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    Mar 13, 2015 9:15 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    With regard to military base CFB Petawawa: since 2007, (i) what are the names and ridings of Members of Parliament who have visited the base, (ii) what are the dates when the Members visited, (iii) what were the purposes of the visits, (iv) what were the costs associated with each Members' visit?

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    Mar 10, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, Corporal Stuart Langridge died by suicide in his barracks.

    Today's report confirmed the fears of the family that the investigation was botched from the beginning.

    The Military Police Complaints Commissioner found, “aspects that were shocking and beyond comprehension”. Contrary to the recent answer by the parliamentary secretary saying that they just got their recommendations, the recommendations were tabled last May.

    The Department of Defence has not accepted a single major recommendation to prevent similar tragic incidents from happening in the future, so I want to know why the minister is deliberately brushing off this report about an important incident and why—


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    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked about armed forces member Robyn Young's misdiagnosis by a military doctor which caused her considerable harm.

    The minister responded that the Defence Department is continuing to cover these costs, but that was disingenuous. It only started to cover them recently and has not reimbursed the tens of thousands of dollars she has already spent. In fact, Robyn's family has had to resort to community fundraising to help pay her health bills.

    When will Ms. Young finally get full and fair compensation from the government?

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    Feb 24, 2015 12:05 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to ask a question of my hon. colleague. Should the government continue to sit on the sidelines with this issue and not take proper action and given that the courts have said that this clause will be removed in early February, does the member see the possibility of harm for the most vulnerable, should we not have a strong and clear framework of protection?

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    Feb 24, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives pay lip service to the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces, but they fail to deliver when help is needed. The government trumpeted its plan to give ex-military members priority for public service jobs, but it is refusing to let former members transfer all of their pensions if they make such a move.

    Why do the Conservatives disrespect the service of our armed forces members and why are they treating them so unfairly?

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    Feb 24, 2015 11:00 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to congratulate B.C. resident Dr. Robert Bridson for winning an Oscar for his innovation and technical achievements in the motion picture industry. Dr. Bridson is an adjunct professor of mathematics at the University of British Columbia in my riding of Vancouver Quadra, and he is being honoured with the Academy Award for developing the mathematical software and creating the computer-generated models used to simulate real world scenes in major blockbusters such as Avatar, The Avengers, The Hobbit, and the sci-fi thriller Gravity.

    Dr. Bridson's success highlights the economic and social importance of arts and culture to Vancouver and the country as a whole. On behalf of Parliament, I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Bridson for his contributions to mathematics, the film industry, and our entertainment and to thank him for serving as an inspiration to young people considering math as a field of study or a career.

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    Feb 24, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition today demanding respect for the right of small-scale family farmers to preserve, exchange, and use seeds. This is signed by hundreds of petitioners from across the Vancouver area. They are asking that the Government of Canada and the House of Commons commit to adopting international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women. This will ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use, and freely exchange seeds.

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    Feb 23, 2015 2:10 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party believes that it is important to update the law to increase Canadians' security, because times have changed. We are concerned about overly broad powers, and that is why we are going to bring forward a number of amendments. We invite the Conservative Party and the minister to understand how our amendments would make this a much more effective bill. It would bring in protections against overuse of security measures. Right now, there are some unclearly undefined edges that need to be fixed.

    Why would the government want to go forward with a poor bill when, with some reasonable and focused amendments, it could go forward with a good bill?

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    Feb 23, 2015 1:55 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-51 today.

    Canadians are well aware of the harm that terrorism can cause and the fear that it can bring. The overarching aim of terrorist activity is to instill fear and to divide us from one another and weaken our society. An important duty of Canadians, therefore, is to be vigilant against this divisiveness, as we will always be stronger when we are working together and united against acts of intimidation.

    In recent decades, particularly since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the global security landscape has undergone massive changes, in part due to the evolution of the Internet and electronic technologies. An important responsibility that falls on the government and parliamentarians is to improve our security system and framework so as to meet the challenges of our times in a manner that upholds our most cherished democratic values and principles. The Liberal Party and most Canadians recognize that our laws must adapt to reflect the changing global security landscape, and Bill C-51, the government's anti-terrorism act, takes some productive steps to meet our collective security needs.

    One measure that this bill would put in place is to lower the evidentiary threshold for detaining a suspected terrorist. In fact, had it been in place six months ago, this measure might have prevented the tragic death of Quebec CAF member Patrice Vincent. His murderer was under surveillance and that person's passport had been revoked in June of last year, but due to the lack of concrete evidence, he remained free.

    The bill also would serve to put certain important programs, such as Canada's no-fly list, on a firmer legal foundation. Better coordination of information sharing among Canada's many security departments and agencies is also a positive aspect.

    However, there are deficiencies in this bill, many of which have been pointed out to me by constituents of Vancouver Quadra, and the Liberals have written amendments to address those weaknesses.

    The bill does not include the critical accountability that is provided by review and oversight mechanisms to ensure proper checks and balances on information sharing. This is in fact one of the overarching areas for improvement to this legislation that should be articulated through debate and expert testimony at committee, and there should be fair consideration of amendments. A bill of this importance deserves a proper, thorough, and non-partisan process.

    Bill C-51 is inadequate in other areas, particularly with regard to the far-reaching and vaguely articulated definition of “national security” in terms of the lack of a sunset clause to provide Parliament with an opportunity to quickly review and correct any negative consequences of the bill.

    Finally, there should be a much more robust commitment to preventing the radicalization of Canadian young people in the first place by funding and working with their families and communities to that end and by strengthening our social safety net regarding mental illness.

    I would like to talk more about the need for greater oversight and review.

    As many members know, last year I put forward my private member's bill, Bill C-622, the CSEC accountability and transparency act. This bill proposed to modernize the framework for accountability and transparency for Canada's signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada. It would have brought the 14-year-old laws governing this agency up to date to account for advances in Internet and communications technologies and it would have strengthened the mandate of the CSE commissioner. Furthermore, Bill C-622 would have assigned a committee of parliamentarians with security clearance the responsibility to review and report on all of the intelligence and national security activities of our government, the very oversight that is being called for right across Canada by experts and non-experts alike.

    Despite widespread support from security, defence, and privacy experts and from opposition MPs, my bill unfortunately did not receive support from the government and was therefore defeated.

    To put a need for this kind of parliamentary oversight and review mechanism into perspective, Ottawa-based journalist John Ivison has correctly pointed out that “Canada is the only country among our close allies that lacks a dedicated parliamentary committee with substantial powers of review over matters of national security and intelligence.”

    He is right, and we should have one. Just as our security laws must be improved to meet the challenges of today, so too must Canada's framework for transparency and privacy protection evolve in order to cope with fast-paced, changing technology.

