House of Commons Hansard #229 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dogs.


Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:20 p.m.


Isabelle Morin NDP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House in support of Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals).

Hundreds of service animals in this country help Canadians in their day-to-day lives and at work. Two weeks ago I was in LaSalle and took part in a Vélo Plaisir activity organized by the Optimist Club. There was a police officer there with her law enforcement dog. It was quite lovely. The dog was seven years old. The police officer talked about the lifespan of her dog, what the dog had done and what her areas of expertise were, and she explained how these dogs are trained. These dogs are very important. Whether we are talking about courageous RCMP dogs or specially trained dogs that valiantly serve members of our armed forces, these animals provide an invaluable service that cannot be overstated.

Since their job is often dangerous, these service animals can be exposed to risks that pose a significant threat to their lives and their well-being. As members of Parliament, we therefore have a responsibility to do our best to protect the animals that serve us so courageously. The existing laws are inadequate, since too many animals that serve this country and its people fall victim to criminals who show a total lack of respect for the lives of these animals and the services they provide to Canada.

One example of the current legislation's failure to protect them happened in Edmonton in 2013, when a man who was trying to flee from the RCMP stabbed Quanto, a police service dog, 27 times, causing his death. The charges brought against the offender did not fit the brutality of his crime. The man was found guilty of animal cruelty. The current legislation does not provide strict enough penalties for the killing of a police or military service animal. These legal provisions do not go far enough to protect the animals that serve our country and its citizens. Killing a service animal is considered a lesser offence than others that an offender could face. These charges are often dropped as part of plea bargains. It seems to me that killing a service animal while trying to escape police is a serious offence that should carry a tough penalty. The brutal stabbing of Quanto was more than just an act of animal cruelty; it was murder.

Cases like this one clearly demonstrate the need for new legislation on this issue, because current laws have not been enough to deter these crimes, and penalties have not been strict enough for those who deliberately hurt or kill service animals. Accordingly, my NDP colleagues and I believe that if an individual acting in bad faith tries to commit a crime against a service animal, it is reasonable to hold that individual criminally responsible for their actions. Existing legislation fails to give the courts and law enforcement officials the power to properly penalize offenders and protect the service animals who work alongside police officers and military personnel.

Our party has long stood opposed to all forms of animal cruelty. We have remained committed to the needs of animals and the eradication of cruelty toward them in our policy proposals and party platform. In addition, we have put forward concrete bills that would better protect the safety of all animals.

While we have been disappointed in the past by the government's unwillingness to support us in these measures, we are pleased that it has finally begun to acknowledge the protections that animals should be afforded. It is our belief, however, that all animals should be free from harm, be they dogs in the canine units or animals at large, and that these protections should not be predicated on animal categorization.

Given our long-standing support of these issues, the decision on the part of the government to bring forth legislation that would better protect service animals and punish those who intentionally harm service animals is a necessary and overall well-received action. However, the legislation is far from perfect.

Our party supports the major premise of the bill, namely, the protection of service animals and the punishment of those who would do them harm. We do, however, have major reservations concerning the impact that some provisions of the bill would have on those in the criminal justice system and the ability of judges to do their job to the best of their ability. In every province across the country, judges comprise a core group of individuals whose actions and expertise have helped to create a legal system that is the envy of countries all around the world. A major part of their job is to make judgments and assessments concerning circumstances of an event when determining the proper sentencing of a crime.

In addition to our concern about the proposed restriction of the sentencing powers of judges, our party believes that, by now, the Conservative government should be acutely aware of the consequences of minimum and consecutive sentencing. Offences that have minimum and consecutive sentences have serious and far-reaching implications for our criminal justice system that should not be taken lightly or brushed aside by the sponsors of this bill. In short, some parameters of the legislation stand to cause unnecessary strains on the Canadian justice system, while simultaneously making it more difficult for judges and other legal experts to do the job for which they are most qualified.

