House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.


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12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

I always defer to your expertise, Mr. Speaker, but a royal recommendation is required for spending that is mandatory. This is in fact conditional. It strikes me that does not actually qualify. From my understanding of the relevant constitutional provision, this is not a mandating of spending.

I think one of the great dangers we are in is expanding the relevant section of the constitution beyond its intended meaning. Therefore on reconsideration I think it could be found that this is in fact very much in order.

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12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I can deal with the hon. member's point quite quickly. His amendment states:

Any person or entity that is wrongfully detained, that suffers loss of reputation due to wrongful detention, or that suffers from wrongful seizure of property shall be duly compensated from the Consolidated Revenue Fund--

That authorizes the expenditure of money from the consolidated revenue fund and accordingly requires a royal recommendation. I have no doubt on that point so I am afraid I will stick with the ruling I have given.

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12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON


Motion No. 1

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 46 on page 13 and lines 1 to 4 on page 14 with the following:

“(i) that is committed, in whole or in part with the”

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12:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB


Motion No. 2

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 19 on page 17 the following:

“(1.2) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish the criteria to be used by the Solicitor General in making the recommendation to place an entity on the list referred to in subsection (1).

(1.3) Before making the regulations referred to in subsection (1.2), the list of criteria, or any amendment thereto, must be tabled in the House of Commons and be debated within 10 sitting days after being tabled.”

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 30 on page 17 with the following:

“the applicant no longer be a listed entity.”

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 3 on page 35 the following:

“(11.1) In any proceeding under this section, the presiding judge may appoint counsel to represent any person subject to the investigative hearing.”

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12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am hoping at some point, perhaps over a glass of wine or a cup of beer, we can further discuss royal recommendations, a matter of no small interest to me. I am anxious to pick your brains and learn more about this.

Turning to Motion No. 1, the manner in which the motion is put forward is in the highly technical language of amendments and would therefore make no sense to anybody from outside reading it. This is a matter of no small relevance given the unwillingness of the government to provide the necessary documentation in a timely fashion. This is a problem which incidentally could have been cured by simply using more photocopiers over the weekend.

With respect to clause 4 of the bill, the amended version would change the definition of terrorism. Specifically, it would strike out paragraph (A) of the relevant subclause. Thus, it would change from reading that terrorism is “an act or omission, in or outside Canada, that is committed in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause and, in whole or in part, with the intention of intimidating the public or a segment of the public” et cetera. What is being eliminated is the part that speaks of political, religious or ideological purposes, objectives or causes.

For the life of me I cannot see why we would say that an act of terror, a criminal act that is committed for an ideological or a religious purpose as opposed to an act of terror that is committed out of pure venality, pure greed or general hatefulness would be a more severe offence under the law. The other side of this is why something that is done purely for the sake of one of these more mundane reasons is somehow less hateful under the law. It seems to me that the terror activities of the biker gangs in Montreal, such as planting bombs, are no less bad or harmful than similar bombs that might be planted by someone who is motivated by some insane reading of Christianity, Islam or any other religion.

These actions are crimes. A crime is a crime regardless of its motivation. It is a fundamental principle of our law that we do not look at the ideological and religious motivations of any action. We have always understood in Canada and in the tradition from which Canada's laws have descended that these are private matters. These are within a sphere in which the government has no say and no interest.

It is relevant and very important that the government protect all its citizens from violent actions. Actions that are designed and work in a conspiratorial fashion, as terrorist activities tend to do, ought to be governed by laws that are universal in their application, that is, that apply to those who seek to undertake those actions out of motivations that have nothing to do with religion or ideology.

This is no small point. If we look at the history of terrorist activity and at the history of organized criminal activity both here and abroad, it is quite striking that terrorist organizations evolve over time into mere criminality. If we look at the history of the Mafia, we will find that its ancestry and roots go back to Sicily of course and to those who sought to fight against the tyranny of the Bourbon kings in Sicily.

It started out as a secret society fighting and engaging in activities of intimidation and what might be described as terror in order to further a political goal. Over time the ideology moved out of those activities and they became driven purely by greed, purely by the desire to further the individual well-being of members of the Mafia at the expense of the rest of society. The code of secrecy that had been so important when it was a political and ideological movement remained in place. That code of omertà is what drives forward that organization.

I cannot see what the difference is between the kinds of activities that those groups conduct and the activities that are conducted by terrorists who are driven by ideology insofar as they affect the good of the public or insofar as they harm the public. It seems very clear to me that there is in fact no public policy difference.

This is a very dangerous route to go down and one which I suggest is very nearly unprecedented. It seems to me in looking at this clause that quite frankly it is in violation of the reading I would have of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and of the earlier bill of rights which of course is still in effect.

It is conceivable, as the government and the Minister of Justice are constantly reminding us, that the courts might find this to be not in violation of section 1 of the charter which allows for restrictions to be placed on freedoms, and I suppose including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of thought, when these restrictions are found to be not in violation of the normal procedures of a free and democratic society.

I suggest that the test which the supreme court applies when it is looking at whether or not section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been violated is that it says, on the balance of the probabilities, is this particular violation of freedom of conscience, or religion, or assembly, or whatever it might happen to be, the least harmful available to the government which seems to me it is not on the balance of the probabilities. In other words, is there a better than 50% chance that some less intrusive mechanism could have been found to achieve the legitimate policy objective. It seems quite clear that when we consider this test, we realize that section 1 is not much of a guarantee of our fundamental rights and freedoms.

All that is needed is five out of nine justices on the supreme court deciding that there is a better than 50% chance that a less intrusive manner of dealing with the particular problem was not available and the result is that it remains constitutional. That strikes me as being a very weak test.

When we are dealing with something as fundamental as freedom of religion, freedom of thought and freedom of speech, I do not want to be in a country where crown prosecutors are going to go before the courts and say that they are seeking to prove that the suspect in a terrorist activity had the weapon on his or her person, or the dynamite in the trunk of his or her car and that the individual had a guilty mind, a willingness to go ahead and commit some harm, perhaps some deaths, some injuries as defined in the act and in addition, that the individual was a sincere adherent to a certain otherwise legitimate religion. I find that absolutely appalling. Quite frankly I am astonished that this is included at all.

I cannot see one ounce of extra protection from terrorism that is provided to the Canadian people. I cannot see one ounce of reassurance to those members of the sorts of groups that would find themselves being targeted illegitimately under this law. I cannot see any protection for these people from this clause. I cannot in fact ascertain what public policy purpose this clause should have. It is very bad and I would urge all members in the strongest possible terms to vote in favour of the amendment in order to strike out this particular clause of the law.

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12:35 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.


Stephen Owen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, to my hon. colleague, I do take issue with the suggestion that section one of the charter of rights and freedoms is relevant in any way in this discussion. There simply is no infringement of other charter rights and freedoms that would invoke a consideration under section one.

These words regarding religious, political or ideological purposes are words of limitation. They are not designed to criminalize or single out people on the basis of their religion, political beliefs or ideologies. Rather, they must be read against the rest of the clause which speaks in terms of an intention to intimidate the public or a segment of the public.

