House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was offences.

Topics

Firearms Registry
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it interesting to see that the minister has appeared in the House I think on three occasion on the firearm program. It is a clear indication that the government is struggling to put a brave new face on this program. We listened with interest today about yet another plan which tries to convince Canadians that everything is fine with this program, that it will work and that there will be no problems.

The government likes to refer to this program as the gun control program. It does not like to use registry. Maybe we should rename it the damage control program because clearly that is what it has now become.

Clearly questions arise from the minister's statement, where we now have a whole new action plan and a transfer to the Solicitor General's office. By shuffling the deck or shuffling the responsibility to a new department, what assurance do we have that the fundamental concerns and recommendations of the Auditor General will be met?

There are two issues here. One is that the government has not yet been able to demonstrate clearly the link between the registry, the administration and the management of that registry to its overall objective of gun control and, as it says, that is public safety, which is an honourable goal and is something we all support. At the very best, there is scepticism about whether it has been able to demonstrate that link. Of course the worst case scenario is that there is outright opposition to the registry on whether it fulfils those objectives of public safety and gun control.

While there are those who clearly oppose the registry, as long as it exists, there is a second issue. How is it being managed, how is it being administered and how is it being accounted for? That is at the very heart of the Auditor General's recommendations.

One of the basic problems that got us into this terrible mess in the first place is the complete lack of absence of controls, through the House, to review all estimates. In the past a department would be grilled. At committee, members of the House could go through line by line for more than just a couple of hours and bring the government to account on any particular item. That has now all been lost. If that were in place, I do not think we would be in this situation today.

The government has made the decision over the years to basically bypass Parliament, to bypass the mechanisms of checks and balances that allow us to do our job in holding the government to account.

We have this action plan that talks about accountability and transparency, improving service and reducing costs. We need to have the mechanisms in place, mechanisms that are more than a program advisory committee or an annual report to Parliament. We need a full accounting of those estimates. That is what it will take for this place to determine whether the objectives of this program are being met. The onus is on the government to do that. It has not yet demonstrated that nor has it made the clear link between the benefits of this registry and what it will accomplish or has accomplished, and the overall objective of public safety.

Firearms Registry
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the minister started off by talking about positive steps and additional improvements when he should have been talking about further regression and additional costs.

I want every member to remember this day. I want every member to pay close attention to what the government is about to do. I want Canadians to remember that their member of Parliament had the choice.

The blatant disregard for public opinion on this file goes against everything the government has stood for in the past 10 years. For a government that prides itself in following public opinion polls, it has really missed the mark on this one. How many times can we stand in the House and explain to the minister that this registry--and I say registry, it is not gun control, it is a gun registry that we are speaking about--is not about gun safety.

What will it take to get the Liberals to understand that forcing legitimate gun owners to register their long guns, guns used for hunting and shooting, has nothing to do with gun safety? Even Toronto police chief Julian Santino recognized that fact when he said, “The registry is ineffective and a misdirection of public money”.

Once again we call on the minister or anyone on that side of the House to stand up and tell Canadians how the program saves lives. They cannot because it does not.

Why does the government not do a value for dollar audit? The results would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the registry does not work. The government cannot even get the administration of it right.

I will concede the fact that 1.9 million firearm owners have obtained licences and have registered their guns, if the minister will concede that 1.9 million Canadians have registered their cars but that will not stop accidents either. They do it because they are law-abiding citizens and there is a law which says they have to. I fail to see how registration by law-abiding citizens prevents crime.

The Auditor General said that the government intentionally misled Parliament by funnelling money for the failed project through the backdoor in the supplementary estimates. The government continues to whitewash this project in the hopes that its backbenchers will come around and vote in favour of more government waste.

Not one person I have spoken to is against gun safety. Not one person I have spoken to is against preventing criminals from obtaining firearms. Not one person I have spoken to is opposed to gun control. We originally voted for gun control; in fact, we were the first to introduce the idea. Not one person I have spoken to believes that the registry works.

Just over an hour ago the government House leader stood in the foyer along with us and told Canadians that the implementation of Bill C-10A will save taxpayers money. The first thing the government is looking for is an extra $15 to buy off the shelf software to correct the old software which is so complicated nobody thinks it can work anyway.

