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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was health.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Thornhill (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2000, with 65% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question. The information in the one computer, which was being used as a server and which was stolen, contained old databases. They had to be rebuilt. We did it both electronically and manually. It was extremely labour intensive.

However we wanted to ensure that we were contacting the right people. We have done that. We are ensuring the people have the information they need so they can protect themselves. We are also conducting and I have ordered a thorough security review not only of our policies and of our sites but also to ensure that all our employees are up to date on our procedures.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately break-ins do happen and equipment does get stolen on occasion. In this particular instance, the police were there within 15 minutes of the break-in.

The six computers that we stolen did contain some information, a regional database on decisions relating to employer-employee status. We have taken action to ensure that over almost 600 of our offices check and review their security systems.

We are notifying those 120,000 people even though no information on tax and personal business information was included.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, let me give the member opposite the facts.

The fact is that one of those computers was being used as a server. It should have been locked up for the night. All our laptop computers are encrypted. They are state of the art, world class. We have never had that encryption seal broken.

In this case, an employee, a long time good employee of the agency, did not put the server back into the secure room as should have been done. That is CCRA policy. He feels very badly, as we do, and we have taken appropriate action.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, let us forget the rhetoric and talk about an issue that is important to Canadians, and that is there was a theft. We had a break-in in the Laval office. Six computers were stolen. One of those, which was being used as a server, contained some old databases, particularly as it related to the construction industry and to some EI decisions.

We all feel very badly about that. The police are on the scene. The RCMP are investigating. We have taken every action to notify those people so they can protect themselves and we have given them the information they need on how to do that.

That is what Canadians expect and that is what we are doing.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I confirmed, we did have a break-in. Computers were stolen containing information in old databases that had to be rebuilt. They did not contain factual income tax or business information on individuals.

I can tell members that we acted immediately. The police were on the scene within 15 minutes of the break-in. The fact that the computers were stolen was the result of human error. A server was left out.

The long serving employee of the CCRA feels terrible, as I do. We are notifying people. We want to ensure we get to the right people.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that there was a theft of computer equipment from our Laval office. The computers did not contain any personal or business income tax information.

They were old databases, primarily from the construction industry and from EI CPP decisions regarding employment.

We have taken immediate action to review all of our processes and to ensure that the 120,000 people affected receive information on how they can protect themselves.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we have had this discussion before. I have said very clearly to the House that it is not the policy of the government to arm customs officers. We take the advice from the commissioner of the RCMP, Mr. Zaccardelli. We had an outside expert review this.

I will say to the member that when we need the police, they are there for us, whether it is the local police or the RCMP. They are important partners and they are doing a very good job in helping our customs officers do their job on the borders.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have been always open, forthcoming and giving information to the member, to committees and to all Canadians as I have answered questions in the House.

The member should know that he is creating an absolute wrong impression when he talks about our customs officers on the front lines who have the tools, the dedication, the competence to do the job to ensure that Canada is on the leading edge of customs in the world. We work very closely with the Americans. I am proud of what we do. They have the tools. We have hired an additional 450 since September 11.

An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Cruelty to Animals) September 25th, 2003


That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that, with respect to Bill C-10B, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), this House continues to disagree with the Senate's insistence on amendment numbered 2 and disagrees with the Senate's amendments numbered 3 and 4. This House notes that there is agreement in both Houses on the need for cruelty to animals legislation to continue to recognize reasonable and generally accepted practices involving animals. After careful consideration, this House remains convinced that the Bill should be passed in the form it approved on June 6, 2003.

(1) This House does not agree with the amendment numbered 2 (replace “kills without lawful excuse” with “causes unnecessary death”), on which the Senate is insisting. This House is of the view that the defence of “without lawful excuse” has been interpreted by the case law as a flexible, broad defence that is commonly employed in the Criminal Code of Canada. It has been the subject of interpretation by Courts for many years, and is now well understood and fairly and consistently applied by courts in criminal trials. This defence has a longstanding presence in the Criminal Code, including being available since 1953 for the offence of killing animals that are kept for a lawful purpose. The House is convinced that the defence of “lawful excuse” offers clear and sufficient protection for lawful purposes for killing animals. There are no authorities that suggest that this defence is unclear or does not cover the range of situations to which it is meant to apply. For all of these reasons, this House remains convinced that maintaining the defence of “lawful excuse” in relation to offences for killing animals continues to be the best and most appropriate manner of safeguarding the legality of purposes for which animals are commonly killed.

