House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ceta.


Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Mr. Speaker, I do not like to see anybody take over resources; there is no doubt about it. However, going back to the original comment, if he did not expropriate a mill, why do we own it? We now own it. I do not know how this happened without his expropriating the mill. No deal was signed.

What I would say in this particular case, to the essence of whether a tribunal would look at our rights over natural resources, yes, absolutely. On the secretive part of it, NAFTA aside, I hope that this one is thorough. I think the instruction is right in there, in CETA, that tells us there would be a thorough mechanism by which these disputes would be settled.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and talk about CETA, the trade arrangement between Canada and Europe. What is interesting is that we have this agreement coming forth, and one of the things that we have not heard much about in the debate is the measurables of a trade agreement. I have raised it a few times myself. The measurables of a trade agreement that matter for Canadians are whether or not they are getting a job or their children's future is going to be better because of the agreements that Canada signs.

I will include the Liberals and Conservatives in the ideological right. Remarkably the right argue that, if we just have free trade, everything gets better. We hear that argument that we should just open these markets and have trade that goes back and forth. Then they start to realize and complain later that the reason we do not do well in these agreements is that Canadian labour is too high and that the governments do other things. They have the concerns in the same sentence, but they never connect the two.

When we try to add labour rights, environmental rights, and social responsibility rights, they are often put on the side of these trade agreements. There is an advantage in this agreement because we have Europe, which has some commonalities with us for that, but we also do not take into account the massive corporate subsidizations that take place in the European Union. I can point no further than to the auto sector, for example, which receives massive and state involvement.

Liberal members say it is going to be a fair market, but meanwhile they promote and sacrifice industries like the auto industry in deals like the one with South Korea, for example, where state-owned companies compete against us. They close their markets as well. They do non-tariff barriers. The Liberals say we are going to trade more and we are going to have more accessibility and, by the way, we are going to compete against state-owned car companies that are owned by the people, have a national strategy, and get massive subsidization that imports millions into our country over the terms of the deals and we hardly get any back to South Korea; just dozens. It is not reciprocal, but the Liberals are okay with that.

I know there are fireworks today because the Prime Minister is attending fundraisers with the Chinese and other business people from a Communist state government, but the reality is the use of their dollar and their environment and their dirty energy competing with Canadian companies. We brag and boast about the fact that we are going to sell our energy everywhere and make a difference in the world. However, we sell it for fire sale prices to countries that use the energy that is subsidized to build things and put Canadian workers and companies out of business and attract other business there, because they use energy as a subsidy for development and production of goods and services.

However, we cannot talk about those things. We do not have that type of mature debate in the House of Commons. The reality is that we actually facilitate the demise of Canadian jobs, not based on competition but on the fact that we are okay with others' manipulation of the so-called free market economy and state intervention, and state subsidization against our workers here who beg for a national strategy on certain issues but get nothing.

Take, for example, our exports of automobiles to Japan. Canadian automobiles are equal or better on J.D. Power and other types of independent assessments of vehicles for quality, workmanship, production value, and for consumers; yet we cannot produce and ship into those markets. How fair is that? It is not. Yet this says that if we just opened more markets, then we should be doing great and we should be doing well.

From the year 2000, for trade agreements, promotion and protection agreements, and investment agreements, this is where we are at. We basically go to countries and we increase corporate rights. We do the work that taxpayers fund and we have no expectations on these agreements leading to Canadian jobs. We do the work for the corporations to get them into these markets without any expectations of what is going to take place with regard to jobs.

I will give the House an example and this one is really sad. Over the last number of years I have heard both the provincial and federal Liberals talking about trade and doing missions in India. Some companies have gone over there on the Canadian taxpayer's dime. I coach hockey and I know the people who come out with their kids. These are working people. Some are engineers. These engineers are in the process of losing their jobs. They are training people from India who come over here with an engineering degree and take their jobs. Congratulations on a great strategy. Those people are funding the trips from India and the expenditure and now are going to subsidize the fact and deal with the reality. They have to deal with the reality that day to day they will work with the people who will get their jobs even though those jobs are considered value-added jobs in Canada. These are well-paying jobs in Canada. This is taking place in a tool and die and mould-making company that is a stalwart of our local economy. It is a Canadian success story that is unequalled in the world in terms of quality and workmanship. It cannot be denied that tool and die and mould-making in Canada is the best. We are facing subsidization of our jobs.

Since 2000, we have signed agreements with countries, agreements that are supposed to give jobs to Canadians, that are supposed to increase the chances for economic improvement for not only themselves but collectively for the nation. Here are some of the countries that we have signed agreements with since 2000: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Guyana, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Mali, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Tanzania, and Ukraine. These agreements were signed just in 2000 alone. There has been no talk about the others.

Let us be clear about this. Some of the provisions in CETA will crush Canadian industries. We have signed all of these agreements but where are the jobs? The Conservatives get up on a daily basis and tell the Liberals that they have not created a single job despite the fact that we have signed a number of different trade agreements over the last number of years. Where are the jobs? We would like to know. We would like to see what they are so we can at least measure them.

We will have certain exposures in these agreements that are well known. The cost of pharmaceuticals is a huge one. Investment-state provisions is another, and the dairy industry.

We need to at least hear from the government about what the measurables are that we are going to put in. The government pulled a number out for the agricultural industry in terms of supply management. We need to know, just like the Chilean agreement and others that we have signed in the past, where the jobs are, where our neighbours are employed, and most important, if there will be an adverse effect on the cost of living. We need to know what the agreement will do for us because we have subsidized it.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, although I totally disagree with many of the comments from across the way, I appreciate what the member is saying.

