Won his last election, in 2004, with 61% of the vote.
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 April 12th, 2005
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 April 12th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, was that not a nice speech about how great this budget is? For the people out there who cannot see what is going on in here, let me point out that the Liberals are giving themselves some applause.
Let us talk a bit about how this affected the people in Abbotsford, British Columbia. We have a pretty serious drug problem in Abbotsford as well as in lower mainland British Columbia and throughout this country. The government spent $8.1 million giving heroin to addicts; now there is a great program. I wonder if the budget reflects that. There is no money at all in the budget for rehabilitation. There is no money for the rehabilitation of individuals who are addicted to drugs. There is no money for advertising. Yet, rather than get addicts off drugs, the government spent millions on an injection site to make sure that those who are addicted can go to a place to inject their drugs.
In Abbotsford, British Columbia we are still fighting for fairness in the avian flu situation. The government in its wisdom decided that it had a schedule to reimburse farmers. For instance, on the schedule pigeons were worth $30, but anybody who knows much about specialized pigeons knows that some of them are worth $2,000 each. In its wisdom, the government did not do anything about that in the budget.
Tomorrow's announcement is an interesting thing. We have a lot of pretty bad air quality emissions in the Fraser Valley. There is nothing in the budget about that.
Here is the real question. The member opposite talked about revenue that has been generated. It would be interesting to know how much more money we would have available for the projects that I have just mentioned if it had not been ripped out of the pockets of the taxpayers and given to the Liberal Party. People in my area think that is pretty disgusting.
There is another bit of revenue the member opposite did not mention. Bill C-17 here in the House of Commons is for the decriminalization of marijuana, which the government is going to be made effective for anybody over the age of 11. What the government is saying is that anybody over the age of 11 will be given a fine for carrying as much as 60 joints. That is for grades six, seven, eight and nine in our country, for over two million students. What the government really does not understand about that little generator of revenue, according to the Department of Justice, is that we cannot fine anybody between the ages of 11 to 16, so the police will not be issuing fines on the spot to anyone who is 12, 13, 14 or 15, and reasonably so. This convoluted idea of a government trying to raise money because children in grades six or seven carry joints is a bit stupid, to say the least.
Budgets are more than just standing up and making some sort of philosophical statement on Kyoto or some other thing. They are about how Canada is working. I can tell the government and the hon. member across the way right now that the budget covered nothing about drugs that was motivating, to say the least. It covered nothing about the ethics and morality of stealing money from taxpayers. It covered nothing about some of the issues that are important to my area in terms of the avian flu and our emissions problem.
Maybe the member could stand up and tell us about what other little things I missed out on that did not affect my area at all.
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 April 12th, 2005
Sounds like an election speech.
Civil Marriage Act March 21st, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-38. I am very disappointed that we are in the House of Commons deliberating this issue. I have been here since 1993, speaking about many issues in the House of Commons, and I thought I had seen all of the issues we were going to deal with, yet here we have facing us one with very serious consequences.
In the official opposition I am responsible for looking at the issue of illegal drugs in this country. People ask me why we are not dealing with that issue as it is such a cancerous problem in our society and why we in the House of Commons are talking day in and day out about same sex marriage.
I wonder what kinds of answers can be given to people who walk into my office with their children who are addicted to crack cocaine and other drugs. Really, it saddens me. In addition to that, a subcommittee of the justice committee is looking at the idea of legalizing prostitution.
I wonder why all of these values issues are even here. If anything, as I prepare to leave the House of Commons in my last term, I truly wish the government could in its own way respect Canadians for what they are and not for what the government wants them to be. I think that is one of the biggest problems with governments. They tend to think that Canadians will do and be whatever governments want. In this case it is not so.
My dear Aunt Frances from Lakeside, Nova Scotia, who is watching this with bated breath, is trying to understand why we in the House of Commons are changing something that has been near and dear to her heart for 80-some years. I think a lot of people are thinking about that.
Same sex issues have been around for 20 years and have been rife with judicial, political and legislative activity. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited in all Canadian jurisdictions. Section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
A lot of people have said that we should not get into the rights discussion. For many people it is not just about rights; there are other issues facing them in this issue.
