House of Commons Hansard #249 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.


Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Ali Ehsassi Liberal Willowdale, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not recall us having being pressured. We were quite willing to hear from various groups and organizations. Once they appeared before our committee and raised concerns, as I said before, we took a sober look at it and realized that they had a very good point and thought that the legislation would be very much strengthened by addressing the concerns they had come forward with.

As I said, there was no pressure. It was a collegial atmosphere, and we were quite adamant to get the legislation right, and we made the necessary changes.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in today's debate on Bill C-51. It is fair to say that the bill has enjoyed broad and bipartisan support from all members in the House. I wish to acknowledge this support and to thank members from all parties for the collaborative, constructive, and focused discussions that have taken place so far, including before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I expect that this approach will continue and hope that we can quickly move this important legislation forward.

As is well known, Bill C-51 reflects the mandate of the Minister of Justice to review the criminal justice system. It proposes changes that would make the criminal law fairer, clearer, more relevant, and more accessible. These changes are critically important.

The Criminal Code provides the anchor for the criminal justice system and the actions taken within it. As such, these changes would help to advance the minister's ongoing work to transform the criminal justice system and ensure that it continues to promote public safety, hold offenders to account, and meet the needs of victims.

Bill C-51 proposes changes to the Criminal Code and to the Department of Justice Act. I am particularly proud to be part of a government that has shown a consistent and unwavering commitment to promoting the greatest possible respect for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This commitment is reflected in Bill C-51 in many ways. Notably, it proposes changes that would require the Minister of Justice to table a charter statement in Parliament for every government bill. These statements are already being tabled by the minister in respect of her bills. Under Bill C-51, this would be mandatory for the current and future governments.

Some have suggested that this type of change is unnecessary, given the minister's current statutory responsibility to examine every bill introduced in Parliament to determine if any of its proposed changes are inconsistent with the charter. However, we can go further, and that is what Bill C-51 would do. By providing Parliament, the public, and all stakeholders with information on the effects of all government legislation on our constitutionally protected rights, these changes would contribute to a more informed debate on government legislation and a more informed justice system. It is in all of our interests to ensure that those responsible for administering the justice system understand how federal laws implicate our charter rights. This is particularly true for the criminal justice system.

Bill C-51's proposed changes to the Criminal Code can be said to fall into three broad categories. First, Bill C-51 would repeal a number of offences in the Criminal Code that are obsolete or are otherwise redundant. Next, Bill C-51 would build on the work started by the Minister of Justice in Bill C-39, which proposes to repeal provisions that have been found unconstitutional by the courts. It also seeks to amend provisions that have been identified as raising charter risks but that have not been constitutionally considered.

I see the proposed changes in Bill C-51 as reflecting a recognition by the Minister of Justice that, for far too long, we have not been engaging in the kind of modernizing, clarifying, and rationalizing necessary to ensure that our Criminal Code remains coherent and contemporary. Criminal law academics from across Canada, as well as justice system stakeholders, have been calling for this kind of law reform for years. The public also deserves nothing less than a Criminal Code that reflects modern society and that is an accurate reflection of the law in force today. Bill C-51 seeks to make these kinds of changes, and I congratulate the Minister of Justice for making this kind of criminal law reform a priority.

Bill C-51 has generated a lively and important debate. Much of the focus of the debates and the concerns expressed to date have been centred on the bill's proposed changes to sexual assault law, an area that many recognize as complex and for which we would all agree clarity is particularly important. It is an area of particular interest to me as vice-chair of the Status of Women Committee.

I will focus the remainder of my remarks on this section of the bill. I think this area is important for a number of reasons, especially in light of what we have seen in Canada and elsewhere as an ever-expanding dialogue and discussion about gender-based violence and inappropriate and unacceptable sexualized conduct. This violence is almost universally perpetrated by men toward women or toward LGBTQ2 individuals. We know that many survivors of sexual violence in Canada believe that the criminal justice system is not well equipped to address their needs and that if they do come forward to report a crime, they will not see justice.

