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39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 009

CONTENTS

Friday, October 26, 2007





CANADA

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 142 
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NUMBER 009 
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2nd SESSION 
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39th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1005)  

[English]

Tackling Violent Crime Act

Hon. Gordon O'Connor (for the Minister of Justice)  
     moved that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to join in the debate on Bill C-2, the tackling violent crime act.
    As the Minister of Justice noted when he spoke in reply to the Speech from the Throne, safe streets and secure communities are the Canadian way of life. This is what I would like to focus my remarks on today, how we are building a stronger, safer and better Canada, beginning with Bill C-2.
    I have had many opportunities, as probably all members in the House have had, to talk with my constituents, parents, community leaders, police, lawyers, and many others about their concern with crime and what we should do about it.
    What I have heard has likely been heard by all hon. members as they have travelled throughout their ridings and indeed across Canada. Canadians are clearly expecting their government to take concrete and effective action to tackle crime.
    Unlike previous governments on this issue, the current government listens. We share these concerns and we have made tackling crime a key priority for our government. We have made it a key priority for our government because it is a key priority for Canadians, but there is so much more that needs to be done.
    We know what crime looks like in Canada. Crime statistics have been recorded since 1962 so we have 45 years of information. Statistics Canada reported last July that the overall national crime rate has decreased for the second year in a row.
    We all want to see a lower crime rate. So this is the good news. But the national crime rate is an average and does not tell us about some of the more serious problems or localized problems.
    The long term trends over the last few generations show us what we all know in the House, that crime has increased drastically. Since the 1970s, for example, the violent crime rate has increased 98%, but the national crime rate does not tell us what may be going on in individual communities. Community leaders, victims groups and law enforcement know their particular challenges, and we are listening to them.
    Many Canadians have lost confidence in the criminal justice system and question if it is doing enough to protect them. They know that violent crime is all too common. They dread hearing statistics like those released on October 17 by Statistics Canada.
    Those statistics tell us that 4 out of 10, or 40% of victims of violent crimes sustained injuries. They tell us that half of violent crimes occurred at private residences. They tell us that firearms were involved in 30% of homicides, 31% of attempted murders and 13% of robberies committed. They tell us that one out of every six victims of violent crimes was a youth aged 12 to 17 years old and children under 12 years of age account for 23% of victims of sexual assaults and 5% of victims of violent crimes.
    Canadians are looking to the federal government to work with them to restore community safety. The government understands the need for leadership in criminal justice and this is what our tackling crime priority, and our commitment in this regard is all about. It is about reducing all crime and providing an effective criminal justice system. Our plan is ambitious, but Canadians can count on us to get it done. As they have seen on other issues, we have been able to get things done for all Canadians.
    In the last session of Parliament the government tabled 13 crime bills. This is proof of our commitment to address crime and safety issues in our communities. It is interesting to note that it was 13 crime bills as it was 13 years of Liberal governments that have left us with a revolving door justice system in which Canadians have lost faith, a justice system that Canadians feel puts the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of everyday, law-abiding Canadians. This is what our government is going to address.
    Six of these crime bills, of the 13, received royal assent and are now the law or will soon become the law. For example, one of the government's first bills and first priorities was to curtail the use of conditional sentences or house arrest for serious violent crimes.
    We all know the issue of house arrest. In all of our ridings we have heard cases where someone has committed a very serious, sometimes violent, crime and there is an expectation in the community that there will be a severe consequence for someone who commits a severe crime. All too often the community is outraged when it hears that criminals will be serving out their sentence from the comfort of their own home.
    Bill C-9, which received royal assent on May 31, 2007, and will be coming into force on December 1, 2007, makes it clear that conditional sentences or house arrest will not be an option for serious personal injury offences, terrorism offences, and organized crime offences where the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more.
    This change was a long time coming. It is well past due and Canadians will be better served by a justice system that does not allow, for these serious offences, criminals to serve a sentence in their own home. Canadians wanted this change.
    Bill C-18 strengthened the laws governing the national DNA data bank. This will facilitate police investigation of crimes. Bill C-18 received royal assent on June 22, 2007. Some provisions are already in force and others will soon be proclaimed in force.
    Bill C-19 made Canada's streets safer by enacting new offences to specifically combat street racing. These new offences built upon existing offences, including dangerous driving and criminal negligence, and provide higher maximum penalties of incarceration for the most serious of street racing offences.
    As well, mandatory driving prohibition will be imposed on those convicted of street racing. In the most serious cases involving repeat street racing offenders, a mandatory lifetime driving prohibition can now be imposed.
    We also took concrete steps to protect users of payday loans. Bill C-26, which received royal assent on May 3, 2007, makes it an offence to enter into an agreement or an arrangement to receive interest at a criminal rate or to receive payment of an interest at a criminal rate. The criminal rate of interest is defined as exceeding 60% per year.
    We also took further measures to combat corruption. Bill C-48 enacted Criminal Code amendments to enable Canada to ratify and implement the United Nations convention against corruption on October 2, 2007. By ratifying the convention, Canada has joined 92 other state parties committed to working with the international community to take preventative measures against corruption.
    Our bill to stop film piracy or camcording, Bill C-59, received widespread support. It was quickly passed and received royal assent on June 22, 2007.
    Unfortunately, none of our other important crime bills progressed to enactment before Parliament prorogued. That is why the tackling violent crime act reintroduces the provisions of the following bills that died on the order paper.
    The bill imposing mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment for firearms offences, Bill C-10, is included in Bill C-2 as passed by the House of Commons.
    Bill C-22, which increased the age of protection against adult sexual exploitation, has been included, as passed by the House of Commons.
    Bill C-32, addressing drug impaired driving and impaired driving in general, has been introduced as amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and reported to the House of Commons.
    Bill C-35, imposing a reverse onus for bail for firearms offences, has been included in this new bill, as passed by the House of Commons. This bill will make it tougher for those who have committed a firearms offence to received bail and be back out on the street.
    Bill C-27, addressing dangerous and repeat violent offenders, as originally introduced, is included in this bill, but with some further amendments, which I will elaborate on shortly.
    The tackling violent crime act respects the parliamentary process and includes the bills as amended by committee or as passed by the House of Commons, and in the same state that they were when Parliament was prorogued. As a result, these reforms are familiar, or should be familiar, to all members of this House, and so I would call on all hon. members to quickly pass the tackling violent crime act.
    Indeed, many hon. members have already stated that they support these reforms. There is therefore no need to further debate these reforms or for a prolonged study of the provisions that Parliament has already debated and committees have already scrutinized. It is time for us all to demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding Canadians and for safer communities, and to quickly move this bill forward.

  (1010)  

    For those who need more convincing, I would like to reiterate that the tackling violent crime act addresses a range of serious issues that put Canadians at risk: gun crimes, impaired driving, sexual offences against children and dangerous offenders.
    We know that Canadians expect their government to take action and to protect them from these crimes. To do so, we need the support of all hon. members, as well as Canadians, our partners in the provinces and the territories, and law enforcement and community groups.
    Time does not permit me to address each of the equally important elements of Bill C-2. I know that other members will rise to speak to the reforms that are of most concern to them. I propose to highlight a few of the issues that have been raised repeatedly with me by my constituents, and I am sure by constituents in ridings held by all hon. members, in particular, about impaired driving, the age of consent and dangerous offenders.
    Alcohol and drug impaired driving have devastating effects for victims, for families and for communities. Impaired drivers are responsible for thousands of fatalities and injuries each year, not to mention billions of dollars in property damage.
    Once the tackling violent crime act is the law, impaired drivers will face tough punishment, no matter which intoxicant they choose, and police and prosecutors will have the tools that they need to deal with these offences.
    Although drug impaired driving has always been a crime, until recently, police have not had the same tools available to stop those who drive while impaired by drugs that they have to address alcohol impaired driving. Under this bill, they will.
    The tackling violent crime act strengthens the ability of police, prosecutors and the courts to investigate, prosecute and sentence those who endanger the safety of other Canadians through alcohol or drug impaired driving. I know that all hon. members recognize the pressing need to ensure the safety of our streets, highways, communities and our schools. By giving police the tools they need to combat impaired driving, we are doing that.
    These reforms were applauded by the stakeholders and supported in the House of Commons. I am sure every member of Parliament in the House has received correspondence urging them to support the bill. There should be no impediments to making progress on this part of the tackling violent crime act.
    The act also reintroduces the reforms to raise the age at which young people can consent to sexual activity from 14 to 16 years of age. The bill takes away the ability, and let us be clear on what the bill does, of adult sexual predators to rely on claims that their young victims consented.
    Again, these reforms were welcomed by child advocates and supported in the House as part of former Bill C-22, so there is no need for further debate. We can move ahead.
    It is worth spending a few moments to focus on the dangerous and high risk offender provisions of former Bill C-27. Some of these provisions have been modified and, therefore, hon. members may want to scrutinize these aspects more than the other reforms included in the tackling violent crime act.
    The dangerous offender reforms in Bill C-2 respond to the concerns highlighted in the debates and before the justice committee, and by provincial attorneys general. I am sure that all hon. members will agree that these modifications are welcomed.
    As members will recall, former Bill C-27 was tabled in the House last October. That bill included dramatic enhancements to the sentencing and management of the very worst of the worst, those offenders who repeatedly commit violent and sexual crimes and who require special attention, because it has become clear that the regular criminal sentencing regime simply cannot effectively manage the small but violent and dangerous group of offenders.
    The tackling violent crime act includes all of the original amendments to the Criminal Code from the former Bill C-27, as well as two important changes which will go further in protecting Canadians from dangerous offenders.
    First, let me provide an overview of the provisions brought forward into the House under Bill C-27. It includes the requirement in dangerous offender hearings that an offender be presumed to meet the dangerous offender criteria upon a third conviction for a primary designated offence. In other words, an offence that is on the list of the 12 most violent or sexual offences that typically trigger dangerous offender designations.

