An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act

Sponsor

Status

Report stage (House), as of Nov. 20, 2017

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Summary

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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to amend, remove or repeal passages and provisions that have been ruled unconstitutional or that raise risks with regard to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as passages and provisions that are obsolete, redundant or that no longer have a place in criminal law. It also modifies certain provisions of the Code relating to sexual assault in order to clarify their application and to provide a procedure applicable to the admissibility and use of a complainant’s record when in the possession of the accused.

This enactment also amends the Department of Justice Act to require that the Minister of Justice cause to be tabled, for every government Bill introduced in either House of Parliament, a statement of the Bill’s potential effects on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act.

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.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-59 and to express my concerns about this bill being passed in its current form. I have read through the bill carefully and tried to understand the intentions of the Liberals, who seem to want to accommodate terrorists.

In the Liberals' speeches, they try to convince us that they are looking out for Canadians and working to keep them safe. However, if we look at their actions, such as the ones proposed in Bill C-59, it is obvious that either the Liberals are getting bad advice, or they are more concerned about the rights of criminals than those of law-abiding Canadians.

Let me explain. The most significant and most contentious change that Bill C-59 would make to the Criminal Code is the amendment of the offence set out in section 83.221, which applies to “Every person who...knowingly advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general”. Bill C-59 would introduce a much more stringent test by changing the wording to “Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”.

The same goes for the definition of “terrorist propaganda” in subsection 83.222(8), which will significantly reduce the ability of law enforcement officials to use the tool for dismantling terrorist propaganda with judicial authorization as set out in Bill C-51. One could argue that using the expression “another person” means that the offence must target someone specifically rather than the broader target of domestic terrorism and the offence that Bill C-51 is supposed to prevent.

Madam Speaker, I know you understand the importance of what I just said. If Bill C-59 passes in its current form, terrorists will be free to spread all kinds of propaganda using social media, without any fear of being arrested or prosecuted.

The vast majority of terrorist activities are generated from propaganda that is spread in a general way, rather than directed at a specific person. Imagine how this measure will affect the work of our police officers and how we combat terrorism. This proposal is absurd, because it protects criminals and those who want to engage in violence in our country. The government has some explaining to do, and I mean today.

Bill C-59 limits what the Canadian Security Intelligence Service can do to help us protect ourselves. When Bill C-51 was tabled by our government, it gave CSIS the power to engage in threat disruption activities. This meant CSIS could contact the parents of a radicalized youth and urge them to prevent their child from travelling to a war zone or committing an attack here in Canada.

However, if the Liberals' Bill C-59 passes, CSIS will lose that power and will not be able to do anything on the spot to protect us. All of its activities will require a warrant, which is not exactly convenient when the goal is to stop someone from committing an act of terror. Currently, a CSIS agent can pretend to be a local resident to influence someone who is preparing to commit a terrorist act. Bill C-59 will put a stop to that. Agents will just have to watch the threat develop and will have to get a warrant from a judge before they can take action. By the time the warrant is issued, it could be too late. Why are the Liberals putting so many obstacles in the way of law enforcement, who are just trying to protect us Canadians?

The Conservative Party has always taken Canadians' safety seriously, as demonstrated by the introduction and passage of Bill C-51. We must not forget that this bill was passed by the Conservative government with the support of the Liberals, who were then the second opposition party. A couple of years ago, in 2015, the Liberals were in agreement. There was a slight change during the election campaign and now they have introduced Bill C-59, but let us not forget that Bill C-51 was approved by the Liberals.

Now it seems that the Liberals are trying to make things more difficult for the officers tasked with fighting these criminals. In 2015, during the campaign, our Liberal colleagues clearly stated that, if they were elected, they would amend this legislation. It is important to highlight that the bill was only introduced in Parliament at the end of June of this year. It took them 18 months.

The Liberals took their sweet time in keeping their election promise. Perhaps they realized that the original legislation was not as flawed as they thought. They now want to make amendments to show that they are keeping another promise.

The Conservative Party knows how important it is to have measures regarding national security institutions and the responsibility that comes with that. For us, there is no question that the safety of Canadians comes before the comfort of terrorists and criminals. Canadians who love their country come before those who are seeking to destroy it. Unlike the Liberals, we are committed to protecting Canadians. That is not just an idea that we came up with during the election campaign. We have always been committed to that goal because the threat still exists and has not diminished. The threat posed by these criminals is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

We have also heard that these thugs are wandering the streets of our communities after fighting with ISIS. They fought against our own soldiers. We know that they fought alongside ISIS and that many of them came back to Canada. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is now saying that he is looking for evidence to arrest them. That is all well and good, but in the meantime, Canadians need clearer information about the situation.

Where is the transparency that the Liberals promised Canadians? Why is the Minister of Public Safety not saying anything about these criminals? Why is he being so silent on this?

As it now stands, Bill C-59 will greatly hinder the efforts of our peace officers and compromise the safety of Canadians, while facilitating the work of terrorists.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, I have full confidence in the intelligence-gathering processes in Bill C-51, which we passed in a previous Parliament, in 2015. That piece of legislation allowed for information-sharing between CBSA, the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. I think most Canadians just assumed this had already been taking place. With government, everything always operates in silence. When we can level things off and allow information-sharing to percolate through all departments, we do a much better job of protecting Canadians, whether it is at the border, at the ports, or on our own turf.

I have a concern about returning ISIS fighters and the whole policy of reintegration rather than incarceration for these people. I think all of us are concerned about that. That is why Bill C-59 has to be studied in great detail, with expertise, so amendments can be made to the bill so that this legislation does not actually become reality.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:10 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, I was here when the previous government brought in Bill C-51, and there was a great deal of resistance to it from every region of our country. The Liberals ended up supporting that piece of legislation, recognizing that it would become part of our election platform in terms of the need to make changes. This legislation would enable some of those changes.

