While the Liberal party indicated late in the summer that it would more actively oppose the Conservative government, apparently that may not apply to Bill C-46 and C-47, the lawful access legislation. Bill C-46, titled the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act, received second reading in the House of Commons yesterday with a referral to committee on the way. The bill contains new tracking warrants for the Internet and other police powers.
The first response from the Liberals to this lawful access bill: What took you so long? MP Mark Holland opened with the following question:
Since the bill was essentially introduced by a Liberal government in 2005 and has been reintroduced every session since by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine as a private member's bill, why did the government take so very long to introduce it? It is not as though the police have not been calling for this for years. Second, if the Conservatives finally understood that technology had changed and that the bill we tabled four years ago needed to be implemented, why on earth would they have introduced the bill at the end of the last session in the last week before the summer, not giving us the opportunity until today to actually vote on it? Why were they dragging their feet? Why were they delaying bringing in this legislation for which we have been calling for so long?
In contrast, both the Bloc and NDP supported moving the bill to committee, but expressed the need for careful study to ensure that it strikes a balance between privacy and security. The Bloc noted that "we must also ensure that we do no more than is necessary. We have to strike a balance." The NDP also expressed support for the bill but with some specific reservations. It will be interesting to see the reaction to C-47, which raises significant concerns regarding mandatory disclosure of customer name and address information and ISP surveillance requirements.