Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to thank all my colleagues in this House for taking the opportunity to speak to this bill. I do not agree with all the information I have heard, but I appreciate the fact that we have had the debate.
I must take umbrage with some of the arguments that have been used against this piece of legislation. We have heard opposition MPs say that this bill is extrajudicial and would cause problems and that we cannot enforce this law outside our borders. That is simply not true. This is actually about registered third parties inside Canada and whether they accept money from overseas. That is a simple thing to do. There is no extrajudicial or extraterritorial component to this piece of legislation, because it deals with the Canada Elections Act and registered third parties in Canada.
As for the penalties, I have heard it suggested that there is no penalty section. There is a catch-all penalty provision in every piece of legislation. There does not need to be. It is just a red herring thrown in. There do not need to be any specific penalties laid out because the general catch-all provisions in the Canada Elections Act for penalties are already there.
Speakers talked about whether Bill C-76 addresses this problem. It clearly does not. Bill C-76 does not address this problem, because it actually continues to allow third parties to receive foreign funding from foreign entities, be they state actors, individuals, corporations or other third party organizations registered as charitable organizations elsewhere in the world. What it requires is that if that money is actually used for an election purpose, an investigation has to be conducted by the election officials. At that particular time, one cannot sort out the molecules of where the money actually came from, just as one cannot sort out the molecules of what oil patch the gasoline in one's car came from. One cannot sort that stuff out at that point.
Bill C-76 actually allows backdoor financing from state actors, corporations that are not registered or are not conducting business in Canada, individuals, foundations and organizations to influence Canadian elections, especially in election advertising in the pre-writ and writ periods. That is the period leading up to an election and the period of the election itself.
Why on earth would we have laws that say that only Canadian individuals are allowed to donate to political parties for the purpose of an election and then allow unions and corporate interests and other interests outside our country to fund third parties during an election in Canada to change the results, the results, by the way, that organizations like Leadnow proudly display in their campaigns?
Is Leadnow, as a Canadian organization, allowed to engage in the politics of Canada? Of course it is. All my bill is saying is that if it makes the choice to take that money from outside Canada's borders, it cannot use it anymore. It cannot be allowed to participate in the election game, because it is not fair. If it cannot convince Canadians to donate to its cause and take part in what it is trying to do, it should not be allowed to justify the ends by means of getting money from outside Canada's borders.
It is not just small groups of individuals at bake sales. Leadnow, Tides and others are using things like the Yellowstone to Yukon conservation initiative or things like the PNCIMA initiative to have massive amounts of foreign money coming into British Columbia and the eastern slopes of Alberta to block pipeline projects. It is disingenuous for the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley to say that it is a couple of people and a bake sale trying to stop a pipeline. It is simply not true. It is maybe one story out of 100 about foreign money influencing that pipeline project.
This bill, Bill C-406, is a good piece of legislation. It basically says that if one is going to get involved in the election, one should know in advance that if one takes money from outside the country, one will not be allowed to play in the game anymore, because it is cheating. It is cheating because elections belong to Canadians. Only Canadians should be allowed, with their opinions, with their information and with their money, to decide the fate of our country.
One can only assume, then, why other political parties in here would not have the patriotic sense of duty to ensure that our elections are free, fair and only conducted in the realm of the Canadian intellectual space, the economic space and the debate space we have during these elections. One can only assume that if members vote against this legislation, it is because they are willing to use any means possible to justify whatever ends they want. That means that they are willing to sell Canada's soul down the road for a little bit of money to pay for an election campaign.
Every time the rules are circumvented, trust and confidence are eroded. If we are going to have trust and confidence in our electoral process, we should send a signal loud and clear to the Canadian people that we are not putting up with it anymore by voting in favour of Bill C-406.