House of Commons Hansard #310 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-59.

Topics

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have so much to say and so little time to say it. I appreciate everybody's view and the comments that have been made. However, I will speak from some experience. I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. As many members know, my previous role was in aviation. I worked with security groups all around the world with respect to protecting our borders. I was involved in inter-agency discussions on how to make our industry, airports, marine ports, transportation systems, and country safe.

We live in a different world. The reality is that people have these flowery views because those who work behind the scenes protect us. There are things that we do not know are going on because those security groups are able to have that information and make those arrests or stop those events from happening before anybody even knows about it.

I listened intently to my hon. colleague from across the way. However, with all due respect, I come at it from a very real and knowledgeable background. We need to give every tool possible to those agencies and groups that have been tasked to protect us. Bill C-59 would not do that. It would take away those tools and would make them work more in silos. Why? I honestly do not understand.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not disagree more with what my friend across the way said. I am not presuming that there are no security risks out there. What I am talking about is balance.

We are in a country that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are in a country that respects privacy. These are important principles. Therefore, yes, we absolutely must defend security, but we must also take into account the fundamental rights that Canadians want to protect.

This does not just come from me. I will quote Professor Forcese, who stated this in Maclean's:

...changes proposed in C-59 are solid gains—measured both from a rule of law and civil liberties perspective—and come at no credible cost to security. They remove excess that the security services did not need—and has not used—while tying those services into close orbit around a new accountability system....

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12:45 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I especially appreciate the member's dedication to the no-fly kids and the challenges those families face when they try to travel and having their name screened as being a dangerous one. I cannot imagine walking into an airport and having my three-year old being accused of something as terrible as this.

However, I would like some clarity on is this. An amendment was proposed by the NDP to ensure individuals had access to the existing pool of special advocates so they could defend themselves against secret evidence they did not always have access to, but was being used against them. How does the member square that? Families need to know that. Waiting three years is a long time. Understanding why they are being stopped is really important, as well as having the advocacy and support to move forward. Why did the Liberals not support this amendment?

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12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the proposed changes to the Security Air Travel Act deal with one of the problems of the existing system right now, and that is the fact that the system is managed by airlines, oddly enough. This brings it back to government so government can handle it responsibly and respond to the questions and concerns people may have. We have all of the overarching layers that are introduced through this legislation to put in the necessary levels of oversight. We have to look at all the different layers that have been put into place. With all of them, people's concerns can be matched.

I appreciate that my friend from across the way understands the concerns of these families.

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12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-59, which relates to issues of national security and how we deal with people suspected of terrorist acts.

This issue is quite different from those usually addressed. Usually, I have to talk about public finance. It is quite easy to say that the Liberals are wrong because they have a deficit and that we are right because we oppose deficits, which is very clear. In that case, this is very touchy. We are talking about so many great issues, and this issue should be addressed without partisanship. For sure, it is not easy.

That is why this really should be a non-partisan issue. This will not be easy, because obviously people are sharply divided on how this information should be dealt with in order to stop terrorism and how terrorists should be dealt with.

Bill C-59 is the current government's response to Bill C-51, which our government had passed. I remind the House that the Liberals, who formed the second opposition party at the time, supported Bill C-51, but said that they would change it right away once in power. It was supposedly so urgent, and yet they have been in power for two and a half years now, and it has taken the Liberals this long to bring forward their response to the Conservative Bill C-51 in the House of Commons.

As I was saying earlier, some questions are easier to answer, because they are based not on partisanship, but on your point of view. For example, when it comes to public finances, you can be for or against the deficit. However, no one is arguing against the need to crack down on terrorism. The distinctions are in the nuances.

That is why the opposition parties proposed dozens of amendments to the bill; sadly, however, with the exception of four technical amendments proposed by the NDP, the Liberals systematically rejected all amendments proposed by the Conservative Party and the Green Party, and Lord knows that there is an entire world between the Conservative Party and the Green Party.

This bill is meant to help us tackle the terrorist threat, whether real or potential. In the old days, in World War II, the enemy was easily identified. Speaking of which, yesterday was the 74th anniversary of the Normandy landing, a major turning point in the liberation of the world from Nazi oppression. It was easy to identify the enemy back then. Their flag, leader, uniform and weapons were clearly identifiable. We knew where they were.

