Liberals' action prudent

One frustration I experienced in the last Parliament as a member of government was how certain bills and legislation were at times intentionally misrepresented by some groups solely to incite opposition. 

As an example, it was often implied that Bill C-51 — The Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 — would allow for peaceful, law-abiding protestors to be arrested without cause at a protest or demonstration.

These claims were erroneously made despite the fact the Bill contained language that clearly stated Bill C-51 specifically excluded “lawful advocacy or protest” from its application in defining legal and illegal protests with respect to “interference with critical infrastructure."

When I became a member of the Official Opposition, one of the commitments I made was to not use similar tactics that only serve to mislead Canadians.

I offer these comments as recently I have noted that a Bill introduced by the Liberal Government, specifically Bill C-23 — The Preclearance Act — is being targeted with many similar misleading and inaccurate claims much as was targeted at Bill C-51.

Bill C-23, in the words of the Liberal Government, will expand the limited number of U.S. Customs staffed pre-clearance locations in Canada (such as Vancouver and Calgary airports for U.S. bound passengers) to a greater number of locations in Canada (that because of Bill C-23) will expand to include passage by land, water and train.

Some are claiming that Bill C-23 allows U.S. customs agents to engage in activities that are against Canadian law while on Canadian soil.

While these allegations have are stirring up concern and opposition to the Preclearance Bill, the actual legislative summary is clear on this point and I quote accordingly:

“establishes that the exercise of any power and performance of any duty or function by a United States preclearance officer is subject to Canadian law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Human Rights Act."

From another perspective, it has been suggested that entering the United States may be more difficult for some Canadian citizens as a result of the new administration.

While I have not heard from any constituents to verify these claims, I will observe that if a Canadian citizen is going to be refused entry into the United States for whatever reason it is far more convenient for that refusal to occur in Canada at a pre-clearance location rather than in the United States where a deportation and related unplanned air travel costs can present a far more serious inconvenience.

For that reason alone, I believe the Liberal Government is taking a prudent course in expanding the pre-clearance program that by most accounts has proven to be a simpler, more accessible way to travel across the border.

I welcome your views on this subject:

  • are you supportive of expanding U.S. pre-clearance as described above in Canada?

I can be reached at [email protected] or toll free 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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