An Act respecting national security matters

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

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

Summary

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

Part 1 enacts the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act, which establishes the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and sets out its composition, mandate and powers. It repeals the provisions of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act establishing the Security Intelligence Review Committee and amends that Act and other Acts in order to transfer certain powers, duties and functions to the new Agency. It also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 1.‍1 enacts the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act to authorize the issuance of directions respecting the disclosure of and request for information that would result in a substantial risk of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity and the use of information that is likely to have been obtained as the result of mistreatment of an individual by a foreign entity.

Part 2 enacts the Intelligence Commissioner Act, which provides that the duties and functions of the Intelligence Commissioner are to review the conclusions on the basis of which certain authorizations are issued or amended, and determinations are made, under the Communications Security Establishment Act and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and to approve those authorizations, amendments and determinations if those conclusions are reasonable. This Part also abolishes the position of the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment, provides for that Commissioner to become the Intelligence Commissioner, transfers the employees of the former Commissioner to the office of the new Commissioner and makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 3 enacts the Communications Security Establishment Act, which establishes the Communications Security Establishment and, among other things, sets out the Establishment’s mandate as well as the regime for authorizing its activities. It also amends the National Defence Act and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 4 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to

(a) add a preamble to that Act and provide a mechanism to enhance the accountability of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service;

(b) add new limits on the exercise of the Service’s power to reduce threats to the security of Canada including, in particular, by setting out a list of measures that may be authorized by the Federal Court;

(c) provide a justification, subject to certain limitations, for the commission of acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences;

(d) exempt employees of the Service and persons acting under their direction from liability for offences related to acts committed for the sole purpose of establishing or maintaining a covert identity;

(e) create a regime for the Service to collect, retain, query and exploit datasets in the course of performing its duties and functions;

(f) make amendments to the warrant regime that are related to datasets; and

(g) implement measures for the management of datasets.

Part 5 amends the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act to, among other things,

(a) emphasize that the Act addresses only the disclosure of information and not its collection or use;

(b) clarify the definition of “activity that undermines the security of Canada”;

(c) clarify that advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression are not activities that undermine the security of Canada unless they are carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada;

(d) provide that a disclosure of information is authorized only if the disclosure will contribute to the carrying out by the recipient institution of its national security responsibilities and will not affect any person’s privacy interest more than reasonably necessary;

(e) require that information disclosed be accompanied by information about the accuracy of the disclosed information and the reliability of the manner in which it was obtained; and

(f) require that records be prepared and kept in respect of every disclosure of information and that every year a copy of every record prepared in the preceding year be provided to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.

Part 6 amends the Secure Air Travel Act to authorize the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to collect from air carriers and operators of aviation reservation systems, for the purpose of identifying listed persons, information about any individuals who are on board or expected to be on board an aircraft for any flight prescribed by regulation, and to exempt an air carrier from providing that information, or from the application of any provision of the regulations, in certain circumstances. It amends the Act to authorize that Minister to collect personal information from individuals for the purpose of issuing a unique identifier to them to assist with pre-flight verification of their identity. It also reverses the rule in relation to a deemed decision on an application for administrative recourse. Finally, it amends the Act to provide for certain other measures related to the collection, disclosure and destruction of information.

Part 7 amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) make certain procedural modifications to the terrorist listing regime under section 83.‍05, such as providing for a staggered ministerial review of listed entities and granting the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness the authority to amend the names, including aliases, of listed entities;

(b) change the offence of advocating or promoting terrorism offences in general, in section 83.‍21, to one of counselling the commission of a terrorism offence, and make corresponding changes to the definition of terrorist propaganda;

(c) raise one of the thresholds for imposing a recognizance with conditions under section 83.‍3, and amend when that section is to be reviewed and, unless extended by Parliament, to cease to have effect;

(d) repeal sections 83.‍28 and 83.‍29 relating to an investigative hearing into a terrorism offence and repeal subsections 83.‍31(1) and (1.‍1), which require annual reports on such hearings;

(e) require the Attorney General of Canada to publish a report each year setting out the number of terrorism recognizances entered into under section 810.‍011 in the previous year; and

(f) authorize a court, in proceedings for recognizances under any of sections 83 and 810 to 810.‍2, to make orders for the protection of witnesses.

