House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was may.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Scarborough—Rouge River (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Communications Security Establishment November 15th, 1994


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to authorize the Security Intelligence Review Committee to review the operations of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to commence debate on a motion that I regard as important. Hopefully it will prove to be important to Canadians in the years to come if it is adopted by the House. The motion reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to authorize the Security Intelligence Review Committee to review the operations of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

From here on in I will refer to the Communications Security Establishment as CSE; the acronym is a lot easier to say.

The motion that CSE be reviewed is not a one-shot deal. It is intended that the monitoring continue on an ongoing basis just as the Security Intelligence Review Committee now reviews the operations of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The Communications Security Establishment, CSE, was born in signals interception and code breaking developments during World War II. It was established in 1941 as the examination unit of the National Research Council. For the first part of its existence the examination unit was given particular responsibility for intercepting and analysing the communications of the Vichy government in France and the government in Germany.

It is estimated that by 1944 there were about 45 employees in the examination unit among whom were some very specialized people capable of thinking and communicating in what we call ciphers and codes.

In April 1975 control and supervision of the Communications Security Establishment was transferred by an order in council under the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer Duties Act from the National Research Council to the Department of National Defence.

The CSE was officially acknowledged finally by the Canadian government, as I understand it for the first time, when on September 22, 1983 the Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin, then Minister of State for External Relations, stated in the House:

The Communications Security Establishment advises on, and provides the means of ensuring the security of federal government communications. It also provides, with the support of the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System, a service of signals intelligence in support of Canada's foreign and defence policies. I should explain that "signals intelligence" is the term given to information gathered about foreign countries by intercepting and studying their radio, radar and other electronic transmissions.

What about the budget of CSE? How much money does it spend? Actually we in Parliament who authorize expenditures for all government spending do not know because we have never been told. The question has been asked but it has never been answered.

However in 1991 it was estimated by a journalist who was well schooled on the issue-he did a lot of research and published a series of articles in the Toronto Globe and Mail -that the budget in 1991 was about $100 million to $125 million and that CSE employed about 800 persons.

As an aside here, what I know as a member of Parliament on the subject has come from a journalist. It has not come from questioning in parliamentary committees or in the House. We cannot find out here. In order to find this out I had to buy a copy of the Globe and Mail . That should say something about the process.

What does CSE do in its functions? We should look at that a little more closely but not too closely. CSE has a two-part mandate: first, the collection of signals intelligence on the diplomatic, military, economic, security and commercial activities, the intentions and capabilities of foreign governments, individuals and corporations. Second, it consults on the security of the communications of the Government of Canada.

We are led to believe that it is good at both tasks. The first part of the mandate is the signals intelligence program, the gathering of signals and their analysis, decoding analysis and analysis of the data. CSE with the support of the Canadian forces supplementary radio system collects, studies and reports on foreign radio, foreign radar, and other foreign electronic signals emissions to provide foreign intelligence to our government. As we will see later, some intelligence data can be and are shared from time to time with other governments.

CSE maintains signals interception facilities in several locations around the world. It uses a set of sophisticated technologies to decode and interpret. It uses leading edge induction technologies that permit it to read what is on a computer screen from a remote location. It uses voice recognition technologies and key word technologies which, with the assistance of sophisticated computers, are able to analyse and retrieve data on subjects and persons.

Presumably it intercepts signals to and from locations all over the world. At least it has the ability to do so. One would presume that it is capable of and does intercept signals sent from Canada to other parts of the world and from other parts of the world to Canada.

I do not read through that list to alarm anyone. It should not be a surprise to any member. These technologies and these functions are routinely used by most industrial countries in their gathering of foreign intelligence. I wanted to put on record that these technologies are out there and we are using them in foreign intelligence gathering functions.

What is the chain of command for CSE? Who is in charge? Who does it report to? I guess it is a bit of a puzzle but fortunately CSE through its executive and the government has been fairly forthright on that issue. It has done it over the last few years. It has not hidden it at all.

The Minister of National Defence is accountable to Parliament for the spending of CSE. The minister approves CSE's major capital expenditures, its annual multi-year operation plan, and with the cabinet committee on security and intelligence the major CSE initiatives with significant policy or legal implications.

The chief of CSE is accountable to the Minister of National Defence for financial and administrative matters but to the deputy clerk of security and intelligence in the Privy Council office for policy and operational matters. There is a two-headed management structure in place here. One is the Department of National Defence through the minister and the other is the Privy Council office, the head of which is the clerk and the political head of which is the Prime Minister.

I would note as well that the major client of CSE is the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, being the major consumer of foreign intelligence data. In addition we are told in Parliament that arrangements have been put in place to ensure that CSE responds to the government's foreign intelligence requirements in a manner that is lawful, effective and sensitive to changes in international relationships.

I would note as well that CSE and its administrative head in the PCO have appeared co-operatively before the national security subcommittee in Parliament. That occurred at the end of the last Parliament. The amount of information conveyed was a lot less than members had hoped for, but we believe a relationship was established at that time.

