Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was scotia.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Charles V. Keating November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, early Tuesday morning Charles V. Keating passed away in Dartmouth. Mr. Keating was a Nova Scotia legend and exceptional businessman, a philanthropist, a community builder and a humanitarian.

He was a man unabashedly proud of his family, his community and his country. The many awards he has received, including the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia are well deserved in recognition of his exemplary community service.

Few Nova Scotians have a longer list of accomplishments, but to many people the legacy of Charles Keating will be his simply values of faith, family and community. Where I live so many people have a story of his generosity and that generosity was always directed to those most in need and usually done quietly so as to avoid any embarrassment to those being helped.

Few people were prouder Canadians and most of us have heard his rousing rendition of O Canada. He also was proud of his Irish heritage. Another famous North American of Irish heritage once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. What Charles Keating did for his country and his community is incredible.

Like so many thousands of Nova Scotians, I will miss Charles Keating but I know his work will continue through Marilyn, through Anne Marie, through Greg, Kathy and Mike, Susan and John and his treasured grandchildren.

Health November 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on November 22, 2004, the Minister of Health announced the launch of discussions to explore options for financial compensation to Canadians infected with hepatitis C through the Canadian blood system in the class before 1986 and after July 1990.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health update the House on the status of these important discussions?

Dartmouth November 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Dartmouth is known as the city of lakes. Those of us privileged to grow up in that community cherish our lakes for aesthetic, environmental, recreational and economic reasons. Above all, they are part of our natural surroundings that are open to all without a membership card or an entry fee.

Dartmouth is also home to a vibrant community that welcomes prudent development and economic growth, but that development must recognize above all else the importance of our lakes and the importance of protecting them.

Today much development is occurring close to our valued lakes and it is imperative that all of us in public office ensure that appropriate protection be part of any planned development prior to development, and not after mistakes are made when apologies and fines will do no good.

Many community organizations made up of concerned and informed residents are taking a leadership role in ensuring the protection of our lakes, and governments should follow their lead. This applies, of course, to lakes along the Shubenacadie system, to Russell Lake where there is an active residents association, to Morris Lake and any of the lakes under threat.

Dartmouth prides itself as the city of lakes. Let us give them the protection they deserve.

Supply November 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I did not sense a question in my colleague's remarks, but this gives me a chance to comment on the timing. I think the question of when we have an election matters to Canadians. As I said, it probably matters more than the extent to which they would actually be involved in an election. Most Canadians are not that involved. I do not think they want us knocking on their doors on Christmas Eve. They do not want us cluttering up the airwaves with the kinds of attack ads we have seen from the opposition parties in election campaigns recently. I do think it matters to Canadians.

What if we had not had a proposal? What if the Prime Minister of this country had not said to Canadians that he was telling us when we are going to have the next election, that he knew he had the right to call the election when he wanted to but he was giving up that right because he thought it was important enough to tell us that within 30 days of the release of Justice John Gomery's report we would go to the polls? He has given us that option.

People do not understand why we have to go through this whole process for four or six weeks, this political partisan rhetoric in this House. I think Canadians trust Justice John Gomery. Canadians want to know the truth. They want to know the final story and so does the Liberal Party.

Supply November 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I must give my hon. colleague about a 9.8 on delivery. I do not think he needed the microphone to ask the question.

He talked about a number of issues. I cannot get to them all because I do not have time, but let me talk about one.

He asked why we have to wait for the second Gomery report. He might have asked that last year. I did not hear anybody complaining in May or June when the Prime Minister suggested that we should have both reports. Justice Gomery is working away right now. Is his work not valuable now? Are his recommendations not worthwhile to Canadians? I think Canadians think they are. Canadians want to know what Justice Gomery has to say. They have faith in Justice Gomery. Justice Gomery did his work when he brought forward the fact-finding piece of his job exonerating the Prime Minister of any wrongdoing or carelessness.

Canadians want to know what the next step is and how we should fix this. I suspect one of the reasons those members would like to go to an election is that some of the recommendations have already been implemented by this government.

Supply November 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this kind of alternative is no alternative at all.

The motion we are debating today so that we can avoid the spectre of a Christmas election would just as effectively be reached if we had a motion that in the opinion of the House, Christmas for this year happened on May 13 instead of on December 25. That is as realistic. That does not change the fact that Christmas is coming. If the election started the first week in January, people would still be campaigning at Christmas anyway.

