House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was moved.


Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to comment on what we are doing here today. The longer I am around this place, the more I become convinced that most of what we do here borders on being a sham.

The public is given the impression that legislation is drafted pursuant to the needs of Canadians. The government presents legislation, and parliament reviews and improves it as necessary. Supposedly that is part of what we are doing today. I seriously question how effective our review and improvement can be under the circumstances.

Bill C-3 was first introduced in March 1999. The justice committee was assigned to review it, and after listening to interested parties of expert and lay witnesses, to consider necessary changes.

Members of the justice committee from all parties, including the government, decided that a number of alterations were needed to Bill C-3. One particular member of the committee decided that rather than put all the substantive amendments forward for consideration, he would filibuster the committee in an attempt to force the government to consider only his wishes for change.

That was his right, Mr. Speaker. Please do not get me wrong. That was his right under the rules. I certainly understand that there are tools and procedures available to opposition parties and members to try to get their point across. However, where the committee, as representative of this place, failed in its duties is when it was given its marching orders, so to speak. A closure motion was issued to the effect that the committee was to be given only 10 hours of further debate, and then it had to report back to the House of Commons.

At that point, with all due respect, the chair of the committee had an obligation to take control of the committee, close down the debate on the filibuster, and move to the clause by clause consideration of the many proposed amendments. Having the committee return the bill to the House without any change whatsoever has in effect left this place without the value of the committee's time and effort of review. The House is in the same position it was in almost two years ago. What a waste of time, especially on a bill that was supposed to be a top priority of the government.

To further compound my consternation over the operation of this place, we then have the manner in which the whole process at the report stage of the legislation has unfolded. The committee reported back to the House on Bill C-3 last Thursday, September 21. Because of the government's scheduling, amendments had to be filed with journals branch by Friday at 2 p.m.

It is only now, on Monday morning, the day of the debate at report stage, that we can even see the amendments proposed into groupings as assigned by the clerk. After years of delay and after months and months of waste, we are provided with a bill without the benefit of committee recommendations. After years of delay and after months and months of waste, we are now in a type of overdrive to process the legislation almost overnight. Regardless of any individual political perspective, I would argue that the public is definitely not well served by this process, at least in the way it has unfolded with Bill C-3.

It truly amazes me that this place can be mired in quicksand and be going absolutely nowhere, and that it takes an imminent election to force the government to move. What disappoints me the most is that even when the government does move, it exhibits little consideration, if any, for our citizens. Although I do not wish to jump to any conclusions, my intuition tells me Bill C-3 will be passed virtually intact, with little difference from the questionable version of the supposed new youth justice law as presented by the government back in March 1999.

I may be proven wrong, but debate in this place at this stage will likely have little, if any, influence on the legislation. Regardless of the arguments presented by interested Canadians and by members of this place, it appears that it was always the intention of the government to merely go through the motions. There was never any real intention to listen to or even seriously consider other viewpoints calling for substantive change. This legislation, if it passes from this place in its current form or with little change in substance, will be a travesty to Canadians.

Just to address some of our amendments that are proposed in this grouping, our Motion No. 35 would eliminate a presumptive offence. Under our amendments we are doing away with the whole concept of presumptive offence, serious violent offence and the interpretation problems of the government's legislation over just what will be determined to be a violent offence.

Under our proposals there are to be just two categories of offence, namely violent offences and non-violent offences. Violent offences are defined as those within a list of named offences. The list has been taken directly from the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Violent offences will be those that federal legislation already uses to determine safety concerns when considering how to treat adult offenders. By following this list we are being consistent, we are being all inclusive, and we are being transparent so that Canadians citizens, our courts, and offenders will know why and how our youth justice process will operate.

There will be no guessing. There will be no extensive legal argument. If an offender is charged with a specific offence on the list, that offender will be processed in a predetermined manner. The courts still retain all the powers and discretion to apply specific circumstances to each specific case. If the offence is not on the list, the offence will be classified as a non-violent offence.

Our Motion No. 44 would similarly eliminate the definition of “serious violent offence”. There would be no presumptive offence designation; there would be only non-violent and violent offences, as I spoke to before. We have a “serious violent offence” designation, but only if the crown attorney makes application and the court sees fit to endorse the information. We have an overly restrictive list of presumptive offences. Under our proposal, violent offences are specifically listed. No interpretation will be necessary.

