House of Commons Hansard #251 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was historic.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1304Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

With regard to the First Nations-Canada Joint Committee on the Fiscal Relationship: (a) what are the names and titles of each member of the Committee; (b) has the list of committee members changed since December 12, 2016; (c) what are the titles of all briefing notes provided to the Committee between December 13, 2016, and October 30, 2017, by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; (d) what are the details of all meetings of the Committee, including, for each meeting, the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) agenda, (iv) minutes; (e) what are the total travel costs covered by the government for the Committee; (f) what are the total accommodation costs covered by the government for the Committee; (g) what is the daily per diem rate, which members of the Committee are entitled to; and (h) what is the total paid out in per diem for the Committee?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1305Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

With regard to the Privy Council Office and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: (a) what is the total amount of money allocated to the Privy Council Office from the National Inquiry's budget; (b) how was the money referred to in (a) spent, and what is the itemized breakdown of all such expenditures; (c) how many employees within the Privy Council Office have been assigned to the National Inquiry between August 1, 2016, and present; and (d) what action has the Privy Council Office taken to support the National Inquiry?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1306Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

With regard to Motion M-42 on tax avoidance in Barbados, voted on by the House on October 26, 2016: (a) was there any analysis by the Department of Finance; (b) did the Minister of Finance notify his department of the motion; (c) did the Department provide any recommendations regarding the motion; (d) did the Department request a legal opinion on the legality of paragraph 5907(11.2)(c) and subsection 5907(11) of the Income Tax Regulations; (e) did the Minister submit a position on the motion to the Treasury Board; (f) did the Minister provide his colleagues with a proposed position on the motion; (g) did the Minister discuss the motion with his colleagues; (h) did the Minister discuss the motion with the Prime Minister; (i) did the position in (e) include his department’s recommendations; (j) did the Minister recuse himself from his caucus’s discussions on the motion; (k) did the Minister recuse himself from any discussions on this matter since the last election; (l) did the Minister reveal to the Department during discussions on Motion M-42 that he was potentially in a conflict of interest as a Morneau-Sheppel shareholder; (m) did the Minister reveal the magnitude of the amount he had at stake in the debate on Motion M-42; (n) before legalizing tax avoidance by the Cooks Islands, did the Minister notify the Prime Minister; (o) does the Department have a legal opinion stating that paragraph 5907(11.2)(c) of the Income Tax Regulations meets the requirements of the Canada-Barbados Income Tax Agreement Act, 1980; and (p) under which section of the Income Tax Act did the government adopt subsection 5907(11) of the Income Tax Regulations?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 1312Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

December 13th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

With regard to housing investments and housing assets held by the government: (a) how much federal funding has been spent in Burnaby on housing over the period of 1995-2017, broken down by year; (b) how much federal funding is scheduled to be spent on housing in Burnaby over the period of 2015-2019, broken down by year; (c) how much federal funding has been invested in cooperative housing in Burnaby over the period of 1995-2017, broken down by year; (d) how much federal funding is scheduled to be invested in cooperative housing in Burnaby over the period of 2015-2019, broken down by year; (e) how many physical housing units were owned by the government in Burnaby over the period of 1995-2017, broken down by year?; (f) how many physical housing units owned by the government are scheduled to be constructed in Burnaby over the period of 2015-2019, broken down by year; and (g) what government buildings and lands have been identified in Burnaby as surplus and available for affordable housing developments?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

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

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by eight minutes.

Pursuant to order made earlier this day, the House will now proceed to the consideration, at third reading, of Bill C-66, an act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other acts.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise on this particular bill.

Today Canadians who were unjustly convicted because of who they love are one step closer to clearing their names and moving on with their lives. They were victims of past federal policies and practices that under no circumstances would hold up in Canada today. They were systematically discriminated against and demeaned, and they spent much of their lives with all the repercussions of a criminal record, unable, in some cases, to find work, or even travel with their families. They were made to feel as though they had committed a major crime, and they were made to feel as though their sexual orientation could determine whether or not they had a chance in life.

