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  • His favourite word is veterans.

Conservative MP for Lévis—Bellechasse (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Correctional Service of Canada December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I said, administrative segregation is a practice that is used in prisons in western countries. It is done for the safety of the inmate, the safety of the personnel, and the safety of the facility.

As for the report from Correctional Service Canada in response to the coroner's recommendations, I expect it to be delivered very soon. However, that has not stopped us from implementing many measures in the meantime.

We have a five-point action plan that is designed to help us treat people who, ideally, would not be in prison but in a hospital. We will ensure that they receive proper treatment.

Correctional Service of Canada December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I invite my colleague to read through the action plan that we implemented more than six months ago. I can send the press release to him.

First and foremost, I would like to say that we have put processes in place to assess and screen inmates as soon as they arrive. Staff have received training. Inmates are medically monitored at all stages as soon as they are identified as having mental health issues. It is something that we are taking seriously.

I look forward to seeing how Correctional Service Canada will respond to the coroner's report on the tragic death of Ashley Smith.

Correctional Service of Canada December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, every death in custody is taken seriously and there is always an inquiry.

Let me comment on a procedure that is done in all western countries, called administrative segregation. It is done for safety reasons: the safety of the inmate, the safety of the personnel, and the safety of the facility.

This procedure is applied with a lot of common sense by our correctional officers. We expect to have more development of our mental health strategy, an action we have taken to make sure that those who have serious mental health issues are well taken care of.

Public Safety December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that has passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act. I am proud to be sitting in the House with members who support more measures.

What will the opposition do? Will it be a part of this journey to fight terrorists, to fight those travelling fighters? Is the opposition ready to provide the tools to our law enforcement and national security agencies?

On this side of the House we are protecting Canadians.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, before us today is the direction being proposed by our government to all parliamentarians. At first reading, there were very positive comments about the fact that it equips the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with tools to protect Canadians. I have no doubt that everyone in the House wants to protect Canada from terrorism. Will we differ on how to do that? Probably.

However, I think I clearly demonstrated, over the course of numerous debates, that the provisions in this bill—which are in keeping with the Canadian Constitution—will ensure that any individual who is charged on the basis of information from our intelligence services will have the right to a just and fair trial. That is why the fundamental principles of this bill are worthy of each member's scrutiny and support.

That is the answer to my colleague's question. Obviously, as my colleague knows, I am a politician and I have a background in engineering. To ensure that police officers can do their work to the best of their ability, I know that it is important to give them tools. How can we, as politicians, do that? By passing effective laws, and that is exactly what we have before us. That is why I appreciate that my colleague supported this bill in committee. I hope that we will have his support at third reading. This is a democracy. I fully intend to support this bill.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. Unfortunately, a number of the amendments he is proposing go beyond the scope of the bill. I do not think they are in order.

I would like to talk about the essence of his question, which is the protection of sources—a very important topic. In its May 2014 ruling on the Mohamed Harkat case, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the service's human sources are not protected by privilege similar to common law privilege and similar to the privilege granted to police informants. It is important to clarify the legal authority in this case, since human sources could decide not to provide information to CSIS, which would pose an even greater threat to our country's security. This is essential information that could protect Canadians from a terrorist attack. That is why we are bringing in automatic protection, subject to certain exceptions. I urge my colleague to reread clause 7 of the bill, which clearly describes the procedure enshrined in our Constitution and in our laws to provide for exceptions and to ensure on one hand that there is a fair and just process and on the other hand that the act complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is an opportunity for the New Democrats, who seem to care a lot about civil liberties, to help pass a bill that will enshrine them in law.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to speak in the House today, particularly because recent events have reminded us of how real a threat terrorism still is for us all, and that is why we have to remain vigilant.

We know that terrorist entities have tried to attack our country. That started well before Canada joined a coalition of countries to deal with this threat in the Middle East that is displacing tens of thousands of people facing atrocities and savagery.

Obviously, we are also aware that this threat may have repercussions inside our borders, and that is why, even before the attacks of October 22, we had planned to introduce the bill that is before us today, which has just come back from the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

Today, we are taking another important step toward passage of the bill, since the Canadian Security Intelligence Service does not have the same tools now as it had when the courts made their decisions. This means that as parliamentarians, we are being invited to clarify the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to protect us.

This bill, which deals with the protection of Canada from terrorists, will enable us to take another important step toward ensuring that the country is secure against terrorist attacks.

Let us be clear: we will be introducing another bill to give both law enforcement agencies and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service additional tools so they are able to adapt to the evolving terrorist threat.

However, at this point in time, I would like to take a moment to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for giving their prompt attention to the bill, although I am disappointed to see that the members of the New Democratic Party opposed this legislation. We know that in the past they have also opposed the Combating Terrorism Act. This is unfortunate, but we can take some comfort in the fact that at this point in time there are individuals who are being accused under this new law of being willing to commit terrorist acts. We are committed to making sure that as politicians we make the laws that allow and enable all our enforcement agencies to track in particular those individuals who are travelling abroad.

