House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-17.


Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-17.

We note that Bill C-17 represents just the latest incarnation in a series of bills that have been introduced to try and address the aftermath of 9/11. It is a top of mind issue for every Canadian and for every global citizen as we take necessary steps to add to the security of ordinary Canadians and the sense of security that they should enjoy in a great country like Canada.

Bill C-17, building off of Bill C-42, building off of Bill C-55, building off of Bill C-36 attempts once again to find a reasonable balance between the needed measures that must be taken to give Canadians confidence and those precious personal rights and freedoms by which we define ourselves as Canadians. We believe that we are still struggling to find that balance and we are not satisfied that we are there yet today. We are still very concerned that Bill C-17 may fall under the quote that was referenced earlier, that those who would trade personal and individual rights and freedoms in exchange for short term and temporary security really deserve neither.

If we are willing to compromise the very personal freedoms by which we define ourselves as Canadians for an unproven commodity, we are really being asked to buy a pig in a poke because we are not even sure that the measures that are recommended under Bill C-17 in many ways will be satisfactory or will in fact improve the level of comfort that Canadians enjoy while being secure within our own boundaries. We are not sure that balance has been reached.

Bill C-17 will be an omnibus bill once again and will seek to address the issue of the safety of Canadians in a variety of acts. An enormous number of acts are influenced by the bill, for example the Aeronautics Act, the National Defence Act, the interim order of powers, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Criminal Code, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. That will give an idea to those who might be listening at home how broad and sweeping Bill C-17 really is.

We have to question if the bill has really had enough scrutiny, attention and study. Even though we debated at length Bill C-36, Bill C-55 and then Bill C-42, the same issues that we on the opposition benches have raised over and over again either have not been taken seriously or someone has failed to understand the legitimate points that keep being raised over and over by the people on this side at least.

There are people who have gone the whole broad spectrum of criticism, and there are some who fear that we are starting up that slippery slope to a police state. I do not believe that personally. I think that is badly overstating the issue. We do have to caution when we make fundamental changes to the way we have always done things and the way things have always been treated that there are those who in their zeal or just in their willingness to do their jobs well may take advantage of these measures in areas where they were never meant to be used.

I think of the simple right to protest. I come from the labour movement where it is not uncommon for my colleagues and I to find ourselves in a confrontational situation as we take our arguments to some sort of act of civil disobedience, if one will. Now, especially in what are called new military zones, that type of protest could be seriously limited. The new authorities under Bill C-17 could be exercised to stifle that sort of legitimate protest. I raise that as a point that concerns the trade unionists very much, as did Bill C-55, Bill C-42 and all the other bills leading up to this. That is only one point.

I will speak for a moment to an issue raised by one of the members of the Canadian Alliance. The Alliance believes the police or customs authorities should not have additional powers when it comes to seizing the components of explosives. I disagree 100%. I believe our customs and revenue agents should have the right to seize the makings of explosives, just as much as they have the right to seize a bomb.

As a former blaster in underground and open pit mines, I know that fairly innocuous elements can become very dangerous when put together for the purposes of making a bomb. In the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, which everyone remembers very well, the actual bomb that went off was made with ordinary Prell fertilizer. Anyone with a farming background will recognize that as a fertilizer farmers use every day. Diammonium phosphate mixed with ordinary diesel fuel blew up the Oklahoma federal building. Perhaps I should not use the brand name Prell but that is the common pellet form of that fertilizer.

Frankly, if I saw a customs officer seizing a shipment of Prell fertilizer, the purposes of which could not be clearly explained, I think those revenue agents would be doing us all a service to at least use added scrutiny when they see that type of material crossing our border. That is one element of Bill C-17 with which I have no objection at all. In fact, I applaud the initiative.

We believe that the broadening of the new military zones goes far beyond what is necessary. We note that the new military zones designated by order in council would include the Esquimalt military base and the area surrounding it, areas around Halifax, et cetera. We recognize that our military bases need to have additional scrutiny because if we are to be targeted in any way, our military zones would have to be viewed. We also think this could cross a line between what is needed and what may be used in another way.

