House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, after the last speech, I think we have heard it all now. Apparently England hosted the G20 summit and spent $50,000 for security. That was an exceptional feat. Certainly, if they were able to hold a summit and spend $50,000 on security, then yes we do have something to learn from them.

The victims of Earl Jones in Quebec are calling for action. Victims of white collar crime from coast to coast are calling for action. The victims said yesterday that they are petitioning all political parties in Ottawa to stand up for the victims of Earl Jones and to do the right thing and act now and support the passage of Bill C-59. Those parties even include the Liberal Party and the NDP.

Let me quote a letter that one of Earl Jones victims sent to the NDP member for Outremont:

We don't want to see this man out on parole as early as next December.... Please work with the other parties to come to a good conclusion for all of us that have been victims—

The letter continued that criminals who preyed on the most vulnerable members of our society should not be released just to save a buck. Was the cost of keeping criminals behind bars worth it? Absolutely.

That is an important comment, because we have heard a fair bit from members about costs, but that is a comment by a victim who says that in some cases perhaps the costs of reparation are suited to the victims.

I would not mind commenting on a speech from yesterday given by the member for Ajax—Pickering. In his speech he advocated 10 times for keeping white collar criminals out of prison. He quoted former U.S. congressman Newt Gingrich at least four times. He seems fixated on Newt Gingrich. The member made reference to the U.S. State of California six times. Not surprisingly, he mentioned victims zero times. As a member of the public safety committee, I have grown accustomed to members on the other side not referring to victims.

Another thing that I heard from the last speaker and from others is that we need to get this bill to committee, that we need to have a debate, that we prorogued this and we prorogued that. However, the fact of the matter is that all of these bills that would help victims, that would fight crime, that would get tough on criminals, just like the bill we are talking about today, could have been dealt with long ago.

Bill C-39 had its first reading back in June. It was referred to committee on October 20. We could have dealt with Bill C-39 before Christmas, but the coalition was more intent on a witch hunt against the RCMP, the Canadian Forces and the Toronto Police Service, the men and women who go to work every day to provide safety and security to our families, friends and neighbours. That was the coalition's priority. Last fall that was what it spent its time focusing on, when it could have focused on legislation that would have actually done something for victims. We could have got tough on crime.

We can go down the list of bills before the public safety committee right now. Bill C-5, the bill dealing with the international transfer of offenders, has been sitting in committee since the fall. It has been at committee for months. Bill C-17, the bill dealing with combatting terrorism, has been before committee for months as well. All of these bills could have been dealt with and been brought back to the House and been voted on and gone all the way to royal assent long ago. Bill C-23B, the bill to eliminate pardons for the most serious crimes, is still hanging around. No action has been taken. They are dragging their feet. Bill C-39 would have addressed the very issues we are dealing with today, but has evolved into Bill C-59.

When the opposition, specifically the Liberal Party, start talking about this and that and the other thing, these are the facts. They can be checked. They are all on the record.

The fact of the matter is that Bill C-39 could have been dealt with long ago. It was first read in the House in June. As I said, it was referred to committee in October, and because of the coalition's agenda and the witch hunt against the RCMP, the Canadian Forces and the Toronto Police Service, we have not heard much of these bills at all.

The government is trying to advocate on behalf of victims by pushing this agenda forward. However, it is being roadblocked at every turn and every step of the way .

Another point I would like to come back to is the costs. We have heard questions about the costs of this and the costs of that. I would also like to talk about victims. I have never heard anything from the coalition about costs when it comes to bills. This is the first time. It is great to hear. It is enlightening that it is starting to look at costs. It may want to consider the costs of the tax hikes it is proposing. However, that is a whole other topic for debate.

These schemers and fraudsters are not fools; they are highly intelligent individuals who are lacking moral fibre and who prey on their victims. They realize that if they are caught, they will get out. They know that. Therefore, when we look at costs, we have to complete the loop and follow the full circle and realize that once these fraudsters and schemers know that accelerated parole is no longer available for them any more, they will think twice before they go down the path of Earl Jones. There is no doubt about that.

Unfortunately, the coalition does not want to talk about that, as it does not suit its argument. As with everything else that I have mentioned in debate this afternoon, it does not suit its needs. However, the facts are right here; the facts can be checked. The fact is that when someone like Earl Jones or Lacroix knows that there will no longer be accelerated parole available, they will think twice. The next offender out there will take a long hard look and a second thought.

While we are talking about parole, let us take another look at what some of these changes will do.

Here is the current situation. Fraudsters who fleece hard-working Canadians of their savings are guaranteed to have their cases reviewed in advance by the Parole Board of Canada, so they can be paroled earlier than other offenders. That does not sound fair to a victim. White collar offenders, who might have destroyed the lives of hundreds of Canadians, are not in fact even required to apply for parole.

Can one imagine that? We have members here who are against this and are having an issue with it. We are just trying to say that we should have some fairness, that we should think about the victims before we send someone back out into the public.

The offenders do not need to lift a finger when they are trying to get back into society. Offenders who qualify for accelerated parole are not required to notify the Parole Board of Canada. In fact, the current Corrections and Conditional Release Act requires that the Correctional Service of Canada refer the cases of the offenders who are eligible for accelerated parole to the parole board before their day parole eligibility date so that they will be released as early as possible.

The other tragedy in all of this is that we do not hear one word from the victims. They are not allowed to make impact statements as to the effects of these offenders' actions on their lives, even the ruination or vaporization of their 30 or 40 years' of savings for their retirements with their families. That is shameful.

This bill needs to be passed today.

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, February 14, the time provided for debate has expired.

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

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

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

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

All those opposed will please say nay.

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #182

Abolition of Early Parole Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act (family leave), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

There being no amendment 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.

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

moved that Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act (family leave), be concurred in at report stage.

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

5:55 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?

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.