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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rehabilitation.

Topics

Affordable HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last August, the Conservative government asked Ascentum to organize consultations, write a report and develop a national strategy to address the problem of homelessness.

Now—surprise, surprise—this agency's main suggestions are the same as the solutions the NDP has identified in our Bill C-304.

Will the government follow the advice in the report it commissioned?

Affordable HousingOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, what we have done in terms of housing has been quite substantial. Through our economic action plan, we have invested an additional $2 billion in affordable and social housing construction and renovation. Those funds have been targeted sites: $400 million to help seniors and $75 million to help the disabled.

The really unfortunate issue here is the NDP voted against this help for our seniors who helped build our country.

International AidOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rodney Weston Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, lack of access to safe and nutritious food is one of the major obstacles to reducing poverty in developing countries. Hunger and malnutrition result in more deaths than HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

At the G8 summit in July 2009, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would double its investment in support of sustainable agriculture development by committing an additional $600 million over three years.

Could the minister tell the House what progress has been made?

International AidOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a strong leader in food aid and food security. The member is quite right. Canada made a commitment that would double its support for developing countries, particularly smallholder farmers and women in developing countries.

Today, Canada is announcing a contribution of $230 million to the global agriculture and food security programs. This shows that this government is fulfilling its international commitments.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I did not get an answer to my first question, so let me try again. The government claims to have a separate, specific fund for the Atlantic Gateway, however, the few projects the minister just announced should have been on the regular infrastructure programs. Eastern North America will have a major increase in trade in the future. The gateway fund was supposed to prepare us for this, but it does not.

Why has the Prime Minister once again failed Atlantic Canada?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We are making investments in Atlantic Canada. There was an increase in the budget for ACOA in the last budget. We have a full $16 million in ICF and AIF, constant funding, none of this five year window thing that the previous government used to do. We have added that to our A-based budget.

We are proud of the work we are doing in Atlantic Canada. The member opposite should be as well, if he would only vote with us.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

April 22nd, 2010 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I understand there are some visitors waiting at the door, so I will be very brief.

Could the government House leader indicate his plan for the week ahead and would those plans include some time for a take note debate on the east coast shellfish industry?

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague has indicated, I know we have some visitors who we are looking forward to seeing in the chamber shortly, so I will keep this brief as well.

When we get to government orders, following the visit, I will call Bill C-4, Sébastien's law, which proposes to protect the public from violent young offenders. Following Bill C-4, we will call Bill C-13, fairness for military families.

We will continue with that business tomorrow.

Next week it would be my intention to begin second reading debate on Bill C-11, the balanced refugee reform act, Bill C-10, Senate term limits and Bill C-12, democratic representation.

Next Wednesday, April 28, shall be an allotted day.

As for the take note debate, that is under advisement.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made Wednesday, April 21, 2010, the House will now resolve itself in committee of the whole to welcome Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

(House in committee of the whole to recognize Canada’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games athletes, Mr. Peter Milliken in the chair)

[And Canada’s 2010 Olympic and Paralympic athletes being present in the chamber:]

Canada's Olympic and Paralympic AthletesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please.

Honourable members, it is my pleasure today to welcome to the House of Commons athletes from our Olympic and Paralympic teams who participated in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

These are some of the men and women who won Canada's first gold medals at home, the most gold medals ever won by a single country in the history of the Olympics.

I know I speak on behalf of all members in the House and all Canadians when I say how extremely proud we are of each and every one of you. We appreciate the years of intense training and sacrifice and the determination required to become a world-class athlete. Your dedication, not to mention your skills, are an example to us and to future athletes.

Today is also an opportunity to recognize the men and women who support Canadian athletes, from coaches and administrators, from organizations such as the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees, to the families, whose love and moral support spur you to even greater achievements.

Your Olympic and Paralympic achievements prove that you are among the very best in your respective sports. You have earned the respect and admiration of Canada and the world.

On behalf of all members of Parliament, I congratulate you, I salute you and I thank you.

Canada's Olympic and Paralympic AthletesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Bravo!

Canada's Olympic and Paralympic AthletesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would now like to read the names of the Canadian athletes who are with us today. I will ask hon. members to withhold their applause until I have completed the list.

Alpine Skiing: Anna Goodman, Erin Mielzynski, Jan Hudec, Julian Cousineau, Louis-Pierre Helie, Marie-Michele Gagnon, Erik Guay, Marie-Pier Prefontaine, Ryan Semple, Shona Rubens, Tyler Nella.

