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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ndp.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Oak Ridges—Markham (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code November 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, at the outset let me suggest that we are not going to be putting a price tag on justice in this country. One of the things the hon. member misses is that each time a faint hope application is brought forward, the victims have to relive the crimes over and over and over again.

The hon. member talks about liberating people who have been convicted of murder. The victims' families will never be liberated of the burden that they carry from these actions. Last week in my constituency office I had the honour of meeting of someone whose sister was murdered. A number of years later the family is still torn up over what happened to their sister. She will not be coming back after 15 years. She will not be applying for early parole.

The hallmark of the justice system is that it is a justice system, and people are required to do the time when they commit some of the most serious and heinous crimes. The member should reflect on that. He should put the families of the victims first and should not put the criminals ahead of them. As I said earlier, I would suggest to the hon. member that we cannot put a price tag on justice. It is important that we do what is right for Canadians. Canadians have said loud and clear that they want this provision repealed. I am very proud to do so, and I hope the hon. member will reflect on that and come on board and support the bill.

Criminal Code November 23rd, 2009

I thank my colleagues, Mr. Speaker.

In 1999 the Criminal Code was amended again in response to the concerns set out in the report of the Common's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Victims' Rights--A Voice, Not a Veto”.

As a result, under Section 745.01 a judge sentencing someone convicted of first- or second-degree murder or high treason must declare, for the record and for the benefit of the surviving victims or their representatives, the existence and nature of the faint hope regime.

Given the controversial history of the faint hope regime, the rationale for Bill C-36 is very simple. Allowing convicted murderers a chance, even a faint chance, of getting early parole flies in the face of truth in sentencing. With its alternate title, this bill indicates that truth in sentencing means that those who commit the most serious of crimes must do the most serious time.

This is what the proposals in Bill C-36 aim to do. They aim to restore truth in sentencing for murderers and to protect society by keeping potentially violent offenders in prison for longer periods of time.

I am pleased to note that Bill C-36 would fulfill a long-standing commitment of the government to repeal the faint hope regime for future offenders and to tighten up the current application procedure in the interests of families and loved ones of murder victims.

Bill C-36 would bar all those who commit murder or high treason after the legislation comes into effect from applying for faint hope. In effect, the faint hope regime will be repealed for all those who commit murder in the future.

Bill C-36 would also toughen further application processes for those already sentenced as lifers with the right to apply for faint hope by setting a higher judicial screening test. From now on, a judge will have to be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood that a jury will unanimously agree to reduce an applicant's parole ineligibility period. Moving from a reasonable prospect to a substantial likelihood will likely screen out the most undeserving applications.

There are also longer waiting periods for reapplication in the event of an unsuccessful initial faint hope application, a minimum five years instead of the present two.

Most important, Bill C-36 would impose a new three-month time limit for an offender to apply or reapply under the faint hope regime. The three-month time limit would apply in the following situations.

First, it would apply to those offenders who have served at least 15 years of their sentence and have not yet applied. There are many offenders in prison now who have served 15, 16, 17 or more years but who have not yet applied. These offenders will have to make an application within three months of the coming into force of the legislation or wait an additional five years.

Second, it would apply to those offenders who are now serving a sentence but who have not yet reached the 15-year mark. For example, they may have served four years, eight years, or ten years when this bill passes. At exactly the 15-year point in their sentence, all of these murderers will have three months within which to bring an application.

There is also a new five-year waiting period during which an offender may not apply at all if he or she does not apply to a judge within the three-month time limit.

These new longer time limits are explicitly designed to reduce the number of applications that someone may make, in order to spare the families and loved ones of their victims from having to rehash the details of the crime every time a particular applicant applies for faint hope.

In closing, Bill C-36 would eliminate the faint hope regime for all future murderers and would ensure that murderers now in prison would have a much tougher time accessing the regime.

None of these substantive aspects of Bill C-36 have been amended in any way by the standing committee. As I mentioned earlier, there are a few highly technical amendments that have no impact whatsoever on the substantive provisions that I have briefly described.

The reforms to the faint hope regime proposed in Bill C-36 will accomplish two worthwhile goals: first, they will allow us to meet the concerns of Canadians that murderers do the time they have been given and stay longer in prisons than they do now; and second and equally important, they will help ensure that families of loved ones and murder victims are not forced to rehear the details of these crimes every two years as they are sometimes required to do under the current regime.

I support this bill and call on all members of the House to do so as well.

Criminal Code November 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-36 now that it has been reported back to this House by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Bill C-36, the serious time for the most serious crime bill, will amend the Criminal Code to repeal the so-called faint hope regime for all those who commit murder after the legislation comes into force. Importantly, it will also toughen the procedural requirements to make a faint hope application for the approximately 1,000 already convicted murderers now serving life sentences in Canada's prisons who presently have the right to apply for faint hope, or who will have the right to do so after serving 15 years.

