House of Commons photo

Track Rick

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is police.

Conservative MP for Northumberland—Quinte West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 53.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member across the way, to whom I also wish a merry Christmas. Having worked in Hearst, Ontario, I know the north somewhat.

I was very interested in the claim that we are not spending sufficient funds in regard to Parks Canada. It is the season to celebrate and sometimes in the celebratory nature of the season we are in, we forget certain things that occurred in the House of Commons. I would ask if the hon. member could comment on the announcement of $250 million that would go to infrastructure in and surrounding our parks. I wonder if she recalls hearing that from the Prime Minister's own lips.

Health December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today and speak to our government's strong record on health care.

Since we formed government, health transfers have increased by almost 60% under our Conservative leadership. In 2014-15, the Government of Ontario alone will receive $19.2 billion through major transfers, an increase of $8.3 billion from 2005-06.

Canada also has the highest number of physicians working than ever before. Last year, Canada had the most physicians per capita in its history, with over 77,000 doctors.

Doctors educated abroad represent over 25% of the doctors who entered the workforce in 2013. The word is out: Canada is one of the top destinations in the world to practise medicine.

To all my constituents in Northumberland—Quinte West, merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Status of Women November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we stand up for women and girls, and we are taking action to protect them from being victims of barbaric cultural practices. On the other side of the House, the leader of the Liberal Party refuses to take a strong stance against violent acts that put immigrant women and girls at risk.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration please explain what this government is doing to help protect Canada from gender-based violence?

Business of Supply November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the submission made by my friend from Barrie with regard to the government's support of the victims of thalidomide and the terrible tragedy that occurred some 50 years ago. It does not seem so long ago that we were viewing on our televisions and reading in our newspapers about the terrible effects of this drug.

My friend also made note of Vanessa's law. This legislation was introduced in the House by our caucus mate from Oakville and was passed in the House. It builds on this government's record of ensuring drug safety across Canada. Canada has one of the strictest and strongest regimes of drug oversight in the world.

I wonder if my friend might continue to inform the House that this is a non-partisan issue. All of us in the House have agreed to work together to make sure that these things, to the best extent possible, do not happen again.

Perhaps he could refresh our memory with regard to Vanessa's law and some of the steps that our government has taken to ensure, as best it can, that we have the strongest regime possible concerning drugs. I wonder if he would comment on these issues.

Business of Supply November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the parliamentary secretary's address to the House with regard to thalidomide victims and what our government intends to do with and for them.

The parliamentary secretary asked something that I think is very reasonable. She asked that we try to refrain from partisan sniping, because we all agree that something needs to be done and that we should work with the victims. Let us make today a day that we talk about the issues surrounding those living with the terrible results of taking this drug.

We cannot undo the past. We cannot make right something that occurred some 50-some years ago. However, in the House today, with regard to what the parliamentary secretary asked, we can talk to each other, make some suggestions, say how we really feel about those victims, and make a commitment that this should not happen again.

With that in mind, and because we can never be 100% sure of anything in this world, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could once again tell us some of the things the government has done to help ensure that we try as hard as we can and that we do not approve drugs that end up being worse than the illness or disease they are intended to ameliorate.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. As I mentioned in my speech, we would be able to provide the Canada Border Services Agency with the ability to access the sex offender registry, put an obligation on the people who have been convicted, and say that if they are going to travel outside of this country, we can keep an eye on them.

We know that there are certain countries in the world where pedophiles like to go. I will not mention the countries in particular because we do not want to create some problems, but I think most of us know that there are certain Asian countries and other places in the world where it is easier to get access to young children. We are co-operating with those governments, and we want to be able to make sure we can keep an eye on those people leaving Canada.

We need to protect children not just within our country. We have an obligation as citizens of the world to protect those vulnerable citizens, those children, throughout the rest of the world. That is what part of this legislation would do. As the member just mentioned, it would give the tools to the Canada Border Services Agency that it needs to keep track of people who are disposed to want to cause terrible harm to young children.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, absolutely, I do believe in prevention. However, I believe that prevention for certain criminal offences is more difficult than for others. We can prevent theft by taking certain steps as citizens to discourage people from taking things from our houses.

