House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was grandparents.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Mission—Coquitlam (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

But that is not good enough. Now we are still talking about section 745 which was brought in in 1976. I am really concerned that members on the opposite side who are busy right now constantly harassing me when I am speaking do not understand.

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

I hear the member for Kingston and the Islands in his usual form, continually talking when others are talking, continually being rude. I have come to expect that from him so I will just continue.

Since last Tuesday I did look over the justice committee meeting minutes. I noticed that where the witnesses spoke in the justice committee every one of them seemed to be concerned with time.

Mr. Jessop is a police staff sergeant and his concern, apart from the fact that he mentioned dangerous offenders, is why is the Liberal government not doing something about dangerous offenders. He said: "I am told we are not introducing dangerous offenders

at this particular point because it is not politically expedient to do so. I would suggest that this is not the way we should be thinking. We should be dealing with dangerous offender legislation". That was from a police sergeant.

He also goes on to say that the RCMP are really displeased with the justice agenda of the Liberal government. He said: "The government should be considering repealing section 745 if they want to restore some integrity to the criminal justice system". He continues: "Section 745 contradicts fundamentally not only public confidence but the entire philosophy of how our criminal justice legal system has grown". That is a staff sergeant speaking.

What about time? Are we rushing it through? He looks right at the committee and says: "You have the opportunity in the three days left-and I address this specifically to the Liberal members of this committee-to actually do the right thing. I would urge you to repeal section 745".

Mr. Scott Newark, executive director of the Canadian Police Association, also spoke. He was concerned about clause 5 of Bill C-45 which deals with victims' information. He said: "It potentially excludes victim information from section 745 screening hearings or judicial reviews, other than for new offences". He is right to be concerned on that.

He also pointed out that having notification on Monday, when he was out of Alberta, that the bill was going to be introduced on Wednesday, is terrible. Shame on the justice committee when they had ample opportunity, over a year of preparation on C-45 and on private member's Bill C-226 since it was introduced in December 1994. They have known about it since that time. He was correct when he stated: "It has been the case that parliamentary committees were supposed to have the time and the ability to analyse legislation". That is a very important statement. Indeed, that is what parliamentary committees are supposed to do.

He finishes with: "I share not only what I would call your frustrations"-he is talking to members of the committee-"but frankly as a citizen, the outrage at the process that is being foisted on people when the opportunity to do a proper job was present for over a year. And that is not only true on this bill; that was the case last year on the DNA search warrants that resulted in another sloppy piece of legislation without a DNA data bank attached to it". Those words are straight from the mouth of this expert. "The right thing here", he said, "is to repeal 745".

He was questioned on cost. As a matter of fact it was Reform's justice critic from Crowfoot who questioned him on the costs of these hearings and whether they were costly to the Canadian public. He said that he could not be definite but it was between $50,000 and $100,000 a hearing and that the more sensational hearings are probably up to millions for the taxpayers. Of course they take a lot longer than the original trial.

I look at this and say to myself: Debt, deficit and accountability. This government has us so far in debt and deficit, there is no accountability and let us just keep on having hearings even if they should not be allowed and are not necessary and to heck with worrying about the taxpayers and the dollars.

Witness Sharon Rosenfeldt from Victims of Violence International, who everyone I think is aware of the tragic loss in her family, said: "This is such an important issue it has to be talked about and addressed in a much broader context than is being done at this time by just a few days in a quick rush in front of the justice committee. I just cannot accept the new amendments the justice minister has put forward. I still have to stay with the total repeal of section 745".

What about Darlene Boyd, another person who has had a tragic loss in her family? She said: "Murder is all too readily said. Another word I frequently hear is rehabilitation. I truly believe that the man who took our daughter's life and that of the young girl from High River is not and never will be rehabilitation material, especially after serving only 15 years in his confined environment. To rehabilitate there has to be some spark of remorse and James Peters did not demonstrate any of this. The chance of filtering men like James Peters back into society after 15 years through the system we now have is too great a risk. We will be digging more graves for innocent people".

I think the member for Kingston and the Islands again misses the point, the chance is there and that is what is so frightening and scary.