My hon. colleague mentioned that these words do not seem to appear elsewhere. In fact they appear in the anti-terrorist legislation of the United Kingdom. These words must be read in conjunction with the intended consequences that must be present before exposure to criminal liability can exist, for example, causing death or serious bodily injury, endangering life, causing serious risk to the health or safety of the public, causing serious interference or disruption of an essential service, facility or system.

These words therefore should not be viewed as singling out any group on the basis of its beliefs. It is in fact this motivation by a system of thought, whether it is religious, ideological or political, that is perverted when combined with the elements of the offence that are described and provide a dangerous and extra potency beyond the normal range of crimes which the hon. member has mentioned.

For instance the hon. member mentioned biker gangs. He will recall that Bill C-24 which is now before the other place for consideration has similar provisions for facilitating, participating in or financing criminal organizations. This goes beyond that, beyond the venal or ordinary criminal behaviour, even if done in an organized fashion.

Subsection 1.1 was added to section 83.01 for greater certainty. This was done by government amendment at committee stage to make it clear that an expression of a political, religious or ideological thought, belief or opinion does not constitute a terrorist activity unless the other portions of the definition are satisfied. The effect of removing the words “political, religious or ideological purpose” is to transform a position that is designed to counter terrorism into one that is nearly indistinguishable from a general law enforcement provision. This sends the wrong message.

It is terrorists and not ordinary criminals, however venal, that we are targeting here. It weakens the constitutional justification for a measure that we regard as necessary to respond to an extraordinary threat.

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November 26th, 2001 / 12:40 p.m.


Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with Bill C-36, we in the Bloc Quebecois have always said that a balance had to be sought between national security and individual and collective rights.

At the committee stage, we introduced exactly 66 amendments for the purpose of attaining that balance. These were suggestions from a large majority of the witnesses we heard.

It would appear, judging from the evidence, that the minister did not get the feedback she sought, but we in the Bloc Quebecois sought it out and tabled amendments accordingly. I would remind hon. members that, on second reading in this very House, the Bloc Quebecois voted in favour of the principle of Bill C-36, the necessity of having national security legislation to combat terrorism if not to implement international conventions.

Given the events in committee, we are probably going to be voting against the bill in third reading.

We are now at the report stage. Hon. members are no doubt wondering why the Bloc Quebecois has not introduced any amendments. It is quite simply because, given the way the government treats parliamentarians in this matter, like many others—but it is more obvious here—whether or not we propose amendments is of no importance because the government would just reject them anyway. With the few amendments we do have before us, we shall just see which ones the government is going to entertain.

The first group we are looking at comprises Motions Nos. 1 through 4. The purpose of Motion No. 1 is to modify the definition of terrorist activity. In my opinion, it does not change much. We did, however, hear some witnesses who wanted to see division (A) simply removed, so as to avoid having any pointless delineation. It reads as follows:

(A) in whole or in part for political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause,

In my opinion, whether this stays or goes makes little difference, because the rest of the paragraph is sufficiently explicit on what we want to address as terrorist activities. The problem lies in the area we wanted to address, and those are the amendments the government has rejected.

On the whole issue of intimidation, this vocabulary should have been removed, since this is about terrorism, and not intimidation. The clause should have been amended accordingly, given that it is one of the main clauses that will be implemented.

As regards economic terrorism, I believe a number of witnesses who appeared told us that this did not exist, since material acts are committed as such, and that we want to define them as terrorist acts. As for the economic aspect, this is the consequence of an act that was perpetrated.

As for the rest of the definition, I will certainly have more time to discuss it at third reading, but there were some fears expressed regarding certain demonstrations, and whether or not they would be considered illegal. Some of these fears have been allayed by removing the word “lawful”.

However, protestors, such as those present at the Quebec City summit, are still included in the definition of “terrorist activity”, when this is not the case. Protestors commit mischief—and I do not condone this—when they break windows and become violent as was the case in Quebec City, and even here in Ottawa last weekend, but they are not terrorists, in the sense of those we are really trying to target with this bill. The definition should have been narrowed even more.

The government refused to do so in committee. Clearly, the amendment being proposed this morning is not going to solve this problem. Once again, the government seems to be saying “I hold the truth; follow me and do not ask any questions”. When they say this to opposition members, it just might be described as politics.

The numerous witnesses who appeared before the committee, some 60, 70 or 80 of them, and a number of groups, told us that this was too broad. The government is telling us to shut up and follow along because it knows what it is doing. I find the government's conduct an affront to democracy.

The second motion, which is part of the first group, seeks to increase transparency in a very important section on terrorist entities. Here again, we put forward a series of amendments in committee. The House will agree that, given parliamentary rules, we could not put these amendments forward again at report stage.

The purpose of our amendments was greater transparency. Motion No. 2 is another such transparency seeking amendment, which would insert certain procedures in section 83.05. This motion says, and I quote:

(1.2) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish the criteria to be used by the Solicitor General in making the recommendation to place an entity on the list referred to in subsection (1).

Clearly, these are procedures for deciding whether or not to include individuals on the list of entities, to determine whether a group is a terrorist group or not.

It also says:

(1.3) Before making the regulations referred to in subsection (1.2), the list of criteria, or any amendment thereto, must be tabled in the House of Commons and be debated within 10 sitting days after being tabled.

Obviously, we can only support such an amendment. Since what we were looking for in committee was transparency, or more transparency, and this amendment has the same objective, it is easy to support. We have no problem with it.

This group also includes Motion No. 3. This motion, as well, is intended to achieve greater transparency, but also to simplify matters for those dealing with a government decision as to whether or not they are on the list of terrorist entities. As Bill C-36 now stands, the government says that if the solicitor general does not make a decision within 60 days after receipt of the application, he is deemed to have decided to recommend that the applicant remain a listed entity.

That means that, if the solicitor general drags his feet and it takes over 60 days, the individual or group on the terrorist list will remain there. In the case of the amendment proposed, it should be the opposite. If the solicitor general fails to reach a decision within 60 days, in order to give the advantage to an individual or a group whose name is on a terrorist list, when it should not be there, since the minister is dragging his feet, “he is deemed to have decided to recommend that the applicant not remain a listed entity”.

This means that, if the minister does not act in time, that is within the 60 days, the name of the individual is deleted as a listed entity. This too, in my opinion, is an amendment that introduces transparency, or at least helps constituents find their way in very complex legislation. The government is helping them obtain justice.

The fourth amendment is in the same vein as two I moved in committee. It concerns the right to counsel. In a number of places, the rights of the individual are infringed upon and the individual is really not given the right to counsel.

I know that the general principle must remain, according to what the officials, the Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General of Canada have to say. But I would like it set out in black and white in the bill that the right to counsel is sacrosanct. When the bill was being considered in committee, the government voted against the amendments I moved.

This morning, an amendment to clause 4 was moved, and I quote:

(11.1) In any proceeding under this section, the presiding judge may appoint counsel to represent any person subject to the investigative hearing.

This is another amendment in the same vein and having the same objective as those I moved, which the Bloc moved in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Accordingly, we will support Motion No. 4.

It seems my time to speak is over, but I will have the opportunity to return to other clauses during the day.

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12:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we tried to approach the matter moved by the member for Lanark--Carleton in a different way and were unsuccessful in committee. We would be pleased to support the motion he introduced.

