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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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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The Deputy Speaker

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The question is now on Motion No. 4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Some hon. members


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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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The Deputy Speaker

The recorded division on Motion No. 4 stands deferred.

We will now proceed to Motion No. 6 in Group No. 2.

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Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON


Motion No. 6

That Bill C-36, in Clause 29, be amended by adding after line 18 on page 62 the following:

“In no case shall a person be bound to secrecy for a period exceeding fifteen years, unless otherwise indicated by the deputy head.”

Mr. Speaker, the amendment would alter the definition of persons permanently bound to secrecy in the act. In Bill C-36 which is currently returning to the House from committee the definition of persons permanently bound to secrecy is long but includes a whole series of people. The definition is automatic. The binding to secrecy is automatic for anyone in those categories.

The purpose of the amendment is to allow the discretion to be reversed. A person would be bound to secrecy permanently if designated by the deputy head of the relevant department but not otherwise. The point of this is to deal with the almost obsessive secrecy that permeates this piece of legislation.

The dangers writ large in the attitude the government has taken toward secrecy in Bill C-36 were summarized by the remarks in the House of the member for Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough--Aldershot. He said:

Section 87 enables the government to withhold information pertaining to security issues forever...That is the excuse that has been used by dictatorships throughout history and around the world.

That is the danger writ large. The danger writ small, if one likes, in relation to the clause was summarized most eloquently by Edward Greenspon in an article published in the November 17 edition of the Globe and Mail . I will read quite an extensive quote from the article to illustrate exactly what the concern is. He wrote:

Commentators have been rightly critical of the provisions giving the minister an unfettered blanket exception from the Access to Information Act. Ms. McLellan has indicated a willingness to amend her bill to include a Federal Court review, but that represents too drawn out a process to serve as an effective instrument of oversight.

Then there are the little noted sections of her bill that replace the old Official Secrets Act with the new Security of Information Act. The changeover unduly constrains the release of information by whistle blowers, and permits the Orwellian designation of certain government officials as “persons permanently bound by secrecy.” That means they must take their secrets to the grave.

He continues:

Ms. McLellan should take note of a comment made by University of Toronto security expert Wesley Wark at a recent symposium on her bill. “In the war on terrorism, the public will need to be told more rather than less about the actions and capabilities of Canadian security and intelligence institutions.”

There are of course good reasons some people should be bound to secrecy for an extensive period of time, say for 15 years as I propose in the amendment. There are certain cases in which a permanent lifelong ban on release of information may be appropriate. However those instances ought to be the exception and be granted on a case by case basis rather than being automatic.

Automatic secrecy provides a convenient veil behind which any number of restrictions can be hidden. When facts are hidden behind a veil there is a temptation to extend secrecy to things that have nothing to do with terrorism or national security. This would essentially gut the entire openness in government movement that has slowly built up strength over the past 20 years. It would be a real shame to see that destroyed. This is what the amendment hopes to prevent.

The amendment I have proposed would change the way deputy heads of security agencies such as CSIS, the RCMP or the Communications Security Establishment may designate employees by limiting secrecy to 15 years except when the deputy head specifically makes a change to the contrary. This would curb the absolute muzzling powers that are placed on the whistle blowing capacities of employees to expose gross excess, corruption or other misuses of power.

The 15 year limit was chosen for two reasons. First, it is consistent with the time limit on ministerial secrecy certificates. I have reservations about ministerial secrecy certificates. However the government saw fit to use 15 years so in the spirit of consistency and logic I am proposing 15 years.

Second, 15 years is the length of time after which most security information would be obsolete anyway. There are possible exceptions but most security information would be rendered obsolete.

There are exceptions. Let us imagine going back in time to the forties where one might have wanted to make exemptions of longer than 15 years for nuclear secrets. Those kinds of exemptions can be built in on a case by case basis by the people who know best. Let us give them the authority to go that way but let us not give them a blanket exemption.

The time allocation that has been put in place may make it difficult to address other aspects of the bill later. I have an amendment coming up with regard to a sunset clause. I will address the issue now because I might not have a chance to do so later.

I was an early advocate of a sunset clause. The government resisted initially. I think this was based largely on the fact that the Prime Minister had offered an ad lib comment off the cuff in Shanghai and did not want anyone to show him up. Whatever the reason, the government has been reticent about putting sunset clauses in place. That is a grave error. The partial sunset clause it put in place is inadequate.

