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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Warning LabelsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, this petition calls for warning labels for acetaminophen. This petition actually arises from a tragic incident in my own riding where a family lost their daughter through an overdose of Tylenol. There are hundreds of petitioners, mostly from Vancouver Island communities, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Parksville and area, and as far north as Courtenay.

The petitioners are calling on the government to recognize that acetaminophen is the most common pharmaceutical involved in unintentional poisonings in all age groups in British Columbia and many parts of Canada, and that both acute and chronic acetaminophen overdose can cause potentially fatal liver toxicity. They are calling on Parliament to take action to provide warning labels for acetaminophen.

Status of WomenPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting a petition with 1,273 signatures from 70 Quebec and Canadian groups of women. That makes a total of 5,425 names presented by my colleague for Laurentides—Labelle and myself since last June.

I wonder how much time and how many names it will take for the minister, the cabinet and the Prime Minister to understand that they are headed in the wrong direction and that they must respond and agree to the demands of the petitioners.

The petitioners are asking that the 12 offices of Status of Women be re-opened, that the court challenges program be reinstated and that the original criteria for the women's program be restored.

Canada Post Corporation ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition, mainly from people from Alberta but I am receiving petitions signed by people from all over Canada in support of Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), in which it would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

Status of Women CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, the member for Laval, I am also pleased to present a petition signed by 1,284 women and men from the four corners of Quebec.

The petitioners are asking the Conservative government and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages to reinstate without delay the court challenges program, the original criteria for the women's program, and the budget of Status of Women. They are also asking that the 12 regional offices closed by this government be opened.

In tabling this petition, I also reiterate my commitment to these individuals to not let my guard down and to continue fighting for their rights.

BurmaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by almost 70 constituents of mine from towns in my riding: Camrose, New Norway, Armena, Hay Lakes and others.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take more action in response to the violent repression of pro-democracy activists in the country of Burma. They want pressure from countries surrounding Burma, specifically Russia and China, because they have close ties with Burma.

I know that my constituents are pleased that the Government of Canada has done more than any other nation in terms of responding to this crisis but we continue to call upon the Burmese authorities to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the protesters and of all the people in Burma.

This petition came out of a group of at least 30 students from Augustana University in Camrose who came down to my office and made very positive references to the things they felt Canada could do. I am pleased to present this petition on their behalf today.

Consumer Price IndexPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of many of my constituents on the statistical error made by Statistics Canada in its calculations of the consumer price index when calculating the rates for hotel rooms.

This error resulted in Canada's inflation numbers being underrated by half a percentage point since 2001, thereby causing anyone whose benefits are tied to CPI, including recipients of the Canada pension plan, old age security and the guaranteed income supplement, to be underpaid by a compounded half a percentage point a year, losing benefits totalling an estimated amount of approximately $1 billion.

The petitioners call on Parliament to take the required steps to repay every Canadian who was shortchanged by the government because of this miscalculation.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

November 21st, 2007 / 3:30 p.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, the following question will be answered today: No. 5.

Question No. 5Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

With regard to the Homelessness Partnership Strategy (HPS): (a) what changes have been made from the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI); (b) will the communities designated to receive funding under the Homelessness Partnership Initiative differ from the communities that received funding under SCPI; (c) will the community plans developed under SCPI remain intact; (d) if not, what is the procedure for developing new strategies; (e) will a public consultation process within the communities still take place; (f) will there be any differences in the number or allocation of staff and program facilitators under the new initiative; (g) will there be any lag in funding while the transition from SCPI to HPS occurs; (h) how will HPS funding be administered; (i) will funding be transferred to the provinces and territories or will it be allocated directly to community based groups; (j) will there be any restrictions put in place on how funding recipients can spend money received through the Homelessness Partnership Initiative; (k) will preference be given to groups that provide transitional supportive housing; (l) which stakeholders were consulted before the decision was made to begin the new HPS program; (m) how was the need for a new program identified; (n) were (i) funding recipients, (ii) community groups, (iii) municipal and provincial governments involved in the development of HPS; (o) what are the criteria for receipt of funding from HPS; (p) how many funding recipients of SCPI funding will still qualify for HPS funding; (q) what is the estimated number of new funding recipients; and (r) what reporting and auditing requirements will funding recipients be responsible for?

