June 2, 2015

CPC

Michelle Rempel

Conservative

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification), CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on behalf of Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, which is referred to the House by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

When Parliament first enacted the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, commonly known as PIPEDA, in 2001, it recognized there were certain limited circumstances in which an individual's right to privacy must be balanced with other fundamental rights and public interest.

One such interest is the need for investigations into breaches of agreements, contraventions of law and for fraud prevention, which in certain circumstances must be conducted by the private sector.

Examples of these are common. They include investigations into professional misconduct by self-regulating professional associations, like the provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons, as well as the law societies. Another example is cross-sector investigations to detect crime and prevent fraud, such as the work done by the Bank Crime Prevention Centre and Investigation Office of the Canadian Bankers Association and the investigative services division of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

It is not difficult to see that there is a real public interest in ensuring that these organizations have the ability to investigate. In order to do so, they must be able to obtain personal information that is protected under PIPEDA.

The Privacy Commissioner told the committee:

I totally agree that there needs to be provision in PIPEDA allowing organizations to address the issue of fraud or breaches of agreements that they may face.

The need for such a provision is also recognized within the legal community. The committee heard from Eloise Gratton, leading privacy officer and partner at the law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais and a professor of law at the University of Montreal. Ms. Gratton spoke of her own experience as counsel to private organizations conducting investigations into wrongdoing. She said:

The bottom line is that I agree that we need to have a provision authorizing the disclosure of personal information without consent to address these types of situations.

To enable this type of information sharing, PIPEDA currently has a regime that allows organizations to disclose an individual's personal information in order to conduct certain types of investigation.

As it stands right now under the current law, investigators who want to access personal information must be listed as an investigative body in the regulations. This involves coming forward with an application to the government and if the federal cabinet decides that the application is warranted, the organization is added to the list.

This is an extremely burdensome process for organizations. During the first parliamentary review of the act in 2007, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics recommended that this system be scrapped and replaced with a different set of rules based on those that had been in place for a decade in Alberta and British Columbia. The bill would implement this recommendation.

A number of witnesses who came forward at the committee to express support for the importance of the changes within the bill expressed many positive sentiments in this regard.

The Life and Health Insurance Association of Canada told the committee that these amendments would help the industry's effort to detect, deter and minimize insurance fraud, which is stated to be extremely costly to the industry. A witness from the association explained to committee members that there was a current gap in PIPEDA to which he said:

[It] restricts the ability of organizations to disclose information without consent...for the purpose of conducting an investigation into a breach of an agreement or of a law of Canada.

The Central Credit Union of Canada also testified that it supported the proposed exception for consent for fraud prevention. In the words of the Central Credit Union witness it would:

—reduce the administrative burden associated with some of the activities of...my organization's Credit Union Office for Crime Prevention and Investigation.

Finally, the Insurance Bureau of Canada also spoke to the importance of the proposed amendments for the investigation and prevention of automobile fraud. According to Insurance Bureau statistics, automobile fraud cost the Ontario economy an estimated $1.6 billion in 2014 alone.

The witnesses from the Insurance Bureau explained in detail to the committee how Bill S-4 would make an insurance crime easier to detect and prevent as a result of the changes our government was making, and this is great news. However, I should note that during the committee's review of the bill, some concerns were expressed about the potential for misuse of such an exception to consent or resulting in the over-sharing of personal information, as my colleagues opposite have noted today.

However, the bill would protect against this aspect. Organizations can only make use of the exception to consent when a four-part test is met.

First, the disclosure must be made to another private organization, not to the government or to law enforcement. Disclosure to government authorities must follow a different set of rules, for example, when police must obtain a warrant to get private information.

Second, the exception to consent is only available if the information is being shared for the purpose of conducting an investigation into a breach of Canadian law or a breach of an agreement, such as a contract, and it must be reasonable. This means that an average Canadian must be able to see the merit of disclosing the information in question for the purposes of an investigation.

Third, the investigation has to be legitimate. It must pertain to a contravention of law or a breach of agreement that has occurred, is occurring or is imminent. Information cannot simply be disclosed because an agreement might be broken.

Finally, it must be reasonable to believe that seeking the consent of the individual in question to disclose the information would compromise the investigation, for example, by allowing them to destroy or alter evidence.

