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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was force.

Topics

Public TransitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today of presenting a petition that supports the member for Trinity—Spadina in her request for a national public transit strategy. The people who signed this petition are in favour of a national public transit strategy, which will surely help everyone across Canada fight pollution, among other things.

AbortionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition signed by women and men from across Canada who are opposed to Conservative Motion Number 312 that will attempt to reopen the abortion debate in Canada and the debate that Canadians had a decade ago. Canadians are ready to move on. The women and men of Canada look to move forward and not back and finally achieve true gender equality in Canada.

Public TransitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present in the House a petition for an issue dear to the heart of the citizens of Vaudreuil-Soulanges. The petitioners call for a national public transit strategy.

Public TransitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have two excellent petitions with me. The first calls on the Government of Canada to enact a public transit strategy.

Rights of the UnbornPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman NDP Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by many Canadians, men and women, who strongly oppose the motion. I hope that all members will support a woman's right to choose and that they will not reopen a debate that has already been dealt with.

Public TransitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to present a petition today supporting my colleague's bill on a national public transit strategy.

AbortionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition signed by Canadians in Ottawa, Burnaby and Vancouver who are asking that the debate on abortion not be reopened and that Motion M-312 be rejected.

Lyme DiseasePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 19th, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition is from residents of Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Manitoba. The petitioners support the private member's bill I put forward, Bill C-442, calling for a national Lyme disease strategy. I hope to have support from members on all sides of the House.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents of Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

The petitioners urge the government to say no to the pipeline schemes across northern British Columbia leading to supertankers on the B.C. coast. These petitioners and many others say no.

Rights of the UnbornPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present three petitions.

The first petition deals with the fact that Canada is recognized as the only nation in the western world, along with China and North Korea, as not having any laws restricting abortion. The petitioners call upon Parliament to do that.

Rights of the UnbornPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, the other two petitions relate to Motion No. 312. The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact laws that would recognize the human and amend Section 223 of the Criminal Code in such a way as to reflect 21st century medical evidence.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

DroughtRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The Chair has notice of an application for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Welland.

DroughtRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me today on what is in Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada an absolute emergency, and that is the drought we have seen for those of us who live in Ontario, Quebec and eastward into the Atlantic provinces, albeit not in every specific part of those provinces.

My home province and constituency saw record high temperatures in what should have been wintertime that caused the budding of apple trees, then they froze and 80% of that crop was lost. That was followed with a drought for the remaining 20% of the crop. That crop is now about half the size of what it should be. Not only did apple producers lose 80% of their crop, but the last 20% that managed to make its way through were about half the size.

One can only imagine the cause of this drought, but the effect on primary producers and farmers has been absolutely devastating.

Hay prices have tripled from what they were one year ago. A round bale of hay, a large bale, which was $30 last year is now $100. Farmers have basically liquidated their livestock because they can no longer afford to feed them or they can no longer find feed in eastern Canada for them. This is a catastrophe that we need to deal with on an immediate basis.

I was with my colleagues in Timiskaming just this summer talking to a blueberry producer. This producer tried to harvest his blueberries but they were all so small they literally fell through the screening to the ground and he harvested not one. His colleague just to the west of him reduced his herd by two-thirds because he could not find feed.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is holding fundraisers for farmers to buy feed because they cannot afford it. In this day and age why are we holding a fundraiser like it is a bake sale on a Sunday afternoon at church for primary producers who find themselves in such a predicament through no fault of their own because of a drought that we all recognize has been of a catastrophic nature?

We need to have a discussion in the House so we can find a way to remedy these problems in an expeditious way. We know the programs exist, albeit my friend the Minister of Agriculture has reduced those programs going forward. We need to find a way to remedy the situation now, not some time in the future.

I would appreciate your consideration of that, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker's RulingRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for the letter he sent me and for bringing this matter to the House. I do not find it meets the test under the Standing Orders. I note that supply days are starting to be allotted. I am sure the member could talk to officials in his party to see if that is one avenue he might be able to pursue.

The House resumed from September 18 consideration of the motion that Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be sharing my time with the member for Welland.

Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, addresses issues of urgent public concern with respect to the RCMP.

The men and women in uniform at the RCMP have a difficult and often dangerous job to do every day, a job that requires a great deal of judgment and conduct beyond reproach. We should be mindful of the fact that the majority are fathers and mothers who risk their lives to ensure our safety. However, the admiration we have for their courage and commitment should not prevent us from collectively examining the corporate culture of the RCMP and the repercussions this culture may have on workplace relations and the RCMP itself, which is accountable to the public and must be more transparent.

We have all heard that over 200 female employees and former employees of the RCMP have joined a class-action lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Other individual lawsuits have also been filed. Sexual harassment has no place in our society. It should not be tolerated anywhere, least of all in the RCMP.

We have also heard about disciplinary measures imposed on RCMP officers accused of gross misconduct, measures that many believe to be too lenient. For the past few months, we have been urging the Minister of Public Safety to make sexual harassment in the RCMP a priority.

Bill C-42 appears, at least in part, to be a response to public concerns about this issue. But is it an adequate response? Does the bill go as far as it should to reassure the public that the government is doing everything it can to change the prevailing culture within the RCMP? Like many others, I have my doubts.

Let me be clear. Yes, Bill C-42 is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. We will support it at second reading knowing that the committee will have to work hard to improve it.