There is witness Debbie Mahaffy. We all know about Debbie's loss. She said: "We found out about the various committee hearings by accident and I am very glad that we scrambled our way to Ottawa and got here on time". What is this rush? "Is life in prison with no eligibility for parole up to 25 years enough for taking the life of one person? No. Is it enough for taking the life of more than one person? No. Is 25 years a waste of a life? Yes. But the killers who decided to murder my daughter made that choice. By doing so they decided their own fate and are now wasting their lives in comfort. Our laws should reflect our evolving society and everyone in society should be protected by our laws".

These witnesses are people who are experienced. They are not removed from the situation. Debbie finishes with: "It is irresponsible of this government to allow time that much power and control over its decisions. Less time for communication, less time for discussion, less time for murderers to serve is a sad commentary on the quality of life we are now leaning toward in Canada".

The presentation by Priscilla de Villiers, president of CAVEAT, is very interesting. She said:

I am appalled at the way this has been presented to the people of this country. I am appalled not just because of section 745 or any other section of the Criminal Code. This is a travesty of the parliamentary system.

We have had a bill asking for discussion of this on the books for 18 months. We got an official communique on Thursday, I think. I first read this bill on the airplane to Saskatchewan and Steve Sullivan and I had to come back in the middle of last night to beg for five minutes of time to make our little statement because we are the few people here who do not benefit from the system. Shame.

Shame on this reluctant concession to what is becoming very quickly a serious election issue. Shame on you that you have not taken into account the words of ordinary Canadians who say: We are bothered by this; we are concerned. Give it the consideration it deserves. If you then, in your wisdom as a governing party decide not to support it, fine, that is your right. But to have this ramshackle excuse for an appearance just to say that we actually appeared here, it is a shame on the entire process.

I have to agree with her. Why has this country deteriorated so far from people facing responsibilities for their actions? It began in 1971 with the Liberals and Solicitor General Goyer who summed up the government agenda when he told Parliament: "We have decided to stress the rehabilitation of individuals rather than the protection of society". Therein says it all. They stressed the belief that society and not the criminal was responsible for the crime. From that time on the whole system existed to serve the criminal. And in 1976 when the Liberal government abolished capital punishment, Canada replaced it with a life sentence of 25 years.

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I have prepared a 20-minute speech so I hope I do not run over my time. I know you will let me know.

First, I would like to thank you, Madam Speaker, for recognizing me in the debate. I did speak last Tuesday on second reading debate of Bill C-45. I am speaking today for a very special reason. Why? Because it is rush, rush, rush with this government trying to put this bill through, the same as it did with Bill C-68 and C-41 when it invoked closure and Bill C-33. It seems whenever we have a real contentious issue, whenever we have something that really affects Canadians this government just pushes it through with total disregard.

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I listened quite attentively to the member for Dartmouth and I take exception to some of the things he said. He suggested the Canadian public is fickle, that it reacts and then thinks. I take exception to the minister's put down of Canadians and their ability to assess the happenings of the time.

Canadians get on with their lives. That is not to say they do not carry the seriousness of what they read in the paper the previous day or what they heard. They do care very much and they feel very strongly when they hear of these vicious crimes.

I point out to the member for Dartmouth that in my riding I took a survey, not at the time when there was a vicious crime. The survey did not reflect any particular event that took place in society at the time. It was a survey asking my constituents what they thought about capital punishment if they could be assured that capital punishment would affect only heinous crimes, mass murders, after all appeals had been exhausted.

I had 45,000 households in my riding at that time and had a return of 2,680 replies, 4.6 per cent. That proves what the member has said is not true, or is not always the case, because these Canadians feel so strongly even though they did not have a paper reaction right in front of them. Under those terms 87 per cent said we should look at capital punishment. The hon. member for Dartmouth can be assured that if we are talking about getting rid of parole, life is life for those kinds of crimes, they would certainly definitely say repeal section 745.

The member speaks in contradictions. He said he has been in this House a long time. That when young girls were raped he immediately came to their defence and tried to change the laws. That is exactly what Reformers are doing. Why put down Reformers and Canadians who are responding to the needs of this society, and yet say he has done the same thing himself? I am interested in his response.

