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

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Elected people would have done it.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I hear one of my colleagues say that elected people would have done it. That is fine but that is not what I am saying. We need a two system government. The second House corrects the mistakes of the majority governments in the first House which ram legislation through without careful and thorough analysis and without looking at the implications of what might happen to the ordinary men and women who have to use that in their daily lives, and how it affects them. That is my difficulty here.

Again, listening to the debate about the Senate, I would hope that my colleague from Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough and the rest of my colleagues in this place have learned something here, that we do have reason, need and a strict requirement to have a second chamber.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, to answer my colleague from South Shore specifically, the bill would not be as effective and would not be in the best interest of Canadians had it not received a number of amendments. Certainly the amendment with respect to aboriginal people, the amendment which brought this specific protection that deals with colour of right or legal justification, would have been absent from the bill. There were a number of important amendments that I feel took place. The clarity which has been achieved is attributable to the work that has been done in the other place.

We can all debate the merits of the Senate itself and the need perhaps for parliamentary reform, but clearly that purpose was achieved in this instance. I would suggest that there will be certainly rancorous debate in this place for years to come, hopefully not too many years, that will result in an improved and enhanced ability to have this type of second examination that improves upon the bills and the important work done in this place.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

I have been told by many concerned farmers in my riding of Perth—Middlesex, who through their common farming practices may be charged or challenged by various animal rights groups, that their common practices may result in charges being trumped up against them. Have these concerns been addressed?

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, let me take this opportunity, first, to congratulate the hon. member for Perth—Middlesex for his election to the House of Commons. We in the Progressive Conservative Party are extremely proud of him and the work that he has done already in his first week here in Parliament.

The question that he has put forward was one that was hotly debated at the justice committee, and has been discussed here on the floor of the House of Commons itself. The question is one of wrongful prosecution and charges being brought forward in a malicious way or being brought forward in such a way that harm could come about to the reputation to legitimate activities, particularly those of farmers involving the practices necessary in the slaughtering of animals, and often in the case of ceremonial slaughter, which has great religious implications. I assure my colleague there was a very thorough examination of this.

My feeling is that this legislation has been considerably improved. One would hope that the protections will be there. It will still fall to the administrators of justice clearly, those being the frontline prosecutors, judges in the courts and defence lawyers who will be making the arguments, to ensure there are no wrongful prosecutions.

This is not a perfect system. The justice system itself is one that has evolved and the law has evolved in this case. I would suggest that this protection does exist. Having taken the justification, the colour of right protections, back into this protection section, I believe that common sense will prevail.

Having visited the beautiful constituency of Perth—Middlesex, I understand there is a large agriculture sector in the member's riding. The farmers have been watching this very closely, as have those who are involved in the production of fur and other areas where people work with animals. I believe this law is there to protect their interests and I am confident we will see every effort made to ensure the two needs will be met: the protection of animals, as well as the ability to carry out a livelihood unencumbered by an unfair and unjust prosecution.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, more than one of the people making interventions today have pointed to the contribution made by the Senate in what they view as making improvements to the bill.

Would the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, agree that this place has to run on precedent, certainly, the precedent being that the other place, the Senate, does not have the authority to split a bill approved by House of Commons?

I believe one strong precedent happened in 1988 with Bill C-103, the bill to establish the Cape Breton Corporation. When it was passed in the House and then sent to the Senate, the Senate then split that bill and sent one part back to the House. At that time Speaker John Fraser ruled that the privileges of the House had been breached but, not having the power to enforce his decision, the Speaker then asked that the House claim its privileges by sending that message to the Senate. A large controversy prevailed and a motion was then moved by the hon. Doug Lewis to indicate that in the opinion of the House, the Senate had contravened Standing Order 87, and asked that the Senate return Bill C-103 in its undivided form.

I was just wondering, in a House of Commons that is bound to live up to an established precedent, how the member feels that the Senate did a good job in dividing this bill.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, what my hon. colleague will find is that I am in support of the changes that were made. The process, I would agree, was a derivation and has set a dangerous precedent. In fact, we made that argument in both Houses. We argued here and in the Senate that this was not how the matter should have proceeded.

It does reflect a need for respect of the practices of the House of Commons. I am afraid that we are often on a slippery slope when we start to take this type of cavalier approach.

The end product, the legislation itself, has been improved. The way we went about doing that, in accepting the unprecedented move that was made in the other place to divide this bill, is more a reflection on the Department of Justice and the presentation in the improper form in the first instance.

What occurred here, the hon. member will know, is that the bill was receiving incredible internal criticism from the Liberal government, and it had proceeded to such a point where it could not pull it back, or at least it chose not to for reasons of expediency. Therefore the changes that should have been made in this chamber in the first instance did not occur.

What was happening was that there were provisions in Bill C-10 that related particularly to the Firearms Act, and there were deadlines looming. What the government had to do then was take this unprecedented move and divide the bill in the other place so that it could carve out the sections of the Firearms Act to meet looming deadlines, arbitrary as they were, and try to foster this feeling of legitimacy of the Firearms Act itself.

We all know what has happened there of course. Six provinces have now opted out in terms of prosecuting and have thrown it back into the lap of the government. One billion dollars has been wasted and police across the country have been left in confusion with no further ability to benefit from this type of legislation because, as we know, individuals will not participate in this to a large degree.

It creates a scenario where a dangerous precedent was set. This bill was improved but other legislation was left in a very flawed form, mainly the Firearms Act.

I agree with the member that what has happened here sets a dangerous precedent. This bill may be better but the firearms legislation remains a completely dangerous and improper act that should be repealed, and that has been the position of the Progressive Conservative Party for years.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

An hon.member

On division.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals)
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Chair is very cognizant that the business arising out of private members' business raises strong views for debate in the House but that is the nature of our responsibility as members of Parliament.

The Chair is aware, of course, that the hon. member for Provencher might want to rise on a point of order regarding some amendments. The Chair is very much aware and sensitive to the fact that private members' hour is of course a very restricted allotted time, one hour in this case today. Therefore I am prone to listening to the member for Provencher so that time does not take away time from the hour of private members' business.

Points of Order
Government Orders

June 6th, 2003 / 1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with respect to Bill C-250.

Over the course of the past several months my office, and I think every member of Parliament's office, has been flooded with mail from Canadians who are quite concerned about Bill C-250, which will have negative consequences on their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

I brought forward a number of amendments to the bill in order to address those concerns. Unfortunately, because the member who sponsored this bill chose to filibuster in committee rather than consider the substantive issues, we were unable to address those issues at committee.

Unfortunately some of the amendments that I have brought forward, indeed some of the more significant ones, have been ruled out of order by the clerk's office and I simply cannot understand the rationale for the clerk's decision.

Bill C-250 deals with an amendment to section 318(4) of the Criminal Code, the definition of “identifiable group”. It reads:

In this section, “identifiable group” means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin.

Because of the application of that definition to not only section 318, but sections 319 and 320, all of these three sections are impacted. This is not simply a consideration of section 318.

If we go to section 319, for example, subsection (7) states “'identifiable group' has the same meaning as in section 318”.

The terms and the ideas used throughout those three clause are very closely interrelated. They could have simply put all of them in one clause and had separate categories. This in itself is a code. It is one code, sections 318, 319 and 320, because of the way it has been drafted.

As I understand it, these amendments came out of consideration and concern by the United Nations after the second world war and the genocide that was--