The problem with terrorism is that the enemy is everywhere and nowhere. They have no flag. They have a leader, but they may have another one by tomorrow morning. The enemy can be right here or on the other side of the world. Terrorism is an entirely new way of waging war, which calls for an entirely new way of defending ourselves. That is why, in our opinion, we need to share information. All police forces and all intelligence agencies working in this country and around the world must be able to share information in order to prevent tragedies like the one we witnessed on September 11, 2001.

In our opinion, the bill does not go far enough in terms of information sharing, which is necessary if we are to win the fight against terrorism. We believe that the Communications Security Establishment, the RCMP, CSIS and all of the other agencies that fight terrorism every day should join forces. They should share an information pipeline rather than work in silos.

In our opinion, if the bill is passed as it is now, the relevant information that could be used to flush out potential terrorists will not be shared as it should be. We are therefore asking the government to be more flexible in this respect. Unfortunately, the amendments proposed by our shadow cabinet minister, the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, were rejected.

We are very concerned about another point as well: the charges against suspected terrorists. We believe that the language of the bill will make it more difficult to charge and flush out terrorists. This is a delicate subject, and every word is important.

We believe that the most significant and most contentious change the bill makes to the Criminal Code amends the offence set out in section 83.221, “Advocating or promoting commission of terrorism offences”. This is of special interest to us because this offence was created by Bill C-51, which we introduced. Bill C-59 requires a much more stringent test by changing the wording to, “Every person who counsels another person to commit a terrorism offence”. The same applies to the definition of terrorist propaganda in subsection 83.222(8), which, in our opinion, will greatly restrict law enforcement agencies' ability to use the tool for dismantling terrorist propaganda with judicial authorization as set out in Bill C-51. Why? Because as it is written, when you talk about counselling another person to commit a terrorism offence, it leaves room for interpretation.

What is the difference between a person and a group of people; between a person and a gathering; between a person and an entity; or between a person and an illicit and illegal group? In our opinion, this is a loophole in the bill. It would have been better to leave it as written in the Conservative Bill C-51. The government decided not to. In our opinion, it made a mistake.

Generally speaking, should we be surprised at the government’s attitude toward the fight against terrorism? The following example is unfortunate, but true. We know that 60 Canadians left Canada to join ISIS. Then, they realized that the war was lost because the free and democratic nations of the world decided to join forces and fight back. Now, with ISIS beginning to crumble, these 60 Canadians, cowards at heart, realize that they are going to lose and decide to return to Canada. In our opinion, these people are criminals. They left our country to fight Canadian soldiers defending freedom and democracy and return to Canada as if nothing had happened. No.

Worse still, the Liberal government’s attitude toward these Canadian criminals is to offer them poetry lessons. That is a pretty mediocre approach to criminals who left Canada with the mandate to kill Canadian soldiers. We believe that we should throw the book at these people. They need to be dealt with accordingly, and certainly not welcomed home with poetry lessons, as the government proposes.

Time is running out, but I would like to take this opportunity, since we are discussing security, to extend the warmest thanks to all the employees at the RCMP, CSIS, the CSE and other law enforcement agencies such as the Sûreté du Québec in Quebec and municipal police forces. Let us pay tribute to all these people who get up every morning to keep Canadians safe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 4,000 or more police officers from across Canada who are working hard in the Charlevoix and Quebec City regions to ensure the safety of the G7 summit, these people who place their life on the line so that we can live in a free and democratic society where we feel safe. I would like to thank these women and men from coast to coast to coast that make it possible for us to be free and, most importantly, to feel safe.

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12:55 p.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech.

I will have to phrase my question in English because I want to be very specific about this. Within this context in particular, we all know that because a single Muslim may be a terrorist does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. In the same way, we know that a single individual who threatens to kill a member of Parliament does not mean that all members of that person's group are terrorists.

In the context of counselling terrorism or counselling violence, would the member agree that if you encourage organizations and individuals to attack a government, who through their actions specifically say and give their name to it and threaten to kill members of Parliament, which has happened with the emails we have all received in the last few weeks, that the organizations involved are counselling terrorism?

It is true there are gun owners who are threatening to kill members of Parliament and there are members of your party encouraging gun owners. I am not saying that all gun owners are terrorists by any stretch, any more than you are saying that all Muslims are terrorists. However, when we get into a situation of counselling terrorism, if there are gun owners who threaten the lives of MPs, would you not agree that something needs to change in the way conversations about politics, terrorism, and violence happen in this country, and that those activities should not be criminalized, but rather that the political party involved should temper the conversation and bring it back to a real one so that all people are not tarred with the same brush?

