House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was custody.

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The House resumed from June 4 consideration of the motion that Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

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10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. When the bill was last before the House, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona had the floor and there were 18 minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks. I therefore call on the hon. member for Elmwood--Transcona.

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10 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my speech on the bill. I spoke for just two minutes yesterday, so I will continue on today with the bill.

We had very knowledgeable speakers yesterday on this topic. They provided some very convincing arguments, I thought, why the bill is not a particularly good idea. I would like to cite more reasons for that being the case.

I think the bill came up through the Conservative Party process, the election process, the polling process. It probably polled the public and asked Canadians if they agreed with minimum sentences. Of course, the numbers went right off the radar and the Conservatives said we will have to bring in legislation along these lines.

Perhaps if the Conservatives had polled a focus group asking a different question, they might have received a different response. Had they looked at the reality of how mandatory minimum sentences have actually worked for 30 years in the United States and if they had looked at other aspects to this type of legislation, they might have received a different response in their polling.

For example, would they have asked people if they would support mandatory minimum sentences, if it was known that the United States was repealing its mandatory minimum sentences. California, New York, Michigan, Delaware, Massachusetts are all repealing their mandatory minimum sentences with other states considering the same.

We have a former counsel to the United States House of Representatives committee on the judiciary, Eric Sterling, who stated emphatically his decision to promote mandatory minimum sentences in the United States was probably “the greatest mistake of my entire career over 30 years in the practice of law”. What the Americans found was that the goal of the legislation to reduce drug use failed. The goal of safety in the communities failed. The goal of raising the prices of drugs and lowering the purity failed. The goal of reducing organized crime failed.

I know that we in Canada like to follow the United States, but clearly this is another example where we are totally out of step, where the Americans have tried the experiment and it has failed. Now the government for purely political and polling reasons wants to move in this area.

Let us look at what has happened under the mandatory minimum sentences in New York. We saw a dollar for dollar trade-off in increased expenditures for prisons versus higher education. That is really smart is it not, to spend money on prisons by taking away money from higher education. That is not a very smart use of taxpayers' money.

In addition, while drug use is pervasive among every social or economic group, 95% of all people incarcerated for drugs in New York were poor African Americans or Latinos.

In 1986, when the legislation was enacted, the Federal Bureau of Prisons expenditure was $862 million. Two years later, it was $1.2 billion. In 1991 it was $2.1 billion. Now the President's request for fiscal 2010 is over $6 billion.

That gives us an idea of how the expansion in prisons has developed in the United States. That is a mirror of what will happen here in Canada. At the end of the day we are going to be building a huge number of prisons. We are going to start privatizing them because that is part of the corporate ideology of the Conservative Party. It is to turn over public assets to the private sector so that it can get in the business and try to make a profit keeping people in jail. Clearly, that is a failed strategy.

Yesterday, it certainly brought out the lawyers in Parliament. We have five lawyers out of 38 members in our caucus. I heard from many lawyers yesterday and I must admit that it was a beautiful experience. They knew what they were talking about. They presented arguments and there are times when we should be listening to lawyers.

If there were ever a time, this would be one because they know the system. They understand the system and they were not all just from the NDP and the Bloc. There were members from the Liberal Party as well who spoke eloquently about this legislation. So maybe there are some lawyers over on the government side who just close their ears, close their eyes to this situation, because they are being told by their management that this is something they have to do for political purposes.

It was also pointed out yesterday that if we bring in the mandatory minimum legislation, it will bring an end to guilty pleas. Part of our system and the reason it works reasonably well at times is that people will plead guilty. When they are caught, they decide it is better just to plead guilty and be done with the charge. When we bring in legislation like this, guilty pleas will come to an end and is that something that we really want in our system? I am all in favour of tougher legislation. I am not easy on crime, but I want to see things that work and the government has brought in some pieces of crime legislation that will work. But this one in particular is one that will not work.

I want to give an example of something in Manitoba that has worked really well and that is the key here. We should be looking at dealing with issues where we can find evidence that it actually works. Winnipeg had the highest auto theft rate in Canada for a number of years. About four years ago the government auto insurer, because we have public auto insurance as they do in B.C. and Quebec, brought in a program to install immobilizers in cars. People were offered a $40 discount on their insurance if they installed immobilizers.

People did not buy in. Nothing happened. Did we conclude from that to scrap the program because it did not work? No, we took another look at it and said that offering the $40 discount was obviously not enough, but we had to solve the problem. We decided to pay for immobilizers in people's cars and we sent notices for people who drove high risk cars, and that by a certain date they had to have a free immobilizer installed. They then received the insurance reduction and guess what happened? In only two years we now, a couple of months ago, had one day where we had zero car thefts in Winnipeg.

One would think with an experience like that, other jurisdictions would come running and would want to know how we did it and would want to copy it. I would like to know why the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which is the national body dealing with insurance issues across the country, and other insurance companies would not be showing interest in that. Ontario, for example, is a very large private insurance market. Why would it not be encouraging that sort of a program? Maybe it will. Maybe we should be putting some pressure, and talking and encouraging the members to look at what happened in Manitoba, and perhaps encourage the big private insurance companies in Ontario to come out with a program like that.

Our calculations are that we took an original hit by installing the immobilizers, but we were paying out such large amounts of money for stolen vehicles, damaged vehicles, not to mention the fact that people were being killed by people who stole cars and were involved in accidents, that we were able to cut this back in a substantial way. Clearly, there is a role here for the Insurance Bureau of Canada to learn by these examples and encourage their member insurance companies to do something to encourage private insurance companies in the rest of Canada to bring in a similar type of program.

That is what the bottom line here is. Members of the Liberal Party, for whatever reasons, have decided to support this legislation and I think I know why that is, but given their druthers they would rather not.

The fact of the matter is that the members of the NDP, the members of the Bloc, and the members of the Liberal Party, in general, would prefer to support legislation where there is proof that we are going to get some results. That is the bottom line. Why would we be bringing in legislation that we know from the very beginning is not going to work?

I want to deal with some of the details of the bill. I would like to also point out, as my colleague the member for Churchill yesterday pointed out, how recreation centres are very important for getting people away from crime. We had in my constituency a community club called Kelvin community club. It had survived the Depression, so that will give us an idea of how resilient this little club was. As a matter of fact, Clara Hughes, an Olympic medallist in two sports, trained in that club and her mother lives just a few blocks from the club.

The mayor of Winnipeg, after promising not to close any community clubs, changed his mind and forced this little club to close. What they are now doing in Winnipeg, as they are in other areas, is they are developing these super centres where we have to get into our cars and drive two or three miles to get some exercise. When we grew up, there were little community clubs in our neighbourhoods. The kids could walk over to those clubs and exercise or play hockey or soccer, or whatever. They did not have to be super nice places; they were just very close to where people lived and people enjoyed them.

It is our destruction of these centres that is leading to more of the problems we see in society. We in the NDP have always said we have to deal with crime before it happens, not after it happens. Part of the program is to put money into community centres, like the Kelvin community club, to keep it going, to put money into programs to keep children active, to put money into the educational system, and to develop all sorts of programs to keep people away from activities that are going to lead them into trouble. That is a very important element in the whole area of prevention of crime rather than dealing with it afterward.

A member of the Bloc indicated yesterday that, in fact, treatment in prisons is not up to the level that it should be. If we have people in prison who were given a 36-month sentence, for example, then they should be kept there for the full 36 months, so they can finish their programs. It does not make sense to encourage people in prison to participate in programs when they end up getting out of prison halfway through the program. It is self-defeating.

So, I think we want to be tough on crime, but we want to be smart about it. We want to ensure that if we have programs and people are taking the programs then at least let them finish the programs before letting them out of prison.

Bill C-15 is an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Its enactment would amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide for minimum penalties for serious drug offences, to increase the maximum penalty for cannabis marijuana production, to reschedule certain substances from schedule 3 to that act to schedule 1, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

Bill C-15 is the reincarnation of Bill C-26 from the 39th Parliament, with minor changes that would clean up the language of the bill. This is a good example why we should not be having elections every year, year and a half, because some of these bills that we are dealing with right now are going through their third Parliament. At the rate we are going, we are never going to see some of these bills finally put into law. In this particular case, I guess we do not mind. However, in some other cases, we would like to see them pass.

The bill was passed at that time, and it was referred to committee at the time of the election call.

In terms of the summary of Bill C-15, schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are the schedules that this bill deals with. They list illegal drugs in Canada that have progressively lighter punishments for possession, trafficking, obtaining, importing and exporting all illegal drugs. There are eight schedules in total.

Schedule 1 lists 18 substances and all their derivatives, which includes methamphetamines, opium and cocaine. An indictable offence for possession is punishable by a sentence not exceeding seven years. For trafficking, a person is liable to imprisonment for life.

Schedule 2 lists only cannabis, its preparations, derivatives and other similar synthetic preparations. An indictable offence for possession is punishable by a sentence not exceeding five years. For trafficking, a person is liable to imprisonment for life.

Schedule 3 lists 32 substances and includes amphetamines and drugs known as the date rape drugs. The NDP supports this particular element of the bill, as indicated by members yesterday.

The bill proposes minimum penalties for the production, possession, trafficking, importing and exporting of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs. The bill also moves the amphetamines, its 19 by-products and the date rape drugs from schedule 3 to schedule 1. Tougher penalties will be introduced for trafficking in the date rape drugs. As I said, we in the NDP certainly agree with that.

The maximum penalty for cannabis production would increase from 7 to 14 years imprisonment. Mandatory sentences are introduced for the production of even one marijuana plant: a minimum sentence of six months. I do not know how sensible that is. The legislation imposes six months imprisonment for any act of cultivation of cannabis irrespective of issues of violence and gang involvement.

In terms of marijuana, it is six months for the production of 1 to 201 marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking, and a one- to two-year mandatory prison sentence for the production and possession for the purposes of trafficking and importing and exporting.

I want to deal with what I see as an interesting aspect to this bill.

A member of the House was quoted, I believe in committee. He stated:

I suppose I will accept the representation made from the John Howard Society and the Civil Liberties Association that this bill is targeted to the so-called low-level distributor or low-level dealer. You may be correct that it may not be as effective as we would like in going after the kingpins.

That is what we should be doing.

I may accept that.

Who said that? None other than the member for Edmonton—St. Albert, the member of the Conservative Party who is proposing this bill.

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10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, it will probably be obvious that I am not a lawyer, so my question will have to be taken in that vein.

The member made a point of linking this legislation and the minimum requirements under it to a reduction in guilty pleas. He has characterized that as not being in the interest of the general public and the criminal justice system. However, an issue has come up in my experience recently, which is of concern, and that is with respect to the number of occurrences of plea bargaining, most graphically illustrated with the Homolka case, as well as others. People are very concerned about that.

Because the member is concerned with the reduction of guilty pleas, would it not be an argument in favour of the legislation if there were also a reduction in the plea bargaining system associated with guilty pleas? People are very concerned about that. I wonder if he would comment.

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10:20 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned that if we pass this legislation and it follows the American model, which in fact it does, we are going to see new prisons popping up like mushrooms all over the place and the inevitability that these prisons will be turned over to private sector for profits. We will be developing a system where we are warehousing huge numbers of people at a huge cost.

The Conservatives talk about reducing taxes, but we are going to see huge tax increases to keep these huge populations of people in these private prisons. That is where I see it going at the end of the day. That is what happened in the United States. After 30 years, they are trying to dismantle this. They are trying to roll this back because it did not work.

Part of the arguments that I heard yesterday in this House were that if we were to have mandatory minimums the legal counsels would be advising people to plead not guilty. The courts will be overloaded and we are going to have to hire more judges. There will be more work for lawyers.

We are going to tie up the whole system because people are not going to be pleading guilty, as I am told a lot of them do right now. When they are caught with drugs, the lawyer may say, “Look, it is an open-and-shut case so it is better that you just plead guilty and get it over with”.

However, if they are looking at mandatory minimum sentences, they will be inclined, according to what I heard yesterday, to fight that and to put up as tough a fight as they can. When they do that, the system is going to be clogged up. More judges will have be hired and the court system will have to be expanded.

Not only are we going to be expanding the prison system in the country, we are going to be expanding the court system as well. To me, that does not make sense, especially from a government that wants to lower people's taxes.

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10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record here.

I believe the members of the NDP are misleading the House when they recite the words of the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert. I am going to read the entire passage for the record. Unlike the NDP members, I am going to read the entire passage.

I suppose I will accept the representation made from the John Howard Society and the Civil Liberties Association that this bill is targeted to the so-called low-level distributor or low-level dealer. You may be correct that it may not be as effective as we would like in going after the kingpins. I may accept that. But even if that is true, how can you tell me and tell the grieving parents of the 14-year-old girl that the low-level dealers are not a problem and that the elimination of the criminal enterprise--which is what the kingpins you refer to feed on--by taking those guys out, is not a solution to this epidemic problem in cities such as Edmonton and Vancouver?

It should be obvious to anyone that the member for Edmonton—St. Albert is not agreeing with the views of the NDP witnesses. He was simply doing his duty as a member of Parliament from the Edmonton area in raising the concerns that his constituents rightfully have over the drug problem.

Will the NDP now apologize for blatantly taking my colleague's words out of context?

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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I believe that 13 out of 16 witnesses said this legislation would not work and it will not work, and nobody could provide evidence. They were asked over and over again at committee to provide evidence that this legislation works anywhere. They could not do it.

We have no studies that show it works, which is a heck of a way to bring in legislation, and of the witnesses who did appear, 13 out of 16 of them said this is not a good idea, there is no evidence it works.

The members want to talk about dealing with the kingpins of crime. We know they have not been successful in doing that, and that is exactly what has to happen. We should be attacking the hardened criminal element, the kingpins of drugs, who own businesses on the side, they own restaurants, live in fancy houses and basically masquerade as businessmen in our society.

These organized crime figures have been around forever and ever. It is always the little guys who we end up putting in jail. The big guys do not go to jail. In United States, even when they do put the big mafia kingpins in jail, they end up being in club fed conditions. They have their own chefs, and it is like a country club. They continue to run their criminal organizations from behind bars.

The government should be looking at that. Let us see some effort on the part of the government to go after real organized crime and put some of these big guys behind bars, and I will be right with the government to do that. That is what it should be doing. Instead, the government runs around, chasing small-time people who are being supplied by these big guys who never get touched in the process.

Let us wake up and let us start chasing the real causes of crime, the big guys who are the ones who should be put in jail for long periods of time.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member two short questions.

Perhaps some of us around here are watching too many movies about criminal organizations. In the context of this debate, as many members criticize mandatory minimums, the warehousing, the life-wasting, blind mandatory minimum sentences, we should not lose sight of the fact that the custodial sentence is a fundamental component of our justice system, and it is a necessary one to ensure public safety. We should put this in that context, in my view. Would he not agree with that?

Second, the government measure to impose mandatory minimums of one year foists the burden upon provincial governments and provincial correctional institutions, not federal institutions, of keeping these individuals in prison. Apparently it is not going to cost the federal government a nickel, so it is a rather cynical move.

Would he not agree that we would get better bang for our buck if we resourced our police better? Even though most of our police are not federal police, we get much more bang for our buck and much more effective public safety when we properly resource our police to do their investigations. When the police turn up the heat, crime goes down and public safety goes up.

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is an absolutely excellent question and certainly well put.

Like him, we agree with proper sentences. They are a positive thing. I refer to the Bloc member who mentioned the other day that if we are letting people out of prison too early, they are not able to finish their treatment programs.

It is up to judges to decide the length of the sentence on a case-by-case basis. Whatever it is, offenders should be kept in for the length of the sentence and they should be taking treatment programs they will finish, as opposed to the system we have now where the programs are either not available or inmates are getting out of prison before they finish the programs.

In terms of offloading to provinces, he is absolutely correct. We are talking about sentences of two years that fall under provincial legislation, so the federal government is neatly transferring the problem over to the provinces. That is hardly a fair situation. The provinces are overloaded. Their systems are overloaded as we speak, to the point where we even had a huge riot in one of our provincial corrections facilities in Manitoba a couple of years ago.

In terms of resourcing police, we certainly are in favour of that. That is something that the Manitoba government, certainly provincially--

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10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am afraid the hon. member's time has expired.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina.

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, why is the Conservative government doing a 180° turn on justice policy?

We learned from a youth and adult justice system that was broken. Canada had an extremely high rate of youth incarceration at one point, a higher rate than the United States. We learned that a system that emphasized sentencing missed the focus needed to be placed on prevention.

We finally began moving down a better path, and now the government wants us to make a U-turn and go back down the wrong path in order for it to look like it is doing something. However, doing something and having the courage and the foresight to do the right thing are two very different things.

I have never understood why the Prime Minister, who has been called a policy wonk, would choose newspaper headlines over what is best for the country.

All Canadian commissions since 1952 have recommended abolishing mandatory minimums. One need only look to the United States to understand that mandatory minimum sentencing has failed. Mandatory minimum penalties simply do not work. They result in an increased prison population. We have to keep in mind that it costs approximately $62,000 per year to house a federal inmate. If that inmate is given a bit of counselling and support, the cost is over $100,000 per year.

It may be tempting to subscribe to a knee-jerk reaction, or a quick fix. It may even be tempting for some to place politics ahead of truth. The truth is mandatory minimums have been proven to fail. The truth is a multi-dimensional problem like this one requires a multi-dimensional solution. The truth is it takes prolonged investment and time to remedy the cause of crime.