Without wishing to reflect upon decisions that were taken earlier in the House, we should all recognize that the debate on which we are now embarked is much less than extensive the debate to which the people of Canada have a right. The government played games over the weekend. It played games with the rules of parliament. It might be within the rules of the game, and that is a matter that is decided by the Speaker. However to play fast and loose with an issue that is of such fundamental importance, not only to our protection against terrorism but to the protection of our basic rights, is simply unacceptable.

If one raises a question as to why the House of Commons and our political institutions fall into decline, it is because of this kind of sneak attack on a weekend, when some parties of the House of Commons were unable to be here and when there was no opportunity to look at the testimony given deliberately by serious groups across the country. An action like that calls the House of Commons into very deep disrepute.

Having said that and understanding the extraordinarily difficult conditions under which the committee worked, I want to congratulate my colleague from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough and others for their work in the committee. People worked all night under artificial deadlines with inadequate information.

No one in the House disputes the need to deal with terrorism. What we are worried about is not the fight against terrorism, but rather the assault upon the civil rights of Canadians across the country. This is an entirely unnecessary assault to the conduct of an effective fight against terrorism. We can fight terrorism and maintain civil rights at the same time. The government has chosen not to do that and it is on that flagrant disregard for the civil rights of ordinary individuals that it will be judged in time to come. This is a very serious risk and an absolutely unnecessary risk that it is undertaking.

I will not comment on earlier decisions. The Senate has looked at this matter clearly. It has talked about the importance of an oversight committee. Amendments were sought to be introduced here which have were ruled out.

It is a travesty of democracy that this House is not in a position to consider means by which there can be a judgment cast by someone other than ministers themselves as to whether the intrusions that they propose into the ordinary rights of ordinary people are acceptable intrusions. That is the whole logic of the oversight provision recommended unanimously by the other place but not allowed here for debate and voted down by the government in committee. Again, that is a travesty. It reminds me of nothing more than the War Measures Act which was introduced and maintained with the very same arguments by an earlier Liberal government. This is a serious threat to democracy and to the rights of Canadians and it is something that must be stopped.

Let me come to the three motions that are standing in my name. I appreciate having them seconded by my colleague from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough. Motion No. 2 states:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 19 on page 17 the following:

(1.2) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish the criteria to be used by the solicitor general in making the recommendation to place an entity on the list referred to in subsection (1).

(1.3) Before making the regulations referred to in subsection (1.2), the list of criteria, or any amendment thereto, must be tabled in the House of Commons and be debated within 10 sitting days after being tabled.

This is necessary is because the bill continues the very dangerous practice of locating in the hands of a minister of the crown quite extraordinary power over the ordinary lives of ordinary people in the country without any means for parliament or others to get at that power. The governor in council, this is to say the solicitor general in this case, is given the power to make a list of terrorist entities upon the recommendation of the solicitor general. Some of that information about terrorist entities, as alleged in committee and was adduced in committee, may come from foreign governments. Which foreign governments? I know something about that because I had the privilege of serving as foreign minister of the country for some time.

We gather information from a wide source. We gather information from China, Saudi Arabia and countries whose judgment of civil rights and democracy is very different from our own.

When the Solicitor General of Canada makes a recommendation to his colleagues that is based on foreign information and that will have the consequences this recommendation will have, there needs to be guidance and control as to the source of the foreign information and the context in which it should be judged.

Criteria should be developed which assist the solicitor general in assessing the information. For example, the human rights values of another country could be part of the criteria weighed in considering the listing of such an entity.

We cannot act blindly on issues of this kind. We cannot act secretly. We believe parliament should participate fully in the development of these criteria and we want to ensure there is a full debate in parliament.

I have listened to the amendment proposed by the hon. member of the Bloc Quebecois, and believe it to be acceptable to us as a reinforcement of what I have just indicated to parliament.

Motion No. 3 states:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 30 on page 17 with the following:

the applicant no longer be a listed entity.

This would reverse the onus. It would make the solicitor general back up his claim that someone or some entity is a terrorist. In the section dealing with the listing of entities the governor in council may establish a list of terrorist entities on the recommendation of the solicitor general.

Someone who has been listed as a terrorist entity can apply to the solicitor general to have his or her name removed from the list. Currently the bill provides that if the solicitor general does not make a decision within 60 days it is deemed that he has decided to recommend that the applicant remain a listed entity.

The amendment would reverse the procedure. It would force the solicitor general to prove the reason he had listed such an entity. If the solicitor general has not made a decision within 60 days it would be deemed that he was recommending the applicant come off the list.

This would require the government to deal quickly with applications and not let them languish forever while someone's reputation is in tatters or in doubt across the country. It would require the Government of Canada, which is taking the names of ordinary citizens or entities in vain, to put up the proof and not get by through delaying. It would require quick action with applications to ensure people's lives and reputations are not ruined if there is a mistake.

We all know that one of the real safeguards of our judicial system is a provision to take account of mistakes if they are made. While there is a provision for mistaken identity in clause 83.07 of the bill the amendment would provide a vehicle for someone to come off the list for reasons other than mistaken identity.

The listing of a terrorist entity is serious. The government must be certain the grounds for the listing are solid. This would ensure due diligence before the listing is made. Motion No. 4 states:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 3 on page 35 the following:

“(11.1) In any proceeding under this section, the presiding judge may appoint counsel to represent any person subject to the investigative hearing.”

The investigative hearing process provides considerable and immense power to the authorities. The amendment would ensure legal representation for anyone who appears before a judge in one of those hearings. It would allow the presiding judge the discretion to appoint counsel. It would not require the judge to appoint counsel, something which has been raised as a concern given the strain on legal aid systems in Canada.

It is important that there is a balance in the powers of this section. Allowing the court the ability to appoint counsel is one way to achieve that balance.

It is one thing to have rights. It is another thing to be too poor to do anything about them. If anyone in the House or any one of our constituents who is not rich, who is not Conrad Black or who is not related to the Desmarais family is listed they have rights. However if they cannot afford counsel to protect them the rights can fall into disuse. Surely that is what a parliament interested in civil rights would like to protect against.

There is another aspect to this. Once people are designated terrorists or terrorist entities their assets are frozen. Even if they had money before they would not have money so long as the list existed. The only way they would have an opportunity to have their rights defended would be to have the rights set out and have a companion in the power of the judge to indicate they have a right to counsel.

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1 p.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with care to the hon. leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and I was struck by the strong language that he used. He described Bill C-36 as an assault on civil liberties. He compared it to the War Measures Act. He said it was an assault on civil liberty comparable to the War Measures Act which must be stopped.

I say this only because I encourage the leader of the Conservative Party, if that is his view of the bill and assuming his amendments do not pass, to join with the NDP in opposing Bill C-36 and perhaps members of the Bloc Quebecois because they seem to be changing their minds as well with respect to how they voted on second reading of the bill.

I know the leader of the Conservative Party was not here when the War Measures Act was introduced in the House. I believe he was elected in 1972. However his party was here at the time and so perhaps collectively they could learn from history and not want to be in the position they are in now of looking back on the War Measures Act in a critical way and presumably regretting that they supported it at the time.