Question No. 5Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the response is as follows:

a) The federal funding provided under the homelessness partnering strategy, HPS, favours the development of transitional and supportive housing and increases the focus on interventions to help individuals acquire long-term stable housing conditions.

b) No. Funding under the HPS focuses on the same 61 designated communities as under the national homelessness initiative, NHI, and the supporting communities partnership initiative, SCPI, component.

c) Communities have been asked to assess progress on their community plans. These assessments were expected by June 2007. They are now being asked to update their community plan and priorities for fall 2007.

d) Not applicable. See the response to c).

e) Community advisory boards are responsible to organize consultations with stakeholders for the identification of the plan priorities. This remains unchanged for the HPS.

f) No changes have been identified to date to the number or allocation of staff and program facilitators to deliver the new Strategy.

g) The homelessness partnering secretariat developed a transition strategy that provided program guidelines for the implementation of the HPS and the close-out of the NHI so that everything was in place to avoid disruption of services in communities. Communities received funding for projects to ensure the continuity of essential activities for the homeless population.

h) The HPS is administered in the same manner as the NHI; it is a community-based program that is delivered at the local and regional levels with direction from national headquarters.

i) Funding will not be transferred to provinces or territories; it will be delivered in the same manner as the NHI.

j) Organizations will be invited to submit proposals that will meet the needs and priorities of the community as established in their community plan, and are consistent with the HPS’s terms and conditions.

k) In response to consultations with communities, organizations and stakeholders who have expressed a need for more long-term housing, the HPS is targeting 65% of its funds toward transitional, supportive, and other forms of long-term housing facilities and related services. This is a guideline with flexibility exercised to respond to community needs.

l) The development of the HPS was informed by: the formative and summative evaluations of the NHI; externally-funded research; NHI-funded research; best practices from across the country; international models; and the views of stakeholders. Comments and suggestions from NHI funding recipients, community organizations, all levels of government, private and not-for-profit sectors, and interest groups were received during the January 2005 consultations, and the September 2006 national stakeholder roundtable. A significant amount of correspondence has also been received from individuals and organizations.

m) See answer to question l).

n) i) funding recipients; ii) community groups; and iii) municipal and provincial governments involved in the development of HPS? See answer to question l).

o) Organizations will be invited to submit proposals that meet the needs and priorities of their respective communities, as established in their community plans, and are consistent with the HPS’s terms and conditions.

p) All recipients that were provided funding under the NHI will be eligible to submit an application under the HPS. Communities are expected to undertake transparent calls for proposals processes.

q) Communities will have the discretion of recommending the appropriate number of projects that can be funded under their allocation to meet their needs.

r) The HPS has a policy directive on “Enhanced Financial Controls” to ensure transparency and probity in the administration of contribution agreements. All recipients of less than $350,000 in funding will be subject to Human Resources and Social Development Canada’s project monitoring. All recipients of $350,000 or more will have a clause in the contribution agreement that will require an external audit. The frequency of the audits is determined by the length of the agreement. Funds for these audits are included as an eligible cost in the contribution agreement.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.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, if Question Nos. 10 and 22 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 10Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

With regard to raw log exports from Canada: (a) what is the government’s current policy; (b) is the government working on ways to reduce these exports and, if so, what policy options are being considered; (c) have there been or are there any meetings planned to discuss raw log exports with the United States and, if so, what was or will be the substance of the said meetings and what policy options or conclusions emerged from them; (d) how many cubic metres of wood has been exported on an annual basis since 2001; (e) where are these log being exported to; (f) what is the commercial value of these logs on an annual basis; (g) during the recent visit of the Minister of Natural Resources to China, was there any discussion of raw log exports and, if so, what was the substance of those discussions; (h) what did the Minister’s briefing book for that trip say about forestry products and raw logs; (i) has any public money been spent abroad by the government to market or encourage the export of raw logs and, if so, how much and where; (j) what advice or studies have been prepared for the government with respect to the impact of raw log exports on the Canadian economy, specifically the domestic forestry industry?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 22Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

