House of Commons Hansard #217 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was guns.


Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, it is difficult to know where to begin in response to the comments of the last speaker. As one who is among those she has accused of seeking to undermine and destroy the Canadian society, as one she has described as immoral and unnatural, and as a member of a community of gay men and lesbians whom she has similarly slandered with her hatred-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Madam Speaker, on a point of order I refer you to Standing Order 18 where it states that no member may use offensive words against any member. The hon. member has accused the hon. member for Central Nova of slander. That is a direct accusation against a member of this House. I ask you to call the member to order.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I will ask the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway to withdraw his comments.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, the previous speaker was clearly making reference to a community. In responding-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I believe the standing order as read is quite specific. Would you please withdraw your words. They were directed at a member.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I will withdraw any personal references to the hon. member but certainly with respect to the point-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Fine. Thank you.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. When you take part in a debate you are responsible for the words you utter. I know that, like all the members of this House, you are particularly sensitive to the words reported.

I would just like to understand your decision and draw to your attention that the remarks our colleague made in her opening words to her debate are what she actually said. If I may, I-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Order. I have already made a decision on the point of order. The member referred directly to a member of this House, which is not done, while the other member referred to a group in society.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, obviously what we are seeing here is that if one hon. member in the course of debate were to refer to black people hypothetically as a group as being immoral, unnatural and attacking the family and an assault on Canadian values, that black people were in that category, of course in those circumstances a member of this House who happened to be a black person could not respond. That is what the Speaker is saying. The Speaker is saying that if a member of this House got up-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


John Nunziata Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway purports to be opposed to hate yet he seems to want to propagate it. I would simply indicate that he is challenging the authority of the Chair. You have made your ruling and he persists in challenging your authority. I would ask that if he is not prepared to play by the rules-

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to be very clear on the motion I am proposing to the House. Before doing so, I want to say that I strongly support the principles underlying section 718.2 of this legislation. I find it particularly disturbing that a member of this House in arguing against this provision could so distort the reality that underlies the section.

For example, it was suggested that this section would take effect even if there were no convictions. That is what the hon. member for Central Nova said. Section 718.2 takes effect only at sentencing. The hon. member is a lawyer. I assume she is aware that sentencing takes place only after conviction. Let us be very clear.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9 p.m.


Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I think it is important that if the hon. member is to quote what I say he quotes directly and does not paraphrase. He has obviously misunderstood the context of my speech and I think that is important.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member's words speak for themselves and the distortions in those words speak for themselves as well.

No one in supporting this legislation is seeking any kind of special rights or privileges any more than those who support legislation to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation are seeking any kind of special rights or privileges.

There are certain communities in which people are attacked on the basis of certain identifiable characteristics. The gay community is one of those communities.

The justice committee on Bill C-41 heard very moving testimony from two gay men who were walking peacefully down

the street in Toronto near the corner of Church and Welsley when they were attacked by thugs with broken beer bottles and beaten up. They were not attacked because they were fat. They were attacked because they were gay. That is what this legislation is attempting to respond to.

The hon. member for Scarborough West asks how they knew that. That is a very good question. That is precisely the purpose of the amendment in Motion No. 10. They assumed these were two gay men. They perceived them as being gay men because they were walking in an area which has a significant number of gays and lesbians.

That is why it is essential this legislation respond to the question of sexual orientation. If an individual attacks another individual because they believe that person to be Jewish or gay or lesbian the impact of that is just as serious. As a number of witnesses who appeared before the committee made very clear, it is essential that the perception of the victim be included in this legislation. That is the purpose of my amendment.

As one of the briefs from the Ottawa-Carleton regional police bias crime unit pointed out, Alain Brosseau, a waiter working one night at the Chateau Laurier, walked toward his home through Majors Hill park and was attacked by a group of people who thought he was a gay man. They threw him off the bridge and killed him. That was just as serious and this legislation should reflect that seriousness as well. That was the point made by B'nai Brith, the point made by the Centre de recerche-action sur les relations raciales and by many others.

It is important we understand this legislation is not conferring privileges. I wish it were not the case that Jews are singled out for anti-semitic attacks. I wish it were not the case that gay men and lesbians were victims of gay bashing, as the Minister of Justice said.

On Saturday night in Vancouver at the Edge restaurant some friends of mine were sitting peacefully having coffee when suddenly through the door came a number of thugs who started to attack them, calling them faggots, beating them up and breaking their arms. This crime does not just affect the individuals involved but by its very nature it has a chilling effect on a community. That is why it is so important that we amend the criminal law as has been proposed here.

This legislation is very important. It is also important that we understand the kind of attitudes we have heard from the member for Central Nova. The member for New Westminster-Burnaby said that gay bashing was not much of a problem because it was only one marginalized group, skinheads as he said, attacking another marginalized group, or it was gay people beating up other gay people. Those are the attitudes we have to confront.

We need this legislation. I commend those moving it forward. I commend the Ottawa police department for its leadership in this area. I hope the House will reject the voices of those not prepared to accept equality and move toward legislation that ensures hate crimes are punished to the fullest in society.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join in debate on Bill C-41.

I want to comment as objectively as I can on section 718.2. This section has attracted more attention than any other aspect of the bill. There is a backlash of sorts that has conjured up a great deal of concern among a number of Canadians. The bill is referred to often as a hate crimes bill. It is a sentencing bill with some 60 or 70 pages and has a wide range of important amendments to guide our sentencing.

Section 718.2 as has been indicated by a number of prior speakers has attracted attention. Section 718.2 states:

A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles:

(a) a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing,

(i) evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor, or

(ii) evidence that the offender, in the committing offence, abused a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim shall be deemed to be a aggravating circumstances;

To put that in English, section 718.2 basically says that when someone has been charged and convicted of a crime, prior to sentencing that person the courts must make an assessment and that assessment must be whether there is an aggravating circumstance.

Presently in the bill there are two different categories of aggravating circumstances. The first refers to bias, prejudice and hate. That goes on to be elaborated on by adding to it the so-called list for greater certainty. In other words that a bias, prejudice or hate was based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation would require a stiffer sentence.