The intention of this four-part test is to allow legitimate investigations that are in the public interest to take place in a manner that is being balanced with an individual's right to privacy.

My colleagues have brought up the issue of copyright trolling. Certain concerns have been raised that copyright lawyers could abuse the amendment to target Canadian consumers. Let me be clear. This type of activity is not an investigation. Nor is it fraud prevention. Under no circumstances do we believe this proposed amendment provides a backdoor that could be used for trolling, due to these tests. PIPEDA has always provided a legal certainty with respect to the rights of legitimate private sector investigations. Bill S-4 maintains that legal certainty.

I also want to touch on a couple of comments that have been made in light of the bill.

First is the definition of “significant breach”. There has been some doubt as to what this means. As set out in the bill, a significant breach is a breach that poses a real risk of significant harm based on the sensitivity of the personal information involved in the breach, the probability that the personal information has been, is being, or will be misused and any other factor prescribed in the regulations.

The definition of “significant harm” was also brought up. It is defined in Bill S-4 as bodily harm, humiliation, damage to reputation or relationships, loss of employment, business or professional opportunities, financial loss, identity theft, negative effects on a credit record or damaged or lost property.

There was also some doubt about “private investigation”. It is defined as an investigation carried out by private sector organizations, therefore, not a government authority into an alleged contravention of a Canadian law, or an alleged breach of agreement.

Since we are getting to the end of this session of Parliament, should I not have an opportunity to rise again in debate in the next few weeks, I would like to thank all of my constituents in Calgary Centre—North for the privilege of allowing me to serve them in the last four years, as well as my volunteer team and certainly, in a moment of non-partisanship, my colleagues across the aisle and in the House who every day travel away from their families to spend time in the honour of public service. This is not a job. This is service. Certainly, when we all rise here in debate to discuss these issues, we might be passionate opponents one way or the other but we all do it to build a better Canada.

It is a wonderful position to be in to rise to support bills like this, which are common sense measures to make Canada a better place, to support better legislation, better privacy, better access to information and strengthening Canadian laws. These are the things with which we as parliamentarians are often seized.

It is always a great pleasure to speak in this place and it is a great pleasure to be here as a parliamentarian.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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NDP

Matthew Dubé

New Democratic Party

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Chambly—Borduas, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

The Supreme Court recently established that the government must have a warrant to obtain personal information from a private company. In committee, several witnesses said that the bill contained no provisions making it mandatory to get such a warrant from the court, so we have to wonder whether the bill is even constitutional.

Is the minister concerned about that? If so, can she tell us why the government rejected all amendments at committee stage despite the Conservatives' show of good will in sending the bill to committee right away?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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CPC

Michelle Rempel

Conservative

Hon. Michelle Rempel

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, the changes in this bill affect private investigations, which, as the bill defines, are investigations carried out by a private sector organization, not a government authority.

With regard to the Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court itself noted that PIPEDA does not create any search and seizure powers for law enforcement; instead, it allows companies to provide information to police should they choose to do so when—and here is the kicker—the police are legally able to obtain the information, meaning through normal warranting procedures.

The court has clearly stated that this is only when police have a warrant, are acting in exigent circumstances, are acting under an authority granted to them in law, or are obtaining information for which there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

The Supreme Court decision itself clarifies how PIPEDA works, and it does not mean how the act or Bill S-4 needs to change.

I hope that my colleague will inform himself. I know he is well informed on this bill. He certainly knows the ramifications of the Supreme Court ruling in this regard. I hope that he would actually provide the correct information to his constituents and to folks abroad about this. Indeed, as the member for Terrebonne—Blainville said on April 8, 2014, “We have been pushing for these measures and I'm happy to see them introduced.”

This is something that supports all Canadians and is a common sense measure to help strengthen our legal system.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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NDP

Paulina Ayala

New Democratic Party

Ms. Paulina Ayala (Honoré-Mercier, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on June 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down an important decision about sharing personal information.

In their decision, the Supreme Court justices stated that information about customers, including their names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses, could not be shared with a third party without a warrant.

In light of that decision, does the member believe that some of the provisions in Bill S-4 might not be constitutional?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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CPC

Michelle Rempel

Conservative

Hon. Michelle Rempel

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the member was not listening to her colleague, who just asked the exact same question from the talking points that the lobby handed them.

