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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

Petitions September 17th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my pleasure to present a petition from a number of my constituents requesting that Parliament take all measures to halt the passage of Bill C-250.

Justice June 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, following Richard Jung's death, I sat with his dad for hours as he tried to come to terms with the senseless killing of his son, and he expected justice. Prosecutors wanted three to six years. Even the defence expected jail time. The Crown quoted the judge's own words from an earlier case when she said the court will not tolerate “senseless, gratuitous, recreational violence” before imposing an eight year sentence for aggravated assault, and now, four house arrests for manslaughter. When will the minister say enough is enough?

Justice June 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in February 2000, 16 year old Richard Jung was swarmed and beaten to death. A young offender plea-bargained from second degree murder down to manslaughter and got two and a half years, and that is bad enough, but four adults involved were just convicted of manslaughter. The sentence? Members guessed it, two years less a day at home.

The Minister of Justice, who gave us conditional sentencing, said it was not intended for violent crimes. Would the current minister please explain why he is allowing conditional sentences to become the rule for virtually anything other than murder?

Justice June 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last weekend Richmond RCMP officers held the first Annual Constable Jimmy Ng Memorial Road Hockey Tournament in memory of their fallen comrade. Constable Ng was killed last year when his patrol car was rammed by an alleged street racer. The goal of this event was to raise money for a scholarship in Constable Ng's name.

Once again I spent some time with Jimmy's parents, Chris and Theresa. Their courageous resolve to promote awareness of the potentially catastrophic consequences of mixing young inexperienced drivers with high performance cars is commendable. But beyond educating teens and parents, the Ngs also recognize the need for lawmakers to do their part.

Just last week we saw another conditional sentence imposed on a street racer convicted for his part in the death of a 17 year old. Street racing season is upon us. The bad actors know they will not face a day in jail even if their selfish disregard for others kills or injures innocent people.

By its silence and inaction, the government at worst accepts this behaviour or, at the very least, just plain does not care.

Justice May 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, just the other day a 34 year old Surrey man was charged with two counts for the unusual offence of sexual assault by fraud. It is alleged that he obtained consent for sexual relations from two boys, age 14 and 15 respectively, by lying to them that he was 19 years old. The crown therefore alleges that it was not informed consent.

Published reports indicate that this former minor hockey referee-in-chief and scout leader lied about his age while attending events for gay youths over at least the last four years. He also visited Internet chat rooms.

This could be a precedent setting case and I will be watching it closely.

Meanwhile., the Liberal government, by its stubborn refusal to raise the age of sexual consent to 16 years, condones the adult exploitation of 14 year olds for sex.

On April 23, 2002, Liberal members voted to defeat a Canadian Alliance motion to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, a move that would help to protect kids from these sexual predators. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Justice May 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, a number of provinces are committed to the Amber alert program to rescue children. Amber alert uses radio, TV, electronic billboards and emergency broadcast systems to immediately alert the public about abducted children whose lives are in peril.

Unfortunately, provincial programs stop at provincial borders. Does the justice minister not agree that a truly effective program must be national and if so, why will he not show some leadership and establish one?

Justice May 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, early yesterday morning RCMP responded to a report of shots fired in the Fraser Heights area of Surrey. A residence and parked vehicles had been struck by over 60 bullets.

No motive has yet been established and there is absolutely no suggestion that anything untoward was occurring at the residence, whose occupants are cooperating fully with the police. This was a drive-by shooting in a quiet neighbourhood, but the area does harbour a number of grow operations.

It occurred only hours before I questioned the Solicitor General at the justice committee about his government's failure to address the marijuana grow op issue in Canada. It was little more than a month after the same Solicitor General visited Surrey to learn at first hand from the RCMP about the problem. It was about six months after the Solicitor General received and sat on an RCMP report informing him of the grow op epidemic, in their words.