The second aggravating circumstance has to do with abuse of positions of trust or authority. A position of trust would be in the character of a doctor over a patient, a teacher over a student, a babysitter over a child. Positions of authority might include such things as an elderly person in the care of a child or a child in the care of the parents.

One of the reasons the bill and this section have attracted so much attention is this list on which bias, prejudice and hate might be motivated is identical to the list in our charter of rights and freedoms. The only addition to the list are the words sexual orientation which have brought tremendous focus to this section. It has been the one reason the bill has been used as a proxy for the discussion of all sides of the story and the arguments with regard to sexual orientation.

I do not want to use much of my time to deal with this. The extent of concern within my community, and I have received many letters, indicates that basically we are all equal under our laws and that if there is any list it tends to indicate that someone has been left off the list. If our charter is to hold true the words bias, prejudice and hate should be sufficient. On that basis I will be supporting the report stage motion to eliminate the list.

I will now move on very briefly to my motion which is to add an aggravating circumstance to bias, prejudice and hate and the abuse of trust in authority positions.

According to the 1993 violence against women survey and Statistics Canada 29 per cent of women or 2.7 million who have ever been married or lived in a common law relationship have been physically or sexually assaulted by their partner at some point during the relationship. We are all painfully aware of the serious problems and the negative consequences not only to those involved but to society as a whole. We have been so overwhelmed by the tragic statistics and the pleas for help over so many years, I fear we have become desensitized to the severity of the problem.

As a result of those facts I have presented a report stage Motion No. 16 which asks the House to consider making spousal abuse a situation which would require stiffer sentences. It did take some time. The motion was submitted in April. It took a great deal of time to work through justice, to work with colleagues from all sides of the House.

I am pleased to inform the House that as a result of the motion and as a result of the support I received from all sides of the House the Minister of Justice has agreed to accept the situation of spousal abuse as an aggravating circumstance requiring a stiffer penalty. This is a very momentous situation for the House to stop giving merely moral support to the plight of abused women and children and to start giving tangible, legislative backbone to deal with the issue of spousal abuse.

Motion No. 17 presented by the minister will be addressed in the House in advance of my Motion No. 16. I will be supporting Motion No. 17. I believe it incorporates the intent of the motion I put forward.

I thank the minister and the justice officials and members of the House. I am sure all women in Canada thank all members for their support for abused women.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.


Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Madam Speaker, I have only 10 minutes to offer my comments on 13 very interesting amendments which obviously, as we have seen from the debate so far, evoke very strong feelings. Unfortunately with only 10 minutes I am forced to concentrate on my amendments.

I do support Motion No. 6 standing in the name of the hon. member for Central Nova for the legal, moral and ethical reasons she stated in her speech. If the House is not supportive of Motion No. 6 then I am certainly in support of Motions Nos. 7 and 8 standing in the name of the hon. member for Ontario for the reasons he gave in his excellent address.

If it should transpire that none of those motions have passed with the approval of this House, then we have section 718.2 with the phrase sexual orientation as part of that section. In those circumstances, only one of two things will happen. Either the phrase sexual orientation will remain undefined, or it can be defined by this House pursuant to one of the amendments that I have put forward.

So one might wonder why we need a definition, which is what I want to talk about in the remaining time. Let us examine some actual facts, not rhetoric and various other things, but let us talk about some facts.

Fact one: This is the first time the phrase sexual orientation is going to be used in any federal Canadian statute.

Fact two: This phrase is undefined in any legal or standard dictionary.

Fact three: This phrase is undefined by any court in Canada. There have been passing references to the phrase, a footnote here or there by one or two or three judges, but it has not been judiciously interpreted in this country.

We asked the minister what sexual orientation means. When he appeared before the justice committee on November 17, 1994, he said: "Sexual orientation encompasses homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality". If that is in fact the case, then that is exactly what my Motion No. 11 proposes. It proposes to state that sexual orientation means exactly what the Minister of Justice said it meant in the committee; namely, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. The important point is that it would mean nothing else but those three things the minister said.

It is interesting to note that virtually every jurisdiction in the world that I have found that uses the phrase sexual orientation or similar words actually defines the phrase. We are meeting so much resistance here in Canada to defining a legal phrase that has never been used in this country in a statute. Yet in other countries there does not seem to be this problem.

Let us take a look, for example, at California, which has a population greater than our entire country. They say sexual orientation means heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality, period. This is exactly what the Minister of Justice said and exactly what my Motion No. 11 states.

What about our own regulations, not statutes, under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission? Even they go some way to defining sexual orientation by saying: "Sexual orientation does not include the orientation

toward any sexual act or activity that would constitute an offence under the Criminal Code". Who could disagree with that? That is in fact a definition because it is a definition of exclusion. Motion No. 11 is a definition of inclusion.

Let us take, for example, the District of Columbia. Sexual orientation means male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality-and I note for the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway-by preference or practice. But it is defined. That is the point: it is defined in statute.

Finally, let us talk about Australia. We talked about the United States, so we will now talk about South Australia and its equal opportunity act. The act states: "It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality. Sexuality is defined as meaning heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or trans-sexuality". Well my other motion deals with that, with the exception of trans-sexuality.

All of these jurisdictions define the phrase. So what I am saying is we should define the phrase. What if we do not? Does the undefined phrase sexual orientation mean something other than what the minister has said it means?

Let us look at the evidence that was called at the committee. Dr. Greenberg, who is a member of the policy review committee from the Canadian Criminal Justice Association and who is also a psychiatrist at one of the Ottawa hospitals, in response to a question by me, said: "Sexual orientation is a descriptive term. It basically defines what attracts a person to a stimulus. In other words, just like a compass, what is it that orients a person toward a particular stimulus? It is what stimulus arouses a person sexually." I asked, "Yes, so necrophilia would be a sexual orientation to you?" Dr. Greenberg answers, "A deviant sexual orientation, yes."