Earlier today I made reference to the fact that New Democrats seem to take the position that there is no such thing as a good trade agreement. They say that they have supported one. I believe it was the Korean one. I do not know what it was about the Korean one that was so outstanding that it was the single trade agreement they supported.

The member talked about Japanese cars. Many Japanese cars are actually manufactured here in Canada. I would not want to sell our automotive industry short. We have some of the best cars in the world being produced here in Canada. We should be very proud of that.

Trade equals jobs, good middle-class jobs. At one time, we had a significant trade surplus, under a Liberal administration. We were working towards getting more trade, more world trade, because at the end of the day, Canada is a trading nation.

Would the member not acknowledge that Canada is dependent on international trade? Without international trade, we would lose tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of jobs. Would the member not at the very least acknowledge that fact?

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, every nation state requires trade. They have been doing it for decades, generations, and centuries. That is obvious. The question is about trade agreements. That is the difference.

We are still going to have trade. For example, we have the South Korea trade agreement. We did not address, which I pushed hard for, non-tariff barriers. That is why, interestingly enough, with the TPP and others, non-tariff barriers are the things that prevent an open market from developing.

What South Korea does is block, directly and indirectly, for example, dealerships from opening in South Korea. Canada can sell there all it wants, but good luck to people who actually buy a Canadian product, because they cannot get it serviced. That is what has to stop. If we did the same thing, those South Korean cars would not be dumped here.

There are good cars produced across Ontario. There is no doubt. Workers do that for Canada, not the government.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was actually chair of the committee when we went through the South Korea trade deal. I remember that the NDP and Liberal members supported that unanimously as it went through committee. In fact, it was the first time the NDP members actually supported a trade deal, which surprised us. I know the joke around here was that they got mixed up and thought it was North Korea, not South Korea, and that is why they supported it.

When we look at the NDP on trade, when we look at its party policy when it comes to resource development or taking advantage of the sectors we have, strengths here in Canada, it seems to want to shut them down. It seems to be scared of the fact that Canadian companies can actually compete, and not only compete but succeed and do very well and hire more people. They can generate wealth and generate taxes, which gives us our health care and the social programs Canadians actually want.

If we do not have trade, if we do not have agreements like CETA, if we do not have situations where our companies can grow and compete around the world, what happens is that companies lay people off and we do not have a tax base.

What would be the member's suggestion? If he does not want trade, where are all these people supposed to work? Where is all the food supposed to be shipped to? Where are all these jobs going to come from? Obviously he does not like trade. What is the member's solution?

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was actually kind of bizarre.

First of all, our automotive industry is integrated with the United States. With the United States going into free trade with South Korea, we had no real option in the sense that we had to pursue that.

Similar to CETA, there is greater protection for other industries than what Canada gets. It is similar to what has been happening in other trade agreements, like the TPP. Malaysia out-negotiated these guys. Malaysia gets 12 years for auto. We get five years.

This is the immature element of the argument: “If we do not have a trade agreement, we are not actually going to trade with these people.”

England is our third-largest trading partner. We are still going to trade with it, even if it is out of CETA, with Brexit. It is going to happen. It is a choice of whether we enhance WTO trading privileges. It is not whether we are actually going to trade with some countries.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the CETA negotiations provided a great opportunity to innovate, especially regarding provisions on investment protection and the mechanism for the resolution of disputes between investors and states. Our government fully seized that opportunity and developed a new and improved approach to investment chapters in Canada's free trade agreements.

Let me tell members today about some of these innovations.

I know that members of this House fully appreciate that the Canadian government and the European Union and its member states have a sovereign and inalienable right to regulate in the public interest. It is, in fact, our solemn responsibility to do so for the benefit of all citizens, especially those among us who are the most vulnerable.

It is also important to know that there are well-recognized principles of international law establishing that such a sovereign right to regulate in the public interest is not affected by provisions in international trade agreements. Nevertheless, to ensure that CETA is clear on that principle, we modified the investment chapter and introduced a dedicated article reaffirming the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, including in such areas as the environment, health, and safety.

Another significant CETA innovation our government is proud of is the transformation of the mechanism for the resolution of disputes between investors and states. CETA is indeed the first international trade agreement that establishes a permanent tribunal to hear claims by investors alleging that states have breached investment-related obligations.

There are currently around 3,000 international investment agreements in force worldwide, and a large majority of those include a mechanism for the resolution of disputes between investors and states. In all of those agreements, including those to which Canada is a party, investment tribunals are constituted on an ad hoc basis and are thus dissolved when a final decision is issued. The members of those tribunals are jurists who are appointed by the parties to the dispute; that is, the foreign investor and the respondent state. Critics of this process have been deeply concerned about arbitrator independence.

The CETA tribunal, in contrast, will consist of 15 members appointed solely by Canada and the European Union. Ethical requirements will be central to the process leading to their appointment. Among others, members of the tribunal will not be allowed to act as counsel or expert witnesses in an investment dispute under any international investment agreement. Members will be appointed for a five-year term that may be renewed only once. Individual cases will be heard before a three-member division of the tribunal, and those members will be selected on a rotation basis, ensuring that the composition of a division is random.

Our government is convinced that such innovations address the concerns about a perceived lack of arbitrator independence and will give greater legitimacy to the dispute resolution process.

Moreover, as the members of a division hearing a specific case will be in a position to consult with the other members of the tribunal, we expect that the coherence of decisions will also, as a result, be much improved.

That is not all, however. In addition to the first-instance tribunal, CETA will establish a permanent appellate tribunal, thus creating another precedent in international investment law. The appellate tribunal will function in a way similar to the first-instance tribunal. Its tasks will be to review decisions that are contested by either the foreign investor or the respondent state.

In time, the first-instance tribunal and the appellate tribunal will develop a body of decisions that will constitute effective jurisprudence. This, in turn, will create greater legal certainty for both foreign investors and governments.

