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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was auto.

Topics

Lobster IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, fishermen have responded to the minister's program for the lobster industry with frustration, disappointment and concern. Far too weak and far too late. Only faint praise has been offered by some saying, simply, “It's a start”. Well, the only way that this can be a good start is if more is on the way.

The minister is meeting with her provincial counterparts this Thursday. These meetings will only be useful if she admits that it is just not enough what has been done and more is on the way.

Is more on the way for the lobster industry or is this start also part of the end, the ultimate end for the lobster industry?

Lobster IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I will point out to the hon. member that $75 million is $75 million more than the Liberal government gave to the lobster industry. When the fishers asked for capital gains exemptions, they were ignored. When they requested more harbour funding, they were ignored. For the Liberals' record on the fisheries, their ship did not come in.

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, a group of nurses responsible for evaluating eligibility for Canada Pension Plan disability benefits has been discriminated against for three decades by the federal government, Liberal and Conservative alike, which was not willing to give them the same professional recognition as their male counterparts.

Since a human rights tribunal has ordered the government to recognize their status as health professionals, will the government for once comply with the court order?

Status of WomenOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we consider each case on its own merit and we will study the ruling as soon as possible.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister continues his propaganda campaign, pretending that 80% of the stimulus spending has gone out the door, first nations are left behind again.

In my riding, they are still waiting to hear about their applications. Birch Island has $10 million in shovel-ready projects, but its applications has still not been approved. These are time-sensitive projects and tenders may expire before answers from the government are heard.

Will the government make first nations applications a priority and start the money flowing now?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, much of the money is flowing now. We took our applications for housing, for example, on June 4. There is $400 million set aside for aboriginal housing across the country. We have announced a new school in Burnt Church; a new one in Natashquan, Quebec; Opaskwayak, in Manitoba; Birch Narrows; and Little Red River. Those are just the schools.

We have 15 other water projects that we have announced. Some of those projects are in jeopardy because this member wants to bring down the government on Friday. I do not understand. If we want to get help to the aboriginal people, we have to flow the money, and that is what we are doing on this side of the house.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

June 16th, 2009 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the heat of question period, I made a statement about the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, which I did not think about, and as soon as I realized what I had said, I wished to withdraw it. I said that she looked as happy as a pig in mud. I apologize for using that term in reference to her and I withdraw the remark.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I must rise on a point of order at this time. Those of us on this end of the House hear things that you unfortunately do not from where you are sitting.

Toward the end of question period, about seven minutes ago, in fact, the hon. member for Outremont lost his temper, as you have seen him do in the past, and used language that I would consider unparliamentary according to Beauchesne and Marleau and Montpetit. I have such great respect for the House that I was hesitant to mention it, and I will not repeat what he said. I know that he knows what he said.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I said was “shame” when they refused to act on the first nations issue. I will never withdraw that statement. They should be ashamed.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, as you know, I have been reluctant to repeat what we heard in this part of the House, but the hon. member for Outremont was speaking directly to the President of the Treasury Board when he very clearly said, “Shut up, you moron!”

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Outremont.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I respect the member, and he has the right not to hear. I deny it categorically. It is absolutely false. I never said that.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

All the Chair can do is check the video, and I will have to do that later. Let us leave the matter for now.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime), be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is the House ready for the question?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved that Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (identity theft and related misconduct), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

;

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join today's second reading debate on Bill S-4, which would amend the Criminal Code to address the serious and ever growing problem of identity theft.

Although introduced in the Senate, the bill's proposed reforms are familiar to hon. members as its predecessor, Bill C-27, which was virtually the same, was introduced in this chamber in the previous Parliament and had received all party support at second reading.

I hope Bill S-4 can similarly receive all party support now and be quickly passed into law. Canadians urgently need the protection it would provide against identity theft, a problem that the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus has estimated cost Canadian consumers, banks, credit card and other businesses more than $2 billion each year and a problem that has enormous personal and psychological impacts on its victims. I should add that oftentimes the victims of identity theft are the most vulnerable Canadians.

Identity crime encompasses the collection, possession, trafficking and use of identity information belonging to another in committing crimes such as personation, fraud or misuse of debit card or credit card data.

For example, it occurs when somebody pretends to be an account holder in a transaction and uses the true account holder's identity to access his or her credit or actual funds. It also occurs when someone acquires and uses the identity of another to carry out otherwise ordinary transactions, such as to rent an apartment or to buy a cellphone, which are then used as part of a broader criminal scheme. In these instances, if the crime is eventually detected, the trail leads back to the identity of the unfortunate innocent person whose identity was stolen. We know that organized crime and terrorism routinely engage in identity crimes to carry out their criminal operations. I doubt that any one of us, within our constituency, cannot name someone who has been the victim of identity theft.

Bill S-4 proposes to create three new offences that will target the preliminary stages of identity crime and will enable police to lay charges, for example, before the crimes of fraud or impersonation are committed.

The first new offence would be called identity theft and would apply to attaining and possessing identity information with the intent to use the information deceptively, dishonestly or fraudulently in the commission of a crime.

The second new offence is trafficking in identity information, an offence that targets those who transfer or sell information to another person with knowledge of or recklessness toward the possible criminal use of the information. This offence targets the middlemen, and that is those who traffic the stolen identity information from one person to another, but who may not otherwise be involved in the fraud or other crimes in which the information is destined to be used. The trafficking of such stolen identity information is often part of organized crime's identity fraud activities.