I will, in fact, indulge her with the same response. This bill refers to private investigations, and private investigations are defined as investigations carried out by private sector organizations, meaning they would not be a government authority. The Supreme Court itself has noted that PIPEDA does not create any search and seizure powers for law enforcement.

This bill relates to information sharing between private organizations when such investigations are required to prevent fraud. We heard testimony from the law society and the insurance bureau at the committee. The Privacy Commissioner himself put forward a comment saying that this change needed to be made.

Again, to refer back to the decision just so the member is perfectly clear, PIPEDA allows companies to provide information to police should they choose to do so in circumstances where the police are legally able to obtain the information. In terms of relating information to law enforcement officers as part of an investigation, warrants are most often required. What this bill does is ensure that there are information sharing provisions between private organizations as part of an investigation.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North to speak on Bill S-4, an act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act. I rise today because I oppose the bill in its current form.

Members from three parties proposed amendments to the bill so that it would stay within constitutional boundaries. However, the Conservatives rejected every single one of those amendments, even the amendments that were drafted according to the comments and suggestions from the witnesses.

As the official opposition, it is essential that we carefully review the legislation and voice dissenting opinions in order to ensure that each bill is thoroughly examined. In this case, as in most cases that I have experienced in the past four years, it is evident that the Conservatives are determined to push through their own agenda on their own timeline.

I feel strongly that it is important for Canadians to know that their privacy is being protected, especially in the digital age that we live in. However, just because the Conservatives have not conducted the mandatory five-year review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA, does not mean that we should rush through an unbalanced bill.

I feel very strongly that the bill before us was not well studied and needs to be fixed before it is passed through the House. In fact, the Conservatives did not support or submit any amendments to the bill because they did not think that would allow enough time to pass the bill before the election. This sounds politically expedient to me. Canadians deserve better than what the Conservatives are giving them.

The issues surrounding online privacy and safety are not new problems. Rather, they are existing problems that have become increasingly harder to protect against as technology continues to advance. Therefore, given the changing nature of the problem, it is important that the legislation that we create also evolves.

I am glad that after so many years of inaction, we are finally considering legislation to address online privacy issues. My colleague, the member for Terrebonne—Blainville, tried to take action to protect Canadians' privacy back in 2012 with Bill C-475. Unfortunately, that bill, which was stricter and more effective than the bill before us although very similar to it, was voted down by the Conservatives.

The Conservatives have become very good at pretending they know how to do their jobs and protect Canadians. They are actually able to stand up in this House and lie through their teeth in saying that this is a balanced bill, and they believe that.

Online privacy and security breaches have the potential to significantly harm an individual. Protecting these rights is important for all Canadians so that we do not put anyone potentially in harm's way.

Some Canadians may feel that the bill does not affect them in their daily lives, but I can assure them that Bill S-4 would affect every single Canadian.

One part of the bill that I am very concerned about pertains to the sharing of our personal information. The bill contains a provision that would make it easier for companies to share our information without our knowledge or consent, without a warrant, and with zero oversight. It is troubling to me that there is no mechanism in place for oversight.

Do the Conservatives remember the ruling in Regina v. Spencer? I do. In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadians have a reasonable expectation of privacy online. More specifically, the Supreme Court stipulated that spyware data cannot be disclosed to a third party without a warrant.

In light of this decision, it is questionable whether certain provisions in Bill S-4 are even constitutional. There are limits on what the government can do, but the Conservatives seem to have forgotten that.

We are demanding that every clause pertaining to the warrantless disclosure of information be withdrawn out of respect for the Supreme Court ruling and the privacy of Canadians.

There is no doubt that the Conservatives have a dark past when it comes to protecting personal information, and this bill would only add to that darkness. The lack of oversight and the allowance of warrantless disclosure has led to 1.2 million secret requests from Conservative government agencies for personal information from telecommunications companies in one year alone. Under the current Prime Minister, staggering numbers like this show that something needs to change, and it starts with this bill.

The Conservatives' hesitation to accept amendments to this bill makes me question whose interests they are truly protecting. Are they protecting the interests of Canadians, who deserve to trust that their personal information will be protected, or are the Conservatives protecting their own self-serving interests?

