House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drug.

Topics

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(b) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Health
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

April 15th, 2008 / 10 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition today, with over 275 signatures, about the need to improve food and product safety in Canada. The petitioners are concerned that “a product of Canada” need not have been grown, raised, caught or in any way begun its life in Canada. Canadian regulations require only that the last substantial transformation of the goods must have occurred in Canada and that at least 51% of the total direct cost of producing or manufacturing the goods is Canadian.

This is particularly troubling to the petitioners because they note that Canada's failed trade policy limits safety standards and sends jobs overseas. As a result, tainted imports from China and other countries have in recent months led to the recalls of thousands of toys, food products and pet food products. Instead of acting to effectively deal with this trend, the federal government is proposing trade agreements with countries such as Peru and Panama, which already have been cited for food safety concerns.

For all of these reasons the petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to ensure that all Canadians can be assured of food and product safety by passing the motion that I had the privilege of tabling in the House, Motion No. 435.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members and friends of TOPS ON 40 and the Catholic Women's League in Hamilton Mountain for sending me this petition and for engaging in the important struggle to ensure food and product safety for all Canadians.

Unborn Victims of Crime
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am once again very pleased, honoured and humbled to present petitions in the House that have been brought here by thousands of people. I now have well over 20,000 names on petitions in support of Bill C-484. These people recognize that there is a difference between a woman who wants to end her pregnancy and one who does not and wants to have the right both to have the child and to have her choice protected in law.

These people, around 1,200 of them today, are asking that Parliament enact Bill C-484, which provides protection for women and for their unborn children, which they want.

Canada Post
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present a petition signed by a number of people in the Toronto area and Etobicoke North who believe that this newly implemented community mailbox system is not the appropriate way to go.

They believe that it poses an environmental hazard and a safety hazard for citizens and they do not feel that adequate notice was given. They would like Canada Post to eliminate these community mailboxes and move back to door to door delivery across all neighbourhoods in Canada.

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present yet again another income trust broken promise petition on behalf of a large number of constituents of mine in Mississauga South, who remember the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud is a promise not kept.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors. I see that this is agitating the government but this is the truth. The petitioners, therefore, call upon the Conservative minority--

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, they are still agitated, but I know that I am on the right track.

The petitioners want the government, first, to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions, as demonstrated in the finance committee; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise; and, finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from April 14 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-13 today. Again, it is another piece of legislation that I think is important when we look at trying to modernize the justice system in Canada and make various changes. It is also good to have time in our ridings to discuss these issues and get the support of our constituents in advance of being able to speak to them.

Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments), will clearly take us in another direction to ensure that our justice system in Canada is as modern as can be. Hopefully, the bill will modernize the system to make it also more efficient and more effective, something that we also hear complaints about in our judicial system. Lawyers, crown attorneys and so on talk about how slow the system is and how there is a need to update a variety of areas in our judicial system.

Some of these amendments make certain processes more effective through greater use of technology and by consolidating and rationalizing existing provisions. The amendments relating to criminal procedure in Canada provide for, among other things, the use of a means of telecommunication to forward warrants for the purpose of endorsement and execution in the jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction where the search warrant was obtained. This clearly will save time and will be far more efficient. It is a logical step that needed to be taken.

The amendments also provide for changes to the process with respect to the challenge of jurors to, among other things, assist in preserving their impartiality, which again is very important; summary dismissal by a single judge of the court of appeal when an appeal has erroneously been filed with that court; an appeal of a superior court order with respect to things seized lying with the court of appeal; a summary conviction trial with respect to the co-accused that can proceed where one of the co-accused does not appear; and the reclassification of the offence of possession of break and enter instruments into a dual procedure offence to allow the Crown to determine whether this offence should be prosecuted by way of indictment or by the more expeditious procedure of summary conviction, which again could save hours of court time and allow for much faster determinations.

Amendments related to sentencing provide for, among other things: the power to order an offender not to communicate with identified persons while in custody, and the creation of an offence for failing to comply with the order, thereby enhancing protection of victims, which for some time has been called for; clarifications with respect to the application of impaired driving penalties; an increase of the maximum fine that can be imposed for a summary conviction offence from the current $2,000 to $10,000, which is a significant increase and hopefully would work to some degree as a deterrent; the suspension of a conditional sentence order or a probation order during an appeal; and the power to delay sentencing proceedings so that an offender can participate in a provincially approved treatment program.

We often have heard about the lack or insufficient number of treatment programs for people who find themselves with a serious drug problem. There are just not enough programs. There was an article in yesterday's paper and a symposium held yesterday in Toronto which talked about the very issue of there not being sufficient drug treatment programs for many people. That also results in many people are finding themselves in the judicial system.

Further amendments include: in the case of a person serving a youth sentence who receives an adult sentence, to clarify that the remaining portion of the youth sentence is converted to an adult sentence; and the power of a court to order, on application by the Attorney General and after convicting a person of the offence of luring a child by means of a computer system, the forfeiture of things used in relation to that offence.

Clearly this legislation is reflecting the ongoing concerns of Canadians and parliamentarians with regard to many of the things that are going on through the Internet and the luring of young children, an issue that has been discussed at length here in the House. Again, it is all part of the modernization of our justice system's ability to reflect these kinds of things that did not happen many years ago.

Other amendments will allow for better implementation of the language right provisions in the Criminal Code. These amendments will improve the means through which an accused is informed of the right to be heard by a judge or a judge and jury who speak the official language of Canada that is the language of the accused, or both official languages of Canada. The amendments also codify the right of the accused to obtain a translation of the information or indictment on request. Other provisions clarify the application of the language provisions of the Criminal Code in the context of bilingual trials.

