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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was afghanistan.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Mississauga—Streetsville (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Seniors September 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, October 1 is the International Day of Older Persons. This morning I invite my fellow parliamentarians and all Canadians to join me in celebrating the remarkable contributions of older persons to Canadian society. This year, the United Nations has chosen the theme “Ageing in the New Millennium: Focus on poverty, older women and development”.

The issues presented by an aging population are a high priority for our government. The policies we are developing now will affect the lives of Canadians for generations.

Our government is also responding to the needs of low income seniors. This January, the first non-indexed increase to the GIS in over 20 years will come into effect.

Seniors have earned the right to enjoy a quality of life that we can take pride in. It is the commitment of our government to ensure that the needs of seniors are met. Again I invite members to join me in celebrating the International Day of Older Persons this Saturday.

National Defence June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in early 2006 a brigade HQ and an army task force will be deployed in Kandahar as an ongoing commitment to ISAF in Afghanistan. Given the ongoing grave security situation with regard to the Kandahar region, can the Minister of National Defence tell the House, within the constraints of operational security, what preparations are being taken in the way of equipment and training provision and for force protection for CF units due to be posted to Kandahar?

Criminal Code June 22nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-293, an act to amend the Criminal Code, theft of a motor vehicle.

I would like to begin by addressing some of the comments made in the first hour of debate on Bill C-293 in the House.

I would agree with the hon. member for Langley that motor vehicle theft is a serious issue. I would also agree with the comments made by some hon. members that cars are stolen for a variety of reasons. As examples, they are stolen to feed drug addiction, to facilitate the activities of criminal organizations or simply as a matter of thrill.

As I understand the position advanced by the hon. member for Langley during the first hour of second reading debate, one of the rationales for mandatory minimum sentences in Bill C-293 is deterrence. I cannot agree that the sentencing structure as he has provided will meet this important objective.

To the extent that the bill attempts to deter vehicle theft, it is sending a mixed message, given the fact that if implemented, Bill C-293 will reduce the maximum punishment available for theft by one-half, down to five years imprisonment.

Currently, a person who steals a motor vehicle is liable to a 10 year jail term when the matter is prosecuted by indictment. A 10 year maximum term sends an important message to offenders that this criminal activity will not be tolerated, not by society and especially not by the Canadian criminal justice system. It makes a long term of imprisonment available to judges imposing sentences when circumstances so require.

It is an important element of sentencing in Canada that a court undertakes an assessment of any mitigating and aggravating factors during the sentencing process. For instance, where motor vehicle theft is accompanied by an incident of violence, this has been found to be an aggravating factor in sentencing. Alternatively, when an offender pleads guilty or is without a criminal record, these have been found to be mitigating factors. This balancing process aims to ensure that like criminals receive similar sentences for similar crimes.

My point is, this judicial discretion, which is very important, is contributing to the imposition of suitable punishment, one that takes into account various statutory directions set out in the sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code, especially when dealing with a wide range of offenders committing auto theft in the country.

I have focused much of my discussion thus far on the use of criminal law as a means to combatting this form of crime. During the first hour of debate on this matter my colleague highlighted two other factors which would contribute to the reduction of motor vehicle thefts in Canada. These two components include education and engineering.

With regard to engineering, a significant advancement was made by the government in March with the regulatory amendment regarding the vehicle immobilization system. The amendment requires that by September 1, 2007 all new vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 4,536 kilograms, except emergency vehicles, must be equipped with an immobilization system. These immobilization systems, which make it difficult for the car engine to be started without the proper disabling device, will be effective in reducing theft in the country.

Although not a panacea, this new requirement for cars in Canada will make it more difficult to commit motor vehicle theft and will certainly prove to be an effective deterrent, especially for those committing auto theft as a crime of opportunity or thrill.

With regard to the need for community programming and education, recent law enforcement initiatives have shown evidence of success. For example, project heat in Saskatchewan and the bait car program in British Columbia are evidence of innovative ways law enforcement are directing efforts at preventing this form of crime in these communities.

In conclusion, although I believe the intentions behind the bill are good, I cannot support Bill C-293 as it fails to take into account that the crime of auto theft is committed by an array of offenders with divergent motivations and associated levels of violence. Further, the bill would essentially cut in half the maximum punishment available for this crime currently under the Criminal Code and it would also disproportionately increase the maximum punishment available under summary conviction to two years, well beyond crimes such as sexual assault.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has just demonstrated why it has been in opposition for 12 years and I anticipate it will remain there for another 12.

Let me set the record straight. Before I do that, the rambling speeches that I have heard in the last couple of days are full of inaccuracies to the extent that they could probably make the Guinness Book of World Records .

The fact is the deficit, unemployment, interest rates and the bankruptcies were soaring when that party was in power. Surplus after surplus after surplus has brought nothing but good to the Canadian people. The rates are low, affordability is high, tax cuts of $100 billion have been given to the people over the last five years and the country is prosperous.

I cannot understand why the government was so corrupt when Bill C-43 was before the House and the same corrupt government, supported by the Conservative Party, voted in support Bill C-43. Initially the Conservatives opposed it and then they supported it. Now Bill C-48 is corrupt. Will they make up their minds and support Bill C-48? It is for the greater good of the people.

Members opposite said that the deal was recorded on a napkin. It does not matter where it was recorded. They also said that the government saved its skin by making the deal with the NDP. We have saved the skin of Canadians who do not want to be burdened with the deficits, tax burdens and all those things that party wants to impose on them. Why did they support--

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 20th, 2005

Madam Speaker, in the hon. member's comments, she talked about prudent fiscal management. I would like to take the member down memory lane.