In terms of communication security, the second part of its mandate, CSE is responsible for developing standards on electronic communications security for the approval of the Treasury Board, advising on the application of those security policies, and providing cryptographic material and documentation to appropriate government institutions. That is the coding exercise which prevents unauthorized parties from listening to or understanding intragovernment communications.

Also it works with international agreements in the communications and electronic security and signals intelligence programs and approves the release of classified or controlled communications security information and assets to government and non-government entities.

It reports to Treasury Board, when requested, on communications security. In fact members of Parliament rely on CSE expertise in protecting the security of our own internal communications in and around Parliament.

CSE provides a research, development and evaluation capability on security aspects of computer hardware, software and communications systems to ensure information is available to the government on the security of its computer systems and use in government.

As I mentioned before, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is the major client but there are other clients of CSE signals intelligence data. They include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other government departments with an interest in security matters. All those exchanges of information are done by a tasking mechanism governed by memoranda of understanding, or so we are told.

Through the department of foreign affairs CSE exchanges signals intelligence data with foreign governments again through memoranda of understanding. We have never been told with whom. We can only guess.

CSE is a full partner in the U.K.-U.S.A. agreement which structures electronic signals intelligence sharing among the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and more recently New Zealand. Again memoranda of understanding are said to be in place.

There are two questions. One is on the efficacy of CSE's spending and the other is on the potential impact of what CSE does on the rights and liberties of Canadians, given the extensive and intrusive powers of CSE.

Four years ago members of Parliament completed a five-year review of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act. That five-year review, after five years of operation, reported to the House in a report called "In flux but not in crisis". I read one excerpt from it that is most relevant:

While the Committee found no evidence of abuse by other agencies, it believes that a number of other collection agencies have a substantial capacity to infringe on the rights and freedoms of Canadians. The capacity of the Communications Security Establishment is a case in point. This organization clearly has the capacity to invade the privacy of Canadians in a variety of ways. It was established by Order in Council, not by statute, and to all intents and purposes is unaccountable. As such, the committee believes that the Communications Security Establishment should have a statutory mandate that provides for the review and oversight mechanisms for the agency.

The recommendation of the committee, which I point out was supported by all parties in the House of Commons, was that Parliament formally establish the CSE by statute, and second, establish the Security Intelligence Review Committee as the body responsible for monitoring, reviewing and reporting to Parliament on the activities of CSE concerning its compliance with the laws of Canada.

There was not an effective response to this from the government. In fact of the 117 recommendations in that unanimous report of members of Parliament I believe the government gave a favourable response to one. Someone once suggested it was one and a half, but it was not a meaningful reply, to say the least.

What is this proposal? Why do I reiterate the recommendation and proposal of that five year CSIS review?

Let us look at what SIRC does. SIRC does two principal things. It deals with appeals by individuals regarding complaints they have in relation to security clearance procedures and requests for security clearance. That comes from individuals in all departments of government. It is multi-agency in scope.

Second and most important is that SIRC reviews the work of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for compliance with the statutory mandate of CSIS and the policies that are articulated thereunder, and for compliance with the laws of Canada. It also looks from time to time at the issue of management efficacy within CSIS.

SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, has access to all persons and documents within CSIS for the purpose of carrying out its role. It does it on behalf of Parliament and it reports to Parliament. I and others believe that SIRC is capable

of fulfilling the same function for CSE with only a marginal increase in expenditure.

We believe, and I am firmly supportive of this, that if Parliament adopted this motion, if the government implemented it, it would be a cost effective adoption of the concept of review and oversight already adopted by Parliament and working reasonably satisfactorily.

I want to read something from the McDonald commission, which is starting to look awfully long in the tooth but is still quoted extensively in these areas. The August 1981 second report of the McDonald commission indicates there is a serious moral issue involved in the way government deals with security intelligence matters.

I see my time is running short so I will not read all of it but I certainly want to incorporate that reference in my remarks here today.

I am not saying that the CSE is out there breaking laws now. It tells us it is not. However, it does have the means to invade the communications privacy of Canadians in ways beyond the comprehension of most of us.

Why wait for a scandal, why wait for an embarrassment, why wait for someone to make a mistake inadvertently, or advertently within CSE? Let us develop now a mechanism which will cause CSE to know that it is accountable to Canadians through Parliament and through the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Then the universe can unfold. Everyone will know what the rules are. Everyone within CSE will know who the players are and what the program is.

I want to point out that SIRC reports that CSIS is already routinely making use of CSE shared data and denoting that in the CSIS data base. Therefore SIRC clearly has an interest in this.

I quote a former chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Mr. Ron Atkey. "We are not looking for a new, additional assignment. We have plenty to do. However, we cannot fail sometimes to observe the absence of review mechanisms in other parts of the intelligence system". He was speaking specifically about CSE.

As I wrap this up, I realize that Parliament will have an opportunity to continue to debate this issue for a period beyond today and that the matter should come to a vote in due course.

I ask all members to consider carefully my remarks and the remarks of other colleagues, and to make a reasoned decision about this when we are called on to adopt this motion.

Criminal Code October 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-41 addresses an area of the criminal justice system which we call sentencing. There is for me a certain sense of déjà vu. A bill not identical to this was introduced in the last Parliament.

