House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member to wait until next week when I intend to announce concrete, specific and practical measures to deal with a situation we find not only in Quebec but wherever such gangs and individuals are involved in organized crime.

It is true that Monday night I received a proposal drafted by Mr. Bégin, the attorney general for Quebec. I examined the proposal, and my officials are now preparing our replies. Personally, I was a little surprised and disappointed because, according to Mr. Bégin's proposal, membership alone in an organization would constitute a crime. I think this is against the Quebec and Canadian charters.

It is possible to find acceptable, permanent and effective ways to deal with this. I am now preparing proposals for next week.

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that instead of acting like an armchair quarterback and waiting for a bill to appear out of thin air, preferably drafted by divine inspiration, the minister take a look at documents produced by the RCMP and Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, which state that, and I quote:

The Hell's Angels and the Rock Machine have a vast arsenal of weapons and munitions and are determined to go to the very limit. At stake in this war is control of the drug trade in the Montreal area and elsewhere in the province.

These are federal documents.

Considering what he said yesterday about Quebec's bill, would the minister agree that his rather innocent interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights is undermining his own efforts to find effective ways to deal with the bikers' war?

Organized Crime
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I fully share the hon. member's concern. We disagree on how we should proceed to meet these challenges.

Both I personally and the Government of Canada prefer to use constitutional and valid measures. We believe it is possible to meet these challenges with constitutional measures.

Mr. Bégin, the Quebec minister, suggested another, unconstitutional approach. I would prefer to have laws with staying power, not laws that would be challenged in the courts in the months to come. So next week I intend to table proposals that are valid, constitutional and effective as well.

Justice
Oral Question Period

April 10th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister's Bill C-41 is allowing rapists and violent offenders to walk free. I am sure Mrs. de Villiers will not support that. I am sure she is opposed to that.

Rather than seeing rapists and violent offenders walk free, why will the justice minister not bring in an amendment that would restrict conditional sentencing to non-violent offenders?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the provision in Bill C-41 to which he refers requires the court to assess the safety of the community before determining that a conditional sentence is appropriate. One would have thought it was

clear that someone who had committed a serious violent crime would not be granted a conditional sentence.

The cases in some of the appellate courts of the provinces have been unclear. It is for that reason that I proposed-and the hon. member was good enough to agree-that there ought to be an amendment to Bill C-41 to make clear that the courts must have regard to the traditional principles of sentencing, including deterrence, denunciation and protection of society when deciding on whether a conditional sentence should be given.

The case to which the hon. member refers, which is so shamelessly exploited by the hon. member for-

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Bullshit.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Of course I do not always hear everything that is said in the House. I can understand sometimes if we have outbursts, but I would like the hon. member for Fraser Valley West to simply withdraw the word so that we can get on with question period.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, that was a very serious accusation he made but I withdraw my comment.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the conditions of the amendment to which the justice minister refers will not stop courts from allowing rapists and violent offenders to walk free. It will not do that.

Inasmuch as the justice minister's answer indicates very clearly that he has no intention of limiting conditional sentencing to non-violent offenders, what does he have to say to the victims of violent crime, in particular women who have been assaulted and raped by men who are now walking free because of his bill and because of his refusal to restrict that law to non-violent offences?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the case is before the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The argument before that appeal court is that such sentences should never be given in such cases. If the appeal court should see fit to make such a disposition of course it will be binding on lower courts.

The reality is that my friend speaks of victims. All week long the Reform Party has made much of the plight of victims. As I have already said this afternoon there is in Canada a no more credible, hardworking organization in favour of victims and their rights than CAVEAT. There are few more respected outspoken spokespersons for victims than Priscilla de Villiers.

As I have read to the House today, Priscilla de Villiers on behalf of CAVEAT has said that the government listens, has made meaningful change and has acted to change the law to make the plight of victims better. That is the record of the government.

Financial Institutions Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, federal legislation on financial institutions prevents insurance companies with provincial charters from acquiring part of the activities of a federally chartered insurance company.

It denies Quebec companies the opportunity to buy blocks of insurance from a competitor withdrawing from the market. The discrimination in the legislation goes so far as to permit a French, American, Brazilian or other company to do what a Quebec company cannot do in its own country.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Will he agree before this House to correct this discrimination against Quebec companies immediately? He can do it right now in the course of the present review of the legislation on financial institutions?

Financial Institutions Act
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is aware, Bill C-82 is very important to the insurance industry. It contains many provisions on a variety of broad issues.

I am sure the hon. member will agree with me that any change to an industry like the insurance industry must be made with care. Third, the change proposed by the member was not a priority for the insurance industry.

That having been said, my officials are already considering and analyzing a possibility. I myself am very open to looking at it and giving it full attention.

Financial Institutions Act
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the minister says it was not a priority for the industry, I would remind him that a white paper was tabled last year that was almost unanimously approved by the industry in Canada, that contained support for this sort of change by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc., the Canadian Bankers Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Canada Trust, and so on.

As we are always ready to co-operate in the interest of our fellow citizens, contrary to what the Prime Minister said a few minutes ago, we offer him our services to correct the unjustified discrimination against Quebec's provincially chartered insurance companies before the next election is called.

My question then is: Is he prepared today to initiate a process that will correct this situation with the full co-operation of the official opposition?

Financial Institutions Act
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have just indicated, I am very open to considering a change. My officials are already looking into it, and I am prepared to meet the companies concerned within a fairly short period of time.

I think the hon. member will agree with me that what counts most is to have Bill C-82 passed as quickly as possible, because it contains provisions that are vital to the industry as a whole.