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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was police.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Calgary Northeast (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 65% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code September 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that I can get on the speaking list in reference to this issue of trafficking in persons, Bill C-49.

It is interesting that right now in the subcommittee there is a major discussion going on concerning this whole issue of prostitution. It started out just relating to solicitation as it happens on the streets of our cities and elsewhere in the country and its impact on the safety of women, and men I guess to some degree but mostly women in this nation, as it applies to whether the laws are placing them in harm's way.

The debate widened very quickly and included the whole issue of trafficking. The reason that it took that route is because it became clear in the nations that decriminalized or legalized prostitution that the efforts to control that activity on the streets opened another door, that door being another brand of illegal prostitution springing up for those who did not fit into the pattern or the mould as set by the state. Therefore the issue of illegal prostitution expanding became the focus.

Who is involved in the expansion of that prostitution, that other aspect of illegal prostitution? There are several jurisdictions in the world that tried to decriminalize or legalize prostitution and authorities found that women were being hustled into the illegal side of prostitution and many of them from out of the country. In other words, there was a trafficking process that was set up from various parts of the world bringing women and children for that matter into those jurisdictions that had decriminalized or legalized the activity.

What is wrong with the picture? On one side, the government is moving toward the legalization of prostitution or decriminalization, whichever way it wants to call it. It is part and parcel of the debate that we are having in the committee. Once that is done, the illegal trade and the trafficking of women and children will increase in a very dramatic fashion.

Australia and New Zealand went through it. The Netherlands went through it and it is a prime example of what not to do. The only nation that did not and in fact started cracking down on those who were engaged in the activity of prostitution and trafficking, which is the organized criminal side of it, was Sweden. It not only cracked down on the pimps but it also cracked down on the johns, those who exploited women. Lo and behold, many of Sweden's problems disappeared. The numbers of women involved in that whole area of prostitution diminished dramatically because the jurisdiction took care of it. It took the money out of it and away from organized criminals.

We have Bill C-49 that proposes to step down on those involved in trafficking. At the same time this other debate is going on. For the most part I can see the real advantage of having some tough law, if we want to call this tough law. There are no minimum sentences in the law but at least it would address some of these concerns. It proposes up to life sentences for those who recruit, transport, transfer, receive, conceal harbour or exercise some control or influence over them.

On the surface it looks good, but we have the same problem here as we do with other pieces of legislation from the government. There are no minimum sentences to guarantee that the courts will deal aggressively with individuals who involve themselves this way. There is nothing to guarantee that and the argument of course on the other side is that the court must have all the discretion it needs to deal with whatever case may come up, and it is up to the judge to exercise that discretion.

We have heard that story far too many times. It washes kind of thin when we start looking at the results of legislation that does not aggressively deal with a growing problem within the international community.

Trafficking in people, just like drugs, is considered one of the largest sources of profits for organized crime. In our committee when we started talking about this whole matter of organized crime, nobody wanted to address it. In fact, it was almost a taboo subject because the issue of prostitution was considered by some, unfortunately, as a legitimate occupation to pursue and should be protected like any other legitimate occupation. It was the flawed thinking of some members within that committee. Most of them just so happened to be Liberals or NDP members who thought that prostitution was a legitimate form of work to be protected by the state.

To look at it from that point of view we would have move into the direction of legalization or decriminalization of prostitution. It would be a very dangerous route to go, I might point out, looking at the jurisdictions that have already experienced such a downtrend to this whole issue. Organized criminals step into the breach and they will reap the profits in tens of billions of dollars that it will bring, all at the expense of women and those who abuse women.

My concern of course is that this not get a foothold in this country. The bill certainly addresses a point or two when it comes to trafficking in people, but it does not deal with the issue once those individuals are here clearly in real terms engaged in an illegal activity in the nation.

Yes, we can support the bill. There are some provisions in it that deal with the reality of trafficking, the forced coercion or deception and the issue of forced labour or forced prostitution, but it does not connect when it comes to the other debate that is going on in the justice subcommittee dealing with the prostitution issue.

I have a couple of questions for the members on the other side and I want to put them on the record. If this country were to decide to decriminalize prostitution, how many members on that side would agree that it would lead to increased trafficking in persons, especially women and children?

Members on that side will probably not be able to answer that question or maybe will not want to answer that question, but it is the only question that bears the need for an answer.

Let us talk about sentencing. It was not long ago when an issue of drugs entered the debate in the House and in fact it even hit the media in this fashion. Some suggested that the serious drug dealer, the one who makes sure that crystal meth and others are distributed to our youngsters, receive a life sentence. There was outrage from members on that side and they said, “A life sentence. How absolutely archaic”. That mantra was kind of picked up by the media. Fingers were pointed to members on this side, accusing them of being somewhat extreme, or dinosaurs or whatever.

