Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law)

An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and to make related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Status

Considering amendments (Senate), as of Oct. 4, 2017

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Summary

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

This enactment enacts the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. It also proposes related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and to the Immigration and Refugee Protection 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.

Votes

Oct. 4, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill S-226, An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and to make related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

June 22nd, 2017 / 9 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I'd like to speak to that, Mr. Chair.

I move that clause 8 of Bill S-226 be amended by replacing lines 6 to 18 on page 7, and the heading before clause 8 on page 7, with the following:

Rights of Foreign Nationals Who are the Subject of an Order or Regulation Application

Under this part, the amendment would insert the phrase “foreign national”.

Under “Recommendation”, the amendment would insert a number of phrases, including, “On receipt of the application”; “decide whether there are”; “be amended” and “repealed”; “ceases to be”; and “it.”

I believe everything else stays the same. I can read further, if you like.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Okay. I move that Bill S-226 be amended by adding after line 5 on page 7 the following:

Duty to disclose — supervising and regulating agencies

7.1 (1) Every entity referred to in section 7 must disclose, every month, to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates it under federal or provincial law, whether it is in possession or control of any property referred to in that section and, if so, the number of persons or dealings involved and the total value of the property.

Duty to disclose — RCMP or CSIS

(2) Every person in Canada and every Canadian outside Canada must disclose without delay to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service

(a) that they have reason to believe that property in their possession or control is owned, held or controlled by or on behalf of a foreign national who is the subject of an order or regulation made under section 4; and

(b) any information about a transaction or proposed transaction in respect of property referred to in paragraph (a).

Immunity

(3) No proceedings under this Act and no civil proceedings lie against a person for a disclosure made in good faith under subsection (1) or (2).

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I move that Bill S-226, in clause 4, be amended by adding, after line 37 on page 5, the following:

Order authorizing Minister (4) The Governor in Council may, by order, authorize the Minister to

(a) issue to any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or class of activity or transaction, that is restricted or prohibited under this Act or any order or regulations made under this Act; or

(b) issue a general permit allowing any person in Canada or Canadian outside Canada to carry out a class of activity or transaction that is restricted or prohibited under this Act or any order or regulations made under this Act.

Ministerial permit

(5) The Minister may issue a permit or general permit, subject to any terms and conditions that are, in the opinion of the Minister, consistent with this Act and any order or regulations made under this Act.

Revocation, etc.

(6) The Minister may amend, suspend, revoke or reinstate any permit or general permit issued by the Minister.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 4 be amended by replacing lines 36 and 37 on page 5 to include the words “any other”, “to, for the benefit of or on the direction or order”.

I can read the whole thing, but perhaps this is more efficient.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Yes, there are, Mr. Chair.

I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 4 be amended by (a) replacing lines 13 to 15 on page 4 with the following:

Orders and regulations

4 (1) The Governor in Council may, if the Governor in Council is of the opinion that any of the circumstances described in subsection (2) has occurred,

I also propose that clause 4 be amended by (b) replacing lines 18 and 19 on page 4 with the following:

referred to in subsection (3) in relation to a foreign national that the Governor in Council considered

I also propose (c) replacing line 29 on page 4 with the following.... I'm guessing at the photocopying here.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by deleting lines 8 to 10 on page 4.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 34 on page 3 with the following:

étranger Individu autre :

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by deleting lines 6 and 7 on page 4.

(Amendment agreed to)

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

I move that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by adding after line 17 on page 3 the following:

foreign public official has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. (agent public étranger)

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Before I read the amendment, I simply want to say, since I hope this is the last meeting the committee will have before the fall—Tom, we can come back, if you like, although I might not be here—that this bill has been, in all honesty, a real collaborative effort. We do disagree in this committee. We certainly disagree in the House of Commons. That is just part of politics, but any time you can work collaboratively with colleagues and find a common path, as we've done here, I think it's something to be celebrated.

Mr. Chair, you mentioned Senator Andreychuk. I too want to acknowledge Senator Andreychuk, who may or may not be in the room. Regardless, it's important for me to do that. This is a real testament to her interest in human rights.

Of course, I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Irwin Cotler, responsible for putting forward the bill to begin with a number of years ago.

That said, I will read the first Liberal amendment. I propose that Bill S-226 in clause 2 be amended by replacing line 6 on page 3 with the following:

Definitions

2 The following definitions apply in this Act.

June 22nd, 2017 / 8:45 a.m.
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Liberal

The Chair (Hon. Robert Nault (Kenora, Lib.)) Liberal Bob Nault

Colleagues, I want to bring this meeting to order.