We believe these aspects of the bill require attention so as to ensure criminals can be punished for their actions, while not creating unnecessary burdens on the criminal justice or restricting the sentencing power of judges.

As it currently stands, the bill would serve to undermine these core responsibilities of judges by tying their hands when they are attempting to make decisions that are both legally responsible and fair to the circumstances before them. Forcing judges to hand out minimum sentences to offenders ultimately takes away this freedom and speaks largely to the lack of trust that the government has shown to professionals in our legal system time and time again.

Our party believes strongly that certain provisions of this bill can be rewritten and reworked so as to ensure that service animals across the country are properly protected from harm, that those who would do service animals harm would be effectively punished for their actions, and that judges could retain their powers over sentencing those who willingly break the law. In short, we believe it is the job of a judge, not the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice, to sentence criminal offenders.

Our support for this bill is not therefore unconditional or without some reservations.

Our party has a long and proud history of supporting the protection of animals, whether they are also pets or the service animals that work to protect Canadians every day. We strongly believe that those who senselessly seek to do harm to animals should be punished and made to answer for their crimes.

We also recognize, however, that judges across the country act as the agents of the legal system. They best understand both the law and the specifics of the case before them. It is our belief therefore that the freedom to determine correct sentencing in this and other cases is one that should remain in the hands of judges. We seek therefore to protect the livelihood and well-being of the animals across the country that do their jobs to keep Canadians safe, but we also believe that the expertise of a judge and his or her ability to properly sentence criminal offenders is similarly something that should be protected.

Overall, we are optimistic that the bill will correct some of the legislative failings of previous laws in protecting our valued service animals across the country, and we hope its provisions will deter and adequately punish those who would do harm to animals like Quanto.

I would like to end my speech by saying that the NDP has always sought progress on the animal protection agenda, be they pets or law enforcement animals.

Just this morning, I met with an animal welfare group. They told me that they like the bill. They think the bill is very good but, as I said, it has some small flaws. In general though, this bill will protect these animals.

Really though, do we want to categorize animals in Canada and say that some are more important than others? I do not know. I am asking my colleagues opposite.

In closing, I would like to thank all of the men and women who train animals—dogs in particular. I know that it is hard work and that training animals to serve takes a lot of patience. These trainers develop such a beautiful relationship with their animals. The least we can do is protect these animals.

I am ready to answer my colleagues' questions.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's comments, especially when she opened the door to what the real NDP animal agenda is.

In the last debate, on October 27 of last year, the member of Parliament for Nanaimo—Cowichan said, in the same debate on this bill, that she supports legislation in which “...animals would be considered people and not just property.”

Similarly, the MP for Gatineau, on the same day, in the same debate, said animals should be treated with “...the same protection that we afford to children and people with mental or physical disabilities.”

The NDP actually has a radical animal rights agenda. The member opposite is introducing Bill C-592, which has received broad condemnation from the animal use community right across Canada. The bill contains wording that has been strongly opposed by aboriginal people, the outdoor community, agricultural producers, medical researchers, major colleges and universities, fairs and exhibitions, and even some religious groups.

Would the member opposite admit that the NDP has a radical animal rights agenda that if implemented would criminalize animal use activities?

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Isabelle Morin NDP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, what I find the most unfortunate is that I am being asked questions about other bills when we are supposed to be talking about a bill on law enforcement animals.

I introduced a bill on animal protection because the Criminal Code does not include a definition of animal. My bill seeks to add a definition of animal to the Criminal Code, along with provisions to explain what constitutes animal cruelty and negligence. My bill has received the support of many animal rights groups across the country.

However, what we are talking about today is Bill C-35. The member opposite does not seem too concerned about it because he did not ask any questions about it. Bill C-35 amends the Criminal Code with regard to law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals. That is what I talked about in my speech. It would have been nice for my colleague to show a bit of interest in this bill because that is today's subject of debate.

