House of Commons Hansard #213 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drug.

Topics

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this summer, we witnessed a major public relations stunt by the the Hell's Angels, Operation Support 81. The eight and the one represent the respective letters of the alphabet, H and A, for Hell's Angels.

Members of the gang set up kiosks at our agricultural fairs. They travelled around Quebec like rock stars, visiting Quebec City, Saint-Hyacinthe, Saint-Jovite, and Saint-Pie, along with Joliette and Saint-Zénon, which are in my riding. They rode around in their leather jackets and sunglasses like the actors from Easy Rider, but they are not celebrities. They are criminals, drug dealers and pimps, who are running a protection racket. The Hell's Angels are back and are once again threatening public safety.

Today, we learned that they are going to set up shop in Mirabel. They are going to open a boutique, as though they were florists. However, the only reason the Hell's Angels would need flowers is to make wreaths.

In the 1990s, when the biker wars were raging in Quebec, it quickly became obvious that a new law was needed to help law enforcement in their fight against organized crime. From the start, the Bloc spoke out about this reality in the House and put pressure on the Liberal government of the time.

The passage of Bill C-59 in 1997 marked a first step in the fight against organized crime. However, the amendments to the Criminal Code were too complex to effectively secure convictions in the courts. The police quickly called for amendments, and, once again, the Bloc Québécois was the first to act and bring those calls into the political arena.

In 2000, the Bloc Québécois led the effort to have amendments made to that initial anti-gang law and to expand its scope. Gilles Duceppe was even targeted by threats and intimidation from criminal organizations, to deter him from proceeding. However, Gilles Duceppe stood up to them and the Bloc Québécois demonstrated its determination.

As a result, in 2002 our efforts led to the enactment of Bill C-24, which created two new, separate offences to assist in combatting organized crime. Participating in the activities of a criminal organization and committing an indictable offence for the benefit of a criminal organization became two separate offences. It became possible to secure a conviction against members of criminal organizations for gang-related or criminal organization offences.

To better protect the public and the police who are engaged in fighting organized crime, the law also added provisions to combat the intimidation of journalists and of federal, provincial and municipal elected representatives, and also of any person who plays a role in the administration of the penal and criminal justice system.

In 2009, the Bloc Québécois again took up the issue with a motion to have criminal organizations such as criminal biker gangs recognized as illegal. Also in 2009, the Bloc supported Bill C-14 on organized crime, to have any murder committed for the benefit of a criminal organization deemed to be a premeditated murder carrying a sentence of life imprisonment. At the same time, and also at the initiative of the Bloc Québécois, the Criminal Code was amended to reverse the burden of proof and force criminal organizations to prove the source of their income.

Following an international conference on money laundering and organized crime held in Montreal in 1998, the Bloc Québécois persuaded the government to withdraw $1,000 bills from circulation, as they were commonly used to launder organized crime money.

The Bloc Québécois has always been a thorn in the side of organized crime. However, we must not forget that gangsters adapt quite readily. There seems to have been a resurgence of criminal biker gangs since 2016.

Here again, we have a responsibility to act. Let me remind the House that the biker war from 1994 to 2002 was especially bloody. The eight-year tally was over 150 deaths, nine disappearances, and 181 attempted murders. Things could very well start up again.

Since the summer of 2016, organized crime experts and observers have noted that criminal biker gangs are making a strong comeback. Since Operation SharQc in 2009, most of the bikers who were charged have been released; some of the trials just fizzled out, and many who were convicted had their sentences reduced. Now, they are making their presence increasingly known, and we have been seeing more shows of force, too.

In recent months, bikers have started congregating again, displaying their patches openly and with impunity.

For that reason we are proposing, first of all, that a list of criminal organizations be created, similar to the list of terrorist organizations, and second, that the wearing of patches and emblems associated with the organizations on such a list be prohibited.

I would point out that the last biker war resulted in 150 deaths in Quebec alone, including an 11-year-old child. We have not forgotten. Organized crime exists at considerable human cost. We cannot sit idly by and do nothing. Let us agree: in the wake of the Jordan decision, saving weeks and even months would be a good thing for our judicial system.

That is why we back at it again, now with two new measures. The first would make it possible for the Governor in Council to establish a list of criminal organizations and to place on that list those organizations recommended by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The second would make it an offence for a member of a listed criminal organization to wear emblems such as patches.

The bill sponsored by my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord, in the name of the Bloc Québécois, is another step in the fight against organized crime.

We all know that it will take much courage on the part of MPs to adopt this bill. I am convinced that there is a great deal of courage in the House.

Let us be strong, resolute, and worthy of the people's trust. Let us pass the bill and strike a blow at organized crime.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is the House ready for the question?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, October 18, 2017, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, at the end of last week I asked when the government would respond to the report on the future of Canada Post that our government operations committee tabled in the House more than nine months ago. What I would like to do this evening is to discuss three key elements of the report that I believe the government needs to address.