We believe that these innovations regarding dispute resolution are great accomplishments, but our government intends to go even further.

Indeed, our ultimate objective is to establish, with the European Union and other interested trading partners, a multilateral institution for the resolution of investment disputes. Once established, this new institution would take over the resolution of investment disputes under CETA and could become the mechanism for investment dispute resolution for all future Canadian investment agreements with trading partners who agree to sign up with the multilateral institution.

The above innovations regarding the right to regulate and the mechanism for the resolution of disputes are certainly significant ones that our government is proud of.

However, let me now turn our attention to another important innovation of the CETA investment chapter that may be less visible. We have clarified in CETA that, absent a specific commitment made to an investor to that effect, a decision by Canada or the European Union not to issue, renew, or maintain a subsidy does not constitute a breach of CETA's investment protection obligations.

We have closed the doors to shopping by clarifying that investors cannot seek to import provisions from other Canadian or European trade agreements through CETA's most favoured nation treatment article. Canada and the European Union have clarified what constitutes a breach of the fair and equitable treatment standard to ensure the standard is not interpreted in a broader manner than intended.

CETA encourages the use of domestic courts by suspending the timelines for the submission of a claim while domestic remedies are being pursued. We added an article on mediation to encourage early settlement of disputes without recourse to the CETA tribunal. We have provided CETA with a mechanism for the early dismissal of frivolous claims. We have taken small and medium-sized enterprises into consideration and have added provisions that make it easier for them to access the mechanism for the resolution of disputes.

We have made it mandatory for an investor who submits a claim, while benefiting from third party funding, to be transparent and disclose the identity of its funder.

Importantly, we have established a committee that provides a forum for the CETA parties to consult on difficulties that may arise regarding implementation of the chapter, as well as on possible improvements to the chapter, especially in light of experiences and developments in other international fora.

It has been Canada's practice to prevent so-called mailbox companies from benefiting from Canada's trade agreements. CETA is no different. In order to be considered as an investor under CETA, a European Union enterprise that is owned by interests of a third party is required to have substantial business activities in the territory of the European Union. It cannot simply establish a mailbox company in the EU for the sole purpose of gaining access to the dispute resolution mechanism of the CETA.

Finally, the CETA demonstrates Canada's continued leadership with regard to promoting transparency in the dispute resolution process. Under CETA, all hearings are open to the public and all documents submitted to or issued by the tribunal are made available to the public.

Our government is genuinely proud of the progressive investment chapter achieved in CETA. We believe that the progress made here may become the world standard for future investment agreements.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.


Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, my colleague sits on the trade committee. I want to congratulate her for her hard work on the trade committee. I know she has worked very hard on this file. I think she is as happy as we are to see this move forward, and the results for Canadian businesses.

That brings about my question. Does she feel Canadian businesses are ready for this trade deal? Are they ready to take advantage of the opportunities here? I look for her opinion on this.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.


Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his work on the trade committee.

There is a lot of work to be done in preparing Canadian businesses for international trade. As I mentioned to my colleague in a previous question and comment, over the last 10 years, 55 trade agreements may have been penned by the previous government. We have one million small to medium-sized enterprises with only 41,000 that are currently exporting. There is a significant amount of work to be done.

The trade committee heard that the agreement did not only constitute the 500 million people of the European Union. We are in a unique position in Canada, with access to one billion, because we have the advantage of NAFTA. We take in to the tip of Mexico, all the way over to the borders of Poland.

There is a significant amount of work that has been done, but more work can be done, particularly tying in our universities and colleges to help our small to medium-sized enterprises find out what they do not know about international trade.

The committee heard about the expansion of the virtual trade commissioner service. Many of our Canadian companies would benefit even more greatly if they knew the benefits of being a qualified company under the commission. Also, there are the advantages and the necessity of looking at export insurance. Many Canadian companies want to get involved in export, but they are not sure what they need to know, and those that do not need to know. We know that 75% of first-time exporters are not exporting in their second year.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There will be three minutes remaining for the period for questions and comments for the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest when the House next returns to debate on the question before the House.

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business, as listed on today's Order Paper.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

moved that Bill C-305, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to my private member's bill. Bill C-305 seeks to amend a subsection of the Criminal Code which deals with damages to property due to crime, motivated by hate, based on religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin. The bill proposes to expand this to include motivation by hate based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Also, the subsection is primarily limited to places of worship like churches, mosques, synagogues and temples.

The proposed Bill C-305 seeks to expand this to include schools, day care centres, colleges, universities, community centres, seniors residences and cultural centres.

Recently there were acts of hate crimes in Ottawa, motivated by hate based on religion and race. Synagogues, a Jewish community centre, a Rabbi's private home, mosques and a church were targeted.

Whenever these things happen, it is important for each and every one of us to stand up united to condemn these acts.

I am Hindu, and no Hindu temples in Ottawa were targeted in the recent hate crime wave. However, in times like this, we do need people from all different religions and races to stand united together. We need, each one of us, to speak to each other and in one single voice.

Let me quote Martin Niemöller, the prominent protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. He said:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Under this criminal subsection, if a person is found guilty of an indictable offence, the prison term is up to 10 years. If a person is found guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction, the prison term is up to 18 months.

After these recent hate crimes in Ottawa, several religious leaders have stated that education and compassion are more important than law and the consequent punishment to eliminate and eradicate these hatred acts from our society

However, while I agree education is the best long term solution, I also believe a strong law acts as a major deterrent. We have seen that we have combatted social issues like smoking, and wearing seatbelts through an effective combination of law and education.

At this point, I would like to quote Dr. Martin Luther King on the interaction between positive law, morality, and culture. He said:

It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me...So while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men; and when you change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes and the hearts will be changed. And so there is a need for strong legislation constantly to grapple with the problems that we face.

