Organ Trafficking Bill Presented for Second Reading in House of Commons

By Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Journalist
Omid Ghoreishi is a journalist based in Toronto.
June 18, 2021 Updated: June 20, 2021

A Senate bill to combat organ trafficking was presented by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis for second reading in the House of Commons on June 18.

Bill S-204, which received the unanimous support of the Senate on May 6, makes it illegal for Canadians to get organs abroad without the consent of the donor, and makes people involved in forced organ harvesting inadmissible to Canada.

After presenting the bill, Genuis requested that it be fast-tracked on the same day so it can go to third reading and receive royal assent to become law before Parliament is dissolved, in case an election is called in fall.

While MPs from the Conservative Party, Bloc Québécois, NDP, and the Liberal Party noted that the bill has support from all parties, the Liberals voted against fast-tracking it.

In making his request, Genuis explained that similar legislation was proposed in the past by former Liberal MPs Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Irwin Cotler. Similar legislation was again put forward in the last session of Parliament, which also had the support of senators and MPs. However, it didn’t become law as an election was called and the parliamentary session was dissolved before the final steps to royal assent could be completed.

Veteran Liberal MP Judy Sgro said she supported passing the bill, noting that having a law to combat organ harvesting is “far overdue.”

“I am the chair of the Falun Gong, Falun Dafa parliamentary friendship group, and I am all too familiar with the issue of organ harvesting, and how this bill could help put an end to this horrific practice,” Sgro said, referring to the peaceful meditation group whose adherents, according to investigators, have been a victim of forced organ harvesting by the Chinese communist regime.

“I have seen many, many pictures and talked to people who have had their family have to go through this terrible process.”

Bloc MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe also said that Cotler, a former Liberal justice minister, had proposed similar legislation in the past as a private member’s bill, and that “everyone agrees the bill should be passed,” repeating the request for Bill S-204 to be fast-tracked.

NDP MP Gord Johns said Bill S-204 is the fourth such legislation meant to combat international organ trafficking, which is “hurting vulnerable people across the world,” and asked that all parties come to an agreement to process the bill.

Kevin Lamoureux, the Liberals’ parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government in the House, said “there’s no doubt that a vast majority of Canadians recognize that it should be a crime to travel abroad without the donors consent in order to get an organ transplant.”

However, he said certain processes should be followed for the bill to become law.

The House is scheduled to rise for the summer on June 23.

Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Journalist
Omid Ghoreishi is a journalist based in Toronto.