- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2004, with 61.37% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Question No. 207 November 15th, 2005
With regard to the Correctional Service of Canada: ( a ) how many inmates have escaped custody while taking either an unescorted or an escorted temporary absence for personal development in 2003, 2004, and from January 1 to June 30, 2005; and ( b ) given that the February 1998 joint Correctional Service of Canada and National Parole Board report on Personal Development Temporary Absences shows that 10 inmates were given 15-day escorted temporary absences for recreation purposes and 11 inmates were given 15-day escorted temporary absences for other purposes, what type of recreation and other activities were these inmates involved in?
Question No. 165 November 14th, 2005
With regard to Correctional Services Canada during the fiscal years 2002-2003, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005: ( a ) what was the total amount of salary bonuses paid to prison wardens in all regions; ( b ) what was the total cost in providing legal aid to inmates in each region; and ( c ) in how many instances was said legal aid utilized?
Criminal Code October 25th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I abstained on the first bill and I am voting the opposite on this one. I am opposed to the bill.
(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
Privilege October 24th, 2005
It is not debate, Mr. Speaker. I am laying the grounds for the erroneous statements made by the Minister of Justice. I do not agree with the decriminalization of marijuana and would not have agreed in the minority report.
I would ask the minister to refrain from making those statements as they reflect poorly on my judgment more so than his.
Privilege October 24th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. The Minister of Justice keeps referring to the fact that the Conservative Party agreed with all the recommendations in the report from the special committee established in the House to study the non-medical use of drugs, in particular, marijuana.
I and my colleague from Crowfoot wrote a minority report on that report and we dealt with the issue of marijuana in that report. I did not and have not agreed that the criminalization of marijuana would be satisfactory to our country. However, I said in the report that for it to be successful there would have to be a number of conditions in place before I could even consider it.
Criminal Code October 7th, 2005
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-427, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (failure to stop at scene of accident).
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to have this bill seconded by my friend and colleague from Okanagan—Shuswap. The bill is the second opportunity for the House of Commons to make productive changes to hit and run driving laws.
Today I am laying Carley's law on the table of the House of Commons. Carley's law has become representative of the desperate need to repair the injustices of the courtrooms throughout this nation that have failed victims of hit and run driving.
I first wrote Carley's law in 2003. Hundreds of hit and run driving situations have occurred in Canada, and since it was first defeated at second reading in the House in June, over 15 more incidents have occurred.
It is well known that both lawyers and judges are settling for minimum sentences for those guilty of hit and run crimes. Carley's law seeks to rectify the failure of the courtroom to deal with the seriousness of the problem, by giving a minimum sentence of seven years for hit and run driving causing death and a minimum sentence of four years for a hit and run crime causing injury.
Carley Regan was just 13 years old when the crime of hit and run—
Criminal Code September 27th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, in effect the onus is still on the Crown to prove that it has a repeat offender, more or less. In most cases that money is not found with a repeat offender. This is somebody who is sent out with little or no record. There will be a big problem resulting from that.
Criminal Code September 27th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I think this is my 12th year in this place and I have been on this justice issue for all 12 years. I came here and wrote the victims' bill of rights and the sex offender registry initially. I still see things getting worse. As much as the government writes bills, a lot of the issues are not being addressed. My friend Chuck Cadman spent a lot of time on the young offenders act, and it was changed, but there are still many problems unaddressed in the youth justice act. We are miles behind the drug issue in this House, from all sides. The government is supposed to take the initiative. We are miles behind these things.
I do not understand, and I suppose I will leave this House not understanding, why it is that a government can sit in office and be so far behind the real world out there. I know there is a philosophical difference between the Conservatives' approach to justice and the Liberals' approach to justice, but it cannot possibly be that wide a gap. The issues we are talking about here are common to everybody, such as the support of our police and the justice issue.
Everybody in this House knows that the the time put in for the crimes today is not what it should be. Yet on the other side we hear comments like, “We have to use judicial discretion”. We have tried judicial discretion. It is not working. Just go to British Columbia please, and look at the record. I can refer to thousands of cases to show the record. There is a problem.
It is getting pretty close to the time when we will insist on minimum sentences in this country. If the Liberals are not prepared to do that, then there should be sentencing grids. If they are not prepared to do that, then they should be prepared to look for election of judges or appointments of judges for a shorter period. This is being forced on our society because of inaction across the way with the Liberal government. It is coming.
The Liberals might smile at that little comment, but if they do not take action, this side will be government one day and all of the things that the Liberals failed to do are going to be implemented. I do not know how we are going to treat, ultimately, this discretion of judges, but somewhere along the line society here in this country will insist on those three actions. One precipitates the other. If they do not do one thing, then they should get used to the other one.
Criminal Code September 27th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, we in the Conservative Party support Bill C-53. I want to make a couple of comments about things that take place in the real world outside Parliament because I spend a fair bit of time on street issues.
The hon. member on the other side talked about organized crime groups having substantial assets. I along with many other people really wonder what it is going to take in Canada to get organized crime groups off the streets.
We watch every day as the Hells Angels parade around the country with their nice jackets and their bikes and that sort of thing. Now they are disguising themselves by wearing suits. We are still allowing these people to rove around the country like they are some kind of bicycle heroes, but that is not the case. Those people are selling drugs to our kids. They are involved in prostitution. They are involved in all kinds of crime, and yet we tolerate their existence. I have a hard time with that quite frankly, and it is difficult to believe that it even happens.
