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

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if there was a question there, because I just heard a lot of talking. I hear what the member is saying, but let us—

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

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

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

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

I am talking about a really serious situation and I love the heckling coming from the other side.

The bottom line is that out of the 16 appointees, only two of them know what they are doing. Let us be honest. Have they had the sexual assault training they needed? Obviously somebody thought it was okay to send a violent criminal out there to have sex. I put that on the shoulders of the people who made that decision.

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

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I simply want to ask my colleague two questions.

In this process, is she willing not to jump to conclusions too quickly?

Is she willing to let the committee do its job so that it can give us its recommendations?

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

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, it is very important we have this studied at committee. It is exactly what we are asking for through the motion. We need a group of members, representing all parts of our country, on the committee that will study this. It would give us an opportunity to look at all sides, not just internally, which we have seen in the past. In the 42nd Parliament, we saw the amount of times that things were taken out or blacked out. I would prefer that anything we do is transparent, not just to save the government's reputation.

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

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, in this discussion, we have also been talking about the importance of looking at the overall safety of sex workers. As part of the study, I hope we would get into that question.

Does the member support ensuring that the study of the motion include examining the practices in place with respect to sex trade workers, the current law in Canada, and the risks workers are exposed to and what changes might be necessary going forward?

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

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, this has two parts.

First, we have to look at the Parole Board. That is exactly what the motion is asking for.

Second, the conversation regarding sex work has been taking over. I have read many articles. Support depends on where one sits on this, but I cannot support prostitution. I realize that many members would like to, and I recognize that this is true in the NDP and in the Liberals' youth caucus. That is lovely, but it is just not the way I was raised. Part of the problem is that I know that approximately 95% of women who are part of the sex trade are not there by choice.

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

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Markham—Stouffville.

In response to questions from the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, I would like to start by again extending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque. This young woman's death was tragic and I hope that we can learn from the board of investigation that is currently under way how this kind of tragedy can be avoided in the future. We need to have solid facts in front of us and I have full confidence that the board of investigation will shed light on the circumstances that led to this tragic incident.

The Parole Board of Canada is guided by the Corrections and Conditional Release Act in all its decisions. Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the board is responsible for making decisions to grant, deny, terminate or revoke day and full parole for federal offenders serving sentences of two years or more.

Under the CCRA, all offenders in federal custody, including those serving indeterminate sentences or life sentences, become eligible for parole at a time set by a judge during sentencing. This is not to say that all offenders are granted conditional release, but that all offenders must under the law be considered for conditional release at some point in their sentence.

Before granting any form of conditional release, Parole Board members must be satisfied that the offender will not pose an undue risk to the community and that the release of the offender will contribute to the protection of society. Conditional release contributes to the protection of society by facilitating the reintegration of the offender into society as a law-abiding citizen. Gradual and supervised release provide the best protection for our communities and day parole is one of the steps in the continuum of releases.

I would like to underline that offenders serving life or indeterminate sentences released on parole remain under supervision by Correctional Service of Canada for the rest of their lives. This is an important point as even if an offender is in the community, that offender continues to serve his or her sentence and is subject both to standard conditions as well as any special conditions that the Parole Board of Canada deems necessary for CSC to manage the offender's risk to the community.

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.

An offender can be returned to prison at any time if he or she violates parole conditions, commits a new offence or is deemed to pose an increased risk to the community. Offenders on day parole are not free. They are supervised by Correctional Service of Canada and subject to a number of special conditions.

Board members render decisions that are crucial to public safety. That is why this government worked to ensure that the process of appointing board members was merit-based and free from political interference.

Upon appointment, Parole Board of Canada members complete an intensive, five-week board member orientation program. During that time, they receive training on relevant law, policy and risk assessment by the Parole Board of Canada in partnership with key academics and practitioners in the field of criminal justice. This is followed by ongoing mentoring and coaching by the regional vice-chair, experienced board members and the regional trainer. No board member is assigned any decision-making responsibility until that member has fully completed training and has the full confidence of the regional vice-chair.

Board members also participate in continuous learning and development opportunities throughout their mandate.

The primary emphasis on board member training is to ensure that members understand the board's legal authorities. Public safety is the number one priority for the board in its decision-making.

