House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Community of Attawapiskat
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

November 30th, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The Chair has notice of a request for an emergency debate. I will give the floor now to the hon. member for Timmins--James Bay.

Community of Attawapiskat
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to request a motion for the adjournment of the House for the purpose of an emergency debate on the government's response to the appalling conditions in the community of Attawapiskat on the James Bay coast in the riding of Timmins--James Bay. This is seconded by my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Yesterday, I went to Attawapiskat with the Leader of the Opposition and I saw that the crisis affecting the Attawapiskat people is urgent. The situation is very serious in that community. It is clear that this situation is a true emergency that requires an immediate and urgent assessment by the House.

I was in the community of Attawapiskat yesterday for the second time in a month and conditions have deteriorated significantly. It is crystal clear that when citizens in Canada are living in unheated sheds and coughing up blood that it is a situation that requires a response.

I am asking for the immediate and urgent consideration of the House as set out in Standing Order 52(6)(a).

It has been a month since the community declared a state of emergency and now after a month, Red Cross emergency teams are on the ground. Emergency Management Ontario has been doing an independent analysis of the situation facing the families. There has been an outpouring of national concern, including this afternoon when the Ontario Public School Board called on all schools in Ontario to help the community of Attawapiskat. Yet we have seen very little response from the federal government except at this late hour to call for third party management.

There can be no doubt that the responsibility to act on this catastrophe and this failure of infrastructure and the basic needs of the community is the ultimate responsibility of the federal government, specifically that of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, which is one of the principal requirements set out in Standing Order 52(5) for granting an emergency debate.

Mr. Speaker, this issue just cannot wait. Winter has already arrived on the James Bay coast and the families of Attawapiskat are not equipped to deal with the current temperature. We saw many children living in unheated shacks, tents and condemned buildings.

We cannot wait on this issue. Canadians are watching us. Winter has set in. In James Bay yesterday it was -20°. Families are ill-equipped to deal with the plummetting temperatures, which was why we watched Red Cross officials bring in sleeping bags to help with the conditions.

In this Canadian community children are living in unheated sheds. Families are living in makeshift tents and condemned structures. This deplorable state of affairs has caused a national outcry.

It is time for us to look at the situation in Attawapiskat and turn our attention to what we should do as the Parliament of Canada to respond to our Canadian citizens, people who look to the government to protect them and help them in times of emergency.

I thank you in advance, Mr. Speaker, for your consideration on this urgent matter.

Speaker's Ruling
Request for Emergency Debate
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for his request. I have no doubt that he is approaching this file with a great deal of sincerity. However, I do not feel it meets the test for an emergency debate at this time. I understand that a supply day is imminent. Perhaps the member could use that as a vehicle to raise this issue.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, in its history, when the government was in opposition, it was highly critical of time allocation and closure motions and extremely critical of former governments that used this. As of earlier this week, the Conservatives set the all-time record. We had three time allocation motions prior to the summer break. We have now had eight, including the one we have today, bringing the total to eleven motions in a total of 57 sitting days. The Liberals, setting the all-time record prior to this, had nine time allocation motions or closure motions in 122 sitting days. Therefore, the Conservatives have the record.

We have to put this in a position with this bill. The government actually came forward with amendments on Bill C-10 therefore admitting this bill was flawed. How can the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons possibly justify time allocation motions in those circumstances, a flawed bill, and repeated times. The government clearly has done undemocratic process in this Parliament on a regular basis?

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, first, I thank the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. I know he is committed to fighting crime in our country and moving ahead with the agenda that we promised Canadians. I appreciate the efforts he is making to ensure that the debate moves forward and that it comes to a conclusion.

Some of these bills have been around for quite some time. The drug bill, or a component of it, has been around for years. Madam Speaker, you probably remember this. In 2009 the Liberals used to support this bill to get tough on drug traffickers and people who brought drugs into our country and those who wanted to sell drugs around schools. That is how long it has been around.

That being said, these are all very important initiatives. I appreciate it is very bad news for drug dealers and people who molest children. They are going to be very upset that we are moving forward on this. It is too bad for them. If they are in the business of molesting children or drug trafficking, bringing drugs into the country, this bill is bad news for them. However, it is going to come to fruition and it is going to come into law. I appreciate all the support I have received on this side of the House.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I believe I am in a very special position to reply to the government, and to the Minister of Justice in particular, who says that these bills have been around for a long time.