Again Motion No. 49 speaks to the whole issue of violent offence and presumptive offence. Leaving the terms undefined will not ease the difficulty; it will just put the problem into the courts to be interpreted. This will be costly and will delay justice once again as the legal argument is made and the appeals have to be heard. It is the responsibility and obligation of parliament to present laws that do the job. We should not put off these problems on to the courts.

Our proposals at least attempt to clarify what will be a violent offence and what will be a non-violent offence.

The present definition within the legislation states “An offence that causes or creates a substantial risk of bodily harm”. That definition will keep lawyers and judges busy for years to come and is open to various interpretations. Just like conditional sentencing, it will bring criticism and dissatisfaction from our citizens when it is limited in scope.

Easy questions of fraud upon the elderly will obviously be determined to be outside this definition, but many of our seniors may well be hurt much more seriously on being defrauded of their life savings than if they were hit over the head and robbed of their cash on hand.

What happens to the offence of sexual assault? Will an offence be determined to be violent if the victim does not fight her aggressor? Will it be a violent offence if the purse snatcher is successful in grabbing the purse from a senior citizen without knocking her over? Where will the line be drawn between what is a violent offence and what is non-violent?

The definition proposed by this amendment clearly lists the offences to be included within the category of violent offence. We avoid these interpretation difficulties, we avoid the cost and time of legal argument, and we bring greater certainty to our laws.

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1:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the amendments before the House on Bill C-3.

Let me begin my remarks by saying this is a bad piece of legislation. It is a bill the government has typically brought forth after seven and a half years of promising it would try to fix our youth criminal justice system.

Let us be frank. What we have seen happen here is the government has tried, in its typical form, to do all things to all people to fix this situation. As a result it will please no one. As a result, we have a piece of legislation that is unworkable, cumbersome, complicated and confusing. At the end of the day it will make worse a system that is already struggling and not working. It will make the situation worse for Canadians, worse for youth, worse for parents, worse for police, and worse for all those in the system who are struggling to make it work.

One of the initial underpinnings of the criminal justice system, coupled with the usual protection of the public and coupled with elements and philosophies of rehabilitation, was deterrence and denunciation for those who cross the line, those who choose in their wisdom to act in a way irresponsible and contrary to the laws of the land.

This bill, like others we have seen brought forward, is completely devoid of any reference to deterrence, of any reference to the fact that society, the public, and the government have a right to express their dismay with those who choose to break the law. This is not to say we should ever go too heavily in that regard, but it should be there. Courts use it. Lawyers refer to it. Judges have it at their disposal to mete out as part of a sentence references to the word “deterrence”, general and specific deterrence. That is meant not only to aim this sort of justice at the offender, but also to send a message to those who choose to act in a like fashion. This bill is devoid of that concept. It is devoid of that philosophy.

My loquacious friend from the Bloc has taken it upon himself—and as has been referred to, it is his right to do so—to express his outrage on behalf of his party. He says on behalf of his province that this is the only way he can get his message heard. It is a sad comment that here we are now debating in a summary fashion on the floor of the House of Commons amendments to this bill, which is perhaps the most important we will see in this session of parliament.

We heard from witnesses from across the country, many of whom expressed extreme reservations about the way in which the bill has been tabled. The government has admitted its failure in putting forward over 150 amendments to its own bill, which only has 199 clauses. That is an absolute condemnation by the Department of Justice of its own work.

What has happened is that the opposition has had to resort to extreme measures. I believe this has now gone over the top. This has now gone far beyond what was intended as a statement in terms of trying to bring the government back to the centre, back to a point where there can at least be reasoned discussions as to how we compromise, how we bring about some feeling that we can at least bring about legislation that will be responsible, that will respond to the needs of Canadians but will also respond to the lack of resources that exists.

That as an underpinning in this legislation is telling Canadians they should do more. It is telling the people in the system they should do more with less. It is saying “We are going to give you the ability through legislation to do more counselling, to do early intervention, for police to now sit in the living rooms of Canadians with their children to discuss how it is that we remedy these problems of young people who have gone astray”. At the same time there is not a single commitment, not even a reference to the fact that police, parole boards, counsellors, social services, anyone involved in the criminal justice is going to receive further resources, further back-up, a further strategy even to adjust and to react to an escalating situation of more violence among young people.