With respect to climate change: (a) what studies and evaluations about intensity-based targets have been undertaken, requested or commissioned by the government and (i) what is the cost of these studies, (ii) what are the findings and recommendations of these studies; (b) what recommendations does the government agree with; (c) what scientific and economic studies did the Prime Minister rely on to make his June 4, 2007, speech in Berlin, Germany, endorsing the use of intensity-based targets to fight climate change; (d) what studies and evaluations with respect to intensity-based targets have been requested or commissioned by either the departments of Environment or Natural Resources to be undertaken before December 31, 2007; (e) what studies, reports and recommendations have already been presented to the government prior to January 2006 with respect to intensity-based targets and which departments prepared these studies; and (f) with specific reference to the climate change debate, on an annual basis for the last five fiscal years, specifying for what research projects and which departments granted the funds, what amount of funding has the government provided directly or indirectly to (i) Dr. Tim Ball, (ii) Tom Harris or the Natural Stewardship Project, (iii) Dr. Ian Clark, University of Ottawa, (iv) Dr. Tim Patterson, Carleton University?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.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 notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved that Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to begin the second reading debate on Bill C-25, which amends the sentencing and pretrial provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The government has committed itself to respond to the concerns that Canadians have expressed about youth crime. Bill C-25 now before this House is an example of how we are going to meet that commitment. We are going to strengthen the youth justice system and ensure fairness and effectiveness in the application of the criminal law for young people. We are ensuring that society is effectively protected from violent and dangerous offenders. Young offenders, like adults, must face meaningful consequences for serious crimes.

In the last election we said we would make changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and last month in Halifax, accompanied by the former Nova Scotia minister of justice, I announced that the government would deliver on this promise and introduce amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. This has been done with the tabling of this bill on Monday. It is not just Nova Scotia that has been requesting these improvements. Manitoba has been requesting them as well.

I have to refer to a couple of colleagues in my own caucus. For many years the member for Wild Rose has called for changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. I know he takes a great deal of satisfaction from the progress that he has made in a number of areas. The protection of 14 and 15 year olds definitely is one of the crusades that he has had and I very much appreciate that as well. The member for Crowfoot has been one of those individuals who has continued to encourage me and the government to move forward with these changes. I have received pretty good support right across this country from provincial attorneys general, but I am very appreciative of those colleagues of mine who have come forward and asked for these changes.

I should point out that the Nova Scotia request for change is in large part based on the recommendations in the Nunn commission report. Many of us are aware of the tragedy that was experienced in Nova Scotia where a youth with outstanding charges for automobile theft was continuously released prior to his trial. The individual stole another vehicle and again it resulted in a tragedy in which Theresa McEvoy was killed.

Nova Scotia has done great work in pushing for these changes. Yesterday I was pleased to see in a news release that the justice minister of Nova Scotia, Cecil Clarke, said he welcomes our Youth Criminal Justice Act amendments and he called on all members of the House to support this bill.

The pretrial detention provisions of Bill C-25 are also the result of consultations I undertook this summer with my provincial and territorial counterparts and various other stakeholders. We continued those discussions again last week when I was in Winnipeg at a federal-provincial justice ministers meeting in that city. They too shared with me their concerns about detaining dangerous youth prior to their trial.

I am confident that the amendments we have tabled in the House of Commons will address those concerns. The proposals now before the House provide new measures to protect communities from young people who pose a significant risk to public safety and to hold youth accountable for their criminal conduct.

It will amend the youth justice system by including as well deterrence and denunciation as sentencing principles and by making it easier to detain a broader range of young persons who pose a risk to public safety.