I am pleased to note that after hearing from several witnesses, the standing committee reported Bill C-36 back to the House with but a few technical amendments that will better harmonize the English and French versions of the bill.

Allow me to recap the nature of the substantive Criminal Code amendments contained in Bill C-36 for the benefit of hon. members.

As most hon. members are aware, high treason and first and second degree murder are all punishable by life imprisonment with the right to apply for parole after a stipulated period of time. Section 745 of the Criminal Code stipulates that the earliest possible parole eligibility date for those convicted of first degree murder and high treason is 25 years. It is also 25 years for second degree murder, where the murderer has been convicted of a prior first or second degree murder, or of an intentional killing under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Otherwise, the parole ineligibility period for second degree murder is automatically 10 years and can be up to 25 years as determined by the judge under section 745.4 of the Criminal Code.

Serving up to 25 years in prison without being eligible for parole is obviously a very long time and it is deliberately so, for murder and high treason are two of the most serious crimes in Canada's Criminal Code. Nonetheless, the faint hope regime provides a mechanism for offenders to have their parole ineligibility period reduced so that they serve less time in prison before applying to the National Parole Board for parole.

The current faint hope process is set out in section 745.6 and related provisions, and has three stages.

First, an offender must convince a judge from the jurisdiction in which he or she was convicted that the application has a reasonable prospect of success. The courts have already told us that this is not much of a hurdle and almost all applications are eligible to go to the next stage.

Second, if the judge is convinced, the applicant can bring the application to a jury of 12 ordinary Canadians, whose role is to decide whether to reduce the applicant's parole ineligibility period. This decision must be a unanimous one.

Third, if the applicant is successful with the jury, he or she may apply directly to the National Parole Board. At that point, the applicant will have to convince the board that, among other things, his or her release will not pose a danger to society.

The faint hope regime has been around since 1976 when capital punishment was abolished. The data indicate that between 1976 and the spring of this year, there have been a total of 265 faint hope applications. That is an average of eight applications a year. Of the 265 applicants, 140 obtained reductions in their parole ineligibility periods. Thus, 103 applicants with 25 year ineligibility periods obtained reductions of 1 to 10 years, and 37 applicants whose ineligibility periods ranged from 15 to 24 years obtained reductions of 1 to 5 years.

Ultimately, the National Parole Board granted parole to 127 applicants. In short, nearly half of the 265 faint hope applicants were ultimately granted parole before the expiry of the parole ineligibility period imposed on them at the time of sentencing.

The existence of the faint hope regime and high success rate of applicants has led to a great deal of public concern, particularly among victims' advocate groups. This has in turn led to a series of amendments to restrict access to the faint hope regime and to make better arrangements for the needs of the families and the loved ones of murder victims.

Thus, government amendments to the faint hope regime in 1995, which came into force in January 1997, toughen the application procedure, first, by entirely barring multiple murderers from applying if one of the murders occurred after the coming into force date of the legislation; second, by requiring a judge to conduct the review already mentioned whereby the applicant must show a reasonable prospect of success before the applicant may go to the jury; and third, by setting the high standard of jury unanimity that I have already mentioned before the applicant's parole and eligibility period may be reduced.

I wonder if I might ask for unanimous consent to share my time with the member for Oakville. I neglected to do that at the beginning of my speech.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 17th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat comical listening to the musings of the member, as he was part of a government that was so bad in the province of Ontario that it almost bankrupted the province. In fact, it was so bad that the former premier of the province, who he was a minister under, left that party to join another party because he was so embarrassed by the devastation that member and his party did to the province of Ontario.

I know he does not want to talk about the people who were out of work in the province of Ontario while he was in government. I know he does not want to talk about the disastrous record that he and the other members of his party had while they were serving in the government of Ontario.

I know he knows nothing about trade. If he did, Ontario would not have suffered as it did if it had a government of which many of the members he talked about, including the transportation minister, the finance minister, the industry minister and the great chair of the citizenship and immigration committee, were all a part.

He talked about the majority of the House being in favour of this bill. That is the reality. Yet what he and his party are doing is delaying the House, delaying an agreement. Why are they not listening to the majority of Canadians?

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus) November 16th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that the member of Parliament over there is angry. He is obviously angry that we worked together closely with our provincial partners, a government that he once served in. He is angry that we worked with our municipal partners, the mayors and councillors across the country. He is angry that university presidents and college presidents support our initiatives.

He is obviously angry that the Governor of the Bank of Canada has suggested that 1.2% of our economic growth in the third quarter was as a result of the government's interaction with the economy.

