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 #10 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was air.

Topics

Export Development CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Abbotsford B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Export Development Canada's 2010 annual report.

Foreign AffairsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 32(2) of the standing orders of the House of Commons, I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, nine treaties entitled:

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Jersey, under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, for the Exchange of Information relating to Tax Matters, done at St. Helier on 12 January, 2011;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Isle of Man, under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at Douglas on 17 January, 2011;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the States of Guernsey under Entrustment from the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, for the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, done at St. Peter Port on 19 January, 2011;

Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Canada and the European Space Agency, done at Paris on 15 December, 2010;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of Latvia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, done at Riga on 5 May, 2009;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Czech Republic for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, done at Prague on 6 May, 2009;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Romania for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment, done at Bucharest on 8 May, 2009;

Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Slovak Republic for the Promotion and Protection of Investment, done at Bratislava on 20 July, 2010; and

Agreement between Canada and Romania concerning Diplomat Premises, done at Bucharest on 11 March, 2011.

An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System ActRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Marine Transportation Security Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Continuing Air Service for Passengers ActRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Labour

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-5, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of air service operations.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two reports to present today.

Under Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the following report of the Canadian-NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the visit of the Defence and Security Committee held in Washington, D.C., and San Diego, California, on January 31 to February 4, 2011.

The second is the report from the Canadian-NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the joint meeting of the Defence and Security, Economics and Security, and Political Committees held in Brussels, Belgium, on February 20 to 22, 2011, and the annual Economics and Security Committee consultation with the OECD held in Paris, France, from February 23 to 24, 2011.

National Appreciation Day ActRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-228, An Act respecting a National Appreciation Day.

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to stand in our House of Parliament to reintroduce my private member's bill, an act respecting a national appreciation day.

This bill would designate the third day of March each and every year as a day for the people of Canada to express appreciation for the heroic work of members of the Canadian Forces and emergency response professionals, including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian Soldiers' and Peacekeepers' Memorial Wall ActRoutine Proceedings

June 16th, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, An Act to establish a Memorial Wall for Canada's fallen soldiers and peacekeepers.

Mr. Speaker, today I am humbled to stand in the House of Commons among my hon. colleagues to reintroduce my private member's bill, an act to establish a memorial wall for Canada's fallen soldiers and peacekeepers.

The bill would require the minister responsible for the National Capital Act to establish a memorial comprising the names of all of Canada's fallen soldiers and peacekeepers, and have it located in a suitable area of public land.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-230, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without a warrant).

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for allowing me to reintroduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without a warrant).

The bill would give a peace officer the power to arrest without a warrant a person who is in breach of a probation order binding that person or a condition of the person's parole.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-231, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (derelict vessels and wreck).

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member from New Westminster—Coquitlam for seconding the bill.

In many Canadian coastal communities derelict and abandoned vessels have a negative impact on the natural aesthetics of their harbours, and some pose a threat to the local environment. While major environmental dangers from derelict and abandoned vessels are dealt with swiftly by the Canadian Coast Guard, many are left to simply rot away and leach chemicals into the surrounding environment. If an abandoned and derelict vessel is not a major environmental concern and is not posing an obstacle to navigation, there is usually no action taken.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities can become involved in the following situations.

Transport Canada can currently take a lead in instances where a vessel is the cause of an obstruction to navigation. However, vessels in the inter-tidal zone are rarely an obstruction to navigation.

Transport Canada has also been supportive of salvage claims made to the receiver of wrecks when questionable vessels appear ashore or in waters adjacent to communities. However, salvage claims are rarely made against derelict vessels.

Finally, Transport Canada can take the lead in making an assessment as to whether a vessel may pose a threat of pollution. However, an abandoned or derelict vessel that is deemed non-polluting is not dealt with.

Both I, in Nanaimo—Cowichan, and the member from Victoria often hear complaints about derelict vessels that are not dealt with. Hence, I have introduced Bill C-231, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (derelict vessels and wreck).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-232, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals).

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Jeanne-Le Ber for seconding this bill.

This bill would better protect animals from intentional cruelty. Clearly, animals are sentient beings; they are not property. This bill would take the provision about animal cruelty out of the property section of the Criminal Code.

We have seen far too many examples of animal cruelty that escape the current laws. This bill would increase the likelihood of conviction for animal cruelty.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 26 years, the people of Sri Lanka suffered the effects of civil war. In May 2009, Sri Lankan government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers. With the end of the civil war have come accusations of war crimes, together with video evidence. Therefore, I am asking for unanimous consent for the following motion, as seconded by the member from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

It reads: “That this House calls on the government of Sri Lanka to work with a panel of experts established by the Secretary General of the United Nations as it examines the allegations of crimes committed during the last days of the civil war, and that this House calls on the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that those responsible for any crimes of war be brought to justice and be subject to the full weight of the law”.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians from all over Canada who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known.

