House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.

Topics

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the personal stories shared during the debate were very interesting and very meaningful, and they illustrate various aspects of the bill. I would like to thank the hon. member for sharing his experience.

I have a specific issue. The member just noted that he would look forward to a variety of witnesses and a thorough discussion. I know he is aware that many members feel it is important that there could be amendments that would be respected and included.

One of the concerns that we in the Liberal Party have was laid out by the member for Mount Royal in his initial speech. It is that contrary to the earlier version of the bill, Bill C-26 adds the phrase “threat of force” to this part of the Criminal Code as being a legitimate basis for civilian action. “Threat of force” could be seen as quite subjective. It could be that this term overbroadens the bill to the point that we could have people putting themselves in harm's way.

I would like the member's comment on where his party stands on this issue of threat of force and what they may be proposing in that regard.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one thing very clear: I am not a lawyer and I am not going to pretend that I am a lawyer. We have enough members in here already who are pretending to be lawyers.

As to the threat of violence, I would feel threatened if a much bigger person came along and threatened me. That is normal. However, I think we should leave that to the experts. That is why I said in my speech that we would consult with the experts. We should consult with lawyers and also with victims.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague who spoke before, I am not a lawyer, which often helps on the campaign trail, actually. That is my little gift to some of my colleagues here. I thought I would just throw that over there and see what we can get going here today.

I have had some experience in matters relating to policing, et cetera, during my stint as the Solicitor General in Ontario, so I am at least somewhat familiar with some of the issues that come up in criminal law and its enforcement.

I am sure this point has been mentioned before, but I find it interesting that our background notes point out that five of the sections being looked at are from the original Criminal Code of 1892, which screams a couple of things. The first thing it screams is, “Wow, that's a long time for an original bill to still be here”. Second, it also says that there are obviously things in there that, albeit from two centuries ago, are still relevant. That says a lot. I tip my hat to our predecessors way back when and their skill at crafting criminal law that apparently has served Canadians fairly well.

It is interesting that this has become known as the Lucky Moose bill. The only moose reference I had was back when I was in Toronto in the Ontario legislature. There was a rather infamous Loose Moose, which was a whole different kind of scenario. It was a bar, and it probably had a lot of criminal aspects happening within its environs. I do not think I have ever been there, so I am on fairly safe ground, but nonetheless, the Lucky Moose bill it is.

I see my colleague has arrived. I am not sure if he would like me to shorten my remarks or just continue. I am covering his spot and I need some signals from him, because he knows that if he does not tell me to shut up, I will just keep on going.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Peter Julian

I am certainly enjoying the speech, but I would be pleased to take the floor.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is in for a real treat, because here is someone who has actually done a lot more preparation than I obviously have on this bill, and I am quite prepared to conclude my remarks to allow my colleague to give a more studied presentation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you find unanimous consent, the previous member could continue his speech.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Is there consent?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

There is no consent.

Questions and comments? Seeing none, resuming debate, the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Hamilton Centre, for bridging the gap between some of the other comments we have had in the House and my speech. Given the events of today, there are a lot of things going on, so I was a few minutes late and I apologize for that.

I appreciate my colleague across the way stating that he wanted to continue to hear the member for Hamilton Centre. He made that offer not just because the member for Hamilton Centre is very eloquent but also because he is well aware that I have risen in the House before, and will do so now, to comment very critically on the Conservative Party's so-called justice platform.

We have heard the member for St. John's East speak very eloquently to this particular bill. Its origin comes from the work of the member of Parliament for Trinity—Spadina. We need to pay tribute to her work, because she put in place many of the aspects of the legislation before us now. It was her constituent at the Lucky Moose Food Mart who was originally charged, so she raised the issue in an effort to clarify how owners of small businesses can protect themselves in this kind of circumstance. It is the member for Trinity—Spadina who put together the foundation of the bill.

The problem arises when we look beyond the bill itself. Although we will be supporting it at second reading, we see that many clauses have been inserted in addition to the work of the member for Trinity—Spadina. As the House knows, NDP members always do their homework. I am sure members have seen the figures showing that 71% of all of the bills before the House come from this caucus of very experienced veterans and very dynamic newcomers. It is by far the strongest caucus in the House. That is why the member for Trinity—Spadina was able to put forward this bill.