Goods And Services Tax September 23rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister or in his absence for his representative.

I remind the House that in the October 1993 campaign the Deputy Prime Minister said: "Food isn't subject to GST because it's a necessity and so are books". A year earlier the government whip stated: "GST on reading material is a bad policy and undemocratic. It creates more unemployment".

Have these members forgotten they made these statements and that Liberal policy during the campaign affirms a tax free status on reading material?

When is the government going to live up to its election promise and remove the tax on reading?

Goods And Services Tax September 23rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign Liberal candidates across the country promised to abolish the GST, with the Prime Minister promising to remove the GST tax on books.

The Deputy Prime Minister also said during the 1993 campaign: "Food isn't subject to the GST because it's a necessity. So are books. They are needed for young minds to grow".

As literacy critic I must say research shows that jobs, crime prevention and better health and safety are linked to literacy and the greatest single factor in the development of literacy skills is the presence of reading materials in the home.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberals are guilty of bringing in the GST on books and leaving the 7 per cent GST on reading materials. Now with the Liberal harmonization, the finance minister will deal a crippling blow to the least affluent citizens of the Atlantic region by forcing them to pay a full 15 per cent on reading materials.

The minister bragged last week about increasing educational credits for students. How does that help when the students will not be able to pay for their books? When is this government going to live up to its election promises and remove the tax on reading?

Goods And Services Tax September 20th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance stated that he has no intention of removing the GST on reading materials because he cannot afford the loss of $140 million in revenue.

Yet the minister can afford the obscene MP pension plan, the Deputy Prime Minister's flag propaganda machine and the $1 billion buyout offered to Atlantic premiers to join the harmonization scheme. This is despite a personal pledge from the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party policy to remove the tax on reading.

This government continues to pay lip service to encouraging literacy while taxing it. The harmonization scheme will force Atlantic Canadians to pay $15 on a $100 science textbook.

In twisted logic, to further promote literacy, the government will be collecting GST on special 50 cent stamps being sold by Canada Post. The corporation will donate five cents of every stamp sold to a literacy fund while the government collects four cents on the same stamp.

This government clearly lacks integrity, not only on failing to remove the tax on books, but on taxing literacy itself.

Committees Of The House September 19th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I would like to comment on what the hon. member said and perhaps question him at the same time.

He speaks of progress in the committees. This is my first Parliament, so I would not be aware exactly what progress he is talking about. I am concerned that when the election of vice-chairs for instance is not an open and democratic process, where is the progress in that? We have ample proof that it is not. I am not going to waste the time of the members giving them examples for which I have facts. I would like the hon. member's comment on that.

I would also like his comment on this. I know that in the last Parliament that third parties had vice-chairs. Why is that not the case now? I know who it was too and that party only had 44 members in the House. Why could the third party in the House not have vice-chairs on the committees? That would be fair and progressive. If we are talking about progress that would certainly be progressive.

I am also concerned about the democratic process when a bill has been voted unanimously in the House of Commons and it is non-partisan. I hear this member talking considerably about partisanship. This particular bill was non-partisan. It was presented that way. When it went to committee it was voted down completely and buried. It was voted down in such a way that it could not come back to the House. The committee would not return it to the House. Yet technically and procedurally that bill was considered alive. It stymied anything that the member, who is working hard for non-partisan interests, could do.

When the bill came back to the House because of the prorogation last February the same thing happened. It went to committee and it was voted down, and would not be returned to the House. That is not a democratic process. We must do something to change it. I would like this member to give me his comments on this. How can we change it?

I happen to have a motion in. I put it in last June so it is far ahead of what we have been doing this last two weeks. We must address these concerns.

Third, I have suggested to those who are in charge of committees that when any information comes in from witnesses it is given to the member whose bill is on the committee agenda at that time. In fact, it must be given to the member whose bill is being discussed at that time or that member is at a disadvantage. I have also addressed that to those who are in charge of committees.

Could this member please comment on those three items?

