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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judiciary.

Topics

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (dangerous offenders and recognizance to keep the peace), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the Criminal Code, there are already provisions with respect to the sentencing of dangerous offenders. One of the concerns that has been raised is that if this bill is passed in its present framing, portions of the existing Criminal Code, dealing with dangerous offenders, could in fact be struck down as well. Could the member comment on whether he thinks that is a valid enough concern for this bill to be given further consideration?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois members believe that the Criminal Code contains nearly all the elements needed to declare someone a dangerous offender, or what Quebec calls a long term offender.

The Bloc members feel that the bill does nothing but further criminalize a dangerous offender. It is up to the judiciary, not a bill, to determine who is declared a dangerous offender. There is no automatic way—after three strikes, you're out. In that respect, I agree completely with the hon. member. And we are concerned.

At present, the Conservative Party wants to improve judges' working conditions. But the Conservatives have to let justice take its course, and they have to provide the means to enable it to do so. That might be a bill that would provide more resources, make it possible to further assess the chance of parole or add to the number of psychosocial experts to conduct follow-ups.

But we have no need of a bill that, in a move calculated to appeal to public opinion, simply proposes to improve public safety by tolerating the first three offences. A person could just as easily be declared a dangerous offender after only one offence, and the member knows that as well as I do. I want to thank him for his question nonetheless.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the hon. member for Wild Rose, raised the issue of how the Bloc Québécois argument disregards interest in the victim. That is an excellent point. We on this side have raised that many times and of course the Bloc has responded by saying that not enough money has been given to victim organizations. That is not what this legislation is all about.

This legislation says that the third time someone is convicted, not charged but convicted, for a very serious offence the onus is on the convicted person to show why he or she is not going to be a dangerous offender. That is what it is all about. It has nothing to do with all the other garbage that the Bloc Québécois is talking about.

I would like to zero in on one of the areas that my colleague from the Bloc raised when he said it is going to cost too much money because there is no room in the jails to put these terrible people. I assume from that he is saying, we should let them go. I do not think the member realizes what the whole purpose of this is about. It is about, first, a penalty and, second, protecting the public and the victim.

I ask the member to reconsider his position and support this legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was answering a question from a Conservative member that, in fact, did not pertain to the bill.

As I said in my speech, Quebec has the fewest major crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. We have rehabilitation measures and community support measures. Here, we also have a justice system, a Criminal Code, that we can use to punish people. What does this bill add, then? We feel that it adds nothing other than the idea that after three strikes, you're out. A person might be convicted and sent to jail for life after his first dangerous offence. It is up to the judiciary to decide. A bill like this is not going to improve public safety.

I would also like to point out that we are not opposed to prison terms for people who commit serious crimes. Of course we are not opposed to that. But we also know that there need to be rehabilitation mechanisms and inmate services. I am not sure that when someone who spent 20 years in prison and received no rehabilitation services leaves prison—

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am sorry to interrupt the member but his time has expired. The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a feeling that in the years to come a certain amount of courage will be needed to stand up to demagoguery. It is possible that nobody in the United States has found themselves in this situation, even those that were re-elected.

I have come to this point in my life after spending all my career dealing with crime in one way or another, whether it be as crown prosecutor, as defence attorney, as public safety minister, as justice minister or in today's role as federal MP. This means that my vision of crime is more complete than what we see from the member for Wild Rose, for example, or from just about anyone whose knowledge of crime is based solely on what they read in the papers.

Here is another piece of legislation brought to us by the current government which is based on the American model. I will have the honesty to tell the truth here, as will be the case throughout my remarks: it is not as terrible as the American model. It does not go as far. Nevertheless, it is a step in the wrong direction.

To fully understand how we are going in the wrong direction, we must make a few comparisons. The homicide rate is one comparison we can make. In the United States, that rate is three times higher than in Canada.

Ask any educated and reasonable American to explain why that is. He will say that it is because it is so easy to get firearms in the United States. There is a contradiction in the United States, and the government wants to import into Canada: let us be harsher on criminals, but more lax with firearms. Let us put more people in jail, let us have more guns around, and the situation will improve.

I have never understood this logic. Yet, this is what some people want to do here. The homicide rate in the United States is three times higher than in Canada. I want to be absolutely transparent here: I know that, contrary to what many people think, the crime rate in the United States is generally comparable to our rate in Canada. Our crime rates generally compare with those of countries where economic development is similar.

