House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Motion agreed to.)

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Motions Nos. 5, 6 and 7 will be grouped for debate but voted on separately.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved:

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-37, in Clause 35, be amended by striking out lines 17 to 20 on page 29.

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-37, in Clause 35, be amended by replacing lines 3 and 4 on page 30 with the following:

"waiver shall be videotaped or be in writing, and where it is in writing it shall contain a statement signed by the young person"

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-37, in Clause 35, be amended by replacing lines 23 and 24 on page 30 with the following:

"or waiver would otherwise be admissible."

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Cape Breton—The Sydneys
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Russell MacLellan Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 5 is the substantive amendment I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks.

This issue revolves around the obligation of police to advise young persons before taking a statement of the possibility of the youth being dealt with as an adult.

Bill C-37 proposed an amendment to require police to so warn a youth where applicable. The language in the bill has been criticized for being vague and for possibly resulting in the exclusion of statements that would otherwise be admissible.

The effect of this motion is to rely on the common law principles articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of R v. ET, 1993. This option will allow the courts to examine the specific circumstances under which the statement was given to determine the relevance of the warning relating to the possibility of transfer.

Proceeding in this way will also allow broader study of this and other evidentiary issues in the broader review of the youth justice system and the Young Offenders Act.

Motion No. 6 is technical in nature. Its effect is to clarify that the requirement for a waiver to be signed by the young person applies only to a written waiver and not to a videotaped waiver.

One of the reasons for amending Bill C-37 to allow for videotape waivers is that some youth are willing to waive their rights to consult counsel and/or an adult and to make a statement but are unwilling to sign the waiver. Currently the Young Offenders Act does not provide for oral waivers.

Motion No. 7 is technical in nature and intended to clarify an ambiguity. Bill C-37 provides in subparagraph 56(5.1)(c) for the situation where a youth misrepresents his or her age and then subsequently seeks to rely on the evidentiary safeguards for youth provided in section 56.

The bill would permit a judge to rule a statement admissible under specified circumstances even where the normal safeguards required for admissibility of statements have not been met. One of the circumstances is that the statement would be admissible in common law and under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The additional clause in subparagraph (c) which states "and its admission would be appropriate" is vague and is seen as unnecessary.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is almost ironic to listen in this House to my good friend, the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, criticize the Reform Party, and especially the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, as if Bill C-37 had been tabled by the Reform Party. This government whip who made his people rise to vote in favour of Bill C-37 is at the same time criticizing our Reform colleagues for not going far enough. He should find a logical niche to call his own.

Bill C-37 shows us that the Liberals only have a right wing. For a government to remain in the centre, it must have a left wing to balance things out from time to time. The Liberal Party is now siding with Reform, and we see the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell criticizing the Reformers' current position, even though this bill was initiated by the government.

I would like to know what the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce think about the standing committee's proposed amendment to Motion No. 5. The standing committee simply proposes that the admissibility of a statement given to a person in authority or a peace officer be subject to an additional requirement, namely that the person in authority or the peace officer inform the young person that he or she may be dealt with as an adult and could therefore face the same consequences as an adult.

A 15-year-old who gets arrested under a new law does not always know what the consequences may be. However, the person who makes the arrest or who has authority over the young person as far as the statement's admissibility is concerned must know that the young person may be tried in adult court and face extremely harsh sentences. Why not maintain the standing committee's proposed requirement to inform the young person of the seriousness of the charge that may be laid against him or her? This would make the young person think for a moment instead of trying to recant later and having previous statements ruled inadmissible.

The young person may want to consult first his parents and then perhaps a lawyer or another person as provided for in section 56 of the Act before making statements that would be very easy to obtain, as young people are much easier to manipulate and draw confessions from. These statements would not really be made freely and voluntarily, as they would be obtained under false representations or through promises or threats.

I think that the provision proposed by the standing committee should be maintained. Consequently, we will vote against Motion No. 5 aimed at removing this requirement.

As for the other amendments, they are technical in nature, in our opinion.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have a great deal of difficulty with these amendments as with the other amendments because they do not go nearly far enough in addressing the real issue.

I must say that I appreciate the remarks my colleague in the Bloc just made because he was right on the money. The problems that we are dealing with in the Young Offenders Act were created by that party and specifically by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce who stood a few minutes ago and said that the reason we have problems with young offenders in Canada is that we do not spend enough money. He is saying that we should spend money.

If money were the criterion by which we could fix our problems, with the spending that has gone on here in the last 20 years we would be living in a nation of saints. However we are not because that is not human nature. Human nature requires accountability and deterrents. We do not get them with the Young Offenders Act or with these proposed amendments.

I suggest that the government should examine the real causes of crime in society and the Young Offenders Act and put teeth into the act so that young people understand there is a real price to pay for the transgressions they commit.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to put a question to the parliamentary secretary or to the minister with respect to Motion No. 5 that would strike out lines 17 to 20 on page 30. Those lines state that when applicable the young person may be dealt with as an adult and if dealt with as an adult could face the same consequences as an adult.