We do have to do better in addressing these realities, and within our own responsibility can make positive contributions in this regard. Bill C-51 would clarify and strengthen the law on sexual assault, and would help address concerns about how the law is applied in practice. I was particularly pleased to see the changes to consent that are included in this bill.

I had the opportunity to sit in on the justice committee's hearings during testimony on consent. I am pleased to see that at report stage these definitions have been further clarified. We know that no means no and that someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or otherwise or is unconscious is not able to provide informed consent. Now the Criminal Code would reflect these realities.

These changes are, however, only one part of the solution. I am proud of the work of our status of women committee, reflected in our government's commitment to tackling gender-based violence and promoting gender equality as a priority. Efforts like the establishment of a national strategy to address gender-based violence and the allocation of $12 million through the victims fund for projects are designed to improve the criminal justice system's response to sexual assault against adults. This funding is going toward initiatives pursued by the provinces and territories to support victims of sexual assault to receive independent legal advice or the development of awareness raising for the judiciary on gender-based violence. These initiative are important and will contribute to making the justice system more responsive to the needs of survivors of sexual assault.

Furthermore, our government has made judicial education a priority. In April 2017, we announced nearly $100,000 in new funding to the National Judicial Institute to develop training for federally and provincially appointed judges that will focus on gender-based violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. Additionally, budget 2017 provided funding to the Canadian Judicial Council to support judicial education and training. This funding will ensure that more judges have access to professional development with a greater focus on gender and diversity training.

I urge all members of the chamber to support Bill C-51. I believe this bill is critically important in ensuring that survivors of sexual assault are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Oakville North—Burlington for so eloquently talking about what this bill would actually do, particularly for women in sexual assault cases. I wonder if she could elaborate on the fact that right now in law we do not have definitions of consent when somebody is unconscious, and what specifically this bill would do to ensure that we strengthen our justice system with those sexual assault cases.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for her work in this area as well. We had the privilege of serving together on the status of women committee and heard evidence, during our study on violence against young women and girls, that consent is an issue. One of the reasons why many times women do not come forward is because they have believed that the law would not support them when it came to what defined consent. In fact, we had comments made in the judiciary questioning whether consent was given. It was quite informative to sit in on the justice committee to hear the other side of how consent is interpreted. I was pleased to see amendments made at committee that would further strengthen the fact that no means no, and that it is important that consent is carefully defined so it is interpreted properly in the courts.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I wonder what the member's opinion is on the proposed changes to section 176 in this legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I know that the section was subject to a great deal of discussion in committee and outside committee. I have to say that I am quite proud of this government for taking seriously the work at committees, allowing committees to do the work that is required when bills come to be studied; hearing from witnesses, and, in this particular case with regard to this section of the bill, listening to witnesses and listening to the public; amending the bill to retain this section, further modernize it, and make it gender-neutral; and in fact improving upon what was sent to it. I am quite pleased with the outcome from the committee, and to see what has been sent to the House during report stage.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Whitby Ontario


Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her always insightful comments around this piece of legislation.

I am wondering if she could provide some additional insight. As she well knows, over the last little while there have been many campaigns in which women and girls have expressed their “#Me Too” in terms of sexual violence. I want to make sure that constituents in my riding of Whitby are clear as to how this piece of legislation would allow women to more readily find confidence in the justice system to ensure that when their complaints are brought forward, they are actually taken seriously and there is justice for those victims.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her advocacy on this issue as well.

We know that women and members of LGBTQ2 community have not come forward because of fears that they will not be taken seriously, and that when it does go to court they are concerned that consent may not have been given.

This legislation can give them confidence that no means no, and that, regardless of the situation they find themselves in, whether it be through alcohol or some other situation, and their concern is that it would be interpreted differently, they can have confidence in the justice system.

