House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was person.


Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her excellent speech.

Could my colleague suggest restrictions and parameters that could be imposed on a bill of this kind in terms of the concept of self-defence?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the section that was in the Criminal Code before—I do not have it with me—was quite complicated because there were a number of quite similar situations that followed one another. It was often difficult to apply the section to a specific situation because it was quite unclear, and that is why the section was amended. I can say that there are a number of situations. The bill includes a number of criteria that the court can take into consideration. For instance, it talks about the nature of the force. If someone is attacked with a knife, what is the nature of the force? Would a person who responds with a gunshot be acting in self-defence?

As a person who will soon be receiving a law degree, I must say that it is left to the discretion of the court to judge according to the guidelines provided by the legislator. There are a number of criteria such as size, age, gender, history and subjectivity. Once again, determining whether or not someone was acting in self-defence is up to the court.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, our party is moving in favour of this particular bill because there has been some movement toward improving the bill. However, what concerns me as a former environmental enforcer is that when we come forward with new laws, it is important that the government also come forward with a compliance strategy. That may be particularly important in this case.

There have been a number of questions raised by members in the House about exactly how people would determine what reasonable force is and about how reasonably close to the incident they are in intervening in order to seize and detain the person. When it is made known that this new measure will be in place, does the member think it might be useful for the government to come forward with an enforcement and compliance strategy to inform shop owners or property owners of the limited extent to which they may detain persons, as well as to inform school children, youth and so forth that there may be the potential for a shop owner or some property owner to move to detain?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I said to my colleague, with regard to the way of determining what reasonable force is, it is very important that the legislator provide the courts with the clearest possible guidance. I was speaking of the subjective element in the bill in relation to domestic violence but also in relation to people with a history of violence. Force that may be considered an unreasonable response in one situation might well be considered reasonable if there is a history of violence. It is therefore the role of the government, as my colleague said, to inform the people but also to provide guidance to the courts with clear and stable guidelines that will make it possible for everyone to be judged on an equal footing. It is important that there be no inequality in one situation or another.

With regard to self-defence and citizen’s arrests in corner stores, in the case of young people, I must mention that the Criminal Code does not necessarily apply the same way to children as it does to adults. For instance, a minor may commit a crime. I will not get into a debate about the imposition of adult sentences on children. I have already said my piece about that. I believe that young people are considered under domestic and international law as people who should not be judged as adults. It would therefore be up to the legislator to decide what must be done.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious subject. We have said repeatedly that we will support the bill. I am by no means an expert in law and I would like to tackle this from another angle. In the few classes and courses I took in law, I remember being told something repeatedly about creating legislation, whether a law or regulations. Even if a law is being only partially amended, we must take into consideration everything about its environment, about how it is applied on the ground and in the courts, and about the repercussions it can have from coast to coast to coast.

First of all, I would be remiss if I did not state my personal position on this bill's intention. In my opinion, peace cannot be achieved through messages of hostility and distrust towards others. Peace and harmony in the world and in our modern society begin with the principles of co-operation and non-violence. Nevertheless, this does not take anything away from the principles of self-defence, the protection of property and mutual aid, which are also among our fundamental values of self-determination.

However, when a government's economic policies prevent it from providing the people with an adequate income and social fabric, it may have missed the point. A strong social fabric creates harmony within a community or society. It fosters hope within society, among people, and it very often prevents people from doing bad things.

The same idea applies to employment. Once again, I am not saying that we should not make laws governing citizen's arrest and self-defence. However, if we cannot create an environment of social and economic prosperity for all of the people of this great land so that all Canadians can reach their full potential and live without worrying about the future, we have failed.

Our great nation must focus on helping vulnerable communities and the poorest members of society, and on creating an environment in which social tensions are, for all practical purposes, non-existent. I know that sounds utopian. Still, it is our job to eliminate bad deeds from our society.

Often, geography and demographics are an indication of the poverty in which people are living in various regions of Canada. Canadians must clamour for changes to occur as quickly as possible because the social and economic environment is the responsibility of the federal government.

