An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) modernize and clarify interim release provisions to simplify the forms of release that may be imposed on an accused, incorporate a principle of restraint and require that particular attention be given to the circumstances of Aboriginal accused and accused from vulnerable populations when making interim release decisions, and provide more onerous interim release requirements for offences involving violence against an intimate partner;

(b) provide for a judicial referral hearing to deal with administration of justice offences involving a failure to comply with conditions of release or failure to appear as required;

(c) abolish peremptory challenges of jurors, modify the process of challenging a juror for cause so that a judge makes the determination of whether a ground of challenge is true, and allow a judge to direct that a juror stand by for reasons of maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice;

(d) increase the maximum term of imprisonment for repeat offences involving intimate partner violence and provide that abuse of an intimate partner is an aggravating factor on sentencing;

(e) restrict the availability of a preliminary inquiry to offences punishable by imprisonment for a term of 14 years or more and strengthen the justice’s powers to limit the issues explored and witnesses to be heard at the inquiry;

(f) hybridize most indictable offences punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years or less, increase the default maximum penalty to two years less a day of imprisonment for summary conviction offences and extend the limitation period for summary conviction offences to 12 months;

(g) remove the requirement for judicial endorsement for the execution of certain out-of-province warrants and authorizations, expand judicial case management powers, allow receiving routine police evidence in writing, consolidate provisions relating to the powers of the Attorney General and allow increased use of technology to facilitate remote attendance by any person in a proceeding;

(h) re-enact the victim surcharge regime and provide the court with the discretion to waive a victim surcharge if the court is satisfied that the victim surcharge would cause the offender undue hardship or would be disproportionate to the gravity of the offence or the degree of responsibility of the offender; and

(i) remove passages and repeal provisions that have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada, repeal section 159 of the Act and provide that no person shall be convicted of any historical offence of a sexual nature unless the act that constitutes the offence would constitute an offence under the Criminal Code if it were committed on the day on which the charge was laid.

The enactment also amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act in order to reduce delays within the youth criminal justice system and enhance the effectiveness of that system with respect to administration of justice offences. For those purposes, the enactment amends that Act to, among other things,

(a) set out principles intended to encourage the use of extrajudicial measures and judicial reviews as alternatives to the laying of charges for administration of justice offences;

(b) set out requirements for imposing conditions on a young person’s release order or as part of a sentence;

(c) limit the circumstances in which a custodial sentence may be imposed for an administration of justice offence;

(d) remove the requirement for the Attorney General to determine whether to seek an adult sentence in certain circumstances; and

(e) remove the power of a youth justice court to make an order to lift the ban on publication in the case of a young person who receives a youth sentence for a violent offence, as well as the requirement to determine whether to make such an order.

Finally, the enactment amends among other Acts An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) so that certain sections of that Act can come into force on different days and also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 19, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 19, 2019 Passed Motion for closure
Dec. 3, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Nov. 20, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Nov. 20, 2018 Failed Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 20, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (reasoned amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (subamendment)
May 29, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Madam Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's speech.

I hope that my colleague realizes that Bill C-75, as reported back to the House, makes no changes to the terrorism laws. The member spoke at length about them, but the committee amended the bill so that no changes were made to the terrorism laws.

The member said that he was disappointed that the Conservative amendments concerning hybrid offences were not accepted. For example, their amendment that cattle branding not be a hybrid offence was rejected. Is he disappointed about that? Does he believe that it is too serious an offence to warrant a sentence of two years less a day? What about dislodging a vessel stranded on rocks?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-75 is at report stage. The purpose of this bill, introduced by the Liberals, is to improve the compliance rate with the Jordan decision handed down by the Supreme Court in 2016 and to reduce the backlog in the justice system.

Unfortunately, we have heard many times that Bill C-75 was rushed. Some of the wording is very vague, and the bill does not meet the main objective, which is to improve the justice system so it works better for everyone.

One of the biggest disappointments, which was not addressed in committee, is the lack of bold reforms for the criminal justice system, such as abolishing the mandatory minimum sentences that proliferated under the Harper government. That is a major element, because unfortunately, although mandatory minimums are respected in most cases, there are many unusual cases for which judges would have liked to have some flexibility.

Unfortunately, judges' hands are often tied by mandatory minimum sentences, and they have no choice but to impose them, despite circumstances that can be extremely sad. I am thinking about the rise in “suicide by cop” attempts, which primarily involve police.

Some people reach a point in their lives where they are in extreme distress and feel suicidal. They sometimes threaten on-duty police officers with real guns or paintball guns, fake guns that look real, in order to get themselves shot. These situations are unfortunately known as “suicide by cop” and are a sign of someone who is suffering tremendously.

Gun crimes are often subject to mandatory minimum sentences. During the trial, if the judge recognizes that the problem is not a criminal issue, but an issue of mental illness or distress, and that the offender would be better off receiving treatment than being branded a criminal, this judge has very few legal options. I think it is especially important to give back some flexibility to judges by eliminating mandatory minimums. It is also important to understand that in cases where the accused truly committed the crime, the sentences go far beyond the mandatory minimums.

Mandatory minimum sentences often have a perverse effect on the justice system. They do not allow judges to consider the extenuating circumstances surrounding the events or the accused's past, experiences, personal situation or family responsibilities. Mandatory minimums allow for absolutely no flexibility.

Another problem this bill does not fix, a problem that impacts the justice system, is lack of financial support for victims and their families, as well as for the accused. The poverty threshold for access to legal aid is very low when the accused does not have a family or dependents. One must be very poor to get legal aid.

Some people simply cannot afford a lawyer. They cannot get legal aid because their income is too high. For example, a young man in his early twenties who earns $30,000 or $40,000 a year cannot get legal aid because his income is considered too high. There is no way he can afford $30,000 in legal fees, so he cannot get good legal advice. That young man will find himself caught up in a system that does not allow him access to legal advice.

The legal system also needs to take victims into consideration, because the whole process would go more smoothly if they had better support. In many cases, they get absolutely no support. Many a parent whose child was killed in a car accident, which is such a tragedy, says they have no access to resources of any kind, no financial support to attend court proceedings. They pay for everything out of pocket.