I would ask the member across the way why the Conservative Party does not seem to understand or appreciate the need to have a parliamentary oversight group, when the other countries in the Five Eyes already have them? That is one of the fundamental flaws of Bill C-51. The Conservatives are out of touch with what the other countries are doing, such as Australia and the U.S.A, and recognizing the importance of having an interparliamentary oversight committee, which would guarantee the rights of Canadians. Why do the Conservatives continuously oppose that?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, it is unbelievable. The member for Winnipeg North always stands up and puts politics ahead of sound policy and politics ahead of public safety. Here he has proven it again, saying they only voted for Bill C-51 because it was going to be a wedge issue in the last campaign. That is why the Liberals should never have won the last election, because that is the type of mentality they have.

The member talked about parliamentary oversight. If we are going to have parliamentary oversight, let us do it right. Let us do it like they do in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, where they swear them in to Privy Council, where they have access to everything.

The Liberals put on a facade of so-called taking an oath, yet everything is still censored by the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Justice, and the Prime Minister himself.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to talk about this important bill.

Earlier today, the Minister of Public Safety said that a government has no greater responsibility than keeping its people safe. These people live in our ridings. They are our colleagues, our neighbours, family friends, even our own children. The public safety minister is absolutely right. All governments around the world are responsible for keeping their people safe. That is a weighty and fundamental responsibility that must be taken seriously.

However, the minister was unable to add that the government's responsibility to protect people's freedoms is just as important. It has been obvious from the get-go that the government's approach is skewed toward security and policing and that it is much less interested in talking about the importance of protecting our freedoms.

As citizens who are privileged to live in a democratic society where we can vote and say what we want and enjoy freedom of expression and freedom of association, we must never forget what a long, hard road it has been to get here. We must resist any attempt to undo our progress by taking away any of our rights and freedoms. Bill C-59 is shocking in several ways, considering it comes from the party that authored the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This worries us, as progressive New Democrats and as democrats.

Bill C-59 continues the Liberal Party's two-faced tradition of saying one thing and doing the opposite. The Liberals can advocate one thing and then make decisions that oppose it. The member for Winnipeg North has just demonstrated this perfectly by reminding us that Bill C-51 was strongly opposed by civil society organizations, experts, and defenders of civil liberties, and yet the Liberal Party, with an eye on the upcoming election, voted in favour of Bill C-51 because it would help the party on the campaign trail. It is hard to follow the Liberals' logic at any given point in time. They are not consistent.

It is too bad that we are dealing with a government that plays politics, waffles, contradicts itself, and is sometimes incredibly hypocritical. We can blame the previous Conservative government for a lot of things, but a lack of consistency is not one of them, even though we were often strongly opposed to its decisions.

The Liberals' habit of talking out of both sides of their mouths is not just affecting our security intelligence agencies and police forces. It is as though we have been listening to a broken record for the past two years. The Liberals have been saying that Canada is back on the world stage and that they are going to take tougher action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, we can see that this is all a sham. The Liberals have adopted the same plan as the Harper Conservatives and are approving pipelines left and right, which is obviously going to increase our greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberals are saying one thing and doing another.

The Liberals talk about an open and transparent government, but the changes they are making to the Access to Information Act will make it more difficult and complicated to follow that approach. The Liberals are saying that they want to restore people's confidence in public institutions, but then ministers are hosting cash-for-access fundraisers at $1,500 a ticket.

What is happening today is therefore just another example of the Liberals playing politics at the expense of Canadians' safety and security. They are merely tinkering with Bill C-51, when the NDP and others believe it should be repealed. We need to start from square one and draft a good bill that makes Canadians safer, since that is absolutely essential.

We want to do everything we can to prevent terrorists and other ill-intentioned people from coming here and plotting or preparing attacks or violence against Canadians. We also want to give our democratic institutions and watchdogs the tools needed to watch the watchers. If this is not done properly, we could see a shift towards a police state that infringes on our privacy and digs through our personal lives to gather a bunch of information, even when there is no reason to suspect someone of wanting or attempting to do anything wrong.

We believe that Bill C-51 jeopardized our privacy, our freedom of expression, and our freedom of association. Unfortunately, Bill C-59 does not do what it takes to correct that. The Liberals have missed the mark. A few of these measures might be worthwhile, but overall, the Liberals are continuing the dangerous trend we saw under the previous Conservative government.

The new oversight and review mechanisms are limited and do not offset the exchange and sharing of information and almost unlimited powers within our security agencies. This is a major concern.

There is something rather ironic about what I am going to say, but it must be said as it is of great concern to us. In November 2016, or last year, the Federal Court handed down a ruling with respect to the massive collection of data by CSIS. It had illegally kept personal electronic data for more than 10 years. In its rather scathing and very clear ruling, Justice Simon Noël stated that CSIS breached its duty to inform the court of this data collection since the information was gathered using judicial warrants.

CSIS should not have retained the information since it was not directly related to threats to the security of Canada. That is important. That is a very real example that highlights all the concerns of people who wonder what type of information will be collected about them, who will have access to this information, and to whom this information will be communicated and transferred. In November 2016, the Federal Court pointed out that there can be exaggerations. This is not a figment of the imagination. It happened here.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness quickly reacted and said that the government took note of this and would not appeal this decision. Oh, okay. That is a good sign. Perhaps it is a step in the right direction. Oh, wait. Surprise! In Bill C-59, the Liberal government responds to the Federal Court decision in a strange way when it comes to our privacy protections. The new law will allow CSIS to collect huge amounts of metadata containing confidential information about Canadians that is not relevant to its investigations.