Also, it is quite interesting to see people who diametrically disagree on ideologies seem to agree on the relationship between culture and law. I would like to quote Ryan Anderson who is the William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. While I completely disagree with Mr. Anderson's views on pro-choice and marriage, I do like to quote him on culture and law.

Culture shapes law, but so too does law shape culture. The law both reflects our values and teaches values—especially to younger generations. The better metaphor, I think, is that of two coasts connected by a tide, that comes in and out, that picks up and drops off on the shorelines. Law and culture reinforce each other, either for or against human dignity and human flourishing.

Therefore, it is very important that we have a strong and robust law for hate crimes. Again, I agree that education is important, but I am equally confident that good law is also required.

There is also an interesting article that appeared in the Christian Research Journal, which said:

Because every law springs from a system of values and beliefs, every law is an instance of legislating Morality. Further, because a nation’s laws always exercise a pedagogical or teaching influence, law inescapably exerts a shaping effect over the beliefs, character, and actions of the nation’s citizens, whether for good or ill. Those who seek to separate morality from law, therefore, are in pursuit both of the impossible and the destructive. The question before us is never whether or not to legislate morality, but which moral system ought to be made legally binding.

It is heartening to note the near unanimous support I have received from all sections of society. Every person has expressed his or her support and encouragement. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the support I have received from a diverse group of religious and ethnic organizations. I would like to recognize and thank the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs for its ongoing support and its efforts to mobilize the stakeholders.

I would like to thank the following organizations that have pledged their support for Bill C-305: the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, World Sikh Organization, Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations, Canada India Foundation, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, Association of Progressive Muslims, Baha'i Community of Canada, Multicultural Council for Ontario Seniors, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at of Canada, Armenian National Committee of Canada, Canadian Polish Congress, Jamaican Canadian Association, Reconciliation Canada, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, Vivekananda Vedanta Society of British Columbia, Temple Sholom of British Columbia, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) of Vancouver, and the Akali Singh Sikh Society of Vancouver.

With respect to hate crimes, there are some alarming statistics that I would like to share today. As per a Statistics Canada report released in 2015, it was noted that 51% of police reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity, 28% was motivated by religion, and 16% by sexual orientation.

Furthermore, six out of 10 hate crimes were classified as non-violent. These would include crimes such as mischief, public incitement of hatred, and disturbing the peace. Mischief in relation to religious property and other types of mischief made up over half of all reported hate crime incidents. It was the most commonly reported offence. This is regarding the same subsection of the Criminal Code that my proposed bill deals with. Out of all of those crimes, 4% of mischief related to religious property was motivated by hate.

Four out of 10 police-reported hate crimes involved violent offences, such as assault, uttering threats, and criminal harassment. Among religious hate crimes, 18% were violent. Hate crimes fuelled by prejudice against sexual orientation at 66%, or against race and ethnicity at 44%, were most likely to involve violence.

There was a recent study by the Department of Justice on understanding the community impact of hate crimes. It states, “The commission of a hate crime is against not only the individual but the entire community.” It quotes David Matas as stating that “People live in community. Rights are exercised in community”.

The study continues:

With victims of hate crime, it is important to consider that the impact on the community is particularly devastating, as hate crimes are 'message crimes in that the perpetrator is sending a message to the members of a certain group that they are despised, devalued, or unwelcome in a particular neighbourhood, community, school, or workplace.

Furthermore, it notes:

As well, it is important to consider that the impact on the individual victim may result in the victim rejecting the aspect of themselves that was the target of the attack or associating a core part of their identity with fear, loss, and vulnerability.

The study concludes:

The data also showed that after the hate crime incident, many people experienced increased levels of fear for their personal safety and for the safety of their family.... As a result, many community members took measures to protect themselves and their family, especially members of the targeted ethnic identity community.

This bill expands the number of places to include schools, daycare centres, colleges or universities, community centres, seniors residences, and cultural centres, because the impact felt by those victims of hate crimes cannot be limited just to places of worship. The public properties proposed to be included have either all been subject to hate crime or are vulnerable to being a target of hate crimes. Whether it is places of worship or other properties, the negative impact of hate crimes on the community remains the same.

Bill C-305 will also recognize that hate motivated by bias based on gender identity and sexual orientation carries the same weight as crimes committed against religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin. I am open to amendments with a view to broadening and further strengthening the bill.

The issue of hate crime is truly one that saturates communities nationwide. While we may be shocked and appalled when these terrible acts occur, we must focus on how we may prevent them in the future. Make no mistake: this is an issue that affects every riding and every member of the House; this is an issue that goes across all party lines. There is no room for hate and/or discrimination in Canada. We are a nation that embraces its diversity and that is inclusive of people irrespective of their race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. I know—

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately the time is up. Maybe the member will be able to finish his speech during some of the questions and comments.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate our hon. colleague for bringing forward this bill. There is no doubt that hate crimes, crimes that we have seen locally in Ottawa and across the country, definitely have a negative impact on the communities at large, as well as on those that the crimes are directed toward.

My hon. colleague has brought forward a great bill, and I support it. However, the government has taken an awkward stance. The member has talked about a strong law and mandatory minimums of 18 months to 10 years, but the government has said that it is reviewing mandatory minimums.

Indeed there is a high-profile case today. The Prime Minister actually supported a pretty egregious ruling. How does the hon. colleague feel about this movement by the government?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I have been very clear that I am against mandatory minimum sentences.

The punishment side of the bill, amending subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code, reads, “imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or” if the person “is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.”