This is meeting 69 of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, June 13, 2017, we are considering Bill S-226, an act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and to make related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

This morning, colleagues, I first want to acknowledge Senator Andreychuk, the sponsor of this bill in the Senate, and Mr. James Bezan, the sponsor in the House of Commons. Later on in the process, Mr. Bezan will get an opportunity to speak to his bill as we go through the process of clause-by-clause.

Many of you have been through this process before. If not, unfortunately the chair does more talking than he normally does just to go through the clauses. There are some amendments that I understand the government will be putting forward. They are listed for you, and we'll go through those as well.

The process of clause-by-clause is that we will go through the clauses, and they will be carried either as amended or as intended, until we get to the end of the bill. I will be able to sign this to go back to the House, through special order, for tomorrow. Later on today, if we get this done, I will be able to send it to the House. That's the objective of this exercise, as per the motion passed yesterday, I think, by the House leader.

We will now begin our clause-by-clause consideration.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), the consideration of clause 1, which is the short title, and the preamble is postponed until the end.

(On clause 2)

Clause 2 has five amendments.

I will turn to floor over to Mr. Fragiskatos for those amendments to clause 2.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank all members for their interventions over the two hours of debate on Bill S-226. There are so many people to thank. First of all, I want to thank Senator Raynell Andreychuk, who brought this bill forward.

As I said in my opening comments, the last paragraph in the preamble best sums up what this bill accomplishes. It reads:

And whereas all violators of internationally recognized human rights should be treated and sanctioned equally throughout the world,

We spent a lot of time, and a lot of speakers here mentioned the abuses in Russia. As someone who has been banned from Russia, along with a number of colleagues, I know it is of grave concern to most members in the House to ensure that we take the right actions against Russia's aggressions in Ukraine; and against Russia's human rights violations within Russia and its neighbouring countries as it continues to crack down on the freedom of the press, the LGBTQ community, and political dissidents.

We have witnessed it again this week, just yesterday. Alexei Navalny is the leader of the official opposition in Russia. He is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and the leader of the Progress Party. He has been described by The Wall Street Journal as “The Man Vladimir Putin Fears Most”.

Yesterday, which was kind of like Russian Independence Day, Alexei Navalny organized a number of large-scale demonstrations promoting democracy and human rights and attacking the political corruption of Putin and the kleptocrats at the Kremlin. He has been arrested before, in 2011 and 2017, and he was arrested yesterday morning before he even got out of his house. Before he even got onto the streets to participate in a peaceful protest, he was pulled from his house. All communications were cut off in his house and office. Along with thousands of other people, he was arrested yesterday in Russia and imprisoned for 30 days for holding an unsanctioned rally.

This is 30 days in prison, and we know that prison time in Russia is hard time. It is where Sergei Magnitsky was detained, beaten, tortured, and ultimately murdered, because he was a whistleblower on Russian corruption, on calling out the kleptocrats who were enriching themselves at the cost of individuals who had been committing a large tax fraud and blaming Bill Browder.

I would like to thank Bill Browder for the hard work he has done, not only in coming to Canada to have us bring forward Sergei Magnitsky-style legislation, but also to the United States, Britain, the European Parliament, Estonia, and other countries that are adopting this type of legislation, so that we as western nations, as democracies that love human rights and freedoms, can go out there and start to change the channel on these human rights abusers, these corrupt foreign officials who continue to enrich themselves and think that they can hide their wealth and their families in our countries. Bill S-226 provides the tools and mechanisms for the government to go out there and sanction them so that they cannot benefit from their crimes.

We also have to remember Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated on the bridge outside of the Kremlin just two years ago. The last time he was in Canada speaking to the foreign affairs committee, he said that Magnitsky-style legislation is pro-Russian legislation. It is about making sure that the people of Russia enjoy the freedoms of democracy and the rule of law that we take for granted here in Canada, in the United States, and in western Europe. This is about trying to modernize that.

A couple of weeks ago, opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza was here, and he too, after being twice poisoned—two assassination attempts on him—still had the power and strength to come and speak to us as parliamentarians and again say that we should pass this legislation.

I am glad that the government, the NDP, and all members of Parliament are supporting this legislation. I know the government has brought forward amendments. I have met with government officials from foreign affairs, and I can tell the House that the Conservatives are okay with these amendments. There are a few on which we are still working on some wording, but let us get the bill to the foreign affairs committee, which has already done some great work on studying the Magnitsky-style legislation. The committee has the ability to quickly analyze the amendments, implement those amendments, and get them back here to the House so that we can pass them before we break for summer, and then the Senate can deal with those amendments.

Again, I thank everyone who has participated in this debate.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak on Bill S-226, a very important piece of legislation. I listened intently to all of the comments made today, within the last hour. It is unfortunate that the government did not make this a priority to introduce on day one, because during the election everybody acknowledged the importance of Magnitsky legislation. I am not a member of the government, but I am glad the government is onside, supporting legislation that was introduced by the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and Senator Raynell Andreychuk.

