Safe Streets and Communities Act
An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts
Rob Nicholson Conservative
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
- March 12, 2012 Passed That the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, be now read a second time and concurred in.
- March 12, 2012 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that the House disagrees with the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, because relying on the government to list states which support or engage in terrorism risks unnecessarily politicizing the process of obtaining justice for victims of terrorism.”.
- March 7, 2012 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the stage of consideration of Senate amendments to the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Business on the day allotted to the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
- Dec. 5, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Passed That Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 183.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 136.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 108.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 54.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 42, be amended by replacing lines 3 to 8 on page 26 with the following: “( a) the offender, before entering a plea, was notified of the possible imposition of a minimum punishment for the offence in question and of the Attorney General's intention to prove any factors in relation to the offence that would lead to the imposition of a minimum punishment; and ( b) there are no exceptional circumstances related to the offender or the offence in question that justify imposing a shorter term of imprisonment than the mandatory minimum established for that offence.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 39.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 34.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 6 on page 5 the following: “(6) In any action under subsection (1), the defendant’s conduct is deemed to have caused or contributed to the loss of or damage to the plaintiff if the court finds that ( a) a listed entity caused or contributed to the loss or damage by engaging in conduct that is contrary to any provision of Part II.1 of the Criminal Code, whether the conduct occurred in or outside Canada; and ( b) the defendant engaged in conduct that is contrary to any of sections 83.02 to 83.04, 83.08, 83.1, 83.11, or 83.18 to 83.231 of the Criminal Code for the benefit of or otherwise in relation to that listed entity.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 10 on page 3 the following: ““terrorism” includes torture. “torture” has the meaning given to that term in article 1, paragraph 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting clause 1.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
- Sept. 28, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
- Sept. 28, 2011 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, because its provisions ignore the best evidence with respect to public safety, crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders; because its cost to the federal treasury and the cost to be downloaded onto the provinces for corrections have not been clearly articulated to this House; and because the bundling of these many pieces of legislation into a single bill will compromise Parliament’s ability to review and scrutinize its contents and implications on behalf of Canadians”.
- Sept. 27, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the second day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
May 6th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question will be short, and I'll share my time with Mrs. Smith.
Thank you for appearing before us today.
In November 2012, Bill C-10, Safe Streets and Communities Act came into force. One of the things that legislation did was make it impossible for a judge to sentence someone convicted of human trafficking to house arrest.
Do you feel it's important to prohibit individuals convicted of human trafficking from receiving house arrest sentences?
Private Members' Business
April 30th, 2013 / 5:50 p.m.
Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the debate on Bill C-394 and the issue of gang recruitment. I had the privilege of sitting in on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights while it considered this legislation, and I will expand on some of the issues discussed in those meetings.
I speak, I believe, for all members of the Liberal Party when I say that I want to deter youths from joining gangs. Indeed, if this legislation served any preventive end, we would gladly endorse it. However, not only does Bill C-394 fail to address the fundamental reasons that youths join gangs—the root causes, if I dare say that—but it also would employ a mandatory minimum penalty, which the Liberal Party opposes in principle.
I raise the root causes of youth gang involvement as an issue, because the government acknowledges the problems but it fails to provide solutions either in Bill C-394 or elsewhere. For example, the website of the Department of Public Safety lists risk factors relative to youth gang involvement and includes the following as major risks: limited attachment to the community, over-reliance on anti-social peers, poor parental supervision, alcohol and drug abuse, poor educational or employment potential and a need for recognition and belonging. Yet Bill C-394 does not address any of these. In fact, the government is missing in action on things like youth unemployment and access to education, things it could take proactive measures to correct.
With regard to violence among aboriginals, public safety's website explains:
The increase in gang violence and crime in some Aboriginal communities has been attributed in part to an increasing youth population, inadequate housing, drug and alcohol abuse, a high unemployment rate, lack of education, poverty, poor parenting skills, the loss of culture, language and identity and a sense of exclusion.
As Idle No More and similar movements demonstrate, the government is out of touch with the needs of aboriginal communities. If it took those needs seriously, we could begin the process of reconciliation. We could address the social problems plaguing first nations. We could give aboriginal youth access to education and opportunity. Instead, by ignoring these problems, we further the cycle of despair that makes gang life attractive to youth.