The first point is the Liberal election promise to restore door-to-door mail delivery. This was a key promise in the Liberal platform. When this issue came up at our committee, the Liberal members of the committee were only willing to recommend restoring door-to-door mail delivery in neighbourhoods that had lost it after the last federal election campaign began, meaning after August 3, 2015. In the NDP's view, that falls a little short of what was promised during the election. Nonetheless, it would be a big step in the right direction of ensuring that Canadians enjoy a service that is available in the rest of the industrialized world, and that is particularly important to seniors and people with mobility impairments.

We have heard nothing from the government on this since the election, nor have we heard anything since our report.

It has been brought to my attention that in various places in Regina, Canada Post has established new community mailboxes in neighbourhoods that still have door-to-door delivery. Ostensibly, they are to provide service to businesses or multi-unit buildings. However, it seems that in some cases these community box installations are far larger than warranted by the number of businesses nearby, which makes citizens wonder whether Canada Post management might still be committed to the idea of converting neighbourhoods away from door-to-door service to community boxes. Therefore, we need clarity from the government on that point.

The second point I want to mention is about the Canada Post pension plan. There is a notion that Canada Post has this huge unfunded pension liability and cannot do anything about it. The government has used that justification to demand concessions from employees. However, the whole reason for this perceived pension deficit is that Canada Post is required to value its pension on a solvency basis, which really does not make sense for a public enterprise. The federal public service has its pensions valued on a going-concern basis. If Canada Post did the same, it would not have this pension deficit, which is exactly what our committee recommended.

The third point is about new business lines for Canada Post. There has been a decline in the volume of letter mail, which has not quite been made up by the increase in parcel service. We need to get Canada Post into new areas of business to make good use of its infrastructure across the country. Our committee recommended that, and we need to hear a response on it from the government.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

5:25 p.m.

Gatineau Québec

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Regina—Lewvan, who I know has spent a great deal of time and energy on the Canada Post file as a member of the government operations committee. I always respect and thank him for his constructive interventions in this and other debates.

The first thing I would say is that one of the great pleasures I have had as the parliamentary secretary for Public Services and Procurement, a position that of course has oversight over the Canada Post Corporation and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, is to get to know this very innovative corporation. Of course, we know that it is a $8 billion corporation that not only continues to innovate but at the same time continues to provide services in literally every corner, nook, and cranny of our great country.

One of the great pleasures I have had has been to meet Canada Post employees, including members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, managers, and others, who work day in and day out to provide a service that matters so much to us all and is part of what makes us Canadian. With a country as large as ours, Canada Post and its 53,000 workers provide a tremendous service.

The member raises three very important points, and I can assure him that they are all things under active consideration by the government as it prepares its response not only to the committee's good work, but also to the task force that was formed pursuant to the next election. Of course, we have honoured our commitment to put a moratorium on the roll-out of community mailboxes. We have put literally everything on the table when it comes to reviewing Canada Post, its mandate, and its plans.

Before the end of the year, we look forward to providing a fulsome response to those reports and to the very interested and interesting interventions by Canadians that we have received all the way through. We will provide the results of our many consultations, both formal and informal with the stakeholders of Canada Post, the users of Canada Post and, most importantly perhaps, with the employees of Canada Post who work very hard every day.

I want to assure the member that all three of the things he mentioned are obviously considerable components of the review that is under way and that will be culminating this year. I want to assure him that his good work, that of other members, and of the committee that he was a part of that furnished such interesting reflections to the government will be taken under very active consideration.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, I really do want to thank the member across the way for his kind words. However, I do have to say that his suggestion that the government has kept its commitment to put a moratorium on community mailboxes is not very reassuring. In fact, the Liberal Party committed to much more than that. It committed to returning to door-to-door delivery. Liberal members of the government operations committee also recommended that. Therefore, we need to see the government actually move forward on that commitment.

We did not hear a clear statement from the parliamentary secretary on putting the Canada Post pension plan on a going-concern basis, like the pension plan of the rest of the federal public service. Also, we have really not heard a lot of specifics about what new business lines the government sees Canada Post taking on, particularly given that the Liberals seemed to have ruled out postal banking, which I would suggest was the most—

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Canada PostAdjournment Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I urge my hon. friend to bear with us as we prepare this very fulsome and forward-looking position with respect to Canada Post.

I would also direct the member to our platform commitments with respect to Canada Post. I point out once again that we have respected and honoured our commitment to Canadians to suspend the roll-out of community mailboxes and to review the mandate and business plans of Canada Post. This is what we committed to do, and that is what we are doing.

I know that the member will stay very interested and tuned into this debate. He will keep furnishing his reflections on the issue and stay engaged with those stakeholders whom we are all currently engaged with respect to Canada Post. I can assure the member that by the end of this year, the government will come forward with a very exciting plan for the Canada Post Corporation.

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to follow up on a question I asked in the House of Commons related to a surprise announcement made in my community about allowing the Ambassador Bridge and the Canadian Transit Company to build a new border crossing between Canada and the United States.