There are aspects of the bill that are good. The sunset clause on preventive arrest that would permit ongoing investigations to be grandfathered or exempted from the sunset clause is a good idea. Where the government has put in the sunset clause it is a welcome change. However the sunset clause should be extended not to the UN conventions we are entrenching but to other aspects of the bill that would greatly reduce the traditional civil liberties of Canadians.

We need to confront an interesting question. We were talking about a three year review of the bill that would take place between now and the next election. Why are we are now talking about a five year sunset clause? I fail to see why three years made sense when the bill was introduced but now five years is appropriate, unless the review was something that could be swept under the rug as prior reviews have been.

There is a long history of reviews that have been dealt with so expeditiously that members of the committees meant to be reviewing were unaware of them. The review of the Referendum Act that supposedly took place in 1995 was so brief that members of the committee were unaware of it.

I was on the committee and I asked the chief electoral officer about the review. He said it came up as an item of business with no advance notice or discussion. It was meaningless.

As long as that was the case the government was willing to have a three year review. Now that we are talking about something genuine, a real limitation on the government and a real review which would involve any embarrassing oversteps brought to the public's view, the government wants it to be after the next election.

Members of the House ought not vote in favour of suspending civil liberties until such time as it is electorally convenient for the Prime Minister to reintroduce those civil liberties. It is a shame. It is a strong reason to vote against the bill as a whole but certainly to vote in favour of any amendment that would extend the sunset clause.

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Vancouver Quadra B.C.


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

Mr. Speaker, the amendment put forward by the member for Lanark--Carleton deals with two key issues: persons permanently bound to secrecy and to special operational information. It is important for us to understand that we are talking about a very restricted intersection of those two definitions. A person may become a person permanently bound to secrecy if the person is a current or a former member or employee of a scheduled entity or if designated by a deputy head and personally served with a notice to that effect.

The criteria are important. On the criteria for designating a person to be a person permanently bound to secrecy, in quoting from the Globe and Mail article, the member for Lanark--Carleton spoke of people who take their secrets to the grave. This is an immensely important and inaccurate distinction that the writer is making. They are not their secrets. They are secrets, special operational information that must be kept secure. They are not their secrets to take to the grave and they certainly are not their secrets to disclose. However the criteria for designating such a person are twofold: the person has, has had or will have authorized access to special operational information; and it is in the interests of national security to designate the person. We are talking of national security.

New offences create a special regime for those persons who have a privileged access to the most vital information, such as special operational information and criminalizes on their part the unauthorized disclosure or a purported disclosure of this narrow band of information going to the essence of Canadian national interests.

The security and intelligence community has certain operational requirements that need to be fostered. These operational requirements include an ability to ensure secrecy and project to others that they have the ability to protect the information entrusted to them.

While it is true that the person may be designated for life, the character of the information may change. The definition of special operational information makes it clear that it is information the Government of Canada is taking special measures to safeguard from disclosure in the national interest.

Very briefly, with respect to the sunset clauses which the hon. member has referred to, and perhaps I may use the opportunity at a later time to respond to them, it is important to understand that these sunset clauses are cumulative to a number of other accountability mechanisms and review mechanisms in the bill. We have ministerial responsibility. These are not police officers, prosecutors, people in distant parts of the country making decisions. These decisions are under the certificate of an attorney general. As well, they are under judicial review, judicial accountability, some ministerial responsibility and judicial oversight on most if not all of the aspects in some way or another of this bill.

We have annual reports of attorneys general and solicitors general, federally and provincially. The federal ones will be put before this House on an annual basis. This will build cumulatively a database on which to base further reviews including the three year parliamentary review. I would suggest in this forum of public accountability, that it is the solemn duty of every minister of the House not to let this three year review go anywhere. Members of the justice and human rights committee will be examining it. People in the House will be examining it. We will have data building over time to base that review on.

The sunset clauses after five years only come after that ministerial responsibility, judicial oversight, cumulative annual reports, parliamentary review, including review by committees. On an annual basis I think we should fully expect in the justice and human rights committee that the relevant ministers will be brought before the committee to answer questions on their annual reports on an annual basis.

The vigilance required of all of us in the House as with the news media, as with the general public is going to be critical to ensure that this very important legislation is put to the intended use and only to that use.