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind the hon. members to use the third person and talk through the Speaker. I am sure the hon. member was not referring to my party, because I am neutral. I am the Speaker.

I will pass it on to the hon. member from Louis-Saint-Laurent.

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12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have had the privilege of representing Canadians, first, in the National Assembly, and now here, in the House of Commons, for almost 10 years now. What a shame it is to hear such an appalling statement from a Liberal MP. This is the second time it has happened, as I was targeted by such a statement a year and a half ago. I had a private discussion with the hon. member who accused me unjustly. Linking gun owners who assault members of parliament to a political party, and then saying that no such link was implied even though the words were said, is neither dignified nor honourable.

I will answer the question directly. If an unscrupulous person threatens to kill someone, it is the duty and responsibility of the police to investigate the situation and put the rogues in jail, where appropriate. In any case, we should not link that person to a group, then another, and another, until we get to a political party, as the hon. member in question did in such appalling fashion.

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12:55 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know what my hon. colleague thinks about the much-discussed no-fly list and the problems it is causing. Canadian citizens, in particular children, who have the misfortune of having the same name as people on the no-fly list, are currently in a situation where they either cannot fly or risk being denied boarding. They can find themselves in a difficult situation. We asked for emergency measures to deal with this situation, and we are still waiting for the government to do something to remedy the issue of children banned from air travel.

What are my colleague's thoughts on that?

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1 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his relevant and appropriate question, in contrast to the comment I heard a few minutes ago from the Liberal member from Toronto.

The point the member raised is very important and it touches on what was said earlier about the bill. Unfortunately, our work too often happens in silos. Police forces have to be able to share information. We certainly must not amalgamate information in this situation. Just because you are the brother, neighbour, or cousin of a criminal, it does not in any way mean that you are necessarily a criminal. However, this requires that the authorities have the correct information. Do police forces always have all of the information? Not necessarily. This is why we want to make it so that information can flow, as it would through a pipeline, instead of being stacked up in silos. We think that, in the case the member raised, the more that information can be shared and sent to other police authorities, the more police forces and the appropriate anti-terrorist units will be able to work together, collaborate and share information. This could stop bad decisions from being made.

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker,

[Member spoke in Cree]

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to this historic piece of legislation. The people of Winnipeg Centre were very concerned before the last election in 2015 about the manoeuvres of the Harper government with Bill C-51 and all of the things that it did to undermine our national security. We are committed to keeping Canadians safe while safeguarding rights and freedoms. After the largest and most transparent public consultation process on national security in our country's history—there were 58,933 online submissions, 17,862 email submissions, and more than 20 in-person events—I am very proud to see that our government has introduced this national security act in 2017 to undo and repair the damage done by the Harper Conservatives with Bill C-51.

I would like to thank the committee for its diligence in bringing forth amendments recommended by stakeholders, which have truly strengthened this bill. A collaborative approach was certainly our major intent when the government took the rare step of referring the bill to committee prior to second reading. I believe we need to thank the Privacy Commissioner, the chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and individuals like Professors Craig Forcese and Kent Roach for their helpful testimony before the committee, which helped to ensure that the bill is the best and as sound as it could be.

Indeed, it is thanks to these many months of close scrutiny that we now have a new component of the bill, the avoiding complicity and mistreatment by foreign entities act. To be clear on this point, Canada unequivocally condemns in the strongest possible terms the torture or other mistreatment of any individual by anyone for any purpose. It is contrary to the charter, the Criminal Code, and Canada's international treaty obligations, and Canadians will never condone it. As members know, directions were issued to clarify decisions on the exchange of information with a foreign entity that, with public safety as the objective, could have the unintended consequence of Canada's contributing to mistreatment. As a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I feel it should always be foremost in our mind that these things can sometimes occur. Thanks to the committee's work on this bill, the new amendment would enshrine in law a requirement that directions be issued on these matters. They would be public, they would be reported on annually, and they would strengthen transparency and accountability.

I would also like to thank the committee and all those who testified for their important scrutiny of the privacy-related aspects of Bill C-59, particularly as they relates to the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. Importantly, amendments would now cause institutions receiving information under the information sharing act to destroy or return any personal information received that does not meet the threshold of necessity. These are both welcome changes.