When it comes to people who prey on our children, they are pedophiles. In my past and present experience, I have talked to psychiatrists who treat people with pedophilia, and there is no real cure for it. How do we prevent a pedophile from engaging in what we consider to be an aberration and a terrible act against the most vulnerable in society?

Most of these pedophiles are what we would consider to be very intelligent, meaning that they know how to gain trust in order to get at their prey, which is our children. They put themselves in positions of authority, so we as a society have brought in measures to make sure we check the criminal background of people like teachers and boy scout leaders, anyone who has access to young people. We could say that this is prevention, somewhat.

The real prevention is letting the people who are pedophiles know that if they commit this crime, there will be consequences and they will be serious consequences. Additionally, if they do commit the crime and go to prison, we will do everything we can. We cannot necessarily cure them of that problem, but we will give them the tools with which to do so, through counselling and having psychologists and psychiatrists do their best to treat them, so that they can subdue these tendencies they have.

However, that takes a long time. That is why we are bringing in this legislation.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate because it is of extreme importance to all of us. The previous member just said how important it is and I would agree with him, although there will be some areas, I suspect, where we may not be in so much agreement.

Today I will focus my remarks on offender accountability, a key part of Bill C-26, the tougher penalties for child predators act. Indeed, our government has always placed considerable focus on improving our criminal justice system in order to shift more accountability onto offenders. The fact is that most offenders will eventually be returned to the community after incarceration. As such, our correctional system is set up to provide offenders with proper treatment and support, as required, to help them work through rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into the community.

The Correctional Service of Canada has a comprehensive program in place that helps guide offenders toward the right pathway to address the needs that led to criminal behaviour, including programs that address substance abuse, violent behaviour, sexual offences and mental health issues, among many others. Ultimately, the bulk of responsibility for successful rehabilitation and reintegration must rest with the offender.

Our government has made a number of changes to respond to the concerns of victims. In particular, in 2012, the Safe Streets and Communities Act put in place a number of measures that focus on offender accountability by expressly requiring in legislation that every offender has a correctional plan. We have created an environment in which offender accountability is placed at the forefront.

From the moment offenders enter the federal correction system, it is made clear that they must follow a well-defined correctional plan that includes expectations for behaviour, as well as objectives for the program participation and for meeting court-ordered obligations such as restitution to victims or child support. This is done in collaboration with offenders, so they take part in building that program.

Before I go any further, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

We have also modernized the current disciplinary system, creating new disciplinary offences for disrespectful and intimidating behaviour either toward staff or inmates. Once outside the institution, offenders are also expected to continue on the right path.

Peace officers can now arrest, without warrant, an offender who they believe to be in breach of a condition related to the offender's conditional release and offenders who receive a new custodial sentence automatically have their parole or statutory release suspended. We have recently taken further steps to assist in offender rehabilitation by supporting amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act regarding vexatious complaints. We now have a process in place that promotes offender accountability by encouraging inmates to resolve problems through appropriate means rather than burdening the complaint and grievance system with frivolous complaints.

We have introduced the drug-free prisons act, which would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide the Parole Board of Canada with additional legislative tools to ensure that parole applicants who failed drug tests would be denied parole. Addressing offender behaviour while individuals are incarcerated is critical.

We have also reinstated the accountability of offenders act, legislation that, if passed, will require offenders to pay off any debts they owe to society before receiving any monetary award resulting from legal action against the Crown. Just as important is making it clear that offenders must continue to address their needs and make proper choices once they are released from penitentiary.

The parole system is set up to help offenders do just this, using the appropriate checks and balances and oversight of offenders, depending on their criminal history and risk to society. While we have taken action to strengthen the conditional release system, some gaps remain that need to be addressed. It is critical, particularly when we consider the risk to our children, that we ensure a child sex offender cannot find a loophole in the law that gives him or her an opportunity to commit another such devastating crime.

That brings me to the legislation at hand.

