Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1

On Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 in Parliament, Questions on the Order Paper

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, the member of Parliament for Victoria, my neighbour, for delivering a clear and concise address to yet again, as he pointed out, another omnibus budget bill that combines many pieces of legislation into one. Unfortunately, that means something as egregious as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA, as well as changes to the trademark regime, which will hurt Canadian business, as well as changes to the Hazardous Products Act and the WHIMS system are all wrapped up into one piece of legislation.

Does hon. friend from Victoria not agree with me that it is entirely likely that once again the House is passing legislation that will find its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where FATCA will be ruled to violate Canadian charter rights?

Murray Rankin: Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute and thank my neighbour and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her intervention and her wisdom in pointing out the FATCA provisions in the bill. We already know those provisions will go to the Supreme Court of Canada. We already know the Conservatives have received legal advice and are moving in that direction. It was Peter Hogg who the government relied on for its ill-fated attempt in yet another omnibus budget bill to deal with Mr. Justice Nadon and that debacle. He was its expert, he prepared a written legal opinion to the effect that it was unconstitutional, so it will go to the Supreme Court of Canada.

We made many amendments that are before us tonight which we will ask the government to vote on. They would clarify that it need not occur. They would clarify that FATCA would not override other sections, such as the human rights legislation or, indeed, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At committee stage, those were voted down. They will be before us again at report stage.

There is no doubt that this is headed to the courts for yet another useless waste of taxpayer money as the Supreme Court will tell us once again that the government initiative is ill-considered.

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