The November 2016 Federal Court ruling stated that CSIS did not have the right to do so, and that it was illegal. Bill C-59 makes it legal. People need to understand that if Bill C-59 is passed, CSIS will be able to collect huge amounts of metadata containing confidential information about Canadians that is not relevant to its investigations. These are the kinds of things that make it impossible for us to fall in line with the Liberal government. Yes, we are happy that we can study Bill C-59 more closely, but we are sounding a warning bell.

We are telling Quebecers and Canadians in general to be careful, because there are elements in this bill that will increase police surveillance. We are going to be spied on more, and we do not know who is going to end up with the information.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, if anything was clear in the last Parliament with respect to Bill C-51, it was that the New Democrats opposed it for their own reasons of principle, and yet we find out today from the parliamentary secretary that the Liberals only opposed it for political purposes, so they could use it as a wedge issue in the last election.

I want to speak to the issue of committees. The hon. member knows this bill will go to committee and that there will be some proposed amendments from this side of the House, both the official opposition and the third party. Not to be cynical, we know that the government controls committees. How confident is the member that any proposed amendment will be taken up by the government, and perhaps used to change this legislation?

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in support of the national security act, 2017, Bill C-59. Two years ago, our government came to Ottawa with the promise that it would address the numerous problematic elements of Bill C-51, which was enacted by the previous government. Canadians agreed that in attempting to safeguard the security of Canada, Bill C-51 failed to strike a balance between security and freedom.

Today I am proud to be able to rise in this House and say that we have wholeheartedly delivered our commitment to addressing those problem areas. Our government began its commitment to achieving this goal by first reaching out to Canadians in an unprecedented consultation process, where all agreed that accountability, transparency, and effectiveness are needed from their security agencies.

Secondly, Bill C-22 was passed earlier this year, which created the multi-party National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It is tasked with reviewing national security and intelligence activities through unprecedented access, with the goal of promoting government-wide accountability. On November 6, our Prime Minister followed through on this commitment by announcing the members of the committee. Today we are debating the national security act, 2017, Bill C-59, the last step in achieving our commitment to improving those problematic elements of Bill C-51. This package consists of three acts, five sets of amendments, and a comprehensive review process.

In creating the national security and intelligence review agency, the office of the intelligence commissioner, and the Communications Security Establishment, we have created the robust and effective national security establishment that Canadians have asked for. In addition, we are amending the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act, and the Secure Air Travel Act to strengthen the role of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, limit the collection of personal information, safeguard Canadian rights to peaceful assembly, and fix problems with the no-fly list.

Finally, our amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act would ensure young persons would be provided with all appropriate child protection, mental health, and other social measures needed when faced with a terrorism-related offence. Through my work on the mental health caucus, I know how important it is for all Canadians, especially those of marginalized groups, to have access to all available safeguards, services, and measures when navigating the criminal justice system. Therefore, I am pleased to speak today specifically about these proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act included in part 8 of the national security act, 2017.

My riding of Richmond Hill is an incredibly diverse and vibrant riding, where over half of my constituents are Canadians from an immigrant background. Of these, the majority are youths and young families under the age of 30. For this reason, I am proud to say that through this set of amendments, our government is taking action to ensure that all youth involved in the criminal justice system are afforded the enhanced protections provided by Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act, while also holding them accountable for their actions.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, or YCJA, is the federal law that governs Canada's youth aged 12 to 17 who commit criminal offences, including terrorism offences. The YCJA recognizes that the youth justice system should be separate from the adult system, and based on the principle of diminished moral blameworthiness of youth. It emphasizes rehabilitation and reintegration, just and proportionate responses to offending, and enhanced procedural protections for youth. The act also recognizes the importance of involving families, victims, and communities in the youth criminal justice system. The YCJA contains a number of significant legal safeguards to ensure that young people are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected, for example, the identity publication ban, and significant restrictions on access to youth records.

Young people also have enhanced right to counsel, including state-provided counsel, and the right to have parents or other guardians present throughout key stages of the investigation and judicial processes. If a young person is charged, all proceedings take place in youth court. In addition, the YCJA would establish clear restrictions on access to youth records, setting out who may access youth records, the purpose for which youth records may be used, and the time periods during which access to records is permitted. Generally speaking, although the offences set out in the Criminal Code apply to youth, the sentences do not. Instead, the YCJA sets out specific youth sentencing principles, options, and durations. There is a broad range of community-based youth sentencing options, and clear restrictions on the use of custodial sentences.

Turning now to Bill C-59, it is important to recognize that there have been very few cases in Canada in which a young person has been involved in the youth criminal justice system due to terrorism offences. In total, we have had six young people charged since 2002. Two were found guilty, three were put under a peace bond, and one had the charges dropped. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that when this occurs, the young people are held to account, but also that they are afforded all of the enhanced protection under the YCJA. It is perhaps even more important in terrorism-related offences that we do everything in our power to reform young offenders so that future harm is prevented.

Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend the provision of the YCJA to ensure that youth protections apply in relation to anti-terrorism and other recognizance orders. It also provides for access to youth records for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order, subject to the special privacy protections set out in the YCJA. The bill would also make important clarifications with respect to recognizance orders. Although the YCJA already provides youth justice courts with the authority to impose these orders, several sections of the YCJA would be amended to state more clearly that youth justice courts have exclusive jurisdiction to impose recognizance on youth. This would eliminate any uncertainty about the applicability of certain rights of protection, including the youths' right to counsel. In addition, there is currently no access period identified for records relating to recognizance. Therefore, the YCJA would be amended to provide that the access period for these records would be six months after the order expires.

With respect to the Canadian Passport Order, Bill C-59 would amend the YCJA to specifically permit access to youth records for the purpose of administering Canada's passport program. The Canadian Passport Order contemplates that passports can be denied or revoked as a result of certain criminal acts, or in relation to national security concerns. For example, section 10.1 of the Canadian Passport Order stipulates that the minister of public safety may decide to deny or revoke a passport if there are reasonable grounds, including that revocation is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, or for the national security of Canada or a foreign country or state.

