House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.


The House resumed from June 13 consideration of the motion that Bill C-299, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Competition Act (personal information obtained by fraud), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Once again I would ask all hon. members to carry on any conversations they may need to have outside the chamber so that we can continue with private members' business.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Mississauga South.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, a recent poll conducted by PhoneBusters of Canada has revealed that approximately 9,000 people have fallen prey to identity theft in the last 10 months. Almost 77% of them were concerned about it, but only a meagre 10% of us are aware of what we have to do to protect ourselves from identity theft.

The financial damages caused by this crime amount to $7.2 million.

Another shocking personal fact is that nearly 45% of Canadian adults do not monitor their credit card bills. This is part of the problem.

I looked at some of the statistics generally available and found that persons under 18 years of age represented only about 2% of the persons who fall victim to this crime of identity theft. Those from ages 18 to 29 were at about 25%, those 30 to 39 were at about 28%, those 40 to 49 were at about 20%, those 50 to 59 were at 12%, and those over 60 years of age were at a little less than 10%.

So it appears that working people between the ages of 18 and 50 account for about 75% of identity theft. These are the people who have assets and cash that it may be able to detect.

The reason I raise this is that Bill C-299, which is before us today, seeks to address the whole issue of identity theft. It is an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Competition Act.

We have had some excellent speeches from the members who spoke during the first hour, including the mover, the member for Edmonton—Leduc, as well as the member for Hochelaga, and also the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, I believe.

I think that what was concluded by the speakers was that there is a general agreement that in principle this is a matter which has to be addressed from the standpoint that it is a function of the improvement in the technological tools available. It is a function of criminals becoming more sophisticated in what they are doing. It is a function of the need of Canada to continue to ensure that it keeps pace with the changing approaches that those who would perpetrate identity theft have evolved to.

I am not going to talk too much to the specificity of the bill, other than to suggest that hon. members already have raised some concerns about details within the bill, but we are at second reading, which asks hon. members to consider approving the bill in principle, this being that we should examine and identify ways in which we can mitigate the impact and consequences of identity theft.

I doubt very much that there are too many members in this place who are going to argue with the basic premise or the fundamental principle of this bill. Therefore, I will be supporting it at second reading to go to committee and I will be recommending that to my caucus colleagues.

Having said that, I note that committee is the best place to address some of the points that have been raised by hon. members in debate with regard to potential deficiencies or areas in which the approach may be augmented. I believe in having the experts come before committee to provide more detailed analysis and consideration of perhaps the deficiencies within Criminal Code amendments, or ways in which there may be enhancements, and also to deal with section 403 of the Criminal Code. On section 403, there seems to be some disagreement between the Bloc and the Liberal member who spoke.

Notwithstanding that, I believe these matters are reparable in committee or at report stage. I much suspect that they will be.

I thought it would be useful simply to use the rest of my time to advise Canadians on how they can protect themselves from identity theft.

There are government and general websites that include a substantial amount of information about consumer protection. Let me highlight a few suggestions.

The most important thing obviously is to prevent access to our personal information. It is recommended that people not release their social security or account numbers in response to email, phone or in person requests. Instead of using Internet links, type the full address. Keep all sensitive documents, cheque books and credit cards securely locked away at home and at work. Carry only those credit cards that one needs to have on one's person or in one's wallet.

All private documents should be shredded before discarding them. Retrieve paper mail promptly from the mailbox and place outgoing cheques or other sensitive documents in the postal box directly and do not keep them on one's person for any great period of time.

Signing up for automatic payroll deposits is another preventive approach. Replace paper bills, statements and cheques with on-line paperless versions. Keep passwords hidden even in one's own home and change them frequently. Use regularly updated firewall and anti-virus protection software on computers. The public should know that computer access is one of the growing areas in which identity theft is occurring.

Do not respond to suspicious emails. Delete them, and if there is any doubt, contact the company from which they were sent. Do not discard a computer without completely destroying the data on the hard drive. Even in the case of a severely damaged computer where the hard drive does not work, very important information still can be recouped from the hardware components.

Another aspect of taking regular general prevention measures is to detect unauthorized activity. That includes reviewing bank, credit card and bill statements weekly through on-line access accounts. Contact the financial provider if statements are not received in a timely manner. Often what happens is people will take mail out of someone's mailbox.