A key tool we have to ensure police are aware of the location and other information on convicted sexual offenders is the national sex offender registry. Administered by the RCMP and accessible by police forces across the country, the registry contains vital information about convicted sex offenders, such as name and address, where they work, their physical description, and absences from their residence for seven days or more.

A number of amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act came into force in 2011 to ensure that the registry is a proactive law enforcement tool that contains the names of all registered sex offenders.

While it is an important law enforcement tool, there are some gaps found within the act that need to be addressed. Specifically, the rules surrounding travel notification must be tightened as they relate to international travel of registered sex offenders who have committed a sexual offence against a child.

As we have heard, Bill C-26 would accomplish this in a number of ways. It would require offenders who have been convicted of child sex offences to report trips of any duration outside of Canada, as well as to provide information about the exact dates of travel and where they plan to stay while abroad. All other registered sex offenders would be required to report all addresses or locations in which they expect to stay, as well as expected dates of departure and return for trips of seven days or more within or outside Canada.

It would allow for information-sharing between the Canada Border Services Agency and officials with the national sex offender registry. This would add a safeguard measure at our borders to ensure offenders are following notification procedures and registration requirements. Further, it could help make investigations of crimes of a sexual nature possible.

The bill would also create a new stand-alone legislation that would create a national database that would be accessible to the general public. That database would contain information about high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of public notification in a province or territory.

There are also several amendments proposed to the Criminal Code that would increase penalties for child sex offenders and, particularly relevant to our push for more offender accountability, they would ensure that any crime committed while an offender is on parole, on unescorted temporary absence, on statutory release, or under a conditional sentence order would be considered an aggravating factor in the determination of a sentence for a new crime.

All told, these proposed measures would create a much stronger system that would place another level of accountability on convicted sex offenders; a system in which offenders would live with the knowledge that border services officers would be alerted to high-risk child sex offenders who travel abroad; a system in which high-risk child sex offenders know that any public notifications released about them in a specific province would now be available to the general public right across the country.

All of these measures would serve to emphasize to offenders the importance of following all conditions and making the right decision in order to remain in the community.

They would also build in another layer of safety and security for citizens who worry about registered sex offenders living and working in their communities and travelling throughout the country, as well as abroad.

I am proud to support these efforts and I ask all members in this House to join with me in giving the legislation a swift passage.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the question I have for the parliamentary secretary is based on his legal experience and from someone who has about 30-plus years of policing experience. We are dealing with child sexual offences. Generally, although not always, they are committed by pedophiles.

To the best of my knowledge, pedophilia has no cure. To the best of my knowledge, all we can do is to empower a person who has this distorted sense of sexuality, shall we say, and give them the tools to be able to subdue it somehow, whether through chemicals or other types of training or education. We know that this takes a substantial amount of time, having spoken myself to people who are trying to working in our prison system to do those very things.

The parliamentary secretary talked about our most precious resource, our children. These are our children and anything inappropriate that happens to them will have lifelong effects on them. Therefore, would mandatory minimum sentences not give the perpetrator of these crimes sufficient time in our prison system to be able to at least subdue those urges, which are totally and entirely inappropriate?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I find the member's comments interesting. The Liberal Party was the government for some 13 years before this. If the oversight body is that bad, why did the Liberals not do something about it? It is funny how when it is the third party, it begins to see the light and things happen. Quite frankly, it was good enough in their 13 years, and I accept that. I believe this oversight body is good enough for us now. It has done, and is doing, a fine job.

With regard to why the police, CSIS or someone not laying charges against this person or that person, after 30 years of policing and people sitting back quarterback judging, I would like the police and the authorities do their jobs. There are reasons things happen and there are sometimes reasons things do not happen. I leave it up to the people who do the job. It is not members of Parliament who are investigating these 80 or 140 people.

When we stand here and begin to criticize authorities because they did not do something or should be doing something, we are meddling in affairs about which we have to be careful. Let us let the police and CSIS authorities do their job as to when it is appropriate for charges to be laid, or not laid. There is intelligence going on here and we should not be second-guessing the people who are here to make us feel safe. I trust their judgement and will support them from this very chair. From this side of the House, our Conservative government supports our law enforcement agencies.