Lack of access to justice for financial reasons is a serious problem that hinders the effectiveness of our justice system. Bill C-75 does nothing to address that. In the case of both victims and the accused, we need to take a more logical approach and be able to support them. We must be able to ensure that they understand what is happening. For instance, when victims' families get completely lost in the procedures, they often have to pay for lawyers out of their own pockets in order to understand what is going on, get advice and figure out all the procedural rules. That is one particular aspect of the bill that could have been explored, or at least corrected, in committee. It still has not been corrected or addressed. I also have to say that, since it was not done at the outset, we were more limited.

Furthermore, if we want to make the judicial system more efficient, we absolutely must separate acts that genuinely criminally motivated from acts committed as a result of social problems. So many charges related to simple possession of any kind of drug wind up in court.

I think we will have to explore whether drug possession is actually more of a health problem. That is a very important issue that absolutely must be addressed.

In order to find a better solution, should we not consider drug possession and ultimately drug use as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue?

Would that not give us more time to focus on serious crimes and free up our judges who have to deal with offenders who have been charged with drug possession? I believe these offenders would be much better off if they were treated at a hospital and given quick access to detox services.

Would it not be better to treat these cases as health issues and save our resources to deal with cases involving serious sexual violence, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and violence against indigenous women? Many such crimes are committed, and unfortunately, our justice system does not deal with them very effectively.

We could set better priorities by rethinking the way our justice system works. Many offences are related to social problems. People living in extreme poverty will commit small offences to try to survive. Is the solution to criminalize them or, on the contrary, is it to better address those social issues and dedicate our resources to people with truly sick criminal behaviour? I think we would all benefit from that.

Since my time is up, I now hope to provide thoughtful answers to my colleagues' questions.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to address the issue of limiting preliminary inquiries.

The government, in Bill C-75, would limit preliminary inquiries to only when the maximum sentence is life behind bars. Anyone charged with an offence with a lesser maximum penalty would not have the benefit of a preliminary inquiry. However, the government has provided no empirical data to back up its assertion that this would reduce the backlog in our courts.

We heard a considerable amount of evidence before the justice committee that preliminary inquiries help narrow issues. They allow both parties to test their cases. They provide a discovery function, and in terms of data, 86% of cases that have a preliminary inquiry are resolved.

I wonder if the member could comment.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I am really pleased to join the debate. I have been listening for a few hours to what different members believe are the most important parts of the bill, the biggest defects and the biggest advantages given to it.

I thought the member for St. Albert—Edmonton gave one of the best, most succinct rundowns of the bill in terms of its many defects. It is an omnibus justice bill. I sit on the Standing Committee on Finance, so we are well versed on omnibus legislation there for three years now from the government, a government that during the last election promised not to ram any more omnibus legislations through the House. It was a promise that they have continuously broken since then. The Liberals failed to lived up to their promise.

The lens I want to give to this piece of legislation is mostly consideration of some of the hybridized offences in it. Like I have mentioned in the House before, I am not a member of the legal profession, so my eyes on it are basically the eyes of any regular member of the public and what they would think are serious offences versus non-serious offences.

We have been told that one of the reasons for this legislation is that it would drastically reduce the bottleneck at our provincial courts, that the court system would be somehow liberated from having to deal with all of these cases that are clogging it up and all the court delays.

With the Jordan decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada, that bottleneck of court cases is even more important now because we have individuals being charged with offences but never seeing a court or going through the system to be judged. I would call this piece of legislation as the Yiddish proverb says, the gift that is not as precious as first thought. There are so many defects that the member for St. Albert—Edmonton pointed out that would actually create an even greater bottleneck at the provincial courts.

Those courts closest to the people are the ones that deal with the vast majority of criminal offences. They deal with family law, young persons aged 12 to 17, traffic bylaw violations, regulatory offences, small claims and preliminary inquiries. The judges are actually doing most of the work. Every province has been set up slightly differently in how they proceed with different types of offences. Many of these would not be directly affected by this legislation, but the ones that deal with criminal offences would be because a great deal of the hybridized ones would be going to the provincial courts. The Liberals are not making it simpler, they are actually creating a greater bottleneck.

I thought that it was the House of Commons and the Senate that together decided what was a serious enough offence to warrant five to 25 years, not prosecutors. It is this House that decides on behalf of our constituents what are serious offences and what is deserving of consideration by a judge, whether a judge should consider the maximum offence of 25 years to life, whether it should be 15 years or 10 years. It is not up to prosecutors, who are not responsible to any constituents. They are not responsible directly to the public. They do not have to go to the public every four years and make a pitch for the retention of their job. Neither does a judge, but we ask judges to consider the particulars in an individual case and determine whether it warrants five years, 10 years, or something in between and to make a judicious decision based on the facts of the case. We would actually be taking away that ability of the justices to be able to render a decision.

I am sure there will be a member of the Liberal caucus who will stand and attack some past Conservative government's record, that we can go back and forth to the 19th century if we want to, to what previous governments did or other previous governments did not do, but we are looking at the record of the past three years. That is where the focus should be.

This piece of legislation comes to us as an omnibus bill. It should have come to us as pieces of legislation, different focus areas that could have been proposed in the House. It is not as if we have a maximum load that we can take on and afterwards we say we simply cannot take on any more legislation in the House. The government has shown a great interest in guillotine motions. The Liberals have used over 50 now, even after saying they would not do so and would allow fulsome debate in the House. There is no reason why this piece of legislation could not have been broken up into different pieces so that members could consider whether in fact criminal acts of sabotage were serious enough to perhaps warrant full consideration by indictable offence, and whether that would be the best way to proceed.

Forgery or uttering a forged passport, the selling or purchasing of an office, and the bribery of public officials are serious offences and there should be no opportunity for a prosecutor to elect to have them hybridized and go by summary conviction. The same applies to prison breach, assisting an escape, infanticide and participation in activities of a criminal organization.

Just this morning, as I was providing a tour for my my constituents through the House of Commons, the Minister of Public Safety was outside announcing that the government would spend $86 million to fight organized crime. On this same day, his government is proposing that we hybridize the offence of participating in the activities of a criminal organization and handing such decisions over to a prosecutor to decide whether the offence is serious enough, even before a judge has a chance to listen to the facts of the case and an individual's particular circumstance or participation.