Part 8 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to, among other things, ensure that the protections that are afforded to young persons apply in respect of proceedings in relation to recognizance orders, including those related to terrorism, and give employees of a department or agency of the Government of Canada access to youth records, for the purpose of administering the Canadian Passport Order.

Part 9 requires that a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this enactment take place during the sixth year after section 168 of this enactment comes into force. If that section 168 and section 34 of Bill C-22, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, come into force within one year of each other, the reviews required by those sections are to take place at the same time and are to be undertaken by the same committee or committees.

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, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2019 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (amendment)
June 11, 2019 Passed Motion for closure
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 19, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage and second reading of Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
June 11, 2018 Failed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (report stage amendment)
June 6, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters
Nov. 27, 2017 Passed Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters (referral to a committee before second reading)

June 17th, 2019 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

That's fine.

In terms of paragraph (b), not only in the context of the proposed subclause 18(2), but in general, Mr. Graham spoke earlier about the risk of stepping on the other agency's toes. That's interesting. As part of our study of Bill C-59, we met with representatives of your commission. Forgive me, I don't remember whether the information came from you or other representatives, but we were told that there was no issue with regard to the RCMP, since the functions weren't national security functions. However, during the presentations and debate on Bill C-59, some people pointed out that, in the case of the Canada Border Services Agency, the issue still concerned national security, given that we're talking about border integrity.

Are you concerned that, in terms of the agency, it may be more difficult to determine what falls under the different oversight mechanisms for national security issues? For example, in the case of the committee created by Bill C-59 or the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, there's a clearer and more obvious distinction with respect to the RCMP.

June 17th, 2019 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

There is no internal resistance at all. In fact, the organization, CBSA, recognizes that this is a gap in the architecture and that it needs to be filled.

Part of it was filled by Bill C-22 with the committee of parliamentarians, as far as national security is concerned. Part of it was filled by Bill C-59 and the creation of the new NSIRA, again with respect to national security.

This legislation fills in the last piece.

June 17th, 2019 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

I think maybe three of those bills were tabled after 2017 or early 2018. I mean, for the C-20s and the single digits, we're talking days after your government was sworn in. I think there needs to be some accountability, because you've been on the record strongly saying that this needed to be done, and so I don't want to leave it being said that.... For example, with Bill C-59, why not make the change then?

I just want to understand, because my concern, Minister, is that I want to make sure there's no, for example, resistance internally to this issue. I can't understand, if this is a simple and straightforward mechanism in Bill C-98, why it took years to come to the conclusion that this was the way to go.

June 17th, 2019 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Well, as I said, Monsieur Dubé, we have had an enormous volume of work to get through, as has this committee, as has Parliament, generally. The work program has advanced as rapidly as we could make it. It takes time and effort to put it all together. I'm glad we're at this stage, and I hope the parliamentary machinery will work well enough this week that we can get it across the finish line.

It has been a very significant agenda, when you consider there has been Bill C-7, Bill C-21, Bill C-22, Bill C-23, Bill C-37, Bill C-46, Bill C-66, Bill C-71, Bill C-59, Bill C-97, Bill C-83, Bill C-93 and Bill C-98. It's a big agenda and we have to get it all through the same relatively small parliamentary funnel.

June 17th, 2019 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Minister, thank you for being here.

I want to go back to the question Ms. Dabrusin was asking in terms of the time that this took. The fact is, there was a Senate report prior to the last election in 2015, legislation by Senator Segal in the previous Parliament and a recommendation from this committee in 2017.

Also, for anyone who wants to take a minute to google it, you can find articles from at least the last three years with you promising this legislation—it's coming, it's coming. Also, most of the bills you enumerated in responding to my colleague, if not all, were tabled in 2016 or 2017.

I'm wondering about this mechanism. You called it simple and straightforward, faster and cost-effective and said it builds on existing infrastructure. I'm having a hard time with this, especially in knowing that the legislation is only going to come into effect in 2020, if I'm understanding correctly, with regard to the ability of Canadians to make complaints.

