House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was justice.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Wild Rose (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 72% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I have one box of several boxes of petitions all dealing with one subject which I would like to present to the House today. Discussions have taken place and I believe you would find unanimous consent to allow me to present them at this time. It would be really convenient if the House would agree to allow me to do it at this time. It would only take a minute.

Justice February 14th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today we will be debating Bill C-27, which fixes the process for designating dangerous offenders. Provincial attorneys general, police and victims groups have been calling for this bill, but so far the opposition is determined to kill the bill and confuse the public by calling it a three strikes bill.

Bill C-27 is an important part of a series of government bills aimed at making our streets and communities safer from violent criminals. As an MP who meets regularly with victims and as a member of the justice committee, I am deeply frustrated at how long it is taking to pass these bills.

Yesterday the president of the Canadian Police Association said:

Police officers across the country see people that are victimized by violent, repeat offenders. These bills will keep dangerous criminals from returning to the streets, and help protect our communities...We are simply asking MPs to act on their commitments and help police officers do their jobs.

Every one of us made a commitment to Canadians in the last election to get tough on crime. I urge opposition members to get busy and meet their commitment.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, what I said was that he did not care to look into it. I did not say anything else about him. Just like his statement is not true, that they do not have examine it. The member should look into it and he will find he is wrong.

I should be upset for him telling untruths about me.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, this is the problem. The member said that what I said was false. Every police department in the country came to this place. One witness, who testified before many of us, made it loud and clear that because of that court decision, every piece of child pornography had to be examined before charges could be laid. That is a fact.

Why the member does not know that is because I guess he does not care enough about it to check into it. He should take a visit to Toronto and ask the police department.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, when I go out into my riding, I guarantee that there will be no objection to the bill. The bill is very popular in my constituency. I believe if every member sitting in the House went into their ridings and asked the same question, they would get big support.

Our job is to deliver what society expects from us. The most elemental duty we have is to protect our people, particularly from crime. Do not let politics interfere with doing one's duty. Do not make rash statements that this is only for political aims. That is nonsense.

I advise very strongly that no one look me in the eye and suggest that I am doing this for political gain. This is not about that. I would never suggest the same to anyone else. If members do not want to do what is right for Canadians, which is our most elemental duty, to protect the people of our country, if they do not want to do what it takes to do that, then they should leave this place and not come back. That is their elemental duty.

Let us get off of this stuff about political purposes, political gains and aims. Let us start concentrating on the victims of our land, who I believe have been overlooked far too long.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned, whenever we bring forward legislation to this place to try to make our communities safer, the protection of the public is the number one concern. Will the legislation cause our public to be safer? That is the first question that has to be answered.

The second question that needs to be answered may be will it pass the charter test or it may be what is the cost.

First, do we have the will to create a system that will make our society safer? If so, we will find the money to do that. That is just the nature of the human being. It is the nature of a family man. We will do what it takes to protect our families. If it costs a little extra, we will meet the costs. Priority number one is what we need to do to protect society.

I do not believe for a moment that the charter was invented to hinder justice. I believe the charter is there to protect the rights of people. We cannot allow the costs to make our society safer to be a major concern. The protection of Canadians is the most important thing. In my view, if we keep that in mind, all these things will fall into place.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened to some of the answers that were given to specific questions, in particular by the last member, the Liberal lawyer. Bless her little pea picking heart. She just does not get it. She just does not understand exactly what it is that we are getting at.

I am putting it as plain as I can. A person is assaulted. It is traumatic and shocking. There is an arrest. The accused is in jail. The victim is at peace. The police did their job. Then the courts allow bail. How does that make the victim feel?

Do not fear. The judge tells the accused not to go near the victim. That does not mean squat to these criminals. When we are talking about violent offenders using guns and getting released on bail, it creates further trauma in the lives of victims. I really do not see why Liberals have so much difficulty understanding that.

I am extremely proud of the ministers in my party, both past and present, for pushing these kinds of pieces of legislation forward. They heard the message that I heard and that I have been hearing for 13 years: Canadians want us to do something about crime in this country, particularly violent crime. I applaud these people for bringing forward legislation that addresses many people's concerns.

