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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Order in Council AppointmentsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of Order in Council appointments which were made by the government.

Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 110(1), these are deemed referred to the appropriate standing committees, a list of which is attached.

Canada Business Corporations ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-317, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act (qualification of auditor).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the bill regarding the Canada Business Corporations Act dealing with the independence of the auditors.

White collar crime is very much a blue collar issue and we must be able to trust the financial statements of the companies where our pension plans are invested.

The bill would state that if one is the auditor for a company one should not be selling any other financial services to that same company. In other words, one should not be auditing one's own work. In this way people would have more confidence in the financial statements of the companies where our union plans and so on invest.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Proportional Representation Review ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-318, An Act to provide for a House of Commons committee to study proportional representation in federal elections.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to move forward the idea of electoral reform by designating a standing committee to deal with the subject of whether Canada wants to change its electoral system to a system of proportional representation.

The bill is to advance an idea in which many Canadians are interested and it would be a legislative framework through which we could realistically study the idea of do we or do we not want to change our electoral system.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Energy Price Commission ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-319, An Act to establish the Energy Price Commission.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you would be the first to agree that Canadians are horrified at the burgeoning or the blossoming prices of energy. Many Canadians have an instinctive feeling that they are being gouged at the pumps over energy pricing.

The bill seeks to create a national energy price commission whereby the energy companies would have to come to that commission to justify why these increases in energy costs are justified.

The price commission would also be able to set the price of oil and gas for a period of not more than six months so that users, small businesses and trucking companies, could have some stability in the energy pricing and are not rattled by these erratic, seemingly arbitrary, fluctuations in prices.

The national energy price commission would be struck by government to monitor, oversee and, in fact, yes, regulate the energy costs for oil, gas, diesel, et cetera.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present in the House today a petition compiled by the mother of Kempton Howard, a youth worker who was murdered in my community in 2003.

The petition relates to sentencing issues and expresses the deep concern of citizens who knew Kempton and a broader community with regard to the need for justice in our criminal law.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition was put together by postal workers and community members who are very concerned that the federal government is allowing Canada Post to close post offices in spite of a moratorium on closures in rural and small towns. Public post offices connect communities throughout our vast land and help us to overcome differences and distances. They play a key role in the economic and social life of our communities and are part of our infrastructure.

The petition calls upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve its network of post offices rather than close them down.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to stand again and present more petitions. They are flooding into my office from people concerned about the abandonment of child care in Canada.

Not only do the petitioners not believe in the allowance the government is proposing but they believe it discriminates against the least fortunate in favour of the most fortunate in many circumstances and income categories. They want to express their concern through these petitions in the House today.

Rail servicePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling a petition on behalf of people from the riding of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine and people throughout Quebec. They are calling on the federal government to do what is needed to ensure that the passenger and freight rail services are maintained and improved in the Gaspé Peninsula, which includes buying the Matapédia-Chandler line and Via Rail's capital budget and operational budget.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-13, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Budget Implementation Act, 2006Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Budget Implementation Act, 2006Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know how early it is in the day and how often the faces in the seats keep changing but this is the beginning of third reading debate on the budget implementation bill. We have had the bill introduced. We had second reading debate. The bill went to committee. The committee studied the bill and referred the bill back to the House. Now we are on the last leg of debate on the budget implementation bill.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. There seems to be some confusion in the House. It is my understanding that the bill to which the hon. member is speaking is Bill C-13 which was just passed. We have now moved to debate on Bill C-10. Is the member speaking to Bill C-10?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

No, Mr. Speaker. I was just advised about the change of plans so I will let someone else add to the wisdom of the House.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Resuming debate on Bill C-10.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thought it was the intention of the House and of all parties to debate third reading of Bill C-13 at this time.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

It may have been the intention of some members but before I took the Chair I observed what I thought to be the passage of Bill C-13 without any dissent, or division for that matter. I believe the matter has now been decided.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding, although I may be wrong, that it was the report stage the House passed and that we would now be entering into debate on third reading.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Apparently both were done. The Speaker did call for debate when the question was put on third reading and no one rose. The question was then put on third reading and the bill was carried without dissent or division. It sometimes happens in the House that the intentions people have do not always fully manifest themselves.