I like to think that love, hope and optimism are much easier to envisage and achieve, and that they carry hope for our future. I must pay tribute here to the man who inspired these lines, the late Mr. Jack Layton. I like to think that the future belongs to us and that it is in our hands. We, as elected decision makers in this democratic parliament, if there is anything left of it, are the bearers of this message of hope for our fellow Canadians.

I would therefore like to continue this debate and consider the notion of citizen's arrest, which is tolerated in most of the modern day world. It is worth exploring this notion before making any decision regarding this legislation which, as my colleagues have mentioned, the NDP is going to support.

The arrest of a citizen or a wrongdoer by a person who is not a law enforcement officer goes back to the medieval era in Great Britain. At that time, it was more common to seek justice for oneself because the state did not really concern itself with the safety of commoners, and protection of the public was reserved more for the upper classes, the elite.

This is also seen in some modern-day industrialized societies. With the industrialization of civilization and life increasingly organized around an economic society, governments have attempted to make our environment safe. Since the 20th century, in most countries that use common law, citizen's arrest is not only recognized as quite an exploit, it is written into law.

The first subsection of section 25 of the Criminal Code states:

25. (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law

(a) as a private person,

What does “private person” mean? I would have liked a better definition of the word “private person” and “necessary force”. Will the use of firearms be authorized or condoned? I would have liked to see these terms better defined, especially when the emphasis is placed on citizen involvement, which is the very basis of this bill.

Clause 3 also amends subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code:

3. (1) Subsection 494(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) The owner or a person in lawful possession of property, or a person authorized by the owner or by a person in lawful possession of property, may arrest a person without a warrant if they find them committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property and

(a) they make the arrest at that time; or

(b) they make the arrest within a reasonable time after the offence is committed and they believe on reasonable grounds that it is not feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest.

The notion of “reasonable time” during which an arrest may be made is also problematic, in my opinion. This highly subjective and inevitably biased concept will require some time before it is suitably defined by the courts.

The notions of urgency, survival and a number of other important factors also have to be defined in order to examine what a "reasonable time" is.

The border also figures in cases in my riding. There are borders in Stanstead and in a number of other small communities, where people crossing the border illegally sometimes commit crimes against farmers. The farmers are always wondering what they can do about it. Most of the time, they leave them alone. However, on occasion the farmers have taken matters into their own hands and unfortunate things have happened. No one has died, but some farmers have ended up in terrible situations just the same.

If we leave it up to the judges to dictate the rules to be followed, it will mean that, once again, we as legislators have not performed our duties as we should have. This is a very sad state of affairs, and it has also become the reality in this 41st Parliament.

I acknowledge that the legislation in this particular area of crime must be improved, but should we be asking instead why we have to do this?

As I said, the social fabric of a society is extremely important, because it allows each and every one of us to develop and contribute to it. The belief that that we all can contribute to the country's development is invaluable. Many different types of crime can be overcome this way.

Taking the law into one's own hands inevitably means putting one's self in danger specifically in order to stop a crime, whether public or private. Many people think that interacting with the perpetrator or perpetrators of a crime is a challenge.

I am aware of the case of one man who really did take things into his own hands. The result was the appalling death of a young teenager: the man was chasing him, only wanting to catch him, and he just drove right over the teen. These are horrifying incidents. We do not want these situations to happen and we do not want to see, as is happening with our neighbours to the south, these deplorable actions committed by citizens in situations that supposedly involve self-defence. Earlier I asked my colleague to define "self-defence" and "we are protecting our country, our property, our lives".

We have to consider our culture of respect for the courts and legislation and our traditions of peaceful life in our communities, in order to fine-tune the legislation and to make it suitable for use in the field.

In conclusion, Canada has always been a great country to live in, and one where people are used to a peaceful life, a democratic society, a stable economy, a low crime rate and a sense of mutual support and compassion.