Lax laws, lenient courts and under-resourced enforcement are the reasons why criminals come from all over the world to set up marijuana grow ops in Canada. This is about public safety. The citizens of Surrey want action now.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003 May 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I think the previous speaker spoke quite eloquently toward the problems with the employment insurance fund. This has been an ongoing issue. This is certainly something I have received many complaints about in my constituency, the fact that the government is taking far more than it needs to keep the fund afloat. We can understand why there has to be a certain amount of surplus for a rainy day, but the idea of essentially taxing workers and employers to fund its own pet projects is something that is of extreme concern to Canadians when that money could be put to far better use.

As far as the imbalances in the provinces that the member speaks of, again it is an ongoing problem. We have seen downloading and downloading year after year. We only have to look at what happened in the provinces when the health transfers were cut. Certainly my province of B.C. has suffered enormously because of that.

Then we look at the boondoggles and the HRDC scandals of a couple of years ago and we still find problems. Every time some of these programs come across our desks, as they do on all members' desks in this place, we have to wonder what the blazes the government is doing. The gun registry has cost $1 billion. Could that money not have been spent in better places?

I spoke of youth justice and the problems that are occurring in the provinces trying to fund that. We know the problems that the police are running up against with child pornography, trying to have the resources available to take that out. It is an incredible problem yet the government keeps piling up resources to throw around.

I expect fully that we will see some of these issues answered just before the next election when the money starts to flow. We talk about infrastructure. I expect to see a lot of infrastructure money flow into my constituency before the next election when the government tries to buy votes with the employment insurance that people have paid in this country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003 May 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the people of Surrey North to participate in this budget debate.

The government balanced the budget a few years back by downloading costs either directly to the taxpayers or on to the provinces. Taxes have been high for far too long. Ottawa continues to maintain an artificial annual budgetary surplus created by high taxes,and every year it uses the surplus as a slush fund.

Unfortunately there is no government-wide search for duplication or wasteful spending. Although there is much need to eliminate waste and reduce spending in non-priority areas, there is at the same time much need for increases in important areas that the government has neglected.

At this late stage in this year's budget debate, many of my colleagues responsible for critiquing particular cabinet portfolios have already spoken. For my part I will concentrate my remarks on the criminal justice portfolio. This is an area that could be bolstered by an increase in spending with funds salvaged from areas of non-priority spending. First I will touch on the youth justice system.

The Liberals' new Youth Criminal Justice Act that came into effect on April 1 of this year is a prime example of what I am talking about. The provinces, municipalities, probation officers and virtually anyone involved in our country's youth criminal justice system told the federal government that more resources would be needed to implement and administer the new youth justice system that the Liberals were designing. However, the government went ahead and passed legislation creating a whole new youth justice regime that the provinces are expected to administer.

Everyone was looking to this budget for the resources that the provinces would require to run the new system but there was nothing in the budget to address those concerns. The new Youth Criminal Justice Act forced on the provinces by the government fails to accomplish what Canadians wanted because of its extreme complexity and lack of funding. The provinces continue to pick up the lion's share of the costs involved, around 75%.

The Liberals claim that they do not have the money to carry out the originally agreed upon arrangement to pay into a fifty-fifty cost sharing scheme but unbelievably, they still expect the provinces to come up with the money for their plan. This situation is shameful.

Our youth need a criminal justice system that serves their needs. Some youth need help so they can be steered away from a life of crime. This takes money and it is a worthwhile investment yet there was nothing in the budget for youth justice. And the government crows about its so-called children's agenda.

Second, I want to talk about children in danger. For some time now, I and others, have called on the government to implement a nationwide Amber alert program. Amber alert uses radio, TV, electronic billboards and emergency broadcast systems to immediately alert the public about abducted children whose lives are in peril.

Some provinces have developed their own programs without any support from the federal government. Although it was not successful in preventing the recent tragic death of Holly Jones in Toronto, we did see the Ontario program in operation this past week. Amber alert has saved lives in other jurisdictions, however, provincial programs stop at provincial borders. A truly effective program must be national. Canadians want the federal government to show some leadership by instituting a nationwide amber alert program for the sake of our children.

