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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Regina—Wascana (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, there are multiple safeguards in the legislation to that end. I would point out that we have consulted about many dimensions of the legislation with the Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner has always been very generous and ample with the advice that comes from that very important organization. That advice has been heeded very carefully, particularly with respect to the sharing of information.

In fact, there is a specific part of the act that deals with the information-sharing rules and legislative framework that will apply to all agencies of the Government of Canada whenever information is being exchanged. It will be important for records to be kept about who gave the information, who received the information and what threshold was applied. All of that is laid out in explicit detail within the terms of this new law, which was not there before. Therefore, there once again is a very important enhancement to protect the rights of Canadians.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, after two years of public consultations and then two years of parliamentary debate, the fact is that there has been enormous input into this legislation. I do not think anyone could call that a hasty process. We also took steps along the way to ensure that the parliamentary debate would be very thorough, like referring the bill to committee before second reading to increase the scope of the examination the parliamentary the committees could provide.

The other important provision in the legislation about further review and ongoing analysis is the fact that we have provided for the entire legislative package to be reviewed again by Parliament in three years' time. The original time frame was three years and during the debate it moved to five years. I acknowledged the work of the NDP to say that it should be three years, so the Senate moved the date back to three years, and we are accepting that proposal from the Senate.

Therefore, three years from now, there will be another opportunity for members to examine how the legislation has worked and make any further changes that need to be made.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, let me first acknowledge the excellent work that was done by both the security and public safety committee of the House of Commons and its counterpart in the other place. They worked very hard on this legislation. The committee of the House actually did a pre-study before the legislation was introduced, and a good many of the recommendations that were made by the House of Commons committee found their way into the legislation when it was introduced.

However, the hon. gentleman is right. There was a very long period of public consultation that stretched across the country in town hall meetings, meetings with experts and ample online discussions. The hon. gentleman himself conducted extensive discussions among interest groups in the French language across the country, particularly in the province of Quebec. All of that was very helpful in making sure that when this legislation hit the floor of Parliament, it was well informed with the preferences and views of ordinary Canadians from coast to coast.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, there are limitations that apply with respect to members in this House who occupy positions of third parties, independents and so forth. That is an issue, I am afraid, that House leaders, whips and others will have to resolve in order to provide those additional debating opportunities.

This legislation has been thoroughly vented over a period of two years, and that followed a period of almost two years during which huge public consultations took place and 75,000 submissions were received as input from Canadians before the legislation was even drafted. Then, of course, the bill was actually referred to a committee before second reading to increase the scope of the debate and the possibility of amendments among members of Parliament.

I suppose no one can say any piece of legislation is perfect. This one is a vast improvement over what went before, and I am very pleased to have the endorsement of external experts like Professors Craig Forcese and Stephanie Carvin, who have described this legislation as the most important national security law in a generation.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is just simply wrong.

In fact, the legislation would improve the security apparatus of the Government of Canada. It provides an unprecedented level of transparency, which is essential in ensuring that Canadians have confidence in their security and intelligence agencies.

The bill would correct a number of errors and deficiencies left to us by the previous government. It would provide brand new clarity about the legal and constitutional authorities necessary for the agencies to be able to do their jobs, and give those agencies critical new powers they would not otherwise have without this legislation. An example is the proper management and investigation of data sets, which is critical in this digital age. It is obviously important that it be done properly, and this legislation lays out the framework for doing it, which our security agencies would not otherwise be able to do.

It would also provide that new framework for cyber-activities, and in this era when cyber-threats, according to many experts, are the biggest threats we are going to face in the future, we need that capacity within CSE and other authorities of the Government of Canada to undertake—where necessary, and with the proper authorization—those active operations to keep Canadians safe. That is why this legislation is so important.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is clear in the amendments included in Bill C-59 that the right to civil protest, the right to demonstrate and the right to express one's point of view within the normal laws and procedures of Canada are all clearly protected. That was an issue under Bill C-51, and we have corrected that by virtue of this legislation.

I point out as well that both the government and parliamentary committees have consulted about this legislation with the Privacy Commissioner, and the Privacy Commissioner's advice has been taken very seriously in the crafting of this legislation. As I say, the debate has been an extensive one. Every dimension of this new law has been thoroughly ventilated through one House of Parliament or the other.

I point out that the debate has gone on for so long that certain previous provisions of national security law have expired while waiting for the new law to come into effect, so it is time to vote and to take a decision.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in the last election we were very specific about the things we found inappropriate, deficient or headed in the wrong direction that had been enacted by the previous government. We enumerated those things in our platform document. Bill C-59, together with other pieces of legislation before this Parliament, has dealt very effectively with the agenda of things that needed to be corrected.

For example, we said there needed to be a committee of parliamentarians to deal with national security and intelligence issues. We created that through Bill C-22. We said we needed to protect the right to civil protest and dissent to make sure those civil rights were never impinged upon. That is dealt with in Bill C-59. We said we needed to make clear that threat reduction measures would not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That too is dealt with in Bill C-59.

If we went through each one of the items that were enumerated during the course of the election campaign, we would find that in Bill C-59 and in other pieces of legislation that have already been adopted by the House, commitments made in 2015 have, in fact, been satisfied by legislation.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, that particular question does not relate to this particular legislation.

I will advise the member that there is an ongoing review process with respect to 5G technology. In examining the whole spectrum of that technology, it is designed, from a scientific point of view and a security point of view, not only to make sure that Canadians get all of the advantages but also that public safety and national security are absolutely and thoroughly protected. That review is ongoing, and the appropriate decision will be made at the appropriate time.

If the hon. gentleman is concerned about having limited time to debate today, I would remind him that this legislation has been before Parliament for two years and there has been ample opportunity for everyone to be involved.

With respect to the cyber aspect, this legislation is critical, because it presents the new legal framework for dealing with cybersecurity, including for the first time the authority to allow active cyber-operations when those are deemed appropriate to protect the Canadian national interest.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have to point out that this legislation has been before the Parliament of Canada for two years. This is not a precipitous debate or motion. The fact of the matter is that there were two years of public consultation, followed by two years of parliamentary debate, that has brought the legislation to the point where it is today.

Obviously, it is the function of Parliament to provide detailed scrutiny with respect to this legislation, which this Parliament has done to a great extent. The kind of inquiry this Parliament has made with respect to this law is absolutely unprecedented. However, it is also important for Parliament to actually decide and take a vote, and that time has arrived.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this legislation has been before Parliament for almost two years exactly. It has had the most thorough consultation of any national security law in Canadian history. It has been the subject of extensive debate, many amendments and the most thorough examination of the law this Parliament has ever had. It is a complicated piece of legislation. However, I can say that it enjoys the very strong support of the national security agencies of the Government of Canada, those agencies that are charged with the responsibility of keeping Canadians safe, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment, the RCMP and the CBSA. It also has the very strong support of some pre-eminent academics, such as Professors Forcese and Carvin. Together, they are very anxious to see this legislation become law at long last.