It goes on. The Canadian Psychological Association said: "It is not for us to say whether in the courts it would be,"-that is to say, interpreted-"but certainly sexual orientation is a key and fundamental component of pedophilia". That is not the member for Scarborough West talking, that is Dr. Stephen J. Wormith, chairperson of the criminal justice psychology section of the Canadian Psychological Association. That is what he says. This is if it is undefined.

We have many other quotations, which I have sent around to all hon. members in this House.

If those witnesses do not agree that sexual orientation does not mean what the minister said, what are the courts going to do? The courts are not responsible to the people of Canada. I do not want to take that chance. It is for this House to define phrases, not for the courts.

Interestingly enough, every other characteristic listed in 718.2 is defined. Race has been defined. National or ethnic origin has been defined. Language has been defined. Colour has been defined. Religion has been defined. Sex has been defined. Age has been defined. Mental or physical disability has been defined. Here are the definitions, judicial and otherwise.

The only identifiable characteristic that has not been given a definition in this country is sexual orientation. Why is that? According to the minister, he says that it would be offensive to provide a definition. I quote: "It would be offensive for us to define that term". That is the reason he gives for not defining a term that the witnesses said includes necrophilia, pedophilia, scopophilia, or whatever other kind of philias you want to talk about. That is not just some hon. member talking; those are actual expert witnesses before the justice committee who made these points.

Who would it offend? It is not offensive to the people of Scarborough West. I conducted a poll. Seventy-two per cent of my constituents want sexual orientation defined before it is put in any federal statute. It is not offensive to anybody I know.

If we draft statutes on the basis of offence, we have given a lot of offence to a lot of gun owners and we just passed Bill C-68. That gives offence. We cannot draft statutes on the basis of who they might or might not offend. We draft statutes on the basis of what is right and what is wrong. Wedraft according to the proper rules of drafting and give definitions.

I ask the House, if sexual orientation is going to remain, please define it.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—The Sydneys Nova Scotia


Russell MacLellan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, this is a very interesting debate. I have been listening to it very carefully.

I am really very mystified about how this whole question of sexual orientation has managed to take off as such a pre-eminent feature of Bill C-41. As was said earlier, we are talking about a bill that has 70 pages dealing largely and most importantly with the question of sentencing, which we have wanted for some time. There are some very good provisions in this bill that are much needed in our society, particularly with respect to our criminal justice system.

What we seem to gravitate to is one little section. It is not even a whole section; it is just a little itsy-bitsy part of a section. It is in section 718.2 that we refer to the words "sexual orientation".

The hon. member for Scarborough West has done a lot of research on this, and I commend him. He says that sexual orientation should be defined. He mentions that the other aspects-race, colour, sex, and gender-are defined. However

they are not defined in the bill. They may be defined, but they are not defined in the bill because these are incidental terms.

What we are dealing with is the fact of sentencing. That is why it is called a sentencing bill. There are no rights given under this bill to anyone, regardless of race, religion, language, or sexual orientation. We are not saying that anybody in those categories has any rights.

What we are saying is that if somebody is attacked and it can be proven that they were attacked because of their sex, religion, language, or sexual orientation, such as the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway has said about some people going into a restaurant and saying "Let's go and get those faggots", then there is objective evidence that they are being attacked for that reason. Because they are being attacked for that reason, it is a question of bias, prejudice, or hate based on those principles. If the people then go to court and are found guilty, they will be sentenced. In the sentencing it will be determined that the reason they committed the crime was because of bias, prejudice, and hate on their part in relation to language, religion, or sexual orientation. If that is the case, then their sentence is greater than if that was not the case.

A member says that is already being done in the courts across the country. Why then, one may ask, do we have it in the legislation? Because it is not being applied equally across the country. It is being applied differently in each province and we want to have it applied equally. Members have said, hate, bias and prejudice are onerous terms, principles, and sicknesses, which creep into adverse and unpleasant actions in our society. We want to apply it equally across the country.

Why, if we want to put it in the act, do we have to use these terms? The reason we have to use terms like religion, language, sex and sexual orientation is because the Supreme Court of Canada stated in the Zundel and Keegstra cases that they have to know what we mean by hate. What is it we are talking about when we talk about hate? Are we talking about hate based on sexual orientation, religion, or language, or are we talking about hate based on someone beating somebody else up because they do not like the Vancouver Canucks or the Toronto Maple Leafs? Is that the sort of hate? Hate can be used in so many ways.

We want to define what kind of hate we mean and what we are talking about when we go to court on this principle. So we put in examples, but we also say that is not the last of it. We also say "national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor". We are not saying that anything can be hate; we refer to a similar factor that relates to the terms we have previously set forth in that list.

We are not giving any rights at all under this. The bill does not define sexual orientation because it is not a principle of the bill. The worst that can happen by not defining sexual orientation is that someone may make a mistake about what sexual orientation is in the sentencing process.

If some people want a definition of sexual orientation it should be put in the Canadian Human Rights Act. That is where such a definition would apply, not in a sentencing bill.

In Motion No. 10, brought forward by the member for Burnaby-Kingsway, he mentions changing the bill. Instead of saying race, national or ethnic origin, religion, language or sexual orientation, he wants it to say "the actual or perceived race" and so on.

We do not need that because perceived is not a factor either. If someone is attacked because of language or sexual orientation or race it does not matter in the sentencing process if that person actually spoke that language, was of that sexual orientation, was of that race or not. The fact they were actually attacked based on bias, prejudice or hate and whether the victim was correctly identified in that hate, bias or prejudice does not matter. It is the reason for the assault that the sentence is given.

If the person is convicted on the basis of that attack, based on that bias, prejudice or hate on questions of language, sexual orientation or religion, whether the victim was or was not, if the attacker thought the victim was, there is still the hate and there is still going to be the enhanced sentence. It does not matter if it was perceived or not perceived but what the objectively stated intention of the person committing the offence was.