I have been very clear. I am not for mandatory minimum sentences. The point I also made was that education was equally important. We have seen a lot of crimes and a lot of mistakes solved through both the education and law.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I, too, want to thank the member for Nepean for bringing forward this legislation, especially in light of the unfortunate hate crimes we have seen in the Ottawa region in the past couple of weeks. I think it is very timely legislation.

My question for the member is this. Why is this coming forward from the Liberal side as a private member's bill and not as a government bill? It obviously should be a priority for Canadians, and therefore I am not sure why it is not a government bill.

Related to that, we have seen backbenchers on the Liberal side bring forward very good bills and their cabinet has voted against them. It has actually voted down private members' bills. Has the member had any consultations with his front bench to ensure his government will provide support to this very important bill?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I have been in touch with the Minister of Justice, and I hope, and am fairly confident, the government will back the bill.

I am open to amendments to further strengthen this bill so it will survive the whole process.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to thank my colleague from Nepean for all of the hard work he has done on his private member's bill, Bill C-305. Again, you have done a great job, and a lot of great work.

Having worked for the RCMP for a number of—

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the hon. member that she is to address her comments and questions through the Chair.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

My apologies, Madam Speaker.

Having worked for the RCMP for a number of years, I wonder if the member could comment on the importance of this bill and how the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code will help police officers when doing their investigations?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, the hate crimes in Ottawa likely have been solved and the culprit caught.

The men and women in uniform are doing a great job in protecting the community and the individuals. They, too, are looking forward, when the bill can expand the definition of a hate crime and cover the scope of crimes against what properties. I hope the bill will further strengthen and enhance in solving the crimes.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in strong support of Bill C-305. At the outset, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Nepean for his hard work in bringing forward this important and much-needed legislation.

Bill C-305 seeks to amend section 430 of the Criminal Code. Section 430 of the Criminal Code makes it a criminal offence for an individual to commit an act of mischief motivated by hate targeted at a group and carried out on religious property, whether that property be a church, synagogue, temple, or cemetery. Bill C-305 seeks to expand section 430 of the Criminal Code to include other types of property, whether it be a school or other educational facility, a cultural or community facility, a seniors facility, or other facility.

Regretfully, Bill C-305 could not be more timely. Recently, we have seen a spike in anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim racist vandalism in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and other centres throughout Canada. Just last week, as the hon. member for Nepean alluded to, we saw peaceful Jews, Muslims, and black Christians targeted by a criminal with a string of hateful vandalism.

Bill C-305 seeks to close a void in the Criminal Code that presently exists under section 430. The fact is that if an individual commits an act of mischief motivated by hate toward a particular group and carried out on a religious property such as a house of worship, that individual would be subject to being charged, prosecuted, and convicted under section 430 of the Criminal Code. If convicted, that individual would be subject to a penalty of imprisonment for up to 10 years. By contrast, if the same individual committed the same act of mischief motivated by the same hate and targeted at the same group, but carried it out not on religious property but at a school, a recreational facility, or a seniors facility, that person would not be able to be charged under section 430 of the Criminal Code and would not be subject to a penalty of imprisonment for up to 10 years. Most likely, that individual would be subject to prosecution under the general mischief provisions of the Criminal Code where the maximum penalty is up to two years.

Acts of mischief motivated by hate toward a particular group, whether it be on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, and so on, are not general acts of mischief. They are much worse. They are acts of hate. They are acts of hate designed to intimidate and terrorize a particular community. It is precisely for that reason that under section 430 of the Criminal Code, an individual who commits an act of mischief motivated by hate targeted at a group on religious property is subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years, not two years.

Bill C-305 would close the loophole that presently exists in the Criminal Code by ensuring that anyone who commits an act of mischief motivated by hate toward a particular group would be subject to section 430 of the Criminal Code and subject to a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment whether they carry out that act of mischief at a religious facility, a school, a community centre, or other facility.

We know that, so often, acts of mischief motivated by hate are carried out in places other than strictly religious institutions or other religious property. Indeed, when we look at the very sad events last week in Ottawa, we saw that, yes, a church and two synagogues were targeted, but also the Ottawa Muslim Association as well as a Jewish teaching school. This past July, a Jewish community centre outside of Montreal had graffiti spray-painted on its doors. In 2004, the United Talmud Torah School in Montreal was firebombed. There are hundreds of other examples in the past number of years.

We, as Canadians, take pride in our collective diversity. The values of tolerance and inclusivity are Canadian values, but the fact remains that crimes motivated by hate continue to occur in Canada. Sadly, they occur regularly. Indeed, according to Statistics Canada, in 2014 nearly 1,300 hate crimes were reported. Those were just the reported hate crimes. We know from Statistics Canada that the vast majority of hate crimes are not reported. Of the hate crimes that have been reported, nearly 60% involved mischief.

Based on those very troubling statistics, it is evident that we have a lot of work to do collectively as Canadians to combat the scourge of hate. As we undertake that work, we must not be complacent and turn a blind eye, but must be vigilant and proactive, and must call out hate when we see it, by shining the light on the darkness of hate.

As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who perpetrate crimes motivated by hate are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Bill C-305 would be a step in that direction. Let us support Bill C-305 and make sure that this legislation is passed as soon as possible.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

November 22nd, 2016 / 5:55 p.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise in support of Bill C-305, introduced by the member for Nepean.

The bill is both timely and important in our community. The member for Nepean read a long, very impressive list of groups that are supporting the bill. That tells us a lot about the significance of promotion of hatred in North America at this time.

The bill would do two basic things. One is to expand the number of places that are defined as protected under law against hate-motivated damage, basically from religious property to community institutions like day cares, schools, universities, town halls, senior centres, and sports arenas. This is admirable, because we know that those who want to promote hatred do not pick on churches alone. Although they quite often do pick on churches, we have all seen these messages scrawled elsewhere in our communities. This is the essence of why this is an important bill.

