House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was street.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the difficulty with this House is that of course we are politicians and this is a political process. Our friends on the other side have that down to a fine art where they can make things appear, like they are in this case, a reflection of the bills that Chuck Cadman would bring forward. If anything, they have managed to get the finesse of actually sucking in the NDP members to the point where they would actually say that this is the essence of what he proposed.

The only thing that has happened, unfortunately, is that this House has grown weaker in its ability to be able to make any real changes in the justice system.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's comments were very insightful, both with respect to his experience and his attitude toward the need to address this crime issue.

We have had a Liberal government for over a decade that has been in charge of taking care of business in terms of the crime element and the justice issues here in Canada. Today In the City of Winnipeg and all across my province crime is out of control. We have crystal meth issues, organized crime issues and we have the highest homicide rate in all of Canada. We have a wonderful police force. Members opposite talked about the gun registry. I know that the Winnipeg Police Association and the Manitoba Police Association do not endorse or support the gun registry because I just talked with them yesterday.

Having said that, this is about an attitude and a philosophy. Clearly the government cannot get crime under control. Canada is now at loose ends in terms of the crime element in our country and it is a big worry. We have had child pornography issues. We have had new things come up. Crime has grown under the government's watch.

Could the member please comment on what he feels is happening here in Canada in terms of the justice issues?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the lack of will on the part of the government over the last more than a decade of changing the laws and making the necessary amendments to the laws, a culture, unfortunately, has developed within the judicial system itself that has become so technical and so parsing of so many words that we have seen the rise of judicial activism on the part of the Supreme Court that has swept right down through the other courts.

The police have actually had the ability to do their jobs taken away from them by virtue of all the paperwork they have to generate. We have reached the point where if a police officer pulls someone over suspecting the person of being under the influence of alcohol, the officer is better off letting that person go than trying to create a file. Any file that the police create will be a starting point of an inch thick with the first set of forms. This has occurred and is growing exponentially under the Liberal government.

I fully recognize that enforcement is a provincial issue but at the end of the day the fact that the police are being hindered by the courts of being able to enforce the laws is a direct result of the soft on crime Liberals. It is very frustrating.

In answer to my colleague, it is not just the laws, it is also the application of the laws and the complexity that has been created by an ever-increasing interference by the judicial system which is clearly encouraged by the Liberal government.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-65 which is an act to amend the Criminal Code. It is very important to get the bill through second reading and into committee where we can discuss changes and amendments. It is important to look at all amendments to the bill because it is an incremental step forward that is very important, not only in terms of setting a standard for the criminal activity around auto theft and the consequences that affect those individuals, but also for the police forces, emergency response forces and ordinary citizens who get sucked into this vortex of pain and suffering related to the crimes that individuals commit.

It is also important to note that the bill would have a mandatory sentence which is an important step for this particular crime. It suits the crime very well and I think many Canadians will support the bill, and especially some enhancements to it.

I want to note, from my particular constituency of Windsor West, some of the great work that has been done in the past by Ken Koekstat from Crime Stoppers and Glenn Stannard, our chief of police, related to crime, youth activities, as well as the general population, and the fact that auto theft and the consequences have been rising at different times. They have been looking at proactive strategies to deal with this, as well as the consequences once the activity has taken place.

I can tell members that my former background as a municipal councillor, having lived under the Conservative regime of Mike Harris, the incredible downloading and the consequences of that were profound for municipal tax ratepayers across the province of Ontario because it put incredible pressures on keeping one's police force up to snuff.

Frankly, the corporate tax cuts that were enjoyed came at the expense of many municipalities having pitched battles about whether or not to invest in fire and rescue, emergency services and/or police departments. I know that I had many citizens who wrestled with the fact that their property taxes would need to be raised and subsequently were raised for many years because the provincial government had downloaded a series of services and responsibilities. What was despicable about the Harris regime was the fact that it also included different standards and reporting for the police department and the fire department but did not pass any appropriate funding to deal with that.

We agreed with the additional training and the additional supports that were going to be there for officers but at the same time there was nothing provided to them to actually do that without having to go into the municipal taxpayer base. Having property tax as a funding source for policing is certainly not adequate for a modern industrial society and is certainly not adequate when a provincial government makes other choices. I can tell members that it had a profound impact as well.

Right now in our constituency we do know that many of these thefts are actually related to joy rides. Also, it was described recently by police officials on our radio as a way of some people using it as transit, where they would steal a car in one neighbourhood on the east side of Windsor and use that to joyride around or provide friends rides for the day and dispose of it later. Different types of cars were easily targeted and the youth who were doing this knew that and would provide it as a way of public transit for themselves. It is a terrible crime and it is a reality that the police have had to deal with. They have incorporated Crime Stoppers to get to those individuals but there has to be an investment to provide opportunities so that is not going to be the first thing that people think or is acceptable.

I think of balance, a balance of having strict penalties for this type of serious crime and the consequences that it has brought to people's life is very important. I agree with that. At the same time, there has to be a balance. The municipal governments need to get support from the senior levels of government to be able to increase their police forces to do the types of services that are necessary to prevent the crime and to be on the streets and to be a presence on the street so there will be accountability on the spot. From my days on municipal council, that certainly had a profound impact in terms of Ontario usurping those powers from municipal police forces because of the downloading.

In fact, even when the province promised that we would actually have revenues increase when the provincial offences acts were transferred to municipal governments, we were supposed to get an increase that we could then put back into our policing and put more officers on the streets.

What ended up happening was that they gave us the worst cases, the most difficult and the most expensive to prosecute, which ended up causing a greater liability for the municipality. It was great for the Harris Conservative regime. It was wonderful for that treasury, but it was not good for local municipal governments that lost another revenue source for putting officers on the street who could prevent tragic circumstances like those that come about from auto theft.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The hon. member of course knows that when debate is resumed on this subject there will be the additional 15 minutes remaining.

The House resumed from October 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-28, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, be read the third time and passed.

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-28.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Food and Drugs Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from October 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-63, An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

October 18th, 2005 / 6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-63.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House would agree, I would propose that you seek unanimous consent that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting in favour. That would include the member for Yukon.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to proceed in this fashion?

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the Conservative Party will be voting no.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois will be voting in favour of this motion.