House of Commons Hansard #366 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consent.


Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will use one of the member's own positions as a good example. He was opposed to the last Liberal long gun registry, which was subsequently struck down by a previous Parliament. I think he supports the new backdoor registry through Bill C-71. However, I would suggest to him that if a court would make a determination on the property rights of someone impacted by Bill C-71 that would not be inoculated by the fact there was a charter statement.

I know my friend from Parkdale—High Park, who is a bright young lawyer and will be returning to his full practice after the 2019 election, wants to make hay over some of the losses of the previous government in the Supreme Court of Canada. However, I would suggest to both members that is how the system works. One cannot get a seal of approval from an adviser within the department saying “It is all good here. There is nothing to look at.” Actually, Canadians have the charter right to challenge legislation in the Supreme Court through the Oakes decision. It has set the stage for that since 1984. Since the time of the father of the Prime Minister, there have not been charter statements because we respect the role of the court.

I hear lots of criticism of the past, but I have yet to hear a substantive contribution on why that is necessary or how it adds to the legal rights and protections of Canadians.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate with the hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, who will have about eight minutes. He will have his remaining time after question period.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me a chance to speak to Bill C-51, which we are debating today.

First of all, I want to thank my colleague from Durham for doing such a great job of explaining the Conservative position, which is unequivocal in both the House and the other place. Our position is that we are in favour of a clear bill that benefits victims.

Sadly, 29 years ago, there were too many victims at the engineering school of the Université de Montréal, known as the École Polytechnique. Today is the 29th anniversary of this tragedy, which occurred in a learning institution where women were targeted. Today, we condemn violence against women, and all the members of the House believe that we need to take meaningful action and look to the future, but also look back on this extremely tragic event.

At the time, I was just graduating from the engineering school in Sherbrooke, and some of my female engineer friends, who have very successful careers today, came within a hair of getting shot by this killer. I want to salute these women, who have been working in engineering for 30 years, and all the women who followed in their footsteps by studying engineering. I think they responded to this killer in the best possible way by showing that women have a place in any sphere of our society where their talent leads them. In particular, I am thinking of my colleague in the House who also used to work as an engineer and now has an amazing career. I want to commemorate this tragic event, but I also want to salute the remarkable work these women have done.

The justice bill before us today targets one of the worst forms of violence against women: rape. That is more or less why the bill was returned to the House, and that is also why our position has not changed. We support legislative clarity.

Bill C-51 has been the subject of much debate by some of our colleagues, who are experts. The bill would simplify Canada's Criminal Code and remove redundancies. It is a housecleaning bill. It was passed in the House and sent to the Senate, and now it has been sent back to us. To maintain the bill's clarity, we intend to support the bill in its original form, as it was sent to the Senate. We want to ensure that it is crystal clear on the subject of violence against women.

Several provisions in the bill serve to remove outdated measures. This reminds me of our former justice minister. At the time, there were outdated provisions in the Criminal Code dealing with witchcraft and duelling. We are always drafting new legislation but sometimes forget to take out the old parts that are no longer relevant, so that is what this bill does.

What matters most to our party is bringing forward legislation that always put victims first and at the core of our initiatives. This bill pertains to sexual assault provisions in the Criminal Code surrounding consent, legal representation and expanding the rape shield provisions.

As members know, thanks to the efforts of our colleague in the other chamber, Senator Boisvenu, the Conservative Party created the Canadian Victims Bills of Rights and we intend to continue our work in that regard.

One provision in Bill C-51 is at the heart of today's debate. Clause 273.1 states that individuals cannot give consent if they are unconscious. It is very clear. Someone who is unconscious cannot give consent.

As my colleague from Durham just said, we need clear laws, not confusing ones. That is the purpose of this section. We want the version of the bill that we originally sent to the Senate to be passed. This is what my colleague from Durham and I are advocating for. I should point out that our Conservative colleagues in the Senate agree and do not want the bill to create confusion or create a grey area. This is why, and I repeat, we want section 273.1 to remain as is, meaning that a person who is unconscious is unable to give consent.