    As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in the Oscar-winning—as of last night—documentary, “When the decisions that rule us are taken in secret, we lose the power to control and govern ourselves.”

    That is not what Canadians want. The federal Privacy Commissioner and all our provincial privacy commissioners stated in a recent communique:

    Canadians both expect and are entitled to equal protection for their privacy and access rights and for their security. We must uphold these fundamental rights that lie at the heart of Canada's democracy.

    What do our partners south of the border think about these things? One example is the United States Department of Homeland Security, in which this understanding of that balance is explicit. The department “embeds and enforces privacy protections and transparency” in all of its systems, programs, and activities, according to its privacy commissioner, who oversees a staff of 40 people in that department alone. In a recent speech, Homeland Security's deputy secretary Mayorkas confirmed that not only is this integral to the DHS mission and crucial to maintaining public trust, but it has also resulted in Homeland Security becoming a stronger and more effective department.

    If the government adopts the Liberal Party's reasonable amendments to create this balance, we can move beyond the dichotomized debate that pits security against Canadians' freedom and liberty.

    As it stands, Bill C-51 would give CSIS broad powers to disrupt not only real or perceived terrorist threats but also threats that might undermine the economic or financial stability of Canada. This is too broad. It is just not necessary for guarding against any legitimate risks and threats from terrorists. It could also be very harmful in further chilling important rights for citizens to have a voice and for the rights for civil society groups that disagree with government policies in a peaceful way. The Liberal Party will be proposing amendments to rein in and better define the vague and far-reaching new powers that would be granted to CSIS in the bill.

    To assess Bill C-51's effectiveness in keeping Canadians safe and ensuring our freedoms and values are respected, a future Liberal government will require a review of the entire bill in three years to ensure any aspects that are unaccountable or harmful are quickly identified and fixed.

    In addition to granting CSIS greater powers, let us acknowledge that preventing individuals from becoming radicalized and falling into violent extremism in the first place is important and is an effective second track toward reducing these incidences and the terrible harm they create. Let us not forget that several of the recent actual and planned terrorist attacks involved young men who were suffering from mental illness and addiction and turned to violence. Canadians experienced a deep sorrow on behalf of the victims and their families.

    This situation is the reason the government must allocate more resources and be a partner. The government must consult with a variety of stakeholders from police to social agencies and from families to religious leaders and collaborate in developing community-based strategies to prevent radicalization at the outset and to improve support for those suffering from mental illness and addiction. That is a commitment that the Liberal Party has made and will bring into our platform.

    Currently, through the work of local and provincial governments, community and religious leaders, and friends and family members of the disaffected youth, there are a number of innovative models for supporting youth at risk and lending them support and guidance. However, more funding and more focus on this aspect are needed. A Liberal government would provide them.

    As an aside, I want to mention that supporting mental illness would have a great deal of benefit to society, aside from reducing terrorist risks. Let us not forget that over 3,000 men commit suicide every year. Many of them are in their 20s, and most of them are under the age of 45. The grief and sorrow caused to their families and to our society could be significantly reduced with a greater emphasis on the second track, the track of prevention and support for those with mental illness challenges.

    In 2001, in response to the September 11 attacks, the Liberal government introduced a number of anti-terrorism measures. We understood then, as we do today, that sometimes quick action is needed. We did, however, make sure there were full hearings. Amendments were made. We heard from the public. We heard from Parliament in committees. We also built in a sunset clause so that the bill could be corrected and be great legislation.

    We believe that is possible. The Conservative government has the choice to take that path rather than the path of unilaterally charging ahead. We invite the Conservatives to take our amendments seriously. If not, we will be campaigning on them. If elected, we will be sure that they are put into effect in order to respect our most deeply prized democratic values.

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    Feb 19, 2015 11:35 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, today the respected Conference of Defence Associations released a damning report on the Conservative government's mismanagement and budget cuts to National Defence. The report states:

    The reality is that we are entering a period of continued decline, diminished [Canadian Armed Forces'] capabilities and capacities, less training and lower output, with consequently reduced influence on the world stage and weakened contribution to our own security, domestic and international.

    Why are the Conservatives so undermining the Canadian Armed Forces? Why are they still pretending they support them?

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    Feb 19, 2015 11:10 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, when Chinese and Asian communities around the world will celebrate the Year of the Sheep.

    Yesterday, I joined colleagues and the Chinese ambassador at a gala dinner here in Ottawa; and throughout the Greater Toronto Area, our Liberal Party leader is participating in celebratory events with the community. I am personally honoured to host an MP lunar new year reception in Vancouver this weekend; and Vancouver's great parade in Chinatown this Sunday is legendary.

    Across our country, Canadians of all ages and cultures will come together to celebrate, and we will reflect on the important role that the Chinese and Asian communities have played in shaping our great nation. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and its entire parliamentary caucus, I extend our warmest good wishes to all Canadians ringing in the lunar new year. Good health, happiness, and prosperity for all.

    Gong hey fat choy. Xin nian kuai le.

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    Feb 17, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives refused for four months to provide Canadians with any information at all about the cost of the Iraq mission, so I asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer for help. According to the PBO, they then illegally “refused all PBO requests for specific data” on this mission.

    Yesterday, the minister added insult to this secrecy and deception by slapping down a single cost number—no detail, no analysis, just an end run of the PBO's report released today.

    Does the minister not believe Canadians have the right to be respected and to have real cost information on this important mission?

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    Feb 17, 2015 11:00 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to offer my congratulations to the Canadian-based charity, Educating Girls of Rural China; their founder, Tien Ching; and her board; and to wish them all the best as they celebrate their 10th anniversary.

    Educating Girls of Rural China is dedicated to sponsoring the secondary and post-secondary education of financially challenged young women from rural western China who would otherwise miss out.

    Since its establishment in 2005, EGRC has awarded hundreds of high school and university sponsorships to deserving young women. Through the help of its Canadian donors, EGRC has successfully sponsored 247 young women through to graduation, and presently supports 265 women students enrolled in secondary or post-secondary institutions.

    As an enthusiastic supporter of the education of girls, of women's economic and social equality, and EGRC, I am delighted to see the continued success of this incredible organization. I believe I speak on behalf of all parliamentarians when I wish them the very best in their work to empower young women in rural China for many decades to come.

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    Feb 16, 2015 11:35 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is clipping the wings of Canada's air force, compromising its ability to train and to protect Canadians.

    Search and rescue helicopters and most aircraft are spending more and more time grounded in order to pinch pennies. Why? It is because the Conservatives are using defence budget cuts as a giant piggy bank to fund their election tax goodies, like the $2-billion income splitting tax break for the wealthiest Canadians.

