House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of the motion in relation to the amendment by the Senate to Bill C-15, an act to amend the Lobbyists Registration Act.

Lobbyists Registration Act
Government Orders

June 6th, 2003 / 10:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Lobbyists Registration Act
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Lobbyists Registration Act
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10:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Lobbyists Registration Act
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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Lobbyists Registration Act
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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

On division.

(Motion agreed to, amendment read the second time and concurred in)

Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals)
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria for the Minister of Justice

moved:

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that this House agrees with amendments numbered 1 and 5 made by the Senate to Bill C-10B, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals); but

Disagrees with amendment numbered 2 because the amendment is inconsistent with the other elements of the offence and makes the law less clear and because the amendment would collapse two offences with different elements into one single offence, leading to confusion about the elements of the offence and to problems for police and prosecutors;

Disagrees with amendment numbered 3 because it is unclear and creates confusion about whether the intent is to create a different test for liability of aboriginal persons and because there is no clarity as to what “traditional practices” are and how law enforcement can be expected to act accordingly; and

Agrees with the principle set out in amendment numbered 4, namely, the desire to reassure Canadians that no defences are lost, but, because the wording of the amendment would codify a reverse onus by requiring an accused person to prove his or her innocence on a balance of probabilities, would propose the following amendment:

Amendment numbered 4 be amended to read as follows:

Page 4, clause 2: Replace lines 22 to 24 with the following:

“182.5 For greater certainty, the defences set out in subsection 429(2) apply, to the extent that they are relevant, in respect of proceedings for an offence under this Part.”.

Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals)
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Northumberland
Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce the debate on the amendments made in the other place to Bill C-10B, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to animal cruelty.

Bill C-10B received third reading and was passed in the other place on May 29. After careful study and reflection, five amendments were adopted. One amendment is a minor housekeeping amendment and four reflect more substantive changes. The House now has an opportunity to consider and vote on these amendments. I will briefly summarize these amendments.

The housekeeping measure corrected a word in the French text of the proposed section 182.6, which deals with injury to police animals and was a provision put into Bill C-10B by the justice committee of this House. The French text had a small error, in that it used the word aux where the word des should have been used. The government supports the correction of this error.

The second amendment would abbreviate the definition of animal contained in Bill C-10B. The definition of animal was “a vertebrate, other than a human being, and any other animal that has the capacity to feel pain”. The amendment made in the other place would cut off the definition after “other than a human being” so that it would include vertebrates, but not “any other animal that has the capacity to feel pain”. The current sections of the Criminal Code that deal with animal cruelty do not contain a definition of animal. It is therefore a term capable of extending to all manner of animal life, including many invertebrates.

The original definition in Bill C-10B was drafted with a view to bringing some clarity and certainty into the law by clearly enunciating that vertebrates were included. It was also designed to achieve maximum flexibility in respect of animals that are not invertebrates. The original definition would have allowed the Crown to prosecute a case in respect of a non-vertebrate if it was prepared to meet the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the animal had the capacity to feel pain.

The science of animal physiology is evolving and will continue to evolve. This element of the definition allowed the law to continue to evolve with the science. The policy rationale was clear. Any animal that is of a species that has the capacity to feel pain should be protected from the infliction of pain that is not necessary. The amendment would foreclose the possibility of any charge in relation to an invertebrate. It chooses maximum certainty of the definition, all vertebrates and only vertebrates over flexibility in the law. This is not the choice that the government made. The government can understand the preference for certainty over flexibility and so the government is prepared not to oppose this amendment.

The third amendment reflects a concern that defences in subsection 429(2) of the code were being taken away. This amendment has replaced section 182.5 which expressly refers to subsection 8(3) of the Criminal Code which preserves all the common law defences. The justice committee of the House added section 182.5 during its study of Bill C-10B. The amendment would replace the reference to subsection 8(3) with a reproduction of a smaller set of defences that is currently in subsection 429(2) of the Criminal Code. Section 182.5 now reads:

No person shall be convicted of an offence under this Part where he proves that he acted with legal justification or excuse or with colour of right.

