This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.

Topics

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to ask this question previously.

Without question, the issue of crime and safety is really important to my constituents in Winnipeg North. People want to feel safe in the communities in which they live. I made a commitment to bring my constituents' message to the floor of the House and to the Prime Minister and the government as a whole.

Bill C-26 has some merits. It has the potential to have a real impact on our streets.

The question I have is in regard to reasoned amendments. We believe that the bill needs some changes in order to make it a better bill that could ultimately receive support. Does the member believe that reasoned amendments would be a positive step and should be allowed to pass when the bill reaches committee stage?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was a member of the justice and human rights committee at one point in time. I would simply suggest to my hon. colleague to put forward his suggestions if he has an opportunity to be present at committee, or if he is not a member of committee, then he could tell his colleagues. That is the stage in the legislative process where an amendment could be looked at and witnesses could be brought in to discuss the bill. I would encourage him to do that if he feels it is necessary.

However, looking at the original draft of the legislation, as I said earlier, there is some language in there that will likely face some tests should the bill pass, which I fully expect it will. If amendments are about reasonable limits on time or whatever the case might be, they should be made at committee stage. I encourage members to bring positive amendments forward if those amendments will serve the broader interests of the community at large and keep our streets and communities safer.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I represent rural areas but, as has been said today, the bill is not just about rural areas, it is about Canada.

Rural areas are likely to experience longer timelines when it comes to law enforcement officers showing up after a crime has been committed.

I want to thank my colleague for his involvement as a former law enforcement officer prior to becoming a member of Parliament.

Some of the debate today has indicated that the bill would instigate vigilantism. I wonder if my colleague has any comments to make about whether the bill is really about driving vigilantism or about protecting our property wherever we live.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is not about endorsing, promoting or somehow creating an environment where vigilantism is going to be the new norm. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I was very clear in my comments.

Law enforcement, whether it is the police, conservation officers, whomever, rely heavily on information and tips from the public. This is not news. This is not earth shattering. As I said earlier, some of the best charges that I ever laid, some of the best convictions that I ever had, were deservedly laid and individuals were deservedly found guilty, and they came to my attention as a result of tips that I received from the general public. It was not because of any particular sleuthing capability that I had as a law enforcement officer. I covered a vast territory and could not be everywhere at once.

I do not see this legislation really changing anything. I see this as simply a matter of clarifying the existing legislation about the abilities Canadian citizens have had for quite some time. The bill would broaden only the time when a citizen's arrest could happen by providing a reasonable timeframe after an offence has been committed, which simply broadens the spectrum of when a citizen's arrest could be made. It would not create a mass sense of vigilantism in the community. Most Canadians are not prepared for such a thing.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, as this is the last occasion I am going to have to speak in the House before the break, I would like to wish you, the pages, my colleagues at both ends of the House and on the other side of the House a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

I would like to wish the people of Nickel Belt a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

I would like to summarize Bill C-26. Bill C-26 amends subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code dealing with citizen's arrest to provide greater flexibility. The changes would permit citizen's arrest without a warrant within a reasonable period. The key words are “reasonable period”. Currently subsection 494(2) requires a citizen's arrest to occur while the offence is being committed. Sometimes that is impossible.

Bill C-26 also includes changes to the sections of the Criminal Code related to self-defence and defence of property. According to the government, these changes would bring much needed reforms to simplify the complex Criminal Code provisions on self-defence and defence of property. They would also clarify where reasonable use of force is permitted.

Since half of the bill proposes measures that the NDP member for Trinity—Spadina had previously called for, it follows that we would support this bill at least at second reading. This part of the bill amends subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code dealing with citizen's arrest to permit arrest without warrants within a reasonable period. Again there is that term “a reasonable period”.

The other half of the bill seeks to clarify sections of the Criminal Code pertaining to self-defence and defence of property. We support in principle improving language in legislation for the purpose of clarity, especially since the courts have indicated a problem with the lack of clarity. Further study will be needed to see if the bill does in fact clarify these sections, and the consequences of the clarifications are acceptable to us. This is the type of work we can do at committee stage.

