House of Commons Hansard #196 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dollar.


Points Of Order

11:05 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario


Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on Friday during question period the member for Laval Centre asked that documents be tabled referring to the road to the Prime Minister' residence.

If there is unanimous consent, and there has been consultation with the parties, I would like to table those documents now.

Points Of Order

11:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it agreed that the parliamentary secretary table these documents?

Points Of Order

11:05 a.m.

Some hon. members


Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

moved that Bill C-260, an act to amend the Young Offenders Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to initiate debate on my private member's legislation, Bill C-260.

It is a simple bill in that it consists of one minor amendment to the Young Offenders Act. I have used the words simple and minor to describe the content and the construction of the actual legislation.

The ramifications of the legislation are I believe a little different and quite important. They address an issue which Canadians have demanded be addressed for years, that the parents or guardians of young offenders be called to account when they fail to discharge their responsibility to supervise.

This amendment changes section 7.2 of the Young Offenders Act from a simple summary conviction offence to a dual procedure or hybrid offence.

Should this bill be accepted and passed, offenders of section 7.1 would become subject to either imprisonment of up to two years or the normal summary conviction penalties. As I am sure members are aware, the Minister of Justice introduced long awaited new youth justice legislation last week.

Furthermore, members may be aware that the legislative change proposed in Bill C-260 has been incorporated into the new youth criminal justice act. One must assume the Minister of Justice and her government see merit in the changes proposed.

Members may therefore be wondering why I have chosen to proceed with this amendment now. Quite simply, I do not anticipate that the new youth justice legislation will be implemented for some time yet. I have heard possibly by year's end at the earliest, but even that may be wishful thinking. I believe this amendment is important enough to be incorporated within the current youth justice legislation, the Young Offenders Act.

I will now take a moment to outline the reasons for this proposal. Section 7.1 of the Young Offenders Act permits a youth court judge or justice to allow an accused person who would otherwise be detained in custody to be placed into the care of a responsible person who undertakes in writing to be responsible for the attendance of the young person in court when required, and to ensure compliance with such other conditions as a youth court judge or justice may specify.

The young person also undertakes in writing to comply with the arrangements and to comply with any other conditions that the judge or justice may specify.

In simple terms, instead of keeping a young accused in custody, the law permits an individual, usually a parent or guardian, to undertake to properly supervise the young person until the charges are decided. This is essentially just another form of custody. It is bail.

The court wishes to ensure that both the young person and the parent or other responsible person agree to abide by the conditions of release. A signed undertaking, a contract, is agreed on.

There are of course other provisions that permit changes to the terms of the undertaking or even cancellation of the release.

A parent need only apply to the court to be relieved of their responsibility should they find that they were unable to fulfill their obligation. If that were to occur, the young person would be returned to custody unless another person were to come forward to sign a new undertaking.

The problem that occurs and the reason for introducing this legislation is that some parents or guardians enter into these undertakings and then wilfully fail to provide proper and sufficient supervision. This failure can then result in additional repercussions to the young person and may even result in additional criminal charges should the young person proceed on to other criminal offences. It is this type of situation where parents or guardians shirk their legal responsibility that the bill seeks to address.

I will provide an example. Suppose a young person gets involved with the wrong crowd and ends up with others causing some form of physical assault late one night on an innocent citizen on the streets of a community. The police are called. An arrest is made and a charge is laid. We can all probably understand why a youth court judge might be hesitant to detain this young person for this type of offence, especially if it is a first offence.

I am sure we can also understand that the same judge would wish to ensure the young person does not get into further difficulty prior to the resolution of the charges. The judge may want to order the young person to stay away from the influence of other accused. The judge may want to order that the young person refrain from being out on the streets late at night. In other words, the judge may impose a curfew.

Suppose the young person's parent then agrees to provide a written undertaking to supervise this young person to ensure conditions are fulfilled such as staying away from a listed number of individuals and being at home during a set period of night hours.

What if the parent has been part of the problem all along? What if the parent has never properly performed parental responsibility toward their young person? What if the parent signs the undertaking or so-called contract with the court and then deliberately neglects to control or supervise the young person? Is this type of situation not a serious problem within our justice system?

Canadians far and wide have long called for more responsibility and accountability on the part of parents or guardians of young offenders. In instances such as I have just described, we have cases where parents or other adults sign an undertaking with the court to be responsible and accountable. Should they not at least be held accountable to the level of a dual procedure offence?

If the young person merely breaches a condition of release then the parent may face a summary conviction procedure for their failure to comply with the undertaking to supervise. If the breach of the release condition leads to the commission of a serious offence by the young person, that same parent might be subject to an indictable proceeding. Like all hybrid offences, the crown has the option. Of course the judge, as always, has the final decision on the appropriate punishment should the charge be proven.

Some individuals opposed to these proposed changes to the legislation might argue that we may not want to exacerbate the situation between a young offender and their parent. If the young offender breaks the conditions of release and the parent is found to have wilfully failed to uphold the promise to properly supervise, that parent may end up facing more severe repercussions through this change to a dual procedure offence.

Some may worry that relations between the youth and the parent may become further strained. To this I say that if the parent wilfully participates in ignoring a court imposed condition, then the parent should be held accountable as it is obvious that the parent is a major part of the problem in the first place.

A parent, by definition, should be setting a proper example for the child. An improper example is certainly being set when an adult signs a court order, ignores the consequences and wilfully supports the young offender with inappropriate and illegal activity. Of course the parent should be made to account for this failure.

My amendment to the law is merely one step to broaden this accountability. It may be a large step toward protecting citizens and communities once we impress on delinquent parents how serious we consider their failures to control their children placed in their custody at their own request until the original criminal charges are heard.

I would be remiss if I did not inform my colleagues that this relatively unknown section of the Young Offenders Act is of particular relevance to my family and me.

I think that by now some are aware that back in 1992 my son, Jesse, was murdered by a young offender late one night. Jesse was 16 years old at the time. He and two friends were heading home after getting off a bus near home. They were attacked at random by six strangers, without provocation. A young offender, who was free in the community on a section 7.1 undertaking, knifed him in the back. One of the conditions of release into his father's custody was a dusk to dawn curfew.