I'm still not quite understanding why, with all those pieces on the table and at the very least two or three years in the lead-up.... To me, it doesn't seem to wash that you sort of dropped your arms and said, “Oh well, the senator's proposal won't work in Bill C-59.” That seemed to be what you were implying in response to the question.

I want to ask again why it took so long when there continue to be incidents with work relations for those who work at CBSA—allegations of harassment and things of that nature—and obviously, of course, the issues that some Canadians face in the way they are treated at the border.

June 17th, 2019 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

I think, Ms. Dabrusin, it's simply a product of the large flow of public safety business and activity that we have had to deal with. I added it up a couple of days ago. We have asked this Parliament to address at least 13 major pieces of legislation, which has kept this committee, as well as your counterparts in the Senate, particularly busy.

As you will know from my previous answers, I have wanted to get on with this legislation. It's part of the matrix that is absolutely required to complete the picture. It's here now. It's a pretty simple and straightforward piece of legislation. I don't think it involves any legal intricacies that make it too complex.

If we had had a slot on the public policy agenda earlier, we would have used it, but when I look at the list of what we've had to bring forward—13 major pieces of legislation—it is one that I hope is going to get to the finish line, but along the way, it was giving way to things like Bill C-66, Bill C-71, Bill C-83, Bill C-59 and Bill C-93. There's a lot to do.

June 17th, 2019 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Thank you.

I was very happy to see this bill because, Minister, as you know, pretty much every time you have been before this committee, I have asked you about CBSA oversight and when it would be forthcoming, so when I saw this bill had been tabled, it was a happy day for me.

You talked a little about the history of the bill. You talked about Senator Wilfred Moore's bill and how you dealt with the different oversights in Bill C-59 and NSICOP.

Why did we have to wait so long to see this bill come forward?

June 17th, 2019 / 3:40 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

In the spirit of brevity and efficiency, I think I will forgo the opportunity to put a 10-minute statement on the record and just speak informally for a couple of minutes about Bill C-98. Evan Travers and Jacques Talbot from Public Safety Canada are with me and can help to go into the intricacies of the legislation and then respond to any questions you may have. They may also be able to assist if any issues arise when you're hearing from other witnesses, in terms of further information about the meaning or the purpose of the legislation.

Colleagues will know that Bill C-98 is intended to fill the last major gap in the architecture that exists for overseeing, reviewing and monitoring the activities of some of our major public safety and national security agencies. This is a gap that has existed for the better part of 18 years.

The problem arose in the aftermath of 9/11, when there was a significant readjustment around the world in how security agencies would operate. In the Canadian context at that time, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency was divided, with the customs part joining the public safety department and ultimately evolving into CBSA, the Canada Border Services Agency. That left CRA, the Canada Revenue Agency, on its own.

In the reconfiguration of responsibilities following 9/11, many interest groups, stakeholders and public policy observers noted that CBSA, as it emerged, did not have a specific review body assigned to it to perform the watchdog function that SIRC was providing with respect to CSIS or the commissioner's office was providing with respect to the Communications Security Establishment.

The Senate came forward with a proposal, if members will remember, to fix that problem. Senator Willie Moore introduced Bill S-205, which was an inspector general kind of model for filling the gap with respect to oversight of CBSA. While Senator Moore was coming forward with his proposal, we were moving on the House side with NSICOP, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, by virtue of Bill C-22, and the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency which is the subject of Bill C-59.

We tried to accommodate Senator Moore's concept in the new context of NSICOP and NSIRA, but it was just too complicated to sort that out that we decided it would not be possible to salvage Senator Moore's proposal and convert it into a workable model. What we arrived at instead is Bill C-98.

Under NSICOP and NSIRA, the national security functions of CBSA are already covered. What's left is the non-security part of the activities of CBSA. When, for example, a person comes to the border, has an awkward or difficult or unpleasant experience, whom do they go to with a complaint? They can complain to CBSA itself, and CBSA investigates all of that and replies, but the expert opinion is that in addition to what CBSA may do as a matter of internal good policy, there needs to be an independent review mechanism for the non-security dimensions of CBSA's work. The security side is covered by NSICOP, which is the committee of parliamentarians, and NSIRA, the new security agency under Bill C-59, but the other functions of CBSA are not covered, so how do you create a review body to cover that?

