EXTRACTS FROM HANSARD -- PROCEEDINGS OF CANADA'S SENATE :
The following extract has been taken from Hansard Records of Canada's Senate:
Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 138, Issue 6
Thursday, November 4, 1999
The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Bill
Second Reading-Debate Adjourned
(The following is an extract of a statement by Senator Lowell Murray made during debate of Bill C-6 – it does not comprise the full text of his statement.)
In the 1992 negotiations that led to the Charlottetown accord, the present Privacy Commissioner, Mr. Bruce Phillips, intervened and argued very cogently that the right to privacy be included, that the Charter be opened to allow an amendment to incorporate the right to privacy. The first ministers, in their wisdom, did not do so. I think it is regrettable that it is not there and I see no reason why we should not have a debate very soon on the extent to which the media should be permitted to invade personal privacy.
It is sometimes said that we are protected by the laws of libel and slander. People more learned in the law than I would have to analyze that, but all that says to me is that the media can print or broadcast any information they like about any individual, so long as it is true. I think we should have more and better protection than that, and I think a right to privacy in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, put on the same basis as the right of freedom to expression, might well fit the bill.
By the way, honourable senators, there was a lengthy article in The Globe and Mail this morning dealing with attempts made by the history industry to overturn the commitment that Sir Wilfrid Laurier had written into the law to protect census data.
I know that Senator Milne has a view about this. Many historians wish to get their paws on personal data that was given in confidence to the census takers since, I believe, 1906. The historians are arguing vigorously in favour of removing that restriction. Mr. Phillips, the Privacy Commissioner, is arguing just as vigorously against removing that restriction.
Let me say that I agree with Mr. Phillips. If my grandfather or great grandfather gave personal information to the census taker on the basis of the commitment made by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, I believe that that should be respected. I certainly would not want Michael Bliss or Ramsay Cook pawing over all that information and coming to their own tendentious and highly prejudicial interpretations of the data. I say long live Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Bruce Phillips and to hell with these historians.