The people of Kingston and the Islands were served by a most notable servant of this House for many years, the Honourable Peter Milliken, who served as Speaker. He performed his role as Speaker very admirably, remained neutral on all sorts of disputes, did not speak in debates and did not sit in committees when these bills that the Minister of Justice refers to were discussed.

When the government says that we have talked about these bills a lot, that they have been in committees and we do not need to talk about them much more, people in Kingston and the Islands beg to differ. The reason is that their representative in the House was not able to participate in the debates, and they deserve a voice.

It is no accident that I have all these petitions to table here in the House of Commons on Bill C-10. The people in Kingston and the Islands are very much interested in expressing their views on Bill C-10. The Minister of Justice will know that Correctional Service Canada has a very large presence in the riding of Kingston and the Islands, and roughly 2,000 people are employed by Correctional Service Canada in the Kingston area.

I believe it is very unjust to the people of Kingston and the Islands for the government to invoke closure yet again on this particular bill--

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. I will allow each member about a minute and a half in order to give time to all members to speak if they so choose.

The hon. Minister of Justice.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member certainly has had an opportunity. This bill has been around in Parliament. We introduced it immediately after coming back into session this fall.

I did point out that the Liberals used to support the bill, but to be fair to the Liberals, they have two positions on every issue. They are for free trade, they are against free trade; they want to be tough on crime, they want to be soft on crime. I appreciate that and I do not want to the cloud the issue.

To be fair to the hon. member, he was not here when his colleagues were cheering us on and allowed us to get that bill passed out of the House of Commons. To put it in context, most of those MPs have been defeated now. Remaining members in the Liberal Party have come up with their own plan.

That said, in some cases these issues have been before the Canadian people for a number of years. We are probably heading towards some kind of a record for the number of speeches and the number of witnesses.

The hon. member should at least get up on his feet. Let us be fair; we want to agree on certain things, but it does not matter: if we had another thousand days of debate, he would still be opposing this bill.

My members all support the bill. Whether it is one day or 100 days, we support this bill, because it is the right thing to do.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, it is interesting: I listened to the answer that the minister gave to the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh, and instead of talking about what is before the House, which is a guillotine motion, a motion to kill further debate in this House, he responded on substance.

In fact, I would agree with him. He wants to talk about substance; we also want to talk about the substance of the bill. That is precisely the issue that is bringing us to this point here today.

I want to remind the minister of this quote:

We have closure today precisely because there is no deadline and there are no plans. Instead of having deadlines, plans and goals, we must insist on moving forward because the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on.

Who said that? It was the Prime Minister, who was then Leader of the Opposition, on December 9, 2002.

I would agree with the Prime Minister. As he then said, the government is embarrassed, and it ought to be embarrassed, because in fact the government itself moved six further amendments to the bill. We should be debating the bill, because clearly there are flaws and the government has agreed there are flaws. The bill merits further study.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, that is a bunch of nonsense.

One thing I can say categorically is that all the members of this Conservative government are 100% supportive of our crackdown on drug traffickers and people who molest children. I do not know where the member is getting comments like that, but we are very proud to be associated with this piece of legislation.

I appreciate that the NDP members would like to talk about process and do not want to talk about substance. That was actually a very frank admission on their part, and I do not blame them. When those members go back to British Columbia, it is probably a little hard to start explaining to people that they do not want to crack down on people who bring drugs into this country. Everywhere else in Canada, when people start talking about the problems that children have from adult sexual predators, those members will not want say that they are not going to support tougher measures on that, and they will want to change the topic. The NDP members want to talk about process, and I understand that.

They are completely wrong. I completely disagree with them. I agree with all of my colleagues in the Conservative Party, who are enthusiastically supportive of every measure in this bill.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation Motion
Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, over the past weekend, on my way home last Friday, I did an interview with our local paper on Bill C-10. The article came out on Saturday. On Sunday at church I had already had two calls to my house, and very seldom do I ever get a call on an article.

On Sunday after church, a couple I respect very highly took me aside. They do not talk business at church, but the gentleman said “Gary, I'd just like to say thank you so much for standing up for the victims and standing up for people. I think this bill should go through right quickly”. He said he recognized he was doing business after church, but he wanted to thank me for getting this bill through.

With that, I would like to ask the minister if he has had any responses like that?