House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was document.

Topics

Privilege
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

The usual tactic of accuse the accuser is what is playing out before the House today.

Obviously my tabling of that document was in response to the Prime Minister's invitation to do so, which I did. Unlike the member opposite who scurried out of the House to make copies, I rose in my place at the conclusion of question period, offered to table the document, two pages which I was in possession of, to which members opposite agreed, and that is the total document that I was in possession of, the two pages.

This is a complete distraction, a rabbit-tracks tactic that the government is obviously up to here.

Privilege
Government Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we are to accept the explanation given by the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, he must still explain why he only had pages 1 and 3 in his possession.

He should have noticed that there was a page 2. He can claim that he did not know that there was a page 4 and a page 5, but he certainly knew that there was a page 2.

I maintain, as did the President of the Treasury Board and my colleague, that the member voluntarily and intentionally misled the House. He had to know that there were at least three pages and that he was tabling only two of them. He should have mentioned that, to his knowledge, it was a three-page document and that he had only two pages in his possession.

Privilege
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I find the comments made by the member simply remarkable.

The member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough stood up and said, “I have the document. It is two pages and I am going to tender it”. If the member was trying to mislead the House, would he actually table it? No, he would do what Liberals do and hide the document. The member stood up and put his document on the table. Let the President of the Treasury Board put forward the document that he keeps on hiding.

Privilege
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I think we have heard the argument on this. The Chair seems to have got the drift thoroughly.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River, the President of the Treasury Board and the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine all made interventions on this subject on behalf of the government. We also heard from the hon. member for St. John's West, the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough and the hon. member for Provencher on behalf of the opposition. We also heard from other members of the House.

I believe that the Chair has heard enough on this point to be able to take the matter under consideration.

I will get back to the House in due course and give a decision on the matter.

On a point of order, the hon. member for Peace River.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, now that you have dealt with a matter raised by the President of the Treasury Board, I would ask that you request the President of the Treasury Board to table the document that he read in the House today. He scurried out of the House so he did not have to present it this afternoon.

I think the rule should apply in the same way to the President of the Treasury Board who read from a document and then did not present it to the House. Here is an opportunity for him to do that. I would suggest that he be called to account to present the document.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am only too willing to table the document. It is on the website. If the hon. member checks my remarks in the House, he will see that I said I would be only too willing to make copies for all members, which I undertook to do. I am more than willing to give it to them, but they can actually go to the website. There is the document.

Points of Order
Government Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I think that brings the matter to a conclusion. Of course we are all very thankful to the President of the Treasury Board for having tabled the document in the House.

I believe that concludes this intervention and series of debates for the moment.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motions Nos. 1 to 3.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

February 18th, 2004 / 6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I shall try to make a speech that will not result in us being taken for idiots. This afternoon, we clearly heard the President of the Treasury Board call the Bloc Quebecois members idiots. I thought it was important to begin my speech by saying that. That kind of thing is unacceptable. Perhaps it was not recorded, but we heard it clearly.

With respect to Bill C-12, it is important that we be able to say that, with the changes and evolution in technology today, many aspects of this technology should now be taken into account in a debate such as we are having on the subject of Bill C-12, on the controls needed to ensure that child pornography does not spread everywhere.

Recently, we have seen examples in Quebec that demonstrate to what an extent this has become a very touchy subject. People react very strongly when children are involved in child pornography situations.

As proof, for example, there was Operation Scorpion in Quebec City, where the police uncovered a whole system where certain sexual predators took advantage of what was happening with young people. That is not acceptable in a society, even if certain people want to convince us that it is a free and democratic society. A free and democratic society does not go so far as to sexually exploit children.

Overall, we agree with the bill before the House to amend various provisions of the Criminal Code. I want to give some examples. The maximum penalty for sex offences would increase. Obviously, if children are the victims, if society wants to side with the victims, convicted offenders must receive a harsh penalty. That is the intention of this amendment to the Criminal Code. The maximum penalty for sexual exploitation would increase.

The penalty for child abuse would also increase. Child abuse constitutes aggravating circumstances. For example, there are aggravating circumstances when a sexual predators are physically abusive. Obviously, we have no problem with this change.

A series of amendments to the Criminal Code are proposed to allow various means to facilitate testifying. We consider this extremely important. When children are required to testify before the prosecutors, judge and the entire court, with all the decorum of such courts, they feel intimidated and it makes it harder for them to testify.

There are things we fully agree with. It is important that all orders restricting publication be upheld. In the case of child abuse, when youth protection lawyers prosecute the parents or the child abuser, often, indeed almost always, the judges will invoke an order restricting publication. We agree with this.

We also agree with the ban on cross-examination by the accused. That is unacceptable, but it often occurs in adult court or rape cases. In the past, some accused have cross-examined the victims themselves, because they were defending themselves. It is very difficult to accept that this happens. If we allowed this, an accused could question a child he abused physically or sexually.