I see drugs destroying the lives of many of our young people in this nation. In fact, that has happened and continues to happen. There is no serious legislative effort to shut it down. I am talking about the bills and the suggestions about decriminalizing marijuana for one and really seriously dealing with the grow op situation in the nation. We have no national drug strategy. In fact, we do not even have, and again this relates directly to this bill, any organized crime strategy. How are we going to deal with the organized crime issues?

I find it appalling that there is so much organized criminal activity. I have seen it creep into my own city over the last five years in very real terms and how insidious it is, how devastating it is to a community, and how many police resources are involved in trying to combat this kind of not only violent but insidious type of crime that works on prostitution, drug distribution and the like. There is no clear national strategy on drugs.

Now we have an issue dealing with people and again, it is organized crime that is at the foot of it, the foundation. I have a concern because the Liberal cabinet and the majority of members over there cannot put this into perspective. I would like to know why?

However, getting back to sentencing, it states that for the purposes of anyone who recruits, transports, transfers, conceals or harbours a person or who exercises control or influence over the movement of that person for the purposes of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation commits an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for up 14 years or life imprisonment if the accused kidnaps, commits an aggravated assault or sexual assault, or causes death to the victim.

I do not feel exactly confident that this matter is being dealt with in real terms again. A life sentence was pooh-poohed because a life sentence was suggested for drug traffickers and now all of a sudden, it appears here in another form. But again, it is at the discretion of a judge, and who knows where it will end up. Even if all of these heinous acts are committed against an individual or a group of individuals, there nothing to suggest that individual would receive a life sentence.

Then it comes to the section on money, the issue that makes this organized criminal activity go round and round in circles. It is involved in the drug business. It is involved in the prostitution business and of course the issue of trafficking in people.

We know that even cross-border trafficking is taking place. It was pointed out to the Liberal government that this had been going on and even where it had been going on, and still it was never addressed over all the years. It continues on to this day. There is a fee. There is a charge for moving a person across the border.

Even though that is the illegal side of it, there is a legal side too that is also playing hand in glove with those who want to traffic in people, and that is our immigration department. What is the immigration department going to do? If it is willing to open the doors to strippers and prostitutes of various kinds and claim what they do to be a legitimate form of work, then it is a party to what happens afterwards. I find that appalling, given the fact that it is a government department. I might also point out that ministers of the past here, ministers of the Crown, have even gone to bat for this so-called legitimate occupation. That is where the thinking is.

I urge my colleagues on the other side to deal with this in a much more effective manner. There seems to be a cross purpose of one side wanting to legalize prostitution, knowing that it will increase trafficking in women and children, and the other side wanting to crack down on some of the traffickers, if that in fact can even happen. I would like to see how the final playout of this legislation really does come about when it hits the law books and the enforcement agencies in our nation.

Criminal Code September 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I heard the latter part of the member's comments in reference to the trafficking in persons issue in the bill. I know he digressed, which is fine. It is appropriate for him to digress as we are talking about Criminal Code matters.

This party, starting from the Reform Party to the Alliance Party and now the Conservative Party, has always brought put this issue in the House. We are very concerned about the safety and security of members of our country. It was an issue back in 1993, it was an issue in 2000 and it is an issue now. In fact, it is even more grave now because numerous legislation that has come through the House.

In 1993 we went directly to the justice minister of the day, Mr. Allan Rock. We asked him what his priorities were and we showed him a list of our priorities. One of them dealt with the Young Offenders Act. That was the huge issue of the day.

His issues were completely unrelated to anything that was of concern to the average person in Canada. First and foremost, he would ensure that the issue on homosexuality would be brought forward. The second was to take power away from police officers in situations of high speed chases. Those two big things he saw as important, and it has digressed from there when it comes to issues of security.

Yes, there is a legislative answer to the issue of security, and I will ask the member a question about it. If he is so concerned about issues of security, not just the shooting of the RCMP officers, which was captured in the news over the last three weeks or a month, why is he not twisting the arms of the members of his cabinet who are roadblocks to putting sound legislation forward in the House?

The people of the nation want some assurances from their government that it is looking after this. Why is the member not spending his time beating up on them instead of the people over here?

Criminal Code June 28th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak to Bill C-313. I appreciate the fact, with all sincerity, that my colleagues on this side of the House, at least, have offered their support for this particular bill.

I have personally introduced several times a similar bill to raise the age of consent. It is something in the neighbourhood of six times. The member from Lethbridge, of course, was higher up on the order paper in private members' business and was kind enough to put it on his agenda. The member from Wild Rose, of course, has also fought this particular issue since he here in 1993. Both members have concerns for what has unfolded in the streets of our country when it comes to the age of sexual consent.

