June 25, 2012 - No. 95
In the Parliament
House of Commons Adjourns for Summer
• House of Commons Adjourns for Summer
- Pauline Easton
• Harper Dictatorship Forces Budget Bill
• "Other Measures" Section of Budget Bill
In the Parliament
House of Commons Adjourns for Summer
On June 21, The House of Commons adjourned for the
summer. The House is scheduled to resume its 41st session on September
This sitting of the 41st
session began on January 30, 2012 following ominous statements by Prime
Minister Stephen Harper in Davos, Switzerland that his government would
bring forward "major transformations." And this is indeed what took
place. The Harper government used its phony majority in the Parliament
to pass several draconian pieces of legislation which firmly put
private interests in command of the public authority.
To do this, the Harper Government has adopted a new raison d'etat where the destruction
of the public authority and Parliamentary Rule of Law are justified in
the name of national security.
A main feature of all the new laws passed by the phony
Harper majority government is that arbitrary ministerial prerogative
powers are no longer to be circumscribed by Parliament or exercised in
a manner which is answerable to Parliament. This means that the very
notion of a parliamentary democracy representing
Rule of Law is discarded.
To have Rule of Law, the Parliament must be seen to
represent the legal form of the popular will. In Canada this is no
longer the case. There are serious questions surrounding the legitimacy
of the election of the Harper majority government. To use a suspect
majority government to pass legislation does not confer it with
legitimacy. The fact that the Harper majority was garnered in what is
increasingly being shown to have been an electoral coup, shows the
serious situation Canadians face.
Not only has Harper used this suspect majority to throw
overboard Parliament's legislative powers in favour of unlimited use of
prerogative powers of the first minister and other ministers appointed
by him, but he has also filled the Senate with like-minded appointees
and is doing the same at the level of the
Federal High Court and the Supreme Court.
This further underscores the gravity of the situation
facing the polity as a result of the political and constitutional
crises in which the government and so-called democratic institutions
are mired. All of it means that right in front of everyone, a form of
legal coup d'etat has taken place, all duly adopted by the Parliament
to give the appearance of legitimacy. It is the most serious
anti-social, anti-worker, anti-immigrant and warmongering
nation-wrecking in the history of the country.
In this regard, this session of the 41st Parliament of
Canada opened with the passage by the Senate of Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act,
the Harper government's omnibus crime bill, and has come to an end with
the passage by the House of Commons and soon the Senate of the omnibus
implementation act, Bill C-38, the Jobs,
Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act.
On the last day of sitting, Harper flaunted the ability
of his dictatorship to ram through all manner of anti-social,
anti-national nation-wrecking measures by once again denigrating the
Opposition. The Prime Minister responded to a question from NDP Leader
Thomas Mulcair concerning what was achieved in the spring sitting of
Parliament by stating: "Mr. Speaker, we just had one of the most
legislatively productive periods, and the NDP members, by deciding they
will oppose everything and filibuster everything, have proven
themselves to be the least influential opposition
in terms of legislative agenda in the history of this Parliament.
"Canadians elected us to
focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That is what we are
doing. That is why the Canadian economy continues to have superior
performance," Harper said.
"Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity" is precisely
what the Harper government is not addressing. These are simply pretexts
to put private interests in command of all public decision-making and
institutions at a very rapid rate.
In the opinion of the Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist), it is necessary to pay serious attention to the
developments, grasp their significance by discussing their implications
amongst one's peers and elaborate what must be done to prepare for the
dangers the Harper government has created.
Omnibus Budget Implementation Act
Harper Dictatorship Forces Budget Bill
On June 20 the Senate began its formal consideration of
the omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-38 Omnibus Bill C-38, An
Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament
on March 29, 2012 and other measures, following its passage by the
House of Commons. Revealing that
the Harper dictatorship will block any attempts to delay the
legislation's passage, the day debate began in the Senate, Claude
Carignan, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate gave notice
that at the next sitting his government would table a motion limiting
debate to six hours at second reading.