Para-Alpine Skiing: Andrea Dziewior, Arly Fogarty, Jeff Dickson, Karolina Wisniewska, Kirk Schornstein, Lauren Woolstencroft, Matthew Hallat, Melanie Schwartz, Morgan Perrin, Viviane Forest, Lindsay Debou, Sam Danniels, Nicholas Brush.

Biathlon: Brendan Green, Marc-Andre Bédard, Megan Imrie, Rosanna Crawford, Zina Kocher.

Bobsleigh: Chris Le Bihan, Heather Moyse, Helen Upperton, Kaillie Humphries, Lascelles Brown, Lyndon Rush.

Cross-Country Skiing: Daria Gaiazova, Drew Goldsack, George Grey, Sara Renner, Stefan Kuhn.

Curling: Carolyn McCorie, Corinne Bartel, Sonja Gaudet, Susan O'Connor, Bruno Yizek, Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest.

Figure Skating: Anabelle Langlois, Cody Hay, Vanessa Crone, Vaughn Chipeur.

Freestyle Skiing: Alexandre Bilodeau, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, Jennifer Heil, Kristi Richards, Kyle Nissen, Maxime Gingras, Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Steve Omischl, Veronika Bauer, Vincent Marquis, Warren Shouldice.

Ski Cross: Danielle Poleschuk, Davey Barr, Julia Murray, Kelsey Serwa.

Ice Hockey: Caroline Ouellette, Tessa Bonhomme, Scott Niedermayer.

Luge: Alex Gough, Chris Moffat, Ian Cockerline, Justin Smith, Meaghan Simister, Mike Moffat, Samuel Edney, Tristan Walker.

Nordic Skiing: Alexei Novikov, Brian McKeever, Robin McKeever, Colette Bourgonje, Lou Gibson, Mark Arendz, Tyler Mosher.

Nordic Combined: Jason Myslicki.

Skeleton: Amy Gough, Michelle Kelly, Mike Douglas.

Ski Jump: Eric Mitchell, Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, Stefan Read, Trevor Morrice.

Sledge Hockey: Hervé Lord, Marc Dorion, Paul Rosen, Raymond Grassi, Todd Nicholson.

Snowboard: Alexa Loo, Caroline Calvé, Dominique Maltais, François Boivin, Maëlle Ricker, Michael Robertson, Palmer Taylor, Rob Fagan, Sarah Conrad.

Speed Skating: Anastasia Bucsis, Clara Hughes, Denny Morrison, François-Olivier Roberge, Kyle Parrott, Mathieu Giroux, Shannon Rempel.

Short Track Speed Skating: Charles Hamelin, François Hamelin, Guillaume Bastille, Kalyna Roberge, Marianne St-Gelais, Tania Vicent, Valérie Maltais.

Once again, congratulations to our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and thank you.

All hon. members are invited to join the athletes at a reception immediately following in room 200, West Block.

Canada's Olympic and Paralympic AthletesOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Canada's Olympic and Paralympic AthletesOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

[And Canada's 2010 Olympic and Paralympic athletes having left the chamber:]

Oral questionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order concerning a question asked by the member for Toronto Centre in question period earlier and directed to the Prime Minister.

I would suggest that the member for Toronto Centre used unparliamentary language when he directed his question to the Prime Minister and said that the Prime Minister should bear some responsibility for the culture of deceit of the Conservative government.

I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, not that you need reminding, that any time one points a question at an individual, as opposed to the government, and uses unparliamentary language, that member is usually called upon to withdraw those remarks.

I have provided you with copies of the blues in both languages, Mr. Speaker, and I would ask that you review them at your earliest opportunity and rule accordingly.

Oral questionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his diligence in getting these copies already. I will examine them and get back to the House as necessary.

The House resumed from March 19 consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity today to speak to a bill that is extremely important to all of us and to all Canadians, and that is Bill C-4 dealing with our youth justice system.

I am supposed to be pleased but I am concerned with where we are going with it. I will outline my concerns as we continue on.

Bill C-4 is just the beginning of a discussion on the youth justice system but I would also like to address the larger issue of how we deal with youth crime in Canada, its impact and the consequences of failing to address these things proactively and with a long term vision.

It is too easy to react and I think Bill C-4 will give us the opportunity to seriously look at where we are going on issues like this in Canada and what we can do to ensure the safety of all Canadians but, more important, to ensure our youth have some positive direction and positive role models.

We know the consequences when those are not there and I think we need, as a society, to deal with those issues in a much more proactive way. Having an opportunity to speak on Bill C-4 and have the bill go to committee will give us a chance to examine it and look at where we can strengthen it.

