House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to seven petitions.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to its consideration of Bill C-32, an act to amend the Copyright Act.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and the pleasure to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship regarding its study of draft regulations for the landing of Convention refugees without identity papers.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the Bloc Quebecois also laid on this table a minority report concerning refugees without identity papers.

There are two main differences between our report and the majority report. The first one concerns the waiting period. Second, regarding two of the countries identified in the regulations, namely Afghanistan and Somalia, we think it is discriminatory. That is why we have tabled a minority report.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), to present in both official languages the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Health.

This is as a result of a decision that was made in the committee earlier today, recommending that the Minister of Health consider some transitional provisions relating to the sponsorship clauses of Bill C-71.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a member of this committee, I would have a very short, very brief comment to make following the tabling of this report by the chair of the health committee. The opposition objected to these proposals.

Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-78, an act to establish the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table today a bill entitled "an act to establish the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and to make a consequential amendment to another act". The result of several years of concerted efforts between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec, this bill is aimed at improving the management and protection of the rich and diversified marine resources of that region of Canada, which is an absolute necessity after the flooding it has sustained.

(Motion deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Indian Act Optional Modification Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-79, an act

to permit certain modifications in the application of the Indian Act to bands that desire them.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act
Routine Proceedings

December 12th, 1996 / 10:05 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-80, an act to provide for an integrated system of land and water management in the Mackenzie Valley, to establish certain boards for that purpose and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

(Motion deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-364, an act to amend amend the Income Tax Act (change RRSP deduction to a tax credit).

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the RRSP system is to assist Canadians in building up capital to provide a reasonable retirement income. It is not intended to shelter wealth or to defer taxes on the amounts accumulated beyond the amounts required to provide for that reasonable retirement income.

Tax fairness and equity must be protected within our Income Tax Act. That includes making sure that the tax benefits do not unreasonably favour certain taxpayers over others. In the current RRSP system the RRSP deduction favours high income earners over low income earners.

Therefore to address these matters this bill proposes to convert the RRSP deduction to a non-refundable tax credit and to establish a lifetime contribution limit on RRSPs.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Bill C-234
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

moved:

That, no later than the conclusion of Routine Proceedings on the tenth sitting day after the adoption of this motion, Bill C-234, an act to amend the Criminal Code, shall be deemed reported back to the House without amendment.

Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate what Bill C-234 is all about. Bill C-234 eliminates section 745 of the Criminal Code. It extinguishes the right of a first degree murderer to have their parole ineligibility reviewed after serving only 15 years of a life sentence. Bill C-234 makes a life sentence mean life.

On November 21, 1996, in a ruling that my motion on the Order Paper was in order, the Speaker said: "The motion moved by the hon. member for Crowfoot in fact provides the committee with a period of time in which to consider and report the bill if it so chooses. At the same time, the motion provides the House with a mechanism to remove the bill, which is its property, from the committee so that the House itself can take up consideration of the bill".

The Speaker further stated: "The House does not know what has occurred in committee and consequently cannot know what amendments the committee has made to the bill. Therefore, if the House wishes to once again take possession of the bill, then the inclusion of the words "without amendment" establishes clearly that the House will be dealing with the text of the bill it adopted at second reading".

My motion is based on my privileges and those of my colleagues being breached.

The action of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs not reporting Bill C-234 back to the House impedes members from performing their legislative duties. It impedes members from debating in this House, an open forum unlike the committee, an issue which is of utmost concern to our constituents.

On December 13, 1994, Bill C-234 formerly Bill C-226, was referred to the justice committee by a majority of votes in this House. The minister of defence who was then the Minister of Transport, and the member for Vancouver-Quadra, along with 72 of their colleagues and all Reform members present in the House voted to send Bill C-234 to committee. All members who voted to send Bill C-234 to committee fully expected it to be reported back to the House, providing members another opportunity to debate the bill and where the final determination upon the bill could be made and I suggest should be made.

The fate of this private member's bill, the fate of all private members' bills should not be left in the hands of just a few committee members beyond the authority of this House. The House gave life to the bill and only the House has the authority in its final determination. For a committee to kill a bill which was given life by this House and a majority of its members is a violation of our privileges as members of Parliament.

