House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have today deals with the immigration issue.

The petitioners, many thousands from all across Canada, ask the federal government to lighten up on the family sponsorship category of immigration so that once in a lifetime, a new Canadian could sponsor one family member who would not ordinarily fit into the qualification category of family sponsorship.

These Canadians urge the Government of Canada to show latitude in the family sponsorship category of immigration.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first petition is in relation to Steven Truscott who in 1959, and I believe all of us know, was charged, convicted and sentenced to be executed because he had been found guilty of murdering a neighbour.

The petitioners draw to the attention of Parliament, as many petitioners have before, the unusual circumstances surrounding the case, and suggest that Mr. Truscott was found guilty unfairly. They call upon Parliament to ask the Minister of Justice to re-examine the case within a reasonable period of time and to ensure that justice be restored to Mr. Truscott and that he be pardoned.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is one that relates to natural health care products. The petitioners call upon Parliament to provide for freedom of choice in health care products. They point out that these should be classified properly under our food and drug regulations as a food and not arbitrarily classified as a drug. They also point out that much benefit can be derived from the use of natural health care products through a self-regulated system.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Yukon
Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 64.

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

April 23rd, 2004 / 12:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Middlesex, ON

What progress, in detail, has been made by the government on the review and analysis of tax prepaid savings plans?

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the budget presented in the House of Commons on February 18, 2003 noted the importance of supporting saving through the tax system. It also stated that the government would review reprensentations it had received on the tax treatment of savings and would conduct analysis to identify possible improvements. The budget also included a commitment to consult on the question of whether tax pre-paid savings plans, TPSPs, could be a useful and appropriate savings vehicle for Canadians.

The budget presented in the House of Commons on March 23, 2004 noted that Department of Finance officials consulted with interested groups, experts and academics on the tax treatment of savings and TPSPs. The discussions were helpful in gathering views on TPSPs and other possible ways to improve the tax treatment of savings. The department is reviewing the views brought forward during the consultation and is continuing to examine TPSPs and other approaches to improve the tax treatment of savings.

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

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

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 64
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

If the House will indulge the Deputy Speaker at this time, I failed to read into the record, under Petitions, what I should have before proceeding to Questions on the Order Paper.

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)( b ) to inform the House that the matter of the failure of the ministry to respond to the following petitions presented in the House is deemed referred to several standing committees of the House as follows:

Petitions Nos. 373-0366 and 373-0367, presented by the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier to the Standing Committee on Health.

Petitions Nos. 373-0369 to 373-0371 presented by the hon. member for Ottawa West--Nepean are referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Petition No. 373-0372 presented by the hon. member for Halifax is referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Petitions Nos. 373-0373 to 373-0378 presented by the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

It is also my duty pursuant to Standing Order 39(5) to inform the House that the matter of the failure of the minister to respond to Question No. 56 on the Order Paper, standing in the name of the hon. member for Vancouver Island North, is deemed referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, just before question period the member for Elk Island asked me a question dealing with child pornography that is dealt with in some ways in Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code. He was quoting from subsection 7(7). This is dealing with pornography. It says:

For the purposes of subsection (6), acts or material that serve the public good include acts or material that are necessary or advantageous to the administration of justice or the pursuit of science, medicine, education or art.

The member asked what I thought about those categories. I agree with him that this material is necessary for science or medicine for treatment of people who have a disease of addiction to child pornography for example, or education where police officers have to be taught what it is they are looking for and so on.

The category we are wondering about is art, to have the idea of public good and use it in the category of art.

John Robin Sharpe is pleased with the bill. I think he is pleased in part because he sees this as a loophole. He will use it as he used the artistic merit argument in times past to try to get away with some of the filth that he thinks is worth having and sharing.

On the issue of art, I want to share a story that moved me years ago, if I can get through the story. It was a story related by Dr. James Dobson. James Dobson was the president of Focus on the Family, a well-respected psychologist who was appointed years ago to sit on the President's panel dealing with pornography in the United States. I heard him give a talk on this one time.

He told how he had to travel from town to town to do these investigations. Part of that involved looking at pornographic material in order to see just how bad it was. I cannot imagine doing that for weeks on end.

He said that the final blow came for him when there was a series of pictures that he was forced to look at. They started with a healthy, happy two year old child. The progression of pictures eventually ended with a picture of a two year old with a butcher knife through its chest.

He was at a meeting and I do not know in what city. He said he just gathered up his papers, went to the airport and took the first plane home. He said the pictures were so filthy and so incredibly evil that he just had to get home and hug his family.

I know there would be an argument that we cannot banish pornography because we have to have a way of judging it. There is a problem in the United States and here too, that when the picture, and they call it art, is reproduced, it is frequently seen as just that; it is just a picture, just a photograph.

A crime was committed but there is no crime in the circulation of the documents. There can be pictures of children being abused in the most heinous ways, graphic, awful and evil pictures, but the distribution of it, if it is considered artistic by somebody, in and of itself is not a crime. In the commission of the crime, if they could catch the guy perpetrating it, they would throw him in jail. But the circulation of it to people who somehow get their jollies from this should also be a crime.

I only relate that story. I do not want to go on a panel to look at this stuff for weeks on end. I do not want to look at any of it.

All I am urging is that the government consider that when there are loopholes, people will try to use them. My solution is to send the bill back to committee and come up with a better solution than the public good. I just do not think that this section, which leaves this as a loophole, is wise. It will be abused. Or if it is not abused, it will be seen as such a big loophole that law enforcement agencies will say that there is no use in prosecuting. We see that all the time with crime. Chief Fantino from Toronto would say, “What is the use of prosecuting?” If we bring forward something with a loophole, they get off almost every single time.

The police do not have the resources, the people and the perseverance to follow through. They have collected millions of photos. They have confiscated stuff. They try to ride herd on it, but the truth is that without tough and strict laws, they cannot really dig this evil out.

To answer my colleague from Elk Island, this clause is the worrisome one. That is why it should go back to committee. Most of this bill improves things for children and I am happy to support it. However, this part I am not convinced is the best way to address this particular evil. It is a bad and ugly evil that is pervasive in society. Police tell me that it is out of control.

I know the government takes this seriously but I would urge it to reconsider this and send it to committee. Let us get this fixed. Let us make the police happy, the courts happy and Parliament happy with the section that I think is crucial to the implementation of this bill.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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