It is interesting to have this discussion in light of the Conservatives' attack ad on the member for Papineau. They criticize him for being a camp counsellor, a rafting instructor and a drama teacher. If we want kids to feel included in their communities, to have a sense of belonging and purpose, we ought to have more camp counsellors, more rafting instructors, more teachers seeking to make a difference in the life of a child, not attacking these sorts of things as useless pursuits unbecoming of a leader. However, the government buries its head in the sand and refuses to acknowledge that preventing crime involves addressing tough issues beyond the Criminal Code.
I can assure the House that youths are not joining gangs because they believe their activities are lawful, nor do gangs recruit because they believe it is legal to do so. This is the problem with the Conservative approach to crime. Everything is a matter for the criminal law, and every incident provides a pretext to legislate.
As was said by the member for Toronto Centre, “when the only tool we have in our toolbox is a sledgehammer, everything starts to look like a rock”. For Conservatives, criminal law is all about punishment. By adding new offences and penalties and, in some cases, duplicating existing offences and penalties, the Conservatives attempt to regulate on the back end, after the crimes have been committed. This ignores the fact that there are other elements to criminal justice such as prevention, rehabilitation of the offender and reintegration into society, let alone addressing the underlying causes of crime.
As I mentioned, I may be accused of perhaps committing sociology on this. Let there be no mistake. Bill C-394 deals with gang recruitment only on the back end once it has occurred. I submit that by then, it is way too late.
As I have indicated, this issue is already addressed by the Criminal Code. Former justice minister Anne McLellan said in this place, upon the introduction of what is currently in the Criminal Code that we are seeking to amend today, the following:
We know that successful recruitment enhances the threat posed to society by criminal organizations. It allows them to grow and to more effectively achieve their harmful criminal objectives. Those who act as recruiters for criminal organizations contribute to these ends both when they recruit for specific crimes and when they recruit simply to expand the organization's human capital.
In other words, we knew when introducing what was already in the code that recruitment was an issue, is an issue, and we put in place offence language that captured it. Thus, while the regime in the code at present may not use the word “recruitment”, the intention is clear in the record and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that prosecutions for recruitment are not happening because of some legislative loophole.
Indeed, as it is proposed, the bill will actually add to the problem by putting in a mandatory minimum penalty. International studies corroborate what even Justice Canada has found, that mandatory minimums do not deter crime. Among other things, mandatory minimums remove prosecutorial and judicial discretion. They lead to prison overcrowding. They lead to more crimes in prison and more crimes outside of prison. They contribute to a clogging of the courts, resulting in accused persons being set free. They are, as I indicated in my question to the member earlier, constitutionally suspect. Mandatory minimums have prejudicial consequences, particularly on aboriginal peoples and minority communities.
I know colleagues in the NDP have argued that the mandatory minimum in this bill is light and, therefore, acceptable, in their view. We take a different approach, which is that there is no need for adding something that could lead, in the right fact situation, to this legislation being overturned. This just is not smart legislating.
However, if I were to address the Conservatives' inability to legislate intelligently, I would certainly run out of time. In fact, we might be here all night. Instead, I will focus on one shortcoming relevant here, which is the failure to vet bills for constitutionality. Much has been made of that in the House and, in particular, by my colleague, the member for Mount Royal, of the obligation of the Minister of Justice, under the Department of Justice Act, to review government legislation for compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.
The minister, time and time again, has said that his bills are constitutional, yet time and time again the provisions are struck down and the government is called to account for its failure to comply with the supreme law of the land. Not only does legislating in such a reckless way risk the statute being struck, it also clogs up the courts with challenges that could have been avoided. It also costs the taxpayers, who bear the burden of defending the government. For a government that claims accountability, why is it not accountable to the charter and its statutory obligations? For a government that prides itself on fiscal restraint, why is it wasting taxpayer money?
One may wonder why I am raising this issue when the obligation for a charter check is only on government bills, not on private members' bills like Bill C-394. The answer is that the government has been increasingly using private members' bills to legislate through the back door. If this bill was so important, why was it not included in the omnibus crime bill, Bill C-10? Why has the minister not introduced it on his own accord? Surely, if it were so necessary, the minister could have made this change to a government bill and it would have passed through the House much faster. Indeed, by using the private member bill route, the government minimizes House debate and circumvents the required charter review.
We must address the cycle of poverty and homelessness that affects too many children in the country. Where is the government on that? We must say to ourselves that if children are to be the priority, maybe we need more camp councillors, rafting instructors and drama teachers. What they do not need is a government that says it cares, throws a band-aid on the problem that will not hold and then pats itself on the back for having done anything at all. Bill C-394 would be just that, and that is why the Liberal Party will vote no on this bill.
Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act
April 29th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to join my colleagues who have spoken so eloquently for equality for those individuals in the military who serve Canadians. This particular legislation purports to update our military criminal justice system, but in fact has some significant gaps.
It is always good to review our laws to make sure that they reflect present realities and that they are equitable, appropriate and consistent with our Constitution. The military criminal justice system is no exception. This legislation has been worked on for a long time but the Liberal Party of Canada believes it is not where it needs to be in order to get our support. The members for Winnipeg North, Halifax West and York West made that case in quite a specific and compelling way. We are being asked to support something that still has so many flaws; that is politics.
Clearly, many aspects of the military justice system remain inexplicably unchanged or give unnecessary powers in this bill. For instance, the bill enshrines in law a list of military offences that will carry a criminal record in the future, which is not necessary in many cases.
Given that the pardon system was recently revoked and that summary trials are what they are—with no record and no means of meaningful appeal—the members of the armed forces will find themselves with criminal records and unable to find employment upon release.
Clearly there are some flaws in the bill. The one I want to focus on in particular is the issue of human rights and equality. It really boils down to what kind of society we want to have in Canada, and I think Canadians are clear. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada is widely supported right across the country and is a very proud part of our framework for protecting rights but also for enshrining responsibilities in our country, to make sure those who are vulnerable have the law on their side to protect their right to equality.
It has been shameful and disappointing that the Conservative Party of Canada has chosen to minimize the importance of this very important part of our Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, essentially dismissing and not celebrating its great anniversaries. Last year was the 30th anniversary, and there was not much of a murmur from the government, but hundreds of millions of dollars went into celebrating the anniversary of a war.
That goes down to what kind of society we want to have. Do we want to have one that protects rights and freedoms, or do we want to have one that is all about punishment? We see changes to immigration. We see in Bill C-10, that grab bag of bad public policy, that the Conservative government is much more focused on punishment than on equality. That is reflected in this bill as well.
In his testimony before committee, retired Colonel Michel Drapeau noted:
...someone accused before a summary trial has no right to appeal either the verdict or the sentence. This is despite the fact that the verdict and sentence are imposed without any regard to the minimum standards of procedural rights in criminal proceedings, such as the right to counsel, the presence of rules of evidence, and the right to appeal.
In Canada, these rights do not exist in summary trials, not even for a decorated veteran, yet a Canadian charged with a summary conviction offence in civilian court... enjoys all of these rights. So does someone appearing in a small claims court or in a traffic court.
He goes on to say:
I find it very odd that those who put their lives at risk to protect the rights of Canadians are themselves deprived of some of these charter rights when facing a quasi-criminal process with the possibility of loss of liberty through detention in a military barracks.
Clear questions of inequality have arisen here. There are problems with the bill that are fundamental to the kind of society we want to have, not just a few tweaks that we could have put into the bill and that the government has not done. This does go down to fundamentally what kind of society we want to have. This kind of inequality is being unfortunately cemented into other bills and other laws brought forward by the Conservative government.
I want to refer to some comments made by my colleague from Mount Royal recently on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
According to Justice Létourneau, soldiers are citizens and they should enjoy the same constitutional rights guaranteed by the charter as any other citizen.
This is what he said:
“We as a society have forgotten, with harsh consequences for the members of the armed forces, that a soldier is before all a Canadian citizen, a Canadian citizen in uniform.”
In other words, they should be able to count on all of the rights and protections that citizens enjoy in our country.
Referring to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the member for Mount Royal raised a question of privilege in the House this past March and expressed concern that the government is failing to live up to its own statutory obligation, which is expressed in section 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act.
In law, this is requiring that the government, that the Minister of Justice, examine each and every government bill introduced in the House to ensure it is consistent with the charter. That would seem like a simple step to respect our fundamental constitutional obligations as parliamentarians and as government in law-making and public policy-making.
How often has the government actually done that? How often has the government checked and done a review to ensure that its bills introduced in the House are consistent with the charter and receive the constitutional seal of approval? How often has the government reported any inconsistencies, or otherwise, to the House?
Does anybody have an answer to that question?
March 25th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
Matthew Taylor Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
Well, I guess I can provide you some context to help you in your decision-making process.