  (1015)  

    Second, the bill would also place a requirement on crown prosecutors to inform the court that they had fully considered whether to pursue a dangerous offender application. This is to prevent these applications from falling through the cracks. This would occur in cases where an offender had been convicted for a third time of a relatively serious sexual or violent offence.
    The declaration is intended to ensure more consistent use of the dangerous offender sentence by the Crown in all jurisdictions. Although the Crown must indicate whether it has considered bringing a dangerous offender application, we are not dictating to it that it must do so. We are not attempting to arbitrarily fetter the discretion of the Crown or of the court. Rather, we are providing a way to make sure that the Crown turns its mind to the issue of a dangerous offender application.
    Third, Bill C-2 would also bring forward the very significant reforms to the section 810.1 and 810.2 peace bond provisions that enable any person to apply to a court to ask for stringent conditions to be imposed against individuals who are felt to pose a threat of sexual or violent offending in the community.
    We have all heard the horror stories from one end of the country to the other of someone who is known to be a threat to commit a sexual or violent offence against an innocent member of the community. There is often great frustration among Canadians at the perceived inability for government, for officials, for police, to act to protect the community from a subsequent violent or sexual offence.
    Specifically, we are doubling the duration of peace bonds from one year to two years. We are also providing specific authority for the court to impose conditions regarding curfews, electronic monitoring, treatment requirements and other prohibitions as well as making it very clear that the court may impose any conditions it feels are necessary to ensure public safety.
    Since the tabling of the former Bill C-27 last October, provincial attorneys general have raised concerns about violent offenders who are found to be dangerous offenders, but are not receiving indeterminate sentences. This is due to a finding that they could be managed under the long term offender designation.
    The long term offender sentencing option currently in the Criminal Code allows a court to sentence an individual to a regular sentence of imprisonment, but add up to 10 years of intensive community supervision to the sentence.
    Based on the interpretation of the lower courts of the 2003 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Johnson, many individuals who fully meet the designation of a dangerous offender have nonetheless been given long term offender designation instead. The Crown has been unable to convince the sentencing court that the offenders could not be managed under the less severe sentence option.
    The big concern is that some of these individuals may not in fact be suitable for community supervision sentences. Yet, until they commit another violent sentence, their status as a dangerous offender cannot be reviewed by a court. I should mention, and it should be obvious, until they commit another violent offence, then it is too late for the community, for innocent victims and for families.
    Given the concerns expressed since former Bill C-27 was tabled, the government has been examining the scope of this problem and developing potential solutions. It is clear that a large proportion of the individuals who meet the dangerous offender criteria, but have been given a less severe sentence, have demonstrated that they simply refuse to cooperate. The majority eventually breach one or more of the conditions of their long term supervision order. This is a clear indicator that the original sentence was based on a flawed presumption that the offender was manageable. As such, there is a real need to revisit the original sentence in order to stop the reoffending right then and there before another tragedy occurs.
    The tackling violent crime act addresses this problem and includes new provisions that were not included in the former bill.
    First, the tackling violent crime act makes it clear that from now on if offenders meet the dangerous offender criteria, they will always be designated as a dangerous offender first, and that designation is for life. The court must then determine the appropriate sentence, either an indeterminate sentence or a determinate sentence, with or without the long term offender supervision order. Critical to this scheme is that from now on the court must impose an indeterminate sentence unless it is satisfied that the offenders can be managed under a less severe sentence.
    Second, in cases where dangerous offenders are able to satisfy the court that they can be managed under the lesser sentence and are subsequently charged and convicted with a breach of a long term supervision order, they can be brought back to the court for a new sentencing hearing. At the new hearing, dangerous offenders will have to satisfy the court once again that they can still be managed under the lesser sentence. If not, the indeterminate sentence must be imposed.

  (1020)  

    The government believes that the impact of these new reforms will be significant. Because of the clarification to the sentencing provisions, fewer offenders will escape the dangerous offender designation. In addition, for the few offenders who are declared to be dangerous offenders, but given a long term offender sentence, they will know that if they do not abide by the term of their supervision orders once released, they will be returned to court for a new sentencing hearing and an indeterminate sentence will be the likely outcome.
    It will not take a second sexual assault or a second violent offence to bring the offender back for a new dangerous offender sentence. This new provision would be available, for example, even if the violation were simply that the offender failed to return to his residence before curfew or consumed alcohol or drugs in violation of a long term offender supervision order.
    Our government remains committed to ensuring that all Canadians live in safe and secure communities. The tackling violent crime act will protect Canadians. It is fulfilling our commitments to Canadians. The government is committed to taking action, acting on behalf of the safety of all Canadians. I urge all members to support the tackling violent crime act.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member represents people who breathe in the fresh, misty and refreshing air on the banks of the Bay of Fundy, but who, like the people I represent, have to live with an unrestored Petitcodiac River.
    On topic, I thank him for his continuing interest in criminal justice issues. I know what he wishes for is what all Canadians wish for, a safe society. I will have a speech rebutting a lot of his technical points, but the question is this. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, he heard much evidence, as we all did on the justice committee, about how to effect the legislation, the 13 bills with which we were presented.
    I have a few very short questions.
     Why has the Conservative government not fulfilled its promise of 2,500 police officers? How can it put into place a thousand RCMP officers when the RCMP itself is a thousand persons behind in its recruitment drive? Is the drug recognition expert program funded? If Bill C-32 is up and running tomorrow, will it work?
    Finally, he heard evidence about the Centre for Forensic Sciences being quite behind in its deadlines with respect to DNA identification. Is that centre well funded enough? Will it work and be able to respond to the needs in the new DNA bill which we all supported?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe for his interest.
    Over the 13 years of Liberal government, we saw consistent and systemic underfunding of our security and police institutions. We see this whether it is on the national defence side, or our intelligence organization CSIS, or the RCMP, which over the course of the previous government's mandate received drastic cuts in funding. We need only go to the annual reports and updates on government spending. It is all documented every year for all Canadians to read. Canadians can see that the funding for the RCMP was cut.
    Our government was elected with a mandate to get tough on crime. Getting tough on crime is not only about passing legislation. It is about bringing in preventive measures. It is about supporting communities. It is about supporting families. It is about providing funding for our police and for our provinces.
    Our government has made a commitment for additional RCMP officers and for additional municipal police forces. We will keep that commitment. That is what this government does. It keeps the commitments it made to Canadians. Canadians know that. It is a refreshing change.
    I can assure the hon. member that whether it is the DNA data bank, which is a valuable tool, or the drug recognition experts who will play such a vital role when the tackling violent crime act is passed, or our police forces, RCMP or municipal, our government is committed to providing the support. We are also committed to passing legislation that will protect Canadians from violent criminals. That is what Canadians asked us to do, and that is exactly what we are doing.

  (1030)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the announcement of this bill was highly publicized, with some commentators referring to it as a big show. Let us be honest and admit that that is just what it was. The numbers themselves are shocking.
    The opposition was accused of obstructing justice bills. But of the 12 bills that were originally introduced by the Conservative government, six have already received royal assent, four had made it through all stages in the House and were ready to be adopted by the Senate, and only two were still being debated in the House.
    It could even be said that if the Conservative government had not decided to prorogue Parliament, most of these bills would probably have been adopted and received royal assent. By proroguing the House to deliver a completely insipid Speech from the Throne, the government itself killed the bills it is reintroducing today, saying that it does not want the opposition to obstruct them. In fact, it was the one that delayed the Parliamentary process.
    Would the parliamentary secretary not admit that this is all just playing to the media? If it really cared about getting these bills passed, the Conservative government would not have prorogued the House, lost a month of work and let all the bills die on the order paper. It would have forgotten about this sorry excuse of a throne speech and continued to forge ahead in the House.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member sounds like he is keen to pass the tackling violent crime act, so let us get on with it.
    If the hon. member would have followed what has happened, he would know that, for example, our bill to raise the age of consent. We know that child welfare advocates and child sexual exploitation experts have told us that Canada has become, in some instances, a destination for those adult sexual predators, who have come from jurisdictions where their age of consent is higher. We do not want Canada to become a destination for adult sexual predators.
    We do not want Canada to be a destination where someone can commit, for example, multiple firearms offences, yet receive a weak sentencing.
    Canadians know, and the hon. member should know, that our justice system has become known as a revolving door. People commit a crime, then they are back on the street. Then they commit another crime and they are back on the street again. Enough is enough. Our bill, the tackling violent crime act, would address these issues.
    The hon. member should know that the two bills I mentioned from the previous Parliament were being delayed in the Senate. The Senate has the power to delay this legislation. The fact is the unelected Liberal Senate was delaying our justice measures. We have said enough is enough.
    The legislation is contained in the tackling violent crime act. I urge all hon. members to get behind it.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and the Conservative government for this very important initiative.
    When we talk about the dangerous offenders act, one ongoing example in Edmonton is the criminal Leo Teskey. He has been convicted of some 37 acts of violence. He brutalized a baby, raping it. A final act, before he was released once more, was he shot a police officer. The police officer is still suffering to this day. Then he is back out on the street once again. This time he beat into a comatose state a Dougald Miller, who is still in that state to this date, eight years later.
     Then there was a hearing to explore whether he was a dangerous offender. Millions of dollars were spent and 12 doctors were brought before the hearing. After months of this hearing, he was finally considered to be a dangerous offender.
     Recently, the hearing was overturned, after all these millions of dollars being spent. Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller is going broke paying for her husband's medical care in connection with his medical condition.
    The urgency of this legislation is obvious.
    The Liberals have known about this for years on prompting from the opposition, our party, at the time. Why did they not do anything earlier?

