House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Chief Government Whip's speech.

I would have liked to examine only the youth criminal justice system, but when we study a bill that amends nine laws, we cannot choose. It is a package deal.

When listening to the member opposite, I had even more difficulty understanding why the government did not accept the amendment proposed by Quebec and tabled in committee by the NDP on the long-term protection of the public. Since the hon. member spoke extensively about rehabilitation and public protection, what is the problem with the word “long-term”? In addition, the burden of proof is being shifted from the judge to the Crown. I would like to know what the problem was with judges in the previous program.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, through all of the parts of Bill C-10, we have striven to find balance in everything, balance between rehabilitation and balance with punishment. Various areas of the previous bill had gaps that needed correction and we have proposed changes to the bill. We will have the final vote in the House of Commons on Monday.

We have heard hundreds of hours of comments on these bills, even going back to the last Parliament, and no matter how many times people talk about having a chance to speak to the bill again, there have been no new ideas. We have heard the ideas and they have been resolved and the government is committed to the course that it has taken.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ with the government whip. He said that the government has heard no new ideas. The member for Mount Royal, on behalf of the Liberal Party, introduced specific amendments, some of which dealt with the justice for victims and terrorism portion of the act. The government decided to vote against those amendments so they did not get passed at committee stage. At report stage, the government tried to make those very same amendments that the member for Mount Royal tried to get passed in committee, but the government found that it was outside of procedure. The government whip likely should have known that.

I have a question for the government whip, who sits on the House leaders' working group. When does the government anticipate bringing in those original Liberal amendments that were proposed at committee stage? Does the government have any intention of passing Bill C-10 without making the amendments that the member for Mount Royal first suggested? We believe the government has now conceded that the Liberal Party was right.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have again another process question, and I will just go to process for a minute at the highest level. As members know, when a bill is introduced in the House it goes through three stages. When it is passed in the House it goes to the Senate where, in turn, it goes through another three stages. The bill then goes to the Governor General and is then issued in public as a law.

Whether amendments will be introduced in the Senate is up to senators. If amendments are introduced and whether they are passed or not is again up to senators. That is not an issue for us in the House of Commons.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, from previous questions I was almost tempted to believe that somehow the judicial discretion in the question of young offenders had been fettered. It was my impression that the judicial discretion of judges in cases involving young offenders had been bolstered.

I wonder if the hon. member could comment on whether my conclusions are correct.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the way I interpret it.

There are very few musts in the part of the bill dealing with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Judges have a lot of latitude. We have put some boundaries on the act with respect to violent offenders. Violent offenders are a small class of offenders who need special rules and we have provided those special rules. However, it is up to judges as to whether they apply them or not.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Before resuming debate, I must inform the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques that I will have to interrupt him at 1:15, since that will be the end of government business.

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques has the floor.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems I have the honour of being the last speaker on the very important question of Bill C-10.

If there is one thing the debate on Bill C-10 has shown us, it is that this Parliament is dysfunctional. In a democracy like ours, particularly in a majority government situation, we have to make sure that the best legislation is presented and passed in the House, which is comprised of all elected members from everywhere in Canada. Given that the government is obviously in favour of this bill, it must hear the arguments put forward by the opposition, from whatever party it may be, in order to improve it. To do that, it must be able to swallow its pride and admit that it does not have a monopoly on the truth and that the opposition’s arguments may be valid and may prevent mistakes that would otherwise be made in a totalitarian government.

In this case, we have seen the problems and the aberrations of a dysfunctional Parliament. The government is proposing nine bills dealing with the Criminal Code and putting them all together. Some of them might have been supported by the opposition parties, whether the NDP or the three other parties represented in the House, and passed quickly. I am referring, for example, to the bill dealing with sexual offences against children. We are all reasonable people. We can understand that there is a strong consensus among Canadians that there should be longer sentences for that. But the government refused and then blames us for supporting the criminals who commit those heinous crimes.

Certain other bills had fairly major structural problems, which were raised on multiple occasions. The government refuses to address the structural problems raised by the opposition, claiming that the arguments have been heard and we can now move on to the vote, which will probably be held on Monday. The arguments may have been heard, but they were not understood, or they were dismissed out of hand without any further analysis.

I would like to talk about one problem in particular. It has been said that the government refuses to work with the opposition parties, including the NDP. I would like to note the excellent work done by our two justice critics, including the member for Gatineau, who is the deputy critic. They have done phenomenal work, as have the critics for the other opposition parties.

If the government refuses to work with the opposition parties, it should at least work with the provinces. We know that a majority of provinces, including Quebec, have serious reservations about several parts of this omnibus bill. Manitoba, one of the rare provinces the government relied on to give its bill some credibility, has also stated serious reservations about several parts of it. Most of the provinces do not agree with the way the bill is presented.

I am proud to say that we have worked with the provinces, particularly with Quebec, to amend some much more critical parts of this bill, including the part about young offenders that we were just discussing.

One of the changes suggested by the Minister of Justice of Quebec, with whom we have worked during this process, relates to the concept of the long-term protection of the public that the Conservatives want to remove. The concept of the long-term protection of the public was in the previous young offenders legislation. The Conservatives are removing it and refuse to include the concept of the long-term protection of the public.

In a previous life, I worked for a youth centre, Ressources alternatives Rive-Sud, in Longueuil. I saw the work that was done on rehabilitating young offenders and raising their awareness. This bill is concerned with young persons who have committed more serious crimes, fine. But the solution proposed for this will send these young persons to crime school, and there will be no hope of providing long-term protection for the public.

A second point in the bill would make the rule that bans the publication of any information that would identify a young offender who has committed violent crimes less stringent.

At present, that limitation exists for serious crimes for which, for example, a young offender will be referred to adult court. But by making it possible for these young offenders’ identity to be disclosed in relation to investigations of violent crimes, whatever they are, it is systematically stigmatizing those young people and creating one more barrier to their potential rehabilitation and reintegration. Quebec, most of the provinces and the opposition parties did their homework. The only ones who did not do it are the federal government. The provinces are going to pay and the public is going to pay.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Wednesday, November 30, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

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

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

December 2nd, 2011 / 1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Pursuant to Standing Order 45, the recorded division stands deferred until Monday, December 5, at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.