Also, we would not be supportive of anything that would encourage vigilante justice or that would encourage people to put their own personal safety at risk. While that does not appear to be the purpose of this bill, we understand there are concerns about these matters in relation to citizen's arrest, self-defence and defence of property. Again, this is why we need to carefully study this bill at the committee stage.

I will provide some background on this bill. On May 23, 2009, David Chen, owner of the Lucky Moose Food Mart in Toronto, apprehended a man, Anthony Bennett, who had stolen from his store. Bennett was initially caught on security footage stealing from the store, and he returned an hour later. At that time, Chen, who was 36, and two employees tied up the man and locked him in the back of a delivery van.

When the police arrived, they charged Chen with kidnapping. It is hard to believe, but that is what they did. He was charged with kidnapping, carrying a dangerous weapon, a box cutter which most grocery store workers would normally have on their person, assault and forcible confinement.

Most of the members who have spoken today have talked about an event that has happened to them personally. I would like to relate one of my own experiences. Someone stole two items from my shed. One of those items was my toolbox. I am not Tim the tool man by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to put up things in my house and to do some work. One of the jobs that I hate the most, and I do not know why I hate it, is putting up curtains.

When I went to my shed to get my power tools to put up curtains for my wife, my drill was gone. That could be good and that could be bad. It could be devastating because I had lost my power tool, but it could also be good because I hate putting up curtains. There is give and take. In this case I was kind of relieved, because I really do not like putting up curtains.

The other thing that was stolen was my golf bag. That can be devastating. I do not get the chance to golf very much any more, but I am sure everyone can imagine how I felt when I noticed that my golf bag was gone. That can hurt, especially when the golf clubs are in the bag. That is really bad, especially when it is 75° on a Saturday morning and my chums are going golfing and my golf bag and clubs are gone. That can be really painful, more painful than losing the power tools, although golf clubs are a tool also, a tool for enjoyment.

Returning to the case of Mr. Chen, the crown prosecutors dropped the kidnapping and weapons charges but proceeded with the charges of forceable confinement and assault.

According to the Criminal Code as it is currently written, a property owner can only make a citizen's arrest when the alleged wrongdoer is caught in the act.

In some cases that is okay, if it is a Walmart store, where there are security guards who can arrest people. However, the owners of corner stores cannot afford security guards. If they see somebody stealing their property, they have to take action.

On October 29, 2010, Mr. Chen and his two co-accused were found not guiltily of the charges of forceable confinement and assault. Anthony Bennett pleaded guilty in August 2009 to stealing from the store and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, and rightfully so.

That case caused a lot of controversy. Some of it had to do with whether there was sufficient policing in the area.

My riding of Nickel Belt is huge. To go from Foleyet which is in the west to Garden Village which is in the east could take seven hours, and to go from Killarney in the south to Capreol in the north could take another four or five hours. We do not have policemen readily available 24/7, although we do have a fine police station and police officers. Because the territory is so big, it is difficult for a police officer to be at the scene of a crime within a few minutes. We have to take that into consideration.

I have only one minute left, so I will conclude by saying that we will support the bill at second reading. We want it to have careful consideration, which is code for not rushing it through. We want to hear from people who have practised criminal law. We want to hear from experts from the Department of Justice, the Canadian Bar Association and others. We need to examine the bill very carefully. Also, we should rely not just on ourselves but on the expertise of people who have analyzed these provisions, studied all the cases, and who can help us ensure that we are doing the right thing.

Having said that, we will support the bill at second reading, but we want it to be given extremely careful consideration at committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the personal stories shared during the debate were very interesting and very meaningful, and they illustrate various aspects of the bill. I would like to thank the hon. member for sharing his experience.

I have a specific issue. The member just noted that he would look forward to a variety of witnesses and a thorough discussion. I know he is aware that many members feel it is important that there could be amendments that would be respected and included.