As you know, the courts will be able to take into consideration whatever factor they think is appropriate in terms of their jurisdiction to decide that something is aggravating in a particular circumstance, so there is that broad discretion on the part of the courts to begin with.
There are some questions that were raised in terms of scope, but you could ask those other questions in terms of whether it would apply in another context. This provision brings to my mind similar provisions in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which previously dealt with making it an aggravating factor to sell drugs in or near a school—not only near a school, but in a school. Then it used a bit of a basket clause of any place where young persons are known to frequent—I don't have the precise language—and that was subsequently amended in Bill C-10 to turn that aggravating factor into a mandatory jail sentence. So that is an example in criminal law that is comparable to what's being proposed here, although it would be broader.
The other related point I'd say is that there is a provision, section 810.01 of the Criminal Code, which we call the peace bond, that deals with organized crime behaviour. Where it is believed that somebody is going to commit an organized crime offence, a peace bond can be ordered, including conditions to not frequent places where children may congregate. For example, if a police officer knows that a gang member or someone working on behalf of a gang is targeting young people, that type of tool can be used by the justice system to target the practice and prevent the individual from recruiting new individuals to join a criminal organization.
Those would be my general context comments.
March 25th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Government of Manitoba
Again, public safety has a cost. We know in Manitoba that we are shouldering more of that responsibility as the years go by. I'll have a chance to meet with Minister Nicholson later on today, and I'll be repeating some of the things we've raised, both publicly and privately, on Manitoba's behalf.
There's no question that funding for legal aid is a major concern for Manitoba and other provinces. The provinces have been bearing all the increased costs with respect to legal aid. Manitoba was in support of many of the provisions of Bill C-10, primarily because we're the ones who had asked for them to begin with. We think many of the provisions in Bill C-10 were the right thing to do. We know they are going to have an additional cost, and we're hoping to refresh the partnership we have with the federal government.
Drug treatment court is another area. We think the federal government made some very wise investments in allowing drug treatment courts to get going. We would love to be able to expand those to try to get people off the criminal track if the reason for their law-breaking is their addiction. We certainly hope to continue enhancing that partnership.
I think I did gently mention the police officer recruitment fund. The funding for that is running out. Unless the province backfills that, there's going to be a reduction in police forces for a number of municipalities.
We've worked well with the federal government. We believe in providing support when we think the federal government of any stripe is moving in the right direction. We will also criticize the federal government when we think they're not going in the right direction.
This bill today is a positive step. As I say, we'll have some other things to say in different places about how we can best work together to keep improving the partnership for the safety of our communities.
March 21st, 2013 / 9:30 a.m.
Vic Toews Provencher, MB
I don't know where to begin. There are so many false statements there.
First of all, my understanding is that the remand populations in the provinces have not increased. In fact, we've seen a decrease as a result of getting rid of the two-for-one credits. People have been moving through the remand centres more quickly. I'd like to see this on a Canada-wide basis that remand numbers are going up. They're high and they have always been high. Certain steps need to be taken.
That has got nothing to do with Bill C-10. In fact, Bill C-10, we believe, will assist in bringing that remand population down. In fact, we've seen that trend.
For example, we were asked by the Ontario government to build 1,500 more cells for them because they said that would be the impact of Bill C-10. At the same time that they were asking us to build new 1,500 cells for them, they were shutting down 1,500 cells. Essentially, what they're doing is getting us to build new infrastructure for them. That's not the way we do business.
I'd like to see some of those numbers. I haven't seen the numbers that indicate that remands are increasing in the manner that you've indicated.
March 21st, 2013 / 9:30 a.m.
Rosane Doré Lefebvre Alfred-Pellan, QC
Exactly. As a result, we had the opportunity to hear at length about the impact of Bill C-10. There are a lot of complaints across the province. Currently, the people who are awaiting trial are in provincial prisons, which are over capacity.
Currently in Quebec, we are seeing that our provincial prison system is overcrowded, as a result of the changes made to the Criminal Code. That worries me. After their trial, all those people are going to end up in our federal institutions. When that time comes, in a few years, we might not have the financial support or the correctional officers we need, or the necessary resources for rehabilitation.
Could you comment on that? I am honestly very concerned about that. We are already seeing an increase in the prison population in federal institutions. The people who are currently in provincial institutions, awaiting trial, will end up in the federal system after their trial, and we will not have the necessary support. What will happen then?
March 21st, 2013 / 8:45 a.m.
Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Indeed, it is my pleasure to be here to again share an hour or so with all of the members of the committee. I want to thank my officials, both from the department and from the various agencies that I'm responsible for, for being here as well.
I'm pleased today to speak to both the 2013-14 main estimates and the 2012-13 supplementary estimates (C).
Mr. Chair, responsible governments must ensure that they use taxpayers' dollars in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner, and that's exactly what we have done over the past seven years. Since 2006, our government has acted consistently to help create jobs and spur economic growth. We have made responsible decisions that have strengthened our economy, while ensuring that we are keeping Canadians and Canadian interests safe. We believe that committee members will find this evidenced within the pages of the supplementary estimates (C) and the main estimates.
As the committee's motion specifically mentions supplementary estimates (C), I will turn first to these, which sought minor adjustments to spending authorities within three of the portfolio agencies: the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The total net increase in authorities for 2012-13 for these three portfolio organizations equals $4.2 million, or 0.04%.
Mr. Chair, this represents a small increase in the total funding approvals for the Public Safety portfolio for 2012-13. For example, the Canada Border Services Agency has sought an increase in its voted authorities of $10.3 million to support initiatives within the beyond the border action plan. There is, however, no net change in the CBSA's appropriations, as those funds have been offset by a transfer of authorities that had been previously allocated by the Treasury Board.
The supplementary estimates (C) also indicate a net total increase for the RCMP of $3.7 million, which is the result of transfers of funds to the RCMP from Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Department of National Defence.
Finally, we saw a net increase in authorities for CSIS in the amount of $550,000, or 0.1%, of its authorities to date.This amount stems from a transfer from DND to CSIS for the acquisition of technology related to the Canadian safety and security program.
Mr. Chair, let me now turn to the 2013-14 main estimates, which represent a fiscally responsible way forward in our efforts to keep our streets and communities safe while strengthening our economy and supporting families.
For the overall Public Safety portfolio, the 2013-14 main estimates represent an initial funding approval of $8.049 billion, which is an overall decrease of $322.1 million, or 4%, over the previous fiscal year. This funding will be invested into priority areas that are helping us fulfill our commitment to keep Canadians and their communities safe.
Among the overall portfolio funding increases are the following.
The amount of $329 million to the RCMP related to the renewal of the 20-year police services agreements with the provinces, territories, and municipalities.
I want to specifically thank the RCMP for its work on that file and for departmental officials who did an excellent job in working together with the provinces and the territories. These are very, very complex negotiations, but we're very pleased with the work that was done, and the cooperation we received from the provinces and the territories. I think they recognize that the RCMP is the best value for taxpayers' money, and agreed, indeed, without any concerns about that principle, that the RCMP are the best service for their money. That's a real tribute to the RCMP.
Also, $38.2 million goes to Public Safety Canada to provide funding for permanent flood mitigation measures for provinces and territories hit hard by the 2011 floods, and $24.1 million goes to the CBSA to improve the integrity of front-line operations at the border.
Mr. Chair, these increases are offset by a number of decreases, including among others a $65-million decrease to CBSA funding for the arming and eManifest initiatives, which are sunsetting in 2013-14 as part of a loan repayment schedule, and a $31-million decrease to the RCMP related to a transfer of funds to Public Works for the new RCMP headquarters building in Surrey, B.C.
Committee members will also see adjustments to the Correctional Service of Canada's spending authorities, with a net decrease of $428.4 million from the previous year due mainly to the return of funds related to projected inmate population growth, which did not materialize despite the wild predictions of the opposition parties.
You'll remember, Mr. Chair, that it was the NDP that said that, as a result of Bill C-10 and other bills, there would be an increase of $19 billion in infrastructure alone. That was clearly false. It was fearmongering of the worst kind. In fact, as you know, we returned to the fiscal framework almost $1.5 billion because of the prisons that we didn't have to build. This decrease is due to that and as well to the savings measures outlined in budget 2012.
The main estimates also include a $370.7-million decrease in the total Public Safety portfolio spending authorities, related to deficit reduction action plan savings measures announced in budget 2012.
Mr. Chair, before we turn to questions from the committee, I will touch on some of those numbers as they relate to our work to keep Canadians and their communities safe.
Looking at just Public Safety departmental funding, we are requesting increases that include $2.9 million to continue our work to make our cyber-network secure and resilient, as outlined in Canada's cybersecurity strategy, and $2.5 million to implement national security and emergency management initiatives under the beyond the border action plan.
