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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offenders.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions.

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to the Australia-New Zealand Scrutiny of Legislation conference, July 2009.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skill and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and to increase benefits.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

Canadian Environmental Bill of RightsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-469, An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Halifax for seconding my bill. She is a tribute to the House, and I am delighted that she is here in the House with us. She strives for justice every day in the House.

The bill, the environmental bill of rights, is being tabled for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of the present and future generations of Canadians to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. It confirms the Government of Canada's public trust duty to protect the environment under its jurisdiction and ensures that all Canadians have access to adequate environmental information, justice and effective mechanisms for participating in environmental decision making.

It provides adequate legal protection against reprisals for employees who take action for the purpose of protecting the environment, and it enhances public confidence in the implementation of environmental law.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

October 29th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-555, An Act to provide transparency and fairness in the provision of telecommunication services in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present my private member's bill, the “get connected fairly act”, which would direct the Minister of Industry to amend the conditions for PCS and cellular spectrum licences.

It would also require the government to direct the CRTC to gather information, seek input and make a major report on competition, consumer protection and consumer choice issues relating to telecommunications services in Canada.

I believe this goes some distance in addressing what many Canadians see as unfairness and a lack of transparency in monthly charges for services.

There have been discussions among the parties, and I would like to ask for unanimous consent to give this bill the same number it had in the 39th Parliament, which was Bill C-555.

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

We will try that in a minute. We had better get the bill read for the first time first.

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent that the bill be numbered C-555?

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Telecommunications Transparency and Fairness ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Agreed and so ordered.

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-470, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (revocation of registration)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Brampton West for graciously seconding the bill before us.

Seven thousand years is how long it would take for a typical $30-a-month donor to the Sick Kids Foundation just to pay the salary and severance of its CEO.

This bill would limit the bounty of charities by putting a quarter million dollar cap on their taxpayer-supported salaries.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-471, An Act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force and amending another Act in consequence.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill that will recognize something that never should have been an issue: it is a human right to receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Earlier this year, the government hid an attack on the pay equity rights of women behind the stimulus measures in the budget . Doing so was wrong. It must be reversed, and this bill proposes to do just that. The bill repeals the measures in the budget that put pay equity on the bargaining table, because no human right should ever be on the bargaining table.

Women are not a left-wing fringe group. All Canadians, both men and women, deserve the full protection of their government. All Canadians deserve equality in their workplace.

Under this government, the gender gap is growing. We dropped from 4th place to 25th in the world. We should do better.

A Liberal government would implement in full the recommendations of the 2004 pay equity task force. We would set clear targets and we would meet them. Canadian women have waited too long for justice, and that is the purpose of this bill.

I truly hope that this bill will receive the support of the House, since we are working to fulfill our shared commitment to protect the human rights of all Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Library Book RatesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians continue to cherish their local libraries and continue to send petitions in support of my bill, Bill C-322. Today I am pleased to table petitions from Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan in support of extending the library book rate, which allows public libraries to share materials at reduced rates, to include audiovisual materials.

Rouge WatershedPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition signed by Canadians calling on the Government of Canada to work with the province of Ontario to establish a national park in the Rouge Watershed in southern Ontario so as to protect a nationally significant portion of Canada's landscape known as the eastern deciduous forest and otherwise know as the Carolinian forest zone.

It is an area that contains numerous flora and fauna on the endangered species list. I note that the House adopted a motion moved by the hon. Pauline Browes in January 1990, calling for the same thing; namely, the establishment of a park by the Canadian government in the Rouge Watershed.

Young Offenders ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of my constituents who have been victims of violent crimes committed by young offenders. In support of the family of 15-year-old Baden Willcocks, who was murdered on June 19, 2009, the petitioners call upon Parliament to implement these necessary changes to the Young Offenders Act for the benefit of victims' families, whose lives have been destroyed by violent crime committed by young offenders.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to present a petition to the Government of Canada to support the universal declaration on animal welfare. There is scientific consensus and public acknowledgement that animals feel pain and can suffer.

All efforts should be made to prevent animal cruelty to reduce animal suffering. Over one billion people around the world rely on animals for their livelihood or companionship. Animals are often significantly affected by natural disasters yet seldom considered in relief efforts, despite the recognized importance of animals.

The petitioners are from Alberta, Yukon and British Columbia.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition is a call for equal employment insurance benefits for adoptive parents. Adoption is an important and essential act in a compassionate, caring and just society.

Under the current EI program, adoptive parents are given 35 weeks of paid leave followed by a further 15 weeks of unpaid leave. Under the law, the biological mother is given both the first 35 weeks and a further 15 weeks as paid leave.