I am very impressed by one comment that my colleague made. He said he thought it was Canadians who wanted an election right now. He is wrong about that. If an election comes, that is fine. We will all do our campaigning. At the end of the day, it probably does not matter to Canadians as much as those members think it does, but Canadians would rather have an election in the spring. I know that the people in Dartmouth--Cole Harbour think the Prime Minister's proposal for an election in the spring makes a lot more sense.

We are talking about somewhere between four and eight weeks' difference to give Canadians what they want. They want a chance to see the final report of Justice John Gomery and the work that he did. Then they can make their decision and we can go to the polls. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Supply November 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to speak to the motion put forward by the NDP.

Last year, I sought election as the Liberal. I have attempted, since elected last year, to conduct myself in a way that, first and foremost, honours my constituents and helps them with their issues as much as possible, to the best of my ability. I have also tried to do what I think is in the best interests of the country.

I was elected in June last year and came to Ottawa with great expectations of accomplishing things, working with colleagues from all sides of the House.

I often get asked questions like, “What's it like as to be an MP in Ottawa?” I tell people that when I first came here I was struck by the level of collegiality that existed. Members of all sides seem to get along. Sometimes we get things done in committee and even in the House, until the lights and the cameras are turned on in the House of Commons or the spectre of an election appeared. Then all of a sudden, we conduct ourselves in a way that most in Canada find juvenile. Far too often, the business of the nation is replaced with the business of division and partisanship, where real debate is replaced with parliamentary gamesmanship and political posturing. Clearly, that is where we are today.

I am not a constitutional scholar, and I would not claim to be, nor am I a parliamentary expert. I am, however, somebody who believes that Canadians expect us to do work on their behalf and for the betterment of the country. They expect us to work while we are here.

The motion that we are discussing, even the opposition parties agree, is not a matter of confidence. The motion contains three elements meant to confuse Canadians: first, that the Prime Minister should ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament during the week of January 2, 2006; second, that the Prime Minister should ask the Governor General to set February 13, 2006, as the date of the next election; and last, that the Speaker transmit this resolution to the Governor General.

The opposition parties have characterized today's motion as a common sense compromise. In my view, the motion is senseless and is certainly not a compromise.

We already have an unprecedented compromise, unprecedented in Canadian history, when the Prime Minister of Canada has given up one of the great advantages of power: the opportunity to call an election when he sees fit. He indicated some six or seven months ago when we would have this election, and he has stuck to that ever since that point in time. Today, we have this motion.

Who is attempting to benefit from the motion put forward by the NDP? It will not be the NDP, a party that seems to be confusing its own interests with that of Canadians. Clearly, it would be the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois members who feel they have the most to gain and who have been able to use the NDP for their objectives. They always have wanted an election. Sadly, the NDP has fallen for this tactic. The NDP has become logistical cover for the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois.

In addition to the bizarre nature of today's motion, I have difficulty understanding the approach the opposition are taking in general. On the one hand, they have said that the government has lost the moral authority to govern. If that is the case, why have they not put forward a motion of straight non-confidence today? Instead, they propose a motion that any first year political science student would understand is not the way the parliamentary system works.

Marleau and Montpetit states:

What constitutes a question of confidence in the government varies with the circumstances....It is generally acknowledged, however, that confidence motions may be:

explicitly worded motions which state, in express terms, that the House has, or has not, confidence in the government;

motions expressly declared by the government to be questions of confidence;

implicit motions of confidence, that is, motions traditionally deemed to be questions of confidence, such as motions for the granting of Supply...motions concerning the budgetary policy of the government and motions respecting the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

On the one hand, the opposition parties believe the government has lost the authority to govern. Yet the motion suggests that they want the government to continue to govern for another month and a half, a kind of a time-release capsule of non-confidence.

How can ordinary Canadians not conclude that the motion by the NDP, supported by the other parties, is an attempt to sacrifice hundreds of years of parliamentary tradition at the altar of political opportunism?

They cannot have it both ways. They cannot say they want to pass the government's legislation to implement tax reductions and make energy relief payments to vulnerable Canadians and to pass the supplementary estimates, all matters that indicate confidence, and then tell Canadians the government lacks the confidence of the House of Commons.

The confidence convention lies at the heart of our system of responsible government. In fact, it is the basis for the legitimacy of any government in our system of government.