Although many of these aspects of our society are in jeopardy and a New Democratic government would quickly handle them, the Conservative government is doing nothing to change the socio-economic situation, especially in the regions. In some regions of Quebec there is no public safety. We have to think about the civil society we want to pass on to our children, because they are the ones who will have to make decisions about the future and accustom themselves to the kind of country we will be leaving to them.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. member on his speech.

Since this debate began, we have seen that citizen's arrest must be an exception and that calling upon law enforcement must be a priority. In this regard, can my colleague comment on the importance of educating and informing the public and civil society in the event that this bill is passed?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. It is very important to inform the public when we correct laws, particularly when changes are made to the Criminal Code. This can be done through education, training and especially through the dissemination of information. This is extremely important because, as I said, from coast to coast to coast, people's lives could be in danger and could change as a result of the application of such a bill, particularly in light of the actions some people may take to protect their property. This is a very important aspect, which, unfortunately, is often overlooked by this government.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his passionate speech. I liked his speech for a number of reasons, including the fact that he talked about our responsibility as a parliament and as legislators. It is important to strike a balance between the judiciary and the legislature. We have seen responsibility sliding more and more towards the judiciary and away from legislators.

In addition to these very important considerations, I would like to know what parameters my colleague would like to see in rural communities so that this bill could be properly implemented in those areas, given that security is sometimes very different in rural and urban communities?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her excellent question. When we change a law, we have to be aware of its repercussions and implementation on the ground. In more rural, agricultural regions, where there are more self-employed workers and small and medium-sized businesses, and in resort areas, implementation can be quite different, particularly in Quebec.

I would like to focus on the situation in Quebec because the Sûreté du Québec was restructured a few years ago. A number of municipalities, including some in my riding, have met with me to say that it cannot even be implemented because the Sûreté du Québec is not even there. Even if an arrest were to happen within a reasonable period of time, it would not be possible because it would take the Sûreté du Québec half an hour, an hour or even an hour and a half to get there. What would happen to citizens making such an arrest?

Implementing such measures will be very difficult in some regions, not just in Quebec but across Canada. We might have to make sure that laws we pass in the future are clear enough for judges to do their job so that they do not have to come back to us and tell us to do our job.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We have enough time for a quick question and a quick answer. The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his fine speech.

Knowing that the Conservative Party has abolished the firearms registry, is my colleague not concerned that certain store owners might be tempted to keep a gun on their premises at all times, even if we vote in favour of this bill?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. That is always the NDP's concern. How are storekeepers and people who own small businesses and vacation spots supposed to protect their property? That question remains unanswered. There is no answer for that.

Nonetheless, there is a risk, especially when some people watch the news on TV and see that in the United States people use weapons to defend themselves without much regard for the consequences to others. Vigilante justice would be unpleasant and absolutely unacceptable.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, as I have listened to the debate over the last couple of hours, what I have found of most interest is the way in which members are conducting themselves, and the types of speeches we are hearing.

It has been interesting to compare Bill C-26 to another crime bill that the government had, Bill C-10. There is a significant difference. I would suggest that with this bill there is fairly widespread support. Support for this bill is not only here in the House of Commons. I would suggest that a vast majority of Canadians would be quite pleased to see not only the debate that is occurring but more importantly what Bill C-26 is proposing to do.

We can compare that to Bill C-10. All of the opposition parties were quite critical of the government. The government was not prepared to listen to the opposition parties. It was a very controversial debate. The government even had to bring in time allocation. If we reflect on what the public was thinking about Bill C-10, on the crime file, we will find that there was quite a difference of opinion and a different way of dealing with crime.

There was a philosophy talked about that was, in essence, taken from the Deep South of the U.S., a philosophy of building more prisons and putting people in jails, a policy that has not worked as opposed to a policy that favoured trying to prevent crimes from taking place.

I look at today's bill as a bill that ultimately will pass. The government will not need time allocation for Bill C-26. There is a sense of cooperation. There is a sense that this is indeed a bill that deserves passage. I suspect it is only a question of a couple more hours, a few more speakers, and we will see Bill C-26 pass.

Most Canadians believe that citizen's arrest is pretty straightforward and that they could do that today. In certain situations, yes, they could do that today. However, we have heard examples of just how much misunderstanding there is around that.