Obviously the young offender was not complying with that condition on that night. He had also failed to appear in court some three weeks earlier, another failure to comply.

In my opinion, the parent who signed that undertaking to supervise wilfully failed in his responsibility before the court and my son paid the price. That young offender was convicted of the crime and is serving a life sentence in a penitentiary.

The House will note that I stated that it was in my opinion that the adult offended section 7.2, as it has never been determined in court. That is the injustice of this case. I do not know if the situation would have ended up any differently, but the failure of the adult to properly supervise and control that young offender certainly did not help Jesse. It may well have failed to help that particular young offender as well. Who knows, perhaps compliance with the undertaking to supervise might have been enough to keep that young person at home that night.

All I know is that particular adult promised the court he would properly supervise the youth. He promised that the youth would attend court. He promised that the youth would abide by a curfew condition. He failed to fulfil those promises and a young life was snuffed out at 16.

Some have said that this amendment seeks to blame parents for the crimes committed by their children. That is utterly ridiculous. The young person is solely accountable for their own criminal activity. For the purpose of this legislation the parent is guilty of the offence of failing to comply with an undertaking. Even if the young person does not go on to commit another offence beyond a breach, the parent is still accountable for the failure to comply with their own promise to supervise. They have broken a contract.

Others suggest that some parents are unable to control their children. If that is the case, then they simply have no business entering into such an undertaking. I do not suggest for one minute that a parent or guardian should be expected to chase their son or daughter down the street or physically drag them into the house at two o'clock in the morning should they decide to breach their curfew. What I do expect, however, is for that parent to pick up the phone and notify the police of the breach. By doing that the parent has acted in a responsible manner. The parent who merely shuts the door and goes to bed is clearly demonstrating a wilful failure to comply with their undertaking to supervise.

I believe that members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs understood the significance of this bill, so they made it votable. As I said at the outset, although the content of Bill C-260 is contained in the new youth criminal justice act, I seek to amend the current Young Offenders Act, as the new legislation is still a long way off.

I fervently request and seek the support of my colleagues in this place for this initiative. I do so for all concerned. It is in the interest of the safety of our citizens and our communities. It is in the interest of our youth who are most often the victim of young offender crimes. It is in the interest of young offenders who are afforded the opportunity to return to our communities while they await resolution of their initial charges.

My amendment is simple. It is solely to make adults more accountable and responsible to properly supervise when they promise to do so before the courts. Is that really too much to ask?

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.


John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the hon. member for Surrey North who has introduced Bill C-260 to amend the Young Offenders Act.

As the House will know, the Minister of Justice introduced youth criminal justice legislation last week. The new legislation will replace the Young Offenders Act. It represents one element in the strategy for the renewal of youth justice which was launched last May.

I appreciate my colleague's valuable contribution to the justice committee. Indeed, he asked a number of very thoughtful questions. He was a major contributor to our victims report and largely generated many of the very good recommendations that are in it.

It is a rare day when the government recognizes a private member's initiative and adopts it as its own. In some respects it is the ultimate compliment of the government to a private member to accept their initiative and to incorporate it into legislation. I would point out that in large measure this has been incorporated into the new bill.

I refer members to Bill C-68, in particular clause 31(1), which states that a person who has been arrested may be placed in the care of a responsible person. Subclause (b) states that the responsible person has to be willing and able to take care of the person and has to, in turn, undertake that they will take responsibility for the young person. The young person, in turn, has to undertake in writing to comply with the terms of the order. That in itself is quite a scheme.

Where the bill addresses the concern of the hon. member opposite is in clause 138(1). Herein lies the change. Every person who wilfully fails to comply with clause 30 or with an undertaking entered into under clause 31(3) is guilty of an indictable offence. Subclause (b) refers to a summary offence.

The effect of the bill is to give the crown an election as to whether to proceed against the responsible person as an indictable offence or as a summary offence. It is called a hybrid offence. It is a worthwhile and laudable initiative on the part of the member opposite.

It is therefore my intention to discuss the objectives of Bill C-260 in the context of the youth criminal justice bill. The legislative response announced last week represents an important element in the government's overall strategy to address the issue of Canadians concerned about youth crime. There is no single solution, no magic bullet which will solve the problem of youth crime. Last year the crime prevention strategy was announced. Obviously the most effective answer to crime, and to youth crime in particular, is prevention.

I want to take this opportunity to address some of the nonsense that is in the news media about the responsibility of parents. My hon. friend has addressed a couple of the issues, such as parents who are accountable for recidivist youth. There is no way that is incorporated in either his bill or in the new legislation. That notion is nonsense and it needs to be said in the House.

I do not see anything with respect to vicarious liability for parental responsibility in the bill. I stand to be corrected, but I cannot quite imagine how parents are going to be held responsible for the crime of their children, vicariously or otherwise.

The bill addresses crime with respect to children and parental responsibility in clause 11 of the new bill. The bill deals with extra judicial sanctions, namely the giving of a notice to a young person that they are having some serious difficulties with the law. That does not initiate a judicial process. However, there is an obligation on the part of the police officer to, in turn, give the notice to the parent so the parent or the responsible person is aware of what is going on.

If that does not work, then the next stage falls under clause 26 of the bill where the youth is arrested. When that youth is arrested there is an obligation under clause 26 to give a notice to the parents. The notice contains the name of the young person, the charge against the young person and a statement that the young person is entitled to be represented by counsel. That is the second level of parental responsibility.

The third level of responsibility with respect to parental attendance is found under clause 27. If a parent does not attend proceedings held before a youth justice court in respect to a young person they may be, by order, required to attend. In certain circumstances they may be found in contempt of court if they fail to attend.

I suggest that these are reasoned and balanced responses to parental responsibility.

The legislation reflects this commitment to safer streets. As stated in the preamble of the bill, the protection of society from youth crime is the most important objective.

At the outset, the legislation sets out its clear goal to establish a youth criminal justice system that commands respect, fosters responsibility and ensures accountability through meaningful consequences and effective rehabilitation and reintegration.

