OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MPs have blasted a new Liberal Party bill that seeks to give national park wardens the authority to conduct searches in “any place” without a warrant, as wholly unconstitutional.
CPC MP Marilyn Gladu said recently in the House of Commons that Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Bill C-23 is “contrary to section eight of the Charter.”
Section eight of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms says “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”
Another CPC MP Damien Kurek said the new bill gives the government more “expansive powers.”
“Forgive me for being a little hesitant to grant powers and wide-reaching and expansive powers to the minister, in this case the Minister of the Environment who has not necessarily demonstrated that he can be trusted to ensure that those powers will be respected,” noted Kurek.
According to a breakdown of Bill C-23 – officially titled An Act Respecting Places, Persons And Events Of National Historic Significance – by Blacklock’s Reporter, the proposed law contains an ambiguous clause that states park wardens can “enter on and pass through or over private property without being liable for doing so and without any person having the right to object.”
The bill also gives wardens – who since 2009 are in effect armed peace officers – immunity over being held responsible for trespassing on one’s land, with section 42 stating wardens are clear “for anything done or omitted to be done in good faith.”
Under section 43 of the bill, wardens will be allowed to enter and search any place “and open and examine any package” with no warrant required.
Gladu asked if the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be “willing to take that part out of the bill (open packages) since it is in violation of people’s Charter rights,” with Liberal MP John Aldag claiming that the government indeed wants “the legislation to be compliant with the Charter.”
Thus far, members of Trudeau’s cabinet have not said why Bill C-23 gives such broad powers to park wardens, and despite the rights-based concerns raised by the Conservatives, the bill has been deemed constitutional by the Department of Justice.
Interestingly, when the bill was introduced by Guilbeault in June – at which time it passed its first of three readings in the House of Commons – the minister never mentioned the sections pertaining to the expansion of authority for park wardens, instead focusing on other provisions of the bill, such as its requirement to appoint indigenous people to the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board.