House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was national.

Topics

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the 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 two petitions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2001
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum for the Minister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-49, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in parliament on December 10, 2001.

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

Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-50, an act to amend certain acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-429, an act to amend the Criminal Code (destruction of national flag).

Mr. Speaker, what I am asking, through this initiative to amend the criminal code after section 56, is that everyone who, without lawful cause, wilfully damages or destroys in any manner, burns, defaces, defiles, mutilates, tramples upon or otherwise desecrates the national flag would be guilty of an offence and liable on summary convictions.

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

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition, not only from citizens of the Peterborough area but from citizens of Toronto, Brampton and Bobcaygeon, a wide region around Peterborough.

The petitioners point out that Canada supports the Kyoto protocol. They point out that one way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to develop sustainable public transportation. They point out that a rail service between Peterborough and Toronto would help businesses and tourism in Peterborough and, at the same time, would help the environment.

The petition has support in more than 10 federal ridings.

The petitioners call upon parliament to authorize the renewal of VIA Rail service between Peterborough and Toronto, Ontario.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present another petition from the citizens of the Peterborough area concerning the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, which is one of the institutes of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The petitioners know that this institute does fine work. It supports research in relation to diet, digestion, excretion, metabolism and things of that type. However these citizens are interested in kidney research and believe the work of this institute would be enhanced if the word kidney were included in its public title.

The petitioners 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 institute of kidney and urinary tract diseases.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from February 4 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I think you would find unanimous consent to adjourn all matters related to the privilege motion until tomorrow so that the business with respect to supply and the motion standing in the name of the official opposition could proceed today. We would take up the matter in relation to the privilege motion tomorrow.

Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Privilege
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supply
Government Orders

February 5th, 2002 / 10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

moved:

That, since the government has failed to give effect to the motion adopted by this House on March 13, 2001, calling for the establishment of a sex offender registry by January 30, 2002, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights be instructed to prepare and bring in a bill reflecting the spirit and intent of that motion;

That the Committee shall make its report to the House no later than June 1, 2002;

That in its report, the Committee shall recommend the principles, scope and general provisions of the said bill, and may include recommendations regarding legislative wording;

That the tabling of a report pursuant to this Order shall be an Order to bring in a bill based thereon; and

That when a Minister of the Crown, in proposing a motion for first reading of a bill, states that the bill is in response to the recommendations contained in a report pursuant to this Order, the second reading and subsequent stages of the bill shall be considered under Government Orders; or

That when a Private Member, in proposing a motion for first reading of a bill, states that the bill is in response to the recommendations contained in a report pursuant to this Order, the second reading and subsequent stages of the bill shall be considered under Private Members' Business and the bill shall be placed immediately in the order of precedence for Private Members' Business as a votable item.

Mr. Speaker, it is extremely disappointing for me to have to stand up in the House today and talk once again about a national sex offender registry. I thought the government had agreed to dispense with this last March but, alas, that was not the case.

Several serious issues came out of the national sex offender registry. First, the government made a commitment to establish a national sex offender registry, a commitment made to all Canadians and members in the House which it totally ignored.

The motion, which was introduced on March 13 last year, basically stated that by January 30, 2002, which was last week, it would have the thing built. Last week, on January 30, the government stood up and said that there was no need for it. There is a big need for it and we will show that today.

Mr. Speaker, I am splitting my time with my colleague.

I want to introduce two speeches and two issues today. One is a speech on behalf of the official opposition and the other is a speech that will likely be made by the solicitor general. I would like all folks watching and listening to the debate today to listen very closely to the solicitor general's speech. I will read the speech and I will tell the House where he got it from, which is just the old rhetoric.

The other issue that is important here, and I think it is equally important to other parties, is the idea in the House of Commons that a government looks at a motion and then stands up and votes for the motion with absolutely no intention of implementing it. We only have to look at private members' business, supply day motions, which we are talking about today, or any other issue that any other opposition party introduces here. The government says that it will do it. It then goes out and uses its press corps to get all the great press that is permitted it, only for us to see it die in committee, to be completely ignored or the House prorogued and everything dropped. That is the way this government runs.

Let us see what the effect of that little issue is with the national sex offender registry.

The national sex offender registry is so important that the provinces, frustrated with the federal government, are now implementing their own. Ontario has done that. The problem with a province implementing a provincial sex offender registry is that offenders who leave the province of Ontario to go to any other province know they have to report their details. There are no national guidelines or anything like that.

