House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions from people who are concerned about kidney disease in Canada.

The first petition points out that real progress is being made in preventing and coping with kidney disease. The signatories call upon parliament to encourage the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explicitly include kidney research as one of the institutes in its system to be named the kidney and urinary tract diseases institute.

The second petition is from citizens of the Peterborough area who are also interested in kidney disease.

The petitioners point out that kidney dialysis and transplantation have been successful for some people but for not for others. They point out that the availability of dialysis and kidneys for transplant are very limited.

They call upon parliament to support the bioartificial kidney, a research development which would eventually eliminate the need for dialysis or transplantation for those suffering from kidney disease.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition organized by a member of my constituency which calls upon the government to address the issue of video violence on the Internet and in video games.

The concern of my constituents is with the relationship in the criminal code between the words violence and sex, in that violence cannot stand alone as an issue in the criminal code. They think it should. They think the two should be separated and that the violence depicted in videos should be enough to disallow minors purchasing them.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, the people in my riding would like to table this petition to put an end to sanctions against Iraq.

Of course, since Operation Desert Fox, in December 1998, over 10,000 air strikes have taken place against Iraq, producing an incalculable number of victims.

Whereas the continued UN sanctions against Iraq, considered to be the heaviest ever imposed, have devastated the Iraqi economy and resulted in the death of over 5,000 children a month, the people of my riding want the bombing to stop and serious peace negotiations to take place between Canada and the United Nations in order to increase efforts to provide food, medicines and infrastructure funding for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, before I ask that all questions be allowed to stand, I will indicate for the benefit of the member for New Brunswick Southwest that answers to Questions Nos. 1 and 2 are imminent.

I anticipate that those questions could be raised and introduced in the House tomorrow. I therefore ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is refreshing to hear the parliamentary secretary anticipating answers to my questions. For the record, those questions will be celebrating their first birthday within a few short weeks. Not only have they survived two parliaments, but they have survived an election as well.

Do the assurances of the parliamentary secretary relate to the sale of not only the 40 Huey helicopters but of the 10 Challenger aircraft as well? I remind him that there are two questions that are close to being one year old. Is he entertaining answering both of them?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The parliamentary secretary indicates that he has given the answer. Shall all the remaining questions stand?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-7, an act in respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

March 26th, 2001 / 3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we were speaking to Bill C-7, the amendment to replace the Young Offenders Act with the youth criminal justice act. We were speaking about the use of alternative measures or community based programs for non-violent offenders who pose no threat to society.

We firmly believe that only through lengthy periods of incarceration where there are effective rehabilitation programs including education would violent offenders cease to be dangerous.

We are encouraged that the bill would make these educational and rehabilitation programs mandatory. When and if young offenders are incarcerated, they would be forced to go through programs so that they could be integrated back into society thus making it a safer place to live. Protection of society is the key guiding principle of the Young Offenders Act or of the youth criminal justice act.

According to an old Statistics Canada fact finder a very small percentage of violent offenders are incarcerated. It means that a very small percentage of them are actually held in custody. They are unable to go through those programs while a disproportionate number of non-violent offenders are incarcerated, limiting the space and resources needed to rehabilitate the violent offenders.

Prison is not necessary for young persons who commit minor offences. We are not asking that there be incarceration in that regard. In many cases it may be detrimental to them. They may be assaulted by other violent young offenders or they may also learn from the other ones in the prison system. After their release, depending on how we look at it, the educational program may also allow them to progress to higher levels of crime or lower levels of crime.

We fully support alternative measures but only for non-violent first time offenders. In 1995, with the passage of Bill C-41, the Liberal government legislated conditional sentences and alternative measures. My party fought adamantly but to no avail to amend the legislation limiting the use of conditional sentences to non-violent offences. As a result of the government's failure to make such amendments, judges have repeatedly handed out conditional sentences throughout the country to persons convicted of serious crimes.

There is one case that has been raised many times in the House. A man who abducted and viciously sodomized a young woman was given a conditional sentence. The young woman was scarred for life. She now lives with that in her memories and is plagued by that conditional sentence.

A few weeks ago in Ottawa, another case dealt with a woman who was convicted of attempting to hire a hit man to kill her parents and was given a conditional sentence.

The first and guiding principle of Canada's criminal law should be the protection of society. Without strict limits placed on the use of alternative measures or conditional sentences, whether it be for violent adults or violent youth, the tenet for the protection of society would be violated.

In closing I urge the government to take the step to realize and to recognize the importance of dealing with the protection of society within Canada's criminal law. Do we need changes to the Young Offenders Act? Yes, we do. We applaud the government and the minister for recognizing the inadequacies of the Young Offenders Act and for realizing that we need to make changes.

Bill C-7 falls short. It is short of what is required for the protection of society. We are dealing with our children. The throne speech dealt with our children. The protection of our children and grandchildren is paramount. Bill C-7, although it moves in the right direction, falls short of giving the tools we need to help protect society and our children.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

I congratulate my colleague from Crowfoot for his excellent speech in which he mentioned diversion programs that may be applicable to helping young offenders.

I know of one such program in my own riding, a young diversion program, in which the member for Surrey North even as a sitting member is still involved and shows great commitment to. Could he indicate how youth diversion programs could be implemented?

