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Evidence of meeting #70 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was clauses.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Gordon Boissonneault  Senior Advisor, Economic Analysis and Forecasting Division, Demand and Labour Analysis, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Sue Foster  Acting Director General, Policy, Appeals and Quality, Service Canada
Margaret Strysio  Director, Strategic Planning and Reporting, Parks Canada Agency
Stephen Bolton  Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada
Michael Zigayer  Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
Garry Jay  Chief Superintendent, Acting Director General, HR Workforce Programs and Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Jeff Hutcheson  Director, HQ Programs and Financial Advisory Services, Coporate Management and Comptrollership, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Darryl Hirsch  Senior Policy Analyst, Intelligence Policy and Coordination, Department of Public Safety
Ian Wright  Executive Advisor, Financial Markets Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Nigel Harrison  Manager, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
David Lee  Director, Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization, Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Department of Health
Anthony Giles  Director General, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace Information Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
Bruno Rodrigue  Chief, Income Security, Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Gerard Peets  Senior Director, Strategy and Planning Directorate, Department of Industry
Suzanne Brisebois  Director General, Policy and Operations, Parole Board of Canada, Public Safety Canada
Louise Laflamme  Chief, Marine Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Transport
Judith Buchanan  Acting Senior Manager, Labour Standards Operations, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Mark Hodgson  Senior Policy Analyst, Labour Markets, Employment and Learning, Department of Finance
Stephen Johnson  Director General, Evaluation Directorate, Strategic Policy and Research Branch, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
James McNamee  Deputy Director, Horizontal Immigration Policy Division, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Graham Barr  Director General, Transition Planning and Coordination, Shared Services Canada

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

To reiterate, Mr. Bolton, how long was that pilot in place?

5:20 p.m.

Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada

Stephen Bolton

Two months.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

I've been a police officer for 18 and a half years. That is an incredible record of success, which adds to the fact that we need to collaborate more. It would enhance the safety and security of our borders, etc.

I also know that witnesses have testified in support of this bill. Some aboriginal communities have been concerned about the smuggling of contraband and that kind of thing. I believe this will alleviate some of their concerns as well, particularly when they have suspects crossing their borders who are engaged in this kind of criminal behaviour, coming into their towns, bringing these illegal substances, these illegal drugs, into areas where their children, their grandchildren, their loved ones are being affected.

It is imperative that we proceed. I'm in complete disagreement with the NDP position that this needs to be studied further. It's been studied quite a bit. As Mr. Bolton has indicated, the results were extremely positive when a pilot was done. I think it's important that the committee move to support this unanimously. This is imperative to the safety and security of Canadians. I absolutely do not understand the position taken by the NDP on this, and I would suggest that they would want to support this unanimously, given the long history of study on it and given the success we've seen.

Thank you.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you, Mrs. Glover.

I have Mr. Brison, and then Mr. Caron.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Chair, while it's true that the government introduced this division as stand-alone legislation, Bill C-60, back in 2009, they did not bring it forward for second reading and it was never debated in the House. The bill was reintroduced a year later as Bill S-13, but again, at the time it was not a priority bill for the government and it died on the order paper.

This is the first time these legislative changes have come up for debate in the House. It does require more consideration, and frankly, to say that these were considered under different legislation, under different parliaments in the past, does not reflect the reality that we do have a different Parliament, and the makeup of the current Parliament is quite different from the makeup of the last Parliament. We have new members of Parliament who have a fiduciary responsibility to oversee legislative changes.

It's not enough to say that we considered these in previous parliaments. The people spoke in the last election, much to my chagrin in some ways, but the reality is that a different Parliament was chosen by the Canadian people, and as such this Parliament—the current members of Parliament of all parties—has a responsibility to ensure full oversight. I think this is not enough, and that we ought to have engaged and enabled the members of the current Parliament to have more time as they do their jobs at the appropriate committees and to provide oversight on these legislative changes.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

Monsieur Caron.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

I have a question for the witnesses.