The intent of this amendment was to reassure Canadians that the specific defences in subsection 429(2) would not be lost in Bill C-10B.

In fact, even if no express reference is made to “legal justification or excuse with colour of right”, those defences are common law defences and captured by subsection 8(3) of the Criminal Code. Therefore, this amendment is not legally necessary. Those defences are available to any accused charged with any offence and they do not need to be rewritten into every section of the code in order for them to be available.

The very existence of a subsection like 429(2) creates the kind of confusion that has led to this concern. This is an old subsection that was enacted before the charter in order to reverse the burden of proof for certain common law defences in the case of certain offences. Reversing the burden of proof means that the accused must prove that the defence applies. Normally the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defences raised by the accused do not apply. Today, in the post-charter era, we know that in all likelihood the reverse onus is unconstitutional because it could result in a conviction despite the existence of a reasonable doubt about the accused person's innocence.

The historical purpose behind subsection 429(2--to reverse the onus of proof--is no longer acceptable in the charter era. However, its continued existence has caused some to have the misleading impression that the words must be present in order for the defence to be available.

The absence of express reference to these defences was not an oversight in Bill C-10B. On the contrary, by not reproducing the defences the bill would ensure that all of the common law defences of subsection 8(3) would be applied without any possibility of a reverse onus. The bill tried to eliminate the confusion caused by subsection 429(2).

However, some people continue to fear that the absence of the words could result in a court finding that the defences are no longer available. The government can understand the desire to reassure Canadians, who may perhaps not be familiar with such intricacies of the criminal law, and who may fear that the removal of reference to these defences could lead to their loss of application. The amendment made by the other place was meant as such a reassurance. It does not change the law nor provide any new protections.

Although the government can understand the goal of reassuring Canadians, the manner in which this has been accomplished is unsatisfactory for two reasons. First, it reintroduces the reverse onus with the words “if he proves that”. This would require an accused to prove his or her innocence on a balance of probabilities, a burden that the accused should not have and would not have in the absence of the amendment.

It is almost certainly an unjustifiable violation of the presumption of innocence. Most provisions in the Criminal Code introduced after the charter do not have this reverse onus because the courts are likely to find that it violates the charter. It is poor law reform to introduce a provision that, on its face, likely violates the charter.

The second reason the government does not support this wording is because it would give rise to a degree of uncertainty about whether the full body of case law decided under subsection 429(2) would continue to apply. It would certainly be desirable to signal to the courts that the old case law should continue to apply. This is important both in terms of the application of case law that interprets the meaning and scope of these defences, and in relation to some case law that already suggests the reverse onus in subsection 429(2) is unconstitutional and of no force or effect.

The government therefore proposes an amendment to the amendment with slightly different wording that would accomplish the very objectives sought by the other place, and at the same time, would avoid the constitutionality problem of reverse onus. In addition, the government's amendment would signal more clearly to the courts that the old case law should continue to apply.

The government's reworded provision would read as follows:

182.5 For greater certainty, the defences set out in subsection 429(2) apply, to the extent that they are relevant, in respect of proceedings for an offence under this Part.

By referring directly to subsection 429(2), this formulation has the advantage of ensuring that all the case law decided under the provision continues to apply, including case law that deals with the constitutionality of reverse onus in that subsection.

I urge the members of the House to reject the amendment before us and approve the government's motion to amend the amendment.

On the topic of this amendment I would like to make two final points. First, I wish to repeat that this amendment is not legally necessary. There was no oversight in the bill as originally drafted. On the contrary, the legislation was carefully crafted to try to minimize the kind of confusion and concerns that have been expressed by removing reference to defence provisions that are redundant and contained a reverse onus. This is a comfort clause designed to reassure Canadians that defences that used to apply will continue to apply.