Opponents of same sex marriage say same sex marriage undermines the traditional family and family values. They say there are unique benefits that monogamous heterosexual marriage provides to the husband and wife, their children and society as a whole. They say society benefits when its communities are characterized by strong, stable, monogamous heterosexual marriages. They say the current concept of marriage has been a right to those who practise that institution and that changing the definition is a removal of their right.
Let me quote some average, ordinary Canadians who have written to me about this issue. Gary Wiens of Didsbury, Alberta, says this:
It bothers me how the word intolerant has been thrown around in the controversy over same sex marriage. Any thinking person would realize that as soon as a party uses the word they themselves become intolerant. They have imposed their own arbitrary standard on another. As long as standards are arbitrary, the product of our own reason and bias, both parties are doomed to be intolerant of each other.
That is good advice from Alberta.
In another letter, Alice Mcgladdery, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, in my riding, asks all politicians to consider her point of view. Alice says this:
Marriage between one man and one woman is a natural institution as it predates all recorded, formally structured, social, legal, political and religious systems. In so far as it is a social institution, marriage is concerned with the common good, not individual rights. The State must strengthen and protect marriage between a man and a woman because it assures the survival of society by creating the next generation.
Alice also says that she asks:
--the Government of Canada to implement legislation that will recognize, protect and reaffirm the definition of marriage as a voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
She also asks:
--that should the Government of Canada want to address the concerns of other adult interdependent relationships, it do so in a way that respects human dignity but does not redefine and thus void the vital, irreplaceable, natural and social institution of marriage.
Those are reasonable, good, well thought out words from just an average person in this country.
These kinds of words go right across the country. Some are from John and Nancy Church of Woodstock, Ontario. When I read these words, I thought about how long I have been married as well and just exactly what John and Nancy are going through while we in this House deliberate these things. They said:
Having been married to each other for almost 39 years we are alarmed that the marriage bond that we have enjoyed could be depreciated by the legislation that has been introduced into something that will become increasingly meaningless.
I have heard that time and time again in so many words from people across this country who are wondering just what the heck politicians are doing in the House of Commons. They are average Canadians who hope politicians will get control of the agenda of the judiciary, Canadians who hope politicians will preserve their way of life, Canadians who believe the people they send to Ottawa will stand up for what they believe in and leave partisan politics aside.
I must say this about partisan politics. I just cannot believe that we in this country would send people to the House of Commons, deliberate such an important issue and then have some parties turn around and say, “While we are deliberating it, while we are debating these things, we are going to tell the following people how to vote”. Is it any wonder that people are saying there should be a referendum on such an issue? Is it any wonder that people say they send their representatives to Ottawa to do what they think is right for their community, but they go to Ottawa and say that regardless of whether that is right or not, they have been told to vote a certain way?
How could we possibly let people in Canada down by taking that position? That is not democratic in any way, shape or form. It is a problem.
For my part, I have always been and will continue to be a family man who strongly supports the traditional definition of marriage, that being “the voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”, and I am darn proud to say that, darn proud. To this end, I dedicate this speech to Marty, my wife of 34 years, and to the people of my community, who expect me to support them and stand up for what they believe in as well.
I want to reaffirm a statement I made earlier. Why is it that in this country year in and year out the government and politicians cannot respect us for what we are today? Why do they want to make us into something else? What is the propensity behind this? What is the motivation to change people who do not want to be changed into something else?
Recently I did a press release called, “Pssst...don't tell the Liberals”. I was referring to several changes again coming from Holland. It seems like we fall into a mess in this country when Holland makes a change over there because somewhere in the bureaucracy of Canada they want to move us into this.
This is Canada. We are unique. Our citizens are unique. Our Parliament is unique. Our definition of marriage is unique to us in Canada as well as virtually every other country in the world. I say do not change it.
Age of Consent March 9th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, once again I see a situation in Ottawa where a young 14-year-old boy was lured into a serious situation by a predator.
Since following the age of sexual consent issue, I have been increasingly aware of the terrible consequences of politicians changing laws with a narrow understanding of the future impact.