It is easy to state, but much more difficult to put into legislation. However, I would respectfully submit that with the nudging of Bill C-260 and the response of Bill C-68 that in fact some areas of accountability and responsibility have been addressed.

In the context of addressing problems with the current youth justice system through the new youth justice legislation, Bill C-260 was taken into account. The objective of the hon. member's bill corresponds to the one objective of the new legislation; that is, to foster greater accountability.

Individuals, including persons and their parents, must be held accountable for their actions. Consequences must flow from the wrongdoing. The modifications suggested in Bill C-260 were therefore included in the new legislation.

Bill C-260 would apply after the bail criteria has been applied and the young person has been found to be ineligible for judicial interim release. In other words, the choice is whether the person wants to go to jail or whether someone is going to take responsibility for the youth. In such cases the proposed provisions of the youth criminal justice bill permit youth to be placed in the care of a responsible adult instead of being detained in custody.

The responsible adult must undertake, in writing, to take care of the young person and ensure that he or she complies with the conditions of the court. As it now stands, if the responsible adult wilfully fails to comply with the undertaking, the responsible adult could be found guilty of only a summary conviction offence. That, in certain circumstances, as the hon. member has pointed out, is woefully inadequate for this kind of criminal liability.

Bill C-260 proposes to make the offence a hybrid offence so that prosecutors have the choice to proceed summarily or by way of indictment. An undertaking given to the court to act as a responsible adult is an extremely serious responsibility. As an aside, if I were a drafter I would insist on independent legal advice.

If we are to impress upon young people that the justice system must be respected and should foster values such as accountability and responsibility and that criminal behaviour will lead to meaningful consequences, then we must also apply those values to responsible adults who play a role in the judicial system.

Throughout the proposed legislation there are measures such as the one suggested in Bill C-260 which underscore the importance of accountability and meaningful consequences. The seriousness of the crime will be reflected in the seriousness of the consequences rendered by the proposed youth criminal justice system.

The parents, police, schools and others in the community will have a significant role to play in ensuring that the young person in question understands and appreciates the gravity of his or her actions. It may be more appropriate for the young person to be accountable through retribution, community service or, in certain circumstances, confronting his or her victim. The full weight of the criminal law will be brought to bear when a crime committed warrants such consequences.

I would suggest that the hon. member can at this point bring a small measure of closure to the tragedy of his family. He has acted honourably and in the finest traditions of a parliamentarian. He brings honour to his son, to his family and to all members of this House. I congratulate him personally on behalf of the House for his initiative.

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to add my personal feelings as I open my remarks on Bill C-260. It is certainly the feeling of our caucus that we have great admiration and personal respect for the member for Surrey North for the work that he has done to champion this cause. There are not many issues that our caucuses will find any community of interest on, more than likely, but this is certainly one where I have the greatest admiration not only for the issue but for the way the issue has been put forward and handled over many months.

It is not easy to champion any cause, much less a cause of such great personal interest. It must have been that much more difficult for the member to deal with the issue. Our caucus feels strongly that he has handled it very well.

Bill C-260, as we have heard from previous speakers, will be covered under the new Bill C-68 so many of the merits of Bill C-260 will be incorporated into the new act. It is for that reason that our caucus will not be voting for Bill C-260. It has nothing to do with the content or the merits or the arguments that we are hearing today, and certainly nothing to do with the issue. It is simply the fact that we believe it is redundant at this point and is not necessary. Still, it gives us a valuable opportunity to speak to the issue and to raise the many merits Bill C-260 certainly brings forward for us.

My understanding is that under the current Young Offenders Act there is a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine for parents or guardians who fail to meet the requirements of the custody and supervision orders. Certainly it is not as though this issue has been left unaccounted for at all.

People have obviously contemplated the problems that come with releasing somebody into the custody of another person and holding that person accountable for doing what they promised to do or undertook to do, which is to keep the person in some form of custody until such time as a trial can relieve the issue.

Coming from Winnipeg and with the street gang problem it has, this issue comes up all the time. It is a very frequent occurrence. It certainly needed to be addressed so we are very pleased that Bill C-68 will put stiffer measures in place to try to give some satisfaction in that regard.

Our caucus has tried to wrestle with the issue and in doing so has tried to be tough on crime but also tough on the causes of crime. That is the best way I can put it briefly.

Looking at the issue in Winnipeg Centre, the riding I come from, the whole idea of releasing children to the custody of their parents and having parents act in a responsible manner is actually compounded by the aboriginal population there and the parenting skills of the middle aged group of aboriginal people who live in the inner city of Winnipeg due to the fact that they were lifted out of their homes as children and put into residential schools.

This is something we have finally come to grips with. We learn our parenting skills from our parents. When we remove a whole generation of people from their family homes where they would pick up those skills, they do not have the opportunity to learn how to be parents. I am not saying this in a critical way or a generalizing way, but that has come to be recognized as one of the issues we are facing with a generation of youth in various kinds of trouble with street gangs or whatever.

The parenting that normally goes on in any family home has not been going on properly because of the unnatural intervention in in the lives of that middle aged population when they were ripped from their family homes, dumped in a residential school and just did not have the opportunity to learn many of those skills.

Scratching deeper under the surface of the whole issue of youth crime and street crime, we have to look at how these youth gangs and street gangs are actually structured. A lot of the kids who are involved, the 10, 11 and 12 year old kids, did not actually seek out to be members of these gangs.

As more and more of them are finding refuge in safe houses and being interviewed by people, it turns out that they are getting muscled into taking part in these gangs. Quite often it is an 18 or 19 year old who comes to a 10 or 11 year old and says “If you do not do this B and E for us we will beat up your sister or bring harm to the rest of your family”. The kids literally have no choice. That is often how they get sucked into it.

I am not saying that should change the way we view crimes.

We have to take a dispassionate view of the impact on victims of crimes. We also have to take into consideration the fact that a lot of these youth involved in this stuff did not do it by choice, that they were often pulled or drawn into it from unnatural circumstances.

