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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was know.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act November 5th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime).

This bill has strong support from the government and the opposition parties, which just goes to show how important this bill is.

I will not discuss the bill in detail, since it has been thoroughly studied and I think it is time to move forward with this initiative and to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to better deal with auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime.

In essence, this bill directly targets the very serious issue of property crimes and, more specifically, auto theft. The bill will add offences to the Criminal Code by creating a separate offence for motor vehicle theft, offences that provide for sanctions for trafficking in property obtained by crime, and also an offence for tampering with vehicle identification numbers.

Auto theft costs Canadians over $1 billion a year, and related cases of dangerous driving make Canadian roads unsafe. Furthermore, it is clear that auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime represent a huge source of revenue for organized crime groups.

With this bill, our government has taken measures to protect Canadians, their property and their communities. That is why I support this bill. I would like to conclude by thanking all the members of the House, including the members of the justice committee, for the work they have done on this important legislation, and I urge members to pass it as quickly as possible.

An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort (Roxanne’s Law) November 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate at second reading on Bill C-510, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (coercion), also known as Roxanne's law. This bill was introduced by the hon. member for Winnipeg South in response to an incident that occurred in his riding in 2007.

Bill C-510 would amend the Criminal Code and create two new criminal offences. The first would be to coerce a pregnant woman to have an abortion and would carry a punishment of five years' imprisonment on indictment and 18 months' imprisonment on summary conviction. The second offence would be to attempt to coerce a pregnant woman to have an abortion and would carry a maximum punishment of two years' imprisonment on indictment and six months' imprisonment on summary conviction.

The bill defines several terms for the purpose of enforcement of this legislation, including the word “coercion”, which can include the following behaviour: committing or threatening to commit physical harm to the female person, the child or another person; committing or threatening to commit any act prohibited by any provincial or federal law; denying or removing, or making a threat to deny or remove, financial support from a person who is financially dependent on the person engaging in the conduct; and attempting to compel by pressure or intimidation including argumentative and rancorous badgering or importunity. However, it does not include speech that is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Conversely, the bill does not define other expressions, such as “compel by pressure” and “rancorous badgering”. These are new terms that appear in this bill. The bill provides an exemption for a physician who recommends that a woman end her pregnancy for physical health reasons.

Lastly, the bill includes a very unusual provision related to severability, whereby any provision of the bill that is deemed invalid or unenforceable must be construed so as to give it the maximum effect permitted by law or, if that is impossible, it must be severed from the bill. This is an unusual provision.

Bill C-510 proposes making an offence out of certain conduct that is already prohibited under the Criminal Code and other acts—again, already prohibited under the Criminal Code and other acts—by way of offences such as assault (section 265 of the Criminal Code), uttering threats (section 264.1 of the Criminal Code) and intimidation (section 423 of the Criminal Code). It also proposes prohibiting interpersonal conduct, which is generally outside the traditional domain of criminal law—again, outside criminal law—such as non-violent disputes between spouses or between parents and their children where one of the parties is opposed to the continuation of the pregnancy and favours abortion. I am talking about non-violent conduct and discussions between various parties.

The proposed offences are likely to be difficult to interpret and subject to charter challenges because of the use of vague and undefined expressions such as, “compel by pressure”, which is quite new, and “rancorous badgering”, which is extremely new, because of the attempt to make the offence consistent with the charter by excluding from the definition of “coercion” speech that is protected by the charter, and because of the unusual provision, as I was saying earlier, with regard to severability, which hinders the discretionary power of the courts to order suitable restitution under the charter.

There are major legal difficulties with this bill and that is why I cannot support it.

Justice October 29th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, our government introduced a bill to put an end to conditional sentences for serious and violent crimes. However, the opposition, including the member who has just asked me this question, kept it from progressing on a number of occasions, finally gutting it. That is the reality.

Justice October 29th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that people who commit serious and violent crimes should serve their sentences in prison and not in the comfort of their homes. Our bill would clearly tell the courts that house arrest is no longer an option for dangerous and violent criminals.

October 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I wish to assure you that the fight against white-collar crime is a priority for the Government of Canada. Bill C-21, Standing up for Victims of White Collar Crime Act, deals with the very serious consequences of major fraud on victims, and ensures that all consequences of major fraud suffered by the victims, including financial, emotional, psychological and health repercussions, are fully taken into account when sentencing the fraudsters.

I would point out to my colleague that the largest, most recent case of fraud in Quebec is that committed by Vincent Lacroix, from Norbourg, who had interests in companies associated with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The Lacroix fraud was even greater than that of Earl Jones.

I would like to point out that Bill C-21 will not only punish offenders, but it also provides for the court to consider making an order of restitution. What is very important is that, henceforth, there will be the possibility of restitution for victims.

October 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak about Bill C-21, which deals with sentencing provisions in fraud cases and aims to improve them in many ways.

Canadians know how serious fraud is; how diverse, sophisticated and subtle fraud schemes can be; how difficult it is to uncover and avoid them; and how damaging the fraud can be for the person who is unlucky enough to be a victim.

That is why this bill is tackling fraud from various angles. First, it provides for a minimum two-year prison sentence for any fraud or series of frauds that leads to a loss of at least $1 million. The courts recognize how serious major fraud is and appropriate sentences are handed down in those cases. But there are smaller fraud cases that can still be considered large-scale fraud, fraud that leads to more than $1 million in losses but is not considered major fraud like some we have seen in the past. The government wants to send a clear message to would-be fraudsters, to the courts and to victims: this kind of fraud is very serious and deserves a prison sentence.

