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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Anti-terrorism Act February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, to answer the first part of the question regarding the point about how these powers appear not to have been used in the last five years and whether we really need them, just because they have not been used does not mean they are not important and that they will not need to be used in the next three years. I would like to point out as well that the member's very question undermines the position of the Liberal Party, in that it shows that great restraint is used by peace officers in actually applying the provisions we are talking about under this Anti-terrorism Act.

Second, the member asks about my son or daughter and how I would like it and so on. The provisions contained within the Anti-terrorism Act are constitutional. In 2004, in a reference related to the Air-India prosecution, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of these provisions. That is important to know.

Third, these provisions are used only under the most dire of circumstances. At the end of my speech, I read out for members the conditions that must apply and pointed out the caution that is taken before applying these two provisions. If somebody meets the circumstances of those provisions, then yes, these provisions should be brought against them, and if not, then they would not be. I think we have seen that in the lack of use of these provisions over the last five years.

Anti-terrorism Act February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in view of the ongoing debate concerning provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act subject to sunsetting, I felt it my duty to rise in the House to set the record straight. I ask all hon. members to listen with an open mind on what is unquestionably a matter of critical importance to our collective safety.

When speaking about these powers, investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions, we must work by way of comparison to the anti-terrorism powers of other democratic states. They will clearly show that restraint is built into the scope of their application. Let me first discuss the investigative hearing procedure.

The United States has a grand jury system. The grand jury wields significant powers not shared by other investigative agencies. The federal grand jury may compel the cooperation of persons who may have information relevant to the matters it is investigating. Any person may be subpoenaed to appear and testify under oath before a grand jury. If individuals who are subpoenaed fail to appear or refuse to answer questions, they may be held in contempt absent a valid claim of privilege.

The grand jury may subpoena the owner of documents or other evidence to present them to the grand jury, on pain of contempt, absent a valid claim of privilege. If a witness or the custodian of a document asserts a valid privilege, he or she may be provided with use and derivative use immunity and then be required to comply with a subpoena to testify or produce evidence.

The U.S. Patriot Act represented a marked departure from past changes to grand jury secrecy rules. The act permits disclosure without court order to a list of federal agencies with duties unrelated to law enforcement. Although the material disclosed must relate to foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence, the Patriot Act defines those terms with considerable breadth. I would add that there are also equivalent investigative hearing provisions in Australia and South Africa.

By contrast, in the United Kingdom the onus is on the person having relevant information relating to terrorism to disclose the information to the police. A person who fails to disclose to the police information which he or she knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism is guilty of an offence and liable to punishment of up to five years' imprisonment.

Let me now turn to the recognizance with conditions power. In Canada the use of the recognizance with conditions provision is dependent on reasonable grounds to believe that a specific terrorist activity will be committed in addition to a reasonable suspicion that the imposition of a recognizance is necessary. Arrest without warrant is limited in scope where, for example, there are exigent circumstances and if the person is detained, the period of detention is limited, generally up to a maximum of 72 hours before the hearing takes place. If the person refuses to enter into the recognizance with conditions, he or she may be jailed for a term not exceeding one year.

Compare the scope of this provision to some of those found in the U.K. In the U.K. the police may arrest without warrant a person whom he or she reasonably suspects is a terrorist. This differs from normal arrest powers in that there is no need for there to be any specific offence in the mind of the arresting officer, thereby allowing for wider discretion in carrying out investigations. The maximum period of time that a person could be held in detention without charge under this power has been extended since 2000 from 7 days to 14 days, to the current 28 days.

There are other powers as well given to the police in the U.K. For example, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a constable in uniform, having received an authorization from a police officer having at least the rank of assistant chief constable, may stop a vehicle in the place set out in the authorization and search the vehicle, driver or passenger. It also extends to a pedestrian or anything carried by him or her in the area. The senior official may issue the authorization if it is considered expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.

The police are required to inform the secretary of state of the authorization as soon as is reasonably practicable, and to continue, it must be confirmed within 48 hours. An authorization may be up to 28 days and can be renewed.

As well, the U.K. also put in place in 2005 a system of control orders which may be imposed on a person to prevent terrorist attacks. These orders can be imposed on citizens and non-citizens alike. There are two kinds of control orders that may be imposed: those which do not derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights, and those which do derogate from the convention. The latter would arguably apply in cases of house arrest. Some of these control orders have been challenged in the lower courts and their lawfulness will ultimately be decided by the House of Lords.

