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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

Motions in AmendmentSafe Streets and Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague from Markham—Unionville to talk about crime in the province of Ontario. Government members have spoken about the situation in their ridings. They have shared what Canadians have told them. I would like my colleague to tell us about the views of the people of Markham—Unionville and, more broadly, of Ontario.

Motions in AmendmentSafe Streets and Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

I thank my colleague for asking this good question. I am very lucky because Markham, part of the York region in Ontario, has one of the lowest crime rates in Canada. The police officers in this very multicultural community are extremely effective. The chief of police is well connected with all the cultural communities. The system works very well. In my riding, we certainly do not need this bill.

Motions in AmendmentSafe Streets and Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we resume debate, I need to tell the hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca that I will need to interrupt him at about seven minutes into his speech for statements by members.

The hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

Motions in AmendmentSafe Streets and Communities ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the advance warning of my cutoff.

I have had an opportunity to practise criminal law in Canada for some period of time under the Criminal Code. In fact, I practised law for over 10 years in northern Alberta in a very busy criminal practice. Therefore, I speak to this matter first-hand. I want to let the previous member know that I saw the rotating door of the criminal justice system in Canada, especially in relation to youth offences, and I take exception to his statements relating to more crime. We heard some witnesses say that, but it is utterly ridiculous that if we send people to jail for more time there will be more crime. I do not think any normal Canadian would accept the premise of that member's comments.

However, I am very pleased today to talk about the important changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act that are included in the safe streets and communities act. I think the title of this particular bill, the safe streets and communities act, is actually the purpose of the bill and exactly what the bill will accomplish once it becomes law. I am very proud to be part of that.

The proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act are found in part 4 of Bill C-10, with a few exceptions. The proposals that are in the bill very much mirror the changes that were proposed in the former Bill C-4, Sebastian's law, which, of course, members are familiar with. This was introduced in the House of Commons on March 16, 2010. It was before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights when Parliament was dissolved just prior to the May 2011 election.

The proposed changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act reflect the concerns that I have heard clearly in committee and that I have heard for years from Canadians who have expressed concern about violent young offenders. When we think of our youth, we do not usually think of violence, but there is a certain minority of the population under the age of 18, youth, as our courts see them, who have no concern for society as a whole and who do commit very violent offences without thinking about the ramifications.

It also deals with youth who may be committing non-violent offences that, frankly, are spiralling out of control. I saw this time and time again. When we would look at a docket in Fort McMurray on a Wednesday, we would see the same names, not just for one week or two weeks but it would be a constant situation of young people who would be before the court on a continuous basis over the same issues. I do not think that is acceptable and I do not think Canadians find that acceptable because we continue to hear from them on that.

The package of Youth Criminal Justice Act amendments also respond to some other issues, particularly those issues that other Canadians and provincial Attorneys General raised with the Minister of Justice in his cross-country consultations.

I want to take a moment to compliment the minister for going door to door throughout the country, city to city, and talking to Canadians first-hand to find out exactly what they were interested in so that we, as a government, could do exactly what we are supposed to do, which is to reflect the priorities of Canadians. This bill would do exactly that.

These amendments also take into account and are responsive to key decisions of the courts, and these are courts right across Canada, provincial courts, territorial courts, superior courts of the provinces, and the Supreme Court of Canada, because, of course, the courts would reflect that, too, but it is ultimately our job as legislators to do that.

These positions also reflect what witnesses have told us. Victims groups and victims came forward and applauded this government on the bill and on specific things that we would bring about in this bill.

The reforms reflect the widely held view that, while the Youth Criminal Justice Act is working well in dealing with the majority of youth who commit crimes, there are concerns about the small number of youth who commit crime. It is a small number but it does not mean it is any less serious, in fact, it is even more serious because if we have an opportunity to deter these people early on in life they can then go back into society as a whole and become good citizens and contribute to society. However, these are people who, as I mentioned before, are repeat offenders and commit serious violent offences.

The proposed changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act would do several things. First, they would amend the act's general principles to highlight protection of the public. That is very important because the judges, when they look at the act themselves, they can see that one of the primary concerns, which would seem fairly trite, would be to protect the public.

Second, the amendments would clarify and simplify the provisions relating to pre-trial detention, which is very important as well but has become quite cumbersome and complicated in the past years.

The third is to revise the sentencing provisions to include specific denunciation and deterrence factors as sentencing principles. Sentencing principles means that the judge takes that into consideration in the totality of the evidence put before him or her. This would broaden the range of cases for which custody will be available as well. Again, we heard clearly from Canadians that that is what they want.

Fourth is to require judges to consider allowing publication in appropriate cases where young persons are found guilty of violent offences. If we were to read the specific statute regarding this, we would see that it is very difficult for a judge to make that decision, but it is available to the judge if he or she feels it is in the public policy to do so, with some other criteria set out in the act itself.