We should review our credit information regularly. Free annual credit check reports are available through the web. Use email based alerts to monitor transfers, payments, low balances, withdrawals, or to detect other irregular activity in an account. Visit banks, credit card and other bill statement websites frequently to monitor regular account activity.

After doing the prevention and following some good habits, if something should happen, it is absolutely vital that the conflict be resolved. Some members have already indicated that in some cases resolving a loss related to identity theft and sorting out all the problems with regard to the accounts can take weeks, months and maybe even years. It may be quite expensive and very disruptive.

This invasion of personal matters is very disruptive. With regard to resolving matters which come up, obviously we want to minimize losses and protect the credit record. Having one's credit record jaundiced is a problem.

The financial provider should be asked about zero liability guarantees. Victims of theft should notify the financial providers and begin monitoring the accounts more frequently in the event that there may be subsequent attempts. Federal and local enforcement authorities should be alerted if one suspects identity fraud.

These are just some examples of things that we can do. This is all because the member thought it important enough to bring to the House a bill that in principle says we need to be more vigilant to reduce the incidence of identity theft. It is a good bill in principle. In my view, any matters on which concerns have been raised would appear to be reparable at committee and report stage.

I congratulate the hon. member for bringing this bill forward.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.


Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois about Bill C-299, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Competition Act (personal information obtained by fraud).

I will try to summarize the content of Bill C-299 for the people who are watching. I will also try to explain the Bloc's position on this bill, which is at second reading. After the vote, we will decided whether or not the bill will go to committee.

The purpose of this bill is to amend the definition of “personal information”. The Personal Information Protection Act says:

“Personal information” means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.

The bill will create three new criminal offences: obtaining personal information from a third party by a false pretence or by fraud, counselling a person to obtain personal information from a third party by a false pretence or by fraud, and selling or otherwise disclosing personal information obtained from a third party by a false pretence or by fraud.

Consequently, the bill really adds one new offence to the Criminal Code: obtaining personal information on a third party. In our view, at first blush, the Criminal Code already includes these types of offences. Once again, the Conservatives are trying to control the work of the judiciary, the work of judges, so that they have no leeway.

I will read section 403 of the Criminal Code, because it gives a good idea of the existing offences with regard to personal information. Section 403 of the Criminal Code says this:

Every one who fraudulently personates any person, living or dead, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Section 403 of the Criminal Code already provides that it is an offence to impersonate someone else. We feel it is pointless to add “personal information on a third party” because it is already included in the Criminal Code.

Section 403 says this:

Every one who fraudulently personates any person, living or dead: (a) with intent to gain advantage for himself or another person, (b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property, or (c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person whom he personates or another person ... is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

To add “with intent to obtain any record containing personal information about a third party” serves no purpose, in our opinion. Once again, this shows the Conservative tendency to try to restrict judges and lead them in a certain direction, although this is not the authority our society has given itself in the Criminal Code. The values defended by Quebeckers, and the values defended by the Bloc Québécois on behalf of Quebeckers, are very important to us. We support a society founded on a justice system that is balanced between the harm caused and the sentence that the courts may impose on a person who commits a crime.

We must always strive for balance. This is why our judicial system is based on an independent judiciary. For some time, we have been repeating in this House that we are anxious to see the day when patronage appointments no longer exist in the judiciary, and when we have independent committees to select our judges to ensure they are the most competent individuals for the role. I am not saying that the current judiciary is incompetent. What I am saying is that judges are often appointed on a partisan political basis. The press often criticizes this state of affairs, thus informing the general population.

Lastly, we hope to pass on to today's youth the values that we learned from our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. This is the society that Quebeckers want, an equitable society based on a fair balance between the crime committed and the sentence imposed.

That is why we put our trust in the judiciary. Every time members introduce bills such as Bill C-299, the Conservative Party seeks to provide a framework for the work of the judiciary, that is, they try to package the work of the justices so that, in the end, all they have to do is read the text and apply the sentence. Quebeckers do not want this kind of society or these values. That is why the Bloc Québécois always challenges these bills.

In our opinion, the changes that Bill C-299 seeks to bring about are already found in the Criminal Code under section 403 and other sections that the bill would amend. Why try to add just a little bit more? This question comes up all the time. Our citizens are entitled to question the values of the Conservatives, these values that are often borrowed from the Republicans in the United States. That is why, although they only came into power nine months ago, the Conservatives already seem to be an old government. They clearly have a tendency, particularly as a minority government, of trying to pass on their values as quickly as possible.

