Mr. Speaker, I will switch the order in which I was to speak because I just find it incredible that a member of Parliament would stand up and say, “Let us not bother with the niceties. If the police say they are guilty, then they are guilty”. Has the member not heard of Steven Truscott? Has he not heard of Guy Paul Morin? Has he not heard of Donald Marshall? The list goes on.
The member should check out subsection 11(d) of the charter. It is a fundamental right. It says:
Any person charged with an offence has the right
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
When the parliamentary secretary started talking about the bill, he mentioned the case of a person who allegedly committed industrial espionage. That is a very serious charge. That can actually have an economic impact on Canada. It could cause hardship for Canada. We could lose intellectual property.
That being the case, it seems to me that this person should have been charged and if found guilty, should have been put in custody and held for a period of time. By the time that person got out, the intellectual property taken would no longer be of the same value as it would be if we let the individual go right away.
The whole line of reasoning also bothered me because we do not want Canada to get the reputation that it is a country where people can commit a crime, get caught, and all that would happen is that they would get picked up and be sent out of the country, and no one would have to do any jail time. Surely there is something wrong with that logic. However, the parliamentary secretary from the Conservative Party stood in the House and said that. It seems to me that if somebody commits a crime, then there is an appropriate way of dealing with the person.
I will now get back to the original speech I wanted to give. Back in the House, during the course of the first world war, a bill was debated that dealt with the internment, the naturalization and the disenfranchisement of people involved on the side of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Ukrainian-Canadians were particularly damaged by it.
At the time of the debate, the following was said:
It is quite probable that if this proposal becomes law the alleged “foreigners” and hitherto “naturalized Canadians” will bear their reproach meekly, but they will have sown in their hearts the seeds of a bitterness that can never be extirpated. The man whose honour has been mistrusted and who has been singled out for national humiliation, will remember it and sooner or later it will have to be atoned for.
That happened during the first world war. Of course, we have had apologies coming from the government to Canadians of Ukrainian background for those who were interned. It was not just the Austro-Hungarian people who were discriminated against. We discriminated against all sorts of other people. We all know the story of the Chinese-Canadians. In fact, we just apologized for the head tax.
We know about the Asian exclusion act, we dealt with that. We know about the internment of Japanese Canadians during the second world war for which the government has apologized. We know about what happened to S.S. St. Louis and how it was turned away and Jews were sent to the gas chambers in Europe. We know about that.
We know that we used to have a racist immigration policy and it was because of that that we ultimately enacted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1982. We did that because we wanted to make sure that injustices of the past did not carry us forward into the future.
A very important section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms relates to the legal section. Section 7 states:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Section 8 states:
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Section 9 states:
Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Section 10 states:
Everyone has the right on arrest or detention:
a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
The other day a very serious police corruption case which has been ongoing for 10 years died and the judge ruled that a fair trial was violated by excessive delays on the part of the Crown. The Crown failed to inform the accused, I believe there were six of them, concerning the charges against them.
In a public policy perspective, this is a very serious matter. When a police officer is charged, that is the very basis of our justice system. We want to make sure it gets a full hearing and a judgment is made on it, either guilt or innocence. It is a very unsatisfactory way of handling it. But the principle of disclosing evidence to the accused is so important that the case was dismissed by the judge. I am not sure what is going to happen on appeal, but it really goes to underline this fact when we are talking about the security certificates.
The security certificate process has been around since 1977 and in total we have dealt with 28 cases. We have spent a lot of energy and a lot of money dealing with the security certificate process than if we were dealing with the criminal justice process.
We have a special Guantanamo north holding facility in Kingston where we keep our security certificate detainees. This facility cost $3.4 million to build and to house six people. Right now there is one person there and there is a budget of $2 million annually for the facility. So it is a very expensive and unsatisfactory process. The other people who have been issued security certificates are essentially under house arrest in their community.
One of the issues we in this chamber have to get our minds around is that by following the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which we enacted, we are not weakening our society, we are very much strengthening it.
I think that this is an important consideration for members, particularly in light of the events of 9/11. I believe that the best way we can possibly deal with security issues is to make sure we have the kind of society that is inclusive, where all Canadians buy into it and all groups in Canada buy into it because we are all in the same boat as far as our security is concerned. We cannot single out any group the way we have done in the past with Ukrainian Canadians, Chinese Canadians, the Sikhs, Japanese Canadians and the groups go on an on. We have to make sure that all of us are in an inclusive society, where we are all in the same boat and we are all rowing in the same direction.
The Liberal Party critic on this bill mentioned the need for necessary evil. It is interesting that he used the term “necessary evil” because I was just reading a book entitled The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror. It is quite a good book. It truly makes one think about how to balance security for the whole versus security for the individual and what are the trade-offs. The author states:
Legislatures can take hearings on sensitive intelligent matters in camera; judges can demand that the state prosecutors justify secret hearings or the withholding of information from the defence. The redlines should be clear: it is never justified to confine or deport an alien or citizen in secret proceedings. Openness in any process where human liberty is at stake is simply definitional of what a democracy is.
Essentially, I am saying that this is a real challenge for our society and we are much better off if we operate in accordance with the charter and do not violate any of its sections.
There is no question that a democratic society has to defend itself, but we defend ourselves much better when we take people who are actually dangerous to our society at large, dangerous to peace, order and good government, dangerous to individuals and put those folks where they belong, which is in jail.
Picking someone up in this day and age who we say is that dangerous and getting him or her out of the country does not make Canada safer. We do not have the kind of borders that keep people out as such. What we want to do with someone who is dangerous is to put the person on trial. If the person is found to be guilty, we hold the person in custody. That is how we should deal with dangerous individuals.
For the life of me I cannot understand how many of my colleagues on the other side fail to understand that the security certificate regime was found to violate section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which makes it unconstitutional. I notice that we have the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in the House which is good. He is a lawyer and he can definitely inform his colleagues on what it means to violate section 7 of the charter and what the court judgment actually said.
We would show a great deal of maturity if would let this piece of legislation lapse and if we would get rid of the security certificate process and put money into enforcement. There are thousands of people that the government is actually trying to get rid of legitimately, but it cannot deal with those people because the government has created a crisis on the Immigration and Refugee Board and in the Immigration Appeal Division. In those cases where there are people with status in Canada who are actually a risk to Canadian society, they cannot be deported. They cannot get hearings before the Immigration Appeal Division because the government has created a crisis there.
On one hand, there are thousands of people whom the government is legitimately trying to get rid of because of criminality and other issues and that is not happening because the IRB members have not been appointed. A crisis has been created because of that shortage. We are dealing with thousands of people, which would greatly impact on the safety of Canadians. On the other hand, the government is wasting a great deal of time and resources in trying to deal with something that is going to apply to very few people and something that has not complied with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Having heard the judgment of the Supreme Court, for 26 years the security certificates have been operating unconstitutionally and it is time to let that whole process die. Let us reinforce and strengthen the charter and let the government ensure that there are quick hearings at the Immigration Appeal Division so the thousands of people we are legitimately trying to get out of the country can be removed and they are not given protection by a government that has created a crisis in enforcement in that regard.