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House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-65.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a few comments on Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code, street racing, and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

Bill C-65 should be looked at in conjunction with Bill C-64, which the House will presumably be looking at soon. Both bills purport to talk about two of the subjects that were part of the crusade, the passion and the commitment of one of our former members, Mr. Chuck Cadman. Both of these bills are subjects in which he was very much interested and certainly had no problem convincing members of the Conservative Party that they were steps in the right direction.

This particular bill, Bill C-65, amends the Criminal Code by defining street racing and by specifically identifying the involvement in street racing as an aggravating factor during sentencing for the following offences: dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death; criminal negligence causing bodily harm; and criminal negligence causing death. We are talking about a very serious subject.

I guess where the government departs from the intention of Mr. Cadman on this particular bill is where Mr. Cadman and most of us believe that if someone subsequently kills somebody or injures somebody because the person stole a car or got involved in drag racing, perhaps the second time that person is convicted the punishment should be greater. Most people would think that is pretty reasonable but that is the part that was rejected by the Liberal government and I think it has made a very grave mistake.

One of the parliamentary secretaries said that Canadians have a problem defining minimum sentences. Canadians have no problem defining minimum sentences. It is only the Liberal Party that has trouble putting in minimum mandatory sentences. Most Canadians with whom I have discussed some of these subjects have no problem with it at all. In fact, they applaud efforts to make sure that individuals who cause untold harm in our society and cause pain and suffering through their own criminal acts receive minimum sentences. Canadians are happy, pleased or at least satisfied that justice is done when they see increased minimum sentences for those individuals. That is the part that is missing from the bill.

Members of the government were trumpeting the fact that they are true to Mr. Cadman's legacy. They are not true to Mr. Cadman's legacy. He was very specific, as are we, that the more times one commits these crimes of course the higher one's sentence should be. There is nothing wrong with minimum sentences. However this is typical of the way the Liberals have treated both of these issues.

We also will be debating Bill C-64, another bill inspired by the late Chuck Cadman but not one that is true to his intentions. We will see when we put these two bills together, and we are talking about Bill C-64, that the government only goes so far. It starts talking about an individual who has stolen a car and then decides to scrape off the vehicle identification number. People do this because apparently it is easier to fence the car, sell the car and to get rid of it. The fact that people would do that one would think that would place an onus on them to come up with an explanation but, no. When we look at that legislation, true to the government's intent on this particular legislation, we will see the same thing.

The government then put on extra onus on the Crown to prove that the person was doing something wrong, as if the act of stealing a car and filing off the vehicle identification number was not enough. No, the Crown has to do something above and beyond that to make the point and get a conviction.

It is certainly an approach to the Criminal Code and justice issues that is completely at odds with the Conservative Party. As a matter of fact, when people ask me to define some of the key differences between ourselves and the Liberal Party, I always come back to justice issues because there is a fundamental disagreement.

The difference between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party is that the Liberals are constantly worried about the individuals who commit the crime and we are constantly worried about the victims of crime, which is why in Bill C-65 the Liberals did not want to increase the mandatory sentences for repeat offenders. They would never want to do that because that would hurt some individual and may give some consequences to what the individual had done. The individual may have to spend a longer time in jail and the Liberals are not in favour of that.

The Crown attorneys, who have enough on their plate to try to prove the elements of a crime in Bill C-64, would be faced with the extra onus that the government wants to place on them. They would have to do extra work to prove that the individual had bad ideas about stealing cars and filing off the vehicle identification numbers. The individual may have had a legitimate reason for taking our car and trying to ship it out of the country without a vehicle identification number but that is the Crown's job, is it not? It is not enough to prove the elements of the offence and prove the individual did it. No, the Crown would now have to go that extra step. Again, part of the philosophy of the Liberal Party is to be soft on crime.

The government has problems with mandatory minimum sentences. We have no problems with that because we know they are directed against the individuals who need to be off the streets and need the time to contemplate what they have done and the hurt they have caused society.

We have a very different approach. We worry about guns and we worry about crimes being committed with guns. The Liberals worry about bureaucracy. Is that not what the gun registry is all about? It has nothing to do with stopping crime but it has everything to do with creating bureaucracy in this country.

I have been told that as happy as the Liberals are about that bureaucracy, they cannot wait to get into day care. They say that we have not seen anything yet. They say that when they get into day care we will see a bureaucracy in this town, the proportions of which we have never seen before. However at this point they are content with what they have done on gun control. Have the people who commit these crimes registered their guns with the federal government? Of course they have not. This, again, is about creating bureaucracy, not about stopping crime.