As a result of many months of close scrutiny, we have legislation that will ensure that privacy interests are upheld, clarify the powers of our security agencies, and further strengthen transparency and accountability beyond our initial proposals. This is important. It does not mean that legislation is forced upon people, but that we can actually ensure that legislation is strengthened through the work of this House in a collaborative process, which is a significant change from four years ago. These proposals, of course, also reflect the tens of thousands of views we heard from the remarkable engagements we had with Canadians from coast to coast to coast online and in person.

As I have noted, we followed up on our commitment to continue that engagement in Parliament. In sending the bill to committee before second reading, we wanted to ensure that this legislation is truly reflective of the open and transparent process that led to Bill C-59's creation. The bill is stronger because of the more than 40 amendments adopted by committee that reflect the important stakeholder feedback.

As we begin second reading, allow me to underline some of the bill's key proposals. Bill C-59 would strengthen accountability through the creation of a new comprehensive national review body, the national security intelligence review agency. This is a historic change for Canada. For the very first time, it would enable comprehensive and integrated scrutiny of all national security and intelligence activities across government, a whole-of-government approach. I should note that Justice O'Connor can be thanked for the first detailed blueprint of such a review system nearly a decade ago, and that this recommendation has been echoed by Senate committees and experts alike.

The government has taken these commitments even further. The creation of a new agency would mean ending a siloed approach to national security review through a single arm's-length body with a government-wide mandate. It would complement the work of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, the multi-party review committee with unprecedented access to information that would put us in line with our Five Eyes partners and what other nations do around the world.

Through our new measures, Canadians will have confidence that Canada's national security agencies are complying with the law and that their actions are reasonable and necessary. The establishment of an intelligence commissioner would further build on that public confidence. The commissioner would be a new, independent authority helping to ensure that the powers of the security intelligence community are used appropriately and with care.

I was pleased to hear that the committee passed an amendment that would require the commissioner to publish an annual report that would describe his or her activities and include helpful statistics. Indeed, all of these measures complement other significant new supports that would promote Canadians' understanding of the government's national security activities.

These include adopting a national security transparency commitment across government to enable easier access to information on national security, with implementation to be informed by a new advisory group on transparency. Transparency and accountability are crucial for well-informed public debate, and we need them now after a decade of darkness under the Conservatives. Indeed, they function as a check on the power of the executive branch. As members of the legislative branch, it is our job to hold the executive branch to account. They also empower Canadians to hold their government to account.

I am confident the proposals that have been introduced in the form of Bill C-59 would change the public narrative on national security and place Canadians where they should be in the conversation, at its very heart, at its very centre, at the heart of Canada, like Winnipeg-Centre is the heart of Canada.

We also heard loud and clear that keeping Canadians safe must not come at the expense of our rights and freedoms, and that previous efforts to modernize our security framework fell short in that regard. Indeed, Canadians told us they place great value in our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. These include the right to peaceful protest, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. They also told us that that there is no place for vague language when it comes to the powers of our security bodies or the definitions that guide their actions.

Once again, because we took the time to listen to Canadians in the largest public safety consultations ever held in Canadian history, and talked to stakeholders and to parliamentarians, we can now act faithfully based on the input we received. First, we all understand that bodies like CSIS take measures to reduce national security threats to Canada. Our proposals clarify the regime under which CSIS undertakes these measures, they better define its scope, and they add a range of new safeguards that will ensure that CSIS's actions comply with our charter rights.

However, to be clear, the amendments in Bill C-59 have not diluted the authority CSIS would have to act, but rather have clarified that authority. For example, the bill would ensure that CSIS has the ability to query a dataset in certain exigent circumstances, such as when lives or national security are at stake. Even then, there are balances in place in the bill that would mean that these authorities would require the advance approval of the intelligence commissioner.

The amendments by the committee would also strengthen key definitions. For example, they would clarify terms like “terrorist propaganda” and key activities like “digital intelligence collection”. All of these changes are long overdue and are of critical importance to this country.

National security matters to Canadians. We measure our society by our ability to live free of fear, day after day, with opportunities to thrive guided by the principles of openness, equality, and fairness for all. However, Canadians are not naive about the context in which we find ourselves today in a changing environment and a changing threat landscape.

It is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to be vigilant, proactive, and thorough in making sure that our national security framework is working for all Canadians. That means making sure that the agencies protecting us have the resources and powers they need to do so. It also means making sure that we listen to Canadians, and making them a partner in our society and security. It also means building on the values that help to make our country safe, rather than taking away from them, and understanding that a free and open society enhances our collective resilience.