We would like to see this bill contain a mandatory data loss or data breach reporting mechanism. However, the bill in its current form would most likely result in fewer breaches being reported. It would be up to the organization that suffered the breach to determine if the breach posed a real and significant risk of harm. Companies want to save their reputation and money, so why would they inconvenience themselves by reporting a potentially embarrassing breach of privacy that could cause consumers to lose trust in them when they could just hide it instead?

There would be no incentive to report a breach and no advantage to doing so. This is a conflict of interest that would deprive Canadians of the information that they need to make informed choices about which companies they decide to share their personal information with.

Furthermore, because of the Conservatives' inaction, PIPEDA, which is supposed to be updated every five years, is falling far behind international standards. Since the first statutory review in 2007, subsequent attempts to amend PIPEDA have died on the order paper. After this long wait to update PIPEDA, the bill would simply not go far enough to protect Canadians in this digital era. We as Canadians are getting the message that the government does not take the protection of personal information seriously.

I, along with my fellow NDP members, truly do not ask for much when it comes to this bill. We have long called for the modernization of Canadian privacy laws. They are not up to date. Instead of making it easy for companies to share our information, the government should put deterrent penalties put in place that would require or encourage these private companies to respect and follow Canadian laws. Following that, we insist that the provisions in Bill S-4 to allow organizations to share personal information without consent or a warrant be removed and that the loopholes in PIPEDA, which do the same thing, be closed.

The point of the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is to protect the very rights and freedoms contained within them. Warrantless access to our subscriber data and personal information most definitely poses a risk to Canadian privacy.

Modernizing the laws that govern the protection of personal protection is an important issue in the digital age. However, ramming through a bill that has huge holes, such as this bill, is not a fix that can make up for years of inaction by the current government. I urge the Conservatives to accept the amendments to this bill so that we can work collaboratively to ensure that all Canadians can trust that their personal information is being protected to the best of the government's ability.

One of the other things that was very troubling was seeing time allocation moved for the 97th time. Time allocation basically puts closure on this bill. It does not allow for all of the members to bring the views of their constituents into the House, which is one of our primary jobs.

This is the 97th time the Conservatives have done it and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, they are not going to get the chance after October 19, because Canadians are tired. They have seen democracy and the workings of democracy crumble. These guys are going to be out.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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CPC

James Bezan

Conservative

Mr. James Bezan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to be here today to express my strong support for Bill S-4, the digital privacy act. This bill would make significant and long-overdue improvements to Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA.

One question that has been asked repeatedly by members opposite is why the government is not amending PIPEDA in response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Canada v. Spencer. They claim they cannot support the digital privacy act because the bill fails to act on this decision. Those are very strong words and it is clear that the opposition parties have not done their homework before speaking on this matter.

The answer to their question is quite simple. The government is not proposing amendments to PIPEDA in response to the Spencer decision because the Supreme Court confirmed that PIPEDA does not give the police any search and seizure powers. In fact, the whole purpose of the law is to increase the protection of Canadians' personal information.

Given the questions that have been raised around the Spencer decision, it is important that I take time today to clear up some of the misinformation. My hon. colleagues opposite do not need to take my word for it. They can always take the time to read paragraphs 71 and 73 of the decision themselves. The Spencer decision deals with a child pornography investigation carried out by the Saskatoon police department. As part of the ongoing investigation, police identified the IP address of a computer that was being used to access and distribute child pornography.

It is important to understand that the police were able to obtain the IP address simply by going online and interacting with the child pornographer, because computers make their IP addresses public whenever they engage in a file-sharing activity. With this IP address in hand, the police then asked the Internet service provider to voluntarily provide account information for the subscriber assigned to the IP address. The account information included the subscriber's name and mailing address. The police asked for the service provider's co-operation on the good faith belief that the subscriber did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to his or her basic account information, which is the individual's name and address.

With this information in hand, the police obtained a warrant to search the suspect's house, at which time a computer was seized and found to contain child pornography. Mr. Spencer was charged and convicted of possession of child pornography. Mr. Spencer appealed his conviction on the grounds that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the account information obtained by the police. In other words, he argued that the police were required to obtain a warrant before getting his basic subscriber account information from his Internet service provider to make sure that his charter rights were respected.