Let us look at the example of a citizen's arrest in a poor environment. An individual walks into a store, grabs some merchandise, then walks out. Halfway down the block, the thief is apprehended by the store owner or an employee of the store. The store owner or employee is putting himself or herself at risk of numerous charges. The way the system is set up, the store owner is in fact potentially going to be a double victim. He or she was victimized when the property was stolen from the business. There is a very strong likelihood that charges will be laid against the store owner or employee because in apprehending the thief a half-block away from the store, and not in the store, he or she could be charged with unlawful arrest.

However, one member explained earlier that if the individual was in the store when the citizen's arrest was made, that individual would be able to say that he or she had not left the store and intended to purchase the merchandise. There is a great deal of clarity needed on this issue.

This particular bill reminds me of a provincial bill passed a number of years ago in the Manitoba legislature. It was called the good Samaritan bill.

I was the seconder of the bill. It was a Liberal Party initiative by Liberal leader Jon Gerrard, something he had advocated for a number of years, and we were ultimately able to get it passed.

I say that because a lot of people would make the assumption that if there is a vehicle accident and a good Samaritan assists an individual involved in this emergency situation, by trying to help someone, that good Samaritan could be sued. That particular bill tried to provide clarity. Much like Bill C-26, which would provide clarity.

It does make some changes, much like the good Samaritan bill. Ultimately it reinforces the idea that politicians are listening to what the people are saying and living up to the public's expectations. I think we will find a great deal of support for Bill C-26. In good part, it just makes sense.

I would like to make reference to a few stories. In Winnipeg North, the area I represent, crime and feeling safe on our streets is likely the number one issue, very close to health care. People want to feel safe. People have a right to feel safe and secure in their communities, their streets and their homes.

Like many members of the House, while knocking on doors during election campaigns, quite often I would hear examples of a citizen who felt threatened. We hear on the news about an individual store owner who has tried to protect himself or herself or the merchandise.

I wanted to reflect on stories I have heard and which connected with me because of the manner in which they came about. One of them was from a woman who lived in a house around Arlington Street, one of the core areas of Winnipeg North. She indicated to me that when the sun goes down, she does not feel safe to leave her own home. She does not feel safe to open the door and go outside to her own yard. The way in which that woman expressed herself stuck with me.

When I was in a 55-plus seniors' block after a town hall meeting, a gentleman asked me if I had ever heard of the concept of walking around with two wallets. When I asked him to explain, he said that in case an individual were mugged, the individual would hand over one wallet, and the other wallet would contain his or her identification and money.

When I reflect on those two incidents, it highlights how important it is for me as an elected official to ensure that we do what we can to provide that very basic level of comfort for the citizens of Canada to feel safe in their own communities. I would like to think that people should feel comfortable enough, no matter what their age, to walk out of their homes, no matter at what time of the day. That is a feeling that many generations have experienced. It is a fundamental right we need to work toward.

Individuals should not have to feel that they are going to be mugged when they go for a walk down a commercial or residential street. That raises a flag for me. I take it on as an issue of great importance because we want to try to make a difference.

Two other stories come to mind. This is where public opinion comes in. People will say, “Yes, that's a wonderful story”. This one involves someone I know personally. He is now 70 years old. At the time of the incident he may have been 68 or 69. He was out for a walk in the community of Maples where he does quite a bit of walking. He was approached by two rather large individuals in their late 20s or early 30s. As they got closer, he could tell there was some sort of substance, drugs or alcohol, involved. They approached him very aggressively. They started to rush at him and he believed that he was going to be mugged. This wonderful gentleman grabbed the one individual and lifted his one leg to propel the other individual. I guess he squeezed too tight which caused the individual in his arms to pass out. Then he faced the other individual, who looked at him, saw the other guy on the ground, and turned around and took off. I have heard the gentleman tell that story on several occasions, one to one and in a mall. It made a lot of people feel good that we have a senior with the ability to protect himself.