I have an issue in my own personal family that happened to us and made me wrestle with the issue to try to get a grip on how we feel about youth crime and the treatment of youth. In my own family we were broken into by two youths who were 15 and 16 years old. I actually caught them in the act of breaking into our house, which is a very nerve wracking thing. When I drove home one night there they were in the process of breaking into our home.

I managed to hold one of them down while my wife phoned the police, but my four year old boy was obviously curious about why I was fighting in the snowbank with these kids. He came outside. The other youth grabbed my four year old son by the hair and pulled him down the street and said “I'll trade with you. You let my friend go and you can have your kid back”. It was sort of a kidnapping incident in the middle of a dark, cold winter night in Winnipeg. It was very terrifying for my whole family.

Naturally I dropped the one kid and went after the one that had my son and gave him a bit of a licking. The end of the story is that I wound in court for six months fighting charges that I had assaulted this kid who had broken into my house. It is fundamentally wrong. It made me a very angry guy for a long time. As I said, it made me wrestle with the issue of whether we get into a hang them high kind of punishment for 15 and 16 year old kids who break into our houses and threaten our families or we work harder to try to understand the root causes and try to deal with it in that way.

This was eight or nine years ago. I have had the fullness of time to try to wrestle with the issue. I believe that some of the measures undertaken in Bill C-68 address the right direction in which we should be going. I compliment the member for Surrey North that some of the issues dealt with in Bill C-68 had their origins in the issue the member brought to the House as the issue he wanted to promote. There should be some satisfaction there, I would hope, for the member.

The whole issue of inner city youth gangs and street gangs—and I do not want to harp on it—is an overwhelming problem in the inner city of Winnipeg. There are 1,500 kids actively involved in street gang activity. They actually have break and enter rings where they divide up neighbourhoods. One person will be in charge of a little crew of break and enter artists. They will have maybe a six block area that is their turf until they wear it out. Then they sell the rights to the area to another sub-gang leader.

It is actually structured to the point where it is beyond kids just doing random acts of violence. It is almost getting to be an organized crime ring of young people.

The reason I call them street gangs and not youth gangs is that they are not driven by young people. There is always an older ring of people managing the young people who are undertaking the actual crimes. It is incorrect and it is actually maligning young people to call them youth gangs.

Obviously as parents we know that most kids are not engaged in any illegal activity. It is only a very few when we look at the larger picture.

Families that can least afford decent affordable housing, education, sports and recreation for their youths, are the ones most likely to be affected by the tragedies of crime, violence, street activity and all the predictable consequences of those things. Not to draw too tenuous a connection, we can bring the issue down to one of socioeconomics. It is a natural fact that the have nots are more likely to have some kind of violent crime as a part of their daily life and more likely to experience some sort of violence or crime because the incidents are that much higher. Desperate people take desperate measures.

Last week I spoke about the issue of arson in my area of Winnipeg where the housing stock is so beat up, atrocious, and dominated by slum landlords that arson is getting to be almost epidemic. These properties are not worth rehabilitating or renovating in any way. We have had 85 arsons in a three month period in a 12 square block area. Sometimes two or three places a night are going up in smoke. It is like the big American inner cities during the race riots of the 1960s. These people are torching the whole community. It is burn baby, burn again. That is an indicator of the type of social unrest we are prompting through many of our social and economic policies.

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will first comment on the speech of my colleague from the NDP who has brought another issue to the House of great concern to all of us. It is beyond belief to accept for a moment that he, in an attempt to save his son from what could have been serious injury, would end up being subject to legal proceedings. It is beyond belief we have come to a state where we no longer have the right to protect our property or even our children from what seems to have amounted to a kidnapping and a threat against the well-being of a four year old child. It is abhorrent that we as parents or as citizens do not have the right in law to use reasonable force to protect our children and our property and are subjected to criminal proceedings. We as a parliament ought to take a look at that.

I am honoured to rise today to speak in support of my colleague's private member's bill. The hon. member has dedicated the last seven years of his life to changing the Young Offenders Act to rightfully hold youth more accountable for their criminal actions. Unfortunately the member for Surrey North had suffered an inconceivable tragedy, the loss of a child, which brought him to this point in his life. I empathize with him and his family for their terrible loss to the extent my understanding allows me. I commend his fortitude to redress the inadequacy of the Young Offenders Act in the face of such an event. I am confident my colleague's efforts, particularly in Bill C-260, will help prevent other Canadian parents from enduring a similar horrifying loss.

As pointed out by my colleague, section 7.1 of the YOA permits a youth court judge to allow an accused to be placed in the custody of a parent, guardian or responsible person. The designated person must sign an undertaking to take care and be responsible for the attendance of the youth in court and to abide by the conditions imposed by the judge.

As the law currently stands under section 7.2 of the YOA, if the person who signs the undertaking fails to provide proper and sufficient supervision he is possibly guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction but summary conviction only. Bill C-260 would change this to a dual procedure offence. Therefore a parent or guardian may be subject to imprisonment of up to two years or the normal summary conviction penalty for a violation.

As already pointed out today, the Minister of Justice has incorporated Bill C-260 within the new youth criminal justice act. This provision of the new act has received considerable attention and criticism since the minister's announcement last week. In my opinion this criticism is the result of a confusion and misunderstanding that must be clarified.

My colleague from Surrey North and others who have spoken in the House have addressed the issue, but all members speaking on the issue ought to clarify this misunderstanding and confusion for the benefit of the Canadian people and particularly for the news media upon which we depend to communicate in a clear, unmistakable and unconfused manner the laws that are being recommended and put forward by the Government of Canada.

Parents will not be jailed for their children's criminal behaviour. They may however, if Bill C-260 is passed, be subject to imprisonment if they fail to comply with a duly and willfully signed undertaking. That is in my opinion reasonable and responsible.

Two years ago this April, the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs tabled a comprehensive report containing 14 recommendations for amending the Young Offenders Act. This report was the result of six months of extensive consultations and travel throughout the country at an expense of almost half a million dollars. Over 300 people representing various sectors of the youth justice system and society in general testified before the committee. That testimony was incorporated into the committee's report.

