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House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provisions.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, the member has been a long-time member of the House. He was a former Quebec justice minister, and he certainly knows of which he speaks.

The provisions of this bill could be used to target individuals engaged in activities of protest or dissent that do not come close to any reasonable definition of terrorism. I would like to ask the member if he could expand on those comments.

If this bill could possibly be extended to people involved in strike action or other forms of protest, we certainly would not want to see that happen in this country.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely right to ask me that. It is a point I neglected to raise, yet it is extremely important.

When something like this remains on the books, as one of his colleagues has pointed out, one never knows who will use it or how. This is exactly what happened with the War Measures Act, which was still on the books. It could certainly be used against protestors at some point, especially if terrorist tendencies were to resurface, as we have seen in Quebec and sometimes also when aboriginal leaders have been protesting.

The problem is that, when people share the same cause, they may run into each other without knowing about any terrorist plots. But the fact of having crossed paths could raise suspicions. Arrests could be made on grounds of reasonable suspicion. If this power is left in the hands of an underhanded government with evil intentions, it could be used against political opponents.

That is what happened during the October crisis, with respect to FRAP, the municipal party that was running against Mayor Drapeau. As I said, Pauline Julien and the poet Gérald Godin were thrown in jail, along with many others. The government can again make use of it at some time.

I am not saying that such are its intentions. I do not want to attribute evil intentions to it that it does not have. But it could feel that temptation. When I heard all the things that were said against the coalition, I felt that the government was getting pretty carried away.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin on his excellent speech. I think the House of Commons is very privileged to hear a speech of such high quality. Not only did he explain in legal terms the abuses that can be committed through such a bill, but he also gave us the facts, and facts are facts. They do not deviate. He gave concrete examples. I myself had a taste of the War Measures Act when I was a trade unionist in 1970.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on the path this bill leads us down, ideologically speaking.

When we move outside the strict framework of the law, and when a certain ideology has been used to enact laws, is there not a danger that we could see other abuses besides the examples he gave?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, I see things differently, and not in ideological terms.

Personally, I think I am a defender of the ideology of human rights. I studied the fine print in this bill because I wanted to see if any injustices might have been included. I think I found them and I have exposed them many times over.

I think I also exposed the fact that we should have been prepared for them if they are to be maintained. What strikes me however, and I think it is universal—it does not apply only in this Parliament—is that people who are more conservative and in favour of law and order are generally found in democracies. They want to preserve those principles, but they are often the first to attack them without realizing it. I have noticed that this often happens with them.

Personally, I believe that convicting an innocent person is a terrible thing. For them, it is the price to pay to save our system. That is why I believe they should reread Kofi Annan. He said, and very convincingly, that the terrorists will have won when they make us change our system so we have fewer fundamental rights.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Madam Speaker, I listened with some degree of alarm to the member's speech when he pulled out an example about protests or strikers as an application where this bill could be used. Earlier, I listed all the safeguards that are in place before these provisions can be enacted.

The member should acknowledge that these provisions have only been used once in the past eight years. There is a mandatory review of the provisions. The provisions have been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada as being constitutional, and they are being put in place to prevent a worst-case scenario from happening on our soil. We are glad they have not been used. We hope that they never have to be used.

Would the member rather prevent a terrorist attack in Canada, or would he rather deal with the aftermath?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, I explained what measures you could take if there were an emergency. How would you know if there were such an emergency? How do the police know? Through wiretaps and surveillance they come up with a series of fairly convincing circumstances indicating that there is a plot.

Arrest them, charge them with conspiracy—it is an offence—and get on with the trial. If these people are innocent, they will be acquitted. Whereas in the current situation, you force someone to sign a recognizance and—

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I would like to say to the member that the Speaker will not be arresting anyone. Furthermore, I would ask him to address the Speaker directly.

The member for Timmins—Baie James has the floor for questions or comments.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I find it fascinating that whenever we ask questions of the Conservatives about due process and so on, they start accusing everyone else of somehow being friends of the terrorists.

My hon. colleague has built a reputation in the province of Quebec for standing up and taking on the Hells Angels. He is no slouch when it comes to standing up on issues of justice.

We are hearing from the Conservatives that this bill, which had to have a sunset clause in it before because its powers were so extraordinary that it allowed people to be held for 12 months without any charges, would never be used, that this is Canada and that the rule of law would prevail. Yet, we see that whenever the police have these powers, they have been misused. We only have only to look at Mohamed Harkat, who was held for three and a half years without trial. We could look at Maher Arar, who was rendered to Syria while the government knew all the way up the chain of command that he was being tortured.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague why he thinks that when a government has these powers that the police would not somehow end up misusing these powers once they become permanently entrenched in our system.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam speaker, I will summarize.

