C-3, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Mr. Speaker, the security certificate provisions of the immigration act allow for the deportation of people who are alleged to have participated in very serious criminal activity in Canada, activity related to terrorism, to plotting against the national security of Canada, to espionage and to organized crime. It allows for their deportation without them ever having been charged or convicted of those very serious crimes. Here we are removing people from Canada who are alleged to have committed very serious criminal violations but have never been charged, convicted or punished for those crimes.
I wonder if the member believes that it is appropriate to remove people from Canada without holding them accountable for serious criminal activity, like terrorism or threats to national security, and then sending them to their home country or to another jurisdiction without them ever having been charged, convicted and punished for those serious criminal matters.
Mr. Mario Silva:
Mr. Speaker, I commend my hon. colleague for his work on human rights because I know he deeply cares about human rights.
Part of what I was trying to state in this debate is that I have serious concerns, as do many people who are involved in human rights. Many organizations, from Amnesty International to others, have raised concerns and alarm bells. We want to ensure that whatever legislation we bring forward is charter compliant. We heard from the Supreme Court that there were issues of concern in the legislation that was brought before this House in years past.
One positive thing I have seen come forward from this is the role of the special advocate. It is something that the United Kingdom also has in place, and I see it as a very favourable thing.
However, I must say that there are still some concerns with this legislation but, at the same time, I think it warrants going before the committee to at least have a discussion there so we can hear from the different witnesses who come forward, specific groups that are involved in human rights, and then let us make our decision when it comes before this House at third reading.
Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, I want to put a question to the hon. member about the special advocate process, because unfortunately, I tend to believe that the provisions for a special advocate that have been introduced in Bill C-3 amount to tinkering with a very fundamentally flawed bill.
Certainly the provisions that we do have in the legislation seem to be modelled on the system in Britain. In the United Kingdom a number of special advocates have withdrawn from that process because they believe that it was too significant a compromise to the principles of basic fairness in the criminal justice system there. In fact, just recently the joint human rights committee of the British parliament said that the special advocate process was Kafkaesque and amounted to a star chamber. Those are very serious criticisms of that system.
A former special advocate, Ian Macdonald, said that what he was doing as a special advocate was adding a fig leaf of respectability to a very odious process and he resigned because of that.
Given those very significant criticisms of the special advocate process that the government seems to have adopted in this legislation, why would anyone want to support a bad bill, a fundamentally flawed process that compromises basic human rights and compromises our justice system in Canada?
Ms. Yasmin Ratansi:
Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the special advocate's resigning. That is why I insisted that we send the bill to committee. It is important that the committee review the role of the special advocate, and whether enough money and resources are being given to the special advocate.
Other areas in the bill provide that a person detained under the security certificate must have his or her detention reviewed by a judge of the Federal Court within 48 hours. The bill permits a challenge to the Federal Court of the reasonableness of a security certificate.
Yes, the bill is flawed, but it is important to get the bill to committee so that the committee members can do due diligence and review it thoroughly.