Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I will be brief so as not to delay the adoption at second reading of this bill, which will undergo consideration in committee very shortly.
We know that this is the second attempt—if that is the right term—to legislate in this area . As other parliamentarians have noted, there was Bill C-13. The use of DNA to identify genetic ties and so forth is completely new to all of us, the criminal justice system and even other sectors.
This completely new technology has been used for such purposes for several years now. It has proved effective, to the point that it can now be integrated into our criminal law procedures, particularly with regard to taking DNA samples. Previously, for example, fingerprints were taken or other methods used. Now, of course, our methods are much more sophisticated and the applications very different from those in the past.
According to the bill summary, the bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code, the DNA Identification Act—meaning Bill C-13—and the National Defence Act to facilitate the implementation of the acts in question.
The first element is somewhat different from the others. It:
(a) allows a court to require a person who is given notice of an application under subsection 487.055(1) of the Criminal Code and who wishes to participate in the hearing to appear by closed-circuit television or a similar means of communication;
Once again, this is very different, in technological terms, from the rest of the bill. However, this technology enables and allows Canadian criminal law to better function.
The second element also mentions the following:
(b) allows samples of bodily substances to be taken as soon as feasible after the time set by an order or a summons for the taking of the samples....
This is very important in order for a proper inquiry to take place to have a summons and then be able to utilize that instrument to obtain bodily samples in order to make the later determinations that are required.
The next element of the bill reads:
(c) requires the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy to destroy the bodily substances collected under an order or authorization and the information transmitted with it if, in the opinion of the Attorney General or the Director of Military Prosecutions, as the case may be, the offence to which the order or authorization relates is not a designated offence;
In other words, if the material was accumulated and it was not one of the designated offences, this is an order to have what was acquired destroyed. I believe a colleague from the New Democratic Party referred to these data banks based on people not having been convicted of anything or at least not having been convicted of offences where this would normally be permitted. In other words, we do not utilize the process for an offence that is not covered, obtain the information and then keep it in case someone does commit an offence in which it would qualify. Obviously that would not be appropriate.
The next element reads:
(d) enables the Commissioner to communicate internationally the information that may be communicated within Canada....
Consequently, if data has been collected in Canada in connection with what I have just listed, we are allowed, but only in keeping with Canadian legislation, to share that data with similar authorities in other countries. Once again, this is very logical, provided we keep within the guidelines we have set for ourselves in Canada, so as not to provide to a foreign authority information that it would not be acceptable to disclose within this country.
Lastly, the commissioner is authorized to communicate information for the purpose of the investigation of criminal offences, and to subsequently communicate that information for the purpose of the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences.
That is the main thrust of this bill, a bill I recommend to the House and will be pleased to support myself. I will not take up any more of the House's time, but will close by saying that I hope to see this bill passed in the very near future.
Subtopic: Criminal Code