House of Commons photo

Track Bob

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is mentioned.

Conservative MP for Mississauga—Erindale (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 47.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening intently to this debate the whole day and the NDP put the motion it says in good faith with bona fides to try to make this place a better place for debate, yet I just heard the member call the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister a lackey. It does not sound like parliamentary language to me. It is not the kind of thing that is going to promote collegiality in this place. I would ask him to apologize for that remark.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for her speech. I know that she has answered many questions in the House during question period, both as a minister and previously as a parliamentary secretary.

I have noticed in the question periods that I have witnessed in the six or so years that I have been here is that there is often a lot of repetition from the other side of the House. We will get the same question asked over and over, even when the minister gives a full answer, which perhaps refutes the accuracy of the question being asked. The next person will read the same talking points and ask the question again. It is like they do not even listen to the answer that the minister has given.

The motion of the NDP, to me, seems one-sided. It does not say anything about the repetition or relevance of the questions being asked. It just talks about the responses. I wonder if the minister could give us her thoughts on that.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech quite intently and I have read the motion, but it seems rather one-sided to me. It does not say anything about questions from the opposition member or any member during question period. It only talks about responses. It seems to me that we have all seen lots of irrelevance here on both sides. We will often see the same question asked six or more times by members of the opposition. They continually read the same talking point over and over again.

I wonder why the member chose not to include questions and responses in the motion in terms of relevance.

Justice September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in fact what my hon. friend says is incorrect.

Bill C-36 specifically responds to the major concern in the Bedford case, which was the inability of sex workers to carry on their trade from a fixed, safe indoor location where they could have security and properly screen their clients. Bill C-36 allows exactly that. That is what each of the litigants in the Bedford decision asked for, and that is what Bill C-36 delivers to them.

Some are saying that decriminalization of prostitution is the only way to ensure the safety of those subject to it, and that Bill C-36 will increase prostitution's risks by criminalizing both the purchase and the sale of sexual services in a narrow range of circumstances. They also question the compliance of Bill C-36 with the charter. These assertions are not true.

First, Bill C-36 reflects a fundamental paradigm shift away from treatment of prostitution as a nuisance toward treatment of prostitution for what it is, sexual exploitation. Consistent with this transformative objective, Bill C-36 would criminalize the purchase of sexual services, but generally, not the sale. Those who sell sexual services are viewed as victims of an exploitative practice, and accordingly, they would be immunized from prosecution for any part they may play in the new purchasing, material benefit, procuring or advertising offences.

I would also note that decriminalization has been linked to higher rates of human trafficking in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. I therefore reject the assertion that decriminalization is the only way to ensure the safety of those who offer sex for sale.

Justice September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today I will speak about Bill C-36, the protection of communities and exploited persons act. Specifically, I would like to discuss how the Supreme Court of Canada's Bedford decision informed Bill C-36's proposals for law reform.

Under the current law, neither the purchase nor sale of sexual services is illegal. However, certain activities related to prostitution are prohibited. The Supreme Court found that three of these offences were unconstitutional on the basis that they violate section 7 of the charter, the right to security of the person—in this case, individuals who sell their own sexual services—by preventing them from taking measures to protect themselves while engaging in a risky but legal activity. These protective measures include independently selling sexual services from a fixed indoor location, hiring bodyguards and drivers, and negotiating safer conditions for the sale of sexual services in public places.

The offences were found to be grossly disproportionate or overly broad in scope with respect to their legislative objectives, which, in the court's view, target primarily the nuisance aspects of prostitution.

In response, Bill C-36 would make prostitution an illegal activity by criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, which represents half of the prostitution transaction.

Bill C-36's preamble explains why it would make prostitution illegal. It clarifies that Parliament sees prostitution as an inherently exploitative activity that always poses a risk of violence.

Bill C-36 also seeks to protect communities from the harms associated with prostitution, including related criminality and the exposure of children to the sale of sex as a commodity.

For these reasons, Bill C-36 seeks to reduce the incidents of prostitution with a view to abolishing it as much as is possible.

These new statements of purpose, which are reflected in Bill C-36's preamble, would serve as a starting point for any future charter analysis of Bill C-36's reforms. The court would have to analyze the new offences, offences that would restrict an exploitative and therefore illegal activity, through this lens.

Moreover, Bill C-36's provisions would provide that persons who sell their own sexual services could not be prosecuted when they sell sexual services from a fixed indoor location, whether independently or co-operatively. This approach responds to the Supreme Court of Canada's safety concerns about the ability to sell sexual services indoors.

Bill C-36 would also carefully balance the Supreme Court of Canada's safety concerns regarding the availability of protective services with the need to ensure that exploitative third parties are criminalized. Specifically, Bill C-36 would limit the scope of the new material benefit offence through legislated exceptions that would apply to several groups of people, including those who provide protective services to persons who sell their sexual services, but it clearly stipulates that those exceptions would not apply in exploitative circumstances.

Finally, to address the Supreme Court's concern that persons who sell their own sexual services must be able to take steps to negotiate safer conditions for the sale of sexual services in public places, Bill C-36 would significantly narrow the scope of the existing communicating offence.

