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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was years.

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

Criminal Code January 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-20, a bill proposing changes to the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Wild Rose.

The Minister of Justice maintains that these proposed changes will protect children in Canada. The provisions in Bill C-20 are unnecessarily complex and cumbersome. They will not make it easier to prosecute sexual predators, which is supposed to be the goal because that is what Canadians are demanding. They want their children protected.

As a result of recent court decisions and development of Internet technology which brings formerly distant places much closer together, it has become clear that more protection is needed for Canadian children. We need to be able to more easily prosecute those who exploit, abuse or otherwise violate children in Canada.

I cite the infamous Sharpe case. Canadians were appalled by this decision that legitimized literary musings about sexual relations between adults and children. There was much outrage expressed by many people in my constituency of Surrey North surrounding that case. It was the catalyst that caused Canadians to demand that the federal government take measures to protect children.

In Bill C-20 the Liberal government attempts to tackle the controversy surrounding decisions like this. The government proposes to take the existing defences of child pornography, that is, artistic merit, educational, scientific or medical purpose and public good, and reduce them to the single broad defence of public good. This is simply not sufficient. There is no substantial difference between this public good defence and the previous community standards test that was rendered ineffective by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Butler case.

There is no positive benefit in the government's attempt to recycle laws that have already been discredited by the courts. The minister has simply renamed and repackaged the artistic merit defence. Canadians want the defence, regardless of what it is called, scrapped entirely. They do not want adults able to defend the sexual exploitation of children on the basis that there is some kind of public good or artistic merit in the harming of young people.

The Liberals have not done so. They have simply hidden it in a list and labelled them all public good defences which will continue to be available and used by defendants trying to fight child pornography charges. This is not what Canadians want.

The bill does nothing to address the age of consent for sexual activity between children and adults. Canadians have consistently for years demanded that it be raised from 14 years to 16 years.

The bill we are debating merely creates a category of sexual exploitation to protect children between the ages of 14 and 18. This category requires that in determining whether an adult is in a relationship with a young person that is exploitive of that young person, a judge must consider the age difference between the accused and the young person, the evolution of the relationship, and the degree of control or influence by the person over that young person.

The problem is that it is already against the law for a person in a position of authority or with whom a young person between 14 and 18 years of age is in a relationship of dependency to be sexually involved with that young person.

Because the Liberals have failed to prohibit adults having sex with children under the age of 16, police and parents are faced with a continuing risk to children that is not effectively addressed by the bill. Only by raising the age of consent will young people be truly protected under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Liberals have left a great deal of wiggle room by allowing debates to continue over whether a person is in a relationship with a young person that is exploitive of that young person. This is not what Canadian parents want. It is not the protection young people need in Canada. It is an escape hatch to be used by sexual predators.

The bill increases maximum sentences for child related offences, including sexual offences, failing to provide the necessaries of life, and abandoning a child. Maximum sentences are meaningless if the courts do not impose them, choosing instead to mete out little more than a slap on the wrist with time served in the community.

Canadians need to have the government eliminate statutory release and conditional sentences for sex offenders and mandate minimum sentences in order to deter child predators.

Modern technology has surpassed legislation that governs the use of evidence in Internet child pornography cases. The bill fails to address those shortcomings and amendments are required in order to deal with the child pornography cases effectively and efficiently.

A few short weeks ago, Canadians watched in disbelief as police vented their frustration in trying to work through hundreds of names of people in our country suspected of trafficking in hundreds of thousands of photo images of sexually exploited children. Not only are law enforcement agencies sorely lacking in resources, but they are also woefully bogged down in procedure. They refer to the federal Liberal government's support and co-operation as a nightmare.

If the justice minister were serious about protecting our children, he would provide law enforcement agencies with the resources they need and streamline the process, particularly in the rules governing disclosure. Imagine what even a fraction of the $1 billion wasted on the firearms registry could have done had it been directed to protecting children from sexual predators. This government is failing.

We have the technology to chase down these predators, but there is nothing in the bill about that. On the other hand, given advances in camera technology, the bill does provide some protection for Canadians. The bill creates a new offence of voyeurism and the distribution of voyeuristic material, making it illegal to observe or make a visual recording of a person who should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is a positive step.

Given the fact that the Liberals have chosen to address advances in camera technology, Canadians are left to wonder why they chose not to do something about the advances in the Internet technology and the trading of images depicting the sexual exploitation of children.