The third new offence is for unlawfully possessing or trafficking in crucial government-issued identity documents that pertain to other people.

Each of these new offences would carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and would complement existing Criminal Code offences such as fraud, impersonation and forgery that already prohibit the most harmful consequences of identity abuse.

Bill S-4 proposes other new offences that will complement other existing Criminal Code mail and forgery offences. It will create the new offences of fraudulently redirecting or causing redirection of a person's mail, possessing a counterfeit Canada Post mail key and possessing instruments, often referred to as skimming devices, that are used to extract and copy debit and credit card information.

Bill S-4 would also facilitate law enforcement's investigative activities by adding new offences and certain existing offences to the list of offences for which a wiretap order may be obtained.

Importantly the bill would enable sentencing courts to order an offender to pay restitution to a victim of identity theft or fraud where the victim had incurred expenses related to rehabilitating the reputation and credit history.

Bill S-4 also proposes two exemptions to address potential negative impacts on the undercover work of law enforcement. I want to spend a moment on this aspect of the bill, as this issue attracted significant interest in the Senate. It is important that these are clearly understood for what they are and are not.

The exemptions in clauses 7 and 9 have been carefully crafted to permit the police to obtain and use identity documents in a fictitious name to support undercover activities. Concealing the true identities of undercover police officers is a problem akin to a uniformed officer carrying a sidearm. The law exempts police officers from offences that would otherwise by committed by carrying their guns, for example. The proposed exemptions will do the same thing for undercover officers with respect to identity documents.

Some will argue that these exemptions are unnecessary and inappropriate, since it is already a scheme in the Criminal Code that operates as justification for offences committed by the police during a criminal investigation. While it is true that sections 25.1 to 25.4 of the Criminal Code could be used to justify the use of false identity documents by the police, that approach would require each officer to weigh the proportionality of using the documents each and every time he or she relied upon them.

While this is an appropriate test where the police are engaging in conduct that amounts to an offence that has not been specifically authorized by Parliament, it is the government's view that it would be inappropriate to require the police to rely on this scheme for a discreet, pre-defined activity that is clearly in the public interest. It is essential to keep in mind that the proposed exemptions do not give the police the authority to commit identity theft or other fraudulent activities. Any other offences that an officer may be required to commit in the course of a criminal investigation would have to be justified under the scheme contained in the appropriate sections of the Criminal Code.

Lastly, the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee, which undertook a thorough study of the bill, amended it to provide for a five-year parliamentary review. This would provide us with a welcomed opportunity to assess the impact of the reforms in combatting identity theft.

Bill S-4 would provide much needed new tools for Canadian law enforcement and much needed protection for all Canadians against identity theft. I urge all hon. members to consider the most vulnerable in their constituencies when they consider the bill. As we all know, many members of our communities have been the victims of identity theft and the psychological impact of having one's identity stolen or misused can be quite profound.

I urge all hon. members to support the bill and support its swift passage.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a few questions. At the Commons justice committee, we did not see this bill in as great an amount of detail as the Senate did. He will know from the changes made to the previous identity theft Commons bill in the last Parliament, some significant and important changes were made. As parliamentary secretary, I would think he would want to say that this shows the Senate justice committee does good work and has provided us a good document from which to work.

Lawful excuse was mentioned as a reason why identity theft might not be charged as either summary conviction or indictable. Besides the police officer exception, what does he envision might make up that lawful excuse?

The interception of private communications in clause 3 is a very good thing. It gives law enforcement officials the tools they need in this electronic age to enforce this law. Why is the government not heeding attorneys general like Wally Oppal from British Columbia who wanted this kind of power extended throughout the code to fight their war on organized crime and the drug industry, which the parliamentary secretary sometimes suggests is the government's war too? Why will there not be more measures for extending the interception of private communications? Why has the government not worked quicker and with more dispatch in this regard?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee. As he knows, we had the opportunity in the House to consider the previous bill dealing with identity theft.

The Senate and Senate committee took a very thorough look at this bill, and I want to thank Senate members for the input they provided. We feel this is a strong, appropriate bill.

I will speak to the lawful excuse that has been raised. We have to understand that by and large this bill is about protecting Canadians from identity theft. We know that is a growing problem.

Using the example of undercover police officers, in order to do their work, sometimes they have to have a false driver's licence or identity. This is to protect them in the course of their duties. We do not want them to have to go through the other Criminal Code exemption provisions in order to be able to conduct their undercover work. We feel the police should be provided that exemption within the bill so that undercover officers can use those documents.

The bill is largely about tackling a very serious problem. I feel that our government has been responsible in bringing this bill forward. It is something I am sure the member has heard about from his constituents. I have certainly heard from mine about the serious impact of identity theft.

On the broader issue of organized crime, our government has been targeting the root of the organized crime problem. We have been dealing with the issue of identity theft, gang violence and mandatory penalties for serious gun crimes. We have been dealing with some of the things that fuel organized crime, like the trade in drugs and also auto theft. In fact we have also dealt with the very serious issue of the human trafficking of minors that organized crime participates in.

Step by step we have been taking a very serious and direct approach to organized crime. As the Minister of Justice has said many times in the House, we are just getting started. We will continue with this agenda to make Canada and our communities safer and provide balance with our justice system.