Bill C-21 provides additional aggravating factors that the courts must take into account when sentencing those found guilty of fraud. Aggravating circumstances include the following: the offence had a significant impact on the victims given their personal circumstances including their age, health and financial situation; the offender did not comply with a licensing requirement, or professional standard, that is normally applicable to the activity or conduct that forms the subject-matter of the offence; and the offender attempted to conceal or destroy records related to the fraud or to the disbursement of the proceeds of the fraud. The courts will also have to take into account the complexity, duration and magnitude of the fraud.

As I said, fraud is a general offence that may occur in all kinds of circumstances. Over the past few years, we have heard a lot about securities frauds, which were devastating and bankrupted hundreds of people. Recently, a massive mortgage fraud in Alberta made headlines. Just a few years ago, fraudulent telemarketing was all the rage. Cases of fraud have been linked to charities, contests, vacation packages and home renovations. The list is endless.

That is why Bill C-21 proposes general measures. It does not cover specific types of white-collar crime. As such, it includes all types of fraud. Any activity involving deception causing loss to Canadians may be considered fraud. Fraud charges can be laid regardless of how the deceit came about. Fraud charges can be laid in cases of mortgage fraud, title transfer fraud, securities fraud, fraud in the non-profit sector and health care fraud. Our Bill C-21 will cover all types of fraud.

Economic Action Plan October 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in his speech to delegates attending the G20 Seoul pre-summit conference, the Minister of Finance noted that Canada leads the global economic recovery.

Canada leads the recovery because its economic and fiscal situation is stronger than that of most other industrialized countries. Our deficit this year is smaller than anticipated and, in fact, is the lowest in the industrialized world.

Our government responded to the recession by implementing the economic action plan, which created jobs and protected our families. Thanks to this economic action plan, we lowered taxes, invested in infrastructure and training, and increased our support for workers and families.

Since July 2009, the Canadian economy has helped create more than 420,000 new jobs. However, the economic recovery remains fragile, which is why we will continue on with the economic action plan in order to create jobs and protect our families.

Patro de Charlesbourg Multisport Stadium October 22nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in September, I had the pleasure of participating in the inauguration of the Gérard-Chiquette multisport stadium at the Patro de Charlesbourg, in my riding. The new artificial turf field makes playing sports like soccer, football and rugby safer and more fun. The project also involves the construction of two buildings, the conversion of the running track into a paved pedestrian trail, the acquisition of a new lighting system, and the addition of a scoreboard.

The Government of Canada is proud of having invested in this project—which cost just over $3 million—along with the Government of Quebec, the Patro de Charlesbourg and its partners. Our financial contribution of $1 million to the Patro de Charlesbourg, a facility created by the Order of Saint Vincent de Paul, was made possible through the recreational infrastructure Canada program.

The quality of life and the health of the people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are important to us, and that is why we are proud to have invested in infrastructure to help them prosper.

October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I will continue with my speech. As we have already mentioned, the data collected by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics have shown that the vast majority of police-reported hate crimes were motivated by three main factors: race or ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It is extremely disturbing that the largest increase was among hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, which more than doubled from 2007 to 2008.

We are very aware of the extremely serious consequences of crimes against homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals. With respect to the community's ability to take steps against hate crimes, it should be noted that resources are available from the Department of Justice through its justice partnership and innovation program. The Department of Justice website provides the following funding information on its programs branch page:

Access to Justice for Marginalized Populations

The Department of Justice is committed to supporting the Minister of Justice in working to ensure that Canada is a just and law-abiding society with an accessible, efficient and fair system of justice.

October 21st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in Canada and elsewhere in the world, hate crimes are viewed as a serious social problem. It is felt that these crimes are different from other ones, because they can have a profound impact not only on victims, but also on the respective communities and on society.

The Criminal Code includes four offences that are considered to be hate crimes: advocating genocide, inciting public hatred, wilfully promoting hatred and mischief against religious property. Other offences, such as assault or threats, can also be considered hate crimes if it is determined that they were triggered by prejudice against an identifiable group. Hate crimes can target race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor. The sentencing provisions provide heavier sentences for these types of offences.

The most recent accurate data available in Canada were collected through a project led by Statistics Canada's Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. These data were recently published in a report entitled “Police-reported hate Crime in Canada, 2008”. According to this report, Canadian police services identified 1,036 hate-motivated crimes, up from 765 in 2007. This represents a 35% increase in the number of such offences. Part of the increase may be due to heightened public awareness of these types of incidents as well as improved reporting practices by police.

The report also points out that the vast majority of police-reported hate crimes resulted from one of three primary motivations: race or ethnicity, 55%; religion, 26%; and sexual orientation, 16%.

Increases were reported in 2008 for all three types of motivation. It is very surprising to note that the largest increase was reported for hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, which more than doubled from 2007 to 2008.

Hate crimes motivated by religion increased by 53%, while those motivated by race or ethnicity increased by a lesser amount, that is 15%.

There were 205 hate crimes against Blacks in 2008, accounting for almost 4 in 10 racially-motivated incidents. This number was 30% higher than in 2007 but still lower than the number reported in 2006.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes accounted for nearly two-thirds of religiously-motivated incidents in 2008. Police reported 165 hate crimes against the Jewish faith, an increase of 42% from 2007.

Together, about 4 in 10 hate crimes in 2008 were reported by police in Toronto and Vancouver. After accounting for population differences, rates were higher in the smaller census metropolitan areas of London, Guelph, Kingston and Brantford followed by the larger areas of Vancouver, Hamilton and Kitchener.

About 6 in 10 persons accused of hate crime in 2008 were youth and young adults aged 12 to 22 years, higher than the proportion accused of crime in general. The number of persons accused of hate crime peaked among 17 and 18 year-olds.

We are aware of the serious impact of crimes against lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the majority of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation are violent.

Detailed information—