On April 22, 1997 on behalf of the Reform Party I published a minority report containing 17 recommendations. It proposed a comprehensive three pronged approach to deal with the complexities of youth crime and the contributing factors including: one, early detection and intervention as an effective means of crime prevention; two, community based resolutions and sentences in cases of minor offences; and three, strengthening the Young Offenders Act through significant amendments.

Two years after the Reform Party proposed this plan the government has introduced its youth criminal justice act. I want to point out at this time that neither the committee's report nor my report caught the issue that is the centre of Bill C-260. It is all the more reason I am grateful to the member for Surrey North that we heard 300 or more witnesses testify. This deficiency within the Young Offenders Act was not pointed out by any of the witnesses.

I might add that the member, who was a private citizen at the time that our committee was in Vancouver, British Columbia, was to attend before the committee but for some reason or other he was not allowed to appear and testify before the committee. Had he done so, his testimony together with his recommendation that now forms the brunt of Bill C-260 I am sure would have been placed before the committee. Nevertheless, it was not placed before the committee. Again, I thank the member for his tenacity in coming to this place and going through what he had to go through to be here so that he could speak not only on the floor of the House of Commons but also to bring this bill forward by embracing and encompassing the legal process to do so within this House.

I know we will go into extended debate once the government's new bill to amend the YOA has been brought forward. However, I would like to point out that I have concerns that the government's own committee recommendations have been set aside with regard to lowering the age, including recommendations from many of the attorneys general and from experts in the business, such as Professor Nicholas Bala who was commissioned by the justice department to look at lowering the age from 12 to 10.

It seems that the government has abandoned these young people who by their criminal acts signal to society that they are in need of help and assistance. To leave it to the provinces is wrong. It is going to create a checkerboard approach to dealing with these young people. There is no standardization in the criminal law governing the administration of the law in the provinces by the attorneys general. I have some concerns in that area.

I also have some concerns about the restrictions placed on what otherwise seems to be a fairly progressive move to allow for the publicizing of names of young offenders, particularly violent and repeat violent offenders.

I have concerns in those two areas. We will be addressing them as the bill goes further through the process and certainly before the committee.

In closing, in view of the comments made by my colleague who sponsored this bill and the fact that it may be a long time before the amendment to the Young Offenders Act produced by the government comes into effect, I would like to move a motion. I ask for unanimous consent to proceed with all stages of Bill C-260 now.

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Is there unanimous consent of the House for the member to propose the motion?

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.

Some hon. members


Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.

Some hon. members


Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.


Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Madam Speaker, there are a couple of rather interesting points.

First, I find myself rising today to speak in support of a bill, principles and comments put forward by a member of the Reform Party. For me, that is quite an unusual experience to have and I admit that openly.

Then I see what just happened. I see the politics of the Young Offenders Act which, until this previous attempt to involve politics, was going in the right direction. The member asked for unanimous consent when we have not even finished the first hour of the three hours of debate which have been allocated to this worthwhile bill. I am sure the member who did that will be sending out a press release saying is it not awful the government will not allow this bill to go through. I thought for a moment we actually had a chance to get along, yet I see the opportunism taking place. I just had to comment on that.

I want to go back and try to get along on this bill for a couple of reasons; I think it is important and the government has recognized in the new legislation that the issue is very significant. Also, the bill comes clearly from the heart of a member of this place and his family who have had to suffer the worst possible experience that any parent could ever imagine. He has come before this place and has put a bill forward that might prevent other families from having the same experience.

I suppose it could be seen as being condescending for members on this side of the House to congratulate the member, but I believe that in this case, and hopefully in many more cases, there are reasons we should understand the passion someone brings to this place. We should understand that someone has had to go through a terrible experience and is now trying to do something about it.

I want to quote from the letter sent to all of us by the hon. member for Surrey North asking us to support his bill. He states:

The impetus for this bill comes from personal experience. Some of you may be aware that my son, Jesse, was murdered by a young offender in 1992. What you may not know is that his killer was free in the community on a section 7.1 undertaking, one condition of which was a dusk to dawn curfew. The murder occurred at midnight.

<—obviously in violation of that curfew. The member goes on to say:

In my opinion, the person who signed that undertaking willfully failed in his responsibility to supervise. My son, my family, paid the price.

Frankly, the point the member has made is one of the more thoughtful positions I have heard in this place. The supervising parent of the now convicted murderer who is doing I believe 25 years at the present time—I can be corrected, but he is in jail—made an undertaking to supervise the individual. The member clearly said that knowing that the young offender was violating the terms of that undertaking and the terms of the parole, had the parent made a phone call to the police, there is a possibility, one never knows but there is a possibility, that the authorities could have taken some action. That is so critical in this.

The Minister of Justice has recognized the significance of this kind of an amendment. I say to the member that if for some reason he has heard some members say that they are not going to vote in favour of his bill, one member earlier said because it was redundant and would be in the new legislation, I too would share his concern that we do not delay things too long to make this new amendment reality.

By introducing Bill C-68 dealing with young offenders, the government is saying that it wants to see this implemented. Hopefully the opposition, for a miraculous moment or a slight change, will co-operate with the government so that we can fast track the new bill dealing with young offenders. Why am I skeptical that that will not happen?

The politics of the Young Offenders Act that are played out by the extreme right wing make it very difficult to put in place thoughtful amendments such as the one the member is putting forth today.

We hear about boot camps being the solution. I remember pre-1995 and knocking on doors during the provincial election campaign. As I campaigned, a lot of people said that they really liked the idea of boot camps and getting these guys into some kind of a disciplinary situation where they would have to wear uniforms and perform military service. People thought that was the solution.

I do not say this with reference to the case that impacted on the family of the member for Surrey North, but the real tragedy in many cases with young offenders is that there are parenting problems. There is a lack of direction. There is a lack of a role model. There is a lack of discipline. There is a lack of love. Often that is the case. Young offenders too often come from broken families, from poverty, from the bad part of town if you will. Sometimes they get in with the wrong group. Drugs may be involved.