In its decision, the Supreme Court found that Canadians in general have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their Internet browsing habits and history. This is because the sites we visit and the online activities we engage in can reveal “intimate biographical details” about ourselves, details that we may wish to keep private. Because linking an IP address with a specific account holder enables the police to learn about and observe an individual's Internet habits, the court found in the specific circumstances of the Spencer case that the police should have obtained a warrant from a judge to collect Mr. Spencer's account information.

It is, however, important to note that because the police were acting in good faith, believing that Mr. Spencer did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his account information, the court did not exclude the evidence obtained by the police and Mr. Spencer's conviction was upheld.

These are the facts. It is difficult to see how this decision means that PIPEDA, the digital privacy act or Bill S-4 in some way violates the charter rights of Canadians, as the members opposite have asserted at every opportunity. This is blatantly false.

As I stated at the outset of my remarks, the Supreme Court confirmed that PIPEDA does not create any search and seizure powers for law enforcement. Nothing in the law compels companies to provide personal information to law enforcement and the digital privacy act would not change that fact.

Justice Cromwell stated in his decision, “In short, I agree with the Ontario Court of Appeal...on this point that neither...the Criminal Code, nor PIPEDA creates any police search and seizure powers”.

He said, “PIPEDA is a statute whose purpose” as set out in section 3 “is to increase the protection of personal information”. Justice Cromwell further clarified that there are clear restrictions that PIPEDA places on disclosures by private businesses to law enforcement agencies. He stated that even in child pornography cases, the circumstances “cannot override the clear statutory language of...PIPEDA, which permits disclosure only if a request is made by a government institution with 'lawful authority' to request the disclosure”.

This fact clearly demonstrates that PIPEDA prohibits unlawful disclosure unless the requirements of the law are met, including that the government institution demonstrates the necessary authority to obtain, not just simply to ask, for the information.

In addition to a warrant or court order, what might this lawful authority to obtain information include? Justice Cromwell stated:

“Lawful authority” may include several things. It may refer to the common law authority of the police to ask questions relating to matters that are not subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy. It may refer to the authority of police to conduct warrantless searches under exigent circumstances or where authorized by a reasonable law.

Justice Cromwell clearly noted that issues of disclosure and lawful authority arose in this case simply because the investigation was begun by police. This is simply not the case for private organizations. In his Supreme Court decision, Justice Cromwell wrote that, “...entirely different considerations may apply where an ISP itself detects illegal activity and of its own motion wishes to report this activity to the police”.

To summarize, this is what the Supreme Court said about PIPEDA in the Spencer decision.

PIPEDA does not provide law enforcement with any “search and seizure powers”.

Consistent with the charter, PIPEDA permits businesses to disclose personal information to law enforcement without consent in only the following circumstances: law enforcement have a warrant or a similar court order; the information is required to address an emergency, such as information that is needed to stop a crime in progress that threatens someone's life; the law enforcement agency is acting pursuant to a specific law that gives it the authority to obtain private information without a warrant; in response to a routine inquiry by law enforcement regarding information for which there is no reasonable expectation of privacy; or the organization, on its own initiative, provides the information to police to report a crime.

Clearly, the Supreme Court did not find any part of PIPEDA unconstitutional.

I hope that with this clarification, all hon. members will join us in supporting the digital privacy act Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, in ensuring that Canadians' personal information is protected.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we know that Canadians are very much concerned about the digital era. There are many corporations and companies worldwide, let alone in Canada, that collect a lot of valuable information and we should be concerned about that, as we continue to go on the Internet and the compilation of information continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

If the member believes that this is such an important issue, why did it take the government literally months away from an election to start bringing the bill back to the House? Nor was it even initiated by the House of Commons, rather the Conservatives chose to have the Senate initiate the legislation. This tells me that the Conservatives are not concerned about the issue of privacy for Canadians in the digital era.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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CPC

James Bezan

Conservative

Mr. James Bezan

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of that question. My friend from Winnipeg North knows that the House has been very busy, that we do have two bodies in Parliament. We are a bicameral system and sometimes legislation starts in the Senate. This is a bill that was started there. It went through three readings and committee study. We brought it here and had committee study here. Now we have brought it here for second reading with all the considerations and evidence already presented to the House committee on the bill.