In accordance with the portion I just read, the officer who would be advising a young offender would have to tell him that those were the possible consequences before he signed a waiver.

The amendment that is now being presented by the government would strike out the requirement to advise the young offender there is a possibility that he could be dealt with as an adult and could face the consequences in adult court and go to an adult prison.

I do not quite understand why the government is now making a motion to strike that advice to the young offender. Therefore, when the parliamentary secretary makes his concluding remarks, I would like him explain further why they are now striking out that section which would require the police officer or the official to advise the young offender of that possibility.

I also want to take up again the remarks of the Reform Party. To begin with, let me say that the problems with youth crime cannot be attributed to the sections of the Young Offenders Act. Yes, I bear a lot of responsibility for the Young Offenders Act, but the reasons for youth crime are not with the Young Offenders Act. That is where members of the Reform Party err over and over again. They think that if we amend a few lines in the Young Offenders Act, if we make the penalties tougher and do a few things like that, everything will be fine. They are living in a dream world.

Young Offenders Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The member will have the floor after question period. We will now go to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Minister Of Health
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has frightfully mismanaged her portfolio, hidden behind her staff to camouflage her total lack of leadership and vision and, thus, has lost all credibility.

Overtaken by events, the minister lacks the compassion and passion that moves mountains and softens the Treasury Board. At present, seven community organizations that are devoted heart and soul to supporting people with AIDS have been waiting since October for the minister to trouble herself to follow up on their cries for help.

After giving her the benefit of the doubt for several months, after seeing her refuse to give Canadians a real inquiry into the tainted blood issue, continue to act irresponsibly regarding the hepatitis C issue and sit idly by while women with breast implants were treated with contempt, we must admit the undeniable truth: this minister must resign, out of decency, out of respect for her position and in the best interests of Quebecers and Canadians.

Madam Minister, you have made too many errors.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our national public broadcasting service, is attempting to obtain permission to televise the Paul Bernardo trial later this year.

The people of St. Catharines have lived with the loss of a young student, friend and beloved daughter. Respect for the families that are the victims of violence and our own sense of decency tell us that what the CBC is doing is totally wrong.

Concerned citizens are calling for a stop to this Americanization of Canada and they are signing petitions. They are angry that taxpayers' dollars are being wasted by the CBC.

I hope the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Canadian Heritage understand this waste when reviewing grants to the CBC.

Canadian Culture
Statements By Members

February 10th, 1995 / 11 a.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the secretary of state in a recent interview stated that we have no national culture. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to that statement.

Most Canadians believe, as my party does, that we must uphold the right of citizens and private groups to preserve their cultural heritage using their own resources but are opposed to taxpayer funded multicultural programs.

An ideological conception of culture is that as Canadians we believe we have something that others do not. Collectively we see ourselves as a tolerant, peaceful and independent people. Canadian culture is not insular but rather has an international consciousness that embraces the ethnic richness others have brought to our shores.

The difficulty is that we continue to debate our self-conception. We need to stop struggling with our self-image and accept who were are.

Visually our culture is a kaleidoscope of images, finely integrated and ever changing. Visual symbols such as our flag, the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the fleur de lis and the ice flows of the north all connect us to one another at the deepest level of our consciousness. This is our Canadian culture.

Sons Of Norway
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, while Parliament was in recess a very important date passed that I would like to acknowledge today.

On behalf of all Canadians of Norwegian descent I would like to congratulate the Sons of Norway which celebrated its 100th anniversary of January 16, 1995.

The organization has come a long way since its 18 founding members pulled it together 100 years ago. There are today more than 70,000 members and more than 400 lodges in Canada, the United States and Norway.

Continuing what they began in 1895, the Sons of Norway provide its members with the opportunity to care for themselves in times of sickness or death and to advance their language and cultural heritage in North America.

I am particularly proud of my own Nisse Lodge No. 567 in District No. 4 which accepted my application for membership a number of years ago.

I am sure the members of this House would join me today in extending our warmest congratulations and best wishes to the Sons of Norway in this, its centennial year.

Port Of Churchill
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the port of Churchill is the prairie's own grain outlet and an integral component of Canada's transportation system. Therefore it is essential that prairie farmers continue to have access to this cost effective outlet for their grain and that the port is used to the best advantage of prairie farmers.

A recent report released by the Churchill task force demonstrates the enormous potential of the port and the benefits of a rational, long term approach to the revitalization of the port and bayline.

As the report noted, it would be irresponsible to allow these facilities to deteriorate from neglect when they could continue to make an important contribution to the Canadian economy.

An investment in Churchill is an investment in northern Manitoba, in the Spaceport Canada project, in tourism, in jobs in an area of chronic high unemployment and in the future of prairie agriculture.