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we all recognize the fact that we need to be able to divert non-violent offenders. Diversion should not occur from the judicial system because that is where they enter the system when they commit crimes. There are many community based programs, going back to the Juvenile Delinquents Act, that can be implemented for these young people. Some of them are probably living in the condition of delinquency.

We do not believe that for violent offenders we should be looking at some alternative measures, that there should be some community programs for violent offences. We believe that community based programs or alternate programs may be used for non-violent first time offenders.

Young people can make errors. They get mixed up in the wrong crowd or hang out with people who have bad reputations. They blend in and all of a sudden they find themselves involved in criminal activity on a first time offence. We should see how our communities can bring them back in.

The hon. member mentioned that there are already some community programs in place. Other community programs are being considered where the community itself, understanding their young people and the needs of the community, could probably do two things. They could educate them and help them integrate back into that community or for the safety of other young people could hold them in check.

We are not opposed to alternative measures, but we are opposed to those with third or fourth time offences going through alternative measures. We are opposed to violent criminal acts bypassing incarceration. They are placed in a community program where it is a slap on the wrist and we believe they should be incarcerated.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remember a little nine year old boy coming down the street into my backyard one day. His pockets were bulging and overflowing with candy and stuff. When I queried him about it and asked him if he had any money to pay for it, he said no, that he had just helped himself.

What I did as a father was what any father should do with a child who has been caught shoplifting: I marched him back to the store. I made him apologize to the owner and give back the candy. Fortunately he had not started eating it so he was able to give it all back.

Is it not public disclosure of the things we do wrong one of the best ways for us to make sure it does not happen again? Is it not true that most of the crime in the country occurs under the cover of darkness or takes place when other people cannot see what is going on because it is human nature to not want to get caught doing something that is wrong?

With regard to the public disclosure of names of children who have done something wrong, is it not common sense that if we published the names of these children a shame factor would come into play? Would it help prevent them from doing it again, or has society gone so far away from the shame factor that it does not matter any more? I would like the hon. member to comment on that.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the publication of names does two things. It helps to protect society. I talked about that in my speech. As a parent, the publication of names would allow me to be very careful whom my children hang around with. It would let me know about someone living down the street or close by in the community that I would not want my little girl or boy hanging around with.

I could then do one of two things. I could be there all the time that my child is with that individual, or I could step in say that I do not want my child hanging around with those types of people. The publication of names is a good idea.

The fear of their name being publicized creates a deterrent as well. If they commit a crime or are involved in a crime they do not want their community to know. The hon. member is 100% right. It serves as a deterrent and a deterrent that we should not question. Over and above that it give us another tool to protect society and our young people.

We need to publish the names of all violent offenders such as the individual the hon. member came in contact with. We are not asking for the publication of names of individuals who have shoplifted or stolen candy from a candy store. That is not what we are asking for. We are talking about violent offenders.

The school boards said that they wanted to know the names of those involved in crime. It was information they could use to educate. It could also protect society. Other members said names of violent offenders were already published but not to the extreme they would like to see. Some information is provided to schools to a certain degree, but not to the community to the point where I as a parent would know that young Johnny who just moved in is a convicted drug dealer.

The whole issue of drug dealing is not mentioned under violent offences. We should look at what drug dealers are doing to the country. That is another area that should be publicized. It is ripping our country apart. It is to a large degree driving young people into crime. Parents have said that we need to know who the drug dealers are and who is convicted of drug dealing.

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the remarks of the hon. member. When he speaks of the issue of deterrence. I agree that general and specific deterrents are an important part of the messaging in the criminal justice system. It applies to youth as well.

Having looked at the bill he would know that it attempts to draw a line in the sand between violent and non-violent offences. It sets up the impression in the public sphere that somehow the bill would enable more to be done in terms of early intervention. There would be more programming available by virtue of the bill. There would be more attempts made to be proactive in our criminal justice system. All those things are certainly laudable goals. They are areas, he will agree, that we should be looking at.

The difficulty that exists in the bill is that the federal government through the Department of Justice has given no undertaking whatsoever to increase its share of the costs of the administration of justice, particularly pertaining to the young offenders system. As it currently exists in most provinces, the federal government is picking up less than half the cost.

My question for the hon. member is quite simple. If the new bill is raising expectations and putting in place mechanisms that put greater emphasis on early intervention and rehabilitation, goals that we should be trying to attain, yet at the same time is giving no commitment whatsoever to funding such programs, are we really not in some instances making things worse by dashing the hopes of dedicated people in probation and other dedicated workers who are trying to do more to help youth at risk?

Youth Criminal Justice Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right. As I read through Bill C-7 I did not understand the provincial jurisdiction and the federal jurisdiction. A lot of what the hon. member is referring to is true. Funding is definitely lacking.

Our lead critic from Provencher spoke about the provincial jurisdiction and the federal jurisdiction. As a new member in the House I have gone through the bill, but I have not been privy to all the witnesses and all the committee meetings. I have heard concern that we are stepping into provincial jurisdiction and that we are putting expectations on the provinces. We are not willing, as we used to say down on the farm, to put our money where our mouth is.

It is a huge problem when we download to provinces programs which perhaps they should be in charge of and there is no money available to help follow up. The whole thing should be looked at as far as the federal portion of funding is concerned. If they are willing to come with these programs, the government had better be willing to back it up with its wallet.