The current YCJA provisions governing access to youth records do not speak to access for passport matters. As noted, Bill C-59 would allow access in appropriate circumstances. However, it is important to note that the sharing of youth information on this provision would still be subject to the special privacy protection of the YCJA. Canadians can be assured that our government is addressing the national security threat while continuing to protect democratic values, rights, and freedoms for Canadians. Those two goals must be pursued with equal dedication.

I encourage all my colleagues to vote in support of the bill.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not always a pleasure, but it is definitely an honour for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters .

This is a strange second reading debate. To provide some context for the people listening at home, we are supposed to be at second reading. We would normally debate the bill at second reading and eventually vote to refer it to committee if we agreed with the general principles of the bill. What is happening here, which is highly unusual, is that we are not at second reading; rather we are debating whether to refer it to committee before second reading. What this means, essentially, is that the Liberals brought forward a bill but have since realized that they are not satisfied with their own bill. They want to send it to committee so it can be fixed up a bit before sending it back to the House for second reading. I have never seen this before. It is highly unusual to proceed in this manner, and it is inappropriate. This government appears to be improvising and making things up as it goes along.

If the bill is no good, the government should scrap it and come back with a better bill. What is happening here today is ridiculous. We are talking about sending a bill directly to committee rather than debating it at second reading. This is absolutely unbelievable.

Where did this Bill C-59 come from? Members will recall that its predecessor was the Conservatives' infamous Bill C-51. This is a despicable bill that utterly fails to protect human rights. I will spend the next few minutes examining the bill in greater detail.

First of all, during the election campaign, the Liberals said they would repeal Bill C-51, which, as I said, was Mr. Harper's atrocious security bill. The government made us wait two years before coming up with something, and what it finally came up with does not even come close to solving the problem. In fact, this bill will allow the government to continue violating Canadians' privacy and will criminalize dissent, just as the Harper government's Bill C-51 did. This is an important issue I would like to take a closer look at.

There are some serious problems in the bill with respect to protecting privacy, especially in terms of sharing out-of-control information. The amendments to the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act are mostly superficial. In no way does this fulfill the promise we expected the Liberals to keep.

This is an omnibus bill that seeks to provide a legal framework allowing the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, to store sensitive metadata on totally innocent Canadians, a practice that the Federal Court ruled to be illegal. This bill does not really solve any problems. It creates new ones. There is currently a crisis of confidence in our national security agencies, especially CSIS, not because of the agencies, but because of the existing legislation. These agencies push the boundaries of the the law and they are not transparent about it, unfortunately. As far as security and intelligence are concerned, Canadians have to be sure that every Government of Canada department and agency is working effectively to ensure Canadians' safety, but also to preserve our rights and freedoms. That is the problem with Bill C-51. The government wanted to make Canadians safer, but there was nothing in that bill that provided greater safety or security.

However, a lot of the bill's provisions took away some of the rights enjoyed by Canadians. They actively undermined the privacy of Canadians and could potentially result in the criminalization of vulnerable groups, for example, environmentalists or advocates of other causes. I will explain later why I am mentioning this.

First, Bill C-51, known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, was passed with little debate. It was not really necessary. That is why we stated several times that this law weakened our security and diminished our right to the protection of privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

This clearly shows that Bill C-51 was ill-conceived. For that reason, we did not support it. We believe that Bill C-51 must be repealed in full and that we must start over; it was Stephen Harper's bill, it did not work, and we have to scrap it right quick.

I would remind the House that, in 2016, the Federal Court ruled on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's mass data collection. It found that CSIS illegally kept sensitive, personal electronic information for over 10 years. In this landmark ruling, Justice Simon Noël said that the CSIS had failed in its duty to inform the court of its data collection program and ruled that what it had done was illegal. What did the Liberals do in response? They decided that since such activity was illegal, they would draft a bill to make it legal.

Come on. The Federal Court said that what CSIS was doing did not make any sense, that it was illegal, and that it violated privacy rights, and so the Liberal government decided to make those illegal activities legal. That does not make any sense. I can see why the Liberals would want to send this to committee to make amendments and gut this bill. That is shameful.

The other problem that is not mentioned in this bill but that is important to talk about is all of the ministerial directives related to torture. That is very serious. It is something that I care a lot about, and I am convinced that everyone in the greater Drummond area sent me here to talk about this. It is extremely important.

We are calling on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. Specifically, we want to ensure that in no circumstances will Canada use information from foreign countries that could have been obtained using torture or share information that is likely to result in torture.

Canada says that it will not torture, but other countries will torture for us. The government would then take this information and impose sanctions.

This makes no sense. Torture must be denounced everywhere. We must never use information obtained under torture. Everyone knows that people will say anything when they are being tortured. Torture does not work and is immoral.

I hope that this government will wake up, because this goes back a long time. The Liberals have been in power for two years and they still have not improved the situation. We must show integrity, we must be strong, and we must say no to torture everywhere in the world. We must not use information obtained through torture or that may lead to torture.

In closing, since the government itself does not think that this is a good bill and wants to send it directly to committee, without going through second reading, I propose that, instead, the government withdraw the bill and introduce new, common sense legislation with the help of the other parties.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is clear to me that Bill C-59 is spotty in addressing some issues that were found in Bill C-51 extremely well. Here I refer to part 3 at the time and its “thought chill” provisions, including the bizarre notion of terrorism in general on the Internet being an offence that could land someone in jail if that person could not understand what it is. This bill fails quite seriously.