We examined two alternatives. One was to create a brand new stand-alone creature with those responsibilities; otherwise, was there an agency already within the Government of Canada, a review body, that had the capacity to perform that function? We settled on CRCC, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, which performs that exact function for the RCMP.

What is proposed in the legislation is a revamping of the CRCC to expand its jurisdiction to cover the RCMP and CBSA and to increase its capacity and its resources to be able to do that job. The legislation would make sure that there is a chair and a vice-chair of the new agency, which would be called the public complaints and review commission. It would deal with both the RCMP and the CBSA, but it would have a chair and a vice-chair. They would assume responsibilities, one for the RCMP and one for CBSA, to make sure that both agencies were getting top-flight attention—that we weren't robbing Peter to pay Paul and that everybody would be receiving the appropriate attention in the new structure. Our analysis showed that we could move faster and more expeditiously and more efficiently if we reconfigured CRCC instead of building a new agency from the ground up.

That is the legislation you have before you. The commission will be able to receive public complaints. It will be able to initiate investigations if it deems that course to be appropriate. The minister would be able to ask the agency to investigate or examine something if the minister felt an inquiry was necessary. Bill C-98 is the legislative framework that will put that all together.

That's the purpose of the bill, and I am very grateful for the willingness of the committee at this stage in our parliamentary life to look at this question in a very efficient manner. Thank you.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2019 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Madam Speaker, I will continue with the public safety minister's comment at committee:

[T]he government is launching, almost immediately, a public consultation process on our national security framework that will touch directly on the subject matter of this bill, and I need that consultation before I can commit to specific legislation.

Well, that was almost three years ago. To say that the bill is late would obviously be an understatement. It has taken the minister over three years to bring forward this legislation. That is quite a long time for a minister who said he was already working on something in 2016.

In keeping with his recent history on consultations, there appears to have been little or no external consultation in preparation for the bill. Hopefully, at committee, the government will be able to produce at least one group or organization outside of the government that will endorse the legislation. However, I am not holding my breath.

The government even hired a former clerk of the Privy Council to conduct an independent report. Mel Cappe conducted a review and provided his recommendations in June 2017. It was only because of an access to information request by CBC News that Parliament even knows of this report.

A CBC News article noted:

The June 2017 report by former Privy Council Office chief Mel Cappe, now a professor at the University of Toronto, was obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act....

[A] spokesman for [the] Public Safety Minister...would not comment directly on Cappe’s recommendations, but said the government is working on legislation to create an “appropriate mechanism” to review CBSA officer conduct and handle complaints.

The proposed body would roll in existing powers of the civilian review and complaints commission for the RCMP.

The government and the minister had the recommendations two years ago, yet they are bringing this forward at the last minute. It appears to be an afterthought. Again, in February of this year, the minister said that they continue to work as fast as they can to bring forward legislation on oversight for the CBSA.

Perhaps the Liberal government was just distracted by its many self-inflicted wounds. It created many challenges for Canadians, and now it is tabling legislation in the 11th hour that deals with real issues and asking parliamentarians to make up for the government's distraction and lack of focus on things that matter to Canada, Canadians and our democracy. These are things like public safety, national security, rural crime, trade, energy policies and lower taxes.

There is an impact to mismanagement and bad decision-making. The Liberals' incompetence has had a trickle-down effect that is felt at every border crossing and also across many parts of the country.

We know that RCMP officers had to be deployed and dedicated to dealing with illegal border crossings. When the Liberals set up a facility to act as a border crossing in Lacolle, Quebec, RCMP officers were there covering people entering into Canada. Those RCMP officers were not commissioned that day. They were pulled from details across the country. They were pulled from monitoring returned ISIS fighters and from monitoring and tackling organized crime. They were taken and redeployed, most likely, from rural detachments across the country. We know that in my province of Alberta, the RCMP is short-staffed by nearly 300 officers. It is not a surprise, then, that there was a rise in rural crime while this was going on. Rural crime is now rising faster than urban crime.