The second part is important to me, as one of the six out gay members of Parliament. It tends to expand the grounds for protection of groups to include sexual orientation and gender identity. That is laudable. We have made progress over the years in extending protections to people of my community, but it has always been done in a piecemeal fashion, kind of step by step. I accept that this is another step in that progress.

Some people are surprised to know that sexual orientation was not originally included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Of course, I am old enough to have been around at that time. In fact, I was actually here in Ottawa at that time, and I was not a supporter of the Charter of Rights because it did not include my rights. That was corrected through decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada.

In 1996, Parliament, and again, a Liberal government, brought forward a government bill to add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act. In 2004, the section we are really dealing with in this bill was brought forward by Svend Robinson, a New Democrat member of Parliament, and the first out gay member of Parliament. His private member's bill succeeded in working its way through Parliament to add sexual orientation to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code.

Of course, I am very proud that Bill C-16 has now passed in the House of Commons. It would extend that same protection against hate crimes to those who are gender diverse, non-gender binary, or those who are called transgender. Bill C-16 would also add this to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

When this bill gets to committee we will be asking for one small amendment, and that is to make its wording consistent with Bill C-16. That will take a very small amendment, but I am confident that the member for Nepean had no intention of narrowing the bill. I hope to have a good discussion with him about the possibility of that. I regard it as a technical amendment that really meets the objectives of what he laid out in the bill.

When it comes to hate crimes, we know the groups that are most often subjected to them because of the statistics that are kept. However, I would point out in the chamber, as I did in debate on my private member's bill in the last Parliament, and as I did on Bill C-16, that we do not keep good statistics on hate crimes that are committed on the basis of gender identity or gender expression, because these are not explicitly embedded in the law. They are lumped together usually, when they are considered at all, with sexual orientation, which is quite a different matter than gender identity and gender expression. Again, I hope we can make the bill more consistent.

We need a larger debate about hate crimes in this Parliament at some point. I am not faulting the bill. It is not the purpose of the bill, but I would look forward to a discussion, because unfortunately, in the last Parliament, in June of 2013, we passed a bill that removed section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act, which would have allowed the Canadian Human Rights Commission to do more proactive work against hate crimes in our society.

The very fact that this is coming forward as a private member's bill gives me some confidence that we can probably find a consensus in this Parliament to actually restore the power to the Canadian Human Rights Commission to do that preventative work that would prevent the kinds of crimes that Bill C-305 is talking about.

I look forward to finding a forum where we could have that broader discussion among MPs.

I would hope that the government might bring forward such a bill as part of its agenda. Again I have to question why this important bill is a private member's bill and not part of the government's agenda. In response to my question, the member for Nepean said he hoped to have the support of his frontbench and the Minister of Justice for this legislation. That is a bit of a waiver for me in terms of my confidence. I hope that we can and will see the government, particularly the frontbench, support the bill and not kill a private member's bill as it has done to other Liberal backbenchers.

When it comes to hate crimes, the crimes that the bill focuses on are the most common. I do have to note once again that the groups most likely to be subject to violent hate crimes are the LGBTQ community and, in particular, transgender Canadians, and within that group, first nations or two-spirited people.

I am pleased that on Friday and Saturday in my riding, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre is putting on a workshop for two-spirited British Columbia youth from across the province to help them build confidence in themselves and to confront the prejudice and the violence they often face. I intend to be at that conference on Friday and to bring news, I hope, that we have support for adding gender identity and gender expression to help protect two-spirited first nation youth in this country against these kinds of hate crimes.

Who is in favour of this legislation? I guess my question should be, who in Canada would not be in favour of this legislation? Quite often because of the immense overflow of American culture and American politics into Canadian society, we get caught up in the negativity that goes on there, particularly the negativity of the presidential campaign, and the increased frequency of hate crimes reported throughout the United States as a result of the unfortunate encouragement of prejudice and hate by some very prominent citizens, including the current president-elect of the United States, whose name I always avoid saying.

As previous speakers have done, I am not going to review some of the incidents that have taken place. We all know about them. It is a bit like my own personal habit of not mentioning the perpetrators of crime, but instead talk about the victims and how they recover from that crime. It is important that we recognize the reality, and I thank the member for Nepean and the member from Edmonton for bringing that to our attention again.

I know my time is drawing short, but let me go back to what I said at the beginning of my remarks. I extend my thanks to the member for Nepean for bringing this forward. I encourage him to talk to the frontbench of his party seriously to make sure that those members will support this legislation. We have found some support, I hope broad support, within the Conservative caucus. The member will find universal support in the NDP caucus for his bill. We will ask for what I regard as a technical amendment to broaden the legislation a bit to make it consistent with Bill C-16. We look forward to this legislation's passing through the House expeditiously.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.


Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak about private member's bill, Bill C-305, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief).

Bill C-305 seeks to broaden the provision of the Criminal Code on mischief that constitutes a hate crime in relation to buildings or structures that are primarily used for religious worship by adding other types of buildings or structures.

To help situate the Bill C-305 within the criminal justice system, I intend to do three things in my remarks. First, I will provide an outline of how the current criminal law addresses cases of mischief that are hate motivated. Second, I will provide recent statistics of mischief that is hate motivated. Third, I will briefly outline how Bill C-305 proposes to expand the existing hate crime of mischief committed against property primarily used for religious worship, including some concerns with this approach.

First, let me address what the Criminal Code currently does to prevent hate mischief including hate-motivated mischief. Section 430 of the Criminal Code includes a general offence of mischief, which carries penalties ranging from up to two years imprisonment, where the value of the property that has been vandalized does not exceed $5,000 in value; up to 10 years imprisonment, where the value of the property that has been vandalized exceeds $5,000; and up to life imprisonment, where the mischief causes actual danger to life.

