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

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.

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

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
See context

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country B.C.

Liberal

Pam Goldsmith-Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I speak today to 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.

The bill is also referred to as the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, or the Sergei Magnitsky law.

I would like to thank Senator Andreychuk for her commitment to this important question, and for the opportunity to debate this in the House of Commons.

Having served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs when our government came to power, I know the proposed Magnitsky law was front and centre in question period and was an important area of study by the foreign affairs and international development committee. The issue first arose in the House in the last Parliament, and received unanimous support.

Clearly, the detention, torture, death in prison, and posthumous conviction of Sergei Magnitsky for exposing fraud and corruption in the Russian government constitute gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. There is a clear desire on the part of two consecutive Parliaments to pursue some form of a Magnitsky law similar to U.S. legislation.

Our exploration of a Magnitsky-type law includes many leaders. First, I would like to commend the courage of former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Stéphane Dion, for creating room for us to properly understand the tools at our disposal and for his tremendous respect for the work of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development as it undertook a comprehensive review of Canada's autonomous sanctions legislation.

The Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA, and the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act were the subject of close study, the outcomes of which both entertain the idea of a Magnitsky act and go much beyond that to bring our legislation up to date.

It is important for Canadians to understand how the parliamentary process can work and does work in the best interests of our safety and security and in defence of human rights around the world. For months the former minister and I encouraged parliamentarians to continue their deliberations, and also to wait for the work of the committee to be complete.

We had some lively exchanges during question period thanks to my colleague across the way, as many among us would rather drive toward a prescribed solution than take the time to investigate thoroughly, respect the work of the committee, understand the complementarity of the Senate bill before us, and come to a decision rooted in all that Parliament brings, commensurate with the decision we are being asked to make.

I attended every committee meeting. We learned that Canadians believe that sanctions are an important tool and that there is currently no mechanism that includes a way to impose sanctions in response to gross violations of human rights. We learned that the Government of Canada underfunds its ability to enforce sanctions and that there is room for improvement if we are to be truly effective.

Third, we have an enhanced regard for the seriousness of a Magnitsky-type list. Who is on a list? How does one get on a list? How does one get off this list? The foreign affairs committee report discusses the need for improved transparency and protection of procedural rights of individuals listed under Canada's sanctions regime.

This legislation has been inspired by a particular case in a particular country. The case of Sergei Magnitsky is but one example of systemic violations of human rights and impunity for perpetrators. All victims of gross human rights violations and abuses deserve justice.

However, the Senate and the House of Commons are deeply concerned about the Magnitsky case and the state of human rights and the rule of law in Russia today, as are highly credible human rights organizations globally. Human Rights Watch reports that:

Today, Russia is more repressive than it has ever been in the post-Soviet era. Using a wide range of tools, the state has tightened control over free expression, assembly, and speech, aiming to silence independent critics, including online.

Amnesty International reports that:

Restrictions on rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly increased...Human rights defenders faced fines or criminal prosecution because of their activities...There were reports of torture and other ill-treatment in penitentiary institutions, and prisoners’ lives were at risk because of inadequate medical care in prisons.

In the course of our deliberations on Bill S-226, we heard powerful testimony from a number of individuals close to Mr. Magnitsky, and knowledgeable about the human rights situation in Russia more broadly. As I mentioned earlier, many leaders have fought to bring international attention to Russia's human rights abuses and the tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky.

Mr. Bill Browder, CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management and the author off Red Notice, has travelled to Ottawa frequently to shed light on the circumstances surrounding Sergei Magnitsky's imprisonment and death, and to implore Canada to take action against human rights violations.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, coordinator of open Russia and deputy leader of the people's freedom party, gave us a first-hand account of the serious human rights challenges Russia faces, given the absence of political pluralism or free and fair elections, the lack of independent media, and the fact that many of the regime's opponents today are in prison.

Ms. Zhanna Nemtsova spoke to the committee. She is a Russian journalist and activist. Her father, Russian opposition politician and statesman, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated in the heart of Moscow in 2015, just hours after appealing to the public to support a march against Russia's war in Ukraine. Ms. Nemtsova's testimony for all of us was courageous and heartbreaking.

Canadian parliamentarians have not remained silent over Russia's behaviour. Boris Nemtsov, Russia's illegal annexation of Ukraine, prosecution of Crimean Tatars, and gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, Canada has repeatedly condemned Russia's human rights violations and illegal acts. The Government of Canada will not solely use sanctions to solve all human rights abuses and violations. We will pursue a comprehensive approach, from multilateral and bilateral engagement, to development assistance, to trade policy, to find the best and most effective response. My final recognition and deep appreciation on behalf of all Canadians is to the hon. Irwin Cotler, who has stuck with this, of course.

Victims of gross human rights violations and abuses deserve justice. That is why this government is proud to support Bill S-226, with some amendments, to enable Canada to take restrictive measures against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of human rights and corruption. This is not just the Senate, nor the House, nor the government, Canada is speaking with one voice. It truly does take all of us.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a true honour to speak in support of Bill S-226. I thank Senator Andreychuk for her initiative in another place and I thank the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for bringing it to the House.

The legislation will effectively add a long overdue dimension to Canada's official sanctions regime by targeting corrupt foreign officials responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. This act will be forever associated with Sergei Magnitsky, a heroic victim of Vladimir Putin's brutally corrupt regime. He was an auditor who discovered and exposed details of a massive corruption racket involving many mid and high-level Russian government officials, oligarchs, best described collectively as “kleptocrats”.