This is a good bill. We are getting carried away, led astray by various factors. Everything in the bill is important but what is most important is what the bill wants to do and can do.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:30 p.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish to state from the outset that it will be impossible for me to support the amendments proposed by the hon. members for Scarborough West and for Central Nova, which, of course, should not surprise us. I want to start by repeating what we were told by a psychology professor, who had a great influence on me. He started from the basic premise that sexuality has many facets. This sexology professor reminded us that those who feel comfortable with their own sexuality do not feel the need to denigrate others with a different sexual orientation.

Tonight, I am sorry that some of my colleagues, whose views I as a parliamentarian must respect, may have made comments which, in my opinion, showed, to say the least, very little respect for a kind of sexual pluralism that must be acknowledged. What I find most regrettable, and the reason why I do not understand the purpose of the amendments tabled by some of my colleagues, can be summed up as follows: Is it too much to ask some parliamentarians to recognize, to understand that, in 1995, some members of society are still being molested, beaten or ill-treated for the sole reason that they are or appear to be homosexual?

That is what the bill before the House wants to deal with. I fail to understand why parliamentarians who have a voice in government, who have a public voice, will not admit that this is so, although all the hard scientific evidence is there.

In fact, two years ago, the Government of Quebec, the first government in Canada to speak out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, instructed the Quebec Human Rights Commission, a public body with credibility, to investigate violence against gays. That was the specific mandate of this commission. We can assume that, if a government takes the trouble to instruct a commission to investigate, acts of violence are being committed in our society.

The commission, which made several recommendations, examined fifty statements by gays, young and not so young, who were attacked-I think it is important to emphasize this-who were attacked simply because they were gay. I think you would have to be extremely obtuse, bigoted and empty headed not to realize, as a parliamentarian, that this is a situation that must be dealt with.

What do the opponents to this bill find so disturbing? Of course we could wonder about their fantasies, but we will refrain. We will remain strictly on topic. What disturbs them in the legal sense?

With all due respect for the hon. member for Scarborough West and the hon. member for Central Nova-I must admit that when she talks about homosexuality, she does not mince her words, which is putting it mildly-I have not heard either member give examples that would hold water in the legal sense.

I would have had more respect, although I still have some, through you Mr. Speaker, for the hon. member for Central Nova or the hon. member for Scarborough West, if they had risen in their seats and argued on a legal basis to make a connection between agreeing that gays should not be attacked and pedophilia.

That is what disturbs them. That is what frightens them. I had a chance to discuss this with the hon. member during an exchange in committee. However, none of them were able to make a connection between what is proposed in clause 718.2 and what they themselves as parliamentarians anticipated would happen.

Quite frankly, when people are disturbed by a difference that is as legitimate as it is ancient, by the expression of a difference in sexual experience, one wonders, and whether they are parliamentarians is irrelevant, whether they have a healthy and balanced life.

What is disturbing, and I think the Minister of Justice is to be commended for his courage in this respect, is that, as parliamentarians, we have no obligation to support a certain set of moral values. You know, when the only argument is a moral argument, when as a member, all they can do is get up and talk about prayers, religion and family, it is because they do not have much in the way of legal arguments.

I have great respect for people who are deeply religious. I have great respect for parliamentarians in this House who, in some way or another, want to perpetuate the family, be it in its traditional form.

But please, do not tell us that because we want to protect a specific group of people who are confronted with violence every day, because the legislator wants to make attacking gays because of their sexual orientation a factor in determining sentencing, please do not tell us we are challenging family values.

I come from a traditional family. My father, Claude, is 55 years old, my mother, Thérèse, is 60 years old. I have a twin brother who has the exact same genetic base as me, another brother who is a police officer-nobody is perfect-and an older brother. I come from a traditional family. It is quite traditional, with my father supporting the family and my mother raising five children at home, who all shared similar influence.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

And one son who is a comedian.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

The hon. member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine is paying me a compliment that I cannot ignore. My point is that it is certainly not as a challenge to the traditional or alternative family that we, as legislators, want to put a stop to violence. I cannot accept this kind of argument.

I suspect that the hon. member for Scarborough West made an honest mistake when he told us that there is no mention of sexual orientation in any Canadian legislation. As a good, honest lawyer, he knows full well that for a number of years now, the Canadian Human Rights Act is to be construed as explicitly including sexual orientation. Finally, it took all the determination, the energy and the drive of a group like EGALE to remind everyone, including MPs, this in a manner that deserves to be praised, that in 18 years of existing case law, no comparison can be made between what the legislator is about to do and any form

of perversion mentioned by some members of this House who, in so doing, showed an unacceptable lack of consideration.

After all, why, as parliamentarians, do we want the courts to take sexual orientation into account, among other factors, when sentencing an offender? The hon. member for Scarborough West knows full well that none of the other aggravating factors is defined in clause 718.2. Why be so obsessed about stating facts which do not withstand close scrutiny?

I will conclude with this: When parliamentarians from every party, as well as the courts, understand that we play an educating role every time we make a decision, then we will live in a society which I long for, a society where it will possible for a person, whether a public figure or not, to be gay, to live his or her difference and feel good about it, and to not be exposed to physical abuse, as is unfortunately often the case for members of the gay community.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to compliment my colleagues from Scarborough West and Hochelaga who have been speaking in this debate for the tenor, the tone and the wisdom of their speeches and the way they have conducted themselves. It is interesting that two people coming from such polar opposites in this debate can both put their points well, succinctly and make their arguments.

Madam Speaker, I am absolutely fed up with being discriminated against. It is really starting to get to me. After studying the legislation, I see no mention of white, middle aged, sort of Catholic males.

If I am lying in a ditch somewhere with my head kicked in, why is it any less of an offence, albeit I am a member of the Reform Party? Why is it any less of an offence for me to be lying in a ditch with my head kicked in than someone else who may be black, may be gay or some other human characteristic? That is the reason I have a problem with the legislation. The whole notion of sexual orientation in the bill is a red herring.