This is why I used this Yiddish proverb, “The gift is not as precious as first thought”. It is a very good proverb and someday I will be able to actually say it in Yiddish.

If the gift is that we are going to reduce the bottlenecks in our provincial courts and reduce wait times, then we need to appoint more judges so they can hear more cases.

Provincial governments should be looking at more court space. The City of Calgary built a brand new court building expressly because there was a problem with securing court space. Judges needed the space to hear cases.

If this legislation is the government's gift, if this legislation is its attempt to resolve the problem, and it is not worth it, then the government should go back to the drawing board. This legislation could be dealt with piece by piece and the parts that many members of the official opposition said they could agree with could be expedited to the other place.

To their credit, government members on the justice committee agreed that terrorism and genocide are pretty serious offences and, therefore, should not be hybridized. I think members would agree with me that the selling or purchasing of an office, and I do not mean in this case a corporate office, but an elected office, is a serious offence and does not deserve to be hybridized in any way.

It is a matter of process here. Had this omnibus piece of legislation been broken out into its parts and there been an attempt to reach consensus on certain parts, I think it would have passed, because we agree with most pieces of it. That has happened before in the House. I have seen all parties agree that a particular piece of legislation should pass more quickly than another. Maybe certain portions of Bill C-75 could have been passed more quickly. Instead, we are having a more fulsome debate so that members on all sides can explain the concerns their constituents have expressed about the contents of this legislation.

Sabotage is a serious crime. It should not be up to a prosecutor to decide whether it is deserving of a faster process because people are busy. Attorneys general in every single province give direction to their prosecutors. They are told to prioritize certain cases over others. There is only so much time in a prosecutor's day and I understand that cases need to be prioritized, and that is led by the attorney general of the respective province. That is a fair process.

At the same time, however, it is Parliament that is supposed to decide what is or is not a serious offence. What the government is doing here looks like a copy and paste job. It is just taking giant sections of the Criminal Code and dumping them into the bill. It is as if all of those sections should be hybridized in a vain attempt to find some type of time saving for judges. Judges will not have a chance to listen to the contents of every particular case like we expect them to do.

I will not be able to support this piece of legislation. It is simply defective in its content. It is defective in its process. Perhaps the small number of amendments that government members on justice committee accepted is a good step in the right direction. There should be far more amendments to this piece of legislation before it would, in any way, be permissible to pass it through the House.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, during this debate today we heard words such as hybridization, tough on crime and speeding up the judicial system. I will remind the House and Canadians who are listening and are tuned into this debate that it was probably on day 10 of the 2015 campaign that the member for Papineau said that, under his government, he would let debate reign and would not resort to such parliamentary tricks as closure and limiting debate. He also said his government would not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny, such as omnibus bills. Here we have a bill that is well over 350 pages long, legislation that encompasses three bills. I think that probably speaks more to the current government's legislative failure than a lot of other things.

One of the things the Liberals always say is that they are protecting Canadians. I do not feel that Bill C-75 does that. That said, I will preface my speech by saying that I am not a lawyer, nor do I profess to be one, but we have seen instances over the course of the last three years where the Liberals and the government like to say they are tough on crime and that they are standing up for victims' rights, and yet we have seen recently a convicted murderer being transferred to a healing lodge. She had a key to her room and could come and go as she pleased. This murderer had lured an eight year old away from her school and then she and her partner murdered young Tori Stafford. For weeks the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety said that it was not in their power to change that. However, it was done. They probably blame the Conservatives for that, because they blamed us for politicizing this event. Then last week, Tori's father and family came to the Hill and protested on the steps of Parliament. They not only begged the Prime Minister and the minister to change that, but they also shamed them into changing the rules, and today, as a result of that public shaming, we saw the Liberals change the rules, and that murderer is now behind bars.

Why am I bringing this up? It is because we are talking about Bill C-75, which hybridizes certain offences that were previously dealt with by indictment only. Why were they classified by indictment? It is because they include some of the most serious offences. I know our hon. colleague from Calgary Shepard brought this up. Actually, his speech was bang on.

Let us talk about some of these offences that have now been hybridized. There is the punishment for infanticide, concealing the body of a child, abduction of a person under 16 or abduction of a person under 14, administering a noxious substance, and enslaving a male or female into prostitution. Those are some of the crimes that will be hybridized and take away the discretion of a judge to be able to levy serious punishment for some of these serious crimes.

I sat at committee during some of the testimony relating to Bill C-75. I had the opportunity to sit through two sessions of that. Criminal defence lawyers who witnessed at committee offered that, while there were some good changes in Bill C-75, one of the key points that was missing from the bill was the filling of judicial vacancies and how that would help.

I heard the arguments of those across the way who are blaming the previous government. The Liberals want to put their record up against the record of the Conservatives. As our hon. colleague from Calgary Shepard so aptly put it, why are they always doing that?

The Liberals have been in government now for three years, yet they always say we should have seen it when the Conservatives had it or could we imagine if the NDP had it. However, their failures are their own. At times, the Minister of Justice has held records for the most judicial vacancies.

I will offer this for our hon. colleagues across the way who are going to point their fingers at us. The Jordan decision came about in July of 2016. We would think the Jordan decision would have spurred the minister on to fill those judicial vacancies. Why is that such a key issue? In rural communities such as mine and other areas right across Canada, it is tough to get a judge at times. What happens is that those cases get thrown out. Prolific offenders in some of our communities are the ones who are getting out and 90% of the crimes are committed by them.

The Liberals talk about being tough on crime. The Minister of Public Safety could not say the word “murder”. Now it is a bad practice. The people who are crossing our borders illegally are now crossing the border irregularly.

Also, that brings me to another point. With Bill C-75, I cannot call my wife a spouse anymore. The term is “intimate partner”. I have never introduced my wife that way. I think I would probably get slapped. That goes along the lines of the Prime Minister's comments about “peoplekind”. We cannot say “mankind” anymore. It is “peoplekind” He said he was joking. I doubt it.

