House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.


Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.


Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, those are excellent comments. I recently viewed a commercial to which I took some offence. It involved what I regard as if not reckless, very fast driving of an automobile in a situation that did not warrant it. That was an automobile manufacturer.

I am saying this a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but if we are thinking about putting warning labels on alcoholic beverage containers, maybe we should have warning labels on speedometers of automobiles. There are a lot of perky, fast automobiles out there that are quite capable of killing someone very quickly.

As the member is alluding to, the sooner we get to that issue we will all be better off, and I think the automobile manufacturers may have a role to play in that.

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5:40 p.m.


Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-19 on street racing.

Bill C-19, in its current form, had a very strong supporter in one of our colleagues, Chuck Cadman, who unfortunately passed away. He sat in our caucus when I first came here. He was quite a bolster for issues concerning youth justice and was very passionate about many of those issues. I know he had tried on previous occasions to bring forward bills regarding street racing, but due to concerns of the previous government with some provisions in the bill, it never came to pass in the form of a private member's bill.

However, it is a great to see the issue of street racing finally being addressed by an amendment to the Criminal Code. It deserves significant attention. Finally, we have the chance for some serious debate. Hopefully, it will receive a speedy passage, especially in the memory of Mr. Cadman as well as us doing something in this place to protect our youth and deter this kind of activity as well.

We have heard some different questions. A Liberal member asked about community initiatives and what our government was doing to support these initiatives. I will share an example of an initiative in Edmonton. It has been an incredibly successful program. However, first I will give an overview, as many of my colleagues have done, of the bill.

Bill C-19 would amend the Criminal Code to create a new offence of street racing, which would be defined to mean “operating a motor vehicle in a race with at least one other motor vehicle on a street, road, highway or other public place”.

The proposed offence of street racing would reference the existing offences of dangerous driving and criminal negligence, including cases of dangerous driving and criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death. In practical terms, this means that there will be unique penalties for those convicted of dangerous driving or criminal negligence offences in street racing situations.

I believe the creation of a specific street racing offence in this manner is a balanced and measured response, which will serve as a strong deterrent to a senseless and disturbing crime. One of the key things we have to remember, in creating this change to the Criminal Code, is that it sends a clear message, something that has been missing in the Criminal Code with regard to this problem, to street racers that this is not a glamorous game, but a serious crime with serious consequences.

Bill C-19 would amend the Criminal Code to include tougher penalties for those convicted of street racing crimes. Currently those convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm are subject to a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Those convicted of dangerous driving causing death face a maximum of 14 years in prison. Bill C-19 proposes key reforms in this area by increasing the penalties available for these offences in street racing situations to 14 years and life imprisonment respectively.

Bill C-19 also proposes important reforms to ensure that those who would abuse the privilege of operating a motor vehicle are prohibited from getting back behind the wheel for a longer period of time. Canadians do not want those convicted of street racing crimes to be able to simply get back behind the wheel and thereby place more innocent people at risk.

Mandatory driving prohibitions are an appropriate deterrent to this type of crime. A mandatory minimum driving prohibition of one year would exist for those convicted of a street racing crime and in instances where the person has been previously convicted of a street racing offence, the mandatory minimums would go up.

Those are some of the key reforms and the thrust of the changes to the Criminal Code. I have had nothing but positive correspondence on the change to the Criminal Code from groups across the country that are working with youth and law enforcement officials. Many people have said this is long overdue.

I will share, in particular, a program that is in place in Edmonton. The constable who is in charge of the program has shared his thoughts and has said that we are basically on the right track in finally dealing with this problem.

Like many communities across Canada, Edmonton has also been affected by this trend. One of the central challenges with this problem is that kids think racing is cool. Who can blame them? It involves fast cars and an interesting lifestyle. They watch races on TV often as a sport. It is an attractive thing to many. The difference is that drag racers also know that racing on the streets is not only illegal, it is dangerous.

So the challenge becomes getting young people to listen. How do we get them to change their minds on this? Edmonton has demonstrated impressive leadership in responding to the problem.