I have listened to the members on the opposite side, including the member who just spoke from the NDP. This is not the sky-is-falling type of situation he seems to portray in his delivery, although I would have to say that there is a sense of urgency to this matter, given the fact that law enforcement, for instance, has been trying to deal with issues around the age of sexual consent. It has been trying to help the parents whose children have left the nest, if you will, for whatever reason, and are being manipulated, enticed by those unsavoury characters who think nothing of exploiting a young girl, sometimes a young boy, who may be 14 years of age.

I think on that particular issue alone this bill should proceed and should not be delayed any more by red herrings that have been thrown into this debate by members on the opposite side of the bench.

I would ask my colleagues to quickly act to protect children of this country. I say “quickly” with a sense of optimism, for once. That certainly does not have its basis on past performance of the government or other members in the House. I have risen in the House on numerous occasions to debate the bill, as I had mentioned before, all with the express purpose in mind of ensuring that our children were protected.

I am not about to get into the legalese, and there have been lawyers speaking on this issue time and time again, about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable on the legal side of things, but there have been judgments made in the courts of this land that take precedence and address all of the concerns that have been expressed here.

The NDP member says that we on this side want to deal only with emotion when it comes to this issue. Well, let us look at it from the other side of the coin here. There is a reality that is happening out there that members on the opposite side have not come to grasp yet.

They have not grasped the reality of what is really happening out there in the world. They are looking at things through rose-coloured glasses, where 14 year old girls often run away, who are being exploited time and time again by manipulative older men, and all in the name of sexual consent. The police cannot touch them and take them out of that very trying situation and bring them back home because the argument, as put forward, is that they consented, so it is out of police jurisdiction and they cannot do anything about it. That is the reality.

This has been the case throughout the years that I can remember and as long as I have been a police officer. Prior to this job, that is exactly what I did for a living. Cases of this matter were brought before the courts. Even when it came to the judgment of police officers looking at two teenage kids involved in sexual activity, the courts already set precedents in the matter.

It does not have to deal with a red herring section that the NDP says is missing in this legislation, a red herring that the Liberals, and now the NDP, are acting upon saying that children who will engage in sexual activity will suddenly be criminalized. The courts have already decided that. Precedents have already been set.

What these members are now saying, to divert attention from the bill and its effectiveness, is that this provision of charging and criminalizing youngsters for sexual activity is not included in the bill and is not going to protect them. That is a bunch of nonsense. I am absolutely surprised as to how the NDP member can even suggest that. I believe that member is a lawyer, is he not? He is a lawyer and should know better. Shame on him because he should know better, as should the Liberals.

This is not new. These red herrings have been thrown into the debate, not by us, not by those law enforcement officers across this country, not by the parents who grieve because they cannot get their children out of the clutches of adult men, but by the Liberals. They have chosen to throw this into the mix, and deflect away from the real purpose of why this legislation is here before us.

I would like to touch on a couple of rather odd instances that I do not believe the Liberal's Bill C-2 legislation for the protection of children will address. There was one situation that came up with a Mr. Beckham out of Texas, a 31 year old man who had lured an Ottawa boy to a hotel room for sex. It just shows where we are at here with our legislation and the fact that the members on that side of the House, the governing party, never intended to ever address.

Under Canadian law, 14 year olds, and everyone knows it because this is what the debate is all about, are qualified to consent to sex, unless they, of course, are with a person of trust or authority, or unless it is anal sex in which case the Criminal Code says everyone involved has to be 18 or older.

That law, the latter part of what I just read there about anal sex, has been ruled unconstitutional by two Canadian courts already. Guess what is going to happen? Do members think that this law will ever be challenged and put into the right perspective by the government? No. The government has consistently gone the other way. It has consistently rejected the common good when it comes to our youngsters, and it will not challenge it.

Canada's basic law regarding age of consent is 14 for non-anal sex, so as not to criminalize most sex acts between teenagers. Now, the law even allows for children as young as 12 to consent to sex in some circumstances. That is the law. Do you see the trend, Madam Speaker? It is going the other way. It is not reaching out to protect those youngsters. It is going the other way and opening the door so more of them can be exploited, as young as 12. I think that is absolutely shameful.

Given that trend, given that concern raised by so many people in this country, and given the fact that the government here has no intention of protecting our children, with all the rhetoric and red herrings, we can tell that the government is not serious about this particular bill. This is the concern we have on this side of the House.

I know this is the concern that law enforcement officers in this nation have. I ask all members in this House to rethink their position, especially on that side of the House. For the sake of our children, support this bill. Get behind it.