We are now in debate on Bill C-10 and we will resume debate with the hon. member for Abbotsford.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-10. This is a bill that will improve the safety of all Canadians by ensuring that violent criminals who use firearms to commit their offences will receive serious prison time, consistent with the gravity of their offence.

This bill addresses two groups of offences. The one group involves offences in which a firearm is used in the commission of another crime, namely, the so-called “use offences”. The second group involves the possession of illegal firearms, namely, the “non-use offences”.

Let me deal with the first group. Bill C-10 would impose mandatory minimum penalties where a gun is used in the commission of a serious Criminal Code offence. These offences would include attempted murder, discharge of a firearm with intent, sexual and aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, hostage taking, robbery, extortion, et cetera.

If a restricted or prohibited weapon is used in the commission of any of those offences or if such guns are used in relation to gang activity, a first time offender will receive an automatic five year prison sentence. Penalties will escalate to 7 and 10 years depending on the number of prior offences for the same or similar gun crime.

Clearly, this bill targets repeat and violent offenders who must be kept off the street for the good of our communities. It also provides a deterrent to youths who are involved in gangs, forcing them to weigh the consequences of their actions before engaging in crime.

The second group of offences involves the illegal possession of a restricted or prohibited firearm. Some of the offences targeted include the unauthorized possession of a restricted or prohibited firearm with ammunition, firearms trafficking, stealing a firearm, possession of a firearm for the purpose of trafficking in drugs, making an automatic firearm, or perhaps firearms smuggling. For these non-use offences, an offender would receive one year in prison, which escalates to three years where there is one prior use or non-use conviction, and up to five years in prison if the offender has more than one prior use or non-use conviction.

Among other things, this legislation is aimed directly at the gun trafficking industry. Virtually all gang related crimes we see across Canada are committed not by those who purchase guns legally and register them, but by people who purchase firearms illegally on the black markets or steal them from legitimate gun owners.

In my home province of British Columbia, it is estimated that gang related shootings or murders occur, on average, at least once every month. The rate of increase in gang activity in B.C. is astonishing. Most of it is fuelled by the drug trade, mainly in high grade marijuana, and carried out by young people with illegal firearms who have complete disregard for the safety and lives of those around them. This legislation will not only send a clear message that gun activity will have serious consequences, but it will also take these criminals off the streets for longer periods of time.

To place this in context, I would like to give several examples of some of the crimes that have recently been committed in British Columbia. In December of 2005, Laurie Tinga was seriously wounded by a stray bullet while watching television in her home. The 40 year old woman was the victim of a shootout in her townhouse courtyard in Port Moody. Police had reason to believe the gun battle was the result of a drug deal gone sour.

In October of 2005, two gang members were gunned down in Vancouver at a Vietnamese restaurant. Police believed it was a targeted attack carried out by rival gang members.

Just last month at another Vancouver restaurant, one customer died and another was critically wounded after a man with a gun attempted to rob an Asian restaurant. When the patrons of this restaurant attempted to stop the robbery, the gunman opened fire.

These gun crimes are occurring across the country at an alarming rate. What is more alarming is that too often innocent residents are caught in the crossfire.

I want to stress that the bill does not represent an across the board increase in mandatory minimum sentences. Rather, it targets crimes that are specifically related to gang activity, repeat and violent offenders.

This new legislation is especially good news for my constituency of Abbotsford, which for the past number of years has seen a dramatic increase in guns, gangs and gun related violence. The proliferation of marijuana grow ops and crystal meth labs in my community has meant a significant increase in gangs and organized crime.

As is common across Canada, our Abbotsford police force simply does not have the resources to locate and tear down every marijuana grow op or crystal meth lab. The ones they do manage to destroy are quickly replaced with others.

Since Abbotsford shares a border with the United States, it is part of a complex web of organized crime on the Lower Mainland. Drugs such as high grade marijuana are regularly exchanged for firearms from the U.S. These are the same firearms that are being used to commit the wide range of gang related crimes we are witnessing across Canada.

