunters, who are law-abiding citizens. That needs to be spelled out clearly and if it is not, we should not join this treaty.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

September 21st, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, since the 1940s Canada has had a regime in place to control, track, and regulate the export of military equipment, nuclear, biological, a whole range of items. That has been done very well and effectively.

As the former minister of the government for foreign affairs has acknowledged, and who we have quoted, many aspects of what we have already been doing for decades meet and exceed what is in the ATT.

I would like the member's thoughts on whether it is reasonable for hunters and sports shooters across the country to have a question about things? We keep hearing Liberal after Liberal saying that it is not in here and that it does not deal with this, even though there are genuine questions on it.

I remind the Liberals that sometimes a legislature's failure to mention something is grounds to infer that it was deliberately excluded. People were asking for a carve out or an exception for hunters and sports shooters, lawful users of firearms. The very fact that it was not included in either the treaty or in Bill C-47 leads some to infer it was deliberately excluded. This is a legal principle, and it is reasonable.

Does the member think it is reasonable for these people to ask these questions while this bill is being pushed through the House?