House of Commons photo

Track Wayne

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is trade.

Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, beyond tools, let us talk about resources. The deputy director of CSIS, when before a Senate committee, raised concerns about the agency's ability to effectively monitor the 90 people currently identified as potential threats to Canadians. In addition, the RCMP commissioner raised concerns about the challenge to resources caused by national security investigations.

Can the minister assure us that our national security agencies have the resources they need to effectively do their job and keep Canadians safe?

Public Safety October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let us turn to Friday's annual report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. Regarding the activities of CSIS, it raised serious questions about the lack of communication within the agency, specifically that its regional surveillance teams “operate in total isolation from one another” and from headquarters.

Will the minister answer for this serious concern raised by SIRC and explain what he is doing to overcome that lack of communication within the national security agency?

Public Safety October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness seem able to explain why the government has failed to implement the laws currently on the books to protect Canadians.

When passports were revoked on the basis of those holding them being a threat to public safety, the government failed to charge anyone, nor have charges been laid against any of the 80 returnees from terrorist acts abroad under the Combating Terrorism Act.

In the minister's words, isn't that under-reacting?

Why?

Public Safety October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I remind the minister that there is existing law there now. However, he has mentioned several times today about new laws being brought in. If that is the case, will the minister or the government assure us that they will be open to including an all-parliamentary oversight committee, similar to the system that is set up by our allies abroad, in any new anti-terror legislation to do two things: one, to ensure that all possible security measures are taken; and two, to ensure that there is balance between security and rights?

Public Safety October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's events were tragic and troubling, but hard questions must be asked, and answers expected. Two weeks ago before committee, the minister revealed there are 80 individuals known to have returned to Canada from being involved in terrorist activities abroad. Why have they not been charged under section 83.181 of the Criminal Code, brought in under the Combating Terrorism Act?

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North went through the amendment to the motion, but I wonder if he might expand on that amendment and why it is so important that the motion before the House be amended in that way.

Outstanding Contribution to Prince Edward Island October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend Mr. Sterling MacRae for his outstanding contribution to Prince Edward Island.

Of special note is Sterling's impressive service through his involvement with the local fire department. Sterling, after 57 years as a volunteer fireman at the New Glasgow Fire Department, has decided it is time to retire from active duty. Imagine that: 57 years. Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, he will now be an auxiliary member.

Sterling is a seasoned farmer. In fact, I caught up to him on Friday heading out to combine soybeans. He is also founder and co-owner of New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, started when the District Junior Farmers Organization, of which Sterling was a member, first bought it for its meeting place. These days, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers is owned by two farming families, the Nicholsons and the MacRaes, and patrons from around the world continue to enjoy wonderful meals and hospitality there.

We thank Sterling for his volunteerism and his commitment to the safety of his friends, community, and neighbours.

We wish him and his wife Jean well.

Assaults Against Public Transit Operators October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased as well to speak to Bill S-221, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assaults against public transit operators).

I am supportive of the bill which, in summary, would amend the Criminal Code to require a court to consider the fact that the victim of an assault, as a public transport operator, to be an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing.

The key points related to the bill are that Canadians rely on public transport to get around, yet everyday five bus operators are assaulted. That is simply unacceptable. In this city, as we come into work each morning and go home each night, we see buses rolling along. It cannot be pleasant to go to work if one is worried about being assaulted or even shouted at, as many of them are.

We understand that 2,061 bus drivers were assaulted in 2011, with attacks ranging from being spit on and punched in the head to knife attacks and sexual assaults. That is entirely unacceptable, and this bill would go some distance toward addressing that.

The nature of their work certainly puts bus drivers at heightened risk, so we have an opportunity as parliamentarians to reduce that danger to bus drivers and take action to protect them.

By making it explicit that assaulting a bus driver is a criminal offence with serious consequences, this should, although it would not in all cases, deter these crimes. I would suggest as well that there be some education and notice, whether on buses or in bus terminals, that this is an offence. Maybe it would give people second thought as to whether they would treat bus drivers in an unacceptable fashion.

The Liberals support the bill in general. It is a private member's bill, but we have had discussions on it and there seems to be fairly widespread support in the House for Bill S-221.

I want to name a couple of my colleagues who have done fairly extensive work on addressing the difficulties that bus drivers face when they go to work everyday.

The member for Winnipeg North has spent a lot of time examining public transport in his city and holding discussions with drivers. He even did a ride along. It was truly an eye-opening experience to be with the bus driver and see what drivers faced over quite a number of hours. It is not like getting on the bus and getting off four or five stops down the road. The member for Winnipeg North certainly got a feel for what it was like to be in that workplace on a continuing basis.