Bill C-267 was the bill of choice for the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. He introduced the Holodomor legislation in Canada, the first western country to recognize the horrific human rights violations, with more than 10 million Ukrainians killed by the brutal hands of Stalin. We are here today because of continued violations in the same part of the world, where Sergei Magnitsky was brutally killed. He was imprisoned in a Russian prison, detained, tortured, and murdered in 2009.

There is a pattern here. Boris Nemtsov came to Canada in 2012. He was the official opposition leader in Russia opposing the Putin regime and the human rights violations, the torture, the poisoning, the aggression, and the violations, and he was brutally murdered too, just outside of the Russian Parliament buildings.

The violations continue in Ukraine with the annexation of Crimea by Putin and his regime. Sergei Magnitsky's murderers have gone unpunished. Each of us in the House has a responsibility. I start each day praying, asking God what he would have us do in the House, how we can bring justice to this country and the world. May we never shirk from that duty and accomplish what each of us has been called to do. I believe this piece of legislation, Bill S-226, is one of those things.

I am thrilled, but I also realize that this is a House where politics are often practised, and at times things are promised, things are said, and there are other things happening behind the scenes. I am thankful the government is going to support this bill. I have indicated that there is agreement on the amendments, but we need to pass this legislation, and we need to pass it quickly. It needs to go back to committee and the Senate. If we amend it, it has to go back to the Senate; if we accepted it the way it came from the Senate, it could be enacted. However, it has to go back to the Senate.

I know everyone on this side will support this bill, and I encourage everyone on the government side to do the same so that it passes, goes back to committee, comes back to the House, which can be done in one day, and then it can go back to the Senate so that this important legislation can be enacted.

I again want to sincerely thank Raynell Andreychuk and the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. I have been on trips to Ukraine with them and have seen their passion and love for that country. The roots of their heritage are in Ukraine, as are mine; and many in the House, in all parties, have those wonderful roots. Let us stand up for human rights. It is not just about Russia's aggression in Ukraine; it is about human rights across the world and Canada being given the tools to enact sanctions that will be effective.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 6:05 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Madam Speaker, today I rise proudly to speak in favour of Bill S-226, the Sergei Magnitsky legislation.

Our government supports this bill. Our support comes with amendments that will strengthen its implementation and its effectiveness and better align it with current Canadian sanctions and immigration policy and practice. These amendments will also align with the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development recommendations that were issued on April 6, 2017.

My support for this bill comes for a few reasons that I will expand upon this evening. The first is my riding of Parkdale—High Park and the constituents within it. Second is my own background in practising constitutional and human rights law and prosecuting internationally with the UN. The third is that it resonates with the foreign policy objectives recently outlined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On the first point, as a prefatory comment, I want to talk about what Bill S-226 seeks to accomplish. It will create a legal mechanism to allow for the imposition of sanctions in response to gross violations of internationally recognized human rights as well as in response to acts of significant corruption. There is currently no Canadian law that authorizes the imposition of sanctions specifically for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for acts of corruption, including those in Russia, as highlighted in the case of Sergei Magnitsky. Bill S-226 will address this gap.

Furthermore, our government also supports expanding the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act to include cases of gross violations of human rights and foreign corruption.

Let me turn now to the category that I talked about at the outset, my constituents, the people I represent. As the member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park, during my tenure and during the campaign two years ago, I have had literally hundreds of one-on-one conversations with constituents of both Polish and Ukrainian descent who live in my riding. The diaspora is very vibrant in my community. We are home to two pre-eminent festivals for both Polish Canadians and Ukrainian Canadians. Those representatives come with deep, passionate, interest in the affairs of Ukraine and of Poland.

This is communicated to me regularly by such stakeholders as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Canadian Polish Congress, as well as by individuals like Marcus Kolga of the Estonian Central Council in Canada. What they tell me is the same thing, over and over again: that eastern Europe is embattled because of Russian aggression. They talk to me about the illegal annexation of Crimea, which our government rejects. They talk to me about the ongoing aggression and military activity in the Donbass and the threat of an ever-expansionist Russia moving across eastern Europe. They also talk to me about the violation of human rights of those who dare to speak out in Russia itself.

It is in the effort to combat such human rights violations that this legislation was developed. By promoting respect for human rights, this legislation captures the sentiments expressed to me time and time again by my Ukrainian-Canadian and Polish-Canadian constituents, who desire respect for basic civil liberties in Russia and who want to curb Russian aggression and expansion in Europe.

The second aspect that I want to discuss this evening is the category of human rights violations. I come to this chamber as a lawyer who practised for 15 years, defending charter rights here in Canada and prosecuting international human rights violations abroad with the United Nations. We are lucky in this country to have many rights, freedoms, and privileges when others around the world face real and constant danger for simply opposing their government or daring to speak out.