Many tried to fight their convictions and lost. Some waited decades for redress, and others nearly half a century. Tragically, some did not live to see this day.

Today we are sending all of them and their loved ones a clear message when we move this legislation forward: their country is deeply sorry. Their country was wrong. Their country wants to make amends and help their healing process.

I would like to take a moment today to thank all members, on both sides of the House, for their dedication to moving this bill forward. I would also like to thank all the activists and all those who have fought for more than 50 years and put themselves in danger to demand these changes over the past five decades.

We have accounted for these issues by adding the provision that in cases where court or police records are not available, sworn statements may be accepted as evidence.

Second, I would like to speak to some of the questions we have heard concerning bawdy house laws. To be clear, bawdy house laws were intended to capture a broad scope of acts deemed immoral at the time. What this bill would do is deal with charges under gross indecency, buggery, and anal intercourse, which were used under the Criminal Code to victimize LGBTQ2 people systematically. We have enumerated those in the schedule to make sure we are being precise and clear.

Some have raised questions about whether we are simply passing the legislation and then leaving the rest to the LGBTQ2 community. That would be a mischaracterization. Once the bill passes, the government will undertake a proactive outreach process for potential applicants to increase awareness of the initiative as well as the criteria and the application process.

The government will work closely with federal partners and stakeholders from the LGBTQ2 community to inform those applicants. We will not leave members of the LGBTQ2 community in the dark. We have set aside $4 million over two years to implement the process, and I am confident that the process will be sound, efficient, and effective.

The Parole Board, once applications are made, will determine, case by case, successful applications, and successful applicants will have their records of convictions permanently destroyed. The RCMP can then destroy any records of convictions it has in its custody, and it can direct other federal departments or agencies to do the same. The expungement order will then be communicated to other courts and police forces as appropriate.

The bill would also allow the Parole Board of Canada to refuse to issue expungements in certain circumstances. More information on the application process will soon be available to potential applicants. It will not be long after the bill receives royal assent that the Parole Board could begin accepting applications.

The suffering the LGBTQ2 community has endured will not be forgotten. The government will contribute a minimum of $15 million for projects to record and memorialize the tragedy of the past and the hope for the future. That includes a national monument here in Ottawa and an education package concerning discrimination against LGBTQ2 Canadians.

I am proud to stand behind the government's efforts to improve life for our LGBTQ2 community.

I invite my hon. colleagues to help eliminate discrimination and right the wrongs committed against the LGBTQ2 community by joining me in giving their full support to Bill C-66.

Before I end, let me say, on behalf of the Prime Minister, the House leader, and all of my colleagues on this side of the House, a very merry Christmas and happy new year to you, Mr. Speaker, and your family, to all parliamentarians and staff for their hard work, to the Clerk and all table officers, to all branches and services of the House administration, to all the families connected to the Houses of Parliament, and to all the loved ones present here today and those we remember because they are now in our prayers and no longer able to be with us. I wish the pages good luck in their exams, and may they have much success in their future endeavours.

Feliz Navidad, merry Christmas, and happy new year.

Merry Christmas to all and to everyone in this place.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have had some constituents contact me about the process by which expungement will occur. For example, if someone has passed away and does not have a family member who can advocate for the record to be expunged, is there going to be a process by which someone else could step into the gap so that there is equality in how the expungement occurs down the road?

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member across the way for her support and the work she has done in her caucus and on matters related to the LGBTQ2 community. It is a good question. It is a question we will look into.

The provisions in the legislation right now are that family members can apply posthumously on behalf of their family members, and we will go through that process. There will be the ability to have sworn affidavits in cases where particular police documents do not exist. I will take the hon. member's question to heart and share it with the minister's department.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his remarks today, as well as the government and the official opposition for co-operating to get this legislation to this point before we rise for Christmas.

