House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parole.

Topics

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I have listened carefully to my colleague's speech on Bill C-36. From what I have gathered of his position, it is fairly much in line with the stands that the Bloc Québécois has taken in the past.

On the one hand, we have to be able to ensure that the people of Quebec and Canada can continue to have confidence in their justice system. This is fundamental if we are to have a certain form of justice. That confidence in the system has to be preserved, while at the same time acknowledging that rehabilitation and reintegration are basic requirements to society.

I would therefore like to hear my colleague's explanation of how the position he has expressed today makes it possible to maintain that balance and to reconcile the importance of maintaining confidence in the system while at the same time rehabilitating as many citizens as possible and bringing them back into our society.

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for his excellent question. Indeed, the very basis of my argument today was the combination of justice and the appearance of justice, which are two different things.

Sometimes a judge brings down a ruling and people object to it. But perhaps he was right, in the end. People's perception of the judge's decision, however, ends up making them lose confidence in the justice system.

As I said, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of possibly treating horrendous crimes and hate crimes more severely, but that does not mean neglecting the broad issue of rehabilitation and reintegration, which is so fundamental to the Quebec nation.

This is the means of reintegrating people back into society as active, proactive and positive members of Quebec society. Drastic measures such as restoring the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole are not the way to do that.

There is a fine line to be drawn here. We may not be able to rehabilitate criminals who have committed 25 murders, but when someone has killed one person and realizes how wrong it was during his time in jail, he needs to have the chance to redeem himself. Society will gain from this.

So that is the fine balance between the two: the appearance of justice, yes, and justice itself. but also the possibility of reintegration into society. This is an absolutely essential element for the Bloc Québécois.

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I would like to inform the member at the outset that he may begin his speech, but I will have to interrupt him at 2 p.m. He can resume his speech after question period.

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I believe I have four or five minutes to explain my position on Bill C-36. Very briefly, I would first like to talk about what we are proposing and what we would like to do with Bill C-36. As my colleagues have already said, we want to see this bill referred to committee for further study.

I would also like to come back to certain aspects of my question and of the answer given by my colleague from Saint-Jean, who spoke earlier, in relation to some of the principles we have talked about in the past regarding justice.

It is important that the people of Quebec and Canada maintain their trust the judicial system. We must ensure that everyone who lives in communities and cities, in all provinces of this country, continues to trust our judicial system because it can be abused at any given time. At the same time, we are not giving the government a free pass or blank cheque at this time, especially not a Conservative government, which tries to use law and order to impose its ideology.

In all the bills related to justice, what we have clearly seen is a government that wanted to be more punitive, that wanted to put more people in prison at a time when our prisons are already full. The approach we have taken in Quebec, however, focuses on rehabilitation and helping people return to society. What people must understand is that the idea of parole is closely linked to the rehabilitation and reintegration process.

Who specifically does Bill C-36 target? Those people who have been found guilty of a serious crime, of homicide or first-degree murder, for example. What is the intent of the bill? To limit or restrict the faint hope principle, the faint hope clause, which gives those incarcerated the chance to apply for parole. Given that Quebec has developed a model based on cooperation, education, collaboration, good communication and rehabilitation in our society, the government should be open enough to having the parliamentary committee make amendments rather than stubbornly taking an ideological approach to justice. Common sense and flexibility should make it apparent to this government that a more in-depth study of this bill by a parliamentary committee is important.

Since I am being told that I have one or two minutes left, I will be brief. As I said, the bill seeks to eliminate use of the faint hope clause by criminals convicted of the most serious crimes after the bill is adopted. Those found guilty of treason or murder in the first or second degree will no longer be able to apply for early parole, even if they have served 15 years of their sentence. With regard to those already incarcerated, when the law comes into force, they will still have recourse to section 745.6 of the Criminal Code, but there will be greater restrictions on obtaining early parole. To that end, the government will make three important amendments. The burden of proof will be greater for an offender who applies to a judge for a reduction in his ineligibility period.

With a more stringent process, the incarcerated person will have to shoulder a greater burden of proof.

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member will have 15 minutes when debate resumes.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Statements By Members

June 18th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Madam Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to an inspiring constituent in Barrie by the name of Derek Walton. In May 2002, Derek was diagnosed with ALS.

In Canada, approximately 3,000 people are currently diagnosed with ALS, over half a million worldwide. ALS is the most common cause of neurological death on an annual basis.

Derek helps organize our annual ALS walks in Barrie and raises funds for ALS at Barrie's dragon boat festival. Derek has raised tens of thousands of dollars and his enthusiasm is contagious in Barrie. Our walk this year was the largest ever.

Recently, Derek represented all neurological patients in Canada at a ceremony at the MaRS Centre in Toronto and accepted a cheque for $15 million from our health minister to help neurological charities in Canada develop their action plan.

Despite being in a wheelchair, Derek actually insisted in skydiving on August 22 to raise funds and awareness for ALS. He is a remarkable man, a good friend, and I am honoured to have such a distinguished Canadian live in the city of Barrie.

St. John's Catholic Church
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 7 St. John's Catholic Church in my riding of Beaches—East York celebrated its 100th anniversary with a rededication mass and on June 11 the St. John's choir held its annual spring concert which focused on its 100th year history in the community.