That is why New Democrats have always said we need an overall coordinated strategy, focused on gangs, organized crime and drugs. We need an improved witness protection program. We need more resources for prosecution and enforcement, like hiring more cops on the beat, which the Conservative government has failed to do. The government has sent money to the provinces, but the provinces have not hired the police officers promised by the Conservatives in the last election.

We have also said that we need to toughen the proceeds of crime legislation. We need more prevention programs to divert youth at risk. We also have said that we need more drug treatment programs because right now there are very few in Canada. In fact, there are almost no community-based drug treatment programs that last longer than six months. If families have money, they send their young people to the United States for drug treatment. If they do not have money, then those young people have to wait years to get into treatment programs.

Young people need access to realistic and useful information and resources. Safe sex campaigns seemed to have worked somewhat. We need to tell young people how to seek support if they have an addiction, instead of showing a lot of commercials about the horrors of drugs.

The Conservative government cut the national crime prevention program by $14 million. That program delivered community-based and realistic youth education programs. It is clear the Conservative government is not focusing on prevention and education. Rather it is focusing on an enforcement approach, which has proven to fail.

Canadians deserve more than a government that plays politics and seeks the headlines. Canadians deserve a government that understands that behind the headlines there are real lives and real needs. Canadians need a government that understands community safety is the highest of civic priorities and that long-term solutions require sustained investments. This is the time for real leadership. Instead, Canadians have been given recycled ideas that have proven to fail.

A tremendous amount of research has said that it has failed. For example, the Canadian Sentencing Commission, which I talked about earlier, did research in 1987. Another one, a royal commission on revision of the Criminal Code, was done in 1952. In 1987, the commission said:

—mandatory minimum sentences, with the exception of those prescribed for murder and high treason, serve no purpose that can compensate for the disadvantages resulting from their continued existence.

Another study done in 1992 said that it simply did not work. That was by Michael Tonry. Another report in 1994 from the Department of Justice concluded that charges with minimums were often plea bargained. It said that the public was not aware of which offences were covered by minimums, that minimums resulted in lower conviction rates and that minimums increased trial rates and judges got around the minimums.

Other studies demonstrated that countries that use minimums the most were not associated with a bigger crime decline than the countries that used minimums the least. In Australia studies have demonstrated that minimums have no deterring effect. It is a fact that has been accepted by that government. There is a study by N. Morgan entitled “Mandatory Sentences in Australia: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?”, which states it does not work.

Study after study has said that this kind of strategy has failed.

The government is selling the bill as being tough on organized crime and big-time traffickers. The reality is mandatory minimums divert law enforcement resources toward drug dealers, leaving the door open for organized crime. They divert from small dealers and the guys on the street, leaving the big folks and real criminals to organize. They are then more open for organized crime.

Why would the government not accept what experts have told us for years? Anti-social behaviour is more significantly reduced by diverting young people from the criminal justice system before they get wrapped up in a life of crime. Why is the government not listening to what police chiefs across the country have been telling it? Effective law enforcement is critical to community safety, but it has never been designed to eliminate the causes of crime.

The Prime Minister should know that good policy is premised on evidence, not popularity. Canadians deserve much more than a government that looks to score popularity points when the real issues demand attention. The government seems to be interested in popularity and not policy-making. That is not a good way to govern for Canadians.

There are fundamental problems with the legislative approach to criminal justice. We see there are three or four more bills coming, and it is the same approach. To adopt only a “Lock 'em up and throw away the key” attitude, turning our backs on young people and our future, is nonsensical. It is a bad policy that does a disservice to the very Canadians for whom the government should be working.

We know aboriginals and people of colour are overrepresented in Canadian jails. The United States started a war on drugs in 1972. Research has told us that there was a 500% increase in the prison population. This is the same period when the population in the U.S. grew by only 28%. It disproportionately affected minorities.

In 1998, 90% of people in prison for drugs in New York were serving minimums and blacks and Latinos, who only comprise 25% of the population, constituted 83% of the prison population. How sad is that.

In the U.S. federal system, blacks make up 12% to 13% of the population, and 38% of those were arrested for drugs offences, 59% of those were convicted and 74% of those imprisoned for drug offences were black Americans. The overpopulation of blacks in prisons is also a Canadian problem.

We have seen studies by Wortley and Tanovich. We have seen the 1995 report on the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System, which talks about the overrepresentation of blacks in Canadian prisons.

The bill would disproportionately impact on aboriginal offenders. We see that in another 2001 study by Jamie Cameron, entitled “Aboriginal Peoples and Mandatory Sentencing”. The data has shown that aboriginal and people of colour are overrepresented in Canadian jails.

The bill would affect people who are visible street level users and small scale sellers. It sends a message to our young people, particularly young people of colour, that the government prefers to invest in their incarceration rather than their education. No doubt, with all these bill, there is a likelihood of more jails being built across the country.

Incarceration has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of future offending. Not only are we putting more people in jail, which by itself is not a huge problem, we are causing them to offend more and therefore more of them will go back to jail. It repeats that cycle of violence and drug offences.

Studies have concluded that individuals sentenced to jail have higher recidivism rates and were more likely to re-offend than individuals who were not in prison but were punished for their crime. It looks like more prisons are exactly what the government plans to build.

We need meaningful consequences for offenders held accountable for their crimes, but if we run away from the solutions that address the cause of crime and therefore reduce crime, we leave Canada in a worse off situation. Offenders can and should be held accountable and the government can help prevent crime in the first place, but unfortunately Bill C-15 shows the government is not doing that.

One of the major problems with these kinds of laws is that instead of using the law to provide protection to those people to whom life has dealt an unfair hand, we are using it to punish them more and to have them become scapegoats for our desire to pretend we are being tough on drugs.

In the United States the war on drugs has not worked. While the Liberals talk about the importance of supporting and investing in young people, they are following the lead of the Conservative Prime Minister and turning their backs on the young people of Canada, which is sad.

Young people deserve a lot more. We are coming into the summer season. Instead of debating a bill like this one, we should be massively investing in youth employment programs. During economic downturns, young people are the first to get laid off.

Their unemployment rate goes up fairly dramatically when there is an economic downturn. That is why the Canada summer youth program should be increased dramatically. The funding should not be kept the same year after year. There should be an increase. The $100 million that is being spent on the program right now requires more investment, and it should not be only in the summer; it should be year-round.

Why should it be year-round? The reason is that after the summer, these young people are well trained by non-profit organizations, and they are laid off. Yes, some of them go back to school, but others do not. The ones who go back to school still need to find part-time work.

However, there is no federal government program that hires young people after school. If they are in school, there is no program to hire them after school so that they could work for a non-profit organization, so they could work in a neighbourhood community centre or neighbourhood recreation centre, so they can become role models in their communities, so they can stand up to the drug pushers and say, “There is a better way. Instead of joining a gang, let us join the swim team or the basketball team. Let us come together and learn about how to dance or do graphic arts on a computer”. There is so much young people can teach their younger brothers and sisters. They need that kind of support in the community. They need to have mentors, especially in at-risk neighbourhoods, and they have to have the kind of membership that these high-achieving young people can provide.

Some of them have to work because they come from families that require it. Instead of having them just work in Wal-Marts and McDonald's, we should provide them with opportunities to be hired in after-school programs so that they can teach younger brothers and sisters skills and become role models.

Instead, in Canada we do not have such a program. The only youth employment program is really directed to those who are out of school or out of work, whereas the people who are leaders in the community do not have a stable program that is long-term. The Boys and Girls Club of Canada, for example, has been asking the government to please fund it for the administrative costs and the core program. It wants stable funding year after year. Whether it is the Kiwanis Club, the Boys and Girls Club, the John Howard Society, or the Rotary Club, they have been saying that we need to hire young people part time throughout the school year, not just in the summer, so that these young people can lead others out of being trapped in a cycle of violence and trapped in neighbourhoods where some of them have serious drug problems.

We know that young people want to follow a leader. We know that the best allies to fight drug crimes are the young people themselves, their peers, so we need to go to the young people to tell them that they are our solution and that they are our allies in the fight against crime. Instead we are sending more and more young people to jail. We are building more jails and spending more money on jails, and at the end of the day we will just increase the number of young people committing crimes.

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10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great attention to the hon. member. I cannot disagree with her remarks about rehabilitation and the need for resources, but this is not a budget debate. It is a debate on a specific bill.

The Conservatives finally seem to be learning something from three and a half years of opposition members' railing in committee about the efficacy of bills. I think she would at least concede that one of the novel parts is the reporting back to Parliament on the efficacy of this bill.

The second part is the aspect of diversion to the drug treatment court system, although sparsely situated in the country and under-resourced. It goes with her theme and it is a good thing.

Finally, will she admit that attorneys general across the country have been asking for such legislation for dealing with trafficking offences?

Our visit as a committee to British Columbia brought it home, and Dave Chomiak, the Attorney General for Manitoba, brings it home as follows:

Canada has become a source country for marijuana exports and, to a lesser extent, methamphetamine exports. Commercial level drug trafficking and grow operations are closely linked to criminal gangs and violence associated with competition over illegal drug markets and other drug related disputes.

He calls on the government to do something. He is not alone. Almost every attorney general in Canada is asking for this.

They steer the justice system at the provincial court level and the corrections facilities for provincial offences in their own provinces and territories. How can we ignore their pleas totally?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the drug treatment courts try to divert people to treatment programs, but they are desperately inadequate and underfunded. There is a huge waiting list. Waiting for a drug treatment court means that dangerously long wait times for drug treatment would be further lengthened. It makes it worse. Most users need immediate access to service when they have to undergo treatment. Depending upon where one lives, current wait times range from months up to a year in this country.

I spoke to a young woman and her father face to face. The father was quite active in the Rotary Club. He described to me how tough it was to enrol his daughter in a drug treatment program. At a point when she was ready to change her life and conquer her addiction, there were no facilities available in Toronto or in Ontario.

What did he have to do? Thank goodness, he had some money. He had to send his daughter to the United States to a drug treatment program, and it was successful. She came back and started a small campaign with the Rotary Club of Toronto to say to both the provincial and federal governments that they must establish more drug treatment programs, especially those that are community-based and long-term, so that other families do not have to send their kids to the United States for treatment.

Members may talk about the drug treatment court and diverting people into treatment, but if there is no treatment or if people have to wait a long time, how would it work? It just will not work.

This element in the bill reveals that the real intention of this bill is to target low-level users, not organized crime. A drug lord, for example, or a big shot would not be taken to the drug treatment court. This shows that even though it seems like a good idea, unless we invest in drug treatment programs, the treatment court is going to have limited success.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the member for Trinity—Spadina.

The government has come forward with this legislation and is talking about its agenda on crime. We have asked time and time again of the parliamentary secretary and the Minister of Justice for any piece of documented evidence that shows that minimum mandatory sentences, the main mechanism in the bill, are effective mechanisms in treating drug crimes, which is something of interest to all members of the House. There is a lot of evidence on the other side that says this mechanism and tool do not work for these types of crimes.

In this Parliament in which we try to construct laws that are based on reason and fact and effort of study, we have asked for those studies from the government. It has come forward with nothing and has said that it is just Conservative logic.

The chair of the committee yesterday yelled at me and said it was just logical, according to him. He did not need evidence. He did not need any research. He did not need any study. He just needed his own logic to craft laws. The logic of his perspective was enough. His ideology was enough to carry the day.

What is a Parliament? What are members of Parliament, if ideology is all we are relying upon in writing the laws for this country for future generations?

As we construct laws, as we look at the sensitive and often passionate and inspiring issues of drug law in Canada, what should members of Parliament be relying upon? Should it be their own personal ideology, or the best evidence that we can pull together to write the best laws that we can for Canadians?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the mayors of the big cities are actually meeting right now. They met yesterday, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is meeting today in Alberta. They have called for a four-pillar approach: prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement. This has been proven successful in the United States, the U.K. and Europe.

In 2002 the report of the special House committee on the non-medical use of drugs, the office of the Auditor General and the Senate committee called for strengthened leadership, coordination and accountability, with dedicated resources. It talked about enhancing data collection to set measurable objectives, evaluate programs and report on progress. It talked about a balance of supply and demand in activities across government, and it talked very specifically about increased emphasis on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

That has been recommended since 2002, but that is not what the government is doing. The government is driven by ideology, supported by Liberal MPs on the other side. Basically at the end of the day, when the bill passes, more young people will be put in jail. That is ideology instead of evidence, because the evidence says that Bill C-15--

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member. There are two minutes left in the time for questions and comments, but it is now 11:00 o'clock and we must proceed with statements by members.

Maskwacis RCMP Detachment
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Samson, Ermineskin and Montana First Nations bands at Hobbema, in the great constituency of Wetaskiwin, will celebrate the grand opening of the new Maskwacis RCMP detachment that will serve their respective communities.

The primary function of government is to provide for the safety and security of its citizens. This new facility will help to do that and more. It signifies a new beginning for these reserves that have wrestled with drugs, gangs and violence.

Three years ago, when gangs were recruiting the young people and causing havoc in these first nations communities, RCMP Constable Richard Huculiak, along with sergeant Mark Linnell, started a community cadet program that attracted over 900 young people from the four bands at Hobbema.

Teamwork, discipline, leadership and the courage to face challenges are skills the cadets are learning from their RCMP leaders. Instead of falling in with gangs, guns and crime, participating in the cadet corps provides them with new, rewarding experiences.

This is just one example of the dedicated leadership role the RCMP plays in our communities. I want to congratulate the RCMP on the grand opening of this new modern building as it continues to serve and protect Canadians.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the day we honour the sacrifices our veterans made on D-Day, and this Sunday is Canadian Forces Day.

On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the men and women who serve in the military, and their families, for the extraordinary sacrifices they make for our nation. I especially wish to thank the forces members and their families who serve at CFB Esquimalt, a group that I serve.

There are a number of things the government should do to help our military: first, create more day care and primary care centres near CF bases; second, create a centre for excellence for the care of CF members and their families; third, adopt initiatives that will prevent and treat operational stress injuries like PTSD; fourth, screen every CF member coming back from a combat mission for operational stress injuries; and fifth, ensure that the immediate family members of CF members are able to be covered federally for health care.

Our armed forces members and their families make an unlimited commitment to Canada. Canada should make a similar commitment to our armed forces members and their families.

Georgette and Gaston Legault
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a remarkable couple from my riding, and to highlight an extraordinary event. On June 18, Georgette and Gaston Legault will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

It is always a great pleasure for me to send heartfelt congratulations to couples, like this one, who are fortunate enough to be celebrating 60 years of married life, and indeed Mr. and Mrs. Legault are a wonderful example of understanding, tolerance and love.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I wish them many more years of happiness and health together.

Congratulations and happy 60th wedding anniversary.

First Nations Energy Summit
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow in Morristown, British Columbia, northwestern B.C., first nations will be hosted by the Wet'suwet'en chiefs, who will be holding an all nations energy summit.

Now this is showing a path and a future that all Canadians should pay attention to. First nations will be gathering business groups, environment groups, and municipal leaders together to talk about the energy future of the northwest, an energy future which includes green jobs, sustainable jobs for all of our communities.

It is almost a year ago to the day when this House received the first nations apology from the Prime Minister. It talked about a new relationship with first nations, one that was respectful and based on traditional values. Here we have a practical application and the government needs to pay attention, and listen to the way that first nations are coming forward and describing the future they want for themselves and their communities.

We can no longer have a model of government that describes energy in a way that is top down, driven only by the oil interests. This has to be from the grassroots up. The Morristown band is leading the way.

Canada Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we all know that tomorrow is the 65th anniversary of D-Day, and we have heard many eloquent words of gratitude and remembrance in this House.

We all know that thousands of brave Canadians are serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere today, and we are all inspired by their incredible efforts. Their service and sacrifice allows us to securely celebrate Canada Day every July 1.

For this 142nd Canada Day, I and several dozen other Conservative members of Parliament are challenging our constituents to show their pride by launching our “Proud to be a Canadian” campaign.

We have all sent out thousands of paper flags as part of our householders to the people of our ridings to display in their windows on July 1, to celebrate the rich heritage of our country and our flag.

People can sign up by filling out and returning the reply section of the householders which will allow us to keep track of how many people are showing their pride in Canada.

I know that Edmonton Centre will show that it is the most patriotic riding in Canada, but wherever we are across the land, let us all fly the maple leaf proudly on Canada Day and never forget who has given us the ability to do that.

David Humphrey
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Hon. David Humphrey, who died on May 17. Justice Humphrey was a leading criminal lawyer in Toronto for nearly 40 years prior to his appointment to the bench. He defended accused persons from all walks of life during his career. He achieved great success and received acclaim as one of the great counsel of his day.

He was passionate about justice, and always empathized with those who found themselves in the criminal justice system.

Prior to the coming of Legal Aid, he often acted in serious cases pro bono. During his career, in the 1950s and the 1960s, David Humphrey often acted without fee, even in capital cases.

When he was appointed to the bench, he soon acquired a reputation for not shying away from a stiff sentence when the crime warranted it.

He rejoiced in the nickname “Merciful Dave”.

Mr. Speaker, permit me to express the thanks of the bar, the House and all Canadians on the passing of this great Canadian.

Vernon Vipers
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to congratulate the Vernon Vipers, who secured their place in Canadian Junior A hockey history with their fifth national title, on May 10, with a 2-0 victory over the Humboldt Broncos of Saskatchewan.

Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria was filled with energy as two of the best Junior A hockey teams in Canada took to the ice.

The Vernon Vipers secured their victory in the final game with goals scored by Braden Pimm and Kyle Bigos, winning the Royal Bank Cup.

The latest victory for the Vipers is in addition to winning the Interior Championship Cup, the Fred Page Cup and the Doyle Cup.

On behalf of my constituents of Okanagan—Shuswap, I applaud the Vipers, their management, their coaches and the entire staff for their hard work, which has led to another Vipers successful hockey season.

Benoît Tousignant
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is world environment day, and over 350 students from Vaudreuil-Soulanges are here on Parliament Hill asking us to take real action to protect the environment.

These students were mobilized by Benoît Tousignant, a "cyclonomad" and teacher at the Soulanges high school, who completed a 40,000 km cycling trip around the world. The purpose of his journey, which took him to 24 countries, was to raise awareness among young people about the environmental problems we have to fight every day. In an effort to obtain our support for sustainable development, these students wrote over 14,000 letters that they will be dropping off at the Prime Minister's office.

On behalf of the students and the people of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, as well as of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to sincerely congratulate Benoît Tousignant for his efforts to inspire us all to work toward a greener planet.

India
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, Meira Kumar was elected unanimously as the speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha, the lower house in the Indian parliament.

Meira Kumar joins other female leaders of India, the likes of Indira Gandhi and current President Pratibha Patil, and business leaders, like the CEO of the ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, all of whom inspire millions of women in South Asia.

Ms. Kumar, of Dalit background, has created another milestone as her appointment breaks through centuries of discrimination against the Dalits in India.

Like all fights against social evils, the fight against barriers for women and Dalits is a work in progress.

I wish to officially congratulate Ms. Kumar for this outstanding achievement.

Rodrigue Landriault
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 12, Rodrigue Landriault, a great Franco-Ontarian, passed away at the age of 71. As a lawyer and deputy judge, he was known for his courage, honesty and expertise.

Mr. Landriault was also very involved in his community, particularly in French education. As a school board member for over 20 years, he served in many capacities, including as vice-president of the Ontario branch of the Association canadienne d'éducation de langue française.

In recognition of his work, he was awarded the Chantecler prize in education from the ACFO and the 125th anniversary medal of Canada.

Rodrigue Landriault was a great role model: a good father, an involved citizen, a generous companion, a reliable partner, a gentleman and, above all, a proud francophone. I would like to salute him and thank his wife, Marguerite, and their five children, Lucie, Anne-Marie, Yves, Diane and Jocelyne, who shared this outstanding man with us.

Thanks for everything, Rodrigue.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader said Canada has become a laughing stock of the world. How dare he?

How dare he come back to Canada after being away for 34 years, after calling himself an American, after accusing his fellow Canadians of living in a fantasyland, after calling our flag a pale imitation of a beer label, and call Canada a laughing stock?

This is a country with the best managed economy in the G7, that is weathering the global economic storm far better than others, a country that is rebuilding its military, defending its Arctic sovereignty and asserting itself on the world stage, a country that has welcomed hundreds of thousands of new Canadians just last year. We are one of the most peaceful and prosperous nations the world has ever known.

The Liberal leader should know that Canada is no laughing stock. Canada is strong. Canada is proud. Canada--

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.

Homelessness
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently attended the second annual social justice fair organized by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Students from as many as 22 Hamilton area schools are watching this live, right now, to see their concerns brought to Parliament.

Here is their message: “On any given night in Hamilton, 399 men, women and children stay in emergency shelters. There are at least 600 homeless or street-involved youth in Hamilton. Youth homelessness is a very serious issue, not only in Hamilton but in our country. There are things being done to help the homeless people in our city, but it is not enough to keep them off the streets. As a school board and as individuals, we find this inadequate. More things need to be done, but they are simply not happening. We need more transitional housing for youth and more mental health services. Fundraising is not enough because it only provides a band-aid solution. It is time for our government to take action”.

I agree with that statement and I congratulate these Hamilton students for sending this important message to Parliament. Now let us see it acted upon.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, Le Devoir put it well in a headline this morning which reads: “No additional powers for Quebec”. The Liberal leader told the newspaper he had no plans to take any action following the recognition of Quebec as a nation.

The Liberals have not changed. No one on this side of the House is at all surprised. The Leader of the Opposition embodies the worst centralist tradition of the Liberal Party. Although he tries to sweet-talk us, he too just wants to put us in our place. He told the Canadian Press as well that if he is elected, he has no plans to give Quebec additional powers.

Should Quebeckers be at all surprised to hear more double talk from the mouth of another Liberal leader? Pierre Elliott Trudeau promised change and then invoked the War Measures Act. Jean Chrétien promised clean government and then gave us the sponsorship scandal. Conservatives from Quebec have come to Ottawa specifically to put an end to this Liberal hypocrisy.

That was our promise and we got the job done.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we had confirmation that the idea of recognizing the Quebec nation was nothing but empty words to the Liberal leader.

After saying that recognizing the Quebec nation was a “fact”, he tried to empty those words of their meaning by firmly closing the door to any specific gesture of recognition, such as the bill intended to require federally regulated companies to comply with Bill 101 in Quebec.

He did not have the courage to say as much during his speech, but the leader of the Liberal Party still felt the need to set a few limits before he spoke: “...there is no question of giving Quebec more power within the federation or taking real steps to give expression to the recognition of the Quebec nation...”

The Liberal leader can rest assured that he will find Quebec and the Bloc Québécois members in his path.

Hugh Hall
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard wonderful, all-party tributes to the Canadians who landed on the beaches of Normandy 65 years ago on D-Day. I ask the House's indulgence while I add a personal tribute of my own.

My father, Hugh Hall, was one of those Canadians, a 22-year-old lieutenant and member of the Signal Corps with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. He was the first Allied soldier in Caen, laying vital communication lines. He went on to help liberate Holland and was awarded the Military Cross.

Unfortunately, he passed away a number of years ago, well before I, his daughter, even thought of entering politics, and although he might have wondered at my decision to take this path, I know he would be proud of me being here now.

I am immensely proud to be here in this august chamber, able to participate in the tributes, and even more, being able to express my pride in him.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, by virtue of his 34 year absence from Canada, the just visiting Liberal leader cannot possibly be in touch with Canadians. He cannot possibly know what they feel and what they need in their day-to-day lives—

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Peterborough knows he cannot engage in personal attacks. I would advise him to move on.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, as much as I feel it is my place to speak in the House, I respect your authority.

The quintessential symbol of a nation is its flag and the Liberal leader referred to our flag as “a pale imitation of a beer label”. Canadians from coast to coast are proud of that flag. Canadians around the world serve with that flag on their shoulder. I am proud of that symbol. I am proud of this nation that Canadians have built.

Our flag is no “pale imitation of a beer label”. It is the symbol of a strong and proud nation.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning we learned that 60,000 Ontarians lost their full-time jobs in May. That is more workers than the entire populations of cities like North Bay, Welland, Caledon, Belleville or Cornwall. Because of the inequalities in the system, many of these workers cannot access employment insurance now when they need it. The safety net that they need is simply not there.

When will the Conservatives fix the EI system to help Canadian families survive this economic crisis?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we were disappointed to see the Labour Force Survey results this morning, wherein so many people had lost their jobs. However, we can assure Canadians of one thing. They are getting better response from the EI system. Over 75% of Canadians who lose their jobs today have easier access to EI. They have it for a longer period of time than they would have last fall.

What the Liberals have proposed, in conjunction with the opposition, is a 45 day work year. The people who have lost their jobs are in the manufacturing sector. They have been paying into EI for years and years. Their proposal would not help them one bit.

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort to the Canadian families that do not have any income support during these tough times.

In three years the Conservative government has overseen the greatest loss of manufacturing jobs in Canadian history. We are now at the lowest level of manufacturing jobs since 1976. The response of the Conservatives, nothing.

Why have the Conservatives turned their back on Canadian manufacturers? Is it that they just do not care, or are they too incompetent to offer Canadians a real plan to protect and create Canadian manufacturing jobs?

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member has not been reading the papers lately. We have made significant investments in protecting manufacturing jobs, through our investment in General Motors and through our assistance to the other auto manufacturing parts of the country.

We are helping these people who were unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs by offering them EI benefits of up to two years if they invest in their own training to help them get the jobs of the future. That is helping those who are hardest hit by this downturn in the economy. The 45 day work year that the Liberals are proposing will not help anyone.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, how can Canadians who have just lost their jobs pay for their own training when they cannot even pay for their groceries?

Spring is here and construction sites across Canada should be busy, but building permits are down and 73,000 construction workers have lost their jobs since the January budget. The response of the Conservatives is a bureaucratic, clogged-up infrastructure program that is failing to create or protect Canadian jobs.

Canadian families cannot afford these delays. Why will the Conservatives not take the politics out of job creation? Why will they not transfer the funds directly to Canadian municipalities so they can invest the money, create Canadians jobs and build the kind of infrastructure Canadians need?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, our government is delivering a real plan of action that will stimulate economic growth, create jobs and support Canadian families. Most important, we are doing it 10 times faster than any Liberal government ever did. We are cutting red tape that Liberals put in place. We have made it a one page application.

We are working with our partners at the municipal, provincial and territorial levels. We are taking action where the Liberals failed continuously.

Student Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, preparing the future of our country is not this government's strong suit. Students are finding it increasingly difficult to find summer jobs. In May, the number of full-time student jobs declined by 59,000. The number of students employed or looking for work also recorded a sharp decrease.

If students are the workforce of tomorrow, the Conservative government is obviously failing them. Why has this government done nothing more to help students enter the job market?

Student Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. In our economic action plan, there is more than $10 million to help students find summer jobs. That is what we have done.

In our economic action plan we have recognized that it is a tougher time for students to get a job this year. We invested another $10 million to create new jobs to help those students get a summer job where they can get funding to pay for their schooling as well as experience that will help them broaden their careers.

Student Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that really is not enough. It is bad enough that students are suffering because of this government's inaction. However, when we learn that there were 11,465 personal and corporate bankruptcies in April, a 33% increase compared to the same period last year, we really wonder what this government is doing. Stores are closing, people are having difficulty paying their debts and companies are cutting jobs to get through the recession.

Will the government finally acknowledge that it is incapable of helping Canadians through this crisis?

Student Employment
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we have developed a plan. It is called an economic action plan. We are creating jobs through significant investments in infrastructure right across the country, in large and small cities.

We are protecting jobs. Over 120,000 people are now still in their jobs, not facing layoffs, because they are participating in our expanded work-sharing program. That is 120,000 jobs saved. We are providing unprecedented support for those who are unfortunate enough to lose their jobs, by offering them training, by expanding EI benefits by an additional five weeks and by offering those people the chance to go back to school and get the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of blaming the Bloc Québécois for asking legitimate questions about the government's refusal to give loan guarantees to the forestry industry, the Prime Minister and his Conservative ministers should stop making statements that undermine Canada's position at the London tribunal.

Does the government agree with its own lawyers that providing loan guarantees to forestry companies is absolutely in accordance with the softwood lumber agreement with the United States?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the forestry industry is experiencing serious difficulties because of the uncertainty in the market. That is one reason our government created the Canada-Quebec committee to prepare appropriate responses to the crisis in the forestry economy.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of waiting to act, claiming opposition by the United States and the famous special committee that has done very little, the government would be better off being very clear that it believes loan guarantees are in accordance with the softwood lumber agreement, as a number of legal opinions have confirmed.

Does the government understand that the best way to counter the Americans' claims on this issue and to help the industry is to give loan guarantees to the forestry sector?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I assure members that the governments of Canada and Quebec are working together with the entire forestry industry to find solutions in the short, medium and long term to get through this crisis.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the number of unemployed workers who receive EI benefits remains ridiculously low, and the government stubbornly maintains that the current employment insurance system does not need any changes.

How can the government continue to ignore the calls for EI reform, when only 44% of unemployed workers are receiving benefits?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that over 80% of those who have contributed to employment insurance are receiving benefits. That is a fact. In addition, we are trying to help people who have lost their jobs by providing five additional weeks of benefits. It is worth noting that the Bloc Québécois, as usual, voted against the unemployed. That is shameful.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the solutions are obvious; what is needed is the will to implement them.

What is this government waiting for to lower the EI eligibility threshold to 360 hours, to eliminate the two week waiting period and to increase benefits from 55% to 60% of insurable income? Those measures would be beneficial not only for unemployed workers, but also for the economy.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, before presenting our economic action plan, we consulted Canadians from all over the country. What they told us was that they wanted additional weeks of benefits. The Bloc asked for two more weeks, and we offered Canadians, our unemployed workers, five additional weeks. The Bloc voted against that.

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, another day, another mediocre economic record from the Conservatives. After the biggest drop in GDP in 18 years, after the first trade deficit in 33 years, after the largest deficit in the history of Canada—even worse than under Brian Mulroney, which says a lot—the Conservatives have given us an unemployment rate of 8.4%, the worse rate in over a decade. More than 400,000 full-time jobs have disappeared since they came to power.

Does the government realize that its economic strategy is a dismal failure?

The Economy
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we have an economic action plan to help workers and protect jobs. We are now protecting more than 120,000 jobs.

In addition, we have a plan for investing in infrastructure and creating jobs. It is important to note that the NDP voted against all these initiatives to help Canadians.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, she is right. We are against their harmful policies that have caused the loss of 186,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector since October, and we are very proud of having voted against their incompetent budget.

Off the top, their so-called stimulus package is not flowing, the senior civil service refusing to play their partisan tune. In fact, big city mayors said today that they have not seen a single dime. Their shovels are ready to dig, but they cannot dig deep when the only tools the government is sending them are press releases.

Is the government going to get the money flowing and work with Parliament, or is it going to miss the construction season again?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that is ironic coming from the NDP members who voted against our budget and tried to do everything they could to stop it.

We have actually doubled the tax gas fund, and we accelerated the spending by three months. The money is already flowing. Get with the picture.

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to trust this government. The Conservatives announce investments that never happen, lose the Royal Canadian Mint's gold, and sell the Crown's treasures for a song. Despite a series of rulings against them—Khadr, Smith and Abdelrazik—they continue to ignore the law and the courts.

Then there are the ministers who break the rules regarding secret documents and blame their assistants. Apparently leaving secret documents at CTV is not as bad as leaving documents at one's girlfriend's place.

Will the government try to regain a tiny bit of the people's confidence and dismiss its irresponsible and incompetent minister?

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, appropriate corrective measures have been taken on that. The person responsible for handling those documents has offered her resignation and it has been accepted.

I know the hon. member likes to yell at people. Why does he not talk some sense into his colleagues and use that energy to get the drug bill, the bill that cracks down on people who bring drugs into the country, passed?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, AECL officials have confirmed that Chalk River may not be back on line within three months. The shutdown remains indefinite. The minister falsely claims that shortfalls can be met by the Dutch and Australian reactors.

Can the minister explain precisely how these two reactors will make up for Canadian shortages? What guarantees has the government received that Canadians will get access to these isotopes given that we are going to be competing against Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and particularly the United States, where the prices paid for isotopes are the highest in the world?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, rather than trying to score political points on this issue, the member perhaps should have been at the Natural Resources committee yesterday where we heard about these very issues.

In fact, if he had been at question period yesterday, he would also know that the minister said we are working with our partners. In the Netherlands, Petten reactor is going to be upping its production by 50%. The Australians are coming on line with their reactor much quicker than anticipated. The minister is working with the international partners to deal with this situation.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Nice try, Mr. Speaker, but here are the real facts. The Dutch Petten reactor has a radioactive leak. It will shut down for a month on July 18. It is going to be shut down for a further six months this January, and its licence to operate expires in March. The Australian OPAL reactor was built strictly for its own market. Its processing plant is not yet commissioned; that will take 6 to 12 months. Currently Australia does not supply medical isotopes to anyone. It imports 100% of its domestic supply.

When will the minister level with Canadians and start treating this crisis with the honesty and the urgency it deserves?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, he is one to be talking about honesty. He should be trying to deal with the issue instead of fearmongering and trying to scare Canadians.

We know in fact that the Petten reactor in the Netherlands is going to increase production by 50%. South Africa has increased its supply as well. These commitments are similar to the commitment we made to other countries when they were having problems. We are working internationally with people to deal with this situation.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly the Minister of Health has failed Canadians. Her message to the provinces is, “You're on your own, figure out how to get along without isotopes”. The provinces are scrambling to extend hours for testing and dealing with expensive alternatives, transferring patients, the clinical use of research scanners and now the skyrocketing isotope crisis.

Will the Minister of Health commit today to reimburse the provinces and territories for every single dollar incurred because of the government's incompetence?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, while Health Canada does not regulate the price of pharmaceutical products, including isotopes, we continue to work with the provinces and territories on addressing the shortage.

As a matter of fact, we are taking action now. We are ensuring that the testing is available for Canadians by quickly approving alternatives. To date we have approved two clinical trials and ten special access program requests. The clinical trials were approved in a record three days, and we are approving special access program requests in just 24 hours.

We are helping the provinces and territories triage and manage their supply through an expert guidance document.

We are taking action, and I would appreciate the member--

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for St. Paul's.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that will not get any isotopes within this year. The crisis is right now, and the Minister of Health has done nothing to prevent it, to fix it or to reassure the patients needing these lifesaving tests that are being cancelled because of the government's incompetence.