Instead of repeating the mistake and voting for the bill and 20 years from now hearing some future leader of the Conservative Party, because I think the Conservative Party will outlast the various machinations going on here, reflect on the passage of Bill C-36 in 2001 and speak with regret about the position that was taken, let us have the vote on third reading reflect the language of the leader of the Conservative Party that the bill is an assault on civil liberties comparable to the War Measures Act, his language not mine, and something which must be stopped.

With respect to the amendments we are discussing and in an attempt to be more specifically relevant to what we have before us, we support the amendments moved by the hon. member from the Alliance and the leader of the Conservative Party.

We had concerns of our own which we expressed in committee about the definition of terrorist activity and the clause the hon. member from the Alliance seeks to eliminate. We voted with the Alliance in committee to try to remove that aspect of the definition of terrorist activity.

We expressed other concerns in terms of amendments and in terms of voting against the whole of clause 4 which sets out the definition of terrorist activity because we share the concerns of the Bloc and others that the definition of terrorist activity is too broad and may well include legitimate dissent despite the exemptions built into the definition.

We shared concerns about the listing of entities and concerns similar to those expressed by the leader of the Conservative Party. That is why we moved amendments in committee having to do with listed entities.

Finally, although it comes a bit later, one of the reasons we were concerned about the definition of terrorist activity is that we could see the government was not going to sunset that aspect of the bill. The government did sunset, to the extent that we can call it a sunset, the clauses having to do with preventive arrest and investigative hearings.

I do not know if members were in northern Canada toward the end of June, perhaps on a canoe trip or fishing. One can go canoeing or fish until 1.30 or 2 a.m. The sun never sets. The fishing trip I went on near Yellowknife in the 1980s reminds me of the Liberals' sunset clause. The sun never really goes down under the horizon. It just dips a little and then picks right up again. That is what we have in this bill.

We do not really have a sunset clause. The sun would never really go down. The government would not have to reintroduce the legislation. It would not have to consider whether or not the legislation was adequate or amend or change it in any way. It would just ram a motion through both houses of parliament, extend it for another five years and perhaps another five years after that. It is for that reason we find the sunsetting provisions in the bill to be both a misnomer and inadequate.

As far as the grouping of amendments we have before us which were moved by an Alliance member and the leader of the Conservative Party, we support them. They are in keeping with what we supported in committee.

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1:05 p.m.


John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to this significant piece of legislation. It is the most significant piece of legislation I and I expect other members will ever see as legislators.

There is no question it is an immense intrusion into the civil rights of Canadians. That is the reality of the bill. Recently a reporter asked me whether I was happy having seen the amendments the government was putting forward at committee stage. I said I could not see how any member would be happy. I could only see how members would be less unhappy.

I cannot imagine how the Minister of Justice would be happy. I cannot imagine how the Prime Minister would be happy. I cannot imagine how any member of the House would be happy that we have to deal with this legislation. However I commend the minister and the Prime Minister for recognizing that the representations of members of the public at committee have been heard and listened to. The process is a little messy but it works and ultimately the results speak for themselves.

I hope the interpretation of the bill by the courts and police will be fair minded and just. We have wrestled with some of the most significant conundrums and have dealt with them in as fair minded a fashion as we could. I would not say we have dealt with them in an exhaustive fashion.

I hope all members remember that what we have is a system of justice. We do not have a system of settling old scores. We do not have a system of revenge.

As I said, I cannot imagine any member is happy with the legislation. However we are dealing with an existential threat as the member for Mount Royal has said. Because it is existential the threat in and of itself is insensitive to the normal balancing of security and rights one would expect in legislation.

The Muslim council made a significant point before the committee. It said that in sacrificing liberty for security we may be in danger of losing both. All hon. members need to keep that in mind. It is a wisdom that has been generated from the Muslim community, a community that comes literally from all over the world. We ignore its counsel at our peril.

Others more eloquent than I will speak to the changes in the definition and other sections, particularly with respect to the definition of terrorist activity and facilitation. I was pleased that the minister responded to the more egregious aspects of the definitions. Even as amended the definitions lack a certain precision but for now they will have to do.

One area that got neglected was the definition of entity. I would have liked to have seen the possibility that a state be listed as an entity. One can easily see that states such as Libya or Syria are generators of terrorist activity. There is no legal or logical reason a state could not be listed as an entity in the definition section.

Other acts incorporated by reference list states as entities. Some do and some do not, so there is an inconsistency. I do not see a compelling reason that inconsistency could not be addressed at this stage.

This brings me to the listing section of the bill. The minister was right to change from a list of terrorists to a list of entities. Entities is a defined term and terrorist is not, so we were making reference to something that was not defined. In that respect the change makes a great deal of sense.

What does not make sense is the reluctance to deal with the listing in an open fashion. I appreciate that it is our desire to protect sources who may be exposed by the evidence they generate. However there is no meaningful recourse for entities which find themselves in a position of being listed. As a consequence we have a conundrum.

It is inevitable that great injustice will arise out of this section. Entities will be listed that have no rational connection to terrorism and once listed their reputations will be trashed. Ninety-eight per cent of the damage already will have been done. Trying to regain one's reputation will be almost impossible. The crown will not be under any obligation to show all of the evidence, how it was obtained and from whom it was obtained.

The judge will see the real evidence and a person will get a sanitized version of it. One hopes that the evidence will not be subject to a creative writing exercise, but please forgive me if I remain just a tad skeptical on this particular section.

I was pleased to see some attempt to merge the definition of facilitation with the offence of facilitation. Anything which brings more precision to a bill is better than less precision. That should be of some comfort to the charities. Making it clear that facilitation requires a mens rea, or knowledge of what one is doing, is a step in the right direction.

In clearing up one section, however I fear that we have created another problem. Now under the section, facilitation means one knows whether or not one knew. I do not quite know how that will work out in a court of law, but I can see that being a lawyer's field day. I do not know whether this is an intentional studied ambiguity or outright contradictory. I do know that vagueness is the enemy of human rights. Canadians need to know what the law is with some precision. Offences need to be crystal clear.

Bureau de Quebec and the Criminal Lawyers' Association made the point that this should be special purpose legislation. Frankly I found that to be an attractive idea. The bill should be in a special section of the criminal code devoted to terrorism and terrorism only. We should keep those provisions separate from ordinary criminality and organized crime. Otherwise, as one witness said, everything is terrorism and nothing is terrorism.

Leakage among the various sections of ordinary crime and organized crime will occur. Investigations into organized crime and investigations into ordinary crime will leak down into terrorism investigations and reverse. Fortunately, we have experienced a relatively low level of terrorism in Canada, relative to other countries, and we are all thankful for that. However, my suspicion is that some of these sections will be used in ways unintended by parliament.

That brings me to my final point with respect to the role of parliament and in the vote on the bill tonight. I cannot imagine anyone voting in favour of the bill with a great deal of enthusiasm, even though we feel that we should be doing something. It is a significant intrusion into the rights of Canadian. It has immense potential for abuse. The need for the bill has yet to be demonstrated in any form of evidential way. I say this quite candidly. The evidence for the need for the bill was not put forward at committee.

I understand in some respects why it was not put forward, but nevertheless there is no evidence on the committee table of the need for the bill itself. We will be voting with heavy hearts and a great deal of skepticism that this is a trade of rights for security. We hope this trade of rights will work.

