House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was case.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but her time is up. I am sure the hon. member for Shefford will have an opportunity to finish her speech or add to it during questions and comments. I know that it is a rather difficult matter.

The hon. member for Avalon has the floor for questions and comments.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kenneth McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Madam Speaker, there has been a lot of bantering back and forth about who should have done what or what should have happened to prevent this, tying it to the fault of the government or someone else. I agree that a mistake was made somewhere and there should be an investigation into what exactly happened.

However, does the member opposite believe the government should be involved directly with the decisions of the Parole Board in all cases going forward, especially those involving serious crimes?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, of course it is important to respect the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches. The point of my remarks was simply to show that an investigation would surely be able to answer certain questions.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, it is good that this will be looked into because it is important. It is also important for us to ask questions with respect to the sex trade and the risks to which many of the sex workers are subjected today.

As we know, the Conservative government brought in Bill C-36, and there were huge implications with respect to the safety of sex workers. Therefore, I would invite the member to comment on what the government should do to address the issue of safety for sex workers.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I was going to conclude my remarks by saying that the debate should be broadened and not focus only on the Marylène Levesque case. This case must become an example, a precedent, to ensure that it never happens again. That includes educational campaigns. That is what it comes down to. We need to be proactive. We need to study these workers and their situation. The study must examine all violence against women.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her remarks. She addressed a number of issues that were also raised by Conservative members. I think this is about more than just training for the members of the Parole Board who made this decision. It is also about the kind of judgment they have shown since 2017. Many Conservative members touched on this. I think this is mainly about poor judgment.

In the member's opinion, what could a parliamentary committee do to assure us that everyone involved in the case of the murder of this innocent woman will be forced to explain how this lapse in judgment could have happened?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. He will understand that I will not rush to judgment at this step. In my speech, I carefully used the conditional tense and asked questions. I do not want to assume anything about anybody's training or lack of judgment. I hope that the investigation will provide answers to some of the questions I raised.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to build on the previous question offered by the Conservative member with respect to the role of the committee in adding value to this process. As members of Parliament, we are not the board of investigation. There are professionals who are looking at the professional aspects.

However, as members of Parliament, how can we use the committee structure to broaden the scope or maybe add some value to the investigation?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, we hope that this board will have the opportunity to study the various problematic aspects of this case and provide answers. It is especially important that these answers are not shelved afterward and that the board's report truly leads to concrete action. Now is the time to address violence against women. We must act.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Veterans Affairs; the hon. member for Cloverdale—Langley City, Health; the hon. member for Oshawa, International Trade.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I would have liked to hear more of what my colleague from Shefford had to say. Her speech was very good. Mine might be a little bit shorter than hers.

I would like to read out the motion again because I think it deserves our attention.

That the House: (a) condemn the decision of the Parole Board of Canada that led to a young woman's death by an inmate during day parole in January of this year; and (b) instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to conduct hearings into this matter, including a review of the changes made by the government in 2017 to the board's nomination process, with the view to recommend measures to be taken to ensure another tragedy such as this never happens again.

I would humbly submit that, had the motion been a bit shorter, more members would have supported it. For example, I would have liked it to simply say, “That the House instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to conduct hearings into this matter with a view to recommending measures to be taken to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.”

I would like to warn the House about some of the tangential issues that have emerged during the debate, and even during question period, concerning the death of Marylène Levesque.

I believe that, while the Parole Board has room for improvement, it is not totally dysfunctional. We need to keep that in mind. Without reading the file and without knowing what was in the reports and what the parole officers' perspective was, people have suggested that Mr. Gallese should never have been let out. People are practically saying that Mr. Gallese should never have been allowed transition and rehabilitation periods and that maybe he could have been released at the end of his sentence with no help adjusting to society. People have basically said that the Parole Board is setting killers free and that we should all be afraid of what it is doing. However, if we look at the statistics, which are a few years old but still relevant, we can see that, from 2013 to 2014, 99% of day parole periods and 97% of full parole periods granted to federal offenders were completed without a repeat offence.