The leader of the official opposition said on May 10 that the confidence of this chamber is the only democratic mandate the government has. If opposition members truly believe that the government has lost the moral authority to govern, they should take responsibility and act on their principles by defeating the government. They should not be playing games and subverting constitutional principles.

This government will continue to have the confidence of the House until such time as it is lost in a real vote on a clear question. Until such time, the government continues to have the right to govern and to implement its agenda.

There is far too much bravado, posturing and testosterone in this House. I do not intend to add to it, but I want to say this. The Prime Minister has made a direct commitment to Canadians to call an election within 30 days of the final report of the Gomery commission. All of us here have known this for months. I think it is a position that most Canadians support and frankly, that most Canadians expect.

Through today's motion the opposition is asking the Prime Minister to break his promise to Canadians. The Prime Minister has recently confirmed that he will stand by his commitment. Canadians have a right to have all the details from Justice Gomery before we go back to the polls. Given that Justice Gomery will submit his final report on February 1, the Prime Minister's commitment means that we will have an election in March or April anyway. It could mean as little as a month's difference from the timing of this motion.

We also know that Canadians do not want a premature election. By contrast, today's motion proposes that the election take place in the dead of winter. In their rush to have an election, are opposition members not concerned that a winter election might lead to significantly lower voter turnout rates, especially among the elderly, those with physical disabilities and those who go elsewhere in the winter?

The last time we had an election in February was in 1980 and voter participation declined considerably. In May 1979 the participation rate in voting was 75.7%. That declined to 69% in February 1980, then rose back up to 75% in the September 1984 election.

What does not help either is what Canadians see every day in the House, the games, the name calling and the public assassination of people's characters. It does not exactly lead Canadians to go out to vote. Each of us needs to accept some of that responsibility as well.

The Prime Minister promised Canadians that an election will be called within approximately three months. We also know a majority of Canadians support that commitment and do not want an early election. This is all about having an election four to eight weeks earlier than what the Prime Minister has promised and what he has stuck to.

The real question is, whose interests are being served? The answer of course is that the opposition members want a premature election to serve their narrow, partisan self-interests. This motion is therefore no compromise at all.

The government has already stated it cannot support the motion. To do so, the Prime Minister would break his promise to Canadians. In the meantime, our government will continue to move forward to implement its agenda on tax cuts, on energy relief, on unanticipated surplus legislation, on wage earners protection, health care, and so on. It is an agenda I have been proud of and will continue to be proud of.

I realize the opposition could and likely will defeat the government in the coming weeks on a vote of non-confidence. That is entirely legitimate in the parliamentary democracy in which we serve, particularly in a minority situation, but if the opposition members decide to defeat the government, that will be their decision. The opposition parties will therefore have the responsibility to justify to Canadians why we are having an election that nobody particularly wants, particularly when we already have a commitment from the Prime Minister that we will have one in the spring.

There will be a responsibility on the opposition as well to justify to Canadians why important measures could not be passed.

On September 9, 2004 before Parliament resumed following the 2004 election, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the Bloc Québécois and the leader of the NDP proposed a series of changes to the rules of the House, changes they argued at the time had to be adopted as soon as the House resumed. One of the proposals included ensuring strict adherence to what constitutes confidence, explaining, and I quote from the statement agreed to by the three opposition leaders:

Only the final vote on the Speech from the Throne, the final vote on the Budget, global votes on the Main Estimates and votes explicitly identified as questions of confidence be considered as such.

On September 10, 2004, the Leader of the Opposition further stated:

I would not want the Prime Minister to think he can simply fail in the House of Commons as a route to another general election. That's not the way our system works.

I think most Canadians will see this motion and all of the feigned outrage for what it really is: political opportunism wrapped in sanctimonious language. It is not just government members who feel this way. I want to quote a couple of sources from my hometown paper, The Chronicle Herald in Halifax. An editorial it put out recently referred to this:

For [the leader of the NDP's] sugar-plum motion has all the constitutional force of a letter to Santa Claus.... [The leader of the NDP] doesn't want to wear the downside of a real non-confidence vote in November. But he does want the political upside—the appearance of decisively seizing the moral high ground and bringing down the...government in the wake of the Gomery report.

He wants to have his plum pudding and eat it, too. So he says he has no confidence in the Liberals, while his motion merely wishes them away.

