Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to the motion put forward by the member for Toronto Centre. The motion asks the House to recognize the fundamental rights of all Canadians to the freedoms of speech, communication and privacy and that there must be a clear affirmation on the need for these rights to be respected in all forms of communication and that the House recognize that the collection by government of personal information and data from Canadians relating to their online activities, without limits, rules, judicial oversight, constitutes a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Of course I will support the motion.
The motion asks to affirm the basic rights and freedoms of all Canadians as identified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, it saddens me that the member for Toronto Centre was compelled to put forward a motion that asks us, the members of the House, to affirm what as legislators we should be protecting everyday, what should be the guiding principle of work everyday in the House. The member was compelled to introduce the motion because of the reckless and ill-conceived Bill C-30, a bill which contains a serious violation of the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Canadians.
When members stood in the House and asked the Minister of Public Safety to reconsider this reckless legislation, the minister said, “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers”. We are often warned that rights and freedoms are not permanent, that we only keep them if we stand up and fight for them. However, when members of the House stand up and fight to protect these rights when they are being threatened by their government, we are accused of being sympathetic to child pornographers.
I think many Canadians realized because of that moment, if they did not already, that the government was a different kind of government than we had seen before, a government that was not only willing to attack the basic rights and freedoms of Canadians, but would also bully and threaten, in the worst way, when it was questioned about this attack.
I support the motion, but I lament that the government has created the conditions, the situations where this kind of motion is necessary in the first place.
Canadians should pay very close attention to this, not only to the bill but to what appears to be a complete disregard for the basic principles of democracy, rights, freedoms and respect for free and fair electoral process. The Conservatives pled guilty to election fraud just a few months ago. Now we hear the Conservative campaign may have been involved in widespread voter suppression, yet more election fraud.
I will be splitting my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville.
Last Friday, I had a chance to attend a citizenship ceremony in my community of Surrey, British Columbia. It was a very special day for those attending their citizenship.
I, too, remember a special day for me about 20 years ago when I became a Canadian citizen. There were about 85 people, elderly, young, in all walks of life, and they came from about 20 different countries. Many of them told me that they came here for a better life. A number of them came from war-torn countries. Others came from lawless countries and some may have come from countries where there might be police brutality. Many had escaped these terrible situations to adopt Canada as their new country. I could see the pride in the eyes of the would-be new immigrants.
As a part of preparation for citizenship, the new Canadians learn about our Charter of Rights. It would be fair to say that most of them expect the government and the governing party of Canada to respect the Charter of Rights.
I had a chance to address the new citizens at the end of the ceremony and encouraged them to get involved in politics and the political process in Canada, if they were not already involved. I encouraged them to exercise their right to vote. I can only imagine what those new citizens feel when they see headlines about this new country they have worked so hard to become a citizen of saying that those rights and freedoms are under attack by the sitting government and that the governing party is already guilty of election fraud, perhaps even widespread voter suppression and, more seriously, election fraud.
In May, I was elected to represent the people of Surrey North in the House. I and all members of the House have been given a wonderful opportunity and a phenomenal responsibility. New Democrats are standing up to protect the basic rights and freedoms of Canadians and the serious erosion of privacy and expansion of unchecked surveillance powers contained in Bill C-30.
I challenge the members on the other side of the House to do what they know is right and reject Bill C-30. They should think about the responsibility they have and what our rights and freedoms mean and do what they know is right.
This motion also calls on the House to recognize the charter as paramount to any provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and for the Prime Minister to ensure that any legislation put forward by the government respects the provisions of the charter and its commitments to principles of due process, privacy and the presumption of innocence. Without the principles of due process, adequate judicial oversight, respect for privacy and the presumption of innocence, our judicial system and, ultimately, our democracy stops working.
I ask members on the other side to seriously consider not only supporting this motion but understanding the gravity of the threat to our rights and freedoms contained in Bill C-30. I also ask them to consider the responsibilities they have as legislators and as members of a governing party that has shown a very serious lack of respect for not only our rights and freedoms but also our democracy. We should not have to stand in the House and speak to this motion but here we are today because of the actions of the government. Canadians deserve better.