    Will the minister restore DND funding and stop the broken promises to Canadians and to the women and men in uniform?

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    Feb 16, 2015 11:00 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, 48 years ago today, Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson officially established the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, based on the concept of equal opportunity for women and men. The royal commission played a major role in defining the status of women as a legitimate and important social and economic issue, and gave a platform for women's voices.

    The commission's groundbreaking recommendations on child care, pay equity, prohibiting gender as grounds for discrimination and other matters sadly remain relevant today. Women's equality has taken a step back under the Conservative government's regressive policies, which have put the brakes on the important momentum to close the gap in Canada.

    As we mark this historic anniversary and the progress made by women over the decades, we must remember that there still remains much work to do in order to achieve true equality.

    Let us all celebrate how far we have come, but also commit to equality of opportunity for all Canadians.

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    Feb 02, 2015 11:55 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the new Minister of Veterans Affairs tabled a progress report on government changes to the new veterans charter. It was so lacking, he slipped it out on a Friday night.

    He still does not address the benefit clawbacks for the most severely disabled, the unfairness of the lump sum payout, caseworker overloading, nor the unequal treatment of reservists. His solution for the lack of help for spouses of veterans with severe PTSD, like Jenny Migneault, is an online app.

    These problems were identified years ago. How much longer will the minister make our injured forces members and our veterans wait?


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    Jan 29, 2015 12:15 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the leader of the Green Party.

    Absolutely, we need to make progress on an energy strategy. We can only do that with the kind of collaboration we are talking about in our federation. That is exactly what happens when a prime minister sits down with premiers from all of the provinces and territories.

    There are the meetings themselves, but there is also conversation in the hallways, over coffee, and over lunch. The premiers chat together. They find out who is in support and who needs to have more information. They work together to have a solid front, as they achieved on issues like Kelowna and our national child care plan. That is absolutely the only way to go with an issue as complex as the one the member has just raised.

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    Jan 29, 2015 12:10 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that I have a few more minutes to participate in this important debate on the first ministers' conference.

    I have talked about how those kinds of conferences were essential from a provincial minister's perspective in bringing forward key initiatives to address some of the big challenges, and how in the past they were unfortunately frustrated by a Conservative government that wiped out the Kelowna accord and Canada's national child care plan and essentially neglected the 10-year health accord and other important national initiatives in our federation, such as the national housing strategy of 2005 and the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville's Project Green, which was also the product of much consultation with premiers across the country and included work done on a provincial level by ministers and their staff, who all participated in, supported, and created a national approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    This has been an abject failure on the part of the current government. It ties into the current Prime Minister's hubris and refusal to meet with the other premiers from across the country.

    In my final minute or so, I would like to touch on some of the key challenges we have that absolutely demand the kind of collaboration that comes out of these meetings with premiers. Premiers can undertake to champion certain issues and can work with the federal government and the Prime Minister to bring colleagues from across the country on board so that we can have a national approach to these national issues.

    One is the health and independence of seniors, including support for caregivers. With the changing demographics in Canada, this is a huge concern for Canadians. In its polling, the Canadian Medical Association identified this as a current key issue right across Canada and one that will become more pressing in the years ahead.

    We cannot say in good conscience that we are addressing the concerns of Canadians adequately if we fail to come together to collaborate on a new strategy and method of ensuring that the health, independence, and caregiving of seniors can be better supported in the years to come. That is the kind of thing the Prime Minister should be talking about with premiers in an annual meeting. That is just one.

    Of course, there is also dealing with the environment and climate change, but that requires leadership—not dictatorship and not autocracy, but actual leadership. That is what we are asking from the Prime Minister. That is what the Liberal Party leader is promising to provide to Canadians should he have the opportunity to do that in the future.

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    Jan 29, 2015 11:55 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, today at committee the ministers of defence and foreign affairs did a spectacular job of not providing answers or new information to Canadians, who deserve it. They still will not provide a mission cost estimate, as our allied countries have done and as Canada has done in the past.

    However, I would like to ask about a next step and would like a real answer for a change. When the Iraqi forces begin to push in earnest to recapture ISIL territory will Canadian Forces continue to accompany them to the front lines in that advance?

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    Jan 29, 2015 10:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to also join the debate on the opposition motion, which states:

    That, in the opinion of the House, the Prime Minister of Canada should hold annual First Ministers' Conferences.

    Most Canadians would think that happens, or at least there are meetings with premiers of the provinces and territories, because it makes so much sense, as the member for Vancouver Centre so eloquently pointed out. However, that has not happened.

    When the member for Oak Ridges—Markham spoke earlier in the debate, he commented that if people had been in a provincial government during the time of the previous Liberal government, they would have been very critical of it. I have news for the member for Oak Ridges—Markham. I was in a provincial government. I was in the B.C. government from 2001 until 2005, under a previous Liberal government. I was at the front lines around the cabinet table when our premier would come back from these first ministers conferences. He would talk about what had been sparked, where there was a growing consensus on a big issue that Canadians across the country faced, and what he personally would like to do about it. We were all engaged in how we could help move these issues forward, hand-in-hand with the provinces and territories and our federal government.

    I would like to point out for the members of the Conservative Party that Canada is a federation, which means that it is a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central or federal government. We are not a monarchy. We are not a republic nor a dictatorship. We are a federation, and that means we need to work together to advance the big public policy issues where there is a common interest across the country. They may not always be exactly the same interests, but they are common interests.

    As my colleague mentioned, a number of those initiatives came out of these meetings of the first ministers with the prime minister, and that was while I was in the provincial government. I saw first hand how the 10-year national health accord started to bloom as an idea through those premiers and the prime minister working together. What came out of that, for the first time, was a consensus and a way forward on how to join forces, reduce duplication, reduce overlapping initiatives, learn from each other and begin to tackle the huge challenges that people faced across the country with wait times for surgeries and other matters that cost them their good health. That came from a meeting of first ministers and the prime minister.

    There was the Kelowna accord. Today, our indigenous peoples are suffering. They do not experience the kind of forward movement that would have happened had the current government not scrapped the Kelowna accord. The accord, once again, was from the premiers meeting with the prime minister. The premier of British Columbia, in particular, decided that this would be a real priority for the Province of British Columbia, so he joined in a leadership role with the prime minister of the day, Paul Martin. He decided to help advance it by working with premiers from across the country, enrolling and eliciting their support for the concept. In the end, we had an agreement among all of the provinces and territories and, most important, with the representatives for all indigenous peoples across Canada.

    What do we have today? Our indigenous peoples feel they need to rise up across the country, with demonstrations like “Idle No More”, to get the point across that they are being left out. The comprehensive framework of addressing the inequities and Canada's shameful carry-over of its colonial history have not been resolved. The Kelowna accord would have set the foundation to do.