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question and also for his interest in justice issues.
    I cannot explain the inaction of the previous government. We know the Liberals had 13 years in government to address these situations. We know this is not something that just came out of the blue. Opposition members, including the hon. member, raised these issues in the past. Victim advocacy groups have raised these issues. Police raised the issue that they needed the tools to combat crime. The issue of dangerous offenders, repeat violent offenders and people who breach conditions of their long term offender status is not new and yet we saw inaction.
    The fundamental change that has taken place is that we now have a government that has been listening and government members who are committed to change, committed to protecting Canadians and committed to effective, legislative and policy changes that will tip the scale of balance in favour of protecting innocent, law-abiding Canadians.
    The member raised this illustration and there are examples like that across the country. We need to do everything we can. No matter what our political stripe, we should all be interested in protecting Canadians, especially the young and vulnerable, from becoming victims of serious criminals.
    I hope all members will join with me in moving this bill along as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, on Bill C-2 and justice issues in general, I heard just recently in the House the term “a revolving door”. The only revolving door is the justice minister and officials in the Conservative Party going in and out of press conferences announcing and reannouncing the same bills on which they pulled the plug.
    With respect to Bill C-2, I have reviewed all the material. I sat in on all the committee hearings. What I have recently discovered, through obtaining a bill briefing, is a note from the Prime Minister about Bill C-2, in that it regurgitates all the bills we dealt with in the last Parliament. The message from the Prime Minister is that he is sorry that he pulled the plug on Parliament and flushed all the good work of the justice committee down the drain.
    That is what happened. All these bills were well on their way. They were going through the due process of Parliament, which followed the rules of parliaments before, and they were on the way to being in effect.
    The reason we are here today is that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament and those bills were killed in their tracks. It is not true that perhaps that is why the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament but I think it is. In fact, I think that is why we have a new session.
    I may be new and I may be in the back row but I read the papers and I know what is going on. Parliament was prorogued and all legislation was stopped in its tracks.
    What is important to remind ourselves, and the Canadian public will want to know, is that there were 13 bills in the justice dossier and 7 of them were passed and are now the law of Canada.
    As a member of the justice committee, I would expect all parties to tell all members of the justice committee that it was a job well done, that seven out of thirteen justice bills that affect the citizens of Canada are now law. Five of those bills are currently the subject of Bill C-2, which I will turn to, and one, mysteriously, of the thirteen bills, the criminal procedure act, which all parties agreed to unanimously, was a creature of a previous Parliament and which all prosecutors are waiting intently for. These prosecutors are the people who are on the front lines, as well as the police officers, in the criminal justice system. I suppose they are wondering why, despite the offer to fast track the bill by this party and despite the unanimous support by the justice committee, Bill C-23 has not been moved up. Perhaps in the government's haste and the revolving door of the press circle and the press club, it forgot to bring along an important bill.
    Overall, the 13 bills, the 7 passed and the 1 dropped by an incompetent justice minister and the parliamentary secretary for forgetting that, and the 5 we are about to discuss, all of these bills need to be enforced. Each police officer, prosecutor, probation officer and corrections official, all those people in the system need to know that if there are 13 new laws, 12 because 1 was dropped by the incompetent ministry, but if there are 12 new bills we need to know we have the resources to put them into effect.
    It is urgent for the public to know that despite a promise by the government, the law and order government, the tough on crime government, it is toothless without following up on the promise of 2,500 new police officers and the false promise in the Speech from the Throne for 1,000 new RCMP officers when the RCMP cannot recruit 1,000 officers. It is behind in its recruitment. It is a meaningless, toothless promise to the people of Canada but, even worse, it takes away the hope of the Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, the prosecutors and the probation officers, all the people who must put into effect, on a daily basis, the laws of the justice system.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    I want to emphasize that the party on this side of the House is not so fickle. We support our justice system. We support our judges, our prosecutors, and all of the police officers who are responsible for protecting Canadians.
    Over the past 18 months, the Liberal Party has undertaken a thorough review of the legislation pertaining to crime while the Conservatives have been busy playing political games. The Prime Minister put an end to this Parliament's activities and committee work, thereby throwing out the amendments that this bill sought to make to five acts. It is his fault that these five acts have not yet been amended.
    We on this side of the House have faith in our justice system and are convinced that it will keep the peace in our communities.

[English]

    I say that because it should be a non-partisan issue that we all believe in a safe community. We are all here as parliamentarians, surely, to ensure that we have a safe community. We may differ on the avenue to get there, but how much did we, the Liberal Party of Canada and its members on the justice committee, really differ from the plan of the Conservative Party in general and, more importantly, in the organic process which is called the development of criminal law through amendments to the Criminal Code?
     I say to the House and to the public: not much.
    There were 13 bills proposed. Seven passed and there are five in Bill C-2 that we are substantially in agreement on because they would have been law by now had Parliament not been prorogued, and I must say for the record that there is one that has been dropped by the government and that we are also in favour of.
    So how is it that we, in trying to keep the community safe, are against the elements in Bill C-2 and the elements in these bills? I will repeat them: Bill C-9, on conditional sentences; Bill C-18, on DNA identification; Bill C-19, on street racing; Bill C-25, on proceeds of crime; Bill C-26, on criminal rate of interest; and just to add two others that were not part of Bill C-2, Bill C-48, on the implementation of a UN convention against corruption, and Bill C-59, on the unauthorized recording of a movie. These have all been supported.
    But there is more. I hear members on the opposite side talk about 13 years of inaction with respect to criminal justice and I think the Canadian public would be interested to know that these laws, while continuing on the evolution of our criminal law and making our community safer, are but part of the Criminal Code of Canada.
    On the Criminal Code of Canada, I might say this in a moment of non-partisanship and to congratulate a Conservative politician, albeit a dead one.When Prime Minister John Thompson, a Conservative prime minister, was minister of justice he essentially created and adapted the criminal law of Canada into a code that we would follow in this country. I want to get credit for giving plaudits to a Conservative in this place.
    A principal part of the Criminal Code of Canada, which we have been talking about since I have been in Parliament, is sentencing. What is sentencing? The purpose and principles of sentencing are set out in section 718. I hear very often in this place and at the revolving door of the press conference centre for the Conservative Party of Canada that there is but one principle in sentencing, that is, to put the bad guys away.
     I know this is a novel concept for those who are directing the Conservative justice agenda, but why do we not refer to what the law says about the purpose and principles of sentencing? They are set out in section 718. I am not going to read this word for word because it tends to be bogged down in particularness and assuredness and literal things that, again, the Conservative justice team really knows nothing about, having adopted and written such sloppy legislation that it had to be sent to committee to be fixed.
    However, in general, there are six important factors or principles in sentencing. It is the reason we have sentences for people who have committed crimes. One principle is to denounce unlawful conduct. That is the one I hear about most often from the Conservative justice team. That is a valid principle, but it is one of six.
    What are the others? One is to deter the offender from doing it again. That is another one I hear a lot about. The point over here is that those two of the six are very important. We are not shirking the importance of those. The law does not say that any one is more important than the other. It is a guidepost to judges who make our law pursuant to what they read here. It is a guidepost to say that we will denounce unlawful conduct. Yes, we will, by bringing in this sentence. We will deter the person or any person in the public from doing it again. They are two very important objectives.
    However, that is where the Conservative justice team stops most of the time. The Conservatives forget that they must separate offenders from society when necessary and that they must assist in rehabilitating offenders. This is not to mean that the criminal gets more justice than the victim. What it means is that if there is a chance to rehabilitate an offender before that offender is reintegrated into society, or after, we ought to take that chance. Society is not safer, and let us remember that this safety is the principal goal of all parliamentarians here, by sending a more dangerous person back into the community after his or her sentence is served. It is a very important principle, as important as deterrence and as important as denouncing unlawful conduct.

  (1045)  

    The fifth aspect is to provide reparations for harm done to victims. That is very key. I will get into speaking about Bill C-9, which was a failed bill and flawed until it was amended at committee by all parties. One of the key aspects of Bill C-9 was to amend it to allow some white collar criminals, for lack of a better term, who had done a very denunciatory offence, which should be deterred, such as acts of stealing money through a breach of trust from someone, say, the option of a conditional sentence. It was to allow them to make reparations and restitution during the term of their sentence when it might mean the difference between an aged person with a stolen RRSP account getting that money back or not.
     It gave back discretion to the judge, which he or she had in the first place, and it was a very necessary amendment to a flawed and hasty bill to make sure that this principle of sentencing, that is, to provide reparation for harm done to victims, was put in place. It was made better law by the intervention of the committee.
    The final principle is to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, an acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and to the community. What that is about is making sure that these offenders are not so divorced from the community in which they live, so that they know when they have done wrong that they have a responsibility to that community to be remorseful, to make amends and, I think very importantly, to reintegrate into that community if possible. We should never forget that.
    The overall principle, and it is written as the fundamental principle in section 718.1 of the code, is that of the proportionality, of the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. This is a very important principle, which judges rely on all the time.
    I hear members speak about 13 years of Liberal inactivity. Actually I was not here for any of those 13 years. I was on the outside looking at all of the criminal justice bills that had been brought in during that time. I remember that it was a Liberal minister of justice who brought in the whole concept of mandatory minimums, which at the revolving door of the Conservatives' press circle was as if it was invented by them. I wonder if they invented the laws of gravity and found the North American continent. I suspect not, Mr. Speaker, and I do not suppose you could answer objectively if they say they have somewhere else, but I am not sure that they would not stand here and say that they have.
    They did not invent mandatory minimums. The other sentencing principles in section 718.2 were brought in, in successive Liberal governments, by amendments in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2005. All of those amendments in section 718.2 were brought in to recognize the changing nature of our society and to allow judges for the first time in the history of the Criminal Code to take into account these factors when sentencing, either in increasing or in decreasing the sentences, and I am very proud of that.
    These factors include evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate. It is the first time that it was codified that a judge should take into account hate crimes when sentencing. For any crimes committed based on someone's ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation and other factors, is it not correct, right and fair in this society that those sentences were brought in and that judges should be told to take into account those factors in section 718.2, or whether the violence was against a spouse or common law partner?
     Is it not important, for instance, that a judge be given that discretion to increase a sentence if the crime was against a spouse or a common law partner, or if the crime was done to a person of tender years under the age of 18? Is it not important that this be taken into account?
    Is it not important, as it says in subparagraph 718.2(a)(iii), whether or not the person who committed the crime “abused a position of trust or authority”, or also whether the person was a member of a criminal organization, or that the offence was a terrorism offence?