The variations in punishment for this offence depend on the value of the property that has been vandalized, not on the cost of the damage done to the property. For example, minor damage of a few hundred dollars done to a property that exceeds $5,000 in value, such as a house, could result in a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment, not a maximum punishment of two years imprisonment.

For the general offence of mischief, like for all criminal acts, there is a sentencing provision for hate crimes. In fact, subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code indicates that, during sentencing, the courts must take into account any aggravating circumstances, including whether the offence was motivated by prejudice or hate based on a non-exhaustive list of motives, such as race, colour, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

There is also a specific hate crime of mischief relating to religious property. Subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code specifically prohibits mischief directed against a building or a structure that is primarily used for religious worship—such as a church, mosque, or synagogue—an object associated with religious worship, or a cemetery. For a person to be convicted of this offence, the mischief must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have been motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on religion, race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment on indictment. Enacted in late 2001 by the Anti-terrorism Act, this offence was designed to prevent the chilling effect that some mischief could have on the worshippers of a particular religion.

Now let me move on to what we know about the incidence of hate-motivated crime in Canada and, in particular, hate-motivated mischief. The uniform crime reporting survey conducted by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the policing community collects police-reported information on hate crimes. This includes offences motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, and any other similar factor.

It also includes information about hate crimes categorized by the term “most serious violation”, which includes the categories of mischief and mischief to religious properties motivated by hate. The statistics for mischief for the last two years of police-reported information on hate crimes cover the years 2013 and 2014. Statistics Canada reported that for 2013 there were 1,167 incidents of police-reported hate crime in Canada.

Now let me provide some information with respect to vandalism committed because of hatred of a person's religion.

According to the B'nai Brith of Canada's annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2015, for the five-year period from 2011 to 2015, antisemitic vandalism declined to its lowest point in 15 years, with 136 incidents in 2015, compared, for example, to 362 in 2011 and 238 in 2014. However, it added:

Frequent and ongoing threats against the Jewish community result in increased security costs for synagogues, Jewish schools and community organizations, in order to maintain the safety of those who utilize such facilities. These increased security costs are unfortunately justified, with hundreds of incidents every year taking place at Jewish institutions.

As well, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, which tracks hate crimes committed against Muslims, has noted on its website that in 2015, of the 59 hate crime incidents reported, 18 involved vandalism against Muslims.

Bill C-305 proposes to expand subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code, mischief relating to religious property, to include hate-motivated mischief directed at a building or structure that is primarily used as an educational institution; for administrative, social, cultural, or sports activities or events; or as a residence for seniors.

Bill C-305 also proposes that the grounds of hate motivation found in subsection 430(4.1), currently restricted to acting out of bias, prejudice, or hate based on religion, race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, should be expanded to include the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation. As a result, if Bill C-305 is enacted, subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code would no longer have, as its underlying rationale, preventing a chilling effect on worshippers of a particular religion.

The intent of Bill C-305 is consistent with our government's commitment to ensuring equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination, in keeping with the charter. It is also consistent with a clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Canada.

This rationale is well explained by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, or CIJA. This organization has highlighted the recent spike in anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-Muslim vandalism that was reported in Ottawa, including at three synagogues and other religious institutions in our nation's capital.

CIJA argues that the current law is deficient, since it only designates as a hate crime mischief committed against a religious site such as a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple. In its view, this designation should be broadened. To quote from its website:

Hate-fuelled criminals do not distinguish between synagogues, community centres and schools. Neither should the law.

I believe that this principle is a worthy one, but I have questions about the potentially broad scope of the proposed crime. For example, would it include structures such as sports arenas, like the Rogers Centre in Toronto? Would it apply to a coffee shop used regularly by a university Spanish club or to an office building occupied partly by government? As it is currently worded, it appears that the bill could potentially capture numerous unintended buildings and spaces. As a result, the offence could become over-broad and potentially vague.

Potential impacts of the bill on other parts of the Criminal Code must also be considered. Would it have a deleterious effect on paragraph 718.2(a)(i) of the code, the hate-crime sentencing provision, since that sentencing provision would no longer be used in a large number of mischief cases?

Lastly, I am concerned about maintaining the underlying rationale of subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code, which is to protect freedom of religion. In its current form, the bill appears to go quite far beyond that original intent.

Cabinet will therefore support Bill C-305, with amendments to address over-breadth and consistency with other provisions of the Criminal Code, including those referred to by my colleague from the New Democratic Party.

As noted, this bill aligns with our government's commitment to charter values, as well as being a clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Canada. For these and other reasons, I believe that Bill C-305 is deserving of further discussion and examination at a committee of the House.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise today to contribute to this important debate on Bill C-305, which aims to amend the section in the Criminal Code dealing with mischief. Currently, there are four specific offences listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada. There is advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, and fourth is mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property.

The proposal before us today intends to strengthen the penalties and the convictions for hate crimes that target property. Damage to property is the most common form of hate crime. These crimes can range from graffiti to the complete destruction of a building through fire. Sadly, we know that the main targets for this type of crime are schools, places of worship, community and cultural centres, seniors homes, and even memorials. Places of worship, as I mentioned earlier, are already covered by existing legislation, but we need to close the gap and address the realities of hate crime. This is why the bill proposes to include, along with religious property, day cares, schools, community centres, seniors residences, and playgrounds.

The statistics are startling. One half of police-reported hate crimes are based on race or ethnicity. Another quarter are based on religion. Sixteen per cent are based on people's sexual orientation. Sixty per cent of these hate crimes are non-violent mischief targeted at property. This proposed bill would help police and the courts by giving them a stronger tool to crack down on this type of criminal activity in our communities.

