Mr. Speaker, it is very disappointing that we are once again being forced to debate a very important bill under a time allocation motion. I have lost track somewhat, but I think this is the 80th time allocation motion. It has happened so many times under this government that there have been many complex, important bills that we have not had a chance to debate.
On top of that, the government decided to hold the third reading debate on this extremely important bill on a Friday, when everyone knows that most members are not present in the House on Fridays. I think that is appalling.
I would also like to talk about the vote at second reading. There was a vote at report stage and another one on this part of the bill, and it was revised in committee. That said, I must denounce the fact that the Liberal Party voted in favour of the bill, even though it had criticized the bill repeatedly. It boggles my mind. I am not normally a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, but I was there when this bill was being studied.
When they were asking the parliamentary secretary questions, some members said that the bill's first aim was to address bullying. On that issue, at least, we agree 100% with the Conservatives. All members on all sides of the House agree that cyberbullying must be stopped, for it is a very serious issue.
New technology has completely changed the problem of bullying. In the past, once you were home, nasty people at school could no longer bother you, since you were in a safe place. These days, new technology and social networks allow bullies to follow us everywhere.
If someone does not like what you wore to school, it will be shared on Facebook or in an email. Disturbing images can also follow us. Unfortunately, that is what happened in a couple of highly publicized cases, such as the Amanda Todd case. No matter what she did, that image followed her. I agree completely that this must be stopped.
That is why we asked that the bill be split. That way, we could pass the essential elements and make positive changes to combat cyberbullying and non-consensual distribution of images. It is too bad that the government did not have the good sense to get this part passed quickly. We agreed to do so. This part of the bill could have been at the other place by now. Unfortunately, the government did not want to go ahead.
It is a real shame because cyberbullying is a very important issue to me. I would like to use my 20 minutes to talk about only the parts of the bill that have to do with cyberbullying. Unfortunately, I cannot because we also have to talk about the problematic parts of this bill that could have very serious consequences for Canadians' privacy.
Victims of cyberbullying deserve better. The families of cyberbullying victims came to committee to share their stories. They were very courageous. Nonetheless, there are thousands of other cases that are not in the media, unfortunately or fortunately, I am not sure which. These victims deserve a debate on this issue alone. Unfortunately, we must debate both because this government is incapable of co-operating.
Some of my constituents are working very hard to combat cyberbullying. Someone even developed a website to create a safer social network where people cannot be anonymous. It is very interesting.
I want to point out all the daily efforts these people are making. Some are forming groups to combat cyberbullying. These are truly exceptional Canadians, and I want to thank them.
We have to talk about the other aspects because, unfortunately, very few pages and clauses of this bill really have anything to do with cyberbullying. The vast majority are on changes to the Criminal Code. Some parts of the bill are just fine, but others will seriously jeopardize Canadians' privacy.
The government keeps talking about the judicial oversight system for obtaining warrants to get personal information. Indeed, some parts of the bill call for a warrant. I will talk about the problems with warrants later.
However, what the government did not say in its speech and what it seems to have completely forgotten about is that a parallel system is being created, and that it completely bypasses all the mechanisms for obtaining warrants. That was part of the government's own bill. We are completely setting aside judicial oversight, which is the basis for our legal systems. We are creating a parallel system where someone can pick up the phone, call an Internet service provider and make an urgent request, and the service provider will send the information. The Liberals created this loophole in the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Conservative government is taking advantage of it.
We know that there have been abuses. The acting information and privacy commissioner announced that in one year, government agencies made at least 1.2 million requests for information from Internet providers. That is huge. I have trouble believing that there are 1.2 million terrorists, for example, or 1.2 million criminals running around in the streets and that we need to obtain information about them.
Furthermore, it was the Internet service providers that informed us about the 1.2 million requests, not the government, which has shown an appalling lack of transparency. It does not want to give us that information.
Also, there was no explanation as to why these requests were made. There is no oversight system for these types of requests that could guarantee to Canadians that they were made in extraordinary cases. I believe that Canadians are prepared to accept extraordinary cases. There are urgent situations where we cannot turn to the regular processes and where we must obtain a warrant after the fact. However, in light of the 1.2 million requests, I find it hard to believe that Canadians would not think that there had been abuses and that there is a flaw somewhere.
I actually asked the government a question on the order paper about how many times it requested this kind of information from Internet service providers. That was just for one year, 2012-13. The Canada Border Services Agency said that it had made over 13,000 requests in one year. I asked the agency what kinds of cases or situations would result in such requests being made. Only two of the 13,000 requests were made for national security reasons. Can we honestly say that these are exceptional cases or national security cases? I think not. The question was asked, but the answer did not cut it.
I asked the government another question because it was not going to share that information. I asked how many times government agencies had made such requests for 2001, which is when the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA, was passed. Here is something very disturbing: they did not have the data. We were told that there was no system to keep track of those kinds of requests and that the information could not be provided.