  (1050)  

    All of these factors were in judges' hands before 2005. These were not invented by the Newtons over there in the last 18 months. They were there, it was Liberal legislation, and I presume it had all party support because it makes such sense.
    Finally, in the principles of sentencing categories, paragraph 718.2(e) has the all important factor of recognizing that if an offender is of aboriginal origin or from a first nations community special circumstances should be put in place. We found during much of the deliberation at committee that this sentencing principle was often ignored.
     I look at the amendments in place with respect to Bill C-10 and Bill C-9. It is a particular affront to this established sentencing principle, and it seems to have been completely forgotten by the Conservative government, that these two important sections of the code had existed before the Conservative government took place and certainly will exist when it moves on into the sunset.
    About the laws in Bill C-2 and why it is so easy on this side for us to say we support the bill, it is important to remember that we on this side, and the members of the justice committee from the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois will vouch for this, and the members of the justice committee had made Bill C-10 and the mandatory minimum aspect a better bill when it left committee. Arrogantly, and without respect for the work of the all party committee, the Conservative justice team, coming yet again from the revolving door of the press club, suggested that it would put in at report stage the entire bill as it was before.
    However, over the summer I think the Conservatives had blueberry festivals and strawberry festivals and must have eaten some humble pie at some festival, as they decided that they would accept the amendments as they came from the committee, reintroducing Bill C-2 with the Bill C-10 amendments to make our community a better place and enlarge upon the mandatory minimums that were already in place under the Liberal justice program before the Conservatives took office.
    The other bill that needs clarification on why it is an acceptable bill now, and why it was never acceptable when the amateur Conservative justice team brought the topic up before, is Bill C-22, the age of consent bill.
    I have heard well-meaning, honest and forthright members of the House, such as the member for Wild Rose, say that he and his colleagues could never get an age of consent or age of protection bill through the Commons. I was disturbed by that. I asked why we would not protect our young persons. Why would we not get in line with many of the communities around the world which recognize that consent may not be freely given by a 14 year old when the world has become smaller and the age of the predator is upon us?
    I looked into it. There were two very fundamental flaws with all bills that were presented as part of a justice package by an opposition entitled the Conservative opposition. They are as follows.
    There was absolutely no close in age exemption. This bill, Bill C-22, contains a close in age exemption, making it flexible enough to recognize that not every relationship that is separated by a number of years is a relationship between an innocent young child and a sexual predator.
    Finally, as I wrap up, age of consent as presented previously would have criminalized normal adolescent sexual activity which, whether the Conservatives like it or not, is out there, and 14 year olds and 15 year olds having relations are protected by this. It does prevent sexual predators from preying on the young. It is good legislation.
    In summary, the five bills in Bill C-2 are good law because the committee made them so. I encourage the Conservative justice team, the Prime Minister and all Conservatives out there to watch what they write, to watch what they present to Parliament, and to not keep going through that revolving door called the press circle to give press releases without having done their homework to ensure that they are passing good laws which will make Canada safer.

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to comment on a peripheral item which the member spoke about. A number of members have said, “Oh, this bad Conservative government has prorogued the House and we are into a second session”.
    I happened to look up the years when the Liberals were in power, just the years when I was here, since 1993. In the 35th Parliament, the Liberals prorogued the first session after 661 days. In the 34th Parliament the first session was prorogued after only 78 days. There was a total of 11 sitting days and then there was a new throne speech. After 11 days the House was prorogued and everything died. In the 37th Parliament the Liberals prorogued the House twice; there was session one, session two and session three. It seems to me that the Liberals speak with a hollow voice when they complain about our proroguing Parliament in order to have a fresh start and make Parliament work.
    That is a rebuttal to all of their comments about proroguing Parliament. It is totally normal. The Liberals always did it. It is just a process that we go through.
    The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe is going to have an opportunity to respond to the comment in due course, but given that it is 11 o'clock, we will proceed now with statements by members. When debate resumes, there will be eight minutes and a few seconds left in the time for questions and comments.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1100)  

[English]

University of Lethbridge

    Mr. Speaker, this year the University of Lethbridge is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
    From a small corner on the Lethbridge college campus to a prominent landmark nestled in the coulees overlooking the Oldman River, the University of Lethbridge has grown into an institution which is recognized and respected around the world.
    The University of Lethbridge was built on a commitment to the individual student with the goal of providing the most vital and engaging learning environment in the country. Although much has changed over the past 40 years, its goals remain focused on this principle.
    In addition to maintaining teaching as its core objective, the University of Lethbridge has also evolved into a major global research institution. This has helped to create an exciting intellectual community for the 8,100 students on its campuses in the Alberta centres of Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton.
    The University of Lethbridge stands today because a community dared to dream. It is an exemplary example of what can develop when a small group of people are determined to make things happen and how a learning institution and a country can work together to grow and prosper.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, in his clandestine and behind closed door decision-making style, decided to recognize the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia. There are negotiations going on at the UN between Greece and FYROM to resolve this issue as we speak. As the Liberal leader has stated, we support the process at the UN and will respect the outcome.
    I am not surprised at the Prime Minister for he has no respect for democracy or due process. For example, he has hand-picked a group of people to do a review on Afghanistan and make recommendations, causing Canadians to spend millions of dollars unnecessarily.
    Where has the Prime Minister been? The defence committee has completed months of hearings and has presented him with recommendations. Has he read the report? Has he even looked at it? Obviously not.
    The Prime Minister should respect due process, respect democracy, respect Parliament and Canadians, and more so, respect our troops and not use them as political pawns.

[Translation]

François Beaudoin

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to bring to your attention the honour bestowed by the alumni association of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières on François Beaudoin, a bold, community-minded, sovereignist businessman.
    Mr. Beaudoin holds degrees in business administration and accounting. In 1980, he founded Armotec in Drummondville. In 2001, the company won the National Bank of Canada's prestigious “Export SME” award.
    In 2002, Wôlinak Plastics' first year, the Réseau industriel Drummond recognized Mr. Beaudoin's community-mindedness by naming him “Coach of the year”. In 2003, his exemplary dedication merited the Government of Quebec's Hommage bénévolat-Québec award for volunteer work.
    At the 2007 Gala des Pythagore, his peers honoured his remarkable professional accomplishments and his involvement in the community.
    The Bloc Québécois congratulates François Beaudoin on receiving these honours.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, we have heard from the Minister of International Trade that he wants Canada to become a strong exporter of manufactured goods, yet he continues free trade negotiations with Korea. In 2006, $1.6 billion in Korean-made automotive products were sold here, while a mere $11 million in Canadian automotive products were sold in Korea.
    Wood pulp, coal and other commodities are our top exports. Manufactured goods hardly factor into the relationship. With an existing trade deficit of $2.6 billion with Korea, we have already lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs. Economic studies have determined that a Korea-Canada trade deal would result in an additional 30,000 lost jobs.
    The ratio of trade in the auto sector is 150:1 in Korea's favour, and this new deal would not change that ratio at all.
    It seems quite clear that the minister and the entire Conservative government are willing to trade away high skill, high wage jobs in our manufacturing sector so they can ship more of Canada's natural resources offshore.

Indian Residential Schools

    Mr. Speaker, I applaud the Speech from the Throne's reference to an apology by the Prime Minister on behalf of this government to former students of Indian residential schools.
    My heart grieves when I think of the conversations I have had with first nations people who recount some of the tragedies and dysfunction created by losing out on those vital formative years with their own family.
    Some were driven to alcohol or other addictions to mask the yearning void in their lives, and without proper parenting role models, some perpetuated the cycle. My first nations nephew and niece were born with fetal alcohol syndrome and it impairs their lives to this day.
    Our government is committed to achieving a fair and lasting resolution to the sad legacy of the Indian residential school system, a resolution that will ensure former students and Canadians can move together toward healing and reconciliation.
    Our government, together with its key partners, has made good on its commitment to deliver what it believes is a fair and lasting resolution of the Indian residential schools legacy.
    An apology by the Prime Minister is the right thing to do.

  (1105)  

Confederation College

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to congratulate an exceptional educational institution in my riding on 40 years of service.
    Confederation College opened its doors in October 1967 with 238 full time students. The first classes were held in portable classrooms at Sir Winston Churchill High School and the first regional campus classes were held in a converted school bus.
    A lot has changed in four decades. Today, Confederation College hosts 4,000 full time students each year with 30,000 graduates around the world. Students enjoy a 130-acre park-like campus. There are over 50 post-secondary diploma and certificate programs and three centres of excellence. In addition, there are seven regional campuses throughout northwestern Ontario.
    Please join me in congratulating President Pat Lang, Board Chair Hartley Multamaki and the entire board and faculty of Confederation College on 40 years of changing lives through learning.

David Adams

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada I wish to acknowledge the passing this week of an outstanding Canadian artist and first male principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, David Adams.
    Mr. Adams was born in Winnipeg in 1928 where he began his training and performing career with one of the founders of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He had a distinguished career in both England and Canada as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.
    Mr. Adams joined the National Ballet as a leading dancer in 1951. In 1966 he was awarded the Festival de l'Opera Gold Medal for his performance of Giselle with Galina Samsova.
    Mr. Adams settled in Alberta where he made a huge contribution to dance in western Canada for many years.
    Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, remembered Mr. Adams this week with respect and admiration.
    Honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada, David Adams will be long remembered as a key figure in the early days of ballet in Canada.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, the pilot project extending employment insurance benefits in regions with high unemployment will expire on December 9, 2007. My riding is directly affected, because the unemployment rate in the Argenteuil and Papineau regions is over 10%. The pilot project was launched to try to bridge the spring gap in the EI system. Every year, thousands of seasonal workers in Quebec find themselves in a vulnerable situation.
    The employment insurance program remains unfair for workers and the government refuses to make the necessary corrections. The pilot project must therefore be renewed. The only solution is a sweeping reform of the EI system, as recommended by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and as proposed in Bill C-269, introduced by the Bloc Québécois.
    The bill proposes increasing the eligibility period by five weeks, increasing the rate of benefits and improving access to the program. It also proposes a more equitable eligibility threshold, making it easier for women, young people and workers in vulnerable situations to access benefits.

Riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, in the recent election campaign, my adversaries maintained that I would not represent the entire riding, but that I would only represent one city, because I was that city's mayor.
    Yesterday, I announced the opening of two riding offices: one in Roberval and the other in Dolbeau-Mistassini. I also announced that I had hired four people from all parts of the riding.
    Ms. Marjolaine Doucet was born in Saint-Eugène-d'Argentenay, grew up in Dolbeau-Mistassini and lives in Saint-Félicien. Ms. Sarah Drolet was born in Saint-Gédéon, raised in Alma and lives in Saint-Nazaire. Mr. Dominique Genest was born in Albanel, grew up in Normandin and was a municipal councillor in Dolbeau-Mistassini where he lives today. And Mr. Pascal Mailloux lives in Roberval and has solid work experience with citizens from all areas.
    With our solid training and extensive experience, we will be present and proactive for the entire population of the riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. Once again, a member of the Conservative team has turned words into actions. I am the member for the entire riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

[English]

Arctic Sovereignty

    Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday I had the privilege of hearing Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, speak at the Canadian Club of Ottawa.
    This was the first speech in a Canada-wide tour sponsored by First Air in which Mary Simon addresses, besides misconceptions about Inuit--we do pay income taxes--the challenges we have in our communities, about climate change and mostly about how we can help with sovereignty in our Arctic.
    Mary also rightly pays tribute to the incredible adaptability and resilience of Inuit. We have survived much and we will continue to do so.
    Mary Simon did make reference to the “use it or lose it” slogan of the Prime Minister in reference to the north. Inuit wonder if the Prime Minister is unaware that we have lived, hunted and provided careful stewardship of the land and wildlife for hundreds of years before he realized we existed.
    Investment in Inuit education, quality of life and economic development would be a much better way to show sovereignty of the north as opposed to merely investing in military hardware.
    I encourage those who can attend these speeches across Canada to do so, to hear what message Mary has for all Canadians.

  (1110)  

Veterans Week

    Mr. Speaker, as we prepare to mark Veterans Week this year, we recall one of the most hard-fought battles of the first world war.
    In the summer of 1917, the British and the Australians had limited success in capturing the German occupied Belgian coast. Thus, the Canadian Corps was called upon to get the job done.
    On October 26, 1917, the Canadians began their assault in the Passchendaele region. On November 10, the Canadians launched their final attack and secured victory for the allies.
    However, it came with a very heavy cost. Almost 12,000 brave Canadians were wounded and more than 4,000 lost their lives.
    On this day, we pledge to remember those courageous Canadians who served so we can enjoy the freedoms we do. Lest We Forget.

ALS Society of Ontario

    Mr. Speaker, this Saturday. the Peloso family in my riding of Ottawa Centre will organizing the sixth annual fundraiser and awareness night in support of the ALS Society of Ontario. ALS is a fatal disease commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.
    Many Canadians and their families have suffered from the consequences of ALS but they stay strong because of the support of their families and their communities.
    The Peloso family had only six weeks to say goodbye to their beloved father from the time when he was diagnosed to the time when he passed away. At the time there was little public awareness of ALS and virtually no community support.
    However, the family turned the tragedy into positive energy. They came together to raise awareness, build community and, to date, have raised over $73,000 in support of the ALS Society of Ontario.
    On behalf of the residents of Ottawa Centre, I congratulate the Peloso family and the organizers of this event for their hard work.

Canadian Federation of Students

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I met with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Students from Manitoba who are calling on the government to invest in Canada's students and Canada's future.
    The Canadian Federation of Students is asking the government to improve access to post-secondary education and reduce student debt. It also calls on the government to continue to support the post-secondary student support program.
    The government's recent Speech from the Throne left students out in the cold and provided no vision for their future. With a surplus of $14 billion, the government has put no measures in place to support students, except for a tax break on textbooks which, for post-secondary students, amounts to about $80 a year. This is shameful.
    For Canada to enhance its competitiveness in the world, we must invest in our students and our post-secondary education system. When will the government realize that?

[Translation]

Unemployed Workers

    Mr. Speaker, this is national unemployment week and the situation remains worrisome in many regions of Quebec, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean in particular.
    While Quebec's key union leaders are eagerly awaiting a royal recommendation for Bill C-269, thousands of unemployed workers are being unfairly penalized by this government's lack of good will.
    In addition to struggling with what little means they have to support hundreds of families affected by unemployment, a number of associations in my region such as ASTUSE, the Coalition des sans-chemise, and the Mouvement action chômage in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean cannot get through to the two Conservative members in my region.
    The Bloc Québécois has managed, with help from the opposition parties, to get a bill passed to improve employment insurance. The Conservative government must respect the will of this House and provide better conditions to workers who lose their employment.

  (1115)  

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, time passes but nothing changes. I am always amazed at how the Conservatives never stop attacking the official languages of Canada. It seems that cancelling the court challenges program without notice was not enough for this government.
    Last spring, the Commissioner of Official Languages made it clear that there is a big difference between what the government says and what the government does when it comes to bilingualism.
    It seems the Conservatives wanted to show they could go even further. The newest item on their record is that they are unable to provide bilingual health services in federal institutions such as Veterans Affairs and the RCMP. This is a sad but true representation of the unfortunate situation the linguistic minority populations have to suffer under this government.
    It is time for this government to change its approach and show more respect for our linguistic minority communities.

[English]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, we know the so-called leader of the Liberal Party is not a leader. Now we know the Liberal Party stands for nothing, and literally.
    On the throne speech, our plan for a better Canada, the Liberals just could not stand and vote. They sat in their seats, including the leader. What happened to their principles? The only Liberal principle left is self-preservation.
    The party of health care and education? The Liberals voted against budget 2007 increases.
    The party of the environment? This Conservative government adopted the toughest emissions reductions of any country for 2020.
     A strong economy? The Liberals voted against all budget 2007 measures to help industry, measures they said that they supported at committee.
     The party of national unity? Under the Liberals, support for sovereignty in Quebec it was over 50%. Now, our country is strong and united.
    So what do the Liberals stand for? Just their paycheques.
     A wise man once said, “You better stand for something or you are going to fall for anything”. He must have been talking about the Liberal Party of Canada.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Canada's top soldier went to Afghanistan. The Prime Minister's Office apparently had no idea he was there. Then he contradicted the government's statement in the throne speech itself that Afghanistan would be able to defend itself by 2011.
    Now the Prime Minister's press secretary has issued a public reprimand to Canada's top soldier, trying to bring him back into line. What is at stake here is the government's competence and its credibility.
    When will the government get this mission under control? Who is in charge?
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada was quite clear in our recently passed throne speech, passed by the assistance of the opposition on the important issue of Afghanistan.
    Building up the capacity of the Afghan people will, obviously, take time. We want them to be able to defend their sovereignty. We know that will not happen overnight but our government does believe it can happen by 2011, the end of the period that is covered in the Afghanistan Compact.
    We look forward to receiving the report of the Manley panel, which all parliamentarians will have an opportunity to review and, as we have said many times before, it will be up to this Parliament to decide, in the end, the deployment.
    Mr. Speaker, the government has a long history of bungling this mission. After the detainee fiasco, it had to shuffle its ministers. Then it had to appoint an outside committee to do what ministers should be doing, which is to determine the future course after 2009. Now we learn that General Hillier and the government are at loggerheads.
    Our troops deserve better. They deserve competent leadership. When will the Prime Minister start to provide it?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the deputy leader of the Liberal Party believes that these decisions should be made by a small group of cabinet ministers. Our party actually believes something different and that is why we put this question to all members of the House of Commons when they voted, including the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, to endorse the deployment until February 2009.
    We thank him for his support for the current mission and we know that he will want to have the opportunity to consider the report of the Manley commission on the future of the Afghan mission.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the government says 2011. General Hillier says 2017. Our brave soldiers deserve better than that. Who speaks for Canada? Who is in charge of the mission? Who are we to believe, the Prime Minister or General Hillier?

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear: the members will debate the nature of our future engagement in due course. A panel of eminent Canadians has been appointed to study the future role of Canada in Afghanistan. the panel will provide parliamentarians with recommendations to help them make good decisions about the Canadian mission. The Afghan people have seen tangible improvements in daily life thanks to our assistance. For example, in 2001 only 700,000 boys attended school; in 2007-2008 there are more than 6 million children in school, and girls represent one third of that number.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, General Hillier says that it will be 10 years before the Afghan army is able to take over its responsibility for the safety and security of the Afghan people and yet the Prime Minister has said, as late as yesterday, that it will be four years.
    Who is telling the truth: Canada's top soldier, or Canada's top spinner, the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, many people have different opinions on the appropriate deployment in Afghanistan. In fact, over on that side of the House there must be at least half a dozen different opinions just in the head of the Liberal leader.
    In our case, we have been clear and the Prime Minister has been clear. The throne speech set it out. We believe that the end of the Afghan Compact in 2011 is an appropriate time, but it is Parliament and the House of Commons that will decide. That is something that never happened when the Liberals were in government.
    Mr. Speaker, General Hillier was on the ground in Afghanistan this week and, unlike the government's cabinet ministers, he was not there just for a photo op.
    Why should Canadians trust a Prime Minister who twists, manipulates and spins the truth, instead of General Hillier, a real soldier who dares to speak the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, in our view, we have been fair throughout. We have appointed a commission, headed up by a former Liberal deputy prime minister, the Hon. John Manley, who is a very distinguished gentleman on a very distinguished panel, to provide advice to all members of the House of Commons on the best way to approach the deployment.
    I assume the members of the Liberal Party were comfortable with that approach. They endorsed it publicly and then they endorsed it when they allowed our throne speech to pass.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, Canadian and American climatologists have issued a serious warning and are saying that the 2040 projections are no longer valid. Global warming is accelerating, and the Arctic could be ice-free in 2020 because of increased greenhouse gas emissions.
    Instead of paying billions of dollars for ships to patrol the Arctic, would the government not do better to invest that money in improving its record with regard to energy and the environment?
    Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of the serious problems caused by the significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. For 13 long years, this problem grew much worse. That is why we are taking real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by major industries. For the first time in Canada's history, the government is taking real action. That is something that the Bloc has never done since it arrived in the House of Commons.
    Mr. Speaker, in the face of such dire predictions, does the government not think it is taking the wrong course by first abandoning Kyoto and then introducing a supposedly green plan that will not even bring about absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions? Will the government admit that its plan will be 30 years too late producing results?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree completely with the member that the Government of Canada did nothing for 15 long years. That is why we have a real plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over the next 13 years. This is something that the previous government unfortunately did not do. It did nothing about this problem. We are taking action. That is something that was never seen in the 13 long years when the Bloc was in opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, although there are more and more warnings about the accelerated deterioration of climate conditions because of the unchecked use of fossil fuels, the Conservative government still wants to extract four times more oil from the oil sands.
    Under these circumstances, does the government realize that by revealing its intention, it has shown its complete lack of long-term vision and lack of responsibility towards the environment?