Perhaps most startling, Mr. Speaker, and you would be aware of this as someone who follows the criminal justice system, is the escalation of violence among young women. It is something that has caught the attention of many Canadians that to their shock and horror this is happening. It is happening across the country. It is not limited to cities. It is happening in rural Canada as much as it is in our cities.

This entire piece of legislation is such an inadequate response to the problems that exist. It is such a convoluted, cumbersome, bureaucratic, red tape response that it is going to make the system worse.

Much of the commentary on the bill and the debate in the House in the coming days and weeks, if it comes to that, is going to point out a lot of the technical problems that exist with the legislation. One of the problems I hasten to point out is that it creates in essence new procedures that are already not working in the adult system.

I am speaking specifically of preliminary inquiries. Ironically the justice department envisions a system where we may limit the use of preliminary inquiries in some instances. That is already being done in some jurisdictions. The new territory of Nunavut is collapsing the justice system to make it more efficient and streamlined. What are we doing as a result? We are taking the same systems that are failing and pulling them into the new youth criminal justice system.

Similarly we are taking a system that was never intended to be used for violent offences that pertain to sexual assaults—I am talking of conditional sentences—and lo and behold what do we find? Yes, wait for it, the justice department in its wisdom has decided to bring conditional sentences into the youth criminal justice system. Once again it is applying them to crimes which they should not be applied to and judges are being given that discretion. In fairness, judges have to listen to the arguments, they have to listen to the constitutional submissions that will be put forward by lawyers. Lo and behold once again there is a gaping hole in our justice system, something that is not working for adults, and we are bringing it like a plague into the youth criminal justice system.

I mentioned preliminary inquires. It is also introducing a parole system for young people. If there was any redeeming feature in the old Young Offenders Act it was that when a judge specified a young person was going to be incarcerated in the worst of all circumstances, when there was no other alternative available, a young person would receive a sentence and would do every day of that sentence. There was the confidence that the young person would do every stick of time that the judge in his or her wisdom decided was appropriate.

What are we going to see now? We are going to see a parole system foisted on the young offender system. Now young people are going to be released at the discretion of an official who is working within the system. I do not mean to cast aspersions on the entire system or whitewash this problem, but we have seen problems in the adult system, such as the 50:50 release plan that was put in place by the former commissioner of corrections. We have seen a philosophy where we have to get people out of the prison system, even putting people at risk on occasion. Lo and behold the justice department through these amendments, through this bill intends to put in place a system that will undermine this concept.

I hesitate to use the words truth in sentencing, but at least there was an indication that when a person received a sentence he or she would do that time under the old Young Offenders Act. That will be wiped out, completely taken out of existence by the amendments the new bill has brought in.

That is not to say we should not allow judges to use discretion. Surely we have to support judges in their very difficult duty in a very difficult time. Crime is becoming more complicated. It is becoming more pervasive certainly in different areas. We know for a fact that young people are becoming involved in crime at an earlier age, which is another amendment I will hopefully speak to later in the debate.

The minister stated the intention when this bill was introduced and reintroduced in her many comments outside the House, through the public forum of the press gallery as opposed to on the floor of the House. If the intention is truly about early intervention, if it is truly about borrowing the concepts of restorative justice, better community involvement, more involvement of parents, more involvement that focuses on reconciliation with the crime, with the offender, with the community that has been offended, why would we want to prevent the ability to bring young people in at the earliest stage?

This is not to suggest that crime is rampant among very young children that are outside the parameters of the Young Offenders Act, that is to say under the age of 12. This summer there was a recent example of a young man, 11 years old, who walked into a bank to rob it. Under the current system there is no mechanism to respond to that.