However, it is not just the RCMP that has been impacted by the mismanagement at the border. It is also border officers, who will have the added oversight created through Bill C-98.

CBSA officers told me and many other MPs about more shifts and about workers being transferred to Manitoba and Quebec. The media reported that students were taking the place of full-time, trained border officers at Pearson airport. This is the largest airport in Canada, and the impacts of having untrained and inexperienced officers monitoring potentially the top spot for smuggling and transfer of illegal goods are staggering.

We have a serious issue in Canada at our borders, one that is getting worse. We know from testimony given during the committee's study of Bill C-71 that the vast majority of illegal firearms come from the U.S. They are smuggled in. At the guns and gangs summit, the RCMP showed all of Canada pictures of firearms being smuggled in as part of other packages. The minister's own department is saying there is a problem with smuggled goods, contraband tobacco and drugs coming across our borders.

Rather than actually protect Canadians, we are looking into oversight. Do not get me wrong. Oversight is good, but it is not the most pressing issue of the day.

The media is now reporting that because of the Liberals' decision to lift visas, there are many harmful and potentially dangerous criminals now operating in our country. This comes on the heels of reports that there are record-high numbers of ordered deportations of people who are a security threat. There were 25 in 2017. There are also record-low removals. Deportations were about or above 12,000 to 15,000 per year from 2010 to 2015, but that is not what we are seeing now. The Liberals, even with tens of thousands of people entering Canada illegally, are averaging half of that.

We know that the CBSA is not ignoring these issues and security threats. It just lacks the resources, which are now dedicated to maintaining an illegal border crossing and monitoring tens of thousands more people.

This failure is not just my opinion. It is the opinion of many Canadians.

A Calgary Herald headline from last August read, “Confidence in Trudeau's handling of immigration is gone”. The Toronto Sun, on May 29 of this year, wrote, “AG report shows federal asylum processing system a mess”. Another reads, “Auditor General Calls out Liberal Failures”. The news headlines go on and on.

This is not something the minister did when he implemented reforms in Bill C-59, the national security reforms. Under that bill, there would be three oversight agencies for our national security and intelligence teams: the new commissioner of intelligence, with expanded oversight of CSIS and CSE; the new national security and intelligence review agency, and with Bill C-22, the new parliamentary committee. This is in addition to the Prime Minister's national security adviser and the deputy ministers of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Oversight can be a good thing. Often, because of human nature, knowing it is there acts as a deterrent. From my career, knowing that police are nearby or ready to respond can deter criminals, and knowing that someone will review claims of misconduct will add credibility to an already reputable agency, the CBSA.

It is probably too bad that this was not done earlier, because it could have gone through the House and the Senate quite easily. It could have been a law for a year or two already, perhaps even more. Sadly, the late tabling of the bill seems to make it a near certainty that if it reaches the Senate, it might be caught in the backlog of legislation there.

The House and the committee can and should give the bill a great deal of scrutiny. While the idea seems sound, and the model is better than in other legislation, I am wary of anything the government does on borders. It has not managed our borders well and has not been up front with the House or Canadians about that. In 2017, the Liberals told us that there was nothing to worry about, with tens of thousands of people crossing our borders illegally. They said they did not need any new resources, security was going well and everything was fine.

Well, the reality was that security was being cut to deal with the volume, provinces and cities were drowning in costs and overflowing shelters, border and RCMP agencies were stretched and refugee screenings were backing up. According to the ministers, everything was fine. Then, in the budget, came new funding, and in the next budget, and in the one after that. Billions in spending is now on the books, including for the RCMP, the CBSA and the Immigration and Refugee Board.

What should we scrutinize? For one, I think we should make sure to hear from those people impacted by this decision, such as front-line RCMP and CBSA officers who will be subject to these evaluations.

A CBC article had this to say:

The union representing border officers has heard little about the proposal and was not consulted on the bill. Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), said the president of the CBSA also was left in the dark and could not inform the union of any details of the legislation.

How reliable is legislation when the agency it would actually impact and involve was left out of the loop?

