House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Maher Arar
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of Canadians from across our great land have gathered in Ottawa to honour Maher Arar and Monia Mazigh and pay tribute to their sacrifice. Tonight parliamentarians and fellow Canadians will express their gratitude and appreciation to the Arar family for their commitment to justice and fairness.

At a time when some people would choose to shy away from defending justice when a label of terrorism is attached, Monia, Maher and their supporters taught us many important lessons. These lessons are especially relevant now in light of the recent debate on the anti-terrorism motion.

I think it is appropriate that we are celebrating the Arars' sacrifice on Valentine's Day. Their love for each other and for their family, their country, Canadian values and the pursuit of justice shall remain an inspiration to all of us.

No amount of financial reward could ever compensate them for their ordeal, but if we truly want to honour them and benefit from their tragic experience, the best way to honour them would be to ensure that it never happens again.

Justice
Statements By Members

February 14th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we will be debating Bill C-27, which fixes the process for designating dangerous offenders. Provincial attorneys general, police and victims groups have been calling for this bill, but so far the opposition is determined to kill the bill and confuse the public by calling it a three strikes bill.

Bill C-27 is an important part of a series of government bills aimed at making our streets and communities safer from violent criminals. As an MP who meets regularly with victims and as a member of the justice committee, I am deeply frustrated at how long it is taking to pass these bills.

Yesterday the president of the Canadian Police Association said:

Police officers across the country see people that are victimized by violent, repeat offenders. These bills will keep dangerous criminals from returning to the streets, and help protect our communities...We are simply asking MPs to act on their commitments and help police officers do their jobs.

Every one of us made a commitment to Canadians in the last election to get tough on crime. I urge opposition members to get busy and meet their commitment.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government had no plan to anticipate the obvious increase in passport applications.

It had no plan to address the job losses announced today in our manufacturing sector.

Aboriginal Canadians: no plan. Our cities: no plan. Access to education: no plan. Poverty: no plan.

Instead, the government spends all of its time running an election campaign and looking for ways to push its ideological agenda.

Why does the government have a plan to change the way judges are appointed, but no plan to help Canadians succeed?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the hon. member certainly has a plan to audition for a new role.

The former minister of justice announced important changes last year which would ensure that when we select judges the police have input into the selection of judges in this country.

We want to make sure that we are bringing forward laws to make sure we crack down on crime and make our streets and communities safer.

We want to make sure that our selection of judges is in correspondence with those objectives.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has confirmed our worst suspicions on this issue. The government has changed the selection rules for the judicial advisory committees. It has taken away the voice of the judiciary during the candidate evaluation process.

Why is the Prime Minister changing the rules? Why is he showing so little respect for the independence and authority of the judiciary?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government has established a process that is indeed independent, with the participation of a number of voices, including the voice of the police who have to enforce our laws. It is important for our government to select top-notch judges to help us keep our streets and communities safer.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, Peter Russell, a noted expert on judicial selection, has said the Conservatives have lowered the qualification standards for judges. He said:

--they've changed the role of the advisory committee so now they do not select the most highly qualified...there is really no merit selection going on and that is a dreadful change....

How can Canadians have faith in the judicial system, that it will be fair and impartial, when our selection process is now about politics and no longer about the interests of justice?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, this government has made a number of appointments to the bench of people of very high quality. In fact, these were people who were all recommended by a selection process put in place by the previous government.

It is very different to select people based on diverse input and based on merit rather than the previous system, where Benoît Corbeil told CBC radio that for all intents and purposes judgeships were available to those who gave the most money to the Liberal Party.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, former Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, has criticized the Americanization of our justice system following the changes made by the Conservatives for the selection of judges. She said, “Changing the composition of these committees...introduces what I think to be a rather pernicious element, which is the ideology of the candidate”.

Why does this government want to skew the role of the committees in favour of ideological appointments? What will be the next step in the Conservative plan? Electing judges like they do in the United States?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to members of the Liberal Party that there have been a number of changes over the years since these were introduced by a previous Conservative government in 1988. I believe there were four different modifications, and I think all of them have improved the process.

I do not see what the problem is with the members of the Liberal Party. If they do not think the police have anything constructive to offer to the judicial system, then let them make that point, because they are certainly making it here in the House and I could not disagree with them more.

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has infiltrated the judicial appointment committees to better advance its right-wing ideology. This is a direct threat to hard won rights: women's right to equality and free choice, minorities' right to be treated fairly, the right to same-sex marriage.

The stakes are too high to be dismissed. This is something never before seen in Canada. Will the government accept the proposal from former Justice L'Heureux-Dubé, to hold a public debate in which average citizens would be involved?

Judicial Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government has improved the advisory process for judicial appointments. This decision has its roots in a decision by a former Conservative government and we support this system.

It is obvious that the Liberal Party wants to politicize judicial appointments. The Liberal Party is making a political debate out of this. The House of Commons is not where judges should be selected.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Premier of Alberta asked that the $1.5 billion in the Canada Ecotrust be transferred to the provinces that pollute the most rather than on a per capita basis.

Yet, just in 2005 and 2006, Alberta brought in $14.4 billion in revenue from its oil industry. Now the Albertan premier wants more money to pay for the clean up. This seems backwards to me.

Can the Prime Minister guarantee not only that the $1.5 billion promised will be distributed per capita, but also that he will enforce the polluter-pay principle, rather than polluter-paid?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government announced the Canada Ecotrust program to support major projects in the provinces, in order to limit and reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gases. It is an important program. As I indicated to several premiers, including the Premier of Alberta, our intention is to distribute those funds per capita.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government's shift to green thinking is serious, it should immediately do away with the gifts it gives to the oil companies, such as the tax benefits—Bill C-48 comes to mind—and the tax reductions that will allow oil companies to reduce their income tax payments by $3 billion between 2005 and 2008.

Will the Prime Minister finally do away with the tax benefits granted to oil companies or will he continue to help them, those poor folks?