1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 105

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Public Safety

Legislative Review—Human Rights

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is to the leader in the Senate.

Leader, one of the things during the last election that many of us were very appreciative of was the focus that with the security agenda would come human rights. Perhaps wrongly, but I was under the impression that Bill C-51 would definitely be on the government’s agenda. We’re almost hitting two years, and we do not see much happening on the security agenda.

On March 20, Minister Goodale released a commentary on Bill C-22, which will establish a national security and intelligence committee for parliamentarians. This is just an oversight committee; it does not look at issues of Bill C-51 directly.

But in this commentary, the minister said he outlined several changes to the bill made because of the feedback during consultations; that is, Bill C-22. I am glad to say that the minister is willing to accept feedback on this bill. The committee of parliamentarians must have the tools needed to balance the need for security with respect for human rights. It is all well and good that we should have an oversight committee.

Leader, I get phone calls on a regular basis from people who are still arrested, interrupted and harassed under Bill C-51, two years later. When is the government going to look after this issue?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. She raises an important matter that has been the subject of public debate and indeed, as she referenced, in the last election as well.

With respect to the precise timing of the government’s legislative intentions, I will inquire and report back to the Senate.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you. I appreciate that, leader. I do appreciate that you understand the challenges the communities face.

But another bill is not being given enough attention, and that’s Bill C-13, regarding lawful access, which the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has suggested also needs to be reviewed.

When you are inquiring, may I please ask that you find out what the status is? When is the government going to bring forward legislation to balance human rights and security under Bill C-51? And when will it look at reviewing Bill C-13?

Senator Harder: I will do so.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you.