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House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was internet.

Topics

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I am going to be very brief. I fully agree with my colleague. I am certainly not pretending to be a lawyer. In fact, I am still very far from having that training.

However, when we look at the issue of suspicions, there is no doubt that the process can be very biased. As I said, we are talking about human beings who have suspicions. A man has emotions. Unfortunately, this may sometimes lead to terrible consequences.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is the House ready for the question?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Investigative Powers for the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

moved that Bill C-47, An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to support investigations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Madam Speaker, I am very proud to rise before the House today to debate Bill C-47, which confirms once again that this government is committed to getting tough on crime. Since coming to office, we have taken concrete steps to give those in law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on crime and ensure that criminals face the consequences of their actions. This long overdue legislation is yet another crucial step forward in our strategy to keep Canadians safe and our country secure. It will equip the police and national security agents with the tools they need to combat crime and terrorism in the digital age.

This bill, the technical assistance for law enforcement in the 21st century act, will enable the law enforcement community and our justice partners to investigate and prosecute crime in a rapidly evolving communications environment. The bill, in a nutshell, will give them the same capability to access Internet and cellphone messages with warrants as they currently have to access wiretap telephone calls. Equally important, it will give national security agencies new intercept capabilities to combat terrorism and to work more effectively with their global counterparts.

Many of our closest allies have had similar legislation in place for quite some time now. In fact, last year the G8 called on members to beef up their intercept capability to fight international crime. That is precisely what this legislation will do.

Bill C-47 will remove the competitive advantage which technology has given to criminals and to terrorists for far too long. As it now stands, when Canadian police officers and national security officials try to intercept messages being sent by criminals or terrorists using the latest technologies, they are hamstrung by legislation dating back decades. Canada's intercept laws are 35 years old. They were written in the days of the typewriter and rotary telephone, long before the world of email and smart phones.

Today's antiquated law gives lawbreakers an unfair and sometimes frightening advantage. Child pornographers, organized crime members and terrorists are using sophisticated new technologies to conduct their activities out of reach of the law. The fast-growing gap between our outdated legislation and today's tech-savvy criminals poses a significant threat to all Canadians. It is creating virtual safe havens where sexual predators, perpetrators of hate crimes, and Internet fraud artists can operate free from fear of detection and apprehension. That is something that Bill C-47 will stop. The bill will shut these safe havens down. High tech equipped criminals will now be met by high tech equipped police officers.

The previous government introduced lawful access legislation recognizing the need to give public safety officials the tools they require to do their jobs. While it was a good start, Bill C-47 builds on that effort and strengthens it further. Specifically, the bill before us today will ensure that when law enforcement and security officials have a warrant to intercept messages by criminals or terrorists, they are not prevented from doing so due to a lack of technical ability.

Today we have situations where judicial authorization is granted but the interception cannot take place because the network is not intercept capable. This is simply unacceptable. Canada's police forces and CSIS must be able to keep pace with the advanced technologies being used by criminals and terrorists.

I want to be clear, however, that the proposals we are putting forward are not new or even revolutionary. In modernizing Canada's lawful access laws, we are not providing new powers or expanding on existing interception authorities that have been in place since 1974, nor are we compromising individuals' personal information, or putting an undue burden on business. We are simply bringing our country's legislation out of the cold war era and into the 21st century.

I can assure my hon. colleagues that this legislation strikes the right balance between the interests of technology companies that need to remain competitive, the interests of the police in keeping our communities safe, and the interests of members of the public in their legitimate expectations of privacy. Our government's proposed changes will be introduced gradually to allow businesses to adjust to these new obligations.

Bill C-47 provides an initial transition period of 18 months to allow service providers time to integrate lawful interception requirements into new equipment and services. It includes the possibility of a two-year exemption to respond to new technologies. This will serve to protect innovation and competitiveness.

The legislation is also flexible enough to respond to a company's particular circumstances. The specific needs of smaller firms have in fact been taken into account. The bill contains a three-year exemption for service providers with less than 100,000 subscribers from certain requirements that are too costly for them at this time. Certain organizations, such as schools, libraries and charities, are also exempt entirely.

Equally important to the private sector, service providers will be free to select the most cost-effective intercept solutions available. They will not be tied to government-determined standards or equipment. Along with flexibility, we have built cost sharing into the legislation to help defray the expenses associated with these changes.

