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


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


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.


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.


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 Member'S Business

May 19th, 2017 / 2 p.m.
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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.
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Fredericton New Brunswick


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.
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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.
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University—Rosedale Ontario


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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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

May 17th, 2017 / 8:35 p.m.
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Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, my answer to the previous question may not have been clear. I want to be very clear that the issue of the behaviour of our mining companies abroad is one I take very seriously as Minister of International Affairs. I referred to my past role as minister of international trade, simply because when I held that portfolio, I was also deeply engaged in the issue.

I want to assure the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie that this is an issue we take very seriously. My colleagues in other portfolios in the department take human rights very seriously as part of their work.

Going back to the very first point, I was very glad to hear the member for Laurier—Sainte Marie speak of her support for Bill S-226. It is good that we now have support from all three parties in the House. I am also aware of the other elements of the committee's report. I am looking at those—

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

May 17th, 2017 / 8:15 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario


Chrystia Freeland LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Chair, I am thankful for the opportunity to discuss my mandate commitment, our government, and I hope to some extent our country's priorities in the world, and Global Affairs main estimates for 2017-18. I will be using my time to deliver some remarks and then take some questions.

The member for Thornhill spoke about the importance of parliamentary committees. I certainly I believe in that. I have already spoken about the great work done by the committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, As I bear continued responsibility for the Canada-U.S. economic relationship, I also want to acknowledge the great work being done by the the committee on international trade. Its former chair is sitting across from me. We all benefit from having such great, experienced parliamentarians and committed Canadians.

First of all, I want to thank the Standing Committee of International Trade and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for their excellent work. Our government is a champion of human rights. In Canada and around the world, imposing sanctions for human rights violations is a hot topic, and rightly so.

Right now, however, no Canadian legislation exists to authorize sanctions specifically for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for corruption. Bill S-226, introduced by my friend, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, and sponsored in the House by the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, seeks to fix this problem.

This bill expands on the work of an exemplary Canadian, Irwin Cotler, whose 2015 motion called for sanctions to be imposed on violators of human rights. That motion received unanimous support in the House. The tireless efforts of the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre on this issue also need to be recognized.

Today our government is proud to announce that we support this important legislation. The question of how to effectively apply sanctions for human rights abuses and for foreign corruption was among the issues examined by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Our government is delighted to have the unanimous support of the committee members for a new tool that will enable us to impose sanctions for these violations and this corruption.

As hon. members are certainly aware, similar legislation received royal assent last month in the United Kingdom. The United States has also enacted similar legislation. This approach has also been debated in the EU Parliament. Human rights are a non-partisan issue, and I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the opposition on this important initiative.

Our government is a strong defender of human rights. In Canada and around the world, the issue of human rights sanctions, and in particular the case of Sergei Magnitsky, have drawn strong interest, and rightly so. However, there is no current 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.

Bill S-226, introduced by my good friend, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, and sponsored in the chamber by the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, aims to address this gap. The bill builds on the work of a great Canadian, Irwin Cotler, whose 2015 motion calling for sanctions on human rights violators received the unanimous support of the House. I was glad to be sitting as a member. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the tireless efforts of my friend, the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre, on this issue. Today, our government is pleased to announce our support for this important legislation.

The question of how to effectively apply sanctions for human rights abuses and foreign corruption was among the issues examined by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Our government was very encouraged to see unanimous support from committee members, many of whom are here this evening, for a new instrument to impose sanctions on human rights violations or corruption. Our government 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.

As hon. members are surely aware, last month comparable legislation received royal assent in the United Kingdom. The United States enacted a similar law in 2012, and this approach has been debated in the EU Parliament. I truly believe this is the direction the world is going, and it will send a strong message to the world that we are able to work in a non-partisan fashion together to advance this important legislation. We hope it will receive unanimous support when it comes to a vote in the House.

I will certainly work hard for that, and I really want to thank members on both sides of the House for their hard work. We know this has not been an easy issue to support, and I am sure there will be some objections, but we as Canadian members of Parliament can be united. Together, we will advance Canada's resolute defence of human rights at home and abroad, and advance our national values.