The petitioners point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than from all other industrial and occupational causes combined. They also point out that Canada still remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world and spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry. These signatories call it, “corporate welfare for corporate serial killers”. They criticize the government for blocking international efforts designed to curb its use.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for all asbestos workers who may be displaced--

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. On a point of order, the hon. member for Cambridge.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could simply remind the member that during the reading of petitions, there is a short summary of the petition and then it is tabled. It is not really an opportunity to debate it, discuss it or use it to get into one's householder.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the member for his intervention. In fact, the summary of petitions should be relatively concise, so I will ask the member to sum up quickly and we will move on to other petitions.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I read this petition every day in exactly the same format. If it does not offend the minister over and over again the hundreds of times he has heard it, I do not know why it offends him now.

These petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad, and stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention being debated this week, in fact, in Europe.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:25 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, congratulations on your recent appointment to Assistant Deputy Chair.

I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

moved that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be in this House today to join in the second reading debate on Bill C-2, Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials Act. This is an important bill to improve criminal procedure to cut the number of long, drawn-out trials sometimes referred to as megatrials.

The time to bring criminal trials to disposition has steadily increased over the last decade, a fact particularly true in the case of megatrials.

In their November 2008 report reviewing large and complex criminal cases and their procedures in Ontario, former Chief Justice Patrick LeSage and the present Justice Michael Code noted three major events that played a significant role in increasing the duration and complexity of modern criminal trials. These three causal events were the passage of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the reform of evidence law by the Supreme Court of Canada, and the addition of many new, complex statutory provisions to the Criminal Code and other related statutes.

Megatrials conducted in Canada are a clear indication of the impact that these causal events have had on the criminal justice system.

Our justice system must have the tools to respond to the demands raised by these long and complex cases to ensure that they do not collapse under their own weight. It had become necessary to find better, innovative ways to respond to the challenges raised by megatrials and to make better use of resources available in the criminal justice system. The amendments to the Criminal Code proposed in Bill C-2 are a significant step in providing these tools.

This legislation also responds to many of the recommendations made by the Air India Commission in relation to terrorism prosecutions.

The reforms proposed in this bill are the product of a great deal of consultation and collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners, as well as various other criminal justice stakeholders. These include the federal-provincial-territorial committee of heads of prosecutions, the Barreau du Québec and the Steering Committee on Justice Efficiencies and Access to Justice.

This work has helped us identify processes and measures that would allow the criminal justice system to function more effectively and expeditiously while respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I would now like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the amendments proposed by this bill.

These amendments generally relate to at least one of three main objectives: strengthening case management; reducing duplication of processes; and otherwise improving criminal procedure.

In regard to strengthening case management, a great deal of work has been done in the area of megatrial reform in the last decade. The body of policy work on this issue, including the Air India Commission report, consistently emphasizes that case management, particularly with respect to the preliminary phase of the trial, is one of the key measures to improve the efficient and effective conduct of large and complex cases. Enhanced case management in this context refers to stronger judicial control of the proceedings.

It is with this goal in mind that this bill would allow for the appointment of a case management judge in any case where it appears that his or her involvement would be beneficial to the overall management of the case and in the best interests of the justice system.

As it is not always feasible to assign a case to a trial judge early in the process, the appointment of a case management judge would allow for the ground rules to be set for the parties from the very beginning and the effective management of the proceedings.

The case management judge would be explicitly empowered to, among other things, impose deadlines on the parties and assist them in narrowing the issues, making admissions, as well as reaching agreements. He or she may also hear guilty pleas and hand down sentences.

The case management judge, who would be from the court before which the trial is to be held, would also be empowered to rule upon preliminary issues, such as charter motions. Not only would this allow for earlier resolution of these issues upon which the remainder of the trial often rests, but to the extent possible it would also enable the evidence to be presented without interruption to the jury or the trial judge sitting without a jury.

Another benefit of appointing a case management judge is that he or she could continue to play a role even after the preliminary issues have been dealt with and the presentation of the evidence on the merits has begun. Clearly, this role would be auxiliary to that of the trial judge but would include adjudicating issues referred to him or her by the trial judge. This would potentially avoid interruptions during the presentation of the evidence to the trier of fact and allow the trial judge and the case management judge to share the overwhelming responsibilities associated with conducting a megatrial.

With respect to reducing duplication of processes, improving effectiveness and reducing delays while ensuring trial fairness is consistent with this government's commitment to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly. A number of amendments proposed in Bill C-2 aim at reducing duplication of processes and speak directly to this worthwhile goal.

Absent exceptional circumstances, such as where fresh evidence is discovered, there is no justification for the constant re-litigation of issues that have been fairly adjudicated. Such duplication of processes is not sustainable by the overburdened resources of our criminal justice system.

As the Air India Commission so aptly said: “Finality is an important value in the criminal justice system”.

As such, Bill C-2 includes provisions that would, in the spirit of recommendation 27 of the Air India Commission report, maintain the case management judge's ruling related to the disclosure or admissibility of evidence or the charter at any new trial ordered as a result of the declaration of a mistrial or in the event that a prosecution is severed into separate trials.