Do we want to follow the U.S. model? That model has led to an increasing number of people being incarcerated. While our two countries had similar incarceration rates 15 or 20 years ago, that rate is now seven times higher in the United States than in Canada. Is there anyone here who thinks he is safer when he travels to the United States than when he is in Canada? The rate is roughly the same for crime in general, but not for very serious crimes.

The connection with firearms is very clear when one considers that, in the United States, there are five times more spouses killed by guns than in Canada. This clearly shows that it is not real criminals who kill in these cases, even though these crimes are the most dramatic ones.

There is also a clear connection here. Out of all the people killed in the United States, eight times more are killed by guns there than in Canada.

Of course, there will always be people who kill. Regardless of the legislation that we pass, there will always be people who commit crimes.

The question is, how do we fight crime effectively? I will talk about it after oral question period.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have 16 minutes left, after oral question period.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as it does on every Remembrance Day, the Canadian flag atop the Peace Tower will fly at half-mast on Saturday. We do this to honour the courageous men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that future generations of Canadians could live in peace and freedom. From the brave soldiers who fought and defeated tyranny during World Wars I and II to those fighting the scourge of terrorism in Afghanistan today, these are ordinary men and women accomplishing extraordinary feats.

Today we are again reminded of the high price of our freedom. As we observe Remembrance Day, let us live each day as a tribute to those who have fought and given their lives for that freedom. To our fallen heroes, present and past, to our veterans, to the members of our armed forces serving at home and abroad and to their families, we express our thanks.

I ask my colleagues to join with me in expressing our gratitude to Canada's real heroes.

Parks CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to express concerns about Parks Canada's intent to destroy a perfectly sound tennis court at Green Gables golf course when other options are available.

While I agree that renovations are needed to improve the course, the planned demolition of the tennis court to accommodate a new practice putting green is absolutely unacceptable. Parks Canada made its decisions without consultation with either the community or users. A government agency has a responsibility to respect community views.

The existing courts are low maintenance and offer the only public space to play tennis in the Cavendish area. With all the available acres on the golf course, there is no need for this irresponsible destruction. To destroy tennis courts that are in superior condition is unnecessary government waste and improper use of taxpayers' dollars and shows a belligerent attitude by a government agency to the people it purports to represent.

I ask the minister to stop this destruction today.

Émile BoudreauStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have been deeply saddened to learn of the death of Émile Boudreau, a champion of the labour movement.

A colourful character, Émile Boudreau was born in New Brunswick. He practised many trades related to wood cutting before becoming a colonizer of Abitibi. He soon entered into politics and became a key player in the Syndicat des métallos affiliated with the FTQ, the Fédération des travailleurs du Québec.

This militant left his mark as the director of the FTQ's industrial health and safety service, where he worked for 32 years. He was awarded the Antoine-Aumont prize for his involvement in the promotion of industrial health. Even into retirement, he continued to occasionally defend industrial injury cases before review boards and appeal boards.

This man of passion whose energy was contagious, this great advocate of labour rights, will be missed. My colleagues from the Bloc Québécois and myself extend our sincerest condolences to Émile Boudreau's family and friends, and to all those who have crossed his path.

Canadian HeritageStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the heritage minister was caught passing the hat with industry insiders and lobbyists. As soon as we shone the light on it, they scrambled to cancel the event so we would not find out who was at the trough.

When I asked the government for accountability, the President of the Treasury Board stood up and asked for the NDP's help in order to get rid of the influence of big money in politics. I think the implication of his plea is clear. We are going to need an all party strategy to keep the heritage minister on the straight and narrow.

I have done what I could to have a three point plan to maintain the ethical sobriety of the heritage minister: first, reveal the list of those she is putting the tap for money on so we know which lobbyists are rewriting government policy on copyright and deregulation; second, institute a remedial plan so she can learn how to listen to the groups and artists that she is supposed to be representing; and third, ask the House of Commons carpentry staff to head over to the heritage minister's office and paint over the big for sale sign on her door.

Children's Fitness Tax CreditStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think we have the bestheritage Minister we have had for years.

The children's fitness tax credit is part of the Government of Canada's commitment to maintaining the health of Canadians and specifically addresses the negative impact of declining levels of physical activity among our children.

Canada's new government keeps its promises. An expert panel set up by the Minister of Finance and chaired by Dr. Kellie Leitch has released its report to the government. During its consultations, the expert panel travelled across the country gathering input from a broad range of Canadians.

The children's fitness tax credit will encourage more children to be physically active and will help parents with the costs of organized fitness activities. This is good news for Canadian families and another example of Canada's new Conservative government delivering for all Canadians.

