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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was police.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Independent MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Justice October 31st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last week in opposing Bill C-338, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice said that the Liberal government will not take any action against street racing.

Numerous serious injuries and deaths have been caused by these irresponsible drivers. RCMP Constable Jimmy Ng was killed when his patrol car was T-boned by an alleged street racer. Why is the government refusing to make our streets safer for our citizens and the police who patrol them?

Criminal Code October 30th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I appreciate having the final word on second reading debate of Bill C-338.

As I said previously, all major cities across Canada are experiencing problems with street racing, some with tragic results causing serious injury or even death to innocent victims.

Street racing today is somewhat different from what was experienced decades ago, as was referenced by some of my colleagues. Today, we have smaller cars with more horsepower. We have young people with significant disposable money to spend on enhancing vehicle performance. Beyond that, there seems to be an attitude among some young people that it is their God given right to put others at risk.

Bill C-338 would amend the Criminal Code. Street racing would be considered an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing a person convicted of criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm or dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death or bodily harm. It would also provide for a mandatory, nationwide driving prohibition to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

In the first hour of debate, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice disappointed many with his arguments against the bill, arguments that can only be described as weak. He implied that we do not need mandatory minimum nationwide driving prohibitions against street racers convicted of killing or seriously injuring people because the courts can use a sentence with a long period of imprisonment.

The problem is that in a majority of cases to date there is no term of imprisonment, not even short, let alone long. The parliamentary secretary spent most of his time talking about the maximum penalties available in the Criminal Code to deal with street racers convicted of killing or seriously injuring. Again, he avoided the fact that the courts are not using maximum sentences or even close to it.

Canadians have expressed outrage over the carnage caused by street racing and the lenient sentences being imposed, including conditional sentences or house arrest. Canadians do not support the use of house arrest as punishment for anyone convicted of being responsible for a street race that either killed or seriously injured someone.

I brought the bill forward to honour the lives of victims of street racing. People like Jerry Kithithee, Irene Thorpe, RCMP Constable Jimmy Ng, Payam Yaghoobi and others lost their lives to the deliberate actions of selfish, irresponsible, and self-centred individuals in hot cars.

I am pleased and grateful to hear members from the opposition parties speak in support of the bill and I thank them. Again, I was disappointed but not terribly surprised by the weak arguments from the government side.

There is much public support for the legislation. In addition, a number of provincial justice ministers, attorneys and solicitors general have indicated their support. I hope that support is reflected in this place.

I would ask all members to support sending Bill C-338 to the justice committee. It is not a partisan issue. It is clearly the right thing to do for victims, their families, and in the name of literally safer streets in our communities.

Criminal Code October 24th, 2003

moved that Bill C-338, an act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker,I am pleased to rise today to debate the private member's bill I have brought forward on behalf of the citizens of Surrey North.

The bill proposes to amend the Criminal Code with respect to the activity commonly referred to as street racing. It was introduced because Canadians want the federal government to address the problem.

Street racing is killing or seriously injuring innocent people. The carnage caused by this reckless behaviour is on the rise in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and other cities.

Bill C-338 proposes to do something about it and today I ask the government to take action to stop street racing by supporting its passage.

Bill C-338 would amend the Criminal Code to provide that street racing is to be considered an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing a person convicted of an offence committed by means of a motor vehicle under section 220, criminal negligence causing death; or section 221, criminal negligence causing bodily harm; or subsection 249(3), dangerous operation causing bodily harm; or subsection 249(4) dangerous operation causing death.

The bill also provides for mandatory nationwide driving prohibitions to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

On a first offence, a judge must suspend driving privileges for a period of one to three years; for a second offence, two to five years; and for subsequent offences, three years to life. Also, if death was caused on the first or second offence, a lifetime prohibition will be imposed on the second conviction.

Canadians want anyone who seriously injures or kills as a result of street racing to be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle for a significant period of time. They do not want individuals convicted of this carnage to serve a sentence and then be allowed to immediately get behind the wheel of a car. Neither do they want such individuals to simply move to another province to obtain a driver's licence.

Letters, phone calls and e-mails to my office from across Canada have expressed outrage over the carnage caused by street racing and lenient sentences being imposed, including conditional sentences. The victims do not support using house arrest for anyone convicted of being responsible for a street race crash that has either killed or seriously injured someone.

