House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, I have seen nothing in the bill that would relieve the congestion for those involved in the legal process. This is an important aspect to consider and it would be respectful of everyone, including victims. As long as this is not resolved, and the legal system cannot handle the overload, the victims also suffer as they wait for the outcome of legal proceedings. My colleague brought up an excellent point. The bill tabled by our colleagues on the other side makes absolutely no mention of this.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the Conservative member of Parliament posed a question, asking “Have you read?”

I have a similar “have you read” question. This came from the Winnipeg Free Press. It was actually a columnist from Vancouver who had written it. The headline reads: “The Prime Minister gets tougher on pot growers than child rapists”.

I would ask if the member has read this in the article:

A pedophile who gets a child to watch pornography with him, or a pervert exposing himself to kids at a playground, would receive a minimum 90-day sentence, half the term of a man convicted of growing six pot plants in his own home.

I am not sure if the member read it. I believe it to be true. Would the member agree that this is a true assessment that was written not by a member of Parliament but a columnist from Vancouver?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

François Lapointe Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not completely follow. I was asked to comment on this journalist's column. We are talking about a bill that sets out more severe penalties for certain minor drug production cases than some other cases. I want to make something clear. I am the father of three young children, and I would immediately agree to crack down more severely on any crime related to pedophilia. The rest of the bill is not balanced. The fact that a small producer would have a sentence twice that of someone who sexually abused a minor is simply unacceptable. I hope that is what my colleague was asking.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion: That the provisions of Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts with respect to the youth criminal justice system, and consisting of clauses 169, 174 and 186, do compose Bill C-10B; that the remaining provisions of Bill C-10 do compose Bill C-10A; that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary. That Bill C-10A and Bill C-10B be reprinted; and that Bill C-10B be deemed to have been read the first time and be printed, deemed read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment and deemed read the third time and passed.

There are two parts to the bill. One is with regard to the young offenders part of the bill. It implements recommendations that we received from a number of the provinces as well as prohibiting the housing of young offenders with adults. That is one part.

The second part is with regard to the former Pardons Act, which would allow for the extension of the length of time that a person would have to wait to get a pardon. It is a principled stance on our part. It is a practical approach to resolving issues that are of unanimous consent, I believe, within the House.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Does the hon. member have the consent of the House to table this motion?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

There is no unanimous consent.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Brampton West.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

September 28th, 2011 / 3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the second reading debate on Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act.

The bill would fulfill the government's commitment in the June 2011 Speech from the Throne to bundle and quickly reintroduce crime bills that died on the order paper when Parliament was dissolved for the general election.

Integral to this commitment, as articulated in the Speech from the Throne, are two key statements that I want to quote because I think they give voice to what all Canadians firmly believe.

First:

The Government of Canada has no more fundamental duty than to protect the personal safety of our citizens and defend against threats to our national security.

Second:

Our government has always believed the interests of law-abiding citizens should be placed ahead of those of criminals. Canadians who are victimized or threatened by crime deserve their government's support and protection--

In my view, this precisely characterizes Bill C-10. It packages nine former bills that, collectively, recognize and seek to protect our vulnerabilities; for example, children's vulnerability to being preyed upon by adult sexual predators, foreign workers' vulnerability to being exploited by unscrupulous Canadian employers, and our collective vulnerability to suffering the harms that go hand in hand with serious drug crimes, such as drug trafficking, production and acts of terrorism.

Knowing this, and knowing as well that many of these reforms have been previously debated, studied and passed by at least one chamber, there is no reason not to support Bill C-10 in this Parliament.

Bill C-10 is divided into five parts.

Part 1 proposes to deter terrorism by supporting victims. It would create a new cause of action for victims of terrorism to enable them to sue not only the perpetrators of terrorism but all those who support terrorism, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism or omission committed anywhere in the world on or after January 1, 1985.

The State Immunity Act would be amended to remove immunity from those states that the government has listed as supporters of terrorism. These amendments were previously proposed and passed by the Senate in the form of Bill S-7, justice for victims of terrorism act, in the previous session of Parliament. They are reintroduced in Bill C-10, with technical changes to correct grammatical and cross-reference errors.

Part 2 proposes to strengthen our existing responses to child exploitation and serious drug crimes, as well as serious violent and property crimes. It would better protect children against sexual abuse in several ways, including by uniformly and strongly condemning all forms of child sex abuse through the imposition of newer and higher mandatory minimum penalties, as well as creating new core powers to impose conditions to prevent suspected or convicted child sex offenders from engaging in conduct that could facilitate or further their sexual offences against children.

These reforms are the same as they were in former Bill C-54, protecting children from sexual predators act, with the addition of proposed increases to the maximum penalty for four offences and corresponding increases in their mandatory minimum penalities to better reflect the particularly heinous nature of these offences.

Part 2 also proposes to specify that conditional sentences of imprisonment, often referred to as house arrest, are never available for offences punishable by a maximum of 14 years or life, for offences prosecuted by indictment and punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years that result in bodily harm, trafficking and production of drugs or that involve the use of a weapon, or for listed serious property and violent offences punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years that are prosecuted by indictment.

These reforms were previously proposed in former Bill C-16, ending house arrest for property and other serious crimes by serious violent offenders act which had received second reading in this House and was referred to the justice committee when it died on the order paper.

It is in the same form as before with, again, a few technical changes that are consistent with the objectives of the bill as was originally introduced.