We look to the Liberals and their friends in the NDP in a number of areas. I cannot wait to see the report from the federal committee studying prostitution in Canada. I love some of the quotes that are already starting to come out. One member of the Liberal Party said that she favoured three person brothels, just for licensing and zoning purposes, not a two person brothel or a four person brothel, but a three person brothel. That is what they are in favour of.

The initial report, as reported in the paper, is that the Liberals want to make sure the streets are safer for individuals who are into the pimping and the prostitution business. We are worried about making it safe for the people who live in those neighbourhoods. The children who have to grow up in those neighbourhoods are our priorities but obviously they are not the priority of the Liberal Party.

We will be watching for that, but again, the same pattern plays itself over and over again. One of the worst crimes and perhaps the worst crime committed in the Niagara Peninsula was the murder of a couple of schoolgirls and the attacks on some other women in southern Ontario by Bernardo and Homolka. After all these years, Ms. Homolka was released and the Province of Ontario made an application to place restrictions on Karla Homolka when she was released from prison.

Most Canadians, all members of the Conservative Party and the people who accept our philosophy and believe it, have no problem whatsoever placing restrictions on that despicable woman. However I made a prediction which played out over a period of several weeks. I predicted that someone in the Liberal Party would crack on this one. I said that someone would not be able to allow restrictions to be placed on Homolka and that the person would break ranks over there and that we should watch for it. Sure enough, a member of the Liberal caucus from the other place came to the defence of Ms. Homolka and said that Ontario's application to place restrictions on Homolka when she was released from prison “was unjustified”. He went on to compare it to something we would see in a dictatorship. He said, “I have to give her a chance. I don't consider her dangerous”.

A lot of Canadians consider her dangerous. I was very surprised by the member of the Liberal caucus. The Liberals could not stand it but they kind of held together. They knew they would be offside with public opinion if they were to come to Homolka's defence but instincts always prove true and in the end somebody had to break. To the credit of my colleague from St. Catharines, he objected to it but, nonetheless, I believe it is symptomatic of the Liberal Party in general.

Mr. Speaker, I should tell you that I am pleased to split my time with the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.

This bill, as in all these other issues, highlights for Canadians the important differences between the Conservative Party and the Liberal government.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his overview of what has happened in our country under the Liberal regime for the past decade.

I would like my colleague to explain in more depth the differences between maximum and minimum, which is what I find is being spun out in communities. Some people are saying that they want maximum sentences while others are saying that they want something else. People do not always realize what the difference is.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I am not in Parliament I practise law. I have been in court many times, more so at the beginning of my career than in recent years. I can tell members that I have never seen one instance where someone received the maximum sentence. Now members may ask whether I have seen a lot of criminals being sentenced and the answer would be yes. I saw a lot of pleas, trials and all kinds of sentencing but I never saw anyone receive the maximum sentence. The courts use these as guidelines.

I think it is important and it is legitimate for parliamentarians, the lawmakers in this country, to say what they think about the seriousness of some of these crimes. It is open to us to put in those minimum sentences because we deliver a message and we deliver that message on behalf of Canadian society. Canadian society wants us to indicate to the courts that we consider some behaviour so notorious and wrong that we are prepared to incarcerate that individual. In the long run, I am sure it is good for those individuals because they need that time. Once they commit a serious crime and abuse the freedoms they have been given, they should be given an extended time out, so to speak, to ensure they become aware of the seriousness of their crime and resolve never to do it again, and, at the same time, we are protecting society.

We received a notice in Niagara about a sex offender who was being released. We were told that the individual had been released I think approximately a couple of years after his sentence. He has a long record. What is this individual doing out? Why is he out on the street after only a two year sentence? If a person has a long record of sexually abusing individuals I have no problem with that person being incarcerated at length. However I think it really goes to the philosophy of the Liberal Party.

We heard one of the members of the Liberal Party say that Canadians had problems with defining minimums. Canadians do not have any problems with defining minimums. The members of the Liberal Party have problems with defining minimums. Members of the Conservative Party have long advocated them because we are committed to protecting innocent, law-abiding Canadians. We are committed to the victims in this country and we are committed to law-abiding citizens. That is the gulf that exists between ourselves and the Liberal Party and that is something in which Canadians can expect change in the next federal election.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member dwelled on an issue that has been talked about in this debate all morning. It has to do with the sentencing problem and whether or not the policing authorities have the resources to do the enforcement side of the law and whether or not the court system has the resources to adjudicate some of these matters.