One of the concerns that we in the Liberal Party have was laid out by the member for Mount Royal in his initial speech. It is that contrary to the earlier version of the bill, Bill C-26 adds the phrase “threat of force” to this part of the Criminal Code as being a legitimate basis for civilian action. “Threat of force” could be seen as quite subjective. It could be that this term overbroadens the bill to the point that we could have people putting themselves in harm's way.

I would like the member's comment on where his party stands on this issue of threat of force and what they may be proposing in that regard.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one thing very clear: I am not a lawyer and I am not going to pretend that I am a lawyer. We have enough members in here already who are pretending to be lawyers.

As to the threat of violence, I would feel threatened if a much bigger person came along and threatened me. That is normal. However, I think we should leave that to the experts. That is why I said in my speech that we would consult with the experts. We should consult with lawyers and also with victims.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague who spoke before, I am not a lawyer, which often helps on the campaign trail, actually. That is my little gift to some of my colleagues here. I thought I would just throw that over there and see what we can get going here today.

I have had some experience in matters relating to policing, et cetera, during my stint as the Solicitor General in Ontario, so I am at least somewhat familiar with some of the issues that come up in criminal law and its enforcement.

I am sure this point has been mentioned before, but I find it interesting that our background notes point out that five of the sections being looked at are from the original Criminal Code of 1892, which screams a couple of things. The first thing it screams is, “Wow, that's a long time for an original bill to still be here”. Second, it also says that there are obviously things in there that, albeit from two centuries ago, are still relevant. That says a lot. I tip my hat to our predecessors way back when and their skill at crafting criminal law that apparently has served Canadians fairly well.

It is interesting that this has become known as the Lucky Moose bill. The only moose reference I had was back when I was in Toronto in the Ontario legislature. There was a rather infamous Loose Moose, which was a whole different kind of scenario. It was a bar, and it probably had a lot of criminal aspects happening within its environs. I do not think I have ever been there, so I am on fairly safe ground, but nonetheless, the Lucky Moose bill it is.

I see my colleague has arrived. I am not sure if he would like me to shorten my remarks or just continue. I am covering his spot and I need some signals from him, because he knows that if he does not tell me to shut up, I will just keep on going.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Peter Julian

I am certainly enjoying the speech, but I would be pleased to take the floor.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is in for a real treat, because here is someone who has actually done a lot more preparation than I obviously have on this bill, and I am quite prepared to conclude my remarks to allow my colleague to give a more studied presentation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you find unanimous consent, the previous member could continue his speech.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Is there consent?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

There is no consent.

Questions and comments? Seeing none, resuming debate, the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Hamilton Centre, for bridging the gap between some of the other comments we have had in the House and my speech. Given the events of today, there are a lot of things going on, so I was a few minutes late and I apologize for that.

I appreciate my colleague across the way stating that he wanted to continue to hear the member for Hamilton Centre. He made that offer not just because the member for Hamilton Centre is very eloquent but also because he is well aware that I have risen in the House before, and will do so now, to comment very critically on the Conservative Party's so-called justice platform.

We have heard the member for St. John's East speak very eloquently to this particular bill. Its origin comes from the work of the member of Parliament for Trinity—Spadina. We need to pay tribute to her work, because she put in place many of the aspects of the legislation before us now. It was her constituent at the Lucky Moose Food Mart who was originally charged, so she raised the issue in an effort to clarify how owners of small businesses can protect themselves in this kind of circumstance. It is the member for Trinity—Spadina who put together the foundation of the bill.

The problem arises when we look beyond the bill itself. Although we will be supporting it at second reading, we see that many clauses have been inserted in addition to the work of the member for Trinity—Spadina. As the House knows, NDP members always do their homework. I am sure members have seen the figures showing that 71% of all of the bills before the House come from this caucus of very experienced veterans and very dynamic newcomers. It is by far the strongest caucus in the House. That is why the member for Trinity—Spadina was able to put forward this bill.

Unfortunately, because the Conservatives often write their justice policy on the back of a napkin, at committee we now have to look at the additional clauses that have been inserted, as we always do. We will be doing our homework. We will look at the impact of each one of these additional clauses thrown in by the Conservative government and make the practical and positive suggestions that we always have.