I will not revisit the tragic details of Mr. Magnitsky's cruel detention, his torture and his death or of the Putin regime's posthumous conviction of Mr. Magnitsky on outrageously confected charges of tax evasion. However, I would recommend, for those unaware of the Magnitsky story, the international best seller, Red Notice, written by his employer, the crusading champion of Magnitsky-style legislation in democracies around the world, Bill Browder, CEO and founder of Hermitage Capital Management.

Bill C-226 lays out very clearly the circumstances under which corrupt foreign individuals, not just in Russia but anywhere in the world, would be listed. Listing would apply to individuals responsible for, or complicit in, extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, and foreign government officials exposed of illegal activity.

The law would prohibit those individuals from travelling to Canada, investing in Canada or for any funds or properties of these individuals discovered in Canada to be subject to seizure. The law would also provide for penalties against Canadians found to be engaged in activities that would assist the identified corrupt foreign officials.

The Liberal government has come to accept and support the legislation very late in the day, even though in the final days of our previous Parliament, the Liberals joined all parties in unanimously supporting a motion for Magnitsky-style legislation.

The first Magnitsky legislation was passed in the United States in 2012. Other countries have followed such as the United Kingdom and Estonia. The European Parliament has called on member countries to consider imposing entry bans on listed individuals and for co-operation in freezing the assets of listed Russians.

Despite acceptance and implementation of these Magnitsky laws, the former Liberal foreign minister, Stéphane Dion, flatly opposed such legislation last year, saying, more than a little disingenuously, that it was unnecessary. Fortunately, over the past year, encouraged by the official opposition and NDP members of the foreign affairs committee, the Liberal members of the committee came to agree that in fact Canada did need Magnitsky-style sanctions legislation.

Our committee heard testimony from a broad spectrum of witnesses.

Former Liberal justice minister, Irwin Cotler, the sponsor of the House's original Magnitsky motion, said that the main objective “is to combat the persistent and pervasive culture of corruption, criminality and impunity”, and most importantly, to assure victims and defenders of human rights in such foreign countries “that Canada will not relent in our pursuit of justice for them”.

Garry Kasparov, an eloquent advocate of democratic reform in Russia and, of course, former world chess champio, put it this way in his testimony before the committee. He said, “Money is always looking for safe harbour. We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, if not more, of this money that will definitely be looking for a place to be invested.” He warned against Canada being considered by corrupt individuals as a “safe haven”.

Zhanna Nemtsova, daughter of the Russian pro-democracy crusader, Boris Nemtsov, murdered on a Moscow bridge in 2015, made clear the importance of targeted sanctions against named individuals. She said, “These are not sanctions against a country or even a government. These are sanctions against specific individuals responsible for corruption and for abusing human rights.”

Equally powerful testimony came from Russian human rights activist, Vladimir Kara-Murza who, after recovering from one sinister attempt to poison him in Russia in 2015, told our committee:

I have no doubt that this was deliberate poisoning intended to kill, and it was motivated by my political activities in the Russian democratic opposition, likely including my involvement in the global campaign in support of the Magnitsky Act.

Mr. Kara-Murza was in Canada a few weeks ago still recovering from a second poisoning attempt on his life. He encouraged Canadian parliamentarians to ensure the legislation was quickly voted into law and then, as importantly, effectively enforced.

That is an important point because, as the foreign affairs committee discovered during our hearings this past year, enforcement of Canada's existing sanction regime is pathetically dysfunctional and ineffective.

The Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act was created in 2011, to respond to events of the Arab Spring, where governments fell and state assets were vulnerable to corrupt officials suspected of moving ill-gotten wealth to locations abroad.

The Special Economic Measures Act has been used in the creation of a number of regulations that would impose restrictive measures and prohibitions on illegitimate activities, to freeze bank accounts, to block financial dealings and seize property.

Sanctions against Iran for its nuclear adventurism and sponsorship of terrorism are within SEMA, as are sanctions against Russia for the invasion and occupation of Crimea and sponsorship of the deadly rebellion in Eastern Ukraine.

However, testimony revealed that Canadian departments and agencies that were mandated to monitor and to enforce such sanctions, operated in counterproductive silos, that the complexities of sanctions enforcement exceeded the capacity of departments and agencies. Most important, we heard from the RCMP and other agencies that there was a lack of capacity to monitor and investigate compliance and that sanctions enforcement was a much lower priority than say, anti-terror responsibilities.

While we in the official opposition are pleased that the Liberals have accepted our unanimous foreign affairs committee recommendations to add this Magnitsky bill, Bill C-226 to Canada's sanction regimes, there is still much more to be done.

There are 12 other recommendations in the committee report aimed at fixing Canada's dysfunctional sanctions enforcement to increase capacity, coordination, and commitment between departments and agencies. The need for just such action was made clear last month. Where bureaucrats, security agency officials, and financial institution specialists tended to scoff that Russian kleptocrats would want to move illegal funds to Canada or to enjoy those ill-gotten gains in Canada, information provided by Mr. Browder to the RCMP last year and to Canadian journalists more recently proved exactly the opposite.

The CBC confirmed that after following up on Mr. Browder's documents, a powerful Russian crime syndicate, accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars around the world, appears to have also flowed millions through nearly 30 Canadian bank accounts, without sanctions enforcers noticing. Some of those accounts belonged to individuals. Others were shell companies created to receive incoming funds and to send laundered money abroad.

Lincoln Caylor, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in complex fraud, was quoted as saying that there was so much documentation proving that millions from a sophisticated Russian tax fraud had moved in and out of Canada, that it was groundbreaking.