It is important to note that in the vast majority of cases, day parole is completed successfully without violent reoffending. In fact, in 2018-19, 99.9% of offenders on day parole were not convicted of a violent offence during their supervision period. This demonstrates that, in almost all cases, day parole helps to gradually reintegrate offenders back into Canadian society and contributes to public safety.

I would like to assure the members that the government shares the concerns of Canadians around this case. That is why the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada are convening a joint board of investigation into the circumstances that led to this incident, to ensure that all established protocols were followed and that lessons are learned. Let me reiterate that Parole Board of Canada members are selected by a rigorous, open, transparent and merit-based process. Once selected, they are given exhaustive training on relevant law, policy and risk assessment. They are committed to continuous learning and development and they take very seriously their duty to protect the safety of Canadians. This commitment is demonstrated through the PBC's parole outcomes.

As the board of investigation moves forward, I hope that we can determine what exactly happened in this instance so that we can learn from this tragedy and take steps to ensure that this kind of situation is not repeated. I would like to assure the members that the investigation will be conducted swiftly and effectively, as none of us want to see this type of tragedy repeated in the future. Marylène Levesque and her family and friends deserve no less than our utmost efforts in this regard.

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

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that has come to light through the debate today is that there was a system change, and that 14 of the 16 parole officers were inexperienced. In these difficult situations, does my colleague not believe that experience does help parole officers make decisions? I understand they used to pair together inexperienced officers with experienced officers, so they could learn from each other and make decisions. What is the role of experience in terms of the ability of these officers to make decisions?

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

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the circumstances, we do not know all of the facts yet. It is very important that we ascertain all of the facts very carefully before we make any judgements or draw any conclusions. That is the whole purpose of the board of investigation that is going to take place.

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

5:30 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments.

It is possible that the investigation, which we hope will be conducted by an independent body, will reveal that no blame is to be assigned to the authorities and the system. If that is the case, does my colleague from Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam agree that the situation still requires that we take the time to review the practices of the Parole Board of Canada, the training and supervision of parole officers and how we protect vulnerable people like Marylène Levesque, who did not know how dangerous Eustachio Gallese was?

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

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is helpful to speculate on the outcome of the investigation. We will learn what the investigation has to tell us. Just as a general practice, going forward, it is always good to keep an eye on our processes and practices to make sure they deliver the outcomes that we want from them. I have no doubt that, as we have been promised by the minister, the outcomes of this investigation will be transparent and shared with the public. I have full confidence in the board to conduct such an investigation.

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

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot today about the selection process of the commissioners as it relates to their work on the Parole Board. Would the member provide his comments as to what he thinks is the best way to select members for the board? Would it be based on political affiliation, as we saw in the previous Harper government?

We know at that time six of the nine members of the Quebec board were active supporters of the Conservative Party. Would the member think a better approach would be one based on the skills and abilities of individual members, regardless of their political affiliation?

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

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree that the criteria for choosing members of such a panel should be strictly merit-based. It should be irrespective of any political affiliation. It should not exclude people for being members on the basis of any particular affiliation, but should be entirely merit-based.

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

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Helena Jaczek Liberal Markham—Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure to rise in the House for the first time in debate. As it is the first time for me, I want to thank my constituents in Markham—Stouffville for having confidence in me to represent their interests. I want to let my my constituents know that I will be working as hard as I can to represent their best interests in my time here.

In relation to this motion, I will start by extending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque. It is a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts are with them. It has been said many times in the House today and I simply want to add my deepest condolences.

This is a case that has, understandably, brought a very emotional response from the public, as well as important questions about the corrections and conditional release systems in Canada. I will spend most of my time for my remarks on the selection process as it relates to Governor in Council appointments. I want to clarify how that appointment process is today.

In February 2016, our government announced a new approach to appointments, which applies to the majority of full-time and part-time positions on commissions, boards, Crown corporations, agencies and tribunals across the country. This new approach was introduced to ensure the process of appointments would be open to all Canadians, providing them with an opportunity, should they be interested and have the required qualifications, to participate in government organizations and make a contribution to Canada's democratic institutions by serving as Governor in Council appointees.