In Canada, adoptions are often expensive, lengthy and stressful to the parents. Studies have shown that an additional 15 weeks of paid leave would help parents to better support their adoptive children and handle many of the specific issues they must face.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support Bill C-413, which would amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code to ensure that an adoptive parent would be entitled to the same number of weeks of paid leave as the biological mother of a newborn child.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from October 27 consideration of the motion 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

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House this morning to talk about Bill C-47, a bill that deals with very specific aspects of the rules governing lawful access. As some of my colleagues have already mentioned, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-47 in principle, but we do have reservations and would like to see an amendment to guarantee the protection of people's privacy.

Bill C-47 seeks to enable the police to adapt their investigative techniques to contemporary technological realities, such as the widespread use of cellphones and the Internet. Facilitating police work, where it does not unduly interfere with fundamental rights, is an avenue the Bloc Québécois has always advocated for fighting crime. Our party feels that increasing the likelihood of getting caught is a much greater deterrent than increasing punishments, which often seem remote and abstract.

However, this bill raises a number of concerns about respect for privacy because the reasons for invading privacy are not necessarily defined. The Bloc Québécois supports this bill in principle because it is important to strengthen police powers to deal with the most complex forms of organized crime. Nonetheless, it will work in committee to ensure that invasions of privacy occur as rarely as possible, only when necessary, and always according to strict guidelines.

I hope that the Conservative Party will welcome the Bloc Québécois' amendments to Bill C-47 to protect individual privacy rights and ensure that this bill is implemented as quickly as possible. It is important, critical even, to take action against crimes committed using the Internet. I hope that the Conservative Party will not use this bill merely to spread political and partisan propaganda about how tough it is on crime. As we all know, the Bloc Québécois usually supports initiatives to curb criminal activity, as long as they are sensible, which we do not always find to be the case.

Somewhat similar to Bill C-46, Bill C-47 would allow police forces to adapt their investigative techniques to modern technologies. Of course I am talking about the increasingly widespread use of the Internet and cellphones. Indeed, Bill C-47 and Bill C-46 complement each other. We believe that they could have been combined into one bill. They both have many of the same objectives. They could have very easily been presented in another way. However, based on how they have been presented, we would of course like to debate them.

Basically, these bills seek to give the appropriate authorities additional tools that are adapted to modern technologies in order to prevent crimes before they are committed, by gathering information on the Internet and through other means of communication. This bill is crucial, considering the new types of organized crime that are carried out over the Internet.

For instance, in my riding recently—just two weeks ago—a man of Moroccan origin was arrested and convicted. He was found guilty of a series of terrorism-related charges.

This bill also aims to address cyber-terrorism, to control it and prevent such crimes from being committed.

In the case I mentioned, the evidence was based primarily on the contents of the defendant's computer, in Maskinongé, and on the violent content he created and transmitted over the Internet.

The purpose of Bill C-47 is to improve investigative techniques. It responds to concerns expressed by law enforcement agencies regarding the fact that new technologies, particularly Internet communications, often represent obstacles that are very difficult to overcome.

Thus, Bill C-47 seeks to facilitate police investigations by compelling telecommunications service providers to acquire technology that would allow them to intercept electronic data and, more importantly, allows police forces to access that data. We are talking about data that could indicate, for example, the origin, destination, date, time, duration, type and volume of a telecommunication.

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of effective and smart ways to fight crime, but as we have said many times in this House, we do not always share the Conservative government's vision regarding certain bills, especially when it comes to incarceration measures. Incarceration and minimum sentences have been tried, most notably in the United States, with disastrous results. Yes, incarceration is valid for serious crimes, but it should not always be used automatically and especially not with the principle of minimum sentences.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but that has not necessarily led to a reduction in crime. We have to be very careful about the sort of measures we introduce to fight crime. They must always be aimed at reducing the crime rate. I do not believe that we should be adopting the American model in this area. We still feel that the Conservative Party looks to the Americans for inspiration when it introduces bills that, often, do not reduce crime.

To come back to Bill C-47, no federal law currently requires or compels all telecommunications companies to use equipment that allows communications to be intercepted. The bill seeks to make up for the fact that there is no standard covering the interception capabilities of telecommunications companies.

As I said earlier, Bill C-47 seeks to clarify certain aspects of the lawful access regime. Currently, the police need a warrant in order to compel telecommunications companies to provide them with personal information about their clients. With this bill, certain designated people within law enforcement agencies could, without a warrant or court order, compel a company to provide them with basic information about one of their subscribers.

Obviously, protection measures governing this request for information have been provided in the legislation. Only a very limited type of information is covered by this new system. The bill clearly indicates that the information could be obtained without a warrant. Only designated persons could request information under this bill.

The police can obtain this information without a warrant, but the bill nonetheless puts in place certain extrajudicial protection measures such as the creation of records to trace every request for information.

It is also important to add that although the legislation will apply to businesses that operate a telecommunications facility in Canada, private networks, services for the sale or purchase of goods, and certain specified institutions are exempt from the legislation. I am talking here about registered charities, hospitals and retirement homes. All the exceptions are in the bill.