When justice issues and amendments to the Criminal Code are at the fore, as in Bill C-299, we have an unfortunate tendency to try to control the judiciary's work and restrict judges' decision-making freedom. Obviously, this could be counter-productive and not in the best interest of the citizens we represent. We, the Bloc Québécois, are trying to maintain a balance here.

This is why, since 1993, a majority of Quebeckers have given Bloc Québécois members their vote of confidence: because the men and women of the Bloc Québécois know how to listen to what their constituents want. They did not make anything up. We trust the society our parents and grandparents left us. This is the very society we are fighting for today—a society seeking greater justice and equality. We hope it will be less controlling. It is this desire for control that leads to legislation like Bill C-299.

Since being elected, the Conservative government has been attempting to direct the decisions taken by the judiciary and judges. The fact is that no two crimes are committed under the same circumstances. That is why we as a society chose to have a judiciary system. Juries are sometimes brought into play. This is all pretty complex. An entire system is called upon in an effort to determine the appropriate sentence for the crime committed.

Of course, this unfortunate tendency to make penalties harsher or to take responsibilities away from the judges is reminiscent of the right-wing Republican tendency in that regard, and it is increasingly obvious from the actions of this Conservative government. Those are not values that Quebeckers defend or values that they want members of the Bloc Québécois to defend.

One might understand that, under the circumstances, we are not to eager to see Bill C-299 passed, especially since it concerns personal information about a third party. This could be interpreted quite broadly. We must bear in mind that there are certain realities in our society. I often think of our businesspeople trying to establish a client list who sometimes ask for information. We would not want matters of everyday life in our society to be misinterpreted. If the purpose of this bill is to prohibit the obtaining of any personal information, efforts should be made to strike a balance between the reality and business opportunities today.

Essentially, we have laws and amendment to the Criminal Code. There is no point adding in the Criminal Code that obtaining personal information about a third party constitutes a criminal offence. As I said, section 403 is already very clear:

403. Every one who fraudulently personates any person, living or dead,

(a) with intent to gain advantage for himself or another person,

( b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property, or

(c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person whom he impersonates or another person,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction.

We believe obtaining personal information on a third party by fraud is already an offence that carries a maximum jail sentence of ten years, under section 403. Therefore, we see no reason to change that. However, the bill will probably be sent to committee and we will be open to debate the matter, and perhaps even to make amendments, in order to protect good citizens from bad ones.

Quebeckers were right again to put their trust in the men and women of the Bloc Québécois, because they will yet again protect their interests and make sure that the penalties imposed by the Conservative government strike a fair balance, given the offence committed.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario


Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-299, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Competition Act (personal information obtained by fraud). I will use my time today to discuss the proposed amendments to the Competition Act and the implications of the proposed bill for the privacy protections established by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA.

Before dealing with the specifics of these amendments, I would like to briefly comment on the overall intent of the bill. As I understand it, Bill C-299 seeks to protect Canadians' personal information from pretexting, that is, the collection of their personal information through fraud and impersonation. This is a very real concern for Canadians. I fully understand the hon. member's desire to combat the collection of personal information through fraudulent means. The Government of Canada has taken a keen interest in this issue given Industry Canada's responsibilities for PIPEDA and its overall goal of building a safer, more secure Internet.

New information technologies have revolutionized the way business is conducted and helped to make Canadian companies among the most efficient and competitive in the world. However, the electronic collection, storage and transmission of personal information, at the same time, carries the risk that personal information may be misappropriated and used without the consent of the individual to whom this information pertains.

What is particularly problematic here is that the full extent of the threat is unknown. Victims often do not know that their personal information has been stolen. When they do find out it can be months or even years. Victims can register their complaints with a variety of different organizations, such as credit bureaus, banks, credit card companies, federal and provincial privacy commissioners and, yes, law enforcement agencies. However, while it appears that this problem is pervasive, many victims do not report the crime at all. These victims silently suffer financial losses, a loss of reputation, emotional distress and the often difficult task of rebuilding their credit rating.

Those victims who do come forward report that their misappropriated personal information has been used in a variety of ways, including to open up a new credit card account, commit insurance or payment fraud, obtain government benefits, open up a new phone or utility account, or take out a loan in their name.