The selection process is based on merit. It is designed to identify highly qualified candidates who meet the needs of the organization and are able to perform the duties of the position to which they would be appointed. It seeks individuals who have the qualifications, education, experience, knowledge, skills, abilities and personal suitability to fill the position. We also ensure that they meet any statutory or other conditions.

Finally, we look for diversity. Our recruitment strategy seeks to attract qualified candidates who will help achieve gender parity and reflect Canada's diversity in terms of linguistic, regional and employment equity groups. By that, of course, I mean indigenous peoples, women, persons with disabilities and members of visible minority communities, as well as members of ethnic and cultural groups.

Based on individual self-identification, representation of employment equity groups has increased for all appointees since the new, open, transparent and merit-based approach to GIC appointments was announced in February 2016. This process includes officers and agents of Parliament and the Parole Board, among many others.

A notice of appointment opportunity is developed, outlining the selection criteria for and requirements of the position. As noted in the notice, members appointed to the board must be sufficiently diverse in their backgrounds to be able to collectively represent community values and views in the work of board and to inform the community with respect to unescorted, temporary absence, parole and statutory release.

The notice of opportunity is posted on the GIC appointments website and the website of the organization that is filling the position. A link to the notice is also published in the Canada Gazette while the application period is open.

At the same time, a recruitment strategy is developed for selection processes where there is a need to conduct outreach regardless of the position type. This may also include targeted outreach to communities of interest, such as professional associations.

All interested Canadians can submit their applications for the positions posted on the government's appointment website.

This government is very mindful that we want the best and most qualified people possible for these important roles. To this end, the selection committee undertakes a rigorous assessment process. A number of factors determine the composition of a selection committee, including the type of position, the mandate and type of organization. Generally, a selection committee is comprised of key decision-makers, including the responsible minister's office and the responsible organization. In the case of the Parole Board, this is the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Turning back to the selection process for all GIC positions, the process includes screening candidates' applications against the education and experience criteria in the notice of appointment opportunity.

For administrative tribunals such as the Parole Board, written exams are administered. The exam tests key criteria such as analytical and decision-making skills. It also measures the ability of applicants to interpret the provisions of various statutes, regulations, policies and other documents in a quasi-judicial context and assess the relevance of precedents in order to render decisions.

It is also recommended that applicants visit the Parole Board website for additional information on a day in the life of a board member, the role and responsibilities of a board member and contributing to public safety.

A short list of qualified candidates is then established and the candidates are interviewed by the selection committee. Third party reference checks are also undertaken. This process eventually results in the identification of qualified candidates.

Following the assessment of candidates, the selection committee submits to the responsible minister an advice letter identifying the candidates found to be the most highly qualified for appointment. Upon consideration of this advice, the minister then makes a recommendation to the GIC for appointment.

GIC nominees must undergo background and security checks to determine their suitability for public office. Nominees must also sign a document certifying that they acknowledge and will observe the ethical and political activity guidelines for public office holders as a condition of their holding office in the Government of Canada.

Over 30,000 applications have been received since we began our open, transparent and merit-based selection process, and some 1,380 people have been appointed. Currently, over 50% of GIC appointees are women, over 8% are visible minorities, over 6% are indigenous peoples and over 3% are persons with disabilities.

To bring this back to the Parole Board, based on individual self-identification, nearly 60% of incumbents to GIC positions on the board are women, more than 7% are persons with disabilities, over 11% are visible minorities and over 14% are indigenous peoples. In comparison, in 2015 only 30% of board members were women, 4% were indigenous people and 1% were visible minorities.

While we maintain our confidence in the open, transparent and merit-based appointment process, any change can always benefit from a review of its effectiveness. Part of this motion actually speaks to that.

The process we have in place allows us to find the most qualified people for the positions our government needs to fill. When we appoint people to GIC positions they are working in the best interest of their country as well as fellow citizens and residents.

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

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are all here because a horrible, outrageous thing happened, and we would like to see if there is anything we can do to make sure it does not happen again.

I am wondering if the member could clarify her position and the position of the Liberal Party on the motion. She may recall back in 2017 when experienced, qualified parole experts wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and to Michael Wernick expressing their serious concerns about the changes that were made, which she outlined. There was even an opinion piece in Le Devoir about it.