Some of us have felt the need for parliament to maintain a continuous watching brief on the bill and the heavy-handedness of security forces. I take some comfort in the minister's willingness to table annual reports in parliament. I take some comfort in the three year review. I take some comfort in the five year sunset clause. I would hope that the justice subcommittee on security will take its mandate seriously and that the justice committee itself will maintain a continuous watching brief over the bill.

I finish where I began. None of us will be enthusiastically voting tonight. Possibly after the work of the committee we are somewhat less unhappy, but no one would introduce this kind of bill unless the circumstances justify it.

There are three conditions which erode civil rights: unanimity of purpose, just cause and great uncertainty. We have unanimity of purpose. Canadians want something done. We have a just cause in the fight against terrorism. We have great uncertainty. The population is quite nervous. We have eroded civil liberties, but will our Faustian bargain give us greater security?

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will address the groupings as outlined by the Speaker, Motions Nos. 1 through 4.

In respect of the amendment brought by my colleague from the Canadian Alliance, this amendment eliminates prosecutions based on political, religious or ideological motives. I indicated earlier that I was very concerned about retaining that definition of terrorist activity or that phrase in the definition.

I do not think it is a productive exercise by the courts. In fact, it is very destructive. There is the requirement then for prosecutors to bring witnesses to talk about religious, political or ideological groups. Certainly terrorist activity has nothing to do with religious, political or ideological motives in terms of a criminal context. There may be some underlying religious motivation. There may be political motivation. There may be ideological motivation. However, when it comes to the prosecution of a criminal offence, it is the actions that we are concerned about and the criminal intent. Whether that intent involves religious, political or ideological motivation is irrelevant.

I would urge members of the House to delete that. It is very destructive in a multicultural society for us to be examining the precepts of another religion in a court and then drawing conclusions in the same hearing about terrorist activities. It cannot help the multicultural fabric of Canada.

In respect of the second amendment, I support it. Essentially, it makes the process for determining the list of terrorist activities more open and less arbitrary. I do not think it is a great imposition upon the government to set out the criteria so that everyone can see the basis upon which these determinations are being made.

We are making intrusions upon civil liberties. These intrusions are justified in the security sense, political sense and, indeed, constitutional sense. There is no harm in setting out those criteria to reassure Canadians that decisions are being made for bona fide security and criminal reasons, not for other reasons of which we will know nothing.

Third, I have concerns about the motion brought in respect of Motion No. 3. If the solicitor general has not made a decision on a terrorist entity within 60 days, then the terrorist entity would no longer be on the list. Because I am not inside government or the bureaucracy, I do not know the resources available and the intricacies of making these determinations. Setting that kind of an arbitrary date may do immense harm to a police or security investigation. I have concerns about that limitation. Therefore, I cannot support that particular amendment.

In respect of Motion No. 4, the aim and the goal are laudable. By allowing the judge to appoint legal counsel in a particular case, we are usurping the function of the provincial legal aid societies. These legal aid societies are on very tight budgets. The government has not helped in that respect. The cutbacks in legal aid by the federal government are nothing short of atrocious. It is the provincial government that carries the responsibility.

Members could simply stand up and say “let us authorize the judge to appoint these lawyers in every case”. The point of fact is this cost comes out of provincial coffers and not federal coffers. That is my concern. We need to speak with provincial governments in a co-operative fashion so that we do not impact adversely on their legal aid programs.

While the recommendation is a good one, it is premature without having spoken to legal aid societies and provincial governments. Speaking as a former provincial official, I would have grave concerns about another downloading of costs upon the province. It is not that I do not believe that individuals are entitled to legal aid. I am simply concerned that this will allow the federal government to continue to off-load its responsibilities in respect of the financial support for legal aid.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in this important debate on the motions in Group No. 1.

The events of September 11 have, as has been said many times, created an exceptional situation requiring an exceptional response. That exceptional response is the legislation we are looking at today.

In this House, only the NDP had not realized, or at least not officially as their party position, that international geopolitics had changed.

As the result of numerous questions on our part, particularly by the hon. member for Berthier--Montcalm, whose exceptional efforts in connection with Bill C-36 I must commend, the Minister of Justice kept repeating “We are open to changes in the bill. We are going to hear the witnesses in committee. Our minds are not closed. We shall see how things develop”.

The Bloc Quebecois said “OK, we will play along”. We heard the witnesses, we questioned them, we spoke with them. The outcome of all this feverish exchange of ideas was our tabling of 66 amendments in committee. Still believing that we were playing along, and that the Liberal government was too, we proposed these amendments in good faith.

But the minister rejected them all, except for one. This should have been an indication—but we are getting used to this—of the Liberals' idea of the work of parliamentarians, which is “Do not worry. We the Liberal government are the embodiment of truth. We know what is best and to heck with what witnesses said”.

This is very unfortunate, because Bill C-36 changes the balance between security and individual freedoms. Whenever we change that balance, we must do so carefully and thoughtfully. Unfortunately, it seems that the Liberal government was content with its own way of seeing things and not open to other people's views.

Let us now turn to the various motions before us. Motion No. 1, presented by the Canadian Alliance member, does not change things very much. There are still problems with the very broad definition of the expression terrorist activity.

We agree with the second motion dealing with transparency and we will support it. We will also support Motion No. 3 dealing with having one's name on the list as a person or organization.

I want to go back to Motion No. 2 on transparency, because it is essential. The various amendments that the Bloc Quebecois presented in committee were intended, in part, to give greater transparency to the bill, to the government's activities.

Again, we must be very careful when we attempt to change the balance between individual rights and security. We must take every possible measure to ensure greater transparency, so that all Quebecers and Canadians will know what to expect, particularly since this bill is a fundamental philosophical change in the Canadian legislation. Therefore, we support Motion No. 2.

As for Motion No. 3, as I was saying earlier, it is very serious business to be on a list of individuals or organizations that promote terrorism. Asking the minister to make a quick decision as to whether a person or organization is to be deleted from this list is the least of our worries. If the minister is not able to do so within 60 days, it seems to me that, based on our legal philosophy of presumed innocence, it is obvious that the name of the individual or organization would have to be deleted if there were no ministerial decision within those 60 days.

As for Motion No. 4, the Bloc Quebecois moved numerous amendments in committee to ensure that the right to counsel, one of the fundamental elements of our legal system in Quebec and in Canada, was respected and, more than that, guaranteed. Once again, let me repeat, the government decided to spurn all amendments by the Bloc Quebecois, including the ones on this.

We are therefore going to be supporting the motion by the right honourable leader of the Conservative Party to ensure that the right to counsel is respected. I know that the right hon. leader of the Conservative Party has far more experience than I.

I do not, however, have any doubts as to the desire of this government to vote against these amendments, even the ones that make sense and should be adopted. The Liberal government has decided it knows more than everyone else and so it is thumbing its nose, not just at the opinions of parliamentarians, whether this involves the amendment by the Alliance members, those by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party/Democratic Representative Caucus Coalition, or those by the Bloc Quebecois, but also at the proposals made by the various witnesses in committee.