I have seen anti-nuclear protestors outside the Nanoose Bay installations, for instance, on Vancouver Island. They were peaceful protestors who simply disagreed with allowing American nuclear submarines into Canadian waters. Under the new rules, those peaceful protestors could be hauled away, held without charge and have their personal freedom to protest violated under the bill.

The NDP has spoken out loudly against these additional measures, not all the measures but those we deem to be unnecessary and even questionable and of questionable benefit. No one has really been able to demonstrate to us why all these measures are absolutely necessary.

It was perfectly understandable after 9/11 that the government used a fairly scattergun approach. North America and our American colleagues were under attack. For all we know that same level of alert should still be in place today. However we are using a completely scattergun approach and, in our effort to cover the bases necessary, we believe we are going too far in covering things that may not have been necessary and may have been frivolous. A more cynical person would say that we are trying to achieve measures that could not be achieved through the normal course of legislation by giving additional powers to police and to officers, which the country would normally balk at.

The new tax on air transportation is one example where we believe the government took advantage of a desperate situation to initiate a tax grab that never would have been tolerated under normal circumstances. Under the guise of this renewed need to resecure our borders, we believe it snuck this new cash cow under the wire.

Let me just state for the record that the NDP caucus still opposes Bill C-17. We have serious reservations. We question the motivation of the introduction of many of these clauses. We look forward to having the opportunity to address them further.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-17, the public safety act.

The bill, which was introduced in the House last Thursday, is an improved package of public safety initiatives in support of the government's anti-terrorism plan.

The proposed public safety act 2002 contains key provisions that will increase the Government of Canada's capacity to prevent terrorist attacks, protect Canadians and respond swiftly should a significant threat arise.

The proposed public safety act replaces the old Bill C-55 which was introduced this past spring but died on the order paper when Parliament prorogued in September. The proposed act retains key principles of Bill C-55 and notably would amend two acts that fall within the responsibilities of the Minister of Natural Resources: the National Energy Board Act and the Explosives Act. Like my colleague, I will be speaking to the technical aspects of the proposed legislation.

As hon. members will recall, the federal Explosives Act regulates the importation, manufacture, storage and sale of commercial explosives along with aspects of their transportation. Natural Resources Canada's, NRCan, primary mandate is to ensure the health and safety of workers in the industry and the health and safety of the general public.

The proposed amendments to the Explosives Act are the same as the amendments set out in Bill C-55 and are aimed at protecting Canada's explosives supply from criminal and terrorist interest. Proposed are: new measures to control the acquisition and possession of explosives by potential criminal or terrorist interests; to track the consumer sale of components of explosives, such as ammonium nitrate, which was mentioned by my colleague; and to introduce export and in-transit permit requirements to complement the current import permit regime.

This will assist in Canada's eventual ratification of the Organization of American States' inter-American convention against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials in the OAS convention, which was signed in November 1997.

I would now like to take the opportunity to clear up some misconceptions which we have heard in the House about the proposed amendments to the Explosives Act during second reading debate of the previous bill in the last session, Bill C-55.

The reason that inexplosive ammunition components--inexplosive means non-explosive components of ammunition such as cartridge cases and bullets--are proposed to be defined and included for control under the Explosives Act is that the OAS convention captures such components in its definition of ammunition. In addition, to complete rounds of ammunition, the OAS definition also includes the propellant powder, primer, cartridge case and projectile.

The OAS regime is based on a system of import, export and in-transit licences aimed at protecting the shipment of firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials within the Americas from loss or diversion to criminal or terrorist interests.

This is already a known problem in some Central and South American states. For that reason, the Organization of American States, the OAS, felt it necessary for the convention to address this issue on an America-wide basis. Once the proposed amendments to the Explosives Act are enacted, Canadian importers of small arms ammunition will need to amend their existing explosives importation permits to include cartridge cases and projectiles.