    A national child care plan was another for which I sat at a cabinet table and we wrestled with how we would enter into an agreement for a national program and maintain the unique characteristics of the child care funding, support and principles in British Columbia. Those kinds of conversations at first ministers conferences helped to power through those complicated differences among us to the point where there were some real outcomes, and the national child care plan was not only negotiated, but was agreed on right across the country.

    The first year of funding from the federal government actually flowed to the provinces, and they had one year out of that five-year plan to address the desperate inadequacy and lack of child care in the provinces. Sadly, that is another critical program that the NDP, under its previous leader, voted against, brought down the Liberal government, and the national child care plan was scrapped to the detriment of families across the country.

    It is not just about the things that were done through this collaboration. I also want to speak briefly to some huge failures that are a result of this kind of collaboration not happening. This includes all of the wasted time and energy on Senate reform by the Prime Minister, who never bothered to reach out and meet with colleagues to learn what their appetite for change would be and what kind of change they would support.

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    Jan 28, 2015 12:05 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to know the truth, that the Prime Minister has shamefully refused to explain how and when the role of Canadian troops went from not accompanying, as he promised last October, to a de facto combat role now.

    Canadians, through Parliament, did not agree to put our Canadian soldiers into front-line combat, so why is Canada the only coalition country with ground troops under fire?

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    Jan 27, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Minister of National Defence justified front-line combat by saying, “I am not sure we could train troops without accompanying them.”

    Yet on September 30, the Prime Minister explicitly ruled out combat on the ground. He said in question period, the mission “is to advise and to assist. It is not to accompany.”

    Why is the defence minister directly contradicting the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister, today covering for him?

    Do Canadians not deserve the truth?

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    Jan 27, 2015 10:30 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of the member for Wild Rose with great interest. I believe that, unfortunately, he has mixed his adjectives up when talking about a prudent approach or premature action. Does he actually consider that it was prudent to promise up a $2 billion tax break to the families who need it the least at a time when the budget is not balanced? The government has created a huge vulnerability for this country in having balanced books with this premature tax break.

    The key question I am wondering about is this. Does the member believe that part of the prudent approach is the deliberate clawback of over $1 billion from the Veterans Affairs budget and the slashing of front-line and other staff in Veterans Affairs by 1,000 members? Is it prudent to withdraw from injured armed forces members and veterans the very services and mental health care that they need and deserve?

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    Jan 26, 2015 12:20 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces Task Force Libeccio in Operation Mobile: what were the (a) full and incremental costs from March 2011 to October 2011, broken down by month; (b) full and incremental costs for the (i) CF-18, (ii) CC-150, (iii) CC-130, (iv) CC-177, (v) CP-140; (c) total flying hours for the (i) CF-18, (ii) CC-150, (iii) CC-130, (iv) CC-177, (v) CP-140; (d) full and incremental costs of all base support arrangements (e.g. accommodations, meals, amenities, infrastructure, utilities) including any in-kind support received; (e) full and incremental costs of all deployment, supply, and re-deployment flights, including Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and charter aircraft; (f) ordnance ammunition used and its full and incremental costs; (g) full and incremental costs related to fuel delivered by RCAF tankers; (h) full and incremental costs of repair and overhaul; (i) full and incremental costs of any special pay or allowances for deployed personnel; (j) full and incremental costs associated with Home Leave Travel Assistance; (k) full and incremental costs associated with Class C Reserves deployed on operations; and (l) full and incremental costs associated with Class B Reserves employed as backfill in Canada?

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    Jan 26, 2015 12:15 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    With regard to Canadian military bases and stations both in Canada and abroad: since 2007, what are (a) the names and ridings of Members of Parliament who have visited any bases or stations; (b) the dates that the Members visited; (c) the name of the base or station that was visited; (d) the purpose of the visit; and (e) any costs associated with Member’s visit?


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    Dec 11, 2014 11:25 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, when it was convenient, the Prime Minister praised the new veterans charter. For example, in 2006, in speaking with veterans, he claimed to support the troops and noted, “ This veterans charter is one example of our government’s commitment”. However, when it became clear how badly his government had mismanaged that supposed commitment, he rushed to blame the charter on a previous government.

    The Prime Minister has been exposed for his mean-spirited neglect of our veterans. How can they possibly trust anything he says?

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    Dec 10, 2014 12:00 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the government's annual cost estimate for replacing Canada's aging CF-18 fighter jets is a shocker. There is another $1 billion price hike for the F-35s that it planned to sole-source as Canada's largest military acquisition ever, with no competition, and still more delays will mean still higher costs.

    Will the Conservatives stop this ongoing fiasco and commit to Canadians that they will hold an open and transparent competition to replace these important jets?

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    Dec 04, 2014 11:20 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, they are not proud of this minister, that is for sure.

    Major Mark Campbell, a veteran with 33 years of service, was badly wounded in Afghanistan by an IED while rescuing a fellow soldier. Now he is fighting the Conservatives for a pension.

    The government has stated in court that providing this pension would violate fundamental principles of democracy.

    Could the minister please tell the House which democratic principles would be violated by providing this brave veteran and double amputee with his pension?

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    Dec 02, 2014 3:20 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-628, introduced by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

    Bill C-628 would exclude supertankers from the inland waters around Haida Gwaii, an area of significance to our whole province and an area that I know well from having been an environment minister who travelled up and down the coast in boats and small planes and from having been a tree planter and reforestation contractor who worked in these areas.

    I have seen first-hand the teeming wildlife and the quality and fragility of the ecosystems in that area. As the House well knows, Canada's quality of life is closely connected with the health of our oceans and our ecosystems. Those ecosystems and that coast are integral not only to our livelihood and way of life but also to Canada's economy. Nowhere is this relationship more important than on British Columbia's north coast.

    I join the vast majority of British Columbians, including dozens of first nations communities on the coast and in the interior, who are of the view that transporting oil by pipeline through the proposed route to the head of Douglas Channel and transporting oil by supertankers in turbulent and hazardous waters pose unacceptable risks to the environment, the communities, and the businesses that depend on that environment and to all Canadians who share pride in the common heritage of this very special place.

    I am pleased to support the bill, which is modelled after my own bills, both Bill C-437 as well as Bill C-606 from a previous Parliament. I had the privilege of being in the order of precedence in 2011, after having travelled the area a number of years earlier, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has described having done.

    In 2010, I had the privilege of travelling from the southern tip of Vancouver Island up to Kitimat and to communities from one end to the other on our north coast, consulting with people and hearing their views and the strong support that inspired me to put this bill in the order of precedence. Unfortunately, it died an early death because of the early election call in 2011, just short of the fixed election dates that are in law in our country.