The member is a lawyer and he has some experience in these matters. I would ask the member quite simply whether or not there is anything the Government of Canada and the Parliament of Canada could do to address the ability of our policing authorities and the court jurisdictions to enforce and to adjudicate our laws.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have an excellent suggestion for the member. The member said he is looking for resources for policing and for the judicial process in the country. He could start with scrapping gun control. If he is looking for a couple of billion dollars, the government could get rid of that. The Liberals say that it is only $1 billion so far and it is probably not $2 billion. By the time they are done, if they were ever returned to power again, it would be up to $4 billion or $5 billion. When they start creating a bureaucracy there is no end to it. It becomes an end in and of itself. If the Liberals are looking for the resources, why do they look at that? It was a program that was supposed to cost about $2 million and it is hundreds of times over budget.

If the Liberals had given those resources to the RCMP, which is involved in investigating drug trafficking and other federal offences, that would have been a much better expenditure of the Government of Canada's resources and the taxpayers' dollars, but that is not what they did. They wanted to get into the business of building a bureaucracy in the country and that is a shame.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to speak to Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

The Liberals are attempting to steal the legacy of Chuck Cadman by a watered down version of his own private member's bill for cheap political points. In the entire time I have been in the House, I have never seen a more cowardly and shameful display. I am not convinced that the Liberals are genuine in their approach and neither are my constituents.

Mr. Dane Minor in my riding was involved with Mr. Cadman for many years and has made a significant contribution to criminal justice reforms and has tirelessly volunteered on many fronts and issues in the community. He explained his disgust as follows: “My immediate reaction was a positive one. It would be a fitting memorial to Chuck. Then the justice minister announced his watered down version. This isn't Chuck's bill in either intent or design. It is a cynical attempt by the Liberals to use Chuck's good name while doing little or nothing to change existing laws”.

The justice minister has co-opted the work of a good man by claiming connection to a legacy he shows no respect for. The people of Surrey knew Mr. Cadman well and they know these bills are nothing but a political stunt.

Previously when Chuck was a Conservative member the government refused to support Chuck's private member's legislation because it called for mandatory minimum driving prohibitions and increased punishment for repeat offenders. The Conservatives have consistently supported these measures and have advocated similar measures across the board in criminal justice legislation.

Bill C-65 is a neutered version of Mr. Cadman's past bills. Although it provides for mandatory driving prohibitions and the inclusion of street racing in aggravating factors for sentencing, it fails to include the clauses on repeat offenders which were an essential part of Mr. Cadman's bill.

Before I support this government bill, substantial amendments must be made to actually make this Chuck's bill and not the political rip-off it currently is.

First, Mr. Cadman's increasing scale punishment clauses must be reinstated in the bill. The scale punishment clauses were included to address repeat offenders who failed to learn their lesson after their initial punishment.

The bill also needs to be amended to treat street racing as an aggravating factor in sentencing, which could then include mandatory driving restrictions. We must have the legal ability to get those punks off our streets for good. Mandatory driving restrictions and an escalating punishment scale are exactly the tools to do it.

We have seen similar problems with Liberal criminal justice legislation for over 12 years. The Liberals refuse to adequately address the needs of communities plagued by repeat offenders who seem to never learn their lessons. Mr. Cadman understood this problem all too well, but the Liberals do not. They insist on every chance being given to the criminals, while our communities suffer as a result. If the Liberals were truly committed to Chuck's legacy, they would pass Mr. Cadman's original bill as is.

The origins of the bill also deserve deeper analysis. In the Lower Mainland we have experienced growing problems with street racing on residential streets. Let us be clear. These are not kids mildly speeding on the freeway. Rather, we are talking about people racing on residential streets. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the problems associated with such a dangerous activity.

The problem of street racing is not simply one of newspaper headlines and a few high profile cases. There is data to show the problem is growing from previous years. Recent statistics in the United States show a substantial increase in street racing with accident deaths caused by street racing doubling. I am sure the statistics hold true in Canada as well.

The question of why street racing is increasing is difficult to assess, but one thing is certain. Young people who have had their licence for only a few years are driving cars whose specific purpose is to be driven at excessive speeds. Parents have a responsibility to ensure their youth are driving responsibly and perhaps not driving powerful sports cars.

While it is impossible to legislate what kids and young adults can drive, it is perhaps time the House also considered penalties for parents of minors who are convicted of street racing where obvious negligence has been shown. Parents would think twice about giving their kids speed-laden killing machines if they too were held responsible for their children's behaviour.

Besides the cars themselves, there are also other means of limiting street racing. Illegal street racing is often an organized spectator sport. These organized events are not the fabled chicken races of the 1950s that happened on the outskirts of small towns. They happen in our busy city centres and residential neighbourhoods.

San Diego in the United States was a haven for organized illegal street racing for many years. It tackled the problem by not only increasing penalties for street racing itself but also for the organizers and spectators of street racing. By focusing merely on the supply of street racing, in other words the street racers themselves, we miss an important component of street racing. We must also focus on the demand of street racing from spectators who fuel the egos of speed that end up killing innocent bystanders.