There is no intention to ban, severely control or impose any further restrictions on domestic commerce if the goods were lawfully manufactured or imported.

The proposed controls for curbing illicit manufacture and trafficking of explosives are not intended to burden lawful shooting activities.

While ammunition propellant, such as smokeless powder, will continue to be defined and regulated as an explosive under the Explosives Act, no additional domestic requirements for the shipment, storage and possession of lawfully imported or manufactured cartridge cases and projectiles are intended. These proposed amendments will not adversely impact lawful shooting activities in Canada.

I would now like to turn my attention to the proposed amendments to the National Energy Board Act contained in part 14 of Bill C-17. This is the other aspect of NRCan's responsibilities in these matters.

Given the events of September 11, 2001, the Government of Canada needs to clearly define the powers of the National Energy Board with respect to security. I would like to make it clear that safety and security are related but they are not the same thing.

The National Energy Board currently has the mandate to regulate safety of interprovincial and international pipelines and international power lines. The amendments to the National Energy Board Act would provide the board a clear statutory basis for regulating the security of energy infrastructure under its jurisdiction.

The board's authority to regulate security would only apply to those pipelines and facilities that fall under federal jurisdiction. Production, treatment, refining, storage and internal distribution clearly fall under provincial jurisdiction. The proposed amendments do not apply to these facilities.

The amendments proposed to the National Energy Board Act are the same as the amendments set out in the old bill, Bill C-55, which lapsed. They would expand the National Energy Board's mandate to regulate security of installations and would provide the NEB with a clear statutory mandate to: order a pipeline company or certificate holder for an international power line to take measures to ensure the security of the pipeline or the power line; to make regulations respecting security measures; to keep information relating to security confidential in its orders or proceedings; to provide advice to the Minister of Natural Resources on issues related to security of pipelines and international power lines; and, finally, to waive the publication requirements for applications to export electricity or to construct international power lines if there is a critical shortage of electricity.

The board's inspectors would be given additional authority to make orders with respect to security matters. The ability of the board to keep sensitive industry security information confidential is essential to the exercise of regulatory responsibilities for security. The amendments therefore contain a provision enabling the board to take measures to protect information in its proceedings or in any order.

There are two tests for exercising that authority. These matters, as in other areas of security, are a matter of balance. It is essential for the board to maintain confidentiality with regard to security measures.

In conclusion, the amendments to the National Energy Board Act and to the Explosives Act contained in Bill C-17 would contribute to the safety and well-being of Canadians and provide us with better tools to address and better protect ourselves from terrorism.

The Environment
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Gwich'in chiefs and other heroic Canadians who are in Ottawa today after marching on Washington, D.C. Saturday to protect the porcupine caribou herd from oil drilling in their calving grounds in the 1002 lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This herd sustains a civilization that is thousands of years old and is one of the hallmarks of Canada's proud diversity.

I would like to commend the efforts of northerners like Fred Carmichael, grand chief of the Gwich'in tribal council; Peter Ross, chief of the Gwichya Gwich'in; Abe Wilson, chief of the Tetlit Gwich'in; Joe Linkletter, chief of the Vuntut Gwich'in; Ken Madsen, the walk coordinator; Wendy and the kids, Abe, Malcolm and Norma Kassi.

I was pleased to join them in Washington this past week to raise awareness of the calving grounds of the porcupine caribou herds. I wish to commend all the participants in the walk for their hard work so far.

Because of the recent elections in the United States it is important all of us here in Parliament redouble our efforts. The Canadian government has always supported this fight and we must all keep up a great fight.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, for the third time in a year I am rising in the House to bring attention to the fact that despite repeated assurances the federal government is failing to meet its service delivery standards in the processing of employment insurance benefits.

It was on September 28, 2001, that I first stood in the House to point out that laid off workers in eastern Ontario were having to wait on average 42 to 56 days to have their claims processed despite the fact that the stated goal of the government was to process such claims in 28 days. A year later nothing at all has been done to lower the waiting period. The average performance level is still twice the waiting period promised by the government and that is simply unacceptable.

