Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 32

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Bill to Amend—Report of Committee

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on Bill C-3 as I am not in favour of this bill in the current form. However, I welcome the opportunity given to the committee by the minister to provide amendments on this legislation by December 2008.

This bill addresses security certificate issues. Honourable senators, on the issue of security certificates, our country now has two processes. The first process is for Canadian citizens, and the next process is for permanent residents and non-Canadians. If you are a Canadian citizen, your guilt or innocence is tested through our criminal courts. If you are not a Canadian citizen, or you are a permanent resident or a person with no status in Canada, you undergo a less transparent process.

In the second process, there is not a full sharing of information. Bill C-3 does not remedy this. In Minister Stockwell Day’s words to the committee yesterday, he said, “The government will share pertinent information with the special advocate.”

Honourable senators, I ask: Who will decide what information is pertinent? With the greatest of respect to the person prosecuting, he may not be the best person to decide what is the most pertinent information to be shared with the special advocate.

A greater concern for me, however, is that there is no continuous contact with the special advocate and the person named in the security certificate. Under Bill C-3, the special advocate will meet with the person named in the security certificate before the special advocate sees any information or evidence. He speaks to the person before he sees any information. The special advocate cannot meet with the person named in the security certificate after he has seen the information without the permission of the judge. Honourable senators, in our country, we did have a process that was being followed before 2001. We had the Security Intelligence Review Committee model, which was used in these processes before 2002.

In the SIRC model, the entire file was shown to the special advocate, and the special advocate had continuous contact with the person named in the security certificate. We already had a process in place, and for some reason, we have decided not to follow it.

Honourable senators, I stand here and tell you that we know there will be another constitutional challenge. Almost every witness, except the minister, stated to us that they will soon be going to the court. Therefore, we will have another opportunity to look at the issues set out in Bill C-3.

In the meantime, to keep people’s faith in our country and our legal system, I humbly ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate that the government seek SIRC to certify all relevant documents that have been given to the special advocate, to set out that all documents relevant have been given to the special advocate.

Honourable senators, I have confidence that each senator in this chamber is here to protect the rights of the minorities living in Canada. Today, I believe those rights are being compromised.