These two initiatives remain top priorities for our government, and we continue to seek evidence of good progress in both areas. In fact, just last week I signed a memorandum of understanding with my U.S. counterpart, Janet Napolitano, that paves the way for a United States Customs and Border Protection truck cargo pre-inspection pilot project on Canadian soil.
As you know, there has been some concern about what sequestration will mean for the movement of Canadian goods into the United States. We are very concerned about that but recognize that it's primarily an American budgetary issue, which they are going to have to resolve. But this kind of pre-inspection initiative, which will help clear trucks before they get to the border and then get them through, will help us in our just-in-time deliveries.
I was told—and maybe you don't know this, Mr. Chair—that in some cases, one automobile goes back and forth across the border 40 times during its production. You can see that if you increase the delay in crossing borders from 20 minutes to 40 minutes or an hour, production is significantly impacted, with of course significant impacts upon the jobs of those in the auto sector, for one example.
The pilot project that we're working on aims to enhance our security while accelerating the legitimate flow of goods, people, and services at the Canada-U.S. border.
As I mentioned earlier, Public Safety Canada seeks an increase in its departmental spending authorities of $38.2 million to provide financial support to provinces and territories for 2011 flood mitigation. These funds are part of our government's commitment to provide a one-time, 50-50, cost-shared investment in permanent flood mitigation measures taken by provinces and territories, specifically related to 2011 flooding. Strong, resilient, and prepared communities are critical to our nation's security and economic strength, and these investments in mitigation will help to ensure that communities are able to recover rapidly after a disaster.
In addition to being prepared for and recovering from natural disasters, resilient communities are also able to identify and resist violent, extremist ideologies and have the capacity to react to events in ways that prevent further harm. As such, committee members will see a request for an increase to Public Safety Canada departmental spending authorities for $1.8 million related to funds for the Kanishka project. Launched in 2011, this five-year, $10-million initiative aims to create a network of scholars who can undertake critical research into how Canadians can prevent terrorism and counter violent extremism. Again, this is an issue and concern that I've discussed with the Homeland Security secretary and something that we share a common interest in.
Finally, the main estimates include a decrease in Public Safety departmental spending authorities of $7.9 million, which reflects the sunsetting of the funds for the ex gratia payments to the families and the victims of Air India flight 182. I am pleased that our government has been able to fulfill this commitment to these families.
Mr. Chair, in summary, our government remains committed to using Canadian taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and most effective manner, and we will do so while moving forward with our plan for safe streets and communities while focusing on strengthening legislation, tackling crime, supporting victims' rights, and ensuring fair and efficient justice.
To this point, on March 4 I was pleased to announce that our government will maintain stable funding for policing agreements with first nation and Inuit communities under the First Nations Policing Program. For the next five years I will be seeking these incremental authorities through the supplementary estimates.
Thank you. I'll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
March 20th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC
Basically, their budget is going down and they're saying the number of files they have to address are going up steadily with all the new infractions. They even mention it in their 2012-13 report. They reference Bill C-10 which they will have to deal with, which will come into full force, or is already in full force.
I think we'll see you coming back often for supplementary budgets. I'm wondering if it's a good way to budget, by presenting something and then coming back constantly to get a hike, because these guys will need to be able to perform if you want to complete your agenda.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 19th, 2013 / 10:55 a.m.
Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC
Mr. Speaker, I rose in the House yesterday to address the question of privilege raised by my colleague from Winnipeg Centre.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I think something is clear. We have recently heard a lot about Bill C-30 and other bills, including certain aspects of Bill C-10. Time will tell if I am right or not. Some legislation that is before the courts has already been overturned. This legislation did not all originate with the current government. I am laying it on thick. I am even laying it on the heads of our Liberal friends.
Even the member for Mount Royal said that, when he became Minister of Justice, he had some concerns about how this test was conducted.
Certainly, my trust level is at about 1%. Every time I read a bill now, I do not just read the content to find out if it will fulfill its purpose. Now, I am practically obliged to put on my hat as a lawyer specializing in constitutional law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, I must do the work that I did not think I had to do, because I had the minister's assurance. When a bill is introduced in the House, if it is not flagged as problematic, we assume it is okay. We can no longer make that assumption. Something has tarnished this assumption, and what we are going through with Bill C-30 proves it every day. This should worry all members of the House, in all parties.