Colleagues on the justice committee at that time viewed the bill as flawed and made a collective decision not to proceed. As a result the sentencing legislation, which has been in the works for some 10 years or more, languished for another period of time. That legislation was flawed from the point of view of properly defining what sentencing should be or could be and it

also failed to take adequate account of the role of the victim in a criminal law sentencing decision.

At least members on this side of the House and to some extent all members are the authors of the bill currently before the House. I am proud to stand with the Minister of Justice in presenting this bill for its consideration.

Certain refinements have been made to the bill. There have been a lot of contributors. It is only fair to acknowledge these contributors over all of the years. This is not something that came off the assembly line and was cobbled together quickly.

Over the years contributions have been made in the area of criminal law sentencing, at least in laying the new groundwork, by the Law Reform Commission of Canada, the Canadian Sentencing Commission, and former members of the House of Commons. I recall members of the other place also contributed to the debate. There have been some special individuals inside the House.

We should give credit to those in the Department of Justice who have shepherded the bill through to the present time. Last but not least is the Minister of Justice. He has come forward with what we believe is a landmark in the sense that not previously in our history have we attempted to codify the sentencing regime in the Criminal Code. We have not had a statute that specifically targeted the issue of sentencing.

Sentencing was referred to in the government's election platform. Some credit is due to a lot of members in the last Parliament, not just on the government side, but some credit is also due to the flexibility and foresight of the current Prime Minister who accommodated this in the party's platform. Now it is our job in the House to review it, refine it should the need be there and put it into law.

What is worth noting for the record is this bill is not corrections legislation. It does not deal with penitentiaries. It does not deal with parole. It does not deal with sentencing terms per se. The sentence that could be given by a judge is set out in the Criminal Code, minimums, maximums or whatever. This bill does not set out the penalty or potential penalty for a particular crime. This bill does not deal with gun control per se. It does not deal with the way we deal with gradual release of our inmates. It is not any of those things. Notwithstanding, it is a landmark piece of legislation.

This bill consolidates and updates in a codified form our Canadian developed law of sentencing. Much of this law has been developed in the courtroom by judges. It was created judicially with reference to the Criminal Code, our criminal law traditions, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other common law elements that judges have taken into account over the years.

This is perhaps an opportunity for the legislators to play their role in giving the appropriate definition, guidance and framework to the judges who have for the last 100 or more years carried the burden of sentencing in the discretion that has been given to them under the Criminal Code. Here is our chance as legislators to provide a framework for them.

One of the major functions of this bill is to define the purpose and principles of sentencing. This was an issue in the previous legislation. It still may be an issue. It may be an area in which some refinement may be useful at committee stage recalling that as we debate the bill now we are debating the bill in principle. I am certainly going to support the bill in principle.

In terms of these actual definitions, it might be useful for the committee which will study this bill to look with a magnifying glass at the actual wording of the purpose and principles of sentencing as set out in the bill. There is some alleged fuzzing thinking. It is just alleged. I am not saying it is fuzzy, I am saying that from my point of view the wording in section 718 could be slightly more simplified and perhaps more orthodox than it is written at the moment.

In that regard, and I will put it on the record, I have a sense that in trying to define the fundamental purpose of sentencing Department of Justice officials have used the definition of purpose of criminal law. There is a difference between the purpose of criminal law, that being generally or usually defined to be the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society, and the purpose of sentencing which is just an element of the criminal law. The purpose of sentencing, in my view, is to promote respect for the law and respect for the criminal law system which does all of these other things for us. However, that is a rather narrow perspective at the moment as we debate the bill in principle and that can be taken up later.

I want to address the sections of this bill dealing with potential for change from the aboriginal perspective. It would be wrong to say there is now in existence an aboriginal system of criminal justice. There are some pilot projects through the goodwill of aboriginal Canadians, the people on their reserves, people in the criminal justice community, the police and the judges.

There has been some leadership there in an attempt to develop a system in the aboriginal community that works. I do not think there is a member in this House who would walk into a reserve in northern Canada and say they believe affairs on the reserve ought to be run the same way they are in downtown Montreal or Vancouver or at King and Bay Streets in Toronto. These are two different worlds.

Our aboriginal Canadians never did apply for Canadian citizenship. We bestowed it on them. There is plenty of good reason to look for ways to make the criminal justice system work on these reserves that are very much removed from the urban way of Canadian life.

I look forward to working on that aspect of the bill. I will make note of my interest in section 745 of the Criminal Code which is related to sentencing provisions. This bill does not address that specifically. It might be constructive and useful to take a closer look at section 745 of the Criminal Code, the section that permits a decreased or reduced parole eligibility date for those serving life sentences, and at the wording of section 718(2) which deals with aggravating and mitigating circumstances that a judge may take into account at the time of sentencing.

There is an initiative put forward in the bill which may be useful. It would certainly bear discussion at the committee stage when we look at the entire package.

I will indicate my wholehearted support for the bill in principle. I look forward to further deliberations at the committee stage.

Supply September 29th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is fair to say that my colleagues in putting the matter the way he has, makes a point. I cannot disagree that the Security Intelligence Review Committee appears to be less than forthcoming when it comes to the subcommittee's needs.