What is required is a software system. Ontario has already offered to give it to the federal government. Therefore that should not be a problem. The government will say that CPIC, the Canadian Police Information Centre, will look after that, but that is not the case. I will show the House that in a few minutes.

Once we have the software, we would need legislation. It does not need to be tough legislation. It could be legislation very similar to that which Ontario has. All it would do is enable the provinces to tell offenders that they shall report any changes to their information, that is, address, change of name, change of phone number and so on, and that if they do not do that they will be fined.

Let us look at what Ontario does. The offenders' names--legal, alias, nicknames, known names, maiden--are collected along with addresses, phone numbers, photographs and conviction information.

There are built in triggers to advise police services when an offender is non-compliant and living in their jurisdiction or is compliant and in their jurisdiction. Penalties for non-compliance are, for a first offence, a fine of not more than $25,000 and imprisonment of not more than one year or both, and for subsequent offences a fine of not more $25,000 and imprisonment of a term of not more than two years less a day. Ontario says basically that if one does not comply, if one does not make the changes to the registry, then there is a penalty.

This government will not even do that. It did not even have the decency to try to put legislation into the House of Commons to comply with that. Therefore our motion today states that if the government cannot do it and agrees that we need a national sex offender registry, then it should send it all off to a committee and get the committee to do it, get someone to do it. The government should not stand here in the House of Commons, make a commitment and then completely ignore it.

I can understand completely why people are so frustrated with government. It makes commitments, gets all the bragging rights and then it completely ignores the commitments after they are made, time and time again.

Let me tell the House what the solicitor general will say. He will say that Canada's CPIC system, the police information system, is Canada's national sex offender registry. That is totally incorrect. Every province in the country is saying that is not accurate. Every police organization we have found has said it is not accurate. The Canadian police chiefs, the Canadian Police Association and every victims' rights group in the country is saying that CPIC is not a national sex offender registry. How many times do people have to say this? He will say the government is open to improvements. Perhaps it is, but what are they? It had already committed to improvements and did not do a damn thing.

The solicitor general will say that a truly national system can exist only if there is national consensus. There is national consensus. The whole nation is saying that we need a national sex offender registry. The only place where the commitment to a national consensus is not available is here in the House of Commons with the Liberal government. We should think about that when he says that.

He will say that the government has offered to accept current addresses for known sex offenders to be placed in the CPIC database. I say congratulations, that is a darn good idea. The problem is that the moment a person moves from the address that is in the CPIC system no one knows about it. That is why we need to have legislation that says an offender has to register or otherwise there would be a fine.

He will say that the government saw fit to put $115 million into the CPIC system. Yes, it did, and it has been fighting ever since. We talked to the CPIC people, these people who are trying to work up the police information system. They cannot even get consensus on what to do, not only on when to do it, and even the people in charge of CPIC admit that it is not a national sex offender registry.

I can only say that I thought integrity was everything in the House of Commons. I thought that when the House of Commons voted unanimously to put in a sex offender registry the government would at least make a try. It did not develop software. It did not implement enabling legislation. It did not live up to its commitment, much like many other commitments that this government said it would live up to. I hope those people who are watching give a real good listen to these people on the other side, because most of it is rhetoric. There will be no sex offender registry unless this government gets off its duff and does something logical and, for a change, with integrity.

Supply
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague from Langley--Abbotsford for the work he has done on this file. I wonder if he has turned his mind to the possibility of utilizing existing infrastructure in the way of computers and a registry system. He has alluded to the CPIC system, a national registry with respect to criminal records and warrants. Of course any system, as the hon. member will be quick to acknowledge, is only as good as the information that is in the particular system.

I have a question for the hon. member. I do not want to confuse the issue or mix messages here, but has the hon. member or anyone in his employ, in the research he has had available to him, ever looked at the possibility of using the infrastructure of the disastrous national firearms registry that exists, with the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been pumped into the system, and which will not work because people will not voluntarily register, especially Hell's Angels? Has he looked at the possibility of using that computer data system, that technology, that national registry, to apply to, at least in some way, registering sex offenders? Is it something that might be a practical use, at least, of the resources, the hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars that have been pumped into this useless registry system that was ill-fated from its very beginning? The government told people that it would cost $84 million and it is now in the range of $500 million or $600 million and counting. Is it possible to apply that infrastructure to a more practical and more realistic purpose that would allow police, parole officers and Canadians generally to have this national sex offender registry envisaged by the hon. member?