Saskatoon is getting one-eighteenth of its usual weekly allotment. Peterborough is operating at 10% capacity. Kingston has been forced to operate with 25% of its normal supply.

The government had 18 months to develop a made in Canada plan. Why does it continue to abdicate the federal responsibility--

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as a physician, the member should know that about 75% of the actual testing can be provided with alternatives. Other isotopes are available now. Thallium or Iodine-123 and gallium can help the provinces manage their supplies.

It is very important that we work together with everyone involved. This is an international issue. We have been engaging our provincial and territorial counterparts, the U.S. secretary of health, as well as the medical community and experts in the field.

My colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, has been working closely with isotope producing countries. We are taking action now, and we would appreciate the member's support in that.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jacques Lyrette of Développement Économique-CLD Gatineau has said, “While the federal government is pouring millions of dollars into the city of Ottawa, its neighbour, Gatineau, is getting nothing but crumbs.” According to Mr. Lyrette, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives ever give Gatineau its fair share.

The Conservatives promised Gatineau the earth. When will they have the courage to keep their promise and rebalance the amounts of money invested on both sides of the Ottawa River?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, I heard that comment this morning, and I was a bit surprised.

While my colleague, the member for Hull—Aylmer, was in power, he managed to have a road built through Gatineau Park, at a cost to Canadian taxpayers of roughly $50 million. Just recently, Highway 5 was built, costing Canadian taxpayers $32 million. The Government of Canada has also contributed to a sports complex. It has been announced that the Palais des Congrès, the conference centre, in Gatineau will be renovated, thanks to another federal contribution.

My colleagues need to wake up once in a while and take a look at—

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Gatineau.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 23 years, we have been waiting for the Science and Technology Museum in Gatineau. For 13 years, we have been waiting for phase II of the Centre régional d'archives de l'Outaouais in Gatineau. There are no research centres in Gatineau, but there are 27 in Ottawa. In short, they always make big promises, but they do not keep them.

Conservatives and Liberals: same inaction.

When will the government take real action for Gatineau?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am used to this.

Bloc Québécois: all talk, no action.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the ineffable Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue said that this government has gotten along very well with the Government of Quebec about harmonizing the GST. However, it is no secret that Quebec is not at all satisfied with the lack of compensation when it harmonized provincial and federal taxes.

If there was an agreement, as the parliamentary secretary claims, why did he say that one day there will be an agreement?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her description. She is too kind.

The Government of Quebec said that it wanted to discuss harmonization. Thus, we started discussions and negotiations with the Government of Quebec on harmonization.

Our government and the Minister of Finance are working with Quebec's finance minister on this issue, and they will certainly not work with the Bloc Québécois.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, things are going so well between Quebec and the federal government that the amounts in dispute, partly inherited from the Liberals, have reached $8.8 billion.

How can the parliamentary secretary be so optimistic when it is clear that Quebec is losing a fortune because there are no agreements on equalization, post-secondary education and settlements for the costs of the ice storm?

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I want to make one thing clear: our Conservative government wants to make this country work. We practice open federalism, and have always said that we would negotiate in good faith on this issue. Quebec's premier said in the Quebec National Assembly that he was not looking to negotiate in public.

If the Bloc leader is sincere, he will abide by the wises of Quebec's premier to represent the Quebec nation.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is turning its back on Canadian women. The lack of a national EI standard disproportionately affects women. Women are more likely to work low-wage, part-time jobs, and they are in and out of the workforce as the primary caregiver for their loved ones. For them, the standards are impossible to reach. What is the Conservatives' answer? They tell them to wait until thousands more people lose their jobs and then maybe they might qualify.

When will the government finally introduce a national standard for EI to help these women and their families?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned when anyone loses their job, male or female.

I should point out to the hon. member that this recession has had less impact on women than it has on men. By and large, the majority of the jobs being lost are in the manufacturing sector, heavy equipment manufacturers, where the majority of people who have been laid off are male.

We are working. This is a gender neutral system. We are there to support any workers who get laid off from their job. We are there with extended benefits, work-sharing programs and expanded training so they can have the jobs of the future to look after their families.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister should talk to women in this country.

The list of premiers and mayors in support of a national standard continues to grow. Premiers Campbell, Wall, Stelmach and McGuinty, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, have all called for a national standard.

This is about fairness across the country. Areas that have had high employment, like western Canada and the greater Toronto area, are now being hit the hardest.

When will the Conservatives stop ignoring the calls of millions of Canadians, their premiers and their mayors? They should show some compassion and make EI eligibility the same in every region of this country.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are making it easier for more Canadians who lose their job to get more benefits sooner and for longer. Over 75% of Canadians now have easier access to longer EI benefits than they did just last fall.

What we will not do is bring in a 45 day work year like the Liberal leader has been proposing, an idea he stole from the NDP, because that would not create jobs, that would not put people back to work, that would not help all those manufacturing people who have lost their jobs after paying into EI for years. They are upset by that idea.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Federal Court ordered the Canadian government to send Mr. Abdelrazik home from the Canadian Embassy in Sudan.

My hon. colleague from Toronto Centre asked if the government would comply with this decision. The Minister of Justice's answer was that the decision was too long to read in only a matter of hours.

With presumably enough time having passed to read the decision, could the government now tell us if it will finally do the right thing and bring Mr. Abdelrazik home?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is a very extensive ruling and of course we will take the proper time to review it and reach a decision in due course.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the court decision states clearly that the Conservative case against Mr. Abdelrazik was “nonsensical”.

Justice Zinn has ordered that the Conservatives “take immediate action so that Mr. Abdelrazik is returned to Canada”.

What is it about this decision that the Conservatives do not understand? Why do they continue to ignore the courts and the fate of a Canadian citizen who simply wants to come home?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact we pay very close attention to what the courts do. This is why we are reviewing this extensive decision very carefully, and we will make a decision in due course.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to a report, tax freedom day falls on June 6 this year. Tax freedom day, as the House knows, is the day that Canadians are free of their tax burden and can begin working for themselves and their families.

Unlike the opposition, I have actually read our government's budget, so I do know that we have cut taxes in every form that the government collects them.

I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance can comment on the date on which tax freedom day falls this year. I understand that it is nearly 20 days earlier than under the previous Liberal government.

Taxation
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, indeed we have cut taxes. We have cut an average Canadian family's taxes by over $3,000 since we came to office. We have cut over 100 taxes since coming to office. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in nearly 50 years. We have removed a million Canadians entirely from the tax rolls.

We have helped them get prepared for this economic recession. We have moved tax freedom day forward nearly 20 days since the Liberal government.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to repatriate Mr. Abdelrazik is a violation of the Charter of Rights.

According to the RCMP, CSIS and the Federal Court, he is not linked to terrorism. Even if the government decides to waste public money by appealing the ruling, it should do what it takes to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home immediately.

Have Foreign Affairs officials begun preparing the documents to bring him home right away?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you what we are doing. Because this is a very extensive ruling, we are looking at it very carefully. We are reviewing all aspects of the decision and we will make a decision in due course.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a very specific provision in this order, and quite an unusual one, but it is a reflection of how badly this file has been bungled by the government. It requires that Mr. Abdelrazik be back before the Federal Court by the first week of July.

That is not a long time to get the arrangements made. Has the government begun to do the work on it, even if it is going to appeal?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House what we are doing. We are very carefully considering this decision. It was just handed down yesterday.

Because of the respect that we have for all decisions of the courts in this country, we will review that decision very carefully and make a decision in due course.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the third time this year that the Conservative government has been called to order by the courts, which have ordered it to repatriate Canadian citizens. Yesterday, in an unusually severe ruling, the court pointed out something that should have been obvious. Section 6 of the Charter of Rights provides that every citizen of Canada, Mr. Abdelrazik included, has the right to enter and leave Canada freely.

Once the government has reviewed the Abdelrazik ruling, will it waive its right to appeal and let him come home right away?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says, “once we have reviewed the decision”. He asks what we are going to do. Well, we will make up our mind when we have had an opportunity to review this decision. The decision was handed down yesterday. We will consider it very carefully before we act.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is true that when a government is as obtuse and obstinate as this Conservative government, judges have to go on at length to remind it of its constitutional obligations. The number of legal cases is on the rise. Allen Smith was sentenced to death and the government refused to lobby to have his sentence commuted. Then there was Omar Khadr, and now Abousfian Abdelrazik.

Will the government reconsider and fulfill its domestic obligations with respect to its own citizens, as well as its international obligations arising from treaties it has signed?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

We will live up to all the commitments, Mr. Speaker, that we are obligated to.

He said he had to ask more than once. I have asked more than once to get some support from the Bloc members in getting tough on crime in this country, and it is not good enough for them to do it just during elections. I need help between elections, and that is something I never get from the Bloc.

Lobster Fishery
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, there is a major problem in the eastern Canadian lobster fishery. The spring lobster season is more than half over, and there is great concern in the industry surrounding the possibility of a publicly funded rationalization plan.

Can the government assure the House today that there will be a plan put in place to remove a number of licences in the area where the catches are low and help remove the pressure on the stocks?

Lobster Fishery
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and harvester and processor associations to address this issue and others, in part through the creation of a new lobster council. We are committed to the long-term success of the lobster industry. That is why we invested $10 million last month in a marketing initiative, and we will assist the industry through Canada's economic action plan.

Lobster Fishery
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, in a number of areas in eastern Canada, the men and women involved in the fishery have a major problem, and that is survival. The prices are low, and the minister is well aware that the EI benefits are based on landings.

Will the minister support the proposal provided to her by the PEI Fishermen's Association that will allow the fishers to use their 2008 landings in order to qualify for employment insurance? If not, these people will have nothing.

Lobster Fishery
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been involved in extensive discussions. We are committed to making the industry viable. All I can say is that we are doing everything we can to make people's lives easy, in total contradiction to the Liberals, who are trying to kill jobs through things like their contradiction on the seal hunt and no sanctions for a Liberal senator who is running around trying to kill the industry.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Royal Canadian Mint has misplaced millions of dollars in gold. Naturally, senior staff bonuses have been suspended until the missing millions are found. CPP lost $24 billion of taxpayer pensions, but the bonuses are flowing like water, a $7 million reward for failure.

Why is it that one crown agency gets it when it comes to Canadians' money, and the other does not?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

First of all, Mr. Speaker, we do take this issue very seriously. Indeed, the minister of state has already spoken to the CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. We want to assure all Canadians that an external audit is being done. Once that is done, we will make the findings and the results public.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have one minister, two agencies, two policies and a lot of lost millions. Canadians do not want to see bonuses paid to managers who lose their money.

Will the minister apply one rule to all his agencies and tell the CPP not to pay bonuses where they are not earned and they are not deserved?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in fact the minister has done that. He has written a letter to the directors on the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board suggesting that they heed a G20 agreement that all G20 leaders signed on to. That has to do with remuneration to the managers and those who are involved with taxpayers' dollars, with money that they are held responsible for. The minister is out in front of this issue and is showing leadership, as he has on the entire economy.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is taking important steps to accelerate infrastructure spending and get infrastructure projects started as soon as possible.

Could the Minister of Justice please tell the House about the significant investments the Government of Canada has made in Ontario just this morning?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact our government is working 10 times faster than any other in the modern era. In just the last couple of months, we have doubled the gas tax from $1 billion to $2 billion, accelerated the first payment from July to April, cut red tape and simplified the application process.

We are continuing to work constructively with our partners, and just this morning Canada's transport minister was joined by his provincial counterpart to announce that the City of Ottawa will receive more than $250 million in joint funding for over 90 projects. By working with the provinces, we are getting the job done. That is what Canadians expect.

Shipping Industry
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Laurentian Pilotage Authority is vital to maintaining the environmental safety of commercial navigation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence ecosystem.

The current chairman, Michel Beauregard, has done an exemplary job. He wiped out a $10.2 million deficit and created a surplus. Shipping delays have been reduced, service improved and cooperation among stakeholders--shipowners, pilots and agents--has never been better, so why will the government not be reappointing Mr. Beauregard?

Is this how Conservatives reward merit and reinforce accountability?

Shipping Industry
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am more than happy to get back to the member in relation to specifics on that issue, but let us be clear. This is an issue that the government will deal with, and it will deal with it in the best interests of Canadians.

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources herself admitted the seriousness of the situation concerning the secret documents left at a television station, so much so that she even offered to resign. She did force her assistant to resign and is letting her take the blame for the entire incident.

How is it that the Prime Minister does not consider this incident serious enough to accept her resignation? Is this not a clear demonstration of this government's incompetence and inconsistency?

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member has been for the last couple of days, but the government has treated this as a very serious matter. That is why appropriate corrective action has been taken.

In case he missed it, I will repeat it again. The person responsible for handling these documents offered her resignation, and it was accepted.

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. has been hit hard by this economic recession and the Conservatives claim to understand how important it is to stimulate and support the local economy and tourism. Why then, in this economic downturn, is the federal government derailing a $30 million opportunity for a second Amtrak run from Seattle to Vancouver by charging unprecedented inspection fees?

Will the minister support the local economy and expanded rail service to Vancouver, and immediately withdraw the demand for CBSA inspection fees?

Rail Transportation
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that this Conservative government is doing everything in its powers to get infrastructure money flowing quickly and to get it where it counts. In fact $29 billion will be pumped into the Canadian economy this very year to keep the economy going. It is an incredible move, and we are getting it done 10 times faster than any Liberal government ever did.

I would also like to point out that tax freedom day is actually 19 days earlier for those Canadians who are paying taxes. It is great news for Canadians all the way around.

D-Day
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this weekend will mark 65 years since D-Day, a pivotal moment in the course of the Second World War.

Thousands of Canadians served our country bravely on the shores of Normandy. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom.

Could the parliamentary secretary please tell the House what the government is doing to mark this historic military anniversary and to honour those who served there?

D-Day
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy will tell us that they were ordinary Canadians serving their country because it was the right thing to do, but we know very well that those Canadians, like Lieutenant Hall, accomplished extraordinary things.

D-Day was a pivotal moment in history for Canada and for the world. To express the gratitude of all Canadians toward those who served on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy, the Right Hon. Prime Minister of Canada and the Hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs will join leaders from around the world on the beaches of Normandy tomorrow to remember and pay respect to the lives lost there 65 years ago.

We must never forget the sacrifices of those who served our country and those who serve today, lest we forget.

Public Transit
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently underscored the importance of having a national strategy and strong partnership between the various levels of government in order to develop the best possible public transit network.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities prefers to micromanage and is unilaterally imposing his views on the level of flexibility to be enjoyed by certain public transit systems in border cities, like Ottawa, Gatineau and Windsor.

Why does the minister refuse to listen to the public transit experts in question?

Public Transit
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, apparently the member was not listening. I just mentioned that we were pumping $29 billion into the economy this year in relation to transportation issues, exactly like the member has suggested. In fact, right now the Standing Committee for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is studying high-speed rail and light rail in cities. We are trying to get to the bottom of what the Liberals left undone for many years.

We are not only funding projects, but we are working with the municipalities, provinces and territories to get the money out as quickly as possible.

We are getting the job done.

Transportation
Oral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the largest airport in the world, Seattle, has a control tower. Toulouse, the second largest according to the aeronautical industry, of course has a control tower. But the third largest, Mirabel international airport, no longer has one.

How can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities explain that a week has gone by and he has done nothing about this? Will he put pressure on NAV CANADA this very afternoon so that Mirabel international airport again has a control tower?

Transportation
Oral Questions

Noon

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the safety and security of air travel in Canada is the number one priority of this government. In fact, Canada's transport minister is aware of the situation at the Mirabel Airport and has directed department officials to look into the situation more carefully. However, if a user group has concerns over changes in service, we are happy to meet with it and further review the service.

Let us be clear. The safety of Canadians is our number one priority and we will not compromise that.

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

Noon

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, MTS Allstream is an important and essential asset to the Manitoba economy. Right now, it is appealing a decision by the CRTC that unfairly limits its ability to compete via-à-vis Ethernet services in areas currently dominated by the large national networks.

My question is for the Minister of Industry. What is the government doing to ensure that MTS Allstream and other similar enterprises are treated fairly by the CRTC and not pushed aside in favour of giants like Bell and Telus?

Telecommunications
Oral Questions

Noon

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is my joy and pleasure to rise in the House to answer the question.

The hon. member would be the first to complain if we interfered in the decision-making process of the CRTC, so we will not do that. However, on a broader perspective, I want to assure the hon. member and this chamber that I am heavily engaged in the whole strategy of the new digital economy.

The fact is if we are to move ahead as a nation, we need to be the best place in the world, where we can use the digital side of our economy to our advantage as Canadians. That includes the processes by which one deals with Ethernet and other issues.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Export of Military Goods from Canada
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada for the year 2006.

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for the Establishment of a Binational Educational Exchange Foundation
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House and pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I would also like to table, in both official languages, a treaty entitled “Exchange of Notes amending the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for the Establishment of a Binational Educational Exchange Foundation”, signed in Ottawa on May 8 and 22, 2009.

Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America concerning Pacific Salmon
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I would also like to table, in both official languages, a treaty entitled “Exchange of Notes between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America relating to Annex IV of the Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America concerning Pacific Salmon”, signed in Washington on December 23, 2008.