Although both American and Canadian border security officials are quite vigilant in protecting our borders and stopping the cross-border gun trade, there is only so much they can do when the same people go to prison for short periods of time and are turned back onto the streets only to take up crime once again.

The gun and drug trades are quite lucrative industries and lure a number of young people into the gang lifestyle. These mandatory minimum penalties under Bill C-10 will go a long way in discouraging youths from taking up this behaviour, but this government is also concerned with preventing young people, through community initiatives, from becoming involved in a life of crime in the first place.

In our first federal budget, this government invested $20 million in a plan for communities. This money will be focused on preventing youth crime and helping young people stay away from guns and gangs. I believe that both this bill and our prevention initiatives will work together to reduce the number of gun related deaths in Canada.

If we do not send a clear message to criminals that the consequences will now far outweigh the benefits of using handguns to carry out crime, gun violence will continue to increase. The clear message we are sending is this: be prepared to go to prison if a serious gun offence is committed, period.

I believe these penalty schemes will also be an important tool for police, who must place themselves in potentially deadly situations on a daily basis. The police will now be able to know that should the courts send an offender to prison for committing a firearms offence, that is not an offender they will be encountering back on the streets for a very long time.

About a week ago, three people, including an Abbotsford resident, were charged with abducting a young woman at gunpoint and assaulting her in Mission.

Also, on the same day, two men were charged with attempted murder in Abbotsford after a man was found shot and beaten in his home on Mt. Lehman Road. What a shame. What a shameful loss of life.

Abbotsford resident Roger McCormick was shot seven times, five times in the head, when a group of three men wearing balaclavas and black vests invaded his home with guns in search of marijuana. His wife was actually killed in that offence.

In January 2004, two Abbotsford youths, 18 and 20 years old, were gunned down on the sidewalk and seriously injured on Montvue Street.

In February 2004, the second nightclub shooting in less than a month occurred in Abbotsford. Two men entered an establishment carrying concealed handguns and opened fire. Luckily, the targets of the shots escaped injury.

In August 2005, a 24 year old Abbotsford man sitting in his car was struck by bullets fired by a man in an adjacent park.

I could go on, but I think it is clear that my community has a serious gun problem. I believe Canada has a serious gun problem.

In order to end the cycle of gun violence, this government is committed to fulfilling our election promise to get tough on serious criminals. We owe nothing less to the Canadian public than to protect them to the fullest. I believe Bill C-10 is the way to do that.

Effective deterrents, including escalating mandatory minimum jail terms, are an important step in reducing crime on our streets. So is choking off the supply of illegal handguns. By addressing both problems, we will save lives.

British Columbians and residents of Abbotsford are tired of watching criminals execute violence and get off with a slap on the wrist. Finally we have a government that is committed to the right of law-abiding citizens to live in safety and security. That is a promise we made during the election. This bill delivers on that promise.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my hon. colleague and I do not share his opinion whatsoever.

Before I was elected in 2004, I worked as a defence lawyer and criminal lawyer for 20 years. I saw the arrival of additional sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a gun. These penalties are now four years. We went from one year to three and then four years. Unless my colleague opposite has more recent information, we do not have any studies that show that the increase in minimum sentences for gun-related crimes has reduced crime. If my colleague has any studies on the matter, I would like him to table them in this House.

If this bill passes, how will my colleague reduce what is referred to in Canada as plea bargaining? Let us say that I am a defence lawyer and my client is charged with a gun crime. What will we do? We will push the procedure to the maximum, as far as possible. We will ask the Crown to drop the gun possession charge in exchange for a guilty plea to a charge of assault with a weapon instead of attempted murder, for example. That does not solve anything.

If so much is to be resolved with this bill, why did the hon. Minister of Justice forget to include hunting rifles and shotguns in this bill? That is my question. We have studies that show that crimes committed over the past few years, in rural areas, were committed with rifles and shotguns. Why did the government fail to include rifles and shotguns in its bill?