I hope he will acknowledge that there is a certain amount of bridge building and educating going on, both with respect to the goals and powers of the subcommittee.

I would not expect that everybody who comes in the front door of a committee room is going to know right away the extent of the powers that committees may have from time to time, especially in light of the history of this place.

These powers have not been used effectively or clearly over the last several decades. As a result not only do ordinary Canadians not realize the under utilization, but in my view looking in other areas it appears that the courts themselves are not fully aware of parliamentary law and of the implications of sections 4 and 5 of the Parliament of Canada Act. It is not their fault. This is perhaps the fault of Parliament itself, which may have over the last few decades, maybe the last 50 years or so, failed to develop in the modern context. This is a challenge for all of us now. I hope the current exercise will play a part in that development.

Supply September 29th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

On the question of cost, as Canadians know and members know, every member of Parliament is paid a salary. Each committee and subcommittee will have a clerk, a researcher and such other staff as the committee may need but within a budget that comes from the House of Commons, all of which is relatively closely controlled these days.

The cost of the members of Parliament, the cost of the offices, the cost of the office space-we are not going to go out and lease a floor of an office building somewhere in Ottawa. We already have committee rooms that will be put to use-are being absorbed almost exclusively at this point in the existing budgets of the House of Commons.

In terms of the powers and the mandate of the subcommittee, or any committee of the House for that matter, those mandates are primarily set out in the standing orders of the House, but they are very general. The mandate of the subcommittee in this instance is more than adequate to cover the subject area that we are dealing with.

As I stated earlier, the power to compel attendance, the power to require disclosure are virtually absolute. I will not say they are absolute because there are very few absolutes left any more in law and politics. They are virtually and precisely as great or as small as the members of the House will them to be in their work, in committee or on the floor of the House.

There is plenty of opportunity, mandate, power and resources to do the job.

Supply September 29th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my discourse was interrupted by Question Period. I will attempt to pick up roughly where we left off.

We were describing before we broke for Question Period the request of the Official Opposition for a royal commission and it was my view at that time, and it still is, that is an ill advised request.

We were discussing that in Canada we have statute law that oversees and creates CSIS. We have the Security Intelligence Review Committee that reviews the work of CSIS. We have a justice committee and a subcommittee on security and intelligence which looks at the same area. We also have the Solicitor General who stands in this House, responsible to Parliament and to the people of Canada for all of the matters under his ministry, including CSIS.

Why do we need a fourth or a fifth level of scrutiny or inquiry? Why do we need a royal commission? This House through its justice committee in the last Parliament in reviewing the CSIS act made 117 recommendations. Only two of the 117 recommendations were adopted by the government at that time. That was regrettable.

Thank heaven for small mercies. Two were adopted. One which was not accepted by government was the creation of a committee or subcommittee that would work in this area of security and intelligence. The government basically said to Parliament it does not want one. The justice committee said beg your pardon, excuse us, but there will be one.

All of the parties on the justice committee unanimously agreed to create the subcommittee on national security. That particular subcommittee was reborn in this Parliament. That provides Parliament with a particularly precise window with the ability to look into this area, the subject of debate today.

One of the reasons we believed the subcommittee was necessary was that although the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, works for Parliament and for Canadians on their behalf, the linkages between SIRC and Parliament were not strong. SIRC makes one annual report each year and can make section 54 reports to the Solicitor General whenever it is deemed appropriate.

Those section 54 reports do not come directly to Parliament. I think I am correct in saying the reports do not ever get to Parliament. The procedures have not been live and green. As a result there needs to be a better linkage between SIRC and Parliament.

That is one of the reasons we have created the subcommittee, to provide that linkage, that relationship, between the oversight or review mechanism that SIRC is and Parliament with its general oversight mechanism for all of government.

I want to discuss the issue of potential cost of royal commissions. I think it was adequately addressed by one or two colleagues in the House. Some of the more recent royal commissions have cost between $9 million and $25 million per item. That is a lot of toast.

From my perspective the existing mechanisms of the statute of the Solicitor General, of SIRC and the subcommittee are able to cover the field and adequately address the questions that have been raised. If I am wrong then someone might be able to make a case for a royal commission, but at the moment I do not believe I am wrong. Time will tell. The next year or six months will tell. We will see how well SIRC, the subcommittee, the justice committee and members in this House deal with this particular set of issues.

Let us deal with the justice committee and the subcommittee on national security. For members here and for Canadians I want to acknowledge the resources that will be used as an alternative to a royal commission are already bought and paid for by the taxpayers. We are adequately resourced. We have research capability and we have the power to compel attendance. We have a subcommittee which is working in a relatively non-partisan fashion and a justice committee which is working in a relatively non-partisan fashion. I believe that we can do the job that Parliament has set out for us in the standing orders.

As I say, we have the resources. We have the power to compel. The wording of that power is called the power to call for persons and papers. That is basically the power to compel attendance and to require an answer. It is part of the law of Parliament. The law of Parliament has been here ever since this House was built and this country was formed. The law of Parliament began developing back when the barons forced King John, in the Magna Carta of 1215, to submit to a people's Parliament. They took some authority from the king. The Bill of Rights of 1689 is another large slice of authority for Parliament derived from the king.

