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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is terms.

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

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

Statements in the House

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the comments that the member made about penalties not being the whole answer. We agree with her that prevention and preventive programs need to be put in place. We agree those are needed, but there is another side to the issue.

The bill clearly states that there would be longer periods of incarceration. There are the mandatory minimum sentences that the government seems to love. There is the issue of programming within the prison system, which at the moment is in disarray. There is also the issue of support for organizations that assist sex offenders when they come out. The one I am thinking of is called Circles of Support and Accountability. That program has been cut. It had an over 90% success rate in ensuring that sex offenders do not reoffend when they come out.

Is that not part of the programming as well? Should the government, beyond increasing the sentencing, not also be increasing the funding and support for those programs that—

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the last couple of members from the official opposition who spoke, and I agree with their comments.

The member for Ottawa Centre said earlier that one of the problems with the penalties and longer incarceration is the lack of preventive programs within prisons for these people, who will eventually be released. One of the programs that was cancelled by the government, which was manned by volunteers to a great extent but funded by government, was the Circles of Support and Accountability. It was an extremely important program, and it no longer exists. Now when individuals come out of prison, they are going to create more danger on the streets.

There are two sides to this coin. One is prevention, to assist individuals in not committing crimes in the first place, and severe penalties do not prevent them from committing crimes. That is for sure. The second side of the coin is to have rehabilitation programs within the prison system that would, to the best extent possible, ensure that when those people are released, they do not recommit a crime of a sexual nature—or any crime, for that matter.

I wonder what the member's comments are on those aspects, because there is nothing in this bill that I can find that addresses either of those issues. There are longer sentences and mandatory minimums, but there is nothing in the bill that deals with the important aspects of prevention on the one hand and rehabilitation on the other.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we will somewhat reluctantly be supporting this bill going to committee as well. There are good points and bad points.

The member mentioned the politics of fear and being tough on crime. I would like the member's view on this. There is another approach that should also be taken. We have the laws and can be tough on crime, but a better approach might be to be smart on crime. It might be finding ways to prevent these issues and these serious activities from happening by giving young people a better opportunity in life through some social programming and those types of approaches.

I have travelled on the issue of human smuggling and have seen the individuals who have been abused, both in the sex trade and the slave trade, and how they happened to fall into that trap through those who would exploit them.

I wonder if the member might provide some comments, from his point of view, on preventive measures and taking a different approach and what it might do for society.

Committees of the House November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member for Welland, but I agree with him that it would be kind of nice to see the fine print and details before voting. I am absolutely sure Canadians would not want us to vote on something and commit ourselves to something without seeing the details, especially from a government that Canadians know they cannot trust. We are certainly not going to do that. We want to see the details of the plan.

The member for Welland talked about the opportunities here, and I agree there are. The parliamentary secretary talked about the billion dollar market availability. He said it would be there, but he cannot say definitely it will be. There is a market there. Will we seize it? We might.

I am going to give a little history on trade agreements, and the government should listen to this. I have looked at many of them and when it comes to trade agreements after Canada signs them, whether it is us or them, we do not do as well as our competitors under the trade agreement. Yes, we increase the economy and the GDP, but on a surplus deficit basis, we start to fall behind. Why?

I think the answer is that as a country do not have a strategic plan on how to take advantage of that market agreement that we sign. Canada signs a trade agreement and “There you are boys, go to her”. We need a strategic plan on how we will seize the opportunities in that.

Does the member for Welland think we are getting that from the government? Specifically on the beef issue, the member for Welland said that we did not fill the quota for non-hormone fed beef. That is true. Now we have more quota and we will not fill that market unless we have a a beef plant and infrastructure to get the beef into the plant, process it and market it in Europe. Would the member for Welland agree with me, and should the government be involved in providing that infrastructure and plan?

Committees of the House November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member for Welland was making so much sense that I almost want to give him some of my time, but I will not.

The parliamentary secretary talked a lot about support for supply management. I guess it depends on how one defines support. Giving access to the Europeans to our market beyond what access we get into their market is not support. The fact of the matter is that our market will shrink, and it will have an impact on our “values” and on the available market for Canadian producers. That is the reality.

My other question for the parliamentary secretary relates to markets opening up in Europe for non-hormone fed beef. If that is the European policy then that is fine, but our problem is that we had a quota that we could access for beef before and we never filled that quota. In order to make this agreement work, is the government willing to invest in the kind of infrastructure that is needed, such as a plant in Canada that would slaughter and ship that kind of beef? We can do it, but we need a plant structure and infrastructure to access the European market. Would the government be there in that way for producers?

Committees of the House November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as one of the Liberals and socialists the minister tried to target in his remarks, which I did not think was a very fair comment, I am proud of being a Liberal, and I am proud of being seen as a little bit socialist from time to time.