If the government had the guts and courage of its convictions on sexual orientation it would come in the front door and amend the human rights act upfront instead of trying to slide this amendment in through the back door. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice so aptly put it, why does this one teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy two-word phrase in a 30-page bill have people up in arms?

It has people up in arms because it does not come to this question honestly. We have to be very careful to address the whole notion of sexual orientation honestly. Most Canadians, myself included, are absolutely 100 per cent against the notion of discrimination against anybody for any reason, including people who are gay. We are equally opposed to affirmative action based on any human characteristic.

The whole notion of rights came up in the 16th century and has come up through western Liberal democracies. It is a big part of the American Declaration of Independence. Now that we have sort of been messing around with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the whole notion of rights has become confused.

As human beings we have two rights that are inalienable: the right to life and the right to liberty. Beyond those every other so-called right is a privilege given to us by other members of society for one reason or another.

When people came together under an apple tree and decided on some sort of governance, they were willing to give up some of our individual freedoms and liberties for the greater good, so that those that remained would be enhanced. We gave the responsibility to government to provide for these freedoms, security of the person and policing. We did so voluntarily but we did so as human beings.

We did not come together under a tree as white males, gay males, lesbian females, black females, males and females. We came together under a tree and said that for the common good we would have rules and order in society. We did not vest any one of us with rights or privileges superior to anyone else. When we came together and decided to have governance we said we wanted it for the common good.

Down the road things do not always work out the way they should. We know there are certain people in society who have been discriminated against. We know intuitively it is right to prevent discrimination. We have enacted laws over the years to prevent it. If we have to enact laws in the future to prevent discrimination against people because they are gay, homosexual, bisexual or lesbian, we should do so. However let us not be afraid of addressing it head on.

As my hon. colleague from Scarborough West said, statute laws that are ambiguous in nature in not defining the term sexual orientation do not bring credit to the law making process.

I wish to conclude my comments with a plea to all hon. members and to Canadians in general. We must make a clear distinction between the prevention of discrimination, which is laudable and which we all want, and affirmative action or giving benefit by reason of specific characteristics including sexual orientation. These are two very different ideas which have been combined and mixed up in the bill to the discredit of the bill.

If it is the government's intention to have sexual orientation as a defined part of the human rights act, the government should bring forth legislation as it promised to do in the election campaign and in its red book. It should show the courage of its convictions and do it through the front door honestly and honourably, not try to slide it in the back door through this legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.


John Nunziata Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to make further submissions on the legislation. Earlier I spoke about the alternative measures section in the code. I indicated then that I disagreed with the provision that would allow attorneys general across the country to use their discretion and not prosecute serious crimes. It is somewhat inconsistent now that the bill purports to deal more harshly with those who commit crimes motivated by hate, knowing that a court could very well divert an offender who commits an offence out of the criminal justice system and invoke the alternative measures.

The bill is not about sexual orientation. The bill is not about homosexuality. Frankly what the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway and the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve do in the confines of their bedrooms is their business. That is not what the bill purports to deal with.

The question of whether or not homosexuality is immoral is not the issue with the legislation. As the hon. member indicated, that debate is the real debate and that debate will only take place when a bill is put before the House dealing with amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-41 is an omnibus bill. It is referred to as an act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing) and other acts in consequence thereof.

If we look at the index we see it deals with alternative measures, purpose and principles of sentencing, punishment generally, procedure and evidence, restitution, conditional sentence of imprisonment, fines and forfeitures. The bill is not about sexual orientation or homosexuality. It is often referred to in the media as the hate crime bill. One section deals with hate crime and that is section 718.2. The section purports to deal with hate motivated crimes. The bill is not about homosexuality; it is about political correctness.

The first question I ask as a lawyer and as a Canadian is whether we need this section in the Criminal Code. The answer is very simply no. This section is here not because there is a void that has to be filled in criminal law. It is not here because there is a groundswell of support for this change in the country. It is because specific groups in society have effectively lobbied the Government of Canada to inject into the criminal law an unnecessary section.

I quote from a reputable newspaper that has never been accused of being homophobic, anti-homosexual or anything of the sort. The Globe and Mail , wrote an editorial entitled ``Unnecessary Laws'' which takes the position that the section is unnecessary. My views happen to coincide completely with the arguments made in the editorial. I quote:

The new sentencing guidelines are redundant and ill considered, injecting politics once again into the making of criminal law.

D (2155)

It goes on to say:

If Parliament wants to protect threatened groups from hate crimes, it cannot exclude certain groups that some of its members happen not to like. The real problem with section 718.2 is not that it refers to homosexuals but that it is proposed at all.

And this is the key:

Judges already have wide discretion in sentencing. They often use this discretion to hand out particularly harsh sentences for crimes they consider particularly harmful to society. As far as we can determine the government has presented no evidence that judges are being unduly lenient with criminals motivated by hate. So why pass a law that in effect asks them to be tougher?

What evidence does the Minister of Justice have or what evidence did he present to the justice committee to warrant this new section in the Criminal Code of Canada? As far as I know, and I have asked several members of the committee, there was no study presented to the committee and there was no evidence other than anecdotal evidence.

The member for Burnaby-Kingsway and others can talk about a particular hate motivated crime that happened in Vancouver, Toronto or Halifax. We know these crimes take place. But how often do they take place? Does the government have that evidence? Does the minister have a study that indicates that 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 or 10,000 so-called hate motivated crimes are taking place? We keep statistics on all kinds of matters related to the criminal law. If so, is there evidence to suggest that judges have been unduly lenient in dealing with offenders who commit a crime motivated by hate? I would submit there is no evidence to suggest that judges are too lenient. Then why present the law?

The criminal law is not a piece of legislation to be amended and changed in order to be "politically correct" because certain groups in society have pressured effectively for an inclusion of something in the law. The criminal law deals with many matters. It is a serious law, not to be used by politicians to curry votes and support from groups within society.