I have a concern with the remarks that the hon. member made about the use of bawdy house laws and why they are excluded from this bill. The member must be familiar with the history of police raids on public places frequented by gay men, either gay bars or bathhouses, which were defined as places of prostitution when they were not clearly. This was part of police campaigns to persecute gay men for consensual same-sex activity.

It seems peculiar to me that he is saying—and I hope I am wrong, but I thought I heard him say—that the government is not willing to add to the schedule of offences the use of bawdy house laws, because the Prime Minister included the bathhouse raids and entrapment of gay men in his apology. It seems peculiar to me that the list of offences currently in the bill is narrower than the apology that the Prime Minister gave. I am hopeful the Liberals will correct this, as the bill would allow them to do, as soon as it becomes law.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member across the way for his leadership on LGBTQ2 issues and the work that he has done in his caucus to get us to this stage.

What is important to understand is that at this stage the bill is speaking to offences related to buggery, anal intercourse, and gross indecency. That is the very clear position of our government. We are listening to the community, as we have done for many months and, indeed, years. We understand where communities are coming from and it is important to say that we understand the devastating consequences that bathhouse raids had on communities. That is why the Prime Minister mentioned the culture of fear and discrimination that our government was part of creating. We take the hon. member's comments to heart as well.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have some of the same concerns that my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke has raised, and I am sure the member is familiar with these criticisms, which I will put to him.

Gary Kinsman, for instance, a professor emeritus of sociology from Laurentian University, as a historian, noted that the bill does not cover what it needs to cover. Specifically, bawdy house offences are particularly concerning. I want to quote what Gary Kinsman said, which is that this bill “doesn’t cover what it needs to cover. And it’s also been done without any consultation with people in the LGBTQ, two-spirited communities. None of us who are historians and experts on the sexual history of Canada and the sexual regulation of same-sex sexuality have been consulted.”

It is really welcome. I know we are speeding this through before Christmas and we do not usually like to hesitate in passing something that is in the general direction of righting past injustices, but how does the government propose to deal with the exclusions of really significant offences, for which people have records that should be expunged?

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's work in this area and her commitment to human rights. She will understand well that the 2005 Supreme Court decision on Labaye took a lot of the teeth that were in the legislation pertaining to bawdy house laws out of the legislation. What is important to note is the fact that in its current state, there is no jurisprudence that indicates that the current state of the law post-2005 Labaye would violate charter provisions. That is something we are mindful of.

What is important to note is that this legislation is historical. The Government of Canada stepping in to expungement is something that has never been done before and we take the member's recommendations and comments to heart.

Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure and it is a great privilege and honour to stand in this place and speak on behalf of this legislation.

For those who may be watching and are wondering what we are doing on the last day before we rise for the December adjournment, we are debating Bill C-66, an act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other acts.

This enactment would create a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and provides for the destruction or removal of the judicial records of those convictions from federal repositories and systems.

This enactment would provide an application for an expungement order that might be made for respective convictions involving consensual sexual activity between same-sex persons related to the offences of gross indecency, buggery, and anal intercourse.

The enactment provides that the Governor in Council may add certain offences to the schedule and establish criteria that must be satisfied for expungement of a conviction to be ordered.

What does that mean?

I would like to translate what that means and why this legislation is so important to somebody who is a Calgarian. As a Calgary MP, I just want to take a moment and talk about him, because he and many others are the reason why this legislation needs to occur in the first place and “him” of course is Everett Klippert.

I want to thank Kevin Allen, a Calgarian, who has been working on absolutely important work. It is called the Calgary Gay History Project. He is writing a history of this topic in Calgary and he has been doing it for many years. He was very helpful in the consultation that I undertook on this particular issue. This is from him:

Despite homosexuality being a criminal offence in 1960s Canada, and [Klippert's] multiple convictions of gross indecency, he was always frank and truthful in his interactions with the state, even though he paid a severe penalty for that honesty.

When Calgary Police questioned him about the 18 names in his little black book, which was also his dating record, he confessed to having had homosexual relations with them all.