On November 9, speaking about this proposed motion when it was first aired during the break week, The Chronicle Herald , which is a great newspaper but it is not a Liberal newspaper, stated:

In the meantime, [the leader of the NDP] has some explaining to do. His official reasons for triggering a winter election, as opposed to the spring one the Liberals have already promised, are spurious at best. The Liberals are no more corrupt than they were in May, when [the leader of the NDP] stayed their execution in exchange for $4.6 billion more in social spending. In fact, since Justice John Gomery released his findings on the sponsorship scandal, there is less justification to bring down the government over corruption charges...[because] the...Liberals have been [completely] cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Globe and Mail recently referred to this and stated:

Judge Gomery reasonably exonerates [the Prime Minister], who was finance minister during the sponsorship years, of “any blame or carelessness or misconduct”.... Once [he] became Prime Minister two years ago, he behaved honourably and quickly. He shut down the sponsorship program immediately. When the Auditor-General's report became public, he set up the Gomery inquiry and said that those who had broken the rules, the law and the public's trust would pay.

It goes on to say:

[The Prime Minister] deserves great credit for letting Judge Gomery loose on this...affair.

There is way too much political bravado in the House. I do not stand here today daring the opposition to bring us down. I would rather spend Christmas with my family and I think most members feel the same way. I believe most Canadians think that the Prime Minister's timing, which he stated in May and has stuck to ever since, makes sense. The decision of the Prime Minister to forgo his constitutional right and power to call an election and instead committing to one within 30 days of the release of the final Gomery report I think is the biggest compromise in the history of Canadian politics.

This motion is a facade. It is a hoax. It is about one thing: control. The opposition parties are now entrenched. I know some members of the NDP know that as well and do not particularly like where they are headed, but it is where we are all headed right now. Once again, politics trumps policy and the useful work that could be done here will be sacrificed. That is the shame of it.

Let me close by quoting a wonderful Canadian whose wisdom is beyond repute, the great Newfoundlander Rex Murphy who said, “The leader of the NDP calls this a common sense compromise and he is right. It compromises common sense”.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act November 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak to the bill as it has some significance for me. It is an issue that concerns me a lot, as I know it concerns all members. I have spent some time in trying to understand this issue and have been involved in the this whole issue back home, the whole issue of controlled drugs and drug abuse, particularly drug abuse among children.

This concern is probably something that I inherited naturally from my father who was what I guess we could call a pioneer in the whole area of drug abuse and drug education, along with people in Nova Scotia like Marvin Burke and Ed Fitzgerald, great community people who did an awful lot of work while trying to educate people about drug abuse.

I wish to applaud my hon. colleague who proposed this for his desire to protect Canadian children and youth from dangerous drugs in schoolyards. No one questions that motivation. I can assure him that government members share his concerns about the threats posed by the rise in illegal drug use in our country.

We do take some issue with the tool with which he is attempting to address this problem, and I personally take issue with it, but let us make no mistake about it: substance abuse is cause for national concern. There have been significant increases in the use of alcohol and drugs, with 44.5% of Canadians admitting in 2004 to using cannabis at least once in their lifetime. That is actually up from 28% a decade earlier.

The Canadian addiction survey, published in November 2004, found that more than half of teens aged 15 to 19 reported using marijuana at least once in their lifetime. That number rose to almost 70% among those aged 20 to 24. Marijuana is not the only drug of choice. The proportion of Canadians reporting any illicit drug use in their lifetime rose from 28.5% in 1994 to 45% 10 years later.

Of particular concern, the number of Canadians who reported having injected drugs at some point of their life more than doubled, from 132,000 to 269,000, over the same period. Given the direct link between intravenous drug use and a host of health and social problems, substance abuse is not only a legal challenge but an enormous health challenge and a social challenge as well, a challenge that costs the Canadian economy an estimated $18.5 billion according to a 1996 study. That represents a loss of $649 for every Canadian or 2.7% of our GDP.

I suspect that many Canadians at first glance would suggest that tougher minimum sentences for convicted drug dealers will fix the problem, or in other words, we should be locking them up and throwing away the key. I do not think that is the solution. I would not say that it is not part of the solution in some circumstances. I ask members not to get me wrong, as I think enforcement plays an important role in deterrence, and curbing the street supply of drugs in our communities has to be a priority.

However, a recent study commissioned by the Department of Justice reviewed sentencing arrangements in a number of western countries and found that mandatory minimum penalties had no discernible effect on the crime rate.

