House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was arrest.

Topics

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and comments. Thanks to him, I am going to put off the members of this House even more with the term “reasonable”.

As my colleague from St. John's East said earlier today in his speech, when we want to make changes to the Criminal Code, one of the challenges we face is this idea that once the law has been changed, we cannot refer to the jurisprudence to the same extent. That is a risk. It is for that reason that this word can be very specific in certain contexts and very broad in others. It is our responsibility, as parliamentarians, to ensure that the legislation is flexible enough for the legal sense of the word to be clearly understood.

As for the sections that my colleague quoted, there is a slight imbalance in some cases. We could be more specific about some things and broaden certain provisions. That is the sort of work we hope to do in committee. We could really fine-tune this aspect by hearing from experts, which we all seem to want to do.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, a member across the floor talked about the importance of ensuring that the police are not available to respond. So people have to know that the police cannot respond before they defend their property. Although I am no expert in law—nor is my colleague—does he really believe that it is realistic and feasible to do this when something happens?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. That is the kind of issue we need to examine in the legislative process. There are so many factors to consider. Each case must be looked at individually, because the needs vary.

Like other members here, I talked about the police's ability to respond in my speech. That must be taken into account, because it will have an impact on what people decide to do. Knowing that help is not coming right away could push them to act, as in the well-documented case of Mr. Chen. However, knowing that help is on the way soon might prevent people from doing anything, even in a case where it might have been better to act. No one can know. In situations like that, adrenalin takes over. It would be really hard to come up with a perfect law that takes all these factors into account.

Our responsibility is to come up with the best thing to do in order to give the best possible tools to ordinary Canadians, to police officers and to judges so that they can deal with these situations. After that, whatever happens happens. Things will never be perfect. These situations are often dangerous, but we can at least try to come up with a compromise that will be acceptable to all communities and everyone involved.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the comment by the member for Kitchener—Conestoga. I think his point is this is a bill that he would like to ultimately see passed, even if there is a need to make some changes, and the government is open to some changes at committee. That is the reason why we want to listen to what people might have to say on this. Those are the types of encouraging words that members of the opposition like to hear for the simple reason that if the government is true to those sentiments, it means we have the opportunity to improve the legislation if it is deemed necessary.

We have some concerns with the legislation, but we are very supportive of the principle of it. We talk about individual cases. One member talked about a snow blower that disappeared out of a garage. Another member made reference to golf clubs. True to form, I have had two bicycles disappear from my garage over the years. There are many different crimes and some are less severe. Having a bicycle disappear is disappointing and disheartening. We feel violated in the sense that someone has walked into our garage in broad daylight and has taken our property.

An individual who works for me, Henry Celones, is a wonderful man. He just turned 70 and he does a lot of walking. One day early in the morning he was walking around the area of Sheppard Street and Jefferson Avenue when he was approached by two larger individuals. Now Henry is a small guy. He is no bigger than I am. These two people told him to hand over money or cigarettes and he felt quite intimidated by this. One of them started to reach toward him. It is amazing how Henry was able to respond and defend himself. Both men in their late twenties or early thirties were tall, but they were literally taken to the ground by Henry. We shared the story with a few others who said, “Good for Henry, he did the right thing by defending himself”. There are those different types of extremes where some crimes are petty, but other things could be life threatening. People respond in different ways.

We have talked about a store that is robbed, then a period of time elapses and the individual comes back. This is a person's livelihood. Should people not have the right to protect their property? The vast majority of Canadians would say absolutely, that people have the right to protect their property and livelihood. I do not think anyone would question that right.

There are issues related to what is reasonable and what is not reasonable. We have to look at situations on their individual merits and then make that determination. That is why, in good part, we have our court process.

Bill C-26 in essence complements our law enforcement agencies. It is not there to say that our police forces, whether it is RCMP or local policing units, are not doing their job. They are doing a wonderful job, in terms of protecting and making people feel safe and secure in our communities, given the resources they have.

When I was a bit younger, a number of years ago, and in university, one summer I was employed to canvass the community. I had to go door to door and ask about issues like community safety. I can remember that in older communities, people would say that they remembered when Ralph, an officer of the law, used to walk up and down the streets. He knew the individuals who were causing the problems and he was able to provide a sense of security.

Then we evolved away from the community policing that Canadians respected for many years. We started to get more individual police officers in police cars because of suburban growth and things of that nature. We have seen more of an investment in the number of officers, and in many communities today, we see that more policing is actually being supported through having more police officers and, ultimately, more community police officers

When I look at the future, I think we need to invest more into community policing, because I think that is the best way for us to enable citizens to be more involved in our communities. I would suggest that citizens do want to get involved. There are many examples of citizens' wanting to be involved. The bill today is just one of those examples.