For us to adopt the rhetoric we hear so often from the Reform Party, that we are not hard enough on 10 year olds is the latest one with regard to the new bill, would be unfortunate. I wish more members opposite would learn from the experience of the member for Surrey North. None of us can really understand the pain of that, but let us learn from it. The member has put forward a very thoughtful solution to a very serious problem.

It is also important that we get the message through to the media that this does not mean a parent is suddenly going to pay the price for a young person's crime. Although there are members opposite who I am quite sure would agree with that sentiment. I know. I have heard speeches by members in this place and in the Ontario legislature where the sole solution to reducing youth crime was to simply find a way to make the parent pay the price.

I had a call very recently from a constituent who suggested we should go further, that we should make school teachers pay the price if the student in their classroom committed a crime. Where do these kinds of half-baked ideas come from? They are destructive. The real long term solution to dealing with youth crime is to reintegrate and help these people.

I am reminded of a time I spent on the licence appeal board when I was a municipal councillor. It pales in comparison to the kinds of issues we are talking about. We have to realize that 87% of the crimes committed by young people are not violent crimes. Thirteen percent is an enormously high figure in my view and something we cannot ignore, but the vast majority of crimes do not fall into that category.

I would like to go back to my example because it very much shaped my thinking on justice issues. We were a three person body that had to sit in a judicial format. It was not like a council meeting where we could leave the room. We heard about a very high profile case in the community that generated a petition for the return of capital punishment.

Because we had to get into the details, we were able to understand that without a doubt there was a tragedy but there was also tremendous remorse. A serious problem had occurred to another family and it totally changed the position of the members on that committee. Justice issues and violence issues are not simple.

Let me once again commend the member for Surrey North for his doggedness and dedication in memory of his son. He does his son's memory proud. I congratulate him for bringing this forward. He and his family can take credit for this being part of the new legislation.

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business


Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, I am also very pleased to take part in this important debate which, as has been mentioned several times already, is a real tribute that the hon. member for Surrey North has paid to the memory of his son.

Aside from some of the rhetoric that tends to emerge in debates such as this, I will not say there is no merit in some of the changes that have been brought about through this legislation. However, I do believe there is also a great deal of missed opportunity when I read through some of these sections, in particular the subject of this debate under Bill C-260, parental responsibility.

This section, proposed in its current form, is very commendable. It will have an effect, one hopes, in terms of sending the proper message to parents and guardians who are predisposed to ignore the conditions put in place by a court.

However, there is a misconception about the actual effect this will have on the ability of the courts to hold a parent or guardian responsible for the actions of a young person. This is after the fact treatment. This is not the ability of the courts to have any true sanctions against a parent ignoring or abdicating their responsibilities for their young person, whether their child or a person for whom they are acting as a parent.

The wrong impression that many have is that somehow through some sanctions a person will be brought into court if their child has been accused or is being charged with an offence before the courts and that somehow the courts will actually be able to hold the parent or guardian accountable. That is not the case at all. It is important for that to be clarified.

This amendment through the new young offenders legislation will allow the courts to hold criminally responsible a parent in certain cases. For example, a young person enters the process and is released on a form of recognizance, which is merely a contract to the court to comply with certain conditions such as a curfew, non-association, an abstention from contacting a person or place or staying away from drugs and alcohol if they were involved in the commission of an offence. If that young person does not comply with those court ordered conditions and the parent or guardian who signs that contract similarly with the court is not holding up that standard, which would be expected, if they abdicate that responsibility and willfully do not ensure that every effort is made to ensure that the young person complies, then they can be charged criminally and brought into court.

This section will accomplish that. It also raises the level of accountability because it brings it from a six month maximum to a two year maximum, making it instead of just a summary offence a hybrid offence. It does accomplish that and does so with the best of intentions. The member for Surrey North should receive great accolades and great congratulations for this.

In the broader scheme we need to take a more holistic approach when it comes to youth justice. We need to ensure there is an entry level emphasis and a proactive approach taken. In order for that to happen the existing social services, child welfare and the social welfare net, need to be enhanced and up to par. Currently that is not the case.

When we talk about an integrated approach and this new legislation working cheek and jowl, hand in glove with existing legislation that unfortunately will not happen.

Young Offenders ActPrivate Members' Business

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The member has six minutes remaining. He will have the floor, if he wishes, the next time.

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired. Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

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12:05 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

moved that:

That, in the opinion of this House, a Special Committee of the House of Commons should be struck in order to consider the possibility of Canada's participation in the creation of a pan-American monetary union.

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12:05 p.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I merely wish to indicate that the Bloc Quebecois members will be dividing their time for the remainder of the day.

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12:05 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the matter we are debating today is a very important one. I believe we are, moreover, the first parliament in any of the three Americas to hold such a debate on the creation of a pan-American currency.

The point today is not to decide on the need for such a currency or to agree or disagree with this measure, but rather to agree to debate it. I would remind my colleagues that, where the free trade agreement and the signing of NAFTA were involved, the opposition was very vocal in its criticism of the government for making decisions without sufficient consultation. The Liberals were in opposition at the time, and demanded that a debate be held prior to signing any such actions and agreements.

Such a mistake must not be made a third time. I believe that this question of the existence of a common currency must be examined thoroughly.

I first threw out this idea last December, and there have been a number of reactions since then. The Canadian ambassador to Washington, Mr. Chrétien, wondered the same thing, and Quebec Finance Minister Landry supported the undertaking. My colleague from Charlesbourg, who will be speaking a little later on, has studied the matter. Thomas Courchesne and other economists have spoken and written about it. The Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister and the Director of the Bank of Canada have spoken out against such a notion. I should clarify that this was for all of North America, and that they have not ventured any opinion about a common currency for all of the Americas.

The fact that so many are reacting to this issue, asking questions and giving opinions indicates that we are all aware that our world is moving toward the formation of three major economic and political blocks, not just economic but political as well.

The European Economic Community is, naturally, the most developed. Its beginnings date back to the Monnet-Shuman Agreement on carbon and steel. The treaty of Rome followed, with all its developments, and then the Maastricht agreement and the creation of the euro barely a few weeks ago, the first block, with highly developed expertise.