On all fronts, Bill C-59 is not just a step in the right direction, but a giant leap forward for Canada. I proudly stand behind this legislation. Once again, I would like to thank all members of the committee who have done important work.

[Member spoke in Cree]

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a giant step for Canada. Bill C-59 is an omnibus bill. It is 138 pages long. While we were at it, we could have settled the whole issue around the totally unacceptable ministerial directive on torture once and for all.

For some time now, we have been urging the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 ministerial directive on torture. We need to make sure that Canada upholds the total ban on torture and, more specifically, does not, under any circumstances, make use of intelligence that foreign countries may have obtained through torture.

Unfortunately, the new directive introduced in 2017 does not ban the RCMP, our spies, or our border agencies from using intelligence that was obtained through torture in other countries.

Why make an omnibus bill, a giant step for Canada, but not ban the use of intelligence obtained through torture?

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the bill is indeed very big, but it deals with just one subject: national security. It was vital that we take the time to thoroughly study the issue, and that is what we did. The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security heard from security experts who gave testimony setting out their point of view and explaining how important it was.

This is no small matter. It can be divided into several smaller components, but it is important to have a big-picture perspective of national security. We must not compartmentalize. For decades, the various elements of our security were compartmentalized, with a little bit here and a little bit there. We need to gather all these elements together to see the big picture.

Craig Forcese from the University of Toronto and expert Kent Roach said in an article that the bill represents “...solid gains—measured both from a rule of law and civil liberties perspective...at no credible cost to security.” They also said that “...[It] rolls back much of the unnecessary overkill of the Harper era’s Bill C-51.”

University of Toronto expert Wesley Wark, said that “If Canada can make this new system work, it will return the country to the forefront of democracies determined to hold their security and intelligence systems to account....”

That is testimony from expert witnesses at committee.

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre not only for his intervention today but for his service to Canada in his work with the Canadian Armed Forces and for the services he provides his community, regardless of the background of a person. Regardless of their economic status and regardless of where they are coming from and the challenges they are facing, he does defend them and provides a voice for them in Ottawa.

I wonder if the hon. member could share the impact that legislation like this can have on marginalized people, marginalized groups, and people who are otherwise discriminated against.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in Winnipeg Centre, this was a huge concern just before the last election. People were very concerned, because a lot of people in Winnipeg Centre like to have peaceful protests. They like the opportunity to stand up and voice their opinion, and many indigenous people want to stand up and protest.

I remember when I was with the Idle No More movement in shopping malls on Portage and Main, which our mayor is looking at opening up. We were nervous in the indigenous community that the government would use the old legislation to destroy and take away our civil liberties, our civil rights, our freedoms, which are guaranteed under the charter. We were worried that it would use legislation and that we would have to go through the court system for decades to try to win those freedoms back.

This legislation tries to strike a balance between, on the one hand, the threats that we face in the modern world that we know exist on security fronts in a changing environment, and on the other hand ensuring that we can protect those civil liberties. It means that if marginalized groups, indigenous groups, and average Canadians decide to go out in the streets and protest for the things they hold most dear, the issues they believe in, it would not be criminalized and treated as a security threat but welcomed, because we need informed protest in our society. We need people who participate in our democracy. It is important that everyone have that opportunity and that it be protected.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to rise to speak to this fundamental bill. As I mentioned earlier, at 138 pages, Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters, is a real omnibus bill. Unfortunately, there are still problems with this bill. That is why we are going to have to oppose it. It does not meet all our expectations.

We opposed Bill C-51. We were the only ones to support compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to safeguard Canadians' rights and freedoms in 2015. The Liberals and the Conservatives voted for that bill, which was condemned by all Canadians. That is the reason why the Liberals later stated in their campaign that the bill made no sense and that they would rescind it if they were elected. They have finally woken up three years later. Unfortunately, the bill does not deliver on those promises.

There are elements missing. For example, the Liberals promised to fully repeal Bill C-51, and they are not doing that. Another extremely important thing that I want to spend some time talking about is the fact that they should have replaced the existing ministerial directive on torture in order to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. A lawful society, a society that respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Charter of Rights, should obviously not allow torture. However, once again, Canada is somewhat indirectly complicit in torture that is happening around the world. We have long been calling on the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal and replace the 2010 directive on torture to ensure that Canada stands for an absolute prohibition on torture. More specifically, we want to ensure that, under no circumstances, will Canada use information from foreign countries that could have been obtained using torture or share information that is likely to result in torture. We have bad memories of the horrors endured by some Canadians such as Maher Arar, Abdullah Almaki, Amhad Abou El Maati, and Muayyed Nureddin. Canadians have suffered torture, so we are in some way complicit. It is very important that we resolve this problem, but unfortunately, the new directive, issued in October 2017, does not forbid the RCMP, CSIS, or the CBSA from using information that may have been obtained through torture in another country.

