House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was training.

Topics

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity today to speak in favour of Bill C-3, an act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code, an incredibly important bill that could help make Canada a safer place for women and girls in all corners of the country.

I would like to begin by thanking Rona Ambrose for bringing this issue to the forefront in the first place.

This is a bill that I feel extremely passionate about because I am a woman who grew up in what could be considered a rough neighbourhood. I spent the first 28 years of my life in the Chameran neighbourhood in my riding of Saint-Laurent, where I often saw violence take place before my eyes at the park across from where I lived.

As a little girl and later as a teenager and a young woman, I always felt like I was in danger coming home alone after dark.

I took public transit, and the closest bus stop was a five-minute walk from my house. Often I would run home as fast as I could, worried that someone could hurt me at any moment.

If we lived in a world without crime against women, where women were not victimized so much, I would not have felt so anxious on a daily basis at such a young age. So many girls and I are afraid to walk alone and take public transit at night.

Perhaps the craziest part about this is that we are taught from a young age to be careful and not talk to strangers, because they may kidnap us or harm us in some way. We are taught to protect ourselves from the outside world, when we know, or at least we learn if we take the time to study sexual assault data, that in over half of sexual assault cases, the perpetrators are people the victims know. They are family members, friends, significant others, neighbours and acquaintances. When it does happen at the hands of someone we know, we have no idea how to process it or what to do.

We have a culture where people get away with sexual assaults, a rape culture, either because the victims never report these crimes to begin with or because a very small percentage of the cases that are reported result in a conviction. According to the 2014 general social survey, an annual survey that monitors changes in Canadian society and provides information on specific policy issues of current or emerging interests, only 5% of sexual assaults were reported that year. It is important to look into the reasons that victims of sexual assault choose to remain silent, because ensuring that more people come forward is the only way to change the awful statistics around reporting and convicting sexual assault crimes.

One of the main reasons people choose not to testify is a lack of trust in the criminal justice system. They think the court will not believe their story, they feel ashamed or embarrassed, or they believe that there is not enough evidence to prove what happened to them. In some cases, because the attacker may be someone close to the victim, the victim fears or even feels sympathy for the attacker. Many victims have said that getting help from the authorities was just as traumatizing as the attack.

Let's not forget that more than half of the victims who choose to testify lose their case in court. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, only 42% of court decisions in cases of sexual assault involving adults resulted in a guilty verdict.

It is a vicious cycle. At least 95% of cases are not reported, meaning that more than 95% of perpetrators of this kind of violence never receive any consequence whatsoever, and so they continue. At the same time, because such a small number of cases are reported, around 5%, and of that small number, an even smaller number receive a guilty verdict, approximately 2%, women do not feel encouraged to come forward.

Sexual assault is a gendered crime. Women are almost four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than men. Statistics Canada has reported that 30% of women in Canada, compared with 8% of men, have been sexually assaulted at least once since the age of 15. That is 4.7 million women and 1.2 million men who have been victims of sexual assaults. The age group most likely to experience sexual assault is between the ages of 15 and 24 years old.

In three studies completed by Justice Canada with survivors of sexual assault, participants were asked to rate their level of confidence in the police, the court process, and the criminal justice system in general. Two-thirds stated that they were not confident in the system. Those living in the provinces were more confident in the police than those living in the territories.

We must do better. There is a serious problem when victims are afraid to report crimes committed against them, especially when the crimes have long-term effects. Victims of sexual assault can often experience physical, emotional, psychological and sexual repercussions that are different from those suffered by victims of other crimes.

Survivors should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, and through Bill C-3, our government commits to taking steps toward that goal. Bill C-3 is designed to strengthen training requirements for newly appointed judges and provide them with important insights into the myths and stereotypes that too often surround sexual assault. It would ensure that judges participate in broader training on social context, including social or cultural factors that may influence and affect an individual's engagement with the justice system. All relevant training would be done through the National Judicial Institute to ensure judicial independence.

In budget 2017, our government provided the Canadian Judicial Council with $2.7 million over five years, and half a million dollars per year thereafter, to ensure that more judges have access to professional development, with a greater focus on gender and cultural sensitivity training. Budget 2018 provided funding for a number of targeted investments to help eliminate gender-based violence and harassment while promoting security of the person and access to justice. This included $25.4 million over five years to boost legal aid funding across the country, with a focus on supporting victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

These changes are aimed at enhancing the equality, privacy and security of the person rights of complainants by countering the myths and stereotypes that have persisted in our criminal justice system, while also balancing the rights of the accused, consistent with relevant Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence. These myths include deeply rooted beliefs about how “real victims” react to sexual assault and myths about the reliability of women's testimony when they make sexual assault complaints.