The Harper dictatorship in the Senate also passed a motion to permit
the Senate Standing Committee on Finance to begin studying the
legislation while the Senate is sitting, all in order to ensure that
the nation-wrecking legislation passes on schedule. Clearly it is not a
schedule based on involving Canadians in deciding
what happens to their country, but rather one based on the interests of
those the Harper dictatorship serves.
During debate, Liberal Senator Joseph A. Day, the Chair
of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance which has been
carrying out a pre-study of the legislation, explained how the
committee has been carrying out its work under the circumstances and
raised a number of concerns about the
He began by expressing frustration with the size of the
legislation: "Honourable senators, the size of this bill is horrendous,
and that is part of the problem. I would like to talk a little bit
about the process that we elected to follow so that honourable senators
will understand where we have been in relation to this
particular matter, within the Standing Senate Committee on National
Finance, and just how we decided on the best way to handle this
particular bill, with 425 pages of extensive amendments."
He then went on to explain how the pre-study was carried
out and some of the concerns with the way all manner of things were
crammed into the "Other Measures" section of the omnibus legislation:
"It would have been nice if the executive had shown the
same respect to us as parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons
and in the Senate, in giving us a bill that could be dealt with as a
budget implementation bill as opposed to a bill. As is stated in the
preamble to and description of the bill, this is Bill
C-38, An Act to implement certain
provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012, and
"It is the 'and other measures' that we spent countless
hours on, honourable senators, and it is the 'and other measures' that
caused us to deviate from the traditional way of dealing with fiscal
measures in a budget implementation bill. That is one of the concerns
that we had, " he said.
He then explained the areas
dealt with by various Standing Senate Committees. The Standing Senate
Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources looked into
Part III of the legislation entitled: Responsible Resource Development.
The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
was asked to look into "five or six different divisions that relate
primarily to the types of areas in which they have developed an
internal expertise." While the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence looked into Division 12 of Part IV, which creates An
Act to Implement a Framework
Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement Operations between
the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of
America, also known as the Shiprider agreement. Raising concerns
about this particular part of the omnibus bill, Day stated: "The same
stand-alone bill was
picked up and stuck into Bill C-38. It did not get through the last two
times because of prorogation. That was through no fault of Parliament
but was an executive decision. Now, they put it in a bill about budget
implementation and say, 'We will get it in this way because we will
just say that this is budget implementation
and has to be passed.' That is the cynical part of putting that kind of
subject matter into budget implementation. It dealt with Shiprider
legislation, legislation that allowed for policing on nautical borders
between Canada and the U.S. and policing across those borders, which
are not evident when you are on, for example,
the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence River. It is reasonable
legislation; it is unreasonable to ask a committee to deal with this as
part of a budget implementation bill. The Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications dealt with another aspect of the bill, and
the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology looked into another aspect. Five
different committees in addition to the Finance Committee were
requested to study Bill C-38."
He ended by pointing out that this was the first time
that the Senate had carried out such a pre-study and that each
committee will submit a report on its study to the Standing Committee
on National Finance when it begins its study of the omnibus legislation.
"Other Measures" Section of Budget Bill
Prior to the House of Commons passing Bill C-38, the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence studied An Act to
Implement a Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Law
Enforcement Operations between the Government
of Canada and the Government of the United States of America, also
known as the Shiprider agreement which is contained in the
infamous "other measures" section of omnibus budget Bill C-38. The Act
would permit the RCMP to designate officers from the U.S., giving them
the authority to enforce Canadian laws in Canada as part of an
"integrated cross-border operation," on vessels crewed jointly by
designated officers from Canada and the United States "in undisputed
areas of the sea or internal waters along the international boundary
between Canada and the United States."
In the House of Commons Committee Study it was revealed
that by passing the Act the Harper government is implementing a treaty
it signed with the U.S. government in 2009.
The following exchange between NDP MP Guy Caron and
Michael Zigayer, Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section at the
Department of Justice, explains how the Harper government has attempted
to have the matter passed in previous Parliaments and that certain
measures of the treaty will be enacted
in other pieces of legislation to be passed in the future.
[...] To begin, Mr. Zigayer, Mr. Bolton and Mrs. Glover, welcome again.