Unfortunately, because the Conservatives often write their justice policy on the back of a napkin, at committee we now have to look at the additional clauses that have been inserted, as we always do. We will be doing our homework. We will look at the impact of each one of these additional clauses thrown in by the Conservative government and make the practical and positive suggestions that we always have.

The question is whether the Conservatives will accept those positive suggestions. Time will tell.

However, when we get to the overall thrust of the so-called justice agenda of the Conservative government, we can see that we have very valid reasons to not have confidence in the government.

The Conservatives have put in place a massive unbudgeted prison program. They do not know where the money will come from. The provinces do not know where the money will come from. They wrote the bill out on the back of a napkin with no due regard for the consequences and brought forth one of the most expensive bills in Canadian history.

In addition, the Conservative government has cut back on crime prevention funding. It has to be completely disconnected from communities across this land to gut crime prevention programs that are actually the heart of investing in a smart foundation for building safer communities. That has always been something that the NDP has strongly advocated. The government cut away crime prevention and addiction programs at a time when those are exactly the tools that are needed to ensure that we do not have victims and that we continue to reduce the crime rate. Those are the kinds of measures that need to be taken.

Instead, the Conservative government has thrown in $10 billion or $12 billion--no one on that side even knows--toward building prisons, while gutting crime prevention and addiction programs. What is wrong with this picture? When we look at it, we cannot have confidence in the government to do what is right.

The Speaker well knows, because he has studied this issue even if his colleagues on the other side of the House have not, that from a fiscal point of view, every dollar invested in crime prevention and addiction programs saves the taxpayer $6 in policing costs, prison costs and court costs. It is $1 for $6.

Colleagues on the other side say, “We do not care; we just want to spend money on prisons”, but it cannot be an emotional thing. The Conservatives cannot be emotional. They have accept that they have to think practically. They have to realize that gutting crime prevention and addiction programs is the worst possible thing they could do.

What else have the Conservatives done? Of course, they refused to keep their promise about hiring front-line police officers across the country. We are seeing all kinds of complications in pushing provinces away from agreements with the RCMP. Perhaps most egregious--and this is something I am going to take a moment to talk about, because I feel it very intensely, as do all colleagues on this side of the House--they have refused for five long years to put in place a public safety officer compensation fund.

It is true that was an NDP initiative. It was brought to the House by the NDP, and Conservative members voted for the public safety officer compensation fund. Since 2005, when they made the commitment to establish it, they have pushed off police officers and firefighters who have asked every single year, as their number one request of parliamentarians and government, for such a fund to be established. Why do they make that request? It is because when firefighters and police officers pass away, as they do every year, in some cases they are protected by existing insurance schemes or collective municipal or provincial legislation, but in many cases they are not.

I have spoken to families and I have seen what happens when insurance such as a public safety officer compensation fund is not in place. We are talking about the widows and widowers of firefighters and police officers potentially having to sell their homes. We are talking about children who were getting post-secondary education, but because their firefighter parent passed away saving lives—

Conservatives are laughing at what happens to the children of deceased firefighters and police officers. It is not a laughing matter. The sons and daughters of firefighters and police officers often have to stop their studies because when there is no insurance in place. Widows and widowers have to make sure somehow that food is kept on the table and the mortgage is paid.

For five long years they have been waiting. For five long years they have been telling Parliament the public safety officer compensation program needs to be put in place.

New Democrats are reiterating today that we stand 102 strong in favour of immediately putting in place a public safety officer compensation fund and ensuring that compensation exists when firefighters and police officers pass away in the line of duty. That is a commitment that we will continue to keep. It is a commitment that we stand for. We will continue to push the government to do the right thing.

We are not talking about something that is incredibly complicated. We are talking about a program that can be established for about $3 million a year. As we know, there is a similar program in the United States already in place to provide that compensation.

Because the government has treated firefighters and police officers with such disrespect, New Democrats do not trust them on their legislation. As I said earlier, the fact is that Conservatives are willing to spend billions of dollars on a prison program, yet they refuse to provide firefighters and police officers with compensatory insurance and they have cut back on crime prevention and addiction programs. What is wrong with this picture?