Let me now turn to my mandate: restoring Canada's constructive leadership in the world, promoting our values and interests, and ensuring Canada makes a meaningful contribution to global peace and prosperity. Through our progressive international agenda, we are strengthening our credibility and influence, contributing to a more just and inclusive world, helping to make the world safer and more secure, and contributing to a more prosperous world for Canadians and everyone else. There is more work to do.

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. I was very pleased to announce earlier today that Canada will seek to co-chair the Equal Rights Coalition, a group of 33 governments committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTQ2 people around the world. One of the coalition's recent priorities is addressing the deplorable human rights violations against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. Canada has led on this issue since we spoke out publicly on April 15, and I want to assure hon. members that our government continues to be very deeply engaged in this specific issue, and I am personally very involved.

Abroad, we have taken a feminist approach to our foreign policy and international assistance, providing significant support for sexual and reproductive health rights, including abortion, which I know my beloved colleague will discuss this evening at greater length. Our leadership on key international issues has also been evident on the environment. Together with my colleagues, Canada has been implementing significant contributions to the Paris agreement, and I want to note that at the recent meeting of the Arctic Council, which I attended, I personally was glad to see that the Paris agreement was mentioned in that shared declaration. That was important, as was climate change.

In the realm of international security, our government is implementing a strategy for security, stabilization, and humanitarian development assistance for Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Of the $1.6 billion allocated in budget 2016, $1.1 billion is dedicated to humanitarian assistance and development programming. Again, we will hear more from my colleague about that later tonight. Through our strategy, we are making meaningful contributions to the region. Another significant contribution is our welcome of more than 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, something that all Canadians can be proud of, and is really a distinctive contribution of Canada to regional security, Europe's security, and investment in the future of our great country, to which immigrants have contributed so much.

In eastern Europe, we have recently extended Operation Unifier in Ukraine. Canadian women and men in uniform are leading a multinational NATO battle group in Latvia. Canada values NATO's role as a critical contributor to international peace and security, and we view NATO as the cornerstone of North Atlantic security and defence policy.

One of our closest NATO allies is, of course, the United States. As all Canadians would expect, our government has made it a priority to build a relationship with the new U.S. administration. Since the election, we have been focused on engaging with our counterparts on how to collaboratively grow our economies and support our middle classes.

May 4th, 2017 / 8:50 a.m.
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The Chair Liberal Filomena Tassi

I'm very happy to call this meeting to order. I wish everybody a good morning on this glorious day.

Welcome to the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

The April 10 list has been replenished. We have 15 items on that list. What we'd also like to do today is add the three Senate public bills. One of them we've had previous notice of, which is Bill S-226, but two were introduced yesterday. They are Bill S-231 and Bill S-233, which we would like to add if we have consensus.

Do we have consensus to add those two Senate bills in the interests of time and efficiency?

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

April 13th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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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 first time.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to table my colleague Senator Raynell Andreychuk's bill, Bill S-226, the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act, the Sergei Magnitsky law, here in the House.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Moscow lawyer who had uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history. He was arrested, detained without trial, tortured, and murdered while he was in prison. He died on November 16, 2009. It is in his memory that this legislation is being brought forward.

In May 2016, I tabled my own piece of legislation, Bill C-267, which was drafted alongside Bill S-226. By working together, we have been able to expedite the legislative process.

I believe the Liberal government must do more than talk a game when it comes to human rights. It must take concrete action. Bill S-226 would make the amendments, as has been mentioned, by imposing more sanctions on foreign kleptocrats and on violators of human rights. As well, it would empower Parliament, in both the Senate and the House through their foreign affairs committees, by giving them the power to review and report on how the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are working, and review the list to make recommendations on who should be sanctioned.

Corrupt foreign officials who continually abuse human rights and disregard international law have been using Canada as a safe haven. This must stop. Already the United States, Estonia, the European Parliament, and the U.K. have adopted Magnitsky-style legislation on a global basis. We have to work in concert with our allies to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to sanction individuals who are responsible or complicit in gross violations of international human rights or abusing their positions of authority.