What concerns me about Bill C-46 is the privacy and freedom of people who use the Internet or other forms of communication.

This bill must not lead to an intrusion into people's private lives or the exchanges between individuals. Honest people have to be able to surf the Internet in a safe and private manner. They must be able to have conversations and conduct financial transactions safely. Honest people must not be taken hostage by criminals in this society, and hence, we need to protect privacy. We have to approach this bill carefully.

In a democratic society, the government's actions have to be transparent and citizens need to know that their privacy is protected. Children need to be protected from pedophile rings and all the other sex offenders on the Internet. We have to protect our economic assets so that we can conduct our transactions and deal with the financial aspects of organized crime. We have to protect our societies from cyber-terrorism, as I mentioned in my speech. This is a situation that people in my riding experienced not so long ago.

Organizations that defend human rights, in this case the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications, have raised a number of points that must be examined when we study this bill in committee. They are definitely important witnesses and should be invited to appear before the committee. The work must be done and it will naturally take time.

The bill introduced today has many complex provisions. Moreover, the impact of certain provisions on other laws is also very difficult to gauge.

We want to take the time to study the bill thoroughly, but we must also act quickly, examine all aspects and especially hear from police organizations and human rights organizations as they have also undertaken the arduous task of studying this bill.

These people must be heard in committee. You can rest assured that the Bloc Québécois will recommend many witnesses.

They must be given, as must we, the time to reflect and to ensure that this legislation strikes a true balance between the need of police to investigate—which is important because we are all familiar with today's growing cybercrime and they have to be able to do their job—and protecting privacy rights. We cannot choose between the two. this bill must clearly respect both issues.

I would also like to touch on the aspect of prevention in an effective strategy to fight cybercrime. This strategy must, of necessity, be based on a multi-pronged approach, whether implemented by the public or the private sector.

It is important to give the public, and especially younger people, the tools and the means to protect themselves against this new type of cybercrime which, unfortunately, is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Therefore, we have to encourage individuals and business people to adopt safe computer practices. At present, Internet users are often careless. Many people start up their computers and store important information in them without giving any thought to the potential, unfortunate consequences.

We need to change how people think, and in order to do so, we need make them more aware. We need to educate and inform the public, and give them the tools they need to protect themselves against cybercrime. This is important. We must invest money into educating the public.

In order to continue our fight against cybercrime and to defend the right to digital privacy, our primary goal, as I mentioned, must be to protect individuals, organizations and governments while taking fundamental democratic principles into account. Obviously, the tools to fight computer crime could potentially violate human rights and compromise the confidentiality of personal information. Securing information requires surveillance, controls and filters. Safeguards must be put in place to avoid allowing people to abuse their power or to dominate, and to avoid Big Brother type situations. We must ensure that fundamental rights are respected—I cannot stress that enough in this speech. In particular, we must ensure that the digital privacy and the confidential personal information of people who use these telecommunications networks are protected.

National legislation regarding the protection of personal information has been around for a long time. We also know that security is the result of a compromise.

I see that I have only two minutes remaining. We must ensure that cyberspace does not become a virtual smorgasbord for cybercriminals, or a dangerous place, or a place with an excessive police presence, or a place controlled by an ultra-powerful entity. We must bring democratic values and the human aspect back into the debate on new technologies. We must find ways to become informed Internet users and not vulnerable and dependent consumers.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the House for allowing me to speak. I want to say that we will support this bill with some reservations. We will examine it in committee.

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

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows there is a provision in Bill C-47 for a five year review, whereas there is no provision for a five year review in Bill C-46, which is a very similar and connected bill.

What form does the member think this five year review should take or if in fact the government should be looking at a sunset clause, given that technology changes radically even over a year, let alone a five year period. Perhaps a sunset clause would be more appropriate.

I would ask the member to comment on those particular areas.

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

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have not delved into that issue. However, I think that if we bring in legislation like this, we will have to reassess the measures used in police investigations and determine whether they have infringed on individual privacy rights. Have the new powers helped fight cybercrime? Have law enforcement agencies actually reduced the number of pedophile and cyberbullying rings now targeting young people? Are the measures doing enough to facilitate police investigation while respecting the rights of individuals?

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

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a follow up question for the member.

The Privacy Commissioner suggested that there be a review of the regulations flowing from both of the bills. She suggested that given the important administrative procedural and technical details involved, Parliament should conduct a full committee review and hear from all interested stakeholders on both the legislation and the regulations, and that the review take place before either bill comes into force.

Does the member have any comments about that, including her observation about yearly statistics? She would like to see an annual reporting to the public on the statistics of the use, the results and effectiveness of these new powers. It seems to me that was very good advice on her part, so I would ask the member for his comments.