Some may say that this is obvious and goes without saying. If it is so obvious, why not put it in the act, so it will be clear to legal experts? This way, when they are dealing with these situations, they cannot submit various excuses. Sometimes, unfortunately, defence lawyers are good at using tricks to get the accused out of the charges. What we want is an act that supports victims, which is why we want the bill to remain unaltered.

This bill touches on other provisions that seem equally valid to us, such as section 176. Thanks to public support, we managed to save section 176. This section essentially provides protection for religious services.

The reason I bring it up today is that thanks to the work and dedication of my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, our justice critic and his team, we succeeded in reintroducing section 176, which the Liberals had tried to repeal. They put it back in, but then they diluted it by making it a lesser offence.

The government seems to have a systematic bias in favour of criminals and against victims. That is what we saw with section 176, which made it an offence to disturb a religious service. Ironically, as we were debating that bill, tragedy struck in a small town. A shooter burst in on a religious service and shot worshippers. Closer to home, in Quebec City, members will recall the tragedy at the Quebec City mosque. That is why we feel it is important to keep these provisions in the bill and strenuously defend them. I will continue my remarks after question period.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis will have 12 minutes to finish his speech after question period.

Federal-Provincial RelationsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be meeting with the premiers of Quebec and the provinces. It will be a good opportunity for him to explain what his problem is when it comes to Quebec.

For a party that does not like old conflicts, the Liberal Party has no problem inventing new ones. Over the course of three years, the Liberals have reduced their share of health transfers. They have made concessions on supply management, and they still have not compensated our farmers for the free trade agreements. They directly attacked our consumer protection legislation. They laughed in the face of Davie workers. They gave train contracts to Germany instead of Quebec. They have not yet reimbursed Quebec for costs associated with asylum seekers. The Prime Minister is going to have to explain himself. What is his problem with Quebec?

For us, the problem is not just the Prime Minister, it is all of Canada.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago, on December 7, 1988, a magnitude 7 earthquake nearly wiped out the town of Spitak in Armenia and caused significant damage to 300 other communities. That earthquake caused nearly 25,000 deaths, and left tens of thousands of people injured and more than 500,000 people homeless.

Many countries provided aid to Armenia. Today, I want to pay tribute to Canada, the Red Cross, Armenians in Canada, Canadian citizens and the provincial governments who generously sent medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the disaster victims.

I also want to pay tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces for organizing an airlift to get our aid to Armenia. This is a real testament to friendship between peoples.

Christmas GivingStatements By Members

2 p.m.


John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends and reflect on the year that has passed. While most will spend time with their families, hundreds of volunteers will spend it tending to the less fortunate across our community and country.

In Barrie—lnnisfil, I witness the kindness that knits our communities together. Dozens of organizations put presents under trees and meals on tables at this time of year.

Today, I am reminded of the Barrie & District Christmas Cheer society; Pastor Howard and Beulah Courtney of the lnnisfil Food Bank; the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign; the Cram-the-Ram campaign sponsored by the folks of 00 Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; and the South Simcoe Police “Stuff the Command Post” toy drive. That is just scratching the surface.

I would like to take this time to thank those who give of their time this holiday season and put community before themselves. I thank them for showing us what Christmas is all about.

From me, my wife Liane and my children Jeff, Court, Matt and Mitch, I wish them a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Bhimrao AmbedkarStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks 63 years since the death of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, one of India's great statesman.

Dr. Ambedkar served as the country's first law and justice minister after independence in 1947 and was one of the principal authors of India's constitution, as he chaired the constitution drafting committee.

Dr. Ambedkar held a doctorate in economics and was thus tasked with creating the Reserve Bank of India.

In 1990, he posthumously received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, becoming one of fewer than 50 people to have ever received it.

However, above all, Dr. Ambedkar was a well-known socio-political reformer who campaigned tirelessly for women's rights and against social discrimination toward the untouchables.