The House disagrees with the Senate that the proposed amendment would provide better protection for legitimate activities. The House is of the view that the amendment would not bring any added clarity, and would give rise to confusion. The term “unnecessary” has been judicially interpreted to comprise two main components: (a) a lawful purpose for interacting with an animal, and (b) a requirement to use reasonable and proportionate means of accomplishing the objective (i.e. choice of means that do not cause avoidable pain). Only the first part of the legal test for “unnecessary” is relevant to offences of killing, namely whether there is a lawful purpose. It has been the law for many decades that persons who kill an animal without a lawful excuse are guilty of an offence. It has also been the law since 1953 that if they kill the animal with a lawful excuse, but in the course of doing so cause unnecessary pain, they are guilty of a second, separate offence. To collapse the elements of these two different offences into one will invite a re-interpretation of the well-developed test of “unnecessary” and will add confusion, rather than clarity, to the law.

(2) This House does not agree with the modified version of amendment numbered 3 (creating a defence for traditional aboriginal practices), on which the Senate is insisting. This House appreciates the recent clarification of an ambiguous component of the amendment, and agrees with the Senate that traditional aboriginal practices that cause “no more pain than is reasonably necessary” should be lawful. However, this House does not agree that the proposed amendment is necessary. Aboriginal practices that do not cause unnecessary pain are not currently offences and will not become offences under the Bill. This House believes that the Bill, as worded, already achieves the objective sought by the Senate.

This House remains convinced that creating a defence for this purpose is not legally necessary and may create unintended mischief. Any act that has a legitimate purpose and does not cause unnecessary pain does not fall within the definition of the crime, and cannot be the subject of an offence. A defence only applies where the conduct actually falls within the definition of the crime and is excused for other reasons. It is illogical and confusing to create a defence for actions that do not constitute a crime. More specifically, as causing unnecessary pain is not a crime, it is not meaningful to create a defence for Aboriginal persons who cause no more pain than is reasonably necessary. In addition, there is no need to mention aboriginal practices specifically; the law is already flexible enough to consider all fact situations and contexts.

The House remains convinced that the wording and effect of the amendment are ambiguous and unclear. For example, there is no clarity as to what “traditional practices” are in the criminal law context and whether there is sufficient clarity to guide the police in their law enforcement duties. In the absence of a demonstrated need for clarification in the law, this amendment could also create mischief by generating a different test for liability for Aboriginal persons. This House does not believe that the law would be improved by creating a defence that is legally unnecessary and has the potential to confuse, rather than clarify, the interpretation of the offences.

(3) This House does not agree with the amended version of amendment numbered 4 (the defences in subsection 429(2)). The defences of legal justification, excuse and colour of right set out in subsection 429(2) of the Criminal Code are applicable to a multitude of different kinds of offences including offences of animal cruelty. The defences apply differently depending on the elements of the offence under consideration. The phrase “to the extent that they are relevant” is included to indicate to the courts that the Bill is not intended to change the defences that are currently relevant to animal cruelty offences, or the way that they apply. It makes clear that the intention is to maintain the current availability and interpretation of defences, and not to alter it. This phrase sends a clear message to the courts that in any and all cases where the defences are currently relevant, they continue to be. Whether a particular defence is relevant will depend on the specific circumstance of each case. The phrase guarantees an accused access to these defences when they are relevant; it does not in any way limit access to defences that are relevant on the facts of the case. For these reasons, the House does not agree with the amended amendment proposed by the Senate.

Customs and Revenue Agency September 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat again: 110 million pieces of mail and an error rate of .0000011%. I challenge the member to find any organization with a better error rate.

We are not perfect but we are trying to work with this every day. We take pride in our work and we take this very seriously. We are looking into the Shawinigan operation because we have had a couple of confirmed cases and a few more that we are concerned about. We want to find out if there is anything we can do to improve our record.