Criminal Code September 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me and allowing me to join in this very important debate. It is very important because in this debate we are exposing the true feelings of the government toward the issues of law, order, justice and security. The problem is that the government talks tough but acts in a weak, appeasing manner.

If the opinion of the people of Canada can be espoused on anything, surely we can gauge their feelings on law and order. The public is sick and tired of those who are convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison for a particular period of time reappearing prematurely on our streets and endangering the safety of Canadians.

Bill C-45 is just another example of the government caving in to special interest groups and not coming up with tough measures in amendments to the Criminal Code. Bill C-45 is 16 pages long. All it needed to be was one paragraph long. What did it need to say? Convicted murderers do not qualify for early parole. That is it.

Bill C-45 provides a complex formula which, if a convicted murderer follows, he or she may be back on the street well before the sentence has expired. Is it so difficult for the government to understand that the people of Canada do not want to make it harder for murderers to get back on the street prematurely? They do not want them back there at all.

Under this bill newly sentenced multiple murderers have no right to apply for early parole but those who were sentenced as serial murderers prior to the coming into force of the bill still can apply for early parole. Does the Minister of Justice believe mass murderers already in jail have some sort of protected acquired right to seek early parole? Is the minister afraid of a charter challenge that might result from removing this right from those already in prison? I say to the minister, have the courage to legislate. In this case let the serial killers bring their charter challenges regarding a law which would keep them locked up.

I recently received a letter from the Minister of Justice. In it he states: "Section 745 was enacted to offer a degree of hope for the rehabilitation of convicted murderers". Where was the degree of hope for the victims? Where was the degree of hope for the friends and relatives of the victims?

The minister went on to say that many groups oppose the legislation because they consider 15 years to be too light a sentence. That was in 1976, yet this minister decided Canadians were all wrong.

The minister told us repeatedly during the debates on Bill C-68, the gun control legislation, that he needed to have it passed because it would make our streets safer. Most of us know we need crime control, not gun control. However, a number of members of the House-none in the Reform Party-found this argument attractive and the legislation passed. Now that the streets are supposedly safer, according to the Liberals because of Bill C-68, the justice minister is quite willing to render them unsafe by continuing to allow murderers to apply for early parole.

My friends opposite say the new method is more difficult; the hoops that have to be jumped through are more complicated; the tests are more difficult. Yes they are. An application must first be made to a superior court judge. Now we are going to involve the precious time of our senior judges in this matter.

What are the costs to the taxpayers for such a process? What are the costs to the other parts of the judicial system when we have a senior judge involved in these types of hearings? These costs are on top of the costs of the original court cases which the taxpayers paid to convict these murderers.

Then, if the applicant for early parole is not happy with what he or she is told by a superior court judge, an appeal can be launched to the court of appeal. Again, at what cost to the taxpayers and to the judicial system? Lots of jobs for the legal profession though.

Pity the position in which the superior court judge is placed as a result of this bill. It is up to the judge to decide if the matter should go to a jury hearing on the basis of a reasonable prospect of success. What will be the basis upon which this is determined? Good behaviour? Repentance? Perhaps an argument that it really was not such a bad murder after all.

In his letter to me the justice minister went on to say: "The parole board has the discretion to grant or to deny parole. The paramount consideration for the board in every case is the protec-

tion of society". I can hear the gasps of shock from Canadians over that statement. How many murders have been committed while a convicted criminal is out on parole or early release? The horror stories are endless.

The minister continued: "Where the parole board grants parole, the offender remains subject to the life sentence imposed for the offence and hence, subject to supervision and to the specified conditions of release, literally for the offender's entire life. He or she can be reincarcerated at any time for a breach of the conditions of release". Is this paragraph supposed to convince anyone? I wonder what solace Melanie Carpenter's family and all the others killed and tortured by those out on parole can take from that statement. Oh, but the offenders can be reincarcerated at any time.

The Reform Party's position is clear on this matter, just as it is clear on all other matters dealing with justice and security in Canadian society. We see no reason to supply convicted murderers with a glimmer of hope. They gave no glimmer of hope to their victims. A life sentence for premeditated first degree murder is not about rehabilitation, it is about providing a fair and just penalty for the taking of a life, usually in a vicious manner.

