House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd 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

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from the Bloc made some opening comments about this, but can he see any advantage at all in the proposed amendments in the first part of the bill, not those relating to section 494, but those relating to sections 34 to 42 of the code that deal with the right of self-defence, the right of defence of property, both residential and commercial, and the right of defence to protect one's other personal assets? Does he see anything in the proposed amendments in regard to those sections that would advance the law or protection for our communities?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, not at all. I see it as a step backward to give less importance to self-defence with force likely to cause death. I also believe that the proposed amendments will make the bill much more confusing than it already is. What is more, in our experience over the years and in my experience as a lawyer, the current law has not caused much confusion, but there are sections in this bill that are absolutely illegible. The answer to the question is clear. I do not see any progress; I see a backward movement.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin is absolutely correct. For people who do not have a background in law, it is very helpful to be provided with real, concrete examples of what has happened in similar situations. At the beginning of his speech, he referred to certain private member's bills that have been introduced and that deal with these type of situations. For example, in the Toronto area, the owner of a convenience store had to use force to restrain a thief. As a result, members introduced bills.

The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin brought up certain problems that exist in Bill C-60. I would like him to explain the difference between the bills introduced by private members and the bill introduced by the government so that people like me, who do not have a background in law, can understand. He has said that the private members' bills are simpler. I would like to know what specific problems he sees with Bill C-60.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the overall problem is that it will create confusion. The degree of force that can be used in self-defence is too subjective a concept. The legislation is good in that it extends the time within which an owner or his representative can arrest a repeat offender—that was already established in the law.

The example that I gave you, which was something I experienced during my time as a lawyer, demonstrated that someone should be arrested on the spot. If he is arrested the next day, a mistake could be made, even though there might be good reason for it, such as seeing a person with no hair or eyelashes. But it could be someone else.

Given the incident in Toronto, given the size of our country and given the time that it takes for police to arrive on the scene as they are often called to do, a little more time must be allowed after the offence is committed. As for the rest, why make the concept of potentially deadly force more subjective, especially if the owner does not fear for his life but simply fears the person who is attacking him?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the concerns the member raised and the concerns we have heard from other stakeholders in this matter raise the question about whether the bill should have been referred directly to committee before second reading. Members will be asked to vote on a bill that has some problematic areas in which expertise is necessary. This matter happened back in October of 2010. We are four to five months later and we are only at second reading debate.

The whole process seems to have been poorly thought out by the government. I hope the member would agree that the best approach is not to pass a bill at second reading, with approval in principle, when we could put it straight to the committee and make fundamental changes, about which I believe the member is talking.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are going to try to remove the useless passages in committee. In my opinion, the amendments to section 494 are the only really useful thing in this bill.

It is true that a number of situations are described, illustrating when the use of force is reasonable. I would point out that all these situations were drawn from case law. Judges do not require a detailed list of what is or what is not reasonable, especially when the list is not exhaustive. What is deemed reasonable has never posed a problem; jurors and judges are perfectly capable of discerning this in practice.

Even though this clause is clear, it is useless. I believe that we should only retain the useful part, that is the amendments to section 494.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add some commentary on Bill C-60.

Most Canadians will recall the incident where a shopkeeper observed someone stealing from his market in Toronto and then took off. Then the person came back and did it again. The shopkeeper saw him, ran him down and held him.

It is fairly straightforward in the eyes of the public. It is interesting to note that there are some very sensitive questions of law. Most Canadians would say that they have the right to protect their property or to hold a person until the police arrive. We have seen many stories like that.

The issue of civil liberties is very sensitive in the law. From some of the speeches given to date, there is a question about whether the proposed amendments in Bill C-60 will, in fact, be appropriate.

It is my view, where there are technical, legal matters and where the House has brought in a bill, we are asked, without the benefit of expert witnesses and legal opinions, et cetera, to debate it the best we can do. Without hearing from witnesses, we are at second reading.

The importance of that is at second reading we kind of get the mood of the House and whether we are prepared to approve, in principle, a bill to go forward to the next stage, which would be to go to committee.

In the question about what is actually affected by second reading, it is important for members to know and to remember that when we give approval in principle, it restricts the scope of amendments that can be made at committee. Certain things cannot be touched. We will not be able to go beyond the scope of the bill. For instance, if it deals with this universe, these items and we wanted to make it bigger than it was at second reading, it could not be done. If we wanted to change, substantively, the intent or the essence of the bill, it could not be done at committee. That is one of the reasons I asked the question of the hon. member earlier.

I am a little confused. This case took place in October 2010. I think it was tabled in the House February 10. We are now in the beginning of March and we are finally starting debate.

This is a matter where Parliament could have shown a bit more leadership in addressing a very serious question of law. The bill could have been put forward, certainly before the Christmas break, and referred to committee so it could prepare its work and at least arrange for witnesses during the Christmas break. Then we could have started the hearings in committee when we came back in January.

It is an important issue of law. It is an issue which I think Canadians would expect us to deal with in a responsible fashion so we could address the questions of the day.

I raise those points because I think it is important. There is always a good reason to send a bill straight to committee rather than having second reading.

The other part has to do with the whole concept of the civil liberties. The member who just spoke laid out the fact that many of the amendments were problematic and might be more harmful than helpful in this case. When I finish my comments after question period, I hope to lay some of those out.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I must interrupt the member at this time for statements by members. The hon. member for Mississauga South will have 15 minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

St. Thomas Industrial Revolution Challenge
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, who wants to be an industrial revolutionary?