If we can transfer youth to adult court, we should be able to transfer children to youth court. The minister has completely closed her mind to this. She has not responded to the wishes of the provincial attorneys general. She has not responded to the wishes of reasoned individuals who have put forward evidence that this should happen. It is indicative again of a closed mind, holier than thou approach, an approach which says “We will bestow upon the country the system that we feel is appropriate”. It is wrong. It is not going to work. Hopefully throughout this debate we can demonstrate in opposition that there are reasonable amendments that should take place for the legislation to work.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before the House resumes debate, I know there are a lot of popular members in the House who receive telephone calls, but I remind hon. members that cellular telephones are not permitted in the Chamber.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in response to some of the comments made and to discuss some of the amendments moved in this large group of amendments. It is important first of all that we come to some kind of understanding as to how we arrived at this point today.

My colleague from Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough said we are debating amendments to what may be the most complex piece of legislation to come before the House of Commons in this setting. Indeed, one colleague who has been here a lot longer than I have told me that this was the most complex piece of legislation after the Income Tax Act.

The bill was introduced in the last session of parliament. It was then unfortunately numbered Bill C-68, not a popular bill number for the Minister of Justice. It went before committee and there was some discussion at first reading. Then for whatever reason, it was determined that parliament would prorogue and the legislation died. It came back as Bill C-3. It has had a long life.

Those watching and those who read Hansard will know that the Minister of Justice was questioned time and time again on this bill. Members asked when it would be brought forward by the government and they were told it would be in a timely fashion and it was. Unfortunately the debate has not taken place in a timely fashion.

Sadly, when this complex piece of legislation was in committee, there was no opportunity to debate the necessary and important amendments that have been placed before the House by different parties. Those amendments fall in different camps and different areas. On behalf of the New Democratic Party I moved 20 amendments, all of which I thought were reasonable and sensible, some of which would have been healthy to debate at committee. My colleagues from the Conservative Party moved another 40 or so. We will not talk about what some of those were because they are not in this group of amendments.

Let me say that there were problems with this bill on the day that it was announced. I outlined the problems and I had hoped that by the time the legislation came to the House some of those problems would have been resolved. We now know that there was an opportunity to resolve them.

I think the thrust of the bill is that the Minister of Justice has attempted to appease both those who want tougher sentences for children and those who call for restorative justice. It is a difficult balancing act.

There are some good measures in the bill that deal with extrajudicial sentencing. By extrajudicial measures we mean ways to deal with young people who find themselves in trouble with the law on their first or second offence, not a serious offence, who in many instances are acting out against society. There are provisions in the bill that allow the community to get involved in a restorative justice sense, to help work with a young person. The problem is that the provinces are to administer the criminal justice system.

At the federal level we pass the legislation dealing with the criminal code and the criminal youth justice act. It is then left to the provinces to administer the law we create. Part of the problem with the bill is that the resources will not be there to put in place the extrajudicial measures that might be so helpful to young people who find themselves in trouble with the law for a first or second time.

I do not know of one attorney general at the provincial level across the country who thinks the resources allocated by the federal government will be sufficient to put in place those measures.

I remember when the Young Offenders Act, which we are replacing, was first introduced. We ran into the same problem. I was practising in the courts in those days. On many occasions a young person would come before the judge and the judge would not want to send the young person to jail. The act had provisions for other measures but the province had no money. What was written on paper and what was provided for in the law were not put into effect by the provinces. When I questioned the Minister of Justice on this she felt that the resources were adequate and given the tight financial circumstances we found ourselves in as a nation, there were no more resources.

We know now there was a $12 billion surplus. It has gone to pay down the debt because it was not allocated for any of the other programs that might have found the money useful. I submit that putting in place this comprehensive piece of legislation and asking the provinces to take on the administration of it, those provinces could have used some of the resources the government found itself with. It would ensure that young people who come into conflict with the law would at first instance have the benefit of working with their community and the community would have the resources to work with them.

After all, we are all responsible for the children in our country. All of us are responsible for the children in our community. When a child breaks the law it is a call to all of us to respond. Poorer communities will not be able to take advantage. Poorer provinces, especially the have not provinces, and there are more of them than the have ones, will not be able to take advantage of some of the good, proactive measures that are in Bill C-3.

The other thing the Minister of Justice did in an effort to calm members of what was then the Reform Party was to make the law tougher, if that is the word one wants to use, at the other end. In the bill is legislation which allows a judge to send 14 year olds to do adult time if necessary. Under the previous legislation it was rare; an adult sentence would not be imposed on a young person unless he or she was over 16. This bill goes a little further than that. It allows the court to sentence a 14 year old to adult time for certain types of offences or if the judge feels it is necessary.