  (1125)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for the first time in many years, Canada is taking real action to fight global warming and to combat climate change.
    We have a plan to require the large emitters, the large polluters, to finally begin to reduce their greenhouse gases. The only thing the Liberal Party did was provide big fat tax breaks for one particular industry.
    We are acting. We are part of a new international consensus that is working to establish a protocol beyond 2012 to get the job done, where the previous government failed.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the government is stubbornly heading towards an environmental disaster.
    If it wants its efforts to fight global warming to be credible, what is the government waiting for to adopt absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and establish a carbon exchange?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are in fact doing both of those.
    We have announced that we want a carbon exchange in Canada. Canadian companies, as a compliance mechanism, face tough regulation brought forward by the Conservative government. There will be a carbon exchange in Canada. There will be an offset market.
    We are keen to work with international partners, whether it be groups within the United States or the national government as a whole. We are keen to work with the Mexican government. We are also pleased to work on the clean development mechanisms under the Kyoto protocol. That is tremendously important, and it is something that we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister has just raised the issue of big fat tax breaks.
    Let us just look at this situation. In fact, even the Government of Alberta now understands that it needs to raise the royalty charges on the biggest polluters, big oil and big gas.
    What does the federal government do? It continues to subsidize this very sector, the biggest polluters, with hundreds of millions of dollars of Canadian taxpayer money.
    Will the Prime Minister finally decide that he is going to stop subsidizing this sector and start cutting the subsidies in the mini budget?
    Mr. Speaker, at the outset, let me congratulate the leader of the NDP on his clear enunciation of this important issue.
    We are the government that ended the tax breaks for big oil. Who voted against getting rid of those tax breaks? It was the leader of the NDP himself. It is this government that is bringing in targets for greenhouse gas reductions, which are demonstrably tougher than in the province of Alberta.
     We are working hard. We are getting the job done.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister can start by telling the truth to the House. The fact is the tax subsidies to these very large polluters stay in place for many more years under the plan of the government.
    At the same time, it will not even allow electric car manufacturers, which produce clean cars right here in Canada, to be sold in Canada. That is how far-sighted the government is. A Canadian-built car, the ZENN vehicle, is already sold in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, but it cannot get on the road in Canada. Solar cars are available here.
    Why will the government not do the right thing and support the—
    The hon. Minister of Transport.
    Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada has been in discussion with ZENN over its request to import the shell of the French built car and its conversion to an electric drive for Canadian markets.
     ZENN has not yet provided the information requested by Transport Canada to assess the eligibility for the certification process. We look forward to receiving this information and assessing ZENN in becoming capable of supplying the Canadian market.

Elections Canada

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve answers from the Conservatives concerning the taxpayer subsidized in-and-out scam, but all they get from the Conservatives are delaying tactics in committee, evasive non-answers in the House, a lawsuit against Elections Canada, and now threats to silence those who would dare to ask questions.
    They are doing everything to prevent the House from getting to the bottom of this scam while it is in session. We will not allow the government to avoid scrutiny through intimidation.
    Will the government finally end its wall of silence and come clean, really clean, with Canadians?

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, this party and this government are really clean. What is different is the Liberal Party. If it believes it—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. There seems to be excessive yelling today. I would remind hon. members it is Friday and perhaps we could just quiet down and be thankful it is Friday.
    The government House leader has the floor and we want to hear the answer. A question was asked and it has provoked an answer.
    Mr. Speaker, I have in my hands a flyer for a Liberal Party riding event tonight in Mississauga—Streetsville. It is an event not to miss, and proceeds will go to support Bonnie Crombie and the Mississauga—Streetsville Federal Liberal Association.
    We all know that corporate contributions to political parties and riding associations are now banned. The flyer says, “Thank you to our Sponsors”, which include Great Lakes Brewery, Pizza Pizza, Barakah Foods.
    That is why they have no credibility on these issues.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave us a mandate to keep an eye on the Conservatives.

[Translation]

    The Conservatives' tactics in committee and in this House clearly show that they are trying to sweep the election spending issue under the carpet before the next election. Canadians deserve better.
    Why is the government doing all it can to keep the truth about Conservative Party election spending from coming out? What do they have to hide? What exactly is it they fear?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I did not hear any explanation from my friend about those corporate sponsorships. I thought one thing the Liberals would never do was go anywhere near the word sponsorship again.
    Notwithstanding that, this flyer, authorized by the CFO for the Mississauga—Streetsville Liberals, is for the event called “Spooktacular Carnival”. It is sponsored by all these corporate folks who are banned from making contributions to the Liberal Party. The only thing scary about this event is it shows the Liberal Party has not changed.
    Mr. Speaker, not only has the Conservative Party exceeded the election spending limit by more than $1 million, it also tried to claim rebates from taxpayers to which it was not entitled. Even worse, we are told that part of the rebate money has already been paid out to Conservative riding associations.
    Will the government commit today to get this taxpayer money back from the Conservative Party?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to admire the chutzpah and lack of shame of the Liberal Party. Notwithstanding this clear evidence, Liberals are still in the same old business, which the law does not permit, and they keep coming back with these questions.
    The fact is this party has not changed. The Liberal Party has not changed. It continues to practise the same kind of practices clearly against the law, corporate contributions when they are not permitted. I have yet to hear an explanation.
    Mr. Speaker, truth seems to needle the House leader.
     The government must represent the interests of all Canadians, not the Conservative Party. When Elections Canada has ruled that the Conservative Party has broken the law, that it has tried to bilk taxpayers for millions of dollars and that a substantial amount has already been paid out, Canadians are demanding action.
    Will the government stand up for Canadian taxpayers and demand that the Conservative Party repay any money it has already received from its election financing scheme?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the hon. member is going to be at the corporate sponsored Liberal spooktacular tonight, but it is clear to me the Liberals have not changed.
    The Conservative Party has not changed. We have always followed the law. We continue to follow the law. If the Liberals believed anything different on Wednesday, they would have voted to have an election. They did not. That is because even they do not believe their crazy allegations.

[Translation]

Nuclear Energy

    Mr. Speaker, the Energy Alberta Corporation, which promotes the use of nuclear energy for oil sands extraction, submitted a request for a licence to build new plants. The Prime Minister said, in the Speech from the Throne, that he would provide a single window for major project approvals.
    Will the Prime Minister admit that the creation of this single window seeks, among other things, to relax the regulations governing the construction of new nuclear plants in Alberta?

  (1135)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am new to this portfolio. I am just becoming aware of the issues with regard to this. I know the minister has been working on the issue and will be continuing to work on it. He will consult with industry and with government as we move forward on this file.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary will have to do his homework. The government is aware that the physical and environmental safety of Quebeckers and Canadians must be guaranteed, before facilitating the construction of new nuclear plants in Canada. This is why obtaining a licence takes so many years.
    Does the government realize that relaxing the rules now, as suggested in the Speech from the Throne and as requested by Energy Alberta officials when they appeared before the parliamentary committee, while the issue of nuclear waste disposal remains unsolved, would be totally irresponsible?

[English]

    Let us be perfectly clear, Mr. Speaker. Whether it is in Alberta or in Ontario, this government has absolutely no intention whatsoever to water down any environmental or any nuclear safety regulation. This is something that is tremendously important for Canada.
     The issue with respect to nuclear waste is a fair point, but it is better than pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. It is better than polluting our air and causing smog.
    This government will work constructively with the Government of Alberta and with the province of Ontario to ensure that any provincially-led process will follow our environmental standards and nuclear safety standards to the fullest extent.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse tried to convince us that his government cares about our planet, and that it is acting accordingly. However, as regards the blue-green algae issue, this government refuses to act to prohibit the marketing of detergents containing phosphates, which are largely responsible for the growth of blue-green algae.
    If this government truly cares about our environment, will it support the bill proposed by the Bloc Québécois to ban the use of phosphates in detergents?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. The government knows that the presence of blue-green algae in our lakes, rivers and reservoirs is a very serious issue. We are currently working in cooperation with the provinces, the industry and environmental leaders to find a solution to this major problem.
    In fact, we have already taken action. In September, we made a major announcement to the effect that this government will be the first one in Canadian history to act.

[English]

    We have acted and we have indicated very clearly that we will no longer allow the dumping of raw sewage into our lakes, rivers and oceans. This is real action to—
    The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the government really wants to show that it is determined to act, there is a very easy way to do so. It should simply amend the existing legislation, by adding phosphates to the list of banned products.
    Will the government do that?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Phosphates making their way into our rivers and lakes is a significant environmental concern. We believe that a more holistic approach is required. There is a definite issue with respect to consumer products. This only deals with 1% of the blue-green algae problem in our lakes and rivers.
    That is why we are working with the provinces, with industry and with environmentalists on a comprehensive strategy, including the banning of dumping of raw sewage into our waterways. That is something that could have happened years ago but did not get done by previous governments.