In partnership with the Ambedkar International Social Reform Organization, I am hosting a reception today to mark the anniversary of his death.

Members of AISRO are with us today in the House. I want to thank them for all the charitable work they do both here and in India to continue to promote the incredible legacy of social equality and justice that Dr. Ambedkar left behind.

Violence against WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, on this sombre day of remembrance for the 14 women killed on December 6, 1989, just because they were women, we honour their memory as we work toward a world without gender violence or discrimination.

Today, as we remember, let us renew our resolve to give all girls and women a world without fear, a future full of promise and possibilities.

Today, we remember: Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 28; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; and Annie Turcotte, 20.

Today, and every day, we remember.

Spanish InfluenzaStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize another tragedy in our history. One hundred years ago, the Spanish influenza swept across the world. It was especially devastating to the people of Labrador.

The Inuit communities of Sandwich Bay, Lake Melville, Hebron and Okak were left decimated by the pandemic. It took months for news of the disaster to reach the Newfoundland government and the response of the colonial secretary of the day was to send a telegram asking if any white settlers had died.

After hearing of the horrible details, the months of suffering and hardship, no statement was ever made in the legislature to acknowledge the deaths and the impact of the tragedy on the people of Labrador.

I would like to acknowledge former CBC broadcaster and Newfoundland and Labrador author Anne Budgell on her new book detailing the Spanish influenza in Labrador.

It is important, on our road to reconciliation, to acknowledge our failures and commit ourselves to learning from our history.

HazarasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak of the continued persecution of Afghanistan's indigenous people, the Hazaras. Since being forcefully displaced from their ancestral lands in the 18th century, the Hazaras have been the victims of many terrible crimes. This November alone, scores of innocent Hazaras were butchered across Afghanistan's central provinces, with entire villages razed to the ground.

Many Hazaras live among us in Canada. Ottawa's Yasir Mehrzad, a former translator with our Canadian Forces, lost his father this March in a targeted attack in Kabul. London, Ontario's late Dr. Dolatabadi was an author who tirelessly advocated for the human rights of his people.

Today, Hazara Canadians from across the country are present in the House, imploring Canadians to hear their cries.

One hundred and fifty-eight Canadian soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. We owe it to our fallen heroes to ensure that the ideals of freedom and justice that they fought and died for are realized for all Afghans and the government must ensure that aid dollars sent to Afghanistan are associated with firm expectations around human rights.

Canada must stand with the Hazaras and with all vulnerable minorities.

Crossroads InternationalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was International Volunteer Day, and today I am delighted to celebrate the work of Crossroads International, recognizing its tremendous volunteers, especially Canadians, who work around the world to alleviate poverty and inequality, particularly among women and girls.

Active for 60 years, Crossroads International links volunteers with local partners who advocate for the human rights, safety and economic success of thousands of girls and women.

Innovations coming from Crossroads volunteers drive change, support the world's most vulnerable and have a lasting impact that produces tangible results among the world's poorest.

Whether it is ensuring food security in Senegal or helping young women in Ghana tell their story, the work of Crossroads International deserves to be applauded.

I look forward to their next 60 years of making a difference.

Chief of PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to recognize Antje McNeely, an outstanding individual in my riding of Kingston and the Islands. History was made on Friday when she was sworn in as Kingston's 17th and first female chief of police.

When Chief McNeely started her career in 1985, she was just one of four women on the Kingston Police force. Rising through the ranks, she quickly defined herself as an asset to making our community safer through her work. In fact, Chief McNeely received many commendations earlier in her career for her efforts in investigations involving sexual assault and child abuse. She has been with the Kingston Police force since 1985 and has served as deputy chief since 2011.

After 33 years on the force, Chief McNeely is ready for this new challenge and it was an honour to be present at the change of command ceremony last week, when she was officially sworn in. We have a great police force in Kingston and I know Chief McNeely will only build on current achievements and make our communities safer.

