For those not in the know, today the government of Canada fell on a non-confidence motion, and there will be an election in the spring. As is typical in parliamentary democracies, a lot of pending legislation died along with the government. Today, this included:
Bill C-50 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (interception of private communications and related warrants and orders) (Improving Access to Investigative Tools for Serious Crimes Act)
Bill C-51 An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act)
Bill C-52 An Act regulating telecommunications facilities to support investigations (Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act)
Why is this remarkable? These are the primary legislative instruments which would allow Canada to ratify the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, which Canada signed on 23 November 2001. As can be drawn from the names of the bills, the main impediment to Canada ratifying the Convention has been the lack of legislative and enforcement tools to allow the government to monitor (or have monitored), search, seize and otherwise compel various kinds of electronic data. Federal lawyers have been working on this ever since Canada signed the Convention, but their efforts have been thwarted. Yet again.
To put this in perspective, the Convention has been in force since 2004, and even the U.S. has ratified it. It is the cutting edge of international co-operation in the suppression of cybercrime. Canada is lagging behind. Here's hoping that whatever government emerges from the election gives it a higher priority than we've seen to date.