There is not much more to say about this weak and largely ineffective legislation. It is a great disservice to Canadian parents, police and young people vulnerable to sexual predators. The Liberals are missing the target with Bill C-20. It should target those who torture, harm, humiliate, degrade and violently and sexually assault young people in Canada. Instead we have legislation that merely confuses things.

In the end, defence lawyers will make a great deal of money successfully getting their clients off because of this weak and ineffective law that will no doubt be torpedoed through this place without amendment. The bill offers nothing substantive that will benefit children and their families. The government should be ashamed for turning its back on the young people whose innocent faces peer out from the images that document their suffering.

I urge each member of this place, especially members on the government side, if they have not already done so, to spend some time with the seasoned police veterans who are haunted by the disturbing images of this horrible treatment of young people. Just look at the evidence. Spend some time with the police. Spend a night in a police patrol car on the kiddie stroll in many of our larger cities. Talk to the drug addicted teen prostitutes. Spend some time with their families and understand the heartache that is caused by this. Then come back here and make a speech about how this bill will do the job of rescuing and protecting these kids.

Bill C-20 is a disappointment.

Child Pornography January 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in the November 2002 issue of The Well , published by the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Canadians were reminded of a new website, cybertip.ca. It was created by Child Find Manitoba to help prevent the online sexual exploitation of children.

This project provides Internet surfers with a place to report illegal content, child pornography and online activities such as child luring. Canadians can reach this service at www.cybertip.ca. There is also a toll free hotline at 1-866-658-9022.

Cybertip's aim is to investigate each tip and to refer leads to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Parents will want to visit cybertip.ca for important information to secure their children's personal safety in their busy day to day lives.

I encourage all parents to visit this website with their children and to spend the time necessary to learn and discuss this wealth of child safety information.

Airline Security December 13th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the minister's misinformed statement of yesterday that air taxes had no negative effect on the industry is simply wrong.

The CEO of Air Canada Jazz has said that the tax “has without a doubt contributed to the reduction of short haul passenger traffic in this country”. The stakeholders and travellers, and the House of Commons transport committee have all called for a reduction in this tax.

Will the government admit finally that the tax has caused problems and commit to its immediate suspension?

Criminal Code December 11th, 2002

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-338, an act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing).

Madam Speaker, two years ago, Irene Thorpe, just out for an evening stroll, was struck and killed by a car involved in a street race in Vancouver. Last fall, RCMP Constable Jimmy Ng was killed by a car allegedly in a street race in Richmond, British Columbia. Last weekend, there was a horrendous crash in Winnipeg allegedly again involving street racing.

I am introducing legislation to amend the Criminal Code specifically to provide that street racing is to be considered an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing a person convicted of dangerous operation of or criminal negligence involving a motor vehicle.

In addition, the bill provides that any person convicted under these provisions who was involved in street racing be subject to a regime of mandatory national driving prohibitions ranging from one year to life, to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Justice December 11th, 2002

More studies, Mr. Speaker.

Irene Thorpe's killers were convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The court records indicate that neither one is a Canadian citizen. The Immigration Act states that any permanent resident convicted of an offence punishable by more than 10 years in prison is inadmissible to Canada. Criminal negligence causing death is such an offence.

Will the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration commence the removal process immediately to ensure that these individuals are deported?

Justice December 11th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, two years ago Irene Thorpe, an innocent pedestrian, was killed by a car involved in a street race in Vancouver. Last fall RCMP Constable Jimmy Ng was killed by a car involved in a street race in Richmond, B.C. Last weekend there was a horrendous crash in Winnipeg involving street racing.

For many years now police have been calling for government action to stop the carnage. Why will the government not listen and bring in tougher laws for this horrendous crime?

Kyoto Protocol December 9th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey North to speak in opposition to the government's impending ratification of the Kyoto protocol.

The government has mismanaged this issue from the beginning and it continues to do so. Since the Prime Minister announced that Canada would ratify the Kyoto protocol, the government has continued to proceed without information concerning what Canada will have to do as a signatory to this international agreement.

What is the plan for implementation? What will be the cost? What do we expect to achieve? Canadians do not have this information. In fact, there is a great deal of conflicting information flying around, yet soon, in fact tomorrow, we will be asked to vote on this matter.

We believe that Canada should reduce real pollution. We should also work on adapting to climate change, whether natural or man made, through advanced technology and social policies. The federal government should be helping Canadians to achieve these goals.