I would like to take some time to outline the specific type of international human rights violations this bill will seek to curb or stop outright.

We have heard discussion about this, but the most important component is the case of Sergei Magnitsky himself. He was a Russian lawyer. He was tortured, beaten, and killed in a Moscow prison after uncovering a $230-million tax fraud and testifying against the Russian government officials involved. Despite overwhelming evidence incriminating these prison officials, the Russian government exonerated everyone involved.

As most people know, the people who killed Mr. Magnitsky did so for money. We know that criminals of this kind do not keep their ill-gotten gains in their country of origin. They do not keep it in places like Russia. They know all too well how easily it can be taken away from them. They keep their money in the west.

What will this legislation do to address the situation? For this, I turn to none other than Bill Browder, a well-known advocate for defending gross human rights violations abroad and an advocate for his own employee, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in this context.

Mr. Browder has said:

We realized that by preventing these people from storing and spending their money in the West, we could bring an end to the impunity they enjoyed in Russia. By freezing their assets and banning their visas, we could create direct, personal consequences for human-rights abusers, hitting them where it hurts the most — in their wallets. This was the genesis of Magnitsky sanctions — targeted visa bans and asset freezes imposed on individual human-rights abusers.

The Sergei Magnitsky case is not the only case. That is the most troubling aspect. There is the case of Alexander Perepilichny, who suddenly dropped dead in Britain after providing key evidence in the Magnitsky case. There is the case of Vladimir Kara-Murza, who campaigned for a Canadian version of the Magnitsky Law and was poisoned. There is the case of Boris Nemtsov, another Russian opposition politician who campaigned in this very capital for a Canadian Magnitsky piece of legislation in 2012 and was shot dead three years later. In March 21 of this very year, Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer for the Magnitsky family, fell four stories from his apartment in Moscow, the fall occurring the night before he was due to give new evidence in court concerning the government cover-up in the Magnitsky case.

What I want to emphasize is that the genius of this legislation is that it is global in reach, and it needs to be, because the problem it targets is indeed global in scope. We are talking about other nations. We are talking about examples such as Buzurgmehr Yorov, a fearless human rights lawyer and whistle-blower in Tajikistan. He was recently sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment simply for doing his job, when he took on the cases of several leaders of the opposition in Tajikistan, the very type of work that I have done here and that many people do around the planet.

Internationally, the global community has responded to these kinds of violations. In 2012 the United States was the first country to adopt such sanctions vis-à-vis Russia itself, passing global Magnitsky legislation and expanding the reach in 2016 with a global act that sanctions human rights abusers from around the planet. Forty-four people from around the world have been banned from the United States under that legislation.

The European Parliament followed suit in 2014. Last year, Estonia passed the first Magnitsky sanctions law in Europe. In Canada, a former Liberal MP, the Hon. Irwin Cotler, a man who was previously our colleague here, introduced in this chamber a Canadian version of the Magnitsky Act in 2011. As members can see, it is important in terms of our international obligations to our partners to enact this legislation and to take action on the underlying issues it seeks to address.

Let me turn to Canada's foreign policy objectives, which were recently announced by the minister. On June 6, the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that there are:

...clear strategic threats to the liberal democratic world, including Canada. Our ability to act against such threats alone is limited. It requires co-operation with like-minded countries.

When human rights violations occur around the world, they are a threat to democratic values around the world. That is why we must implement legislation such as Bill S-226 in solidarity with other allies and members of the international community. It is only by acting in unison that we can hope to globally curb gross human rights violations and corruption.

In her speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also noted that one of the key tenets of our foreign policy has been the basic promotion of human rights at home and abroad. She said:

It is a Canadian, John Humphrey, who is generally credited as the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. That was the first of what became a series of declarations to set international standards in this vital area.

I wholeheartedly concur with this sentiment. As a former war crimes prosecutor with the United Nations who tried cases on the Rwanda genocide tribunal, I can personally testify to the heavy involvement of Canadians at the UN and at that particular tribunal. Canadian involvement in the promotion and protection of human rights abroad is a long-standing tradition, and it is a key priority for our government and for our citizens.

The minister also noted:

These institutions may seem commonplace today. We may take them for granted. We should not. Seventy years ago, they were revolutionary....

Finally, the minister made a simple yet essential statement when she stated:

...our values include an unshakeable commitment to pluralism, human rights, and the rule of law.

That simple statement captures the essence of our democracy and, in my view, why it is only natural for us to pass this much-needed legislation.

To conclude, I support this legislation because it aligns with the beliefs and the convictions of my constituents, because it seeks to curb gross human-rights violations from being perpetrated on individuals around the world, and because it strongly aligns with our new foreign policy framework. I encourage all members of this House to support it as well.