Another story was in regard to a local store owner. This gets right to the bill itself. This store owner was robbed. She was asked to help out with some ice cream and as she bent over to pick it up, she was stabbed in the neck. Fortunately, it was not fatal. As they were youth, instead of trying to chase them, she knew who they were and she went to the local police. She was able to ensure that those individuals were arrested.

I talk about those latter two stories because we have to be able to use common sense. When we pass Bill C-26, an important part of that bill is the issue of being reasonable. We have to recognize that it is very dangerous, if we are conducting a citizen's arrest, to confront someone who has committed a criminal action. We do not know to what degree the individual is going to respond. I have had many discussions with law enforcement officers. They say that if we are being robbed we should surrender whatever it is that is being asked of us. By doing that, we are decreasing the likelihood of incurring personal harm.

I have had the opportunity to talk to individuals who have been robbed at knifepoint, when a knife was put to their throat. One individual was very candid. He was scared because he thought the individual who had the knife was completely losing it and was going to cut his throat because he did not know where he was and just wanted to see money. He could see panic and fear in the individual who was robbing him.

Fortunately, the criminal left the scene after the person handed over the money. However, this person had the common sense to evaluate, much like the lady who was robbed in the store. In all cases, people have to use common sense and not feel they have to be heroes in order to protect property. That is one of the concerns that we have with regard to this particular bill.

We passed the legislation and want people to feel comfortable in knowing that they can conduct citizen's arrests. I gave the example of the individual who leaves the store and halfway down the block the store owner catches up. This bill would enable that store owner to recover the property, conduct a citizen's arrest and not worry about being charged. That is a positive aspect of the bill.

The concern that many individuals have with this bill, whether it is members of the chamber or law enforcement officers, is that we are not trying to tell the citizens of Canada that this is something they have to do. What they have to do is use discretion. Police officers are well-trained individuals and know how to conduct an arrest. They can anticipate the type of reaction they are going to get if they make an arrest. For the most part, average people do not know what is going to happen if they approach someone and say, “You have taken merchandise from my store, and I want you to give it back” or if they attempt to conduct a citizen's arrest. They do not know if in fact the individual has a concealed weapon, for example, and how they would react to that. When a store is robbed or someone is assaulted, most people would like the victim not to be made a victim again by attempting to do something that maybe he or she should not do.

That said, when circumstances allow someone to conduct a citizen's arrest, whether it is because of a robbery or in defence of someone who is being attacked or something of that nature, it is most appropriate to have a law that protects that individual. It is important that we protect individuals' rights to defend themselves. To that degree, Bill C-26 provides clarity for our courts and judicial system so that when people are being threatened with bodily harm, they have to have the right to protect themselves with reasonable force. They have to have the right to protect themselves. This is where Bill C-26 has great value, because it provides clarity to our judicial system. It tells our courts that under certain circumstances a person has the right to protect himself or herself from bodily harm or to protect his or her property from being taken or damaged.

For the most part, that legislation has a common sense approach in dealing with these issues. Because of that, we see that it has the support of the public as a whole and of political parties, generally speaking. I understand there are some concerns, but for the most part I believe members will vote for the bill. The Liberal Party's position has been to support the bill.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Winnipeg North will have 10 minutes remaining for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.

National Victims of Crime Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, we must remember that the priority must be the victims and, as Ms. O'Sullivan, the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, said so well, the time has come to shift the conversation so that the focus is no longer on the management of offenders, but rather on the direct problems faced by victims today.

Yet, after years of waiting, the Conservative government is making do with half measures to assist but a fraction of the families of victims of crime, and only as of January 2013. However, victim assistance groups want access to employment insurance benefits of up to $485 per week for one year for the families of both victims of crime and children who have committed suicide.

To the families of victims, I say: remain hopeful and know that the government's current proposal is but a start. One day, in Quebec, Quebeckers will be able to make all their own laws—the Criminal Code and employment insurance–to at last combat crime and help victims as we should.

Buckland Cup Hockey ChampionshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about wonderful spring in my riding and my hometown of Stouffville.