The question is whether the Conservatives will accept those positive suggestions. Time will tell.

However, when we get to the overall thrust of the so-called justice agenda of the Conservative government, we can see that we have very valid reasons to not have confidence in the government.

The Conservatives have put in place a massive unbudgeted prison program. They do not know where the money will come from. The provinces do not know where the money will come from. They wrote the bill out on the back of a napkin with no due regard for the consequences and brought forth one of the most expensive bills in Canadian history.

In addition, the Conservative government has cut back on crime prevention funding. It has to be completely disconnected from communities across this land to gut crime prevention programs that are actually the heart of investing in a smart foundation for building safer communities. That has always been something that the NDP has strongly advocated. The government cut away crime prevention and addiction programs at a time when those are exactly the tools that are needed to ensure that we do not have victims and that we continue to reduce the crime rate. Those are the kinds of measures that need to be taken.

Instead, the Conservative government has thrown in $10 billion or $12 billion--no one on that side even knows--toward building prisons, while gutting crime prevention and addiction programs. What is wrong with this picture? When we look at it, we cannot have confidence in the government to do what is right.

The Speaker well knows, because he has studied this issue even if his colleagues on the other side of the House have not, that from a fiscal point of view, every dollar invested in crime prevention and addiction programs saves the taxpayer $6 in policing costs, prison costs and court costs. It is $1 for $6.

Colleagues on the other side say, “We do not care; we just want to spend money on prisons”, but it cannot be an emotional thing. The Conservatives cannot be emotional. They have accept that they have to think practically. They have to realize that gutting crime prevention and addiction programs is the worst possible thing they could do.

What else have the Conservatives done? Of course, they refused to keep their promise about hiring front-line police officers across the country. We are seeing all kinds of complications in pushing provinces away from agreements with the RCMP. Perhaps most egregious--and this is something I am going to take a moment to talk about, because I feel it very intensely, as do all colleagues on this side of the House--they have refused for five long years to put in place a public safety officer compensation fund.

It is true that was an NDP initiative. It was brought to the House by the NDP, and Conservative members voted for the public safety officer compensation fund. Since 2005, when they made the commitment to establish it, they have pushed off police officers and firefighters who have asked every single year, as their number one request of parliamentarians and government, for such a fund to be established. Why do they make that request? It is because when firefighters and police officers pass away, as they do every year, in some cases they are protected by existing insurance schemes or collective municipal or provincial legislation, but in many cases they are not.

I have spoken to families and I have seen what happens when insurance such as a public safety officer compensation fund is not in place. We are talking about the widows and widowers of firefighters and police officers potentially having to sell their homes. We are talking about children who were getting post-secondary education, but because their firefighter parent passed away saving lives—

Conservatives are laughing at what happens to the children of deceased firefighters and police officers. It is not a laughing matter. The sons and daughters of firefighters and police officers often have to stop their studies because when there is no insurance in place. Widows and widowers have to make sure somehow that food is kept on the table and the mortgage is paid.

For five long years they have been waiting. For five long years they have been telling Parliament the public safety officer compensation program needs to be put in place.

New Democrats are reiterating today that we stand 102 strong in favour of immediately putting in place a public safety officer compensation fund and ensuring that compensation exists when firefighters and police officers pass away in the line of duty. That is a commitment that we will continue to keep. It is a commitment that we stand for. We will continue to push the government to do the right thing.

We are not talking about something that is incredibly complicated. We are talking about a program that can be established for about $3 million a year. As we know, there is a similar program in the United States already in place to provide that compensation.

Because the government has treated firefighters and police officers with such disrespect, New Democrats do not trust them on their legislation. As I said earlier, the fact is that Conservatives are willing to spend billions of dollars on a prison program, yet they refuse to provide firefighters and police officers with compensatory insurance and they have cut back on crime prevention and addiction programs. What is wrong with this picture?