The British Columbia Automobile Association has advised me that its members are clearly in favour of swift and severe penalties for street racers. In its 2002 member opinion survey, its members expressed support for all penalties used to punish racers, including two year driver's licence suspensions, vehicle impoundment, fines and demerit points.

Last February 6 I received an e-mail from Margaret-Ann Blaney, minister of justice for New Brunswick. She has forwarded my bill and accompanying information to her officials in the justice department. She said that the suspension of driving privileges was of particular interest to her officials.

On February 4, Gord Mackintosh, minister of justice and attorney general of Manitoba, wrote me an e-mail concerning Bill C-338. He said the following:

Since the current Government of Manitoba was elected in 1999, it has introduced strong new measures to deal with dangerous drivers such as tougher driver's licence suspension provisions, including lifetime suspensions, and vehicle forfeiture for the most serious offenders. Amendments made to our Highway Traffic Act this past session have given our provincial street racing offence the highest maximum fine and the highest demerit point level available for provincial driving offences under that legislation.

I agree that it is important to ensure that there are appropriate measures to deter individuals from engaging in reckless driving behaviour that puts others at risk. I perceive that the challenge in pursuing Criminal Code changes is to weigh the effect of what may be inconsistencies in treatment between impaired driving and street racing offenders and to ensure that they are all workable.

You have raised an important issue.

In a January 21 letter to me, Robert Runciman, the then minister of public safety and security in Ontario, declared the following:

Street racing is a serious offence that puts all road users at risk and we must not tolerate it on our roadways. I am pleased that your proposed amendment to the Code would address the issue of street racing during the sentencing process. Mandatory driving prohibitions need to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed by the courts. I hope your initiative will succeed.

Ontario responded to street racing by proposing legislation empowering police officers to immediately seize a vehicle and suspend a driver's licence for 48 hours. It also proposed to prohibit the use of equipment and substances, such as nitrous oxide, used to boost the performance of engines for the purpose of racing. Unfortunately, the legislation was not enacted due to the recent election. Hopefully the new Ontario minister of transport will reintroduce this legislation.

Jamie Muir, minister of justice for Nova Scotia, wrote to me on January 22 stating:

Although the police have not reported any particular problem enforcing the Provincial prohibition of street racing in this area, this appears to be an effective tool for helping to control the problem where it exists.

Dave Hancock, the minister of justice for Alberta, wrote on January 9 to say:

Street racing is a dangerous practice, which should be an aggravating factor for sentencing certain offenders.

He reminded me that Alberta has significantly increased the penalty for the provincial offence of street racing in the traffic safety act.

The Alberta justice minister went on to suggest that Bill C-338 could be amended to include impaired driving cases. I would have no problem considering amending Bill C-338 to apply to anyone convicted of impaired driving causing death or bodily harm where it can be established that street racing was a factor.

In my home province of British Columbia, Surrey-Green Timbers MLA, Brenda Locke, called on the federal government to crack down on street racers in a motion she introduced in the B.C. legislature.

With the passage of her motion on April 7 of this year, B.C. sent a strong message. Locke's motion calls on Ottawa to remove conditional sentencing for street racers who kill or maim innocent victims. An amendment was introduced to encompass all criminals convicted of a serious violent crime. Both the amendment and the motion passed in the B.C. legislature.

The motion was brought forward in honour of the lives of innocent victims of street racing: Jerry Kithithee, Constable Jimmy Ng and Irene Thorpe. Those three individuals were brutally killed by young men whose reckless, selfish, irresponsible and deliberate actions stole their lives and broke many hearts. There have been more since.

The motion was an important step in urging the federal government to make the necessary changes to the Criminal Code to make our roads safer. It was a de facto endorsement of Bill C-338, which I introduced in this place months earlier. Bill C-338 proposes the Criminal Code changes that B.C. seeks.

Street racing is the height of recklessness and a deliberate endangerment to communities. British Columbians understand the magnitude and the consequences of this activity and question why the courts treat it so lightly and ineffectively.

British Columbians seek justice for street racers and their victims. There have been numerous incidents where victims simply do not see justice.