We in the official opposition are pleased the government has finally decided to support Conservative legislation, which will target the world's worst human rights offenders, as well as from Russia, to Iran, China, Congo, Venezuela, South Sudan, anywhere perpetrators of gross violations of human rights can be identified. We are pleased with the combination of Bill C-226 and the foreign affairs committee's unanimous recommendations to apply Magnitsky sanctions legislation and to enforce them.

The challenge now is for the often foot-dragging Liberal government to actually act.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Members' Business

June 13th, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in strong support of Bill S-226, which is entitled “Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act”. The bill would enable targeted sanctions against foreign nationals involved in human rights abuses. It would amend two existing Canadian laws, the Special Economic Measures Act, and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In doing so, it would allow the government to declare individual human rights abusers inadmissible to the country and would freeze their assets in Canada.

Before I address the substance of the bill, I want to say a few words about where it comes from. Most of us in the House are by now familiar with the sad if not tragic story of Sergei Magnitsky, the man honoured by name in the bill. Mr. Magnitsky was a lawyer in Moscow acting on behalf of Bill Browder, an American businessman managing an investment fund there. Mr. Magnitsky uncovered a $230-million corruption scheme involving officials in Russia's interior ministry. He was arrested, jailed, and held without trial for almost a full year. He was denied medical attention as well. He was tortured and eventually killed. He died in November 2009 at the age of 37, after being beaten by prison guards. He was posthumously tried and convicted of the very fraud he had uncovered. That is Russian justice.

Since then, Bill Browder has been fighting for justice and action from the international community. My colleagues and I have had the privilege of meeting with Mr. Browder on several occasions throughout our work on the bill. The progress we have seen so far, with legislation passed in the United States and the United Kingdom, is due in no small measure to the tireless work of Mr. Browder and his colleagues. Indeed, Mr. Browder has devoted his life to this cause: justice for his former lawyer, Mr. Magnitsky. We in the House owe them a debt of gratitude for championing this cause and for presenting us now with an opportunity to establish Canada as another leader in holding human rights abusers accountable.

Of course, Mr. Browder and the others fighting for justice for Mr. Magnitsky are not alone, just as Mr. Magnitsky's case was, sadly, not unique. Testimony from activists and academics before both the House and Senate foreign affairs committees has reinforced the prevalence of such abuses around the globe and the culture of impunity that too often accompanies them, especially at the international level.

That is why it is so important that the bill be global in scope. Though it is inspired by the memory of Sergei Magnitsky and the fight for justice by those who knew him, its effects will reach far beyond Russia.

As Garry Kasparov told the House foreign affairs committee last year, “Money is always looking for safe harbour”. Bill S-226 would deny safe harbour in Canada to those who deny and destroy the rights of their own citizens, wherever such acts were committed. It would also put wind in the sails of those fighting that corruption and that injustice in their own countries.

The NDP has consistently called for targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations and for greater coordination of Canada's regime with the European Union and the United States. However, what is remarkable today is the degree of agreement across all parties and both chambers. I note that the bill echoes recommendations of both the House and Senate foreign affairs committees, as well as motions passed by both chambers in 2015. Not only that, every recognized party in the House committed to the adoption of this type of targeted sanctions legislation in the last federal election. Therefore, I hope this long overdue bill will now be passed swiftly.

As I said earlier, the bill would amend two laws, the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, to allow for targeted sanctions against individuals.

How would that work? It would apply to those responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, and other gross human rights violations, as well as those who would use their public office to expropriate public wealth, including through corrupt contracting, bribery, and the extraction of natural resources.

It is therefore broader in scope than the Freezing Assets of Foreign Corrupt Officials Act, which applies primarily to the misappropriation of public property and is triggered at the request of a foreign government.

The bill would allow for sanctions to be imposed on individuals in cases that did not meet the high and government-focused threshold currently required by the existing Special Economic Measures Act. Every sanctions regime currently authorized under that act uses the “grave breach provision” , as it is called, which refers to violations of international peace and security that are “likely to result in a serious international crisis.” In other words, the threshold is very high before action can occur. The murder of an opposition leader or the misappropriation of natural resource wealth may not spark that international crisis, but it ought to bring consequences from the international community. The bill would allow Canada, finally, to do just that.

Bill S-226 would also tighten the linkage between the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. As it stands, listing under the former does not automatically lead to a declaration of inadmissibility under the latter, the immigration legislation.

As the report of House foreign affairs committee correctly noted, the complexity and layering of Canada's sanctions regime, which includes several distinct legislative authorities, can offer flexibility but can also breed, frankly, confusion and overlap. This disconnect between imposing economic sanctions under one act while declaring inadmissibility under another has to be fixed. This bill would fix it.

As Professor Meredith Lilly noted in testimony before the committee, “there's no convincing rationale that the Canadian government would want to impose economic sanctions against an individual yet still allow that person to come to Canada”. The foreign affairs committee appears to have endorsed that conclusion in its recommendations to us.

It is also important to note that Bill S-226 would require the appropriate parliamentary committees to conduct annual reviews of the individuals and entities targeted for freezing of assets and travel bans. This is an appropriate and useful role for Parliament to play. It strikes me as particularly important in light of another recommendation in our foreign affairs committee's most recent report. That report noted a concern, based on the experience of other jurisdictions, that existing mechanisms for ministerial review of sanctions decisions may be insufficient with respect to their procedural fairness and their transparency.

In light of that, the committee recommended the enactment of an independent administrative review mechanism for individuals and entities that felt that they had been wrongly targeted.

In the context of that broader recommendation, the bill's provisions for parliamentary committees to regularly review the government's sanctions targets is important and timely.

I am proud of the spirit of collaboration that has guided the bill through both chambers and their committees. The bill responds to a call for justice by those who know first-hand the corrosive effects of corruption and violence on a political system. Indeed, one of its proponents, Boris Nemstov, a democratic leader in Russia who spoke in support of this legislation in Ottawa in 2012, was later assassinated.