Service Canada is changing the vocabulary on its forms. It is removing “father, mother, Mr. Miss, Mrs.” I do not know whether my colleagues have ever introduced their partners or spouses as their intimate partners. It is ridiculous. How far we have fallen? It is crazy.

The Liberals said they were going to do away with omnibus bills. Here we have a 350-page document that does not give opposition members an opportunity to fully engage. It does not give the electors who elect opposition members an opportunity to fully have a say.

The government has shown contempt for the House time and again by closure and by continuing to table these omnibus bills. It is quite shameful.

The Liberals like to say that they are consulting with Canadians. By that, they mean they will invite somebody to speak for seven minutes at committee, and that is consultation. They also like to say they work collaboratively across the floor with the opposition and that all parties have a say. However, we know that it is their way or the highway, that they know best. It really is quite shameful. What the Liberals are doing and saying behind closed doors is completely different than what they want their public image to be. I should probably watch what I am saying. Maybe the Prime Minister will not agree to take a picture with me now.

Bill C-75 is flawed legislation. We have heard it is rushed legislation.

I want to go back to some of the hybridized offences, such as polygamy, forced marriage and marriage under the age of 16. If Canadians are listening, that is right. Their government wants to make forced marriage and marriage under the age of 16 a hybridized offence. That is shameful. Canadians should be afraid of that and alarmed at what the government is doing. It is not standing up for victims and it is making it harder for police agencies to do their job. This legislation is flawed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today to add my insight to this very important discussion surrounding Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments to other acts. I am speaking on behalf of the constituents in my beautiful riding of Haldimand—Norfolk.

As we know, one of the core functions of government is to provide a framework and a set of laws to protect those who it governs, whether it be through the creation and maintenance of a strong military to defend us from foreign threats or, as is more applicable to today's discussion, to protect Canadians from domestic threats and administer just consequences for those who break the law. We, as Conservatives, take this very seriously.

Before speaking to the shortcomings of the bill, I agree with the reforms proposed to deal with repeat offenders of violence against intimate partners. I see this as a step in the right direction.

That said, with the few steps forward that are made in Bill C-75, the Liberals seem to run backward with much of the rest of this bill. The Liberal Party, in particular the Prime Minister, seems to jump to the defence of serious offenders and violent criminals, disregarding the rights of victims.

The previous Conservative government worked hard on behalf of Canadians and on behalf of victims. We brought forward legislation designed to reduce the re-victimization that occurred because of shortcomings in our justice system, bills like the Tackling Violent Crime Act come to mind. That one implemented conditions such as a reverse onus on bail, which requires that those accused of serious gun crimes show why they should not be kept in jail while awaiting trial.

Our initiatives aimed at ending the revolving door form of justice that was all too common and put people who had committed serious crimes, particularly serious gun crimes, back out on the street with bail. This law was targeted squarely at organized crime and tackling gun violence. The Tackling Violent Crime Act also introduced tougher mandatory jail times for serious gun crimes, which again targeted organized criminals and gangs.

The truth is that tougher and longer sentences are about deterrence and protecting society from violent and dangerous offenders. Violent and dangerous behaviour cannot be changed simply by prematurely returning an offender to the environment that bred that very behaviour in the first place. Sadly, the Liberal position seems to be quite the opposite.

Of course we all recall the recent transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic from the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener to a healing lodge with no fence around it. Rightly, Canadians were outraged. They were outraged that one of Canada's most notorious criminals, convicted of first-degree murder in the kidnapping, rape and killing of an eight year old, was being moved to such a weakly enforced facility. What was the Liberal response to Canadians' outrage? It was a vehement defence of that decision. Yes, it is sad, but unfortunately that is true.

This speaks to the low position that victims have in the eyes of the Liberal government. It speaks to the undeniable Liberal bent toward making life better for even the most offensive and deplorable criminals. This bill further displays that view.

The number and types of offences that could result in lighter sentencing as a result of the bill, even going so far as to reducing some of them to just a fine, sends a clear message to victims and also to criminals.

I think that most of us would agree that Canadians are largely compassionate, willing to forgive and give second chances to people who might have made some bad choices. That said, the types of offences that the Liberals seem to be making light of in Bill C-75 are well beyond what Canadians would consider just bad choices.

Offences like participation in the activities of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in terrorist group activities may now see reduced sentences. This includes people who have left Canada for the sole purpose of joining and fighting with ISIS. For a Prime Minister who claims to be a progressive and a feminist, it is hard to see how granting a softer consequence for ISIS fighters fits this narrative. This is a group that represents the very antithesis of everything Canada represents and tries to be. These people burn homosexuals alive and throw them from buildings. They take sex slaves. They commit public mass executions, and they have declared war against our own western values, but the Prime Minister and thejustice minister think that perhaps a softer touch is the best way to deal with ISIS fighters.

Again, as concerning as this is, sadly, based on what we have already seen from the government, it is not surprising. ThePrime Minister seems to think that government programming to reintegrate returning ISIS members is a suitable option.

We all remember Omar Khadr. Mr. Khadr is directly and admittedly responsible for the grenade attack that led to the death of allied U.S. special forces Sergeant Christopher Speer and the injury of retired U.S. special forces Sergeant Layne Morris. Is Khadr in jail? Courtesy of the Prime Minister, he is now $10.5 million richer, thanks to the Canadian taxpayer. Canadians are appalled, and rightly so.

The bill also brings in softer sentencing for, among other things, advocating genocide, participating in activities of criminal organizations, arson for fraudulent purposes, human trafficking-related offences and material benefit for sexual services. Listening to the list of some of these offences on which the Liberals are going soft, one really cannot help but wonder if some of the stakeholders who were consulted on the bill were actually organized crime leaders.

Municipal corruption, selling or purchasing office, influencing appointments or dealing in offices may also receive lighter sentencing. One cannot help but wonder what the Liberals are preparing for with these types of changes.