The second block is was formed by NAFTA, which brings together all the countries in North America—Canada, the United States and Mexico, with Quebec joining soon, I am sure. With last year's financial crisis behind it, Asia will also move toward this model with a political giant, China, and the economic giant, Japan.

The problems of some concern in Africa remain for the world as a whole. It is not the focus of today's debate, but we should—ant this is my suggestion—hold a debate on the economic aid that should be given Africa, which is really outside the movement taking place on the other continents.

NAFTA, I repeat, brings together the countries in North America. At the Miami summit a few years ago, a proposal was put forward to create a free trade market within the three Americas, from Tierra del Fuego to Baffin Island. As I speak, negotiations and discussions are underway with Chile and Venezuela. The Caribbean countries have also established a form of economic co-operation. In South America, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have the MERCOSUR.

It must be realized that, 20 years from now, the countries of the three Americas will be part of NAFTA. Canada signed a free trade agreement with Israel and, very recently, one with the Palestinian Authority. It is also conducting important negotiations with the European free trade association, which includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The establishment of an economic bloc also implies, within a rather short term, the creation of a common currency and of common political institutions, as in the case of Europe. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from the European experience.

This is an issue that should really concern Quebeckers and Canadians regardless—and I want to be clear on this today—of the outcome of the constitutional debate between Quebec and Canada. It is all the more important to hold this debate now with the emergence of the Eurodollar, because 11 national currencies, and major ones at that, are about to disappear. The German mark, the French franc and the Italian lira were created a long time ago. These countries have a much longer political history than ours. These countries will lose their currency.

Twenty years from now, there will only be three major currencies: the American dollar, the Japanese yen and the Eurodollar. A large number of less important currencies are surviving alongside these three major ones. There is an intermediate category, which includes currencies such as the pound sterling. Negotiations are well underway in Great Britain to start using the Eurodollar. We have the pound sterling, the Australian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Canadian dollar, which means that the Canadian dollar will be of much greater interest to speculators in the years ahead. We saw what happened in Asia last year and in Brazil just recently.

Therefore, if we know what things are like now, and if we anticipate the highly predictable situation of a large economic block consisting of the three Americas in 20 years' time, the issue is much more one of how to effect the transition between the present and the future, with the advantages and disadvantages that will come up along the way.

We must realized that, as the Minister of Human Resources Development said in a recently published book, no government can claim to control its monetary policy, to have an independent monetary policy. I rarely agree with the Minister of Human Resources Development, but this is one area where we are on the same wavelength.

There is no doubt that the main problem for Quebec and for Canada during this transition period is exports. Right now, our exports are primarily affected by the weakness of the Canadian dollar. I wonder whether it is not worse in the medium term to base the strength and success of our exports on the weakness of the Canadian dollar rather than on the productivity of Quebec and Canadian enterprises. To ask the question is to answer it.

We cannot allow a situation to develop where the Canadian dollar would increase in value because of the devaluation of the American dollar, probably in competition with the euro, while our productivity remained unequal to that of the Americans. There would be repercussions to this.

Is it not our duty as parliamentarians, as elected representatives, to carry out a careful examination of this situation in order to be prepared for it, instead of just letting it happen?

The question was raised about what would happen to our social policies during such a transitional period, if there were a common currency.

Ought we to abandon them, or ought we instead to do as Europe did, and adopt mechanisms to ensure that the deficit cannot exceed 3% of the gross domestic product, thus leaving leeway for policies leaning more to the left, or more to the right? Free trade, or a common monetary policy, are not policies of the right.

Looking at the situation in Europe at the present time, Germany has Schröder, a social democrat; France has the socialist Jospin; Great Britain has Blair of Labour.

To conclude, this is an important debate, of equal importance to the sovereignists and to the federalists. The economic developments that will occur in the world will take place regardless of the constitutional choices we will make as Quebeckers, and you will make as Canadians. I believe we Quebeckers will have an even greater role to play, but that is another matter.

I think that by agreeing to hold such a debate today we are affirming our role as elected representatives, one which must rise beyond petty politics and affirm the importance of having Quebeckers and Canadians debate such issues in preparation for the future.

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12:15 p.m.


Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, just for clarification, the motion reads a single pan-American currency. Is the member suggesting a north American currency or a western hemisphere currency?

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12:15 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is neither. When I say pan-American, I mean the three Americas, which represents less than the western hemisphere, and more than North America alone.

I am talking about a common currency for North America, Central America and South America, since I think that, in twenty years, all of the countries in the three Americas will be signatories to NAFTA and, according to the Miami resolution of a few years ago, which was adopted at the summit of the countries of the three Americas, we will have a vast economic market stretching from Tierra del Fuego to Baffin Island.

That is why I am using the term pan-American.

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12:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the leader of the Bloc Quebecois. Has he considered that the European Union, which took 40 years to reach a point where it even considered a common currency with the Maastricht treaty in Holland, first had a political union with the European parliament and was very much focused on defence issues and other issues that superseded economic issues?

It seems from my perspective that the Bloc is potentially cherry-picking one element of the European Union policy when in fact holistically the European Union has dealt more predominantly with defence and political issues.

A floating exchange rate provides an ability through that mechanism for the exchange rate to reflect relative levels of productivity. Without that unemployment would emerge as potentially the main floating mechanism to reflect those changes.

Would he be satisfied with an unemployment rate in Canada higher than it is now? Considering the fact that Quebec has a relatively high provincial debt, would he be satisfied with higher unemployment rates for Quebec?

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12:15 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are two questions there. I am told I am taking only one of the elements of the European construction. If we were offered the Maastricht option today, the Quebec sovereignists would be happy.

Debating one element does not mean rejecting the whole. I am aware, though, that it has taken 40 years to build this political and monetary agreement in Europe. I say that it would be in 20 years, half the time.

I remind my colleague that we do not know who invented the wheel. However, the next individual, the one who put it to use, did not take as long to do so as the one who invented it. We can draw on the experience of the Europeans in this matter.

As for the issue of unemployment, I am concerned about the unemployment rate and this is why I am talking about a transition period. The situation is all the more worrisome if, in the middle term, our economic success is primarily based on our exports and on the weakness of the Canadian dollar.