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas regarding the Sharing of Forfeited or Confiscated Assets or their Equivalent Sums
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, lastly, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I would like to table a document entitled “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas regarding the Sharing of Forfeited or Confiscated Assets or their Equivalent Sums”, signed in Nassau on March 12, 2009.

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. In accordance with its order of reference of Thursday, May 14, your committee has considered vote 40(a) under justice in the supplementary estimates A for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, and reports the same without amendment.

Canada-Portugal Day Act
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-409, An Act respecting a Canada-Portugal Day.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to move, seconded by the member for Hamilton Centre, an act respecting a Canada-Portugal day.

Every year on June 10, in Canada and throughout the world, persons of Portuguese origin, and some of us who are not, remember their cultural roots by celebrating the life of Luís Vaz de Camões, the author of Os Lusíadas, the epic poem about the history of Portugal prior to 1500.

June 10 should be known as Canada-Portugal day in recognition of the history of the Portuguese Canadian community and to celebrate its immense and significant contribution to Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Public Safety Officers Compensation Fund
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing 36, and as certified by the Clerk of Petitions, I am pleased to present yet another petition concerning public safety officers who lose their lives in the line of duty. As we know, firefighters visited Parliament recently.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that police officers and firefighters are required to place their lives at risk in the execution of their duties on a daily basis, that the employment benefits of these public safety officers often provide insufficient compensation to the families of those who are killed in the line of duty and that the public mourns the loss of public safety officers killed in the line of duty and wish to support, in a tangible way, the surviving members in their time of need.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to establish a fund known as the public safety officers compensation fund for the benefit of families of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.

Public Safety Officers Compensation Fund
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There may have been an oversight. Could I get consent of the House to revert to introduction of government bills?

Public Safety Officers Compensation Fund
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Does the minister have unanimous consent of the House?

Public Safety Officers Compensation Fund
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Employment Insurance
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present three petitions from constituents of beautiful Langley, British Columbia.

The first petition states that a parent or caregiver of a child, who has a life-threatening or serious injury like cancer, must take full time when the child falls ill and undergoes treatment.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to enact legislation to provide additional medical EI benefits at least equal to the maternity EI benefits to take care of those children.

Firearms Registry
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, the second petition states that the long gun registry was originally budgeted to cost Canadians $2 million, but the price tag has spiralled out of control to an estimated $2 billion a year and it has not saved one life since it was introduced.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to support and pass legislation that will cancel the Canadian long gun registry.

Identity Theft
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, the last petition states that identity theft is a serious criminal activity that is becoming increasingly lucrative and Canadians need to be protected.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to support and pass the government legislation that would create three new offences: first, obtaining or possessing identity information with the intent to use it to commit certain crimes; second, trafficking in certain information with knowledge of or recklessness as it is intended to use in the commission of certain crimes; and third, unlawfully possessing and trafficking in government-issued identity documents.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition asking the Government of Canada to take a clear position in favour of the environment and to introduce more stringent laws to combat pollution.

More than 14,000 letters are being given to the Prime Minister. These young people have highlighted the importance of fulfilling international commitments and complying with international agreements on the environment and climate change. I salute this initiative taken by the young people in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and throughout Canada and I encourage them to continue with this noble mission.

Sri Lanka
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a petition from over 100 residents of the area I represent in Scarborough.

The petitioners bring the attention of the House to the plight of many thousands of displaced Sri Lankan persons in camps in northern Sri Lanka following the civil war there. Many of those displaced persons are now contained in camps surrounded by military and barbed wire.

They urge the Government of Canada to bring every diplomatic means to bear to assure that aid is delivered to these people and that they are assured appropriate human rights.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 138 and 142.

Question No. 138
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

With respect to Canadians with diabetes who suffer severe and life-threatening adverse reactions to synthetic insulin and are unable to obtain domestically, an alternative animal-based insulin: (a) what actions has Health Canada taken or will take to ensure that Canadians who require such medication will continue to have access to it; (b) is the government (i) investigating methods of producing the medication via public funds or public-private partnership, (ii) initiating a process seeking approval of the drug for domestic production and distribution, (iii) initiating a consultation process with the manufacturers of animal insulin seeking domestic production and distribution, (iv) providing incentives to manufacturers to produce animal insulin domestically, (v) securing a guarantee from the manufacturer that the drug will be permanently available, (vi) stockpiling the medication to ensure near-term supply; (c) what has Health Canada done or what will it do to ensure that these Canadians receive financial assistance due to high costs as a result of provincial health insurance plans not covering certain medications or treatments;(d) what action has Health Canada taken or will take to ensure (i) that people who suffer negative effects from synthetic insulin are aware of and have access to proper treatment as well as expanded choice in treatment options, (ii) that medical professionals who are responsible for treating Canadians with diabetes are aware of the availability of alternative forms of medication such as beef and pork based insulin; (e) what action has Health Canada taken or will take to ascertain how many Canadians suffer adverse reactions from synthetic insulin; (f) has Health Canada investigated or will be investigating the implementation of a protocol to address this issue, if not, why have steps not been taken to address this issue; and (g) does the lack of the availability of this type of medically necessary treatment represent a barrier to equal access to healthcare services and, if so, what steps has Health Canada taken or will take towards addressing this situation?

Question No. 138
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in regard to a) Health Canada has been working continuously for the past years to implement a multi-pronged approach to resolving the issues around the availability of animal insulin (beef and pork). Health Canada believes that it is important to have a variety of choices for treatment in order to provide the optimal care to all patients, as much as possible.

In regard to b) Since there are no longer any domestic manufacturers of animal insulin (beef or pork), Health Canada has approached several manufacturers of animal insulin abroad, in England, Argentina and Poland. Of these, only one filed information required to market insulin of animal origin. Also, this same manufacturer, Wockhardt, although producing both pork and beef insulin for domestic use, has refused to file for the marketing of beef insulin in Canada. Similarly, two other manufacturers of insulin from abroad, have declined to file for authorization to market their insulin, be it pork or beef. Despite having discussed Canadian requirements with two of the three manufacturers noted above, and despite the fact that these manufacturers were made aware of the potential for some financial incentives, including the reduction (even to zero) of fees charged for the review of therapeutic products, they indicated that unless there is a sufficiently large market, none of the incentives offered were of interest to them.

Health Canada does not have the authority to compel manufacturers to file a submission for a therapeutic product. Similarly, incentives other than the regulatory ones, would place Health Canada in a conflict of interest.

Furthermore, Health Canada does not have the legal authority to secure guarantees for continued insulin supply. Stockpiling of insulin is outside the scope of the mandate except for situations of emergency, such as Pandemic flu.

However, Health Canada does make beef insulin available via the special access programme for those who require it. There is a small number of patients who avail themselves of special access programme.

In regard to c) The federal government provides significant funds to ensure the sustainability of the whole health care system; the administration and delivery of health care, including drug coverage, is a provincial and territorial responsibility.

Under the Canada Health Act, all medically necessary drugs when administered in hospital must be insured by provincial and territorial health insurance plans. Prescription drugs provided outside of hospital are outside of the scope of the Act and therefore, provincial and territorial governments determine, at their own discretion, whether, and under what terms and conditions, to publicly finance prescription drugs. As to catastrophic drug coverage, i.e., coverage for high out-of-pocket drug costs relative to income, most jurisdictions, including Ontario (the Trillium Drug Plan), already offer a form of catastrophic drug coverage to their residents. As well, most jurisdictions (Ontario included) have, for persons who are eligible for coverage, exceptional access programs for drugs not listed on their benefit formularies.

Pursuant to the 2004 Health Accord, the federal government committed to providing an additional $41.3 billion over 10 years to provinces and territories in support of strengthening health care, including pharmaceuticals management. These monies are provided through the legislated Canada Health Transfer, which grows by six per cent annually and will reach $24 billion this year. How jurisdictions use these funds is their decision, but these funds can help provinces with the costs of their drug plans, including catastrophic coverage. Several jurisdictions (Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador) have recently expanded drug coverage for their populations, and Health Canada welcomes such initiatives.

As part of the same accord, the federal government agreed to a shared agenda with provinces and territories to improve the collective management of pharmaceuticals, recognizing the complementary roles (federal responsibilities include regulating market access and patented drug prices, and post-market drug surveillance). The government continues to welcome opportunities for meaningful collaboration on pharmaceutical issues to realize efficiencies in the health care system, so that public resources can be used most effectively.

In regard to d)i) Health Canada convened an expert panel to examine the clinical/medical facets of the issues surrounding the usage and availability of animal insulin. The panel has recognized that there is a medical aspect to the question of animal vs biosynthetic insulin. The report of the panel has been submitted to Health Canada and it will be studied in order to develop an action plan for implementation of the recommendations in the report.

In regard to d)ii) Health Canada is preparing a plan for educational materials to ensure that the medical community is fully aware of the issues surrounding the use of animal vs biosynthetic insulin. The plan will be finalized in conjunction with the action plan following the recommendations of the expert panel on animal insulin.

If a manufacturer or potential manufacturer approaches Health Canada, it will ensure that such a sponsor can file a submission to market animal insulin, be it pork or beef, in the shortest possible time.

In regard to e) Health Canada regularly reviews safety data concerning insulins submitted by market authorization holders and adverse reactions submitted to the marketed health product directorate’s Canada vigilance database. The safety data submitted by market authorization holders and adverse reactions reports in the Canada Vigilance database are regularly reviewed to ensure that all insulins on the market remain safe for human use.

In regard to f) As indicated above, Health Canada is reviewing recommendations from an expert panel formed to address the issue of animal versus biosynthetic insulins. Educational materials are also being prepared to raise awareness of the medical community on this issue.

In regard to g) Under the Canada Health Act, the provinces and territories are required to extend provincial and territorial health insurance plan coverage to their residents for medically necessary hospital and physician services. For services that are outside the scope of the act, including prescription drug benefits, coverage is at the discretion of the individual provinces and territories, on their own terms and conditions.

Question No. 142
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

What is the government’s strategy to protect Canada’s drug supply in face of the United States’ increasing demand for discount drugs?

Question No. 142
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, recent data indicate that sales to the U.S. have decreased significantly from their 2004 peak. While there are initiatives underway in the U.S. that may potentially increase the volume of sales in the future, these are not yet in effect or finalized. Pre-emptive action is not required at this time, and it would be more prudent to assess the final version of any U.S. initiative before making a determination on a course of action.

Cross-border drug sales, CBDS, have been occurring for some time now, via both “foot traffic” and mail order. Health Canada has monitored CBDS levels and U.S. legislative activity in this regard since approximately 2002, assessing potential risks to Canada's drug supply. CBDS from Canada to the U.S. via mail order rose steadily from the beginning of 2000 until it peaked in 2004 at approximately $850M. Latest estimates of annual mail-order sales are about $173M, approximately 20% of the 2004 peak. Primary factors explaining the decline include: the implementation of U.S. Medicare Part D (seniors’ prescription drug benefit); supply restrictions to Canadian-based Internet pharmacies by the drug industry; and the surge (until recently) in the value of the Canadian dollar (relative to its 2003-2004 value).

Foot traffic, which existed prior to Internet commerce, remained steady at approximately $500M annually from 2004 to 2008. While the same factors as listed above would be expected to have reduced foot traffic, more recent data are not available.

Recent events in the U.S., such as the newly re-introduced bill seeking to legalize the bulk import of drugs, may have the potential to increase American demand for Canadian drugs if implemented successfully. The primary concern from some stakeholders has been with the potential impact on the Canadian drug supply and prices. This has led to renewed calls for possible Government of Canada interventions that could be used to address future drug supply issues in Canada. However, export prohibitions at this time are not consistent with Canada’s international trade obligations unless they fit within recognized exceptions, namely to protect human health or to prevent/relieve critical shortages.

This Government is committed to the health and safety of Canadians and would explore all available options in the event that Canadian supplies were jeopardized. Even if the U.S. legalizes bulk imports, actual implementation would take longer than a year, allowing time to prepare for any concern with the potential impact of bulk imports.

Health Canada officials, in co-operation with their colleagues at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, continue to monitor the export of drugs to the U.S., as well as the progress of U.S. legislation. Current CBDS levels, which are actually declining, do not warrant government intervention. As the American initiatives pass through the U.S. legislative process and evolve, Government of Canada officials will continue to assess them and formulate appropriate policy responses based on those assessments.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, if Questions Nos. 132, 141, 143 and 148 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 132
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

With respect to the new United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) user fee requirements for Canada: (a) what did the government do, if anything, to negotiate this fee change with the United States; (b) what communications occurred between Canada and the United States in preparation for this fee change; (c) what notice, if any, was provided to Canadian railway companies by the United States government of the August 25, 2007 interim rule authorizing APHIS to collect fees to cover costs for agricultural quarantine, inspection as well as planned increases to the program’s inspection capacity related to ports of entry in Canada; (d) does the Government of Canada know why the exemption removal was issued by the United States government, as an interim rule, as opposed to publishing a proposed rule for comments; (e) why was the targeted risk management model for customs reforms in North America not followed; (f) what overall purpose did the additional inspection under the APHIS proposal demonstrate; and (g) why is this fee being imposed on railway companies seeing as railways do not engage in the shipping of any substantial quantities of agricultural products across the border?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 141
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

With respect to tobacco: (a) what is the government’s strategy to combat the illegal cigarette trade and ensure tobacco control; and (b) what has the government done to follow through on the September 17, 2008 commitment to ban flavoured tobacco products that appeal to children and ban tobacco advertising in print and electronic media that can be seen and read by our youth?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 143
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to aquifers in Canada: (a) what percentage of Canada’s groundwater has been mapped by the government; (b) what percentage of Canada’s groundwater has been mapped by the provincial and territorial governments; (c) how much has the Canadian government spent, directly or indirectly, on groundwater mapping in each of the last ten years; (d) how much have each of the provinces and territories spent on groundwater in each of the last ten years; (e) is all federal groundwater mapping done by the Canadian Geological Survey, if not, to whom is third-party groundwater mapping contracted out; and (f) do provinces and territories share the data they collect on groundwater mapping with the federal government?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 148
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

With regard to Canadian citizens held in foreign countries: (a) how many Canadian citizens are being held abroad; (b) what are their names; (c) where are they being held; and (d) what steps are being taken to retrieve them and assess their respective legal situations?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is the House ready for the question?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The question is on the motion that this question be now put. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 45 the division stands deferred until Monday, June 8 at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (limiting credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried, on division.

(Motion agreed to)

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today--

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Just after question period, at the time of the introduction of government bills, I indicated to the Chair that I was introducing a government bill. There may have been an oversight, and I appreciate that these things happen, but I would ask you to consider the situation, Madam Speaker.

I would make the case that it would not be necessary for unanimous consent because I believe it was just an oversight at the time during routine proceedings. I would ask that you have a look at that and make a decision.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

It is my understanding, following the hon. minister's comments, from speaking to the table officers that there was an error at the Table, and as such, it would not require unanimous consent.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I do understand that there was some flurry of activity over there. Government members said there was no bill and there was no response by way of standing up when that item was called.

I do not personally have a problem, but we do have procedures in this place. When we move down the list under routine proceedings, our convention has always been to ask for consent of the House to revert to an item, so that a matter that came up subsequently could be dealt with. I am just raising this from the standpoint of the practice and procedure of the House.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, I would ask the member to reconsider what I think he just suggested. He said that government members said there was no bill. No, we were saying all the time--

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

There is no bill.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Fair enough. It was not part of any argument, and I did indicate to the Chair that I expected the bill to be introduced, so that was the only point I was making.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, as my hon. colleague from Mississauga South obviously knows, having been a member of this place for many years, one cannot challenge the ruling of the Chair. In effect, that was what he was trying to do in trying to dissuade you from allowing this bill to be introduced.

Madam Speaker, I would merely point out that you have made a ruling. I believe it is the correct ruling and I would encourage you to proceed in that manner.

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, would you please explain again what happened as far as the Table is concerned, so that we can clearly understand if this was a misunderstanding on the part of the Table or if it was a misunderstanding or something else on the part of the government?

Introduction of Government Bills
Points of Order
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I wish to thank all the members for their submissions on this issue. It was clearly a question of an oversight by the Table. The bill was there. It was just not at the Table.

We will continue and revert to introduction of government bills.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (limiting credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody), be read the third time and passed.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak at third reading to Bill C-25, a proposal to restrict the amount of credit awarded for time an accused person spends in pre-sentencing custody.

The proposed legislation is part of our government's commitment to tackle crime and make our streets safer.

It is similar to a proposal I made in my private member's bill, Bill C-393, referred to as the knife bill which passed second reading in the 39th Parliament. That bill was introduced because of the senseless slaying of Andy Moffitt from Brockville.

Bill C-25 will provide the courts with guidance in sentencing by limiting the amount of credit that the courts may grant to convicted criminals for the time they served in custody prior to their sentencing.

Courts have traditionally granted two to one credit for pre-sentencing custody to account for certain factors such as overcrowding in remand centres, lack of rehabilitative programs commonly available in sentence custody, and the fact that the time spent in remand did not count toward parole eligibility.

In some cases the credit awarded has been as high as three to one, especially where the conditions of detention were very poor, for example, because of extreme overcrowding.

Enhanced credit has contributed to the growing size of the remand population who are those accused in custody awaiting trial and sentencing across the country which is now greater than the population found in sentence custody in Canada's provisional and territorial jails.