This legislation has already been studied in the Senate and by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, both of which recommend its implementation. The Liberals' policy of normalization and the appeasement of Russia, Iran, and others is not working and must stop. It is time for the government to do the right thing, support this legislation, and sanction corrupt foreign officials.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Message from the SenateOral Questions

April 12th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bills, to which the concurrence of the House is desired: 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, Bill S-231, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources), and Bill S-233, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (presentation and reporting requirements).

It being 4:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, April 3, 2017, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m,. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 4:15 p.m.)

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

April 12th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised to implement Magnitsky-style legislation so Canada could quickly sanction corrupt foreign officials, but he has done absolutely nothing.

Last week the Assad regime perpetrated another war crime. Both Russia and Iran support the Syrian regime. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has spent his time in office normalizing relationships with Russia, dropping sanctions against Iran, and stopping bombing in Syria by our CF-18s.

Last night the Senate passed Bill S-226, the Sergei Magnitsky bill. Will the Prime Minister quit cosying up to dictators and despots and support this bill?

Operation UNIFIERGovernment Orders

March 20th, 2017 / 8:40 p.m.
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James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Chair, it is indeed an honour to speak about Operation Unifier. I want to thank the minister for her comments, and I want to thank the Liberal government for extending the Conservative Party's original Operation Unifier. It is the same in size and scope, and has the same ideal, which is to provide the training that so many military in Ukraine need.

We have to remember that when this battle broke out, when Russia invaded and illegally occupied and illegally annexed Crimea, Ukraine's military had been somewhat decimated under the leadership of President Yanukovych. Yanukovych had taken away their ability to train and their ability to fight. He had sold the Ukraine military equipment and machine behind it.

To hear the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands talk about a coup, she is completely discrediting the students, the citizens of Kiev, the citizens of Lviv, the citizens right across Ukraine who took to the streets to protest against the corrupt government of Viktor Yanukovych and everything that he stood for.

He turned his back, after negotiating a comprehensive economic free trade agreement and co-operation agreement with Europe that actually was the catalyst for the people of Ukraine, especially the youth, tired of being lied to by Viktor Yanukovych and his regime. He was there, propped up by Vladimir Putin, propped up by illegal money coming in from the Russian mafia, funnelled through Donbass, especially through Donetsk. That individual robbed the treasury of the people of Ukraine. He took all of the gold reserves, all of the cash reserves, and fled to Rostov-on-Don in Russia.

That was not a coup. It was not orchestrated by anyone in the west. This was a citizens' revolution of dignity on the Euromaidan that took place in Kiev and across Ukraine. We must never, ever forget that. For anyone to come in here with fake news from RT television, Russia Today television, I can say upsets me, as members can tell, to no extent of my better judgment.

I have to say that as Conservatives, although we are happy that the government has extended Operation Unifier, we did present the government a couple of weeks ago with our own Ukrainian defence and aid package, because there is so much to be done. There is so much that Ukraine has asked for. There is so much that the Ukrainian community has called upon the Government of Canada to continue to do. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress sent out a great briefing to all members of Parliament for tonight's debate talking about what needs to happen, what the background is for those members who are not familiar with everything that has taken place in Ukraine, of the interference that is coming from Vladimir Putin and the regime in the Kremlin.

I have to share my sentiments with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I know she is sincere. She is as passionate as I am about Ukraine and everything that Ukraine stands for. As prairie farm kids of Ukrainian heritage, she and I share that ideal and connection to the homeland of our baba and gido and want to make sure that our families' roots of the old country, as we always called it out in the Prairies, are never forgotten, and that we stand with the people of Ukraine.

As is being demonstrated tonight in the debate here, we are in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We stand with them in their support of democracy. We stand with them as they want to have reform of their judicial system, of their economy. As the minister alluded to, the negotiation of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement started under the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper and was finalized by the minister herself. I thank her for carrying the ball over the goal line and making sure that this deal happened to ensure that Ukraine has that opportunity for economic prosperity. That will be the telling tale at the end of the day, that Ukraine has succeeded.