This is only one piece of what is required, but it is an important step in making sure that survivors of sexual violence can come forward with confidence.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Before I go to resuming debate, I just want to remind the next speaker that, unfortunately, we will have to interrupt him for question period. He will have his remaining time when we are debating the issue after question period.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

December 11th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill C-51, the latest omnibus bill from the government. I have to say it is a bit ironic that we are debating an omnibus bill, given the fact that when the Liberals were in opposition, they made so much noise and such a fuss about omnibus bills introduced by the previous Conservative government.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal platform called omnibus bills undemocratic and the Prime Minister pledged that a Liberal government would undo the practice of introducing omnibus bills. I guess, like so many promises made by the Prime Minister during the last election campaign, this is just another broken promise in a string of broken promises made by him. It really illustrates that the Prime Minister's platform for real change was not worth the paper it was written on.

This omnibus bill contains a number of different sections and parts that are unrelated and given the fact that it contains a number of sections that are unrelated, it then comes as no surprise that parts of Bill C-51 I strongly support and other parts I have real concerns with. I will start with some of the positives.

One aspect of Bill C-51 that I strongly support is the removal of unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code. Canadians should be able to expect that the Criminal Code accurately reflects the state of the law, and yet Canadians who make that common-sense assumption would be wrong. They would be wrong because the Criminal Code contains dozens and dozens of sections that have been found to be unconstitutional.

The consequences of leaving sections in the Criminal Code that are unconstitutional can be very serious. That was most recently illustrated last year when Travis Vader's conviction for two counts of the second-degree murder of Lyle and Marie McCann was vacated after the trial judge applied a section of the Criminal Code that had been found to be unconstitutional 26 years earlier, all the way back in 1990, and yet there was the section in black and white in the Criminal Code purporting to represent the law on its face.

Lyle and Marie McCann, who were murdered, resided in St. Albert and members of the McCann family live in my community of St. Albert. I can say that the case really did have a profound impact on the community. It further strengthened the impact of the case after the family waited six years for justice. At the moment it seemed that justice had been finally achieved, we saw the injustice of having those two convictions for second-degree murder vacated.

What happened to the McCann family should never have happened. It was completely preventable. That is why, in December of 2016, I joined Bret McCann, the son of Lyle and Marie McCann, at a press conference to call on the government and the Minister of Justice to introduce legislation to repeal unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code, often referred to as zombie laws.

To that end, I am pleased that Bill C-51 would remove sections of the Criminal Code that have been found to be unconstitutional by appellate courts. I am also pleased that the government introduced Bill C-39, which would remove sections of the Criminal Code that have been found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

However, I am very disappointed with the lack of progress the government has made in the passage of Bill C-39. Bill C-39 was introduced by the Minister of Justice on March 8. Nearly a year later, absolutely no legislative progress has been made. Indeed, it remains stuck at first reading. Bill C-39 is straightforward legislation, it is not controversial, and it could be passed easily, yet the minister continues to drag her feet.

I am baffled and the McCann family is baffled and frustrated about the failure of the Liberal government to move Bill C-39 forward so unconstitutional sections, as determined by the Supreme Court, can be removed from the Criminal Code, including the section wrongfully applied in the Vader case. The inaction from the minister and the government increases the likelihood that something like what happened to the McCann family can happen again. In the event that it does, as the result of the Liberal government's inaction, the government will bear partial responsibility. I urge the government to move forward with Bill C-39 in addition to Bill C-51.

One other positive aspect about Bill C-51 is the fact that the government has finally backed down from the removal of section 176 from the Criminal Code. One of the parts of the bill is to remove unconstitutional sections, as well as sections of the Criminal Code that, in the opinion of the government, are redundant or obsolete.

Section 176 of the criminal code makes it a criminal offence to obstruct or threaten a religious official or to disrupt a religious service or ceremony. Simply put, section 176 is not unconstitutional, has never been challenged in court, and is not obsolete. Indeed, a number of individuals have been successfully prosecuted under section 176. Also, it is not redundant in as much as it is the only section of the Criminal Code that expressly protects the rights and freedoms of Canadians to practise their religion without fear or intimidation, a freedom that, by the way, is not just any freedom. When we are talking about freedom of religion, we are talking about a fundamental freedom guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I am glad the government listened to the official opposition. More important, it listened to thousands and thousands of Canadians who signed a petition, wrote letters and emails, and made phone calls to MPs and the government to keep section 176 in the Criminal Code.