Although this bill may not seem as exciting as some that we have been debating lately, I think it is nice to get something that is not charging each and every one of us up but goes on to modernize the system. These justice bills are important. As the responsible Liberal official opposition that we are, we will be supporting this legislation.

The legislation might seem familiar to all the people watching at home. There is good reason for that. This bill was originally introduced as Bill C-23 in the first session of the 39th Parliament. It passed all stages of approval in the House of Commons and had been sent to the Senate, so if anyone thinks this is familiar legislation, clearly it is. It died on the order paper, unfortunately, when the minority Conservative government decided to prorogue the House and start fresh with a Speech from the Throne. This is catch-up time on good legislation.

That Speech from the Throne was another ploy by the government to try to raise its poll numbers, not unusual for the Conservatives, nor was it unusual for other people who had assumed the same role in government, but sadly for them Canadians saw through the strategy and were not fooled. Canadians know how much good work the Liberal government did to protect our cities and our communities and how much progress we made on our justice agenda.

Notable achievements by my government included the creation of a national sex offender registry to protect Canadians from violent sex offenders, and we introduced legislation to restrict the use of conditional sentences for serious and violent offences. We also introduced a package of measures to crack down on violent gun crime and gang violence to assist communities at risk.

Much of that legislation is currently being used in cities across Canada, in particular my city of Toronto, which continues to work on areas of crime prevention, enforcement of the sentences that are there and reaching out to at risk youth and at risk communities. Some of the initiatives included a new $50 million gun violence and gang prevention fund, legislative reform for stricter sentencing for gun crimes, and social investments to prevent those at risk from following a life of crime and to provide them with hope and opportunity for tomorrow.

Canadians know that the Liberal Party continues to be committed to protecting our homes and our rights, as they have always known. It is a priority for us. That is why we have committed to appointing more judges, and it is why we are supporting that legislation, and to putting more police officers on our streets and more prosecutors in the courts, as I mentioned earlier today. We also have worked very hard to toughen laws on Internet luring and identity theft to protect Canada's most vulnerable citizens, including children and seniors.

In his many comments, our leader has also committed to establishing a new fund that will help preserve the safety of ethnic and cultural at risk communities across Canada. This safety being put at risk is something that unfortunately continues to happen more and more in many of our communities across Canada. This fund would, for example, cover the costs of security in their places of worship and gathering places.

I am pleased to support Bill C-13. I encourage my colleagues to do the same. I also encourage my colleagues to exercise their privileges as members to be on the record as speaking out on behalf of their constituents on important pieces of legislation before the House. I am glad to have had the opportunity to get my points of view on the record today. I look forward to questions.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, much discussion has been going on in the Toronto area, led by the mayor, David Miller, about the need to ban handguns. In our last election platform our party promised to eliminate handguns.

What disturbs me in the debate on this issue is that it is being characterized that if we ban handguns this will solve the problem. I do not think anyone would be naive to purport that.

While many of the handguns that are used to commit crimes in Toronto come across our border, we also know that 30% to 50% of them are sourced from within Canada. Handguns are stolen from people who legally own them and then a black market develops for these handguns. Many people in Toronto have been victims of crimes committed with legal handguns, not just black market handguns smuggled across the U.S.

I wonder if the member supports a ban on handguns and if she sees a ban on handguns as part of a bigger array of responses to the crime that we see in some of our cities.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I need to put on the record that I am sorry that the member will not be running in the next election. I have met the young woman who will be seeking to assume his position and she certainly would bring a lot of great qualities to the House of Commons. I wish her a lot of luck.

The whole issue of guns is a very sensitive one. My understanding, from being involved a fair amount in these issues, is that most of these guns are being stolen and smuggled across the border. I know that we had committed x amount of dollars for further border security. The current government is following up on those kinds of commitments to tighten the border.

We also hear about the amount of times that guns are being literally ordered and delivered through Canada Post. This is an area that we all need to work on with Canada Post to ensure that it checks out items being shipped to various homes to ensure it is not passing guns or anything that could be used as such.

One of the issues we do not talk about is the number of killings committed with knives and items like that, not only the guns. As we focus on getting guns off the street, especially in our large urban regions, we need to keep in mind that other instruments are used as well.

As someone said, yesterday, members of gangs used to get into fist fights and today, unfortunately, it is gun fights, which is clearly not acceptable. We need to work with our communities to decrease that but we also need to work with young people in my community and other communities who feel the need to belong to gang.

Our real focus is to ensure that all our kids, from day one, have an opportunity for early learning and great education from zero on, that they have hope for tomorrow, that they do not need to join gangs, get into the gun fights and all the rest of it.

Unfortunately, many of our youth feel they do not have any hope for the future. We need to be focusing our efforts on education, opportunities and hope for them for tomorrow.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member, who has roots in New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada, and roots in my community of Moncton, the first officially bilingual city in Canada, some questions with respect to language and the Criminal Code. Perhaps she could also comment on the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday in the Paulin case which underscored the need to respect official languages, the languages used by the actors in the justice play for the accused, and how Justice Bastarache basically took a shot at the current government, the Attorney General and the Prime Minister for not caring enough about the fight for the entrenchment of official languages in our justice system. As we know, that case dealt with the RCMP at roadside in the Woodstock area of New Brunswick.

There is a segue here. How important is it to the member, who is now from Toronto not New Brunswick, and for Canada, the Attorney General, the Prime Minister and the Conservative government to respect the nature of our country in serving the justice system in both official languages?