Fifth is to require police officers to keep records of any extrajudicial measures they use in response to alleged offences by young persons.

Sixth is to define “violent offence” as an offence in the commission of a crime in which a young person causes, attempts to cause or threatens to cause bodily harm and includes conduct that endangers life or safety. It is hard to believe that these particular factors as set out in the Criminal Code were not there before, but this adds that criteria to the sentencing provisions of the judge and the considerations for him or her.

Seventh is to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada's 2008 decision R. v. D.B. by removing the presumptive offence and other inoperative provisions from the Youth Criminal Justice Act and by clarifying the test and onus requirements related to adult sentences.

Finally, eighth is to require that no youth under 18 sentenced to custody will serve his or her sentence in an adult prison or penitentiary. That is very important.

Motions in AmendmentSafe Streets and Communities ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca will have three minutes remaining for his speech and five minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes debate on the motion.

Uyghur CommunityStatements By Members

November 29th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International is warning of the assimilation policy the Uyghur community is being subjected to in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China. Apparently, any attempts by the Uyghur people to assert their linguistic, cultural and religious rights are being violently repressed through arrests and brutal detentions.

The Uyghur communities of Quebec and Canada have informed me that the Chinese government has even banned their language from universities and closed their mosques without any warning. They have also reported that a Canadian citizen of Uyghur origin, Husein Celil, is currently being detained in China for trying to have their rights recognized. He has no access to his family, to legal counsel or to consular assistance.

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, has met with the Prime Minister in order to inform him of the realities facing her community, but no action has been taken. I invite all parliamentarians to stand in solidarity with these people and to denounce this unacceptable situation.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, a number of constituents from Souris—Moose Mountain visited Parliament Hill yesterday to witness the historic vote ending the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly and allowing marketing freedom to western Canadian grain farmers.

Dale Mainil, who farms thousands of acres of land near Weyburn, Saskatchewan, was delighted with the outcome. He, along with his wife Deana and family, carry on the tradition of hard work and enterprise of their parents Jerry and Orlanda Mainil.

With him was Herb Axten of Minton, Blair Stewart from Fillmore and Allan Johnston from Welwyn. They all see the great potential and opportunity that was released by freeing up farmers from being compelled to sell to the Canadian Wheat Board.

Blair Stewart, with experience as a processor of specialty crops, and Allan Johnston, a grain and specialty crop broker, see great potential for increased returns and value-added opportunities.

To them and the many others who supported the cause, I hope and trust that the next generation of young farmers will be able to reap the benefits of their action and unwavering determination.

Child PovertyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, 22 years ago this month, Mr. Ed Broadbent introduced a landmark motion to end child poverty by the year 2000. His motion received unanimous support in the House, but over two decades later, the number of children living in poverty today is at almost the same level as it was in 1989.

In fact, out of the 24 richest nations in the world, Canada ranks 17th in caring for its children in poverty and 38% of food bank users are children. There are more food banks in Canada today than there are McDonald's. One in nine Canadian children lives in poverty. My province of British Columbia just took the dubious honour of having the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for the eighth year in a row.

Research by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in B.C. shows the cost of poverty is between $8.1 billion and $9.2 billion every year. Investing in a poverty reduction plan would cost only half of that.

This holiday season I urge all members to support organizations of their choice, such as local food banks or the United Way, but if we want to give true meaning to the spirit of Christmas, then we need to act here in Parliament right now to end poverty.

London KnightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's 10th largest city is home to the London Knights hockey team and its legendary coach Dale Hunter.

The London Knights have long been a cornerstone of both the London community and southwestern Ontario. Head coach Dale Hunter is a name synonymous with the triumphs of the Knights, today rated the number one hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. He led the team to its 2005 Memorial Cup win, four straight season titles, and has the distinction in his era of coaching more players who have gone to the NHL than any other junior coach. They have included Corey Perry, John Tavares, Rick Nash, Pat Kane and Nazem Kadri to name but a few.

Dale himself is a former NHL superstar who, as team captain, brought the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup finals. Now after 11 years with the London Knights, Dale returns to the Capitals as head coach.

We will miss Dale behind the Knight's bench, and Londoners wish him every success.

This is just one more example of a great Canadian export to help the United States.

On behalf of all Londoners, I thank Dale Hunter. It has been a great ride.

Gerald VandezandeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to place into our national record my commendation of a very extraordinary Canadian, a man who was not only a champion of justice, a voice for the voiceless, a man of deep and compelling faith, but a mentor and cherished friend.

His name is Gerald Vandezande. Sadly, Gerry passed away on July 16. The catalogue of his achievements and contributions to his community and his country is far too long to list in a short time.