More than 99% of all parole periods, whether day parole or full parole, were completed without the offender committing a violent offence.

Generally speaking, the Parole Board of Canada works. As my colleague reiterated, we are more focused on rehabilitating inmates than punishing them.

There has been some discussion about board member selection. People have called the board members unqualified without knowing the qualifications of the board members in question, or indeed of any board members.

From what some MPs are saying, it seems they are making recommendations and jumping to conclusions before there has even been an investigation. It feels a lot like a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach.

It seems that the crux of the problem is the board member selection process. However, it may go beyond that. Incidentally, Joseph Lainé, one of the board members who made the decision, had more than 10 years of experience on Quebec's parole board. I just wanted to bring that to the attention of my colleagues.

I would like to point out that there several possible causes for the tragedy that occurred. We do not know what was in the reports that generally go with the parole records. Was the analysis of these reports flawed? Were the reports themselves flawed?

We do not know where the problem lies, but people are jumping to conclusions without even having all the documentation required to make an informed decision.

We do not know what arguments were made by Mr. Gallese's parole officer. We know that Mr. Gallese had had inappropriate relationships with women in the past, which would have raised doubts in the board members' minds and might even have prompted the idea that the criteria should be reviewed in the context of this file. We do not know more than that, but people are still jumping to conclusions.

I want to reiterate that we should be careful not to get tunnel vision on a file and shoot the messenger after the fact, after a decision has had tragic consequences. Had Marylène Levesque not died, we might have felt very differently, and we might have thought at first that the members' decision was appropriate.

I am calling on the House to be cautious on this kind of file and to respect the administration of justice.

It is not unheard of for a parolee to be instructed not to come into contact with women. Any instances of sexual or non-sexual contact that do occur must be reported to the parole officer. In this case, it appears as though a meeting was arranged with a woman outside the massage parlour, and this was not reported to the parole officer. That is what I understand. Perhaps that was the problem.

The problem could be any number of things. Perhaps it was the combination of all of these failures that led to this tragedy. Again, this shows just how important it is to examine this case carefully before drawing any conclusions.

I also want to point out that standing committees are able to set their own mandates. We could simply ask the committee to study the situation, without tying its hands, as I mentioned earlier. The committee could call witnesses, including the parole officer, the board members and the people who draft the criteria and guidelines. The committee could then decide to go further and see if there is cause to review the board member appointment process. However, tying the committee's hands right off the bat comes across as more of a political vendetta than a real desire to find a solution.

Nevertheless, I believe that we should support the motion, because it will ultimately lead to an investigation, an in-depth study of the situation and, we hope, recommendations that will ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. Again, we must keep partisanship out of this and not draw conclusions without seeing the whole file. We must have faith in the standing committees and the mandates they set for themselves.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I really appreciate that the tone of the conversation has changed with the last two presentations in terms of separating partisanship from really trying to understand what has happened with process breakdown and failure, and what we might do as parliamentarians to add to the professional investigation that will be going on at the same time.

Could the hon. member across the way make any recommendations to the committee? Granted, she also said that committees are masters of their own destiny, but is there anything we should ask the committee to consider regarding the investigation?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I will simply reiterate what I have already said.

We could have simply asked the committee to look into the situation and determine what led to Marylène Levesque's murder. We could then have trusted the committee to come up with possible solutions. After examining the evidence, the committee could have gone in other directions and made other recommendations. That would have been the right path. I would be doing the opposite of what I just advocated if I were to make recommendations to the committee myself. I have full confidence in the committee.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kenneth McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Madam Speaker, yes, committees are their own masters. They can steer whichever way they want to go. However, I wonder if at the end of the day there should be something that comes back, not just on what went wrong in this particular situation, but on what is going wrong with people involved in the sex work business. Should there be some protections given to people involved in that particular job or environment, not just to the person providing the service? Should we be trying to criminalize more the people seeking those services?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, once again, I would urge the House to exercise some caution when it is tempted to lump too many subjects together in one file, like an omnibus bill.