Bill C-51 would remove another section of the Criminal Code that I believe should not be removed, and that is section 49. Section 49 makes it an offence to attack or harm the head of state, Her Majesty the Queen. The government has not been able to provide any meaningful rationale as to why section 49 would be removed. It has not been able to provide a rationale in debate. It has not been able to provide a rationale at committee. It could not come at a worse time. This year marks the 65th anniversary that Queen Elizabeth was ascended to the throne. It makes no sense why the Liberal government seems intent on removing section 49 from the Criminal Code.

Perhaps the most substantive part of Bill C-51 deals with amendments to the Criminal Code related to sexual assault laws in Canada. There are a number of parts of the code that Bill C-51 would amend with respect to sexual assault provisions of the code. A number of the changes in Bill C-51 would clean up the Criminal Code with respect to codifying certain Supreme Court decisions, including the J.A. decision and the Ewanchuk decisions of the Supreme Court. I fully support the parts of the bill that would clean up the Criminal Code with respect to that.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am sorry to interrupt, but the member will have nine minutes when the subject is before House after question period.

I want to remind members, as there is quite a bit of a buzz happening right now, to tone down their voices so the statements can be heard.

Kyoto ProtocolStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of a shameful moment in Canadian history. On December 12, 2011, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol. That is the Christmas gift the Conservative government gave the planet that year. It was not surprising, since Stephen Harper described the Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme” and even said that Kyoto's greenhouse gas reduction targets were stupid. Mr. Harper preferred to set his own targets to extend the life of the Alberta oil sands, targets that he set in 2015. Today, Mr. Harper is no longer a member of this House, but the Liberal government adopted the same targets that the Conservatives specifically designed to be insufficient, the targets of a climate change denying government that made its mark on Canadian history by making Canada the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jennifer O'Connell Liberal Pickering—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to remind Canadians that not everyone has a safe place to call home this holiday season.

A recent article by Jillian Follert highlighted the grave situation facing Durham region's women's shelters. Over a thousand women have been turned away from our shelters because they were already operating at overcapacity this year. In one year, Durham's four shelters housed 608 women and 320 children, fielding over 5,000 calls on its crisis line. Our region has also seen three domestic homicides in 2017. These trends are extremely alarming.

Therefore, as we prepare for the holidays, I ask residents in my community to keep these women and children fleeing violence in their minds by showing their support for local organizations. One initiative, the “Mitten Tree”, at Pickering Public Library, is collecting mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, and toiletries for Herizon House women's shelter.

If we are to stop this trend, we need men and women to become leaders in ending violence against women.

Charitable ContributionsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, Christmas is a wonderful time to focus on our charitable giving. Canadians are extremely generous, and nowhere is this more evident than in our communities. Two groups I want to mention and congratulate today are 100+ Women Who Care, with chapters in Cochrane, Airdrie and the Bow Valley, and 100 Men Who Give a Damn, in Cochrane and Airdrie.

These two great organizations show what a big difference can be made when people work together toward a common goal. Once every quarter, these organizations meet and hear pitches from local charities. The group then votes for one of the charities to receive the money. Each participant kicks in $100 per meeting, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars raised throughout the year.

Often, all of the charities end up receiving support when members step up to give a little extra, as evidenced in the first meeting of the Airdrie men, thanks to Bill Martin and others.

I want to thank all those who joined me in being a part of either the 100+ Women or 100 Men, and hope that their spirit of charity and generosity is spread across the country during this Christmas season.

Columbus CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Columbus Centre officially opened its doors in October 1980, it fulfilled a dream of the Italian Canadian community. That dream started with a vision where youth and seniors, art and science, politics and faith could all come together in a cultural space which we could call our own.

Over the years, the piazza has hosted prime ministers, Supreme Court justices, cardinals, academics, and musicians, even Luciano Pavarotti. Transcending these events are the families that come every day to see their nonnas—both of mine lived at Villa Colombo—or to drop off their kids at child care or Centro Scuola, or for a workout, or just to have an espresso at Cinquecento.