He was called “Canada's unassuming prophet”. He was the founder of the faith-based organization known as Citizens for Public Justice, a group which advocates for those in our society who are easily forgotten, children, the poor, and on many other issues of social justice to which our faith in God and faith in the dignity of humankind calls us to act. In his book Justice, Not Just Us, Gerry expands on the intersection of faith and politics.

For his work Gerry, received the Order of Canada and the love and incredible respect of his friends and colleagues.

Gerry loved the prophet Micah: seek justice, be merciful, and walk humbly with God.

On behalf of all parliamentarians, I offer my love and condolences to Gerry's wife and his family.

22 Wing CFB North Bay Music BandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Aspin Conservative Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander of the NATO military mission in Libya, is living proof that we have some of the best military personnel in the world. Besides their military responsibilities, our people in uniform contribute so much to their communities across this great nation.

Such is the case with Warrant Officer Dale Kean from my riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming. Twenty years ago he established the 22 Wing CFB North Bay Music Band, a group of 65 military personnel of auxiliary volunteer musicians. This talented group has performed in over 1,000 military ceremonies and events across Canada. He and the 22 Wing do this for the love of music, the love of our people, the love of our community and their love of Canada.

Warrant Officer Kean is a shining example of the community spirit in our Canadian military. On behalf of the people of Nipissing, I salute him and his band for the wonderful work they do.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to recognize Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, which runs from November 24 until World AIDS Day on December 1. This is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the invaluable work of health professionals and agencies such as COCQ-SIDA and the Canadian AIDS Society in raising public awareness about the risks related to this devastating disease and how to prevent it from spreading. Despite such efforts, there are still more than 3,000 new cases of AIDS in Canada every year. We must recognize the important contribution of those who help people who have HIV/AIDS, their families and their loved ones.

I was saddened to learn that, because of this government's inaction, funding for these agencies is in jeopardy. Many will no longer be able to continue their activities or pay their employees beyond March 31, 2012. We must continue to support research into finding a cure and support the various stakeholders who work on prevention and awareness, since contracting HIV/AIDS is preventable. I hope the government will do the right thing.

Freedom of SpeechStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. These were the words of Voltaire and it is in this spirit that I would like to voice my support for private member's Bill C-304 titled “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act” put forward by the member for Westlock—St. Paul.

Similar private members' bills have been introduced in the past, Keith Martin and the member of Parliament for St. Catharines deserve note.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that all Canadians should be able to exercise without a government watchdog. Many Canadians in the past have fought and died for our free speech. Many have already criticized section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act for its subjective and ambiguous nature.

Therefore, I encourage all parliamentarians in the House of Commons to support Bill C-304 and allow for true freedom of speech.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Durban climate change conference begins, let us review the record of the NDP and Liberals on climate change policy.

Under the Liberals, Canada's GHG emissions increased by 27%. Canada's carbon dioxide emissions rose between 1997 and 2005. They proposed a carbon tax, a tax on everything, which was rejected by Canadian voters.

The NDP members support a tax scheme which would hike gas prices by 10¢ per litre. They voted against investing hundreds of millions of dollars to support tangible action to address climate change.

In stark contrast, our government is balancing the need for a cleaner environment with protecting jobs and economic growth. We are taking action to reduce Canada's GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and we are making good progress.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am so proud to represent the wonderful riding of Halifax, a hub of creativity and innovation. Investing in cities like Halifax makes good economic sense. It is an essential part of our long-term plan for community development.

Beyond wanting to ensure that our cities are vibrant, green and healthy places to live for future generations, infrastructure investments in our cities create jobs and increase our quality of life through increased public transport, better housing and the green projects needed to transition Canada to the economy of the future.

The numbers prove it. While corporate tax cuts result in only a 30¢ return on the dollar, infrastructure investments contribute more than $1.50 in additional GDP for every dollar invested.

Public consultation is an indispensable part of determining what investments should be made. I am proud to point to the consultations carried out in the design of Halifax's new public library, which have resulted in a multipurpose, forward-thinking community designed hub that meets our community's needs.

It is time to invest in Halifax and time to invest in our cities.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the world are marking 16 days of activism against gender violence.

Gender-based violence has many faces. Anyone can be a victim, regardless of their age, income level or where they live. It can be verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial.

Physically, it can be a threat or a slap, being choked or beaten. The effects can be bruises, broken bones or worse, even death. Other injuries, while hidden from view, are no less devastating.

Our government is taking concrete steps to help improve the safety of women. This includes actions against human trafficking, providing support to its victims, the majority of whom are women and girls. Stopping violence against women and girls is up to all Canadians. By working together, we can all be part of the solution.

Help Centre for Victims of Sexual AssaultStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Centre d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel, a sexual assault help centre located in my riding, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I would like to express my support for the efforts by the centre's workers to combat sexual assault.