In June 2017, the government launched its action plan to address gender-based violence, entitled “It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence”.

This co-ordinated multi-sector strategy is based on three pillars, namely prevention, support for survivors and their families, and promotion of responsive legal and justice systems. The government has invested substantial amounts to support the implementation of this whole-of-government initiative to address gender-based violence, co-ordinate existing programs and lay the foundation for greater action.

All this is to say that our government aims to end gender-based violence and has consistently worked toward this end. I strongly encourage all members in the House to vote in favour of Bill C-3, as it helps give a voice to survivors of sexual assault and harassment and helps us make the world a better place for Canadians.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, in her speech, my colleague mentioned that the reporting of sexual assault cases is very low. What, in her opinion, is the best mechanism to encourage more cases to be reported?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, in my opinion, if more of the victims of sexual assault who came forward were believed when they pleaded their cases, it would encourage more women to come forward. One of the main reasons women do not come forward is, as I mentioned, the awful statistics regarding sexual assaults and the outcomes of these trials. If our judges were better trained and knew how to pick up on when someone has been assaulted or were more culturally sensitized to these issues, I believe more women would come forward and the system would be more trusted by people.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate the member for her speech. I thought it was heartfelt, profound and deeply personal, which is something we do not often see in the House. I commend her for that.

I think that almost everyone in the House agrees on this bill, but I do want to ask her a quick question. Does she think that the bill goes far enough?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, of course it is always possible to go further. This is a good starting point, but I would obviously like to see it go further in the future.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her courage in sharing her personal story. Certainly, as New Democrats, we are strongly in favour of supporting the bill. I just want to go on the record and say that, as a man, I never have to worry about walking late at night and being the victim of a sexual assault.

I would like to ask the hon. member this. In outlining the three pillars the government is taking to dismantle rape culture, as it relates to prevention, what would be some of her ideas and priorities in getting to the root of the matter and preventing this rape culture that has been perpetrated on women by men?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, it is really about making sure we are teaching our girls and boys from a young age to counter this. Our thoughts and beliefs about women and men and about how we treat each other stem from the way we were raised in our homes and the way we were taught things growing up. I believe that eventually prevention would be about tackling this at a young age and finding ways to get it into the education system or to just get it out there as quickly as possible to make sure that young boys and girls know the consequences of these types of actions at all levels.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Laurent for her courage, honesty and candour with respect to her comments.

The member touched upon the idea of victim control, which is the idea that the responsibility lies with women to prevent sexual violence by controlling their behaviour, their actions, how they dress, etc. Could she elaborate on that kind of myth and stereotyping and how this bill is trying to address and correct this phenomenon by educating those in our justice system on eradicating such myths and stereotypes?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, in my view, there are people who have very traditional views on how women should act. Unfortunately, these are ancient and should be a thing of the past, because women should be independent and able to act the way they want. Men should be responsible for their actions. It should not be the women who take responsibility for the actions of men when they overstep or cross boundaries they should not. I really hope the bill helps us train judges to make sure this no longer happens and that women are believed and treated as human beings with equal rights to men.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

There was a bit of a problem with the audio again at the end. I want to remind members to make sure that, when they are coming to us virtually, they wear the headset provided by the House of Commons because it helps the interpreters to ensure that everybody hears what everyone is saying.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I want to note that I will be splitting my time with the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

First of all, I am honoured today to rise to speak to Bill C-3. This is legislation that would ensure that sexual assault sensitivity training is required for judges who are being appointed to a superior court. While I am very encouraged to see the bill reintroduced, I must admit that I am equally disappointed that the bill has to yet again restart the legislative process.

This is the third time that the legislation has been introduced, and the latest reintroduction is due to nothing more than the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament to hide from his own ethical scandals. This needed legislation is just one of the issues that has taken a back seat and has been unprioritized due to the Prime Minister's self-interested actions.

Before I get too far ahead in my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the original author of the legislation, the hon. Rona Ambrose, who first brought forward this piece of legislation in 2017. It builds on her steadfast work to support women and girls here at home but also around the world. I thank her for not only introducing this legislation but for continuing to tirelessly advocate to see that it is passed.

All Canadians should have confidence in our public institutions, but unfortunately, the reality is that many survivors of sexual violence feel hopeless in the face of our justice system. As legislators, we have a responsibility to address that. The statistics around sexual violence in Canada are devastating. They are heartbreaking. They affirm that the bill is timely, yet at the same time, these statistics also affirm that the bill is incredibly overdue.