The new instructions feature not a single semantic change, since they authorize the use of information obtained by torture in certain cases. That is completely unacceptable. Canada should take a leading role in preventing torture and should never agree to use or share information that is likely to result in torture in other countries around the world. We should be a leader on this issue.

There is another extremely important file that I want to talk about that this bill does not address and that is the infamous no-fly list. This list and the unacceptable delays in funding redress mechanisms are regrettable. There is currently no effective redress mechanism to help people who suffer the consequences from being added to this list. Some Canadian families are very concerned. They want to protect their rights because children are at risk of being detained by airport security after mistakenly being added to the list, a list that prevents them from being able to fly.

We are very worried about that. We are working with No Fly List Kids. We hope that the Liberal government will wake up. It should have fixed this situation in this bill, especially considering that this is an omnibus bill.

Speaking of security, I want to mention two security-related events that occurred in Drummond that had a significant impact. The first was on May 29 and was reported by journalist Ghyslain Bergeron, who is very well known in Drummondville. A dozen or so firefighters from Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey were called to rescue a couple stranded on the Saint-François river. Led by the town's fire chief, Pierre Blanchette, they headed to the area and courageously rescued the couple. It is extremely important to acknowledge acts of bravery when we talk about the safety our our constituents.

I also want to talk about Rosalie Sauvageau, a 19-year-old woman who received a certificate of honour from the City of Drummondville after an unfortunate event at a party in Saint-Thérèse park. A bouncy castle was blown away by the wind, and she immediately rushed the children out of the bouncy castle, bringing them to safety. Not long after, a gust of wind blew one of the bouncy castles into Rivière Saint-François. Fortunately, Rosalie Sauvageau had the presence of mind, the quickness, and the courage to keep these children safe. I mentioned these events because the safety and bravery of our fellow citizens is important.

To come back to the bill, I must admit that there are some good things in it, but there are also some parts that worry us, in particular the new definition of an activity that undermines the security of Canada. This definition was amended to include any activity that threatens the lives or the security of individuals, or an individual who has a connection to Canada and who is outside Canada. This definition is pernicious and dangerous, because it will now include activities that involve significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure.

The Liberal government just recently purchased the Kinder Morgan pipeline, a 65-year-old pipeline that the company originally bought for $500,000. The government bought it for the staggering price of $4.5 billion, with money from the taxes paid by Canadians and the people of greater Drummond, and claimed that it was essential to Canada.

Does that mean that the Liberal government could tell the thousands of people protesting against this pipeline that they are substantially obstructing essential infrastructure?

We are rather concerned about that. This clause of the bill creates potential problems for people who peacefully protest projects such as the Kinder Morgan pipeline. That is why we are voting against this bill. The Liberals have to go back to the drawing board. We must improve this bill and ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is upheld.

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1:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is being downright silly. To give the impression that the Liberal government would even bring forward legislation that would not allow for peaceful demonstrations is just silly.

Quite frankly, it was a Liberal Party that put the rights and freedoms in our charter back in the early 1980s. It also put forward legislation that put together a group of parliamentarians to protect our rights and freedoms. There is nothing wrong with peaceful demonstrations. We have fought for that for many years.

Having been a member of the force and having had many discussions with war veterans in the past, I do not quite understand why the New Democrats have taken the position to not support the legislation. If that is the only reason they will vote against the legislation, they should go back to the drawing board and get a better appreciation of the legislation and what it would advance.

I voted in favour of Bill C-51 because I believed there needed to be a balance. This government committed to fix Bill C-51, and this bill would do that. It would improve the bill. Could the member expand on why he believes peaceful demonstrations would be disallowed under the legislation?

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1:25 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Winnipeg North should watch his language.

I think I delivered a very respectful speech, I did not attack anyone in the House, and I stated the facts. People are entitled to disagree with their colleagues, but that is no reason to be disrespectful. In fact, I believe it is against the rules of the House.

That being said, if my colleague is so eager to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then why does the ministerial directive still allow the possibility of using information obtained by torture? Why was this not resolved in 2017 when it could have been?