When these very capable people come to me and share their indignation about the government's plan to abolish and destroy the long gun registry, I listen to them. The government should do the same. Clearly, this government is not listening and is not hearing anything.

Congratulations to the help centre on its work and its commitment.

The New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP again voted against marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers.

This comes on the heels of the NDP voting against helping the manufacturing sector, against small businesses hiring more people, against new tax credits for families, like the family caregiver tax credit and the children's arts tax credit, and against the volunteer firefighters tax credit.

The NDP is opposed to mining, sealing, forestry, auto manufacturing and trucking. The NDP even goes abroad to attack hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs in the energy sector.

The NDP oppose creating jobs and then drive the point home to go abroad and attack Canada. The NDP chooses to side with a small group of radical activists protesting against our energy resources.

The NDP also wants to hit families and job creators with a job-killing tax hike that will kill jobs, hurt our economy and set families back.

Child and Youth Nutrition StrategyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, almost three years ago the Toronto Foundation for Student Success asked staff and principals of schools in an at-risk community what help they wanted to deal with issues that were the result of poverty and gun violence.

The foundation expected requests for after school activities and security supports, but the unanimous request was food for kids. Really, it was simple: hungry children cannot learn. Hungry children have concentration issues. Children with concentration issues have behavioural issues. Hungry children have a myriad of health issues.

Right across the country, in provinces and territories, communities are asking for federal leadership to develop a comprehensive pan-Canadian child and youth nutrition strategy and to fully fund on-reserve aboriginal student meals. This makes good economic sense from the perspective of reduced health costs, lower crime rates and increased revenue for Canadian farmers.

Let us stand together and take care of Canadian children.

Jean Casselman WaddsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of Canada's female political pioneers, Order of Canada recipient, Jean Casselman Wadds, of Prescott, in my riding of Leeds—Grenville, passed away November 25.

Mrs. Casselman Wadds became an MP in a byelection following the death of her husband, A. C. Casselman, who was MP from 1921 until 1958.

She and her father, the Hon. Earl Rowe, remain the only father and daughter ever to sit as MPs in the same session. Mrs. Casselman Wadds became the first woman in Canada to be a parliamentary secretary.

She was the first woman appointed by the Canadian government as a delegate to the United Nations and in 1979 she was the first woman appointed Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain.

Prime Minister Trudeau credited Mrs. Casselman Wadds as one of three key women responsible for the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, along with Queen Elizabeth and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

She was always kind to me and I offer my condolences to the family of Jean Casselman Wadds, her daughter Nancy and son Clair and the community she served so well for so long.

AttawapiskatStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we are witnessing the danger that comes with having a Prime Minister who is out of touch, who feels that his government is not responsible for helping to lift Canadians out of poverty.

It has been one month since the community of Attawapiskat requested emergency assistance to provide housing for families as winter approaches. It is a horrible situation. Families are being forced to live in deplorable conditions, in shelters that are not insulated and have no running water. Some families are living in trailers with no bathrooms. What does this out-of-touch government do? It blames the community.

If the Prime Minister is wondering what to do, he should follow the example of our leader, the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer. She is currently in Attawapiskat with the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay. She is meeting with members of the community. She is listening to them and trying to come up with solutions. She is showing them that there are people in Canada who are there for them in such times of crisis. She is doing what the Prime Minister should be doing, the work he refuses to do. Why? Because that is real Canadian leadership.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the interim Liberal leader has called for an end to tax credits for children, transit users and workers. The Liberals also continue to call for higher taxes on job creators, despite the current global economic uncertainty. The member for Vancouver Quadra is calling for Canada to impose European-style carbon taxes, and the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville wants a global carbon tax.

If the Liberals had their way, Canadians would be paying substantially more for gas for their cars, electricity for their homes and everything else they have to pay for.

The Liberal's carbon tax plan would kill jobs and hurt Canadian families and job creators. Clearly, the Liberal Party does not have any original ideas; it simply focuses on raising taxes. We cannot wait—

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am afraid the hon. member is out of time.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the OECD warns of troubled global financial markets and family debt levels of Canadians are bad news for our economy. It says that the outlook for the Canadian economy has worsened significantly. The OECD predicts growth for next year almost one full percentage point below budget projections and below the minister's recent revision.

Canada lost 72,000 full-time jobs last month. Canadians' wages are plummetting. How much more evidence does it take for the government to act? How much more evidence does it take to make the next budget an investment budget for Canadians?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the OECD's projections are actually very close to the government's in the economic and fiscal update. The policies that we have followed have created nearly 600,000 jobs in Canada. It is one of the best records in the world. That includes some significant investments that the NDP voted against.

Let me be very clear that the things the NDP advocates for the Canadian economy, such as raising taxes, shutting down industries, blocking trade, will never be the policies of this government.