As for sex work, it is a broader issue, more than a simple question of criminalization or legalization. The committees that examine issues related to the status of women, for example, might also want to look into this matter, particularly around the issue of prevention, which is definitely not a question of criminalization versus legalization. It is a much broader issue.

I also have confidence in the House and its desire to improve the lives of vulnerable women. This topic could spontaneously arise in any number of committees.

Once again, I do not think it is necessary or useful to tie the hands of committee members on this one particular issue.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, this is going to be an important study and I hope when it gets to the committee stage that, aside from looking at the specific incident itself, there is an opportunity to look beyond that.

The question at the core of the issue is the safety of sex trade workers. Are the measures that we have in place at the moment effective, or are we putting women at further risk? If we are putting women at further risk, what laws need to change to effectively ensure that women in the sex trade have the same protections as everyone else?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am quite confident that when the committee studies this matter, there is no way it could ignore what happened and the murder of Marylène Levesque.

In any event, I am confident that the safety of sex workers will be interwoven into the questions that are asked and the recommendations that are made, including the possibility that other committees tackle this issue.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 4th, 2020 / 4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque, who was killed by an inmate on day parole.

I also want to commend my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for the speech he gave today. What is more, I want to thank him for moving this motion. Before I read out the motion, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the excellent member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Today, we are debating a motion. However, I do not think that Parliament should have to take such action just to get the government to listen to reason. Democracy and procedure require us to study today's opposition motion. It is moving things forward. In fact, the government seems to be receptive. We will see what happens when we vote on this tomorrow.

The motion reads, and I quote:That the House: (a) condemn the decision of the Parole Board of Canada that led to a young woman's death by an inmate during day parole in January of this year; and (b) instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to conduct hearings into this matter, including a review of the changes made by the government in 2017 to the board's nomination process, with the view to recommend measures to be taken to ensure another tragedy such as this never happens again.

Let me summarize the facts. Eustachio Gallese, a 51-year-old man, was found guilty of killing his wife in 2006 by beating her with a hammer and stabbing her repeatedly. He was granted day parole despite his history of violence against women. My goal today is to talk some sense into parliamentarians. This is 2020, and it is unacceptable for a Canadian woman to be victimized because of an administrative error or poor judgment on the part of the Parole Board members who made it possible for this man to commit the unthinkable.

When the Parole Board extended the offender's day parole last September, it mentioned a risk management strategy. I do not understand how anyone could have thought they were managing risk with a strategy that enabled this man to do what he did. Mr. Gallese was allowed to meet with women, but only to satisfy his sexual needs.

Our current laws governing sex work were introduced by the Conservative government in 2014 and prohibit the purchase of sexual services. How could the Parole Board of Canada allow one of its clients to do just that? I said “client”, but what I really meant was “murderer”. How could they give this man permission to commit a crime? It is illegal to purchase sexual services, yet a federal institution approved the practice. Those people knew perfectly well where that man was going. That raises some important questions.

The Liberal government's correctional system has been called a revolving door, and it has cost innocent people their lives. Canada's Conservatives strongly condemn the Parole Board of Canada's decision to release a convicted murderer with a history of domestic violence on day parole so he could meet women to satisfy his sexual needs.

Ask any Canadian. Everyone agrees. That is unacceptable. How could anyone mess up so badly? Today's motion, the product of some conscientious work on the part of my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles and the official opposition, urges the government to take action.

This was a senseless decision. It was plain wrong, and last month it led to the death of a young woman, something that could have been prevented. We must have the means to prevent this from happening again. There must be justice for Marylène Levesque, and we must ensure that such unspeakable crimes never happen again.