I would like to reference Constable Mike Wynnyk and his team of other police officers in Edmonton who recognized the danger of this particular problem and started doing something about it almost 10 years ago. They developed an impressive local program through the Edmonton police service to reach out to youth not only to educate and inform them about the dangers of illegal street racing but also to provide them with legal alternatives.

Harnessing his love of racing and his own experience of totalling cars unfortunately in dangerous accidents before joining the police force, Constable Wynnyk assembled Edmonton's street legal project to build and tour police race cars to local schools, trade shows, conventions, shopping malls, community events, and motor sport events to show kids that a love of racing should not mean street racing.

With the generous support of industry partners who donated parts and vehicles, Constable Wynnyk and the Edmonton street legal team have assembled an impressive police racer that they use for demonstrations across the city. The vehicles and Wynnyk's own passion for racing immediately capture the attention of youth at risk of participating in illegal street racing.

By building a credible relationship with young people, he and the rest of the street legal team enhance traffic safety by encouraging responsible motoring among young drivers, which is something crucial in trying to prevent this problem. They motivate youth to stay in school by providing a practical application for math and science education through legal drag racing. He said it was very exciting to watch the students get excited about practical math problems in calculating certain speeds for racing. It has a positive effect on their education.

In their program, they encourage self-respect and leadership among youth through team work and a positive relationship with police officers. That is something that should be commended. Those type of officers not only do law enforcement as their job but they are getting out in the community and building trust with our youth who often are a little skeptical of law enforcement.

By encouraging youth to learn about the dangers of illegal street racing and holding illegal demonstrations at local racetracks, the Edmonton police force has built a credible working relationship with young people interested in racing.

The result has been a resounding success. Constable Wynnyk and the Edmonton street legal team have a positive relationship with local racing groups like Edmonton's 780 Tuners who openly denounce street racing and encourage their members to work with local police to ensure safe racing at the tracks.

One of the members asked what sort of support the government has received for these sort of programs, or what sort of initiatives exist. Our government has committed $20 million to crime prevention initiatives, so that the causes of crime are addressed, particularly among our youth. Obviously, we need to support initiatives by Constable Wynnyk and his team in Edmonton who have had a profound effect on youth in deterring this sort of activity.

Interestingly enough, when talking with Constable Wynnyk, he expressed how ecstatic he was that the government was finally doing something to beef up the problem that existed in the Criminal Code and that the government was supporting the work that he and his team are doing on the ground. It is a great relief to him and others who have been working so hard that the government has recognized the need to beef up the Criminal Code to more than dangerous driving that currently exists in the Criminal Code.

This is what we have done in Bill C-19 with the changes that we have proposed. This bill would beef up those types of provisions in the Criminal Code to deter this sort of activity.

That way we can support the efforts of our law enforcement personnel, those who sacrifice on a daily basis their time, their energy, and their effort not only to enforce the law but to work with those groups who are often unfortunately attracted to this type of behaviour and unfortunately this sort of conduct of street racing.

It is abundantly clear to those who have been working on these particular issues, and I know many of our colleagues in the House have been working on issues of improving current criminal justice provisions and helping those to do their job on the streets, that this is long overdue. It needs to have speedy passage through the House, so that we all can finally support the work of those in the communities and to put serious teeth, as Constable Wynnyk mentioned, by beefing up the Criminal Code.

In this manner we can in fact deter the activity of youth who are attracted to this and obviously encourage them to look at the legal means to get involved with racing which would be on tracks rather than on our streets where they pose a threat not only to themselves but to innocent Canadians and many others who unfortunately can get affected by dangerous and reckless driving.

I encourage all members to think about this very seriously, to do the right thing, and support the changes that we are proposing in Bill C-19. As I mentioned, hopefully we can give the support to those like Constable Wynnyk who are doing such a tremendous job on behalf of Canadians and law enforcement to work with youth to deter them from that sort of behaviour.

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5:50 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising for the information of the House a range of measures that the enforcement agencies can take from the standpoint of prevention and education which is a very big part. It seems to me that the solution to any of our social ills always involves public education, so I thank him for raising that.