The church was first opened on May 22, 1892, named St. John the Evangelist. Over the next 20 years more and more families packed the church and a new church was eventually built on the land and opened on June 5, 1932.

Set back on Kingston Road, overlooking the convent to the west, St. John's modern Gothic style is complete with a bell tower, pointed arches and beautiful stained glass windows. It is not just the structure that is so important to our community but the people who have made St. John's what it is today.

On behalf of the people of Beaches—East York, I congratulate St. John's Catholic Church for its service to our community and wish it all the best in the years to come.

Housing Cooperative
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, six young adults living with intellectual disabilities will finally be able to feel pride of ownership thanks to the determination and courage of their families. Their home is the first housing cooperative in Quebec to provide supervision tailored to the specific needs of each co-owner. It is called the Coopérative de Solidarité Entre-nous.

The goal of the residents' families was to provide them with a place to live where quality services would be provided and it would be possible for each resident to maintain close, meaningful ties with his or her family.

Mission accomplished. The Coopérative de Solidarité Entre-nous has all that under one roof. It is moving to have people with intellectual disabilities come up to you and proudly introduce themselves as owners of the building.

Dominique, Viviane, Denise, Luc, Yves and Jérémy, my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I congratulate all the people who helped make this happen, and we wish them a long life in their home.

Participation of Women in Politics
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year was a historic high for women candidates in Canada's federal election: 28%. That is progress but it is certainly not good enough. Women earn 30¢ less on the dollar and make up two-thirds of minimum wage earners. Is it any wonder to see that happen, when we know that only 22% of members in the House of Commons are women.

Equal Voice has laid down “Canada Challenge 2009” to all party leaders to raise the number of women who run and are elected to Parliament.

On behalf of the New Democrats, I accept the challenge.

Women have a place in Parliament, and we have to do more to make sure they take it.

We remain committed to an equal voice for women in Canadian politics. We have run outstanding women in our party, elected them and been led by them, but we can and will do better. Our goal is greater than 50%.

We set a parliamentary record with 43% of women in our last caucus, but we are not there yet. I want to achieve full equality for women, so that I can answer the question from my new granddaughter--

Participation of Women in Politics
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Peace River.

Peace River
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, as this parliamentary session draws to a close, I am pleased to stand in the House to pay tribute to the hard-working men and women of the Peace country.

Like many regions in this country, the global economic downturn has had a significant impact on the communities, businesses and families in our communities. Our forestry sector, our oil and gas industry, and our farming families have all been affected by the reduction in the international demand for our goods.

In spite of these challenges, I am inspired again and again by the many people who are meeting the challenges head on. Local business owners are streamlining their operations, cutting waste, embracing new technologies, and increasing their efficiencies to position themselves for the future.

I am shameless in my praise, but it really is the only way that I can convey the strength, the resilience, the dedication, and the resolve of my constituents to have made the remarkable changes that are necessary and to meet the challenges of the future. As a result, I know that they will be well--

Peace River
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Ottawa South.

Day of Cultural Understanding
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the students of Charles H. Hulse Public School in my riding of Ottawa South who recently celebrated their fifth annual Day of Cultural Understanding.

This initiative, started by teacher Patrick Mascoe, was designed to enhance students' understanding of the principles and practice of tolerance and responsible citizenship, two fundamental Canadian values.

Each year the predominantly Muslim students of Charles H. Hulse engage in a pen-pal exchange with the students of Hillel Academy in Ottawa, and throughout the year the students work together on a variety of community building exercises; this year raising awareness for Darfur.

The culmination of this project is the Day of Cultural Understanding. The students will spend the morning on collaborative activities and in the afternoon with David Shentow, a holocaust survivor who will speak to the students about the consequences of intolerance.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating the students and their teacher, Patrick Mascoe, for their commitment of tolerance and understanding. They are engaged not only in an academic exercise but an activity that promotes nation building.

Canterbury Folk Festival
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the contributions of an event in my riding, the Canterbury Folk Festival of Ingersoll, Ontario.

This year's theme, “Remember when the Music was Free” is sure to draw a spectacular crowd of young and old alike. From July 9 to 12 the Canterbury Folk Festival presents traditional folk, bluegrass, Dixieland, Irish, Canadian and aboriginal music. Activities include arts, concerts, dances, chalk walks, children's and seniors' activities by local artists.

Ted Comiskey, artist director and founder of this festival is to be praised for his dedication and commitment to serving this event over the past 10 years. The folk festival with a grant of $15,000 from Heritage Canada will present a wonderful program.

I wish to express my best wishes to all those involved for a successful event and invite everyone to join in the festivities.

Bill C-429
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning I introduced a bill to promote the use of wood when building, maintaining and repairing federal buildings. That was one of the Bloc Québécois recommendations that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology approved last week in its report on Canada's industrial sectors.

Quebec and British Columbia have already committed to similar measures. A number of other countries around the world also have policies for the use of wood.

We have the technical capability to go ahead with this kind of measure, but most importantly, this is a positive step for the environment, particularly with respect to greenhouse gases and energy consumption.

In closing, I would like to thank my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord for his work on this issue, and I hope that all members of the House of Commons will take some time over the summer to study this bill.