We must protect honest Canadian citizens and put them first, ahead of those in prison, the criminals and the repeat offenders. That is essential. We must protect our society from people who unfortunately are deviant or criminal or who suffer from mental health issues. There are many reasons to justify this action. We must put mechanisms in place to protect our society.

How could they release a murderer who killed his wife on day parole? His history with women was well known. How could they let him become a client of an erotic massage parlour so he could satisfy his sexual urges? He killed his wife, was aggressive with several other women, and yet the Parole Board agreed to let him satisfy his sexual urges in a hotel with the board member's consent. I do not understand what happened. I do not know why the murderer did this. Above all, I do not understand why the board member let this man cause irreparable harm.

We have to wonder where we are headed with this government. What does the future hold for our society? We have to protect our citizens. We have to protect the victims. We should not bring in measures to support and pamper our criminals even more. They have to suffer the consequences of their actions. Our society has to protect Canadians, both women and men.

As my colleague from Shefford said, Dave Blackburn, a leading expert, was indeed a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada. We had an excellent roster of candidates who made us optimistic about our chances for forming the government. Unfortunately, democracy decided otherwise.

In an article in the Quotidien on January 29, Dave Blackburn said that the Parole Board of Canada's decision to release this offender on parole, essentially giving him free rein to commit his irreparable act, was unjustifiable.

This government is incapable of governing and making effective decisions in the interest of Canadians. I will give some examples that illustrate the current government's incoherence when it comes to protecting honest citizens. I will list them without elaborating: the Tori Stafford case; Bill C-75, the firearms bill, which vexes honest citizens, hunting enthusiasts and sport shooters; and the legalization of cannabis.

In closing, I would like to remind hon. members that the 2019-20 departmental plan mentions a continuing increase at the national level in the number of offenders managed in the community. Their average annual number rose to 9,000 in 2017-18 from 7,700 five years earlier, a veritable explosion. I think that the measures the government across the way has implemented since coming to power in 2015 are not working. It is not dealing with things in a clear manner and it is not protecting the public.

I was going to talk about a file we should be working on to provide help to people in need, to make our society even more prosperous.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 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, I tried to move an amendment earlier and I encourage members to seriously give it consideration.

The member opposite made an assertion in regard to the Parole Board. It is important to emphasize that the Parole Board of Canada explicitly opposed permitting the offender to visit massage parlours, yet we have had a number of Conservative members give a different impression.

I wonder if my colleague across the way could provide clarity as to what degree he believes that the Parole Board was not doing what we have been told and that it clearly opposed permitting the offender to visit a massage parlour. Does he know something that we do not know that would validate his assertion?

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North.

The fact is that a man on day parole received authorization from the Parole Board of Canada to obtain sexual services.

I will turn the question back to my colleague. If he has information that we do not have, then he should give it to parliamentarians. Until further notice, we can say that this man's actions were supported by the Parole Board. What is unfortunate about the response of my colleague opposite is that he is looking for excuses. Personally, I want to protect Canadians from violence. That is why I am placing my confidence in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and not necessarily in the government opposite.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to add my voice to those of my colleagues in expressing support for Marylène Levesque's family and for the way in which we must pursue justice for this woman.

I also want to express the extent to which I am deeply concerned about the fact that many of the interventions in the House today have chosen to ignore the fact that the reality of this case is very much rooted in the denigration of women, particularly of women who are sex workers.

It is clear to me that if we do not pursue this investigation in such a way that looks at the need for sex workers to live in safety and in dignity, then we do not actually want to get to the bottom of what happened and see justice for Marylène Levesque and so many other women who find themselves in a vulnerable situation day in and day out.

I am disturbed that the actions of the Parole Board were rooted in misogyny. The fact that we have an opportunity to get to the bottom of this is something we must take very seriously and that means a very clear recognition that this is our chance to get it right when it comes to protecting the rights of sex workers in this country.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Churchill—Keewatinook Aski.