As a last point on this issue, I would like to also be clear that the defences referred to in subsection 429(2) do not provide a specialized protection for industry uses of animals. There is still a fair amount of confusion about what these defences mean and how they work, especially the defence of colour of right. I wish here to be clear so that all Canadians understand the scope and reach of the law.

Hunters, farmers, animal researchers and veterinarians do not need to invoke any defences to justify their activities. It is only the wilful, reckless or criminally negligent infliction of pain that is avoidable and unnecessary that amounts to a crime. The government believes that the vast majority of all industry participants take great care to cause no more pain than is required to meet their objectives. Where this is the case, there is no cruelty and there is no crime. The humane use of animals is simply not a crime.

The Ménard case, the leading case on animal cruelty, makes perfectly clear that in the industry setting, causing only necessary pain is not a crime. However, where more pain than is reasonable or necessary is knowingly caused, these defences do not provide an additional layer of legal protection. Cruelty is cruelty wherever it takes place.

The defences are therefore not needed to shield industry personnel. However these defences may in exceptional circumstances be relevant, for instance, where people cause harm to an animal because the animal was attacking them or their property. Colour of right is simply the excuse of mistake. It could apply, for instance, where people euthanized an animal that they believed to be their pet but which actually was not their pet. These defences have a very limited scope.

The fourth amendment deletes the offence of “killing without a lawful excuse” and adds the notion of “causing unnecessary death” to the offence of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal.

The government opposes this amendment because it is problematic for several reasons. It may be intended to clarify that certain activities, such as hunting and fishing, are lawful but in fact it brings greater uncertainty into the law.

Bill C-10B makes it an offence to kill an animal without lawful excuse. The phrase “without lawful excuse” is well understood in the case law and the Supreme Court has clarified that it is a broad and flexible term to be understood in the context of the offence. It is broad enough to encompass commonly accepted reasons for killing animals such as hunting and euthanasia. This term is currently in the offence of killing kept animals and the courts have not shown any difficulty in interpreting its content or scope.

The amendment would take away the term “without lawful excuse” and instead qualify “killing” by the word “unnecessary”. This is illogical and would lead to confusion. The term “unnecessary” has been judicially interpreted in the context of “pain”. In essence, it means “no more pain than is reasonably necessary taking into account the objective sought”.

This interpretation of the word “unnecessary” cannot logically be applied to killing where the only relevant question is whether or not there was a good reason for killing.

The amendment would delete “without lawful excuse”, which is a well-known and well understood concept in the context of a killing offence, and would replace it with the term “unnecessary”, the interpretation of which does not make sense when applied to killing.

This would surely lead the courts to question what the intent was and could lead to a reinterpretation of the elements of the offence.

There is yet another reason for rejecting the amendment. For decades it has been Parliament's intent that there be two distinct offences, one of causing unnecessary pain to an animal and one of killing an animal without lawful excuse. The blameworthy nature of each type of act is quite different. Killing one's neighbour's dog humanely but without good reason is something very different from torturing an animal.

However, the amendment would collapse these two offences into one single offence. This could lead to confusion about the elements of the offence and be problematic for police and prosecutors who need clarity in terms of which offence to charge and what elements to prove. For these reasons the government opposes the motion and urges the House to reject it.

The final amendment would add a new subsection 182.2(3) which would create a defence for aboriginal persons who carry out traditional hunting, trapping or fishing practices in any area in which aboriginal peoples have harvesting rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, where pain caused is no more than is reasonably necessary in the carrying out of those traditional practices.

The government opposes the amendment for several reasons. First, the amendment is not necessary. It was made in response to concerns that aboriginal persons would be subject to undue risk of prosecution for their traditional practices.

Aboriginal persons are not at risk of prosecution or conviction for any activities that are humane and cause no more pain than is necessary. In addition, aboriginal persons have all the protection of section 35 of the Constitution Act, and in any case they can raise the claim that the law violates their protected rights.