San Diego solved this problem of demand by instituting a fine of $5,000 for spectators. This has seen great success. Street racing is now down by almost 100%. It is pretty difficult to get more successful than that.

I would like to see amendments that also address this demand aspect of street racing. By focusing on both the criminal supply and demand issues, we have an excellent opportunity to actually solve the problem of street racing once and for all. After a few people get $5,000 fines for rooting these people on in their dangerous activities, it will act as a deterrent.

The bill is an important step forward in addressing the needs of communities plagued by street racing, but it fails to build in the proper checks that could change behaviour in our communities. Mandatory driving prohibitions and an escalating scale for repeat offenders are a great way to deter street racers themselves. Chuck understood as much when he created the original bill.

We could make the bill even better by also focusing on the demand issues of street racing by fining the spectators and organizers of such events. Most racers are driven by a simple competitive spirit. Without a crowd, their yearnings will not be satisfied. Let us get rid of the crowd and the illegal street racers. If they want to race, they should go to the racetracks where proper safeguards are in place to handle high speeds.

Racing has always been part of the human experience and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. From the Olympics to NASCAR, humanity loves the rush and competition of a good race. We politicians love a good election race, but we cannot turn a blind eye to illegal street racing. It turns our roads and streets into paths of destruction and death. By tackling both the supply and demand issues of illegal street racing, we could solve this problem once and for all.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague had very insightful comments on the bill. Clearly my colleague's concern has been for the safety of the citizens on our streets.

Perhaps my colleague could go into more detail in terms of the minimum and maximum sentences and the legacy of Chuck Cadman as an example for our Parliament in order to protect the safety of our kids and our citizens on our streets.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, all of us know that illegal street racing terrorizes our neighbourhoods and kills children and our friends. We must put a stop to it. More than 30 people have been killed in the Lower Mainland in the past years because of street racing.

Like other British Columbians, Mr. Cadman understood very well the seriousness of the problem. He introduced private member's Bill C-230, but the government refuses to support it. Now the Liberals have reversed their position, have taken over the bill as their own, but they have seriously weakened it. We need this legislation, but it must be as forceful as it was in its original form.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP intends to support this bill. As we have heard throughout this debate, it makes provisions for a common problem that a number of urban centres have been experiencing.

Oftentimes we hear individual stories with some great tragedy of innocent bystanders being severely injured or in many cases killed. My party has a particular concern with that. The wife of the former premier of Ontario lost both her parents as a result of an incident like that back in the early nineties. Therefore, we are particularly sensitive to the consequences of this type of criminal behaviour.

We also acknowledge the work of one of our former members, Mr. Cadman from Surrey North, who brought this issue to the House by way of a private member's bill, Bill C-230, and publicized the need for additional criminal legislation to deal with this criminal behaviour.

The bill is fairly straightforward in terms of dealing with the sentencing consequences of someone convicted of street racing. It is a measured response to the problem. We have the ongoing debate in this chamber, certainly in the justice committee, over the use of mandatory sentences. I have no hesitation in saying that in the vast majority of cases, I am convinced that mandatory sentences are unconstitutional, offensive to the charter and quite frankly useless for the purpose for which they are intended, which is to deter crime.

However, there are exceptions to that. We saw that most tellingly in the use we made of minimum mandatory sentences with regard to impaired driving. We have to be careful of overemphasizing the effectiveness of that tool. It is my belief and conviction, from everything I have read and studied, that in this case public education, the work of groups like MADD and the work of our police forces to educate the public of the scourge of impaired driving and its impact on families and communities, is most telling in getting the rates down.

It is also interesting to look at that. There was a blip in 2003-04 where incidents of impaired driving edged back up. The law did not change. The penalties were still as severe, but it began to edge back up a little. I think there was a reduction in the amount of educational work, such as ads in the paper and public meetings. As a result, there was a slight increase.

Similarly with this bill, the introduction of mandatory one year suspensions, which then go progressively higher for repeat offences, can be part of the tools we need to reduce and try to eliminate this criminal behaviour. However, it will not be successful by itself. I suggest that it will be a small part of it. We need to take on a strong campaign of public education to reach those individuals who would consider involving themselves in what they oftentimes see at the beginning as fairly harmless conduct, hijinks of youthfulness. We know better. We know the potential consequences.

In that regard, one thing we have to do is talk to automotive companies. A recent documentary on the amount of money spent on promoting the sale of vehicles indicated that in some markets as much as 80% was used to promote the use of automobiles that is clearly illegal. That is conduct in operating a vehicle that would be at the minimum speeding, but oftentimes would amount to careless if not reckless driving and those charges under our provincial and federal statutes. We need the kind of campaign that would say to automotive companies that they have to change the way they promote the sale of their cars. It is no longer acceptable in this society because of the permissiveness it gives to young people in particular to think it is natural to drive in urban settings in a reckless, dangerous manner. They think it is acceptable. They think it is sexy.