The minister has been clear that he wants an internal review. In other words, the Parole Board will be reviewing itself, and we think that needs to be more open and transparent.

Would the member clarify if she and the government will commit to that review being done by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and that it will not be an internal review?

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

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Helena Jaczek Liberal Markham—Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, there is a board of investigation that is conducting a very thorough review of this case. It has been announced by the minister. I think that is entirely appropriate.

In addition, the motion does speak to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security conducting hearings into the matter. I am sure the standing committee will decide for itself what exactly it wants to study going forward, and I have every confidence that this matter will be fully investigated.

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

February 4th, 2020 / 5:45 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the House seems to be in agreement on a few points today, notably the importance of asking questions and getting answers. I myself have a question.

Throughout this debate, certain issues keep coming up, as some members have pointed out. One such issue is the ability to access the services of a sex worker, which I find concerning. A man can be told that he cannot be in contact with women, but he can be in contact with sex workers, as though their job means that they are no longer women, that they do not count.

I know, or at least I hope, that this is not what people wanted. Nevertheless, this impression can sometimes stem from a lack of knowledge about sex work.

Could the member answer my question? Maybe she knows, maybe she does not know, but I am asking the question openly.

In the continuous training that employees receive, how much emphasis is there on the social, economic and psychological realities of female and male sex workers, since male sex workers are also at risk?

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

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Helena Jaczek Liberal Markham—Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it will presumably be addressed by the board of investigation looking into this area with respect to the training requirements in relation to those caseworkers who look at the conditions of parole, day parole and so on.

From my point of view, the safety of women is absolutely paramount, whether they be sex workers or not. Victims of domestic violence is an issue that troubles many of us. I have been very involved in some of the shelters in my riding. We certainly take the safety of women extremely seriously. I have every confidence that this will be part of the investigation.

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

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we engage in this discussion and with the study that will take place at committee, would the Liberal members support looking into the issues around safety for sex workers, including what the laws are today and what needs to be changed in order to ensure their safety?

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

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Helena Jaczek Liberal Markham—Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not a member of that standing committee, so I cannot commit my colleagues to what they will decide. I am hopeful there will be good debates at the committee and a successful path forward will be established by all members.

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

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

Today, we are discussing what I consider to be a very reasonable motion in response to a horrific but preventable murder. Before I start into that area, I think it would be good to put some context around the discussion we are having today.

It is extremely important for the public to have confidence in our criminal justice system, in public safety and in the decisions of the Parole Board. We have a government that has been here for over four years. Over the last number of years, I would suggest there have been some flags that it has not been paying attention to but should have. I know it loves to suggest the previous government did this and that, but there is a stale date on that and that stale date has come. It has had over four years to put its stamp on things and to be responsible for its decisions and what is happening in government.

The current government received an Auditor General's report in 2018. In that 2018 report, there were concerns, including gaps in the monitoring of inmates and standards not being followed. It identified some problems. The government indicated that it accepted the concerns of the Auditor General and was going to make changes. If we look at the public accounts and the departmental plans, the changes the government made were reductions in the budgets for those departments. If we look at the government's plans for those departments where the Auditor General was identifying concerns, we see reductions were made. Therefore, we have to balance those two factors.

In December 2019, the Union of Safety and Justice Employees said things were at a crisis point and it made a whole host of recommendations as to what it believed the government needed to do to respond to a critical situation. As I understand, to date it has not received the courtesy of a response to some of its very clearly laid out situations.

Mr. Boyer, who was on the Parole Board from 2012 to 2018, talked about how the changes made by the Liberal government in 2017 led to a shortage of experienced members. In Quebec we now know that 14 out of 16 board members were inexperienced. They had been on the job less than a year or two and were not experienced.

As a nurse, I come from a health care background. When we had new nurses who came to work for us, they needed mentoring because there is something one gains from years of experience. When one is dealing with difficult situations involving the health of people, those years of experience make a difference. It is fair that the government wants new systems and new people. However, it should have done that methodically, recognized the importance of that experience and taken its time, instead of just blowing the system apart. It can do that with some types of appointments but not with something this critical, which requires a seasoned and experienced eye. It cannot just blow the system apart, put a bunch of new people in place, and expect everything will be okay and that the decisions will have the benefit of the eyes of those experienced people.