We have the power to compel attendance. The power has been described with some derogation as an absolute power. I will not get into details on that now but it is an effective power.

We in the House want Canadians to know that we will not hesitate to use the authority that Canadian citizens have given us if we need to use them. I can point respectfully to the mace that sits on the table which is, as a symbol, the repository of every one of the powers and authorities that Canadians have given all of us in the House.

What are the allegations that the Official Opposition would like to see investigated? There are two categories. First is the allegation that an alleged informant of CSIS had involved himself in some fashion in intelligence gathering or other with a CBC journalist, in another instance with some activities of the Reform Party of Canada, in another instance in an attempt to obtain an address list of members of the Canadian Jewish Congress and in another instance, potentially some intelligence gathering in relation to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Those are four categorized items for which allegations are being investigated as we speak by the Security Intelligence Review Committee which has three staff permanently working on them.

The second issue has to do with security of classified documents. Essentially put the question is: How did a box of allegedly classified documents make its way out of a secure environment and into the basement of a residence somewhere in Ottawa and on to the pages of a major newspaper? That is a very reasonable question. That particular question is not one that the Security Intelligence Review Committee would ordinarily be able to look at, but it is one that the parliamentary subcommittee can and will look at.

There are other related questions, hypothetical allegations, what ifs. Those questions have been asked publicly and the subcommittee will do its job as will SIRC. The subcommittee will consult with SIRC as it goes about its job and vice versa. My colleagues on the subcommittee will inquire into all of these questions over the next few weeks.

Finally, in my view a royal commission at this point is absolutely unnecessary, ridiculously expensive and procedurally redundant in the extreme. I want to assure members in the House and Canadians that colleagues who are on the subcommittee will deal with the issues in a responsible way, in a rational way, in a manner that does not duplicate and waste resources and in a way that we hope will continue the faith of Canadians in the way Parliament works and in the way CSIS and SIRC operate.

Supply September 29th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I must admit that it was with some surprise that I took note last night of the opposition motion that a royal commission be invoked to deal with a number of allegations that have been put in the media of late, over the last month or two, in relation to both the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the security of documentation that emanates from CSIS and as it might make its way to the minister who reports to this House for CSIS which is the Solicitor General.

These events out of which the allegations arose took place two, three, four years ago. In any event, the opposition has made its motion. Before dealing with the substance of the motion I would take note, as others perhaps have done before me, that the use of the word illegal in the motion might be construed as unparliamentary. That word has been found to be unparliamentary in the past. I recognize the courtesy of the opposition in changing the wording of the motion earlier today to allegations of illegal activities.

I would have preferred to see the words allegations of improper activities because no one has been very particular about what illegality there might have been.

Any illegality there might have been would surely have been related to the mandate of CSIS. To draw an analogy, if someone in the department of agriculture decides they are going to do something involving the Department of Health that is surely not a matter of illegality per se.

In any event, I will abandon the technical issues and attempt to speak to the motion.

Other colleagues in the House have noted appropriately the work of CSIS on behalf of Canadians. CSIS has for 10 years been carrying on this type of work which involves gathering and analysis of intelligence and preparation of security clearances, providing security reports and analysis to other departments of government.

The member who just spoke referred to a security clearance by the RCMP. The RCMP does not do security clearances. This is the job carried out for Canadians by CSIS.

The work of CSIS focuses primarily around what are called threats to the security of Canada and these defined threats are outlined in section 2 of the CSIS act and they include espionage and foreign influenced activities. Sometimes CSIS activity is described under the category of counter intelligence. Some of that work includes the so-called spying which occurs in Canada on the part of some operations of other governments.

There is the area of counter terrorism. Terrorism may or may not involve a foreign government and there is also a category of threat to Canada which we call subversion but in relation to which the service does not carry on any investigative activity without the expressed consent of the Solicitor General. The last time we checked here on the parliamentary side we did not find any ongoing CSIS operations in relation to subversion.

Most of what CSIS does, most of the good work it does, never gets reported. Because of the nature of the work it does not prepare press releases every Friday afternoon for consumption by the media or for that matter consumption by anyone. Most of its good work is done quietly at desks using paper and computers and good common sense. That work carries on both in making security assessments and in the gathering of data mostly from open source. Most of the data it gathers come from open sources and it also has data that come from other non-open sources which it gathers using appropriate and legal methods.

It assists both the Government of Canada and generally the citizenry by keeping an eye on foreign government theft of industrial secrets and it also keeps an eye on what we would call foreign meddling, meddling in Canada by governments outside Canada using whatever means it wishes. That is probably a bit of a cat and mouse game that goes on in all countries of the world.

Why does the official opposition request a royal commission? We have in this country a statute that governs CSIS, a statute that by comparison to other countries in the world is relatively modern, up to date, effective.

I am not one of those who takes the view that the CSIS statute is perfect. The record will show that I have attempted to make constructive comments both in the House and in the CSIS five year review on ways in which we could alter the CSIS statute. I point out that not all countries do have statutes that govern their security intelligence system.