Bill C-53 is important, but it is also important to follow up on my colleague's comments. This should not just be about the seizure of assets, because it is after the assets are seized that one of the biggest problems begins. I am going to cover several instances that I have been involved with just to give the House some examples. I also want to mention the contradiction in our laws today with respect to things like seizing assets.
I am very much involved in the debate about harm reduction in drugs, which of course is not harm reduction but rather harm extension. Harm reduction extends the use of drugs. It does not reduce the harm at all, as we will find out too late one day. Harm reduction involves injection sites, needle exchanges, crack inhalation sites, issuance of heroin to individuals, and the legalization of marijuana. Lately it also involves roving injection teams in Vancouver, if anybody has ever heard of anything so absurd.
Roving injection teams involve addicts who rove the streets and back alleys with needles to inject incapacitated addicts because they are too incapacitated to inject themselves. Not too long ago that was called attempted murder. When individuals walk into an injection site with illegal drugs in their hands, one has to wonder why there is some kind of free bubble zone to allow that when we are supposedly saying those kind of drugs are illegal to possess. The government has to get out of its schizophrenic mode where basically it is saying that drugs are against the law, but it is okay to break the law.
That is my preamble to my examples of this bill, which is really talking about seizure of assets, and it is a good thing.
Not too long ago there was a drug bust. It not only included drugs, but about eight or ten feet away in the rafters there was about $400,000 all wrapped up in plastic which the police took out of the building. This case went to court and the judge, in his infinite wisdom, gave all the money back to the dealers because they said they did not know it was there, that it was just something that must have been up in the rafters. Poor dears. He virtually gave the drug dealers $400,000 because in that courtroom with that defence lawyer, they did the wrong thing. They went after the defence of that drug money.
Although we have laws in this country, the problem is that lawyers on the defence side and the judges making the decisions are making the wrong decisions applicable to laws like this. It is not just the law that has seizure of assets that is important, it is the application of the law within the courtroom. I do not know what it is going to take for us in our society to go to the defence lawyers and say that we all have a problem, that for goodness' sake they know where the $400,000 has come from. It cannot be given back to the dealers. They would just use it to buy and sell again.
I cannot say how many times I have been involved in situations where money has been seized, put in trust because it cannot be given back to the dealers, when in fact the lawyers can get their hands on it. They go in on behalf of the dealers, charge a fee of the amount that is in the trust account, get all the money out of the trust account, give part of it back to the dealers and keep a good chunk of change for themselves. Those lawyers out there know who I am talking about. That is trafficking. It is wrong. It is stupid. It is not just a matter of setting a law to seize assets, it is the application of the law after it is made. These laws are not made to be broken or challenged. They are not made to have application under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They are made to prevent illegal use of money.
How do these guys get around it? I have mentioned before that recently a young man was kidnapped in my community. He was thrown into a van and pistol whipped. This sounds like something out of Terminator II in the United States. He was in the van which was involved in a high-speed chase with the police. The bad guys drove through a stoplight and killed a woman who was entering the intersection on a green light. They rolled the van and took off from the scene of the accident. It was a hit and run. Four of them were caught. All four were charged. They had guns, money and drugs in the car.
I was in the courtroom. They dropped all charges against three of them who said they did not know the other guy, that they did not know there was money in the van or to whom the drugs and gun belonged. It is the application of the laws. I do not know what it is in the House. We develop good laws and they are broken all the time.
There was hardly enough room around the front of the bench for lawyers because there were so many of them. Quite frankly it was a laughing stock of a zoo. Ultimately the driver of the vehicle was charged with dangerous driving. There were no gun charges. Everything was dropped.
The guy who was kidnapped, who was a witness, was asked what he did. He said, “I deliver”. “What do you deliver?” “Drugs”. He was asked if he liked that and he said no because his supervisor put him on the midnight shift from dial-a-dope.
These stories sound bizarre, but they are in fact true. What I am saying in the House of Commons is that while we have a bill we support, we have to approach those in the legal industry and tell them to apply this the right way and not to abuse where our intentions are going.
Criminal Code September 27th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, this particular bill, which I addressed last night, gives me great concern about maximum penalties. Maximum penalties in this bill are 10 years for one instance, 5 years for another and life for another.
However, as we have seen in this country, in courtrooms right across this land, maximums are seldom if ever given. In fact, there is a disproportionate penalty-crime ratio, and in many cases where families and victims think that some individuals are getting a serious penalty for a crime, they do not get it. Drugs in particular are some of the worst, where we see $400,000 and $500,000 grow ops and individuals getting a $500 fine for them. If I ever saw motivation for such a criminal activity, that would be it.
I would like to ask my colleague what he thinks the rationale is behind the government issuing these maximum penalties? Recently the government stood and said it was getting serious with the crystal meth business and would issue some maximum penalties when it knows full well, as in the courts in particular in British Columbia, that the penalties even for crystal meth production are very low.
I would like him to explain the rationale to the people watching this, not necessarily to the other side because I do not think those members will ever understand it. Could he perhaps give us an idea of how we can get around this inability to get the judges and the lawyers in the land to commit to discretionary decision-making that is conservative as opposed to lucrative for the criminal?