I hope that this bill will pass because it is a good bill. There are some provisions that I find worrisome, but I hope that we will be able to talk more about them.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have a similar question, although from a different perspective.

Quite frankly, we find ourselves in agreement with much of my colleague's speech. One of the things she said is that her party has a long history of supporting the protection of all animals. Indeed, that has been manifested in the fact that the member has brought forward a private member's bill, Bill C-592, which is really a reintroduction of a private member's bill from Mark Holland, a former Liberal member of Parliament. There are members within this caucus who would like to see that bill go forward to committee, but every time it comes up for debate, it gets traded down or bumped.

Would the member be able to explain to those of us who are interested in a closer examination of that bill whether the NDP does in fact stand behind its long history of supporting the protection of all animals and remove the procedural roadblocks of introducing and debating her private member's bill?

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Isabelle Morin NDP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question, but I find it incredible that, once again, I am not being asked a question on the debate we are having in the House today.

I introduced a bill and the Liberals have also done a lot of work on animal issues. Unfortunately, I do not know all the riding names by heart, but I could talk about other NDP members who introduced similar bills.

For decades now, we have been introducing bills and nothing happens. Once, a bill made it all the way to the Senate, but it was blocked. It is high time that we did something for all animals and this bill is a step in the right direction.

However, I take issue with this categorization of animals, whereby we are protecting some animals, but not others. We absolutely must add a definition of “animal” to the Criminal Code. I hope this will happen soon in our country, because if we compare Canada to other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and even France, which is currently adopting similar legislation, we will see that we really are not at the forefront of animal protection.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to stand and speak in favour of Bill C-35, the justice for animals in service act, or Quanto's law.

I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Northumberland—Quinte West.

This legislation would ensure that those who harm law enforcement service and Canadian Armed Forces animals would face serious consequences. Our government recognizes the special role that these animals play in protecting our communities and improving the quality of life of Canadians.

This bill is aimed at denouncing and deterring the wilful harming of specially trained animals used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities, or members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The introduction of this legislation fulfills our government's promise in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to recognize the daily risks taken by police officers and their service animals in their efforts to enforce the law and protect Canadians and communities.

The legislation honours Quanto, a police dog that was stabbed to death in the line of duty while trying to apprehend a fleeing suspect in Edmonton, Alberta. Quanto had four years of decorated service and had participated in more than 100 arrests prior to his death in October of 2013.

The Prime Minister noted in a press release upon announcing this important bill that:

This legislation honours those faithful animals and emphasizes the special role that they play. Our Government is committed to ensuring that people who wilfully harm these animals face the full force of the law.

In our society, service animals have become an integral part of law enforcement. They assist with search and rescue efforts; tracking criminals; searching for narcotics, explosives, crime scene evidence, and lost property; VIP protection; crowd control; hostage situations; and police community relations.

The RCMP currently has 157 police service dogs in service across Canada. Of these, 135 are general duty profile dogs, and 22 are detection profile dogs. In addition to the RCMP, provincial and municipal police departments across Canada have integrated police service dogs as part of their everyday service delivery in our communities.

Service animal involvement in law enforcement goes well beyond police. The Canada Border Services Agency has 53 dog and handler teams that help to detect contraband drugs and firearms, undeclared currency, and food, plant, and animal products. Additionally, Correctional Service of Canada uses dogs to help stop the flow of illicit drugs and contraband into federal correctional institutions. They have over 100 dog and handler teams across Canada.

As members can see, service animals are active and indispensable members of our society. With their handlers, they work with dedication to ensure Canadians remain safe in their communities. Not only have they been given important responsibilities, but they also have an unbreakable bond with the officers who have the honour to be their handlers. This is something that makes losing a service animal in the line of duty very difficult.

Constable Matthew Williamson of the Edmonton Police Service Canine Unit, who was Quanto's handler, was shocked by the loss of their friend, along with the entire Edmonton Police Service.

