Over the past few weeks I have greatly appreciated hearing from many citizens who have taken the time to share their concerns with me. Although the concerns may vary, I have noticed a trend where improved communication on the part of the Federal Government could help to provide more clarity in many situations. One area I continue to hear a strong amount of concern over is Bill C-428. For those of you who may have missed my July 4th Member of Parliament report, Bill C-428 was a private members bill introduced by former Federal Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla. This bill called for amendments to the Old Age Security Act that would see newly arrived citizens entitled to a monthly pension payment after just three years of residency. It should be noted that Bill C-428 died on the Order Paper when the former 40th Parliament was dissolved earlier this year.
Another Bill that I have also heard concern expressed over is Bill C-51. Although Bill C-51 also died on the Order Paper, it is a Bill that the Government intends to reintroduce in due course. The concerns expressed to me regarding Bill C-51 pertain to the security and confidentially of the internet, internet service providers and your personal information. Many citizens are apprehensive that personal information may be disclosed without due process and judicial oversight. At the same time many are also concerned with the ability of law enforcement agencies to tackle internet crime that can include child pornography, pedophilia, copyright infringement, hacking, and identity fraud among other issues. The need to provide the required tools for law enforcement and also a safe and secure online environment for all Canadians without compromising privacy concerns is an important one.
Bill C-51 would allow for a temporary data preservation order to be made in connection with an investigation. However a data preservation order should not be confused with data retention. Data retention, a concern I have heard mentioned often, is not contemplated with Bill C-51. The purpose of a data preservation order is to ensure that information vital to an investigation cannot be deleted prior to law enforcement securing a search warrant or production order. It is also important to recognize that for this preserved information to be viewed by law enforcement officials that judicial authorization would first have to be obtained. To be clear, a court order, authorization or warrant would be required to obtain any information with respect to an investigation. Law enforcement agencies would not be allowed to obtain the content of a citizen’s private communications without first obtaining judicial authorization to do so.
The intent of Bill C-51 is to strike an appropriate balance between the need to protect the safety and security of Canadians, in particular vulnerable youth, and to safeguard the privacy rights of law abiding Canadians. If you have further comments or concerns on this or any other Bills before the house please do not hesitate to contact me. As your Member of Parliament I value your views on these important matters.
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and can be reached at email@example.com
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.