Companies will be required to pay for intercept capability in certain new equipment and software. However, the government will provide reasonable compensation when retrofits to existing networks are needed. This approach recognizes that we have a shared responsibility to address a problem that directly affects the safety of Canadians.

The other major component of the government's proposed legislation is the requirement for service providers to make basic subscriber information available on request to designated members of the law enforcement community and CSIS. Timely access to this information is essential in the fight against crime, especially crimes committed over the Internet such as online fraud, identity theft and child sexual exploitation.

At the moment, there is no federal legislation specifically designed to allow for obtaining basic subscriber information, identifiers that are often crucial in the early stages of an investigation. As a result, when this information is required, the police face a patchwork of responses from service providers across the country. Some companies release this information readily while others demand a warrant.

Without this basic information, police often reach a dead end as they are unable to obtain enough information to pursue an investigative lead or obtain a warrant. However, I would like to emphasize that provisions for access to information have actually been tightened under this bill to ensure Canadians' privacy and human rights. These safeguards include mandatory record keeping, internal audits and external oversight and the limited designation of law enforcement and CSIS officials who can even request such information.

Without Bill C-47, unscrupulous con artists can continue to defraud unsuspecting Internet users responding to email scams. Child abusers and pornographers will anonymously exploit Internet chat rooms, luring young victims away from their homes and into harm's way. Having worked as a police officer for almost 19 years, I did spend an awful lot of time in the child abuse unit and I speak personally to the frustration of Canadian police officers who have been unable to access information to solve or prevent child abuse atrocities.

I have also seen drug traffickers who tempt youth into addiction because law enforcement agencies cannot gather the necessary evidence to put them in jail. Without this bill and the proposed enhancements, child abusers and drug traffickers may continue untraced. Dangerous kidnappers and murderers will escape detection because their whereabouts remain untraceable. That is why we need this act and why we need to act now.

This is a crucial piece of legislation required to make our families, homes and communities safer. For this reason, I urge hon. members in the House from all parties to give Bill C-47 swift passage so that Canadian police officers and CSIS agents can get on with their jobs of creating a safer country for all of us.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear the comments of the member proposing this legislation.

I am very concerned. We all agree on the principles that are outlined with respect to this bill and we could debate the question as to why the bill was split in two.

However, considering the effort this member made back in 2002-03 when dealing with the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance and people like Detective Paul Gillespie and others when we brought to bear issues of child pornography, exploitation on the Internet and the challenges faced by Internet service providers that would often not allow these warrants and certainly not on a costly basis, why has the government taken so long? Recognizing that the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine had virtually the same bill that the member is taking about here today, why did it take the Conservative government four years to propose a bill if it is that important? I want the hon. member to explain to us why it took four years of dithering before it put this legislation forward. She is asking for speedy passage. Where has the government been for the past four years?

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, I must say I am thrilled to hear my colleague indicate that he is prepared to support legislation such as this that will propose some new changes so that Canadian police officers can in fact do their jobs.

I want to take a moment to address his very important question. I was only elected in 2008. I spent, as I said before, almost 19 years policing before that. I can tell the House that when I arrived here, I was absolutely appalled at the obstacles that were continually placed before this government as we moved, slowly but surely, toward a safer country. It is members like the member who just spoke who have continually tried to put those obstacles in place so we cannot move forward.

In fact, just last week, Liberal senators attempted to gut a very important bill put forward by this government in an attempt to stop it. I would simply say that it is because of the obstacles put forward by an opposition that does not believe in making this country safe that there are delays.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Madam Speaker, I support the bill. It is something the Liberal government introduced in 2005 and this bill is virtually identical.

My question is, why now? Why did it take this long to bring this forward and, specifically, why now, considering that we are in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression?

We have lost 500,000 full-time jobs. We have an EI crisis. We have an isotopes crisis. Our H1N1 vaccine is late in comparison to other countries. We have a pension crisis.

Why is the government introducing this criminal legislation now rather than dealing with these other problems? Why did it take four years and what changed to make this an emergency now rather than dealing with these other issues first?

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, I must say that I completely respect my colleague's position on many of our crime bills. He has been fairly supportive of some of the measures that we have taken in committee and I want to thank him for that support because he realizes just how important these things are.