The bill would make Canada a leader in holding those responsible and complicit in such crimes and human rights violations accountable, through targeted economic sanctions and travel bans. Passing the bill would send a powerful signal to those fighting for justice for Sergei Magnitsky that Canada would not be a safe haven for those responsible and complicit in such crimes to enjoy the fruits of their crimes.

Foreign AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to present two petitions. They are both from the Vietnamese community. They call upon the Government of Canada to accept the two bills that are in the House right now. We will be debating one tomorrow, my private member's bill, Bill S-226, the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, the Sergei Magnitsky law, which I am sponsoring on behalf of Senator Raynell Andreychuk. Petitioners are asking the Government of Canada and Parliament to accept the legislation as a way to sanction those individuals who are committing gross human rights violations, as well as those enriching themselves through corruption.

One petition has over 400 signatures on it, and the other has 1,262 signatures. The second one is slightly different in that the petitioners ask that we particularly target Vietnam, which is still suppressing political dissidents. Over the last number of years, over 420 political prisoners have been executed, and that has to come to an end.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 29th, 2017 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present e-petition 760, which calls upon Parliament to pass Magnitsky-style legislation. Petitioners mention Bill S-226, which is currently in the House at second reading, as well as Bill C-267, which is my version of the Magnitsky act. Both bills are known as the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, or the Sergei Magnitsky law. As we know, the legislation is getting wide support.

In particular, the 646 petitioners that signed the petition are drawing attention to the corrupt officials in the Communist Government of Vietnam and the systematic and brutal human rights violations to political dissidents. Petitioners want us, as parliamentarians, to ensure we pass this important legislation so we can hold to account corrupt foreign officials and those committing atrocities against their own citizens.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Member'S Business

May 19th, 2017 / 2:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Bob Nault Liberal Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I will not reiterate everything that has been said today, but I am very encouraged that on a Friday afternoon, we are debating something that is extremely important to Canadians and our relationship with the rest of the world.

I want to thank Senator Andreychuk and the other place for their fine work on this legislation, as well as my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for presenting this to the House.

As members may know, I am the chair of the foreign affairs committee and I am very pleased to speak on behalf of the committee and talk about, to some extent, the unanimous report from the committee. It has helped stimulate the conversation, both within the government and through Parliament as a whole. The report entitled “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanction Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond” is a very good read for those who may not have followed this initiative of members of Parliament in the past and want to catch up on the history of the work and some of the issues surrounding what we call the sanctions regime, even though it is not the formal name the United Nations and others call this process.

It is my honour to speak to Bill S-226, the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act and the Sergei Magnitsky law.

First, I would like to pay tribute to Mr. Magnitsky, who lost his life in a very brave campaign to expose corruption in Russia. The circumstances surrounding Mr. Magnitsky's death have made it abundantly clear why we should not look away when we see human rights violations and abuses, wherever they occur. Like Mr. Magnitsky, countless people across the world have suffered repeated violations of human rights. Like Mr. Magnitsky, many have been victimized by the same institutions and individuals who are entrusted with protecting them. Like Mr. Magnitsky, many have not seen the perpetrators brought to justice.

Today, as part of the human and integral rights of Canada's international engagement, we stand up for our values and we are not afraid to speak up against human rights violations and abuses in Russia or anywhere else. That is the key to this legislation. Yes, it is in honour of Mr. Magnitsky, but it is really in honour of Canada's values and beliefs about the fact that human rights violations should not go unnoticed and that there should be a way of reacting legally to this process.

In the short time that I have, I want to say a few words about the work of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on the issue of Canada's sanctions regime.

As has been mentioned, in April, the committee adopted a unanimous report entitled, “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanction Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond”. In this report, the committee made 13 recommendations to the government, aimed at strengthening Canada's sanctions regime as a critical tool of our foreign policy.

There was a very large debate in committee, with many professional witnesses who were experts in the field. As part of that study, the committee heard compelling testimony from human rights advocates, including the Hon. Irwin Cotler, to whom everyone talked, Garry Kasparov, Bill Browder, Zhanna Nemtsova, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, regarding the powerful impact that sanctions targeting human rights violators and corrupt officials could have in advancing respect for human rights and good governance.

We know the legislation is going back to committee, and we are very interested in it going back as soon as possible, only because the committee would like to conclude the work that has been going on for what seems like a decade.

These witnesses highlighted the practical use of these sanctions, for example, how imposing real costs on human rights violators could help to end the culture of impunity that too often prevailed in some countries. They also underlined the important symbolic value of sanctions, namely, how passing a Magnitsky act would demonstrate Canada's resolve to stand up to human rights violators around the world and encourage other states to follow.

This testimony inspired our committee to dedicate its report to Mr. Magnitksy and his tragic death. Bill S-226 addresses one of the most important recommendations in our report, that the Special Economic Measures Act, known as SEMA, should be amended to allow for sanctions in cases of gross human rights violations. I believe the bill offers Canada the opportunity to join the efforts of our international partners.

The bill also touches on another of our report's recommendations. It calls for greater consistency between Canada's sanctions measures and our immigration policy, which is extremely important to the implementation and process of this legislation. I welcome the amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act included in the bill that make those targeted by human rights sanctions inadmissible to Canada. I also believe, as our report recommends, that this inadmissibility should be extended to all those targeted by sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act.

I am happy to see from the minister's comments on Wednesday that the government shares our committee's concerns regarding the procedural rights of those targeted by sanctions. I agree with the minister that this bill can be improved by providing a right of appeal to those targeted. Sanctions inflict real costs on the persons they target, which is their purpose. Canada should therefore provide these individuals an opportunity to state their case as to why they do not deserve to be the target of such measures.