In Canada, one in six men will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes. For women, that number is much higher. One in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, and indigenous women and girls are at a much higher risk. Of those incidents, however, only 5% are reported to police and that number should be much higher. This means that the majority of survivors of sexual violence choose not to report it to the authorities. This begs the important question of why. Why do survivors of sexual violence and sexual assault in Canada choose not to report to the police?

A study based on self-reported data from the Department of Justice revealed that two-thirds of the participants stated that they were not confident in the police, the court process or the criminal justice system in general. That is why this piece of legislation is so important.

It is certainly a positive step that in recent years conversations around sexual assault and sexual violence have come into focus, including discussions around consent and healthy relationships. Whether it is breaking myths, calling out victim blaming, reducing shame or giving victims a voice, this move towards greater understanding has the potential to empower survivors of sexual violence.

We would be naive to think that there is just one reason that survivors choose not to come forward. As legislators, we cannot ignore the overwhelming number of survivors of sexual violence who have indicated that they do not have confidence in our legal system. Through the legislation we have the ability to do better for survivors, and we should.

Survivors of crime should always be at the heart of our criminal justice system. By identifying and announcing measures to increase confidence in our courts and our legal system, we can help ensure that our criminal justice system is victim-centric, and we can take practical steps toward helping restore confidence in it. It takes courage for survivors of sexual assault to come forward, and the bill is a tangible way we can support and empower survivors to come forward.

As we know, the bill would require lawyers who are vying to be appointed as a judge in a superior court to commit to taking sexual assault law and social context training. This training will help ensure that superior court judges have the knowledge and skills that are needed to ensure survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity and respect.

The number of cases in recent years where judges have made comments shaming and blaming the survivor of sexual violence underscores the importance of this. There were comments like, “Why couldn't you just keep your knees together?” or “Clearly, a drunk can consent.” These inappropriate comments have made national headlines, and these types of ill-considered words have, no doubt, had an impact on the public's confidence in our judges to preside fairly and impartially over sexual violence cases.

Just the same, these events could deter a survivor from coming forward. As I have already stated, it takes courage to come forward, and there are many reasons why a survivor may hesitate. In going to trial, victims may be required to come face to face again with aggressors. They may be faced with retelling or reliving their experience. They could fear that their case will not result in a conviction; that in process, they might be revictimized; that their case might not be presided over in an impartial manner or on the basis of law and evidence only; or even that they might find themselves publicly blamed. The reasons could be endless. That is why it is not hard to imagine why there is a trend not to report sexual violence.

Of course, in pursuing the legislation, it is not meant to paint every judge and every lawyer with the same brush. It is not drafted with the intent to solely assign blame to the judiciary, nor is it drafted to overstep on judiciary independence. By mandating sexual assault sensitivity training, not only can we help ensure that judges presiding over sexual assault cases properly understand sexual assault law, but we can also help ensure that survivors are respected and treated fairly. We can help ensure that personal biases or societal biases do not influence judicial decision-making. We can also help ensure that judges have the training and the know-how to be more conscientious of their word choices in presiding over these cases.

By requiring judges to provide written reasons for their rulings in cases of sexual assault, the legislation would also take steps to enhance judicial accountability. I would also note that in leaving the development and provision of training and education to the Canadian Judicial Council, the bill appropriately respects the separation of powers. It is within the purview of Parliament to implement mechanisms to strengthen and encourage confidence in our public institutions.

Passing the legislation is a starting point for supporting survivors of sexual assault. Survivors should never be revictimized, no matter the crime. It is not just in superior courts that survivors of sexual assault should be interacted with using a victim-centric approach. Sexual assault survivor advocates make it clear that myths and victim-blaming attitudes exist at every step of the way, and that there are many deterrents in reporting incidents. That is why eliminating rape myths and victim-blaming attitudes should be the goal in all circumstances.

Where there is a need, we should also look at better training and accountability in other public institutions, but today we are considering measures to improve public confidence in our justice system. Given that this proposed legislation would give us the opportunity to proactively take action to support survivors of sexual assault, we should act. If it is within our jurisdiction to support them and we fail to act, then we are failing them. That is why I am very pleased that we are debating the legislation today, and that we are looking at tangible, real steps to help improve accountability and confidence in our justice system.

These discussions are very important. I hope that this debate continues to be victim-centric and that we continue to be focused on ensuring that our justice system treats survivors of sexual assault fairly. We all have a duty to ensure that victims of crime are at the heart of our criminal justice system. Because of that, we will give survivors of sexual assault greater confidence in our justice system, and that greater confidence is needed to change the status quo.