How many times must I see 14-year-old and 15-year-old kids in crack houses with 30-year-old and 40-year-old criminals, while the criminals send the children out to sell drugs, prostitute them and use them for sex? Parents anguish at the fact that police cannot remove them from the scene because the age of sexual consent was lowered from 16 to 14.
Politicians must do a better job of defining when a child becomes an adult. The Liberal government wants anyone over the age of 11 to be able to possess marijuana, and a 14-year-old to have sex with a 30-year-old.
The government must get its act together with the age of sexual consent.
Criminal Code March 8th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, it is very clear to all the victims of hit and run drivers out there that it will not be easy, but the other three parties are opposing the bill. I will summarize the reason they are doing that, but first I want to say a little something about Carley Regan.
On January 6, 2003 around 5:10 p.m., Carley Regan, a 13-year-old child, lost her life unnecessarily at the hands of a hit and run driver. Carley's sister Jessica, 11, and friend Raelene Campbell, 10, were also struck by the car in Aldergrove, British Columbia. Carley was alive when she got out of the ditch and died because somebody was not there, in particular the person who hit her.
This issue did not start with Carley Regan; it began to end with Carley Regan. One day the offence of hit and run will become law in this place. The politicians just do not know it yet and do not know how diligent I can be on these issues, although they should know by now.
Before I came into the House, I thought I would check to see how many hit and run situations we have found since writing the law. Actually, there were too many to bring into the House today. This is not something that just happens in Langley, Abbotsford or Aldergrove, British Columbia; this is something that happens in all members' ridings all the time.
Members should listen to these: February 22, 2005, “Man walking home killed by hit and run driver”. March 1, “City cop hurt in hit and run”. That was in Ottawa. In Miramichi, New Brunswick on January 6, “30-year-old New Brunswick man accused in a fatal hit and run accident”. December 13, “Grief and anger grip family after driver sought in fatal hit and run”. That was in Calgary. In Kingston, Ontario, “Witness sought after man killed in hit and run”. Here it is March 8 and I look at my own home area of Maple Ridge, British Columbia where an individual got $12 worth of gas, ran away from his responsibility of paying for it, ran over the attendant and murdered him.
This is happening every day. We cannot come into the House of Commons and say that for one technical reason or another we cannot do anything about it.
I want to acknowledge two people. When I wrote my bill in 2003 I worked with a lot of victims across the country, but in particular, Barry Regan, Carley's dad, and Debbie Graw, Carley's aunt. Debbie is a hero of mine actually. She is a brave, intelligent lady whose life has been changed forever by the death of her niece.
What is the bill about? It is about getting the law reviewed in the justice committee. Politicians here will find reasons why it cannot even go before a committee. It is about paying attention to a serious problem in our society that needs addressing: hit and run. It is about all politicians removing their political bias and doing what is right on a problem that is very wrong. It is about showing Canadians that elected people can work together. I know this is an extremely partisan place, but this is not about that. It is about an evil that exists in our country.
What has occurred? As I said, it did not start with Carley Regan. That was the beginning of the end. The good people of Langley and Abbotsford have had to share this kind of misery more than once. I have read case after case. I could read 100 of them, but what good would it do at this point? I have a few minutes to convince my colleagues that the bill has to get to the justice committee for review. If not, then I have to go back to the drawing board and once again convince those parties that political bias takes second place to the need for changes in our society.
Let us look at what the Liberals said about this just a moment ago. They are not supporting it. They are supporting the status quo essentially, section 252 of the Criminal Code which gives a five year maximum. If we could only get a five year maximum for a hit and run in this country, that would even be nice, but we are getting two years to no years, no time at all. That is the problem we have been trying to tell those folks.
The Liberals say it defies the principle of proportionality. What is proportional about hit and run and murdering people through hit and run and getting a year for it in prison? They say they need an act and a mental element. Tell that to the victims. Tell them they want a mental element in this bill.