As we speak today, I understand that the people of Great Britain are about to invoke a statute which was recently passed and codify a statute which oversees and regulates the work of the security agency known as MI5. That is quite a step for the people of Great Britain to take. They have never had a statute that governed the area that James Bond used to work in. They will then develop their statute as they see fit.

Australia has a foreign intelligence gathering agency which has no statute. I believe that everyone in the agency is employed by contract to one person and that person is employed by their government. A single person constitutes this particular agency. There is no statute that would confirm or deny even the existence of the operations which that agency carries out.

In addition to our statute which has a series of sections that oversees and monitors what CSIS does, we have the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, whose job it is to review all of the work of CSIS, all of the work done under its mandate, to make sure that work is done within the law and efficaciously. There is a whole range of challenges there for the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

Supply September 29th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I want to recognize the very thorough job my colleague opposite has done in preparing and delivering this speech. It was refreshing to hear recalled some items of recent history.

I appreciated the relatively thorough research that he obviously did in relation to the mechanism for appointing members to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. He has articulated a concern in relation to those appointments, i.e., the method by which consultation is or is not done with leaders of the parties in the House of Commons before such appointments are made. This is a point that I raised in the House in the last Parliament.

At that time, as an individual member, I appeared not to have been heard by the then Prime Minister, who is solely responsible for those appointments, so the hon. member's remarks are refreshing.

I would like to ask him if he could elaborate on what process would be used in relation to a possible parliamentary subcommittee that would be different from what exists now in Parliament, where there is a subcommittee whose mandate includes the general area of oversight of the security intelligence envelope.

Could he elaborate or provide more particulars as to how he would change what is there now in relation to parliamentary committee operations?

Immigration September 28th, 1994


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should ascertain whether current levels of immigration are sustainable in periods of high unemployment and slow economic growth or recession, and if it finds these levels to be unsustainable under such circumstances the government should develop a means of expeditiously adjusting immigration levels in response to economic conditions.

Mr. Speaker, since you have just read the motion I will not read it again. I happen to care very much about the precise wording of the motion. It was worded as carefully as one could in an attempt to hit the target. I would like to explain to the House where the genesis of this motion came from.

Once every four or five years members of this House go back to the people to seek re-election and others to seek election. During that process we have a very healthy experience of meeting the electors and hearing their concerns, not just by telephone or letters but right at their front doors. That is where they tell those seeking re-election and those seeking to be elected for the first time exactly what the score is from the perspective of the voter.

During the 1993 election I was dutifully electioneering in my riding with several other candidates from other parties. At that time we believed we were in the tail end of the recession. Statistically it is fair to say that we were and at least in my riding of Scarborough-Rouge River we were waiting for the economy to spin up again.

Many of my constituents asked me about the levels of immigration. They said if the unemployment rate is 11 per cent now it surprises them that we are taking in more immigrants this year than we did the year before and that the immigration levels are increasing.

My riding is 55 per cent immigrants. It is actually an immigrant receiving community and we are very proud of that. It is a very healthy, vibrant community and that augments our lives there considerably. There was a high level of intake of new Canadians.

A constituent said to me that she sponsored her sister as an immigrant last year. She was accepted recently and she is going to come but this is a terrible time for her to come because she is not going to find a job.

The economy is in such miserable shape around here. The metropolitan Toronto area was hit very hard by the recession and I do not think we have recovered the jobs that we lost four years ago. We are down considerably by 100,000 or 200,000 jobs.

She was expressing concern about the ability of her sister to find a job when she arrived in Scarborough and was suggesting to me, even though she and her sisters were current clients of the immigrant process, that maybe we did not have the timing quite right.

That combined with many other questions put to me at the door caused me to undertake to my constituents that I would raise in the House the question of immigration levels when the economy is not growing, when we have a weak economy. That is why the issue is here. Although the economy has improved somewhat since last year the issue is still a legitimate one.

A year later some events have overtaken the currency of that issue. It is worth pointing out that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has undertaken a very comprehensive and broad ranging consultation process with a view to establishing a long run, a 10-year plus immigration plan for Canada that will take us into the next millennium. That process has begun and it is continuing. It is comprehensive. Canadians will play a definite part in that and I am looking forward to that process continuing.

There are a number of questions raised in the consultation but I want to note two because they bear relevance to the subject of debate at the moment. Page 10 of the first consultation document it states while there may be increasing concerns about the

number of immigrants coming to Canada there is evidence to suggest that these concerns are linked as much to issues of unemployment and the economy as they are to issues of diversity. That is in the government's own discussion paper.

Another question asked on page 13 is a question not unrelated to the one we are debating here today: should immigration be managed in response to the business cycle or only on the basis of long term social goals?

Right there the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and those who work with him have asked the types of questions that are related to the motion we discuss here today.

Keep in mind that the motion addresses immigration levels in a weak economy; high unemployment and all of the other manifestations of a weak economy. It is clear that the issue has been addressed. At least if it has been addressed, it may not have been answered, but an answer is being sought from Canadians.

Let us use this debate to focus on that particular issue, the issue of immigrations levels in a weak economy, and hopefully make a contribution to the broader consultation now under way.

