Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to this bill today. Before I do that, I want to address some of the observations I have had from the debate so far today.
The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan took the floor, introduced the subject, talked a little about it and then said he wanted to move that we vote on it. If a minister had brought forward a bill, even a bill that he or she knew the House would definitely support, can members imagine the outrage that would have come from the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, in particular? It has happened on a number of occasions.
That is what this is about. This is about letting all members have the opportunity to speak to these very important pieces of legislation.
To my colleague from the Bloc, I cannot remember his riding, but I am pretty sure that when he was speaking, his famous father was actually in the background of his shot at one point, which I thought was pretty cool by the way. I would say the same thing to him. The Bloc had an opportunity to speak to this. The member had an opportunity to speak to this. Then he tried to move the same motion again.
I am more concerned about why opposition parties seem not to want to allow Liberal government members to speak to this. The member for Courtenay—Alberni, with all due respect, spoke for almost a full 10 minutes, and then shamed other people for wanting to speak. His party has 24 seats in the House, and he occupied a full 10 minutes of the 60 minutes of debate.
I find it very troubling when, especially on the motion that we are talking about, someone could come forward and say, “Here are all my thoughts. Now let us vote.” To the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, the manner in which he clearly went about doing this and getting this legislation to be voted on very quickly, perhaps the opposition could have picked somebody to run that exercise who could have perhaps shown more diligence or respect for the process? They could work with parties, talk to the parties beforehand and say, “This is what we want to do. Would you consider asking your members to limit how much they speak so we could do this? Is that a possibility? If not, are there other concessions we could make?”
We could have had a discussion and tried to negotiate. I had my speech ready to go here when I found out I might not have the opportunity to speak to this. I just think that if the opposition was genuine in really wanting this to pass, and we have seen it before, it would have used resources differently. It is almost as though they wanted this reaction from the government, so that it could say, “See? This is such a great bill and nobody else wants it to pass.”
I am very happy with the work that this bill has gone through, both in this House and in the other place, and that it is back before the House. If we do not specifically wrap it up now, we will have an opportunity to continue it in the fall. It is important. Now I want to turn to my prepared notes because I know I will run out of time if I do not.
Bill S-204 proposes a number of reforms that would target trafficking in human organs. We know that trafficking in human organs is a transnational, global challenge. This heinous crime involves the exploitation of the poor and vulnerable living in under-resourced developing countries. International estimates indicate that organ trafficking nets between $600 million and $1.2 billion U.S. annually in illegal profits.
Generally, wealthier individuals, often from developed countries, drive demand for organs, and the supply of organs usually comes from developing regions of South America, Asia, Africa, India and China. Bill S-204 seeks to end organ trafficking by creating organ trafficking-specific indictable Criminal Code offences. The bill's proposed offences would prohibit obtaining an organ or otherwise taking part in the removal of an organ without the informed consent of the person from whom it was being removed. These offences criminalize organ trafficking-related conduct when there is evidence that organs were extracted through this coercive process.
The bill would also create an indictable Criminal Code offence that would prohibit obtaining an organ, or otherwise taking part in the removal of an organ that is obtained for financial consideration. This transactional offence would criminalize organ trafficking-related conduct where there is evidence that organs were purchased.
Furthermore, the bill would ensure that Canadians and permanent residents of Canada were not able to escape criminal liability by going abroad to commit these offences. We have heard why it is so important that it be part of this. I listened to what the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan said at the beginning. Based on his comments, this is why that is so important.
The bill would achieve this goal by enabling Canadian prosecution of Canadians and permanent residents of Canada who commit any of the proposed offences abroad. This reform, together with the bill's financial transaction offences, criminalizes transplant tourism, which involves buying organs abroad.
The bill would also create a new category of inadmissibility to Canada for foreign nationals and permanent residents who engage in organ trafficking conduct. Specifically, it would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to make those who engage in the conduct prohibited by this bill inadmissible under the provisions that apply when foreign nationals and permanent residents have violated human or international rights, for example by committing war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Vulnerable people who have organs extracted coercively or who sell their organs out of financial desperation deserve the protection of criminal law. As I have explained, these are reforms that would achieve that goal by creating specific organ trafficking Criminal Code offences that apply extraterritorially.
Currently, the Criminal Code prohibits conduct related to coercive organ removal through its human trafficking offences, which apply extraterritorially, and its assault offences, which do not. However, this can be difficult to prove, particularly when a person is coerced into doing this overseas or is led overseas to do it.
The bill's financial transaction offence would provide extra protection for the vulnerable by criminalizing anyone engaged in conduct that involves the commercialization of organs. This includes those who extract organs for profit, those who facilitate the extraction of organs for profit and those who buy organs for their own use regardless of evidence of these practices taking place. The offence would address the demand that fuels organ trafficking. There is no doubt that organ trafficking is a serious global problem that harms the most vulnerable. It is a problem that requires a comprehensive and effective response.
In Canada, organ transplantation is governed by a legislative framework that encompasses both health and criminal law. Provincial and territorial human tissue gift statutes regulate organ donation. They contain regulatory offences that prohibit the sale, purchase or dealing in any human tissues or organs outside the applicable regulated framework. The applicable provincial and territorial legal framework has never allowed for the commercialization of organs, but these regulatory measures do not apply extraterritorially.
Ongoing efforts to increase legitimate organ donation in Canada complement these reforms. Since 2018, Health Canada has been leading an initiative called the organ donation and transplantation collaborative with provinces and territories, Canadian Blood Services, patients, families, clinical and administrative stakeholders, and researchers. The collaborative's goal is to achieve organ donation improvements that result in better patient outcomes and increase the number and quality of successful transplantations.
As I have indicated, we need to protect the vulnerable against those who are engaging in criminal activity, particularly those who are subject to that criminal activity. We need to protect those who might be interested in selling an organ out of financial hardship. A motion such as this that comes through both Houses, here and the other place, will truly assist in making this activity much more challenging for those who want to do it illegally.