The bill has several shortcomings. The previous speaker mentioned one, and that is that there really was no consultation, other than with the provinces, which were basically sworn to secrecy. I spoke to many of the negotiators. There was really no consultation on an actual text that we could see, even an early draft, to give the public some confidence in where the government was going and the ability to make some suggestions. The provinces are in a different position than ordinary citizens. I think that was a shortcoming.

The problem now is that we are basically dealing with a package that is a fait accompli. It is a vote up or a vote down, rather than looking at some of the aspects of the agreement.

I have two questions. One question is on supply management, which has been compromised in this deal. I will give the government some credit. It did not undermine the principles, but it provided greater access, which will mean less market for Canadian producers. Can the government spokesman provide us with what the compensation would be for that industry? The Conservatives claimed that there would be some. What will that be?

Second, on investor state provisions, there are some concerns. What protections do Canadians have from the protection that is allowed under this agreement for investors who invest in this country so that if the government makes a policy change, we have to make a payment to them for future lost profits? That has already happened before. That takes away some of our sovereignty as a government in this country. What protections is the government putting in the bill to ensure that we are protecting future governments?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is always great to hear the chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security hold forth, and I like the opportunity to question him.

He would know that we support the bill going to committee,in general. We will have some questions on how to protect foreign sources. The minister failed to answer.

I would ask the chair if he knows why the government is not using the tools that are already available to it in terms of protecting Canadians from terrorism. Section 83.181 of the Criminal Code has penalties for those who leave or attempt to leave Canada for terrorist purposes abroad. The government has not used that section. The chair of the committee will certainly know that Bill S-7 reinstated the provisions allowing for preventive arrest, and the government has not used that section either.

I ask the chair of the committee if there is a reason the government is not using the tools that are already available to it. We support the bill, but why are Conservatives not using the tools currently available?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about protecting Canadians' security while protecting true Canadian values, or something along those lines. I agree with that point and it is why I believe we need a broader oversight agency than the one that a number of NDP members have been proposing. I want to speak in defence of SIRC, the after-the-fact oversight agency of CSIS at the moment. It does good work, though I do not believe it has the resources to do all the work it needs to do.

I will refer to SIRC's report entitled, “Lifting the Shroud of Secrecy”, which is its last report. It outlines in a number of places serious concerns with the way that CSIS is currently operating, and I will read one quote so that the member is aware of it. It states:

With surveillance teams spread across Canada all sharing identical job functions, SIRC expected to see solid communication among surveillance practitioners. Instead, SIRC found that, for the most part, regional surveillance teams operate in total isolation from one another and communicate only sporadically with their HQ counterparts.

That is a serious concern that SIRC has found. I think it is doing its job as best it can. I do not believe there should be another civilian oversight agency. But in addition to SIRC, which provides an after-the-fact review, Parliament needs to have an oversight agency that is sworn to secrecy, can see classified documents, and can be aware of what all the national security agencies are doing together. It would ensure, on the one hand, that the national security agencies are doing their jobs and, on the other hand, that they are not exceeding their bounds and infringing on civil liberties in this country. Would the member not agree that is a necessary oversight agency?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would put on the record that there are really no additional powers for CSIS in the bill that it does not already have. The bill responds to some court decisions and would allow CSIS to do legally what it has already been doing.

The member mentioned oversight, and he seems to be talking about civilian oversight. There already is SIRC, which is an after-the-fact oversight agency. I will admit that it is difficult for the government to find a balance between national security and civil liberties, but we have to find it and assure Canadians. I will ask for the member's comment on this. Would it not be better to have parliamentary oversight through a proper parliamentary oversight committee of all our national security agencies, as all our Five Eyes partners do? Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the U.K. all have oversight.

There is a private member's bill, Bill C-551, before Parliament that would do that and on which there was all-party agreement. Mr. Speaker, you were on the committee, as was the Minister of Justice and the current Minister of State for Finance, where there was all-party agreement on parliamentary oversight. Would the member for Surrey North not see that as a good possibility?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member for Wild Rose's remarks. I believe he exaggerates a bit on what the bill would do, because even CSIS itself admits that the bill would really just confirm in law what CSIS is already doing and, hopefully, satisfy the court on it.

However, I have a concern over what the government and CSIS are not doing. They already have the authority, under the Criminal Code, to arrest. In fact, the minister himself said before a committee that these Canadians who have been involved in terrorist acts abroad have broken Canadian law, and the director of CSIS said, that very same day, that CSIS knows where they are.

The government has the authority under the Criminal Code to arrest them, under, I believe, section 83, but it has not used it. I have to ask why not. That is one thing that could be done that it is not doing.

The other point I want to make is that I am pleased the member has shown an interest in finding the root causes of homegrown terrorism. We need to look at that.

I put a bill before the public safety committee to ask the committee to do a study on finding out the cause of these individuals getting into homegrown terrorism in Canada. The bill went into committee and never came out, so I guess the member can figure out what happened.

Does he not think that this Parliament has the responsibility, through its committee system, to do that kind of work, to do that kind of study, and look at the root causes of homegrown terrorism in this country?