    I am happy to see the House have the opportunity to address this bill again. I think I mentioned in my question earlier in this debate that the bill is substantially based on mine and consists essentially of Canada Shipping Act changes. I did not hear that there were any differences from my previous bill in the substantive part of this bill.

    Then there are two aspirational sections in the National Energy Board Act, both of which are eminently reasonable. They ask the National Energy Board to ensure that consultations have taken place and to report on them in their consideration of a project. They also set out that the National Energy Board should consider the impact on employment in upgraders and refineries and in the petrochemical industry. Of course the Liberal Party is very supportive of the idea of consultation and is supportive of having local employment from our natural resources, so those are instructions to consider important issues.

    I appreciate that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has built on the work that I and many others before me have done to protect this area. In fact, it was a long-standing policy of Liberal governments from the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau not to allow tanker traffic in the inside passage between Haida Gwaii and the central and north coast of Canada. That long-standing policy put the environment into the centre of the consideration, and our economy flourished notwithstanding, so it is not essential to risk oil spills in this area in order to have a thriving economy.

    In fact, our contention is that the economy of the coast is important as well, and that would be at risk. There is a strongly expressed consensus among the communities of the province of British Columbia, and especially first nations and coastal first nations—like the Haisla, the Haida, the Heiltsuk, the Gitga’at, the Lax Kw'alaams—whose heritage is tied into the ecology of shellfish collection, of salmon, of an abundance of sea products, and simply the ability to be able to continue having some of their traditional practices. It is so important for coastal first nations, and I want to acknowledge them for having been strong voices for many years in support of banning tanker traffic in those inland waters.

    The Conservative government has unfortunately undermined a very fundamental principle of our country's and our government's ability to balance the various interests and activities that come before it. What the Conservatives have done is undermine the environmental regulatory framework. What that has accomplished for the current government is to block many of the projects that it aspired to complete, because of the erosion of trust by the public in anything that the Conservatives have to say.

    I heard the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar talk about public trust in the current government. I want to point out that every time a member from the Conservative Party says that a member did not vote for this, that, and the other, the public should remember that the omnibus bills and many of the other bills are designed exactly to put some positive changes into some very political, ideological legislation. We call them poison-pill changes; they make it impossible for opposition members to support them, just for the very purpose of the Conservative members being able to later say that they did not vote for this, that, and the other. That is actually code for the Conservatives undermining our democracy with the way they put forward legislation, especially these omnibus bills. I want any members of the public reading this to recognize that code the next time they hear it, because they will hear it every day in the House, used as a tool, which undermines the public's trust in the Conservatives because of their anti-democratic processes.

    Turning back to the bill, I want to note that B.C.'s north coast is the home to the Great Bear rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, which include 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of coastal birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs. This also is an area of the coast of British Columbia that is home to 55,000 coastal jobs, and many of these jobs would be at risk should there be an oil spill. Oil spills happen, whether due to technological or human failure. We know that they happen. Should that happen, our coast would never be the same.

    Regarding this particular pipeline project that this bill is addressing, which is the pipeline to Kitimat, rather than having learned the lesson of their failures of consultation and their failures in undermining the regulatory process, the Conservatives have compounded them since then by making changes to the National Energy Board to further limit consultation, further squeeze the time that people are being given to have comment, and further de-legitimize any of the projects in British Columbia that the National Energy Board is contemplating. That will then live on in public mistrust of other projects that the Conservative government is trying to put forward.

    My hope, in closing, is that the Conservative Party members of Parliament from British Columbia will join us to vote for this bill because their constituents want them to do that. Their constituents are solidly behind this kind of protection of the area around Haida Gwaii from the potential for oil spill, and the Conservatives' constituents in British Columbia are for proper environmental regulation, for communities granting permission for these major invasive projects before they push them through with the National Energy Board.

    I invite the Conservative members to consider that and join us in supporting this bill so it will pass. I would like to congratulate the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his initiative in putting this forward.

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    Dec 02, 2014 3:10 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley knows, I support the bill that he has brought forward. It is an important one for British Columbians, and it is an important bill respecting the kind of voices that have been heard over the years to protect the coast.

    The bill has a substantive part, which is the amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, and then two aspirational ideas that are incorporated in changes to the National Energy Board Act. Could the member tell me what, if any, are the differences between his bill on this section of the Canada Shipping Act and the bill that I had on the order paper, Bill C-437, formerly Bill C-606 in a previous Parliament?

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    Dec 01, 2014 2:20 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie for doing such a fine job explaining all the benefits of our InSite program in Vancouver. She presented evidence showing that the program has saved lives, reduced the spread of disease and saved money. Giving drug addicts access to a safe site results in lower costs to society. They are given help to stay off the streets and to live healthier lives.

    The government claims that this bill will allow more sites like the one in Vancouver to open and it talks about a number of commitments. However, the Conservative member who just spoke clearly said that it would be better not to have another site, rather than having a site where illegal drugs are consumed.

    In the hon. member's view, which of the two is the real objective of the Conservative government when it comes to Bill C-2?

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    Dec 01, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, like veterans, serving Canadian Forces members are also being denied adequate help for their mental health needs. The department's top doctors have pleaded for action, but today dozens of positions at military bases such as Shilo and Petawawa are still vacant. An access to information request has revealed this ongoing shortage exists because the Conservatives are simply refusing to pay the going rate. It is unbelievable.

    Why are the Conservatives short-changing our injured soldiers and making them wait for urgent mental health support?


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    Nov 27, 2014 11:25 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I raised the case of Greg Matters, the 16-year armed forces veteran suffering from PTSD, who was tragically killed in 2012. Greg fought for years for treatment and support, and all he got was a measly $125 a month. He pleaded for psychiatric help in vain. His death could have been avoided.

    Yesterday, the parliamentary secretary did not answer my question on this, so I am giving him another opportunity. When will the government finally respect our veterans, fix these problems, and prevent these deaths from happening?

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    Nov 26, 2014 11:45 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, Gregory Matters was a long-serving member suffering from PTSD and released from the forces in 2009. In 2012, he was shot and killed by the RCMP in Prince George while he was acting erratically.

    That very same day, Veterans Affairs had called Greg, saying that his claim for PTSD was finally approved but that he that still faced more hoops to jump through before any payment would flow, and this was after literally years without help or compensation.

    In fact, Greg had been treated by a psychiatrist, but on his own dime. Why will the Conservatives not stop pretending everything is okay and fix this tragic mess?

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    Nov 26, 2014 11:15 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to Navy Appreciation Day held yesterday on Parliament Hill.

    This event is an all-party celebration to recognize and thank members of the Royal Canadian Navy for their important work and their exemplary service to Canada. It is also an occasion to recognize navy heroes.