It seems odd that the Liberals would appoint one union, Unifor, to administer a $600-million media bailout fund just after they announce a campaign against Conservatives, and, yet, the border services officers union is not even consulted about legislation that impacts it. I would hope that consultations are not dependent on political donations and participation.

That is why Parliament should be careful about who sits on this new agency. We do not need more activists; we need experienced professionals. We need subject matter experts. We need people with management expertise. We need to make sure that the people who work on these review organizations are appropriately skilled and resourced to do their work. We need to make sure that frivolous cases do not tie up resources, and that officers do not have frivolous and vexatious claims hanging over the heads.

We need to make sure that Canadians do not need to hire lawyers to get access to the complaints commission and its process.

We need to make sure that the minister and his staff, and other staffing leaders across the public safety spectrum cannot get their hands inside the processes and decisions of these bodies. We need the agency to have transparent, clear processes and systems that are fair to applicants and defendants alike. We need to make sure that these processes do not eat away resources from two agencies that are already strapped for bodies.

I hope there is time to do this right. I hope there is the appropriate time to hear from all the relevant witnesses, that legal advice is obtained, and that we have the appropriate time to draft changes, changes that, based on the minister's track record, are almost certainly going to be needed.

As the House begins its work on this legislation, I trust the minister and his staff would not be directing the chair of the public safety committee to meet their scripted timeline, which seems a little difficult to be done now with only a week remaining. Knowing that the chair is a scrupulous and honoured individual, he certainly would not suggest that legislation needs to be finished before we can hear the appropriate testimony.

There is a lot of trust and faith needed for the House to work well on legislation like this and many other pieces, trust that is built through honest answers to legitimate questions, trust that is reinforced by following integrity and the need to get it right, rather than the need to just be right.

I hope, perhaps just once in this legislative session, we could see the government try to broker such trust on Bill C-98, but I will not hold my breath.

Motion in relation to Senate amendmentsNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 8 p.m.
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NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It being 8:02 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the consideration of the Senate amendment to Bill C-59 now before the House.

The question is as follows. Shall I dispense?

Motion in relation to Senate amendmentsNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 8 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, it is obvious that we have hit a nerve on the other side.

Let me focus on Bill C-59, which is a very important piece of legislation. If there were a part that I would highlight, it would be the national security intelligence review agency, an agency that would be more holistic in its approach. As opposed to having a review agency for the RCMP and a review agency for CSIS, we will have one review agency that ultimately has the responsibility for all of those security organizations, thereby ensuring we do not have independent silos all over the place.

This is really good stuff. I would encourage the members opposite to vote in favour of this legislation. Let us pass some legislation today.

Motion in relation to Senate amendmentsNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 7:45 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

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to give a little ad at the beginning of my speech. Tomorrow is an important day. June 12 is Philippines Independence Day. I want to invite all members from all sides of the House to come out after their caucus meetings and walk across the street from West Block to SJAM to participate in the Filipino heritage event.

I want to add my thoughts in regard to Bill C-59 and I will approach it in two ways. First I will speak to the process that has brought us to the bill before us today and then I will provide thoughts in regard to some of the content of the bill itself.

To say that the issue of security and freedom is a new debate in the House of Commons would be a bit of a stretch. I can recall the debates surrounding Bill C-51 several years ago when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. He brought in that piece of legislation. At the time, the Liberal Party, as the third party, actually supported that legislation.

However, we qualified that support in a very clear way. We indicated throughout the debate that there were some fundamental flaws in Bill C-51, and that if we were to ultimately win in the election of 2015, we intended to bring forward some changes that would rectify some of those fundamental flaws.

I can recall the hours of debate that took place inside the chamber by members of all political parties. I can remember some of the discussions flowing out of the committees at the time. There was a great deal of debate and a great deal of controversy with the legislation. Even while campaigning during the last federal election, it was a topical issue for many people. It dealt with issues of an individual's rights versus having that sense of security. I always made reference to the fact that Liberals understand how important individual rights are. That is one of the reasons I often highlight that we are the party that brought in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If we take a look at the original Bill C-51, even though the principles were very admirable and we supported it and voted for it, even though at the time we received some criticism, we made it very clear that we would make changes.