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

He saw some light, but I do not know what the light was. I am still trying to figure out what it was. He seems to be much more comfortable over on that side. He seems to be able to live with the inconsistencies that only a Liberal can have. I am going to give an example of one and then I would like a comment from the member.

These words are from a statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister back in 1999:

I am aware, as are other members, that the recent court decisions and the resulting media coverage have raised concerns around the issue of same sex partners. It appears that the hon. member believes the motion is both necessary and effective as a means to keep the Government of Canada from suddenly legislating the legalization of same sex marriages. That kind of misunderstanding of the intention of the government should be corrected.

Let me state again for the record that the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages.

I fundamentally do not believe--

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, most of us on this side know this member quite well. He spent about 10 years as a Conservative.

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask a question of my colleague from Wild Rose.

At the beginning of his presentation he talked about the greatness of our nation and that God should have dominion from sea to sea. Really, that strikes another kind of tone when we look at the words in our Constitution.

Many of us have sat on committees, for instance, the committee reviewing the solicitation laws. The emphasis and tone of that committee stressed legalization of prostitution. Another committee was struck and ran for two years. It travelled all over the world, as a matter of fact, wanting to legalize marijuana. There is a moral dimension to everything the party across the way is attempting to bring about.

I would like the member for Wild Rose to comment on this moral dimension.

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I appreciated her reading those letters because that is very reflective of what is happening in all the constituencies, including the constituencies of Liberal members on the opposite side. I think that at one time the Deputy Prime Minister in this House actually supported traditional marriage. Here is what she wrote in a letter:

--the definition of marriage is already clear in law in Canada as the union of two persons of the opposite sex. Counsel from my department have successfully defended, and will continue to defend this concept of marriage of court… I continue to believe that it is not necessary to change well-understood concepts of spouse and marriage to deal with any fairness considerations the courts and tribunals may find.

Obviously, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, no longer believes that. Why would the member think that would be the case?

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Bramalea—Gore—Malton for his presentation. I gather that he is not in favour of this bill. I know that others in the Sikh community have expressed the very same concerns that the member has.

In fact, the president of the Sikh temple in Calgary, Jagtar Singh Sidhu, made a very strong appeal at a rally in Calgary about a month ago. I happen to have attended that rally. Bishop Henry also spoke at that particular gathering. He has some strong opinions as well. It is interesting to hear how the member is of the Sikh faith and obviously feels strongly about the importance of keeping a family unit together.

I know that the Punjabi people in my riding are very strong in their union with one another. They believe in some strong family traditions. They believe in the need to procreate, as it is sometimes called, and to raise children. I think those are virtues and creditable attitudes to bring to this country.

I am curious about the member who sits over on the Liberal side. I know that this debate has raged for some time, but what would he suggest as the best line of attack or the best approach to talk to other members who may be uncertain about which way they would like to vote? What would he do about it personally, especially looking at members from his own side?

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the comments by the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood. I have to say that I appreciated them.

I, too, agree that the bill is fatally flawed. He pointed that out and gave reasons in several areas in the allotted time he had, but I am sure he had others.

The member is a man who believes in God. He understands the ramifications of the bill. He mentioned those very things in his statement today. Given that, obviously there will be preachers around who will run into a few problems. There may even be people like you, Madam Speaker, or the member who just spoke, or me who have faith in God and may want to advise somebody else.

I will read a short passage and I will ask the member how the bill will protect the preacher who reads it. It comes from a book called the Bible. It is from Corinthians:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Those are pretty straightforward words and, I might say, that is only one portion of the scripture that contains such words. Given that, when we look at the pressures the preachers in this country may inherit, how will the bill protect them? Where will it end? Will they end up like Bishop Henry in front of a human rights tribunal?

Civil Marriage Act June 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his presentation. He obviously went through a lengthy process to determine the will of his constituents. The reporting of such is very similar to a lot of other ridings in the country, mine included. I can appreciate the member on that side making this statement. He has been recorded as giving a previous statement in the House, which is very important as well.

So many times we have heard from the other side that religious freedoms are going to be protected, whether it is a pastor of a church or a priest. Bishop Henry is very outspoken on the issue of gay marriage. He has made it very clear that the state has a role to play here and that it is not a human rights issue. It is beyond that. With that, of course, he has come up against a reaction, and that reaction is that a human rights tribunal has hauled him before it. He has also had a call from the tax department threatening his charitable status. As a man called to a position, in this case as a pastor, he now finds himself in what I suggest is a very strange predicament. For him the matter is clear. He is called to bring the truth to the people in the community, but he is under threat.

I would like the member to explain how that can happen and how this bill is going to protect him.