In Australia, legislation has been enacted creating a system of control orders and preventative arrests of terrorist suspects. With regard to preventative detention, the Australian federal police may apply for an order for preventative detention of a terrorist suspect where there has been a terrorist act or where a terrorist act is imminent.

However, the period of preventative detention is limited to 48 hours. In contrast, and in addition, many Australian states and territories have enacted legislation allowing preventative detention for up to 14 days.

Given this comparison, I would suggest that far from being blunt instruments, these provisions in the Anti-terrorism Act designed to prevent terrorism are modest in scope and finely tuned to their purpose.

At this time, I would like to turn to another major issue that has been raised by opposition parties in deciding, to date, to oppose the recognizance with conditions provision found in section 83.3 of the Criminal Code.

The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin has argued that the recognizance with conditions power is not needed because paragraph 495(1)(a) of the Criminal Code has long provided a peace officer with the power to arrest without warrant a person whom he or she believes is about to commit an indictable offence.

It has been further argued that in such a case the person can be brought before a judge and released on recognizance with conditions. The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin has also contended that the recognizance with conditions power under the ATA is very different in nature from the peace bond process found in section 810 of the Criminal Code and has very different consequences.

He has argued that in his experience section 810 is often used with regard to apprehended domestic violence or stalking rejected lovers. In contrast, in his view, the recognizance with conditions under the Anti-terrorism Act can catch innocent people who may not be aware of the reasons for which terrorists are soliciting their aid.

He also states that under section 810 a person is subject to a summons to come before a judge and is not arrested, and that the judge cannot commit the person to a prison term unless the person refuses to sign the recognizance after listening to all the parties and being satisfied by the evidence educed that there are reasonable grounds for the fears.

Allow me to reply to these arguments in turn. There are a number of differences between section 495 of the Criminal Code and the provisions setting out the recognizance with conditions contained in the Anti-terrorism Act.

Paragraph 495(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, in part, sets out the power of a peace officer to arrest without warrant a person who is reasonably believed to be about to commit an indictable offence; that is, a serious crime.

The recognizance with conditions provision in the ATA requires, first, that a peace officer have reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorist activity will be committed and suspects on reasonable grounds that the imposition of a recognizance with conditions on a person is necessary to prevent a terrorist activity.

In short, under the recognizance with conditions provision in the ATA the timeframe allowed for preventive intervention is longer than that provided for in section 495. There is no requirement that the terrorist activity be imminent; namely, about to be committed.

This represents a substantial difference that may, in practice, result in the prevention of terrorist activity and in saving lives.

The relevant arrest without warrant power in section 495 is restricted to those persons who, it is reasonably believed, are about to commit an indictable offence. These individuals, in other words, must be on the verge of committing a serious crime.

The recognizance with conditions provision in section 83.3 of the Criminal Code is not as narrow as section 495. It can apply to anyone who fits the statutory criteria set out in section 83.3 of the Anti-terrorism Act. A peace officer requires reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorist activity will be committed and that the imposition of the recognizance with conditions is necessary to prevent a terrorist activity from being carried out.

For example, while the police may suspect on reasonable grounds that particular individuals have contributed to or been associated with certain terrorist activities, they may not yet have the grounds to arrest these individuals and charge them with having committed a provable crime. In other words, they would not have grounds to arrest without warrant for being about to commit an indictable offence under section 495 of the Criminal Code.

They would, however, be able to request a judge to impose a recognizance with conditions under the Anti-terrorism Act and place the person under judicial supervision in an effort to prevent any terrorist activity from actually occurring.

To be fair, the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin recognizes that the recognizance with conditions power is broader in scope than section 495 of the Criminal Code. However, he disapproves of this, expressing concern that a person placed under this kind of recognizance with condition can be branded a terrorist without ever being charged with a terrorism offence. He makes an analogy to a robbery about to take place, arguing that police can use section 495 to arrest the accused because he or she is about to commit a crime. The police, he says, can do the same with regard to a terrorist activity being planned.

This argument ignores the fundamental difference between terrorism and other forms of serious crimes, including organized crime. In this regard, the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin has chosen to disregard the advice given to him by Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of the U.K.'s anti-terrorism legislation, who was questioned by the House subcommittee in November 2005.

