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House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it you should find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, any recorded division demanded in respect of an item of Private Members' Business from Wednesday, March 8, 2017, to Tuesday, March 21, 2017, shall be deferred until the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions on Thursday, March 23, 2017 and any recorded division already deferred to Wednesday, March 22, 2017, immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business be deemed deferred a new until the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions on Thursday, March 23, 2017.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the hon. government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

Ham Radio TowerPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 10th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition from a large group of concerned constituents in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore regarding the construction of a tall ham radio tower by a nearby resident in his backyard. This group is understandably and, in my view, justifiably alarmed, as a tower installation in a residential neighbourhood raises health, safety, and aesthetic concerns for that community. My team and I have worked closely with the City of Mississauga Ward 2 councillor, Karen Ras, to find a solution to this issue. I stand with the opponents of the ham radio tower, and I hope that this matter can be resolved satisfactorily and in a timely manner.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by campers who stayed at the Sutton Bay Park in New Liskeard, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Timiskaming, in the riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming. The petitioners call on the government to ensure that campgrounds with fewer than five full-time, year-round employees continue to be recognized and taxed as small businesses.

Opportunities for YouthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise in the House today to present a petition that was spearheaded by Isabel and Jane, founders of Sparkes of Hope, which is based out of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges. The petition calls upon the House of Commons and Parliament to create capacity in which Canadian youth aged 14 to 18 are permitted and encouraged to become legal members of a not-for-profit corporation's board of directors.

Falun GongPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting a petition with hundreds of signatures by the citizens of Winnipeg. They call on the Canadian government to pass a resolution to establish measures to stop the Chinese Communist regime's crime of systematically murdering Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, to demand that Canadian legislators pass legislation to combat forced organ harvesting, as well as to publicly call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong people and practitioners in China.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the supplementary response to Question No. 597, originally tabled on January 30, 2017, could be made into an order for return, the return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 597Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Salaberry—Suroît, NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach

With regard to youth programs and services: (a) what are all of the federal programs for young people aged 15 to 24 or for organizations that help people in this age group, broken down by department, for the year 2016; and (b) for each of these programs and services, (i) what is their operating budget, (ii) what are their objectives, (iii) what are their criteria for determining the amount to grant to the requester?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, furthermore, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand at this time.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that also agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to rise in support of Bill C-22. This bill would create a national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians. First, I would like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for its hard work on this file, and for what I understand was a great discussion at committee level.

Our government is committed to protecting both the national security of Canadians as well as Canadians' rights and freedoms. By establishing the national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians, this government is fulfilling the promise that we made to Canadians in 2015. The role of the committee will be to ensure that the national security framework is working effectively to keep Canadians safe, and that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are also safeguarded.

It was 17 months ago that Canadians elected this government to produce real change in Canadian society. Bill C-22 is part of our plan to address the deficit of public trust between Canadians and the intelligence agencies that protect them. Restoring public trust will be no easy task. What it requires is a return to the basics of public service. We do not need to look hard to find these foundational principles. They are enshrined in our Constitution, now 150 years old. The phrase, “peace, order, and good government” has come to symbolize Canadian constitutional principles. These words hold truth today and are in fact fundamental to the mandate of this new committee.

Peace is a universally recognized Canadian value. This committee would have a hand in overseeing our military and intelligence agencies. Canadians have empowered their security agencies with the tools they need to keep Canada safe and to maintain public peace and security, yet there must be measures in place to ensure that these tools are not abused. This is why the committee will have a broad government-wide mandate, in fact, broader than other partners in the Five Eyes. This will allow the committee members to review any national security matter in all government departments and agencies, and, if security allows, present their findings to the House. Assuring citizens that their privacy is respected is a challenge that persists for democracies around the world. This next step would help to provide the transparency that Canadians overwhelmingly voted for in 2015.

“Order”, the second foundational virtue of our Constitution, is a crucial element to the bill. Every democracy struggles to strike the appropriate balance between collective security and individual liberty. MPs and senators on the committee will have access to classified information and a robust mandate to review and to complete the scope of our national security framework throughout the federal government. All of our Five Eyes allies have similar committees, and the broad scope of this committee's mandate will make it a stronger body, as I mentioned earlier.