The people of Taber, Alberta and those who were shopping in Toronto on Boxing Day of 2005 know all too well what the consequences are. Sadly, the families of people like Reena Virk, Jane Creba, Jason Lang and my own constituent, a young boy by the name of Jordan Manners who was shot down in the hallway of his school, know all too well the consequences if we fail to address youth crime effectively.

I mention Reena Virk, Jane Creba, Jason Lang, Shane Christmas and Jordan Manners because they are really the reason that I am speaking to Bill C-4 today. These special people are children who were victims of criminal acts perpetrated by other children. Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies any family or any society can bear is children fighting children and children killing children. It is not the Canada we want and we do not want to see that continue.

What can we do about it? How do we strengthen our laws? How do we strengthen the support systems in society so we can have a much better outcome at the end of the day in dealing with these difficult issues?

The children I mentioned were shopping and Jordan was attending school. They were just doing what children do and, because of that, they became victims and their families were shattered.

There was a day when we all felt a child-like innocence, a few years ago but I think we can all remember, a quality we all imagine is in the eyes of our children and grandchildren but, in reality, we as legislators need to make certain that there is an effective youth criminal justice system in place that can deal with the rarely seen but much darker side of childhood.

However, our response to youth crime cannot stop just there.

When Bill C-4 was first tabled on March 16, I again took the opportunity to review it carefully. I represent a riding in the greater Toronto area, a city that, like every other large city in Canada and on the planet, struggles to stem a rising tide of crime of a variety of types.

As an initial reaction to this legislation there are clearly element of the bill that appear to favour more punishment, much more so than rehabilitation. We need to ask ourselves where that balance is between the two.

While I accept that punishment is tremendously important, I would view the prevention and the rehabilitation sides of the youth criminal justice system to be every bit as important.

When I served on Toronto City Council and as the vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, I saw first-hand some of those challenges. I watched as families dealt with tragedy, as politicians grappled with legalities, as social service agencies struggled with poverty and as courts wrestled to find the right balance.

I visited the families of many young people in my riding who had been either shot or knifed to death in some uprising with a gang. I sat and cried with mothers who lost their oldest child to violence in spite of every effort they made to try to prevent that from happening. They examined everything they did while raising their youngsters and asked what they could have done differently.

Many kids are being raised by single parents who are working and trying to keep the family unit together and make sure they are role models for their children. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they only go wrong once in their entire life, but sometimes that once is too many.

As a result of some of the work I have done as a city councillor in Toronto and sitting as vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, I also had a chance to talk to many police officers who constantly try to find that balance. I asked how they treat young people, how they either scare them enough that they will never do anything wrong again or make sure they understand that they will pay a price if they break the laws of our country, that it is not frivolous and they will pay a price emotionally, as will their families.

I developed a very practical tough-on-crime approach, but I also learned to appreciate the need for additional components that recognize the unique challenges presented when dealing with youth crime.

There was once an incident, when I was on the Police Services Board, with a young man who I had a chance to talk to in the detention centre. I asked him, “Why did you shoot that person”, and he said, “Why not?” I looked at him with shock and said, “What do you mean, 'why not'? You have killed someone; that is why you are in here. And you are trying to make me feel sorry for you”. He responded, “You don't care about me, so I don't care about you”.

What he was saying is that as a society, we do not care about them, so they do not give a darn about us either. It is hard to imagine anybody growing up with that kind of mentality, “You don't care about me and I will take your life as if it's nothing”. The reality is that is exactly how that young man felt. Ultimately, he went to jail for a very long time and I suspect he is still there.

Having all these things in mind, it would appear as though the drafters of this bill have little or no regard for the prevention and rehabilitation facets of the youth criminal justice system. Just like every other Conservative crime bill, this legislation is all about sentencing and jail time. The bill says very little about prevention, rehabilitation or working to put young offenders on the right track for life.

It would seem that Rick Linden, a criminology professor at the University of Manitoba, agrees with this. He says the bill is designed more for political effect than to actually have an effect on crime. That is not surprising. We have seen a lot of that in this so-called law and order and crime agenda. Conservatives say the things people want to hear, but then they do not do anything about it.

Professor Nicholas Bala, a family law and youth justice expert at Queen's University, says the same thing. Professor Bala said, “This is an example of pandering to public misperceptions about youth crime”. Clearly, pandering to the general feel out there is very easy for all of us to do politically. At some points in our lives we have probably all done it; there is no question about it. However, on issues of youth justice it is extremely important that we do the right things and make the right decisions on rehabilitation, prevention and, ultimately, whatever punishment will have to be the issue of the day.