However, the bill itself does not deal with public education and it does not deal with prevention. It deals with the Criminal Code and to add into it new offences which may very well have progressive penalties as a result of repeat activity.

As I think the parliamentary secretary advised the House earlier, the courts already take into account aggravating circumstances when we look at the current offences under the Criminal Code. They are: dangerous operation causing bodily harm, dangerous operation causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and criminal negligence causing death.

The bill is basically saying that the courts do not take into account the aggravating factor of being not only a violation of the Criminal Code but an aggravating factor of in fact being involved in street racing.

Does he believe that maybe the bill should have provided for greater resources for the kinds of activities that he relayed in his speech on the preventative side?

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5:50 p.m.


Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know the member often gives a lot of thought to these sorts of issues and pieces of legislation.

He raises an important point that I tried to make clear in my presentation. When it comes to the actual issue of prevention and education, it may not in fact be part of this bill. This bill tries to support those in the field, and I tried to clarify that, who are engaged in prevention and education. It would give them the teeth to actually continue on with their work on the legal side.

The member appropriately quoted the current Criminal Code where there are obviously separate offences relating to dangerous driving. The concern was and we felt we had to beef up the provisions to create a separate Criminal Code offence specifically for street racing. The legal community itself has called for the beefing up of this provision.

In essence, we are extending the measure to give it more teeth specifically with street racing. As I mentioned, there was the example of Constable Wynnyk and the work that he and others are doing. This in fact helps to extend the education and prevention work that they are doing by giving it more teeth. This is why it was requested.

The member also mentioned the issue of funding. I cited the $20 million in our budget to look at supporting these sorts of initiatives for crime prevention in our community. It will not be in this bill because obviously it is a change to the Criminal Code, but on the fiscal side in the budget we had attributed some extra money for this sort of initiative.

He asked whether we had faith in judges to come up with stiffer sentences resulting from people who are charged with street racing. All this does, in essence, is send a clear message, especially from our legislators, as I said, in support of the law enforcement community. The maximum punishments for dangerous driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm would remove the current requirement of 10 to 14 years under that previous dangerous driving causing death provision to 14 years to life. This proposal also provides minimum driving prohibitions, as I mentioned already, that increase on a subsequent offence.

All it does is give more teeth to our law enforcement in sending the message that this is not acceptable and makes it clear as well for judges when they are giving out the particular sentences. When reading judgments, it makes it very specific and clear as to what type of punishments should be available for those who street race.

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5:55 p.m.


Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to take issue with what the member said. He talked about the new legislation that we are debating today and saying we are putting teeth into the Criminal Code. I think the teeth are already there.

The Minister of Justice, at the beginning of the debate, talked about the five charges that are already in the Criminal Code that can be applied to street racing. There are five very serious charges that carry very serious penalties, from 10 to 14 years maximum penalties, even a life maximum penalty.

There is also the possibility of driving prohibitions from three to five years to a lifetime driving prohibition. Those provisions are already there. Maybe the member could comment on why the enforcement has not happened? What is it that has prevented law enforcement officials from actually charging people and getting them through the court system on the kinds of serious charges that are already in the Criminal Code? I would appreciate hearing his comment on that.

I also want to ask him a question about why manufacturers continue to build cars that can travel at speeds of 180 to 200 kilometres an hour, probably double the highest speed limit on any Canadian highway? Does he think there should be measures taken to ensure that vehicles are not capable of reaching those speeds and still meeting the needs of Canadians who need to travel by car? I wonder if he could comment on both of those important issues.

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5:55 p.m.


Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know that my hon. colleague from Burnaby—Douglas has taken a keen interest in the debate today and has been very active.

I will address his first comment relating to charges and why in fact this needs to be changed; if already the provisions exist within the Criminal Code, why would we have to strengthen them? As I mentioned, with regard to the judgments that have been read, it is not just the current government that is calling for the changes, law enforcement officers across the country have said that there seems to be a problem with the actual judgments being handed down for those who are engaging in the activity of street racing. What can we do in essence to respond to that, to make it tougher, to give more teeth within the law to send the message?

