Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Minister, thank you for being here today.
I would like to reply to the comments about our amendment. I would venture to say that the statistics on the numbers of people turned back at the border is cold comfort for those who feel dehumanized because of the colour of their skin or because of their religion. That is what we mean by a climate of uncertainty. Whether you like it or not, there is a perception, and it is extremely problematic.
I would also like to come back to the substantial issue in the bill. There is a lot of talk about the increased powers of the officers if someone leaves the preclearance area. I would draw your attention to subclause 33(1), which mentions information obtained from a traveller after their withdrawal from the preclearance area. It also reads: “otherwise authorized by law”. That is a concern. I would like to describe a hypothetical situation. We don't like doing that in politics, but I think it is important in order to illustrate our concerns and then to hear what you have to say about the matter.
Imagine that the President of the United States issues an order—as he has suggested in some media—that would allow the electronic devices of all travellers to be searched. Canadian case law is relatively silent on the matter of the rights Canadians have when they are asked for their passwords.
Recently, a decision was made and it rather favours security services. It does not favour the privacy of Canadians. You tell us that we are protected by Canadian law. But courts of law have already determined that our rights under the Charter are taken away in part when we cross the border.
Is that “otherwise authorized by law”? Do we consider that the President is “otherwise authorized in law” when he issues a directive to his officers to obtain information, that is to say, directives that exceed the limits of what someone who decides to leave the preclearance area can be asked?