Across Canada court cases are becoming more complex and therefore longer. Many criminal cases now involve 10 to 20 court appearances which translate into longer stays in remand. For example, in 1994-95, 34% of those in remand were being held for more than one week. Ten years later, 2004-05 those held for more than one week had grown to almost 45%. The result is that offenders spend less time in sentence custody because they spend too much time in remand.

All this adds up to the increase in the remand population compared to the sentence population of convicted criminals. This explains why provincial attorneys general and correctional ministers encouraged the Minister of Justice at their September 2008 meeting to limit credit for pre-sentence custody as a way to help reduce the growing size of their remand population.

The practice of awarding double or even triple credit for pre-sentencing custody puts the administration of justice into disrepute. It creates the impression that offenders are getting more lenient sentences than they deserve.

Canadians have told us loud and clear they would like to see more truth in sentencing by bringing the practice of giving double time credit for pre-trial custody to an end.

This is exactly what Bill C-25 does. It proposes that the general rule of limiting credit for pre-sentencing custody to one to one in all cases. However, it gives courts the discretion to grant up to one and a half days for every day spent in pre-sentencing custody where it is warranted. Those circumstances are not defined in the bill, but we would expect that severe overcrowding for example would be such a circumstance.

Where accused are remanded for having violated bail or because of their criminal record, the credit must be limited to one day for every day spent in pre-sentencing custody in all cases. These are factors that courts have recognized as warranting less than two to one credit for pre-sentencing custody.

The government will not allow extra credit for repeat offenders and for those who have violated their bail conditions.

Another problem with the current practice of awarding credit for pre-sentencing custody is that only the resulting term of full sentencing custody is reported and no statement of the consideration of pre-sentencing custody is communicated in the reasons for sentencing.

This is another problem that Bill C-25 proposes to address by requiring courts to note on the record the sentence that would have been imposed without credit, the amount of credit awarded, as well as the sentence imposed.

Courts would also be required to record that the offenders have been remanded because of their criminal record or because they have violated bail.

These requirements will meet several objectives including more clarity in how the length of the custodial sentence is determined and I believe that it will result in greater certainty and consistency, and will improve public confidence in the administration of justice.

As a result of this initiative, more offenders will now have a federal sentence of two years more and an increased number of federal offenders will be spending a longer time in federal custody.

From a rehabilitation perspective, this time in the federal system may present the opportunity for longer term programming that may have a positive impact on the offender.

I appreciate the support of our provincial and territorial partners for this legislative amendment to provide greater truth in sentencing. We are continuing to make laws to strengthen the justice system, and Bill C-25 is an important contribution to this objective.

I urge hon. members to support a quick and hasty passage of this bill.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak on Bill C-25, the truth in sentencing act. I intend to go through the bill briefly and point out where we in the Liberal Party can in principle support the bill and where we have a few problems.

I might say at the outset that the overall bill is one we can support. However, along with a lot of other justice bills, it will put a lot of pressure on the system of rehabilitation and incarceration. As such, we want to be sure the government gets the message that even though these bills are coming down the pike, it should resource the corrections facilities and agencies in charge of those facilities with sufficient resources to do the job.

I might start with clause 1 of the bill itself, which says “Truth in Sentencing”. I understand the aim is to try to codify, to regularize, to give reasons for the time given in remand for sentences accorded.

However, there is something pejorative in “truth in sentencing”. It implies there was untruth in sentencing. Inasmuch as sentencing is a judicial function, I see this title as another example of the unrelenting attack that the government has had on the judiciary in general.

We know that upon the Prime Minister being elected, or maybe it was just prior, he talked about Liberal judges. Judges are judges are judges. Once they becomes judges, there ought to be more respect for them. I find that a little objectionable.

I wish the Attorney General, the parliamentary secretary and the government in general would take a little more care to step away from the Reaganesque or Bushesque habit, it seems, to tell the public through the label what kind of legislation they are proposing rather than concentrating on the actual impact of the legislation.

Clause 2 talks about amending section 515 of the Criminal Code by adding a section that is trying to get justices to put in writing the details of what credit, if any, they are going to give for remand time. It is a good idea.

I think judges across the country will embrace this idea. Instead of being given a form that is a bit vague as to how they arrived at the sentence and what, if any, credit they are giving for remand time, the form, which would be new form 21 in clause 4, combined with the effect of clause 2, tells judges very clearly whether they are going to give extra credit for remand or bucket time, which is time in facilities where there are no programs, there may be issues of overcrowding and safety, and in some cases there is limited access to the outdoors, to recreation.

We have to understand that this is a province by province and institution by institution situation, which only an individual judge can deal with. A judge can look at the circumstances of the remand in question and give, even under this act, up to 1.5 days for one day served in remand. However, he or she must state the reasons. It is a good thing, and I think judges will look forward to having forms presented to them that make some sense.

The crux is found in clause 3, which amends subsection 719(3) of the Criminal Code. It says that the benchmark will be one day for one day in remand time. In circumstances, when reasons are given, it can be 1.5 days. In exceptional circumstances, where a person has already violated bail and therefore is not allowed to have this 1.5 days, we think there remains some discretion for judges to say that in certain circumstances 1.5 days would be given, unless that person has already violated bail and shown that he or she has no respect for the justice system.

I mentioned there is a new form 21, which judges will applaud. This law is a bit of a housekeeping arrangement. It tells judges and prosecutors that they have to clean up their paper trail as to how they treat people with their incarcerated time.

A national justice survey commissioned by the Department of Justice in 2007 shows there was general public approval for reducing sentences to compensate for time spent in pre-sentencing custody. A little more than three-quarters, 77%, were of the opinion that credit for time in pre-sentencing should be allowed in cases of non-violent offences. However, more than half believed, and this is the important part, that no credit should be allowed for persons convicted of serious violent crimes.

We concur with that. We think that is sensible. We do not always knee-jerk agree with what the Canadian public believes, but in this instance it seems to make sense to those in the House who ask why people in the justice system should get extra credit in the case of a very serious violent offence. We do not think that is correct.

What is disturbing is that there is this whole body of practice without reasons, which I frankly think is the lawmakers' fault. Lately we have been prorogued into inaction and all the bills have been jettisoned by the political appetite of the government in power on any day. We have had too many elections and too little work done on the housekeeping aspects of the Criminal Code. It has led to judges saying that in the absence of clear direction on how they are supposed to give a person credit for time spent in a horrible remand situation they are going to include it by deduction in the overall sentence. By sleuth, there has been a credit given without reasons. This says to judges that they have to give reasons there is remand time credit given.

Double time became the benchmark. By dereliction of duty, which parliamentarians have to share, it seemed that two-for-one became the benchmark of justices in this country. The courts have basically made that a common practice, but as in the case of Dadgar, a Quebec Court of Appeal case, it was never automatic. The public pronouncements that judges were giving two-for-one credits willy-nilly and that it was a rule is not exactly correct.

We did deal with this at committee, and I want to bring attention to the pressing need of the government to understand there is going to be a capacity crisis if it continues to bring in legislation that crowds our facilities. Don Head, of Correctional Service Canada, gave the following evidence:

In the long-term, CSC will have to look to construct more permanent accommodation, including the construction of new units or institutions to manage the population growth--

Notwithstanding the impacts of the bill,

And I think he was a bit in the crosshairs of everybody, especially government-side MPs, when he said:

--the Correctional Service of Canada is committed to continuing to fulfill its mandate to manage the sentences of federal offenders and to ensure public safety results--

I felt a bit sorry hearing him, because I am sure that if the shackles, using a bad corrections pun, were off him, he would say he does not have enough resources to ensure there will be adequate corrections facilities for the mandate he has been given.

More importantly, Howard Sapers, who is the corrections ombudsman, has basically said that the bill itself will lead to a significant increase in the offender population managed by CSC. It is very clear there is going to be more population, and it is not as clear in looking at items in the budget presented by the federal government that there will be adequate resources.

We feel this law will bring clarity to time served. We think that is a good thing. Judges are looking for direction and they would agree with this housekeeping aspect. But if as a consequence there are more people going to Correctional Service Canada facilities or provincial facilities, then it is very incumbent upon the government, the Minister of Public Safety, to ensure there are adequate resources to prevent conditions of overcrowding so we do not get in trouble with international human rights obligations, charter rights obligations and basic human obligations of being in conditions that are adequate.

It is not the concern of this bill, but it is very much the concern of the government, and I want to make sure we are on record as saying that the government better be concerned with it. It better be concerned with it because it is the government's duty and fiduciary obligation and we will hold its feet to the fire as this bill goes forward.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I agree with the member for Moncton's analysis of the current system in corrections. He did not make much reference to the provincial level, but it is certainly the same at the provincial level. It is overcrowded. We certainly do not have anywhere near the resources to provide the necessary programming to ensure, as much as possible, a reduction in recidivism by inmates leaving the system once they have served their time.

I want to ask my colleague on the justice committee whether he does he not see a fundamental flaw in his argument in support of this bill. From a practical standpoint, the Liberal Party, and the Bloc as well, should not be supporting the bill at this time in light of the lack of resources in the system to deal with the inmates who are already there.

I think he agrees that inevitably the number of inmates is going to go up as a result of this bill and others that are in the works or that have already been passed. We have not seen the growth in the inmate population yet, but it is coming and to quite a significant degree. We know that the judges do not like giving more than equal time for pretrial custody, but they feel compelled to do it because of the standards in the pretrial custody.

Is it not irresponsible on the part of the Liberals and the Bloc to support this bill until such time as we have a very clear commitment and actual implementation of those additional resources by the government?

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I tried to cover in my remarks that there is a very high duty on the government. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Madam Speaker, and I guess by devolution you know that.

However, the real issue is whether we are going to avoid enacting legislation that is needed because the consequence of it might not be handled by some other department. It reminds me of having an illness in a medicare system that says, “We are not going to send that sick person for the treatment they need because we know the medical system is overcrowded and the hospitals are not doing a good job”.

It does not deny one's duty to treat the disease, or in this case to bring in the legislation that is needed.

I may have a different view than the hon. member about this legislation. I think judges are looking for clarity and that they are making decisions based on aspects of human rights as it may pertain to jail conditions. They should be putting those decisions in writing, and then we would have a body of decisions. I know they are only scripted decisions, such as a written endorsement on the back of a motion record cover. My friend is a lawyer and he knows what I am talking about. But it is a reason. Today we do not have that; it is in a dark hole. We do not know why judges per se are giving credit for remand custody.

If it is because of appalling conditions, then that provides a paper trail to the solicitors general in the various provinces to do something about those conditions. Thus far, with all due respect, we have only heard about conditions from inmates' rights groups, prisoners themselves perhaps, and from defence attorneys. We need a body of evidence from our judges. In my view, this would engage them to keep an accurate account of why they are giving remand based on conditions in the prisons.

However, I agree 100% with the member that the duty is on the government to step up and make sure that it resources the facilities it is in charge of.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I take issue with my friend on that last point. We do not know only from prisoner advocates or the defence bar, we know from Correctional Services. I know my friend wants to leave, but I have to pin him down. We know from Mr. Head and Mr. Sapers, who is very directly involved, that we have overcrowding. Mr. Head told us at committee that we had a huge number of cells designed for one inmate, in which two and, more and more often, three inmates were in them.

We also know that the justice minister came before our committee. When I asked him a question about the capacity in our prison systems to handle the additional inmates, he said that he had talked to the public safety minister and gave the assurances that we had the capacity to take additional prisoners. That was before Mr. Head, the real person who knows what is going on, because the Minister of Public Safety does not, came before us and said that we did not have the capacity. As much as he tried to be diplomatic about not contradicting his minister, he said that we were overcrowded already, that we had large numbers of cells holding two inmates, which are only designed for one, and that we had a large number of cells in which there were three inmates, and that was getting worse.

I come back to my friend from Moncton. If we have that kind of ignorance level on the part of the government, on the part of the minister responsible for corrections, what hope do we have if we pass the bill and we have that increase in population? I am not talking programming. I am talking about physical space to handle these prisoners. What assurances do we have, what sense of hope do we have that the government is going to do anything about increasing the number of prisons in the country?

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I hope my friend was not implying I was trying to run away from a debate with him. I would never do that. I am happy to say that Don Head, the CSC official, and I have it in writing and I wrote notes at the time, assured us that Correctional Service was committed to continuing to fulfill its mandate. We also have on record, some time ago, $220 million from the government for further corrections facilities.

I share my hon. colleague's concern. However, I also throw back to him that we have a duty to make laws that are clear and fair. There are consequences of those laws. In this case, and I have highlighted it maybe four times now, the consequences of some of this legislation, and particularly this bill, may be that there is pressure on CSC and other provincial facilities. It is incumbent upon the government to ensure that it prepares for it. Having this debate, bringing that to the attention of people at committee is very much what we do as parliamentarians.

I, too, was somewhat disillusioned by the answer of the Minister of Justice in saying that he had consulted with the Minister of Public Safety. It begs perhaps a question of our own due diligence. I would submit for the member for Windsor—Tecumseh that maybe we should have had the Minister of Public Safety there. It seems many times at justice committee, we have issues that we really would like to ask of the Minister of Public Safety, for these very reasons, that we do not get a crack at because we have the Minister of Justice telling us that he has talked to him and that everything seems to be okay.

I am not getting that assurance from the answer. However, as I say, the government has the fiduciary duty. If there is harm done in this situation, it is clearly on the heads of the government members. We cannot avoid our duty in enacting, approving and supporting laws that we think make it clearer and make the judge's job easier to administer the law and more useful to us by those endorsements that will report on conditions in our prisons across the country.

Truth in Sentencing Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, we have been talking about Bill C-25 for some time already, and I just want to point out that the Bloc Québécois was, once again, miles ahead of the government on this issue.

For several years now, we have been urging the government to eliminate the remand custody credit. I was looking for the right term. I also had “one-sixth of the sentence” in mind because the Bloc Québécois introduced a bill a few years ago that would have eliminated the one-sixth practice for offenders. The reason it took me a minute is that the Bloc Québécois introduces a lot of bills about justice in an effort to ensure fairness.

We have two very good colleagues, the member for Hochelaga and the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, both of whom are experts in matters of justice. Our colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin was once Quebec's public safety minister. Now you understand why it took me a minute to remember. The Bloc Québécois has introduced so many excellent bills on justice that it is easy to get them mixed up.

The Conservatives do not give us many reasons to celebrate when it comes to justice, but Bill C-25 is one, at least. The Bloc Québécois has strongly supported the measure in the bill since 2007. The Bloc Québécois has been talking about this for over two years now, which is a long time. On June 15, 2007, the Bloc Québécois proposed a series of recommendations about important changes to the Canadian justice system. These measures called for a more balanced justice system that is adapted to new realities, has a real impact on crime, and most importantly, avoids following the American model based on repression, a model whose negative outcomes are all too visible.

We are seeing this a lot particularly with this dogmatic, Conservative government, which is trying, through every possible means, especially with minimum sentences, to copy the American model, which simply does not work.

Earlier my colleague said that Canadian prisons were full to capacity. I invite him to go the United States to see what it is like there. He will soon realize that, compared to them, we should not feel so bad. American prisons are packed and the crime rate there is extremely high. There are many other reasons, apart from how the justice system itself operates. The gun registry comes to mind, something the Americans do not have. The free flow of firearms is also a serious problem in the United States, which means that a lot more crimes are committed with firearms there.

Earlier I mentioned some of the remarkable qualities of my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. He recently explained to all the members of the Bloc Québécois that Canada has, if I am not mistaken, about 100 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, while the United States has about 736 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants. As we can see, copying the American model would be a serious mistake.

I must say, Quebeckers worry when we see the Conservative government acting in this way, whether we are talking about minimum sentences, the gun registry or its overall, general views on crime.

The Conservatives say they are tough on crime and they say so in an aggressive way. They are trying to show that they know what they are talking about. Yet police associations across Canada are criticizing this government. They are saying that, apart from a few photo ops with police officers, there has been no real, concrete action. There is still a serious shortage of police officers. The Conservative government boasts about hiring them and making huge investments, but apart from some nice announcements and empty promises, we have seen absolutely nothing.

Let us look at how Quebec manages public safety and justice.

Our approach is much more comprehensive and focuses more on integration and prevention. Quebec's approach is to ensure that the criminal does not commit crimes rather than arresting criminals once they have committed crimes, as the Conservative government would have it. That is the objective of Quebec and especially our colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

Quebec, represented by the Bloc Québécois, has a very good understanding of justice issues and does a good job of defending them. The proof is that in Quebec only about 40 crimes involving firearms are committed each year, which is an extremely small number. We have a very low crime rate. There is little crime in Quebec. I am extremely proud of that and, above all, it is the result of the way we manage public safety and justice.

The Bloc Québécois has presented measures that reflect the values of Quebeckers. These measures are primarily based on prevention, rehabilitation, social and economic integration, and a better distribution of wealth.

As I was saying, unfortunately, all too often, people who are going to commit crimes are poor. A study was published—whether or not we agree with it—which stated that during a recession, the crime rate increases because people have a great deal less money. We can readily deduce that there may be a correlation between poverty and the crime rate. The poorer people are, the greater their needs and, unfortunately, the more they will commit crimes, not because of need—because one never needs to commit a crime—but because it may be their only way out.

Therefore, we have to do more than just put people in jail. We have to help them with education, job searches and job creation. We have to try to take these people and put them back into the labour force by giving them a hand up and thus ensuring that we lower the crime rate.