It seems odd that the NDP supports tracking all of the firearms owned by law-abiding Canadians through a new gun registry but is opposed to tracking terrorists. I guess this should come as no surprise, given that the NDP member for Scarborough—Rouge River stood in this place to make statements comparing a day celebrated by the Tamil Tigers terrorist group to the solemn Canadian occasion of Remembrance Day. These types of actions show that the NDP cannot be trusted on matters of national security.

I would also like to touch briefly on recent events. As I just said, an individual Canadian convert was included in a terrorist propaganda video calling for attacks on Canada. These disturbing events show a clear need for Canadians to be vigilant in the face of the real and serious threat of terrorism.

In Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and right here in mid-October, we were, in a way, victims of terrorist attacks that we did not foresee.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently filed charges for terrorism-related offences against an individual in Montreal. That person has been charged with committing robberies for the benefit or at the direction of a terrorist group, and he apparently planned to leave Canada to engage in terrorist activities abroad.

Yes, terrorism is still a real threat to our country, and that is why we, as legislators, have to continue to ensure that we adapt to that threat.

On the international side, we must degrade and destroy this terrorist organization power at its source and reduce its ability to rally its followers to carry out terrorist attacks on western nations, including Canada.

We are at a critical moment in our counterterrorism efforts. We must take action in a measured but decisive manner. We must not overreact to terrorists, but neither can we afford to under-react. If we delay, defer, or vacillate, we put Canada at risk for more horrific acts of terrorism. Of course, nobody in this House wants this to happen.

That is why we cannot hesitate when the time comes to pass bills that guarantee that our law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need. We must provide them with the strong legal foundation they need to do their essential work.

That is why all members of the House are invited to help us protect Canadians against terrorist threats by passing this bill without delay. After hours of debate, here and in committee, there is no need to reiterate that this bill allows any individual who has been charged with an offence to have a just and fair trial.

In addition, subclause 4 on page 3 of the bill, which is only seven pages long, clearly states that an amicus curiae or special advocate who is appointed may apply to a judge in a proceeding for an order declaring that an individual is not a human source or that information is not information from which the identity of a human source could be inferred, or, to establish the accused’s innocence, that it may be disclosed in the proceeding.

There are mechanisms elsewhere that ensure that this bill both meets all the requirements of the Canadian constitution and allows for a just and fair trial. Most importantly, this bill clarifies matters for the authorities in the intelligence services so that they are able to perform their role of protecting Canadians.

As we have heard during debate and the study of this bill, we are proposing targeted amendments to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, which has not in fact had any major amendments in 30 years.

All our efforts to make our national security system robust and effective adhere to the rule of law and respect the rights and freedoms that are dear to all Canadians. I will repeat: our efforts to make our national security system more robust and to better protect the Canadian public against terrorists adhere to the rule of law and respect the rights and freedoms that are dear to all Canadians.

That is why I hope this bill will move quickly through the House, go to the Senate for consideration and come back to us, so that the security services can do the job assigned to them at a time when we are fully aware that the terrorist threat is real.

This bill is a response to two court decisions that have major consequences for the mandate and operations of CSIS. Our measures only address ambiguities in the CSIS Act that have created uncertainty concerning how the Act is to be interpreted. They also provide protection for the sources that are at the very origin of information, but again, within a framework of complete respect for rights and freedoms and with access to a just and fair trial.

I could give many more examples, but we know that there are individuals right now who want to commit terrorist acts outside Canada or here at home. It is important that we be able to exchange information with our international partners. It is important that CSIS’s mandate be clearly laid out in the law. That is what this bill does, and that is why I urge all parties, all political parties and elected members of the House, to support it, since it is an important step in protecting Canadians against the terrorist threat.

Public Safety December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, politicians make the laws and police make the arrests.

That is why, as a government, we are committed to providing more tools to our law enforcement agencies, so that they can better track terrorists and protect Canadians.

That is why, right after this question period, I will bring in the report from the committee on protecting Canadians from terrorists. We are seeking support from the opposition as we move on. We will see if they are serious when they talk about protecting Canadians from terrorists.

Correctional Service of Canada December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member that our procedures are fully aligned with western countries' modern practices, and we fully trust our correctional service officers to do the appropriate thing.

This being said, our Conservative government believes that convicted criminals belong behind bars, which is why we are taking strong action to keep our streets and communities safe. We have passed more than 30 bills to restore balance in our justice system, and none of those measures were supported by the opposition.

Correctional Service of Canada December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to receiving the recommendations of the Correctional Service of Canada arising from the report on the tragic death of this young woman. We have already put several measures in place to address mental health issues in our prisons.

At the same time, we are ensuring that dangerous people remain behind bars. We believe that people with mental health problems should not be in prison. They should be in psychiatric hospitals. That is why we are working with the provincial authorities in this regard.