On top of expanding and continuing Operation Unifier, I have to thank the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Even though the government just announced a week and a half ago that it was extending the mission for another two years, fresh troops, fresh trainers out of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry stationed in Edmonton were deployed more than three weeks ago. They are on the ground doing the training. They have taken over from the troops that are returning to Canada. I thank all members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are over there helping Ukraine.

As a former parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence I had the opportunity to accompany our delivery of non-kinetic defensive equipment for the military of Ukraine. I am talking 70,000 pairs of boots, winter coats, jackets, night vision goggles, and also the supply of RADARSAT imagery which is so important. Unfortunately, last year the government cancelled that program. I still call upon the Liberals to reinstate RADARSAT 2 imagery. It was saving lives. When he visited here two years ago, President Poroshenko said in the House that RADARSAT 2 imagery was saving lives. We shared that data so Ukraine knew what the Russian-backed rebels were doing in Donbass. When it could see the movement of troops and heavy artillery across the Russian border into Ukraine, Ukraine's troops were able to reposition themselves accordingly. Without those radar images from RADARSAT 2, we are putting those troops in danger.

As we have witnessed since the end of 2016, the Minsk agreements are not at all being enforced. They are not being respected by Russia. They are definitely not being respected by the Russian-backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk, and Ukraine is paying the price.

It is contingent upon us, especially the Government of Canada, to resupply Ukraine's military with RADARSAT images so it knows what the Russians are up to and what equipment they are providing and it does not just rely on intel.

We called on the government to add Ukraine to the automatic firearms country control list so that officials could come to Canada and buy Canadian-made weapons. They have to be able to defend themselves. If we could supply them with sniper rifles, Javelin missiles, anti-tank missiles, if we could provide them with the equipment to take out any short-range mortar attacks and defend their sovereignty, defend their troops, defend civilians in Ukraine, they would be better off. Canada would be better off and all of NATO would be better off if Ukraine was better able to defend itself. If the Ukrainian military had the equipment it needs to stop the advancement of Russia and its imperialistic advancement into eastern Ukraine, and who knows how far it is willing to go, Ukraine would be able to slow down the progress and prevent us some point down the line from having to put our troops in harm's way to stop this war in Ukraine. We definitely do not want to see it spread to other NATO members.

I do appreciate that Canadian troops are going to Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance, that our CF-18s are going to be redeployed in NATO, as the Conservative government did, to do Baltic air policing and air policing in Romania, Iceland, and other countries. I also appreciate that our frigate from the Royal Canadian Navy is always in the Mediterranean, in the Black Sea and in the Baltic Sea.

In the past, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has called for Magnitsky-style legislation. I tabled a bill in the House. Our colleague Conservative senator Raynell Andreychuk has Bill S-226 in the Senate, which is at third reading stage. I call upon the government to support that bill when it comes to the House of Commons so that we can have Magnitsky-style legislation to put in place the proper sanctions for corrupt foreign officials and stop the abuse that is happening at the hands of the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia and other countries around the world.

I just wish the minister would put in place the sanctions that she herself had called for. When she was in the opposition as a member of the third party, she used to call repeatedly for the government to sanction Igor Sechin and Vladimir Yakunin and still they are not sanctioned. The minister will have to explain that one herself.

As a Conservative government, we did provide a pile of support. The minister talked about $700 million of support for Ukraine. Some $600 million of that was provided by the Conservative government.

Again, we stand united for Ukraine in this House of Commons, and I just have to say, Slava Ukraini.

November 21st, 2016 / 5 p.m.
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Director General, International Economic Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Marc-Yves Bertin

Let me field this one, perhaps.

We're well aware, as you are, that there is legislation moving through Parliament that mirrors a lot of the attributes of the U.S. Magnitsky act. The government has yet to pronounce itself publicly on statutes such as those. I'm thinking in particular of Bill S-226, where the government continues to consider its position. It would be perhaps prejudicial for us to comment and speculate in a context of this nature.