Then there is the Liberal long-term member for Wascana, who introduced Bill C-533. The bill would make the nature of a victim's employment as an on-duty transit operator an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes in relation to all Criminal Code offences. I will talk a bit more about the views of the member for Wascana on this matter.

As well, there have been others who have introduced private members' bills related to this issue. There is Bill C-402, which comes an NDP member, and Bill C-637, which comes from an independent member.

Many members in this place are concerned about the issue and have put forward various proposals.

As I said earlier, the member for Wascana put out a blog today. He wrote:

With the support of transit employees, their unions, municipalities and other transit operators, police officers, the Canadian Urban Transit Association and others, I have spent the past year promoting legislation to better protect bus drivers and other transportation workers.

That bill was Bill C-533. Some aspects of that bill are related to and referenced in this piece of legislation.

As he stated in his article today:

These people provide vital services to the general public in all sorts of locations in all weather conditions and at all hours of the day and night. They are often on duty alone, operating powerful vehicles on public streets and thoroughfares. By the nature of their employment, they assume serious responsibilities for public service and safety, and put themselves in a vulnerable position.

He went on to say:

“Bill C-533 had earned broad public support, but remains on the Order Paper of the House of Commons. Such Private Member's Business is selected for debate and a vote by the luck of a draw. Other MPs from all other Parties have also advanced similar proposals from time to time. This is not a partisan issue that divides along political lines”.

A few months ago, a Conservative Senator (Bob Runciman) brought forward his own proposed “bus driver” legislation (Bill S-221).

That is the bill we are dealing with today.

It differs in detail, but is similar to mine in principle. The procedure applying to Senate Bills has allowed S-221 to move more quickly.

That might be something we need to consider here.

It has passed the Senate and is coming before the House of Commons today.

That is what we are debating. I and other members of my party encourage the House to support this piece of legislation.

Bill S-221 is not as broad in proposal as is Bill C-533. As the member for Wascana pointed out:

It applies only to certain specific offences in the Criminal Code, not every offence. And it doesn’t make any reference to persons coming to the aid of a bus driver under attack. On the positive side, it does include a useful definition of “transportation employee” that covers certain others like taxi drivers too.

From the outset, I do not believe many of us consider this legislation to be a partisan proposal or a partisan position. It is useful legislation and should be moved forward through this chamber quickly.

The member for Wascana continued:

Once it becomes law, transit operators need to launch prominent communications campaigns,

—as I said a moment ago—

informing the public that offences against people like bus drivers are serious criminal matters carrying serious penalties. And offenders will be prosecuted.

To come back to where I began, bus driver assaults in any fashion, whether it is language, spitting, or actual assaults, are a serious matter. These people provide a public service. They deserve a safe and secure workplace, and the bill should show that Parliament supports them in their workplace in having a safe environment to work in.

I am certainly pleased to support this legislation.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I guess the simple answer to that question is that Liberals are hopeful that within a year's time we will be able to get rid of the people who are putting those poison pills in the bottle. In that way, there will not be poison pills in the future, and there will be a government in this place that would be able to correct some of the concerns that I know the member has, as we do.

The fact of the matter is that those who are impacted by cyberbullying right now cannot wait a year. It is a difficult call, but it is a judgment call that we in the Liberal Party believe has to be made. We tried and fought hard to split the bill so that we could vote against those aspects, but we see the need for the cyberbullying part. It is a judgment call, and it is all about taking the right kind of leadership position.

I can assure everyone that the Liberal Party is up for providing leadership to Canada and Canadians, and we are going to vote in support of the cyberbullying side.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member is suggesting that a low key for me is unusual. I do not know.

In any event, no, this is not the only bill. In fact, most of the government's bills are that way. The budget bill was a particular example. In it there were endless pieces of legislation that had no relation to the budget.

I expect we are going to see that the next budget has copyright in it. The real strategy of the government is to find a TV clip of someone to use as an attack ad. That is why it is going to be in the next budget bill. It is not going to be debated in its own right; it is likely going to be thrown into the budget bill.

The government is always up to those kinds of tricks. This is a government that believes in creating division and in wedge politics, and that is kind of sad to see in this country, because it is importing the kind of debate that we see south of the border, which is really divisive and often unproductive.

I know it would take a lot, but I would encourage the government to come to its senses and put legislation forward on the specifics of what the bill is supposed to deal with.