moved for leave to introduce C-426, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act (protection of journalistic sources and search warrants).
Mr. Speaker, it is always a great pleasure to introduce a private member's bill for the first time.
I have chosen an issue which has concerned me since the late 1960s and which, unfortunately, is still ongoing. I am referring to the protection of journalistic sources and a civilized way of conducting searches, which sometimes must be done at media premises.
The purpose of this enactment is to protect the confidentiality of journalistic sources. It allows journalists to refuse to disclose information or a record that has not been published unless it is of vital importance and cannot be produced in evidence by any other means.
It establishes specific conditions that must be met for a judge to issue a search warrant to obtain information or records that a journalist possesses and sets out the way in which a search must be conducted to protect that which must be protected.
It also allows journalists to refuse to disclose the source of the information that they gather, write, produce or disseminate to the public through any media, and to refuse to disclose any information or document that could identify a source.
However, a judge may order a journalist to disclose the source of the information if the judge considers it to be in the public interest, having regard to the outcome of the litigation, the freedom of information and the impact of the journalist’s testimony on the source.
In conclusion, the purpose of this bill is not to confer privileges on a journalist but to protect journalistic activity, which is essential to ensure a just and truly democratic society.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)