When it comes to Bill C-26, there is a component that New Democrats support. I am willing to continue to speak if my Conservative colleagues want to continue to hear from me. This conversation has been good. I think they are finally learning that their justice policy is wrong and that they should be following the lead of the NDP. That is a good thing, and that is why New Democrats will support the bill at second reading. However, we are going to be doing our homework, and if these poison pills are put in the bill again, there will be fighting at committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, after that intervention, we should start pumping more oxygen into the opposition lobby because something has the member clearly dazed and confused.

It is interesting, on a bill about citizen's arrest, the member has used the same speech as he has used on the last seven or eight bills. I think it was the same speech.

Does the member see the merit in the bill that is before the House, Bill C-26? Does he understand how citizens have a right to protect themselves and their businesses and why there is a need for justice in this case? Does he support the government measure?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, a charitable view would be that the government members are dazed and confused if they think cutting back on crime prevention programs, cutting back on addiction programs and refusing to give firefighters and police officers compensation are in any way justice policies.

The reality is that the member knows that the heart of the bill came from the NDP. It came from the member for Trinity—Spadina. It is good that the Conservatives seek good ideas. I wish the Conservatives would adopt more of the good ideas coming from the NDP. The member knows we are putting them forward every day. There would not be 90,000 families unemployed if the Conservatives had taken the suggestions from the NDP. We would not have the highest debt load of Canadian families in history if they had taken the suggestions of the NDP. We would not have seen a real wage deduction of 2% if they had listened to the NDP.

I have a question for the member. Why do the Conservatives not listen to the NDP more often?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the member speak to Bill C-10, for which he has not much respect and which we in the Liberal Party call the “more crime, less justice and spiralling costs” law. There is much I would say in agreement with the NDP member.

I want to return to Bill C-26 with my question. The member is probably well aware that on Tuesday a 30-year-old man in a Tim Hortons restaurant in Vancouver was shot on the spot but managed to survive. It is possible that someone might have intervened to protect the person in that situation.

One of the controversial parts of Bill C-26 is the broadening of the allowance from just protecting one's own life to intervening to protect another person's life. In the situation I mentioned, we can see that it would have been a positive thing if someone had disarmed and held the shooter, but there is also a concern that it could lead to vigilantism.

I would like to hear the member's comments on that provision in the new law.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will take the opportunity to wish the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

The member's question is a valid one. That is why I said earlier that the heart of the bill comes from the member for Trinity—Spadina, who is a very strong community advocate and has been a very strong advocate on behalf of the businesses in her community in Toronto.

However, the original bill that was put forward by the member for Trinity—Spadina has been salted and the salting of additional clauses are what generally seems to transpire with the government.

We do not know where the Conservatives find these clauses. We certainly looked at some of the amateurism around Bill C-10. We have to say that this stuff must be done in some back room somewhere on the back of a napkin.

The reality is that, although we support the principle since the basis of this legislation comes from the NDP, we are concerned about the impact of a whole range of those clauses, including the clauses that the member for Vancouver Quadra just mentioned. Because of that, we will be going to committee, as we always do, doing our homework, having prepared the impact and ensuring we get the witnesses in who can really speak to the judicial impact of each one of these clauses.

In committee, we have had Conservatives routinely deny witnesses who have great expertise and could help to contribute and reinforce legislation. I certainly hope that does not happen again where the contempt for Parliament that we are seeing repeatedly from the Conservative government means that the committee cannot do its due diligence in looking at every aspect of this legislation, because it does need to be examined and every impact needs to be thoroughly studied. We also need to have due regard from all parties in this House to ensure that what comes out of committee does exactly what the government says that it intends to do.

2012 Olympic Games
Statements By Members

December 15th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is seldom that we as members of Parliament have the privilege of personally knowing a young person who has qualified for the ultimate sport: the Olympic Games.

Canada has many of the best athletes in the world and in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex we are privileged to have yet another. Melanie McCann, from the small rural community of Mount Carmel, will be representing Canada during the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London, England, in the modern pentathlon, which is five continuous events: fencing, swimming, equestrian riding, running and shooting.

We in this chamber are thankful to Melanie for her commitment and congratulate her on her achievement. We encourage her as she trains for the upcoming Olympics.

We in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and across Canada are so very proud of Melanie and we wish her every success on her quest for gold.