Making this change sends a clear message, especially in the cases where people are charged with this particular behaviour, that the judgments need to be severe, that they need to be bumped up and that they need to have a mandatory minimum. That is exactly what we are trying to do by introducing Bill C-19, to strengthen those particular aspects of the mandatory minimums and to have, hopefully, judges enforce them once the change is made.

This is where the law enforcement community especially feels let down. While they go through the trouble of apprehending these offenders, the actual judgments do not reflect the type of penalties that are required in order to deter this sort of behaviour. It is not just us calling for this; it is law enforcement officers, those who are working, Constable Wynnyk, for example. We need to give them the support in the judgments after people are charged with these type of offences. This is why we have recommended that this particular provision be strengthened.

My hon. colleague raised the issue of vehicles and speed. I am not an engineer by any stretch of the imagination so I cannot get into some of the arguments of why cars are built with certain speed limits and some are not and why that sort of speed is needed. Obviously there is a significant part of the industry that is related to legal street racing and cars that legally race and train. Clearly there is a need for cars to be built with engines that can exceed certain speeds.

If the hon. member has issue with the current speed limits on current vehicles on the roads, maybe he would like to make some proposals as to what we could do to address that or perhaps he could take it up with the vehicle manufacturers directly. It might be a particular issue with which he would want to deal.

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6 p.m.


Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, street racing is an issue in my community of Surrey North and in hundreds of other communities across the country. It is a concern everywhere. It is of particular concern in those communities that have seen a number of deaths as a result of street racing in the last two or three years. Certainly it is a concern in the lower mainland of British Columbia. It is important that we are having this debate today, to raise questions about what is appropriate and how we can end the pain and suffering that we see throughout the country.

In the lower mainland, there are two families that I know well who have family members who have died because of street racing. The family member was not behind the wheel of a car that was street racing, but was killed while crossing the road on foot or was in another car which was hit by another car that was street racing.

It is interesting that I have heard people say about street racing, “Well, there are a lot of hormones in young men and young women and everybody likes speed and the impulse takes over”. If they were speeding maybe, but street racing is planned. In most of the situations in the lower mainland people had actually planned the street race. They called each other and set up a time and a place. It is not simply happenstance. I do worry about it.

I worry also about this as an individual bill. Many people have been saying for quite some time that the Criminal Code in general needs an overhaul. This one aspect on street racing has been singled out and put in a bill. I would suggest that probably many more people are killed as a result of dangerous driving, by one car speeding, not racing, but we have not lifted that item out and said that we would deal with it differently. I would feel more comfortable if this were coming forward in a different context, in a more omnibus approach to changing the Criminal Code and updating a number of aspects that need to be addressed.

I thought about the purpose. I understand the purpose as the bill is written. Some people would suggest it is a deterrent, maybe an educational one. Or is it a singular response to one issue that would be better dealt with in a larger way, say with all actions that have to do with the dangerous operation of a car? Street racing is only one of many.

This piece of legislation reminds me of when a particular province passed a piece of legislation on stalking either women or men; there were more women being stalked at that time, but it had to do with stalking, period. Stalking could have been dealt with legislation that was already in existence, but because the issue of stalking was very much on people's minds, it was dealt with as a single piece of legislation, knowing there was already in legislation ways to deal with that kind of a crime.

One of my colleagues asked the question, and it is one which I am asking myself, if there is already legislation in place, why are judges not using it? We asked that about stalking as well. I truly do not understand. Judges have a fairly wide range of choices when someone charged with street racing comes before them. Many of the choices can be very restrictive. If that is the case, then why are we hearing so much about street racers receiving ankle bracelets and house arrest? We hear that they can leave to go to school and then return home, et cetera. I am very puzzled as to why that legislation is not being used.

There are some things we need to consider in the debate around this legislation. One of them certainly is the issue of resources. In Richmond, B.C. there are tracts of highway, at least in the Lower Mainland, that are more likely to be used for street racing than others. In Richmond there is a very long straight stretch of highway. We have had a number of street racing tragedies in Richmond.