St. Thomas, Ontario has a vision to be the best manufacturing community in North America and a group of local private sector business leaders has taken huge steps to make this happen.

We want to welcome industrialists, innovators and business leaders from around the world to imagine building something great in St. Thomas, Ontario.

If people have an idea but no place to set up, then they should take the challenge now. They should enter to win a factory to call their own and to make their home. People must enter today and a winner will be chosen and be in his or her new home by September.

We are serious about manufacturing in St. Thomas, and we are proud of it, too.

If what people have just heard describes them, they should enter the St. Thomas industrial revolution challenge at stirchallenge.ca.

Win a factory, be an industrial revolutionary and make St. Thomas home.

Immigrant Settlement Services
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the House knows, federal funding for language, counselling, mentoring and job training to help new Canadians integrate and support themselves and their families was arbitrarily cut by the government by $53 million in December.

Nowhere has the impact been more dramatic than in Toronto and the greater Toronto area, where unemployment rates for new immigrants are nearly triple the national average, as their jobs have proven to be less secure in the recent recession.

Fully 81% of these cuts are being made in Ontario, largely in the GTA and are in addition to $207 million the federal government promised but has not spent.

The Province of Ontario has responded with interim funding to community-based organizations, which will allow a continuation of service during this present impasse.

In addition, this House has supported a resolution from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration calling for a reinstatement of the program in support of settlement services.

Given the actions of the Province of Ontario and this House, I would ask that the minister simply declare a moratorium on the funding cut and accelerate negotiations with the Province of Ontario for a new Canada-Ontario agreement for settlement services.

Colombia
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, in December 2010, the people of Colombia were hit hard by terrible floods.

I was saddened not only by the number of deaths, but also by the number of families affected by this natural disaster. Oxfam has estimated that over 2.1 million people have been affected by the severe flooding, which destroyed nearly 3,000 homes and damaged farmland, infrastructure and major highways. Some 28 of the country's 32 districts were flooded.

The flooding has exacerbated the already glaring socio-economic inequalities. It is estimated that about 70% of those affected by this disaster do not have access to clean drinking water.

In Colombia, it is time to rebuild and it is a time for hope. Here in North America, however, it is also time to rebuild—within our hearts and minds.

Long live the people of Colombia and may pan-American solidarity prevail.

Animal Cruelty
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, like many in B.C., I was horrified to learn of the slaughter of 100 sled dogs in Whistler. These dogs were massacred in an inhumane and cruel manner and then buried in a mass grave.

Public reaction has been huge as Canadians express their outrage and sadness about this appalling crime. I would like to thank the many people who have sent petitions banning the import of cat and dog fur, and petitions pressing for a ban on human consumption of horse meat. I am very pleased to have seconded Bill C-618 regarding the banning of products made of cat and dog fur. I strongly support Bill C-229 to strengthen cruelty to animals laws so that those responsible for such acts would be punished accordingly.

All these important citizen initiatives have focused our attention on what needs to be done.

Animal cruelty laws must be effective and they must not be stripped down in the Senate. I urge all members to join together to protect animals and prevent animal cruelty.

Don Brittain
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was Friday evening at a gala that Don and Rose Brittain were chosen as Parksville's citizens of the year. Sadly, the award was posthumous for Don, who passed away suddenly on February 6.

Don Brittain was a founding member of the Coombs-Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department and was fire chief for nearly two decades. He worked much of his career with the Ministry of Transport and Highways, and finished as an inspector of commercial vehicles.

An avid outdoorsman, hunter and farmer, a leader with 4-H and Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, Don was a good neighbour to everyone who knew him.

The Brittains raised their own and numerous foster children. Their home was a magnet for young people, and love was the foundation.

Don's memorial service drew an estimated 750 people, who jammed the hall to remember a man who always showed up when help was needed. Don's truck and firefighting gear were featured at his memorial. Area firefighters saluted a local icon and on Friday, and Parksville's citizen of the year received a standing ovation.

It is my pleasure to salute Don Brittain, citizen of the year, one great Canadian who left a legacy that shaped a community.

Mutual Insurance Companies
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has 106 mutual property and casualty insurance companies that were set up by farmers over 100 years ago at a time when it was very difficult for them to find insurance at a reasonable cost.

As a result of action taken by external sources, the Economical Mutual Insurance Company announced its intention to demutualize last December. Because there is no process in place for property and casualty insurers, the Minister of Finance will be asked to consider draft regulations.

The Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is strongly opposed to professional consultants, brokers, directors, officers and selected staff from getting a windfall from the demutualization. Furthermore, in the case of Economical, a small minority of policyholders stands to share in the whole value of the company. This is wrong and should not be allowed.

I call on the Minister of Finance to give significant consideration to how value should be distributed during the demutualization of a property and casualty insurance company with the objective of finding fairness for all.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

March 7th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was a hero's welcome for reserve soldiers of the 56th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery in Brantford. On February 24, families and friends gathered to celebrate the safe return of all 25 soldiers who just completed a recent tour in Afghanistan.

Fit, healthy and safe, these brave soldiers participated in a welcome home parade that honoured their exceptional service to their regiment, community and country.

As Canadians, we take enormous pride in our men and women who have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan. We are grateful for the sacrifices they continue to make and their unwavering commitment to our country.