In addition to being unnecessary, the amendment is extremely problematic in the way it is drafted. There was substantial confusion in the other place about the effect of the words. Although five members of the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee voted for the amendment, two opposed and five abstained.

Concerns were expressed that the amendment would create an inappropriate reverse onus on aboriginal people. Others were concerned that it was over broad because, the way it is written, it would allow an aboriginal person from one geographic region to go to any area where aboriginal peoples have rights and claim the defence. This would allow aboriginal persons to claim the benefit of the defence based on the rights of another group of aboriginal persons.

There is also some confusion and uncertainty about what “traditional practices” are. Would those be the same as practices that are protected aboriginal rights under section 35 of the Constitution, or would they be something else?

Concern was also expressed about how difficult it would be to expect the police to know what are traditional practices before laying a charge. It is difficult to know whether this provision would be practically enforceable.

In the other place the intent was to ensure that aboriginal persons were subject to the law just as other Canadians are. However some were concerned that the wording would create an exemption. We cannot be certain how the courts would interpret the provision. If the same rules and standards are meant to apply to aboriginals as to non-aboriginals, then courts may wonder what the purpose of the clause is.

For all the above reasons, the government urges the members of the House to vote against the amendment. It is confusing and its scope and effect are uncertain, and it is simply unnecessary.

Aboriginal peoples who treat animals in humane ways are not being cruel and therefore not at risk of prosecution or conviction.

The government would once again like to thank the other place for all its hard work and dedicated study of this complex and important legislation.

I strongly urge all hon. members to vote in favour of the amendment which corrects a word in the French text, to vote against the amendments that deal with the offence of killing without lawful excuse and a special defence in respect of aboriginal persons, to vote against the amendment that deals with colour of right and in its stead vote in favour of the government's motion to amend that particular amendment in a manner that is constitutional and better captures the existing case law.

On the amendment that deals with the definition of “animal”, the government neither supports nor opposes it.

Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals)
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the House on the bill and the amendments.

I want to make it absolutely clear that the Canadian Alliance does not in any fashion condone or support cruelty to animals. We believe that cruelty to animals should be vigorously enforced by our criminal justice system and that wrongdoers receive severe and just penalties for cruelty to animals.

When the bill was in the House last fall I believe, we had concerns about the wording of the amendments and the changes to the Criminal Code. We were in close contact with many groups and organizations that are involved with the care of animals: the livestock industry, the hog industry, the poultry industry, people involved in medical research and a long list of other people, fishers and so on. They had major concerns about the definition of cruelty to animals under this legislation.

When we looked at the wording of the legislation we could see why there would be concerns. The wording was very wide, very loose, very ambiguous and very confusing. The Canadian Alliance tried, through committee and amendments in the House, to get the draftsmanship of that section amended and straightened out. At that time the government would not listen to our appeal and our concerns.

The other concern that legitimate caregivers of animals and people who work with animals had was that the amendments had the effect of eliminating a longstanding defence that people had toward cruelty to animal charges, a defence that I think, in all fairness, was a legitimate one. Government officials told us that we should not be concerned because that really was not the intent. However our position was that we should make it crystal clear and leave that type of defence in the Criminal Code so the courts and everyone would know what the intent of Parliament was but the government refused to do that.

Fortunately, the other House has addressed the concerns that we had on some of the wording, the definition and on the defence area. We support those amendments. There are provisions in the bill that we reject and we support the government's position. That would be amendments two and three.

We are in close contact with people who are involved in providing care to animals, livestock and agricultural producers and so on. It could be fairly said that a lot of those producers are pleased with the amendments and support them. With that being the case, we support them as well. We feel it does take away a lot of the concern that we have with the bill.

There are other provisions in the bill that are far from perfect, which I wish the other House had addressed as well, but that is not the nature of the amendments so I will not deal with that today.