It would have been nice to see such an initiative provided for in the budget but the government did not respond. Again, it brags about its so-called children's agenda. There was nothing in the budget for children in peril.

Finally, I want to discuss the issue of marijuana cultivation, grow ops. Yesterday I had the opportunity to question the Solicitor General during his appearance before the justice committee to answer questions concerning the recent federal budget. I used my time to focus on marijuana grow ops, a major problem in my constituency of Surrey North.

In Surrey alone, there are an estimated 3,500 to 4,500 grow ops that generate annual revenues conservatively estimated to be in excess of $2 billion. That is in my constituency alone.

Much of that marijuana is exported to the United States as currency for the guns and cocaine that are then smuggled back into Canada. The grow ops are run by violent criminal gangs and are located in quiet residential neighbourhoods where children play. My constituents are concerned and they are angry. They fear for their own safety but more important, for the safety of their children.

Day after day, letters, e-mails, faxes and phone calls come into my office from constituents demanding that something be done about it. The criminal intelligence directorate of the RCMP issued a report on marijuana cultivation in Canada which is dated November 2002. For some reason it only found its way into the public domain on April 24 but that is a question for another day.

The report indicates that grow ops have increased sixfold since 1993. As I said to the Solicitor General yesterday, the sixfold increase happened under his government's watch.

The report also says that the grow ops have reached epidemic proportions. That is the RCMP's wording, epidemic proportions, and it cites the lack of resources for law enforcement as part of the problem. Since the report was dated November 2002, I must assume that the Solicitor General received it in the prebudget phase.

The Solicitor General said that he did inform the finance minister as to what the RCMP had told him. Either the Solicitor General downplayed the serious nature of the RCMP's concerns or the finance minister did not listen because I do not see anything in the estimates or the budget to directly address the issue of marijuana grow operations.

There have been drive-by shootings, murders and assaults. Just the other night over 60 shots were fired at a residence in that area. No motive has been established but such incidents have occurred before and found to be cases of mistaken identity in that the wrong house was targeted. Innocent lives are at risk.

Other communities in Canada face the same problem. A number of our colleagues on the government side, members from Ontario, have raised the issue of marijuana grow operations in their constituencies. They too understand the negative impact they have on communities, yet we do not see any resources directly targeting these operations. Worse yet, there appears to be no strategy in place to reduce and eliminate these scourges in our neighbourhoods.

Resources for our law enforcement agencies to take down grow ops should have been a budgetary item. There should have been tax dollars specifically earmarked for this effort but there are none.

The Solicitor General told the committee yesterday with great pride how people come from all around the world to examine our criminal justice system. What he did not say was that international criminals examine our system too and they come here to set up shop with whatever criminal activity they are engaged in because the government has a legacy of lax laws and lenient sentences.

This is especially true when it comes to marijuana grow operations: high profit and low risk. Getting caught is considered nothing more than the cost of doing business.

The Solicitor General recalled visiting Surrey and learning from the local RCMP about the problem. He called it serious and admitted that it should be challenged head on. He said that we have to do more. The fact is that the resources to do more are not in the budget. He concluded by declaring that in the next few weeks the government will bring forward proposals that will in a more comprehensive fashion challenge the grow operations, to increase penalties and take them down.

Those are lofty words but words nonetheless and hollow words without the commitment of resources to back them up. Certainly there will always be competing priorities for tax dollars. The job of government is to establish those priorities in the best interests of the people of Canada. Sadly the government does not appear to place the safety of our children and communities very high on its list of spending priorities.

Youth Criminal Justice Act May 12th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should be talking to victims or their families about the impact of new trials. Maybe he should go to Victoria and talk with Reena Virk's family.

The minister says that he intends to consult with the provinces in response to this recent court decision. Ontario's attorney general said that Ottawa has ignored provincial concerns over youth justice. Other provinces have said the same thing.

Ontario proposed more than 100 amendments before the new act was passed into law and not one was adopted. Why has the minister reneged on his political commitment to crack down on violent youth crime?