In all seriousness, the list goes on and on. Even the abduction of a child, a defenceless child like Tori Stafford, could see lighter sentencing under the Liberals' soft-on-crime bill. Back home in Haldimand—Norfolk, people are shocked to hear that these are the views of the modem Liberal Party and our Prime Minister. They are shocked by the disregard for victims of crime shown by bills like Bill C-75. They are baffled by the doublespeak of the Liberals, who claim in one breath to be opposed to gun crime but then introduce bills like Bill C-71, which provides no meaningful way of addressing illegal gun crime but implies that law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters are part of the problem. They, like Canadians right across this great country, are genuinely concerned that the soft-on-crime policies of the Liberals are going to put their communities and their families at greater risk.

There are some good aspects of the bill, but they are needles in a 300-page haystack of bad policies. I do not recall reading about reduced sentencing for terrorists, child abductors and organized crime members in the Liberals' election platform. I did not see it in the justice minister's mandate letter, and I would wager good money that no Liberal candidates will put that in any of their next campaign literature. I am confident that this is not the mandate Canadians gave them, nor would they in 2019.

I implore the Liberals to take this monster of a bill, split it up into more reasonable-size bills, and set their partisan, self-serving tactics aside so the House can come together and vote in agreement for the good bits that are in Bill C-75. Then we can have a more thorough debate on the merits of the rest of the policies and a discussion about the lack of a mandate from Canadians to legislate the rest of it.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-75.

Throughout the day today, we have heard a lot of rhetoric from the other side in terms of what Bill C-75 would actually do. We have heard that this is progressive legislation. It would protect victims, it would strengthen the Criminal Code, it is reflective of what Canadians want to see, and it would create safer communities. However, the bill would actually reduce the penalties for many offences. Over 25 offences would be reduced with the introduction of the bill. I will speak a little more on that later.

Some of the objectionable parts of what is happening today relate to the process that brought us to where we are today. During the campaign, I remember sitting in many all-candidates debates and being told that if the Liberals were elected to government, they would not use time allocation to limit debate on important bills, but here we are today with I do not know how many dozens of times the government has implemented closure.

We were also told that omnibus bills were something to be avoided at all costs. However, here we have a bill that deals with three substantive issues that were actually part of three previous bills. It is over 300 pages long and lumps together all kinds of reforms. Some of them we support, but this omnibus bill is impossible to support in its entirety, and I will outline my reasons for that as I proceed.

This proposed piece of legislation, as we have seen time and time again in the actions of the Liberal government, would actually do very little for victims of crime. It would actually reduce the potential consequences for criminals. It has become a pattern with the government to put the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of victims.

Thankfully, today one of the government's failures has had a positive resolution, with the re-incarceration of Tori Stafford's murderer, Terri-Lynne McClintic.

When Tori Stafford's father found out that Terri-Lynne McClintic was being transferred to a healing lodge, he raised objections through a number of contacts with individuals and he organized protests here on the Hill, which I was able to attend to hear the concerns of Rodney Stafford and his family and how they had been impacted by the relocation of Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge. They were very concerned about that, and many Canadians joined them. They showed their concern by coming to the protests here on Parliament Hill. Last Saturday, hundreds of people in the Woodstock area joined together in front of the Woodstock courthouse to register their concerns about the fact that Terri-Lynne McClintic was being housed in a healing lodge, way before the time she was due to be released.

We agree that we need to have rehabilitation, but to have someone put in a healing lodge more than 10 years before their eventual release is certainly an inappropriate way to be treating our criminals and especially to have concern for victims.

I am still disturbed by the government's continuing soft-on-crime soft spot for criminals. Currently I am dealing with the issue of the prison needle exchange program at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in the Waterloo region. This program puts needles into the hands of hardened criminals so they can use illicit drugs in their own prison cells. We are not talking about EpiPens or insulin syringes administered by nurses. We are talking about needles being handed to prisoners to administer drugs to themselves in their own cells.

Rightly, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers has come out against this, as it puts their members in danger. They were not consulted at all on the implementation of this pilot project that is being carried out at the Grand Valley Institution for Women. They have held protests outside the offices of the health minister and the Minister of Public Safety, but it seems that the government is just turning a blind eye to this illegal substance problem in our prisons.

Not only do I stand with the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers on this issue, I am also very concerned about my community in Waterloo region. These prisoners who are using the prison needle exchange program can maintain an addiction throughout their entire sentences, and their participation in the exchange program will not even be shared with the Parole Board when their application is made for parole. Therefore, it is quite probable and possible that we will have cases of criminals returning to our communities still addicted to substances that may have played a role in the behaviour that led them to commit their crimes in the first place.

I hope my colleagues in the Liberal Party will realize how we in the Conservative Party have a hard time believing that they are tough on crime when they encourage these types of programs in our prisons.

As a Conservative, I believe that the safety of Canadians should be the number one priority of any government. On this side of the aisle, we will always work to strengthen the Canadian criminal justice system rather than weaken it. We will continue to stand up for victims.

That is why today the leader of my party was in Brampton laying out the Conservative plan that cracks down on guns and gangs. This plan has five proposals.

The first is ending automatic bail for gang members. Right now, even the most notorious gang members are entitled to bail. That means dangerous criminals who are known to police often go right back out on the streets. This is a dangerous risk to our communities and wastes valuable police resources. A Conservative government would change that and make sure that arrested repeat gang offenders would be held without bail.

The second is identifying gangs in the Criminal Code. Every time prosecutors go after gang members, they must first prove to the court that their gangs are criminal organizations. This includes well-known gangs like MS-13 and Hells Angels. This makes no sense. It is another huge waste of resources. A Conservative government would create and maintain a list of proven criminal organizations, which would help law enforcement prosecute gang members more quickly.

The third is revoking parole for gang members. Parole is a privilege, not a right. Currently, paroled offenders are required to abstain from drugs and alcohol and promise to keep the peace. A Conservative government would also require those on parole to cut ties with gangs. Statistics show offenders are more likely to reoffend on parole if they are part of a gang. For those who associate with gangs while on parole, the message would be simple: they go back to jail.

The fourth is tougher sentences for ordering gang crime. Right now, gang leaders who order others to commit crimes can receive very short sentences in prisons, often served alongside other gang members. A Conservative government would bring in mandatory sentences in federal prison for directing gang crime, sending a strong message to gang members that they belong behind bars.