I have also heard the Richmond, B.C. chief of police say that he thinks they are getting at that, but while they are addressing that problem, the police are not answering other calls. They do not have enough resources to place officers along that stretch of road where street racing occurs and to answer the other calls that come in from people who need police attention. The issue of resources is a very critical one.

In my community of Surrey the police are already stretched beyond what they are able to do. It always becomes a choice of which crime is more important, which call is the more important one. I would not want to be the person who has to make that decision. I may make the wrong decision and someone's life may be lost. The resource issue is a very important one.

In some ways Bill C-19 is limited in terms of what it addresses. I am not arguing that street racing is not a very serious crime and has not been treated as a very serious crime. Absolutely, but I would refer to some of the things that people raised earlier. It is important for me to acknowledge that drinking and driving still happens. It happens less, but it still happens.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, except it is mothers, fathers and all kinds of people, but MADD has had an extremely successful impact in its approach to reduce drunk driving and make sure that people are dealt with differently and are more aware of what could happen.

Around the issue of driving too quickly and drunk driving, there is a hospital in Cranbrook where high school students visit the hospital morgue. It is scary, but the students are not necessarily there when something is going on. The students are not there to see an autopsy. They are fairly young high school students. Simply being in a morgue after what is seen on television is a pretty scary experience.

I do not know how many people have ever been to a morgue but, as someone who comes from a nursing background, just being in an empty morgue is pretty chilling. Because of this program in Cranbrook, the community has seen a decrease in the number of teenagers who are drinking and driving, as well as speeding they think. It is not the same as street racing, but it does talk about the importance of the educative factor with young teens.

The health community and the education community are working together to solve a problem that is killing or maiming the future of our communities. They did not wait for the police or someone else to solve the problem. They looked for partners and actually found corporate partners to provide written materials and other materials around this to start educating teenagers in the same way we have tried to do around smoking and other things that are negatively affecting young people.

Education, obviously, needs to include the police force. I think teenagers, in particular, hear things differently from the police than from a doctor or nurse or someone in the school system. By putting those partners together who are willing to do this education means we can pick the right people for the right audience.

I guess there is the strategy to having young women or young men who have been caught street racing going into high schools and talking to students. I do not know a lot of street racers. I have only met the ones involved in programs. However, the ones whose friends were killed while they were street racing had a very important message and they were sincere in their message. They were not doing it as part of community hours or whatever. They were doing it because they wanted the 13 to 17 year olds to personally know the effect this has had, not just on them but on their friend's mom, dad, aunt, uncle, nana, grandad and a circle of friends. When one person dies in this kind of incident sometimes 20, 30 or 40 people are pretty directly impacted by it.

I would like to see the time where we do not have to debate a bill like this and I think that will happen with the kind of education that happens in communities. I do not mean that we should not be debating it today but I would like to look at the root cause, not just the crime, so we can reduce and, hopefully, eliminate street racing. I do not want us to be dealing with this again in five years time because we were not able to reach our younger people and stop them from getting into this position in the first place.

I want to mention my grandson who I usually manage to mention in some speech. He is 11 years old now. Every time he came to stay with me when he was younger, his mom would send along a long list of things he could not watch. She listed 10, 20, whatever it was, things. I understand the effect television, movies and video games have on young people. They see car races as fun. Some video games have car races where the kids get 20 points if they knock the other car into the ditch because they went faster or they were able to cut them off. I cannot believe that does not have an impact on the actions of a six or seven year old when they are older.

I heard others ask about car manufacturers and advertising. If we look at car advertising, it says that if we buy this car it will go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds or whatever and that is really cool. It is always a nice silver, sporty looking car and it is played as a positive to get there that quickly. If that is what we continue to see then we need to have an affect on advertisers as well because that is what our children see. Even if they are watching a perfectly acceptable television program, not everybody mutes the advertising or puts their hands over the eyes of their young children while the car manufacturers brag about how fast their cars go.

The other important question was whether we need cars to go that fast. Police cars, yes, but does every car we buy need to go 200 kilometres an hour? Given that the speed range in our province is 100 kilometres an hour, and it varies from province to province, I do not know if I need to buy a car that goes 200 kilometres an hour.

