House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his explanation of Bill C-23 I was most interested in his remarks toward the end of his speech when he dealt with evidence, the rules of evidence and the possibility that some evidence may be deemed inadmissible if it were I believe it is called fruit from the poisoned tree. If the source of which came into question it may preclude the possibility of that valuable evidence being used in some subsequent court hearing.

I would like him to answer a question but I would ask him to dumb it down as much as he can and speak in plain language for those of us who are not lawyers. The issue was raised recently in the House of reverse onus in two different contexts. The concept of innocent until proven guilty is being chipped away at and eroded. In one context that I can point to there was a private member's bill which did not succeed but a version of which did succeed in the province of Manitoba. In the event of the proceeds of crime being seized the onus is on the criminal to show that these are not in fact proceeds of crime. In fact, a Hell's Angel speed boat could be seized if that Hell's Angel could not actually show that he or she bought it with legitimately earned dollars.

I think where the member was going with his reservations about this bill is that if that evidence gleaned, which may be tainted and unusable, that we are getting toward a reverse onus situation and the party would have to demonstrate that it was in fact gleaned in a legitimate way.

Is that the connection that he is making reference to and does he have a comment on the proceeds of crime reverse onus situation?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, that is generally the envelope I was referring to in terms of the seizure of a computer that contained data. Even though the computer and the data is seized under an order, it is not clear that the judicial order contemplates the use of the information on the hard disk as possible future evidence and I think we should be careful about that.

Most people would say that if the guy has done something really wrong and his computer shows it, yes, it should be evidence. However, in our justice system we usually do not make inferences about people's guilt. Our system is based on a person being presumed innocent unless the state or the courts find the person guilty.

I am very reluctant, as a legislator, to alter that balance. The member properly makes reference to the increasing use of reverse onus situations which lowers the burden on the state to produce evidence to get to a certain type of proof.

I am surprised at the scenario that the member has mentioned. It sounds like it may be provincial legislation but normally we do not impose reverse onus situations. I know there are two or three of them in the code and in other pieces of legislation but we do so only reluctantly when there is a need that we could describe as, to use the words of the charter, demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.

I think the courts would frown upon increasing the use of reverse onus situations simply because while most people in Canada would be in a position, in normal language, to rebut one of these inferences made by statute, there have to be many Canadians who could not on their own rebut the inference without the use of a lawyer or without someone else speaking for them. We must remember that there are Canadians with various levels of education and various levels of literacy. We must be careful that when we pass a law we have each of those persons in mind when it comes to making them bear the burden of a particular procedure in a statute.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the helpful remarks because they did flush out the reservations I had.

If an organized crime figure, who we knew full well had no visible means of support for the last 20 years but owned a mansion, a speedboat, a bunch of luxury cars and had all kinds of holdings, what would be so wrong if we had the power to simply say that unless that person could demonstrate that those were not the proceeds of crime, that we would seize them and use those assets to give our police officers more resources to bust more criminals? Does he not think that would be a justifiable way to use the reverse onus concept that most Canadians would support?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has offered a scenario that prejudges most of the facts. In other words, we have an organized crime scenario. We have the classic accumulation of wealth by the individual, conspicuous wealth, and not many other facts to go with it. In that fact scenario it seems awfully easy to say that the person has $25 million worth of assets and no other visible means of support that can be shown, we will take the person's assets, sell them and turn the money over to the police.

It sounds all right except that if we take that rule and apply it to every other Canadian in every other fact scenario, it may produce some unfairness. It is at the wording of the procedure that I would want to look closely. If the member has some wording, we should talk about it and do something that is good for the public.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

It being 2 o'clock, the time for statements by members has now arrived. Two minutes remain in the question and comment period following the speech by the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

Town Crier Champion
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, as well as being proud of people like Fergie Jenkins, the baseball hall of famer who visited us two weeks ago, the people of Chatham-Kent—Essex are proud of citizens like George Sims, the award-winning town crier of the Municipality of Chatham--Kent.

George Sims, a long-time educator, has been retired from education since 1995. George has been an active volunteer in many community activities in Chatham-Kent—Essex and was selected as citizen of year in 1996. He received the Centennial Medal in 1967 and was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

He was the North American town crier champion in 1998 and placed second many other times. Currently George is the Ontario town crier champion and placed second in the North American town crier championship of 2006.

I extend congratulations to George Sims on expressing his community involvement as an ambassador for the riding of Chatham-Kent—Essex and I welcome George to Ottawa.

HMCS Sackville
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, on October 25, HMCS Sackville, Canada's naval memorial, will be brought to Dartmouth to coincide with Eastern Front Theatre's production of Corvette Crossing, a play written by Michael Melski and directed by Hans Böggild, to run from October 25 to November 12. The play tells the story of five young officers who serve on a corvette while escorting merchant ships supplying the allied war effort during the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMCS Sackville is the lone surviving corvette and is a tangible reminder of the challenging life young Canadians from coast to coast endured in the cold North Atlantic. While the Sackville is in Dartmouth, she will be hosting a number of events, from a prayer breakfast for world peace to a number of receptions. I look forward to hosting my colleagues from the House of Commons finance committee before she crosses the harbour.

HMCS Sackville continues to be a symbol of the valiant efforts of our Canadian service people and reminds us of our debt to those who served, some of whom never returned.

I want to thank all those who worked so hard to preserve the Sackville and her legacy. We look forward to having her in Dartmouth and to Corvette Crossing.

