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

Sponsor

Status

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

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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)

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

September 20th, 2018 / 2:50 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, our government is fully committed to creating a stronger and more rigorous arms export control system through Bill C-47. As the member opposite knows, the contract for those vehicles was signed in 2014, and all the major parties, including the NDP, agreed to respect that contract during the last election campaign. Canadian businesses and workers and our international partners need to know that an agreement with Canada still means something after an election.

FirearmsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 18th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a few petitions signed by people across my riding. These constituents are licensed firearms owners and they point out that they are some of Canada's most law-abiding citizens.

The petitioners recognize that Bill C-47 will nothing to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or terrorists. As such, they call on the House of Commons to oppose Bill C-47.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 11th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie to the motion for third reading of Bill C-47.

[Chair read text of amendment to the House]

The House resumed from June 8 consideration of the motion that 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), be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

June 11th, 2018 / 3 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

June 11th, 2018 / 3 p.m.
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NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Saudi Arabia is now the largest non-U.S. destination for Canadian military exports, but how many exports were sent to the U.S.? Well, we do not know, because the Canadian government does not track or regulate these exports. Today we are voting on Bill C-47, which does not address this massive loophole. However, the experts and the 23,000 citizens who recently signed a petition say that this must be fixed before Canada accedes to the Arms Trade Treaty.

Will the government work with the experts and fix that bill?

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

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

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

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

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

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

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

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

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

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

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

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member will have 15 minutes coming his way when we resume debating Bill C-47.

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

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

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

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

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

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

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

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

Export and Import Permits ActGovernment Orders

June 8th, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

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

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

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