We recognize the need for the amendments to the Criminal Code, and we will support them. I look forward to the bill going to the justice committee where it will hear additional evidence as to whether there are any additional steps we can take by way of amendment to strengthen the bill. As of now we will be supporting it.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code, street racing, and to a make consequential amendment to another act. This is another bill that I am sure has the best of intentions to put forward some frameworks to address the street racing problem in our country.

Today I want to put some comments on the record about the credibility of what is happening in the House of Commons. I speak as a former justice critic for the province of Manitoba and as the mother of a police officer. I feel the government has had over a decade to make things right, to make our streets safer. The government has failed miserably on all accounts.

In our city of Winnipeg, Manitoba many honourable police officers are trying to suppress crime. The problem is the laws at hand and the lack of resources, accountability and concern for the victims of crime.

We have had bills on trafficking of persons and on the age of consent. We have had pleas time and time again in the House of Commons to shut down the gun registry and put those resources toward front line police officers.

Once again we are hearing eloquent speeches from the Liberal members across the House. They say that they will get tough on crime, that they will honour the spirit of Mr. Cadman's private members' bills and that they will make things happen. This is something that is hard to believe. People across Canada are becoming very alarmed with the criminal acts happening in our nation and with the lack of consequences for these criminal acts.

For example, in September Winnipeg dealt with a young man who had 11 convictions for speeding. He was spared jail time after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, causing the death of a 52-year-old grandmother. The trial went on and the judge was convinced he was remorseful. However, there was a granddaughter involved in that incident who was very close to her 52-year-old grandmother. That granddaughter today is very distraught about the death of her grandmother.

The present government has indicated without a doubt that it does not have the political will to put these resources on the streets to ensure that the time people spend behind bars or in rehabilitation matches the crime that has been committed. The government is definitely soft on crime.

Chuck Cadman was well known by many people. I was very moved by the letter to the editor by Dane Minor. Dane Minor was a close friend to Chuck Cadman. He felt very good when he heard that the Prime Minister had announced on the front pages of national and local papers that the Liberal government would pass Chuck's private members' bills into legislation as an honour to him. Everyone felt good about it. Chuck Cadman had travelled to this House of Commons to do what he thought was right and to ensure that things were put in place to protect the citizens of our country. He did it at a time when he was very ill, but he was a man of extreme principle. What was most important to him was not party lines but doing the right thing.

I will read for members the following from Dane Minor in a letter to the editor. He stated:

This "new" legislation from the Liberals is the same type of political stunt. [The] Justice Minister...said his government tweaked both bills—

And those are the Chuck Cadman bills, I note.

—to comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and address "operational deficiencies."

What Dane Minor said about this was, “Bull!” That is what he said: “Bull!” He stated:

Chuck had one of the best legal advisors in Ottawa on his staff and his bills were well within the Charter. The ultimate ridiculousness of [the minister's] version was the reason for removing penalties for repeat offences: "because the police across this country don't have tracing or tracking records so we would know if it was a first, second or third tracking offence."

This is another incident, another blot and another black mark on the Liberal record of dealing with criminal issues in this country. The frustration of police officers on the front lines and of families of victims of crime is unparalleled.

This particular bill is attempting to deal with the issue of street racing, but in a very superficial way. It is putting words to paper, but it does not put the implementation in place that would stop street racing or give safety in the streets to the citizens who walk those streets every day.

There are many people in our Canadian mosaic who have been real leaders for the victims of crime. Let me speak of Jack McLaughlin. Jack McLaughlin is very well known in Manitoba. Jack McLaughlin is the father of a young man who was murdered. He and his family went through the terrible experience of being in a court system that had no consequences for the criminal. But the consequences for the family were huge, because that deep hole of regret and the deep anger at being powerless to change what happened weighed on the McLaughlin family in a very real way.

Jack McLaughlin started an organization that championed the cause of victims of crime. It put networks and counselling in place for victims of crime. Jack did something else and he does something else today. He goes to the Manitoba legislature and comes to the Houses of Parliament to push for stiffer sentences and consequences for criminals walking the streets and for more support for victims of crime. I applaud heroes like Jack McLaughlin who have done so much, who have taken a horrible tragedy and have done something good to make it better for families who are victims of crime.