In addition, I would like to reiterate another of our committee's key findings regarding Canada's sanctions regime. The administration and the enforcement of sanctions measures is as important as the regulations and legislation that creates them. In order for Canadian sanctions to have their full effect, including the proposed sanctions against human rights violators, they must be fully enforced and effectively administered. We must also provide Canada's private sector with the information and services it needs to comply with sanctions measures.

Finally, let me reiterate what the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs said in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening. Human rights are a non-partisan issue. I look forward to receiving the bill in the committee so we can do the fine work that Parliament expects of us.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Member'S Business

May 19th, 2017 / 2 p.m.
See context

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I am going to start by tipping my hat both to Fridays and the Senate today.

For those who think that nothing important ever happens here on Fridays, this bill will show that in fact we do important work here on Fridays, things that might otherwise get swept aside in the daily business of the House of Commons. People know that I am sometimes a very strong critic of the Senate, but I have always said that there are some senators who work very hard and some senators who bring forward important measures, for example, Senator Andreychuk and this bill. I am, again, saluting both Fridays and, for once, the Senate.

I talked earlier with people about how, if I actually read the full title of the bill, the 42-word title, twice, I would not have any time to actually speak to the bill, so I am glad to refer to it either as Bill S-226 or the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, which is the short version of the title.

New Democrats are very proud to be supporting this bill. We have been calling for this legislation for a very long time. It gives Canada a chance to join world leaders in the defence of human rights. We are coming a bit late to the table, but better slow than not arriving.

Since I have been in the House, I think the first time we talked about this was in 2013. In fact, in the last Parliament, we unanimously approved a motion that called for adopting legislation like Bill S-226. All parties supported that. That was more than two years ago. Now I am going to praise a Liberal. It was through the hard work of the former Liberal member of Parliament Irwin Cotler, who was the Liberal human rights critic at that time. I believe he made a very persuasive case that this is what we really need to do in response to the proliferation of the use of torture around the world; that is, when sanctions against governments do not work, and they often do not, we apply these sanctions to the individuals responsible for these acts and who profit personally from these acts. That is really what we are talking about in this bill.

It is something that came about in response to a very specific case. We are calling it the Sergei Magnitsky act. Why? He was the lawyer for a man who was investigating corruption in Russia, a Russian lawyer who ended up imprisoned and tortured for nearly a year, who was denied medical treatment, and eventually died in prison in 2009. Why was he in prison? He was in prison because he was the lawyer for a man who had uncovered massive fraud in Russia. This attempt to fight corruption resulted in his imprisonment.

Mr. Cotler had served as the chair of a group called Justice for Sergei Magnitsky, an interparliamentary group which had 21 parliamentarians from 13 countries. Each of them committed to try to get their countries to take some effective action. So far, I believe we would be only the third country, if we do adopt this bill, to take the action that those 21 parliamentarians were working toward.

The United States did in fact pass a narrow version of the Magnitsky act in 2012, which provided financial and travel sanctions specifically on those Russians involved in the Magnitsky case. This was the first version of the act. However, that U.S. legislation was broadened in 2016 to apply to any foreign nationals involved in gross human rights abuses and profiting from those abuses.

The 2015 motion that we passed in this House called for that broader version of legislation, and that is what we see in Bill S-226 today. However, we are still calling it the Magnitsky act to honour Sergei Magnitsky and the sacrifice he made in the fight against corruption and human rights abuses in Russia.

On April 6, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development issued a unanimous report, which was entitled, “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanctions Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond”. It had the specific recommendations, again, that are included in Bill S-226, to amend the Special Economic Measures Act to add situations where sanctions can be enacted to include individuals involved in cases of gross violations of human rights.

What does that mean in practical terms? It means that Canada would be able to freeze and perhaps seize assets of those corrupt foreign officials who are bringing the benefits of that corruption and the benefits of those human rights violations here to Canada by stashing assets here or by sending members of their family to live here on what one might call the avails of crime, the avails of human rights violations. They seek out safe countries like Canada as places to take advantage of the gains they have made through human rights violations.

It would also allow us to attack money laundering here in Canada and to deny entrance to Canada of those individuals who have been involved in gross human rights violations.

This is important for Russia, because what we all recognize now is that Russia is well on its way to becoming the greatest kleptocracy in modern history. Those around President Putin have enriched themselves to unbelievable levels through the corruption in the Russian system and through violating the rights of any who dare to oppose the system and oppose that corruption.

Those listening might ask what this has to do with Canada. We can go back to the original investigations by Bill Browder, the person who did the investigations for which Sergei Magnitsky has paid the price. He found more than $20 million being laundered by Russian banks in Canada.

We can point to others close to Putin, such as Oleg Deripaska, one of the closest associates of Putin. He formerly owned a controlling interest in Magna International, a car parts firm here in Canada, and recently tried to purchase a controlling interest in a major Quebec aluminum smelter. We could look at another Putin-friendly oligarch, Roman Abramovich, whose steel company, Evraz, owns several subsidiary steel companies here in Canada. We could look to companies like Uranium One, one of Canada's largest uranium mining firms, which is owned by Russian interests associated with Putin.

This is a real thing. It is not just a theory that they are trying to use Canada as a way of benefiting from their corruption and their human rights violations. This is taking place now, so it is important for us to advance this legislation, even if, as I said, we are a bit late to the table.

It is not just the lawyer Magnitsky who has suffered human rights violations. We could talk about others. Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov appeared here before the foreign affairs committee in 2012, asking us to adopt legislation like this. He did this just a little over two years before he was murdered in the streets of Russia.