Frank CalderStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Nisga'a Nation lost its Chief of Chiefs when the Honourable Frank Calder passed away last Saturday at the age of 91. He will always be remembered as a leader, an advocate and a proud Canadian.

Raised during the time of the repressive blue book, he brought aboriginal issues to the forefront of Canadian politics. In a life of achievement, such as being the first aboriginal cabinet minister and being named a member of the Orders of Canada and B.C., his lasting legacy will be the victory he secured in the court case that bears his name, Calder v. the Attorney General of B.C.

His father, Nisga'a Chief Na-qua-oon, foretold a great future when Mr. Calder was just an infant. Although many elders considered the Nisga'a land claim to be an immovable mountain, the chief responded that his son would move the mountain. The historic Calder case fulfilled that destiny. The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the existence of aboriginal title. This affirmation directly led to the success achieved in 2000 and it was proclaimed law.

Rest peacefully, Chief of Chiefs.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on November 11 we remember the men and women who paid the supreme price for our freedom.

We also remember our veterans who returned from the front lines of years past, some of whom are still fighting for their survival. Tragically, today many veterans rely on food banks and other assistance to help make ends meet. For some years now, in an effort to help them, my Calgary office has been running the Food-for-Life program to help restock the shelves of the Calgary Poppy Fund.

This year, a remarkable boy from Calgary was moved by the plight of our veterans and created a Christmas card to raise money to meet their needs. Eleven-year-old Dirk Chisholm contacted famous wildlife artist Robert Bateman, who shared Dirk's concern and generously volunteered one of his paintings. Sales of these wonderful cards featuring Mr. Bateman's art will likely raise more than $45,000 for the Calgary Poppy Fund this Christmas.

My sincere thanks to young Dirk, Mr. Bateman and all generous Calgarians who are remembering and supporting our veterans both now and throughout the year.

Lawyers without Borders QuebecStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, October 27, at the first Soirée Justitia, Université Laval's law faculty paid tribute to three of its graduates, who founded the organization Lawyers without Borders Quebec, as legal scholars who, through their exceptional career and their social or academic involvement, are pioneers in the field of law, and who, through their initiatives, have contributed to society's progress and to the Université Laval's reputation. They are Dominique-Anne Roy, Pierre Brun and Pascal Paradis. These individuals were also named personalities of the week by the daily Le Soleil and the Société Radio-Canada.

Over the past four years, Lawyers without Borders Quebec has led 23 missions to strengthen the ability of lawyers, in developing countries or in countries that are in a state of crisis, to protect human rights.

I wish to offer them my most sincere congratulations for these well-deserved honours. The old saying to the effect that one can go far without having lived long fits them perfectly.

Tournesol School in Thetford MinesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, water is a very important issue in my riding of Mégantic—L'Érable.

The Écol'eau project was started after the city of Thetford Mines experienced a drinking water supply problem. The project aims to raise awareness of rainwater recovery through Concept'eau Bac, a program to design rooftop rainwater harvesters. The water can then be used to wash cars and water gardens and flowerbeds.

The project was developed by 69 dynamic grade 5 and 6 students at Tournesol School in Thetford Mines under the direction of Marie-France Lessard, whose great devotion to the students and their wonderful project I applaud. The students' energy and their involvement in a major environmental cause have raised awareness of their project close to home and further afield.

Thanks to Concept'eau Bac, the Chaudière-Appalaches region won first prize in the grade 5 and 6 category in the Quebec entrepreneurship competition. The City of Thetford Mines supports the program and is providing funds to help our young entrepreneurs with this tremendous project.

The program was a complete success and organizers report that it is in high demand. Teaching consultants, teachers and scientists all want to know more about Écol'eau and are amazed to see such passion and determination in the eyes of these student entrepreneurs.

I would like to emphasize—

Tournesol School in Thetford MinesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Ajax—Pickering.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring to the attention of the House a reading and remembrance project.

Started and managed by the Durham West Arts Centre in my riding, this innovative program provides educators with tools to promote literacy while carrying out Remembrance Day activities in their classrooms and schools.

This year's project is Holocaust and anti-racism education and will focus on the values for which Canadian veterans have sacrificed their lives. Educators can select reading materials found on the Durham West Arts Centre website and will spend 10 to 20 minutes with their students reading and remembering on November 10, as close to 2:10 p.m. as possible.