When it comes to Bill C-26, there is a component that New Democrats support. I am willing to continue to speak if my Conservative colleagues want to continue to hear from me. This conversation has been good. I think they are finally learning that their justice policy is wrong and that they should be following the lead of the NDP. That is a good thing, and that is why New Democrats will support the bill at second reading. However, we are going to be doing our homework, and if these poison pills are put in the bill again, there will be fighting at committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, after that intervention, we should start pumping more oxygen into the opposition lobby because something has the member clearly dazed and confused.

It is interesting, on a bill about citizen's arrest, the member has used the same speech as he has used on the last seven or eight bills. I think it was the same speech.

Does the member see the merit in the bill that is before the House, Bill C-26? Does he understand how citizens have a right to protect themselves and their businesses and why there is a need for justice in this case? Does he support the government measure?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, a charitable view would be that the government members are dazed and confused if they think cutting back on crime prevention programs, cutting back on addiction programs and refusing to give firefighters and police officers compensation are in any way justice policies.

The reality is that the member knows that the heart of the bill came from the NDP. It came from the member for Trinity—Spadina. It is good that the Conservatives seek good ideas. I wish the Conservatives would adopt more of the good ideas coming from the NDP. The member knows we are putting them forward every day. There would not be 90,000 families unemployed if the Conservatives had taken the suggestions from the NDP. We would not have the highest debt load of Canadian families in history if they had taken the suggestions of the NDP. We would not have seen a real wage deduction of 2% if they had listened to the NDP.

I have a question for the member. Why do the Conservatives not listen to the NDP more often?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the member speak to Bill C-10, for which he has not much respect and which we in the Liberal Party call the “more crime, less justice and spiralling costs” law. There is much I would say in agreement with the NDP member.

I want to return to Bill C-26 with my question. The member is probably well aware that on Tuesday a 30-year-old man in a Tim Hortons restaurant in Vancouver was shot on the spot but managed to survive. It is possible that someone might have intervened to protect the person in that situation.

One of the controversial parts of Bill C-26 is the broadening of the allowance from just protecting one's own life to intervening to protect another person's life. In the situation I mentioned, we can see that it would have been a positive thing if someone had disarmed and held the shooter, but there is also a concern that it could lead to vigilantism.

I would like to hear the member's comments on that provision in the new law.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will take the opportunity to wish the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

The member's question is a valid one. That is why I said earlier that the heart of the bill comes from the member for Trinity—Spadina, who is a very strong community advocate and has been a very strong advocate on behalf of the businesses in her community in Toronto.

However, the original bill that was put forward by the member for Trinity—Spadina has been salted and the salting of additional clauses are what generally seems to transpire with the government.

We do not know where the Conservatives find these clauses. We certainly looked at some of the amateurism around Bill C-10. We have to say that this stuff must be done in some back room somewhere on the back of a napkin.

The reality is that, although we support the principle since the basis of this legislation comes from the NDP, we are concerned about the impact of a whole range of those clauses, including the clauses that the member for Vancouver Quadra just mentioned. Because of that, we will be going to committee, as we always do, doing our homework, having prepared the impact and ensuring we get the witnesses in who can really speak to the judicial impact of each one of these clauses.

In committee, we have had Conservatives routinely deny witnesses who have great expertise and could help to contribute and reinforce legislation. I certainly hope that does not happen again where the contempt for Parliament that we are seeing repeatedly from the Conservative government means that the committee cannot do its due diligence in looking at every aspect of this legislation, because it does need to be examined and every impact needs to be thoroughly studied. We also need to have due regard from all parties in this House to ensure that what comes out of committee does exactly what the government says that it intends to do.

2012 Olympic GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is seldom that we as members of Parliament have the privilege of personally knowing a young person who has qualified for the ultimate sport: the Olympic Games.

Canada has many of the best athletes in the world and in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex we are privileged to have yet another. Melanie McCann, from the small rural community of Mount Carmel, will be representing Canada during the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London, England, in the modern pentathlon, which is five continuous events: fencing, swimming, equestrian riding, running and shooting.

We in this chamber are thankful to Melanie for her commitment and congratulate her on her achievement. We encourage her as she trains for the upcoming Olympics.

We in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and across Canada are so very proud of Melanie and we wish her every success on her quest for gold.