On the information section, Professor Craig Forcese has made the point that we need to know that any legislation in Canada will not allow information about Canadian citizens to be shared with foreign governments in a way that imperils their safety. A lot of the bill appears to come from the decisions on the Maher Arar inquiry and on the Air India inquiry.

Regarding my hon. colleague's reference to torture, my disappointment is that no one seems to have focused on part 5 of Bill C-51, which amended the immigration act. Professor Donald Galloway of the University of Victoria was the only one to fully understand that section and to ask what Bill C-52, part 5, was trying to do in amending the immigration act. The conclusion was that it aimed to give information to judges for security certificates without having to inform them that the information was obtained by torture. I wonder if the member for Victoria has any insights as to where that section has gone, because no one is fixing it in Bill C-59.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

November 20th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her comments on how important it is for us to have responsible legislation that moves forward in the best interests of Canadians' civil liberties and their security.

As we know, we are asking for a piece-by-piece repeal of Bill C-51. We have pointed out that there are certain measures the Liberals would like to keep. We would invite them to make their case and work with us to defend the rights of Canadians.

Having said that and in light of the earlier question, does the member think it is important for us to be concerned with new legislation in ensuring transparency and real-time oversight?

Public SafetyOral Questions

June 15th, 2017 / 2:25 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only action we have seen from these Liberals on Bill C-51 is when they supported the Conservative bill in the last Parliament. It is not very reassuring when they decide to table legislation in the dying days of a sitting of Parliament. It gets worse. We are also looking at warrantless access to the private information of Canadian Internet users, something the Supreme Court has judged is unconstitutional. When we see the minister's office saying that it is “developing proposals for what legislation could look like”, that is concerning.

Could the minister assure the House that we are not going to be giving police and spy agencies the powers to take Canadians' private Internet information?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 15th, 2017 / 3:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the House will debate Bill C-49, on transportation modernization, at second reading.

On Monday we will debate our changes to the Standing Orders. Following that debate, we will resume second reading debate on Bill C-51.

Tuesday the House will debate Bill S-3, on Indian registration, at report stage and third reading.

Following that debate, we hope to make progress on the following bills: Bill S-2, the bill respecting motor vehicle recalls, at second reading; Bill C-17, respecting the environmental assessment process in Yukon, at second reading; Bill C-25, on encouraging gender parity on the boards of federally regulated organizations; Bill C-36, the bill to give Statistics Canada greater independence; Bill C-48, the bill to impose a moratorium on oil tankers off the B.C. coast; and Bill C-34, the bill to reinstate sensible conditions for public service employment.

Bill C-49—Time Allocation MotionTransportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 15th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the hon. minister's service in Parliament and his service in space, but it is time for him to come back down to Earth. He was deriding the opposition for not bringing substantive debate to this place. The government, in almost two years, has passed only 19 bills. That is it. It has had over 30 time allocation motions limiting debate on a very small record.

In the last few weeks, the Liberals are limiting time on a substantive bill, but they put forward motions on Paris and had a speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that really did not amount to anything. They also have Bill C-51 and Bill C-39, which are not substantive legislation either.

I agree with the minister that there are some serious issues addressed in the bill. He is limiting debate on the serious issues affecting Canadians, affecting rail safety, and affecting our transportation system, while having nothing before Parliament to justify limiting debate in the House. I would like to ask the member why they have only passed a small number of bills, and then when bills have an important element, like this one, they are not allowing debate in the chamber.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 15th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I take the floor to discuss Bill C-51, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another act. This legislation reflects our government's deep commitment to ensuring that our criminal justice system protects Canadians, holds offenders to account, upholds the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and shows the utmost compassion for victims.

By amending the Criminal Code and related legislation, we can contribute to a fairer, clearer, and more accessible criminal justice system. We are committed to changes that will have a positive and lasting impact on victims' experiences in the criminal justice system and that affirm the charter rights of all Canadians. This bill would do just that. These changes reflect our government's deep respect for the charter. The bill also represents another deliverable flowing from the ongoing review of the criminal justice system that the Minister of Justice has been mandated by the Prime Minister to carry out.

Broadly speaking, the bill's proposals fall into four categories, the majority of which involve amendments to the Criminal Code. First, there are amendments to clarify and strengthen the law of sexual assault. Second, there are amendments to remove or amend provisions that have been found unconstitutional by the courts, building on the amendments set out in Bill C-39, which the Minister of Justice introduced on March 8. Third, a number of obsolete or duplicative offences would be removed. Finally, the bill would amend the Department of Justice Act to create a new statutory duty for the minister of justice to table a charter statement for every government bill, setting out any potential effects a bill may have on the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

Let me begin by addressing the proposed sexual assault amendments. As is well known, in the past few years we have seen a dramatic increase in public interest in and concerns about sexual assault and how the criminal justice system responds to it. The Minister of Justice and her department continue to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to learn, share, and discuss a broad range of issues and ideas for improving how we, as a society, address the ongoing problem of sexual assault. One of the most important roles of the federal government is to ensure that we have the best possible legal framework in place to ensure our communities are protected and victims are treated with respect.

The measures proposed in this legislation today are one step in this process. They seek to ensure that the law is as clear as it can be, in order to minimize the possibility of the law being misunderstood or applied improperly. The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to clarify certain circumstances where consent is not obtained and where the defence of mistaken belief in consent is not available to the accused. It would also introduce stricter rules for the admissibility of complainants' prior sexual history, as well as their private records. In addition, the bill would provide that the complainant has standing and is entitled to be represented by legal counsel during rape shield proceedings.

