House of Commons Hansard #309 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-69.

Topics

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We are moving on to the next question.

Questions, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, we heard before from a New Democratic member who pointed out, rightfully, that on a Wednesday evening, the government has now guillotined debate in the House for the second time on two important pieces of legislation. That is 41 times in this Parliament the Liberals have done so.

This bill was not a huge priority, as far as I know. It was reported back from committee on May 3, and it had one day of debate on May 28, so why the rush so suddenly now to force the House to consider the matter on an evening with five hours left and to then shut us down completely?

It is a brutal way of proceeding with the business of the House. Attempting to say that public consultation is a substitute for debate in the House is absolutely wrong.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there was a huge opportunity on Monday afternoon to have four, five, or six hours of debate. The opposition members chose a different procedure to occupy the day in a different way and pre-empted their own debate with the tactics they used. They did it again this afternoon in the House of Commons. There could have been ample debate on many important topics in the House. Instead, they chose to fritter away the time that has been made available.

It is obvious that the opposition has no interest in serious, substantive debate. Members are overwhelmed with tricks and tactics that abuse the process, and the business of the country must go forward.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister's depiction was rather disingenuous about what is happening here in the House today, and I take exception to it. The people in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh followed the issue of Bill C-51 in earnest, and all of these comments and consultations the minister is bragging about now were actually presented to all of us in this place in earnest.

Those comments were meant to foster meaningful debate in the House. No one sent comments to the minister, and I guarantee that, thinking for one minute that it would mean that he was going to cut off debate in this place on a bill like Bill C-59. We have been following this issue for a long time. The minister tabled this last year, in the dying days of our spring session. We then heard nothing, and today he is going to pull the rug out and brag about consultations. It is very disingenuous.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the opposition cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, members said we took far too long to discuss it with Canadians and present the legislation, which came in June of 2017, and then they said we were hurrying things too quickly and not allowing enough time for public discussion and debate. The reality is that we undertook to have the most extensive consultations in Canadian history. We did that throughout 2016.

We took all of that advice and information on board. We presented legislation in June 2017. We put it out in public for Canadians to examine, review, and weigh carefully, and then we brought the legislation before the House for debate. In the course of that debate, we put it to the committee before second reading so the committee could have maximum flexibility. The committee heard three dozen witnesses, received 95 briefs, and made 40 amendments. That seems to me to be the product of a democratic process that is working.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fog of hypocrisy is so thick that it is clouding the public safety minister's memory. He cannot even remember that when he was sitting in opposition for 10 years, including a stint as a member of the third party, he used the exact same democratic and parliamentary procedural argument used today, namely the opposition's role and responsibility to hold the government to account. He stood in this place and said that our government was wrongly stifling debate, and he is now being very hypocritical. He is essentially calling the pot black when he is the kettle.

I can tell you right now that this minister has way overstepped the correct parliamentary procedures that we follow in this place. To criticize the Conservatives, in my opinion, is contempt of this place.

The minister needs to apologize for that comment and understand that we have a responsibility as the official opposition to question every piece of legislation and motion the government brings before the House, including Bill C-59, which deserves to be debated in the full context in which it was supposed to be dealt with in this place.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is from an hon. member who was quoted in the media a few days ago as saying that, by and large, he supports this legislation. I thank him very much for that support.

The fact of the matter is, the opposition has numerous opportunities for debate and discussion. If it chooses to use its time in a different way, that is its choice.

Ultimately, though, it is incumbent upon Parliament that, once a good, strong debate has taken place and there has been ample time for debate in the public arena, to take decisions. After several more hours of debate on this topic, which will run over the next several days, it will be time for members of Parliament to weigh all the issues, both pros and cons. If the opposition chooses to vote against the legislation, that is entirely its prerogative.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had an interaction on social media last week with one of my constituents who was very impatient about the fact that Bill C-51 was still in place. The constituent remarked, “You said you were going to change things. We elected you to change things. You have not changed things. Why are you not changing things?”

The public is very anxious to see this move forward, as the previous government was politicizing security.

Could the minister comment on how, once the bill is enacted, there would be a new open, and third party review of security matters, depoliticizing the process of security?

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, probably the single most important change we are implementing though Bill C-59 is to create a much stronger and more comprehensive review process. Instead of having individual review agencies that only have the authority to examine a single security or police agency, which is the case now, we are creating a new, comprehensive body called the national security and intelligence review agency. It would have authority across the entire government of Canada. The silos will be gone, and the review will be able to follow the case, the issue, and the evidence wherever it may be in any department or agency of the Government of Canada.

That will be complemented by the work of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. It will also be complemented by the work of the new intelligence commissioner, who will, for the first time ever, create actual oversight and not just review things after the fact.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said earlier that many experts, including former security advisers, were consulted. Richard Fadden, who everyone remembers, was the national security adviser. When he appeared before the committee, he said that Bill C-59 was beginning to rival the Income Tax Act for complexity. In his opinion, some subsections were incomprehensible and he hoped that the committee would help the government improve that situation.

Furthermore, Christian Leuprecht from Queen's University and the Royal Military College indicated that he respected the suggestion that CSIS should stick to its knitting. With regard to certain issues, he said that, yes, in the best of all worlds, we would want the RCMP to take care of some things, such disruption and whatnot. However, he also went on to say that the RCMP is struggling on so many fronts already that we need to figure out where the relative advantage of different organizations lies and allow them to quickly implement this.