    I was struck by the extraordinary professionalism and leadership of the six heroes who received certificates at the ceremony in the Senate chambers with Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

    Canadians are also very well-served by the Navy League of Canada and its thousands of volunteers who support maritime issues and all youth through the Navy League Cadets and the Canadian Sea Cadets.

    A special thanks goes out to Mme Louise Mercier, national president, and her team for making the day and the well-attended evening reception a huge success, and for their work throughout the year.

    Canadians can justifiably be very proud of the invaluable contributions of the members of the Royal Canadian Navy and, indeed, of all of our Canadian forces. We thank them.

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    Nov 25, 2014 11:50 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, veterans seeking service are often in crisis, and yet the average wait time to get service at a mental health clinic, at an OSI clinic, is approximately three months. At many of the DND centres, it is almost three times the promised wait time.

    This is caused by the government's failure to staff these services properly, and all the while it is clawing back billions of dollars from the departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs.

    How can our serving men and women believe they are a priority for this government after all of the neglect and the deception?

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    Nov 20, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about a decade of delay and deception by the current government. Since 2006, the Conservatives have spent $750 million on partisan advertising. Meanwhile, they have cut the defence budget to the point that we hardly even having a functioning navy, as we heard at the defence committee on Tuesday.

    The reality is that a total of $14 billion has been either cut or announced and then clawed back from defence budgets.

    Why do the Conservatives believe that hundreds of millions of dollars in partisan advertising is more important than providing brave men and women in uniform with the basic equipment that they require?

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    Nov 19, 2014 12:15 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition, which is signed by literally hundreds of residents from White Rock, British Columbia.

    The petitioners are concerned that, based on a notice from the federal government's Department of Transportation, the city of White Rock has shut down the public's open access to the beaches of Semiahmoo Bay without prior public consultation and notice.

    They are concerned that this will increase the likelihood of risky behaviour such that people will try to cross the railway tracks to get to the beach. It will cause a significant drop in property value, a reduction in business patrons for the marine businesses, as well as other hardships.

    Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government to direct the city of White Rock to stop further installation of planned fences and immediately consult with the local public, find mutually acceptable solutions and then collaborate on sharing costs for the controlled crossings of these tracks.

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    Nov 19, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the western premiers have called on the federal government to be a partner in building the critical infrastructure they need for getting their products to markets. The government is spending billions on extra tax breaks for the rich by way of income-splitting, but refuses to invest in the roads, rail, and bridges that will make our export markets stronger and help all Canadians and the economy.

    Do the Conservatives not realize that their 90% cut to the build Canada fund will have a devastating effect out west?

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    Nov 17, 2014 3:20 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    With regard to the Canadian Armed Forces: (a) what are the full costs to date for army, navy and air force contributions to Operation Reassurance, broken down by each service; and (b) what are the estimated future costs of Operation Reassurance, as well as the costs for any other initiatives by the Canadian military to promote stability in Eastern Europe?

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    Nov 05, 2014 2:30 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments of the member across the way.

    Liberals certainly feel and believe that strong security measures that protect Canadians are very important. Our intelligence agencies, our security agencies, do very important work in this regard.

    It was under a Liberal government that the Order in Council to create, for example, our signals intelligence agency were put in place by cabinet, and it was also under a Liberal government that the National Defence Act and the Anti-terrorism Act were put in place to strengthen the ability of our security agencies to do their work.

    The member used the word “balance”. What is missing in the government's approach is that very idea. I was listening carefully to hear any mention of the words “freedom”, “privacy rights”, and “civil liberties”, and I did not hear those words even once.

    I ask the member whether she is aware that the deputy director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers the embedding of privacy rights and civil liberties in every program, system, and activity of Homeland Security to be essential to having a strong and effective security outcome for that department. How does she think that relates to the government's approach?

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    Nov 05, 2014 2:15 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the member has said that the bill is a measured and reasonable step forward. However, we are supporting the bill to go to committee because it needs thorough scrutiny. There are measures in the bill that experts are concerned might violate international law. There are other measures that include provisions to enact an element of another bill that really does not have very much to do with the core elements of the provisions around CSIS.

    My largest concern is that, unlike the advice that the Information Commissioner has given, any movement to strengthen or increase security measures should also be accompanied by an increase in oversight. However, that is completely ignored by the current government. In fact, the member's government has said that security oversight is just fine as it is.

    In his view, does the member feel there is no need or any benefit in having an oversight that would tie together the various security agencies, such as CSEC, the Canadian Border Services Agency, RCMP, immigration and others, which, in some cases, are operating in silos in terms of oversight?

    Would an integrated overview approach, as proposed by Bill C-622, which we will be voting on tonight, and other legislation, not be a positive thing in order to identify any gaps among the agencies and fix the—

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    Nov 05, 2014 2:00 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, further to the member for Gatineau's comments about not having full information, I want to point out that the Information Commissioner, Mme. Legault, pointed to “'information asymmetry' when it comes to national security measures—the government has all the relevant information, and Canadians are asked to approve of new measures without that information”.

    She is concerned about that, because it is not just about protecting fundamental security rights. There are also other fundamental rights, and we need to have the appropriate information to make the appropriate judgement call.

    The commissioner also called for “a complete review into the oversight of national security bodies”. I know that has been mentioned by a number of speakers.

    One of the reasons for the Liberal Party's support of a parliamentary oversight committee, aside from our Five Eyes partners all having such a thing, is that it can be more effective, in terms of security, than a patchwork of oversight for individual security and intelligence agencies and nothing to integrate them.

    I would like to ask the member for Gatineau, especially given the tragic events of October 22, whether that oversight that could look at the gaps between different security agencies, whether it is the RCMP, parliamentary security, CSIS, or CSEC, could strengthen our security as well as strengthen privacy.

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    Nov 03, 2014 12:00 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, over the past year, information leaks revealed that the Communications Security Establishment of Canada spied on innocent Canadian air travellers and facilitated a massive U.S. spy operation on Canadian soil.

    Last November, Justice Mosley revealed that CSEC kept the courts in the dark on how it shared Canadians' private data with foreign intelligence agencies.

    Will Conservative MPs join us in standing up for their constituents' rights to privacy? Will the government commit to a free vote on Bill C-622, which would help protect both the privacy rights and the security of Canadians?


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    Oct 30, 2014 3:45 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for this additional opportunity to speak to this very important matter, which is how we can embed civil liberties and rights and freedoms within the framework of our security and intelligence agencies and thus make them stronger and more effective.

    I would like to respond to a few of the comments that the parliamentary secretary for the government made in her remarks. I acknowledge and appreciate the respectful tone of her remarks. It would be great if this debate were to continue.

    I would again invite the members of the Conservative Party to take a look at the bill for themselves and consider voting to support it and bring it to committee.