Elections Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the former Conservative candidate in Bourassa, which is not in Mississauga—Streetsville, said he was asked to participate in the in-and-out scheme by Michael Fortier's lieutenant, Benoît Larocque. Mr. Larocque called this transaction just “in and out”.
    Repeatedly, Conservatives have come forward explaining why Elections Canada has ruled that they exceeded their spending cap and claimed bogus rebates. Not once, not twice, but dozens of times.
    Why will the minister responsible for Elections Canada not demand that the Conservative Party comply with the law? Why will he not answer the question just once?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not hear anybody from the Liberal Party answering the question on its “Spooktacular Carnival” with the corporate sponsorships, which the act does not permit, that is happening tonight. I do not know if the hon. member is going to this spooktacular.
    But, seriously, we have responded clearly because our financing activities all conform with the law. They are consistent with the law, they have been in the past, and they will be in the future. They are consistent with the practices of other political parties.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is an answer disguised only as the truth.
    The government claims this was local advertising but its own local candidates have said, “It's national advertising is what it is”. The House leader repeats the same answers that are no longer even tethered to reality or geography. They are not answers at all.
    When will the government act responsibly, drop its wasteful lawsuit against Elections Canada and force the Conservative Party to comply with the law? No disguise.
    Mr. Speaker, no disguise. The Liberals are going to be wearing disguises at the spooktacular, embarrassed about their corporate sponsorships.
    That aside, we take these matters seriously within our party, even if the Liberal Party will not change. That is the party that took over $40 million of taxpayers money in the sponsorship scandal and never gave it back. We do not know where it is.
    We did not do that, however. We just follow the law. All our activities conform with the law, and they will in the future. The accusations are false; he does not believe them himself.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it was Conservative candidates who alerted Elections Canada to the fraud. These Conservative candidates told Elections Canada that the money was simply transferred in and out. That is all.
    Furthermore, the Conservative candidate in Compton—Stanstead is even defending Elections Canada's decision. He said there was a reason behind what was done, but that it was illegal.
    Will the Conservatives finally admit that they have been caught red-handed once again and that they did not have the right to do what they did?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have made it clear on many occasions that all our financing activities are legal. There is no scandal here. If there was any hint of a scandal, if the Liberals believed anything that they are saying, on Wednesday they would have voted to have an election. They did not. They chose to give the government a mandate to government. That is because they do not believe their own questions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada Elections Act is clear: if a candidate claims an expense, he or she must have incurred that expense. What part of this do they not understand? Conservative candidates are telling us that their party gave them money because it allowed the headquarters campaign to exceed the legal limits. Really. I see a problem here. Clearly, they must have understood this.
    The government in this case had two choices: obey the law or act in its own interests. It chose to act in its own interests. Will the government now agree to obey the law?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals had a choice. If they took their allegations seriously, they could have acted as if they took their allegations seriously. They had a choice on Wednesday and they made that choice.
     Clearly, they do not believe their own allegations on this, and the reason they do not believe it is because this party is clean. All our activities follow the law. They have in the past and they will in the future.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday our Prime Minister made a historic announcement by protecting over 10,000 square kilometres of Lake Superior, including the lakebed, islands and north shore lands. This will become the largest freshwater marine protected area in the world.
    The World Wildlife Fund, Prince Philip, and local first nations are all in agreement that this is the right thing to do.
    Can the Minister of the Environment please expand on why yesterday's announcement was a great day for Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the World Wildlife Fund said yesterday that standing up and protecting Lake Superior made for a superior day for the environment in this country. I could not agree more.
    Previous governments studied this issue, did reports, had consultations, but they never acted. Yesterday, we acted to save and protect 10,000 square kilometres of Lake Superior for conservation for future generations. We are acting and we are working to get the job done.
    The most important part is we worked in concert with the government of Dalton McGuinty. Now there is a real partnership.

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, in a display designated to demonstrate who is really in charge of the war, the Chief of the Defence Staff made an impromptu visit to Kandahar. He stated clearly that Canada should be in Afghanistan for another 10 years.
    I have two questions. First, did General Hillier inform the defence minister of his plans or did he inform the Prime Minister? Second, why is the assessment of the war by General Hillier so wildly different than that of the government in its own throne speech?

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government has been clear. We continue to be clear. It was passed in the throne speech which was endorsed by the Liberals.
    Building the capacity of the Afghan people to look after themselves is going to take a long time and there is no question about that. We believe it can be done by 2011 at the end of the Afghanistan contract.
    As has already been stated, we have commissioned a very distinguished panel to inform members of Parliament. Members of Parliament will get to decide and debate it. The ultimate decision will come from this House.
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the Prime Minister's Office is fuming over this trip. There is nothing that the Conservatives hate more than a script that they have not written.
    The government is spending $86 million a month on this war. An extension of 10 years would mean a bill reaching over $10 billion.
    Serious questions are being raised about civilian control over the Department of National Defence. Who is calling the shots? Who is calling the shots with the Department of National Defence? Is it the minister or is it the general?
    Mr. Speaker, the only thing fuming in here is the rhetoric and exaggeration from the NDP.
    Let me say one more time, we are taking this mission extremely seriously. We are the only government that is taking it as serious as we are. We have committed to the Afghan people. We have committed to our alliance. We have committed to the Afghanistan Compact.
    We have appointed a panel to advise Parliament and advise parliamentarians on the way ahead. We will listen very carefully to those recommendations. All of those recommendations will be debated in Parliament. It will be Parliament that decides, including the members of the opposition. If they will just hold down the rhetoric and the exaggeration, we will get the job done.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the Minister of Public Safety what he was doing to ensure that the RCMP had clear procedures in place for the safe use of tasers. Since then I have had a barrage of calls and letters from irate and concerned Canadians who feel that the minister's answer was not good enough.
    Can the minister assure the House that procedures will be put in place and that the use of tasers is safe?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, procedures are already in place for the use of tasers. The Minister of Public Safety will be receiving a report on the matter. Because there is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.
    Mr. Speaker, timing is crucial. The mother of the Polish man who died two weeks ago lives in Kamloops. She is inconsolable and she gets no answers. Canadians need answers now before more lives are lost.
    Can the government assure Canadians that the RCMP will be given clear procedures for the proper use of tasers and that tasers themselves are a safe form of restraint?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, there are clear rules for the use of tasers throughout police agencies in Canada. This matter is under review. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on a particular incident.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne deceptively promises to improve support for our veterans who have contributed so much to defending Canada in the past.
    The Prime Minister gave his word to 150,000 veterans exposed to defoliants between 1956 and 1984 in Gagetown. He promised that they would receive immediate and full compensation, yet the package the government offered only applies to those exposed in 1966 and 1967.
    Why did the Prime Minister break his promise to our brave veterans?
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that member to examine Dr. Furlong's report commissioned by the Liberal government. He might know the answer to that. The previous government had 13 years to do it and it did not get the job done.
    Here is a partial list of what those members did not do and what they did do when they were in government. That is the same party that cut VIP services to allied veterans. They cut them out. They eliminated them. That party cut burial programs for our veterans. That is their record. They cut veteran travel rates and treatment benefits for veterans.
    That is their sorry record in terms of veterans and the treatment of veterans.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, the committee knows that the promise was made within committee by the minister as well. The Conservatives have refined promise breaking.
    In a letter to Mrs. Joyce Carter, a constituent of mine, a veteran's widow, the Prime Minister unequivocally promised that he would “immediately extend the Veterans Independence Program services to the widows of all Second World War and Korean War veterans”. So far the promises have not been kept. We saw no sign in the budget. We see no sign in the throne speech.
    When will the Prime Minister break the news about the broken promises to Mrs. Carter?
    Mr. Speaker, we have honoured every promise that we made to veterans in our platform.
    I remind the member that I have met with Mrs. Carter and I have outlined our plans for VIP to her. She knows those plans, as does the member. Sadly, he is obviously playing politics with this issue.
     He did not listen very carefully. Liberal members deliberately and consciously stood in their places in this House and took VIP services away from our allied veterans. That is the Liberal record on VIP.
    We are going to get it fixed. We made that commitment and we will do it.

[Translation]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Rick Hillier, informed us that Canada has another 10 years to go in Afghanistan, but in the throne speech, the government stated that the mission could draw to a close in 2011 when the Afghanistan compact comes to an end.
    How can the government promise to end the mission in 2011 when the Chief of the Defence Staff says something completely different? Who is telling the truth?
    Mr. Speaker, a year ago, we consulted with parliamentarians about extending the mission in Afghanistan. The House agreed to extend it until February 2009. Recently, we told parliamentarians and Canadians that we will soon be discussing the future of the mission with the House. We are waiting for the panel's report, and I hope that all members of the House will contribute to this debate.
    Mr. Speaker, are the Manley panel and the throne speech not just smoke and mirrors to buy time and force us to accept that the mission in Afghanistan will last much longer than expected, as the Chief of the Defence Staff said?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud that Mr. Manley has agreed to chair this panel of eminent Canadians who have contributed so much to this country. This is an independent group that will report to Parliament. We will take their recommendations into account when we get to the debate. I hope that the members of the Bloc Québécois are prepared to make a positive contribution to the debate.

[English]

Automobile Industry

    Mr. Speaker, our auto industry is facing a crisis. The Conservative government is negotiating a free trade deal with South Korea that will have devastating impacts on the industry. This unfair deal will open the Canadian market to more imported vehicles while incredibly, not letting any Canadian made vehicles enter South Korea.
    When will the government actually do something to support the auto sector and assist our Canadian auto workers?
    Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that the member would speak about doing things for the auto sector given the fact that during the 13 years that the Liberal Party was in power it failed to negotiate. It only negotiated four bilateral trade agreements with other nations in the world.
    The government is aggressively pursuing negotiations for agreements which will help Canadians prosper and ensure that we are able to continue to expand on the business opportunities, not only in North America but around the world.
    I think it is ironic that the member would raise that given the lack of presence by the Liberal Party in terms of the throne speech and every other issue of importance to the auto industry.