I congratulate the chief.

Canada Summer Jobs InitiativeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, last summer the Liberals imposed a new restrictive, ideological values test as part of the Canada summer jobs program. Those who did not attest that they agreed with Liberal ideology did not get federal funding. Canadians, legal experts and the media were outraged and reacted overwhelmingly that discriminating against Canadians in this way was wrong and mean-spirited. The charter of rights guarantees us protection from this type of discrimination.

The Liberals refused to listen and cut off many worthy charitable organizations. The Conservatives pushed back and introduced a motion that would have allowed non-political, non-activist groups to receive funding without discrimination. The Prime Minister forced his MPs to oppose that motion.

The Prime Minister just announced that what he did was wrong and the values test will be removed. Is this announcement because next year is an election year?

Canadians now realize that the Liberal government cannot be trusted to protect their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Holiday Celebrations in Saint-JeanStatements By Members

December 6th, 2018 / 2:05 p.m.


Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Khaled Kalille helped mobilize a number of stakeholders, and thanks to his efforts, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was treated to a wonderful, magical event. The first ever Christmas parade was without question a resounding success.

I want to thank the volunteers and the participants, without whom this amazing spectacle could not have happened. People of all ages marvelled at the magic, while the spirit of the season spread throughout downtown.

A time of sharing and caring, this time of year is synonymous with solidarity, as demonstrated by the success of our fundraising drives. December 5 was International Volunteer Day, so I would like to recognize the support provided by those who get involved in our community to make it a nicer place to live.

I especially want to thank the Operation Red Nose volunteers. In its 35th year, this driving service gets people home safe.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Viola DesmondStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, like many in this chamber, I am a parent and I try diligently to read to my two young sons Zakir and Nitin whenever possible. However, I will confess that it is sometimes difficult to inculcate a love of books in young South Asian kids when they do not see themselves reflected in the novels around them.

People can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a book by Jody Nyasha Warner about a strong, brave black woman who dared to fight against racial segregation in Nova Scotia in the 1940s, a black woman who refused to give up her seat in the whites-only section of a theatre.

In Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged, suddenly my kids can see a fellow racialized person not being stereotyped but being championed for her courage in fighting against injustice. Last week, I was more proud than ever to share with my two boys two crisp new $10 bills adorned with the image of none other than Viola Desmond herself.

Going forward, what is important is that Canadians do not need to consult a bookshelf to learn about this human rights champion. We will be carrying Viola and her message about the struggle for equality with us wherever we go.

Carbon PricingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we learned just how little the Prime Minister thinks of Canadians who are actually going to have to pay his carbon tax. Saskatchewan is taking the Liberals to court to fight against the carbon tax, yet the Prime Minister said that any citizens group that represented taxpayers should not get intervenor status. This means that Canadians who have to drive to work and heat their homes should not have a say in the Liberal carbon tax scheme.

Who does? The David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defence, radical environmental groups that get foreign funding to fight against Canada's oil and gas industry. They will get intervenor status, but hard-working Canadians will not.

This is absolutely ridiculous, but it should not be a surprise. The Prime Minister has made it his goal to phase out Alberta's oil and gas industry. According to the Liberals, everything is going as planned. We will not stand for it. Canadians understand the carbon tax will kill jobs and ruin our economy.

Christkindl MarketStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the most wonderful time of the year in my community of Kitchener Centre. For over two decades, residents of the city of Kitchener have come together in the heart of our community to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season.

The annual Christkindl Market celebrates Kitchener's German heritage and the very best of German cuisine, drink, arts, crafts and holiday cheer. Dozens of festive outdoor huts and food stands line our main street, treating residents and tourists to the sights and smells of the holiday season.

People can ring in their holidays with Christmas choirs, dance groups, live nativity scenes and a candlelight procession and help bring our community to life, as we welcome 40,000 visitors from across North America.