With respect to sunset, yes, parliament will have to in both houses by special resolution extend it, if the circumstances demand that because of the continuing threat of terrorism those tools are found to be necessary and are appropriately used for the protection of the public. I would suggest that the best sunset clause will be when these powers are never used because they are not necessary because the threat has dissipated.

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November 26th, 2001 / 5:55 p.m.


Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise following the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. I do not know whether I should draw a picture or explain to him the difference between a real sunset clause and what the minister calls a sunset clause in Bill C-36.

Either the member across the way knows full well that he is misinforming the House as to what a sunset clause is or he has completely misunderstood the bulk of the evidence we heard at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

What the minister added to Bill C-36 is a misinterpretation of what a sunset clause is. Every expert, every specialist in this field, anyone who has studied the issue is saying loud and clear that the clause the minister calls a sunset clause is not a sunset clause.

What is a sunset clause? Obviously the member does not seem to understand it. I am going to explain it to him and then if he has not understood yet I will draw a picture in three colours. This applies to the minister too.

A sunset clause is a clause that states that the bill or certain provisions will no longer be in effect after a given date. For instance, if one chooses the same date as the minister, one would say that some provisions or the bill, with the exception of such and such a provision, will cease to be in force on December 31, 2006.

Sure, it is five years. We wanted three years; five years is too long. It is only to use the same example as the minister, the same date as the minister. It is a sunset clause. On the day after December 31, 2006, Bill C-36 would cease to exist. Then, if the government wants to re-enact the extraordinary powers it has grabbed, the legislative process would start all over again.

What is a legislative process? Maybe the member, the parliamentary secretary to the minister, still does not know what it is. It starts with the introduction and first reading of a bill. Then, there is second reading. After second reading, if the bill is passed by the House, it is referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The committee reviews the issue, hears witnesses, makes recommendations and proposes amendments to the bill. They are either passed or defeated in committee.

If it is adopted in committee, the bill comes back to the House for consideration at the report stage. There is a vote. Then we go on to third reading. There is another vote. The bill is sent to the other House and the legislative process starts over again. That is a real sunset clause.

The minister told us: “Work adequately and seriously in committee. I will listen to you. What you ask is important. What the other House will do is important. What people will say before the committee is important to me”. What the minister tabled as an amendment in answer to what was said in committee, no one had asked such a frivolous thing in committee, not even in the Senate. Because it is not a sunset clause, it is trivial.

Paragraph 83.32 says that 15 days after December 31, 2006, the government will have 15 days to adopt a motion, without parliament and the members of this House being able to make any amendments.

And with a simple motion, a simple resolution adopted simultaneously by this and the other house, the bill, or more exactly the act, because in five years it will be an act of parliament, the legislation will be extended without the members of this house, the elected members—and in five years, we will probably have seen another election; we will have new elected representatives who will have to justify their actions before their constituents—being able to add a word to this act, being able to modify it. Its application will be extended.

It is not a sunset clause. If there is the least bit of honesty in the front rows, they we will stop saying that paragraph 83.32 is a sunset clause. It is not true.

The justice committee members who are here this afternoon and listening to me know very well that nobody asked for such a clause.

As the member opposite said in his remarks, you will there is the whole issue of review. That review is just some more window dressing. It will be done three years from now. It is reassuring to see that every year a report will be tabled by the Attorney General of Canada and by the attorney general of each province. They will be reporting on their own administration of the act and on the powers they have assumed.

Does anyone know where that report will go? It will go gather dust on the shelves of parliament. Those shelves are full of reports that are worth no more than the paper they are written on.

Is that what we will have to make people feel secure? Who asked for that in committee? I was not absent very often, and in my absence, the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert was there and later on we would exchange our information. Nobody asked for such a trinket. It is only as a joke that one might imagine such things. All that is to cover up, to grab powers and go on a power trip, as they are doing opposite.

This is a cause for concern because it will be a precedent in criminal law. When we amend the criminal code, this legislation will still be there. They will say: “This has already been done in Bill C-36 in exceptional circumstances, so maybe we could do it again with this principle of law or this criminal code amendment”. Where will it end?

The best proof that this is dangerous and that we can wonder how far this government can go is that—as if Bill C-36 were not enough—last week, Thursday to be precise, they introduced Bill C-42, another bill granting exceptional powers to certain ministers. It is another piece of legislation where the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is ignored. A state of emergency can be declared, and the motion is not examined for conformity to the enabling legislation and the charter of rights.