My issue with this part of the legislation is not that it is too stringent but that it is not stringent enough. The application of criminal law allows us to take measures that are more effective at breaking up a criminal plot than the measures contained in this bill. There is a risk of falsely accusing people on the strength of mere suspicion.

The benefits of this law are insignificant compared to the harm it will surely cause the innocent people accused on the strength of mere suspicion. When we operate that way, we run the risk of being mistaken.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

I should warn the member ahead of time that I will have to interrupt him at 2 p.m. and that he may resume his comments afterward.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I am cognizant that I have 20 minutes to speak but only 4 minutes to begin. I am going to lay the preparatory groundwork for my speech later on.

Not everybody in the House will agree with what I am about to say, but the fundamental issue presented by the piece of legislation before the House today is that due process in law cannot be supported by offending due process in law. Civil rights cannot be protected by violating civil rights. Freedom in this country cannot be supported by abridging the freedom of Canadians in this country. That cuts to the heart of this matter, and I will come back to that concept later on in my speech.

Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions) was introduced in the House on March 12 of this year. It contains the provisions found in former Bill S-3, as amended by the Senate Special Committee on Anti-terrorism in March of last year.

The bill proposes amendments to the Criminal Code that would reinstate the anti-terrorism provisions that expired under a sunset clause in February 2007. It provides for the appearance of individuals who may have information about a terrorism offence, compells attendance before a judge for an investigative hearing, and it contains provisions also dealing with imprisonment of those people for up to 12 months without charge.

This legislation also contains a five-year sunset clause that requires the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Public Safety to issue separate annual reports that include their opinions as to whether these provisions should be extended.

The seriousness with which the bill attacks our civil liberties in this country is established by the fact that it has to contain sunset provisions to come back before the House. The government does not have the confidence to put these provisions into law for an extended period of time.

Bill C-19 essentially reintroduces the provisions relating to investigative hearings and recognizances that first came into force in December 2001. A sunset clause contained in that act stated that the provisions in question would cease to apply at the end of December 31, 2006 unless they were extended by a resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament.

As of February 2007, not one investigative hearing had been held, and there was no reported use of the provisions on recognizance with conditions at that time. I will come back to this theme later on.

Hon. colleagues on the other side of the House continue to maintain that this legislation is required, but it has never been used in the first five years of its existence.

Let me start with the first of these two offensive provisions, and that is investigative hearings.

Clause 1 of Bill C-19 would amend the Criminal Code, and it is similar to the original Anti-terrorism Act. Section 83 of the Criminal Code forces individuals who may have information about a terrorism offence to appear before a judge for an investigative hearing. The objective is to compel that person to speak, under penalty of imprisonment.

A peace officer, with the prior consent of the Attorney General, can apply to a superior court or a provincial court judge for an order for the gathering of information if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorism offence has or will be committed.

If there are reasonable grounds to believe that information concerning the offence or whereabouts of a suspect is likely to be obtained as a result of the order, and if reasonable attempts have been made to obtain such information by other means, if granted, such a court order would compel that person to attend a hearing and answer questions on examination. No one attending such a hearing can refuse to answer a question or produce something in his or her possession on the grounds of self-incrimination.

Every Canadian school child is familiar with the edict in this country that an individual has the right to remain silent and not to testify if that testimony would present self-incrimination. It is considered a fundamental tenet of western and British legal tradition. It has been part of our country's Constitution and civil liberties for hundreds of years.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I regret to interrupt the hon. member. He will have 15 minutes left when debate resumes.

Science and TechnologyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to stand before the House today and bring some exciting news from my riding of Oshawa.

Thanks to the federal Conservative government and its commitment to investing in knowledge infrastructure, Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology campuses of Oshawa have recently received funding of over $100 million.

This funding will be used to repair and expand research facilities at these campuses and generate the advanced technological infrastructure needed to keep Canada's colleges and universities at the forefront of scientific advancement.

This funding is extremely important to the city of Oshawa. Not only does it create much needed jobs right now, but it also provides the youth of Oshawa with the opportunity to train for the jobs of tomorrow.

This investment is for the automotive jobs of tomorrow and an investment in the green energy we need today. This funding will be instrumental in helping to evolve Oshawa's identity and economy.

I am excited to say that because of this funding, Oshawa's university and college will be instrumental in the development of the green jobs of the future.