What are the issues related to this? In a weak economy some Canadians ask, at least the ones I spoke to at the doors did, if we are able to receive as many immigrants in a weak economy as we are in a strong economy. Looking back over the last few years: immigration levels in 1991, 206,000; 1992, 220,000; 1993, 245,000; and the plan for 1994 would have us receive 250,000. There has been an increase and that increase took place at about the same time as the recession sucked the growth out of our economy.

If one was unemployed in Toronto or Scarborough in 1993 during the election campaign and simply took note of an increase of 30,000 or 40,000 people in metropolitan Toronto as immigrants, one might legitimately ask whether their arrival will decrease one's ability to find a job. It is a legitimate question and it is one that I do not think the government has definitively answered. It is a question we ask here today.

There is something else going on here while the question is being asked and if we had 30,000 or 40,000 new Canadians in metro Toronto and they all started looking for jobs I think the unemployment rate would shoot through the roof, but it did not through that period. It went up in the recession but it never did shoot through the roof.

It is clear that the arrival of new Canadians does not per se on a person per person basis directly cause unemployment. Nevertheless, the question I have already acknowledged is a legitimate one.

We can look for the answer perhaps in some economic studies that have been done. There are some related economic studies which show that immigrants can create just about as many jobs as they would take as workers. The suggestion in some of these economic studies is that there is a balance.

When immigration increases, when the people come here to Canada to start new lives, they immediately increase the demand for goods and services. They in effect become a part of the marketplace that generates jobs. I suppose that particular piece of economic news is a good one.

There was a 1991 study by the Economic Council of Canada called Economic and Social Impacts of Immigration which states at page 62 that immigration may influence the incomes and job opportunities of existing residents. It also says the impact of immigration on unemployment is almost certainly negligible, at least over the long term. Even temporary effects seem quite unlikely unless immigration increases very rapidly.

Immigration appeared to be increasing relatively rapidly between 1991, 1992, 1993, but in any event it has at least addressed the issue.

There is another statement in that same study by the Economic Council of Canada which gives its recommendations as an economic advisory body. It recommends that the level of immigration be gradually increased above the average levels of the last 25 years to reach 1 per cent of the population, that is a 1 per cent increase on a gross basis by the year 2015. These levels would be reviewed every five years to verify that the integration of immigrants is being successfully managed.

While Canadians gain economically in terms of per capita income from more immigration, the gain is so small that it did not weigh heavily in our recommendation. Nevertheless, nearly every immigrant more than pays for himself or herself in scale economies and in lighter future tax burdens. These are positive things for our economy.

We note that there is hardly ever an effect on unemployment rates. Nevertheless, at the doors in my constituency the fear was there. It may not be a justifiable fear but Canadians are telling me they are worried about it.

I want to assume that in the discussion here the motion I have placed here is dealing with a period of high unemployment, weak or no economic growth, and a level of high immigration receipt. If you are from a community in Canada that did not have a lot of immigrants coming to it you would not care too much about the motion. You would not care too much about the issue perhaps. However, this is the way my constituents have put this to me.

Research on this subject also shows two earlier studies, 1977, 1982, which tended to suggest that there were materially recognizable costs with immigration.

However, those studies second guessed the methodology and the computer models which were then called TRACE, CANDIDE and RDX2. These are 20-year old economic models which I understand are not used any more. Therefore the results of those studies are certainly in question.

We leave the ascertaining of the economic impacts to the economists. I have referred the House to Economic Council of Canada study in 1991. There was another study done one or two years ago by the Mackenzie Institute. I take note of it because that particular body contributes quite a bit to public policy development in the country. Its conclusions are not always the conclusions that I would come to but they are a contributor.

On page 124 of the Mackenzie Institute study is a quote I want to mention because it was written by a current member of the House, the hon. member for Capilano-Howe Sound. The assessment in that document was that the economic effects of immigration on the welfare of resident Canadians tend to be positive. I wanted to note as clearly as I could that overall the immigration impacts are very positive for Canadians.

I would like to get back to what I think the focus of the House disposition should be. I and my constituents would like the government to ascertain whether high levels of immigration, when the economy is weak, impact negatively on Canadians especially in high immigrant receiving communities. I realize that an answer might not be forthcoming quickly and definitively but that is the issue we seek to have resolved.

If the government finds that it does have a negative impact then it should take steps to alter the immigration levels in a way that would nullify those impacts.

Last, I again want to recognize that the question will be addressed in the current consultation process. I hope that it will be done by the government, by officials in employment and immigration and with the assistance and in consultation with Canadians in a way which will recognize the concern that has been expressed by my constituents and in a way which will permit our immigration act and policies to serve Canadians in the best possible way for the decades to come.

Criminal Code September 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hear the hon. member when he expresses frustration on the part of the public in relation to portions of our criminal justice system. Certain offences and actions by criminals are abhorrent to all of us. I heard him say he can support some elements of the bill but surely there is more to this bill than a few unrelated sections.

Would the hon. member not agree that this bill, which for the first time in Canadian criminal legislative history codifies the principles for sentencing, a just, peaceful, safe society, respect for the law, imposing just sanctions, et cetera, is not a positive step forward?