Scott Pattison, spokesperson with Edmonton Police Service Communications, noted the strong connection between the handlers and their dogs, saying, “The dogs go home with the members and they're part of their own families, really. These animals perform their jobs every single night on behalf of the citizens of this city with extreme courage.”

That is why our government was extremely proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that harm committed against these dedicated animals becomes a criminal offence.

Bill C-35 proposes Criminal Code amendments that would create a new offence specifically prohibiting the injuring or killing of animals trained and being used to help law enforcement officers, persons with disabilities, or members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Persons convicted of such an offence could face up to five years of imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in prison if a law enforcement animal is killed while assisting an officer in executing the law and the offence is prosecuted by indictment.

In order to ensure that persons convicted of harming police service animals are sentenced properly according to the crimes committed, Bill C-35 contains measures whereby if a law enforcement officer is assaulted or a law enforcement animal is injured or killed while on duty, the sentence for that offence would be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed on the offender arising out of the same event. This will ensure that the punishment matches the nature of the crime.

The justice for animals in service act applies to law enforcement animals, service animals, and Canadian Armed Forces animals. In practical terms, dogs would be the primary animals protected by this new legislation, given the fact that they are the animals most often trained and used to assist law enforcement officers and persons with disabilities.

However, horses are also used by some police forces. Also, other kinds of animals can be trained as service animals to assist people with disabilities. They would all be protected under this legislation.

Our government's tough-on-crime commitment is being met with continued dedication as we work to ensure that our justice system is fair and efficient. The development of the justice for animals in service act is part of the government's plan for safe streets and communities. This plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims' rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice.

Enacting this legislation would finally codify an official offence for the act of injuring or killing service animals. We must stand up and protect these animals. They are giving their lives to protect Canadians and ensure that our communities are safe. They deserve nothing less than our gratitude, care, and protection. I strongly encourage the NDP and the Liberals to support this important legislation. I ask them to stand with the government in protecting our service animals from criminals who would seek to harm them. This legislation is something all Canadians can stand behind, knowing that the Conservative government is fulfilling its commitments to make our streets safer and protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to listen to the member. It was almost like a call to arms speech with respect to getting tough on crime, keeping streets safe, and so forth.

I suspect that the bill will be passed unanimously by all members of the House. All members recognize the critical and vital role service dogs play today, whether with respect to fighting potential terrorism or with respect to aiding the blind, and the way in which working dogs support different types of services, such as the Canada Border Services Agency, the many different law enforcement agencies, and so forth.

However, what I found striking was how the member talked passionately about keeping our streets safe. My question to the member is this. Would he not recognize, with the type of passion he expressed, that one of the ways we can keep our streets safe would be to invest in finding alternatives for the young people living in our communities who are being drawn in by gangs? That might be another way of keeping our streets safe. Perhaps he could provide comment specifically as to what he believes his government is doing on that particular point.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Winnipeg North for his support of the bill and his comments.

Prior to being elected to this place, I was the chair of Safe City Mississauga, which is also known as the Mississauga Crime Prevention Association. I spent quite a bit of time working on crime prevention initiatives. One of the things I know from being a past chair of that organization is that the federal government has invested millions of dollars in crime prevention, victim services, and other issues that help not just local police but organizations like Safe City Mississauga to run programs that ensure young people are not recruited into gangs.

I am very proud to be a member of a government that makes sure we have proper legislation and proper measures in the Criminal Code of Canada to get tough on crime, but also one that invests in community-oriented programs that actually stop it in the first place.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. I would like to tell the House again that no one is opposed to the bill, and I believe that it may even be adopted unanimously. Every member in the House recognizes the important role that service animals play, whether they work with law enforcement officers or people with a disability, for example.

However, I believe that my colleague may have left something out of his speech, or he did not want to mention it, and that is this government's recourse to minimum sentencing once again. The government seems to be telling our judges that they do not have the discretion to make their own decisions and enforce the law.

I do not have a problem with amending the Criminal Code in order to impose sentences on people who injure or kill service animals.