Community Support Organization in LemoyneStatements By Members

December 15th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the holiday season upon us, I would like to take a moment to extend my best wishes to the people of Saint-Lambert. May the new year be filled with peace, health and happiness.

The holiday season is the perfect time for everyone to get together with family and friends in order to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Thanks to the contributions of several community organizations in my riding, many people will be able to enjoy this time of joy and sharing more fully. In particular, I would like to commend the essential role of the Comité d'action populaire de Lemoyne, whose main goal—with the help of many volunteers—is to fight poverty in the community by taking steps to improve housing and food security.

At a time when so many people are having trouble making ends meet, I feel it is my duty to regularly call the attention of the House to the importance of community organizations and the need to provide them with stable funding over the next few years.

2012 Ontario Winter GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in support of the 2012 Ontario Winter Games being hosted in the beautiful town of Collingwood in my riding of Simcoe—Grey.

The Ontario Winter Games, which are less than 100 days away, are a chance for over 2,000 young athletes from across Ontario to compete in 24 different sporting events.

Our Winter Games, which include everything from skiing to curling and hockey to snowboarding, are an excellent opportunity to see some of our province's best young athletes.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet the chair of the Ontario Winter Games, former rowing Olympian and Collingwood resident, Brian Saunderson, who kicked off the games and spoke about the important lessons that young athletes learn at these types of competitions. These games are, for some athletes, a stepping stone to the Olympics and they promote healthy active living among young adults.

I am proud to be part of a government that supports Canadian athletes. I wish the town of Collingwood, Mayor Cooper and the over 2,000 athletes all the best in the Ontario Winter Games.

Zelman CowenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour the memory of the late Sir Zelman Cowen, former governor general of Australia, and one of the great jurors and leaders of the 20th century. A distinguished constitutional lawyer and academic, Cowen attended Oxford. As a Rhodes scholar, he became dean of law at Melbourne University and served as provost at Oriel College, Oxford.

A truly remarkable human being, his inspiring leadership as governor general helped unify Australia at a time of national division.

I met with Sir Zelman Cowen and his wife, Lady Anna, in the summer of 2010 and told him that he had always been a role model for me, as he had been to so many others in Australia and beyond. Indeed, I had the privilege of delivering the Sir Zelman Cowen Oration on International Affairs upon my first trip to Australia in 1998, which was a particularly moving experience for me.

My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Sir Zelman Cowen. May they all be inspired by his memory and may that memory serve as a blessing.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is the last day of Parliament and I want to highlight some of our great Canadian achievements in 2011: First, the shipbuilding contracts and jobs from coast to cost; second, the very successful visit of the Royal couple; third, legislation to end the discriminatory Wheat Board; fourth, legislation to end the wasteful long gun registry; fifth, out of Kyoto and into real environment solutions; sixth, creating jobs, jobs and more jobs to keep us the strongest economy and the best country in the world; seventh, the Winnipeg jets return to the great city of Winnipeg; eighth, our brave men and women in uniform return from two very successful missions both in Libya and Afghanistan; and finally, Canadians elect a strong, stable, national Conservative government.

It has been a great year for our Conservative government and a great year for Canada. I wish all my friends, family, constituents and the great team that I work with, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah.

Vallée Bras-du-Nord Co-operativeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Vallée Bras-du-Nord is a co-operative whose purpose is sustainable tourism development in Saint-Raymond. This social-economy co-operative has launched the En Marche project, a social and occupational integration program for young people that has developed and continues to maintain a network of walking trails.

In 2006, the co-op received a Quebec trail award from the Quebec hiking federation, which is a testament to the quality of the facilities and proof that young workers can carry out this type of project.

In the past few years, more than 100 young people in this rehabilitation program have worked on developing over 140 km of trails.

The project was funded by the skill links program and Emploi Québec, but in summer 2011, the skill links program reduced its funding. The co-operative was able to hire only four young workers, when it had hired a dozen or so in previous years. There were 20 young people on the waiting list.

The Vallée Bras-du-Nord co-op is known for having a positive influence on young people and it is imperative that its funding be restored—