My staff and I invite all to join us this year, until December 9, to take part in this wonderful holiday tradition in the largest and oldest German community in the country.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in early October, IPCC experts published an alarming report on the need to take immediate action to protect the environment. According to that report, it is not too late, but time is running out.

Another study also found that, if every country were to do what Canada is doing right now, global temperatures would rise by 5°C.

Nevertheless, the Liberals continue to focus on expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline and are using taxpayers' money to triple its capacity. Meanwhile, all the Conservatives can think about is bringing back energy east, which would be just as bad for the environment.

Fortunately, not everything is a bleak as the debates in the House between the Liberals and the Conservatives. I congratulate the thousands of Quebeckers who demonstrated in early November to ask Parliament to help our planet. Over 1,000 concerned citizens took to the streets in Sherbrooke to ask our governments to change course.

I promised these brave citizens that, if the government did not hear the call of the demonstrators who were speaking on behalf of our planet, then I would pass the message on to the House myself.

Obviously, the government has still not heeded the urgent call to help the planet. I am therefore asking the Liberals and the Conservatives to set aside their ideology and to finally do what it takes to save the only planet we have.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 29th anniversary of the horrific murder of 14 women at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal.

In honour of them, we take a moment to pause and remember the lives they lived, the dreams they held and the future that was robbed from them. We stand with their loved ones and their communities as we remember them. They were sisters, daughters, mothers and they were friends.

Sadly, 29 years later, violence against women and girls still persists.

As legislators and leaders in our country, it is incumbent upon all of us to work together to create a Canada where justice for victims is rightly served and violence against women and girls has no place.

As men and women in the House, as role models in our communities, let us commit to taking a stand against violence and for equality. Let us work together to build a society where violence has no place. We remember them.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this day 29 years ago, a serious act of senseless violence against women occurred.

I remember December 6, 1989, as if it were yesterday. It was snowing and I was working at the family business. I remember that when news of the shooter at École Polytechnique hit, I immediately felt a pang of anguish at the thought that some of my employees went to and were at École Polytechnique.

Fourteen women were killed in this misogynistic attack. In an instant, 14 young women who had their whole lives ahead of them were killed simply because they were women.

Now that I am a mother, I better understand the void that the loss of these 14 brilliant women left in the lives of their loved ones.

When I think about the École Polytechnique massacre, I cannot imagine someone taking the lives of young women simply because they were women.

This senseless gender-based violence must stop.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand that there is agreement to observe a moment of silence.

I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of the tragic event that took place 29 years ago at École Polytechnique in Montreal.

[A moment of silence observed]

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan


Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the wonderful tributes that were made today in the House commemorating the lives lost during the tragedy we are remembering today.

The Prime Minister's failure when it comes to the energy sector has become a full-blown crisis. Thousands of people and their communities are being impacted, and news of the latest layoffs appears almost daily, and yet the Prime Minister had to be shamed into even talking about this crisis with the premiers tomorrow. It is like he wishes this problem would just go away and solve itself.

Why is it that the premiers had to resort to threats before the Prime Minister would even agree to discuss the crisis facing our energy sector?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec


Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, these are important opportunities to discuss how we can create jobs and economic growth in every sector across the country.

The discussions will focus on trade diversification, competitiveness, and how climate change and clean energy initiatives stimulate growth.

The agenda will include a discussion on the oil industry and the impact the drop in oil prices is having on our energy sector and its workers. We will always support that sector and its workers.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan


Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the impacts of low oil prices are well understood. It is having a devastating effect on the hard-working people in the energy sector. However, it is the reason why there is a low price for Canadian oil, and the impacts of that are caused by the Liberal government's policies. It is not just trying to block premiers from talking about the energy crisis on the agenda, the Liberal government is also trying to block citizens' groups representing taxpayers, who are trying to have their voices heard on the carbon tax during the court case. However, the government is allowing groups funded by foreign entities like the David Suzuki Foundation and Environmental Defence.

If the Prime Minister is so confident in the merits of his tax, why is he blocking grassroots organizations from fighting it?