I was very hopeful when Bill C-65 was introduced in the House of Commons, because I thought that perhaps there would be some thread of hope for some movement forward on the issues of suppressing criminal operations in Canada. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

We have heard members across the way say that they are here to listen, that they would like to hear what we have to say, that they would like to make things better and make sure our streets are safe, but when members on this side of the House say to shut down the gun registry, those members immediately say that police officers like the gun registry.

Let me tell members that the Winnipeg Police Association and the Manitoba Police Association have said very strongly, “Shut down the gun registry and put the resources into front line policing”.

In this country we are seeing crime on the rise. I am seeing it in my beautiful city of Winnipeg. I am seeing how police officers who are working so hard are not keeping up because they do not have the resources in place to do so.

We see such heroes as Chuck Cadman and Jack McLaughlin, and people like that, who have spent a lot of time trying to put forward helpful suggestions, trying to push for proper sentencing, and trying to suppress the criminal element in our country, not to mention the valiant police officers all across our nation who are combating crime on a daily basis. Yesterday a young police officer on the street discovered a grow op, I have heard, and the fact of the matter is that there were so many issues to deal with on that day the police officers could not move in on that particular grow op. There were not enough resources.

Here in the House of Commons, we do have the power to make sure that those resources are in place. How do we do that? We do that by shutting down useless programs that have become the black hole for the money, other than the scandal I mean; I am talking about the gun registry. Let us shut down that kind of thing and target those resources to the front line police officers all across our nation.

We have heard about the RCMP officers who gave their lives when they went to a criminal's property to try to protect the community and deal with some issues there. Those four very brave police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. We see so much bravery in the police force, yet there is no political will in the House of Commons to make sure that the resources are there to combat crime.

In the past two to three weeks, we have been talking about criminal issues and bills that are supposed to suppress crime. My colleagues in the House have said that we need to spread the word and advertise the fact that we are being very effective on crime. My hon. colleague across the way said that perhaps we should let young people know we are going to be watching and perhaps we should show them the consequences of crime.

Last year I was at a hockey game. A young man in front of me was talking about all the cars he had stolen the night before. He was talking to a group of other young people who thought it was a great joke. The young man was very well dressed. He seemed to have money, friends and everything, but they had stolen so many cars that night it was just a joke. It was like a contest about which car they should take next.

I think we have to renew the hope of our citizens in Canada. We have to make sure that programs are implemented and resources are put in place that will really make a difference. When I read this particular bill, Bill C-65, I remember that Chuck Cadman had been attempting to legislate changes to street racing since December 2002.

Previous versions of this bill, Bill C-338 and Bill C-230, which Mr. Cadman brought forward, were voted down. The current Liberal government refused to support the legislation because it called for mandatory minimum driving prohibitions and increased punishment for repeat offenders.

I taught school for 22 years, mostly at the junior high level, and I can tell members that if we want to educate junior high school children we should just tell them that they will not be driving for the rest of their natural-born days if they offend a second time. It is surprising how they will get to know that this is not the thing to do.

Bill C-65 is nothing but a neutered version of Mr. Cadman's past bills. Although it does provide for mandatory driving prohibitions, the inclusion of street racing and aggravating factors for sentencing, it fails to include the clauses on repeat offenders, which were an essential part of the Cadman bills.

I want to go over those particular points, those particular amendments that I feel should be included. They are:

(a) for a first offence, during a period of not more than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than one year;

(b) for a second or subsequent offence, if one of the offences is an offence under section 220 or subsection 249(4), for life:

(c) for a second offence, if neither of the offences is an offence under section 220 or subsection 249(4) during a period of not more than five years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than two years;

(d) for each subsequent offence, if none of the offences is an offence under section 220 or subsection 249(4), during a period of not less than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment.

In other words, these clauses are basically an increasing scale of punishment, restating Chuck Cadman's intent in the bill.

Going into my concluding remarks, I want to say that when we have bills before the House that have potential, when we have ideas put on paper coming forward in the House that could have some beneficial aspects to them, it always has to be remembered that it is only paper unless we have the resources to put in place, to monitor and to make sure that the punishments match the crimes of perpetrators on our Canadian streets.

I cannot emphasize enough that we should shut down the gun registry and put that money into front line police officers. I cannot emphasize enough that not only do our bills and our laws have to be tougher on crime, but we also have to make sure that those laws can be monitored. We have to make sure that our citizens are kept safe and that they can have the hope of being safe on our streets in Canada.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member referred to a number of cases. She referred to the Mayerthorpe case where the four RCMP officers were killed and to a few others. She came to the conclusion that the resolution of the problem was the gun registry.