As a final point, the opposition and particularly the Canadian Alliance in committee and in the House made a huge effort to address the deficiencies in the bill when it was in this House and we were stonewalled by the government. It would not listen to us. It now comes back from the other House with pretty much the same sort of changes we supported in this House in the first instance. If the government had listened to the opposition in the first place we would not have to be doing a lot of this follow up work at this stage.

Our basic position is that we support the amendments proposed with the exceptions of amendments two and three which we reject.

Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals)
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today on the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to the bill before us today, Bill C-10B.

First, I would like to thank and congratulate my hon. colleague from Châteauguay, who has worked hard all during this long battle over Bill C-10B to make the government understand that we had constructive amendments to suggest. Unfortunately, during the committee stage, the government refused to yield to any of our arguments.

The paradox is that the motion before us in the House today contains many of the amendments the Bloc Quebecois asked for and put forward, and with which it hoped the government would agree. Today, I must state at the outset that the Senate's amendments essentially echo those of the Bloc Quebecois. Therefore, we are in favour of the government's motion, but we regret the fact that it does not include Senate amendment No. 3, which proposed recognition of the ancestral hunting rights of the first nations.

First, we agree with the first paragraph of the motion. The Senate's first amendment is the same as the first amendment the Bloc Quebecois had proposed. So essentially, the Senate confirmed that the Bloc Quebecois was right in what it was asking for and in the amendments that it had moved.

The definition of animal in the bill is very broad; it describes an animal as

a vertebrate, other than a human being, and any other animal that has the capacity to feel pain.

That is the definition found at clause 182.1 of the new part.

This is another example of change. In addition to removing animals from the property part of the bill, it provides for how the Criminal Code will consider animals from now on, as beings that have the capacity to feel pain.

Several witnesses mentioned that there is a lack of resources to enforce sections of the Criminal Code that deal with cruelty to animals. As a result, the Bloc Quebecois fears that the Crown could, through expert witnesses, prove which animals have the capacity to feel pain. The Bloc Quebecois also fears that there could be unfounded legal proceedings, which could cost the animal, sports and research sectors considerable amounts of money in legal fees.

The fifth amendment proposed by the Senate is a grammatical correction.

With regard to paragraph 2 of the motion, we are in favour of it. Clause 182.2(1) lists the acts towards animals that would lead to criminal responsibility if committed by a person who does so wilfully or recklessly. Paragraphs ( a ) through ( d ) do not provide for all means of defence as found in part XI of the Criminal Code. Paragraphs ( c ) and ( d ) do provide the protection of lawful excuse.

I want to read paragraphs a ) through d ) of clause 182.2(1):

(a) causes or, being the owner, permits to becaused unnecessary pain, suffering or injuryto an animal;

(b) kills an animal or, being the owner,permits an animal to be killed, brutally orviciously, regardless of whether the animaldies immediately;

(c) kills an animal without lawful excuse;

(d) without lawful excuse, poisons ananimal, places poison in such a position thatit may easily be consumed by an animal,administers an injurious drug or substanceto an animal or, being the owner, permitsanyone to do any of those things;

Accordingly, the Bloc Quebecois believes that it would have been appropriate to amend the preamble of clause 182.2(1) to include the concept of lawful justification, excuse or colour of right.

Paragraphs ( e ) and ( h ) do not contain the defences provided for under part XI of the Criminal Code. It should be noted that the Bloc Quebecois moved an amendment providing for an exception for hunting with hounds or for the roue du roi under paragraph ( g ), but our amendment was voted down in committee.

Still in relation to paragraph 2, I would reiterate that the Quebec Bar's comment on this was that we should go with the standard of offences punishable on summary conviction and not the increase to 18 months as this bill proposed.

The Bloc Quebecois agrees with the Quebec Bar proposal with respect to the standard of offences punishable by summary conviction. However, it should be pointed out that the Bloc Quebecois favours increased sentences for criminal acts.