Our proposals included streamlining the parole system, stepping up the fight against organized crime and providing better funding for the national crime prevention strategy.

Simply put, when a person is arrested for committing an offence under the Criminal Code, he must be brought before a judge as quickly as possible. At this stage, the crown attorney must inform the defendant of the charges against him. While the defendant is awaiting trial, the judge has two options: he can release the defendant, with or without conditions, if he feels that the defendant is not at risk of reoffending, or the judge may order that the defendant be detained until sentencing, if the defendant is dangerous.

If the judge chooses to detain the defendant, the period leading up to sentencing is called time served in remand or time in custody. After the trial, the judge must give an appropriate punishment to the guilty party. That is the sentence. The Criminal Code and related jurisprudence set out some criteria to guide the court.

I digress, but earlier I spoke a little about minimum sentences. These minimum sentences dismiss the criteria in the jurisprudence, and remove the judges' ability to think freely and use discretion in giving a fair sentence to any criminal.

As it stands, to determine the punishment for someone found guilty of a crime, the court must take into account all the time the individual spent in custody since the crime was committed. Although it is left to their discretion, judges not only generally take into account time in custody, but also apply the two-for-one rule. This means that time in custody counts two-for-one, and in some cases, judges have even gone as far as counting it as three-for-one.

This calculation method stems from the fact that few if any programs or activities are available to inmates during the trial period. Moreover, their detention conditions are poor and correctional facilities are overcrowded. Since the bill was introduced, we have discussed at length the serious shortcomings in overpopulated penitentiaries.

We do not want to leave this out of this debate, because it is an extremely important issue. However, we are first and foremost legislators, and we have to make the law that makes up the Criminal Code. We must also develop and introduce laws and then pressure the government for the necessary financial and human resources. We must ensure that this bill is fully enforced.

This calculation method stems from the fact that penitentiaries are overcrowded. In addition, time spent in pre-sentencing custody is not taken into account in calculating eligibility for full parole or statutory release. For all these reasons, judges tend to give two-for-one credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody.

On March 27, 2009, the Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-25 for first reading in the House of Commons. The bill has to do with sentencing. The principles of sentencing are found mainly in part XXIII of the Criminal Code, in section 718 and the sections that follow.

The bill is intended to eliminate any possibility that a judge will give two-for-one credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody. Clause 3 of the bill sets out this principle by limiting the credit for that time to a maximum of one day for each day spent in custody. As well, and only if the circumstances justify it, the bill allows a credit of one and one-half days for each day spent in custody, unless the person was kept in custody because of his criminal record or a breach of probation. In that case, no greater credit may be granted, regardless of the conditions in which the offender was held during his trial.

With respect to that measure, the Bloc Québécois recognizes that in some specific and very exceptional situations, it may be appropriate to subtract time served before and during the trial at a rate of a day and a half for each day in custody from the sentence. If that results in a reduction equivalent to 50% of the days spent in remand, in some cases, that would not discredit the justice system. There are cases involving conditions of detention ill suited to the person's health. In all cases, when a judge reduces the sentence in consideration of time served in pre-sentencing custody, the judge must justify that decision, record the reasons for it in the file and detail how the guilty person's sentence was calculated.

For more than two years now, the Bloc Québécois has recommended that this rule be eliminated, so we are pleased with this measure because the reason for this practice no longer reflects the reality of today's prison system. Along with the fact that legal cases are getting longer and more complex, this practice supports the popular notion that sentences are too lenient, discredits the administration of justice and frustrates victims and their families, who sometimes see the offenders turned loose shortly after sentencing.

People often get the sense that we are too soft on some criminals. I understand some of the victims. I also understand how the parents, friends and colleagues of victims who have been brutally murdered feel when the criminal goes free. The murderer may be sentenced to 10 or 15 years in jail, but gets out after serving barely 4 or 5 years.

The loved ones of victims might feel the justice system is faulty, since criminals are released much more quickly. Of course, that is all because of the two-for-one time. Here is an example. Now, if an accused spends six months in pre-sentencing custody and is sentenced to two years in prison, his sentence will likely last only one year. This bill would fix that anomaly.

When it comes to justice, the Bloc Québécois firmly believes that the most effective approach is always prevention. We have to attack crime at its roots. As I said at the beginning of my speech, justice is not simply about sentencing. It is not enough to be tough on crime, as the Conservatives like to say. That creates problems, because they have blinders on that prevent them from seeing the rest of the problem and the seriousness of the situation.

There are factors that push an individual to become a criminal. I do not believe that a person is not born fundamentally bad, but that they become bad, unfortunately, because of misfortunes, problems or bad luck. We must try to prevent crime. We must do a lot of prevention and education. We must find and target the factors that push these people to commit crimes, and try to eliminate as many as possible.

That being said, the Bloc is aware that the existing legal system needs considerable improvement, and that some changes to the Criminal Code are necessary. The government's duty is to intervene and use the tools at its disposal to make sure that Quebeckers and Canadians can live peacefully and safely. On June 15, 2007, in response to the Conservatives' ideological approach, the Bloc Québécois recommended a number of measures.

This constructive approach is already making a difference. In budget 2008, the Conservative government implemented some of the ideas put forward by the Bloc Québécois. It provided additional funding to the national crime prevention strategy and to crown prosecutors.

Since coming to power, the Conservatives have taken a rigid, ideological approach to justice. Although some of the measures introduced have had some positive elements, others have clearly gone too far and have been ineffective, or even counterproductive. That was true of Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which focused more on imprisonment than on Quebec's very pertinent success with reintegration and rehabilitation.

During the 2008 election campaign, the Conservatives said they wanted to throw young people aged 14 to 16 in jail. Personally, after having met with many young people, I find it really sad to see the Conservatives adopting such a rigid, dogmatic approach whereby they want to send our young people to prison.

As I said earlier, we should instead focus our efforts on rehabilitation. We must help these young people understand what led them to crime. We must give them a hand up, instead of foolishly sending them to prison, where they can attend crime school. If these young people come into contact with people serving 20 or 25 year sentences, they will learn the tricks of the trade.

The Bloc Québécois does not understand that. I think all of Quebec had a hard time understanding that during the last election campaign. Quebeckers clearly demonstrated this by sending 49 Bloc Québécois members, rather than Conservatives, to the House of Commons.

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1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague from Repentigny. I am truly surprised by his keen awareness, in spite of his young age or because of it, of the various problems that could arise for young people from certain measures that the government wants to put in place. I find it very refreshing to find him so knowledgeable about these measures and their repercussions, especially given that he has barely left adolescence behind him and that he probably has some youthful pranks in his past, as we all do.

Therefore, it seems that he is very knowledgeable about this matter and that he has spoken to a number of young people to ascertain that jail is not necessarily a good means of rehabilitation.

I would like my young colleague to explain to me how a party in power can refuse to comply with rulings made by courts, tribunals and judges. How can a government that refuses to accept and comply with these rulings presume to decide for its population that what is not good for some of them will be good for criminals or individuals who make youthful mistakes? How can that be? Why is there a double standard?

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1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Laval and tell her that I was a very well-behaved adolescent.

I must say that I find the government's approach very dangerous, when it says that it will be tough on crime, it will enforce the laws and it will impose penalties. The government is trying to play the matador, beating its chest to try to show criminals that it is strong and tough, even though it does not even comply with Federal Court decisions. I find that extremely problematic.

This Conservative government is clearly inconsistent. It has proven this on many occasions, and we have seen it in the House during many question periods. We still do not have an answer. The government is still saying that it will read the documents and give an answer later. It is always putting things off.

We have seen this in the Abdelrazik case, which was before the Federal Court. The court ruled against the federal government. And even though he has had two days to read 100 pages, all the Minister of Justice will say is that he will read the file and eventually give an answer. Meanwhile, Canadians are being left to perish in horrible conditions abroad. This is totally unacceptable. As I told my colleague from Laval earlier, many people in my riding are outraged by that.

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1:05 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a comment that is not too harsh. It is a small criticism directed at the Bloc and its support for this bill.

The information obtained by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights indicates that there is not enough room for inmates in provincial and federal prisons. As far as I know, the Bloc likes to portray itself in this House as the protector of the interests of Quebec and its citizens. Having said that, we know that in Quebec, as in all the other provinces, the jails are full and there is no money to expand them.

I ask my Bloc colleague, is it not irresponsible to support this bill, because it will increase the number of inmates in the province of Quebec and in all the other provincial and federal prisons?

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Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I understand my NDP colleague's concerns, but as I said earlier, our job is to legislate. This is an excellent bill, and I am a little disappointed that the NDP is against it because it could really help keep prisoners in jail and ensure better outcomes for victims' family and friends.

Of course, now we will have to deal with another problem: lack of funding to build and expand prisons. Take Laval, for example. One of my colleagues presented a petition concerning a former penitentiary that had been closed. The Conservatives say that they are trying to keep crime in check. As I have said, they claim they are trying to get tough, but unfortunately, they are not putting up enough cash to make it happen.

Another problem is that there is a shortage of resources not just for prisons, but also for police forces.

We have to take a much more comprehensive look at the issue. For once, the government has given us a good bill. We have to take advantage of this opportunity and support it because this is something we have been asking for for years. Now it is clear that we will have another job to do. I encourage my NDP colleagues, along with my Liberal colleagues, to get involved in a new campaign to fund prisons.

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Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, there is a small population of individuals in Canada who commit crimes and are inveterate criminals. One of the great challenges we have, and one of the things that makes the public angry and our police officers dispirited, is that these inveterate criminals appear to be thumbing their noses at the justice system because they receive small penalties and are able to revolve quickly through it.

That small group of people has to be separated from the majority of individuals, who often have other problems such as dual diagnosis, fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal alcohol effects, psychiatric problems and substance abuse issues. That population of people who are basically committing misdemeanours has to be removed.

However, I want to ask my colleague what he thinks we should do for that small population of individuals who have essentially made a conscious decision, without any mitigating factors, that they are going to commit crimes against Canadian citizens. What things can we do, as all of us believe must be done, to strengthen the rights of victims in Canada?

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1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

I recently attended a meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security with our colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. He told me that close to 39% of people in prison have problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome and mental illness. A comprehensive approach is therefore needed. Eliminating two-for-one crediting of time would be one way to make sure that these people remain in prison. If they are sentenced to 25 years, then they should serve 25 years. If they are sentenced to 15 years, then they should serve 15 years.

Of course, we also need to work on the reasons these criminals commit these crimes, reasons such as poverty and mental illness. There should also be a major initiative to address these issues.

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Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, we are confronted with an interesting phenomenon in this piece of legislation. It seems fairly straightforward. It is a very small piece of legislation. There are really only two sections to it when we actually analyze it.

What it does is bring to the fore a debate and an analysis that we as parliamentarians should be involving ourselves in to a much greater degree than we have up to this point.

The reason we have not done so up to this point with the government--and I would have to be critical of the prior Liberal administrations over the last decade or so--is that we are confronted with this reality: we have declining crime, but increasing populations in our prisons, both at the provincial level and at the federal level.

Another phenomenon that I think very few members of this Parliament understand is the shift that has occurred over roughly the last 10 years in the number of people incarcerated in pretrial detention centres, as opposed to those who are incarcerated after sentencing, whether at the provincial level or at the federal level.

The ratio of the pretrial, pre-sentencing, custodial population and the post-sentencing population has reversed itself. It used to be roughly two to one; that is, one-third of the population in incarceration in this country at any given time would be in pretrial custody, and two-thirds would have been incarcerated post-sentencing and would be in our federal prisons. I want to be clear that I am only talking about the adult population.

We have a provision within the Criminal Code that allows our judges, as a sentencing guideline, to take into account the pretrial custody period of time, and the conditions, in sentencing after conviction.

Over a period of time, as the number of individuals in pretrial custody shifted to such larger percentages and a corresponding deterioration occurred in the conditions in those detention centres, a practice grew up in our courts--and this is true at provincial court levels across the country, in the territories and at the federal superior court level--for the judges to begin universally granting credit for that pretrial custody in excess of a one-to-one ratio.

In fact, by the time this bill came before this House, it was fairly common for credit to be given--on average, for all sentences--at close to a two-to-one ratio. Actually, as we heard in the committee, it is somewhat less than two, but it is right around there.

Then in some extraordinary cases over the last two or three years, we also had the phenomenon developing across the country of credit being given at a three-to-one ratio. The reason for that was not only the basic humanity of our judges, but also our international obligations: as a nation, we have signed on to protocols to treat our prisoners in a humane fashion in both pretrial settings and post-sentencing settings.

One of the specific provisions in those international protocols is that prisoners serve their time in cells that are designed for one person and that have only one person in them. What has occurred in both the pretrial custody setting and more and more in the post-sentencing setting is that we are finding people in ratios greater than one to one in the cells. As often as not, it is three to one, and in some cases it is four to one.

I am going to concentrate my remarks on some of these detention centres, because this evidence was before our courts on a regular basis. Some of them are very old, there is no programming in terms of any education and sanitary conditions generally are poor. We can go down the list.

As the judiciary across the country heard evidence on this in individual cases, the practice of granting two-to-one credits became very common. It was almost universal. It was not mandated by any statute, whether our corrections statutes or the Criminal Code. It is certainly not in any sentencing guidelines in the code. It was simply because judges, on an individual basis, knew how bad the conditions were in the detention centres where they were placing people.

That was all about the judiciary trying to send a message to the political level of government, the administrative level of government, that they had to do something about this. We have signed on to these international protocols and have the responsibility to treat prisoners humanely, and we are not doing it. That is really the message that was going out.

The message that was received was that judges were just going off on their own and playing around with this. I have heard sometimes offensive comments from legislators at both the provincial and the federal levels attacking our judiciary, believing that somehow they were granting two-to-one and three-to-one credits just on whims.

That is not the reality. We have an excellent judiciary. I have said this in the House before and I am going to repeat it again. If we do not have the best judiciary in the world, there are none that are better. That is true whether we are at the provincial court level or at the federal level of judicial appointments.

They do not do this on a whim. For the better part of a decade they have been wanting to send the message to the legislators that we are not getting it, because we are not deploying necessary resources. Not only are we not deploying the necessary resources to clean up the pretrial detention centres, but at this federal level of government, in this chamber--and this has been true of not just the Conservatives, although they may be going a little faster than the Liberals--we are consistently going quite rapidly toward increasing the number of charges that would result in jail times. We are also increasing the length of time that people are spending in jail.

The result is that we have this backlog in our courts, as more and more defendants are not pleading guilty. We have rules that are developing that require greater disclosure. That again is justifiable in terms of a fair trial, but it is taking longer for cases to get through, so we have this growing population, now at almost a two-to-one ratio, in pretrial custody in conditions that by international standards are not humane. Our judges want the legislators at both the provincial and federal levels to do something about that.

Instead of doing something about it--instead of deploying added resources or perhaps using other mechanisms, such as community programming, to divert prisoners from lengthier sentences--what we do is respond with this piece of legislation, in effect saying to the courts that we do not trust their judgment on how to handle pretrial credits.

This bill really is quite disrespectful to judges in that regard. It says that we are going to impose mandatory requirements. If this bill goes through--as it almost certainly is going to, because the other three parties are clearly going to support it--we are going to mandate only one-to-one credit as the standard. The effect of that is to lengthen the time people will spend in post-trial custody.

In circumstances that are justifiable, the bill will allow judges to go to 1.5-to-one credit, even though, as I said earlier, the standard across the country is now closer to two to one on average.

I was very clear in committee to try to get this information. There are no additional resources being planned to assist the provinces because all the pretrial detention centres, with very few exceptions in the territories, are operated by the provinces. There is absolutely no plan on the part of the government to provide the provinces with additional resources for better quality settings for pretrial detention centres. The conditions will remain as they are and get worse at the pretrial level.

We heard from lawyers who appeared in committee that we inevitably would be faced with a charter challenge. We are not in keeping with the international standard on to which we have signed. We already know what the standard is. It is not like we can argue we are close to it. We are not and we know that. The standard is a very clear one at the international level. That is offensive to the section 12 of the charter, which requires us not to provide for cruel and unusual punishment, and it amounts to that.

If we proceed with this, all we will do is provide the scenario or circumstances for a while. I think the courts will do what they can to provide the 1.5 credit because the circumstances will be bad enough to do that. Inevitably, there will be a charter challenge and I have believe that challenge will be successful.

If a charter challenge is successful, there has to be a result to that. There has to be a diminution on the part of the court to compensate for the charter breach. We then are going to find and more and more judges making a finding of a charter breach and releasing more and more prisoners from custody. I do not find any appreciation on the part of the Minister of Justice of this.

Judges will provide bail when they would not have otherwise or they will release them, maybe even dismiss the charges because of the breach of the charter, specifically section 12, cruel and unusual punishment. That is coming down the road. All this bill does is hasten it coming.

I want to be quite clear about this. Even if we do not pass the bill, that will probably happen, unless the federal government provides additional resources to divert or build more prisons. Again, there is no indication that it will do that.

I want to talk about another consequence of the legislation. Maybe one has to have practised law for a while to appreciate the reality of this. If this goes through as proposed and the courts can grant, in justifiable circumstances, an extension from the 1 to 1 credit to the 1.5 to 1 credit, much more evidence will have to be presented to the court. Even if there is a guilty plea, instead of sentencing taking on average—

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1:25 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I regret having to interrupt the hon. member. He will have approximately six minutes remaining for his comments when the debate on the bill resumes next week.