We could talk about other Russian opposition leaders who have testified here, such as opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza. I forget the year he appeared here, but I think it was also in 2012, a bit after Mr. Nemtsov. He was mysteriously poisoned in 2015. While one could accept maybe one mysterious poisoning, a year later he was poisoned again. He survived two attempts on his life through poisoning after speaking here at this institution in favour of legislation like this. The importance of our proceeding is easy to see.

There are other areas in which we could use legislation like this. I have one that I would like to talk about briefly, and that is Chechnya. The President of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been in office since the assassination of his father under various titles because he was too young to assume the presidency at the beginning. He has been in power in Chechnya since 2006. Earlier this year he began a campaign against gay men in Chechnya. Human rights organizations have now documented that this campaign has resulted in the arrests of over 200 gay men in Chechnya, with three confirmed deaths as a result. As I have said before in the House, probably the most pernicious aspect is that the leader of Chechnya has called on families in Chechnya to murder the gay members of their families to protect their honour.

We would be able to use legislation like this to place sanctions on him and those around him so they could not freely travel around the world, so they could not come to Canada, so he could not invest the profits he has made out of the corruption in Chechnya here in Canada.

Right now there are more than 40 Chechen gay men in hiding. They are seeking emergency visas to get out of Russia, which is also not friendly to gay men, and the United States has just refused those visas.

Canada could act very urgently in this case, but once we pass this legislation, we will have an important tool to act against human rights violators like this one.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Member'S Business

May 19th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
See context

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to rise today to speak to Bill S-226, Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, or the Sergei Magnitsky Law.

I want to thank Senator Andreychuk for her work on this file. Over the course of its work, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development heard witnesses on a wide range of issues related to Canadian sanctions, including the circumstances surrounding the detention and death of Mr. Magnitsky. The report presented to the House in April is informing our current review of policies and programs, including those related to our Canadian sanctions regime and promoting our human rights priorities.

As we look at the merits of Bill S-226, we must spare a thought for its namesake, Sergei Magnitsky. Mr. Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer and accountant who fought against the rampant fraud and corruption within the Russian government. Held without trial in 2008, he was denied medical treatment and tortured. He died in prison in 2009. After his death, the Russian authorities found him guilty of the tax fraud he himself had uncovered.

As an ardent defender of human rights around the world, Canada has firmly and repeatedly spoken out against human right violations and abuses in Russia, including in the Magnitski case. We will continue to insist that those involved be held accountable for their actions.

The government supports Bill S-226 because it is committed to doing more to promote and protect human rights and to fight corruption on a global scale. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to all of these issues. That is why Canada's comprehensive approach includes a broad range of tools and involves multilateral and bilateral action.

If Bill S-226 passes, it will create a legal mechanism that will allow Canada to impose sanctions for gross violations of human rights and acts of significant corruption in foreign states. The bill proposes to amend and reshape our legislative tools for imposing sanctions in order to improve the wide range of instruments Canada has for determining the most effective measures to be taken in such cases.

The United Nations Act and the Special Economic Measures Act are the main laws under which Canada imposes sanctions on other countries. These laws give the Government of Canada the legal authority to impose measures and bans in order to limit activities that would otherwise be legitimate. Right now, 18 countries are subject to sanctions under these two laws. The individuals and entities targeted by these sanctions are generally determined in coordination with like-minded countries.

Canada has the authority to impose other types of restrictions under other laws. For example, restrictions can be imposed on travel under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and on trade under the Export and Import Permits Act, and criminal penalties can be imposed on terrorist entities under the Criminal Code.

Canada is currently able to freeze the assets of specific individuals and entities, among other sanctions measures, where one of two situations exists under the Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA. The first is when Canada is called upon to implement a decision or recommendation of an international organization or association of states of which it is a member. The other is where the Governor in Council determines that a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred that has resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis.

Canada typically imposes sanctions under SEMA to complement existing UN-mandated sanctions, or when the UN Security Council is unable to reach a consensus, such as in the case of sanctions against Russia for its violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. While Canada has previously used SEMA to address human rights situations rising to the threshold of grave breaches of international peace and international crises, the current legislation has limitations. Canada also works closely with its international partners through multilateral anti-corruption treaties, and informs to combat corruption and money laundering.

The government's framework is based on our international legal obligations as set out in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the OECD anti-bribery convention, and other multilateral treaties to which Canada is a party.

The government also fights corruption through criminal provisions in Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act and the Criminal Code. Additionally, the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act allows Canada to freeze assets of foreign government officials or politicians when requested by a country in turmoil. This complements the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

It is also worth noting the existence of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, which assists law enforcement and national security agencies in combatting money laundering, terrorist financing, and threats to the security of Canada.

Bill S-226 will complement the reach of current legislation by creating an additional mechanism that Canada could use to respond to gross human rights violations and abuses or significant corruption in a foreign state. It will also modify the inadmissibility framework of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to create a legal mechanism for those sanctioned under SEMA, or the Sergei Magnitsky law, to be refused entry into Canada.

This legislation is similar to what has been enacted by some of our international partners. It follows on the steps taken by the U.S. to expand the reach of the 2012 Magnitsky act into a broader approach in the recently passed global Magnitsky act. This new act enables the U.S. to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of those individuals thought to have been involved in human rights violations or acts of corruption. Last April, the U.K. Parliament passed the Criminal Finances Act, which expands the powers of the government and courts to freeze the assets of human rights violators.

The government applauds the hard work of Senator Andreychuk in raising important questions on how best to respond to acts of foreign corruption, and human rights violations and abuses.