As for paragraph 3 of the government motion, I must say we are disappointed that the government has not seen fit to clearly set out the rights of aboriginal persons in this bill, according to the Senate proposal. We are, however, confident that by virtue of the new wording of amendment 4, and by virtue of the Constitution, aboriginal ancestral rights will be preserved and protected.

As for paragraph 4 of the motion, we are also in favour of this. It represents the core of what we were calling for in committee and was added by the Senate. Creation of a new section of the Criminal Code will have the effect of transferring animals to a section applicable to them alone, while not including the defences that were set out in section 429 of the Criminal Code under property.

The defences proposed in Bill C-10B are central to our concerns. The fact that the means of defence are not included in the new part V.1 will certainly result in those who legitimately and legally kill animals or cause them pain being deprived of the protection currently afforded them under subsection 429(2) of the Criminal Code. Such provision would allow them to act with legal justification or excuse or colour of right.

Section 429(2) reads as follows:

No person shall be convicted of an offence under sections 430 to 446 where he proves that he acted with legal justification or excuse and with colour of right.

Although Bill C-10B contains provision for lawful excuse for certain offences, as well as the common law defences set out in section 8(3) of the Criminal Code, these are inadequate because they apply only to offences under sections 182.1( c ) and ( d ) and are much narrower than those set out in the current provisions.

However, the minister, the deputy minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice amended the bill by stating that section 8(3) of the Criminal Code would apply and that the defences of legal justification or excuse or colour of right would be implicit. The Bloc Quebecois has grave reservations in this regard.

Colour of right is defined as follows. In R. v. Ninos and Walker, in 1964, the court stated that the accused must show that he had an honest belief in a state of facts which, if it existed, would constitute legal justification or excuse.

The colour of right defence is based on the honest and subjective belief of the accused that at the time of the offence there was colour of right. It is based on a belief in a set of circumstances or a situation of civil law which, if it existed, would negate the wilful intent to commit the offence.

Even if the belief does not need to be reasonable, the fact is that it is a factor to be taken into consideration in determining whether such a belief exists. However, it is not enough for the accused to have an amoral belief in the colour of right. The colour of right applies to errors of fact or errors in law and is not limited to areas of the law concerning proprietary interest or ownership right.

That being said, we are in favour of the government's motion.

We are disappointed, as I said, that the government is not considering Senate amendment No. 3, because it proposes recognizing ancestral rights. Nonetheless, I think it was important to make these clarifications today.

I would like to thank my colleague from Châteauguay, who led the battle on this issue. He put forward amendments in committee that were voted down by the government across the way. These Bloc amendments were taken up by the Senate and approved.

We agree with this motion. We hope, as I said, especially with regard to amendment No. 3, that the government will take our requests and recommendations into consideration.

Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals)
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-10B, an act to amend the Criminal Code concerning cruelty to animals.

As the Speaker is well aware, this is the second or perhaps even the third life of this bill. It was rammed through the House of Commons by the Liberal majority and sent off to the Senate.

I know there a lot of parties that do not approve of the Senate, think it is redundant and have some difficulty with the fact that our senators are not elected persons. However, if it were not for the Senate, this legislation would now be law. It was a flawed bill then, and the Senate improved it. There are still some instances where I certainly believe we could continue to improve upon.

However I would like to say, clearly and categorically, that if it were not for the Senate, we would be prosecuting and arresting people next week or next month for traditional practices that are not in any way, shape or form, cruel to animals. That is how bad the legislation was.

I would like to read part of an article from the May 30 Vancouver Sun . It states that:

The Senate on Thursday made major changes to the government's animal-cruelty legislation, prompted by concerns the legislation might enable unfair prosecutions of ordinary Canadians.

That is exactly why there was opposition to the legislation.