Do not tell me the charter will apply and that the courts will review this. It can take 30 to 60 days. That is not nearly enough to go before the courts and make sure any given measure is in keeping with the charter of rights and freedoms.

I cannot understand how members opposite, who can see what the ministers are doing, can say nothing. I know some who consider themselves to be champions of individual and collective rights. It is time they said where they stand.

It is not funny, but if we look at the amendments, for example Motion no. 6, we have to ask ourselves: Is the proposed amendment any better than Bill C-36? Just imagine. We are not wondering if this is the right amendment that will allow us to reach the desired balance between individual and collective rights and national security. We are not asking ourselves that question any more.

We can choose between a 35 tonne steam roller and a 25 tonne one. That is the choice we have.

In Motion No. 6, part 2 on the Official Secrets Act, the amendment deals with information that a person can hold and that would be subject to secrecy for life or for a period of 15 years. Will we put this information on hold for 15 years or for life? This is the choice we have today. Of course 15 years is better than life, but it would be even better if we did not have to wait 15 years. We are entitled to know what is going on. We are entitled to this information.

When we vote on an amendment, what we choose in fact is the one that is less offensive.

Across the floor no one rises to speak. In the corridors, when they talk to journalists, one or two members may blurt out that this bill does not make sense. They will say “This bill goes against individual and collective rights. I am a great champion of these rights and I will do my utmost to convince my caucus”. But what really happened? The government rammed 91 amendments through this House to strengthen some of the powers that it gave itself.

This is so true that it had to resort to a complicated scheme in the part dealing with the Access to Information Act. In order not to deprive the Minister of Justice of the power to issue certificates, they delegated that power to a judge of the federal court of appeal through a complicated process. It would have been so simple to delete clauses 87, 103 and 104 and go back to the enabling legislation, to the existing act, which is working well. Who says so? It is not the opposition, but the information commissioner and also the privacy commissioner. Is it so difficult for members opposite to understand that it is not necessary that ministers get involved in this for reasons of national security?

We agree with this motion which proposes to set a 15 year time limit but this is not ideal. Ideally the government should understand the situation and withdraw its bill.

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6:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I wish to inform the House of the result of the inquiries I made further to the point of order raised by the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough earlier today.

The hon. member drew the attention of the House to the fact that the evidence of meeting No. 50 of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights had been posted at the committee's Internet site before the evidence of earlier meetings. The suggestion was made that in this way an undue advantage was given to the testimony of the hon. Minister of Justice and hence to the government's advocacy of Bill C-36.

I have learned that Meeting No. 50 of the justice and human rights committee deals only with the clause by clause consideration of Bill C-36. It is standard procedure in the committee's directorate to give precedence to clause by clause meetings over those at which testimony is heard. This is done to assist all hon. members in their deliberations on the bill at report stage.

No outside request was made with respect to the order in which the evidence for this committee is being processed and there has been no deviation from the usual practice.

I would also like to point out that the evidence of Meeting No. 50 does not contain any testimony of the hon. Minister of Justice. She appeared at Meeting No. 49 earlier the same day and the evidence of that meeting, along with that of earlier meetings, is being processed in the usual manner.

Hon. members may therefore be assured that there has been no improper influence or preferential treatment with regard to the evidence of the justice committee.

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Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the diligence and timeliness of your effort in examining the point of order I raised earlier today.

The debate has digressed somewhat into a concerted effort to deal with the issue of sunset clauses, which I think hon. members on both sides of the House have quite accurately described as not truly a sunset at all. It is very much an attempt by the government to give the appearance of it being a sunset clause, but we know that there is not a true lapsing. Therefore a procedure that begins, as outlined by the hon. member for Berthier--Montcalm, would follow a true passage of a bill, thereby giving due process and all the requisite examination that occurs in a process of the reintroduction of a bill.

The sunset clause, as contained in the bill as amended, touches only on two aspects of the bill, that being investigative hearings and preventive arrests, so it is very much focused. It is fair to say that the sun only sets, if it sets at all, on two limited provisions of the bill and the purpose of the sunset clause is essentially eclipsed by the fact that it does not truly set. The sun does not go down. It continues in effect by the simple revocation and reintroduction of the bill, which circumvents all those other checks and balances, including the committee stage and the true examination at all stages of the bill.