The question was about timing. As I said earlier, it is astonishing to me as a new member of Parliament how very slow things move in a minority government when opposition parties deliberately go against very minor things in bills or in committee. I too am appalled at how slow this system is.

However, we have introduced a number of measures through the justice department and the public safety department to address the need for tough on crime legislation. We are going to continue to do that. We are going to have to follow the process that is in place.

I myself believe in democratic reform. I myself believe in Senate reform, particularly after seeing Liberal senators attempt time after time to gut our crime bills. I hope the member supports us on Senate reform as well as supporting us, as he has indicated, on Bill C-47.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I am always surprised by the Conservatives' attitude. The hon. member for Saint Boniface told us that whenever we oppose the government, we are just engaging in partisanship. Whenever we disagree with its legislation we are engaging in partisanship. Yet, when the Conservatives were in opposition, they opposed everything that the Liberals did, but that was all right then. At the time, it was the Liberals who were telling the Conservatives that they were opposed to everything. I do not understand it at all. That is obviously why I want Quebec to get out of that system.

The hon. member is adamant that this bill should be passed as quickly as possible. Personally, I think we have to do our homework. We cannot simply ram through any bill. We must take the time, in committee, to listen to all those who have concerns about the legislation. Let us not forget that a bad law creates bad problems.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, I am sorry but I did not hear a question in those comments. Nevertheless, I want to respond to some of the comments made by our young colleague from the Bloc Québécois.

First I want to react to what he said about our great country. I will fight against the division of this country in any way I can and in all possible situations. Hearing a member reiterate here, in the House of Commons, his desire to separate, to divide and to destroy our country really bothers me. It breaks my heart. I am very disappointed every time I hear a member of the Bloc say such things.

I also want to correct my colleague. I do not think he heard my answer when my Liberal colleague asked me a question. I did not answer that it was partisanship. I said that it was the process itself that was the problem. That is why we have to look at several aspects of the system. We must ensure that the process in place is effective. That is why I support the attempts at democratic reform by our minister.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, it was good to hear my colleague express what was valuable about this bill. She is in a very unique position to comment on this bill given her former role as a police officer. Since I came to the House in 2008, like she did, there has been a constant threat of unnecessary elections. I would really like to hear from my colleague, what does that do these important pieces of justice legislation?

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague who joined me in the class of 2008 here in the House of Commons.

New members of Parliament, who just recently came here, have really formed a bond. We do share a number of conversations about the new things we see here in the House of Commons and compare them to our old lives.

As she mentioned, my policing days often get discussed because we have a need to move forward to protect Canadians, to protect not only women and children as we have discussed many times but aboriginal Canadians, Canadians of other cultures. To continually hear that we may not get the chance to defend their rights and to protect them is disturbing. Every time we hear about a looming election that could destroy all of the work that has been done is very disturbing.

As a new member of Parliament, I have been in campaign mode since the moment I arrived. Frankly, I would really like to just continue to move forward to ensure these bills are passed, so we can do the right thing, and the right thing is to protect the economy and to move to recovery.

Canadians have seen a very difficult time. We are dealing with a fragile recovery and are just at the point where Canadians are about to see the fruits of our labour after a year in the House of Commons, and yet again we hear the Liberals talking about forcing us into an election.

I really urge opposition members to take this into consideration and stop the shenanigans about upcoming elections. Let us do the hard work that Canadians want.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Madam Speaker, let me begin on the point that the hon. member across left off on and that is the incredible disingenuous position that it is somehow this side that is causing problems with this legislation.

It was, in fact, a Liberal government that introduced this bill in 2005 and it was the Conservative Party that took us into the polls at that time and killed this legislation.

Then the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine introduced a private member's bill in the next session of Parliament that sat on the order paper. It was the same bill before us today. Who killed that? The Conservative Party.

Stephen Harper--

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The member should know that he cannot use a sitting member's name.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

The Prime Minister walked into the Governor General's office and caused an election; thus killing this bill again.

Therefore, for four years since the bill has been written and waiting to be implemented, the government through obfuscation and through creating elections has blocked the legislation from coming forward.

When finally in this session the government brought it forward, it waited until the very end of the session, the last week just before the summer recess, to introduce it to ensure that we had no time to study it or implement it. Here we are in the fall, four years after the Liberals introduced this legislation and it has not been implemented.