Just to remind the member, the gun registry still enjoys the support of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The latest statistics are that 3,000 hits or checks to the register are made each day to assist officers in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The following is not a trick question, but I think it might identify why the member is maybe a little off on her solution. I wonder if she could just simply tell me how much it costs each year to operate the gun registry.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know it is proper to thank the member opposite for that kind of comment and question. However, let us be clear. When we have over $1 billion in a gun registry and when we have a shortage of police officers on the street, there is a big problem. There can be a gun registry. There would be nothing wrong with the gun registry if it were monitored properly. A gun registry should not cost in excess of $1 billion. I have a problem with a government that has a gun registry that wastes so much money but will not put police resources on the front lines so police officers could serve our communities.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

We will now go to statements by members.

University of Ottawa Heart InstituteStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate and thank the Indo-Canadian community in Ottawa for its recent fundraiser in support of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Dhadkan, which means heartbeat, is the name given to the community's project to raise funds and awareness, and to encourage volunteering for the Ottawa Heart Institute. This year's dinner was attended by the Minister of Health and the Minister of International Trade, and $1.4 million was raised to support the vital work of the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Congratulations to those from the Indo-Canadian community who sit on the board of the institute's foundation, those who are life patrons because of their generous financial support, and to Dhadkan for another superbly successful event.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, grain farmers are facing some of the toughest times in the past 30 years. Some people say that sounds like a broken record. How can every year be the worst? Others say that if things are that bad, maybe they should quit. That is absurd.

The fact is that farmers are quite willing to deal with weather problems and normal risks, but they cannot be expected to deal with spiralling increases in input costs like fuel, fertilizer and pesticides while they continue to suffer lower prices for their crops due to unfair trade practices in other countries. It is simply not fair and it is not possible.

One trade organization estimates that even marginal progress at the WTO trade talks would increase the price farmers receive for wheat by $1.80 a bushel for example, but the government does nothing to negotiate a fair deal. Furthermore, it refuses to fix the CAIS program to fairly compensate farmers for price reductions caused by unfair trade.

These Liberals have to get the boot before farmers simply cannot keep on operating.

Westfort InternationalsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, talk about a world series. I am pleased to rise today to congratulate the Westfort Internationals Baseball Club on capturing the Canadian Little League Championship this past June.

Westfort pounded its competitors at the national playoffs with an average win margin of 10.5 runs. It stripped the title from the defending champion, East Nepean Eagles, with an 8 to 0 win. It then went on to represent Canada at the little league championships world series in Maine.

Please join me in congratulating the Westfort Internationals led by coach Bill Oleksuk and assistant coach Danny Oleksuk on their success. A hearty well done to the Westfort Internationals, 2005 Canadian Little League Champions.

Natural DisastersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than a week after the catastrophic earthquake in South Asia, matters might become worse if the international community does not step up its efforts quickly.

In Pakistan, the country most heavily affected by this, the largest earthquake in its history, a second wave of deaths is feared. The combination of cold weather, disease, isolated villages that are virtually inaccessible and bad weather threatens thousands of survivors.

Despite the logistical nightmare of the rescue and aid operations, the international community must respond to a new appeal for aid launched by the UN. So far only $6 million of the $312 million the UN asked for has been forthcoming.

The Bloc Québécois offers its condolences to the people affected in South Asia, especially in Pakistan. We are deeply troubled by the slowness with which the international community is reacting to a disaster of this scale.

Gursikh Sabha UnitedStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Gursikh Sabha United Soccer Team.

Earlier this month GS United won the National Soccer Championship in Calgary, Alberta. It was the first time in 16 years that a team from Ontario won the cup and it is the 11th team from Ontario to win the cup since the tournament started in 1902.

GS United started in 1990 as a way to engage youth desiring to play soccer at a competitive level. Yet, in a short period of time the program has evolved into a breeding ground for soccer excellence. Many players have received university scholarships and a few players have moved on to the Canadian Olympic team and the Canadian national team.

I am here today to acknowledge GS United's efforts in providing leadership on the soccer field but more importantly, I would like to commend it for the leadership and what it has provided to the community. I congratulate it on its soccer success.

Robert HulseStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, Wellington--Halton Hills resident the Reverend Canon Dr. Robert Hulse, Rector Emeritus of St. John the Evangelist Church in Elora, was recently made a member of the Order of Canada.

Canon Hulse became rector of St. John's in the 1960s. Over the last 40 years, he established St. John's Church choir as one of Canada's preeminent choral choirs. In 1972 he established St. John's-Kilmarnock School, a leading Canadian co-educational, independent day school. He was instrumental in establishing the Elora festival and the Elora festival singers. All the while, he continued his very busy ministry as rector of a large and busy parish.

He has given greatly in Elora and beyond in the larger Canadian community to the arts, to education and to charity. His significant contribution to the life of this vast country from a community so small makes his life's work an even greater achievement.