Anyone will tell us that if we are doing our utmost to strengthen our economy, this should be reflected by a stronger Canadian currency, which means that the gap between the American and Canadian dollars should be lesser.

If, instead of working to improve our businesses' productivity, we had merely and blissfully watched the success of a temporary policy, we would then have had to deal with an extremely high unemployment rate and, more importantly, with one that might have been permanent.

So, in order to deal with the dangers of an unemployment rate that would increase because of the low productivity of Canadian businesses, we must increase that productivity and make sure, among other things, that machinery costs us less. The weakness of the Canadian dollar works against us when we have to buy machinery from abroad.

This is just the opposite of what the hon. member said, although we are aware of the issues that he raised.

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12:20 p.m.


Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the Prime Minister not taking the same attitude now that he did with respect to free trade and the GST? Today, the answer is no, but is this not another case where he will have to change his position before very long in order to ensure the economic future of Quebec and of Canada in the—

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12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

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12:20 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, very likely, one more flip flop would not bother him, but as parliamentarians we must decide if we want to leave something this important to the C.D. Howe Institute, the Fraser Institute, the whole Canadian business community, and government mandarins, or whether we should not, as parliamentarians, play our role and examine all aspects of the issue. That is what we were elected to do, and we should assume

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12:20 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to take part in this important debate.

The issue before the House today is rapidly moving to the forefront, particularly since the introduction of the Eurocoin on January 1 of this year.

I am very proud to say that the Bloc Quebecois is the first political party to raise this issue, not only in Canada but, to my knowledge, in all of America.

Everybody knows I have been interested in this issue for some time. I circulated a study paper on this at the beginning of the year, which sparked a debate in Quebec, in Canada and even among our neighbours to the south.

It would be sad, inappropriate and most of all unfortunate for the Parliament of Canada not to consider this issue, particularly since even the Canadian ambassador to the United States himself, Raymond Chrétien, the Prime Minister's nephew, raised this possibility.

This brings me to talk about the wording of the motion, which does not imply the adoption of a common currency, but rather the striking of a committee to consider the issue. The Bloc is not asking that a common currency be adopted tomorrow, but that we, as parliamentarians, elected by the people, study the issue.

We are all aware of the globalization of the economy, which brings as a consequence the regionalization and continentalization of markets. The European Union, NAFTA and MERCOSUR are examples of that.

We also need to take into account the fact that there are only three major currencies left in the world, the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen, the other world currencies being tied to these.

Where does the Canadian dollar fit into all this? I believe that the Canadian dollar, being only an intermediary currency, will become the object of increasing speculation, since the birth of the euro last January 1 deprived speculators of 11 currencies. This makes it all the more important to think things through carefully.

As has already been said, monetary and trade issues cannot be separated one from the other. Perhaps, then, the Canadian trade situation ought to be looked at.

Since the Free Trade Agreement, Canadian trade, which had been primarily east-west, has rapidly become north-south and south-north. In 1984, Canadian exports to the rest of the world were 113% of interprovincial trade. In 1996, this figure was up to 183%, and Canada-U.S. trade is now greater than interprovincial trade.

By way of comparison, on average 62% of exports of countries in the European Union are with each other, whereas 82% of Canada's exports go to the United States.

In terms of GNP, exports among EU countries represent only 16% of their GNP, whereas Canada's to the U.S., represent 30% of Canada's GNP.

Canada is therefore more economically integrated with the United States than the countries of the EU are with each other. Also the fact that 11 EU countries have decided to adopt a common currency argues strongly in favour of establishing a formal link between Canadian and American dollars.

In addition, it is logical for monetary integration to follow economic integration. Thus a pan-American currency would probably apply to Canada and the United States first, before possibly extending fully to the three Americas in the wake of the liberalization of trade that is on the agenda for all countries in the western hemisphere.

In October 1998 Canada's money supply represented $364.5 billion U.S. By comparison, at the same time, the American money supply totalled $5,841 billion U.S., an increase of 10,7% from October 1997.

The Canadian money supply amounts to 6.2% of the American money supply. This means that, for the United States, the adoption by Canada of a dollar tied to their currency represents barely a few months of the normal growth of their money supply.

We must also talk about the main advantages and drawbacks of a single currency. The main argument against a single currency was mentioned by the Conservative member and has to do with the principle of monetary independence. What about the independence of Canada's monetary policy? There is no such independence, it is a myth. There is no Canadian monetary independence.

This is not my opinion but that of several, including Sherry Cooper, chief economist and senior vice-president at Nesbitt Burns.

Let us take a closer look at the figures. For example, between 1950 and 1986, in order to get the Bank of Canada rate, we simply had to add 1.1% to the rate of the U.S. federal reserve bank.

In 1996-97, for the first time in 50 years, with the exception of 1973, the Bank of Canada rate was lower than the American rate. As we all know, this resulted in the Canadian dollar taking a nose dive and falling to 63 cents U.S. It is to correct this situation that the Bank of Canada increased its rate to 1% above the U.S. rate. This is a return to the old econometric model.

What would be the main advantages of a common currency? First, it would eliminate the risks of devaluation and the losses that result from converting national currencies. Second, it would lead to greater transparency of costs and prices within a monetary zone, thus facilitating comparison. Finally, it would allow optimal allocation of capital, largely because certain regions have a savings surplus while others have trouble coming up with the capital needed to develop their projects.

In short, as parliamentarians, we should be debating all of the above. The train is already leaving the station. Before it goes too far, we should get on. Not only can we be on board, but we can even be in the locomotive pulling the whole train.

I wish to move an amendment to the motion moved by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie. I move:

That the motion be amended by adding after the word «struck» the following:


In conclusion, I would argue that, if 11 European countries decide, for their own interests, to create a monetary union, why could Canada and the other countries of the Americas not do the same? The elected representatives of the House must ask themselves the following question: how can Quebec and Canada now make the most of the new economic context of globalization?

We have an opportunity to take the time to examine this important issue. I put it to the House that we must not let this opportunity slip through our fingers.

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12:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

In my opinion the amendment is in order.