The Globe and Mail goes on to say:

The Criminal Code is not a toy. Nor is it a showcase for the government's good intentions. It is the law of the land. Before the government makes any changes to the code it should show that there is a problem in the first place, and what is more, a problem that can be addressed by the law. Governments should make law only out of demonstrated need. First demonstrate, then legislate.

The Globe and Mail makes a very persuasive argument on why we do not need this section in the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Financial Post is not a homophobic newspaper. I do not believe it can be accused of being anti-homosexual or anti-gay. It carried an editorial dated May 27 entitled ``Cluttering up the Code'' from which I would like to quote:

So much for the punishment fitting the crime. According to C-41 it is not enough that a person is assaulted or robbed or killed. Now any relevant aggravating circumstances are to be considered when meting out the punishment. If you happen to be beaten up or murdered because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because someone wanted to rob you, the court is told to give the offender a lighter sentence than it would to someone who assaulted or murdered because they hated the victim's religion.

In other words in an attempt to attack discrimination the law itself would discriminate. Furthermore, since the government has not produced evidence that the courts have been especially lenient on those who commit crimes motivated by hate, where is the need for such a provision? The bill says the fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute to the respect for the law. The section on sentencing does the opposite. It is motivated by politics, not by the principle of impartial justice.

For these reasons alone, I urge members of Parliament to reject this section of the bill. It is unnecessary. It is politically motivated. We are not debating here the issue of whether homosexuality is moral or immoral. That debate is yet to come.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10 p.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister's comment about how good Bill C-41 is and how much more it included other than section 718.2.

If the parliamentary secretary was listening carefully to the member for York South-Weston, he clearly pointed out two areas of this bill that are very questionable. One of them deals with alternative measures. Several clauses and subclauses are very questionable. Another one is section 718.2.

A third one I have found which is absolutely reflective of a government that really does not pay attention to the wishes of the people but writes legislation contrary to it is section 745.1. This section deals with early release for first and second degree murderers if they are under 18 years of age.

Very little has been debated on this bill. It was incumbent upon members in this House to do a thorough debate of this bill because of its implications.

Returning to 745.1 it reads:

The sentence to be pronounced against a person who was under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the offence for which the person was convicted of first degree murder or second degree murder and who is to be sentenced to imprisonment for life shall be that the person be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until a person has served such period between five and 10 years of the sentence as is specified by the judge presiding at the trial.

In other words, what is the difference between this piece of legislation when dealing with first and second degree murderers who are under 18 years old and those provisions under the Young Offenders Act? There is no difference whatsoever. Just like section 745, the attempt to repeal that section of the Criminal Code by the member for York South-Weston was brought about by him through a private member's bill.

Here is another section that almost replaces it which would be extremely irritating if the people in this country knew about its existence yet they know little about what is happening here. Bill C-41 is a very questionable document.

If I have learned anything since coming to Ottawa it is the wishes of the Canadian people are seldom reflected in legislation. More often than not legislation is passed either in spite of the desires of Canadians or by pulling the wool over their eyes, which is what Bill C-41 does.

I have also learned that political philosophy can influence legislation in one of two ways. The ideology of the political party that sponsors the piece of legislation can influence the means by which a commonly desired Canadian goal can be achieved, or it can set the goals. Bill C-41 is little more than ideology dressed up.

Canadians are realizing more and more that our current justice minister, the architect of this piece of legislation, is a man of the left, if not the far left. The justice minister knows exactly what he is doing. Just as he has hidden the true intent and true result of Bill C-68, the firearms registration bill, in a soft, fuzzy cloud of crime control, so he has disguised the real intent of Bill C-41 behind a veil of real justice reform. It is pure trickery, but it is also very transparent.

Bill C-41 is a bad bill and it will do bad things for Canada. Bill C-41 is an entirely predictable expression of what the current minister wants for Canada and what sort of impact he wants to leave on the political landscape. With Bill C-41 Canada sits atop the crest of a hill. If we in the House pass the bill we will propel ourselves down the slippery slope of governmental redefinition of the family, of governmental sanction of unhealthy relationships.

Mark my words, this in turn will lead to a further alienation of the Canadian people from their legislators. People are already disillusioned with politicians. They do not trust politicians. Why should they? Politicians craft bills like Bill C-41 and disguise it behind the veil of justice reform. It is only later when the legislative rubber hits the road and the courts take action that

Canadians find out what really is the true impact of the bill. That is what will happen with Bill C-41.

The world will not end if this bill passes. In fact, it will not change overnight. However, it will change and it will change for the worst. If this bill passes, the courts will be given full licence to redefine what marriage is, what discrimination means, what the limits of freedom of association are and just how free free speech is. We have seen examples of that in the House with the attempts to shut down debate. That will happen.

Bill C-41 with the inclusion of sexual orientation, whatever that means, as a protected category will inevitably lead to a change of discourse in the courts and eventually on the streets. It will lead to expanded special rights for one very small group of people. It will set new limits for the majority of people who do nothing more in life than go to work, go to church, pay their taxes, raise their kids and ask nothing more than to be left untouched as much as possible by the long arm of the Liberal state apparatus.

My years on the police force were invaluable in understanding what the real long term impact of legislation such as this will do. It has provided me with an education like no other with respect to the importance of the fine points of legislation and the massive ripple effect it will have on the street. The devil is in the details, as they say.

The Bail Reform Act for example is an act which was filled with good intentions but led Canada down a slippery slope which ended in the weakening of the criminal justice system in protecting society. That was a Liberal act. It was intended to allow the early release of non-violent offenders but was interpreted by jurists to include violent offenders. Broad intentions were transformed into bizarre reality as the legislative rubber hit the judicial road.

We have all seen the direction the Supreme Court has taken on the charter. The charter has to be so exploited by narrow political causes that constituents regularly call my office saying to scrap the thing altogether. Our esteemed court of highest appeal has ruled that drunks cannot commit crimes.