Instead, the Liberals have sold the country out. They would have us chase the requirements of an international agreement written by others and amounting to the transfer of wealth from richer nations to poorer ones. Countries like Canada, with developed economies and modern industries, are going to have to pay cash to poorer nations with developing economies and very little industry. We are going to actually pay these other countries so that they can have the opportunity to develop their industries and to pollute.

News broadcasts are misleading Canadians when they show dirty, belching smokestacks as a backdrop to a news reader talking about the Kyoto accord. The government itself is financing commercials of similar content.

Kyoto is not about reducing pollution. Scientists around the world are not unanimous that human activity is actually causing global climate change. There are arguments on both sides of the issue.

Yes, our climate is changing, as it always does. In fact, growing up not too far from this place, during the 1960s we experienced some extremely cold winters, -50°F for days on end. I recall that because I remember playing outside with no hat and catching a lot of flak from my mother for doing so. Many scientists in those days, the 1960s, predicted that we were heading for another ice age.

We have seen small increases in the planet's average temperature over the past century. However, no one knows definitively whether or not this is caused by our emission of greenhouse gases such as CO

2

. Other factors, such as variations in the sun's output, are considered by many climate specialists to be far more significant drivers of Earth's climate than the changes in human production of carbon dioxide.

Kyoto is primarily about reducing CO

2

, not air pollution.

A quick review of the scientific literature shows that only a small fraction of climate scientists are prepared to actually commit themselves to the idea that humans are causing significant climate change. The vast majority of specialists in the field admit they simply do not know and that it will be some time before they are able to competently predict just what influence human activities have on global climate.

In the meantime, these scientists do agree that they need to continue to conduct the necessary research to properly understand this complex field. Clearly today's climate change science does not provide a foundation strong enough on which to base a significant and costly international treaty such as the Kyoto protocol.

The Kyoto accord does not deal with environmental contamination in general or air pollution in particular. The Kyoto accord will not cover countries producing two-thirds of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore global production of carbon dioxide is extremely unlikely to fall under Kyoto as production and emissions simply shift to countries not subject to the targets.

The Kyoto accord does not even require Canada, or any other country for that matter, to actually make CO

2

reductions. Kyoto establishes an emissions trading credit scheme allowing countries to buy credits toward their targets by transferring money to other countries, in some cases countries with worse environmental records. In this way, a country can pay rather than make CO

2

reductions.

Canada's Kyoto target requires Canada to reduce CO

2

emissions by at least 30% below projected levels, or to buy emissions credits. This will impose enormous stresses on the Canadian economy, including the possible loss of thousands of jobs, a possible reduction in economic production by between $25 billion and $40 billion, and substantially higher energy costs for ordinary Canadians.

Of course, there are those who do not agree with some of these predictions and I respect that, but that is precisely what the problem is. The government has not worked with industry or the provinces to determine the impact. It has no implementation plan because it does not know what to plan for. Above all, as I said, there is no implementation plan.

At a minimum, the government should make it clear to Canadians which targets will be met. Is the government going to ratify and then rescind the Kyoto accord? The strategy to knowingly accept an investment chill and later renege on its own commitments would be even more irresponsible than ramming through the accord without knowing how to meet its targets.

The Canadian Alliance does not believe we should ratify a deal with the effects of the magnitude of Kyoto without being able to explain how it will be implemented.

Queen's Jubilee Medal December 6th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge 20 deserving citizens of Surrey North who have been selected to receive the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for their outstanding service to the community.

They are: Chuck Bailey, Raghbir Singh Bains, Doreen Biener, Bill Brand, Al Cleaver, Dale Denney, Brenda Dudfield, Elizabeth Gilbert, Carol Girardi, Eileen Gratland, Daniel Igali, Wady Lehmann, Betty McClurg, Gerry Morden, Pritam Muker, Jean Munday, Peter Nichols, Dr. John O'Brien-Bell, Ole Olson and Catherine Schoen.

I would also like to pay tribute to the many others who were nominated. I invite the House to congratulate these individuals who have given so freely of themselves to the benefit of their community.

Petitions November 25th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by residents of Surrey North who are concerned with child pornography.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all the necessary steps to ensure that all materials that promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Age of Consent November 25th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, in Canada 14-year-olds cannot legally drive, they cannot vote, they cannot legally buy cigarettes or alcohol and they cannot attend restricted movies. Yet in Canada 14-year-olds are routinely sexually exploited and it is all legal as long as they consent. Will the minister please explain why this is?