Of equal concern, research shows that mandatory minimum penalties remove incentives to plead guilty, which leads to increased trial rates, case processing times and workloads. That costs money, money that would be much better spent on prevention, treatment and harm reduction both for individuals and the community. Time and again, these approaches have proven more effective.

That is why our government has adopted a balanced approach to the problem, simultaneously reducing both the supply of and the demand for these drugs. Recognizing that we need to move further and faster on both fronts, in 2003 the Government of Canada renewed Canada's drug strategy with a new investment of $245 million over five years.

The key objectives are: decrease the number of young Canadians who experiment with drugs; decrease the prevalence of harmful drug use; decrease the incidence of communicable diseases related to substance abuse; increase the use of alternative criminal justice measures, recognizing that traditional approaches alone are not resolving the problem; decrease the illicit drug supply and address new and emerging drug trends; and obviously, decrease avoidable health, social and economic costs.

There are four pillars that provide the foundation for the strategy: prevention, enforcement, treatment and harm reduction. Each pillar supports a number of activities. Let me talk a little about how the activities in these areas help to reduce the risks that children and youth will be exposed to and help in whether or not they experiment with drugs at all.

Education and prevention do work. We know that. From my own involvement with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and through being involved in the Health Charities Coalition in the effort to reduce tobacco use, I have found that we can have an effect through education and advocacy, especially with younger Canadians.

We know that effective public education campaigns to reduce tobacco use produce long term, sustained, preventive improvements in our economy as well as in our health care system. Efforts to raise awareness among children and youth of the risks and consequences of drug use need to be a top priority of the Canadian drug strategy.

Public education initiatives focusing on marijuana and alcohol represent the first phase of a longer term strategy to educate youth and parents on substance use issues. Another goal is to encourage informed and healthy decision making among Canada's youth.

As one example, Health Canada recently launched “Straight Talk About Marijuana”, an information booklet for parents and youth to encourage open, honest and frank dialogue about drugs and their effects. This fact filled booklet is based on extensive public opinion research conducted by Health Canada on youths between the ages of 12 and 19 to get a better understanding of their awareness, attitudes, knowledge and behaviour with regard to marijuana and other substances.

In addition to public education efforts, the drug strategy community initiatives fund provides financial support in the areas of promotion, prevention and harm reduction for initiatives that address a wide range of issues regarding problematic substance abuse. Under this fund, Health Canada provides $9.5 million annually for a broad cross-section of community based projects, understanding that people closest to the problem are invariably closest to the solutions.

Projects are tailored to the needs of specific age groups, key issues and regions of the country. While some projects that are funded may be national in scope, the focus is on supporting approaches that communities decide will work best for them. These initiatives are delivered on the local level by front line workers.

Treatment and rehabilitation for substance abuse is an area of provincial and territorial responsibility as well. However, Health Canada plays a constructive role by providing $14 million annually under its alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation program to participating provinces and territories to help improve access to effective treatment and rehabilitation. Young Canadians are the key target group in both of these areas.

I am not suggesting the areas that I have talked about here are the panacea to Canada's growing drug problem, which is a challenge that is worldwide and is shared by many countries. However, the Government of Canada's responses to drug problems, including both demand and supply reduction efforts, are constantly reassessed to ensure their relevance and their appropriateness.

We do need to do more to ensure the safety of our children, particularly as it relates to drug and alcohol and to those who would take advantage of them. As I mentioned, my father and many other people in Nova Scotia, such as the Ed Fitzgeralds and the Marvin Burkes, have done a lot of work in this area of dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. Prevention and education go along with enforcement in making sure that we can improve the lives and the safety of young Canadians.

Criminal Code November 15th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to join in this second reading debate on Bill C-329, an act to amend the Criminal Code of Canada.

This bill would empower a police officer to arrest without warrant a person allegedly in breach of a probation order or an offender who is alleged to have breached a condition of conditional release such as parole or temporary absence.

From a federal perspective, our concern lies with the power of arrest without warrant as it applies to federal offenders on parole or temporary absence.

I am aware that this matter has been before the House on a number of occasions before I came here. Therefore, the details of this fairly simple and direct proposal have been discussed a number of times by previous speakers in the course of previous debates.

There may not be much to be said with regard to the specifics of this legislation, but I do want to view it from a broader perspective and give it the attention it deserves.