Here too, the government has struck a reasonable balance between peace and order. MPs and senators on the committee will have access to classified information, as well as the mandate to review the complete scope of Canada's national security framework.

However, there are provisions in the bill that limit access to certain information, such as ongoing military operations, cabinet confidences, and information related to ongoing law enforcement investigations. This balance ensures the security of classified information and the operational effectiveness of the DND, CSIS, and the RCMP, while also providing MPs and senators with adequate oversight to properly protect our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Good government” is the final value reflected in this phrase. It is best embodied when we here and those in the upper house collaborate for the good of our country. With government amendments, the committee will be comprised of up to 11 members, eight from the House of Commons and three from the Senate. Up to five members of Parliament will be from the governing party.

This bill is an essential part of our national security strategy, which includes specific measures outlined in our platform, as well as consultations, so that Canadians can have their say about what other measures are needed.

Restoring public trust in Canada's security institutions is of critical importance. This is by no means the only measure the government will take to rebuild the public's confidence. The hon. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is currently reviewing Bill C-51, to make much-needed reforms.

There are many lessons that history has to teach. Perhaps the most important is the government's role in society. Government is an instrument for good, where people can come together and work toward common goals. As MPs, we cannot forget this simple truth. We are tasked with protecting the rights of the people we serve, as well as future generations. We must not become complacent and rely upon false comfort and assumptions. Constant vigilance by Canada's leaders to maintain these freedoms is included in the review recommendations of this bill.

This past summer, the former president of the United States, Mr. Obama, addressed this House and emphasized the truth of this. He quoted the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau when he said, “A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day”.

If we are to keep building Canada as a monument to the world, we must take these words to heart.

To conclude, I urge my fellow MPs to support Bill C-22. The bill is a thorough and comprehensive piece of legislation. It would equip MPs with the resources they need to responsibly exercise their due diligence. I urge my colleagues to support the bill as a common-sense move to promote government accountability.

I welcome any questions from my colleagues.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. However, I have to admit that I do not know what is happening here, because the people elected us to represent them in the House of Commons and to talk about federal issues.

The very principle of having committees that deal with specific subjects is based on the fact that this allows us to take a closer look at the details of certain bills. The Liberals made a commitment to create this oversight committee. The parliamentary committee that studied the issue made a series of recommendations and heard a great deal of testimony, which the government is completely ignoring. Why?

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, we do have a system of government that involves input from committees. Committees, such as the public safety committee, are able to have experts and hear testimony so the members can debate among themselves and come up with some recommendations that come forward to the government. Not all recommendations are adopted, but they are all taken into consideration. I know that some of the hon. committee members from the NDP had some of their suggestions come forward, which was unusual when compared with what the previous government was doing. Bill C-51 came through with no amendments, no amendments required, no amendments taken. In this case, we did have a very good discussion at committee. The discussion came forward to the government. The government makes its recommendations, which then go to the upper House and then come back for debate in Parliament, which is what we are doing right now.

I think the process is working. Not all committee members will get their amendments through, but it adds value to our conversation and in fact to our parliamentary democracy.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, whether we think he was a traitor or we think he was a hero, Edward Snowden exposed a lot of what was happening in the United States in the process.

I do not know if my colleague believes that is a good way of keeping accountability, or if it is a lot better to have a multipartisan committee of parliamentarians overseeing our intelligence agencies to make sure that what is going on is the right thing.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have a system of oversight. Having a committee that is able to look at the day-to-day operations, the day-to-day bills that we are considering in Parliament is one thing, but having another style of committee, which is a committee of parliamentarians that also includes members from the other place, really adds some value to having another third party looking at matters of security that often are not allowed to be made public because of the true nature of being items of security but are overviewed by elected officials.

Right now, we do not have that ability. Elected officials are not included in the process of security oversight. That is precisely what this committee is being set up to do.

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, if openness and transparency were a currency, the government would be squandering it as fast as it is our taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.

By structuring the committee the way it has, the government has undermined the independence of it. I am wondering if the hon. member could speak to why the government has undermined the independence of this committee.