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NDP MP for Jeanne-Le Ber (Québec)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to the discussion on Bill C-26, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the high risk child sex offender database act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
I would first say, as many of my colleagues have stated in their interventions, that I will be supporting the bill going to second reading for specific reasons.
We believe that at its root, Bill C-26 is an important bill, and we have a zero-tolerance perspective on sexual violence, sexual crimes, particularly those crimes involving children. We want to see the bill go to committee in faith that during the committee hearings, the discussions around certain aspects of the bill will be fulsome and productive.
However, yet again, we see another foray into the world of mandatory minimum sentences. As my colleagues were discussing, the issue of mandatory sentences is a troubling issue, and we have ample evidence from our neighbours to the south and here in Canada that mandatory minimum sentences do not produce the results that my colleagues from across the way expect of them.
My colleague asked earlier whether there was any evidence that an individual who was going to commit such a crime sat down and thought about the mandatory minimum sentence such that, “If I do this, I am going to prison for x amount of time”. That would be a rational discussion for an irrational person.
There is ample evidence showing that mandatory minimum sentences do not produce results. However, more important is the issue of the legislative branch intruding into the jurisdiction of the courts. I have brought this up before. Here one of my colleagues brought up the question of why the NDP is so opposed to harsher sentences.
I do not think there is anyone in the House, on this side or the other, who does not agree with appropriate sentences for heinous crimes. However, there is a difference between allowing for harsher sentences in legislation and dictating to the courts that they must, without any judgment by judges, impose these sentences. This is where we have difficulty with the bill before us.
I hope that we can sit down in committee and explore how we can have appropriate sentences prescribed and available while still allowing the judges to use their discretion and abilities, the reasons they sit on the bench, to impose those sentences.
The bill's going to committee would also allow us to explore the potential of unintended consequences.
In the parliamentary summary, one of the commentaries brought forward about the creation of the database is the concern. It says:
A number of comments concerning Bill C-26 have mentioned the possibility of vigilantism rising from a publicly accessible database of sex offenders. Detective Constable Stephen Canton, the police officer in charge of the Niagara Regional Police sex offender registry, is also concerned that “[w]hen you start to identify offenders, you start to get less compliance and it pushes them underground.”
Ultimately, we want to see a bill enacted into law that does what it needs to do, without the sense of going after a mosquito with a bazooka. We need to ensure that we do it right, and this is the work of the committees. We need to ensure that we do not create situations with unintended consequences, such as the one I just read. That would put us in a situation where otherwise law-abiding citizens, through a mob mentality and their own loss and pain, find themselves in a position where they have information that allows them to exact vengeance in an effort to get rid of their own pain. We do not want to this to happen.
We want to ensure that people are protected from those who may repeat. We want to ensure that people are aware of high-risk offenders, in particular, those people who have for one reason or another continuously been allowed back onto the streets and who run the risk of reoffending for whatever reason. We need to protect our communities in that way. In enacting this bill, we need to ensure it would do that.
One of the other aspects that I would like to touch on is the amendment that would allow for spouses to testify against one another. Again, this is something I hope the committee will explore, because of unintended circumstances. We do not want to find non-offending spouses in a position where they might be held accountable for the actions of their partners. We want to ensure that their rights as individuals are protected and secured, and that they are not swept up in the net of the actions of their partners.
This bill is said to protect our communities. Like most laws, it would be in place to respond after the fact, after the crime has been committed. In that context, we have to ask whether the bill would act to protect communities. We have to ensure that the resources are there for our communities to prevent crimes of this nature and to prevent the repeat of crimes of this nature.
As I said in the beginning, I will be supporting this bill at second reading, with the full faith and confidence that my colleagues across the way will be open to discussion and whatever amendments arise from that discussion.
Jeanne-Le Ber Community Support November 20th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the work of hundreds of organizations in my riding, Jeanne-Le Ber.
I am very proud to work alongside the workers and all the volunteers who give of their time to stand up for food and housing security, support seniors, or fight to keep kids in school. The commitment of these organizations is central to our community.
By way of example, I have visited many of these organizations, such as Toujours ensemble. Through its efforts, this Verdun-based organization, which is a member of the pathways to education program, has seen a reduction in dropout rates of 70%.
I am very proud of the hundreds of individuals who give of their time, spirit, and heart to build a stronger, better, and more inspired community. I thank each and every one of them.
Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way talked about the need to deflect radicalization. As my colleague, the member for Davenport, mentioned earlier, one of the biggest issues for all immigrants is a sense of inclusion in their adopted land. These individuals are vulnerable because they feel a lack of inclusion.
How can the changes to passports or citizenship make individuals feel as if they belong when there will be this perpetual cloud hanging over them because they are “not from here”? I wonder how that would help create a sense of inclusion and how that would help with the non-radicalization of new arrivals in Canada.
Champlain Bridge November 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, instead of closing the debate on changing the name of the Champlain Bridge, the Minister of Infrastructure told us that he was working hard on finding a new name.
The minister has missed the point. The problem is not the name “Maurice Richard”. The problem is that he is trying to get rid of the current name.
When will the minister tackle the real issues with the Champlain Bridge: the transparency of the bidding process, communication with Quebec and elected officials, and especially the toll?
Committees of the House November 6th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate this morning with very keen interest. I am hearing a lot of numbers thrown around about how we have done this or that and have spent more money than in the history of universe on one subject or another, but my colleague brought up the very interesting fact that some of this money has not been spent.
Whether it is a lump sum payment or a series of payments, what I am hearing from veterans is more about the access to care that is available to them, particularly when dealing with PTSD. Veterans are not getting that service. They are not getting the help they need. I do not think any amount of money in their pockets is going to help if they are not able to function. I wonder if my colleague would care to comment on the lack of availability of services for our veterans, especially in health care.
Petitions October 31st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, even though I represent an urban riding, I have a petition here signed by over 100 people who are citing the right to save seeds.
We have a number of farmers' markets in Montreal, and these residents want to make sure that farmers are allowed to save seeds and reuse seeds at their will.
Rail Transportation October 31st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, be it grain transport or rail safety, the Conservative government continues to drop the ball.
The people of Jeanne-Le Ber are worried. Since 2011, we have had three derailments in our community. Last April the minister promised to remove all DOT-111 tank cars, which played a huge role in the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, from service within three years. The Americans said they would do so within two years.
Can the minister tell us exactly where this file stands and when the process for removing these time bombs will be complete?
Post-Traumatic Stress October 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we went through a very upsetting experience this week. It serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of the individuals who serve our country, including veterans and RCMP officers.
Unfortunately, there is not enough funding available to help them cope with post-traumatic stress. Every day, our forces deal with serious threats and put their lives at risk. They deserve our full support.
It is time to help those who live with the debilitating effects of PTSD. They have protected us. We need to protect them. We need to bear in mind the toll that being a serviceperson takes. We need to stand with our brave women and men in uniform. Do they not deserve our fullest support?
Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, the separation of the executive, the judicial and the legislative is something that is fundamental to our system of governance. The introduction of mandatory minimum sentences is dangerous to those divisions because it takes away the flexibility and wisdom of the judiciary, and places the balance in the hands of both the executive and legislative branches wherein the total governance of our nation could become imbalanced.
Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) October 23rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
Our relationship with animals is truly special and unique. It takes time for service animals to be trained and for a relationship to develop. It is truly special. That is why we need to treat these animals as partners and friends.
They deserve the protections this bill would offer. What I am putting out there is that mandatory minimums is not the way to go. We should give judges the opportunity and range to respond in kind to whatever threat is posed to our animal friends.