For this reason, I believe this whole thing is going to give our institution even more of a black eye as far as public opinion is concerned. The expert witnesses were not heeded, those wonderful people who came before committee to present their views and who deserved to be listened to.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my friend, the member of the Bloc Quebecois, as well as the other members who have taken part in this debate until now.

Many members and many government members have already openly acknowledged the extreme importance of this legislation. Many members have pointed out that this may be the most important bill we will see in the life of this parliament. I very much believe that myself. Very fundamentally this legislation touches the lives of many Canadians. We have an obligation to get the bill right, to strike the proper balance in the first instance.

As a member of the justice committee and as a member of the House it is fair to say that significant effort has been made on the part of all members who have engaged in the process. I pay tribute to other members of the committee, in particular the member for Scarborough East whom I think gave a very compelling speech. He pointed out quite correctly that many members on both sides of the House have been struggling in a fundamental way with this particular legislation and how we find this balance. He went on to say that there will be immense intrusion into civil rights and acknowledged quite rightly that the process thus far has been messy.

Those were brave words. I hope the hon. member will not be made to pay a price for those words. I think raising the alarm, being intellectually honest the way the member has both at committee and in the House is how the process should work. We should encourage and embrace that kind of honesty, particularly on the government side.

The amendments that have been put forward are in that vein. They are an attempt to legitimately bring the bill around, bring it back to a point where Canadians will feel comfort, I would suggest particularly those in the immigrant community who are most at risk, those of the Islamic faith who are extremely bothered by the potential for abuse, by the potential to upset the balance that exists in the country they have chosen to come to live, to breathe and to participate in democracy. They are extremely worried by what the government has put before us in the form of this bill.

These amendments touch on so many acts. They touch in a very complicated and comprehensive way on as many as 10 pieces of legislation, but most notably the criminal code, the Access to Information Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Privacy Act. The amendments we are putting forward today are meant in a fundamental way to bring greater openness and greater transparency, words that used to mean something to the government of the day. Those words were littered throughout the pages of the now infamous fairytale red book promises that were placed before Canadians pre-election. We do not see that type of language any more. We do not see that type of commitment to being open as to what the legislation will actually do.

The amendment proposed by the hon. member for Lanark--Carleton speaks of essentially deleting the political, religious and ideological purpose that is contained in this particular bill. As mentioned by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre, the bill puts upon the crown, and by virtue of that the police, the requirement that they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there has been a specific motivation that is tied into this definition.

I submit strongly that is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible for the crown to prove. Short of a confession or short of reliable evidence of what a person was thinking when they carried out an act of terrorism, this aspect will be virtually useless in the prosecution of offences.

We had approached it differently. We had approached it in a way that it would be a conditional part of the crown's case and one in fact which would be broadened to encompass, for example, acts that were committed purely out of hatred which is often the case. There is sometimes great difficulty ascribing any motivation whatsoever that fits with reasoning and rational thought patterns when trying to prove a criminal offence of the magnitude that we witnessed on September 11.

The motivation behind the amendments presented by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre are very much in keeping with the need to establish openness, to put before the Canadian people the reasoning behind being listed, for example.

It is necessary for people to grasp just how damning and damaging it can be for individuals to find themselves placed on a list of suspected terrorists. That definition is broad enough to be listed if one has been deemed to facilitate or participate or in some way aid or abet a terrorist activity. These are very broad definitions that are open to immense interpretation.

What is wrong with having published, having placed before parliament and before the country, the reasons that would attach to this process of listing? What could possibly be offensive or inappropriate in individuals knowing the reasons and the criteria that will be applied to their actions being made open to them, what necessitates a person being placed on the list. Of course from that we want to know how a person gets off the list if he or she has been wrongly placed on the list. This is all very nebulous and open to interpretation.

This is an attempt to bring some precision to the law. The law is very often a blunt instrument. This is the bluntest of the blunt. This is simply saying a person can be placed on this list at the direction of the solicitor general with no reasons given. Oftentimes there is the potential that a person could be placed on the list and not even know it until perhaps that person put his or her card in a bank machine only to find out the account was frozen. Or perhaps the person is advised when he or she shows up for work. That was the case a few months ago with an individual who was mistakenly placed on a terrorist list by virtue of the fact that his name resembled that of another suspect.

There are pragmatic, practical implications that have not appeared on the government's radar screen. The motion with respect to this establishment of criteria gives some detail, some meaning to this listing process. It will give some further legitimacy to the solicitor general's decision that otherwise can be made in isolation, that otherwise can be made based on information, the veracity of which the individual has no opportunity to challenge. It may originate from a country with less than democratic principles that attach.

That luxury may not exist for an individual who comes from a country like the Sudan or Sri Lanka where there are administrations which may decide to pass on information to Canada upon which the solicitor general might act in making a decision to list and there is no ability whatsoever to examine or challenge that information. Publishing and placing before parliament the criteria would address this anomaly and injustice.

The second motion deals with reversing the onus, as the right hon. member for Calgary Centre suggested. It puts the onus back on the government. What can be wrong with suggesting that not only should the government be able to justify its actions in listing, but within 60 days certainly with the fleet of lawyers and the ample resources available to the government, it should somehow be able to justify that listing and if not, pay a price for it? Actually lighting a fire under the government requiring it to do its job and justify its actions is healthy for democracy.

Motion No. 4 found in this first grouping is a motion proposed by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre. The motion brings about the potential, not the requirement but the potential, in assessing a situation and determining that an individual's right to counsel may be somehow neglected or overlooked or in some way compromised, this shall allow a judge to determine that an individual should have counsel appointed. This is not new. Duty counsel has been part of our justice system for many years.

The concerns raised by my colleague from the Alliance, a former attorney general, are legitimate, that this could be downloaded to the provinces. I strongly suggest that given the potential for injustice if an individual does not have counsel, and the potential harm to reputation and employment entirely impacting on his or her life, the right of the judge to have the ability to appoint counsel should supersede those concerns of fiscal responsibility and who will pick up the cost.

I would suggest that a judge acting in his discretion would certainly be aware of the status of legal aid in the provinces in ensuring that an individual does have that right to counsel and enforces it.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak at report stage of Bill C-36 and to deal with the amendments that are before us.

I want to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the NDP member for Winnipeg--Transcona, both in the House and at the justice committee, on behalf of the NDP. He has very clearly articulated the grave reservations many Canadians have about the bill. I want to acknowledge his work at committee in putting forward suggestions for amendments. Unfortunately they have not been accepted and I think that is deeply regrettable.

As the member of parliament representing Vancouver East, where there are many organizations involved in international solidarity work and in anti-globalization and peace and justice work, I have never received so much e-mail and so many letters, faxes and phone calls as I have on this bill. I have never received so much feedback from people, feedback on their fundamental concerns about where the bill will take Canadian society. I really appreciate the fact that people have taken the time to analyze what is in the bill and to think about it in a very thoughtful and reflective way, not just as it applies today but as it will apply five years from now or even further down the road.

The response I have had from people in east Vancouver, Vancouver in general and indeed right across the country is that they are very fearful. They are fearful that the federal government has embarked on a very narrow agenda that has focused so much emphasis on security measures, really symbolized by what the bill represents, that the bill would fundamentally undermine and forever change the character of what we believe our Canadian democracy to be.