The crossing in my region, one of a few, is significant, because it takes about 25% to 30% of Canada's daily trade with the United States. The crossing is owned by a private American billionaire who has financial interests in it. There has been overwhelming, long-standing frustration in the community, which has been disrespected on both sides of the border.

The government decided to issue an order in council, behind closed doors, to grant them this new border crossing. There was no accountability. There was little information shared, and most important, the government allowed the Ambassador Bridge and the Canadian Transit Company to announce this expansion, at the expense of our community, without even coming to our community. In fact, it was announced in the United States before it was in Canada.

I stand in solidarity with my concerned community. The Ambassador Bridge has been block-busting by buying up homes adjacent to its properties. It has cost the community schools. It has cost businesses, the local post office, and a number of other things. There has been nothing but anxiety, hurt, and pain for decades.

The background of this American institution in our community can be summarized in one of its statements: “When someone says no, we just look for another way to make it happen. Do we ruffle feathers? Damn right.” That attitude has progressed over a long period of time and has now been rewarded with a brand new crossing for a bridge that is less than 100 years old.

Just last year, it was the current government that had to submit work orders because of the danger of using this crossing that was not sufficient for the trade or the safety of citizens in my community and on the American side.

It did this through a cabinet order, with no announcement. Many times in my community there are re-announcements, and often I am not even invited.

We have questions about expropriation, about whether residents will be treated fairly, and about what is going to happen with noise, traffic, closures, air quality, and dust mitigation. The Ambassador Bridge does not have a history of compliance. In fact, the owner and manager was incarcerated for not following the process in the United States on a public project there.

The Liberal government has refused to come to my community or to answer these questions. I cannot say whether the minister is here, but it is likely going to be the parliamentary secretary who will have to follow up on these very pertinent questions. This bridge takes 30% of our daily trade with the United States and is in the heart of my city and the residents I represent.

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, indeed our government recognizes the importance of ensuring a continued flow of trade and travellers between Windsor and Detroit. It is one of Canada's most important Canada–U.S.A. border crossings, and I know the hon. member shares that same priority.

I welcome this opportunity to provide Canadians with further information about the application by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to build a replacement bridge and expanded customs plaza and about our government's decision to approve the construction, subject to terms and conditions. This border crossing is important to the economic well-being of the local community, particularly to the automotive industry, and for daily commuter traffic between Windsor and Detroit.

The International Bridges and Tunnels Act enables the Government of Canada to help protect the safety, security, and efficiency of these vital trade links. Under the International Bridges and Tunnels Act, an application must be submitted to the Minister of Transport to request approval for the alteration, construction, or operation of an international bridge.

Our review and assessment of the application for the construction of a replacement bridge included significant consultations, including a 60-day public consultation undertaken by Transport Canada. Over 400 submissions were received, and the results of these consultations were published on Transport Canada's website.

All information gathered as part of this process informed our government's decision. Indeed, the terms and conditions attached to the approval were established to, among other things, mitigate the safety and security risks and the impacts on the local community and the environment that could be caused by the construction and operation of the project. The conditions of the approval include dismantling the existing bridge when the replacement bridge is open, improving local infrastructure, creating new public green spaces, protecting the environment, and considering indigenous interests.

Our government has always maintained that this critical trade corridor needs two viable commercial bridge border crossings to provide sufficient capacity and redundancy to support the safe and efficient movement of people and goods through the Windsor–Detroit corridor. We are committed to moving forward expeditiously with the Gordie Howe international bridge project. Having the Gordie Howe international bridge and a fully functioning Ambassador Bridge will enhance capacity and reliability at Canada's busiest commercial crossing.

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the exchange here, but it does not get to the root of what is taking place and the accountability that we receive from the cabinet.

Why, for example—this was one of the questions that was raised—were there no community benefits? When the new Gordie Howe bridge is being built, we have a community benefit program. There are no community benefits happening with the Canadian Transit Company and the replacement span that they are getting.

As well, the Prime Minister and the cabinet have demanded that the U.S. actually tear down this bridge. Obviously, it connects to both sides, and it is heritage on the United States side. What has been the response, and is the President of the United States in support of tearing down that bridge? Most importantly, how is the government going to enforce the terms and conditions when this company—

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

October 5th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon Liberal Kanata—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I reiterate the importance of ensuring this continued flow of trade and travellers between Windsor and Detroit, one of the most important Canada–U.S. border crossings. The construction of the replacement Ambassador Bridge, together with the Gordie Howe international bridge project, will ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from the efficient movement of people and goods at this crossing while providing infrastructure improvements for the local community.

That is why we approved, with conditions, the Canadian Transport Company's application. The conditions of the approval include dismantling the existing bridge when the replacement bridge is open, mitigating local community impacts, improving local infrastructure, creating new public green spaces, and protecting the environment. This will ensure the efficiency, safety, and security of the crossing and mitigate—

TransportAdjournment Proceedings

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 5:42 p.m.)