He is angry that thousands of Canadians have taken advantage of the home renovation tax credit, which he did not support and clearly will not support.

However, I wonder if the member will have the guts to stand up in this place today and be honest with the people that he represents. Is he now suggesting that he wants the government, he wants the province in which he was once a member of the government, he wants the city of Toronto to stop construction of a subway? Does he want them to stop construction of the Sheppard Avenue light rail transit? Does he want to stop the construction of the reference library? Does he want to stop the expansion of the Boys and Girls Club of Scarborough? Does he want to stop the expansion of Seneca College? Does he want to stop the expansion of Centennial College? Does he want to stop the emergency measures centre in my riding? Does he want to stop the construction of the new arena in my riding? Does he want me to go back and take away all--

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus) November 16th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member and if I am correct, I could actually spend some time with the hon. member this week and tour some of the massive amounts of construction happening around York region. The member might then actually consider changing his mind yet again and voting in favour of the bill.

Alternatively, and I know he can answer the question, which of the projects is he now considering going to the mayors in the towns of the York region and the regional chair to say he is now no longer willing to support? Is it the new arena that we are building? Is it the new tennis courts that are being built? Is it the repaving of Highway 27 that we should stop? Is it the soccer bubble and artificial turf that are going into Richmond Hill? Or should we cancel the emergency management centre, or cancel once and for all the largest outdoor ice rink being built in his riding at city hall, a project that was on hold for 20 years and that we finally got done and the mayor and the town are ecstatic about?

I wonder if the member might help me with that.

Economic Recovery Act (Stimulus) November 16th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat disappointed today to hear my hon. friend's words, since we share a riding together and many of the same projects that he references.

He will know that across my riding of Oak Ridges—Markham, there are a number of projects that have started, including new ice rinks, and Hoover Park roads, which have been started. Many of the projects that people from his riding have advocated are actually under way, including a skating rink at Markham City Hall and an emergency measures centre. We have a new GO Train parking lot, which a number of his constituents actually use.

Thus I was disappointed to hear about all of the projects he referenced as not having started. I know he spent some time in the riding, because we were together last week at a number of Remembrance Day functions, and I know he would see many of the same projects that have started. But now that he is withdrawing his support, I wonder which projects he will no longer be supporting and if he will be making some suggestions to the mayor of Markham, who has been very supportive of what we have done together with the province.

Will he be making some suggestions as to which projects he would like to see wrapped up and no longer be completed as a result of his party now withdrawing its support for all of these wonderful job creation projects that are happening across my and his riding?

Citizenship and Immigration November 16th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, until last week, newcomers studying for the Canadian citizenship test were given a study booklet that did not include a single reference to our military history or the sacrifices of our veterans. In fact, it had more information on recycling and composting than on Confederation and failed to recognize important landmarks in Quebec's history.

Would the citizenship and immigration minister update the House on what he has done to improve the citizenship study guide?

Business of Supply November 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague's interventions.

I was in the Ontario government at the time of the SARS crisis. One of the things that came out of the Naylor report that has been referred to often is the need for the Government of Canada to co-operate effectively with the provinces in order to deal with a public health emergency.

I know the member for Malpeque delights in claiming that the provinces and the local public health officials have not been rolling out the vaccine quickly enough, but I note that some eight million doses of the vaccine have been delivered and that Canadians from coast to coast to coast are getting the vaccine. I know that the minister has been working extraordinarily well with her provincial counterparts.

I am concerned that the member opposite seems to be suggesting that the federal government should not be continuing to co-operate with the provinces in the truly extraordinary way that it has. Will he recognize the fact that unlike the SARS epidemic this government has worked extraordinarily well with the provinces? We have been able to get millions of doses of this vaccine out to people safely and faster than any other country in the world.

I wonder if the hon. member, as opposed to bringing down our provincial counterparts, would join with me in celebrating everything that they have done to ensure that Canadians are receiving this effective vaccination in record time.

November 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about how he almost missed the Liberals, and I can assure him that the families of the 43 people who died in Ontario as a result of SARS certainly do not miss the inaction and the lack of leadership that was shown by the previous Liberal government with respect to that issue.

He knows full well that this government is working faster and more safely than any other government around the world to make sure that the vaccine that we send out is safe and effective and that it works. We are also not forgetting the regular flu that also hits Canadians.

The hon. member talked a lot about education. We heard a bit from members of the Liberal Party with respect to education. I wonder if he could tell me if his idea of educating people would be, as the Liberals would suggest, responding to a questionnaire that is at Is that the type of education that he is talking about? Is that the type of education that will help Canadians overcome their fear? I do not think it is. I think we need a debate that is--