My colleague from Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough has talked about judicial discretion. That is where I disagree with him, and I do not disagree with him often.

When we are dealing with young people in particular, no one is in a better position to understand the type of sentence that young person needs than the judge who has heard all the evidence, has seen the parents in court, has seen the victim in court, has seen, sometimes, the victim's parents in court, and has access to all kinds of information from social workers and doctors. No one has that information except the judge.

Surely if we are going to provide judicial discretion in any area of the law, that judicial discretion should be used in the case of young offenders. I have worked in the criminal court system and the criminal youth justice system for a long time. The complexity of those cases can be understood only by the judges.

There has been a shift, but before I go on to that I want to respond to the case that was raised, about the 11 year old who went in and committed a bank robbery. I submit that the appropriate measures were taken. That was a young boy. He did not know what he was doing. What became clear in the investigation was that there was an adult who directed this boy to do something. Surely the person to be charged is the adult. If we are going to start elevating 11 and 10 year olds to the criminal justice system, then I wonder where we stop.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

An hon. member

Pampers in the courtroom.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Yes, Pampers in the courtroom.

There is a strange conundrum here. When we are dealing with crime what we know under the rule of law is that to be convicted of committing a crime one must have a knowledge of what it means to commit the crime. That is an adult concept. We do not let 14 year olds drive cars. We do not let 12 year olds go into the liquor store. We do that because we know they do not possess the necessary judgment. Yet some members of the House are prepared to send them to jail. I have serious questions about that aspect, but my time is up.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-3, but seeing where we are today it is less than a privilege to address the problems we are having with the bill.

I want to go back in time a little. Since being elected in 1993 I have been working on issues of justice. In 1995 or 1996 I met a fellow whose name was Cadman. He had lost his son. His son was murdered by a young offender. I heard him speak many times, in British Columbia in particular, about the need for change. I thought he was a good speaker who was certainly dedicated to the issue.

When it came time to look for nominees for the 1997 election, I approached him. I said that if he wanted to go further with this issue, why not become a member of parliament, go into the House of Commons and make a change? Today that person is the hon. member for Surrey North, who is somewhat frustrated, as we could hear a little while ago. He has headed up the Young Offenders Act for us from the day he came into the House in 1997.

I know a lot of emotions about this run through his mind, and I think back to the meeting we had in a restaurant in Langley. I said that if he became a member of parliament he could make substantial changes and all the things that happened to Jesse would at least be the start of major change in the years ahead.

What do I find? I find that for at least the last decade Canadians have been looking for changes to the Young Offenders Act. For the past seven years we have had a Liberal government in place and for seven years we have had no substantive changes to the Young Offenders Act.

Here we are, before an election, rushing through the House of Commons a bill effecting changes to the Young Offenders Act. I must say that in many cases the changes are poor at best. They leave out a lot of things that many witnesses who came before committee have asked for and will not get.

This bill was tabled two years ago. One could hardly say it has been rushed, but what has been rushed is that at the last minute we find some 3,000 amendments before us, some 150 of them made by the government to its own legislation, some 50 amendments made by the Canadian Alliance and on and on. With that many amendments, the legislation obviously is not good enough.

One could say that perhaps with all the amendments accepted we could make an omnibus change bill and things would get done and would change for the better, but there are some serious things in this bill that will not get changed. One wonders why, after its seven long years in office, the substantive things we are looking for will not get finalized by the government.

Why not allow the publication of the names of young offenders convicted of serious offences? That is not included in the bill. It was discussed and recommended by probably the vast majority of witnesses who came before members of the House of Commons. In the final analysis this was ignored by the government.

Why not carry over youth records to adult records? So many times I have been involved with inmates who have committed other crimes after they have been released from prison. We look for their records. We see what is behind these individuals. When we talk to corrections people all we get is a shrug of the shoulders. They say that they did not know the individual was as bad as that. They say that the other part of his history was as a young offender and they do not know about that. They are not allowed to know. They are not allowed to put it on his record. People like me or the police cannot see it. It is as simple as that.