In Pine Point, NWT, local RCMP brought Klippert in for questioning and threatened him with an arson charge of which he was innocent. Using it as leverage to open Klippert up about his sex life, he readily confessed to having had intimate relations with four men there.

In every court case, he pled guilty. A court psychiatrist reported that Klippert told him his “homosexual behaviour had existed since the age of 15; that to him homosexual activity [was] his only satisfactory sexual outlet. He found the thought of heterosexual conduct abhorrent. He told me that he never had heterosexual relations.”

Gay activist and lawyer Douglas Saunders interviewed the incarcerated Klippert in December 1967 in what he described as “the fortress-like Penitentiary at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.” His unjust treatment gave his convictions a certain resolve. Klippert told Saunders: “If I meet someone on the outside now and he asks me, I'll say sure I'm a homosexual, what are you? I'm not going to be ashamed of it anymore.”

Klippert who grew up Christian took comfort in his prison bible and noted Psalm 22:24 to Saunders: “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

This man should not have been incarcerated. I do not know what more to say than that. This legislation is important because it would reverse that. I cannot imagine. I read John Ibbitson's piece on him. He noted how his family was reluctant to talk because they did not want to have to revictimize him posthumously.

I am really glad that we are pushing this legislation through the House of Commons, because one of the things that I stand behind in my party and in our policies declaration is a belief in the equality of all Canadians. It is right there.

Every once in a while as Canadians we really have to think about what equality means. It is a beautiful thing for me to be able, generations after Mr. Klippert, to think that there is no situation in which my government would persecute me based on who I love or what I do in my personal life.

Can members imagine what the people who are subject to this bill had to go through? The stories that I heard when I went through the consultation for the apology were the antithesis of what equality means. I heard from someone whose lesbian partner at that point in time was actually physically hauled out of her house for questioning on allegations of her sexual preference. There was the “fruit machine”. I have had people write into my office and say, “the government is spending so much on this apology”. We spent a lot of taxpayer dollars back then persecuting people. We spent a lot of taxpayer dollars developing a “fruit machine”. That is a dark point in Canada's history. If we are going to stand up and talk about equality, there cannot be partisan differences. It just should be something that we all accept, and that is why this bill is important.

For people who had to go through a criminal conviction or suffered employment loss or anything that gave them a record based on whom they love, that is not equality, that is not Canadian, that is a violation of human rights. If we stand here as Canadians and talk about how we comport ourselves in international relations when we demand other countries to behave certain ways, we had better be getting it right at home, consistently, all the time.

What this bill is trying to do, in its spirit, is a no-brainer. I appreciate that my colleagues are bringing up technical points. I know that my colleagues within our party have brought up some technical points too. My colleague across the way acknowledged that this is the first time, I believe, that expungement happened. We are, in good faith, believing that this bill will do what it is intended to do. There will be time to hold the government to account on that, certainly. I am very pleased to be here today to say that there is no question that this should happen. I want to be very clear about that. From the bottom of my heart and from the depth of my soul, if we want to believe in the equality of all Canadians, no Canadian should have a criminal record for loving somebody. It is really as simple as that.

It is really cool to be able to stand up and support this bill, and I think it is really cool that this bill has all parties' support. It is something that Canada can celebrate internationally. I encourage individuals who have questions or concerns about this bill to really have a hard think about the rights that they have as Canadians, to really have a hard think about what equality means for them. If we do not make everybody equal, we have lost what it means to be Canadian. Whom one loves should not be a question of equality. There should not be historical or current criminal penalties for that. There should not be discrimination against that. It is just wrong.

To you, Mr. Speaker, and for all of my colleagues in this House, it is fantastic and pretty cool that we are debating something of such importance as we rise for Christmas break. Every once in a while, we do something here that resembles work. Because I am not sure anyone has ever done this in the House before, I am going to quote RuPaul, “If you can't love yourself how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

Merry Christmas.