However, could my colleague explain why his government makes minimum sentences mandatory, and why it does not let judges do their job as they should?

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be a member of a government that has brought forward various pieces of legislation to make sure those who commit heinous, serious, and violent crimes do serve a minimum amount of time behind bars for what they have wreaked on their community and on the individual victims.

The New Democrats never talk about victims of crime. They always talk about protecting criminals. They voted against every single piece of legislation we have brought forward to make communities safer, to make sure perpetrators stay behind bars longer, and to make sure communities are safer.

I will always be proud to be on this side of the House, standing up for victims of crime.

We may get unanimous support for the bill, but when we talk about service animals, let us remember that it was our government that first recognized the fact that service animals are an integral part of our law enforcement system and need the same rights and protections as the people who serve our communities to keep us safe.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law)Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand before members today and share with them my support for the justice for animals in service act. I applaud the proposition and creation of Quanto's law made by my colleagues to prevent people from bringing harm to police, military, and service dogs and punish people who do so.

I would like to begin by thanking the member for Richmond Hill, who proposed this amendment to the Criminal Code in 2013. The member has succeeded in bringing this issue to the forefront of our citizens' attention. I would also like to thank the hon. Minister of Justice for tabling the bill, bringing this proposed legislation closer to becoming law, and providing his optimistic public support.

I look forward to the passing of this bill, which would fulfill the commitment made by our government in the 2013 Speech from the Throne. I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the special role played by these animals in protecting our communities and improving the quality of life for Canadians. The Conservative government knows the daily risks taken by police officers and their service animals. Quanto's law is being brought forth in honour and support of them. It is a tragedy that these incredibly trained and intelligent animals are intentionally harmed by people in our communities.

This legislation would recognize Quanto, a police dog serving in Edmonton, Alberta, who gave the greatest sacrifice, which was his life. The story, as I am sure many members know, is that Quanto was stabbed to death in October 2013 during the process of apprehending a suspect on foot. Quanto had served in an impressive number of arrests during his time in service with the Edmonton police. The accused, in addition to his other charges, only received the insignificant charge of animal cruelty for the brutal killing of this canine officer of the law.

This legislation would also honour the police horse Brigadier, who served with the Toronto police until 2006. He had to be put down after the suspect involved is reported to have deliberately struck Brigadier with his car. The suspect was never apprehended following the hit and run. It was the story of Brigadier that inspired the member for Richmond Hill to put forth this bill.

This proposed legislation is aimed at denouncing and deterring the intentional harming of specially trained animals who serve law enforcement officials, disabled persons with special needs, and the Canadian Forces. Currently, there are well over 100 service dogs working in the RCMP right across this great country of ours. These service dogs help police find lost persons; track criminals; and search for illicit substances, such as narcotics, explosives, and crime-scene evidence. Additionally, service animals participate in integral programs that are part of everyday service delivery in our communities. Canada Border Services Agency employs these animals, Correctional Service Canada utilizes these service dogs across Canada, and they are responsible for vital services to our communities.

One of the purposes of this bill would be to single out anyone who knowingly or carelessly harms a service animal. This includes those people who would injure, poison, or kill a law enforcement animal. To my knowledge, dogs are the primary animal this law would serve to protect, given that they are the animal that is most often trained for service. However, as previously mentioned, there are other animals trained and used to assist in law enforcement and to aid those people with disabilities. Horses and other animals can be trained, and they would all be protected under this legislation.

The law would amend the sentencing of people found guilty of animal cruelty to service animals. A minimum sentence of five months and a maximum sentence of six years is proposed for people guilty of crimes against service animals. The offender must serve the sentence consecutively if found guilty of additional charges arising from the same event. A maximum fine of $10,000 is an applicable charge, should the accused be found guilty of injuring or killing a service animal under Quanto's law.

Many people would like to see bigger penalties, but our government admits that it is possible to get carried away by emotion sometimes and that there is a difference between human life and animal life. The punishment must fit the crime and still be fair.