The Stouffville Spirit has just won the Buckland Cup. The hockey arena in Stouffville was packed to the rafters for every single game of this year's hockey finals.

I feel somewhat sorry for the member for Newmarket—Aurora, because she had to taste bitter defeat at the hands of the Stouffville Spirit not once but twice, as the Stouffville Spirit rolled over Newmarket and then rolled over Aurora. The team then took on Georgetown, wiped it off the map and practised absolutely no austerity when it took on the Whitby Fury and demolished it to win the first ever Buckland Cup.

I am very proud of my home team, the Stouffville Spirit. I congratulate the team on an extraordinary hockey run and on a great final victory. I know my good friend Herb Hoover, a Stouffville Spirit fan who died just before the final game, is very proud and was watching down as the team won its first ever championship for my hometown.

I congratulate the Stouffville Spirit.

Dominique MaltaisStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jonathan Tremblay NDP Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to take a moment to congratulate an athlete from Charlevoix who stands out year after year. I am referring to Dominique Maltais, a snowboarder and snowboard cross specialist.

Since her bronze medal in the Turin Olympic Games in 2006, Dominique Maltais, now aged 31, continues to impress with her rigour, talent and perseverance. For the third time in her career, she has received the Crystal Globe, this time for her achievements in the 2011–12 season. The Crystal Globe is awarded to the athlete who has achieved the best results in the World Cup season.

Ms. Maltais, who had her first snowboarding experience at her doorstep in the Massif de Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, is now preparing for next season. Her goal is still the same: when she leaves the starting blocks, she expects to win.

Once again, congratulations to Dominique Maltais.

The entire region of Charlevoix is behind you and is very proud of you.

Lynne's Legacy RunStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like all of Canada to be acquainted with Lynne McTaggart of Burlington. She is a true local hero. Through Reach Forth Sports Ministry, she improved the physical and spiritual health of many youth and families in our community.

She continues to give back through Lynne's Legacy Run. This annual five-kilometre run raises awareness and funds in the fight against cancer.

Lynne is battling cancer. She continues to strive every day to build her own personal positive legacy. Her actions are making a difference. Her decisions reflect her care for others. The run recognizes Lynne's profound and lifelong commitment to Reach Forth ministries, to her running, and to her faith.

On May 21 at Churchill Park in Hamilton, Lynne's Legacy Run will be held once again. The run will not only raise money for the fight against cancer but also honour Lynne McTaggart, a true Canadian hero.

I would like to thank Lynne for her legacy. God bless.

Canadian UnityStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate Canada. To be Canadian is one of the best gifts life gives to us.

There are many views and lively debates on how our nation could be improved. One example is my recent proposal for a new way to elect members of Parliament, but we should never doubt that our diversity is a strength for co-operation and a better life for all, from coast to coast to coast.

And even though Canadian unity should never be taken for granted, it is important to always remain hopeful. Some predict that our country will break up because it is too centralized and others because it is too decentralized.

Meanwhile, millions and millions of people across the world dream of being Canadian. We have built an admirable country, thanks in part to the major contribution made by Quebeckers. Together, we must continue to improve Canada and show the world that a big, diverse country can still strive to realize the aspirations and dreams shared by people of good faith.

Long live Quebec and long live a united Canada.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in February, the FDA issued a warning that Lipitor and other statins cause memory loss and that 1 out of 200 patients taking statins will develop diabetes, meaning that 20,000 Canadians are at risk. One statin, Baycol, has already been pulled off the market for causing rhabdomyolysis, leading to kidney failure and death.

Other serious adverse effects from statins include cataracts and irreversible neurological damage. Are these risks worth it?

Eighty percent of statins, worth $16 billion a year, are taken by patients who have never had a heart attack and where there is no evidence that the benefits outweighed the risks. That is good for the drug companies and bad for patients.

Most patients can lower their cholesterol with diet change and exercise without the risk of serious adverse effects from statin drugs. Since doctors generally ignore safety warnings from regulators, patients should get the best available evidence on statins from their pharmacists and by doing their own research.