The fifth is new sentences for violent gang crime. Gang-related murders, assaults, robberies and other violent acts are steadily on the rise and pose the biggest threat to Canadians' safety. A Conservative government would create new offences for committing and ordering violent gang crime and attach mandatory sentences in federal prison for each.

Conservatives understand that a strong criminal justice system must always put the rights of victims and communities ahead of special treatment for perpetrators of violent crime. The Prime Minister is failing to take seriously criminal justice issues. Reducing penalties for serious crimes sends the wrong message to victims, law-abiding Canadians and criminals. As such, we are concerned with the Liberals' proposal to eliminate consecutive sentences for human trafficking and to eliminate the victim surcharge introduced by the previous Conservative government to help victims of crime.

The Liberals are breaking yet another promise. They committed to keep full protections in place for religious officials under section 176 of the Criminal Code. Assault on officiants during a religious service is a very serious crime and should remain an indictable offence. We have serious concerns with other elements of this bill as well, including the number and types of offences that could result in lighter sentencing, including fines, for what are very serious crimes. Under the proposed changes, several serious offences could be prosecuted by summary conviction and, therefore, could result in lighter sentences.

I want to outline, for the benefit of anyone watching this today, some of the changes in Bill C-75 that would result from the passing of this bill. It is quite probable that the penalties for these indictable offences, among many others, would be reduced. On this list are prison breach, municipal corruption, influencing municipal officials and obstructing or violence to or arrest of an officiating clergyman. I mentioned that earlier in my speech. When there is a rise in many of these crimes across North America, this is not the time to be reducing sentences. There are many others on this list.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Kitchener—Conestoga went through a list of offences that the government is watering down. One he did not highlight that I would be interested in his comments on is a breach of the long-term supervision order. These orders involve the most serious sexual offenders. These are individuals who are so dangerous that following the conclusion of their sentence they are subject to an order for up to 10 years, administered and overseen by the Parole Board of Canada. When these individuals breach these orders, it is a clear sign that they are returning to their cycle of dangerous criminal behaviour.

I would submit this is just another example of why Bill C-75, in terms of reclassification, is so badly thought out, so badly drafted and puts public safety at risk. I wonder if the member would agree.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be here to talk about Bill C-75.

I think that the House now knows that I was a diplomat for 15 years. I was assigned to Argentina first, then to Salvador, and finally to Dallas, Texas. I also had the opportunity to work for my colleague from Thornhill when he was Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas. I found it very interesting, since we had the strategy for the Americas.

There we had three major principles that we followed in everything that we did.

The first was the idea of democracy. As shadow minister for democratic institutions, democracy is very close to my heart.

The second principle was that of prosperity, promoting free markets. I remember the Brazilians did not like this. They said we thought everyone should be rich but that was not our way of thinking at all. Rather, we chose to promote free markets abroad.

The third principle was justice, and this bill flies in the face of the principle of justice. Is this really the example that Canada wants to set for the world in terms of what would be established as a result of Bill C-75?

When I was consul for Canada to San Salvador in El Salvador there was a very unfortunate incident whereby a Canadian was found with narcotics. The individual was in a taxi. The cab was pulled over and unfortunately the narcotics fell out of some tissue paper. The individual was brought to jail and put on trial. As the consul for Canada at the time, I was asked to attend the proceedings. This was a very difficult situation for me. It was probably the most difficult that I had as a diplomat. I received a speech from the judge who indicated that fighting narcotics in his opinion at that time, in 2006, was one of the primary tenets of the western world.

My point is this. It is not this situation specifically but it goes back to the point that I am trying to make in regards to the deficiencies in this legislation. This legislation would not only cause delays but would propose lighter sentences. Is this really the example that Canada wants to set for the rest of the world? I absolutely think not.

I will go through some of the lighter sentencing items that my colleagues have gone through, some quite extensively. The bill would reduce penalties for crimes that include, but are not limited to, participation in activity of terrorist groups, leaving Canada to participate in activity of terrorist groups, punishment of rioter and concealment of identity, and breach of trust by a public officer.

Let me go back to participation in activity of terrorist groups and leaving Canada to participate in activity of terrorist groups. I daresay that it has historically been a major component of not only Canada's foreign affairs agenda but I would also argue our aid agenda and our defence agenda to to fight against these crimes in the world. Is Bill C-75 the example that we want to set for the world?

Another item that stands out to me is “Obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergyman”. I see my delightful colleague, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard in the House. I worked, side by side, with him at his round table that he had for clergy. God bless him. I am sure they always do, but they did have the fear of God regarding the potential change that would result from this legislation. I daresay they might again today, seeing that these penalties can potentially be reduced. It very well might embolden some. That is also very concerning.

Moreover, there is the offence of “advocating genocide”. That is something that we as a nation should be in the lead against. We are indicating in Bill C-75 that perhaps it is not such a priority that we have said it is to the world by reducing the sentencing for advocating such a thing. I think that is shame. Again I ask, is this the example, as found in Bill C-75, that Canada wants to set for the world?

Also, I am going to go to one of the last items on the list, and that is “Participation in activities of criminal organization”. This is one that is very dear to me, again, having served in El Salvador, a place that unfortunately has much gang violence, with many negative effects on society there.

In addition to being the consul and the chef d'affaires during my time in El Salvador, I was also very fortunate to sit on the Canada fund as a member to decide the allocation of funding for programs. Every single time, we would put these funds towards activities that would discourage gang violence, primarily towards youth, to get them involved in physical activities and with youth organizations, so they could have other interests that would allow them to believe and see that they were worthwhile and worthy, and could contribute to society.

This would be a good time for me to indicate that I am very proud of our leader today and the legislation that he has brought forward in regard to gangs for a safer Canada. This includes ending automatic bail for gangsters, identifying gangs in the Criminal Code, revoking parole for gangsters, tougher sentences for ordering gang crime, and new sentences for violent gang crime, something that I believe, given my experience, given my work in Canada and abroad, is something that is very timely and necessary for a safer Canada.

I do believe that we should all get behind our leader and his message of a safer Canada in promoting and supporting this legislation, because I have seen the end result of where gang violence takes over a society. It is not a pretty picture. It affects all areas of society. Again, I ask, is Bill C-75 the example Canada wants to set for the world?