For the other side to talk about the urgency of this bill, about the need to pass it immediately, is disingenuous. There is no reason it should have sat on the shelf for four years. The blame lies 100% on the other side and it is 100% irresponsible.

Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement in the 21st Century ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member will have 18 minutes to resume his comments.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Crowfoot.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, since being elected the member of Parliament for Crowfoot, I have joined my colleagues working toward the abolishment of the failed and costly long gun registry.

My constituents have constantly and consistently contacted me opposing this issue for nine years. My predecessor, as member of Parliament, opposed the Liberal bill, Bill C-68, warning that it would not reduce gun-related violence nor protect the safety of Canadians, and that it would be too costly. He was right.

Fourteen years later, over $1 billion of taxpayer money should have been spent on policing budgets, border control, education, treatment for violent offences and help for victims.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is now calling for the registry to be abolished. For 14 years, law-abiding firearm owners, hunters, farmers and recreational gun groups have been targeted and are burdened with the ongoing high costs.

I call upon all Canadians to urge their member of Parliament to support Bill C-391 and abolish the long gun registry.

Tina MooresStatements By Members

October 27th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute and honour a truly heroic person, Tina Moores, of Grand Falls--Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador.

On August 15, 2009, Ms. Moores, at 35 years of age, bravely lost her life in saving a 9-year-old girl from drowning at Red Indian Lake near the community of Buchans.

She was known as a kind and giving person. If she saw someone in need and was in a position to offer assistance, she was there to lend a helping hand.

Tina was an operating room nurse at the Central Regional Health Centre, a career she dearly loved. She was a certified lifeguard for many years, and she was a Red Cross water safety instructor. She was also a Special Olympics coach.

Tina was a person who had a heart of gold, a person with a great sense of humour and a great smile. She was loved by all who knew her and she did what she had to do in a difficult situation to save a young girl's life.

In the true definition of a hero, Tina Moores fits that description. She made the ultimate sacrifice and will not be forgotten. Tina will be sadly missed by her large circle of friends and her family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them all.

CubaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, tomorrow Cuba will present, for the 18th consecutive year, a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.

The embargo against Cuba affects more than one state because the extraterritorial application of U.S. laws is very prejudicial to the economic sovereignty of many other states. This embargo has a significant impact on our Quebec companies because, due to fear of reprisals by the U.S. government, they do not export to Cuba or do business with the island. The embargo has been condemned by all Central American and South American countries and Obama's administration has shown some signs of openness.

Therefore, I hope that Canada will act sensibly and once again give its unconditional support to the resolution in order to show its respect for international law.

Tax HarmonizationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, it is public knowledge that the Conservative federal government is pressuring the Government of Manitoba to opt into a harmonized sales tax similar to its successful efforts to buy off the Liberal Governments of Ontario and British Columbia with large, one-time cash payments.

This money will make up for the provincial revenue lost from businesses as the burden is shifted to many individual taxpayers in those provinces who will have to pay a new tax on goods and services presently exempted under their provincial sales tax.

Manitobans want to know how much a new harmonized sales tax will cost the average taxpayer overall on services like funerals, air travel, home renovations, landscaping, legal fees and the purchase of new homes. Additional goods, like fast food value meals, newspapers, magazines, tobacco, gasoline and home heating fuels, will be taxed. Where is the transparency?

United WayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, volunteers under the leadership of the executive director, Judi Baril, the president, Rick Fry, and campaign chairs, Andy and Sharon Jordan with the United Way of Leeds and Grenville are conducting their annual fundraising drive.

This year they are working hard to meet the campaign goal of $925,000. The money supports 27 agencies that contribute to the quality of life in Leeds and Grenville. These agencies serve 33,000 people annually.

As part of the fundraising efforts, I, along with honorary game chairman and NHL Hall of Famer, Leo Boivin, am proud to present Hockey Night in Leeds and Grenville 3.

Conservative members of Parliament, former NHL starts and local municipal and community leaders will be at the Leo Boivin Arena in Prescott on Monday night, November 16, in a charity hockey game to support the United Way.

I want to thank in advance those who are giving up their evening to play in the game and I want to invite everyone to come out and enjoy a great evening for a great cause.