I could talk about concerns raised in the area I represent. Out of the blue, out of goodness, a number of individuals said they wanted to form a group to walk up and down some of our streets in some of our communities. These are citizen action groups. There is nothing wrong with that. Individuals who take that kind of action should be applauded. They wear bright vests and are well identified. They are not vigilantes looking to cause issues or problems. They are just more concerned about our communities. They are watch groups. They all play a role.

What is really encouraging is to see our law enforcement officers supporting those groups. Part of that support is through providing education on what we can or cannot do. When we make a citizen's arrest, we do have to be careful. We have to size up the situation. Is it situation we really want to get directly involved in? Is there a better way? Maybe there might be a community police office nearby; maybe we would recognize a particular individual in a store, identify that person to the local police office and resolve it in that way, as opposed to making a citizen's arrest.

I can tell members the story of what happened to a lady in an office right beside my constituency office. She was robbed and stabbed in the neck by a young offender. She recognized the person who committed the crime. Instead of running out of the store and trying to administer a citizen's arrest, she stayed in the store and contacted the police. After a while the police got to the store; it took them a little while, but they got there. Because she was able to describe the person and even point out the person's house to the police, proper actions were taken. The youth was taken into custody. Hopefully we will see some justice with regard to that particular issue.

I would suggest that this person made a good decision in this instance. It was an appropriate thing to do. That is what people have to look at when they are faced with the necessity of taking action because their property is threatened. In this case it was not only property but, to a certain degree, her life as well. She was stabbed; she had to go to the hospital and have stitches. She had taken a personal assessment of the situation and had made the determination that the best way to deal with it was to contact the police.

However, sometimes that is not the way to go. Sometimes it is necessary for someone to—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I must interrupt at this point. The hon. member for Winnipeg North will have nine minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Highland Companies group, backed by a Boston-based hedge fund, proposes to dig a 2,300-acre limestone quarry on prime farmland in Melancthon Township in my riding of Dufferin--Caledon.

The company wants to dig down 200 feet, well below the water table. The end result is that 600 million litres of water per day, enough for over one million Ontarians, would have to be pumped out, treated, stored and injected back into the local aquifers. The project proponents say this procedure would pose no risk to the local environment.

Melancthon Township is home to the headwaters of four major river systems flowing in all directions. To claim that there would be no effect on the headwaters and beyond stretches the realm of possibility.

I call upon the Minister of the Environment to order that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency conduct a full environmental assessment. The residents of my riding and of Canada deserve no less.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Drummond are demanding that the government take practical action to protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change.

In the meantime, the Conservatives are collecting fossil awards at the UN climate change conference in Durban, and the Minister of the Environment is throwing sand in the gears of post-Kyoto negotiations.

The Conservatives' lack of action on climate change is causing Canadians to lose jobs. Our trade partners are slamming doors on Canadian energy because of the Conservatives' environmental policies. The Conservatives do not have a plan to tackle climate change; they do not have a plan to improve the quality of the environment; and they do not have a plan to create jobs in the new energy economy.

What will it take for the government to become a leader in green energy and to take a leadership role in the Durban negotiations?

National Day of Romania
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Canadians of Romanian descent on this first day of December, the National Day of Romania. It was first celebrated 93 years ago and is of great significance to all Romanians.

While visiting Romania this past August, I was fascinated to see how far the country and its institutions have progressed since the Romanian revolution of 1989. In these last 22 years of freedom from one of the most despicable and oppressive Communist regimes in world history, the country has made tremendous progress, and the will to continue to build a democratic and vibrant society is stronger than ever.

Today Romania and Canada enjoy excellent relations at all levels, and both countries are allies in NATO.

Today I invite all hon. members to join me in congratulating our Romanian Canadian friends for their achievements and in wishing them all the best for the future.

God bless Canada. Vive la Roumanie. Traiasca România.

CHAMP Ambassador
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Erica Noonan, who is from Stephenville in my riding of Random--Burin--St. George's. Erica was born without the lower part of her right arm but has never allowed this to hold her back.

Since she was six months old, Erica has been involved in the War Amps child amputee program, and she credits the organization with making her a more confident person. Today Erica is a junior counsellor at War Amps seminars and spreads a message that we can all adhere to: “Believe in yourself and live your life with a positive attitude. It is not about winning and coming first, but winning in life and doing the best you can”.

A gifted athlete, she was chosen as flag-bearer for Team Newfoundland at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax.