In the absence of this kind of a bill would we not be simply on the same treadmill we have been for the last 75 years, without the benefit of those principles that can provide direction to our judges who carry the burden of sentencing in our courts.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate that I will be sharing this time with the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

I am pleased to have a chance to address this important issue. The Young Offenders Act has been recognized as one element of our criminal justice system that is in need of some change and some reform. I know I have heard voices somewhere in different parts of the country saying: "Let's get rid of it altogether". However, I am certainly not one who believes that and I do not think that many members in the House feel that way.

The level of crime committed by young offenders appears to have increased marginally. What is more important about that area of crime is that the violence associated with that category of offender appears to have increased perhaps more than marginally. These types of offences are very disturbing to society at large and to the communities where they occur. They feel particularly handicapped in responding appropriately when young offenders commit serious offences because of the shelter from normal criminal procedures given to young offenders, things like non-publication of name and disposition away from the normal criminal court process in young offender courts.

I am one of those who concedes that we have to pay some serious attention to the increase in violent offences among young offenders.

Most of us here have not directed much of our attention to the petty crimes of young offenders. They have been a problem and always will be but we have petty crime problems with adults too. It is the more serious crimes that disturb us.

The government agrees there have to be changes in a number of areas of the criminal justice system. Our election platform indicated that in the last election campaign. The Minister of Justice has told the House-I know members opposite have listened-that he will be introducing a bill to amend portions of the Young Offenders Act within the next few weeks. This bill I gather has been a long time in preparation, reaching back into the previous Parliament and he is committed to doing that.

Second, the government is prepared to refer the whole issue of the Young Offenders Act to the justice committee which will review it and report back probably recommending additional changes. They may be sweeping, they may be modest, I do not know, but the decision as to what will be recommended to the government will be in the hands of the members of that committee. I look forward to playing a part in that exercise as do all members of the House.

One of the most important facets of the Young Offenders Act regime is the belief, it is really a premise, that young offenders have an opportunity to salvage the rest of their lives if society will permit them an opportunity to do that. The young offender is before the court because he or she has made a serious mistake. The premise that somehow society must intervene and provide an opportunity for the young offender to get his or her act organized is very much a fundamental part of the Young Offenders Act.

One of the things that the government has recognized is that in many cases the sentencing of young offenders is too short to enable them any kind of access to treatment. A two or three-month sentence is simply not enough time for the agencies and corrections professionals to offer to that youth some kind of a framework that would permit the youth to get his or her life properly organized.

I met a young offender at Camp Dufferin in Ontario about two years ago. I remember this vividly. I asked him what he would be doing when he got out, having served three or four months. He said: "I guess I'll just go back to the pool hall". That is where the problems all began. He had no place to go. The three or four months in the facility were nice, structured, organized. It was a bit like a boot camp, it was organized, it was disciplined. When it was over so was the regime of treatment.

There are some other perceptual problems with the Young Offenders Act and I want to bring this one to the attention of the House if members have not mentioned it already. Every time an adult says the Young Offenders Act is useless, it is not working, it is not tough enough, that is the message our youth are getting. This is not helpful.

First of all I do not think it is entirely accurate. A lot of the young offender sentencing or dispositions under the Young Offenders Act are quite significant but the youth are not getting the message that it is disciplined, it is significant. They are simply accepting the message that the Young Offenders Act is a zero on the Richter scale of punishment or of responsibility or accountability.

There are a number of areas that we have to look at in the Young Offenders Act. The motion today deals principally with revising the age group from 12 to 17 down to 10 to 15. I have introduced a bill in this House recommending reducing the age to 10. I have done that, having looked at it closely.

Different provinces across this country have different types of legislation for those under 12. I was surprised to find that while some provinces have good legislation which can enable the child welfare authorities to intervene for the protection of the public, in Ontario they can only intervene for the protection of the child.

For the young offender who commits a relatively serious offence, sexual assault or robbery-and these things happen involving 10 and 11-year olds now-I am told that all the police can do is take the child home to the parents. That does not do any favours for the child, especially when the parents are not at

home, which is often the reason the problem began in the first place. There are urban dysfunctional families.

There is no ability on the part of the provincial authorities to take care of our 10 and 11-year olds. The young offenders regime in each province should be able to accommodate an offender who is 10 or 11 years old in the same way it accommodates an offender who is 12 years old. I certainly support that. On the issue of the 16 or 17-year old, I have not made up my mind. I tend to think the issue should be reviewed by the committee, as envisaged by the Minister of Justice.

There are different views on sentencing and on the issue of publication of the names of young offenders. This is a complex area. It involves the interface among privacy, the public interest, the media and information exchange between institutions. Even those institutions which help young offenders are sometimes handicapped by the existing barriers to publication and disclosure in the Young Offenders Act. This area has to be reorganized and I hope it is done at the committee level.

The category of dangerous young offender does not need much justification. I believe the minister's bill when introduced shortly will direct attention to that category of young offender.

I want to indicate from my perspective of sitting on this side of the House, the Minister of Justice and this government are "on the case". There will be ample opportunity to address the issues raised today in the opposition motion and many of the other issues in the Young Offenders Act. I look forward to working with other members in that exercise.