Currently under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the purpose of a youth sentence is to hold the young person accountable through meaningful consequences and rehabilitative measures. The sentence must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and it must also be the sentence most likely to rehabilitate the young person.

Last year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Youth Criminal Justice Act does not allow deterrence and denunciation to be considered by the courts as specific objectives of the courts when they are sentencing youth. These are important objectives we believe for judges to have when considering an appropriate sentence.

Deterrence means imposing a sanction for the purpose of discouraging the offender and others from engaging in criminal conduct. Denunciation refers to society's condemnation of the offence. My proposed sentencing amendment would allow courts to consider both deterrence and denunciation as objectives in youth sentences. Again, we appreciate the support of our provincial counterparts for the inclusion of both of these in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Many Canadians are concerned about youth crime and believe that changes to sentences can be very helpful. They want to stem the reported recent increase in violent youth crime and restore respect for law, so I am asking Parliament to move expeditiously in getting this bill passed.

For some time now, the government has been taking part in a comprehensive review of the pretrial detention and release provisions on the youth justice system. I have indicated as well to my provincial and territorial counterparts that I would like to have their input for a complete, comprehensive review of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

This is an appropriate time, it seems to me, in view of concerns that I have heard right across this country with respect to youth crime and youth violence. I think it comes at an appropriate time inasmuch as this is the fifth anniversary of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and indeed the 100th anniversary of a separate youth criminal justice system in Canada.

I indicated to my provincial counterparts, and I have indicated publicly, and certainly I will be getting input from my colleagues as to how to go about that so that we can bring forward comprehensive changes.

This is just one of the measures that we have placed before Parliament. I was very pleased as well to introduce the bill that has mandatory prison terms for people who commit serious drug offences. I saw on television a couple of academics who had some problems with that. I can say that they do not represent the majority of Canadians. Canadians want to see tough sentences when it comes to drug offences and they want to see changes to the youth criminal justice act.

I tabled a bill a few minutes ago on identity theft, and the tackling violent crime act has been reported back to Parliament. Bill C-25 should be seen in the context of a wide range of government initiatives, all of them designed to make our communities safer, to make our streets safer, to stand up for the innocent victims of crime.

One of my clients--one of my colleagues--I am not practising law anymore in Niagara Falls, although I was very proud to do that for many years. My colleagues have been very supportive of these initiatives because they know we are on the right track to help build a better and safer Canada.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the minister does not have clients within the Conservative Party. It might lead to more questions about what need they would have for the legal advice from one of Her Majesty's Queen's Counsel and the Attorney General of Canada.

Regarding the concept of sentencing in general, I want to hone in on the prospect in this bill of adding deterrence and denunciation to a youth justice bill. I want to ask him in general if he agrees with the proposition that in the Criminal Code of Canada when it comes to sentencing, all of the factors are tempered by section 718.1, which says that proportionality is the overriding principle of sentencing.

I say that because Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish recently opined from the bench, in a very interesting decision I was watching involving mandatory minimums, that section 718.1 oversees all of the other sentencing principles.

Does the minister agree with that with respect to the Criminal Code? More important, does he see that the concept of proportionality is actually in the Youth Criminal Justice Act itself?

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that proportionality is a part of every sentence that is handed down in the country. The Criminal Code, as does the Youth Criminal Justice Act, gives a wide range to judges to impose a sentence that is appropriate in each occasion.

However, we had to act in light of a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, in 2006, with respect to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. It made it very clear that deterrence and denunciation were not part of the principles that a judge could take into consideration when sentencing a young person. Therefore, we have moved to remedy that and we have put that in the legislation.

Again, there is a wide range of principles and considerations that a judge can take into consideration to ensure that the appropriate sentence is handed down for that young person.

We are keenly aware as well that we cannot just sentence individuals in our system. We have to try to divert them and give them opportunities not to get involved in problems with the law in the first place. Therefore, ours is a comprehensive package, both for youth and for drug related problems. As we know, they can be interrelated, but ours has to be a comprehensive and a fair approach.