Evidence of meeting #34 for Public Safety and National Security in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was csc.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Mark D'Amore
Jane Sprott  Professor, Department of Criminology, Ryerson University, As an Individual
Anthony Doob  Professor Emeritus, Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, As an Individual
Emilie Coyle  Executive Director, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Catherine Latimer  Executive Director, John Howard Society of Canada
Jeff Wilkins  National President, Union of Canadian Correctional Officers

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Really?

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Yes. June 16 was either the Levesque study, if we hadn't finished it, or the CSC study that we were undertaking. June 21 was either Levesque or CSC as well. June 23 was IMVE. That's the motion that was passed.

So there are two other studies that are affected, Levesque and the CSC, as well as the border study.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

I suppose I was not operating in the realm of miracles on CSC.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

There may be a proposal that contains some. We'll see.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Okay.

Mr. Lightbound.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Chair, I was asking a question before. I haven't made any of my statements yet that I need to make.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

I'm sorry. Okay.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

That was the original, but Pam had just finished talking about changing that, and that's what I'm referring to. I knew what our schedule was previous. Pam just spoke about making some changes to her motion or changes to the dates and what we're going to study on those dates. That's what I'm referring to needing clarity on before I speak to what I need to speak to.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

She was turned down. She was originally taking Monday and Wednesday of next week. Then she proposed that she would take a portion of Monday—

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Yes, that's what I'm referring to.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

—and then leave the Wednesday, presumably, as is, but that was turned down because she didn't get unanimous consent.

June 9th, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

All right.

I just want to say this. Further to what I said previously about this motion that's before us that Pam originally put forward, Chair, I look at this and it's so incredibly important that we hear this, but there's no action on here. There's no action from this motion that says what the committee is going to do with any of the information that we have or information that we're going to gather.

What I would encourage through Joël, as the PS to the public safety minister, is to go back to the minister and say that if we want action, because Canadians want action on this.... It might give us a warm feeling to have a conversation, but Canadians are looking for something that keeps them safe in their communities and we need to deal with this. I would encourage the minister and the government to meet with these groups and to action some things that we're not going to get actioned by hearing them at committee and then not giving anything to the government to action. That's what I'm getting at.

It's so critically important that we hear from these groups and we try to figure out some concrete plans, but in the short term this committee is handcuffed by time and the fact that Parliament won't be sitting in the summer to action the items that we hear. The government can. That's what I would encourage be done if we want to hear on IMVE and we want to hear from the Islamic groups and from the Jewish groups on what they're experiencing and what recommendations they would have.

That's my suggestion, Chair, and to Joël. Maybe that's an avenue where we can actually have these groups heard so that we could action some of those things, because what we hear now is there's no time. We're prisoners to the time that we have left.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

I think Madam Larouche would be up next and then Mr. Lightbound.

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Chair, to help me make up my mind and cast the right vote, I need some clarification on Ms. Damoff's motion, which may end up being amended.

Before we suspended, I had asked what the implications were for the committee's schedule. I was told that, if the motion were adopted, we would spend June 14 and 16 on this study, extremism, and June 21 and 23, our two meetings the last week, on the Levesque study.

Before the vote is called, I really need some clarification as to how the motion and amended motion will affect our schedule, because right now, it's not clear to me.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

For a point of clarification, the only motion that's currently on the floor, the unamended motion, would replace the border study and Levesque next week with two studies for the IMVE, and that would presumably leave space for the Levesque study to be further dealt with on the 23rd because we would have one leftover space.

I hope that's clarifying for you.

We will go back to Mr. Lightbound and then Mr. Harris.

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Chair, if I may say respectfully, what's before this committee is not about getting a warm feeling, as Glen has suggested. It's about giving a voice before a parliamentary committee to two communities who in recent years have felt increasingly unsafe because of the drastic rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. We've seen 2020 become a record year for hate crimes in this country.

To me, reducing it to getting a warm feeling when this is an action we can take.... As parliamentarians, we offer this space to these groups to make their demands known and public and to hear what actions they'd like to see the Government of Canada and Parliament take.

It's not about getting a warm feeling. It's very important that we proceed with this motion.

I fail to see, really, what the issue is here. Pam has just suggested that we reduce it to one meeting, as was initially agreed, and that we move the meeting planned for the 23rd to the 14th or the 16th, next week, so that we hear from these groups on these pressing matters.

I would move to amend Pam's motion so that the session planned for the 23rd be moved to the week of the 14th and that we have the border study, CIJA and

the National Council of Canadian Muslims appear before the committee the week of the 14th.

I'm sorry. I just switched back to French. My mind gets a little confused between French and English at times.

We would have one meeting. There would be 90 minutes for CIJA and the National Council of Canadian Muslims and then 30 minutes to draft a motion for this committee to report back to the House on what we've heard from these two groups.

I think that's very important. It changes none of what we have planned. The only thing it changes is the order. I fail to see why we can't agree on this.