This is an important bill to be debating and it is an important time to be doing it. Many people who have had sons or daughters die, either as passengers in the car, as drivers or as someone who has been hit by a car, are watching very carefully. They are suffering pain and they have made their voices heard. If they had not been heard, we would not be here debating it.

What is the best solution? I am sure the solution is multiple but we need to know what the best actions are to take.

I am interested in the debate that is going on currently and will continue to go on. I am glad that my son could only afford a car that was 15 years old and did not go very fast. He did not get the graduation present that others did. A lot of young people who graduate receive fancy new cars that look like they were made to be driven quickly. Maybe parents need to think a little bit when they buy these types of cars.

This is a real issue in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. Many people know someone who has been involved in just such an event.

I would encourage us to think about whether there are other bills that we should also be looking at to make a more omnibus change to the Criminal Code, which people have been calling for, and to think about the community partners that must be involved in supporting this in order to have a reduction in the community, not only to have legislation but to encourage our community partners to come forward, the health system, the education system, the police system, and work with us as a group, not on individual initiatives, although those are fine too, but in a group to see what we can do so that we are not standing here debating exactly this bill in five years' time, that we will have reached those young people, as we have with alcohol and smoking, and be able to reduce that.

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6:20 p.m.


Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member's heart is in the right place. I had a chance to work with her on private members' bills. I know she has a heart for victims and for criminal justice reform, which will make real changes.

I was intrigued by her comments about the design of cars. She is absolutely correct. Many of the cars in the market today are especially attractive to youth. They are designed to look fast and go fast.

Could she comment on whether there is a role for the federal government to legislate some kinds of controls on cars, which would prevent them from going above a certain speed, to ensure that these kinds of street races do not happen on our streets?

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October 2nd, 2006 / 6:20 p.m.


Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is very tempting to say, absolutely, to that question. However, I need to look at some of the implications. I have seen what has happened to the car industry. Trying to implement something like that would seem pretty challenging, given what has happened over the last few weeks.

However, I believe the government has a regulatory role to play. Car manufacturers have put alarm systems, immobilizers, et cetera in cars as a result of pressure and in some places as a result of regulation.

I would need to understand the implications better than I currently do, but in my heart, if we can make cars travel at safer speeds, yes.

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6:20 p.m.


Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's speech was balanced. She acknowledged the pain and suffering that occurs among families when someone is killed as a result of street racing, but also she had questions around what would be the remedy for these tragedies and let us be evidenced based.

She identified an area in her community and talked about prevention? Could she comment on that? She talked about some examples in terms of drunken driving. As well, could she comment on the requirements of the police services? There are laws on the books and sometimes it is a matter of not having the people, the person power, to enforce the laws.

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6:20 p.m.


Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope I will remember the second part of the question after I get through the first part. With regard to the educative parts of what is happening in the community, I see young people whose friends either have been significantly physically injured or have died in street racing. They are not racers themselves. They are young people who are concerned enough about it to be holding community forums on it.

Several high schools have held community forums on street racing and what should happen. These young people are teenagers, so their views are quite black and white. They are on this side or that side. They are not very blended, but they have very strong opinions about this.

The kind of debate that engenders is a really important factor in their high schools, because young people have a chance to stand up, give their opinions, think about it and hear from other youth who are not street racing but who are concerned about what it is doing to their friends or the families of their friends.

I watched the televised funeral of a young man who had been killed in a street race. There must have been at least 150 to 200 people there, for what is a very small high school. It mattered very much to those youths that something tragic had happened. That is in part what motivated them to have high school debates.

I have no idea what the police requirements are, I have to say. I would suggest there are times when they may need to go faster, and we know that, although we have also seen a lot of debate about when police chases should be cut off, based on the speed the police cars are going. There is a safety factor at which they will call off the chase because the speed is so dangerous to other people who may be near them. I do not know what the specific needs or technical requirements are. I am not for a minute suggesting that they should not have the resources to do their job.