That is my question for him, but I stand by the fact that this bill creates more opportunities for protesters to be arrested or considered criminals. That is what it says in the bill, and I say that respectfully, not in an unpleasant way as he did.

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1:30 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is an aspect of the bill with which the New Democrats have had some trouble. The NDP tried to move an amendment that would remove the threat reduction powers of CSIS. My colleagues may recall that CSIS was created out of a recommendation from the Macdonald Commission, which stated that intelligence-gathering should be separated from policing. CSIS and the RCMP, historically, have had a lot of trouble working together.

Would my friend agree with me that by allowing CSIS to keep this threat reduction power, the potential exists that CSIS may inadvertently harm an RCMP investigation? Instead of that, we should leave threat reduction powers to the RCMP and encourage CSIS to be an intelligence-gathering agency and work more constructively with the RCMP.

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1:30 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right.

In fact, that is why the NDP called for the creation of a national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians. Such a committee would have had access to all classified information and full oversight authority, which would have helped a lot. We also do not want CSIS and the RCMP to have mandates that allow them to violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or other Canadian or international laws. In addition to removing the directive on torture, those three measures would have improved the bill enough that we could have voted in favour of it.

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June 7th, 2018 / 1:30 p.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the bill. Bill C-59 is legislation that our government committed to prior to the last election. It came from a very disconcerting perspective that Canadians had with regard the legislation passed by the former government, Bill C-51.

Bill C-59 would enhance Canada's national security, while safeguarding the values, rights and freedoms of Canadians. That is very important. The bill before the House today would uphold our commitment to fix the problematic elements of the former Bill C-51, notably by tightening the definition of “terrorist propaganda”; protecting the right to advocate and protest; upgrading the no-fly list procedures; and ensuring the paramountcy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It would also strengthen our accountability and transparency by creating the national security and intelligence review agency and a position of intelligence commissioner. These would complement the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was created by Bill C-22.

In addition, Bill C-59 would also bring our security and intelligence legislation into the 21st century. Much of that legislation was written in the 1980s, before the revolution of information technology, which has transformed the national security and the intelligence landscape. Bill C-59 would ensure that our agencies could keep pace with evolving threats and to keep us safe, and that our laws would also keep pace in order to protect Canadians' rights and freedoms in the digital world.

Canadians had asked for the bill. It is what Canadians wanted. It is the result of being able to modernize our national security system in the country, doing so with the input of Canadians and many experts from across the country.

Today, I am pleased to speak about the proposed amendments in the bill to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which is included in part 8 of the National Security Act of 2017. Through this set of amendments, our government is taking action to ensure that all youth, who are involved in the criminal justice system, are afforded the enhanced procedural and other protections provided by Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Before addressing the substance of the proposed amendments, I would like to provide a bit of background about the Youth Criminal Justice Act so people understand this federal law. We call it the YCJA, and it is the law that governs Canada's justice system for youth. It applies to young people between the ages of 12 to 17 who commit criminal offences, including terrorism offences. They are dealt with under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The act recognizes that the youth justice system must be separate from the adult system and it must be based on the principle of diminished moral blameworthiness of youth. It emphasizes rehabilitation and reintegration, just and proportionate responses to offending, and enhanced procedural protections for youth. The act also recognizes the importance of involving families, victims, and communities in the youth criminal justice system.

The YCJA contains a number of significant legal safeguards to ensure that young people are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected. For example, as a general rule, the privacy of youth who are dealt with under the YCJA is protected through publication bans on their identity and significant restrictions to access to youth records. Young people also have enhanced rights to counsel, including state-provided counsel, and the right to have parents or other guardians present throughout key stages of the investigative and judicial processes.

While many aspects of the criminal procedure are similar in the youth and adult criminal justice system, the YCJA establishes distinct legal principles, projections, and options for dealing with youth who are alleged to have committed a criminal offence.

If a young person is charged, all proceedings take place in youth court. As I previously noted, while youth court proceedings are open to the public, the YCJA imposes restrictions on the publication of a youth's identity.

In addition, the YCJA establishes clear restrictions on access to youth records, setting out who may access the records, the purpose for which youth records may be used, and the time periods during which access to the records is even permitted.

Generally speaking, the penalties that are set out in the Criminal Code do not apply to youth. Instead the Youth Criminal Justice Act sets out the specific youth sentencing principles, their options, and their durations. There are a broad range of community-based youth sentencing options and clear restrictions on the use of custodial sentences.