Clearly, we can all agree that this is a very serious problem, and the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc is seeking to tackle this. However, what is the best way to deal with it? With this bill, the hon. member has proposed a number of avenues through which to do so. It is in this light that I wish to make my comments with respect to the amendments to the Competition Act.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Market Act.

The Competition Act is an extremely important piece of framework legislation touching on virtually all sectors of the Canadian economy. It promotes and maintains competition so that Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality services. Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the organization investigates anti-competitive practices and promotes compliance with the laws under its responsibility.

The bill seeks to amend a number of sections of the Competition Act to include provisions dealing with fraud, false pretenses and fraudulent impersonation.

As I mentioned earlier, the Competition Bureau promotes and maintains competition so that Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality services. More specifically, the bureau's mandate, as it relates to misleading representations, is to ensure that consumers are able to make informed decisions based on the most accurate information possible.

Under the Competition Act, misleading advertising is dealt with in two ways: through criminal provisions in section 52 of the Competition Act, and through non-criminal provisions in section 74.01 of the Competition Act.

Bill C-299 seeks to amend section 52. Currently, section 52 of the Competition Act contains a general prohibition to deal with the most severe cases of misleading advertising. It prohibits all materially false or misleading representations made knowingly or recklessly in the promotion of a product or business interest. Misleading advertising occurs when a representation is made to the public that is false or materially misleading and such a representation could influence a consumer to buy the product or the service advertised.

Additionally, Bill C-299 seeks to amend section 74.01 of the Competition Act. Currently, section 74.01 deals with deceptive marketing practices which are dealt with through administrative rather than criminal remedies. Under this section, a person engages in “reviewable conduct” where that person, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any product or business interest, makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect.

“Reviewable conduct” includes representations to the public as to the efficacy or length of life of a product that is not based on adequate or proper testing. It also includes representations to the public in the form of a warranty, guarantee or promise that is materially misleading.

Finally, Bill C-299 proposes an amendment to section 36 of the Competition Act, which deals with the recovery of damages in criminal cases and where there is a failure to comply with an order of the Competition Tribunal.

As I indicated earlier, the Competition Act is a key piece of framework legislation. If this bill is in fact referred to committee, I would urge a detailed examination of the proposed amendments to the Competition Act.

Let me now turn to my comments on Bill C-299's relationship to the personal information Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA, and the privacy protections that it establishes. There are varying consequences to deceitfully or fraudulently obtaining personal information. Individuals may be exposed to the risk of identity theft or their address may be obtained by a stalker or abusive ex-spouse. Alternatively, they may find their information populating a data broker's database or they may merely be subjected to unwanted marketing.

I would note that PIPEDA already addresses certain situations that Bill C-299 proposes to capture in relation to pretexting. For example, PIPEDA requires that organizations obtain individuals' knowledge and consent prior to the collection, use or disclosure of their personal information in the course of commercial activity.

Under the act, consent must be obtained anew for any use or disclosure for a purpose that differs from the purpose for which it was originally collected. On this basis, the act already requires that personal information be collected by fair and lawful means and that consent not be obtained through deception.

A very important aspect of PIPEDA makes organizations accountable for the information that is in their custody, including information that has been transferred to third parties for processing. Accountability is maintained whether these third parties are located in Canada or abroad. In this respect, there may be situations where PIPEDA provides a sufficient and adequate legislative response to the deceptive collection of personal information.

The member for Edmonton—Leduc has indicated that with this bill he aims to provide a remedy for individuals who have been subjected to the invasive practice of pretexting. I agree that effective recourse is essential to dealing with privacy violations.

Such a mechanism exists under PIPEDA, where privacy related conflicts are resolved through mediation and dispute resolution mechanisms with the assistance of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Unresolved matters may be taken to Federal Court, which has the power to order organizations to modify their practices and award damages to the aggrieved.

In light of the wide range of activities related to identity theft and the urgency of addressing the many facets of this issue, I would hope that linkages between this bill and other related government initiatives be considered.

For example, during the first hour of debate of this bill, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada noted that justice officials had been consulting with key stakeholders on improving the Criminal Code of Canada to deal with identity theft, adding that the department was committed to ensuring that Canada's criminal laws contain comprehensive and effective tools to combat identity theft.