To begin, Mr. Zigayer, Mr. Bolton and Mrs. Glover, welcome again. As far as I remember, when we asked you questions the first time, you mentioned that the treaty had been signed some time ago, a few years, and that some attempts had been made to put it into law, whether it was through the Senate or the House of Commons.

Approximately how long ago was that? For how long has there already been at least a rough draft of the bill prepared already?

June 5th, 2012 / 5:25 p.m.

Michael Zigayer Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

The treaty was signed in 2009.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Yes.

5:25 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Michael Zigayer

It was Bill C-60 that was subsequently tabled. I seem to think that a prorogation occurred just before that.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

That was in 2009.

5:25 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Michael Zigayer

Then we were at the stage of completing the study of Bill S-13 in the Senate when there was the election last year.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Thank you very much. You say that Bill C-60 came first?

5:25 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Michael Zigayer

First came Bill C-60, then came Bill S-13.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Do you think the provisions in bills S-13 and C-60 are much like what is in division 12 of the bill?

5:30 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Michael Zigayer

The essentials dealing with enforcing the treaty with the Americans is there, but a few changes were made here and there, and a big change was made in the sense that we removed a large part of Bill C-60 aimed at amending the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.

As for how the complaints were handled, that will be included in another bill.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

So what we have here is the spirit of bills C-60 and S-13, less a part that, it was felt, should be left for another bill.

5:30 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Michael Zigayer

The spirit is there. Also, the purpose is to implement a treaty that was signed. This needs to reflect this treaty.

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Okay. Thank you very much, because your answers get to the heart of a major problem.

Mrs. Glover spoke passionately about the bill, and she said that it was absolutely essential. She spoke about it arising out of negotiations relating to a treaty that was signed previously and said that we absolutely had to put it into a budgetary bill.

Instead, I think that, to be able to study the bill appropriately—Mr. Brison raised a good point about this—we should present it separately, and absolutely nothing would have prevented the government, after the election in June 2011, to present it as one of its first bills, if it was so urgent and so important to do so. However, it chose to wait to have a budget implementation bill to put it in part 4 along with 55 other divisions.

Once again, we do not think this is acceptable. There is no impact, zero financial impact. As for the RCMP, I think it was clear in the testimonies that we heard. As for us, this is quite a significant matter of principle: this type of provision must be discussed and voted on separately.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Merci.

We'll go to Ms. Glover, please.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

To my knowledge, there hasn't been a gap when there's not been an important government bill presented. In fact, we continue to try to push forward, which unfortunately has been delayed by opposition many times.

What I do want to say is that there's an agreement in place. Just because new parliamentarians are elected doesn't mean the work of government starts all over again. This is a ridiculous argument we've heard repeatedly. The agreement didn't end. We have an obligation under our perimeter security plan to move forward in a timely fashion. In fact, there is a deadline approaching: summer of 2012. There is a deadline approaching.

I'd like to ask perhaps Mr. Zigayer, Mr. Bolton, or Ms. Nares if you could comment on the deadline that's approaching. What would be the consequence of not delivering on the first deadline?

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Can someone speak to that?

Go ahead, Mr. Bolton.

5:30 p.m.

Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada

Stephen Bolton

I would just say that yes, it is a commitment in the Beyond the Border action plan to ratify the treaty and have legislation there. In terms of the Beyond the Border action plan, there is a desire by both countries to meet the commitments in a timely fashion.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

I would further state that I personally think Canada would send some negative signals if we were not to meet our first deliverable. Once again, I reiterate how ridiculous the notion is that parliamentarians have to start the work of government, the work of previous parliamentarians, all over again and just disregard previous reports, previous treaties, previous signed agreements, etc., as if there were no government previously and no agreements with other countries previously.

This is an important measure that needs to be passed in a timely fashion. There's been extensive consultation and extensive study of this. I would suggest to the opposition members that they abandon this philosophy that even though there was lots of work done in previous years, no matter how long we go back, we want to start everything over again. Frankly, it just doesn't wash.

Thanks.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

I have Monsieur Caron, and then Ms. Nash.