As the city grows, any case for development must respect the voices of the community first. Those voices are loud and clear, “Do not tear down the Columbus Centre”. It is more than just bricks and mortar. It is the heart of the Italian Canadian community in Toronto.

A dream that began with a million acts of kindness is now a cherished institution worth fighting for. Listen to the community.

Siamo con voi.

Christmas MarketsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I recently visited several Christmas markets in my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé. Christmas markets provide an excellent opportunity to discover and rediscover local products and crafts. These events showcase the quality of our agrifood products and the talents of artisans in our regions. What is more, by buying local, consumers are choosing high-quality products, supporting their communities, and reducing their environmental footprint. As the Christmas season begins, I encourage all my colleagues to take their families to visit the Christmas markets and local businesses in our regions.

In closing, I would also like to draw attention to the work of volunteers in our regions who make a real difference in our communities. I thank them for their generosity and their help in improving the quality of life of people in our communities. I wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

Toronto Football ClubStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Michael Levitt Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Glory in Red. An ode to Toronto FC:

The sun was setting on Saturday night, as our boys in red took the field shining so bright.
A superlative season would lie in their wake, but this was the big game, an opportunity for redemption at stake.
We were flying in the first half keeping Seattle pinned back, but sadly no goals even though we dominated attack.
The second half kicked off; TFC in full flight, then in a moment of glory Altidore struck with great might.
The celebration was wild as the fans they did roar, Red Patch Boys, Tribal Rhythm Nation, U-Sector and so many more.
As the clock wound down Vazquez put it away, ensuring TFC fans would never forget this championship day.
As the lads raised the cup our hearts filled with delight, our heroes got it done on this unforgettable night.
So here is my message as I wrap up this short ditty, your hard work and commitment bring tremendous pride to our city.
As we end 2017 and put this year to bed, we will forever have memories of our TFC champs, of their Glory in Red.

150th Anniversary of ConfederationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of the year in which Canada has celebrated its 150th birthday, we have much to be thankful for.

Thankful for the blessings of freedom, peace, and abundance. We should not take these blessings for granted, but we should guard against their erosion.

Broadcaster Paul Harvey noted that many of the world's great nations were at the height of their greatness at the 150-year mark before they decayed morally, socially, culturally, and economically.

Rights without responsibility and freedoms without restraint are recipes for disaster.

We must be careful not to rewrite history and imply that our own forefather's intentions were somehow less noble than our own.

We cannot afford to replace the rewards of the ambitious with reliance on the state.

We must emphasize the family as the core of a strong society, not government.

Canada is a nation founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. We must continually recognize the absolutes of good and evil, right and wrong.

As we look toward 2018, let us commit to re-embrace the principles that have made Canada great.

Crimean TatarsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in December 1917, 100 years ago, the Crimean Tatars proclaimed their democratic republic and launched their national assembly, the Qurultay. The Bolsheviks abolished this state and in 1944, Stalin attempted ethnocide through the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars into central Asia. Almost half perished during the deportation. However, starting in 1989, Crimean Tatars began returning home, and under independent Ukraine were provided citizenship and a formal right of return.

Sadly, history seems to be repeating itself. With Russia's 2014 military invasion and illegal occupation, the Crimean Tatars are once again facing disappearances, the murder of leaders, exile, and collective repression and persecution.

As we commemorate the centenary of the Crimean Tatar Qurultay, let us reaffirm that Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of Crimea and that Crimea is Ukraine.

Yosif Al-HasnawiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bob Bratina Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, the city of Hamilton remains in shock and sorrow over the tragic and needless loss of a teenage Good Samaritan. Yosif Al-Hasnawi died after trying to help an older person who was being threatened on the street by two young men.

Yosif was a 19-year old Brock University student whose family came from Iraq to Canada to escape the violence in their homeland. His Muslim faith and his parents taught him to help others in need, as it is stated in the Quran.

As he stood between the older man and the assailants, a gun was pulled, a shot was fired, and within an hour Yosif succumbed to a bullet wound in the head. Gone from this earth, and gone from his family, his community, and his future.