We will work with parliamentarians to seek amendments that are necessary to ensure that Bill S-226 will be an effective addition to our foreign policy tool kit.

Let me reiterate that our government is a strong defender of human rights in Canada and around the world. We know that the issue of human rights sanctions and the Sergei Magnitsky case have drawn strong interest, and rightly so. As we said, 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 Magnitsky. Bill S-226, currently before the House of Commons, which we are debating today, aims to address this gap. Our government is pleased to announce its support for this important legislation.

Let me also say that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development did tremendous work in its review of SEMA. We applaud the work that was led by the chair of that committee, the hon. member for Kenora, as well as the unanimous recommendations that provide us with some grounding with which to enter this debate.

It is a pleasure to rise today. I look forward to continued debate and the strengthening of this legislation.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials ActPrivate Member'S Business

May 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

moved that 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, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honour to rise today, on my birthday, to bring forward a private member's bill from the Senate, from my colleague, friend, and mentor, Senator Raynell Andreychuk. The short title of the bill is justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, Sergei Magnitsky law.

In the last Parliament, before we rose and had the election in 2015, we unanimously passed a motion that was brought forward by our colleague who has since retired, Irwin Cotler. It called on the House to set up a Sergei Magnitsky style of law that would hold corrupt foreign officials and human rights abusers to account for their actions. It would prevent Canada from being used as a safe haven from where corrupt officials could launder their money, buy assets, and hide their families, essentially bringing them here to go to school, to live, and call Canada home, while back home taking advantage of their citizens and pillaging their economies.

The story of Sergei Magnitsky goes back to an individual by the name of Bill Browder. Bill Browder owned a corporation called Hermitage Capital Management. It was one of the first western funds to set up in Moscow and do business in Russia after the fall of the wall. Bill Browder, who was an American, now lives in the United Kingdom. He was able to go to Russia to do business and create a lot of assets and wealth for his clients.

After Vladimir Putin came to power, there was a crackdown on a lot of the western investors. Hermitage Capital Management, and in particular Bill Browder, was targeted for a fraudulent trumped-up charge of tax evasion. He had to flee the country. He was put on red notice on Interpol by Russia. Luckily, it was never acted upon by the international community, because they saw it as nothing more than a way to intimidate Mr. Browder. He hired a lawyer by the name of Sergei Magnitsky.

Sergei Magnitsky had risen up as a lawyer and was well recognized for his continued work on anti-corruption. He was able to uncover the biggest tax fraud in Russian history at that time. He was able to prove that corrupt government officials in Moscow were using this trumped-up charge of tax evasion against Bill Browder to pocket money themselves. It was $230 million that they were able to put into their own pockets. Sergei exposed that. He was arrested in 2008, held on trumped-up charges, tortured, beaten, and left to die on November 16, 2009, at the age of only 37. He is survived by his mother Nataliya, his wife Natasha, and his two young sons.

While in prison for 358 days, Sergei Magnitsky filed 450 criminal complaints against his abusers, and not one of those individuals was ever brought to justice. In the very bizarre world that occurs in Russia today, the Russian state posthumously tried and convicted Sergei in a Russian court on July 11, 2013. That is unheard of and unbelievable.

We have to make it clear that Sergei was fighting corruption in Russia and exposing a huge tax fraud being committed by police, judges, and tax collectors in the Russian state.

The kleptocracy around the Kremlin has crept into all departments across Russia. Bill Browder has written a book on this. He has been active on human rights around the world in trying to get Sergei Magnitsky-style legislation passed. The first country to come onside with that was the United States. The United Kingdom just got it done last month. The European Union's Parliament passed Sergei Magnitsky legislation last year. It is great that today we are debating Bill S-226 by Senator Raynell Andreychuk.

We need to first acknowledge the fact that the other night, while we were in committee of the whole, the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated that the government will be supporting this legislation, with amendments. I thank her very much for putting her support behind this bill. It is a good piece of legislation. I understand that the government wants to improve upon it, bring in some fairness, as she explained it to me, and make a few technical changes. I, as the sponsor of the bill in the House, and Senator Andreychuk, as the sponsor of this bill in the Senate, will look at those changes. The best place for amendments to be considered is at the foreign affairs committee.

This work has been done for a long time. We have been talking about this in this place since 2013. There have been motions passed supporting Magnitsky-style legislation. Hearings were held at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which heard from expert witnesses from around the world about stronger sanctioning and bans for those committing human rights abuses and illegal, corrupt activities in governments in other countries. When we think about all of the work that has already taken place, there is no reason we cannot fast-track this legislation. I encourage the government to put forward those amendments as quickly as it can so that the committee can get its work done.

The committee has already produced a great report and I congratulate the committee on that report. I know all members on that committee, under the tutelage of the chair, were able to put together 13 strong recommendations on how to properly implement and resource this type of legislation. I understand and appreciate that we need to especially look at recommendation 8 on providing an appeal mechanism for those placed on the sanctions list by the Government of Canada.

If we recall, in its first form, this bill was brought forward by our friend and former colleague Irwin Cotler. I tabled similar legislation in this Parliament, Bill C-267, and felt I had improved upon it, because I provided a role for parliamentarians to play in both the Senate and the House, allowing committees to look at that sanction list every year to see if people should be added or removed based upon their actions and how situations evolve. Senator Andreychuk, in her version, took it even one step further. She has really opened it up to make sure that it has a strong global focus and concentrates on going after those who are committing human rights violations around the world.