A number of support groups in British Columbia support a crackdown on street racing. They include Family Survivors Against Street Racers, Our Angels in Heaven and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

B.C.'s solicitor general and minister of public safety, Rich Coleman, confirms that 60 vehicles involved in street racing have been seized and 180 driver's licences were suspended since amendments were made to provincial legislation in 2002.

Mr. Coleman stated the following:

This government has for some time been telling the federal government that in cases of offences involving violence, death and sexual assault, we don't believe there should be the opportunity for conditional sentences within the law. We have taken that to the table of the federal justice ministers.

Geoff Plant, the attorney general of British Columbia, says that conditional sentences have no role to play in street racing offences. He states:

The Criminal Code needs to be tightened up in the area of conditional sentencing so that conditional sentences are rarely, if ever, available for a crime of this nature.

MLA Locke concluded her remarks on the passage of her motion by saying:

It has been my privilege to work alongside Nina and her family as well as the Member of Parliament for Surrey North and other volunteers. I want to thank the Member of Parliament for Surrey North for aggressively raising this issue in the Parliament of Canada.

I should point out that the Nina referred to in this case is Nina Rivet who is a sister of Irene Thorpe, the woman who was run down by a street racer while out for a walk one evening.

What is the position of the Liberal government?

In response to a letter from me late last year, the Minister of Justice does not appear to be interested in helping to stop street racing. He says that mandatory minimum criminal penalties “do not work from the point of view of general deterrence and recidivism”.

There is no empirical evidence linking deterrence and recidivism as they relate to street racing. In fact, in a recent B.C. case, the driver who was eventually convicted for the street racing crash that caused the death of Irene Thorpe was arrested for speeding while he was out on bail, even though his licence was suspended as a condition of that bail. This counters the minister's contention because it shows clearly that there is a need for legal deterrence. There is a recidivism problem.

The minister also says that driving prohibitions should remain discretionary. He says that sometimes they may not be necessary because of long terms of punishment handed down to street racers who kill or seriously injure. The problem with the minister's contention is that no one has ever received any of these long prison terms for convictions resulting from street racing.

House arrest is being used for street racers who kill or injure people. This is inappropriate from the standpoint of the victims or their survivors and the protection and safety of communities that have a serious street racing problem.

The government also maintains that there are only a few minimum sentences provided for in the Criminal Code and that it is not willing to add more, such as the mandatory drivers' licence suspensions called for in this bill, but there are many areas in the Criminal Code that provide minimum sentences. I counted 26 offences in the 2004 Martin's Annual Criminal Code that carry a minimum sentence upon conviction. And many Canadians agree that there should be more minimum sentences for many more offences in the Criminal Code. Our criminal justice system needs more teeth.

The government also believes that taking account of aggravating circumstances for the purposes of sentencing is a very rare tool provided for in the Criminal Code. The justice minister suggested that aggravating circumstances for sentencing are virtually limited to hate motivated crimes, abuse of position of trust and authority, spousal and child abuse, criminal organization and terrorism.

In fact, there are other examples. Bill C-15A, passed in June 2002, made home invasion an aggravating factor in sentencing for certain offences. A judge sentencing a person for unlawful confinement, robbery, extortion or break and enter must consider it an aggravating circumstance if the offence was committed in an occupied dwelling where the offender was either aware that it was occupied or was reckless in this regard, and where he or she used violence or threats of violence against a person or property.

I point out that when I presented a motion to that effect at the justice committee a year or more earlier, government members called me silly, and yet they enacted it themselves a year later.

Bill C-46, currently before the justice committee, in clause 3 sets out four aggravating factors for sentencing purposes with respect to fraudulent manipulation of the public markets.

The minister's lame excuses betray a lack of serious consideration being given to this issue by this government. There is no requirement to equate street racing with other crimes in order to allow it to be considered as an aggravating circumstance.

I expect that the government will hang its argument against my bill on its refusal to consider minimum sentences and the use of aggravating circumstances when sentencing. Those are not good enough grounds for the government to fail to address the problem of street racing.

Sanctions should reflect the fact that street racing is an activity that goes beyond the regular criminal activities involving motor vehicles that are covered by the Criminal Code. Driving prohibitions must be nationwide to prevent anyone convicted of causing death or serious injury while street racing from simply moving to another province and continuing to drive.