This legislation is complex. It is certainly a bill that is necessary. That perhaps is where the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative coalition can distinguish itself from other parties in terms of its opposition. We support the necessity of the bill. We support the focus of much of the bill, which is to give police increased preventive powers and, in some instances, even governmental powers that should exist in times of emergencies. It was the Progressive Conservative Party of the day that introduced the Emergency Measures Act that replaced the War Measures Act.

This is a bill that certainly comes about in a time of consternation and concern in the country. What we are worried about are the additional powers that are tagged along, the kitchen sink approach to the legislation, which would vest more powers in the offices of government and in its ministers. In this instance, I am talking particularly about the certificate process which would circumvent access to information.

Access to information, I am quick to add, was fought for long and hard in this place by current members of the government to ensure transparency, openness, accountability and all those things that Canadians have come to expect and to truly compel the government to follow. Yet this is a clawback of that. The issuance of certificates would circumvent and eviscerates many of those long sought after access to information rules.

The parliamentary secretary spoke in the House, in response to these amendments, about the need and the proportionality of this legislation. I would submit that, yes, there is a need, however the proportionality here, in terms of the powers that would be vested in the minister's office, is not proportionate to what is occurring. The long term implications that exist for Canadians are extremely worrisome.

I point to what we heard at the committee, at private meetings and read in correspondence and to what I suggest all members of the current House of Commons must be receiving, particularly from new Canadians who feel most vulnerable and threatened by these extraordinary new powers that would be vested in the minister's office by virtue of these certificates.

Pragmatically what this would allow the government to do, by virtue of that power being vested in police, is to make decisions that would affect the very liberties, securities and freedoms that are enjoyed by Canadians, without knowledge of what the accusation may be. By issuance of certificates, a cloak would be placed over the allegation.

The idea that due process and the right to make full answer in defence is firmly entrenched and sacred. Our legal system is challenged and shaken at the foundation by the issuance of certificates which are now available to the Minister of Justice under the bill.

I want to focus specifically on the motion brought forward by the hon. member for Lanark--Carleton that speaks of the extension of the 15 year period of secrecy. This period of secrecy would extend to deputy heads, the chief of the defence staff, departmental heads, ministers, crown corporations, the clerk of the privy council or other persons authorized by the clerk.

This is an attempt, as the hon. member stated, to conform and bring into line the period of time in which secrecy can be put forward. This cloak can be presented over important information that is held by the government. The parliamentary secretary stated that there are times when that secrecy needs to be invoked and I do not disagree with that.

The point is the government should have to justify using that extraordinary power. After 15 years it should have to reinvoke powers that allowed this to happen. It should not acquiesce or have the powers extend off into eternity, but it should go through the motions of distinguishing the time which those powers exist.

The same thing can be said of the power to have a person's name taken off the list. The solicitor general said that if after 60 days he had not made a decision the name would stay on the list. He would not do anything.

He added that if people's names were on the list the onus was on them. They may have been accused and not even known the reasons that led to their names being placed on the list. However the solicitor general said that if after 60 days he had not gone to the trouble of making up his mind or deciding why someone's name was there it would stay on the list.

The purpose behind the amendment put forth by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre was to force the government to act, to make it go through the trouble of justifying and openly stating the reasons for listing a person so that an individual had some obligation to go to court.

Under the current status and amendments in the bill individuals have to initiate a challenge in the federal court because the access request and the information that may be sought through those normal channels could be sidelined or brushed aside by the issuance of a certificate.

However individuals are now required to initiate an action against the federal government through the federal court if they have money, perseverance and are prepared to engage in a long protracted legal battle.

However there is another irony here. Individuals can have their assets frozen by virtue of being listed. They can have their ability to fund such a protracted and expensive process completely taken away, thus leaving them further exposed and leaving them to face the horrible conundrum of finding themselves on a list, perhaps wrongly.

There is ample reason to suggest that mistakes will be made. They have been made now. Last week we were informed that Mr. Attiah in Chalk River found himself on a list and the information was wrong. He lost his job after being questioned by the police.

That is why we are concerned about this issue. It is the process and ability to know the reasons a person may be suspected. The basic tenets of criminal justice are being completely whisked away by virtue of some of the provisions of the bill.

We are not raising these amendments or these concerns because we like the sound of our own voices. We are asking legitimate questions about this issue.

