Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-42 today. I am the tourism critic for the NDP. More important, I am a Canadian citizen who is concerned about this tremendous erosion of Canadian privacy and sovereignty. The bill has serious implications on Canadian travellers taking international flights over but not into the United States.
The bill should be defeated. It is quite clearly nothing but data mining by the United States. I can understand why it would ask. I cannot understand why we would say yes, especially when it is not reciprocal. It is an unwarranted invasion of Canadians' privacy in many ways.
It is disturbing, but unfortunately not surprising, that the Conservative government would introduce such a bill. It might be reasonable to assume that foreign governments would want carriers to provide names and personal details for flights that would be landing on their soil. Unfortunately, Bill C-42 goes a ridiculous amount further. It would have airlines provide personal information. We heard the member from Winnipeg list many of the kinds of personal information that would be given to a country that travellers were just flying over.
Let us explore some of the implications of the bill. Apparently, a passenger leaving Canada on a vacation to Cuba, which many Canadians do although the Americans do not like it because they do not like Cuba and do not like us going to Cuba, could have their name, birthdate and over 30 other pieces of personal information subject to screening by the Department of U.S. Homeland Security. It would also be checking that information against various databases, including the infamous U.S. no-fly list. If people's names are on the American no-fly list, they will not get on that flight nor will they know the reason why. As well, it may not be just a one-time occurrence. Effectively, they may never be able to get off that U.S. no-fly list and may be banned from all flights leaving from Canada but flying over U.S. airspace for a very long time.
There are already examples of misuse. For example, there is the story of Hernando Ospina. He is a journalist for Le Monde diplomatique, whose Air France flight from Paris to Mexico was diverted to Martinique just because he wrote an article that was critical of U.S. foreign policy.
Another example is Paul-Émile Dupret. He is a Belgian researcher with the European Parliament. His flight from Europe to the World Social Forum in Brazil was diverted, not because he was a security threat but because he campaigned against the transfer of European travellers' information to U.S. authorities.
Who will be on the no-fly list after our speeches here today? Will members of the House of Commons end up on the U.S. no-fly list?
How can the government assure Canadians that this type of political misuse will not occur if Bill C-42 is passed? Apparently, the U.S. has told our government that it needs everyone's personal information so it can check it with its various lists of people who it does not want flying so there are less false matches and less problems. It is saying, “Let us clear your passengers for you.” Our government is going along with this. Is this laziness? Are we really that desirous of letting someone else take over the security checks of our citizens flying to a third country via U.S. airspace? We will simply have to accept that they do not get to fly internationally anymore because we have given a foreign government a veto over Canadians travelling abroad.
I hope all the members of all the parties in the House come to their senses, vote against Bill C-42 and preserve Canadian rights and Canadian sovereignty.