Parliament Video: Jenny in the House: Bill C-83 and the constitutionality of solitary confinement

During the February 21, 2019 report stage debate on Bill C-83, Jenny asked questions about solitary confinement, or as it is sometimes called, "administrative segregation", in correctional facilities. The bill still allows for up to 20 (instead of the current 22 to 23 hours) of isolation and segregation, but BC Supreme court and the Ontario Superior Court have both ruled that this kind of solitary confinement is not constitutional:

Jenny Kwan (NDP) Vancouver East, BC

"Mr. Speaker, my colleague raises a very valid point about the lack of consultation, which we have heard from a number of stakeholders who raised concerns with respect to the bill and why they do not support it.

That was also indicative of the number of amendments that the Speaker read at the beginning of this debate, where he spent at least half an hour talking about them. I do not think, as a new member since 2015, that I have gone through a bill where the Speaker spent half an hour outlining the amendments to the bill we were debating. That is also indicative of the lack of foresight from the government side and the lack of homework with respect to the bill.

Having said that, one of the issues the government did not address, which is also central with respect to the bill, is the constitutionality of solitary confinement. The B.C. Supreme Court and the Ontario Superior Court have ruled that it is unconstitutional to have this kind of administrative segregation take place. Would the member agree with the court decision?"

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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