    The parliamentary secretary talked about the various oversight capacities of organizations and agencies such as CSIS, CSEC, and the RCMP. Each of them is very different, and the overall set of security and intelligence activities of the Canadian government also includes the Canada Border Services Agency, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and the RCMP.

    The parliamentary secretary proved my point that there is a grab bag of different oversight, none of it having parliamentarians, who are responsible to the public, playing a primary role. Given that grab bag of varying oversight, it is clearly a challenge to have an integrated look at the security and privacy of Canadians.

    A citizen is one citizen, and whether it is one agency or another out of the six or seven agencies, it is that citizen's right to privacy and security that we are talking about. Without any integration of the oversight, there can only be gaps and duplications. That is one of the very strong arguments is for a committee of parliamentarians.

    Our Five Eyes partners have adopted that model because a committee of parliamentarians can look at that entire landscape of security and intelligence activities. That is not happening now. Each of those organizations has some oversight by commissioners or committees, but to look at it in its entirety and identify where there are gaps and duplications is exactly how this parliamentary committee can add value to the ministers responsible.

    This morning we heard from a former minister of national defence who had been a member of the SIRC committee for seven years. He said that the key value of a parliamentary committee looking at all of these agencies is that it can identify pitfalls and barriers and can alert the ministers to them so that the ministers can be stronger and more effective in doing their job of ensuring the security and privacy of Canadians. That is a very strong argument.

    In addition, the fact that the committee members would be parliamentarians who have a responsibility to the public is a far more powerful approach than we currently have with SIRC or with CSE, in which a commissioner has little requirement to bring any detail forward to the public. I believe the current commissioner is doing a good job, but much of what he is doing is voluntary. That is why the strengthening of the CSEC commissioner is an important element.

    One last point I want to make is that the prior commissioners of CSEC and prior chiefs of CSEC or CSE have called for this very committee themselves. Therefore, I am wondering why the Conservatives disagree with those who should know best what the most effective oversight model would be for our security and intelligence agencies in Canada.

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    Oct 30, 2014 3:15 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the NDP national defence critic for those questions.

    I am optimistic that I will have support from all sides of this House for this very non-partisan effort to strengthen both our democracy and our security. I am going to move forward with this bill.

    The parliamentary committee is a concept that was widely studied by Parliament in 2004-2005 and was embedded in a bill being put forward by the then minister, Anne McLellan, with unanimous support from all parties in the committee that studied it widely, travelling around to our intelligence partners to secure the best ideas for how to move forward. I am optimistic that the members on all sides of the House will support this bill to take it forward to committee and then examine it and bring forward their ideas.

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    Oct 30, 2014 3:00 pm | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    moved that Bill C-622, An Act to amend the National Defence Act (transparency and accountability), to enact the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

    Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise today to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-622, the CSEC accountability and transparency act.

    This legislation takes an important step forward in updating the framework for accountability and transparency for Canada's signals intelligence agency, and it tasks the public's representatives—that is, Canadian parliamentarians—with the responsibility to review and report on the intelligence and security activities of our government.

    In the wake of the recent deadly attacks on our soldiers and on Parliament itself, all party leaders confirmed their commitment to protect the rights, freedoms, and civil liberties of Canadians, even as security measures are analyzed and strengthened. Indeed, Canadians expect these fundamental aspects of the very democracy being guarded to be respected, and that is the underlying intention of the bill.

    I invite members of all parties to support sending it to committee for further examination and signal the authenticity of their commitment to these democratic freedoms.

    Canada does have important guardians of privacy rights, both in law and in our provincial and federal privacy and information officers, and we have strong privacy protections in Canada, in general, although these must continue to contend with the fast pace of technological change.

    Where they can be weak, though, is in the scrutiny of the activities of intelligence and security agencies like Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, and my bill aims to ensure sufficient privacy protections for CSE operations on the multiple fronts of its mandate, both abroad and at home.

    As the federal and provincial privacy commissioners stated in a recent communique:

    Canadians both expect and are entitled to equal protection for their privacy and access rights and for their security. We must uphold these fundamental rights that lie at the heart of Canada’s democracy.

    I agree. In fact, the effective protection of individual privacy and the effective delivery of national security measures are not a dichotomy or a trade-off. They are complementary, and both are necessary.

    The United States Department of Homeland Security is a good example. This department considers safeguarding civil rights and civil liberties to be critical to its work to protect the nation from the many threats it faces. This third-largest department of the U.S. government now explicitly embeds and enforces privacy protections and transparency in all the department's systems, programs, and activities.

    Deputy Secretary Mayorkas confirmed in a recent speech that not only is this an integral part of DHS's mission and crucial to maintaining the public's trust, but it has resulted in homeland security becoming a stronger and more effective department. Bill C-622 reflects that very philosophy.

    Now here is some information about Communications Security Establishment Canada. CSE is our national cryptology and signals intelligence agency. It functions within a global alliance of partners' signals intelligence agencies in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, known as the Five Eyes. CSE intercepts and decodes foreign communications signals. It is the lead agency for cybersecurity for the federal government, and it uses its technological capacities and expertise to assist domestic law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    As its three-part mandate suggests, CSE is an important and powerful contributor to Canada's national security, and we want it to become a stronger and more effective department. Much of CSE's work today focuses on Internet and mobile phone communications between foreigners who might pose a threat to Canada.

    CSE does not have the mandate to spy on Canadians, except when it is assisting other federal security and law enforcement agencies that have the appropriate permission, such as a warrant. However, its powers were extended in 2001 to allow it to inadvertently collect Canadian communications when it is targeting a foreign entity or conducting cybersecurity operations.

    Here is the challenge: The capability of information and communications technologies has skyrocketed over the past 13 years. However, the laws governing CSE have not changed once in that time. That means that whether they are being used or not, CSE now has much greater powers to intrude into the privacy of people's personal lives and communications, unimpeded by the law.

    It is time to update the law in this new environment of cloud computing and the Internet of everything.

    This bill leaves in place all the important tools that our security agencies have available to them to protect Canadians. CSE has intrusive powers, but they are most often absolutely necessary.

    However, Canadians want assurances that their privacy and the confidentiality of their communications will not be violated. Such violations would not even have been technologically possible just a few years ago.

    One key concern of Canadians is government's access to their metadata, that is, their communication activities. It includes, for example, records of communications between one's electronic devices and the devices of others. On the surface, intercepting metadata may not seem terribly intrusive, but metadata is effectively the how, when, where, and with whom people communicate electronically.

    As Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, notes:

    It has been said that the collection of meta-data is far more intrusive than reading someone's diary because not everything gets written down in a diary.