For those on the other side of the House who accuse me of fear mongering for suggesting that Bill C-41 with its addition of sexual orientation to the list of protected groups will not create waves which will wash dangerously over Canadian families, I say let us look at the record and let us get rid of the long list of those protected areas. For those who say that this bill is only about protecting people I say, just wait. A few years away, a few court decisions hence, this protection will turn into promotion. While all of us in this House support protection of any person from discrimination or violence, let us think very carefully about what we want to end up promoting.

Let us be honest with ourselves on this bill. We all know what it is going to lead to. I along with my constituents do not like that one bit.

The Reform Party does not like opposing legislation just for the sake of opposing it. No party should oppose legislation for that reason but we oppose this bill in its present form for good reasons. Those reasons are very much related to the problems I spoke of above.

What will happen when the open endedness of section 717 of the bill dealing with alternative measures for non-violent offences hits the streets and is subject to administration and interpretation? Nobody knows. The justice minister does not know.

I for one did not seek election in this House in order to leave the fate of legislation up to the law of unexpected consequence. This section, one of the more important sections of the bill, opens the door to the sort of judicial expansion that I witnessed while I was on the police force, the sort of expansion I know Canadians do not want.

Since we could not have this section tightened up in committee, we have no choice but to vote to scrap it. In my experience it is far better to return to the drawing board than to paint a dangerously obscure picture, especially when we are talking about criminal justice legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Halifax Nova Scotia


Mary Clancy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, when I came into this House tonight, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister said to me: "It is a sad day". I said that it was not a sad day, but that it was a great day for a number of reasons. If I may refer to another piece of legislation, a battle was won tonight in the House, the battle to see the gun control bill passed. That made it not a sad day.

I know that my colleague and my other colleague, the member from Mississauga who also thought it was a sad day were referring to attitudes that are expressed not just in this House, not just in this city or this province but right across the country. I want to talk a little about that in my very brief time. I am paraphrasing but I believe and my colleague from Toronto agrees with me that it was St. Thomas More, the great chancellor of England who said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

I have listened to some of the nonsensical reactions. I am not talking about members in this House but the letters I have received and responses from people who clearly have not read the bill, who do not understand what the bill is about, or who perhaps do understand what the bill is about and still evince an attitude of frightening intolerance. I know what my two colleagues mean when they say it is a sad day.

The reason I know it is not a sad day is that this bill will become law. It will pass because it is the right thing to do. What I am struggling with is the fact that colleagues in this House, some colleagues within our own party, members of the church to which I belong and to which I pay great homage and great love hurt me very much by their illogical and irrational response to this legislation. This legislation says in effect that if x goes out and hits y because he just does not like y 's face and injures him and he is convicted of let us call it assault causing bodily harm, so we do not have to worry about private prosecutions here, the provisions in this legislation would not kick in. It does not call for it. It is not one of the things that falls under these provisions against hate.

What if someone does not like you, Mr. Speaker, because you may be a Presbyterian and decides to assault you because he does not like Presbyterians and you are a member of that group? Should this exacerbate the situation? I think so. The Minister of Justice thinks so, the Prime Minister thinks so, the parliamentary secretary thinks so. The vast number of Canadians think so. The vast number of Canadians are tolerant and believe that to attack someone because of a belief, ethnocultural background, skin colour or sexual orientation exacerbates the assault.

The questions as to whether that is right or wrong are distinct questions of policy and divisions between the Reform Party and the Liberal Party to take one example. What we are talking about is something that goes much deeper. It goes back to what I said when I started my speech that the member for Mississauga and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister were disheartened when I came in here tonight because of the feelings of intolerance that have flown around this bill from its inception.

I went home today to do two things. I was opening a special centre for technology in my riding, a wonderful thing for the G-7, and also because my mother is very ill. She is dying in the hospital after a very long life. I thought about bringing up this allusion tonight in my speech.

In a sense I want to pay tribute to her because I am here and I hold the opinions I hold because of the way she, a single mother, brought me up. She was a school teacher who desperately wanted to be a lawyer but coming to her maturity in the depression in Cape Breton, the oldest of nine children, it was not possible. She taught school. She was involved in politics. She was involved in the teachers' union. She was a feminist. She was a single mother because my father died when I was very young. She believed passionately in tolerance.

I remember when I was four years old a man came to our house selling baskets. He was a Micmac. As was the Cape Breton tradition, my mother gave him a meal before he left. She bought some baskets from him as well. As he walked away from our house my mother said: "That poor man. It is a very difficult thing to be an Indian in this society".

I remember the discussion that resulted from that. It went on between us for the next 40 years as she talked to me about questions of tolerance. She talked to me about taking people at face value. She talked to me about tolerance based on fear and ignorance and how we must always fight to root it out.

Whether that intolerance is against aboriginal people, people of colour, people who hold a different sexual orientation from someone else's it is shocking that we allow the vilification that has gone on around this debate to go on, that we allow the ignorance and fear to go on, and that we do not collectively as parliamentarians stand up and say enough.

We are changing the sentencing law because it is the right thing to do. We are changing the sentencing law because people deserve to be protected from people who hate them. If someone assaults someone else because they hate what he or she stands for, thinks, believes in or because of something endemic to that person which includes sexual orientation, they are wrong and it deserves to be brought out after their conviction in a court of law and added to their sentence.

I stand here tonight to say this from my mother, Reenie Clancy, who will not be with us for very much longer. I am very proud that she taught me to believe this way. I am also very proud that I am here to vote for this bill.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-41, the sentencing bill, starts out with good intentions but fails to carry them out. I like the part that mentions reparation to victims and the promotion of a sense of responsibility to offenders. It is about time victims were mentioned in legislation. I would even like to see that portion of this bill strengthened.

However, the bill goes down hill from there. The alternative measures section allows authorities to choose individual offenders for special sentencing deals. Already sentences for similar crimes vary from place to place within Canada and they even vary from the city to the country. If one is to kill someone in this country, as the hon. member for York South-Weston pointed out earlier, statistically one should probably do it in Quebec because one gets far less time in jail than in other parts of the country. I find that incredible.