Why not allow the carrying over of youth records? What is wrong with that? Why, after the government's seven years in office, does this issue continue to get ignored? Why, after this bill is passed by a majority government, will it not be included? We all know that it will be a long time before the government again tables legislation on the Young Offenders Act.

Why not include young offenders who are aged 10 to 15? What is wrong with that? Time and again the government has been told about the need to get 10 and 11 year olds not necessarily incarcerated but onto a path to try to change them when they do get into trouble. What is wrong with that? Why did it not get addressed?

It is interesting to see that with all these amendments before us, many of them coming from the Bloc, which is stalling for time to make it difficult for the government because that party is upset at the bill, there are changes in the bill that are necessary. My fear is that they will get tossed out by the government because there are so many amendments to the bill.

I agree with the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough on his point of order this morning. He asked the Chair to have a look at this situation. We are going to be looking at amendments to the bill that are really just wasting time.

It is important that the House understand the need to have changes to the Young Offenders Act. We have been demanding them for well over a decade. The Liberals are into their seventh year of responsibility for the act. Still, at the end of the day we will be faced with nothing substantive. What do we do when we get to third reading and find that all we are dealing with is the shell of what we wanted?

I think it is time for the government to call an election. I think it is time that we put issues like this before the people. In my opinion the government has a poor track record on many things, but the one thing in justice that it will be hauled up on is the lack of substantial action on the Young Offenders Act, something we have all been looking for.

I apologize to the member for Surrey North. I thought he could come to the House and get substantial changes to something that he wanted very badly, like the rest of Canadians. It is just too darn bad that the Liberal government is not listening.

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1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, it is almost 2.00 p.m. Before I recognize the next speaker, we will now proceed to statements by members.

The Late Hon. Jacques FlynnStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, former Quebec senator Jacques Flynn, who was the leader of the Conservative Party in the Upper Chamber for 17 years, died in Quebec City on Thursday, at the age of 85.

Mr. Flynn was called to the bar in 1939. He was elected member of parliament for Québec-Sud in 1958 and became deputy speaker of the House in 1960. Among other positions, he held the job of Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys. Later on, he also became Minister of Justice and Attorney General, in June 1979.

Mr. Flynn was known as a person of great judgment and wisdom. His knowledge of the country and his understanding of Quebec were also appreciated. Mr. Flynn retired from the Senate in 1990, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

We wish to offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Flynn's family.

Roy RomanowStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the retirement of a long time fixture on the national stage, the hon. Roy Romanow. How could we ever forget the historic role he played in the debate on repatriating the constitution 20 years ago?

Mr. Romanow has wisely called for a new generation of politicians to step forward. As an MP who is stepping down at the next election, I agree. We may have disagreed on many issues in the past, but I certainly share his view that it is time for new leadership, not only at the provincial level but at the federal level as well. Sayonara , Roy.

Roy RomanowStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am glad the hon. member tried another language.

Arthritis MonthStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to remind this House and all Canadians that September is arthritis month.

Arthritis is a serious disease that threatens the independence and quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Canadian men and women. In fact, over four million Canadians suffer from one form or another of arthritis, which is one of the most widespread chronic diseases in Canada and the number one cause of long term disability.

There is no cure for arthritis and the direct and indirect costs of this disease are enormous. Public awareness campaigns and a healthy life style can help relieve certain damaging effects of arthritis.

Quality of life for these four million Canadians and their families is dependent upon the efforts of government and non-government stakeholders to address issues related to our practice of patient care.

Health Canada will continue its longstanding collaboration with arthritis organizations dedicated to helping Canadians manage the impacts of this disease.

I ask the House to join me in wishing the Arthritis Society a very successful month.

McWatters Mining CompanyStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, open-pit production at the McWatters mining company's Sigma-Lamaque complex, scheduled to take place over a period of 15 years, will respect the population and the environment, promised CEO Claire Derome.

The vast majority of residents of Val-d'Or who attended the unveiling of the McWatters conservation plan said they were satisfied with the measures the mining company would be taking to protect the people and the landscape of Val-d'Or.

I was present at the first meeting and I know that McWatters and all employees of the mine at Val-d'Or will keep every one of their promises.

