Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my friend, the Hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Kaplan), and I appreciate his indication that, whatever the rule may be, there would be no objection to my continuing. I do want to assure the Hon. Solicitor General that I will not be overly long, but I do have more things to say.
We were discussing the question of the removal of the security service from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In addition to the remarks made by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association to which I just referred, in which it is clearly stated that in terms of public trust it would be preferable if the security service remained under the aegis of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, others who are knowledgeable had much to say as well. The Attorney General of British Columbia submitted a brief to the Justice Committee, and, among other things, he had this to say:
It seems to me to make a lot more sense to build on the institutional credibility that is already established, to use the umbrella of confidence that there is there, and to direct it and make it an effective security agency and make it an accountable one. I believe the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can be made an effective security police force.
The Attorney General of Ontario on February 7, 1984 had this to say:
But I find extremely unattractive and fundamentally unsustainable the assertion in this legislation that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would exceed a statutory defined mandate, evade the formal external review mechanisms, thwart Ministerial accountability and abuse its defined statutory powers. The history and tradition of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suggests very clearly to me that once there is an end to the absence of governmental direction and responsibility, which gave rise to the RCMP wrongdoing, the force will respond willingly and effectively to the wishes of the Canadian people as reflected in the new legislation.
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The Attorney General of Saskatchewan had this to say:
There is no indication, however, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as it is presently being managed by its senior officers, is not being responsive to the needs identified by Mackenzie and McDonald for flexibility and change.
During the consideration of this Bill, we have argued strenuously that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is getting a bum rap. A lot of people across this country have fallen too easily into the error of forgetting where the responsibility for the abuses of yesteryear really lies. The amazing thing about those who have said that the security service should be removed from the RCMP is that it has never occurred to them that for many years now, as the Solicitor General has admitted, the security service has been operating competently, effectively and properly under the Commissioner of the RCMP. The Solicitor General admitted that only a few weeks ago. Since the abuses of the early seventies and late sixties, it has never occurred to those individuals that things have been running very well and very efficiently. The training has been upgraded. The internal organization has been made more sophisticated. There have been administrative guidelines set down on the security service to ensure that what happened then would not happen now.
Some people have the strange view that unless this legislation is passed today, the security service could again do terrible things. That shows an incomprehensible lack of understanding of what happened in 1977, after revelations were made in the House. At that time everything was tightened up. Senior officials in the security service over the last number of years have ensured that nothing similar to the abuses which happened before could happen again, that view is extraordinary. To suggest that until this legislation is passed there will be continuing abuse does not do justice to the senior personnel who have been in the security service over the past number of years.
That is only one part of this Bill, it is not the main part. The main part of this bill establishes a set of rules within which a security service will operate. At second reading, the Government indicated that when the Bill reached committee, and when Members from all Parties considered the Bill and looked at the individual clauses, then there would be an opportunity to call in concerned citizens of Canada and listen to their suggestions. Then if the Bill appeared to be flawed, if errors were apparent, if it appeared to be inadequate, and if a persuasive case could be made by the citizens who came before the Members of Parliament, of course, that would be the time to put amendments. In the normal course of things, if one is dealing with a responsible government which is sensitive to the fact that this is a democracy and citizens matter-not just bureaucrats, Cabinet Ministers, and Senators who are unaccountable to anybody or anything-and if the attitude is right, amendments are accepted.
In this case, 25 groups and many individuals appeared before the committee. Over 50 briefs were filed. Evidence was given that the Bill was flawed. I am not referring only to the RCMP aspect. Of course, there was evidence submitted
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regarding that to which I have referred. The committee was told that the language in the Bill was too loose and that the definition of "threats to the security of Canada" had not been properly thought through. Because the language was imprecise, it was suggested that it did not establish adequate constraints on the security service. In particular, Hon. Members who have been paying attention to this legislation will know that subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Clause 2 set out what are threats to the security of Canada. That is the clause which triggers what the security service can do in terms of intrusive surveillance of people. That is just another way of saying that wire-taps, illicit but now legal entry into residences and offices, search and mail opening-all of these things-if the threat to the security of Canada is great enough, become justifiable.
I have said before that it is too easy to talk about the illegality of what the intelligence-gathering security force will be required to do. Under certain circumstances this Bill allows conduct to be legal which ordinarily would be illegal, because of the concern for threats to the security of Canada. Witness after witness appeared before the committee and told us that the Bill was flawed and inadequate. They suggested amendments. Suggestions for amendments were made concerning the definition of threats to the security of Canada. Suggestions for amendments were made with respect to the RCMP and the review committee which would be established under the Bill. That committee would be established in order to ensure that someone was watching the security service because of its awesome power. It was suggested that Cabinet documents, which dealt directly with the security service and which could well contain directions to the security service, ought to be seen by the review committee. It was further suggested that there should be a review committee made up of Members of Parliament in order to achieve greater accountability. It was suggested that warrants for wire tapping should be limited to 60 days, as is the case under the Criminal Code, and not for many months as set out in this Bill.
