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House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organized.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

No, Mr. Chairman, but the penalties that can be given are limited to those provided in the Young Offenders Act.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

If we want to split hairs, then I will put it this way. If the judge says that the young offender has to be tried in youth court, then he is immune to the penalties provided in this new section. Is that right?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chairman, as in every other case, if the court decides not to transfer the young person out of youth court, then the Young Offenders Act penalties apply.

As the hon. member knows, in Bill C-37 we took the most serious crimes of violence and changed the transfer provisions. We said in Bill C-37, which is now the law of this land, that if one is 16 or 17, namely at the upper range of the age limit covered by the Young Offenders Act, and is accused of one of the most serious acts of violence-and we included murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault-then that person will be tried in adult court unless the person can satisfy the burden of showing to the satisfaction of the judge that it is consistent with the public interest that they be tried in the youth court.

That was to demonstrate that we are not going to tolerate serious crimes of violence from young people and we are going to react to it with swift and certain punishment.

If the youth is transferred to adult court, then that youth is of course subject to all the adult penalties. In connection with Bill C-95, that is the 14 years for explosives, for example, the 14 years for the participation in the criminal organization offence, that is the extended period where the youth cannot apply for parole, that is consecutive sentences if the youth is sentenced for other offences as well. If the youth is transferred to adult court, that youth faces those very significant sanctions. But as in any other case, if the prosecuting attorney does not seek a transfer-of course, that is up to the provincial crown attorney-or if the court says it will not transfer the youth, then that youth is subject to the Young Offenders Act in youth court and the maximums under that statute apply.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

It is pretty clear that young offenders who are gang members, simply because of the transferability of some of these offences-and it is a narrow series of offences that Bill C-37 covers-that this new offence does not apply in youth court. It only applies in adult court. On the penalty, what difference does it make? Unless it applies to adults who are using youths, as they did in the Ace Crew organization, that gang that led to the torture and the death of at least one individual, and the individual was left in youth court and received only a three year penalty for manslaughter, which would have been much higher had he been transferred to adult court.

It is very clear then that this new penalty and by and large the act itself, does not apply to anyone heard in youth court.

I would ask the minister this question. If an adult was charged for committing an indictable offence, and the punishment was more than five years, and it could be proved that the individual was a member of a group, association or other body, and the other four people that made up the organization were youths, would the definition still apply?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Yes, in my view it would.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

All right. Then I will move on to the offence related property which is the final grouping. The justice minister touched on it in his earlier testimony. I would like him to advise the committee the difference that this will make over the laws that presently exist. Could he enlighten the committee on the change that this new bill brings in.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chairman, is the hon. member's reference to offence related property?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Yes.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chairman, at the moment the criminal law provides that in certain categories of crime, the court can seize and forfeit the proceeds of crime. Indeed, in some circumstances the court can make an order, even before conviction, that the property be tied up or suspended, that the accused person be deprived of its use or operation in the period pending trial.

We have taken over such things as ski chalets under the provisions of that law where it has been possible to prove that the proceeds of the crime can be traced into assets.

In Bill C-95 the ambit of the proceeds section have been extended so that they cover criminal organization offences as well as the offences to which they apply at present. However, we have done something else and this is the first time it has been done. We have extended the powers of the court to include the instrumentalities of crime. This has been under discussion for many years in Canadian law. It has never before been done.

This means that you can not only seize the money that is made from the crime or the property to which you turn it but you can also seize the property used for the purpose of committing the crime. If an organized crime syndicate is using boats to take contraband across the border, using trucks to drive explosives to the scene of the crime, using a building, especially fortified or modified, to facilitate the commission of a crime, then the court will be empowered to order the forfeiture of that property as an instrument of the crime as well as the proceeds which would be in keeping with the practice in Canada to date.

We believe this is going to give the authorities an important new tool to take from the criminal organizations those assets which they use to commit their crimes and to provide a way of shutting them down by depriving them of the very tools they need to carry on their nefarious trade.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Chairman, I have one final question. I want to go back to the youth application. In light of what the justice minister has told the committee with regard to the manner in which this new bill is applicable or not applicable to young offenders, would he consider an amendment to the YOA that would extend the transfer to adult court of any offence the penalty of which holds a maximum penalty in the code of more than five years?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Chairman, I would want to see that in detail to consider it. Perhaps the hon. member would be good enough to let me have that proposal over the period we take for question period so that we can look at it and consider its implications. I am not quite sure that I understand what the hon. member has in mind but I am sure that by discussing it with him over that period we can

develop a better understanding of it and provide him with an answer.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Chairman

Further questions? With respect to clause 1 again?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Yes, Mr. Chairman. I do thank the minister for this opportunity to question him. I quite enjoy this kind of give and take. I think this committee of the whole is a very useful provision. People watching on television and going through the Hansard proceedings will see that there is a lot of value in the give and take between the minister and opposition members.