Anna Politkovskaya
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 7, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed. On October 10, one last tribute was paid to the well-known journalist for her critical coverage of the war in Chechnya. She gave up her life fighting for freedom of the press and human rights.

One of the few journalists to cover the second war in Chechnya, she agreed to act as a negotiator during the Moscow theatre hostage takings by pro-Chechnyan forces in October 2002.

Her tragic death emphasizes just how fragile freedom of the press and democracy are in Russia. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based NGO, Russia is the third most dangerous country for journalists after Iraq and Algeria.

The Bloc Québécois would like to convey its sincere condolences to Ms. Politkovskaya's family and friends and hopes that Russia will find the way—

Anna Politkovskaya
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

Mark Andrew Wilson
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly today one of Canada's dedicated soldiers was laid to rest in London, Ontario. On October 7, trooper Mark Andrew Wilson was killed near Kandahar in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb struck his armoured vehicle. He was 39 years old. He left behind a devoted family, a wife and two sons.

A member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Trooper Wilson was an outdoor enthusiast who joined the Canadian Forces later than most, at age 35. He was described by his family as a rock, a caregiver and the type of person everyone loved. He was always smiling.

Trooper Wilson was a dedicated, knowledgeable and energetic soldier who was always looking to increase his skills and abilities. He was viewed as trustworthy and was well respected by his fellow soldiers and supervisors alike.

Trooper Wilson was a courageous and honourable man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He will be greatly missed.

I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. My thoughts are with them today.

Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House of Commons to recognize that October 16 to October 20 is Self-Care Week.

This week is about the value of self-care to our health care system and the well-being of Canadians who benefit from the promotion of self-care and the need to support the advancement of self-care policies in Canada.

On October 17, 2006, NDMAC, advancing Canadian self-care, will be hosting the first self-care fall forum to bring greater attention to the significant contribution that self-care can make to the sustainability of the health care system and the health of all Canadians.

NDMAC's self-care fall forum comes at a time when Canada's new government is working hard to control the escalating costs of health care while providing excellent health care to all of our citizens.

I call on members of the House to attend these events and support the future of self-care initiatives.

Citizenship and Immigration
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to visit a family in my riding that is living under very difficult circumstances. The Raza family has sought sanctuary in Crescent Fort Rouge United Church to escape persecution if returned to Pakistan by the immigration department.

The family has lived in Canada for four years and its members have been model citizens. Four of the six children have never been to Pakistan. Two are Canadian citizens.

I have been unsuccessful in my request to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration asking that he allow the family to return to living in the community while the application is processed so the children can attend school.

I have now written the minister asking him to grant landed immigrant status to the family and base his decision on the best interests of the children. The Immigration Act allows the minister to act in a humanitarian and compassionate manner.

Along with many thousands of other Winnipeggers, I urge him to do so and grant the Raza family refuge in Canada.

National Science and Technology Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to encourage my colleagues and all Canadians to celebrate National Science and Technology Week from October 13 to 22, 2006. Natural Resources Canada and other departments involved in the sciences and health have planned a variety of activities and events across the country.

National Science and Technology Week is future-oriented. The new Canadian government wants to show young people how exciting the sciences can be and to encourage them to consider the adventure of a career in science and technology.

My colleagues will no doubt agree that science and technology are very important to our standard of living. For example, Canadian health science researchers have made significant progress that has improved our quality of life and strengthened our communities. They have also made discoveries that help Canadian businesses stay competitive and are making Canada a world leader in technology development.

I would invite all members of this House to join me in celebrating National Science and Technology Week.

Robert Redeker
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Robert Redeker, a philosophy professor in Toulouse, has become famous, unintentionally. Mr. Redeker published an article on Islam and the Koran in the well-known French newspaper Le Figaro. To publish an article, state one's opinion, open the door to discussion—such is the beauty of a democratic society.

The professor, who lives in France, has received death threats from fundamentalists, like those that forced the writer, Salman Rushdie, a resident of England, into hiding for several years. Many writers, artists, intellectuals, politicians and ordinary citizens are calling upon Quebec City and Ottawa to strongly condemn this matter, which is without question very similar to that of Mr. Rushdie.

Regardless of what was written in the article, the death threats received by Mr. Redeker go against the very basis of public life in a democratic state.

The Bloc Québécois is calling upon federal authorities to denounce this type of behaviour by fundamentalists and to send a clear message: these threats will not be tolerated in a democratic country.

Citizenship Week
Statements By Members

October 16th, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, every year during Canada's Citizenship Week we take time to celebrate the values, rights and responsibilities attached to Canadian citizenship.

Today, October 16, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration officially launched Canada's Citizenship Week in Ottawa, a splendid occasion that I had the personal opportunity to attend.

From October 16 to 22, hundreds of newcomers will take the oath of citizenship at ceremonies across Canada. Thousands of Canadians will also reaffirm their commitment to Canada by reciting the same oath.

Around the world, Canadian citizenship is highly valued. Our society is based on the principles of justice, freedom, equality and respect. Newcomers choose Canada for different reasons, but all come to our country because they see a better life for themselves and their families.

On average, Canadian citizenship is granted to close to 200,000 people every year. Canada is proud to welcome them, with all their talents, dreams and aspirations. New Canadians make a significant social, economic and cultural contribution to the country and they play a crucial role in building a better Canada.

Canada's Citizenship Week is an opportunity for all of us to remember the importance of celebrating and preserving Canadian citizenship.