We talk about saving money. This program was supposed to cost $2 million. It is over $1 billion and we have been told that five or six years down the road it will only cost $67 million a year to maintain. We are talking about the administration. We are not talking about the enforcement or other costs. We are again deceiving the Canadian public.

The only smart thing the justice minister did today is what Liberals always do when they run into trouble. He sloughed it off on somebody else. The young innocent Solicitor General now has the problem on his hands.

We have a bill coming to the House. We will see how many Liberals will have the intestinal fortitude to stand and defeat it as they have been asked to do and how many will stay at home as most of them do when we get into a crunch on a situation like this one.

National Sex Offender Registry Act
Routine Proceedings

February 21st, 2003 / 12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-399, An Act to establish a national registry of sex offenders and to amend the Criminal Code (sex offences against persons under the age of fourteen years).

Mr. Speaker, following the tabling of petitions signed by 40,000 residents of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, I am introducing this bill, which deals with pedophilia and provides much harsher sentencing for sex offenders, psychological support for victims and their families, as well as creating a sex offender registry to facilitate police supervision of such offenders.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-400, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (public transportation costs).

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to introduce my bill to allow individuals who use public transportation to deduct from their taxes some of the costs of travelling by bus, subway or commuter train.

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

Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-401, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to establish a Board of Management to oversee operations of the Correctional Service of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill which is designed to reform our corrections system. The bill would enhance the accountability of Correctional Service of Canada. The legislation establishes a seven member board of management which would be responsible for the operations of the corrections system. Two members of the board would represent the interests of victims.

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

Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-402, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to establish an Office of Victims Ombudsman of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill which would create an office of victims ombudsman. This independent body would investigate victims' complaints on the conduct and policies of Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board. In other words, the bill is about victims' rights and how to guarantee they are respected.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-403, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide for judicial discretion to assign a security classification of maximum to high-risk violent offenders.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill. The intent of the bill is to enhance public safety. The bill would give a sentencing judge the authority to assign a binding security classification of maximum to high-risk violent offenders.

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

Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-404, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide for the disclosure of certain information about offenders.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill. The legislation is about transparency and about providing information to victims and the public on how justice is implemented in Canada. The legislation would make the security classification of offenders public information and would also greatly enhance the access of victims to information about offenders, such as advance notice of prisoner transfers.

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

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois has been calling for a public inquiry into the sponsorship program but so far, the government has refused this request and ordered a few internal investigations and minor changes to the program rather than be transparent and do what Canadians are asking for.

More than 300 people in Quebec signed a petition calling for a public inquiry in order to shed light on the allegations of wrongdoing that weigh on the government and its leaders.

The Bloc Quebecois has taken the initiative of this petition to obtain explanations for the close ties between the Liberal Party, its ministers and some ad agencies.

We hope that the political financing bill will prevent these things from happening again in the future.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke who live in Arnprior, Braeside, Pakenham, Renfrew and Burnstown, I am presenting a petition requesting that Parliament recognize that the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College is essential to Canadians for training in emergency situations. They point out that the facility should stay in Arnprior and that the government should upgrade the facility in order to provide the necessary training to Canadians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from 130 constituents who are concerned about human rights in China. They are calling upon Parliament to initiate a resolution to condemn China's persecution of Falun Gong at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and request China to do three things: one, to immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners; two, to unconditionally release all Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, including 15 family members of Canadians currently detained; and three, to allow unrestricted access into China to the United Nations rapporteur on torture to carry out independent third party investigations on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from my constituents calling upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of persecution. The petitioners feel that the addition of sexual orientation as an explicitly protected category under sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada could lead to individuals being unable to exercise their religious freedom as protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 30 individuals from my riding. The petitioners are asking Parliament to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect their children from any material promoting child pornography and to make it clear that any such exploitation of children will be met with swift punishment.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by approximately 40 individuals from my riding. They are asking Parliament to repeal section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act which prohibits rural route mail couriers from having collective bargaining rights.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Bras D'Or—Cape Breton
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

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