Erica, who is a primary-elementary education student at Memorial University, was presented recently with a CHAMP Ambassador certificate for her work in the War Amps' Operation Legacy.

I ask all members to join me in paying tribute to Erica Noonan, an extraordinary young woman, who reminds us that with the right attitude and determination, there is no reason anyone cannot lead a full and rewarding life.

Mississauga Firefighters
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, November 25, I had the honour of visiting the Mississauga fire halls. I visited with several crews who risk their lives every day to keep our families and communities safe, sometimes at risk to themselves.

I was given a demonstration on how to use the jaws of life and a life-saving defibrillator, tried on firefighting equipment, and went up on a 105-foot aerial platform. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with the men and women of the Mississauga fire department about their needs and how we can keep them safe while they are risking their lives for their communities.

I urge all members of the House to contact their local fire department to meet the everyday heroes in their communities.

I want to thank Mississauga fire chief John McDougall, along with firefighters Mark Train, Ryan Coburn and Chris Varcoe, for giving me an unforgettable experience, and I want to thank all of the Mississauga firefighters and firefighters across Canada for their hard work, dedication and tremendous contribution to Canadian society.

International Cup, Kids Playing for Kids
Statements By Members

December 1st, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Isabelle Morin Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to announce to the House a wonderful event that took place in my riding in Dorval this past summer. The sixth annual 2011 International Cup, Kids Playing for Kids was not only an amazing opportunity for all the children to take part in an international sporting event, it was also a very serious fundraising campaign in which $40,000 was raised for the Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation and the Montreal Children's Hospital.

It is extremely important that our children stay active in their bodies but also in their minds. Children are our future and instilling values of community engagement is something that we as a Canadian public should support. The international cup gave the participants the pride to know that they were trying to improve the lives of others.

Let us respect their goals by using the tools of the House to continue their work and improve the lives of all Canadians.

Order of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, on November 4, I was honoured to attend the Governor General's Order of Canada ceremony to support and thank one of Red Deer's most valuable citizens, Joan Donald. She received this prestigious award for her contribution to business and her philanthropy across our community. Joan is the co-founder of Parkland Income Fund, one of Canada's biggest privately owned gas outlets and sits on its human resources and corporate governance committee.

Her passion for her community is evident with her devotion to the Festival of Trees campaign and her support for Red Deer College, where she sits as a member of its board of governors. She is also a member of many other boards, including the Alberta STARS Society and Foundation.

In addition to being awarded the Order of Canada, Joan has also won Red Deer's Citizen of the Year, Corporate Citizen of the Year and Generosity of Spirit from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Joan Donald is a wonderful asset to our country and a great example of a well-deserving Canadian. I thank her for her service and ask her to keep up her good work.

Ukraine
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, the people of Ukraine held a referendum, overwhelmingly choosing democracy and independence.

Their choice was affirmed during the 2004 Orange Revolution, where, from Independence Square, came a wonderful message of a nation's people peacefully demanding and getting democratic reform. However, that democratic light is now fading as the newly-elected regime slips backward toward totalitarianism, abusing the very courts and laws intended to protect citizens, democratic and civil rights. The arrest, show trial, conviction and jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is politically motivated, intended to prevent her candidacy in upcoming elections.

All free nations, along with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, must remain vigilant and continue to speak out against this abuse of rights and democracy. The President of Ukraine must be told that it is not just Tymoshenko he has put on trial but democracy itself.

Poverty
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the most recent report of Montreal's Director of Public Health on social inequalities in health, residents of Westmount live longer than residents of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve. The report indicates that people living in poverty have a far lower life expectancy than those who are more affluent. In 1998, the gap was seven years, but a rich man today lives six years longer than a poor man.

The report recommends increasing the income of the less fortunate in order to improve their quality of life. The poor are entitled to housing and a decent income. Funding to build social housing and to invest in daycare centres in poorer neighbourhoods is crucial.

We cannot live in a country where being born into a wealthy family gives you an automatic headstart.

That is why we are calling on the government to provide more funding for the fight against poverty in order for Canada to really become a country where the distribution of wealth is a priority.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the world are marking the 16 days of activism against gender violence because it affects us all. It destroys families and is a black spot on our society. It takes a heavy toll on our communities and our economy.

Community resources are vital to ensuring women have access to all kinds of relief and assistance they need when dealing with abuse. In the past year, Status of Women has approved over $2 million of funding for projects to enable second stage shelters and other community organizations improve access to high-quality services for abused women leaving emergency shelters.

By supporting the development of new and innovative service delivery models, these organizations can now better assist women dealing with violence and abuse and their transition to violence-free lives.