This is the second piece of legislation that has attempted to make good on commitments we made to Canadians in the last election. I really enjoy is being able to stand up in this place and provide comment, especially on legislation that fulfills election commitments, starting with our very first bill, Bill C-2. That is a bill I am very proud of, and I know my caucus colleagues are very proud of that bill. It concerns the tax break for Canada's middle class. There is the bill we are debating today, Bill C-59, the second part of a commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election, which talks about the issue of public safety and privacy rights. Yet again, we have before us another piece of legislation that ultimately fulfills another commitment we made to Canadians in the last federal election.

I mentioned that I wanted to talk a bit about the process. In bringing forward Bill C-59, I do not think we could come up with a better example of a minister who has really understood the importance of the issue, or who has gone far beyond what any other minister in the Stephen Harper era ever did, in terms of consultation.

Even before the bill was introduced, we received input from thousands of Canadians, whether in person or through the Internet. We also received input from members of Parliament, particularly from many of my Liberal caucus colleagues. We were afforded the opportunity to share with the minister and the caucus some of the issues and concerns that came out of the last election. A great deal of consultation was done. The minister on several occasions indicated that the comprehensive dialogue that took place allowed for a substantial piece of legislation at the first reading stage.

Shortly after that, the bill was sent to committee prior to second reading, which allowed for a more thorough discussion on a wider scope of issues. The bill was debated at report stage and then at third reading. It was sent to the Senate, which has sent back amendments, which is where we are today. That process indicates that we have a government, as the Prime Minister has often indicated, that thinks the roles of our standing committees and the Senate can improve legislation. We have seen many changes throughout this process. This bill is a stronger and healthier piece of legislation than it originally was at its first reading stage.

I wanted to give that bit of background and then do a comparison regarding why the government had to move closure just an hour ago. I want to make it very clear to those individuals who might be following the debate, whether it is on Bill C-59 or other pieces of legislation.

We have an official opposition party that is determined to work with the NDP, and I often refer to it as the unholy alliance of the Conservatives and the New Democrats. They work together to try to prevent any legislation from passing. They will do whatever they can to prevent legislation from passing. It does not take much to do that. At the end of the day, a few members can cause a great deal of issues to prevent legislation from passing. There is no sense of responsibility coming from the opposition side in regard to working hard for Canadians and recognizing the valuable pieces of legislation that would be for the betterment of our society. In fact, those parties will put up speaker after speaker even on non-controversial legislation, because they have no real interest in passing legislation. If it were up to the Conservative opposition, we would still be debating Bill C-2. The opposition members have many different tools, and they have no qualms about using them. Then—

The House resumed from June 7 consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, and of the amendment.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 7 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister spoke early on about two academics who supported the bill. I want to remind him of what retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General Michael Day said. He said he had zero confidence in Canada's ability to combat emerging threats with Bill C-59.

We know that the charter is mentioned 26 times in the legislation, but the minister should know that every bill has to meet the scrutiny of the charter. Privacy appears 88 times in the bill. We do not know why the government is so concerned about trying to police the agencies that protect Canadians rather than going after those who would appear to do us harm.

The last point I want to make is this. The bill is called undemocratic and one of the reasons for that is the rarity that the Henry VIII clause was kept in it, which means there is the ability of the Prime Minister and cabinet to unilaterally change legislation without coming through Parliament. I am curious whether the minister would care to comment on that manoeuvre in the bill.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 11th, 2019 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I simply make the point that we began work on the legislation from the very first hours when the government was in office in 2015. We started with the learned judgments of Justices Iacobucci, O'Connor and Major. We started with reports that had been filed previously by Parliament, both the House of Commons and the Senate. We listened very carefully to the review reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

We conducted extensive public consultations, which involved 75,000 submissions online from ordinary Canadians. We had public meetings, town hall meetings and expert panels. Never before has there ever been an opportunity for Canadians to have input and for parliamentarians to debate the subject matter around Bill C-59. There has been the largest opportunity to do that in Canadian history.