I want to reiterate a problem we have. The Quebec chiefs of police asked for legislation like this back in 1994. We are probably five days away from an election call and now, because we want to be good folks here on this side, we find that we have to pass the bill in a day because if we do not the bill will not become law before the election. That is unfortunate because it taints an otherwise honest attempt by the minister to address a serious problem. It also taints it with that feeling like this is another one of those photo ops in the last week before the election, which is too bad.

However, I take the minister at his word that this has been in the works for a long time. It is just too bad that we are forced to deal with it at the 11th hour. I believe it is going to throw out a lot of questions and comments on this bill that were unnecessary. I have all kinds of newspaper articles that state that politics are coming before good legislation. I am sure the minister does not need that on his resume. It is unfortunate that it has happened.

To continue on that same line, I remind the minister that 10 days ago some amendments on sentencing provisions of Bill C-41 and Bill C-45 had to be brought in. Things slip through when we are in a hurry. Again we agreed to do that in a hurry to allow the minister to correct some imperfections in the bills. Even Bill C-68-about which we consistently chastised the minister-the first set of regulations that came down were all withdrawn and reintroduced.

All those are signs of things done in haste. I hope the minister is right that this bill will stand the constitutional challenge and will do what he wants it to do. But things done in haste this close to an election run the risk of not being done properly.

This is not a huge and long bill but it amends many sections of the Criminal Code. Some received the bill Friday or even this morning. We had people who worked on the weekend. Many of us tried to find out exactly what the bill would mean with consequential amendments and all that stuff. It was very difficult to do.

I have a couple of questions for the minister about this. Am I right that in the first part of the definition of criminal organization where it consists of any body consisting of five or more persons that persons refers to anybody older than 12 years of age? Is that what I heard the minister say?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Chairman

The time for question period is upon us. We will have to continue again with clause 1 after question period.

(Progress reported.)

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It is almost 2 p.m. We will begin statements by members.

Grantham Lions ClubStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Grantham Lions Club of St. Catharines was given its charter on May 2, 1952 and is celebrating its 45th charter night later this month.

Since 1952 the club has worked to promote the principles of good government and good citizenship, to be of service to those less fortunate, to provide a forum for discussion and to encourage service minded citizens to serve their community.

The results of these worthy objectives include the development of one of the finest sports parks in the city of St. Catharines and assisting programs and organizations like the Cubs and the Beavers, local hospitals, the Ina Grafton Gage Home, support and assistance for the visually and hearing impaired and much much more.

The Grantham Lions Club has been a key community organizer and supporter over the last 45 years in helping our youth, our aged and our less fortunate. As we celebrate this important milestone for the club, two club members are of special mention. Charles Boyagian and Lee Nichols are charter members of the club. I congratulate them and all club members on their excellent work, their dedication to the community and their true spirit of giving.

Natural Health ProductsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the health minister explicitly stated in the House that Bill C-7, then reintroduced as Bill C-8, was a narcotics bill and that it did not deal with natural health products.

However, the Liberals then declared vitamins, minerals and herbs with any therapeutic value to be drugs. Now, without any evidence that these products are unsafe, the Liberals are actively removing vitamins, minerals, herbal and natural extracts that have been on our shelves for years. In addition, Canada Customs is

arbitrarily seizing natural health products at the border or refusing their entry into Canada.

Under the new rules, companies must provide these products are safe beyond a shadow of a doubt. Only the big pharmaceutical companies can afford to market their products under these rules.

The bottom line is that what is taken off the shelf in the public interest is put right back on in an official bottle at double or triple the price.

The issue is not about safety; it is about money and power. Under the Liberal government, consumers and small businesses are losing to big corporations.

National Textiles WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring to the attention of this House that April 21 to April 27 is National Textiles Week in Canada.

The textile industry is an excellent example of a sector that has restructured and has aggressively pursued new product markets worldwide. In fact, industry exports have almost tripled since 1989.

National Textiles Week, which is organized by the Textiles Human Resources Council, is an excellent example of partnership at work. Companies, unions, suppliers and industry organizations have all come forward to sponsor this week of important events which opens with FUTUR*TEX, a major conference in Montreal. Other events during the week will feature open houses, school visits and press conferences.

All these activities will make Canadians more familiar with the textile industry and ensure it a promising future in Canada's economy.

Government ExpendituresStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is ahead in its fight against the deficit, but it has not been as successful in reducing its own expenditures.

If we look at the figures we see that, between 1994-95 and 1997-98, Ottawa cut its internal expenditures by only 9 per cent and not the 19 per cent promised in the 1995 budget.