Canada GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to remind you and my colleagues in the House that Prince Edward Island will host the 2009 Canada Games from August 15-29. Over these two weeks, athletes from across Canada will compete in 18 sports staged in multiple venues throughout the province.

Our province has a successful history in hosting large sporting events because of a tremendous volunteer base. As one who has organized sporting events in the past, it is volunteers who make this whole thing happen.

The Canada Games extend over two weeks with over 2,200 athletes, coaches and managers in attendance each week. Week one events are focused in the western region and feature sports such as basketball, rugby, tennis and cycling. The eastern region will be the focus of week two which will include golf, volleyball, swimming and other sports.

In closing, I would like to extend an invitation to my colleagues in Parliament and all Canadians to come to Prince Edward Island this summer to experience these Canada Games. I wish all athletes, organizers and volunteers all the best.

CRÉADOS Artistic Recycling ProjectStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I recently had an opportunity to meet with some young people from the municipalities of Sainte-Hélène and Saint-Hugues, who are involved in CRÉADOS, a project coordinated by Nathalie Nadeau. They produce artistic creations out of recycled items. I was absolutely amazed at the creativity and innovation shown by these young people, aged 11 to 17.

This project deserves every possible support. Not only does the project create an awareness of recycling, it also encourages these young people to find an outlet for their creativity. Teens need well organized outlets for expression.

My congratulations to everyone behind the great success of CRÉADOS, the participants and the volunteers, on this inspirational initiative.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, many seniors across the country live in poverty and many more are worried about the security of their pensions. Those in middle age are worried about their future income as they approach retirement.

Unfortunately for them, they cannot look to the Conservative government for help. Recently, we learned that the Canada pension plan lost $24 billion last year while those in charge gave themselves $7 million in bonuses and the Conservative government will do nothing.

We have seen when companies file for bankruptcy protection, workers are left unprotected. When AbitibiBowater employees in Newfoundland and Labrador lost early retirement packages, severance pay and pension entitlements, the Conservative government said it was up to the courts and the provinces, yet bankruptcy and insolvency law is a federal government responsibility.

This system is leaving many seniors in poverty. It is threatening retirement security. We need a comprehensive plan to ensure that seniors have incomes to allow them to live in dignity and have legal protection for their pensions.

Saskatoon--Rosetown--BiggarStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 Saskatchewan celebrated its 100th anniversary. Since then communities all across our beautiful province have been doing the same. This year there are a number of communities in my riding of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar that are celebrating their 100th anniversary.

The town of Rosetown, the village of Zealandia, the village of Harris, the rural municipality of Perdue, the village of Perdue and the village of Kinley are all celebrating their centennial. Also celebrating its centennial is Saint Gabriel's Parish in Biggar.

These rural communities were founded by hard-working men and women who came to Canada with dreams of a new and better life. It is the result of the hard work, care and dedication of these people, their children and grandchildren that these communities are now celebrating their 100th anniversary.

I am honoured to represent this group of great communities and would like to congratulate them for achieving this huge milestone.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation plays a critical role in protecting the culture and sovereignty of Canada, and now it needs protection.

The CBC is our voice, tying this diverse country and its unique regions together. It tells new Canadians about their new home and its people. It connects urban and rural Canadians, and it nurtures our francophone communities across the land.

From award-winning investigative journalism to showcasing Canadian culture and talent, the CBC is Canada.

The CBC was recently forced to cut 800 jobs when the government refused to provide an emergency loan. Its normal annual financial top-up has been withheld and it may face further cuts from a strategic review.

The residents of Vancouver Quadra are extremely concerned about the future of the CBC. A former young classical musician myself, I know the importance of the CBC in providing quality programming. It is hard for me to watch our public broadcaster being squeezed rather than supported by the current government.

At a time when Canadians face economic hardship and dislocation, now more than ever we need a strong and vital CBC.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, many opposition MPs campaigned on getting rid of the long gun registry and they have changed their position since they came here to Ottawa.

In fact, when the Bloc Québécois recently put forth a motion to maintain the gun registry, only one member out of all three opposition parties voted against that motion. Yet, there were dozens of MPs from the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc who said they would support getting rid of this ineffective, money-munching long gun registry, such as the members for Thunder Bay—Superior North, Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Timmins—James Bay, Western Arctic, Sackville—Eastern Shore, Kings—Hants, Elmwood—Transcona and Malpeque, to name a few.

These members all promised the people whom they represent that they would work to get rid of the long gun registry. They broke that promise. Why would anyone vote for any of them again when it is clear that they are not to be trusted on an issue that is so important to their constituents?