    Last January, Canadians learned that CSE collected, tracked, and analyzed the metadata of unsuspecting passengers who logged into the WiFi at an Canadian airport. Because the law is so outdated, this was probably legal, but it was certainly not respectful of privacy rights.

    Both CSIS and the RCMP are required to get court approval to enlist CSE's help in wiretapping a phone, but no such approval is needed to collect metadata.

    In June of this year, the Supreme Court ruling, R. v. Spencer, was a strong endorsement of Internet privacy, including the privacy of metadata.

    A second concern is the defence minister's quasi-judicial power to issue blanket approvals for CSE operations that would likely capture the private communications of Canadians without needing to explain his or her reasoning to anyone. These ill-defined and overly broad ministerial authorizations have been criticized by CSE commissioners for almost a decade.

    A further concern is the absence of accountability or reporting regarding information sharing between CSE and other security and intelligence agencies. In a 2014 ruling, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley found that CSIS and CSE kept the court in the dark about how they were enlisting foreign intelligence agencies to help spy on Canadians. He noted that the information CSE had shared, without legal authorization, put two Canadians at risk while they were travelling abroad. Justice Mosley's findings underscore the need to reinforce CSE's accountability not only to the courts but also to the minister, to Parliament, and to Canadians.

    Finally, the grab bag of various kinds of oversight of various Canadian security and intelligence agencies, including CSE, and the absence of parliamentary oversight or review, puts us definitely offside with Canada's main intelligence partners.

    How do we support CSE and our other security functions by embedding better democratic accountability, clarity, reporting, and review, an update that would bring us in line with our Five Eyes allies?

    First, Bill C-622 would strengthen judicial oversight by replacing ministerial authorization for the interception of Canadians' protected information with authorization by an independent judge of the Federal Court. This is consistent with the process used by the National Security Agency, CSE's American counterpart. In addition, in this bill, metadata would be included in the new definition of protected information.

    Second, the bill would strengthen ministerial oversight. It would require the Chief of CSE to inform the minister of sensitive matters likely to have a significant impact on public or international affairs and any national security or policy issues. The chief would also have to inform the minister and the CSE Commissioner of any operational incidents that may have an impact on the privacy of Canadians.

    Each fiscal year a detailed report would be provided to the minister and the national security adviser to the Prime Minister on the activities carried out by the agency during the fiscal year, including any requests to share information with other Canadian security agencies.

    Third, the office of the CSE Commissioner will be strengthened. The Prime Minister will be required to consult the opposition leaders before choosing a commissioner. The appointment process will therefore be more independent.

    The commissioner will have to verify that CSE's activities are within the law and that they are also reasonable and necessary. He will have to submit public reports that are detailed enough that Parliament and Canadians are properly informed about matters of public interest. The only information that may be excluded is confidential information pertaining to international affairs, defence or security.

    Fourth, the bill provides for oversight that is accountable to the public for all Canada's security and intelligence agencies. This integrated overview of the functioning of these sometimes siloed agencies would bring new solutions to strengthen security measures and privacy protections alike. The specific mechanism would be a multi-party committee of security-cleared parliamentarians, the intelligence and security committee of Parliament.

    The mandate of this committee would be to review the framework for intelligence and national security in Canada, to review the activities of federal departments and agencies in relation to intelligence and national security, and to issue an annual unclassified report that the Prime Minister would submit to Parliament.

    Former CSE chief John Adams supports such a review committee, noting that Canadians are more likely to trust an MP saying that Canada's spy agencies are not violating their privacy than they are to trust the heads of the very spy agencies saying the same thing.

    I want to thank my Liberal colleague from Malpeque, retired Conservative senator Hugh Segal, and Senator Romeo Dallaire for their hard work in writing legislation to customize a very successful British parliamentary oversight model for our unique Canadian needs.

    The scope and magnitude of CSE's surveillance power have increased. Its accountability to the public has therefore increased accordingly. The current system is outdated and flawed. Parliament cannot perform its oversight duties, and the Minister of National Defence has too much latitude when it comes to authorizing CSE to monitor Canadians' communications.

    By passing my bill, Parliament will increase CSE's accountability and give Canadians privacy protections that are closer to those that the Americans and the British take for granted.

    In essence, Bill C-622 seeks to modernize outdated laws and embed individual privacy rights within the framework of security and intelligence. Its accountability and transparency measures would restore Canadians' freedom to communicate with each other and with the world without the fear of unlawful or unethical access to their private communications.

    The bill seeks to ensure that Canadians can have confidence in the work of CSE and can trust that the government's intelligence and security activities are held to account by the Parliament of Canada, whose duty it is is to ensure that Canadian democratic rights and interests are properly protected.

    Public trust, the trust that our civil liberties are respected and that our rights and freedoms are embedded, are key ingredients in the strength and effectiveness of the critical work that security and intelligence agencies do to protect the safety and security of Canadians.

    I would like to express my gratitude for the help and support of some of Canada's top experts in privacy, security, and intelligence, notably Professor Wesley Wark of the University of Ottawa and Stephen McCammon of the Ontario privacy commissioner's office, and the many others who helped me develop this essential step forward in protecting fundamental Canadian securities and freedoms.

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    Oct 30, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, a national security committee of parliamentarians from all parties is about making sure that our intelligence and security agencies have the tools and the funds they need to protect Canadians and to protect Canadians' rights.

    We are the only country among our major intelligence partners that does not have such a committee. Why is the Conservative government unwilling to give Canadians the confidence in their security agencies that all our major allies already enjoy?

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    Oct 23, 2014 11:05 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay honour to Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo, a young reservist, and to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces; both tragically killed in service to their country.

    Nathan Cirillo was the victim of a callous act of murder yesterday while performing his duties standing guard before one of the key symbols of our fight for freedom, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Patrice died just outside the facility where he provided support services to active members and veterans of our armed forces.

    These deaths remind us all that living in freedom sometimes comes at a very high price, and it is the ultimate price that these two brave soldiers have paid. It engraves in our hearts our appreciation for the service of Canadian Armed Forces members.

    The legacy of these two heart-wrenching deaths must be that Canada and all Canadians will not be deterred by those who seek to harm us, but will continue to vigorously defend our freedoms and our values.

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    Oct 20, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, the Coast Guard took more than 20 hours to reach the Russian cargo ship drifting in heavy seas right off the coast of Haida Gwaii. The Haida chief himself noted it was only luck that prevented a disaster, luck of offshore winds and luck of an American tugboat with the right equipment. However, it was close and the next time it could be an oil tanker.

    A year ago, a federal panel noted there were major gaps in the government's oil spill response. The minister's excuse today was about new Coast Guard ships in the future, but talk is cheap. After nine years, not a single piece of steel has been cut.

    When will the government fill these gaps?

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Joyce Murray

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