The development of the justice for animals in service act, Quanto's law, is part of the government's plan for safe streets and communities, another example of how we are dedicated to getting tough on crime.

There are several organizations across Canada showing their support for this bill, like the Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association of Linden, Alberta, which strongly supports this legislation and has started a support campaign within the organization.

I ask all members to join with these fine people who understand what service dogs and organizations that work with them would gain from Quanto's law. As the Prime Minister said: Quanto’s violent death is a powerful and sad reminder of the dangers that law enforcement animals often face in assisting officers to protect Canadians and communities.

We can all agree with the Prime Minister and other supporters of this legislation that this would honour the faithful animals and acknowledge the special role they play in law enforcement. We know the significant benefit service dogs offer people with disabilities to lead a more independent and better quality of life.

This law would serve the important purpose of recognizing and deterring violence toward service animals, to show that violence against these animals will not be tolerated and that those who commit acts deemed to be vicious and careless in nature must pay the consequences.

I thank those who stand with the government in supporting the justice for animals in service act, and I hope the opposition can understand the positive effects this legislation would offer service animals. Please work with us, and please pass this important law.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mario Beaulieu, president and leader of the Bloc Québécois, and Gilles Duceppe were on Parliament Hill this afternoon together with 18 candidates to send a simple message: the Bloc Québécois is making a strong comeback.

Mario Beaulieu's generosity and selflessness show that separatists believe that the cause is more important than the individuals. It is noble and admirable, as is the decision by Gilles Duceppe to once again serve Quebec and the separatist movement. Congratulations to these two men and to all who put Quebec ahead of their own interests. A new political cycle is starting up in Quebec.

Retirement CongratulationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize the extraordinary life, career and community commitment of Mr. Dave Babbitt. He has been the music teacher Wallaceburg District Secondary School for the past 39 years and is retiring at the end of June. Last night, a packed crowd honoured Mr. Babbitt at a moving concert tribute performed by current and former students.

In addition to being an exemplary teacher, Dave Babbitt is an outstanding musician in his own right. He has freely given thousands of hours of his time over the years to local community groups. He has kept the sound of the big band music alive and his own brass ensemble is known as The Brass Factory.

Every Remembrance Day, we will find Mr. Babbitt at the Wallaceburg Legion honouring our fallen heroes with Taps and the Last Post.

We thank Dave for all he has done and offer him congratulations in his retirement and all the best.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 6, during a citizenship ceremony, a 16-year-old boy from a LaSalle family was unjustly denied his citizenship certificate as he was swearing the oath. An unidentified man arbitrarily decided that the young man had not sworn the oath even though the September 2011 directive stipulating that a candidate had to be seen swearing the oath was removed following Judge Boswell's ruling. The family was a victim of the discriminatory abuses instituted by Conservative ministers of citizenship and immigration and applied capriciously during citizenship ceremonies.

I am asking the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to make reparations to the family by apologizing formally in writing no later than June 23, 2015, on behalf of the Government of Canada for the needless and unjust harm done to them by this whole situation.

NATO Special Service MedalStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker I rise today to congratulate one of my constituents, Mr. Ed Picher, who recently received a Special Service Medal from NATO for his service in Germany as part of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The Special Service Medal was created to recognize members of the Canadian Forces who took part in activities and operations under exceptional circumstances and dedicated honourable service within NATO's area of responsibility.

Mr. Picher first joined the Canadian Forces in 1960 and spent nine years in the service. He first joined the infantry ranks to become a paratrooper and joined the 1st Battalion. He also served as a rifleman and APC driver.

Tomorrow night I will have a chance to personally honour Mr. Picher at the Cochrane Legion among his friends and colleagues for his honourable service, and thank him and all Canadian men and women in uniform for helping to keep our country strong and free.

Annapolis Valley TartanStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour Gordon Hansford and the Annapolis Valley tartan.