I would encourage all Canadians to hold these elected representatives to account. If these MPs will not vote for the motion, why should their constituents vote for the MPs?

Young Visitors from IvujivikStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my greetings today to some young people from Nuvviti school in Ivujivik, who are visiting the Hill today.

The reason they were chosen to be here is that they have not only stood out from their fellow students by their perfect attendance, but they have also, thanks to the unflagging support of their teachers, successfully completed their year.

To give some idea of their reality, Ivujivik is the northernmost village in Quebec, and one quarter of the population is under the age of 18. This year they have experienced the suicide of three of their friends.

These are outstanding young people, courageous and hard working. They set an example of perseverance for all students, not only in their community, but also throughout the rest of Quebec. My colleagues of the Bloc Québécois join with me in expressing our respect, encouragement and congratulations to all of these students.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the past few days, the real leader of the Bloc Québécois has issued the party's new game plan, a plan that would set Quebec back by 30 years. We have decided to call her plan the “What kind of idiots does she think we are?” plan.

The Bloc Québécois is made up of a bunch of sovereignists who only talk about sovereignty when their real leader in Quebec City talks about it and who are not doing a good job of representing the Quebeckers who voted for them eight months ago. There is a reason why some Bloc Québécois members are heading back to Quebec City while others are impatiently waiting for their real leader to tell them to leave Ottawa.

While the Bloc Québécois and the Chrétien-style Liberals are stirring up old quarrels, the Conservative government is working to stimulate the economy because that is what Canadians and Quebeckers think is the real priority.

Quebeckers are not idiots. The Bloc Québécois cares only about its partisan interests and wants only to destroy our country.

Sheila FinestoneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, my family and I, together with many friends and colleagues in both the House and the Senate, were deeply saddened to hear of Sheila Finestone's passing.

Few members of Parliament have been as dedicated and exemplary as Sheila was. She worked tirelessly for the people of her riding, Mount Royal, whose best interests were always foremost in both her heart and her mind.

She knew every “quartier” of this increasingly multicultural constituency. She was a natural choice for Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, and reflected and represented the cases and causes of her constituents in an outstanding fashion.

After her appointment to the Senate in August 1999, she continued her indefatigable work, and as her successor, I was the beneficiary of having a former MP of this riding with whom I could join and work together in common cause.

We extend our deepest condolences to her family. May we be inspired by her memory and may her memory serve as a blessing for us all.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, just a few short months ago, the NDP leader played to the cameras when he told the Vancouver Police Chief:

There's probably no city in the country right now that is understanding the need for action more than Vancouver. We're not seeing this elsewhere in Canada but, believe me, we're going to if we don't see some action taken against these gangs.

All this political posturing abruptly came to an end once the camera stopped rolling and the B.C. election was over.

Yesterday, the NDP, along with the Bloc, voted against the action the government has taken to tackle organized crime and gangs. The NDP voted against mandatory minimum sentences for the serious crime of drug trafficking.

The NDP also voted against our truth in sentencing bill, and Bill C-268, which provides for mandatory minimum sentences for the serious crime of human trafficking.

I implore the NDP to help the government fight gangs and organized crime. Our communities need support now.

National Marine Conservation AreasStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new national marine conservation area on the spectacular north shore of Lake Superior is a good news story. Our Prime Minister should be congratulated for helping to create what will soon be the largest freshwater marine protected area in the world.

However, more is needed before communities like Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Pays Plat, Rossport, Nipigon and Red Rock can benefit fully from the tourism potential. We need access points to the lake, safe harbours, scenic lookouts and rest stops along the highway, and stable funding for economic development offices in these towns.

A visitor centre is a high priority, as is a research facility that will help us to learn about our boreal watersheds and protecting the integrity of our great lake.

I salute all those who made this a win-win for both tourism and the environment, but urge the government that the work is not yet done.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

June 9th, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party said that Canada is the laughingstock of the world. Is he really in touch with Canadians and their needs?

He has been away for 34 years. He has called himself an American. He has called our flag a pale imitation of a beer label and he has accused fellow Canadians of living in a fantasy land.

Now he has come back to Canada to implement a job-killing carbon tax, to implement a GST hike, and to implement a tax hike. He said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

When his visit to Canada is over, Canadians hope he takes his harmful tax hike policies back with him.

Our economic action plan is helping Canadian families cope with the global recession. Our economic action plan is reducing taxes, creating jobs and delivering results for Canadians.

Canada's economic situation is currently the envy of the world. Canada is not a laughingstock.