The penultimate paragraph in her preamble sums it up better. It states, “And whereas all violators of internationally recognized human rights should be treated and sanctioned equally throughout the world”. I know there are some who criticize the bill, saying this legislation is just part of Russophobia. We heard from the Russian embassy yesterday, which said that Canada will face push-back if we pass Bill S-226, but we have to remember that this is not just about the corruption in Russia. This has application to other places around the world.

The bill is supported strongly by a lot of different diasporas in Canada. People keep saying that it is just another Ukrainian issue that we are rallying around. However, I have met with the Vietnamese community. It wants human rights abusers in the Communist government of Vietnam held to account for what it has done to its citizens.

I have heard from the Russian community. It wants democracy and human rights protected in Russia.

I have been meeting with organizations like Falun Gong. They want to see those individuals in China who have used the political system to arrest Falun Gong practitioners and then harvest organs and tissues from them after they have had them executed. It has turned into a cash cow for those individuals who are involved in that atrocity.

We need to ensure that these sanctions are enforceable. We need to ensure that the organizations in Canada have the ability to go out there and stop these individuals from using Canada to launder money and hide their families. That includes resources for the RCMP, the CBSA, and CSIS. Our financial institutions are there.

When we talk about the situation today, some of the human rights situations and some of the corrupt officials, we need look no further than the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader in Russian. He was shot down on the bridge right in front of the Kremlin. His deputy, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been here and has met with the foreign affairs committee, in both the House and the Senate, runs the organization, the Open Russia Movement. He has now survived two assassination attempts on his life.

When he was here last year, what he said to the Globe and Mail in March summed it up best on what was happening in Russia today. He said that for all the similarities between the Soviet era and present day Russia, there was one major difference. While members of the Soviet Politburo were silencing dissent and persecuting opponents, they did not store their money, educate their children, or buy real estate in the west. Many of the current officials and Kremlin-connected oligarchs do. We we need to sanction those individuals.

The way it works today, and a good example is what is happening in the Ukraine, is that Canada, as a member of NATO, a member of the United Nations, a member of the OSCE, acts upon resolutions that are passed at those different organizations. Then we can implement the Special Economic Measures Act and sanction individuals who are tied to aggression, corruption and human rights abuses. They are targeted through those types of resolutions. Then we can also use the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to go after the travel bans that we need to implement to ensure those individuals and their families do not come to Canada and travel throughout the west.

What we are trying to do with Bill S-226, and something all parties support, is providing the tools to the government. We love to talk the talk on human rights and about cutting down on corruption. This bill would allow us a to walk that talk. We can, independently as a country, now sanction and ban those corrupt foreign officials who are enriching themselves through illicit means, through embellishing stories and embezzling money from the governments within which they operate, and committing atrocities, abuses and aggression in places around the world, whether it is in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or in China.

I ask that we move this in an expedited manner so we can get it to committee, where it can do the good work that it has done already on making the amendments the government has requested, and we can get it back to this place as quickly as possible and passed.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 18th, 2017 / 3 p.m.
See context

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do want to start by saying I was very pleased last night with our discussion of Bill S-226 and I was pleased to announce that the government will be supporting this bill.

I would like to recognize the work of the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman on this bill, as well as my colleague the member for Etobicoke Centre and the great Irwin Cotler. This is a real example of the House working together in across-party support for Canada working on human rights. I also want to support the work of the committee. I am reviewing the other recommendations very carefully. It is a unanimous report, and it is work very well done.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 18th, 2017 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, evidently our foreign minister and her predecessor hold opposing philosophies. Stéphane Dion was guided by a philosophy of responsible convictions.

Dion rejected Magnitsky-style legislation that would make corrupt foreign officials accountable because he was afraid of antagonizing Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday, the foreign minister announced her support for Bill S-226, the Sergei Magnitsky law.

With her support now, would the minister confirm that Mr. Dion's philosophy of responsible convictions and Russian appeasement are no longer guiding Canada's foreign policy?

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development—Main Estimates, 2016-17Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2017 / 11:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I am very aware of the research which the member opposite refers to. I would also like to commend Canadian journalists. They have done a really good job reporting on this. They have captured the attention of a lot of Canadians and have made us aware in ways that many Canadians may not have been previously that our country also has been used as a haven for ill-gotten gains of corrupt foreign officials. That is something which no Canadian can support, and that is the reason Bill S-226 will have not only, I hope, unanimous support in this House, but also support across the country.

In terms of providing the resources to be sure that once we get the legislation in place we are able to act on it, I and the government have every intention of doing so.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development—Main Estimates, 2016-17Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2017 / 11:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I would like to thank the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for his hard work in general, but also very specifically on Bill S-226. The member has been working on this for a long time. This is really a special moment when we can come together in support.

I want to join him also in acknowledging the hard work of our colleague Senator Raynell Andreychuk. This is an example of not only cross-party collaboration, but also an example of the Senate and the House working together.

I want to thank the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for joining me in celebrating the pioneering work of our former colleague Irwin Cotler, who has really been a leading voice on this. I am glad to be able to recognize him for that.

I also want to underscore that I was particularly glad to hear the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie also acknowledge in her remarks that she supported Bill S-226. To me, that augurs well for us getting the support of the whole House.

The member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman is absolutely right. I discussed with him just today the fact that there were some amendments, largely of a technical nature, that we would like to discuss with him. The cross-party support that was demonstrated in the committee's report and in our discussions today can really be carried through with some of those amendments.

We would like to discuss some technical amendments to make this work better. For example, as we know from problems we have had with no-fly lists, it is important that when someone is put on a list, there be some right of appeal. Believe it or not, government officials, even MPs, can get things wrong sometimes. I know that is astonishing. It is important to have a process that allows people to appeal.

There are some other technical amendments, but I do not have time to mention them right now. I would be happy to do so later.