Part 2 also proposes to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to impose mandatory minimum sentences for serious offences involving production and/or possession for the purposes of trafficking and/or importing and exporting and/or possession for the purpose of exporting Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and Schedule II drugs, such as marijuana.

These mandatory minimum penalties would be imposed where there is an aggravating factor, including where the production of the drug constituted a potential security, health or safety hazard, or the offence was committed in or near a school.

This is the fourth time that these amendments have been introduced. They are in the same form as they were the last time when they were passed by the Senate as former Bill S-10, Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act, in the previous Parliament.

Part 3 proposes numerous post-sentencing reforms to better support victims and to increase offender accountability and management. Specifically, it reintroduces reforms previously contained in three bills from the previous Parliament: Bill C-39, Ending Early Release for Criminals and Increasing Offender Accountability Act; Bill C-5, Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) Act; and Bill C-23B, An Act to amend the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Bill C-10 reintroduces these reforms with some technical changes.

Part 4 reintroduces much needed reforms to the Youth Criminal Justice Act to better deal with violent and repeat young offenders. Part 4 includes reforms that would ensure the protection of the public is always considered a principle in dealing with young offenders and that will make it easier to detain youth charged with serious offences pending trial.

These reforms were also previously proposed in former Bill C-4, Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders).

Part 5 proposes amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to better protect foreign workers against abuse and exploitation. Their reintroduction in Bill C-10 reflects the fifth time that these reforms have been before Parliament, with the last version being former Bill C-56, Preventing the Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act.

In short, Bill C-10 proposes many needed and welcome reforms to safeguard Canadians. Many have already been supported in the previous Parliament and Canadians are again expecting us to support them in this Parliament.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, Mr. Peter Blaikie, who is a very distinguished Canadian lawyer and founder of the law firm Heenan Blaikie in Montreal and a former president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, wrote an article earlier this year in August. He said:

More specifically, mandatory minimum sentences, by imposing a straitjacket on judges, limit their ability to differentiate as regards the same offence with respect to what might be completely different circumstances. Judges are human and might on occasion err; however, they are highly educated and highly trained, far better equipped to determine appropriate sentences than our members of Parliament.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague if he feels that he knows better than people who are trained in that way or better than Peter Blaikie.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Madam Speaker, I fundamentally disagree with the premise that our justice initiatives are not in the best interests of Canadians. My friend can quote whoever he wants to quote but I will quote from people who matter. These are victims of crime. It reads:

The Prime Minister is to be lauded for following through on his 2008 and 2011 election platform promises to bring this measure forward. Having just marked the tenth anniversary of that terrible day, I believe this decennial year is a truly appropriate time to enact this measure which will help frame this government’s legacy as an unyielding foe to terror and a stalwart advocate of its victims.

This was said by C-CAT co-founder Maureen Basnicki, whose husband was murdered on 9/11. These are the people for whom we are enacting this legislation. We will stand up for victims of crime. I do not understand why the members opposite want to stand and quote people who have no interest in talking about this crime agenda.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, that is an interesting comment. I wonder if the member could actually speak up for the disproportionate numbers of aboriginal peoples who are incarcerated.

An article in the Toronto Star on February 20, indicated that there was a bleak link between poverty and incarceration. While aboriginals, many mired in poverty, represent 4% of Canada's population, they make up almost 20% of those in federal prisons.

I could, of course, quote from any number of articles that talk about the importance of preventive programs and working to keep people out of the prison population, and that includes adequate housing, health care, education, drinking water and the list goes on and on.

I wonder if the member could comment about his government's plans to do something about prevention.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's question was not particularly what I was talking about. We are talking about introducing legislation to protect Canadians from crime and to support victims of crime.

We do have an aboriginal justice strategy in place that we are working on and working very hard to implement.

However, I want to talk to the people who support this legislation. I will give the House another quote:

Whether it is by keeping dealers and producers off the streets and out of business, or by serving as a deterrent to potential dealers, this proposed legislation will help our members in doing their jobs and keeping our communities safe. In simple terms, keep these criminals in jail longer, and you take away their opportunity to traffic in drugs.

Who said that? It was President Tom Stamatakis of the Canadian Police Association. That is who we are standing up for and we are thrilled to have his support.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the hon. member's thoughts on the war on drugs. In the United States, cracking down on the traffickers is a total failure: there have never been more drugs around.

How can the hon. member claim that the way to deal with the traffickers is to impose harsher sentences, when that approach has failed everywhere else? I do not understand his logic.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Brampton West, ON

Madam Speaker, my friend is talking about what has happened in the United States. It is interesting that whenever members opposite want to talk about our legislation, they just blindly suggest that we are following the American model.

I have another quote for the House:

Mandatory minimum sentences for serious drug crimes will help in our fight against organized crime in the trafficking and production of drugs.

...keep these criminals in jail longer, and you take away their opportunity to traffic in drugs.

Who said that? That was said Charles Morny, president of the Canadian Police Association October, 2010.

Those are the kinds of people whose support we are happy to have. The members opposite can quote whoever they want but we are standing up for Canadians and police forces.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to today's debate on Bill C-10, which deals with crime.

I will first look at the context in which this bill is being introduced.

I will look at the crime rates. What is happening with the crime rates? They are dropping, and they have been dropping for a long time, as a matter of fact.

What is happening with the violent crime rates? They are also dropping and they have been dropping for a long time.

What about the intensity of crime? That has also been dropping.