Let the Al-Hasnawi family know, my colleagues here in Parliament today, that an attack on one is an attack on all.

The Other Side of the HeroStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, all too often we take for granted those who stand ready to give their lives for us. We live safely, knowing that they stand at the ready to put themselves in harm's way.

The brave men and women who are our paramedics, our firefighters, our police officers, and our Canadian Forces put their uniforms on every day knowing full well that in their service to our country and to our community, they may experience human tragedy and that they themselves may pay the ultimate sacrifice.

These men and women have an almost mythical aura that defies the day to day, but beyond the reality that is our perception, our heroes are, like the rest of us, only human. They are not immune to the horrific circumstances they experience. It takes a toll.

I, along with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, invite all members to attend tonight the premier of the documentary, The Other Side of The Hero. “The Other Side of the Hero takes us into the world of the first responder we rarely see: life out of uniform.”

I hope all members will join us tonight at the Sir John A. Macdonald building in room 200 at 7 p.m.

Acts of HeroismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Eva Nassif Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, what could be more admirable than risking one's life to save someone else's? On May 7, Luc Vincent did not hesitate for a moment to risk his life to help someone when a car veered off a bridge and fell into the Lake of Two Mountains.

Mr. Vincent quickly returned to the scene with a boat and extra help to try to save the individual trapped in the vehicle even though the effects of hypothermia from the icy water were starting to set in. His heroism and selflessness must not be forgotten.

To Luc Vincent and others like him who were quick on their feet and put the well-being of others before their own, I thank you for your courage. Sometimes altruism can change or save a life.

Bravo, Luc.

He is a hero.

Juan de FucaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Greeks in Canada have a proud legacy as entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and community leaders. Indeed, our country is home to over 250,000 Canadians of Greek heritage.

As we reflect on Canada's 150th year, I would like to highlight the legacy of a Greek explorer. Ioánnis Fokás was born on the Greek island of Kefalonia in 1536. He was an experienced sailor, one who took missions on behalf of the Spanish court under the name Juan de Fuca to what is modern-day China, the Philippines, and Mexico. He is best known for exploring the area that now bears his name, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island and northwestern Washington state. Geological wonders, such as the Juan de Fuca Ridge, Juan de Fuca Plate, and the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on Vancouver Island's West Coast are all named after him.

On behalf of all Canadians of Greek and Kefalonian heritage, of which I am one, I salute the memory of Juan de Fuca.

[Member spoke in Greek]


International Human Rights DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize International Human Rights Day, which was observed yesterday, December 10.

While of course there are numerous examples of human rights abuses that deserve to be highlighted, I would like to emphasize the current human right situation in the Republic of Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh. I travelled to the region this summer with One Free World International and observed first-hand the conflict there, and the horrific human rights abuses inflicted upon people who ultimately only wish to live in peace. We met with mothers who have lost sons, servicemen, and others in the conflicts. I was on the site of some scenes of unspeakable horror.

I have hope for a peaceful and prosperous Artsakh, where people can live side by side with their neighbours, including Azerbaijan. The Artsakh conflict is currently mediated through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Canada is a full member.

I urge the government to condemn human rights abuses in the region and work to deter further escalation of the conflict.

Supreme Court of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 15, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Canada's longest-serving chief justice, and the first woman to lead the court, will officially retire from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Originally from Pincher Creek, Alberta, she studied philosophy and law at the University of Alberta.

She practised law in Alberta and British Columbia before joining the faculty of law at UBC in 1974.

Her 36-year judicial career started in 1981 when she was first appointed to the Vancouver County Court.

From the B.C. Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, she was appointed by Brian Mulroney as Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada on March 30, 1989, and was made Chief Justice of Canada on January 7, 2000, by Jean Chrétien.

After 28 years on the bench of the highest court in the land, including 17 years as Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin is hanging up her robes.

A truly outstanding jurist, she has been a real leader for the court and our country, and a great Canadian judicial ambassador abroad.

We will remember her sense of humour and her joie de vivre as she enjoys true moments of happiness when cooking for her family and friends, using fresh vegetables—