There were many other suggestions. By the time the Bill reached report stage in the House, the Progressive Conservative Party had amendments for Clause 2, which is the definition section; Clause 3, which would have retained the security service within the RCMP; Clause 12, which dealt with better wording and the duties and functions of the security service; Clause 20, which related to more precise language and direction regarding the alleged unlawful conduct and the consequences thereof of employees within the security service; and Clause 21, which related to the method by which warrants would be applied for and the limitations of time for those warrants. I am speaking now of warrants of intrusive surveillance, wire-tap or otherwise.
We proposed amendments to Clause 22, which would have put more constraint on the renewal of warrants. We proposed amendments to Clause 24 which were designed to clarify the position of an innocent third party who found himself acting on orders for someone, by someone, who was acting under a
warrant. We proposed amendments to Clause 31, insisting that the Inspector General, who is set up under this Bill as part of the review process, would at least be able to see the Cabinet documents which are in the control of the service. We proposed amendments to Clause 38, saying that the review committee should see Cabinet documents. We proposed amendments to Clause 56 relating to the establishment of a parliamentary oversight committee. And we proposed amendments to Clause 61 relating to a direction in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are acting as a consequence of work done by the security service at the federal level, should consult with other police forces at the municipal and provincial level. We had other amendments as well.
I believe Hon. Members would agree that those are substantive amendments which go to the very sum and substance of this Bill. I believe Hon. Members who will remember what was said at the second reading debate by the Solicitor General and by Government Members would agree with me that it is that very kind of substantive amendment at committee stage to which the Government ought to pay attention.
We in the Progressive Conservative Party did not dream up those amendments all by ourselves. We framed those amendments as a consequence of testimony brought in front of the committee by a very wide range of people, including the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, other civil liberties associations, the Attorneys General of a number of provinces, police chiefs and others. The suggestions which were brought to this committee were not brought with the design to destroy the security service. They were not brought with the design to prevent a legislative mandate for a security service. They were not brought by destructive design. They were brought to improve the piece of legislation which had been presented.
It should be recorded that there was good reason for these witnesses to come before the committee. Following the McDonald report, the infamous Bill C-157 was drafted by the Liberal Government and instead of presenting that Bill, which was the forerunner of Bill C-9 with which we are dealing now, it was presented to a Senate committee, a committee no doubt of distinguished Canadians who were appointed to the Senate, but they do not have to get elected to be there. That Senate committee took a look at Bill C-157 and said, "Wait a minute; this is not a very good Bill". They were very critical of it and the Government sensibly withdrew the Bill.
I would hate to put out the thought, the suspicion, that someone drafted Bill C-157 in extreme terms with the idea of letting a Senate committee have a whack at it, then coming in with another Bill with some less obvious extreme terms in it. I could never prove that, of course. However, I practised law for many years and I used to teach young lawyers that when they are preparing a lawsuit, they start off knowing a lot of things they cannot prove. I suppose today, standing here in this Chamber with Hon. Members, I am very much like a lawyer who has been through a long lawsuit, and I may not be able to quite prove that last allegation; but it fits the piece.
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So we got Bill C-9. We went to committee and, as I have recorded, Mr. Speaker, many people came in front of us. A lot of things happened at that committee which I am not going to go into now. There were attempts to close off debate. The Chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, a distinguished Member of this House, was put into an intolerable position by the antics of his own Party and was only just the other day supported by this Party in our nomination that he continue as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. So I want it clearly understood we are not being critical of him. He was put in an impossible situation.
Apart from all that, I have said in this House that no substantive amendments were accepted at committee, and I carelessly at one point said "no" amendments were accepted at committee. I was wrong there and I apologized to the Solicitor General yesterday. However, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that what was accepted at committee was practically nothing. An amendment of my own on Clause 4 changed the words with respect to the term the Director would serve from "good behaviour" to "during pleasure". I am not saying that is not important, but it is not the substance of the Bill. On Clause 12 the committee accepted another amendment which took out some superfluous words, which was a very sensible thing to do but hardly an amendment of substance. On Clause 2 the committee accepted an amendment of a former Solicitor General, Mr. Allmand, which was the same amendment being proposed by both the New Democratic Party, the Hon. Member for Burnaby (Mr. Robinson), and myself, which more precisely modified the word "violence" in Clause 2 by adding the word "serious". That was not unimportant but it hardly went to the very substance of the Bill.
The Government also accepted another amendment which put some limitation, at least, on warrants aimed at subversion; in other words, aimed at domestic activities of Canadians who had not yet committed any crime. But the most extraordinary amendment which was put before the committee was to Clause 39. It was put by myself, supported not only by the Hon. Member for Burnaby but-by accident-one Hon. Member of the Government side as well. That amendment would have allowed the review committee access to Cabinet documents.
Just so there is no doubt on the record when someone comes back and asks what we did with this Bill and why did we not do something proper, it should be made very clear that that was the limit of amendments made at committee. That last amendment, which was substantive, was met yesterday by a counter-amendment from the Government wiping it out.