In response to a suggestion from the hon. member that terrorist investigations are quite similar to those which must be undertaken into organized crime, Lord Carlile disagreed. He said:

With organized crime, it is often possible for the police investigating that crime to leave arrest until very late. Indeed, for example, there was a huge robbery at London Heathrow Airport a couple of years ago—I was involved in the case for a time professionally—in which they allowed the robbery to take place, and they arrested the robbers whilst they were committing the robbery, with the result that in the end most of them pleaded guilty. You can't run that risk with terrorism.

I could point to a number of operations, if I were able to describe them in detail, in which the police and the security services in the United Kingdom have felt they had to intervene very early because of the risk of frightened or nervous terrorists trying to bring an act to fruition much earlier than was originally intended. This means that a great deal of the evidence gathering has to take place after what is sometimes regarded as a premature arrest.

This reality of the need to intervene at an early stage to disrupt and deter a potential terrorist activity in its nascent stages lies at the heart of the difference between the recognizance with conditions in the Criminal Code and section 495 which, while appropriate for regular crime, including organized crime, is not adequate in order to prevent acts of terrorism most effectively.

Let us carefully examine the differences between section 810 of the Criminal Code from the recognizance with conditions power under the Anti-terrorism Act.

First, under the recognizance with conditions in the Anti-terrorism Act, as in section 810, a judge may issue a summons to a person to appear. The general rule is that a peace officer must lay information before a judge and have the judge compel the person to attend before him to determine if a recognizance with conditions should be imposed.

The arrest without warrant in section 83.3 is very limited in scope. It applies only where exigent circumstances make it impracticable to lay the information, or where a summons has been issued for the person to appear and the peace officer suspects unreasonable grounds that the detention of the person is necessary to prevent a terrorist activity from taking place. This is in sharp contrast with section 495, which is exclusively an arrest without warrant power.

Second, under the recognizance with conditions power in the Anti-terrorism Act, as in section 810, if the person signs the recognizance and abides by the conditions, he or she remains at liberty and will not be sentenced or have a criminal record.

Third, the suggestion has been made that the section 810 peace bond process deals only with cases of domestic assault or stocking that do not really rise to the high level of harm or notoriety that terrorism does.

It should be noted, however, that peace bonds in the Criminal Code can also apply in respect of other serious criminal conduct, such as the cases of fear on reasonable grounds that a person will commit a criminal organization offence. A person placed under a peace bond in these circumstances is also not guilty of any offence, and yet is placed under a severe stigma without necessarily being found guilty of any crime.

Finally, I would point out an important difference between the peace bond set out in section 810 and the recognizance with conditions power in the Anti-terrorism Act. Unlike the section 810 peace bond, the recognizance with conditions under the Criminal Code cannot be used unless the relevant attorney general consents to information being laid by a peace officer before a judge, and this applies in all cases.

This is a key and important safeguard that is curiously not mentioned by the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

For the benefit of all members of the House, let me summarize the major safeguards found in the recognizance with conditions provision found in the Anti-terrorism Act.

First, the consent of the Attorney General of Canada or the attorney general or solicitor general of the province is required.

Second, a peace officer has limited power to arrest a person without warrant in order to bring him or her before a judge, such as in exigent circumstances.

Third, a peace officer who detains a person must either lay information with the consent of the relevant attorney general or release the person.

Fourth, in order to lay information, a person detained in custody must be brought before a provincial court judge without unreasonable delay, and in any event within 24 hours of arrest or as soon as possible thereafter if a judge is unavailable.

Fifth, only if the judge is convinced that the necessary reasonable grounds exist, may the judge order that the person enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and to comply with any other reasonable conditions for a period of 12 months. Only if the person refuses or fails to enter into the recognizance can the person be committed to prison.

A person subject to a recognizance has the right to apply to vary the conditions under the recognizance order.

Finally, federal and provincial attorneys general are required to report annually on most uses of this power. The Minister of Public Safety and ministers responsible for policing in the provinces are required to report annually on the arrest without warrant power.

Given these safeguards, it is apparent that this provision has numerous safeguards to prevent possible abuse.

Let me end by imploring the members opposite to consider the words of Lord Carlile of Berriew. Yes, there is a difference between organized crime and terrorism. The threat of mass murder is different from the threat of individual violence.