I am sure I speak for all members of the House when I say that there is no place in Canada for hate. We are a peaceful and compassionate society as a whole, but that can never be taken for granted. We have a societal duty every day to defend the country and the way of life we have taken so long to build and defend. At the same time, we have to recognize that we are not perfect as a society. Things that were tolerated in the past are no longer tolerated as we have become more enlightened. As little as a generation ago, it was common to have the LGBTQ community targeted. As a society, we have taken a stand to say this is not what we want in Canada. We now have an intolerance for those who target people based on whom they love. We have an intolerance for those who target our indigenous communities, but we can still do more.

Another part of this proposed legislation seeks to broaden the definition of mischief as it relates to those acts motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Sadly, a sizable portion of the population still hates others simply because of the colour of their skin, the nature of their worship, or the gender of the person whom they love.

I am not naive. I know that passing legislation such as this would not fix the backward thinking and prejudices of folks like them. However, it would allow us to deal with bad apples within our community. Hateful actions hurt more than just those they target. They affect the entire community. They divide communities. They foster mistrust among neighbours and make us all feel a little less safe and less secure. These criminals are misguided. They think that their criminal actions will only hurt those whom they hate. However, they often make victims of those they purport to protect in the community.

I will digress for a moment to make a general comment about hate. The recent American election seems to have raised the issue of hate speech again. I will not go on about this, but I will say that hate is not limited to any one political stripe or any one nation. I have seen it from both ends and in the middle. As a society, we can do better here in Canada. Hate for fellow citizens is alive and well in all ridings, including my own.

I receive thousands of responses from constituents on a regular basis, as we all do in this House. I am saddened by the very small but consistent number of hateful responses I receive.

These comments are occasionally targeted at me, but usually at others in our community. These venomous and toxic comments are targeted at others, based on their skin, their god, their sexual orientation, their political affiliation, or anything that makes them different from the writer. These spreaders of hate know their comments are not welcome in the community, though. They never provide their names. They hide, cowardly, in their anonymity.

I simply mention this because folks ought to know that their other opinions rarely count for anything in my books, when accompanied by their hateful comments. If they have something constructive and valuable to say, it is best said intelligently, without all the hate.

This is not the first time that this legislation has come before the House. I applaud those who tried to bring these issues forward in the past and did not give up.

Societal change does not happen overnight. Change is a difficult concept for some and a dream for others. I do not doubt for a second that every single person here has been the target of hate, at some point. When members were the target of hate, it resulted in a lasting memory. It left a deep emotional scar, I am sure. It made them mad. People need to take these memories and the emotions they created and channel that energy into fighting hate in all its forms.

This legislation could be a valuable tool to our law enforcement in dealing with hate crimes in our communities. It would make it easier to get convictions and deal with this problem.

Before I close, I want to encourage all Canadians to challenge hate at the source. If we have friends, family members, or co-workers who engage in this type of thing, we should take a moment to let them know that they do not speak for us.

People may be amazed to find that many of these spreaders of hate are incredibly insecure and when they find out that they are alone in their thinking, it can provoke perhaps a moment of personal reflection and perhaps even change. Our silence in situations like this is taken by them as tacit approval of their behaviour. Our silence is seen as agreement with their thinking. We should not let them speak for us.

Recently, we commemorated Remembrance Day.

Tens of thousands of Canadians fought hate. They gave their lives to put down those who sought to reshape human existence through hate. They gave their future so that we could have one. There could be no greater dishonour to their memory and their sacrifices than for us to give up on the fight against hate.

Yes, we have the freedom to speak our mind in Canada, but that freedom was found in the fight against hate. Let us not forget that.

I am reminded, in cases like this, of a certain saying, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.

I and many others in this House are supporting this proposed legislation because we want to be part of the solution when it comes to fighting hate in our communities.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, Canada is a nation that is proud of its multiculturalism. We thrive when we all grow together. As the Prime Minister has always said, we are strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

However, Canada is not immune to the issue of hate crimes. It is an issue that affects us from coast to coast to coast. As the country continues to become more diverse, hate crimes against individuals and groups are an ongoing issue.

The most common form of hate crime is that of mischief, damage to property, most often in a form of vandalism. These cowardly acts, targeted at people and groups in our neighbourhoods, are hurtful, not only to their intended targets, but to our communities as a whole.

It is for this reason that the member for Nepean proposed Bill C-305. This bill seeks to amend section 430 (4.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada that to date only includes places of worship such as churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques as protected places against hate crimes.

In its current form, Bill C-305 seeks to expand this to include schools, day care centres, colleges or universities, community centres, and playgrounds.

The LGBTQ community is one of the most targeted groups when it comes to hate crimes. While Parliament has previously passed legislation to protect these groups, section 430 (4.1) currently does not recognize hate-based mischief against one's sexual orientation or gender identity. The current law only recognizes bias, prejudice, or hate based on religion, race, colour, or national or ethnic origin.

Bill C-305 seeks to include these two groups. It is the sponsor's hope that with the passage of Bill C-305, our neighbourhoods will be a safer place for the LGBTQ community.

I believe the bill is very important for making progress in fighting hatred and hate crimes, and I really congratulate the member for Nepean for his hard work on this, for bringing this forward. When we look at the results of the bill, we see a wide number of stakeholders have come out in support of this. We have heard from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the World Sikh Organization, the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations, the Canada-Indian Foundation, the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, and so on and so forth. This is a wide breadth of support for a very important bill to address hate.

Where I grew up in rural Quebec, there used to be signs on places that said, “No dogs, no Jews”. Hatred is a real thing. It is a thing that has to be fought. It has to be fought against and protected from. I think this is a really nice step and I really encourage the member for Nepean to go forward with this, and I am looking forward to the second hour of debate.