My point is this. We have been invited to engage in a phony process and I do not believe the Government was ever serious about accepting any substantive amendments whatsoever in committee. The Solicitor General over and over again said: "Well, what is all the fuss about anyway? This whole issue has been debated for years. First there was the Mackenzie Commission in 1969, then the McDonald Commission after the
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revelations of 1977, then its report in 1981. Then there was Bill C-157 which went to the Senate, and then there was the Senate report. My goodness, what is holding it up? Why do you have to keep talking about it?"
This line of the Minister was echoed by some editorial writers across the country. I can understand why, because they are busy people and they have to write editorials every day. They do not have time to see through the smoke and mirrors every day and they miss the point. The fundamental point is that under our system we, as legislators, have to look at the words of the Act in front of us now, not at something that was in the Mackenzie report in 1969, the McDonald report in 1981, or the Senate report a year ago. We have to look at the Bill in front of us.
It astounded me when Members of Parliament who were putting these amendments got advice from some editorial boards and others to stop talking and get on with it. Pass it, they said, because it has all been discussed over and over again. This despite the fact that we had 50 briefs, 25 groups and witnesses in committee, all saying we can make this Bill a lot better and we ought to do it. They do not have to take my word for it; I can quote some editorial boards to support my position. On April 24 The Globe and Mail wrote a thoughtful editorial about this Bill. It said:
Whatever happens. Bill C-9 should not be passed in its current form. While its flaws are less numerous than those of Bill C-157, its previous incarnation, the bill would still grease the wheels of the domestic intelligence-gathering force at the expense of the rights of the public the Government purports to defend.
Agents would still be empowered, with a judicial warrant, to "demand, seize or detain" first-class mail, examine health records and violate the confidentiality of income tax returns. The agents could, with judicial approval, place wire-taps on telephones for 365 days, rather than the 60 days permitted in criminal investigations.
Their actions would be monitored by a review committee which, Solicitor-General Robert Kaplan says, would be independent of the Solicitor-General and the agency and would "be there to blow the whistle on (the agency)." Yet the committee members, who would take an oath of secrecy, could report nothing to Parliament unless the director of the CSIS first certified that their report complied with that oath.
Dealing with its powers, it goes on:
Bill C-9 is too ambiguous in this area. It defines a security threat as, among other things, activity within Canada in support of the threat or use of violence against persons or property to achieve a political objective within a foreign state. This could, without stretching the point, empower CSIS agents to monitor groups raising money to help rebels in Afghanistan or El Salvador, or even, since the phrase is "within a foreign state," the Governments of Nicaragua and Israel. Mr. Kaplan says this would not happen; but then, we doubt many people in the early seventies expected the RCMP would steal the membership lists of the Party Quebecois.
It ends by saying:
As it stands, however, Bill C-9 is not the remedy Mr. Kaplan believes it to be. In its present form, it would only perpetuate the disease.
A more recent editorial in the Vancouver Sun, my city, of Monday, June 18, shows that they were watching carefully what was happening to us in committee. It says:
The government choked off consideration of the legislation by the Commons justice committee after making only a few cosmetic changes. The bill remains the seriously flawed product of a lame-duck administration and should be either thoroughly rewritten or shelved.
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It goes on to say:
But as long as the security Bill makes Canadians insecure, it does not deserve passage into law.
Then I suppose I would be amiss in not quoting Toronto's other voice, as that newspaper advertises itself, the Toronto Sun, a paper which prides itself on taking a pretty hard-nosed view of the world. In an editorial on June 20, 1984, headed "False security", it says:
It's downright criminal that Canada has to meander along another six months or so without a security agency.
But we've done just that for the last eight years or so. We can manage another six months to avoid dangerous legislation-and the bitter taste of closure.
Those comments are in marked contrast to one of the other Toronto newspapers, the Sunday Star, dated April 8, 1984. It asks the question at the head of its editorial: "Why delay security Bill?" It then says:
All in all, Kaplan's legislation is an honest effort to strike the "delicate balance" between collective security and civil rights that a special Senate Committee called for last year. Unless the Tories and New Democrats have a better idea, they shouldn't delay its passage.
The fact of the matter is, Your Honour, that not only did the Tories and the New Democrats have a better idea, those better ideas were proposed by amendments in committee and at report stage, including amendments from a former Solicitor General on the Government side. Those amendments were a direct consequence of listening to some of the most eminent lawyers and civil rights people and others, including the United Church of Canada, who came in front of that committee. But the whole process has been a waste of time. All those people came from across the country at taxpayers' expense, and I see there are taxpayers in the gallery today, and made their suggestions, but none of the substantive ones were acted upon.
The Members of Parliament who made recommendations after listening to the evidence have all been ignored. The process has been cut off with closure. That was the first act this Government took after the election of its new so-called reform leader, Mr. Turner. Why should we be surprised? Mr. Turner was the Minister of Justice when the War Measures Act was brought in, a move which almost every observer today says has never been justified and that whatever had to be done could have been done under the criminal law.
Subtopic: CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO ESTABLISH