The unemployed in my riding and elsewhere should not have to pay the price for the Human Resources Development Department not being able to manage its internal affairs. I have been waiting a year for the minister to address this situation.

Will laid off workers in this part of the country have to wait another year for the government to simply meet its publicly stated promise of performance?

Religious Organizations
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Colleen Beaumier Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Madam Speaker, Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh .

On Saturday I attended a blood donor clinic at the Dixie Gurdwara in Mississauga. Response to the clinic was so overwhelming that wait times were upward of three hours and many were turned away.

While there I witnessed the lessons of giving taught by Guru Nanak being observed by young and old alike. “The gift is in the giving” is a belief that is practised by Sikhs around the world. They feed the homeless and provide lodging, they raise money for hospitals and care for the sick, all with no publicity and no fanfare.

Tomorrow is the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and I invite all members to join me in wishing all Sikhs a joyous holy day. Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh .

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, national parks and marine conservation areas protect Canada's fabulous biological diversity. They also protect drinking water for downstream communities, provide habitat for 402 endangered species and diversify regional economies by providing long term jobs in remote areas.

They enable aboriginal communities to realize their goals for cultural, economic and ecological sustainability. In addition, they provide and present to Canadians and visitors from overseas ecologically significant examples of wilderness heritage.

We lose the equivalent of three football fields of pristine wilderness every hour. It is critical that the government move swiftly on the throne speech commitment to greatly expand our parks on land and at sea. This commitment must be fully funded in the budget.

Ken Marland
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, I am proud to recognize today the achievement of Mr. Ken Marland, a teacher at Buena Vista Elementary School in my riding of Blackstrap.

Two days ago Mr. Marland received the Governor General's Award of Excellence in teaching Canadian history. He and five other recipients were selected from a field of more than 150 candidates from across Canada. Mr. Marland's innovative approach to helping children learn goes far beyond traditional classroom routines.

Rather than dictate lessons directly from a textbook Mr. Marland utilizes hands-on learning and real life examples to motivate his young students to learn about Canada's rich history. By fostering an enthusiastic love of learning Mr. Marland is giving his students a chance to grow and develop throughout their lives. What a wonderful gift.

I invite all members to join me in paying tribute to one of Canada's premier teachers, Mr. Ken Marland.

Government Financial Management
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to announce that a new study on world economic trends shows that Canada is once again a model to follow.

Indeed, the Conference Board of Canada notes the Liberal government's sound financial management. We succeeded in avoiding the world economic slowdown. Our performance in the area of job creation and economic growth is one of the best. In 2002, over 400,000 new jobs have been created in Canada.

This study merely confirms what Canadians already knew: this government's prudence, accountability and sound management are yielding results.

Today, I want to congratulate our government and encourage it to keep up its excellent work.

Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Madam Speaker, last Wednesday night there were Nunavut flags being waved proudly during a Hershey Cup All Star Series game at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau. In front of an enthusiastic crowd the WHL Eastern Conference team defeated the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Conference team by a score of 5 to 2.

Jordin Tootoo of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, was a key player for his WHL team and was cheered on by his proud mother, Rose, who was joined by many equally proud supporters from Nunavut, some who flew down the great distance for the occasion. We were probably the loudest fans at that arena. Jordin is an excellent role model for Nunavut youth and we wish him well for the rest of his season.

I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Jordin Tootoo and his teammates.

Jocelyne Gervais
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, the Syndicat des agricultrices du Centre-du-Québec has named Jocelyne Gervais, a resident of Saint-Guillaume, female farmer of the year 2002.

Mrs. Gervais works on the farm with her husband and does various tasks, in addition to managing the accounts of their farm and negotiating bank loans.

A dynamic woman, Jocelyne Gervais is also very involved in her community. She is active in many social clubs, in addition to being chair of the board of the Caisse populaire Cavignac.

I hope that her example will encourage other women to become actively involved in their community.

Congratulations to Jocelyne Gervais, the female farmer of the year for the Centre-du-Québec region.