The Criminal Code already clearly defines consent as voluntary agreement to the sexual activity in question. It also sets out a list of circumstances when consent has not been obtained as a matter of law. For example, the Criminal Code currently states that no consent is obtained where the complainant is incapable of consenting. One of the proposed amendments to the bill would make it clear that there is no consent when the complainant is unconscious, as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in J.A. As the court reminded us there, consent must be contemporaneous or received at the time of the sexual activity in question. To most of us, it seems obvious that an unconscious person cannot consent to sexual activity. Nevertheless, providing for this additional clarity in the Criminal Code promises greater protection for victims of sexual assault.

While many have welcomed these amendments, some have also expressed concern. Specifically, some have noted that this amendment may pose a risk of being interpreted in a way that would disadvantage victims. They argue that codifying the rule that consent cannot be obtained from an unconscious person could lead to defence counsel arguing in court that the law no longer recognizes incapacity to consent short of full unconsciousness, such as when a complainant is extremely intoxicated or only semi-conscious. While our government shares the viewpoint of these critics—that consent must be ongoing and affirmatively given—respectfully, the government does not believe that this is a legitimate concern. Our government agrees entirely that the law should remain clear on this point. Consent cannot be obtained from an unconscious person, and the law also remains that consent cannot be obtained from a person who is conscious but incapable of consenting, for other reasons.

However, this is already clearly reflected in the bill. Unconsciousness is set out in a different subsection from the one that refers to incapacity generally, and new language is proposed to make it abundantly clear that incapacity to consent can be for reasons other than unconsciousness. This demonstrates that the unconsciousness provision is not intended to preclude or replace the many other situations that may be captured by the incapacity provision. Simply put, unconsciousness does not subsume all of the existing circumstances of incapacity to consent. Both would be reflected in the text of the Criminal Code.

The legislation would also amend the defence of mistaken belief in consent. This defence operates where it has been proved as a matter of fact that there was no consent, but the accused asserts that he genuinely, albeit mistakenly, believed that the complainant consented. The law already sets out restrictions on the accused's ability to use this defence. The accused cannot raise the defence if the accused's belief was due to the accused own recklessness, willful blindness, intoxication, or failure to take reasonable steps to confirm consent.

Bill C-51 would amend the law to clarify, in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Ewanchuk, that this defence is also not available if the accused's belief is based on a mistake of law. For example, if the accused believed that the complainant consented, even though she was unconscious, or if the accused believed that the complainant's silence or passivity meant that she consented, there would be mistakes of law, and the defence, therefore, would not be available. I believe these changes would help to minimize errors by making the code clearer, more accessible, and easier to apply.

Another amendment concerns the rape shield provisions, which regulate the admissibility of evidence of a complainant's past sexual activity in a manner that balances the complainant's dignity and privacy interests with the fair trial rights of the accused. These provisions were introduced by then minister of justice the Right Hon. Kim Campbell in the early 1990s in order to guard against courts relying on what are known as the twin myths, those being that a complainant's past sexual activity is evidence that she is more likely to have consented to the activity in question, or that she is less worthy of belief.

Bill C-51 would amend the rape shield provisions to clarify that they apply not only to past sexual activity but also to communications made by the complainant that are of a sexual nature or are made for a sexual purpose. Just as it would be inappropriate to infer complainants were more likely to have consented based on their past sexual activities, it is equally inappropriate to find that they are more likely to have consented because of the sexual nature of their past communications. Some courts are already applying the rape shield process to such communications. Bill C-51 would standardize this procedure.

The bill would also fill a gap in the law by introducing a specific procedure for determining the admissibility of private records relating to the complainant, such as private journals or therapeutic records, which are in the possession of the accused. Specifically, if those accused seek to adduce complainants' private records, they must bring an application under the new provisions. As is the case under the existing rape shield provisions, such records would be admissible if the judge determines that they are relevant to an issue at trial and have significant probative value that is not outweighed by the danger of prejudice to the proper administration of justice.

It is worth noting that these changes would implement a recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs from its 2012 report on the third party records regime.

Other changes to the sexual assault regime include expressly clarifying that complainants must be informed of their right to be represented by a lawyer in the course of rape shield proceedings, as well as an extension of the notice period associated with such proceedings, to ensure that all parties have adequate time to prepare.

I would like to briefly address some comments that have been made regarding these last two proposals and their impact on charter rights. Our government respects the charter rights of all Canadians, including those accused of crimes. This holds no less true in the context of sexual assault proceedings. We believe that these amendments maintain the fair trial rights of the accused, and at the same time, they recognize the privacy rights of victims. Indeed, the amendments' objectives are largely the same as those that underpin the rape shield provisions, which were found to be charter compliant by the Supreme Court.

More information on the charter compliance of these changes can be seen in the charter statement, which was tabled in this House on June 6.

Ultimately, these important amendments to the law of sexual assault would help ensure that victims are treated with the utmost respect and the compassion they deserve, and that offenders are held to account.

I would now like to address the other Criminal Code amendments proposed in this bill. In keeping with the Minister of Justice's mandate, this diverse set of changes would make the law more relevant, more modern, and more consistent with the charter.

One cluster of amendments involves the repeal of Criminal Code provisions that have been found unconstitutional by appellate courts. For instance, the bill proposes to remove the restriction that prevents sentencing courts from giving enhanced credit to those detained prior to trial because they had breached a condition of bail. This part of the provision was found unconstitutional by the Manitoba Court of Appeal last year in Regina v. Bittern. This amendment would complement the change proposed in Bill C-39 that would remove the restriction on giving enhanced credit to those who were detained due to a previous conviction. This was found unconstitutional last year by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The bill also proposes to remove a variety of evidentiary presumptions that have been found unconstitutional by appellate courts, including presumptions related to gambling offences. Presumptions are shortcuts designed to help the prosecution prove an element of the offence by instead proving a different but related fact. These provisions may sometimes violate the presumption of innocence, which is a fundamental precept of our criminal justice system and one we are committed to upholding.

