Mr. Chairman, the minister did address the questions I asked.
It is like I am acting as a director of a huge public corporation, the Government of Canada and, with due diligence, I am making sure as a director that the right questions are asked. I think that is what we are all trying to do here.
The minister said that this is not specifically Quebec related. We all know that the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and the justice critic for that party have been asking questions on this issue since 1995. March 1995 was the first time a question was asked in the House of Commons on this issue. At that time the minister indicated that the code had enough tools, as he has done until recently. A political perception might be that this is being rushed through for a pre-election purpose to build up and shore up popularity in a province in which the Prime Minister may or may not have the proper poll numbers.
I did not create those stories. I did not allege those charges. They are very well documented in all the press and media. That has made me very concerned that we not rush this legislation through in such a way that we do not show the Canadian public that we are trying to provide good governance. It is the Minister of Justice and his department which has that responsibility. I make an analogy to the victims bill of rights where the argument used was not to proceed. That addresses the answer. I just wanted to make a comment on the minister saying it was pan-Canadian.
With respect to criminal organizations consisting of five or more or three or more, they will not declare in writing their intent. It is like gun control. I hate to touch on it, but criminals who need handguns, rifles or shotguns for the purposes of committing crimes will not register them because it would lead to a quicker trail to them. They will get one illegally and commit the crime anyway. We will see if gun control will reduce crime. We will also see if this definition of criminal organization will reduce warring activities across the country.
With this preamble and setting the stage, if we now define criminal organization which up until now has not been defined in the Criminal Code, what different powers will it give police officers that they do not have now under the 800 sections?
As I understand the law, if they suspect somebody of committing a crime or they suspect somebody of being guilty of something, if there is suspicion and sufficient evidence, police officers can obtain warrants. Search and seizure are available. Surveillance is available. Wiretapping with a judge's permission is available, as is requesting tax records of somebody who has committed income tax fraud. I am the revenue critic. I know how heavy, hard and strong tax avoidance audit groups work. They do a darned good job. I know the powers they have.
Now we are defining criminal organizations. Will it give police forces that much more power when they already have the same powers on an individual basis?