It is important that we get together and make sure that we study this. I want to assure the member that we do take this issue very seriously. The digital privacy of Canadians is very important to us and that is why we made sure in the bill that there are more powers for the Privacy Commissioner to ensure that digital privacy is respected, not just by government departments, but by everybody in this country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton)

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence will have three minutes remaining time for questions and comments when the House next resumes debate on the question.

Now we are going to statements by members, the hon. member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Digital Privacy Act
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BQ

Louis Plamondon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, a great Quebecker passed away yesterday, an exceptional giant of a man.

One of the most important architects of modern Quebec, he was behind most major initiatives from the 1950s to the 1990s. Jacques Parizeau both transfixed and transformed Quebec society.

A renowned economist who knew how to break down complex issues, a special adviser, a member of the National Assembly, finance minister—without a doubt the best Quebec has ever had—then leader of the opposition and, finally, premier of Quebec, this man left an indelible mark on Quebec society and helped not only build it, but also define and expand it.

Jacques Parizeau is the man who brought Quebec the closest it has ever been to sovereignty. Separatists and federalists alike recognize Mr. Parizeau's contribution to Quebec society.

An exceptional man of conviction and action, he devoted his life to Quebec. May his political legacy, his vision and his determination guide us in the future.

I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his entire family.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Jacques Parizeau
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CPC

David Yurdiga

Conservative

Mr. David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Athabasca, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Fort McMurray—Athabasca, I get a lot of questions about Fort McMurray when I am outside the riding.

Most people know that our region is home to the oil sands, but I am often asked if Fort McMurray is some sort of boom town or work camp. My response clear. It is a hometown, a place to live, a place to raise a family, and a place to retire.

It used to bother me that people had this misconception of our region. Now, I see it as an opportunity to talk about how great our region is. We have all the attractions of a city twice our size, with a vibrant arts community, food options from around the world, and world-class recreational facilities. We also have a model of multiculturalism in this region from which most of Canada can learn.

However, what really sets our community apart is our community's passion to make everyone welcome and where volunteering in second nature.

In addition, I am looking forward to the Northern Kickoff event in Fort McMurray on June 13, where the Edmonton Eskimos will battle the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Fort McMurray—Athabasca
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NDP

Isabelle Morin

New Democratic Party

Ms. Isabelle Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, despite pleas from 12,000 signatories of a petition and having ample land for expansion, the airport of Montreal continues to push for the elimination of the Dorval golf course to build distribution and screening facilities. This would subject residents to increased noise and air pollution, destroy green space, and reduce the overall quality of life for those in the area.

This green space has long served as a recreational, sport, and social hub for the local community, which helped maintain both quality of life and community inclusion throughout the year.

Today, about 100 people came all the way to Ottawa to protest the government inaction, to intervene and incite the ADM to listen to their concerns and preoccupations, in the hopes of finding a common ground. It has been suggested, for instance, that the ADM consider alternate sites for the proposed expansion projects in other nearby areas.

I therefore urge the Minister of Transport to intervene to facilitate dialogue among all the parties involved and do everything she can to help reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Air Transportation
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CPC

John Williamson

Conservative

Mr. John Williamson (New Brunswick Southwest, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, Winston Churchill once said that:

...for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

His words aptly explain why nations cannot raise taxes to punitive levels and be successful.

States or provinces with excessive tax levels have less dynamic economies, fewer dollars for social programs, and witness the departure of entrepreneurs, workers, and young families to other jurisdictions with lower taxes and more robust economies.

Yet, these real-world lessons are lost in New Brunswick.

Under the Liberal government, my home province has imposed the highest personal income tax rate in North America. Today, the combined rate on top income earners, like doctors and surgeons, is 54.75%.

The federal Liberals would make the situation even worse. If elected, they would hike the top tax rate on personal income to an eye-popping and heart-stopping 58.75%.

Unlike the Liberals, we understand that high taxes hurt growth, kill jobs, and cause economies to slow or even regress.

Our Conservative government will keep taxes low to keep Canada working.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Carolyn Bennett

Liberal

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, today's release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations is the culmination of a six-year journey of healing, but that journey must not end today.

We now know the truth about a dark chapter in our history. It is time for all governments, civil society, and every Canadian to commit to carrying on the important work of reconciliation going forward.

As Justice Sinclair said, this morning, meaningful reconciliation will require, “deliberate, thoughtful and sustained action”.