I think it is important and worthwhile for all parliamentarians to take action to find solutions and protect women and men. Just because the victim was a sex worker does not mean that she does not have the same rights as any other Canadian. She is the victim of a decision of the Parole Board. She is the victim of a man who did something terribly wrong. She paid for it with her life. Let us not muddy the debate. I think it is important to find solutions to enable society to be responsible and protect Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, today we are having a very important debate and I am so glad to be part of it.

The motion calls on the House to condemn the decision of the Parole Board of Canada that resulted in the tragic death of Marylène Levesque in Quebec City. Today's motion is extremely relevant, especially when we recognize the importance of eradicating and ending violence against women. Ensuring correct and accurate decisions by the Parole Board, making sure that it is doing its job appropriately, is what we need to do here today.

I have heard some of the interventions today. We have to look at what actually happened to this woman, what actually resulted in her death and why this happened. It is not so much about the other issues. We can talk a lot about the debates that we have been sparked in the last week. We can talk about legalization of prostitution, when to look at mandatory sentences and we can also look at the fact that the federal government has over 200 vacancies on its appointments. There are so many other issues we can intervene on, but I think we have to go ultimately to what the issue is, which is that a convicted felon was released on day parole.

Looking at the history of this file is very important, because we have to put it into context. What actually happened here and why is it so important to discuss this motion?

To begin, we have to look at the 2006 brutal death of Chantale Deschênes at the hands of Eustachio Gallese. He was convicted of murdering his wife with a hammer and stabbing her several times. We need to look at that and why this man was convicted in the first place.

Mr. Gallese was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 15 years. Then, looking at the timeline we come to September 2019, when the Parole Board reviewed his file. His file indicated that he had a history of violence against women, even before his murder conviction in 2006. According to Parole Board documents, he was not ready to have relationships with women. This is such an important point. His file noted in September 2019 that he was not ready to have relationships with women, yet that is exactly what happened.

This is very much a disconnect. We are talking about violence against women. We are talking about a man's right to day parole, but 15 years after the fact. Like any other Canadian who may not be a lawyer but wants to understand the legal background of this, I want to put out some clarification. When we look at what we are trying to justify, we really need to look at the Parole Board of Canada, what day parole is and how it came to this decision.

I would like to read into Hansard text regarding day parole in Canada:

Day parole allows an offender to participate in community-based activities in preparation for full parole or statutory release. Offenders on day parole must return nightly to a community-based residential facility or halfway house unless otherwise authorized by the Parole Board of Canada. In addition to standard conditions of day parole, the Parole Board may also impose special conditions that an offender must abide by during release.

The decision-making process includes two key principles here. I think this is what we are debating today. There are two key principles that seem to have been thrown to the wind when the decision was made to allow this person to have day parole.

First is that the protection of society be the paramount consideration in the determination of any case. Second is that the board make the least restrictive determination consistent with the protection of society. It must consider many different things as well. It has to consider whether there is a risk to letting the person out. Is there a risk to society? Will the offender, on release, contribute to society? There are lots of different things that we hear or see, but these risk assessments that must be made by the Parole Board are very important. I would like to talk about these two points.

An offender's social and criminal history must be looked at. Let us look at the decision by the Parole Board of Canada. In September 2019, the Parole Board noted that he should not have any relationships with women. In 2006, he murdered his wife with a hammer and by stabbing her. Prior to that, we know that violence against women existed in what he does. We have to look at progression. Was there any progression at all with this man? Is he going to be released to the community and is the community going to be safe?

Looking back at this file and checking things off, we see question marks all over the place. We know that Mr. Gallese was sentenced for life without parole for 15 years, from 2006 to 2015. He had murdered his wife and had a history of violence. According to the decision made, for the protection of society, the offender will not present any undue risk to society.

These are check boxes that were absolutely not checked. For somebody to make the decision to let him out on day parole after all of the information that was given is extremely risky to the safety of our society.

Although the file seems cut and dried to most Canadians, somehow it got lost in translation when we were dealing with the Parole Board of Canada. To me, this question is absolutely crazy. Why did this happen? What happened next, when we were looking at this? How did this happen in the first place?