Olympics 2000Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to pay tribute to Mathieu Turgeon of Unionville, Ontario, an awesome Canadian athlete who won an Olympic bronze medal in the Sydney Games.

Born in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Mr. Turgeon competed in the first ever Olympic trampoline competition. He shares his experience and success with Karen Cockburn, another dedicated Canadian who also earned a bronze medal in last Thursday's women's trampoline event.

A kinesiology student at York University, Mr. Turgeon is sure to have a bright future on and off the trampoline. I am sure all of us in the House join Mr. Turgeon's family and friends in congratulating him on his outstanding performance in Sydney. All Canadians can take pride in this great Olympic moment. We are proud of him. Way to go, Mathieu.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is two years since Joey Hache presented a petition to the Prime Minister with over 30,000 signatures calling for compensation for all those victims of hepatitis C from tainted blood.

While other kids were out that summer enjoying themselves, having a good time playing sports, Joey chose to ride his bicycle across the country to raise awareness of this issue. He is sick himself with hepatitis C.

The Prime Minister chose to take a narrow legalistic definition of those who are sick with hepatitis C who would be compensated. He turned his back on Joey Hache and he turned his back on many other victims of hepatitis C.

I have had an opportunity to talk with many Liberal caucus members and I know they did not agree with that stand. It is a shame he took that stand.

One politician in Canada took a different stand. Mike Harris decided that he would compensate all victims of hepatitis C and he did that unilaterally. Once again it is a shame that Joey Hache, as a teenager, has to stand as the conscience of the Prime Minister on hepatitis C.

Olympics 2000Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, Canada won a bronze medal in the women's eight rowing competition at the Sydney Olympics. It was an incredibly emotional moment.

The team of rowers included Buffy Alexander from St. Catharines, Ontario; Laryssa Biesenthal from Walkerton, Ontario; Heather Davis from Vancouver, British Columbia; Alison Korn from Nepean, Ontario; Theresa Luke from Mile House, British Columbia; Heather McDermid from Calgary, Alberta; Emma Robinson from Winnipeg, Manitoba; and coxswain Lesley Thompson from Toronto, Ontario. For most of these women it was a repeat performance to the podium, having won either a bronze or a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

These athletes have managed to reach such heights thanks to their extreme hard work, dedication and sacrifices. I am sure all members join me in congratulating them and thanking them for the honour they bring to Canada.

Sydney Olympic GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, three bronze medals for some real high flyers: they were won by 10-metre diver Anne Montminy, and trampolinists Karen Cockburn and Mathieu Turgeon, in a sport making its debut at the Olympics.

Our thoughts now turn to the Lareau-Nestor men's tennis doubles team, which has already captured one silver medal and could pull off a gold later this week, to young Quebec diver Alexandre Despatie, to the personable kayaker Caroline Brunet, and to cyclists Lyne Bessette and Geneviève Jeanson.

The Bloc Quebecois pays tribute to each of these athletes for their discipline and tenacity, their unwavering commitment to their dream, and their desire to be in top shape in order to deliver their best performance and bring home a much-coveted medal.

Kay WaltersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, sadly Mrs. Kay Walters of Vancouver, B.C., passed away recently. Her devotion to helping the poor, caring for the sick and advancing minority rights are fine examples for all Canadians.

Through her work at the Jewish Community Centre, the Canadian Arthritis Research Institute and her constant support for arts and cultural organizations, Kay Walters touched many lives. She was a wonderful wife to Dr. Max Walters and a loving mother to David, Lorne and Mona.

I salute Kay for all the love and kindness she brought to our community. She will be deeply missed.

Correctional Service CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I spent this summer truly looking forward to returning to the House of Commons and to reports of a new, improved Correctional Service Canada minus Ingstrup, but memories of the previous era continue and the solicitor general has no one left to blame.

Correctional Service Canada still seems to be falling short on the fundamentals. I had always thought that the concept was to remove criminals from society, but here I have a report where a convicted drug trafficker, housed in the most violent offender section at Millhaven, was able to set up a home office for himself. Using a cell phone he successfully imported Colombian drugs into Toronto as well as planned a Rambo-like escape using military weapons.