Bill C-234 was circumvented by the justice minister's Bill C-45. The committee allowed Bill C-45 to take precedence over the private member's bill. Bill C-234 was introduced almost two years before Bill C-45 yet Bill C-45, a government bill, was the bill chosen by the committee to be dealt with first. If I had not put a motion forward in committee to have Bill C-234 dealt with, this

private member's bill would still likely be in limbo today in the justice committee.

Bill C-234 was dealt with simultaneously with Bill C-45. However, Liberal members of the committee were obviously more favourable toward the minister's bill which clearly led to the demise of Bill C-234.

This was evident in that Bill C-45 was promptly returned to the House. In only 11 days, Bill C-45 was introduced, sent to committee, reviewed in committee, debated at report stage and third reading and passed. All this was done with less than two weeks before Parliament recessed for the summer.

The justice minister had almost three years to introduce bill C-45, but he chose to drag his feet. He chose to introduce Bill C-45 at the eleventh hour. The justice minister chose to gamble with the emotions of the Rosenfeldts and the other 10 families whose children were murdered by Olson. The justice minister lost that gamble.

The justice minister is directly responsible for Clifford Olson's August 12 bid for early release. He is directly accountable to the Rosenfeldts and the other 10 families whose children were ripped from their lives by the hands of Clifford Olson. The justice minister is responsible for Clifford Olson's newsmaking attempts for early release.

The justice minister claimed Bill C-45 was not about Clifford Olson. He claimed the bill was not a result of Olson's August 12, 1996 date to make application for early release. Why then was the minister and his government so intent that the bill be passed before the summer recess? Why did the Liberal government ask us and the Bloc not to unduly delay this bill?

We provided our co-operation despite the fact that we do not support Bill C-45. We did not then and we still do not support it. We gave our word that we would not block the passage of the bill because we did not want to be responsible in any way for Olson's bid for early release. Unlike the Liberal justice minister, we did not want the Rosenfeldts and the other families to have to relive a nightmare they have endured for the past 15 years.

Although Bill C-45 would still give the likes of Olson an appeal to a judge, which I find absolutely repugnant and beneath contempt, there was the possibility that he could be denied the full judge and jury hearing he now has under section 745 by virtue of the actions of this government.

Bill C-45 was stalled by the Senate and Olson once again grabbed the spotlight he so predictably seeks.

For the benefit of the members of this House who do not sit on the justice committee, I would like to read the testimony given by Sharon Rosenfeldt before that committee on June 18:

Emotional upheaval-that was what I felt on February 8, 1996, when I found out that Clifford Olson, the killer of my son, had applied for his 15-year judicial review. I do realize that the full application cannot be made until August 12, but I know that all the paperwork is ready.

I have known for the past number of years-

Bill C-234
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I listened with great interest to what the hon. member was saying, but my understanding is that his motion really deals with trying to bring Bill C-234 to the House. It does not deal with Bill C-45 which has already gone through this House nor with the testimony of a witness before the committee.

If that is the case, at least my colleague should be given the opportunity to respond and enter into this debate. My understanding is that the motion-

Bill C-234
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

Order. The hon. member for Crowfoot has moved a motion that is before the House for debate. He is debating the motion and with great respect to the hon. member for Ottawa Centre, I do not think the remarks that he is making are far off the subject matter of the bill that was before the committee and which is the subject of the discussion. He is giving his reasons as to why the bill should have been reported. He may be expanding on that, but he is entitled to do so. I invite the hon. member for Crowfoot to resume his speech.

Bill C-234
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Merry Christmas to you too.

If the hon. member would like to debate this motion, by all means let him enter into debate to express his concerns about anything I might have to say about this bill.

I will continue to quote what Mrs. Rosenfeldt said when she appeared before the committee. It is important that this House and all citizens of this country know the terror, agony and pain that victims of crime go through. She said:

I have known for the past number of years that it was his right to apply and that in all likelihood he would. Yet for some reason, although my mind knew it could be a reality, my heart, emotions and soul denied it. I was afraid to think about it, so I put my feelings on hold, something I've grown accustomed to. I know how to make certain feelings go numb. I learned how to survive like that.

You see, I have to stay strong because I made a promise to my son as his coffin was being lowered into the ground that I would do everything I could as his mom to ensure that the person responsible for killing him would be brought to justice. I promised I would never leave him until that happened. I know I have to put him to rest and that he

deserves to be put to rest, but the laws in our country prevent both of us from experiencing any peace.