Why is the government not listening to the former national security adviser, Mr. Fadden, who in my opinion knows what he is talking about? Why is the government not listening to Mr. Leuprecht?

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the issue of complexity, unfortunately in this world issues related to public safety and national security are not simple. They are complex. They require expert work by our security and intelligence agencies and police forces. They also require expert work by the review agencies that examine the operations of the police and CSIS. We are improving the standards by creating the new national security and intelligence review agency. We are creating, for the first time ever, an opportunity for oversight before the fact rather than after the fact, complemented by the committee of parliamentarians.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:55 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have just been checking the legislative record for Bill C-59. This bill was reported back to the House on May 3. When it came up for its first bit of debate at report stage on May 28, I think we had a couple of hours of debate. However, the only person who was able to engage in debate at report stage was the minister. The minister has been a member of this place for a long time. He knows that report stage is an important process wherein this House, as a collective body, gets to consider the work of the committee. I understand that the committee's work is very important and that the committee has gone through a long process. However, equally important is that this House consider the work of the committee at report stage. Therefore, I ask the hon. Minister of Public Safety this. How is it right to limit debate at this very important stage to five hours when he is the only person in this House who has spoken to this bill at this very important stage?

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the first speaker at this stage of the debate was in fact the hon. gentleman's colleague, the NDP critic for this piece of legislation. Therefore, indeed, other people have participated in the debate, including the NDP.

The fact of the matter is there are five more hours of discussion. I would note with respect to the work at report stage that there were only three amendments proposed by the opposition in total, which would indicate a degree of satisfaction with the legislation. The opposition members had the perfect opportunity to propose an unlimited number of other amendments. They did not. They proposed three, and we're debating those three.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, having been on the public safety committee that travelled across Canada to hear from Canadians, as well as doing a study on the national security framework before we even got to Bill C-59, and then having heard from the witnesses the minister has spoken about, I wonder if he could speak to how the amendments reflect the testimony we heard, as well as how extensive those amendments were as a result of it coming directly to committee after first reading

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the committee itself would be the better judge of how the actual amendments reflected the testimony it heard. Let me give one very significant example on the issue of intelligence activities conducted in other countries, not in Canada, that may involve the risk of torture or mistreatment in those other countries. It was very clear from the testimony before the committee, as well as the comments made by members of the committee, that they wanted to put into law very strong provisions to protect against any Canadian complicity in behaviour overseas that might involve mistreatment or torture. We have had that protection until now through the vehicle of ministerial directives. However, members of the committee wanted to make that tougher. They wanted to see those ministerial directives reflected in the law itself. Indeed, a whole new section was added that will ultimately be a standalone piece of legislation to ensure that there are very strong protections in Canadian law against any behaviour on the part of Canadians that would in any way be complicit in mistreatment or torture.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, while this debate has been going on, I had an opportunity to look at some old Hansards. I found one from May 2013, when the hon. member was in opposition. He stated:

obviously it is unfortunate when debate in the House is curtailed by the use of time allocation or closure. That impinges upon the democratic right of members of Parliament to adequately consider matters that are before the House.

He said that five years ago. How could the hon. member stand in the House for the last half hour completely unashamed by his own blatant hypocrisy?

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 9 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the accuracy or not of a particular quote depends on the facts of the matter and the context in which the quotation is taken. Here, in the course of the last half-hour, I have laid out for people to judge how extensive the consultation was before the legislation was introduced.

Secondly, the fact is that we referred the legislation to committee before second reading to give the committee maximum flexibility to deal dealing with amendments. Then when the committee got to the work of clause-by-clause, after they had heard three dozen witnesses and received 95 briefs, they amended the legislation no less than 40 times. Now we are into the final stages in Parliament, which will include five more hours of debate, and then another five hours. That gives ample opportunity for the opposition to participate and make any worthwhile contribution they might care to make. If the last half-hour is any indication, I will not hold my breath.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government, for the second time today and the sixth time in a week has shut down debate, doing the bare minimum on major bills that Canadians have been waiting for years. Members have just voted on time allocation for Bill C-59.

This is a quote from the previous Parliament. I invite the minister to tell me who said this, and if it was a Liberal or a Conservative. It reads:

Canadians do not like it and they are waking up to the way the government is doing things. Who would have thought that Canadians would be familiar with procedures such as prorogation or time allocation during debates or the use of in camera in committees? Slowly but surely, Canadians are beginning to understand these procedures and beginning to question what the government meant when it promised, six and a half years ago, to be open, transparent and, most of all, accountable. I believe Canadians are beginning to feel that there is a contradiction between what has been promised and what is actually being done by the government.

I want to hear the minister's guess if it was a Conservative or a Liberal who said that, because it is hard for me to tell.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that a judgment call needs to be made when dealing with legislation, in terms of assigning an appropriate amount of time for legislation to be considered thoughtfully and carefully. If the opposition chooses, rather than to engage in debate, to use parliamentary time for other purposes, then they are in fact forgoing their own opportunities.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.

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

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill C-59—Time Allocation MotionNational Security Act, 2017Government Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.