Thirty years ago the Kingscot pipe band was discussing which tartan to wear, and thought the valley ought to have one of its own. Two of its members then went to work: Mr. Hansford came up with the design, and it was woven by the late Joyce Pickwell. The Annapolis Valley is known for its beautiful landscape, and the tartan captures it perfectly. As Mr. Hansford's poem says:

There's the green of the trees and the crops, the farmers love to grow,
The blue is for the mountains, North and South,
And the silver for the two rivers, that flow down to the sea,
The red depicts the blood, that's been shed to keep us free.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the tartan's official registration with the Scottish Register of Tartans. I call on this House to recognize the great work of Gordon Hansford and the late Joyce Pickwell, as well as clan Donald Canada for its part in getting the Annapolis Valley tartan recognized.

Congratulations to all and thanks.

Automated External DefibrillatorsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over a decade, there has been an automated external defibrillator, or AED, in the trunk of every cruiser in the Ottawa Police Service, 145 in total. In 2012, this resulted in nine successful saves of heart attack victims. In 2013, eight lives were saved. That is an average of one life saved per every 17 AEDs annually.

AEDs purchased in bulk cost less than $1,000 apiece. That means it would cost only $5 million to place an AED in every one of Canada's 5,600 RCMP cruisers and less than $4 million to place an AED in every one of the 4,000 cruisers of the Ontario and Quebec police forces.

Now let us do some math. At one life saved per 17 AEDs, these 9,000 units could save over 500 lives each year. Since an AED lasts 10 years, we could save 5,000 lives over the next decade at a cost of $2,000 per life.

Saving lives has never, ever been cheaper, so let us make this happen.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to first recognize that we are standing on unceded Algonquin territory.

On this day in 2008, the Prime Minister and Parliament issued an historic apology for the devastating impacts of residential schools. It has been eight years and indigenous peoples are still waiting for action from the government.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations are a road map. As Justice Sinclair said, “Words are not enough. Reconciliation requires deliberate, thoughtful and sustained action.” As part of reconciliation, the federal government must close the funding gap between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous Canadians, and we must go further. During the TRC ceremonies, many spoke out online, including the formidable Tanya Tagaq, who said, “#MyReconciliationIncludes abolishment of the myths that keep alive the undercurrent of abject racism.”

Together, we must work for true reconciliation that recognizes history, that strives for change and builds a future founded on respect of all.

Philippines Independence DayStatements By Members

June 11th, 2015 / 2:05 p.m.


Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, Mabuhay.

June 12 marks Philippines Independence Day. Throughout the weekend, Filipinos in my riding of North Vancouver will be celebrating the 117th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence with delicious food, lively music, dancing and vibrant cultural presentations.

Canada has strong bilateral ties with the Philippines. We share a mutual commitment to democracy, good governance, rule of law, peace and human rights. Canadians played a leading role following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 by giving more than $85 million in eligible donations, which were then matched by our government. These donations helped international aid organizations provide life-saving water, food and medicine on the ground. Our Canadian Forces disaster response team was integral in providing much-needed sanitation and logistical support.

In 2014, our government was proud to make the Philippines one of 25 countries of focus in our international development efforts. On this happy occasion, I want to wish all of my Filipino friends Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan.

Decoration DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last weekend Decoration Day commemorated the sacrifices of Canadian and allied soldiers as they stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. I had the great privilege of attending two such commemorations in my riding over the weekend: one with Branch 15 of the Royal Canadian Legion and one with Branch 609. I have to say it is very encouraging how many cadets came out to those services to honour our brave men and women in the armed forces.

Brampton has a tradition on Decoration Day. Canadian flags are placed on the graves of all of our fallen soldiers and veterans. It was wonderful to see so many people come out and support the community on that day.

I want to personally thank Branch 15 and Branch 609 for making such great efforts to keep this tradition alive and making sure that we do not forget.