We can play the blame game here, but I think the most important thing is that we do not ever want to see this happen again. As we are having this important debate, who in this chamber wants to see such a horrific crime ever happen again to any victim?

In Quebec, we know that, after some changes made in 2017, only two of the 16 parole officers had any experience, which means that they were reappointed. I would like to share with members an article from the CBC, which said:

Two former Parole Board of Canada members said Tuesday they tried to warn the...government in 2017 that changes to the way board members were nominated could lead to inexperienced members making “dangerous” decisions.

Here we are today, and those dangerous decisions were made. Unfortunately, Ms. Levesque is no longer with us.

The article continues:

They fear that very inexperience may have contributed to the death of...Levesque, 22 [years old], in a...room in...Quebec City....

Dave Blackburn, a parole board member who had served from 2015 to 2018, stated in the article that:

I never would have put a man who has a violent past, who killed his...spouse, among young women who are vulnerable.

This is so important. I am listening to people talk about vulnerable women. We are talking about an escort. We are talking about a young woman who was working in a massage parlour. We are talking about our most vulnerable women. We are not protecting them when we allow people to say, “Go out there and have sex with them. Do not worry about your criminal background and let us not worry about the risk. This is okay.”

Mr. Blackburn continues to say that, “It's like putting the wolf in the hen house”, which is exactly what the Parole Board of Canada did by releasing that man.

The article continues:

Jean-Claude Boyer, a parole board member from 2012 to 2018, agreed, questioning how Gallese's Correctional Services' case worker or his parole officer [would have] ever...characterized the offender's encounters with sex workers as a “risk management strategy.”

This is what really scares me. We have people making this strategy and assessing it, but the fact is that, looking at the risk management and recognizing his past history, this person should never have been released in the first place.

Second, he should never have been released and advised to pay for sex to deal with his sexual urges. This is absolutely ludicrous. As a mother of daughters and a member of Parliament who represents so many women and children, I am very concerned with what our society is going to look like if we are going to treat these situations so lightly.

The article goes on to say that:

Former parole board member Jean-Claude Boyer was one of a group of ex-members who warned the clerk of the Privy Council and the prime minister...that losing experienced members could lead to “dangerous” decisions.

Again, that is exactly what we saw.

Today, as members know, is another monumental day, because the bill that was brought forward previously by Rona Ambrose was reintroduced by the Minister of Justice. This is extremely important. We need to see this important type of legislation go through the House of Commons and perhaps look at some amendments, because we know that judges are dealing with these cases, but what about Parole Board officers?

Have they gone through the proper training on sexual assault to make sure that when they are releasing these people on bail or day parole they are not going to reoffend? Are they aware of what happened to previous victims? If we are going to protect our most vulnerable, why are we not doing this? We talk about this all the time, and we are not doing it.

To conclude, a Canadian Police Association brief to the House of Commons in 2007 noted that:

Many dangerous offenders admit to having committed a large number of sexual offences for which they were not arrested—an average of 27 offences per offender.

This is hugely concerning. Therefore, I am looking forward to continuing this conversation. We can do more, and we must do better.

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 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, as I indicated when I stood up to address the issue, the system designed to protect the public failed in this incident. I think all members of the House of all political stripes recognize that. What has taken place is very tragic and we give our condolences to Ms. Levesque's family and friends. It is important that we not forget this and continue to push to ensure that it does not happen in the future.

In the debate I have heard thus far, it has been upsetting that members of the opposition, particularly Conservative members, have tried to give a false impression that this is the government's fault, and they go on about the appointment process. I point out to the member that in order for parole officers to do what they do, the vice-chair, who was a Harper appointment, must train them. They cannot manage the files until they have been qualified and receive certain training. That is also something—

Opposition Motion—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National SecurityBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I have been trying to get the member's attention to let him know that I do have to allow for other questions.

The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.