As far as I remember, when we asked you questions the first time, you
mentioned that the treaty had been signed some time ago, a few years,
and that some attempts had been made to put it into law, whether it was
through the Senate
or the House of Commons.
Approximately how long ago was that? For how long has
there already been at least a rough draft of the bill prepared already?
The treaty was signed in 2009.
It was Bill C-60 that was subsequently tabled. I seem to think that a
prorogation occurred just before that.
That was in 2009.
Then we were at the stage of completing the study of Bill S-13 in the
Senate when there was the election last year.
Thank you very much. You say that Bill C-60 came first?
First came Bill C-60, then came Bill S-13.
Do you think the provisions in bills S-13 and C-60 are much like what
is in division 12 of the bill?
The essentials dealing with enforcing the treaty with the Americans is
there, but a few changes were made here and there, and a big change was
made in the sense that we removed a large part of Bill C-60 aimed at
amending the Royal Canadian Mounted
As for how the complaints were handled, that will be
included in another bill.
So what we have here is the spirit of Bills C-60 and S-13, less a part
that, it was felt, should be left for another bill.
The spirit is there. Also, the purpose is to implement a treaty that
was signed. This needs to reflect this treaty.
Conservative MP Shelly Glover outlined the position of
the Harper government in the hearings stating that the legislation must
be passed in order to meet deadlines established in the Security
Perimeter Action Plan signed between the Harper and Obama governments
in February of 2011:
"What I do want to say is that there's an agreement in
place. Just because new parliamentarians are elected doesn't mean the
work of government starts all over again. This is a ridiculous argument
we've heard repeatedly. The agreement didn't end. We have an obligation
under our perimeter security plan to move
forward in a timely fashion. In fact, there is a deadline approaching:
summer of 2012. There is a deadline approaching.
"I'd like to ask [...] if you could comment on the
deadline that's approaching. What would be the consequence of not
delivering on the first deadline?"
Stephen Bolton, Director of Border Law Enforcement
Strategies Division for Public Safety Canada confirmed Glover's
statements and the threat of a looming deadline with the U.S.
government: "I would just say that yes, it is a commitment in the
Beyond the Border action plan to ratify the treaty and have legislation
there. In terms of the Beyond the Border action plan, there is a desire
by both countries to meet the commitments in a timely fashion."
During debate, the NDP's position was that the Shiprider
agreement was a reasonable arrangement, however it was not appropriate
for it to be included in the omnibus legislation. NDP MP Peggy Nash put
it this way: "While we believe that the notion is important that an
agreement deal with common border issues
such as illicit trade, trafficking, smuggling, terrorism, counterfeit
goods, etc., it shouldn't be before the finance committee, and we
really need to have more discussion and review and more information. So
we won't be supporting it at this time."
The Liberal Party gave a similar position. Liberal MP
Scott Brison stated: "It's not enough to say that we considered these
in previous parliaments. The people spoke in the last election, much to
my chagrin in some ways, but the reality is that a different Parliament
was chosen by the Canadian people, and as
such this Parliament -- the current members of Parliament of all
parties -- has a responsibility to ensure full oversight. I think this
is not enough, and that we ought to have engaged and enabled the
members of the current Parliament to have more time as they do their
jobs at the appropriate committees and to provide
oversight on these legislative changes."
Hearings by Senate Standing Committee
On May 14, the Senate Standing Committee on National
Security and Defence held hearings into the Shiprider agreement.
Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews addressed the committee responding
to the legitimate concerns of Canadians that the arrangement
was a violation of Canadian sovereignty and meant U.S. troops would
enforce Canadian laws. He responded by trying to claim that the
arrangement was not a violation of sovereignty because it would only
allow U.S. troops to enforce Canadian laws in Canadian waters,
according to Canadian laws. In other words,
because American troops would be subject to Canadian law, there is some
measure of accountability for Canadians if their rights are violated.
He also tried to disinform Canadians by trying to cover up that plans
are already in the works for U.S. security forces to operate on land,
and already at many different levels
of Canada's security and military apparatus, U.S. officials are
operating, and even directing Canadian forces.
