Opposition Motion—Charter of Rights and Freedoms

That the House recognize: (a) the fundamental right of all Canadians to the freedoms of speech, communication and privacy, and that there must be a clear affirmation on the need for these rights to be respected in all forms of communication; (b) that the collection by government of personal information and data from Canadians relating to their online activities without limits, rules, and judicial oversight constitutes a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ protections against unreasonable search and seizure; (c) that Canadians who have expressed deep concerns about Bill C-30 should not be described as being friends of child pornography or advocates of criminal activity; (d) that the Charter is the guarantor of the basic rights and freedoms of all Canadians; and (e) that the Charter is paramount to any provision of the Criminal Code of Canada; and accordingly the House calls on the Prime Minister to ensure that any legislation put forward by his government respects the provisions of the Charter and its commitment to the principles of due process, respect for privacy and the presumption of innocence.

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, in the context of his very helpful comments about Bill C-30, I ask the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis about the following.

I put it to him that in the last number of years we have seen a sequence of decisions that have undermined the charter, the rule of law and respect for these institutions, beginning with the elimination of the Law Reform Commission, including the elimination of the court challenges program, as well as the government’s ignoring of the decision of the courts relating to the charter rights of Omar Khadr.

In that context, I wonder if we are seeing, as this opposition motion seems to suggest, a lack of understanding of the critical importance of the charter in our daily lives.

Francis Scarpaleggia: Madam Speaker, that is an interesting comment and it may be very true.

Canadians look to the government for guidance on issues and to reaffirm values such as those in the charter. Yet we see the government not being enthusiastic about supporting the charter or the rule of law. For example, we saw the Minister of Public Safety, I think for the third time in six weeks, being told by the court that he was wrong in refusing a prisoner transfer. In fact, he had no legal basis for making his decision.

Therefore, when we have a minister of the crown constantly forcing the courts to override him, that leaves a question in the minds of many Canadians as to whether our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is indeed sacrosanct.