It went further and said:

The Senate will now send the legislation back to the Commons for reconsideration. Government representatives have said the federal government doesn't agree with the Senate's interpretation of the legislation.

We will see exactly what happens here.

I see the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans just came into the House. What the senators were most concerned with were the parts and provisions of Bill C-10B, which the minister himself voted for, that certainly may have been found cruel and would therefore be against the law, such as common fishing practices which we take for granted in the east and west coasts and the high arctic. The fact is that under the legislation I am doubtful if Canadians would have been able to boil a lobster. With the proposed changes they can. That is how poor the legislation was. However that did not matter. When the Liberals have it right, they simply line their boys and girls up, crack the whip two or three times and they mouth the words, as they stand and bow to the omnipresent Prime Minister, and push the legislation through.

It is an embarrassment that in the House of Commons a piece of legislation would leave this place in such poor condition that the Senate, with its limited powers, would have to amend it and send it back to us with a little note attached saying, “Try and get it right this time, guys. See if you can do it a little better. We're not against you. We're trying to work with you but see if you can get it right”.

The bill, as it existed in its previous form, would have found as punishable offences the traditional practices in the aboriginal community, the farming community and for people who practise animal husbandry. Traditional slaughtering practices of the Muslim and Jewish faiths would have been outlawed by the government.

It is unbelievable and inconceivable that this piece of legislation was passed by the House of Commons and sent to the Senate and had to be returned.

Although there are still some things which I think are problematic in the new legislation, it at least defines cruelty. There was some nebulous definition before. We could kind of put our finger on the centre of it but it just kept moving away from us. Now there is a clearer definition. There is one part that I am going to emphasize which I will come back to.

I will read the definition so the public understands exactly what it is we are talking about. Under proposed subsection 182.2(1) we have defined what cruelty is, or we are closer to defining what cruelty is. It states:

Every one commits an offence, who wilfully or recklessly--

We are starting to tighten up the language. Hopefully in the future the traditional farming practices will not be penalized. However the wording is that anyone who wilfully and recklessly, and I would add the word deservedly, should be prosecuted under the law.

The debate has never been about the fact that the legislation is 100 years old and it is time to modernize it. It is time to bring it into accordance with the morals, the mindset and the advances in thinking that have been made in the last 100 years.

The Liberals decided to ram this piece of legislation through the House, and ram it through the House they did, in one week in an unamended form.

The bill states:

Every one commits an offence, who wilfully or recklessly,

(a) causes or, being the owner, permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal;

(b) kills an animal or, being the owner, permits an animal to be killed, brutally or viciously, regardless of whether the animal dies immediately--

I still take great umbrage to those two paragraphs. We are leaving the definition of “brutal” and “vicious” in the hands of some judge somewhere. Quite frankly we all may have various definitions for those two terms. I do not know what a judge may decide. I am not willing to second-guess the lives and livelihoods of farmers on this issue.

I was a farmer before my life in politics. I raised sheep. Out of 100 to 150 lambs that would run around the barnyard, it was guaranteed that one of them would find its way into the water tanks and would drown. It was guaranteed that one would get his head stuck in the fence, flip over and choke itself to death.

Does that mean the farmer should be held responsible and receive up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail because somehow he was not there to prevent that from happening, even though he had put up the very best of fences, even though the animals were kept in the very best of conditions with lots of food and water? An accident can occur that is beyond the control of the individual and some judge may look at this bill and see “causes, or being the owner, permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to an animal”.

Canadians who are watching today should be the judges. Who is guilty of an offence under those circumstances?

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is in the House. When one sets a gill net for herring or mackerel and catches a fish which is a vertebrae by the gills and it struggles and drowns because it is caught up in the net, that is cruelty under this legislation. With some judge who is not a fisherman, who has never had to make a living by putting on a pair of oil skins and rubber boots and standing on the deck of a tossing boat, who has never had to go out at 4:00 in the morning and come back at 2:00 the next morning, how is he or she going to feel about that? I suspect someday one of them is going to look at it and say “We permitted or caused unnecessary harm or pain to an animal”.