Job Creation
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the economic climate and industrial and commercial development in Laval, the job market is expected to grow by 33,500 jobs in approximately 500 areas of activity before 2005.

This is excellent news for residents of Laval who are now, or who will soon be, looking for employment. However, 80% of these 33,500 new jobs will require greater knowledge and specialization by those who will be hired.

I am therefore particularly proud of the commitments made by the Government of Canada in its Speech from the Throne, making innovation and employment programs the centrepiece of all government actions.

Whether it be promoting learning on the job, or helping young people with their postsecondary studies, this innovation initiative will definitely provide for improved working conditions for Canadians in the future.

Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, today on Parliament Hill many have gathered to support Canada's farmers.

During the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille sparked civil change and citizens' rights, in particular, the right of farmers to market their grain as they wish. Reform was sought because French farmers were previously told how and where to sell their grain. French farmers received marketing freedom 200 years ago.

This same rights scenario is the reason for the symbolic “storming of the Bastille” today: freedom and equality for Canada's farmers. This freedom still eludes some of Canada's farmers who have suffered discrimination and imprisonment in their belief that all Canadians should be treated equally. National unity uncertainty is fostered by inequality of people and of livelihoods. All Canadians deserve and expect to be treated equally.

Today we call on our government to listen, listen to the call for equality, listen to Canada's farmers, and listen to the people of Canada.

Abba Eban
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Israel and the international community mourn today the death of one of the greatest statesmen and diplomats of the 20th century, Abba Eban.

South African born and Cambridge educated, Abba Eban played a decisive role--joined in by Canadians Justice Ivan C. Rand and Lester Pearson--in securing support for the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 1947 calling for the establishment of a Jewish state and a Palestinian state.

As Israel's long time ambassador to the United Nations from 1949 to 1959, and as its foreign minister from 1966 to 1974, a period which spawned the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, Eban became known as the “Voice of Israel”, resonating with its unique combination of Churchillian rhetoric and Shakespearian literacy. But even that was an understatement. Indeed, he was the voice of humanity, and his entire being was suffused with the commitment to peace between Jews, Arabs and Palestinians.

A distinguished academic, a prolific scholar, the unparalleled chronicler of his people and his country, and of civilization itself, his voice for peace is very much missed today. We have lost a great human being. We shall not see the likes of him again.

Émile Ollivier
Statements By Members

November 18th, 2002 / 2:05 p.m.


Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, eight days ago, author Émile Ollivier passed away. Journalists, literary critics and friends paid tribute to him and bade farewell to this sociologist, teacher and author.

Émile Ollivier was born in Haiti. He chose to live in Quebec so that he could live in French. He was a great lover of the French language.

Quebeckers can pride themselves on the contributions by those like Émile Ollivier, who came from afar to take part in building a society that is rich and modern, thanks to its diversity. A society in which many flourish in harmony with their new surroundings, while maintaining bonds with their motherlands. The works of Émile Ollivier have left an impression, and will continue to do so, on generations of Quebeckers.

I extend my condolences to his wife, Marie-José Glémaud, his daughter, Dominique, and his granddaughter, Mélissa, and to all those who, with the passing of Émile Ollivier, have lost someone they loved and admired.

Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, this year the Thompson Corps of the Salvation Army celebrated its 40th anniversary. I would like to extend my congratulations to the members of the corps and its volunteers for their hard work and determination.

The Thompson Corps began in the basement of a home and it has grown from its humble beginnings to provide community services, such as the local thrift store, the food bank and the emergency shelter. With the hard work of corps members and community volunteers, the Salvation Army raises money through its Red Shield Appeal and in the upcoming holiday season through its Christmas kettles.

In addition, the Thompson Corps and the Salvation Army, nationally with other organizations throughout Canada, provide Christmas food hampers to families in need. Regrettably, the number of families in need has grown as the problem of poverty has continued to escalate in Canada. More and more people in this country are forced to work two and three jobs just to survive.

The Liberal government needs to finally make good on its promises to help impoverished children and their families.