The parliamentary secretary noted that he looked forward to working with his colleague, the member for Edmonton—Leduc, on protecting Canadians' personal information from misappropriation. Similarly, I would suggest that the upcoming review of PIPEDA will provide an opportunity for members of Parliament to assess whether the act's oversight and redress regime provides sufficient recourse for victims of privacy invasions such as pretexting.

I expect that a collaborative approach could be quite effective in addressing these issues that are of great concern, including phishing, spyware and related Internet threats, all of which can facilitate identity theft in the online environment.

I take this opportunity to echo the parliamentary secretary's suggestion and express my support for collaboration to ensure the development of a coherent and comprehensive solution to address issues related to the deceitful or fraudulent acquisition of identity information and to identity theft.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise and speak today in support of my colleague, the member for Edmonton—Leduc, in whose name this legislation is presented.

As a hard-working member of the industry committee, the hon. member is in touch with the concerns of the marketplace and various business practices. I share his apprehension when it comes to the importance of protecting personal information about individuals. I also recognize the fact that this is a challenge of the information age and a relatively new problem.

Defining this issue may mean that more than one attempt may be necessary in order to address the predicament which Bill C-299 is seeking to address.

The issue of personal information, how it is obtained and its various uses, was not an issue that the residents of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke indicated to me was of urging and pressing necessity. However, during the last election, when one of my opponents reverted to an all too depressingly familiar style of negative campaigning that has come to characterize the old Liberal Party, the issue arose in a nuanced context to this private member's bill now before Parliament.

As is the practice of many members of Parliament, I communicate with the constituents of my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke in a variety of different means. One way is by sending birthday greetings. In the case of birthday greetings, individuals will send me details on behalf of a friend or a loved one through various methods. Usually it is a child who sends in details of a parent who has reached a milestone of life and wishes a congratulatory message from his or her MP to help celebrate the occasion.

Only the Liberal Party could see something sinister in sending a birthday greeting or Christmas cards to individuals. Nevertheless, this was the issue that the Liberal Party deemed to be most important in my riding, and it proceeded to attack on that basis.

I am pleased to confirm, by my presence in the chamber today, that not only did this tactic backfire, but constituents tell me this caused my opponent to finish more poorly than did his predecessor. The electors, in their wisdom, gave me the honour of being re-elected for the third straight election with the highest percentage of the popular vote for a Conservative in the province of Ontario. The smart voters of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke are never wrong.

I relate this story to illustrate the difference between what Bill C-299 seeks to accomplish, which is to amend the Criminal Code to act as a deterrent to the fraudulent obtaining of personal information for abuse, and the generic use of information within the public domain, which is not the intent of this legislation to criminalize.

As a Conservative, I am proud to say that my party and I stand for less government, lower taxes, and a desire to interfere in the daily lives of Canadians in as few ways as possible. The one issue that separates the political labels of the left, which Canadians understand to mean Big Brother or more government, and the right, which Canadians understand to mean less government and more individual freedom, is the issue of personal information.

There are few topics I feel more strongly about than the privacy of individuals and the need to keep big government in check. However, the fact of the matter is that Canadians do live in the information age and in the electronic age a balance must be struck between the gathering of information and the use of that information.

Since I was re-elected I have been working on behalf of the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke to bring high speed broadband, the information highway, to all the residents in my riding, particularly the residents in the rural parts of my riding who are without high speed Internet service.

New jobs and businesses are opening fast in the field of technology. We need to be able to provide companies that wish to locate in our rural communities with a skilled workforce and access to high speed communications. People cannot develop the skills needed to work in these new jobs if the tools to learn are not provided for them. Businesses will not locate in the rural communities without access to high speed communications. Without broadband technology, businesses in rural Renfrew County will not be able to fully compete on a local or global basis.

The future economic well-being of our residents depends on the smooth flow of knowledge. The difficulty is once the information highway is built, some things that travel on the information highway are not wanted. Spam fits that definition.

The May 2004 Anti-spam Action Plan for Canada defines spam as “unsolicited commercial email”. By this definition, the firm MessageLabs estimated that spam accounted for as much as 80% of global email traffic at the end of 2004, up from about 10% in 2000.

Spam is more than a growing nuisance. It is a public policy issue that challenges governments, internal service providers, ISPs, other network operators, commercial emailers and consumers to work together in new ways, with each stakeholder group fully playing its part to solve the problem that threatens the interests of all. Spam annoys and offends Internet users. It also provides a vehicle for activities that are clearly illegal, or should be.