We need to have the tools to prevent these attacks at their nascent stages, not just when the crime is about to be committed, for to wait is to endanger the lives of those we wish to protect. It is a time for foresight, and foresight demands that these provisions be extended.

Anti-terrorism Act February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be clear right from the outset that the Anti-terrorism Act was tabled by a Liberal dominated House of Commons at the time. The act as it stands demands that an unamendable motion be laid before Parliament.

We are not here to debate a whole new bill. We are here to debate whether or not to renew the act due to the sunset clause for another three years.

The Liberals are under tremendous pressure. We are talking about the safety of Canadian citizens against terrorism. Former Liberal ministers have spoken against the current Liberal position; Anne McLellan and John Manley are two of them. The B.C solicitor general has also spoken against the Liberal position as it stands right now.

The families of the victims of the Air-India tragedy, one of the largest and most tragic terrorist events ever brought against Canada are asking the Liberals to reconsider their position on the Anti-terrorism Act.

Of course there is the Senate committee report which was released just last week which is asking the Liberals to reconsider their position and to act in the best interest of Canadians.

These are a lot of different groups, different in the sense that they do not necessarily have links between them. They are all asking the Liberal Party to reconsider its position because they know that the Liberal position is against the best interest of Canadians.

How would my colleague respond to that, especially to Canadians?

Government Contracts February 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in her recent report, the Auditor General looked at advertising campaigns and public opinion research projects to see whether the departments administering them were exercising adequate management and control. As members will remember, under the previous Liberal government, these proved to be very problematic and even scandal-ridden files.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services elaborate on the recent findings of the Auditor General regarding advertising and public opinion research?

Committees of the House February 12th, 2007

You didn't get it done.

Health February 5th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, wait times nearly doubled under the watch of the previous Liberal government. This morning, the Canadian Institute for Health Information issued a positive report on the number of surgeries performed last year.

Could the Minister of Health update the House on the progress the government is making to increase the number of surgeries performed?

Ethics January 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, last week the leader of the opposition was asked whether or not the Liberal Party would take back Marc-Yvan Côté, a man who admitted that he gave out $120,000 in cash in Quebec during a federal election. The member answered that they could not shun forever those who make mistakes. He also added that his punishment was excessive. This is very serious.

Just one year ago, Canadians asked for change. They demanded it. The leader of the Liberal Party does not understand that Canadians rejected that type of Liberal government, rejected the type of corruption and dishonesty that he wants to return to the Liberal Party by taking back Mr. Côté.

The leader of the opposition is showing his blatant lack of judgement and direction.

Exercise of Government Powers December 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we have, today, an interesting contrast in leadership. Three years ago, the Liberal member for LaSalle—Émard became Prime Minister, after Jean Chrétien, and added to 13 years of Liberal mess, mismanagement and scandal.

The member for LaSalle—Émard's years were especially highlighted by dithering, delay and virtually no action on any file.

Contrast this with 10 months of strong leadership by our government: accountability in government, done; pension splitting for seniors, done; choice in child care, done; and our GST cut for every Canadian, done.

The comparisons are very striking. Unlike the last Liberal government, which was dominated by scandal and only looked after its Liberal friends, our government is getting things done for all Canadians. This is what Canadians asked us to do and this is what we are doing.

Marriage December 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I stand by my words. If the member opposite is so concerned about children, why is it that the party opposite voted against providing $1,200 to families for children under the age of six?

More to the point, this does concern children, and children have a right to a father and a mother. The rights of children take priority over the rights of adults in the way that they want to live or the way that they would choose to live.

I read within my speech excerpts from UN conventions which recognize the right of children to be in families. The best place for children to be is in a family that consists of the union of a man and a woman in a loving and stable relationship.

Marriage December 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, what we just heard is nonsense. It is the smokescreen that was put up by the Liberals during the last debate.

The Supreme Court did not rule on marriage. If it did, would the hon. member please table its decision so we in the House can read it and so Canadians can see it. What it said instead was it belongs to the purview of the House to define marriage. That is what it said and it rests here in the House.

We are looking to have an open debate on the issue of marriage and to have a free vote in the House. We did not have an open debate the last time. It was cut short. The bill was rammed through the House. It was rammed through committee. The Liberal Party did not have a free vote. The NDP did not have a free vote. We are encouraging all parties to allow their MPs to vote in accordance with their conscience and to vote in accordance with their constituents.