Therefore, I would suggest that is something the government needs to look at very seriously. Yes, as a government, it has every right to make those GIC appointments and to have a system, but when it takes a system, blows it apart and puts inexperienced people in place, it has a responsibility and it needs to reflect on that issue.

Typically, throughout our history, there have been times when the public has looked at decisions made by the Parole Board and has really been quite concerned. I think that the National Post in 2018 published a list of freed serial killers, child murderers, cop killers, cannibals and terrorists who were all freed despite the pleas of the families. I think we as a Parliament have failed these families when justice is not seen to be done and people who have committed horrific crimes are out of prison. The families know that these people are at a high risk to reoffend.

This is an example from a long time ago, but in 1984 Denis Lortie wounded 13 in the Quebec National Assembly and killed three. He was on full parole only 12 years later. How does that happen? I think any reasonable Canadian would question that he was on parole only 12 years after he shot and killed three people and injured so many more.

There are decisions to be made over time and we need to do everything we can. When there are people appointed, as they were, who are not experienced, more problems will be created.

It is against this background of dysfunction that I have talked about, such as the Auditor General's report, the union flagging concerns and a number of other things, that we have a series of decisions that directly contributed to the tragic death of a 22-year-old innocent young lady, Marylène Levesque.

I think everyone in this House has agreed that it is appalling. He was a convicted murderer with a history of violence against women. I believe in the 1990s there was an assault. He murdered his wife in 2004. He hit her with a hammer and stabbed her. He was sentenced in 2006.

What brought this clearly to my mind was an article in the Vancouver Sun that clearly articulated some assumptions made, either by individuals without experience, or by a system that allowed these decisions to be made. We need to find out the answer. The article outlined the questions we have to ask about this situation and they are as follows:

The first is that men — even violent criminals — have a right to satiate their sexual appetites with another person.

That clearly is what was said, but was it one person or is it systemic?

The second is the perverse idea that if a violent man is incapable or not ready to form a healthy relationship with another person, it’s OK for him to engage in unhealthy relationships where, as the buyer, he has power over the seller.

Finally, putting the sexual needs of a violent criminal ahead of the safety of other Canadians, including those who do sex work, suggests a grotesque hierarchy that is an affront to the constitutional and moral ideals of equality.

Those three points clearly go to the very root of the issue of what happened in this case and why everyone finds it so offensive. It is important that everyone in this House agree that a parliamentary committee has some important work to do, to look at the system and actually do the job.

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

5:55 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

Mr. Speaker, in the last couple of hours, members mostly from the Conservative benches have been talking about experience and that experience does matter. They raised a lot of concerns.

I wonder if the member could reflect on the types of individuals who are receiving these appointments. More often than not they are individuals such as correctional officers and law enforcement officers, and they bring a great deal of real-life experience. Prior to them actually hearing a case, it is the vice-chair who has the programming, which has not changed in terms of training. Before the individuals can deal with these matters they have to be approved to do so.

Is my colleague trying to imply that that individual is not doing his job?

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

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I go back to my analogy about health care. Every nurse has nursing training, but it is the experience in a very specialized area of a job where they are making decisions that the experience matters.

If it is not a factor, then the committee is going to find that answer. However, the Liberals seem very reluctant to actually even dig into this as an issue. They are defending their new system and they are not willing to put it through a parliamentary process to examine whether the system is defensible and whether it contributed to what happened. That is what we are asking for here: to look at it, understand it and try to make things better.

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

6 p.m.

Liberal

Kenneth McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her intervention on this horrific event that is up for debate here today in the motion.

I am wondering about one thing. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on as to who is responsible for this person making this decision or that person making another decision. If a nurse is being integrated into a new role in a hospital, maybe an ICU unit or something, there is certain training provided beforehand and ongoing at all times.

I believe we as government members have said loudly and clearly that we support the intent of this motion. The member keeps saying that the government has to do this and do that. Is the member suggesting that the government itself be involved with the Parole Board decision when people who commit these horrific crimes are up for parole, when the government put them in that position to start with? Should the government have a say in what the Parole Board does or does not do?