I would move to amend the motion. I hope the analysts can work something out from what I just said.

Thank you.

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Okay. That amendment is properly moved and would have to be voted on before the main motion.

With that, we will hear from Mr. Harris, Madam Damoff and then Madam Stubbs.

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Thank you.

I would agree with most of what Mr. Lightbound said. Yes, we have heard, in recent weeks, in fact, about the climate of fear in the Jewish community in Canada, voiced publicly as a result of recent events and the rise of anti-Semitic acts. We have also heard clearly, since the events in London, an expression of real fear from the Muslim community and a call for action to get results.

I support the idea of having a 90-minute session where each of those groups could express their concerns and also offer specific recommendations regarding solutions and concrete actions. Half an hour may well be enough, if some thought is given to it advance, to craft a motion that would be referred to the House. I think we can do that.

However, there are several other motions before this committee that have to do with ongoing studies. One is in relation to the Bastarache report, for which a notice of motion has been given. There's also a notice of motion that I think went in today with respect to the Levesque study. There's also the motion I put forward. I gave the notice of motion regarding the study we were actually supposed to be starting today. That seems to be have been forgotten about, despite the fact that we have witnesses waiting.

I don't think we're being fair to the balance of our calendar. I would point out that three days were offered for the CSC study, which is of great importance and on which we have five witnesses waiting to talk today. I don't think we can ignore that.

There's a suggested method for dealing with the Levesque study that we can debate, and we may pass a version of that so we can complete that study.

If we were going to interrupt our schedule with respect to the Levesque study, I would prefer that we still try to complete that and to do that, potentially, by considering those motions.

Also, with respect to the border study, which I think was of great interest to Madam Michaud, instead of starting something we haven't even begun.... I don't know if there's still the same level of interest on that point. However, there is a lot of interest in the Bastarache report and the motion before the committee. There's interest in the CSC study and there are witnesses waiting to testify. As well, there is a proposal, I believe, from the Conservatives as to how to deal with the Levesque report. I think we should deal with those next week, as well.

I'm not in favour of Mr. Lightbound's amendment if it deals with only one aspect of what's before us.

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Madam Damoff, and then Madam Stubbs.

6 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Chair, I'm actually surprised that we're still talking about this. I can't tell you how disappointed I am to hear comments like, “We're running out of time.” There was a family in London, Ontario, that ran out of time and were killed. I watched the vigil last night and I listened to every single leader of the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party speak passionately. The Bloc leader was in London as well, even though he didn't speak. All of them talked about working across party lines.

I watched that vigil last night and I felt that it was urgent for the public safety committee to do work on this. We had already committed to a study on ideologically motivated violent extremism. We had already decided to do that. I listened to someone from the National Council of Canadian Muslims talk about how they wanted action and I felt that this was something we could do as parliamentarians. I also find it offensive to say that we, as parliamentarians, don't have a role. I'm sorry, but I believe we do. I believe we can give these people a voice and I would hope that we could vote on this.

I am prepared to agree to Joël's amendment. I've accepted to reduce this to one meeting, although I would have preferred to have two. I think this is something that we need to do urgently. I just think this talk about running out of time is terrible. We should vote on this, and if people don't feel that this is an important issue, then shame on them.

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Next will be Ms. Stubbs, Ms. Khera and Mr. Motz.

6 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Chair, I am wholeheartedly amenable to Joël's suggestion here, which might come to a solution that we all want, to hear from representatives of the NCCM and CIJA about their recommendations to government, but as Jack and Glen have said, also to see government then act efficiently and expeditiously on the actions that they can take.

My only concern—and Joël, I don't know, maybe you can help guarantee this or whatever wording might be necessary to do it—is, as Jack has articulated, that it is also imperative that we do our report on Levesque. I'm sure that Joël feels the same way too, given that young woman's death. We need to figure out a way to be able to complete that and report out on that work.

You all know that I do believe we need to make recommendations to report out on the Bastarache report, about which I think we also share the same concern and desire to see actual consequences, support for victims and consequences for offenders, and so too with this heinous crime in London.

Joël might be on track here to helping us get to a solution. I just want to make sure that whichever way we have to, as a committee, we ensure that we complete these other items that we're working on.

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Okay.

Yes, Mr. Harris.

6 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Chair, on a point of order, we seem to be doing something that's contrary to what the committee actually wants. Everybody has agreed that we have the priority given to what Pam has suggested.

I resent the idea that I have no interest. I want to hear from both of these individuals, both of these communities, and make some positive recommendations.

The question is regarding other things before the committee.

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

That's more a point of debate than a point of order, but I congratulate you on your subtleties.

Colleagues, I would dearly love to call this question, especially since we have witnesses waiting.

I see three hands up. I would love to call the question on Mr. Lightbound's amendment and then the main motion.

I would urge people to keep their comments to a minimum so that we can at least hear what our very patient witnesses have to say.

Madam Khera.