The current offence applies to all communications made in any public place for the purposes of purchasing or selling sexual services. However, under Bill C-36, the new purchasing offence would also prohibit communicating in any place for the purposes of purchasing.

A separate offence would apply to communicating for the purposes of selling sexual services, but only in a public place or in any place open to public view that is, or is next to, a schoolground, playground, or daycare centre. It would only be in those places.

This approach strikes a careful balance between the interests of two vulnerable groups: those who are exploited through prostitution and those of children who may be exposed to the sale of sex as a commodity, which is a harm in and of itself.

I hope that this clarifies any concerns about Bill C-36's compliance with the Supreme Court of Canada's findings in Bedford.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the justice committee heard from a number of family members of victims of cyberbullying, including Allan Hubley, the father of Jamie Hubley. I do not know if the member had an opportunity to review the testimony before the justice committee, but I will quote Mr. Allan Hubley. He stated, “When we were younger, you always knew who your bully was. You could do something about it. Now, up until the time this legislation gets enacted, they can hide behind that.” Mr. Hubley continued, “Not only does it start to take the mask off of them, but through this legislation there are serious consequences for their actions.”

Bill C-13 introduces a number of measures to take the mask off the perpetrator, such as production orders that allow for the disclosure of certain information. I wonder if the member opposite could explain why he is opposed to judicially authorized measures that will help unmask those that exploit others online, such as Jamie Hubley.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his work on the issue of cyberbullying. I know he cares about it quite deeply. I also thank him for the bill he brought before the House.

He will know, because he has studied this issue quite extensively, about the recommendation of the cybercrime working group, which is a group of experts in the law that report to the federal-provincial-territorial ministers of justice. It recommended that in order to address cyberbullying, we needed to provide police authorities with some additional powers for investigation. They include data preservation demands and orders, new production orders to trace specified communications, like we had in the Amanda Todd case, and new warrants and production orders for transmission data. I would like to assure him that nothing in Bill C-13 allows for new warrantless release of information.

Could he tell us if he disagrees with the recommendations that are contained in Bill C-13? Perhaps he could tell us why he thought his bill would work without them.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the Spencer decision of the Supreme Court in his speech. Perhaps he did not have an opportunity to hear the speech I made earlier, but I will just quickly restate my position, which is that the provision in Bill C-13 that he refers to says that where a person is not prohibited by law from sharing information with police authorities, they will not incur any civil or criminal liability.

The Spencer decision of the Supreme Court said that in specific circumstances where telecom companies, which is one small part of information that might be provided to law enforcement authorities in cases like this, do that voluntarily, going forward, that will not be permissible by law. Therefore, this provision of Bill C-13 simply upholds the decision of the Supreme Court in Spencer. In other words, it has clarified the law, and the provision specifically says it is things that are not prohibited by law from being disclosed. What was previously disclosed voluntarily in that specific situation can no longer be voluntarily disclosed without prior judicial authorization.

However, there are other things that can be. It is a general rule of law that people have a right to co-operate with the police, and we wish them to do so in order to keep our citizens safe.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member was a member of the justice committee when we studied this bill, and I believe she sat through almost all of the hearings.

If I follow her argument, she said that the NDP proposed a bill that was one paragraph long. It talked about the institution of criminal sanction for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We all agreed on that, so we could have just passed it, but then we had to spend time at committee dealing with that aspect and all of these other things. We actually spent most of our time talking about the investigative powers.

I did not quite follow the logic, because I think what she said was that everybody agreed on that criminal sanction. We say, and the Cybercrime Working Group also says, that, in addition, we need to provide the law enforcement authorities with some powers so they can properly investigate such crimes and bring people to justice for those crimes. She admits that we had significant debate about those issues, because she said that it was pretty much all that we discussed when we heard from the witnesses.

I would appreciate it if she would tell us specifically what other witnesses we should have heard from. Her party put forward a list of witnesses and the committee strove to hear from them all. In addition, specifically, what provisions is she concerned about that were not discussed or debated at committee? I think everything she is concerned about was debated.

She disagrees with the decision that the committee made, but they were debated. Maybe she could fill us in on what was not debated and what other witnesses we should have heard from.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it was clear to me that when the member called for the separation of Bill C-13 into two parts, one of which is the criminal sanction against the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, that she had not read the report of the CCSO, Cybercrime Working Group, dated June 2013, called “Cyberbullying and Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images”.

These are experts from every province and territory of Canada. They are the expert legal advisors who advise the provincial and territorial ministers of justice. The member has probably heard, if she has been here for the duration of this debate today, what the experts recommended in recommendation number 4. However, nobody is addressing what investigative powers that are recommended by the experts the government should enact in the Criminal Code.

Which of these provisions does the member disagree with? She is saying to separate it and to pass the non-consensual distribution of images part, which would not give the police any power to investigate anything. It would not stop anything from happening, the next Amanda Todd or Rehtaeh Parsons or Jamie Hubley, and the list of victims goes on.

In order to enable the police to help people, they need things such as the data preservation demands and orders. Does the member agree or disagree with that? They need new warrants and production orders for the transmission of data. Does she agree or disagree with that, yes or no?