No longer can we allow the majority of sexual assault crimes to go unreported. We can do better.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster underscoring the importance of this bill, and I fully agree with that.

I am wondering if she may be able to comment on the delays in the passage of this bill that were posed by Conservative senators in the last Parliament, and indeed by the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, who denied unanimous consent to send this through second reading into committee last Friday.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I have two points. First, I never think we can talk about sexual violence and sexual harassment enough. The more we have these conversations, the more destigmatization can happen. This is part of taking the layers off education as well.

Second, we were prorogued for six weeks. This was reintroduced and this is the third time it has been reintroduced. We would not be in a third time if the Prime Minister and the Liberals had chosen not to prorogue Parliament. Before there is blaming on the delay of this passage, there needs to maybe be some members who look in the mirror.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

I am very happy that we agree that action on Bill C-3 is long overdue.

I heard her denounce the Liberals' decision to prorogue, which delayed the passage of this bill. We would not have had to wait for third reading, which was delayed by the Liberals' decision to prorogue, if the Conservatives had unanimously agreed to send this bill directly to the Senate. It would not have come to this, and the bill might already be law.

What does the member have to say about that?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, from what I understand, even if this bill passed today and went to the Senate, the Senate is not sitting until October 27. Even if this passed today, it would still be held up. It would not necessarily be in this chamber but that chamber, and frankly, Parliament should just not have been prorogued. We would not even be having this conversation.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate we are finally able to find some common ground in this House. Without getting too excited about that, I have to note that Conservatives have a history of cutting funding to women's lobbies, advocacies and research groups, yet we know those very groups are organizing around gender equity and women's issues, taking the time to understand the impacts of sexual assault and gender-based violence in their communities.

Does the member agree women's and LGBTQ+ trans communities specifically must be consulted in developing the continuing education program on the issues of sexual assault and social context?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, this goes back to my response to one of my first questions. I do not think we can talk about sexual harassment and sexual violence enough.

It happens in every community, it happens in every age demographic and almost every type of workplace. It is not just certain types of places where this happens. The more we have the conversations and the more we talk about this and bring education to the forefront, the better. It comes from people sharing their experiences and being vulnerable, but it also takes the people they are talking with to be respectful and understanding of their experiences.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Bratina Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, why, if this was so important and prorogation was so evil, did the member vote against the throne speech? We need to thank the NDP for this conversation being held today.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I am from Saskatchewan. I represent agriculture and energy workers, and they have been left behind and purposefully left out of that throne speech. That is one of the reasons I voted against it.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to continue the discussion on Bill C-3, an act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code.

I am going to start where the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster left off. She did an excellent job on speaking to the issue. However, the questions that followed from the government were not about the importance of the discussion about sexual violence, sexual harassment or the contents of the bill. They were instead about the throne speech and why the official opposition voted against the throne speech.

It is important to note, first of all, it is not the obligation of Her Majesty's official opposition to support the government. We serve as a check in this place against the balance of power. It is also important to note that we are here today with this bill being reintroduced because the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament. He put covering up corruption in his government ahead of dealing with important legislation like what we are discussing here today.

A version of this bill was first introduced in 2017 by the former Conservative leader, the Hon. Rona Ambrose. It was called Bill C-337 and proposed judicial accountability through sexual assault law training. Going back to 2017, with respect to this bill, I want to start there and thank Ms. Ambrose for her leadership and for raising this important discussion. Over the past few years, she has played an important role in shining a light on this very important issue. She has been a strong voice for survivors of sexual assault. That initial bill received widespread support across party lines and from stakeholders, as does Bill C-3 today.

It is important that we discuss this bill and have that conversation. That is why I asked to speak on this bill. I am a dad. I have four children and one on the way, and two of my kids are little girls. Of course, I worry and wonder and have a lot of hope for the world they are going to grow up in.

The conversations and information around Bill C-3 and the necessity to introduce this legislation make me worried about the world my little girls live in. It makes me worried about the world my wife, my sisters and my mom grew up in, and my friends and colleagues in this House. Some of these women have lived in a world where they faced incredible challenges in dealing with experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

We heard the member for Saint-Laurent talk about living in fear and growing up in fear. That is not the Canada any of us envision. That is not the Canada any of us want to live in. Making this country a better place for all Canadians, and as a dad, making it a better place for my little girls, is incredibly important to me.

It is heartening that we have cross-partisan collaboration in advancing this bill. It is important because we have an obligation, as legislators, to put these good intentions into practice and to enshrine them in law.