In conclusion, I will say this to my counterpart, the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

He said that he came to the House of Commons specifically to change the law with regard to valid ID for voting. I myself came here to promote democracy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration did so much for democracy, prosperity and justice. That is why I cannot support Bill C-75, since it goes against Canadians and our position in the world.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Arif Virani Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments by the member opposite and salute her contributions to Canada while serving in the foreign service in the past. While I am tempted to ask her a question about the disenfranchisement of all of the Canadians abroad under the previous government while she was serving those Canadians abroad in El Salvador, etc., I want to ask her about Bill C-75.

The member asked repeatedly about whether this is something we should be proud of and whether it is the kind of symbolic representation we want to make toward the world. I have a comment and a question.

We do want to be known as a government that takes discrimination against indigenous people seriously, and a government that listens to those very same foreign counterparts she served in her various roles in the foreign service, like England, which eliminated peremptory challenges in 1988. Those challenges are basically discriminatory, as they would allow a homogenous jury to render a verdict in the case of a white farmer accused of killing an indigenous man in Saskatchewan. I would put to her that ending peremptory challenges is something we want to be known for around the world.

Would she agree that it is also good to be known around the world for taking a substantive stand against intimate partner violence, something the member for Cariboo—Prince George questioned in a somewhat mocking manner in the chamber? Also, by expanding the definition to include dating partners and former spouses and ensuring that we have tougher penalties on intimate partner violence, is that the exact kind of stand she would like our government and this Parliament to take against violence against women?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my turn to rise to speak to Bill C-75, an omnibus bill that is over 300 pages long, even though I very clearly remember the government promising not to introduce any omnibus bills. Unfortunately, the Liberals did not keep their promise.

Bill C-75 has the Liberal stamp on it. At second reading, the Liberals moved a time allocation motion on Bill C-75. They do not want to hear the truth when they introduce bills and they do not want to hear what the opposition has to say. Nevertheless, the members of the opposition represent Canadians the same way government members do, and so what we have to say deserves to be heard.

Since time is quickly running out, I will get right to the point. The Liberal government's inaction on justice has consequences.

One of my constituents was the victim of the Liberal government's inaction on justice on two occasions. His name is Dannick Lessard. He was the victim of a crime and he was the victim of an error on the part of Corrections Canada. He was also a victim of the Jordan decision. He watched as his assailant, the man who shot him, was set free without any other charges being brought against him.

It is absolutely unbelievable that, despite this voluminous bill, the government is doing absolutely nothing to address the case of Dannick Lessard, a man who did not ask to be victimized several times, not only by a criminal but also by the government. He was also the victim of the government's dogged determination to ignore his case.

To date, Mr. Lessard has racked up $80,000 in legal fees just so he can get his point across, get the government to listen to reason and be able to move on to other things.

The government has become an expert in victimization, which is completely unacceptable.

I would like remind everyone of what happened to Mr. Lessard, so they know what we are talking about.

Mr. Lessard was shot by a man armed with two pistols. He was hit nine times. He suffered many physical and psychological injuries. That act of unspeakable violence turned his life upside down. That is what he wrote in a letter addressed to several people.

On April 21, 2017, a stay of proceedings was ordered under the Jordan decision for the trial that was to be held in September 2017 of a man charged with first degree murder as well as the attempted murder of Mr. Lessard.

That ruling effectively ended any chance that Mr. Lessard's case would be heard and that justice would be served. At the time, he asked one question, and he still has not received an answer.

Is it reasonable that his attacker does not have to face justice for such a violent and gratuitous crime? Is it reasonable for Mr. Lessard to live the rest of his life with the scars from that attack? He believes that as a consequence of the Jordan decision, victims and the public have lost confidence in the Canadian justice system.

What does Bill C-75 propose to do about appointing more judges? Absolutely nothing. It is all very well to make laws, present amendments and talk for hours in committee, but if there is no one on the bench to manage these situations, it will not do any good.

Mr. Lessard wants the government to acknowledge the mistakes it made in his case. He wants the government to acknowledge that mistakes were made in the case of his attacker, who was wrongly released.

It is scandalous that an attacker who should be in prison is released to commit another crime and then has all charges dropped. Meanwhile, the government gave Omar Khadr $10 million.

This is a case of a citizen who was just doing his job and got shot. He was the victim, and today he is looking for help. He wrote to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety. The Minister of Public Safety was the only one to reply. Unfortunately, in his reply, he said that the Minister of Justice was responsible for this file.

What happens when the buck gets passed? Nothing is resolved.

We absolutely have to think of the people who are victims of the system. The system did not work, and the government is taking too long to appoint judges for various reasons. Unfortunately, people are waiting and spending a fortune trying to get justice. The government should be more understanding and address the situation as quickly as possible.

Since Bill C-75 does not resolve Mr. Lessard's case, I will be voting against it.

JusticeStatements By Members

November 2nd, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, there are many things the Liberal government has failed on: balancing the budget, cutting taxes for the middle class, and maintaining Canada's strong presence on the world stage. What it has not failed on is standing up for the rights of criminals over the rights of victims.

Bill C-75, the Liberal's 300-page omnibus justice reform bill, would water down penalties for very serious crimes. If passed, criminals could be sentenced with as little as a fine for serious offences such as human trafficking, using drugs in the act of sexual assault, and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Canadians can always count on the Conservative Party to put the rights of victims before the rights of criminals. That is why we introduced the victim's bill of rights, introduced mandatory minimums and campaigned on life means life legislation.

Today, as the father of Tori Stafford and hundreds of others are outside these walls protesting the Liberal government, I call on the government to put its ideology aside, do the decent thing and stand up for victims of crime.

JusticeStatements By Members

June 7th, 2018 / 2 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is attempting to reduce penalties for many serious crimes in Canada. His proposed changes are part of Bill C-75, which contains more than 300 pages of sweeping changes to the Criminal Code. I am concerned about the number of very serious offences that would now be eligible for much lighter sentences, or even simply fines. These offences include acts related to terrorism; assault; impaired driving; arson; human trafficking; and infanticide, the killing of infants. These lower sentences send the wrong messages to criminals, victims, law-abiding Canadians, and society.