These are things that we want to see in this legislation. Video recordings are also good, as is allowing the child to testify behind a screen without having to face the court. These are all extremely important.

The bill also creates an offence for voyeurism and for distribution of voyeuristic recordings. Previously, this was a grey area. I think identifying it and making an attempt to define it closely is a positive element in the bill.

There is also the matter of consent. We have to talk about it. We believe that in a free and democratic society, if a child aged 14 or over gives consent, society can accept it. Of course, if there is exploitation involved, that is another thing, and we cannot accept it. Also, I believe there is a provision in the bill that a child 14 and over may give consent, yes, but not with a person who is in a position of authority, such as a school principal or the like. Even if the child says he consents, I think it is unacceptable to allow it because of this relation of authority.

As far as the age issue is concerned, I do not share the opinion of my colleagues in the Conservative Party, the former Alliance. They are the ones who introduced the young offender legislation and voiced approval of jail sentences for youths aged 14 or 15. Now they are telling us it is unacceptable for young people to have consensual sexual relations under the age of 16. It seems to me that this represents a problem on their part. If, in one bill, they can say that offenders of that age can be imprisoned and tried in adult court, I do not see how consensual sex cannot be allowed at the age of 14, 15 or 16. I think the Alliance has a consistency problem here.

A number of factors in this bill convince us it should be adopted. We agree with this bill, particularly since we are of the opinion that the Criminal Code did not contain sufficient provisions for the defence of these young victims.

A number of measures are introduced for inclusion in the Criminal Code. We feel that victims will benefit from them. A clear signal will also be sent for society to side with young people who have been victims of this type of treatment and take a strong stand against abusers and sexual predators. The Bloc Quebecois will therefore be supporting this bill.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 11 I asked the Minister of the Environment if he could indicate when heavy duty emission standards of diesel trucks similar to the ones just set in the province of Ontario would be set for the rest of Canada so as to apply to vehicles crossing provincial borders.

The minister's reply was encouraging. He indicated that he “will be working with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to extend the Ontario standards across Canada, and also with the commission on environmental cooperation to extend the Ontario standards north-south through the United States and Mexico”.

The minister went on to report that on January 1 of this year new heavy duty diesel truck regulations were introduced requiring new emissions control technologies to reduce nitrous oxides by 90% and particulate matter by 95% for these vehicles.

Tonight I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment to inform the House as to the date when the new heavy duty diesel truck standards for the rest of the country will come into effect; the date when the new emissions standards will come into effect in the U.S.A. and Mexico; and the date when the new federal regulations for heavy duty diesel trucks announced on January 1 of this year will come into effect.

Targets and timetables are essential for cutting pollution in North America. I look forward to the parliamentary secretary's reply to this effect.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry
Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Davenport for raising a very important question, one everyone feels is as important as atmospheric pollution, and that is automotive pollution.

As hon. members know, the Government of Canada clean air program is in its third year. This program is a comprehensive plan requiring the use of less polluting fuels and more stringent emissions standards for new vehicles.

Clean air is the priority of the Minister of the Environment, and we will continue to develop measures to protect the health and environment of Canadians.

The federal government is instituting domestic regulations designed to ensure that automotive manufacturers provide us with products that meet these more stringent emissions standards throughout their useful life, as long as they are properly maintained. This should be effective by January 2004.

By 2010, new federal emissions standards for heavy vehicles will reduce CO

2

emissions by 95% and particulates by 90%, over previous standards.

In recent years, under the aegis of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, the federal Minister of the Environment has been a leader in the development of codes of practice for inspection and maintenance programs for both heavy and light vehicles. These codes are designed to facilitate the implementation and coordination of such programs in Canada.

Naturally, regulatory regimes for vehicles in operation fall under provincial jurisdiction. Inspection and maintenance programs such as Ontario's Clean Air Program are generally implemented on a regional basis when it comes to dealing with local air quality. The primary objective is to ensure the proper maintenance of vehicles in operation to introduce over time appropriate emissions control.

We must congratulate Ontario on being the North American leader in terms of emissions standards for vehicles in operation. Through closer cooperation with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, such efficiency could become Canada-wide. Ontario's new standards for heavy duty vehicles in operation will greatly complement our federal regulations for new heavy vehicles.

Clean air is not the prerogative of a any one government, industry, resource sector or thematic group. Clean air is our common responsibility.

I think we should all recognize the merit of any initiative—be it an individual, community or provincial one—promoting clean air.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his answer. I want to ask him if he could tell the House when the new standards will also apply to the United States and Mexico.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we must respect equally the jurisdictions of each country. However, since we share the same continent, North America, there is a tripartite association where we can discuss such standards.

But it is impossible for me to be able to tell my colleague today when the Americans or the Mexicans will apply these standards.

All I can say is that there is intense collaboration among these countries to reach agreement on, at the very least, similar standards for North America.

Criminal Code
Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:34 p.m.)