As street racing incidents causing death and serious injury continue to occur in our major cities, passage of Bill C-338 would serve as a deterrent. This is a proactive legislative measure that would provide one step in the fight to stop street racing.

Today the government has the opportunity to support Bill C-338. It has an opportunity to stand up for the victims and to hold the perpetrators properly accountable.

Foreign Affairs October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is hobnobbing with Chinese leaders, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, whose parents live in Surrey, serves a life sentence in a Chinese prison.

For five months in detention, Dr. Wang was not told of the charges against him. He was denied legal counsel and the right to judicial review of his arrest and detention. He was denied the presumption of innocence, the right to prepare a defence, the right to a fair and timely trial and the right to cross-examine witnesses.

In July the United Nations arbitrary detention working group declared Dr. Wang's detention to be arbitrary and in violation of international law. It found no basis for charges of espionage or terrorism against him. He is being punished for advancing the cause of democracy.

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister was greeted with a 19 gun salute along Tiananmen Square, the site of China's most infamous violation of human and civil rights.

Dr. Wang's family in Canada is frustrated to tears and ashamed of the Prime Minister's glad handing ways with the regime that has jailed their son for life.

Organized Crime October 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last year the RCMP reported that marijuana grow ops are epidemic. Last spring the Solicitor General saw the problem firsthand in my riding. Last month another RCMP report revealed that international drug gangs are spreading across Canada.

Grow ops threaten communities with drive by shootings, home invasions and house fires. Apparently the Prime Minister thinks that marijuana use is some kind of joke. Families living next door to grow ops do not share his humour.

Why is this government dragging its feet in addressing marijuana grow ops despite repeated warnings from the RCMP?

Justice October 2nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, a drunk 17 year old crashed his $70,000 BMW at 140 kilometres per hour while street racing, killing his passenger. He was convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The sentence was eight months open custody and four months of house arrest.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act police are hesitant to charge. Prosecutors are frustrated because judges' hands are tied for sentencing. These problems were predicted long before it became law. Why did the justice minister not listen to the front line justice personnel?

Young Offenders October 1st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in February 2001 a drunk 17 year old crashed his $70,000 BMW at 140 kilometres per hour street racing in West Vancouver. His passenger, 17 year old Payam Yaghoobi, died.

On Monday, convicted of criminal negligence causing death, he was sentenced to eight months open custody, followed by four months of house arrest; statutory release at two-thirds for young offenders.

Prosecutors complain they cannot get serious consequences for violent young offenders.

In 1993, long before coming here, I met with the member for LaSalle--Émard over coffee as he campaigned in British Columbia and I was left believing that he shared my concerns about the lenient treatment of violent young offenders. Now his government has given Canadians the flawed Youth Criminal Justice Act under which police hesitate to charge, prosecutors are frustrated, the hands of judges are tied, victims do not get justice and violent young criminals laugh for the TV cameras.

What happened to the 10 year old Liberal promise to get serious with violent young offenders?

Petitions September 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on Parliament to ensure the outlawing of all material which promotes pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children.

Petitions September 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am pleased to present two petitions.

The first petition requests Parliament to repeal section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act and extend collective bargaining rights to rural route mail couriers.

National Sex Offender Registry September 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the government failed to provide Canadians with a national sex offender registry by January 2002, even though it supported the Canadian Alliance motion calling for it a year earlier.

Last week, a Canada-wide warrant was issued for 51 year old Christopher Lance Neale of Surrey whose record of 44 convictions spans more than 20 years. He is wanted on nine counts of assault against two 13 year old girls. He fled Surrey with a young boy and police were concerned for the boy's welfare. Fortunately, I have been informed that the boy has been returned home safely. In a previous case, Neale sexually assaulted a 12 year old boy while the director of a youth program. Edmonton police want him on eight other charges. He is accused of offering runaway girls accommodation, food and illegal drugs in return for sex.

If the Liberal idea of a sex offender registry were in effect, this predator would not be on it. Unbelievably, he would not be automatically registered even following a further conviction; the Crown would be forced to apply. Finally, if registered, he could apply for an exemption. The Liberal idea for a national sex offender registry is a total fraud.