The alternative measures section will make it easier on some criminals, which is the trend in our justice system, to blame all wrongdoing on society and remove the need for punishment. People do not want more leniency. They want the opposite. Imagine the return of the lash that was suggested 10 years ago as a legitimate element in our justice system. Now we hear calls for it in some parts of the country nearly every day. I am not convinced that is the answer but it shows me people are crying

out for action from the government. They demand action and justice but they are not seeing it in this bill.

Tomorrow I hope to meet with the justice minister to talk about a case in my constituency in which a woman was stalked for five years and finally when she was caught by her estranged husband and stabbed repeatedly her husband received two years less a day in jail. That is a shame. I am sick and tired of sentencing bills that allow this kind of discrepancy. That person should have been put away for a long time and this woman protected. Instead they are allowed to come back into society in a few short months. It is disgusting.

When we get to the hate crime section of the bill we see some more inequalities. It allows a stiffer sentence if a crime is motivated by hatred against certain groups. If aggravated assault is perpetrated on me because somebody wants my money, it hurts just as much to get punched in the eye no matter what group I am from. The whole concept of identifying Canadians by groups instead of as individuals is a disturbing trend in Canadian society.

Too often the government wants to label people by ethnicity, colour, race, gender and now by sexual orientation. People should be labelled in one way, Canadians. They should be entitled to all the privileges, responsibilities and protection every single Canadian deserves.

This section also marks a basic shift in our legal system by starting to criminalize thought. We have always punished people for the wrong things they do, not for the wrong things they think. I have zero tolerance for hatred and I think we should continuously speak out against hatred whenever we see it. We cannot stamp it out by pretending to read people's minds and then sending them to jail for it. It sets a bad precedent for the future because hatred is so hard to define and to know what goes on in someone's head is almost impossible.

In a previous debate some months ago when the member for Central Nova stated in her opinion that homosexuality is immoral, her words were characterized by the member for Burnaby-Kingsway as hateful, bigoted comments that have absolutely no place in the Chamber and certainly not in the Liberal Party of Canada.

One member's moral opinion, granted, is seen by a leading homosexual in the country as an expression of hatred and bigotry. It is a dangerous trend to label people like that. Where could this take us?

Maybe members are not familiar with this but British Columbia right now is contemplating a law called the bubble law that will make it illegal to even voice protest against abortion within a certain distance of an abortion clinic. Every day an elderly priest stands in front of the House and wears or puts up a sign that says abortion is wrong. That is his opinion. If the law in British Columbia passes it would be illegal to do that. Someone could sit on a park bench within 100 feet of an abortion clinic with a sign around their neck saying they are against abortion and they would be totally in contravention of the law.

That is the trouble because it starts to infiltrate and impugn motives on people. They could not even stand on the corner with a simple sign hung around their neck saying they are against abortion. One day if this trend continues legitimate opinions that express the morality of homosexuality on either side may be viewed as illegal or hateful. I think that is a very dangerous trend.

The hate crimes section does not yet entrench this but it takes a step in that direction. By establishing a principle in Bill C-41 we are paving the way that it is all right to punish thoughts with jail terms.

I would like to remove the entire hate crimes section. The second best option would be to remove all the enumerated groups. My third preference would be to remove the phrase sexual orientation from the bill. If this amendment also failed in this group I would at least think the terms should be defined.

Why would I remove the phrase sexual orientation? Other speakers have elaborated that it is simply not necessary. Homosexuals or people of whatever sexual orientation are already protected against violence, as they should be, like all other Canadians because they are protected by the Criminal Code.

The Canadian Bar Association said to the committee that when someone can show they have been assaulted or somehow abused in all cases prosecutions followed, and so they should. That is why it is unnecessary to include phrases like this.

Why should sexual orientation be defined? When the Prime Minister was the Minister of Justice he said in committee in 1981:

I am not here to determine what sexual orientation means. It is because of the problem of the definition of those words that we do not think they should even be in the Constitution.

On July 14, 1993 the Canadian Human Rights Commission said:

We should be wary of coming to a complete definition. I propose to analyze this case from the point of view of what I believe to be a minimal definition of sexual orientation, namely, the capacity, or perceived capacity, to be sexually attracted to persons of one's own gender.

Homosexuality is a minimal definition. The commission left it open ended. Let me read some very recent quotes from the standing committee on justice. John Conroy of the Canadian Bar Association said on November 24 last year:

That has certainly been the definition I've always understood: homosexual, heterosexual or some other sexual orientation. It could be any kind of sexual orientation, and it could be something that, as you say, is illegal.

Listen to Dr. Stephen Wormith, chair of the criminal justice psychology section of the Canadian Psychological Association last November:

Sexual orientation is a crucial factor of paedophilia; a fundamental component of a true paedophile is his or her sexual orientation. Certainly sexual orientation is a key and fundamental component of paedophilia.

On February 9 of this year, Robert Wakefield, the director of the Ottawa region of the Criminal Lawyers Association, said this about sexual orientation:

Psychiatrists use it. They will say somebody is heterosexual, or gay, or lesbian, or a paedophile. There are other sorts of deviant sexual behaviours that they regard as an individual's sexual orientation.

Finally, Dr. Greenberg, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Ottawa and staff forensic psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, said in February of this year:

Sexual orientation is a descriptive term. It basically defines what attracts a person to a stimulus. In other words, just like a compass-

A member asked him: "So necrophilia would be a sexual orientation to you?" "A deviant sexual orientation, yes," he answered.

I cannot believe that the Minister of Justice wants to open this can of worms. He is not listening to the experts. I am ashamed to have to stand here in Parliament and tell the Canadian people what the government is doing. If people are concerned about what this bill could mean, then they should get on the phone or the fax and get in touch of their member of Parliament or the Liberal government and tell them that of your concern about what this could open up if this bill goes ahead as it is written.

I regret that with time allocation there are only a few hours left before this bill will become law if the government pushes ahead. I ask the government to reconsider, to listen carefully to the amendments that will be proposed later and do the right thing to eliminate this section altogether.