Toews stated: "I am shocked and surprised that members
of the media would misquote what goes on in these proceedings; but I
learn new things every day, I guess."
He claimed that Shiprider was an important arrangement
required to protect "our safety and security."
He then addressed concerns about sovereignty stating: "I
will be clear on one point: There is no challenge to our national
sovereignty because the laws of Canada will apply to all designated law
enforcement officials when they are in Canada. This is about sending a
strong message that cross-border crime will
not be tolerated."
The fact that U.S. security officials operating abroad
are typically shielded from any form of prosecution was not addressed
He added: "I would like to again underscore that
Shiprider will be conducted with full respect to the domestic
sovereignty of both Canada and the United States. This is how all
Shiprider pilot projects were carried out, and nothing would change
moving forward. For example, when operations take place
in Canada, they are conducted under the control and direction of
Canadian law enforcement and subject to Canadian laws, policies and
procedures. If operations occur in the United States the reverse is
true, with American officials taking the lead.
"Canadians can rest assured that this legislation in no
way compromises our traditional values or our constitutionally
protected rights and freedoms. The collection and sharing of
information in Canada will be governed by Canadian law, including
Thus, Canadians are to give up their concerns about the
violation of their national sovereignty because the violation of their
privacy and other civil rights will be carried out under the watchful
eye of the King Harper government and its Minister of Public Safety,
all according to Canadian law.
He went further, addressing the issue of accountability
for the violation of Canadians individual rights: "We have also taken
concrete measures to ensure proper oversight and accountability. As
such, all Shiprider operations within Canadian jurisdiction would be
subject to a public complaints process that
largely mirrors that which is currently in place for the RCMP."
This is a ridiculous statement given that Canadians
cannot even hold their own police and government agencies accountable
for violating their rights, as evidenced by the widespread violation of
rights at the G20 carried out with impunity by the Canadian state.
Furthermore, Toews' claims that U.S. agents will be held
accountable by Canadian law raises more questions than answers. Why
can't Canadian security forces enforce Canadian law? Why are U.S.
forces required in Canada? What has changed in terms of "cross-border
crime" which requires the movement of
U.S. agents into Canada? Why don't the established arrangements such as
extradition or other measures suffice? None of these questions are
addressed. Instead Toews repeats the mantra that everything the Harper
government does is for the safety and security of Canadians.
He closed by outlining differences between the current
legislation and legislation concerning Shiprider tabled in previous
"First, we have added a new principle underlining that
integrated cross-border law enforcement operations must 'be conducted
as directed by a designated officer from the host country.' This new
provision will further ensure that Canada's sovereignty is respected by
stipulating that direction of all operations rest
with Canadian law enforcement officials.
"Second, we have enhanced public oversight by expanding
our intake points for public complaints to include RCMP officers. This
remains consistent with the 'no wrong door' approach to the receipt of
complaints and is in line with existing provisions of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police Act."
Concluding his remarks Toews actually re-affirmed that
the Shiprider arrangement would be the basis for future widespread
integration with the U.S. security apparatus, the same concerns he
sought to address in his opening. He cited the arrangement as the new
model for future integration. "In conclusion, let
me stress that by cooperating with our American counterparts on
important issues of national security, we are telling criminals that
exploitation of the shared border will not be tolerated. In order to
ensure the flow of legitimate trade and travel across the border, it is
crucial that we take the necessary steps to effectively
combat illegal activity at and across the shared border. Shiprider is
the way of the future and represents a new approach to how we work with
our American partners. In fact, it is a proven approach that will
increase the safety and security of Canadians."
"I would ask all honourable senators to support the
rapid passage of the proposed act to ensure the continued prosperity,
safety and security of Canadians."
During the Senate Committee hearings other details of
the Shiprider arrangement were revealed. Issues raised included: how
the arrangement will work in practice, the difference between the
Canadian and U.S. resources being utilized, the role of U.S. aerial
surveillance in Canada and the integration of various
First Nations police into the arrangement.