When I learned that Olson had indeed made the application, I was stunned. Suddenly many images flashed through my mind. I felt shock but I shouldn't feel shock. I felt angry but I shouldn't feel angry. I felt hurt but I shouldn't be hurting. I felt betrayed and I felt panic. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't stay still. I kept pacing from room to room. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream and I wanted to run-.

I hope the justice minister is hearing this. I hope that all members of the House are hearing this eloquent description of the pain and agony this mother is going through and which this government is perpetuating by the actions it has taken. Mrs. Rosenfeldt went on to state:

Why do we have to go through this again? I felt weak and vulnerable. I cannot lose my dignity again-.I went into the family room and I took my son's picture off the cabinet. I sat down and stared lovingly at him, outlining his face with my hands. He looked so perfect. You see, I always have to reconstruct his face in my mind because a hammer was used on him. He was beaten beyond recognition. I cradled his picture next to my heart and once again made the same promises I had 15 years earlier. I got on my knees and I asked God to give me the strength to keep my dignity.

This is very important to me because after Clifford Olson took my child's life, he also took my dignity for a while. I will not let Olson and the system do that again.

The justice minister failed to stop Olson. He failed to protect Sharon Rosenfeldt, her family and the 10 other families whose children were murdered by Olson, from feeling shocked, angry, hurt, betrayed, weak and vulnerable. Instead the justice minister and the Liberal government are protecting Clifford Olson and granting him rights he ought not to have by refusing to eliminate section 745 of the Criminal Code.

Bill C-234 protects the rights of victims. It protects the Rosenfeldts and other victims from enduring the painful memory of having their young children ripped from their lives.

Bill C-234 would abolish section 745 of the Criminal Code. It would take away the rights of killers to a review of their parole ineligibility. In doing so it would restore truth in sentencing by making life mean life with no hope for parole until at least 25 years of that sentence have been served.

In closing, to the members on the other side of the House who voted against Bill C-234, who voted in favour of allowing first degree murderers the opportunity for early release, I ask: What value do they place on the lives of their brothers and sisters and the lives of their children? Do they feel their lives are worth only 15 years? Will the joy and excitement which rings in the voices of their young children be forgotten after just 15 years?

I would like the justice minister and all members of the House to pause, particularly at this time of the season when our thoughts turn to our family members, both close family members and extended family members, and to members of our communities, to our friends and neighbours, and think about their own children and then justify to Canadians why their lives and those of all their family members is worth a meagre 15 years.

Convicted murderers, rapists and others who take it upon themselves to assault or take the life of another human being throw all their rights away the minute they launch their deadly attack, all their rights, except to a fair and just hearing. For the criminal justice system to provide a killer with a so-called glimmer of hope or to restore their rights is a further injustice to the victim, the victim's family and an offence to Canadians because the killers did not offer a glimmer of hope of any kind to their victims. No, they viciously and sadistically murdered them.

Bill C-234 would restore that justice. It would make victims rights a priority. It would protect the families of murder victims. More important, Bill C-234 if adopted by the House, would place some real value on the lives of all Canadians.

I appreciate the Chair having ruled my motion to be in order and for allowing members of the House to make the final decision on Bill C-234. I would ask all members, whether or not they support the bill, to at least bring it back to the House so that it is this House which will make the final decision and not a handful of members of Parliament in the justice committee.

Bill C-234
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member went on at length to talk about his interest in ensuring the safety of Canadians.

It was the hon. member and his party that voted against every single piece of legislation that was introduced by the Minister of Justice that deals with the question of safety of Canadians. This is the very same member who did not hear the outcry from Canadians whose families were slaughtered by criminals. Many of my constituents have been killed by guns, by violence.

When the Minister of Justice introduced legislation that would ensure the safety of my constituents, these members voted against it. They voted against the gun control legislation. They have sanctioned the use of guns that are used in some cases to commit crimes. These are members of a party that voted against everything that had to do with the safety of Canadians from coast to coast. Now they stand up enraged, saying they were entrusted with the safety of Canadians.

They talk about the testimony of people who appeared before the justice committee. Where were they when people before the justice

committee were appealing for support for the gun control legislation? Why did they not support the gun control legislation that would have helped reduce crime? Why did they not support other government initiatives that deal with the reduction of crime?

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that you cannot suck and blow at the same time and that is exactly what this member is trying to do.