Safer Witnesses Act (Bill C-51)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend gave an excellent review on Bill C-51. From what I can see, the House is unanimous in planning to pass the bill. However, it is important to point out where we could, without a doubt, see a lack of adequate resources.

I have been surprised to see cuts to Canada Border Services Agency, when we need law enforcement agents there. I have been surprised to see RCMP officers pulled out of airports, such as the one in my riding, which is called the Victoria International Airport,but is actually in Sidney, B.C.

Does the hon. member have any proposals for how we can continue to press for the resources that will be needed to ensure that the witnesses in this program are kept safe?

Dan Harris: Mr. Speaker, I addressed these issues before when I spoke about such things as ensuring that there were additional resources for witness protection provided to municipal governments, municipal police forces and provincial agencies to beef-up their witness protection programs. Another was to make a change that when the RCMP took over an investigation or witness protection because the crime involved drugs that it would not pass all the costs on to the municipal or provincial governments, but that it would bear the costs itself or help to pay for them.

Bill C-56, another bill that we will be speaking to soon, would make amendments to copyright and counterfeiting, which brings up border issues as well.

The member quite rightly has said that there have been cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency. We are not doing our neighbours, particularly those to the south, any service when the CBSA is no longer tracking outbound shipments of drugs. That is not helping to make their streets safe. Nor is it making our streets safer because we know that when drugs get exported oftenimes the resources, the money gained from those illicit activities comes back to Canada in the form of other drugs, guns and money that goes to organized crime.

Therefore, we should be stopping that drugs from crossing the border as best we can. Cuts to drug-sniffing dogs and front-line services at the Canada Border Services Agency do not make any sense when we are trying to fight crime.