According to Treasury Board's latest release, federal expenditures, excluding transfer payments, will reach $50.2 billion in 1997-98, or $8 billion more than predicted two years ago.

In the meantime, 54 per cent of spending was cut by reducing transfers to the provinces. Cash transfers for health and social programs dropped by 35 per cent.

Federal government revenues and departmental expenditures exceed forecasts, while the debt service is lower than predicted. In fact, the only prediction of the Department of Finance that has come true is the one concerning transfers to the provinces. The federal government has definitely reduced its deficit on the backs of the provinces and the unemployed.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be presenting a petition with over 1,700 signatures opposing the cutbacks to the CBC. This is a small part of a petition which was started by a single individual in B.C. and now has over 36,000 signatures and continues to grow. There has been a groundswell of grassroots support from every province and territory.

The petition started from the outrage over the Liberal Party's failure to honour its 1993 red book campaign promise to maintain stable long term funding for the CBC. It also started from an anger against the Liberal Party's shortsightedness in dismantling the single most effective institution supporting Canadian unity by promoting communication and celebrating the unique values, strengths and aspirations of Canadians.

Another $100 million in cuts are scheduled for next year. For the sake of the future of Canada as a free, independent and democratic nation, they must be stopped.

Ytv Achievement AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the words that the future is so bright we need to wear shades. This morning, I saw the best and the brightest of our young Canadians when I had the honour of attending a breakfast for the YTV achievement award winners from all across this great country.

The eighth annual YTV achievement awards are sponsored by the YTV Network and CIBC. Unlike any other awards, the YTV achievement awards give a glimpse of future Canadian stars and hometown heroes.

It is my pleasure to congratulate the following achievers: Soup from Halifax, N.S. for the best musical group; Sabrina Perri from St. Leonard, Quebec for innovation, science and technology; Benjamin Bowman from Toronto, Ontario for instrumental music; Nava Mizrahi from Vancouver, B.C. for public service; Travis Knight from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec for specialty performance; Joseph Radmore from Kemptville, Ontario for sports;

Kimberly Richard from Pierrefonds, Quebec for the Terry Fox award; Michel Irving from Moncton, New Brunswick for visual arts; Holy Heart of Mary Chamber Choir from St. John's, Newfoundland for vocal; and Jérôme Gariépy from Montreal, Quebec for writing.

Ytv Achievement AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, you might be interested to know that I will be formally introducing these young people to the House at the end of question period.

Responsible Drinking CampaignStatements By Members

April 21st, 1997 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have with us in the gallery today the national finalists in the Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard program sponsored by Canada's brewers.

The program asked young Canadians to submit ideas and concepts for an ad campaign designed to promote awareness of the importance of responsible drinking.

I would like to congratulate my constituent, Brad Swaile of Vancouver; Scott Robertson of Yellowknife; Brian Brintell of Brighton, Ontario; Justin Antippa of Trois-Rivières; and Anthony Slade of Timberlea, Nova Scotia.

More than 5,000 young Canadians from across the country sent in videos, computer animation, short stories, poetry, music and posters. Their efforts are a testament to the creativity of Canada's youth.

I praise all the young participants who contributed to the responsible drinking campaign. I recognize the brewing industry for sponsoring this important initiative.

Prime Minister Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, on Radio-Canada's Raison passion , Aline Chrétien spoke about her famous husband. One of the topics raised in the interview was his unpopularity and Mrs. Chrétien said: ``Of course it hurts. I would be happier if he were more popular in Quebec''.

I have great sympathy for her, but it hurts me too to see the Prime Minister, a Quebecer, making a career of walking all over Quebec, something he has been doing for the last 30 years. How can he be popular when his friends are Clyde Wells, Howard Galganov and Guy Bertrand?

Do you remember the night of the long knives, his pride in having been Pierre Elliott Trudeau's hatchet man when the Constitution was patriated in 1982 without Quebec's agreement. Last week marked the 15th anniversary of that sad event.

Yes, Mrs. Chrétien, Quebec remembers.

Trail, B.C.Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the city of Trail has a long history of contributing to the sports culture and the economy of this country. This small West Kootenay community has weathered good days and bad as Cominco, its primary employer, went through some difficult times.

Now nature has thrown a devastating flood at Trail and some other nearby communities. They need the help of this country to get back on their feet. A flood of this magnitude is disastrous for any community and more so for a town the size of Trail and the other surrounding communities.

The flood also claimed the life of Ken Plotnikoff Jr. while he toiled to help save the family business. I am sure that the entire House joins with me in offering condolences to the family and a pledge of financial support for Trail and its neighbours in their hour of need.