We just had a room full of young Olympians. We look at all those beautiful faces and see how proud they are of what they have achieved.

How many other kids out there would have liked to have had those opportunities? However, because of a variety of things that happened in their lives, they do not ever get that opportunity to be able to train and participate and grow up and be a successful Olympian.

As we go back to this bill and talk about the clarity issue, I believe strongly that criminals of all ages should be punished appropriately. While I support serious consequences for people who commit serious crimes, I believe youth must be treated differently from adults. I also believe that effective prevention of youth crime begins long before the actual crime is committed and continues long after a sentence has been served.

After all, in most cases offenders acquire criminal tendencies long before they take action. Furthermore, they will be expected to reintegrate into society at some point, and unless we take steps to ensure that the root causes of their behaviours are addressed, we can be certain that youth criminals will evolve into adult criminals.

Let us take a moment and examine what is actually in Bill C-4. The legislation proposes altering the pretrial detention rules to make it simpler for judges to keep violent or repeat offenders in custody prior to trial; adding specific deterrents to the sentencing principles for youth; expanding the definition of what constitutes a violent offence; allowing for more serious sentences for youth with a pattern of extrajudicial sanctions or so-called repeat offenders; requiring the consideration of adult sentences by provincial crown prosecutors for youth 14 and older who commit serious offences, like murder, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault; and requiring courts to consider lifting publication bans on the names of young offenders convicted of violent offences even when youth sentences are applied.

Some of these things are potentially positive and are at least worth supporting so this bill can go to committee for further study.

My biggest concerns relate to what is missing from this legislation. It would seem that the government's answer to youth crime is to lock the offender up and hope the future takes care of itself. Well, we know that does not happen, because sooner or later they have to get out, and if we have not tried to rehabilitate them while they were in a detention centre or a jail, then they are going to come out worse than when they went in. People can argue with that, but there are all kinds of studies that show that.

I fear this is a shortsighted strategy that will quickly lead to increased rates of recidivism. The youth criminal justice system in Canada must protect society, punish the offender and seek to rehabilitate whenever possible.

Bill C-4 recognizes the first two elements of this criterion but does nothing to enhance or to recognize what is potentially the most important element. What is the government planning to do to address poverty and homelessness in our largest cities? What is the government planning to do to combat domestic violence and violence against women? What is the government planning to do to tackle anger and money management issues? What is it going to do to provide hope and opportunity for many of our young people who feel there is no hope and no opportunity for them?

It might seem as though I am throwing out a laundry list of things I would like to see, but in fact I believe that poverty, homelessness, despair, anger and desensitization to certain negative activities contribute to crime later in life. I go right back to “If you don't respect me, I don't respect you, so your life means nothing”, the quote I referred to from that young man I had spoken to some years back.

We know now that children who do not have support in their formative years are more likely to gravitate to other support networks. We also know that in some cases that support network becomes a gang.

We also know that children who witness repeated bouts of spousal abuse and violence can come to accept that as appropriate behaviour, a behaviour that leads to more ominous activities as the children grow.

I would never suggest that everyone living in poverty is a criminal in waiting. I actually believe that every child represents untapped potential and hope for the future.

Every child is a doctor in waiting, a lawyer in waiting or a scientist of tomorrow, and every child could be our next great leader. Because of this belief, I want to make sure we do not just focus our attention on punishing those who go astray. We need to work together to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential, even if they veer from the path briefly before they reach adulthood.

I am going to cast my vote in favour of Bill C-4, but I want to be clear that the work is just beginning. We need to get this one right. The families of Reena Virk, Jane Creba, Jason Lang and Jordan Manners and countless other Canadians have every right to expect that we get this one right and we make the changes that are necessary to ensure the safety of our society, but also make the opportunities for the many young people who need that encouragement to move forward.

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that the previous speaker focused on what she calls the punishment aspects of the bill when clearly, if she understands it in its full context, it is focusing on protecting society. That is the real work behind the bill.

I for one am glad that we are finally having this discussion in the House. I have heard from many of my constituents who are concerned about the shortcomings of the current Youth Criminal Justice Act, and in fact I met with a number of them. I met with parents of victims and I have also met with parents of those children who have gone astray. These parents are asking us to take action and try to get some method of earlier intervention within the young person's life.

My colleague mentioned that we need to focus more on prevention and rehabilitation, and I could not agree more that these are important things to focus on. Prevention and rehabilitation are important parts of our overall justice initiatives. In that light, does the member agree that it would be easier to rehabilitate a 16-year-old than a 56-year-old or a 46-year-old?