This bill has had support across the country before and that speaks to the ongoing need for it. In 2018, the legislature in Prince Edward Island passed a very similar piece of legislation. It was introduced by Conservative MLA Jamie Fox and he did that in consultation with Ms. Ambrose.

In the previous Parliament, Canada's Conservatives were proud to support the just act. In our election platform in 2019, we were pleased to include support for this legislation.

We need to continue to recognize and respect the experiences of victims of sexual assault, and we need to acknowledge that our justice system oftentimes fails them.

Bill C-3 would go part of the way to improve the trust that Canadians have in their judicial system, specifically victims of sexual assault. They need to feel confident, they need to feel safe when they come forward. The last place that a victim should be revictimized, the last place that a victim should feel they will not be believed, is with a judge.

We have all seen headlines about incredibly insensitive, incredibly inappropriate and, frankly, disgusting comments made by some members of the bench in dealing with victims. That word is so important, “victims”. Oftentimes, we hear qualifying language around why they are victims. It is certainly not because they chose to be, but they did take the step to come forward and to put their faith in the rule of law, in the police, in the Crown prosecutors and in the judiciary.

Certainly, the least that we could do for them is ensure that the judge hearing the case understands the basics, understands where this victim is coming from. To achieve that, there needs to be transparency in the courts. Any of the decisions that they make need to have a rationale and they need to be accountable.

This legislation would go a long way to do that. Bill C-3 would amend the Judges Act to restrict eligibility of who may be appointed as a judge of the Superior Court. It would require that individuals undertake and participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, including attending seminars. This would not just affect the judges who are on the bench. Anyone who wants to be a judge would need to take this training first.

Instead of just members of the bench, anyone who aspires to serve would take the training, promoting understanding and ensuring that more women feel safe, more women come forward. All judges need to be fully equipped with a profound understanding of the law that must be applied to the facts of each one of the cases that they hear.

Bill C-3 would also require the Canadian Judicial Council to gather data and submit an annual report to Parliament on the delivery and participation in sexual assault information seminars established by them.

Finally, Bill C-3 would amend the Criminal Code to require appointed judges, as I said before, to provide those written reasons, increasing transparency and accountability. We have heard from previous speakers about the prevalence of sexual assaults, particularly in women between the ages of 15 and 24, the very low reporting rate, with 83% of them not reported to police at all. The need for this training is evident.

I am proud to stand today in support of this bill. I am hopeful that legislators in this place use it as an opportunity to look at how we can put the needs of victims first, how that can be reflected in sentencing against offenders, and how we can make sure that Canada's laws serve always to protect its most vulnerable, and in this case, in particular, protecting women and girls.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, this is a good piece of legislation for many reasons. The amount of debate that has taken place has been mentioned. I believe all members of this House, except for the Conservatives, were prepared to have it pass last Friday, even though the idea for this bill originated with a Conservative leader.

Why is it that the Conservatives want to hold up this legislation? If they wanted to, they could talk it through all the way until December, if that was their intent. Could the member indicate why they want to hold up this very important piece of legislation?

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, it is frankly disappointing to hear those comments from the member. Anyone who spends any amount of time in this place knows that he spends more time here. He is here all the time. I hope he would understand the importance of debate, speaking to the issues and hearing different perspectives.

There are 338 ridings, not just the ones represented by Liberals. There are members from across this country who bring diverse views. During this debate today, I have heard perspectives from members, including that of the member for Saint-Laurent, a member of the Liberal Party, who shared very personal and important details.

Debate is important. Committee study is important, and the work that this place does is important. Parliament is important. That is why we are debating this today, and that is why I am supporting this legislation. I hope, in spite of the opportunity the member has taken to try to score some cheap points, he too will vote for this legislation.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2020 / 4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We know that the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes likes to talk. He did so at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics—

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

We cannot understand what you are saying. Too many people are talking across the floor.

I would ask all members, when someone else is speaking, to give that person the respect they deserve.

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Judges ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, we know that my colleague likes to talk. I do too, but I also like to take action.

What goes around comes around. As my colleague mentioned, in 2017, Bill C-337, which was introduced by former Conservative member Rona Ambrose, received the unanimous consent of the House. This is practically the same wording, a carbon copy.

I respect that my colleague thinks it is important to debate Bill C-3 today, but it is also important to do something, to take action. It is useless to debate something that we already agreed on. It is a waste of time and taxpayers' money.

I would also like my colleague to explain what he thinks of the Senate, that archaic institution that is a waste of time and is very costly.

It was not the Conservatives that blocked the legislative process in 2017. It was the Conservative members who did not decide to give priority to examining this bill. That is the reason why, in 2020, we have to redebate the same issue on which there was already unanimous consent.