I am pleased to hear that the NDP is supporting this bill, but to say the Conservatives only put it forward for political gains is nonsense. I know that every member in the House today heard the same message in their ridings. Canadians want us to clamp down on crime, particularly those involved with the use of guns. I am proud to be part of an organization that is attempting to do that.

The other thing I want to mention is the omnibus bill. Bloc and NDP members all seemed to insist that in order to do legislation properly there should be more pieces put together to form a big bill and cover all these things. For 13 years the justice committee has been dealing with omnibus bills brought forward by the previous government.

Here is the problem. In some of these omnibus bills there were certain aspects that I kind of liked and that my party was supportive of, but then there were other portions that we did not particularly like. Efforts were made to amend those portions to make them better and then finally we end up with a total package. The omnibus bill then comes before the House and we have to cast a ballot.

Like the old saying goes, if one takes a spoonful of sugar before the medicine goes down, one can swallow the whole idea more easily. I never ever felt good about supporting an omnibus bill that had certain sections in it that I could not support and yet other sections I could.

The biggest example I can think of is the child protection act. Over the years when we worked on that particular piece of legislation, we could never get one aspect right and that was how to deal with child pornography, one of the most evil acts in the country which has grown into a $1 billion industry because we did not do anything about it right from the very beginning. We attempted to, but could not do it because the legislation was concerned about the rights of certain individuals being trampled on, like freedom of expression or freedom of speech.

Then, some judge in a court case decided that child pornography might have some artistic merit. I think we all remember that. Suddenly the police had to take every item of child pornography they managed to confiscate and examine it carefully to make sure it did not have some artistic merit.

We all agreed about this in the House, and even the government thought it was a good idea, so it brought in another bill and tried to get rid of certain wording to make it right so that we could get after this child pornography. The Liberals tried “public good”, but nobody could agree that any child pornography would have any public good. Then they tried another term: “useful purpose”. After much debate, we could not go along with that either, so the omnibus bill had to leave in certain things that left it open to child pornography, such that people who offended others with that material could use some of those excuses to carry on with what has grown into a billion dollar industry today.

I do not feel very good about that, nor should any member of the House who has been here for the last few years. Nor should any member who is here today feel good about that happening. We should have broken up the omnibus bill and dealt with child pornography with legislation that would defeat one of the most evil things that occurs in our society. But we do not do that.

I know that bail has caused a lot of trauma in the lives of a lot of victims simply because the offenders are out again. Violent offenders are released on bail. It happens. My personal belief is that there should be no bail for any violent offender, but as for putting reverse onus on them, I can go along with it.

If the onus is on the individual to explain to me why he should be allowed bail, I will go along with that. I will not go along with this constant letting out on bail of people who have traumatized victims across the country only to traumatize them again because they are free again. It does not matter what kind of court order there is for these people not to go within 1,000 yards, or not to go to that site, or near a school or whatever. That does not matter to these offenders. Getting out is what matters to them.

This bill is an attempt to just bring in another measure of safety to our society, a little more protection. Our Canadian society has demanded a lot of things. We need to adapt to the changing times and the changing crimes going on today. We need to update and enhance our bail regime to reflect our collective denunciation of gun crimes, which I know we all do.

Let us leave the duck hunters alone. Let us leave the deer hunters alone. Let us go after the criminals. Somebody once said to me that we needed to get to the root cause of crime but we did not know where to start, and suddenly, eureka, someone discovered it: the root cause of crime is criminals.

Lo and behold, it is a new discovery: criminals cause crime. What makes that happen? We are not too certain in a lot of cases. We use some things to try to give them an excuse sometimes. We have to quit doing that. We need to address the fact that people in this country have to make choices, and the choices cannot be crime, because if that is the choice, they will not like the results.

Fighting crime includes preventive measures. I consider Bill C-35 part of those measures.

With Bill C-35, those accused of serious offences involving firearms or other regulated weapons will have to justify why they should get bail, and rightfully so. Canadian citizens expect those who pose a significant risk to public safety to be kept behind bars. That is what Canadian citizens expect. They want a criminal justice system that protects them from violent crimes. That has to include an effective bail regime.