Another set of amendments would repeal what is known as a “reverse onus”, which refers to placing a burden on the accused to prove a fact. Normally the presumption of innocence places the burden of proof on the crown throughout the trial, and any transfer of that burden of proof to the accused may unjustifiably violate the presumption of innocence. Some reversals can be upheld constitutionally; an example is the reversal of the burden of proof associated with the defence of mental disorder. However, numerous other reverse onuses are likely to violate the rights of Canadians and should therefore be removed from the Criminal Code.

This bill would amend 32 offences that contain the phrase “without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on him”. The second part of this phrase, “the proof of which lies on him”, is generally interpreted to create a reverse onus such that any time the accused wanted to raise a lawful excuse in defence against a charge, the accused would need to prove it on a balance of probabilities rather than just raise a reasonable doubt.

Our government does not believe that accused persons charged with these offences should be put to the task of challenging the constitutionality of these clauses, which present avoidable charter risks. Forcing people to challenge unconstitutional laws or laws that are likely unconstitutional delays criminal trials and burdens the justice system. This is not in the interests of victims, accused persons, or justice. Instead, our government is committed to continued leadership on proactive criminal justice reform while defending the rule of law.

I want to be clear that these amendments will not negatively impact public safety. These provisions being removed are either already found to be unconstitutional or likely to be found so, and as such they would not be operative in any case.

The bill also proposes to repeal offences that are outdated or otherwise redundant. It would repeal 20 such offences. Many Canadians may not know that the criminal law currently prohibits conduct such as challenging someone to a duel, posting a reward for the return of a stolen item with no questions asked, possessing crime comics, advertising a drug to enhance sexual virility, publishing a blasphemous libel, and fraudulently practising witchcraft.

Canadians are far better served by a Criminal Code that is focused on conduct that actually causes harms or risks causing harms to Canadians and our fundamental values.

Finally, the bill would amend the Department of Justice Act to create a new statutory duty for the Minister of Justice. This duty would require the minister, and future ministers, to table a charter statement for every government bill that is introduced. That statement will set out any potential effects a bill may have on the charter rights and freedoms of Canadians.

The Minister of Justice has already been tabling these statements in relation to bills that she has introduced. The proposed amendment to the Department of Justice Act would formalize this practice and extend it to all government bills. This would complement the existing duty on the Minister of Justice to examine every government bill for inconsistency with the charter.

Going forward, charter statements will identify and highlight key charter rights and freedoms that are engaged by any government bill tabled after this legislation comes in force. They will also set out considerations that support the justification of any limits that a bill may have on a charter right or freedom.

That said, charter statements are not the same as the legal advice provided by a minister of justice or his or her officials during the course of a bill's development. That advice will remain confidential and protected by solicitor-client privilege.

Rather, charter statements are intended to provide Parliament and the public with legal information about the charter implications of proposed legislation. They are meant to flag key charter issues and to be a resource to Parliament and the public for the purposes of enriching debate.

This initiative is motivated by the Minister of Justice's commitment to openness and transparency and is intended to further the commitment in relation to one of our government's core responsibilities: enacting legislation that respects the Constitution, including the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the charter.

This amendment is particularly timely, as 2017 marks the 35th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This initiative recognizes the essential role the charter plays in our free and democratic society, and our government is very proud to propose it.

I urge all members to support this important legislation, which represents one more step in the minister's review of the criminal justice system, one more step in our government's commitment to the charter, and one more step toward ensuring that our laws are relevant, fair, and accessible to all Canadians.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 15th, 2017 / 5 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to this latest bill introduced by the Minister of Justice, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act. Our colleagues are right when they call this the justice omnibus bill, and this is one of the discussions I have had with my colleague, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, on all the different areas that are covered by this bill.

One of the things I have notice in question period is that any time Liberal cabinet ministers get up, they always thank the members of the Liberal Party for all their hard work and support. I wanted to use that precedent to thank the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton for all the work he has done in the justice area.

He is correct, and my colleagues are correct when they call this an omnibus bill. I believe it was in March of this year, the government House leader introduced a paper on the whole subject of omnibus bills, and stated:

Omnibus bills can be defined as a bill that contains separate and unrelated themes packaged into one bill. Members are then forced to vote for or against a bill that could have elements that Members would support or oppose. The only recourse for Members has been to seek to divide omnibus bills in committee, but these motions rarely come to a vote or are agreed to by way of unanimous consent.

Bill C-51 fits that description, because rather than dealing with one issue, the bill proposes to tackle at least four different matters at once. First, the bill sets out to clarify and strengthen certain aspects of sexual assault, relating to consent, admissibility of evidence, and legal representation for the complainant; second, the bill repeals a number of provisions in the Criminal Code that have been found unconstitutional by appellate courts, and other provisions that, in their opinion, might likely be found unconstitutional; third, the bill repeals several obsolete or redundant criminal offences; and fourth, it introduces a requirement of a charter statement to go along with any new government bill proposed by the Minister of Justice in the future.

In addition, as the government House leader's paper reads, “Members are then forced to vote for or against a bill that could have elements that Members would support or oppose.”

The bill has elements that we support, but there are some elements that we oppose. First, let me be very clear. We strongly support what Bill C-51 does in terms of clarifying and strengthening the sexual assault provisions. I appreciate the comments from the parliamentary secretary when he said that Kim Campbell introduced these in the early nineties, when I had the privilege of being her parliamentary secretary. It was great to work with her. There were so many different elements that we had to move on in the Criminal Code, and of course, this had the support of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney throughout, and our efforts to stand up for victims and to protect law-abiding Canadians.

