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Conservative MP for Kildonan—St. Paul (Manitoba)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 58.20% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Human Trafficking December 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I was thrilled to join the Minister of Public Safety in Montreal to announce our government's next step in the fight to combat human trafficking, our modern-day slavery.
As committed by our government in the 2012 national action plan to combat human trafficking, the Minister of Public Safety announced the launch of a special RCMP enforcement team to combat human trafficking, which will be based in Montreal.
Members of the special RCMP team will work closely with law enforcement partners in the province of Quebec and all across Canada to tackle and dismantle vicious human trafficking rings and bring freedom to their many victims. In fact, only hours after yesterday's announcement, the team arrested four massage parlour operators as part of project combative, which has been targeting a ring of traffickers responsible for luring young Romanian women to Canada.
I want to thank the Minister of Public Safety for his particular dedication to ending modern-day slavery. I invite all members to join me in commending the work of the RCMP's new integrated enforcement team.
Petitions December 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions with hundreds of signatures, brought to Parliament this morning. The petitioners request that Parliament amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services, criminalize the purchasing of sexual services and provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.
As members know, our government has focused strongly on the victims of human trafficking, so these are very timely petitions.
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery December 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, yesterday citizens around the world marked the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Sadly, sex slavery and forced labour continue today throughout our nation. Just yesterday the Waterloo Regional Police laid charges of human trafficking in Cambridge, Ontario.
Our government has taken significant steps to combat modern-day slavery. We have created temporary resident permits for international victims of trafficking, launched a national action plan to combat human trafficking, committed $6 million annually to anti-trafficking efforts and victim rehabilitation, created a targeted anti-trafficking law enforcement task force to hunt down traffickers, and led the world in the fight against early, child and forced marriages across our nation.
Today, on the ninth of 16 days of activism against gender violence, let us be reminded that women and young girls are most likely to be victims of modern-day slavery and let us be resolved to stand ever stronger against modern-day slavery and gender violence.
Petitions December 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today I have hundreds of signatures on a petition from Ontario that requests Parliament amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services and criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.
In this day and age, the petition is extremely important, and it is the Canadian public that is bringing forth this request.
Violence Against Women and Girls November 27th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign reminds us that violence against women and girls comes in many forms, including pornography. Just last week, here in Ottawa, I hosted leading anti-porn researcher Dr. Gail Dines to address decision-makers on the harms pornography has on youth and children and the merits of an opt-in filter approach.
Pornographic images are becoming extremely violent and have an increasingly harmful effect on its viewers. In fact, on the first day of this campaign, I received a letter from a 10-year-old boy who courageously shared with me his addiction to porn and asked our government to take action.
The facts are sobering: boys who frequently view porn are more likely to be supportive of sexual coercion. We have a duty to protect our youth from sexual abuse. We are all part of the solution to end violence against women and girls.
Criminal Code November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to support Bill C-452, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons). This is an important bill that would address a pressing issue. Human trafficking involves continuous violations of fundamental human rights whose protection forms the basis of our free and democratic society.
I would like to start by thanking the member of Parliament for Ahuntsic for bringing this pressing issue to the attention of the House again. As she knows, this is a very important issue for our government. Her previous bill, former Bill C-612, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), which proposed similar amendments, died on the order paper in 2011.
Before I turn to the proposals in the bill itself, I would like to make some general comments on the nature of human trafficking and its severe impacts on its victims, to underscore the importance of ensuring the strongest possible criminal justice response to this crime.
Traffickers force victims to provide labour or sexual services in circumstances where they believe their safety or the safety of someone known to them will be threatened if they fail to provide that labour or service. They are deprived of the very rights that underpin a free and democratic society. The reality is that victims suffer physical, sexual and emotional abuse, including threats of violence or actual harm to their loved ones. This abuse is compounded by their living and working conditions.
To further aggravate the problem, this type of criminal conduct is not something that just happens occasionally or on the margins of society. Rather it is widespread, as evidenced by the global revenues garnered by it, which are estimated to amount to as much as $10 billion U.S. per year. This puts human trafficking within the three top money makers for organized crime.
What are we doing about it? I am pleased to report that the government's response to this crime is strong and multi-faceted.
First, we have a virtual arsenal of criminal offences that apply to this reprehensible conduct.
In 2003, trafficking specific offences were added to the Criminal Code.