I urge the federal government to initiate this sustained action by making a commitment to implement all of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

It is time to fundamentally restructure Canada's relationship with aboriginal peoples, in the spirit of respect, trust, and partnership, and rooted in the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As Gitxsan chief Ray Jones said to me this morning:

[Member spoke in Gitxsanimaax and provided the following translation:]

The canoe must be uprighted.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

David Wilks

Conservative

Mr. David Wilks (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, from Nakusp to Elkford and at all points in between, logging is a mainstay of the economy. The Interior Lumber Manufacturers' Association is a coalition of 14 forest companies based in 13 communities in the southern interior of British Columbia. Most of these companies are small, and many are family owned. All are the cornerstones of their communities. Caring for the environment is front and centre. All of their members meet or exceed existing forestry regulations. It is not just part of gaining social licence; it is the way they think business should be done. It is important because they live in these communities. They are a primary source of employment in the communities in which they live and work. Continued sustained sources of timber are vital to their employment. They care about jobs and the economic boost they bring to these economies. I would like to congratulate the ILMA on 74 years of dedication to the Kootenay—Columbia region and timber harvesting—a sustainable natural resource.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Natural Resources
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NDP

Peggy Nash

New Democratic Party

Ms. Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today representing the riding of Parkdale—High Park, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. My riding also includes the ancient first nations' site of the Toronto Carrying Place Trail, a portage route connecting Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario along the east bank of the Humber River. The trail was used for nearly a thousand years as an important trade route for first nations. In 1615, 400 years ago, the first French settlers travelled that same route.

Today is a historic day, with the release of the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We thank all those whose emotional testimony made this report possible. We need to respond with a serious commitment to reconciliation. On this 400th anniversary, it is a chance to build a renewed relationship based on respect and equality.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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CPC

Bev Shipley

Conservative

Mr. Bev Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has a great story to share. As I go door to door this summer in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, I cannot wait to tell every single family with children about our enhanced and expanded universal child care benefit. I cannot wait to tell hard-working families that only our Conservative government has put and left more of their tax dollars in their pocket. I look forward to sharing with law-abiding gun owners that they can continue to count on our Conservative government to protect their rights. What a joy it will be to talk to small business owners and tell them that we have cut the small business tax rate, inform farmers that we have increased the lifetime capital gains exemption, and to tell seniors we have doubled the tax-free savings account.

I will also have to tell 100% of my constituents that the Liberal leader, if given the chance, would turn all of that good news into a horror story. Thankfully, we will not give him the chance, nor will hard-working Canadians.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CPC

Peter Goldring

Conservative

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton East, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, 18 years ago today, newly elected members of the class of '97 joined their colleagues in Canada's two Conservative loyal opposition parties. CBC's Saša Petricic was alarmed that our party had supposedly been taken over by those with special interests, such as Chuck Cadman for criminal justice, the member for Calgary Southeast for taxation, and myself from Edmonton East for Canadian unity. Canadian voters did not share the CBC's concerns. Election '97 and each subsequent election saw gains. Then, as we came together as one party united in principle and policy, we became the Government of Canada in 2006.

Today, June 2, eight of the Class of '97 remain, proud of our accomplishments together with colleagues over the past 18 years, through the roller coaster of Canadian politics.

Congratulations to my Conservative colleagues, one and all. It has been a voyage of excellence, and our journey of great success continues today.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Conservative Party of Canada
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, this is an excerpt from Being True to Ourselves by poet Sandy Cameron.

The map we inherited isn't any good. The old roads mislead and the landscape keeps changing. People are confused and drift from place to place, clothes scorched by fire eyes red with smoke.

The old map tells us to look for gold in the city, so we go to the city and find the garbage dump. We need a new map with new roads and a new destination.

Some people fear a new map, and they cling to the old one like flies to fly paper....

I don’t have a new map, so I write stories. The stories draw lines dig holes and above all, remember....

...And in this harsh world draw your breath in pain To tell my story.

Hamlet said to Horatio.

“I seem not to speak the official language,” the poet Adrianne Rich said, so she created an unofficial language, the language of the heart.

It has been an honour to serve the people of Vancouver East and the NDP for the past 18 years.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Vancouver East
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June 2, 2015