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from April 24 consideration of the motion.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to this very important motion introduced by my colleague, the member for Cardigan, who has, throughout his career here, vigorously defended the interests of his constituents and the interests of all Atlantic Canadians and all Canadians. In fact, as a member of Parliament during this economic crisis, he has stood in the House in support of sectors that have been in dire straits in other parts of the country, including the auto sector.

It is important to realize that this is a Parliament with members from all parts of Canada who vigorously defend the interests of all regions of Canada. That is what makes this place a special place. In the same way that the hon. member for Cardigan has stood up and vigorously defended the auto sector, we have a responsibility also to recognize the challenges faced in Atlantic Canada today by our lobster fishers.

The fact is we have seen lobster prices go from $6 a pound down to about $3.50 per pound. We see a lobster fishery that is worth about $1 billion and the Conservative government is only offering $10 million to try to save a $1 billion industry. That is $10 million for advertising, nothing to help restructure the industry and nothing to provide long-term vision to preserve and maintain this proud and important industry to our regions.

Again, the Atlantic lobster fishery is worth $1 billion. The government is offering advertising money worth about 1% of the annual value. When we compare that to the size of the bail-out for the auto sector, it is very clear the government places no value whatsoever on the lobster fishery. It does not understand the lobster fishery. Nor does it understand the needs and the challenges faced by families living in lobster fishing communities in Atlantic Canada. It does not understand the challenges faced by people in the lobster industries in communities in my riding, like Halls Harbour and Blomidon. It does not understand that these are proud people who have worked hard and provided for their families over the years. During this crisis, they need help to survive it.

What we are calling for is very clear. We need to see changes in EI benefits to ensure EI fairness for all Canadians during this crisis. In the lobster fishery, we need to ease access to credit in support for inventory costs during this crisis.

The fact is many of the lobster processors and companies have had their financing pulled out from under them, as the Icelandic banks have tanked. The Icelandic banks were disproportionately involved in the financing of our lobster fishery. As that banking system collapsed, it exposed our lobster fisheries to enormous down side. Whether it is through government agencies like EDC, for instance, or through programs such as ACOA, working with the chartered banks, we need to ensure we provide the appropriate backstop to financing to ensure the credit crunch that is threatening the future of our lobster fishers does not kill it. We have to ensure, at this critical time as we see the global banking crisis disproportionately affect the Icelandic banks, that it does not disproportionately threaten our lobster industry.

It is clear, with 10,000 licensed harvesters in five eastern Canadian provinces, that we need a federally funded license rationalization program to help lobster fishermen adjust to the reduced capacity, and I have read up to 20% of the licenses potentially, a licensed buy-back program to help rationalize the industry. There are simply too many licences out there now for the size of the industry as it exists. The federal government has to play a role in that, in the same way it has to play an important role as global market conditions hurt our forestry industry. The Conservative government has failed in that regard as well.

What is painfully clear and absolutely obvious with the government is this. Whether it is a vulnerable forestry family in a forestry town affected by the global economic downturn, or a vulnerable lobster fishery family in a coastal Atlantic Canadian town facing crisis today and facing a question of survival, they can expect very little sympathy or assistance from the cold-hearted Conservative government.

It is a government that has turned its back on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Canadians who have lost their jobs. We saw the Statistics Canada labour report this morning. In the manufacturing industry it shows we have seen the greatest job loss in the history of Canada. In fact, we are down now to the same number of manufacturing jobs in Canada as we had in 1976. In over three years in office, the Conservative government has offered no vision for manufacturing. It has turned its back on manufacturing.

Lobster processing is part of food processing, which is part of manufacturing. What is the government doing to help lobster processors adapt to be more competitive, to invest in cutting edge technology, to reduce energy consumption to be more efficient? The answer is nothing. The laissez-faire “I don't care” Conservative government is not interested in helping the vulnerable during this time because Conservatives do not believe in the role of government. They do not understand the role of the government. However, fundamentally it is their lack of belief in the role of government that hobbles their capacity to act now. It is terribly difficult to do things when they do not believe in them.

Whenever the Prime Minister is called on to help people, he has to pinch his nose to do so. He does not see a role for government in helping the vulnerable. It is critically important during these crises that governments help Canadians, help them build a bridge to a brighter future and get them through these tough times. That is why we have strong national government, a strong national government with strong national programs that reflect the collective will of Canadians to help people in every region of the country when they face crisis.

One of the most unifying principles in Canada that really helps make us Canadian, and is part of our DNA, is the notion that when in need, regardless of where a Canadian lives, other Canadians in other parts of the country want to help and will help. One of the responsibilities we have as members of Parliament elected to the House, regardless of where we are from, is to learn, to seek to understand the challenges faced by Canadians in areas in which we have not lived or do not live. One of the incredible privileges of being a member of the House is the opportunity to learn more about Canada. However, that opportunity to learn about Canada comes with a responsibility to do something to help Canadians.

In the Reform Party it was all about doing everything the constituents wanted and nothing else. The fact is we have a responsibility not just to stand up for our constituents, but to stand up for all Canadians, regardless of where they live in the country.

My message to all members of Parliament in the House, and the message from the member for Cardigan, is even if we do not have a lobster fishery in our riding, we have a responsibility as a member of Parliament to understand this issue and the challenges that lobster fishing families face right now.

The crisis that the lobster fishery faces right now threatens an age-old tradition and a strong vibrant industry. I urge every member of Parliament to support this important motion from the member for Cardigan.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to express my opposition to the motion currently before the House.

There is undoubtedly a profound economic and social attachment to the fishery in many Atlantic communities.

Until recently, there has been a steady increase in Atlantic Canada's lobster harvesting capacity. Several things have contributed to this growth in capacity, including a prolonged period of strong and consistent foreign demand for Canadian lobster, accompanied by relatively high prices at the wharf.

The lobster fishery now faces significant challenges. Foreign demand for lobster has fallen dramatically, and prices paid to harvesters have plummetted. But the cost of harvesting, the cost of buying fuel, and bait has not decreased, and neither has the cost of living.

The prospects are difficult, especially bleak for harvesters who went into debt to purchase their boats, equipment and licences. There is no doubt that the current economic downturn has had a huge impact on this industry, and the industry is reeling. Our government understands that.

I would like to take a few minutes to describe how the Government of Canada is helping to address the challenges faced by the lobster industry. Our government is working with the provinces, with the industry, and other stakeholders in this regard.

To support the industry to manage through these difficult economic times, on May 22, 2009, our government announced that it was directing $10 million from the community adjustment fund to the Atlantic provinces and to Quebec to improve marketing, assist in innovation, and develop new products and technologies in the lobster industry. This funding will be provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.

Our government also secured the participation of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in an international lobster marketing campaign. The campaign will invest more than $450,000 in a series of world class marketing activities designed to boost foreign demand for lobster. Strengthening retailer and consumer demand for Canadian lobster will go a long way toward solving the problem the industry is currently facing.

The government also continues to work with the provinces, lobster harvesters and processors on an emerging issue related to foreign markets, that is, an increased call for fishery eco-certification.

A growing number of markets around the world have begun to introduce rules about imported seafood, fish and fish products. The rules typically require that harvesters prove that their fisheries are ecologically sustainable as well as maintaining accurate records to facilitate the traceability of seafood products.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, provincial governments and industry are also currently collaborating to create a lobster development council which would be aimed at increasing domestic and international market access, and supporting the industry in reaching the eco-certification standards necessary for the global markets of the future.

The government is also working hard to help the industry obtain greater access to capital, a key concern of lobster harvesters and entrepreneurs in virtually every industry in every corner of our country.

Canada's economic action plan includes a long list of measures to achieve this goal. For instance, the government has invested some $5 billion in the business credit availability program. The program will help businesses access the financing they need to weather the current economic crisis and prosper as our economy recovers and stabilizes.

Canada's economic action plan also allocated millions of dollars in infrastructure for coastal communities. Investments in small craft harbours, science facilities and the Coast Guard will provide lasting benefits for the fishery while stimulating economic activity in many of this country's coastal communities and pave the way for long-term economic prosperity.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has also provided flexible and permissive licensing rules, such as lobster partnering, where two licence holders work on the same boat together, and also licence stacking, which is investment by a single licence holder in a second licence.

This licence flexibility fosters conservation, reduces harvesting efforts and increases economic viability. Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada continue to work with regional fisheries associations and cooperatives to identify and implement management measures appropriate to their circumstances.

Our government is determined to address the root causes of the problems that face Canada's lobster industry. The problems are complex and require a comprehensive toolbox of solutions and partnerships.

Industry-led licence retirements would provide another means to reduce harvesting capacity. One advantage of this approach would be that people who stand to benefit, the remaining licence holders, would decide best how to share the costs and benefits associated with licence retirement.

The Government of Canada cannot and should not restructure the industry by itself.

I encourage my hon. colleagues to support the government's concerted effort to bolster the lobster industry by rejecting the remedy that is suggested in the motion that is now before us, and instead supporting DFO's strategy to deal with the long-term underlying issues that threaten the economic prosperity of fishery dependent coastal communities.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate my friend, the hon. member for Cardigan, in his efforts to talk about what is happening in Canada's lobster fishery because I believe it is indicative of what is happening in fisheries right across the country, from coast to coast to coast.

As the country, in a sense, is going through this deindustrialization process, we are processing less, making less, and we are doing less as Canadians. We are relying more and more on energy prices and a service economy which is no foundation for an economy. Those jobs do not pay the same.

I will take us from lobsters on the east coast to the commercial fishery on the west coast which describes the same phenomenon time and again. At its base, the government lacks the discipline or the will to put in place a plan and strategy that will allow not just for the survival of a commercial fishing industry but it to achieve something more than it was.

We have seen certainly on the west coast as much as on the east coast that the ability of people to go out and fish and put food on the table and earn enough to support their families is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I will give an example, Madam Speaker. You may be familiar with Knight Inlet on B.C.'s west coast which has lost five very viable runs and that the southern coastal commercial fishing industry is virtually gone. There are so few boats in the water that to call it an industry at all is paling.

I can recall Conservatives, when they were in their previous incarnation in opposition, railing on this very fact. They would rail on the very thing that we are talking about today, which is the viability of these industries to survive. The government seems to have some sort of repulsion toward the idea of planning, of putting in place something that says this is where we are today, here are the measurable goals we wish to be at in the future, and to give those fishing communities that rely on this resource some sense of hope.

Whether we are on the east coast in the Atlantic provinces or we are on the west coast, when we go to these communities and sit in the coffee shops and at the kitchen tables and talk to those who are involved in the industry and ask them how they are feeling about their future, more often than not they will point to their kids and say there is so little chance of them being in the industry. There is so little chance of passing on licences or boats to them because the prospects for the future are so grim, so desperate, that it is not in good conscience for them to suggest that their children follow in their way of life.

We have to take a moment and pause here as parliamentarians, speaking in this hallowed place, and think of the generations who have come before us who have helped built this country. One of the primary things this country has done, it has gone out on the water and fished.

One essential thing that allowed the first settlers, those who came across from Europe, and that allowed the first nations communities, who have been here since time immemorial, to survive year in and year out was the ability to go out and harvest the wealth of the seas.

Now we are facing a moment as a result of a number of factors, some of which are not in the government's control but a number of which are, that through negligence over the years we have seen the continual erosion of the base and the foundation.

There are a couple of points I would like to make with respect to this motion as well as with the viability. When we look at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, I can recall talking to the minister when she was first appointed to the position. She talked to me about how she was going to whip those guys into shape. She was going to tell the department which direction it was going to go in and how fast to move.

I warned her. I said that she was not the first and only fisheries minister to come in with that kind of attitude and the department just rubs its hands and says, “Boy, we'll train this one too, like we trained the last one and the one before that”. She would follow into the top down pattern that has become the DFO, the black box of Ottawa, the one that describes these intentions and plans with so little communication with the people who are actually in the industry, with so little understanding of what it is for those communities that rely on this industry.

It has become so top heavy. It is this top heavy organization based on such a small foundation on the water, the people who have the experience and live in the fishing communities. This top heavy organization with 1,500 to 1,800 DFO people work here in Ottawa. We continually lose DFO officers out on the west coast and east coast. There is not that much of a commercial fishing industry here in Ottawa last time I checked. In fact, non-existent.

DFO has even lost the ability to monitor the stocks. If these things cannot be monitored, when it comes to lobster, halibut or salmon, they cannot be measured or managed. If the stocks cannot be managed, no wonder the government is constantly faced with a lobster crisis, a salmon crisis, and on down the list we go.

It seems to me that the government can make jokes about the communities that are suffering under these crises. It can suggest that these people are not actually suffering and pretend and hope it goes away, but simply ignoring the consequences of the government's inaction and failed policies means misery in the lives of people who rely on this.

It is not a laughing matter. I would ask my Conservative colleagues to not treat this as some sort of glib thing that they can wash off on a Friday afternoon. I encourage them to grab another cup of coffee if they are having trouble staying awake. I will ask the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to peek over her shoulder at the conduct of her colleagues when discussing such an important issue. Laughing, yawning and carrying on are not becoming of members of Parliament when discussing such an important issue.

When we look at the 750 boats we have lost on the north coast of British Columbia alone, I would ask the members to go into the communities that I represent, talk to those families and say that there is no crisis in the fishing industry. We see the fish that do come to ground. They are processed overseas in China, Korea and other places, and then brought back and sold to Canadians. The government thinks that is a fine policy. We see processing plants standing idle and Canadians not working.

I see another member coming the west coast here who knows the situation in our commercial fishing industry. It is a pale version of itself from years past. It is a shadow of its former self. A fishing industry that built his community and communities that I represent alike is no longer what it was. We ask the government, how is it going to go from what it is right now to something more viable and stronger, with more value added and more enhancement? Be it lobster or salmon, it does not matter. We are asking for a plan. There is no plan coming from the government.

When the government does announce some very basic ideas like Pacific north coast planning and implementation, the government announces the plan but does not announce any funding to go along with it. It announces the notion of being able to go out and know what is actually out there as a resource, but it does not put any money behind it.

How can we possibly go out and monitor these things and understand the state and survivability of the stocks if we do not put any money behind it? It is not true. We cannot. There is simply no way to go about this.

At the first nations level, we have seen the attempt of government to have some sort of dialogue with first nations when it comes to these stocks. It has also failed.

We know that there is a way forward. We know that the communities have the solutions and answers to create a viable industry. This motion simply calls on the government to pay greater attention and to say that we are not calling this a sunset industry any more. We know we can do this. We can fish, harvest, gather, and process these resources here in Canada, create the kinds of jobs that we need to see and give those families and communities a sense of hope.

This is a serious matter for us all. This is a matter we should take with the utmost seriousness. The failure to do so will be a failure to recognize our history and a failure in our approach to the future.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Madam Speaker, where I come from, this is quite a serious issue.

We have a number of fishermen who are trying to make a living and who cannot catch enough fish to pay their bills. I asked a couple of questions in the House today, and I was very sorry that I did not receive an answer.

The first question was about the rationalization program. We cannot find out if there is going to be one or there is not going to be one. If there is not going to be one, we are going to destroy the industry.

I hope the government members do not believe that rationalization can happen anyhow. It cannot. If they lose their boats, if they lose their fleet, the financial institutions take them back and sell them to somebody else and the pressure is kept on the stock.

I have been around here for a number of years, and I have seen what took place with the cod stock and with the herring. I hope and pray to God that we did learn a few lessons. There are people who risk their lives to go out and make a living.

Fish does not come from the store; it comes from the sea. We have people who risk their lives to go out and get the fish.

We talk about the bailouts in the banking industry, about the forestry industry, and about the automotive industry. Everybody I represent supports that we support these industries to make sure we continue to have a strong country. However, in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, we have an industry too, the lobster fishery.

I also asked a question on employment insurance today. I feel the minister responsible for employment insurance would like to do it, but she needs the support of the government and the Prime Minister. The mechanism is there to put the dollars into the hands of the fishermen so they can survive for one more winter. It is a matter of survival.

The motion indicates that the Government of Canada should implement a program to reduce the effort on the Atlantic lobster fishery, in fact to remove the licence. The licensing is the responsibility of the Government of Canada.

It makes no difference to me, and it does not affect the motion and what the government does if there are provincial governments or other agencies that have dollars to put in, but it is the responsibility of the Government of Canada to come forward and help this industry.

Why is the fishing industry left out? Why would we want to leave out an industry that has been around for hundreds of years?

The government is in the position to do this. Take the credit and do it. It will save an industry, and it will do nothing but help the government's own situation.

I hope it is in the process of making some announcements, first on the EI program. It is simple to do. The mechanism is there, so just do it. It would put dollars in the hands of people who need it. If the government puts the rationalization program in place, then it saves an industry, an age-old industry in this country. That is why I pushed so hard in the spring to have the fisheries committee tour Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

My hon. colleague from the government indicated that there should be an industry-led rationalization program. I am sure he does care. However, we cannot put a rationalization program in place on the backs of fishermen who are going broke and losing their own fleets. That would make absolutely no sense.

I am asking the Prime Minister and the government members, when this comes up, please support this motion, or even better still, implement what I have recommended to make sure this industry survives.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is the House ready for the question?

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Atlantic Lobster Fishery
Private Members' Business

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93 the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 10, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

It being 2:02 p.m., the House stands adjourned until next Monday at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 2:01 p.m.)