As we turn to Bill C-59, it is important to recognize that there have been very few cases in Canada in which a young person has become involved in the youth criminal justice system due to terrorism-related offences. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure that when this does occur, the young person is afforded all of the enhanced procedural and other protections under the Youth Criminal Justice Act as other youth criminals are afforded.

Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend certain provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act to ensure that youth protections would apply in relation to anti-terrorism and other recognizance orders. It would also provide for access to youth records for the purposes of administering the Canadian passport order, which I will explain a bit further in a few moments, and would be subject to the special privacy protections set out in the act. This would eliminate any uncertainty about the applicability of certain provisions to a youth for whom a recognizance order is being sought, including provisions relating to a youth's right to counsel and to detention of the youth.

In addition, there is currently no access period identified for records relating to recognizance orders, so the YCJA would be amended to provide that the access period for these records would be six months after the order expires.

In addition, Part 8 of Bill C-59 would amend the act to specifically permit access to youth records for the purpose of administering Canada's passport program. The Canadian passport order contemplates that passports can be denied or revoked in certain instances of criminality or in relation to national security concerns.

For example, section 10.1 of the Canadian passport order stipulates that the Minister of Public Safety may decide to deny or revoke a passport if there are reasonable grounds, including that revocation is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, or for the national security of Canada or a foreign country or state. Basically, the amendment would allow the Canadian passport office to access this information. Of course it would still fall within the privacy regulations of the country, but it would allow the office to assess an application and to determine if a youth would still be a security threat to Canada.

Canadians can be assured that our government is addressing national security threats, while continuing to protect the democratic values, rights, and freedoms of Canadians. We feel that along with other elements of the national security reform package that has been put forward by our government, these laws reform measures and demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that our laws are fair, that they are effective, and that they respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As my colleagues look through Bill C-59, they will note that tremendous effort has been made on behalf of the minister and many in Parliament to ensure that the legislation responds to the safety and security needs of Canadians in a democratic way, in the way that Canadians have asked.

The bill has been through many hours of consultation. It has been through many hours of debate both in committee and the House of Commons. People from each end of the country have had an opportunity to provide feedback into the reforms of Bill C-51, which is now compiled as Bill C-59.

The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Act ensures there is accountability of Canadian security and intelligence services for all Canadians. This legislation responds to what Canadians have asked for and it is supported by experts who study this field within Canada.

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1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I was looking in the dictionary. It was interesting, having a chance to go through the dictionary. “Repudiate” means to “refuse to accept or be associated with”. The Canadian public repudiated the security policies associated with the Harper Conservatives, because they did not consult or talk to Canadians. They used old ways of thinking and put forward Bill C-51, which Canadians repudiated.

I was wondering if the hon. member for Labrador could talk about how this bill is going to improve our national security, how it is striking a balance, and how the consultations with thousands upon thousands of individuals from across Canada, including experts, actually improved it. It would make sure that we strike a balance, and not between the extremes of no security and the harsh measures put forward by the Harper Conservatives. The bill would actually strike a balance in our national security, ensuring the safety of Canadians and the protection of our most dear and protected value: our freedoms.

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1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Winnipeg Centre for his question and for his remarks on this bill, which were very comprehensive.

It goes without saying that this bill is our way of keeping our promise to Canadians to fix Bill C-51, which was brought forward by the Harper government and has been problematic in many ways.

A lot of people would say that this is taking a giant leap forward in terms of accountability for our national security and intelligence agencies. That is what we should be doing in the 21st century: modernizing this legislation. What the bill is also doing is protecting our democratic freedoms and our ability to have peaceful protests, to stand up for what we believe in this country without fear of prosecution.

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1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to offer our hon. colleague an opportunity to perhaps clarify or change her comments. Maybe the microphone was not working. We were having technical difficulties earlier, so maybe I heard this wrong.

I believe, in her preamble, our hon. colleague said that Bill C-59 was modernizing legislation from the 1980s. We know that especially after 9/11, this type of legislation was definitely up to date.

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1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, what I said was that much of the legislation we were dealing with was written in the 1980s. If we go back through the previous legislation, members will see that many of those things were on the books as they related to national security and intelligence in the landscape of Canada. What this bill is doing is bringing us into a different era.

It will ensure that our agencies can keep pace with evolving threats to keep us safe and that our laws would also keep pace to protect Canadians' rights and freedoms in a digital world. Bill C-59 speaks to those intricate pieces.