Everybody has been talking about a $42 billion deficit, but I want to correct those numbers. Under the Conservative government, the deficit went from under $200 billion to over $600 billion and the projection in the next year has been $53 billion. Canadians and Canada could not afford it for even a minute longer. That is why the Conservatives were reduced to two seats in the country. They should not forget that.

They are trying to teach us prudence and fiscal management, but we have had continuous surpluses and the highest employment record budget after budget. If this government is fraught with corruption, why did the member and her party support Bill C-43?

Public Service June 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it has become all too common in the House for the official opposition to portray the hard-working men and women of our public service as inefficient and ineffective. Given that this week is set aside to celebrate the fine work being done by the members of our public service, would the President of the Treasury Board please take this opportunity to, on behalf of the government, thank them for the important work they do for Canadians?

Criminal Code June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-275 aims to toughen the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident where there is death or injury. It also aims to make it a whole lot easier for the prosecution to obtain a conviction in death or injury situations. I am certainly not in favour of persons leaving the scene of an accident and escaping liability. However I am also not in favour of Bill C-275. I take note that the Minister of Justice is also not in favour of Bill C-275.

The bill would keep the maximum penalty at life imprisonment for a driver who leaves the scene of an accident where there is a death. It will also jack up the maximum penalty from 10 years to life imprisonment for a driver who leaves the scene of an accident where there is an injury.

I want to note that the maximum penalty for criminal negligence and impaired driving causing death is life imprisonment, just as it is for leaving the scene of an accident that results in a death. However the maximum penalty for criminal negligence and impaired driving causing injury is 10 years. Why is it then that Bill C-275 proposes life imprisonment as a maximum penalty for leaving the scene of an accident where there is injury? I find this part of the bill inexplicable.

Bill C-275 also proposes to toughen sentencing by creating a minimum penalty in death and injury. There would be a minimum penalty of seven years imprisonment for death and four years imprisonment for injury. Here again it is important to look at the fact that for manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving during a police chase causing death, impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm there is no minimum penalty.

Why is it that the death and injury cases of leaving the scene would have a minimum penalty of seven years and four years respectively, while the other offences of similar gravity have no minimum penalty?

The proposal in Bill C-275 appears to be widely disproportionate compared to the penalties for similar offences. I can think of no rational explanation for this.

I see that Bill C-275 aims to make the task of the prosecution easier. This also sounds very noble until one realizes that the bill proposes to eliminate the mental element of the criminal offence of leaving the scene of an accident in death and injury cases.

Upon careful reflection, we appreciate that the requirement to have a mental element within the definition of each criminal offence is a very fundamental aspect of our criminal law. The purpose of such a requirement is to ensure that purely accidental acts will not be criminalized. I find it of more than passing interest that people who are so ready to rail against the charter as shielding offenders are likely to be quite happy to stand upon these same charter rights if one day they are facing criminal charges or need other charter protection.

The truth is that although most of us will never be charged with a criminal offence, the charter is there to ensure that we can sleep well at night and assure us that we will not be deprived of our liberty without respecting principles of fundamental justice. In Canada we take our freedom for such treatment as this for granted. It is only because the courts so carefully protect these fragile freedoms that we take so much for granted.

Often enough, the prosecution cannot prove all elements of a criminal case, including the mental element, beyond a reasonable doubt and the court must find the defendant not guilty as charged, however suspicious the court may be. Most of us will agree that this is the price that we must pay in order to have a system that awards unfairness and wrongful conviction.

Bill C-275 does not share this view. It would throw caution and fundamental principles of justice to the wind and would say that if drivers commit the act of leaving the scene, they are guilty, regardless of whether the prosecution can prove that there was an intention to escape liability and regardless of whether the prosecution can prove that there was knowledge of death or injury. The mental element would no longer matter.

Even if this did not violate the charter, which I believe it does, surely our sense of basic fairness would tell us that we should not be criminalizing every person who leaves an accident scene in which there was death or injury. Given the wide range of reasons that might exist for leaving, surely the existing mental elements within the definition of the offence serve the purpose of ensuring such fairness.

To jump upon the bandwagon of Bill C-275 would be like saying that we should eliminate the mental element of an intention to kill for the crime of murder and charge even cases of accidentally causing a death as a criminal offence of murder because it would make it so much easier for the prosecutor to get a conviction.

I would imagine that people who do flee the scene of an accident with the requisite mental intent do so because they fear that if they remain they will be liable. Therefore they take a chance that they can escape any liability and they leave the scene. The thought process would remain the same, even with the harsher penalty of Bill C-275. The drivers who would leave the scene fear liability and they choose to flee the scene in the belief that they can avoid liability. The question that they are asking themselves is whether they will get caught, not whether the maximum or minimum penalties have been increased.

I will be voting against Bill C-275. It just goes too far because it proposes penalties that do not logically fit with the penalties for similarly serious Criminal Code offences. It goes too far because it proposes to eliminate the mental element for the most serious situations of leaving the scene of an accident, namely, death and injury situations.

Canada Border Services Agency Act June 13th, 2005

I certainly have not experienced that.

The issue is still there and our government is addressing it. Our foreign office is in consultation with our partners down south, and I hope there will be progress soon.

Canada Border Services Agency Act June 13th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I am touched by the question and by the passion with which the hon. member has posed it. I think the issue is there, but it is definitely not as grave as the member has said. I have been to the United States hundreds of times since 9/11. My family has been there, my friends have travelled there, and under the new rules, perhaps people are being stopped; however,--

Canada Border Services Agency Act June 13th, 2005

I hope it is a fix. We may have to go further than that, but these things are strong initiatives that address the issues of today.