Of course the big one that always comes here, my favourite, is that it will violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It would not necessarily violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It might and so we should not do it because of that. How many times have I heard this? As I prepare to leave the House of Commons, I wonder if the Charter of Rights will ever be used for something really valid that all people in Canada want as opposed to an excuse for not doing what all people want.
Also, my Liberal colleague has given a ridiculous example, actually. This is another thing in the House of Commons; if one does not like something, bring up some ridiculous example that will set a precedent, maybe. I cannot believe it. He did say that he was highly sympathetic. He was highly sympathetic, but not sympathetic enough to let the bill go to the justice committee. It is incredible.
Of course my colleague from the Bloc said that he is not supporting it, that it has been the third time in the House. However, he did not mention that each time the House had closed and it was not through debate that it was lost. He also said that the status quo is A-okay and the provisions now in the Criminal Code are reasonable. He called the situation of hit and run causing death, or hit and run with injury and somebody getting zero to two years maximum, reasonable.
We are here to challenge that. What I say is if hit and run causes death, then the penalty should be seven years to life. If it causes injury, it should be four years to life. There is nothing wrong with that. That is what people are asking for.
I am going to deliver to each one of the members a case, or two, or three, of hit and runs in each one of their ridings. I want them to go home and justify to the families of the victims of those murders or attempted murders--they are not accidents--why they would do nothing in the House of Commons but accept the status quo, basically zero to two years, which is all that is being given for these crimes.
When we look at the perpetrator of the crime, the person who ran over Carley Regan, we should ask ourselves exactly what his situation was and why he would get such a very small penalty. Here was a guy who was driving under suspension. He maintained he was not drinking, which is kind of standard, yet surveillance tapes show him purchasing beer. He said he did not return to the scene, but a witness placed him there. Then he said that he was there but he panicked. He left the scene twice. At the time of the accident he had 11 B.C. driving prohibitions and citations since 1997. That is disgraceful. All he got was a minor penalty.
This is the first time this has come up for debate, but I can guarantee it will not be the last. I will be here to see this through, or my colleague, the member for Cariboo—Prince George, will be here to see this through.
God bless Canada. God bless Carley Regan.
Justice February 22nd, 2005
Mr. Speaker, all studies are showing that no maximum penalties are being given in Canada for marijuana grow operations under current legislation. This will not change under Bill C-17. Because of this the bulk of the rapidly expanding marijuana trade in Canada is going south in exchange for American cocaine, money and drugs.
Does the government plan to implement minimum penalties for grow operators, or will it continue to allow border relations between Canada and the United States to erode?
Drug Strategy November 26th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, the government tabled Bill C-17, decriminalization of marijuana, in the House. This bill applies to children over the age of 11 in this nation. Children will have discounts on fines, and in fact, according to the justice department, they will likely not have to pay fines at all.
On the other hand, crystal meth, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin run rampant through the streets in this country. To combat that, the government has thought of a program called injection sites where individuals can bring drugs in and shoot up, a bubble zone where nobody will tackle the drug issue at all.
Does this sound like a government that knows what it is doing? Does this sound like a government that actually has a legitimate national drug strategy? Does this sound like a government that should stay in power? Then let us do something about it. Let us change the government.
Petitions November 19th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I submit two petitions today for essentially the same issues. They are asking that Parliament oppose any legislation that would directly or indirectly redefine family, including the provision of marriage and family benefits to those who are not family as defined in this petition.
Carley's Law November 17th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, Carley's law has again been tabled in the House. Carley's law seeks to change the way we look at hit and run driving in Canada.
Carley Regan was a special young lady who lost her life at the age of 13 to an irresponsible driver who left her to die on the road rather than face the responsibility of his actions at the scene of the mishap. Carley's law would stop plea bargaining hit and run charges to the benefit of the criminal. It would equate hit and run causing death to murder, and hit and run causing injury to attempted murder. In addition, Carley's law would mandate minimum penalties of four years and seven years.
Mr. Speaker, fellow members of Parliament and Canadians, please join me and members of our policing community in preventing future deliberate deaths and injuries at the hands of hit and run drivers by supporting Carley's law.
I thank Carley's family and the communities of Abbotsford and Langley for their support in this initiative.