Conservative Senator Donald Plett asked how Shiprider
would work in practice: "Mr. Minister, I think you have answered part
of this, but I would like you to walk me through, if you would, the
boat, whether it is a Coast Guard vessel or an RCMP one. Let us say it
is the Coast Guard, and they chase
somebody from the American side but stop them on the Canadian side of
the border. They make their arrest and charge them. Could you walk me
through what happens at that time? They have been charged. They take
them to the dock on the Canadian side. That is where they have arrested
them. What happens
at that point? Does the whole operation continue together? Where does
it go from there?"
Marc Taschereau, Chief, Border Strategies, Border Law
Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada replied:
"Senator, to answer your question, if they are charged in Canadian
jurisdiction, they would be processed based on Canadian law and
prosecuted here in Canada based
on the offence that took place in Canada. That is essentially the
process that would take place." Toews then added: "If the offence is
committed in the United States, they would not be charged. They would
be detained on the Canadian side and extradition proceedings would take
place as a result of Americans charging
the individual in the United States and then filing the appropriate
documents for extradition."
The following exchange took place addressing the
difference between the Canadian and U.S. resourcing of the arrangement:
Elizabeth Hubley (Liberal): [...] You said that each side will
need training in law. In what other areas will there be need? Will
extra equipment be needed for this operation? Will there be expenses
involved in that?
Toews: We do not anticipate this costing the police services any
more money, but there will obviously be training.
Taschereau: This is enabling legislation, so in and of itself
there are no costs. It is a model. The nice thing about this model is
that it allows the RCMP and the United States Coast Guard to better
leverage their resources. Even if we do not add new personnel or
vessels, we can make better use of our resources.
It is a force multiplier.
Hubley: Do Canada's resources match the American resources? Will
we be fine with what we have?
Taschereau: When Mr. Oliver was here the other day he said that
the RCMP currently has 400 vessels, four of which are specifically
dedicated to Shiprider. That does not compare to the United States
Coast Guard. They have many more resources than we do, and that is true
in all the border agencies.
Notwithstanding, this will enable us to use our fewer
resources more effectively. While there is no set ratio here, there
would generally be one RCMP vessel and one USCG vessel working
collaboratively in our shared waterways.
The following exchange dealt with the role of aerial
Fabian Manning (Conservative): I know we had a discussion at
earlier meetings concerning the land component to the legislation.
Minister, you touched on the term "hot pursuit"; that is, that officers
can go on to the land as long as they are in hot pursuit.
In regard to aerial surveillance, which is I am sure an
ongoing activity, are there any provisions here that authorize aerial
surveillance? Has that been taken into consideration? In regard to
flights over our jurisdiction from the U.S. or theirs, is there
anything in the legislation that touches on that or is that addressed
in any way? Do you anticipate that happening?
Toews: This does not authorize any over-flights of Canadian soil
by American airplanes, or drones, or others. Obviously, if you have a
drone on the American side, they have the ability to look into Canada.
I think there have been some media reports about that. There is some
drone activity along the Canada-U.S.
border by the Americans. That is public knowledge.
What I see as important is the coordination of those
types of resources in order for individuals to work better together,
but I do not see this in any way authorizing the intrusion of American
equipment into Canada, other than the marine context.
The following exchange addressed the integration of
First Nations police forces into the Shiprider arrangement
Roméo Dallaire (Liberal): [...] The Aboriginal police --
and I am not sure if we can use the term "Aboriginal waters," but we
are into waters that are along the shores of Aboriginal territory --
are not involved in this exercise.
Toews: I do not see anything excluding Aboriginal and First
Nations police forces from being involved in this. In the same way that
we would make agreements with the Ontario Provincial Police or the QPP,
I do not see any bar to incorporating the resources from some of the
First Nations communities.
As you know, some of the cross-border smuggling has involved these
communities. Some of those officers may be in the best position to know
the terrain, know the river, know the lake and therefore cooperate, but
they would have to go through the same training that any other Canadian
officer would have to go
Dallaire: So they meet the standard of that.
Taschereau: In Akwesasne, the police have been trained. A couple
of them have been trained in the Shiprider context; they have taken the
courses. We actively contemplate the participation of not just the OPP
or other municipal law enforcement partners but Aboriginal police
associations as well.
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