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House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

CinarOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I do not see how an exchange of information could be described as inappropriate when it is carried out in connection with programs jointly administered by Human Resources Development Canada and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, particularly when this is all being done under section 214(1)(c) of the act.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

May 17th, 2000 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is another quote from the minister's own internal audit:

There is no assurance that all hard drives are erased of potentially sensitive HRDC data prior to disposal since the cleaning process is inconsistently practised within HRDC.

The privacy commissioner is concerned. Canadians are concerned. How can Canadians trust the minister to protect their privacy when she is so unconcerned about what is happening in her own department?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I reject outright the commentary of the hon. member opposite. I would draw attention to some of the other things we are doing as a result of the internal audit, the survey of the department, with regard to information technology.

Aside from the things I have already mentioned in the House, we have also improved staff knowledge of IT security policies and procedures. We are preparing annual operational security plans which will ensure that staff are aware of security and the current year's initiatives on IT security. A number of things are being implemented in this very important and new territory in development.

In the context of the work of the privacy commissioner, I want to say to the hon. member that surely the right thing to do is to work with him and to look at aspects of privacy in the context of these particular issues so that in the future the good service we provide to Canadians can be continued.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister likes to make out like it is old news. We have the freedom of information available to us today. The privacy commissioner brought his information out yesterday.

Let me give another quote from her own internal audit:

It is not unusual for employees to have in their possession an HRDC laptop, desktop or other IT equipment located at the employee's residence.

A laptop is in their own residences. That is a quote from her own internal audit.

How can the minister assure security when the personal information of Canadians is being taken home every night from their place of business?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to convey to the House that we do audits. We do take action as I have shown.

In the context of the files we are talking about here, the work of the privacy commissioner, I would point out that the hon. member used to be a Tory. I suspect he was part of the government that put this all together in the first place.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. These conversations which keep going on eat up our question time.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

Good.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would encourage members, if they do not want to take part in the question period, to withdraw from the House. It would make it easier on the rest of us.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development has the most complete file of personal data in Canada.

She says that we can trust her because of the professionalism of her employees and her department's internal policies.

How can we trust a minister who is unable to produce the Placeteco invoices? How can she be trusted to properly manage a data bank such as the one at her disposal, when she is not even able to manage her grant files?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong. Even the privacy commissioner says that the information is being secured.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Two weeks ago you returned from bilateral talks on immigration with the Chinese government. Could the minister tell the House how your trip to China will help Canada to combat future unlawful migrants from China?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask hon. members to please address the Chair.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question. In fact the level of co-operation as a result of my meeting with senior Chinese officials, I must say, has resulted in the return to China of almost 100 Chinese nationals who arrived in Canada, received due process and were ready to return home.

As a result of these initiatives to prevent, to interdict, and to ensure due process and timely return, Canada and China together will make sure that those who would traffic in human lives, the snake heads, do not succeed.

We understand that it is important to work together co-operatively to achieve that end. I believe that is good for Canada and good for China.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night Charlie Greenwell at CJOH news in Ottawa ran a story on Sidewinder, the investigation into the organized crime and Chinese triads influence in Canada.

What was new were amazing allegations of political donations made to politicians and political parties which have great influence in Canada.

What specific steps has the solicitor general or his department taken to protect Canadians and all political parties from the scourge of organized crime?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it would certainly be a wide open question if the hon. member were asking me what we have done to combat organized crime.

For example, 13 proceeds of crime units have been established across the country to make sure the profit was taken out of organized crime. I understand the Attorney General of Ontario caught up to this too, yesterday. On the Sidewinder investigation, the investigation was done and it was completed.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very shallow answer from the minister. This has to do with the very core of democracy in Canada.

These allegations of political influence by organized crime are unbelievably serious. In the Vancouver Province story on the same issue it is alleged that a former prime minister, his deputy and a former premier also received donations.

There were recent revelations that the Liberal Party and some of the frontbench ministers received political donations from the Russian Mafia, which just shows how far this problem has gone. I want to know what specific steps the solicitor general is undertaking to uncover this problem,

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. In the questions today we are getting very close, if not we are not there, to criminal wrongdoing by other members of parliament. I think that we should be more than judicious in our choice of words because all of us are involved in this particular thing.

I see the hon. government House leader rising to his feet to respond, but I caution all members to be very judicious in their questions and in their answers.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, political contributions to registered political parties in Canada have to be made from Canadian sources and have to become public.

Only third party financing in Canada is not subjected to that law. We put it in our bill and the member across and his party voted against making that a public declaration.

PrivacyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government. The Minister of Human Resources Development would have been better to have acknowledged not just that the privacy commissioner said they were operating within the law but also that it might say something about the law. That is what the privacy commissioner said, and he called for an updating of the law.

I want to ask whichever minister is responsible, trying to get out of this daily cat fight between the minister and her detractors, what the government will do about the call by the privacy commissioner for an updating of privacy law in the country. That is the real issue here and we need a response from the government on the particular issue.

PrivacyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we take the recommendations of the privacy commissioner very seriously. In fact my colleagues and I understand that the Privacy Act, as it exists, has been in existence for some time. With the advent of new technology indeed it probably is time to review the existing Privacy Act.

PrivacyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, at least the minister did not say in a timely fashion, which we often hear. Will the Minister of Justice do this in a timely fashion? Will she commit to the House that they will do what they have already been done in the private sector?

We just passed laws in the House updating privacy legislation with respect to the private sector. We now need it to happen in the public sector. Can we have a commitment from the minister or the Prime Minister that this will be a top priority of the government and that it will happen soon?

PrivacyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that we take the privacy of all Canadians very seriously. I am glad the member has commended my colleague, the Minister of Industry, for the very fine work he did on Bill C-6.

Let me reiterate that we on this side of the House take privacy concerns very seriously. We will review the existing privacy legislation in a timely fashion.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Progressive Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the privacy commissioner's report is alarming.

The commissioner reports that the sole file on each and every Canadian citizen is in fact held by HRDC. This file is known as the Longitudinal Labour Force File. The commissioner feels that this file represents a threat to privacy.

Does the minister intend to take any concrete action to protect the privacy of Canadians from possible intrusion by another mafia boy?