In addition, still with a view to reducing duplication of processes, Bill C-2 would allow the adjudication in a joint hearing of certain preliminary issues arising in separate trials. It is not uncommon that preliminary issues relating to the charter, disclosure or admissibility of evidence involve similar evidence and are raised in separate but related trials.

Currently, the evidence in support of these preliminary issues, which is at times very long and complex, needs to be adduced separately in each trial before different judges. Not only does this result in a duplication of effort and an inefficient use of resources, it also increases the risk of inconsistent rulings which reduces the public's confidence in the justice system.

Therefore, as proposed by the Air India Commission at recommendation 28 of its report, this bill would allow for such issues to be adjudicated at the same time at a joint hearing. These are significant gains in system effectiveness and efficiency that could result from this measure while preserving the accused's right to a fair trial.

Another issue addressed by this bill relates to the use of direct indictments. This special procedure requires the personal written consent of the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General and allows the Crown, in special circumstances, to send a case directly to trial. Currently, where a bail hearing has been held in relation to an information, and a direct indictment is subsequently preferred for the same charges, the courts have held that the preferment is a new beginning in terms of judicial interim release. As such, a new bail hearing must be held, often requiring significant court time where multiple accused or counts are involved and the evidence is voluminous and complex.

An amendment is proposed in this bill that would eliminate this unnecessary duplication whereby bail or detention orders would be maintained where the prosecution prefers a direct indictment charging the same or an included offence.

Still on the issue of direct indictments, the Criminal Code currently allows the correction of technical defects on the face of standard indictments whereas this is not permitted in the case of direct indictments. This results in the Crown having to prefer a new direct indictment, which requires the personal written consent of the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General. This unnecessary duplication of process is an inefficient use of resources. As such, a proposed amendment would empower the court to amend technical defects in direct indictments, as is currently allowed in the case of standard indictments.

As to otherwise improving criminal procedure, the bill contains other amendments aiming to generally improve criminal procedure. One of these would increase the number of jurors hearing the evidence from 12 to 14. The discharge of jurors throughout the course of an exceptionally long trial may reduce the jury below the Criminal Code minimum requirement of 10 jurors and result in a mistrial.

This legislative package includes amendments that would respond to this concern by allowing for the swearing of up to 14 jurors where circumstances warrant it. When the time comes to begin deliberations, if more than 12 jurors remain, a random selection process would determine the jurors to be released from duty to reduce the jury to 12.

Jury duty is a great service and requires significant time and effort by Canadian citizens. However, the alternative of declaring a mistrial and starting a trial anew not only reduces the public's confidence in the justice system but is also a considerable waste of resources from all sectors of the criminal justice system.

We are very cognizant of the onerous obligations on jurors and we believe the cumulative effect of the measures introduced here today would reduce the overall duration of proceedings, thus alleviating the burden on jurors.

This bill also proposes amendments that would provide for enhanced protection of juror identity. The amendments that respond to a recommendation from the report on jury reform by the steering committee on justice efficiencies and access to the justice system ensure that all jurors can participate without fear of intimidation.

The jury selection regime in the Criminal Code would be modified to have jurors systematically called in court by their number. The use of names would be the exception. Furthermore, access to juror cards or lists can be limited by the court when deemed necessary for the proper administration of justice. This is of particular importance in organized crime or terrorism prosecutions. These amendments strike a balance between the interests of the jurors and the public, the integrity of our justice system and the accused's right to a fair trial.

Finally, this legislation would make a corrective amendment to the French version of section 536.3 of the Criminal Code. This provision deals with the declaration containing a statement of issues and list of witnesses that the party requesting a preliminary inquiry must provide the court and the other party. The French language of this provision would be amended to render the language consistent with the intent reflected in the English.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal, in its 2009 decision in Gallant, highlighted the current discrepancy.

The amendments proposed in this bill would serve to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system, particularly where long and complex trials are involved. Modernizing judicial tools to improve the conduct of long and complex trials would also be beneficial to the fight against organized crime and terrorism.

I trust that members will support this bill that seeks to improve our court's ability to conduct long, complex cases and make significant improvements to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the first request on the opposition side is for the member to speak a bit about the role of the member for Windsor—Tecumseh. As we know, it is the NDP member for Windsor—Tecumseh who brought this idea forward and has been pushing and advocating for legislation that would stop what many Canadians have been profoundly disappointed about, which is the fact that these trials often are not brought to fruition because of inadequacies that exist in current legislation.

We certainly pay tribute to the member for Windsor—Tecumseh for his work in promoting the fact that we need legislation. I would like the member to comment on the role played by the member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials ActGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, we welcome the role of the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh. He has agreed that this is very necessary legislation for the efficiencies required within the criminal justice system so we can better deal with such long and complex trials. We welcome his support and are pleased that he has agreed with us that this is very necessary legislation to be put forward at this time.