We, as members of Parliament, are in a unique position to share with young people the importance of the values that Canadians have and continue to fight for. It is my hope that on Remembrance Day more students will have the chance to participate in this worthwhile event and that my colleagues on all sides of the House will take a moment to read and remember with young Canadians.

Commonwealth GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the start of the one-year countdown to the decision of selecting the city that will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Canada is proudly represented by the Regional Municipality of Halifax. The successful candidate city will be announced in Sri Lanka on November 9, 2007, during the Commonwealth Games Federation annual general assembly.

The historic role of Halifax within the Commonwealth is well known. Being selected to host the games will only reinforce that role in the future.

Canada's new government is proud to support Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia in their bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The whole Atlantic region stands to benefit because of the increased exposure that will lead to the creation of jobs, increased tourism, economic investment and the development of state of the art sport infrastructure.

I have every confidence in the ability of Halifax and the entire region to host the Commonwealth nations should the Commonwealth Games Federation give it the opportunity, and I say way to go, Halifax.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of New Democrats to honour the service and sacrifice of our veterans and the more than 100,000 Canadians who did not return home from war.

On Remembrance Day we will pay tribute and give thanks to the soldiers, nurses and others who served and gave their lives for Canadians. They made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live free, but we also must honour the veterans who served courageously and returned with the memories of fallen comrades and the horrors of war. They too made the sacrifices and they bear a burden that the rest of us can barely imagine.

Remembrance Day is our connection to the past. We must celebrate this connection to ensure that the lessons of history guide us and help us create a better future.

It is my privilege, on behalf of all NDP members, to thank the courageous people who served Canada. We will never forget your sacrifices.

LiteracyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the literacy advocates who have come from across Canada to be here on Parliament Hill today, to commemorate Literacy Action Day.

This year marks the 13th anniversary of this important day. In Canada, nine million working-age adults do not read well enough to succeed in our knowledge-based society. The federal government must remedy this situation immediately.

The Conservatives claim they are spending $80 million on literacy but refuse to show us how or where they are spending it.

Canadians have watched the Conservatives' cruel so-called fat-trimming exercise and listened to a cabinet minister liken it to going without a cup of coffee for a week.

Conservative cuts to federal literacy funding have undermined the quantity and quality of literacy services across the country. The Liberal caucus calls upon the Prime Minister to immediately restore the funding for literacy programs in Canada.

Amateur HockeyStatements By Members

November 9th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are passionate about hockey and have a genuine love affair with the sport. Every week throughout Quebec, players of all ages, including a growing number of girls and women, get together to practice the sport. Our ice rinks have become important meeting places. Passion for the sport no doubt contributes to its popularity and longevity. Hockey has become quite a tradition in Quebec, even a family affair.

All these games and tournaments could not be held without the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who, through their constant support and enthusiasm, have made amateur hockey in Quebec the flourishing sport it is today. From parents to coaches to referees, they all give generously of their time so that the players can develop their skills and practice the sport in the best possible conditions.

During this week of celebration for amateur hockey, the members of the Bloc Québécois would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank the volunteers, parents and players.

Proudly She MarchedStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to recognize the launch of a new book and video: Proudly She Marched: Training Canada's World War II Women in Waterloo County. This book and DVD are the product of a research project undertaken by the Canadian Federation of University Women of Kitchener-Waterloo.

During World War II, Canadian women served for the first time in military uniform. Over 45,000 women enlisted: 21,624 with the Canadian Women's Army Corps, 17,030 with the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division, and 6,783 with the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.

Two of the largest military training centres for women were located in Waterloo county. Although these bustling military camps were significant parts of their communities and of great local interest, they have been virtually forgotten until now.

In its major book and video project, the Kitchener-Waterloo branch of CFUW has taken up the challenge of uncovering history. As we approach Remembrance Day, I ask this House to join me in paying special tribute to the women who have served Canada in uniform.

Universal Child Care BenefitStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal leadership wannabe from Etobicoke—Lakeshore has called the universal child care benefit a terrible use of public funds, the NDP's devious hidden agenda has also been exposed.

Christmas will not be here for a while, but the NDP grinches are already at work threatening to rob Canadian families of precious social development programs.

Through a motion introduced at the human resources committee, the NDP has proposed to effectively take away the universal child care benefit from Canadian families.

This meanspirited NDP assault on Canadian families is shameful. Then again, what else can we expect from a party that is so out of touch with the daily realities of working Canadian families?

Unlike the NDP and the Liberals, Canada's new government will stand up for the choice in child care benefits and stand up for Canadian families.