This is only a small part of the things we need to do. Yes, I believe in rehabilitation, and I believe in prevention. I believe in getting to the root causes. We must deal with them, but at the same time we have to get a message out there to those who violently attack people with guns, or without, that it is no longer going to be acceptable, because Canadian citizens, who expect to be protected from these people, will be protected. I am pleased to be part of a group of people running this country at the present time who want to do exactly that.

We need new tools to combat crime and to ensure that our streets and our homes are safe. One of those tools is to make it more difficult for a person charged with serious violent crimes to get on bail. Bill C-35 will make that happen.

Bill C-35 will make bail more difficult to obtain for an accused who is charged with the following: a serious crime involving the use of a firearm, possession of a firearm for the purpose of trafficking, firearms smuggling, or with any weapon-related offence allegedly committed while the accused is bound by a weapons prohibitions order.

I ask all members of this House to please support these kinds of measures for the sake of the safety of our communities. Several of our large urban centres are now facing a new brand of criminality. The member from Edmonton who was in the House a few minutes ago made that point about the changes that are happening in his city involving the criminal use or illegal possession of firearms.

Innocent people are being affected by inner city gang violence, random shootings and armed robberies. We only have to go back to Boxing Day, that dreadful day, to remember that. And there are killings in schools. We need to protect Canadians from these threats.

On the recent trends with respect to gun crimes, I want to illustrate the threat that such crimes pose to public safety. According to 2005 statistics on crime, rapes, homicides and attempted murders increased in 2005.

Homicide is the most serious of all criminal acts, including first and second degree murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Following a 13% increase in 2004, the homicide rate increased by a further 4% in 2005. Police services reported a total of 658 homicides in 2005, 34 more than 2004. The rate of two homicides per 100,000 people was the highest since 1996.

The rate of attempted murders also increased by 14% in 2005. There were 772 attempted murders, 100 more than in the previous year. The rise in the number of homicides at the national level was primarily driven by large increases in Ontario, where there were 31 more homicides than in the previous year, and in Alberta, where the number of homicides for 2005 increased by 23.

Even if the overall crime rate was lower in Canada this past year, the crime rate for these violent offences was on the rise and continues to be on the rise.

According to a Statistics Canada 2005 homicide survey, gang related homicides as a percentage of all homicides continue to increase. The percentage of firearm homicides reported as being gang related was 2.1% in 1993, with 13 victims. It was up to 9.1% five years later in 1998, with 51 victims. In the last two years, there was an average of 78 victims each year, representing 13.4% of all firearm homicides.

According to this same report, the number and percentage of handguns used in firearm homicides have continued to increase over the last three decades. In 1974, 76 or 27% of all firearm homicides were committed with handguns. In 1984, 66 or 29% of all firearm homicides were committed by handguns. In 1994, the number increased considerably to 90 incidents, representing 46% of all firearm homicides. In spite of a very significant decrease in overall firearm homicides since the mid-1990s, the number of handgun homicides increased to 112 in 2004, which is 64% of the firearm homicides.

There has been a lot of emphasis in the speeches today with regard to the gun registry. Obviously these figures tell me that it is not the registry that is going to save the day. It is not working. It is causing a lot of grief for duck hunters and law-abiding people, but it does not appear to be causing enough grief for the criminal element.

With respect to firearm robberies, it should be noted that while firearm robberies have declined considerably over the last decades, the portion of handgun robberies has increased. In 2004, 85% of all firearm robberies were committed with handguns. The number of firearm robberies doubled in Nova Scotia between 2003 and 2004. Several metropolitan areas have firearm robbery rates well above the national rate. The rates for 2004 were: in Montreal, 24 per 100,000 population; in Winnipeg, 19.7 per 100,000 population; in Toronto, 18.6 per 100,000 population; and in Vancouver, 17.8 per 100,000 population.

All of these remain much higher than the national rate of 11.8 per 100,000 population. In spite of a downward trend in crime, as they say, it is beginning to skyrocket in other major centres.