When virtue takes a back seat to lawlessness, Canadians rely on a strong justice system. Deterrents are necessary. It is a cause for concern that our Prime Minister is changing our Canada from a nation of virtue to one of virtue signalling.

Conservatives will continue to stand up to the creeping changes attacking our social and justice systems. We will continue to place the rights of victims ahead of the offenders.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

June 7th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue with the report stage debate on Bill C-69, the environmental assessment act.

Following this, we will turn to Bill C-75, the justice modernization act, and Bill C-59, the national security act.

If time permits, we shall start debate at report stage of Bill C-68, the fisheries act, and Bill C-64 on derelict vessels.

Tomorrow morning, we will begin third reading of Bill C-47 on the Arms Trade Treaty. Next Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are allotted days. Also, pursuant to the Standing Orders, we will be voting on the main estimates Thursday evening.

Next week, priority will be given to the following bills: Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act; Bill C-59, an act respecting national security matters; Bill C-64, the wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels act; Bill C-68 on fisheries; and Bill C-69 on environmental assessments.

We also know, however, that the other place should soon be voting on Bill C-45, the cannabis act. If a message is received notifying us of amendments, that will be given priority.

National Security Act, 2017Government Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my speech this evening by talking about public safety and national security matters.

Whenever I stand up in this place, on whatever we are talking about, I always like to think about whether this is the job of the federal government. Typically, in broad sweeps, I can rarely get past the end of one hand when it comes to things the federal government should be dealing with. I usually think of things like border security, the justice system, and the military as things that definitely the federal government should be taking care of.

The issue we are dealing with tonight is one of those issues the federal government definitely needs to take care of. It is definitely something that is timely. Folks from where I come from, in Peace River—Westlock, in northern Alberta, often mention this to me when I am driving around meeting with folks. They are concerned about national security. They are concerned about terrorism issues. It is one of the top 10 things people talk to me about. Therefore, I think this is a timely debate.

I would hearken back to some of the speeches we heard earlier this evening. September 11 was a significant turning point in western civilization. I think every one of us in this place remembers that day. I remember listening to the news on 630 CHED in Alberta. My alarm clock had gone off, and I was listening to the news, when the normal broadcast was interrupted to tell us that the twin towers had been run into by an airplane. I remember that day well, as I am sure everyone in this place does. Since that day, the entire western world has had to look at how we defend our national security. Before that point, we were looking at our national security from the perspective of nation states. However, this brought a whole new protocol. We needed new laws. Frankly, I think we are still learning all of that.

I do not think the Liberals have necessarily taken serious consideration of public safety and national security in this bill. They basically looked at what we did when we were in government. They thought that the Conservatives were aggressive on this and took the bull by the horns, and they would just turn it back a notch. It does not seem to me that they are giving it adequate weight by saying that they just have to change a bunch of things in Bill C-51. The Liberals heard over and over again that Bill C-51 was bad, and they would just turn it back. That does not seem to me to be grappling with the issues we need to deal with.

Public safety and national security is hard work. We need to create a culture in Canada so that people feel safe. That is what I hear over and over again in my riding. They do not feel that the government is creating a culture in Canada where people feel safe. For example, advocating or promoting terrorism is something that has been touched on in this debate. We need to talk about that in terms of what it means when it comes to Bill C-75, which is another bill that will be debated tonight. I believe that in that particular bill, advocating or promoting terrorism, even if one is found guilty of it, would be downgraded as well.

When we look at the bill before us, I am disappointed that the Liberals have not grabbed the bull by the horns. Bill C-51 came out a number of years back, and the landscape has changed since then. I was looking forward to having a robust debate on this issue. I know that it was something in the LIberal campaign and something I was challenged on over and over again. I knew that after the election, Bill C-51 would be up for debate, and I was looking forward to having that debate on some substantive changes that could improve it.

I think we got it right with Bill C-51, but every piece of legislation is open to improvement and I was happy to come here to debate this. I do not think Bill C-59 improves on Bill C-51 at all. In fact, all it seems to do is to just turn everything back a few notches, which does not seem to make an effect. It is the exact same philosophy that we are seeing with Bill C-75. The Liberals say we have backlogs in the justice system, rather than their addressing some of the underlying causes and doing the hard work of digging into it. They say, turn the dial back a little, lower the thresholds, push people out of the system more easily rather than dealing with the actual justice system.

When I do surveys in my riding, people do not think the Liberals are taking our national security seriously. People do not think they are securing our borders properly. All of this plays into the world view of the Liberals.

Whenever I am discussing national security or justice issues, I say that people have the ability to do evil. That is a fact of life and we need to have a justice system that recognizes that. Most people lock their doors at night. Why? Because people are capable of evil. That is the truth. It would be great if we all could leave our doors open and nothing ever went missing. It would be great if we could all give up our firearms and everyone would be safe, but that is not the reality. That is the underlying philosophy that is lacking on the Liberal side. They are not convinced that people are capable of evil and they think that the justice system is being mean to people and that if we just hug the thug, so to speak, everything would be better.

There is a philosophy in this bill that if we just turn down the justice element, if we trusted people a little more, this country would be a safer place. That is definitely not the case. We need to ensure that our police officers and our intelligence community have the resources and tools they need to ensure that Canada is a safe place.

My riding is a long way from the border, and I cannot say that the border crossing issue has directly affected my riding, but it is amazing how many times people in my riding have asked, when is the government is going to do something about the border crossings? Why are the Liberals jeopardizing our public safety? We are seeing that here, as well with the terrorism issue.

One of the things people in my riding are concerned about is the growing threat of terrorism in the world. In this regard, in the bill we see that for advocating and promoting terrorism, the threshold is being lowered, and that in Bill C-75 the sentencing is being lowered. It is being taken from an indictable offence to a summary offence. The Liberals need to do the hard work that it takes to make sure that we have a national security regime that people in Canada trust. That is an important point that I wanted to make here tonight. Whatever the Liberals are doing, people need to have trust in that system that their safety is being upheld, that Canada will remain the safe place it has been in years past, and that people can sleep safely in their beds.

With that, I look forward to any questions that people may have.