However, I do think that the whole issue of speeding and the fact that we have paid a lot of attention recently to stopping police chases because there have been significant injuries is enough to say that there is a broad concern out there about speed in a variety of ways, not only the street racing part but speeding for various reasons. The police have been very good about recognizing when it is time to call off a police chase and when they can continue on with safety for the people around them and for the public.

In the community I come from, our crime prevention society has worked very closely around this issue with the RCMP. I do not know about other communities. The crime prevention society in the communities in which I live, Surrey North or Surrey, does a lot of work with youth. The connection with youth is probably as great if not greater than it has been with adults. They have been involved in painting murals on walls to show things to the public, funded through the crime prevention society. There is a superb relationship with youth. There is a superb youth outreach person. I think the crime prevention societies across the country probably have a number of educative strategies.

It would be wonderful if there were a database. I do not know if there is or not. I never like to reinvent a wheel that somebody has already worked on. There could be a database of excellence that we could look at to see that Cranbrook takes its students into the hospitals or that somebody else does something that would work in our community but we have not even thought about trying. All of those pieces are going to have to come together in order to really have an impact on street racing.

Also, now that the question has been asked, I will have to find out what a police car needs as its top speed, because I do not know. Someone on that side probably knows.

Let me say again that it would be superb to actually have a database so one could see what is happening across the country and what might work in one's community, because all communities are different. There is no cookie cutter that says this strategy will work--

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6:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. I am sorry, but the time for orders of the day has expired. In accordance with Standing Order 38, a motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been made and seconded at this time. Therefore, the question is that this House do now adjourn.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:30 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to ask a question during question period in relation to a large fundraiser at which tables were $7,500 a table or something like that. The Prime Minister attended and patronized the event as the guest speaker. It draws to this question. Can one be in favour of totally eliminating corporate donations and also reducing personal donations to $1,000 but then turn around and patronize this kind of event?

In terms of the theme, it really had to do with whether it is a matter of do as I say but not as I do. I thought what I would like to do is ask the government if it would respond to other elements that seem to be of the same kind of attitude. It is an attitudinal thing.

How about the current industry minister who ran for the Liberal Party and then crossed the floor to become a cabinet minister in the Conservative Party? Yet this was one of the items that the Conservatives were very specific about. They were very specific about opposing the practice of floor crossing.

How about the current public works minister, who said that he was not interested in running in an election? He did not want to run, but after the election the government decided it would appoint him to the Senate and then also make him the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Is this not the government that in its Conservative platform said it was in favour of an elected Senate? Again, it said one thing and did another.

How about recruiting lobbyists for government positions? There is a list that is growing daily to allow former Conservative staffers to register as lobbyists and to in fact lobby the people for whom they worked just before the election.

How about pushing through the softwood deal? The Conservatives said, hey, free trade and the dispute resolution mechanism, we have to make it work. As a matter of fact, the Conservatives said they were not accepting a penny less than $5.4 billion. What did they do? They negotiated a deal that in fact left over a billion dollars on the table.

How about partisan appointments? There was Gwyn Morgan, a Conservative bagman, to head the supposedly non-partisan appointments commission. The Conservatives say they do not want partisan appointments, but they turn around and do it for a very important position, a person who is going to scrutinize appointments to government positions.

How about handing a $500,000 contract as a federal negotiator to Harvie Andre, a former Conservative cabinet minister with deep ties to the Tories? How about Nova Scotia's former Tory finance minister, Neil LeBlanc? He is consul general to Boston. How about Richard Bell, co-chairman of the Conservative election campaign in New Brunswick, who was appointed to the New Brunswick Court of the Queen's Bench? How about former Conservative MP Jim Gouk going to the board of directors of NAV CANADA?

Time and time again, the Conservatives say one thing but do another. On accountability, how about the Conservative Party now being investigated by the Chief Electoral Officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, for failing to report delegate fees to their 2005 national convention, raising and spending millions of dollars with no transparency, as required under the act? Yet they continue to say they were being accountable.

I have more examples, but I think the government has to start responding to the question. Why is the government's attitude “do as I say, not as I do”?

6:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan


Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, let me first say I find it incredibly amusing that the Liberal member for Mississauga South would stand and try to give this government a lecture on ethics and fundraising when all Canadians know that the Liberal Party of Canada perpetrated the largest money fraud and money laundering scheme in the history of the Canadian Parliament.

The sponsorship scandal is what I am referring to, in which millions of dollars were illegally diverted back to the Liberal Party of Canada, and because of it, we have the genesis of the accountability act. It was the result of the sponsorship scandal. That is why we now have the toughest anti-corruption law in Canada being considered before the Senate. It is to put an end to those practices that the Liberal Party purported to put onto Canadian citizens and taxpayers for many years.

For that member to stand and suggest that our Prime Minister was going to a fundraising event that really flew in the face of fundraising laws of this country is absolutely incorrect. I find it passing strange that any member of the Liberal Party could actually suggest that.

Let me also say that I find it particularly peculiar that the member for Mississauga South, who I thought would have more than a passing knowledge of electoral law in Canada and in the various provinces, would make such a ludicrous statement. I am sure the member understands that there are different election financing laws in Canada and in various provinces. In fact, in Ontario, the law states that contribution limits are $8,400 for corporations or individuals or unions. Plus, another $8,400 can be contributed during an election campaign.

Even more fundamental than that, if the member for Mississauga South were actually doing his homework or chose to investigate, he would understand, because he would have found out, that the recipient of the fundraising event that the Prime Minister attended was the PC Party of Ontario, not the Conservative Party of Canada. There is a huge difference. One is a provincial party and one is a federal party.

The Prime Minister did not receive any financial benefits, nor did the Conservative Party of Canada, yet the member has the audacity to stand in the House and try to accuse this government of breaking some sort of fundraising law when nothing of the sort occurred. In fact, when Bill C-2 is finally passed, and I desperately hope that happens within the next few weeks, it will be the one piece of legislation that I think will define this government, because it is the strongest anti-corruption law that this Parliament has ever considered.

The problem right now is that the Liberal Senate does not want to pass this law. The Liberals are purposely slow-walking this legislation in the Senate. Why? Not for due diligence, but to try to thwart our government for bringing in this law prior to the Liberal leadership convention.

This is unconscionable. It is shameful that unelected Liberal senators, for their own political benefit, would try to slow-walk the most important piece of anti-corruption legislation this country has ever seen. That is exactly what is happening. It is shameful. It is unconscionable. The member should be ashamed of himself. In fact, on behalf of his Liberal senators, he should apologize.

6:35 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member says the Senate is delaying this because it wants to get it through before the leadership, but his own party says that the contributions to conventions are not included in donations anyway. He cannot have it both ways.

The member also suggested that I somehow have accused the Prime Minister of breaking the law. I did not say that. I said that his principle was that his party is against corporate donations and large contributions by individuals and it is going to change the laws of Canada; it is the spirit.

Let us go on. What about the lawyer Alan Riddell, who wanted to be a candidate for the Conservative Party? The Conservatives promised to pay him $150,000 to step aside as a candidate in Ottawa South. Is this an ethical thing? How about Allan Cutler, who was an Ottawa candidate and was offered compensation for damage to his career by the party? Again, another ethical breach. How about a 33-day--

6:40 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired. The Parliamentary Secretary to the government House leader.

6:40 p.m.


Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting that an experienced parliamentarian, like my colleague from Mississauga South, has to constantly refer to notes. I would have thought he could stand up in this assembly and speak from the heart, speak from knowledge deep within, but apparently not. Apparently, he has to have some sort of a note or a canned speech perhaps in his possession. It really is quite disappointing. I would have thought he would have the experience by now, after many years sitting in this place, to ask a four minute question without having to refer to an aid, a crutch, like the notes he has clutched in his possession right now.

We all know the hon. member is off the mark. He is trying to draw a conclusion which is simply not a fact. I honestly feel he hon. member, if he has any conscience whatsoever, should stand in his place and apologize for the actions of his senators in the Senate.

6:40 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:42 p.m.)