The professor of justice who was vaulted from the classroom into cabinet seems to take great pleasure in pointing out that if one supports the bill one should shut up and go away. It does not work like that. One can support a bill and try to improve it. That is why we have the process of proposing amendments. That is why we go to the trouble of trying to improve a bill right up until the time that it comes before the House to be voted upon.

This is what parliament is about. It is about an opportunity to intelligently discuss and constructively criticize legislation. When we see the government again invoking time allocation at a record number for no apparent reason, when we have two days set aside for debate yet the government House leader again drops the legislative equivalent of a nuclear bomb and eviscerates further debate, Canadians must slouch back and wonder what is happening to the democratic process.

It is enough to make the worst hypocrite blush when members of the government, who were so adamant when in opposition about not using these types of provisions, do so indiscreetly and with very little regard for what should amount to legitimate and very important debate on a bill of such importance.

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6:20 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in speaking in support of Motion No. 6 put forward by the member for Lanark--Carleton, I want to put on the record that members of the NDP will be supporting the motion as we have the previous amendments. We think these amendments are an attempt to make the bill more palatable.

I want to echo the comments of my hon. colleague who spoke before me and question the kind of direction we are taking, not only as a parliament but as a Canadian society. It is very surprising to me. I think a lot of people wonder whether this place, we as parliamentarians and the work we do, are relevant. We have to question that as well when we see legislation which has come forward and on which the government now has made clear it intends to bring in closure or time allocation.

This is probably the most important piece of legislation to come before the House in decades, maybe in the history of our country, and yet the debate is being forced and pushed because the government is so intent on shutting down public debate. As I said earlier when debating other amendments, I have never had so much feedback from Canadians across the country than on this legislation.

When we look at this particular amendment, which would limit the secrecy provisions on individuals who work for security agencies to a maximum of 15 years, it is yet another proposal to deal with the fundamental issue of what is in the public realm and what is deemed to be held by the government or by government agencies. Rather than codifying practices and procedures that remove the rights of Canadians to information, to due process and to understanding what it is that is being said about them or against them, we should be examining the kinds of processes we have now.

It was probably surprising to some people to read stories in the press recently about someone like David Lewis, a former leader of the New Democratic Party, who was under surveillance by law enforcement agencies. These practices have gone on for years and years yet as Canadians we know very little about them.

Frankly I find it quite shocking. It seems to me that rather than pushing the bill through, we should be opening up some of these processes that now exist in examining what has gone on in previous years that we are only now just beginning to find out about.

I would hope, based on his comments today, that the hon. member, who spoke so eloquently in his opposition to the bill, would agree with members of the New Democratic Party and vote against the bill. We should be putting forward amendments but at the end of the day we should recognize that the bill is flawed and anti-democratic and it jeopardizes the civil liberties and rights of all Canadians.

While we have been told repeatedly by the Minister of Justice and other government officials that the bill is targeted toward terrorist activities and organizations that support those activities, there are still huge questions about how far the bill will go, how wide the net will be cast and that there will be people who will be targeted.

The case of Mohammed Attiah is a very good example of what can happen even before the bill is approved. It should serve as a significant warning as to what will take place if the bill goes through and there is further targeting. This was a situation where a Canadian citizen who worked as an engineer in an atomic energy plant was questioned because his name happened to be on some list. I am sure his ability to respond and call in someone who could advocate for him was non-existent. He was placed in an incredibly vulnerable position and as a result lost his job. Just being under suspicion caused him to lose his job, his credibility and the professionalism he had built up in his work in that area.

When I read about that case I was outraged and, as I said, it happened before the bill even becomes law.

I would rather that as a parliament we actually examine what is now taking place. We should examine those procedures to make sure the practices we currently have are not being abused and that the human, civil and political rights of Canadians to dissent, to access information and to a fair hearing are being upheld.

I strongly believe that it is incumbent upon all of us in the House, particularly among the opposition parties, to work as hard as we can to make improvements to the bill. However, we in the NDP have come to the conclusion that the bill must be defeated. It is bad legislation. It does not serve the public interest nor does it serve the democratic interest of our country.

We will be supporting the amendment and I thank the member for Lanark--Carleton for bringing it forward. Obviously a lot of work has taken place in the committee. We want to make sure there is a full debate, not just around this amendment but other amendments that are yet to come forward. We want to make sure that there is a full debate about the bill and that it is not just rammed through by the government. It is probably the most significant piece of legislation to come before the House and we need to make sure it does not go through.

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6:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 6.30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m.)