Increases have also been noted in the use of handguns in other violent crimes, including firearm crimes such as attempted murder and extortion. The statistics compiled by the homicide squad of the Toronto police service for 2006 reflect these trends. There were 62 murders in Toronto as of November 22, 2006. Of the 46 persons that were arrested, 14 were on bail at the time of the murder and 17 were on court-ordered firearms prohibition orders. Let me repeat that: 14 were on bail at the time of the murder.

Whether we live in a big city such as Toronto or in a rural setting like mine, we all want to feel safe in our homes, on our streets and in our public places.

Communities, as well as participants in the justice system, have reason to be concerned about the release from custody of people involved in gun and gang related crimes. We need to protect Canadians who wish to go about their daily lives without the fear of being the victim of a crime. Most certainly, we need to go about our daily lives without the fear that some person in jail because of a very violent and heinous crime dare be released on bail only to traumatize the residents of that large city or that rural setting. The point is that this is happening far too often.

I applaud my minister for bringing forward legislation that attempts to help make our communities and our society safer. I will fight for that cause for as long I stand in the House of Commons. I never will give up that fight.

I beg all members of the House to hear the Canadian citizens. They are calling for measures to do what this bill would do, which is make our communities safer. Please support the bill.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I will make this short and to the point as I see there are other questioners.

I made reference to a person who had committed sexual assault had been let out on bail. I also mentioned that two people who had committed a crime with a gun by holding up a store were let out on bail. Does the member think the fact that they were let out on bail traumatized the victims any more than they already were? Or does she think the fact that they were let out on bail would not affect the victims?

I would suggest to the member it had a tremendous impact on the victims. We as politicians should prevent as much trauma in the life of victims as we possibly can. I see the bill doing that.

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have always respected the hon. member's opinions although I do not agree with him most of time and I think he knows that, but I certainly respect him as a family man and as a person who believes in protecting society.

I have heard him mention that these things are happening for political gains. First, does the member really believe after 13 years that I would make some kind of effort toward something like this for political gains? Second, everyone realizes there are costs attached to everything that we do, but the most important thing is, are we willing to provide legislation to protect people?

I did not hear any message in the member's speech about the importance of protecting people with regard to releasing the accused on bail. I found that rather strange coming from this man. I believe he wants to see people protected, but he did not mention the fact that if we do not let them out, then they cannot hurt anyone again. That has happened. Not a great number of times, but it happened in my riding twice. The trauma of the people being released is enough to frighten victims beyond belief.

I wish the opposition would put more emphasis on that. As far as the bail being taken away from the sentencing time, that is the way it works, two years for one, and I see no bearing on that. Life is a little tough in prison and there is a message for some people right there. They should not go there and they will not have those miseries. Stay out of there.

I believe the member thinks that safety is really important for the protection of society, but I did not hear him mention that factor. Does he believe that the bill will protect society in any measure at all, or is it just useless in that respect?

Criminal Code February 13th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech and for a while I was not sure whether he was talking about the gun registry or just what he was talking about; he kind of wandered all over the place. I want to stick specifically to the purpose of this bill.

I can see no connection to whether the registry has basically saved any lives. I hear talk about it being used 6,000 times a day or whatever it is, but police have told me it kicks in regardless of what they are searching for, whether it is a car licence plate or the address of a person, but that is neither here nor there.

In my riding a young mother in her house was a victim of a sexual assault. Somebody who was asking for directions assaulted and viciously attacked the young mother. Three days later she was recouping, sitting on her front porch and lo and behold, who wandered into her yard but the same individual.The alleged crime was indeed a fact, but it was an alleged crime. It was the same at a corner grocery store which was held up by two people with guns. Three or four days later outside the same store the two individuals were standing on the corner. They were loose.

Surely the member would realize the impact that would have on the victims. Yes, the individuals are alleged to be criminals as there has not been a conviction but they were out on bail. What we are saying through this bill is that violent attackers, be they alleged or convicted, should not be released on bail. The experience of the two people, including the young mother, I can assure the member was traumatic, yet bail was allowed.

That just cannot happen in this society. It just cannot happen. I do not care how few cases there are, it cannot happen even once. We cannot allow this to go on. Does he agree?