Many of our constituents across the country, certainly those from Dartmouth--Cole Harbour, have strong opinions on the way the criminal justice system should work. I welcome this bill as a basis for the discussion of some of the legislation that frames the system. I would like to outline for fellow members and for interested Canadians who may be following this some of the background that I think should be considered each time reform of the laws governing criminal misconduct is undertaken.

The Criminal Code of Canada is the focus of the amendments that the hon. member for Wild Rose proposes to amend. This represents but one of many interrelated statutes that have evolved to guide us in our daily conduct and to exact accountability when societal norms and values are violated.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Income Tax Act, the Fisheries Act, the Narcotics Control Act and the Official Secrets Act are just samples of the federal statutes that exist to control behaviour and to exact accountability when their provisions fail to deter.

Also, in the consideration of Bill C-329, the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act are certainly relevant. This is because the measure before us would undermine that legislation.

I believe it is important that the record of the debate on this proposed legislation shows the course followed by most apprehended offenders, from the point of commission of an offence to the determination of their penalty.

In a typical case, an individual may be arrested by a police officer who, although operating in accordance with local policies and procedures, is ultimately answerable to a provincial government. Each province, through the provisions of our Constitution Act, exercises responsibility for the administration of the Criminal Code and related federal statutes as well as any ancillary laws that I have mentioned.

The case would then proceed within the provincial jurisdiction to a crown attorney, who takes the facts to court. If the judge determines guilt and the sentence is a fine, probation or incarceration for less than two years, the offender will remain in the provincial purview. Should the sentence be of two or more years' duration, however, he or she will become the responsibility of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and the administration of the sentence will fall to the Correctional Service of Canada and, finally, the National Parole Board.

Most of those convicted will at some stage encounter one or more voluntary organizations which often assist in the supervision of those who are conditionally released and offer assistance in preparing offenders for their reintegration back into the community. Most offenders will serve the last days of their sentences in the community, whether subject to the conditions of parole or statutory release.

Under the provisions of this bill, every one of them would in this period essentially be subject to arbitrary arrest. That is the concern. By supporting supervision by police as proposed by this bill, we would be sanctioning the detention of those on conditional release for actions that would not result in arrest for any other Canadian.

I join other speakers by reiterating that our police have power to detain anyone they encounter who they believe to have broken any law or to be a danger to themselves or others. Section 31 of the Criminal Code authorizes the arrest without warrant of anybody who has committed a breach of the peace or who, on reasonable grounds, is believed to be about to engage in a breach of the peace.

I do not know how much more we believe the police need to carry out their duties. We all want the police to have the appropriate powers to carry out their duties and this bill addresses that. The question is, how much do they need? Therein lies the difference.

The system is not simple. From municipal to provincial jurisdiction, from the correctional agencies of the federal system to the voluntary sector, it is important that we keep in mind the number of diverse players in criminal justice.

The vast majority of offenders will serve the latter portion of their sentences under supervision in the community. There may be some who require more control or more assistance and perhaps more vigilance on the part of those who are entrusted with their supervision.

These supervisors have the power to end release programs if it is likely that an offender will reoffend. They will issue a warrant of apprehension where a breach of a condition of parole or temporary absence has occurred or where it is necessary to prevent a breach or to protect society. The supervisors are available to issue a warrant 24 hours a day and will often do so in collaboration with police. Moreover, as I said, police already have the power to arrest without warrant an offender they see committing a criminal offence.

Given the complexity of the criminal justice system, the amendment of one act necessitates the adjustment of related acts, and changes in one sector of responsibility may affect all other sectors. Therefore, I believe that the resources of the House and the committee system might better be employed in an effort to make considered, coherent and comprehensive reforms rather than a single adjustment to one act.

I appreciate the efforts of the hon. member for Wild Rose. I recognize that in general terms a private member's bill might well be a suitable beginning to necessary reform. I must nonetheless, however, offer my opinion that every attempt should be made to address all possible issues arising from this proposal within a deliberate consultative process before that action is taken involving the House.

Human Resources and Skills Development November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Yesterday's economic update by the Minister of Finance contained some great news for post-secondary education, including direct support for students, some of whom are visiting Parliament this week. More funding will be made available to help students gain access to education, to upgrade their skills and to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Could the minister tell us how, in concrete terms, this new funding made available by the finance minister will get to students?