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

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

May 17th, 2017 / 8:35 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Liberal

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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Liberal

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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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 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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Liberal

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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Conservative

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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Conservative

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.