It must be simple to smuggle drugs when a body cavity search fails to notice a cellular phone. It must have been one of those super small flip phones. My lesson for the solicitor general is that it is time to tear down Correctional Service Canada and rebuild the whole system, not build on yesterday's mistakes. By the way, that is not why they are called cell phones.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I spent the summer canvassing my riding of Hamilton Mountain, talking to my constituents about the issues that concern them the most.

In overwhelming numbers they were most concerned about the future of our health care system. They not only wanted more money for health care, but they wanted leadership from government.

The government delivered both. In my riding constituents wanted to know why the opposition is so pessimistic about the future of the country. They told me that their families are better off today than when we took office in 1993 and that their futures have never looked brighter.

The Liberal government is delivering the leadership Canadians expect and deserve. Congratulations to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.

Roy RomanowStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the dean of Canadian premiers has just announced he will be stepping down. Throughout a lifetime in politics, Saskatchewan's Roy Romanow has always demonstrated personal integrity, dedication to duty, and that there is nothing more noble than public service.

He joined the NDP during the 1962 strike by doctors over medicare. During 11 years Mr. Romanow was Saskatchewan's deputy premier on tumultuous issues including repatriation of the Canadian constitution and provincial control over natural resources.

In 1987 he was acclaimed leader of the Saskatchewan NDP and elected premier four years later. Although his government inherited the largest debt deficit per capita that any provincial government ever faced, within four years his cabinet and the hard working people of the province had cleaned up the mess and Saskatchewan was able to introduce new progressive social programs dealing with child poverty in particular.

Premier Roy Romanow remains a great New Democrat and a great Canadian.

Human Resources Development CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, Confection Haut de Gamme Industrielle de Québec is a co-operative recently set up by 21 women after three years of efforts by a number of partners in the community. Most of these women had been on social assistance and they took a nine-month course on the use of high tech equipment for the production of top-of-the-line clothing.

An officer of Human Resources Development Canada was involved in the creation of this project and deemed it acceptable in all aspects for the Canada jobs fund program. Now the department has refused to hand over the $105,000 earmarked for the project, claiming that these women were being paid when they were in fact on training. Although departmental representatives have acknowledged the error, they have refused to reverse the decision and to pay out the amount planned.

This decision has placed the future of the co-operative in jeopardy. Would the federal government prefer to see these 21 women back on employment insurance or welfare? Is this the new face of federal government compassion?

House Of CommonsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, we heard it again from educators and students in Manitoba and British Columbia. People want national leadership and they believe that the federal government should provide that leadership. These Canadians want leadership in higher education; others want national leadership in health care; and others in employment standards. Many believe that we should have national standards in water quality.

I urge all parties in the House to behave like federal parties. It is our job to act in the national interest for all Canadians. It is not our job to think of only one region or one group or to actively set one region against another. Canada is stronger than the sum of its parts. It is our job to keep it so.

Police And Peace OfficersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, over 4,000 peace officers, their families and friends gathered on Parliament Hill to participate in the annual memorial service. What began in 1978 as a special service for police officers killed in the line of duty has expanded to honour all those in the law enforcement community who make the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their lives in the preservation of justice, safety and stability.

This year, as before, was marked with the tragic loss of five additional lives. The names of Charles Mercier, Daniel Rowan, James McFadden, Mark Nieuwenhuis and Margaret Eve were added to the honour roll and will be carved in stoic granite stones on Parliament Hill in the memorial pavilion at the rear of the Chamber.

The faces of the family members and the officers assembled reminded us all of the sad reality of the moment. As the bagpipes pierced the autumn air yesterday and the shots of the two gun salute rang out, those assembled were reminded once again how much we owe our law enforcement community.

Those who bravely and voluntarily put themselves in harm's way to protect and serve our country are truly heroes and we will never forget them.

Prime MinisterStatements By Members

September 25th, 2000 / 2:10 p.m.


Rick Limoges Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Windsor and Essex county on Thursday, September 21, 2000.

The Prime Minister was very well received both at the official announcement of a new $500 million investment in research and development by Daimler Chrysler and later that evening at a Liberal Party fund raising dinner.

A sold out audience of over 1,000 people gave the Prime Minister an enthusiastic reception as they heard him speak passionately about issues that concern all Canadians, including a balanced approach to debt repayment, the continuing need to lower taxes and to make important investments in health care, education and children. Bravo.