I ask all members in this 38th Parliament to join me in congratulating Reverend Canon Robert Hulse for his contribution to the Dominion of Canada.

DystoniaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation of Canada is dedicated, first and foremost, to heightening public awareness about this debilitating neurological disease; second, to increasing funding for research; and third, to promoting greater support for those who suffer from dystonia.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder, characterized by involuntary and sustained muscle contractions that twist the body with abnormal movements and postures. It can affect almost any part of the body, from the neck and shoulders, to eyes, jaws, vocal cords, torso and limbs. Despite the fact that dystonia is the third most common movement disorder after Parkinson's and essential tremor, few people are aware of the disease.

Today is the second annual dystonia advocacy day. I invite all members of this House to attend a reception and learn more about dystonia in the Speaker's chambers immediately following tonight's vote.

Co-op WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Lapierre Bloc Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week we are celebrating Co-op Week. My riding was the birthplace of the Desjardins movement. The historical roots of Desjardins in Lévis mean that the people of Lévis and the Chaudière-Appalaches region take a special interest in cooperatives.

In my riding, there are cooperatives in a number of sectors including agriculture, the food industry, cable television, and the hotel, restaurant and service industry. They create many jobs and contribute to the socio-economic development of our communities.

Congratulations to the people involved in the cooperative movement. Thanks to all the volunteers, members and workers involved in promoting the values of the cooperative movement, which include the community taking care of itself, personal and mutual responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

Montreal Children's HospitalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently a walk was held in Bedford, organized by little Monika Nelis Dupont's family in order to raise funds for the Montreal Children's Hospital.

I want to congratulate them on this initiative, which was launched last year. I want to commend Mary Nelis, in particular, without whom there would not have been a march. This mother has devoted her life so that her little girl, who is suffering from a degenerative disease, can enjoy a certain quality of life. I salute her tenacity and support her efforts over the past several months to have the government underwrite the cost of Aldurazyme, which is a very expensive treatment.

Her daughter, Monika, aged 6, is suffering from a disorder that causes severe joint problems and organ failure. Despite all the problems caused by this disease, Monika possesses courage and determination that are an example to us all.

I congratulate everyone who took part in this walk. Their participation may make a world of difference to Monika and her friends.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

October 18th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Citizenship Week recognizes the value of citizenship and immigration. This would also be the ideal time for the Liberals to keep their broken promises to modernize the Citizenship Act. The current act still allows the government to strip people of citizenship behind closed doors.

The Prime Minister once said publicly that, “you cannot cherry pick rights”. However, the reality is that his government refuses to ensure that naturalized Canadian citizens are fully protected by charter rights to an open judicial process. Add to this, delays of over a year to process citizenship applications. One provincial capital has not even had a citizenship judge for two years.

This Liberal government needs to do more than pay shallow lip service to the value of citizenship and immigration. It has consistently failed to deliver good service to new citizens and immigrants, in spite of collecting substantial fees. Citizenship Week would be a good time for real improvement.

Walk against ViolenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, on August 28, 1999 Jason MacCullough, a 19-year-old student from Dartmouth, was murdered. Jason was a well liked young man and was very active in the community.

The events of that evening are deeply troubling. For no apparent reason, Jason was senselessly murdered. It was a random act of violence, an act of violence that resulted in the loss of a life that was just beginning and was full of potential.

Violence affects us all. When it happens to young people, the effect is even more profound.

Some six years later, the community of Dartmouth continues to honour Jason's memory. Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 19, the Dartmouth Boys and Girls Club in conjunction with the Foresters Branch 1250 will be holding the sixth annual Walk Against Violence in support of victims of crime and to raise awareness of issues related to crime in our community.

We hope some day this murder will be resolved and justice will come to those individuals who committed this act. Jason MacCullough will continue to be an inspiration to his family, his friends and his community.

LabourStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this past year seems to have been open season on organized labour disputes that are the result of an unwillingness to negotiate, a lack of political leadership, and a system that gives unfair advantages to management.

A Telus lockout in which management ignored labour board rulings went on for more than 90 days and the entire dispute many months longer than that. Currently our news is filled with threats from another Liberal leader in British Columbia to send our labour leaders to jail for standing up against unjust legislation. There are images of management running workers off the road in Brooks, Alberta. In Timmins, Falconbridge is fighting to strip workers of their benefits while signing a $12 billion deal with Inco.

It is time for the government to show some leadership and challenge the growing culture of contempt for labour in this country. Workers' rights have been won through years of difficult negotiation. The benefits help all working Canadians. What has been happening recently points to an Americanization of the system and workers across this country are suffering.

Let us stop moving away from the rights and privileges that have been gained by organized labour in this country and move toward a strong defence of our labour community.