I have attended numerous peace rallies, forums and demonstrations in Vancouver where people have come together because they are so concerned about the impact of the bill. The Group No. 1 amendments before us today are supported by our caucus because they are attempts by all opposition parties to bring forward some suggestions and amendments that will mitigate some of the really offensive pieces of this legislation. We in the NDP will be supporting those amendments when they come up for a vote. As the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona said earlier, however, even with those amendments we are still fundamentally opposed to Bill C-36.

When the debate first started a number of weeks ago, I remember the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice saying that they wanted to hear from Canadians and have a genuine debate. I really wonder whether that has taken place. I know that many witnesses appeared before committee who were almost unanimous in their appeal to the government to bring in meaningful sunset clauses and to bring in a definition that would clearly narrow the definition of a terrorist activity. I feel that the response from the government has really been quite pathetic and quite alarming in that it seems the government has refused to hear legitimate concerns, whether they are from the Canadian Bar Association, the civil liberties association or from organizations that could be caught in the net and listed as entities and possibly have their assets and so on frozen. The government has not provided a response in terms of listening to those concerns and as a result amending this legislation.

I do want to speak to one other concern. Today I attended a very important photographic session at the National Arts Centre down the street. It was put together in recognition of national child poverty day. It consists of a series of photographs put together by photojournalists from leading newspapers and magazines in Canada in order to give a face to poverty in our country.

I bring this up because to me this provides the kind of contrast and debate in which we really need to be involved. On the one hand we have Bill C-36 and some amendments before us that may slightly mitigate the very drastic measures in the bill.

There is a great fear from a lot of the groups that I have spoken with across the country that we cannot bring about security at the point of a gun. We cannot bring about security through cluster bombs. We cannot bring about security in the long term through a bill such as this. Real security, common security, comes about by dealing with our global environment, our geopolitical environment, in a way that does remove the economic and social conditions that lead people into a space where they feel hopeless about their future. This was really brought home to me today in looking at these photographs of Canadian children who basically face a life where there is not much hope and there is not a sense of a future that has good opportunity.

I know there is great concern that the bill and what will flow from it in terms of the upcoming budget is something that will detract from dealing with pressing social issues in Canada, so theoretically and in fact in a very strong legislative way we will have acted upon what are for sure people's legitimate security concerns about the world that they live in. However, I think there is a great danger that in doing that and in focusing so much energy and resources on that agenda, we will have completely lost sight of and again turned a deaf ear to the other kinds of security issues that face us in terms of social inequality, in terms of a lack of housing and what happens to kids who grow up in poverty. That was something that became very clear to me today as I looked at those photographs.

Like many people, I have watched the debate at the justice committee hearings on Bill C-36. We have had many debates in the House about the need to have amendments, particularly the sunset clause. I feel really disappointed and I wish that there had been a different response from the government in terms of the Minister of Justice coming forward with more significant amendments. The most basic one would have been a real sunset clause, because I think one of the concerns a lot of people have is that the legislation, even with the so-called sunset clause, will in effect be with us for a decade.

We have to examine the legislation under a microscope that looks at the balance of civil rights versus security. It has to be a microscope that looks at the bill in terms of the resources that will be required now to implement the bill. We need to have a proper accounting about whether or not we have moved in a direction that is taking us toward a society in which all of our liberties are being infringed upon, in which people can be targeted, organizations can be targeted, people can be wiretapped, people can be compelled to give evidence and people can be defined as possibly engaging in terrorist activities when they are basically exercising their democratic rights.

Having come to this point now in the House where we are dealing with the amendments, I want to say that I and other members of the New Democratic Party cannot support the bill. We do support the amendments before us today because they are just small measures that try to improve the bill, but fundamentally this is a bad piece of legislation. Fundamentally, this is a piece of legislation that many people see as the thin edge of the wedge. It will move us into a society where, while we say in the name of democracy we bring this forward, we are at the same time undermining our democratic institutions and our democratic principles.

I would certainly urge members of the House to support these amendments as far as they go, but at the end of the day I believe we have to oppose the bill.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is now my turn, on behalf of the team of members of the Bloc Quebecois, to rise and speak to Bill C-36, a bill that has made us work so very hard.

First I would like to address the comments made in the House by a colleague from the New Democratic Party, comments in the form of a reproach for having voted in support of this bill at second reading. Despite our serious concerns, we voted for the bill at second reading because we thought that it was wise, given the events of September 11, that the legislation be reviewed. However, we immediately established that it was important and necessary to have a balance between the quest for sufficient security for citizens, and the protection of rights and freedoms. We worked very hard on this. Our critic, the member for Berthier--Montcalm, submitted 66 amendments. These were defended not only by him, but on a number of occasions by many different witnesses.

However, we had no choice but to conclude that the minister did not listen very well, since she only kept one of those 66 amendments. We certainly do not regret having taken the time to do this exercise, because we worked in good faith to improve a bill that greatly needed to be improved. But the more time passes, the more this good faith is being put to the test. This is not the time to discuss this issue, but I want to stress the fact that we are greatly concerned by Bill C-42.

The purpose of Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism act, was to establish special measures to deal with a special situation. This is why, apart from the fact that Canada is finally prepared to ratify international conventions on terrorism—as mentioned in the bill—this legislation had to have a time limit.

I have seen the proposed French legislation. As regards anti-terrorism measures, it provides that such measures will begin and end at specific dates. We wanted this review, which is resulting in stricter measures because of an exceptional situation, to be recognized as exceptional and therefore to include a time limit.

Unfortunately, what the government is proposing is very far from that. The minister accepted only two provisions that would be governed by a sunset clause, although not a real one. There would be a vote to renew the act. The bill will not lapse: there will simply be a review by the House.

We have before us amendments to improve clause 4 of the bill. While we support these amendments, and I will say why if I have enough time, they will not eliminate the excessive nature of this legislation and the imbalance between people's rights and freedoms and security. It is because of this imbalance in favour of security, at the expense of people's rights and freedoms that, unfortunately, we will vote against the bill at third reading.

Despite the amendments presented by the minister and the ones before us, with which we agree, clause 4 remains a major concern.

It is distressing and perturbing for someone who, like me, lived through the 1970s in Quebec. It is hard not to remember.

Motion No. 1 by the member for Lanark—Carleton does not go far enough to remove the despicable paragraph 83.01(1)( b ). It reads, and I quote:

(b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada—

There is no indication what act is committed and to what end, but the word for is used. Does this really indicate there are reasons for this and that in such a case these acts would be acceptable? This is very disturbing. Or it is really a matter of the substance, but that is not the aim of the bill?

As time is moving on, I will say we support Motions Nos. 2, 3 and 4, which are aimed in the right direction. Not only do they set out a series of criteria for the solicitor general on listing an entity, but they enable those concerned to know there will be criteria.

Motion No. 3 is useful. The solicitor general should take his time. If he exceeds the time allotted, the person will remain a listed entity. With this amendment, he is being asked to act quickly. If he does not, the person will no longer be a listed entity.

Finally, Motion No. 4 ensures that any person needing to defend himself or herself will be entitled, even without asking for one, to counsel.

We want these measures passed and the bill improved somewhat. It is with great fear that we realize the government is heading toward getting it passed.

The EnvironmentStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, wind chill is the extra cooling we feel on a cold day with wind. Canadians are familiar with the sensation that can be the difference between life and death at low temperatures.

In Kugaaruk, Nunavut, -51°C combined with a 56 kilometres per hour wind produced a wind chill of minus 78. For locals this meant it was -78°C when exposed flesh freezes in a minute.

I am proud that Environment Canada has developed a new wind chill index that will be used around the world. This is a better measure of the combined effects of temperature and wind. I urge all members to listen for wind chill forecasts.

Despite hot air produced on Parliament Hill, the wind chill in Ottawa has reached minus 48. At these levels the skin of MPs freezes in minutes and they run a serious risk of frostbite.

I say to Environment Canada: “Thanks, we think you are cool”.

HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister cannot seem to get his health act together. In 1999 the provinces were assured of the creation of a fair and effective panel that would help resolve the disputes of the federal government over the Canada Health Act.

The provinces want a panel with the ability to make those recommendations, but this health minister only wants a weak fact finding body. The provinces have the mandate to deliver health care. The provinces are by far the greatest contributors to health care costs in this country.

The provinces are responsible for putting the provisions of the Canada Health Act into practice. They are simply asking for a panel that will be able to make recommendations over disputes on the Canada Health Act. The minister should lay down his sword and start working with the provinces, his counterparts.

Children's RightsStatements by Members

2 p.m.


John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week was the international week of children's rights. The international convention on the rights of the child was adopted in 1989. The premise of this convention is that all of the world's children are born with fundamental rights and freedoms.

These rights include the right to survival; the right to develop fully; protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and the right to participate in family, cultural and social life.

We begin by recognizing that Canadian children have these inherent rights, especially today on the 12th anniversary as we mark our pledge to end child poverty in Canada.

All over the world children are caught in conflicts and even used as soldiers. Many children cannot attend school. Some are exploited through prostitution or labour under severe conditions. Many become orphans due to the spread of HIV-AIDS.

The government is concerned about these children and is working with the international community to help children in Canada and around the world to attain their fundamental rights.

Ashley McNaughtonStatements by Members

2 p.m.


John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate Ashley McNaughton of Arva, Ontario. Ashley has been chosen as a junior team Canada delegate for the spring 2002 economic mission to Mexico.

Junior team Canada is a uniquely Canadian program which has existed since 1991. The team is comprised of 15 youth members aged 16 to 24 who have been selected out of 500 applicants from across Canada.

In March 2002, Ashley and her teammates will attend a three day briefing in Ottawa, followed by a ten day mission to Mexico. During this time they will meet with business, education and government to identify opportunities for their sponsoring organizations.

As a former educator it always gives me great pleasure to witness the success of young people in my riding. The competition for the junior Canada team was extremely intense and Ashley has shown great dedication and determination by becoming one of the 15 delegates for 2002.

National Addictions Awareness WeekStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, November 18 to 24 is National Addictions Awareness Week. The purpose of this event is to inform the public about the problems associated with addictions and to promote a lifestyle free of alcohol and substance abuse.

The event was created by the Nechi Training, Research and Health Promotions Institute in 1981. Since that time, it has become an important tool for co-operation and partnership between communities with a common goal.

An addiction is very harmful to those suffering from it and to those close to them. The image of a circle of individuals and families is ideal. It shows that addicts need support in their recovery.

Activities will be organized throughout the country. I urge Canadians to take part. Together, let us “Keep the circle strong”.

The Grey CupStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all proud Calgarians I am honoured to rise in the House in recognition of this year's Grey Cup champions, the Calgary Stampeders.

Before the second largest crowd in Grey Cup history the Stampeders, written off as huge underdogs going in, clinched the 89th Canadian Football League championship with an exciting 27 to 19 victory.

Its fifth Grey Cup championship did not come easy as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers fought our Stampeders tooth and nail, keeping the game within five points for much of the fourth quarter and keeping most fans and viewers on the edge of their seats.

On the final play of the game with Winnipeg needing a touchdown and a two point convert, Joe Fleming put the final nail in the coffin by sacking Blue Bomber's quarterback Khari Jones to clinch the victory for the Stamps.

Not only is this an early Christmas present for all Calgarians. It is a huge civic boost that all Albertans can be proud of. I congratulate the players and coaches of this year's Grey Cup champions, the Calgary Stampeders, on a job well done.

Gala des Prix OpusStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Gala des prix Opus, a ceremony to honour Quebec's classical music artists, took place yesterday. This is an event created by the Conseil québécois de la musique.

The Montreal symphony orchestra was certainly not forgotten. The work Elektra won the awards for concert of the year in the Montreal area and concert of the year in the classical, romantic and modern music category.

In addition, tribute was paid to its artistic director, Charles Dutoit, for his contribution to classical music and to the Montreal symphony orchestra.

Awards also went to the ensemble Les Violons du Roy for concert of the year in the Quebec City area, and concert of the year in the medieval, renaissance and baroque music category. Their conductor, Bernard Labadie, was the top choice of those who listen to Radio-Canada's cultural network.

I also wish to congratulate the other winners. Their commitment to music enriches our culture.

Violence Against WomenStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Let us use this opportunity to remind the House that the fight is far from over and that we must continue to do everything we can to build a world free of this violence, which affects thousands of lives every day.

I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the admirable work that is carried out every day by men and women who strive to create a society that treats women fairly. I am referring to, among others, groups that have set up what could be called resistance networks of shelters and transition houses for women who have survived domestic violence. Thanks to them, thousands of women can finally live their lives free of fear.

Let us not forget that, day after day, women around the world are victimized by violence. We must act now so that, one day, we will finally be able to celebrate the end of violence against women.

JusticeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week Canadians celebrated restorative justice week and on Friday Correctional Service Canada hosted the third annual Ron Wiebe restorative justice award ceremony in Kingston.

The award recognizes Canadians who have demonstrated through their work or lifestyles ways of encouraging healing between people in conflict, be they victims, offenders, colleagues, families or neighbours.

This year Commissioner Lucie McClung presented the award to Wilma Derkson, director of Victim's Voice from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since the abduction and death of her daughter Candace in 1984, Mrs. Derkson has become a powerful justice advocate. By working with all those affected by crime, victims, offenders and community members, she has helped to create a better understanding and opportunities for healing.

Restorative justice emphasizes healing for victims, meaningful accountability for offenders and the involvement of citizens in creating healthier, safer communities. I encourage all members of the House to join me in congratulating Wilma Derkson on winning this year's award.

HealthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government's systematic underfunding of health care is forcing a two tier health care system on the very people who can least afford it. It will only get worse unless health care funding is addressed in the next federal budget.

The premier of Ontario said that the federal Liberals are the single greatest threat to health care in Canada. Seniors are the frontline users of health care and are being forced to endure its deterioration. Shortages, lineups and increased costs, these deficiencies are leaving too many seniors vulnerable while forcing others to go elsewhere to get the medical attention they need.

For far too long the Liberal government has shirked its responsibility for health care funding. For far too long the Liberal government has denied two tier health care while creating the very environment which encourages it to grow.

On the eve of the next budget I urge the government to accept responsibility for the poor state of health care in the country and to make a strong and vigorous funding commitment. The health of seniors depends on it.