Promotion of Local FoodsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my riding, agriculture is part of our DNA. Jardins-de-Napierville is known as the garden of Quebec for the quality of its fruit and vegetables.

It was to support our farmers that I introduced Bill C-539, an act to promote local foods. Unfortunately, the Conservative government chose not to vote in favour of my initiative, despite widespread support across Canada from the UPA, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and the 2,000 people who signed my petition.

However, I am still promoting the idea of buying locally, but this time through a documentary on the benefits of eating local foods, which will air on TVCogeco sometime soon.

I want to thank all the farmers, restaurant owners and teachers who agreed to take part in this program. I also want to thank Marie-Ève Rochefort and Nathalie Descôteaux for their invaluable contribution to this project.

Summer is almost here and I invite the people of Beauharnois—Salaberry to encourage our farmers back home by shopping at the local markets in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and Beauharnois, the Huntingdon farmer's market, and the Napierville mobile market, or by discovering the “Circuit du paysan,” a nature, culture and gourmet food circuit.

To eat locally is to support the local economy.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our Conservative government for standing up for Canada's middle class and not standing in its way.

We introduced the universal child care benefit and family tax cut to keep more money in the pockets of Canadians. I can tell members that our plan is working in Don Valley West and across Canada. We are making sure that 100% of families with children benefit with almost $2,000 back in their pockets.

The contrast is simple. The Liberals and the NDP believe that bureaucracy knows best when it comes to Canadian families. We believe in keeping money in the hands of the real experts on families: their names are Mom and Dad.

Algoma—Manitoulin—KapuskasingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, anglers contribute over $8.5 billion a year to the economy and a lot of that comes from visitors, which is why it is so short-sighted when the government targets tourism infrastructure in cost-cutting exercises. This fact is not lost on the outfitters and businesses that depend on tourism in northern Ontario. This year is expected to be a big season with an exchange rate that will attract more American anglers.

While there is no end of great places to wet a line in Canada, nothing compares to the variety and quality found in Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. With two Great Lakes and thousands of inland lakes, rivers, and streams, visitors can chase salmon, trout, bass, muskie and walleye with the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.

When they are not on the water, people can fill their days with memories that will never fade. Festivals, powwows, museums and markets bustle with activity, and our businesses are always ready to greet visitors with some legendary northern hospitality.

I encourage everyone to visit Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, where the only thing better than the fishing is the way we treat our guests.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bryan Hayes Conservative Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working middle-class workers of Sault Ste. Marie reject the Liberal leader's plan to impose a mandatory $1,000 tax hike. By promising to enforce the Ontario Liberals' dramatic hike in payroll tax across Canada, the Liberal leader would hike every middle-class family's taxes and force employers to cut jobs, hours and wages. According to the Meridian Credit Union, the majority of Ontario's small-business owners believe that this could be their greatest challenge ever faced.

Instead of introducing reckless high-tax plans, our government believes in helping families succeed. We lowered taxes to the tune of $6,600 this year for a typical family. We expanded the tax-free savings account so that Canadians can save more tax-free.

Now is not the time for risky high-tax Liberal schemes and untested leadership.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, seven years ago, the Prime Minister of Canada stood in this chamber and apologized to the survivors of residential schools. Today, seven years later, we are concerned that many Canadians are still unaware of this dark chapter in Canadian history.

Achieving meaningful reconciliation is not only the responsibility of elected politicians but of every Canadian. With the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations, we have a clear pathway for the essential journey of reconciliation for a policy of cultural genocide that spanned more than a century. The Prime Minister's refusal to commit to implementing the TRC recommendations has been deeply disappointing. I urge him to immediately begin working with survivors, aboriginal leaders, the premiers, and other partners to do so.

As Canadians prepare to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we must ensure that we begin the next 150 years by completing the unfinished business of Confederation. It is time to build a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with aboriginal communities, rooted in aboriginal rights, treaties, and the principles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, in a spirit of partnership, respect, and co-operation for mutual benefit.