We support the provisions that the government has put in, among other things: to clarify that an unconscious person is incapable of consenting; to clarify that the defence of mistaken belief in consent is not available if the mistake is based on a mistake of law; to expand the rape shield provisions to include communications of a sexual nature or sexual purpose; to provide that a complainant has a right to legal representation in rape shield proceedings, that is an excellent idea; to ensure that an individual's previous sexual history has no bearing on questions of consent; and to create a regime to determine whether an accused can introduce a complainant's private records at trial that are in their possession. These are all very important. I believe they are all changes that we as Conservatives support.

In addition, we are supportive of Bill C-51 where it repeals and amends a number of provisions of the Criminal Code that have been found unconstitutional by appellate courts . We have seen before the risks and hurt that can be caused when sections of the Criminal Code have been ruled unconstitutional and are not removed.

One does not have to look any further than the Travis Vader murder in Alberta, during which the judge convicted the accused under an unconstitutional provision. Consequently, and unfortunately, the case had to be re-tried, causing difficult hardship, and unnecessary pain for the victims' families. Removing provisions that had been ruled unconstitutional by the courts is an important measure to take.

With that said, we take issue with some parts of this legislation. For one, we disagree the government needs to introduce a charter statement for every new piece of government legislation that is introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Although the required charter statement sounds like it might be a good idea, Canadians know that many safeguards already exist. First and foremost is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms itself. Coming into effect 35 years ago, the charter's objective is laid out in section 1:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, have been introducing justice legislation since 1982, after the charter came into effect. It has never been a requirement that the government create a charter statement for every justice legislation. It is simply not necessary.

Any legislation that is controversial can be challenged by citizens or groups in court. This will always happen regardless of this new charter statement. I have no problem with the idea of charter statements in general. In fact, if this minister so desires, I would welcome her attaching this to all the legislation that she puts forward. However, to require these as statements by law is another matter. I think it is unnecessary.

If she wants to put out a statement that she believes it complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, she should also include that it complies with the Canadian Bill of Rights that has been in place in this country since 1960, since John Diefenbaker was prime minister. She could do that, but it is unnecessary to bind all future governments and justice ministers by putting that in.

Lastly and most importantly, the Conservatives disagree with some of the sections that the government claims are obsolete. In particular, I want to bring to the attention of the House our opposition to clauses 1 and 14 in Bill C-51.

First of all, in clause 1 of Bill C-51, the government is proposing to repeal section 49 of the Criminal Code. This is what that section currently says:

Every one who wilfully, in the presence of Her Majesty,

(a) does an act with intent to alarm Her Majesty or to break the public peace, or

(b) does an act that is intended or is likely to cause bodily harm to Her Majesty, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

I do not really get why the Liberals are doing this. I was thinking about this on Sunday. I was in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the 225th anniversary of St. Mark's Church. The sermon was given by Bishop David Ralph Spence, who said there were three themes he wanted to talk about. One was the 225th anniversary of St. Mark's Church, and all the good that that church has done, and all the good that has come from the people who attend that church, and what an asset that has been. That church goes right back to when Governor Simcoe was the governor of Upper Canada, back in 1792. That was one of the themes he wanted to talk about.

Then he said he wanted to talk about the 150th anniversary of Canada, and what an asset our country has been since Confederation in 1867. Then he also made a very interesting point. He said that this year is also the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne. He talked about, and I was thinking about it at the same time, what a wonderful individual she has been in terms of public service to this country as our head of state. Why would the Liberals decide in her 65th anniversary on the throne that it is a good idea to get rid of the section that specifically protects our head of state against anyone threatening or attacking her? It makes no sense to me.

I am also disappointed about the proposed clause 14 in Bill C-51, which would repeal a number of sections and replaces them with something entitled “Trespassing at night”. In short, that clause would get rid of section 176. One of my colleagues raised this matter with the parliamentary secretary.

This section does nothing other than protect the safety and well-being of religious clergy and ministers against dangers and threats. This section also deters someone from disturbing or interfering with a religious worship and ceremony. By repealing this section, the government would be removing the only provision in the Criminal Code that directly protects the rights of individuals to freely conduct the practice of their religion, whatever that religion may be. At a time when news stories are increasingly reporting attacks on religious communities, this concerns me. I have to stand up for the rights of my constituents and all Canadians to practise their religion without fear, recrimination, violence, or disturbance.

The irony of this is that we had a number of debates in the House when the Liberals were telling us how concerned they were about people's right to practise their religion without fear, intimidation, hatred, or prejudice. That is what they said. I did not get into the debate with the parliamentary secretary. This is not obsolete, it is not unconstitutional, it is very important. It is important enough, I can tell the House, that just this year a woman was charged under this offence for allegedly breaking the statue of Jesus at Saint Patrick's Basilica in downtown Ottawa. That section is being used right now, so I cannot imagine why the Liberals would want to repeal it.

I suggest to the Liberals that when they go home this summer, they should tell members of their clergy and people in their ridings that they are removing the section that protects people's right to conduct religious ceremonies, and getting rid of the section that specifically outlaws people who disrupt a religious service. I would be very interested in the feedback they will get on this.

I will be talking to my constituents about this, because they have a right to know that this is the proposal from the Liberal Party. In September, I am going to ask my colleagues what their constituents said and whether they thought it was something they have to get rid of, that anybody who causes a disturbance or threatens somebody is the same thing as a fight in a bar somewhere. I am willing to bet that their constituents will say that it is very serious for anybody to threaten a member of the religious community, or in any way disturb a religious service.

I am hoping the Liberals will reconsider both of those provisions. They are both important to continue. In keeping with the comments I made earlier with respect to this omnibus legislation about how we support some sections and do not support others, I move that notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, when Bill C-51, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another act, is referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, it be an instruction to the committee that during its consideration of the bill, the committee be granted the power to divide the bill into three pieces of legislation, one bill containing clauses 1 and 14, one bill containing sexual assault provisions, and one bill containing the remaining provisions of Bill C-51.