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, the difference is quite significant. Part of the reason I am so supportive of an early learning program is, if we start investing at zero in these children, starting to make them feel good about themselves, making sure they get an education and the advice and the holistic approach many of us are talking about, that guides the children so when they are 15 years old, they are not out there creating crimes. But if we treat a 15-year-old like a 56-year-old, we are going to end up forever paying $100,000-plus a year. So we need a different treatment, and I know my colleague probably feels the same way. The question for all of us as a society is: How do we deal with those 15-year-olds who have committed crimes? If they are serious crimes, they have to have some serious help in order that they do not end up in jail when they are 56 as well.

The question for all of us as legislators is: What kind of help do they need and what do we do that best befits the crime but best protects society and also opens the door so that young person gets rehabilitated in a positive way?

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I appreciated my colleague's speech.

One small concern which I would raise, more as a comment than a question, is that often when we talk about the Young Offenders Act and reform of how to deal with folks who end up in trouble with the law at a young age, we refer to those who are raised by single parents as a category, and it is often a mistake to make too much of a connection.

We know that the circumstances in which young persons grow up are very determinant of what happens if they end up in trouble with the law. But too often in this place, and I am not accusing my colleague of doing this, we say thus equals thus. That if they were raised by a single mom, therefore we know the scenario. It is something that I would caution all members because it is so often not the reality. Single parents are out there raising their kids as best they can, often on very limited means because of the social safety net that has been torn apart, and this goes to my question for my colleague.

There is almost no discussion of prevention. The best way to treat a crime is to prevent the crime from happening in the first place, so that there is no victim and there is no punishment allotted because it did not happen. This government in particular seems to cast aspersions on the idea of a social safety net and would rather have a tough on crime agenda, where spending $100,000 a person in maximum security is a great solution as opposed to $10,000 on prevention

My colleague across the way talked about reforming someone at age 16. We have to talk about age six. We have to talk about early childhood learning, education and programs that set people on the right path from the beginning. Waiting until they are 16 and have run-ins with the cops is sometimes too late.

If a government is only fixated on the moment when a crime takes place and not so much on all the events that led up to that moment, the enticement from the gangs, the lack of opportunities, after school programs, lunch programs and whatnot, is that not an irresponsible way to conduct a government, to conduct any just society, to simply fixate only at the end on the crime and what punishment ought to be meted out?

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, the easy way is to lock them up and throw away the key. That is the easy thing to do, but sooner or later, either the person is going to get out or we are going to continue to pay the $100,000-plus a year to maintain someone in jail.

It goes back to early learning and investing right from the beginning, giving families the support that they need, whether or not these are single moms or whoever it is. It is having a child raised in a positive atmosphere, whether that means having day programs for our children, giving support for moms, or making sure that people have a decent place to live. That is a really big issue. When youngsters grow up in poverty, they just do not see a way out.

Often when I have a forum in my riding of young people, they will say, “I am not going to go anywhere in society. I have no one to help me get through. I got myself kicked out of school”, so we help get them back in school but they need a lot more help.

There is a program called pathways to education that I am working to get into my particular riding, which has more than a few challenges. I believe that investing in those kinds of programs so that a young person has that entire holistic approach from zero on will prevent a 15-year-old or anyone else from getting into crime way before we have to turn around and penalize them.

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for York West for her intervention on this subject.

Sometimes we blame youth crime on poverty. We blame it sometimes on a lack of education. Sometimes we blame it on single parents. Sometimes we blame it on a lack of jobs.

I know some teenagers who were brought up in well-to-do families with two parents who were well educated, and it turned out that they are still criminals, so we cannot use that as an example for a blanket statement and blame it on these kids.

We also say that sometimes incarceration is the way to go with these young criminals. If that were true, Texas would be the safest place in the world, but it is not.

I would like the member's opinion on what the government could do to help prevent youth crime.

Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders)Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, I would begin by ensuring that we invest in housing, so that people have a safe place to live, invest in education programs, invest in early learning, work with families, and work with children all the way through school so that they know there is hope and opportunity.

Youth in my riding and throughout the city have told me at some of the forums that they have a feeling of despair, a feeling that no one cares. They would like a job. Some of the older people who work in the riding with youth in trouble say very specifically to some of the gang leaders that if they could get him or her a job somewhere that it would put that individual on the right track.

Many of these kids have never held a job in their life. One of the opportunities we have with the money and the leadership here is the summer career placement program. For many of the young people in my riding, they get their first job through this program. When they have worked for eight weeks and receive a paycheque, they really feel good about themselves. That is the kind of thing we need to do. We need to be investing in these communities. We need to provide hope and opportunity.