The Reform Party and Canadians seek the full repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code.

I believe there is a crisis of confidence in our justice system today. A Reader's Digest /Roper poll shows that 81 per cent of respondents rate the criminal justice system as being fair to poor in dealing with violent offenders. Canadians consider violent crime a very serious problem and have little confidence in how the justice system deals with it.

My riding of Mission-Coquitlam is, I feel, a very special riding. We are a mixture of academia, professionals, loggers, farmers, fishermen and small business. We receive more than our share of rewards for caring about the environment, providing young offenders programs, caring for seniors, and providing pages on a regular basis for the House of Commons. When I talk with my constituents they assure me that everyone must be responsible for their actions.

I asked a question of my constituents about capital punishment: Do you agree with the use of capital punishment after all appeals have been exhausted in the case of serial killers and mass murderers? At the time of the householder we had 42,000 households. I received answers from 2,680, which is 6.4 per cent, a very high return. Eighty-seven per cent said yes to capital punishment under those terms.

I believe the Canadian people want a referendum on capital punishment since they do not have a government who will listen to their wishes and legislate wisely.

Why is the government rushing this bill through the House? Second reading was given on June 18, 1996 and the bill was reported back to the House from committee on June 19, 1996. We are now rushing through report stage on the first day back and third reading is biting at our heels. What is the government afraid of?

One of the things that infuriates Canadians most is the fact that some of the worst crimes are committed by convicted criminals freed by the system, yet these Liberals are unconcerned.

According to the Digest poll, the only criminal justice institution Canadians think highly of is the police; 68 per cent rated their performance good or excellent. The public believes the police do a good job catching criminals but have little faith in what happens after the arrest. Why? Because in 1971 Solicitor General Goyer summed up the Liberal government's agenda when he told Parliament: ``We have decided to stress the rehabilitation of individuals rather than the protection of society''. Fundamental to the approach was the notion that it is society, not the criminal, that is responsible for crime.

Ontario lawyer Patrick Brode said: "Suddenly the whole system existed to serve the criminal. It was based on a seriously flawed view that there really are no criminals, that people drift into crime because of circumstances, and that everyone can be reformed".

We are talking here of cold blooded, premeditated murders. How about the victims? They are dead a long time. What about the victims' families and friends? They also have a lifetime sentence with no parole. We must repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code. It is hard to believe that members of this government actually believe that the criminal is more important than the victim.

I want to finish with a letter from a constituent. It states:

Please take our concern to the House of Commons this fall. Our concern is as follows: It is time that the prisoners stopped tormenting the families and friends of their murdered victims. It is time that the laws changed so that the serial and multiple killers will no longer be eligible for early parole. These murderers planned to kill their victims. These same murderers have no remorse and are never going to change their habits or their penchants.

Theoretically, everyone deserves another chance, which is why we have parole in the first place. Serial or multiple killers have stepped beyond the line. They do not belong back in society. It is time to give the victims the right to put their lives in order the best they can after such heinous crimes have been committed. As it stands now, the victims have no rights; only the criminals have rights. It is time to give the victims the rights. The murderer has no right to travel and further torment the families and friends of the deceased. Why not reduce the strife and money? The money saved from the expenses of the parole hearing, i.e., legal aid, travel and so on could be put to better use. Stop persecuting the victims and the wasting of the taxpayers dollars. First degree murderers have no right to any parole nor parole hearings. Section 745 of the Criminal Code needs to be amended now. Olsons, Bernardos and the like have committed crimes and should serve their sentences so that we the victims can stop being casualties.

Petitions September 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to present petitions of some 1,200 names.

The petitioners pray and request that Parliament proceed immediately with amendments to the Criminal Code that will ensure that the sentence given to anyone convicted of causing death by driving while impaired carries a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of 14 years as outlined in private member's Bill C-201, sponsored by the member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley.

I am presenting these on behalf of constituents of my riding and I am very pleased to do so.