Whether that animal has the capacity to think or feel or make judgments is immaterial because we cannot control what people think. I am not about to state that we should. That is why we need clarity. That is why we need crisp definitions in the bill.

Other parts of the bill we absolutely, totally agree with, such as killing an animal without a lawful cause or reason; “without lawful excuse poisons an animal, places poison in such a position that it may easily be consumed by an animal; administers an injurious drug or substance to an animal; or, being the owner, permits anyone to do those things”. Obviously no clear thinking Canadian wants that type of thing to happen and should be responsible to prevent it.

Do we need new cruelty to animals legislation? Absolutely. Can we do better than we have done already? Yes, we can. Let us get it right this time and send it back to the Senate so it is not returned.

Juno Beach Centre
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, the 59th anniversary of D-Day, is a special day for all Canadian veterans as we mark the official opening of the Juno Beach Centre on the Normandy coast of France.

The interpretive centre demonstrates that Canada not only remembers but also teaches today's generation about the second world war, so that what happened on a 10 kilometre coastline in France, code named Juno Beach, throughout Europe and in fact around the world is not forgotten. The museum provides visitors with information about Canada's role in the second world war on land, in the air and at sea.

It focuses not only on the role Canadians played in the D-Day landings at Juno Beach on June 6, 1944, but also about Canada's contribution in places like Hong Kong and Holland, and the story of men and women supporting the war effort on the home front. It commemorates veterans who have served their country with bravery, honour and distinction in all wars and peacekeeping missions.

I would like to commend the Juno Beach Centre Association, many of whom participated in the D-Day landings, for their vision, for their legacy, for preserving the gifts of valour and freedom for future generations.

Campbell River Indian Band
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Campbell River Indian Band filed a land claim in 1985. Seventeen years later this case was decided at the Supreme Court. The Campbell River band lost.

Five months after the decision, the government revealed that the Supreme Court judge who wrote the decision was previously a senior federal bureaucrat and had discussed legal strategies with federal counsel on the case at the time. The Supreme Court may now be faced with reopening the case. The justice department predictably is arguing that since the judge had no recollection of prior involvement and that since the involvement was long ago in 1986, no bias affected the judgment of the court.

The Campbell River Indian Band feels cheated. It is not satisfactory to find out, after spending 17 years and millions of dollars on litigation, what should have been known before.

Poetry Competition
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and applaud a talented group of students from St. Anthony Catholic School in Toronto. From among a national competition, their poems have been chosen by the Poetry Institute of Canada to be published in an anthology of verse entitled Treasure Chest .

Please join me in congratulating these rising stars of Canadian literature: Kassia Adams, Jessica Baker, Nikole Black, Michael Cattaruzza, Coleen Dermody, Julieta Grande, Shaina Harrison, Karen Lee, Katie Majkowicz, Sara Moon, Jaein Mun, Giulia Provenzano, Steven Stanwyck, Emily Stephenson and Rachel Whitehead.

We can all share in the pride of these young people and rejoice in their outstanding efforts. Congratulations to all. They are all winners.

Juno Beach Centre
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 6, 1944 Canadian soldiers stormed the beaches on the Normandy coast in France, code named Juno, as part of the allied effort during World War II.

Thousands of Canadians fought in this battle and hundreds lost their lives. Today this historic site is home to the Juno Beach Centre. Officially being opened today, it will ensure that all Canadians know about Canada's involvement in all campaigns during the second world war and fully appreciate the sacrifices our soldiers made.

The Juno Beach Centre project was developed by a group of World War II veterans who participated in the D-Day landings as well as other battles. The centre will inform visitors of Canada's participation in, and support of, the war effort both at home and in Europe.

Let us thank our veterans for their valiant efforts on the Juno Beach Centre project.