Government ProgramsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the short-sighted cuts by the Conservative government to public institutions that inform social policy in Canada.

We know that the Conservatives have scrapped the long form census, which provided facts and information. Now they have gone a step further by eliminating funding for the National Council of Welfare. This organization has informed social policy since 1969 by reporting on poverty rates.

My constituents are becoming increasingly concerned that the Conservative government is no longer relying on scientific or factual information. I urge it to reconsider its ill-conceived cuts.

On a positive note, I would like to acknowledge two recent victories for the B.C. NDP. I congratulate Joe Trasolini, the MLA elect for Port Moody—Coquitlam, and Gwen O'Mahoney, MLA elect for Chilliwack—Hope who both won elections in B.C.. This is a good sign that a positive change next year is about to happen.

PurolatorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and commend the hard work of the over 12,000 employees of Purolator for their contribution to economic development in Canada. Purolator employs over 250 in my riding and has its main hub at Hamilton airport, which ties into its delivery network for facilities in 111 ridings all across Canada. The partnership of Purolator and Hamilton airport in this economic activity has been vital for Canadian and international businesses that rely on integrated distribution services.

Since his arrival at Purolator in September 2010, Mr. Tom Schmitt has been an exceptional president and CEO who has worked hard to develop sustaining and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Mr. Schmitt and, indeed, all employees have made Purolator a fine example of a Canadian business that puts Canada first. I know all members of Parliament will want to join me today in congratulating Purolator on its more than 50 years of commitment to Canada.

Tobique-Mactaquac volunteer firefightersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, over the last few weeks, I have had an opportunity to attend fundraising campaigns and presentations celebrating the long years of service of volunteer fire brigades in the community of Tobique—Mactaquac.

Volunteer firefighters provide tremendous protection for our rural communities. On a regular basis, they hold fundraisers to purchase new equipment and, in some cases, including this past weekend in Meductic, to help their own in dealing with challenging life situations.

I want to thank each and every one of these brave individuals for their long-term dedication to public safety and to their families whose thoughts and prayers travel with them each time they are called upon for an emergency.

It was a tremendous honour as a member of Parliament to present the Governor General's long service awards for 20 years and 30 years of service and see the pride in the faces of these long-time volunteers, not to mention the incentive of this recognition, along with initiatives like the volunteer firefighter tax credit provided to young volunteers.

These folks are true heroes. I know that all members in the House will join with me in commending our volunteer firefighters for helping to make our rural communities dynamic and strong.

Earth DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, I was in Montreal for Earth Day. I was accompanied by at least 150,000 people who met peacefully to condemn the irresponsible development of our resources and the government's inaction on climate change.

During the march, I met a number of people from Berthier—Maskinongé who made the trip in order to join the green movement. People of all ages walked together in solidarity so that future generations can live on a healthy planet.

We cannot go on ignoring the environment without leaving an enormous liability for future generations. Our region is doing its part and we are working together for the environment. Businesses are adopting environmentally responsible and sustainable principles. I hope the government will hear the message that Quebeckers delivered on Sunday. It is time to take action for the environment and for future generations.

VaisakhiStatements By Members

April 24th, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.


Devinder Shory Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on April 13, millions of South Asians from multiple faiths celebrated Vaisakhi. A long-time celebration of harvest, Vaisakhi also carries social and religious significance for people of various faiths.

Tonight, I am pleased to be co-hosting our annual Vaisakhi on the Hill celebrations with my Conservative colleagues right here in Centre Block, and I invite all members to attend.

I also thank President Jarnail Singh Nijjar of the Dashmesh Culture Centre in Calgary Northeast for taking the lead in organizing our annual Calgary Vaisakhi parade scheduled for Saturday, May 12.

As Mr. Nijjar told me, Vaisakhi celebrates equality, freedom and justice for all, and reminds us to engage and address the challenges that exist in our society, regardless of caste, creed, gender, religion, age or affiliation.

Those wonderful goals have my full support and, of course, without any doubt, support from all sides of the House. I wish everyone a happy Vaisakhi.