In 2010, a new offence of child trafficking was enacted through Bill C-268, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years), which was sponsored by myself, the member for Kildonan—St. Paul. This offence imposes mandatory minimum penalties on those who traffic persons under the age of 18.
In 2012, former Bill C-310, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), sponsored by myself, the member of Parliament for Kildonan—St. Paul, extended extra territorial jurisdiction for all Criminal Code trafficking offences and enacted an interpretive tool to assist the courts in interpreting the trafficking in persons provisions.
All of this is in addition to the trafficking specific offence contained in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, section 118, which prohibits transnational trafficking and the numerous Criminal Code offences that address traffic related conduct, such as forceable confinement, kidnapping, sexual assault and uttering threats, to give a few examples.
However, that is not all. In recognition of the multi-faceted nature of this problem, the government launched a national action plan to combat human trafficking on June 6, 2012. The action plan recognizes that a comprehensive response to human trafficking must involve efforts to ensure what we refer to as the 4 Ps: the protection of victims; the prosecution of offenders; the partnerships with key players; and, of course, the prevention of the crime, in the first place. All activities are coordinated through the human trafficking task force, which is led by Public Safety Canada.
This is, without a doubt, a comprehensive response to a complex problem, but more can always be done and where more can be done, more should be done, especially, when efforts serve to address a crime as insidious as human trafficking.
Bill C-452 proposes a number of reforms that would strengthen the response I have just described. It seeks to impose consecutive sentences for trafficking offences and any offence arising out of the same event or series of events.
The bill would also create a presumption that would assist prosecutors in proving the main human trafficking offence and it would require a sentencing court to order the forfeiture of an offender's property, unless he or she proved that the property was not proceeds of crime.
Although some amendments would be required to address specific legal concerns, Bill C-452 would undoubtedly strengthen the response to human trafficking and, as such, merits our support.
Legal concerns would have to be addressed. For example, the bill should not overlap with amendments that have already been enacted by the previous bill, such as the former Bill C-310, as this would cause confusion in the law. The bill should also avoid compromising the government's efforts to defend the living on the avails offence, paragraph 212(1)(j), along with other prostitution-related Criminal Code offences whose constitutionality is now before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bedford case. The procuring provision, which Bill C-452 proposals would affect, contains the living on the avails offence.
However, these concerns and others should not detract from the positive contributions the bill would make if it were enacted. The legal concerns I have outlined can easily be addressed through amendments.
We must continue to be vigilant. We must continue to support legislative initiatives that would improve our ability to hold accountable those who exploit the vulnerabilities of others. The impact of human trafficking on its victims is almost impossible to comprehend. We cannot tolerate it. We must ensure that those who engage in such heinous conduct are brought to justice, that their punishment appropriately reflects their crime and that they are not permitted to reap the rewards gleaned from the suffering of others.
Toward that end, I ask all members in the House to join me in supporting Bill C-452. I look forward to examining and analyzing its proposals more deeply in the context of committee review. At that stage, amendments can be moved to ensure that the bill achieves its laudable objectives without creating any confusion or inconsistency in the law.
I am sure that we all agree that we can never do enough to combat human trafficking. I am grateful that Bill C-452 has provided us with yet another opportunity to do more.
Again, I thank the member for Ahuntsic for her attention to this very important bill. Certainly it has our full support on this side of the House.
Petitions November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting several hundred petitions from all across Canada from petitioners calling on the government to amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services, to criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and to provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.
In this week of commemorating violence against women and dealing with the violence against women issue, I have to say that these petitions are very timely.
Petitions November 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am getting petitions from all across the country on prostitution and sex trafficking. The petitioners acknowledge that internationally the median age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years of age and that 92% of prostitutes would leave prostitution if they could. The demand for commercial sex with women and children is a root cause for prostitution and trafficking for sexual purposes, and child prostitution and violence against women have increased in countries.
Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services, criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and provide support to those who want to leave prostitution. In this week, with the issue of violence against women, I think it is very timely to bring these petitions into our House of Commons.
Petitions November 19th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions from Alberta, Ontario, and B.C. areas. Petitioners are calling on Parliament to amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services, to criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and to provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.
As we know, this is a very relevant issue, harming a lot of very innocent victims. Therefore, I submit these petitions to Parliament today.
Business of Supply November 5th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite would like to hear questions designed for what she wants to be asked, but we need to hear from the member whether she supports Senate reform and whether her party supports Senate reform and whether it will support the government's initiative to help that Senate reform happen.