While Bill C-299 would not curb all spam, it should curb: malicious actions that cause harm to computers, networks or data, or use personal property for unauthorized purposes, for example, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, denial of service attacks, zombie networks; deceptive and fraudulent business practices, including online versions of traditional mail-based frauds, for example, the Nigerian bank account, or 419 scam, and spoofed websites masquerading as legitimate businesses; phising emails designed for identity theft or to steal money; and invasions of privacy, for example, email address harvesting, spyware.

Because of all the above threats, spam undermines consumer confidence in e-commerce and electronic transactions between citizens and their governments. In addition, it imposes significant costs throughout the economy. These costs fall on a wide range of stakeholders, including: ISPs and other network operators, large enterprise users, universities, government departments, which must invest in the technical, financial and human resources needed to deploy anti-spam technologies at the expense of investments in new or improved services and which must allocate resources to respond to customer complaints; legitimate commercial emailers and other users of email services whose messages get filtered out by an anti-spam technology before they reach their intended recipients; and private and public sector organizations which employees waste time dealing with spam sent to their business email address.

Ultimately, all these costs fall directly, or indirectly, on consumers and Internet end-users who must cover the costs of fighting spam not only by purchasing Internet security software, but also by forgoing other kinds of service improvements and paying higher prices for the online products.

In closing, I once again congratulate the member for Edmonton—Leduc for bringing forth this legislation to deal with a serious and growing problem. I look forward to working with the member as we seek to find a solution to this problem.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate.

There being no member rising, the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduchas five minutes for reply.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all of the speakers, both those from today and in June. I think it has been a very good debate.

I want to thank: the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke; the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry; the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel; the member for Mississauga South, who had some very good points on identity theft in general; the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, who has been very helpful throughout this entire process; the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, from the NDP; the member for Hochelaga; and the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, who I think had some excellent suggestions in terms of improving this piece of legislation.

I want to touch on just a few points. First, I know that the two members of the Bloc Québécois have expressed some concern about this legislation. They argue that section 403 adequately addresses the issue of identity theft that I am trying to address in my bill. I would respectfully say that section 403 does not adequately address the issue of identity theft, particularly as it relates to new technologies like the Internet. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Second, I want to say very clearly that this bill is not in any way about micromanaging any actions of judges. I am not quite sure where the members were getting that in the legislation, but it is certainly not in the legislation. That is not the intent of this legislation at all.

Very plainly, the purpose of this bill is to protect individual citizens against identity theft. It does not deal with the whole problem of it, but it certainly deals with part of it. Identity theft is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

The purpose of this bill is to protect individuals against the collection of their personal information through fraud or through impersonation. The practice, which is known as pretexting, is a growing problem here in Canada and it needs to be dealt with.

Bill C-299 seeks to do three specific things.

First, it would make the practice of pretexting illegal through changes to the Criminal Code and the Competition Act.

Second, it seeks to provide a remedy for victims of this kind of invasion of privacy through legal recourse in the courts and compensation. It is very much about empowering individual citizens to respond to this invasion of privacy.

Third, the bill seeks to tackle the cross-border aspect of pretexting by holding Canadian affiliates of foreign countries liable for invasions of privacy committed against Canadians, one of which was committed against our own Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart. I met with her on this legislation. I cannot speak for her, but I think, judging from her reaction, that she would very much like this bill to go to committee and move forward.

I want to also point out that a number of companies, associations and others that deal in the information technology area support this legislation. I am speaking of companies like Alcatel, Bell Canada, Alliance Bell , Telus, Rogers, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, and ITAC, the Information Technology Association of Canada. All of these companies have pointed out that identity theft is a growing problem here in Canada. They would like to see it dealt with. Even the Chamber of Commerce, which has pointed out some of its issues with specifics of the bill, supports the bill going to committee. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association also has supported this bill.

I have sought to present a bill which deals with a problem that needs to be dealt with here in Canada. I appreciate the comments by all members. It has been a very good debate. I would ask all members to support in principle this bill at second reading and send it to committee, where I would be very open to engaging in a debate and to entertain any amendments that would improve the substance of the bill.

I would like to thank all members of this House for their participation. I look forward to the vote next week.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The time provided for debate has expired. Accordingly, the question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members



Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

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

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 1, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent to see the clock as 7:37 p.m.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 7:21 p.m. the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:21 p.m.)