I would like to commend the minister for the openness he expressed in his opening remarks earlier this week. He said that he was open to the committee amending the bill. I think that we should all make an effort to collaborate more here in the House.

As I said, we agree with the spirit of Bill C-42. For example, we agree that restoring public confidence in the RCMP is a priority. One would have to be blind or wilfully ignorant not to have noticed public confidence declining over the past few years. The tragic death of Robert Dziekanski and the force's response to it, along with the sexual harassment allegations that I mentioned earlier have done serious damage to the RCMP's reputation.

Second, we also recognize that civilian review is vital to promoting the RCMP's obligation to ensure transparency and public accountability; it is crucial. This is especially true because, without accountability and transparency, the goal of regaining public trust cannot be achieved.

As for the goal of promoting irreproachable conduct within the RCMP, that is self-evident. That being said, it would be in everyone's best interest to clearly specify the consequences of and the procedures to follow in cases of misconduct on the part of any employee. This is the kind of proposal that could be discussed in committee.

On both sides of the House, we share certain ideas about the goals we wish to achieve with this bill, but where we might disagree is on how to go about achieving them. While we support some aspects of the bill, we believe that it should be more ambitious regarding certain points.

It is not a question of criticizing for the sake of criticizing, but rather being constructive and proposing options and solutions.

For instance, we believe it is crucial to allow the RCMP commissioner to carry out reforms in the area of discipline in order to deal with the climate of sexual harassment that exists in the organization. No one is against virtue.

Everyone agrees that the current process to address problems and misconduct in the workplace is too complex and needs to be simplified. However, we also think it is crucial to bring in a clear anti-harassment policy. Specific standards of behaviour regarding sexual harassment and specific criteria for evaluating the performance of all employees must be put in place. It is also important to ensure that these reforms in the area of discipline do not lead to any arbitrary dismissals.

The RCMP is the only police force in the country that does not have a collective agreement. Under these circumstances, we must ensure a balanced disciplinary process in order to avoid any abuses.

We also support reforms to the old RCMP Public Complaints Commission. The public must have full confidence in the independence of that institution. I think the Conservatives and the NDP can agree on that.

Where we perhaps disagree is with regard to the degree of independence that the new civilian review and complaints commission should have. Everyone agrees that we should strengthen the RCMP's review and complaints body. However, Bill C-42 is not robust enough in that regard.

The bill sets out that, like the former commission, the new commission will report directly to the Minister of Public Safety rather than to the House of Commons.

We believe that this way of doing things does not promote the independence of the commission and the investigations that it will conduct. If we really want to restore the public's confidence in the RCMP, we have to guarantee that the civilian review and complaints commission is fully and completely independent.

In order to guarantee the civilian review and complaints commission's independence, we must also do things differently when it comes to the contracts of the commissioners who will oversee it. The current commissioner, Ian McPhail, inherited a one-year contract when he replaced Paul Kennedy. This one-year contract was recently renewed for just one more year.

One year contracts are meant to ensure that the complaints commissioner has an arm's length relationship with the government and to avoid any perception that he does not. Some people will wonder whether the commissioner is able to do his work properly if he does not know whether he will have the job from one year to the next.

The bill provides for contracts of more than five years. Now, we must ensure that this way of doing things does not open the door to a practice similar to the one that is currently in place, that of a one-year renewable contract.

In closing, I would like to emphasize the importance of working together within the House. Above and beyond our political allegiances, we all have the duty to best serve the interests of Canadians.

As I mentioned, we agree with the spirit of Bill C-42 and that is why we will support it at second reading.

However, there is still work to be done. We still have to fine-tune this bill in committee. I raised a few ideas that I hope will be incorporated. My colleagues will do the same. Together, the government and the opposition must ensure that we come up with the best bill possible.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, for months now, the NDP has pressured the minister to give serious consideration to the sexual harassment issues in the RCMP. The fact that 200 women have launched a class action suit against the RCMP shows that there is a problem in Canada in 2012.

But I would like to ask the hon. member whether she shares my view that Bill C-42 will not address the systemic problem of culture within the RCMP. I actually think that the bill will not be able to change the culture and that the 200 women—like the other women who have worked or will work for this institution—will be subjected to this culture within the RCMP and are not very likely to see their conditions improve.

Does the hon. NDP member think that Bill C-42 will change the culture within the RCMP?

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, bills do not change culture. They certainly provide guidelines, rules and positions. However, the RCMP needs to develop policies, offer training, and create an open and transparent environment with a complaint system that individuals can trust, knowing that their problems will be looked into. That is the only way, and we know it is because of past examples of sexual harassment or harassment in the workplace.

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer for her excellent speech on Bill C-42. She raised some extremely interesting points, including the reason why we are pleased with this bill, the type of gaps in the bill and what needs to be improved.

We know that Bill C-42 is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately it does not go far enough. What is sad is that this bill was introduced following much pressure from the official opposition and questions that were put to the government. It was as a result of those questions that the government introduced this bill in haste in June.

I think it was an excellent opportunity to address the problem directly, to really take on the RCMP's internal culture and to ensure that women are protected in the workplace.

I know that my colleague worked very hard in her career for the rights of workers. Is she not a little disappointed to see just how far short of the mark this bill falls, in our view?