[Translation]

Agriculture

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government supports our supply management. However, in the past several months, Bloc Québécois members have taken their disinformation and fearmongering campaign on the road in Quebec's countryside. They are trying to make farmers believe that we are not committed to maintaining supply management.
    Will the Secretary of State for Agriculture confirm that the Conservative government will fight to protect this system so essential to the regions of the Quebec nation and Canada?

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean for his excellent question. The hon. members know that, over the past 20 months, we have taken compelling action to defend supply management, this after 13 years of inaction on the part of the Liberals. In our Speech from the Throne, we indicated strong support for supply management. Let it be known that the Bloc Québécois has sacrificed our farmers on the altar of partisanship. By voting against our Speech from the Throne, it has voted against supply management. That is not pretty.
    The Bloc Québécois, which will never be in government, just keeps voting against the Speech from the Throne. To be consistent for once, it could have voted in favour. I hope that, the next time they are out, the Bloc members will not duck the issue for fear of being told to take a hike by our farmers.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, this week, representatives of the Canadian Federation of Students came to meet with us in Ottawa. They are here to tell us that tuition fees are too high, sometimes more than $5,000 a year. It has become the norm today to graduate from university with a $40,000 to $50,000 student debt. Yet the only place in the Speech from the Throne where there is any mention of young people is in the section dealing with crime.
    When will this government finally help our students and invest in their future and the future of our country?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that our government is committed to students. The government offers $5 billion annually in direct support to students, including the Canada student loans program which provides loans or grants to students based on assisted financial payments.
    We have also extended the eligibility for Canada student loans. We have eliminated the federal income tax on the income from the scholarships and grants. We believe we are supporting students.
    Mr. Speaker, let us ask the students of Selkirk College in my riding what they are seeing in front them. Let us ask that of the students in the rest of Canada.
    We have $14 billion in unexpected surpluses and not one concrete penny has gone to our kids to afford the schooling they need.
    Before coming to Ottawa, I was a teacher and I tried to instill in my students the value of lifelong learning.
     It is not fair that a rich country such as ours places such a low value on our students and is not willing to invest in their future. Other prosperous countries have free tuition. What is wrong with us?
     The NDP has a plan to help students. Will the government work with us to implement our proposals and invest--
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.
    Mr. Speaker, I continue to tell the member, with all due respect, that we have eliminated federal income tax from on all income from scholarships, bursaries and fellowships. We provided over $1.7 billion in tax credits for books and tuition. We strengthened the RESP program. We invested $1 billion into post-secondary education. We provided $2 billion through scholarships, bursaries and grants.
    We have provided more for students and those people did not get it done.

[Translation]

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

    Mr. Speaker, on July 24, the CRTC recognized Avis de recherche TV as a television service of exceptional public interest. This channel helps police authorities apprehend wanted criminals with help from the public. Instead of recognizing this innovative service, this Conservative government has bowed to the demands of Quebecor and is asking the CRTC to review its decision.
    This government brags about being tough on crime, so why is it trying so hard to force Avis de recherche TV to close?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we all know that the CRTC is a body that is independent of the House but our government continues to monitor these things very closely.

Foreign Credentials

    Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government just did not get it done on foreign credentials. They made promise after promise but delivered nothing. Unlike the Liberals, we are getting the job done on foreign credentials.
     Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration please inform the House how our government is assisting foreign trained individuals and new Canadians to access what they need to become accredited here in Canada?

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, today we are pleased to announce that 75 Service Canada centres across Ontario are now providing in person foreign credential information and referral services.
    Ontario newcomers will now have more locations where they can go to receive information and in person help on how to get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. By the end of this year, these services will be available across the country at 320 Service Canada outlets. This is good news for new immigrants and it is good news for Canada.
    We are getting the job done, unlike the previous government that did nothing for 13 years under six ministers and four terms in government.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in 2003, an historic plan was mapped out to recognize the full aboriginal status of the Mi'kmaq people under the membership of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.
    The hon. Marc Lalonde was asked to chart a course for the status of a landless, reserveless band with full economic, social and aboriginal benefits going to the members. He did just that and cabinet approved formal negotiations to proceed under this framework.
    Could the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians report to the House whether the government has continued to negotiate with the FNI under the original Lalonde plan and, if so, whether we are near ratification?
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very mindful of the Mi'kmaq in that region and specifically in Newfoundland. We continue these negotiations and we are hopeful that there will be resolution in the short term.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, in a scramble to keep their operations going while they await the financial compensation they were promised, producers in Saint Amable dealing with the golden nematode crisis have to rent land hundreds of kilometres away from their farms and follow rules that are stricter than ever. Worse yet, their children have to abandon their dreams and leave the family business.
    The minister's parliamentary secretary said in this House on November 22, 2006, that he was “going to find a solution for Saint-Amable”. How does he explain that one year later we are still waiting for a long-term assistance plan?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to remember that our government has shown leadership in this issue. A lot of money was put on the table and it continues to flow. Things are going well with the producers. We are talking and a plan is being implemented as we speak. That is what I call taking action.
    Say what you like, but we know that with the Liberals nothing would have happened, with the Bloc nothing could happen, and with us there is leadership. We are getting things done.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Ways and Means

Notices of motions 

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I have the honour to table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada, 2005.
    I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, could the government House leader confirm that this notice of ways and means motion in fact relates to what we knew in the previous sitting of Parliament as Bill C-62?
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I have the honour to table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act, including amendments in relation to foreign investment entities and non-resident trusts.
    I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

  (1205)  

[Translation]

Pilotage Act

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

[English]

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act

Hon. Loyola Hearn (for the Minister of Natural Resources)  
     moved for leave to introduce Bill C-5, An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections Act

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I was not given an opportunity yesterday to designate the allotted days for next week. Normally I would do that in response to the Thursday question but it was not asked.
    Therefore, I would designate Monday, October 29 and Thursday, November 1 as allotted days.

Petitions

Gun Registry  

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents are from Leask in Saskatoon and Hafford, Mayfair and other parts of my riding. They are calling on Parliament to end the registration requirement for non-restricted long guns.

Age of Consent  

    I have a second petition, Mr. Speaker, signed by a number of constituents from Warman in the riding of Saskatoon--Wanuskewin who are calling on Parliament to increase the age of sexual consent from 14 years of age to 16 years of age.
    The present legislation before the Senate right now is in respect of that very thing and we do hope that bill will be passed.

CRTC  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition from petitioners of the riding of Beaches--East York who are asking for the government to overturn of the CRTC's inexplicable and harmful decision to add nine non-Canadian Chinese language services to the lists of eligible satellite services for distribution on a digital basis, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-166.

Canadian Pacific Railway  

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition containing 1,159 signatures. These petitioners from across Canada, but specifically my riding of Cambridge, North Dumfries and the riding of Oxford, have raised serious concerns about Canadian Pacific Railway and its lack of civic, social and corporate responsibility as well as its refusal to cooperate and respect the communities it steamrolls through.
    CP Rail is planning on constructing a bargain basement rail yard which, in the opinion of all levels of government, fails to adequately protect the environment and threatens the current living conditions of many Canadians. CP is flaunting the fact that federal laws have little jurisdiction over them. We will not be railroaded by the railroad, say the petitioners.
    The petitioners ask that the Minister of Transport, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Public Safety, as well as the Minister of Health, use their collective influence to immediately require Canadian Pacific Railway to appropriately protect the environment, show some respect for these Canadians and start acting like good neighbours should.

Remembrance Day  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present three petitions from the residents of Sarnia—Lambton.
    The first petition, signed by 134 constituents, and the second petition, signed by 398 constituents, support Remembrance Day as a national holiday.

  (1210)  

Human Trafficking 

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition, signed by 1,031 constituents, calls on the government to continue its work to combat the trafficking of persons worldwide.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is it agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Tackling Violent Crime Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Prior to question period, the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe had the floor for questions and comments, and it was his turn to reply to a comment made by one of the other hon. members. I would call on the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, then, who has a little over eight minutes remaining in the time allotted for questions and comments.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park for his comment. I know the member has had a long and distinguished career in Parliament and has had a keen interest in criminal justice issues over that time. I have had occasion to review remarks that he has made and I have heard him speak at the justice committee from time to time.
    I am a bit perplexed. I have indeed great respect for his comments. In fact, when he comments that prorogation is a privilege, that it is up to a government leader to take such a decision and that this has been used in the past by Liberal prime ministers, I take it that perhaps he approves of it and feels that the current Prime Minister was certainly within his rights and did the right thing by proroguing Parliament.
    The comment in my speech, if it was misconstrued by the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, was that by proroguing Parliament, these bills were killed in their tracks. To bring them back under the guise that somehow the previous Parliament and the committee, and the Senate for that matter, had unduly delayed them, is misleading.
    To say that prorogation is a right of a prime minister is absolutely true and that it has been used before is also absolutely true. If the member is endorsing, then, what previous Liberal governments have done in prorogation, I am okay with this comments and I understand them perfectly. If the member is saying that by abstaining with respect to the Speech from the Throne Liberals have done something that previous Conservative oppositions have not done, then that would not be the truth either. In fact, the Conservative opposition abstained as recently as May of 2005.
    If I threw the member off with my comments with respect to parliamentary procedure and government prerogative, I apologize. I am new in the House. All I know is that I and many members in the House worked for a year and a half on justice bills that were killed by the prorogation. Bill C-2 attempts to correct that. Let us move the justice agenda forward and make our society a safer place.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to use this occasion, if I may, to correct the record. When I was speaking of the prorogations of the House, unfortunately I looked at the wrong place on my notes. The reference that I made to an 11 day existence of a parliament after a throne speech was actually at the defeat of a government and not on a prorogation. I made that error and I would like to correct that record.
    Mr. Speaker, I did not realize we were going to be moving on this quickly, which is a good development because it will move these bills along, as opposed to the government's approach, which has been one of delay.
    In that regard, I want to do a quick resumé of what has happened in this Parliament starting in roughly mid-February of 2006, at which time we were faced with a large number of crime bills by the government. I took the opportunity to go through the list of bills that have been dealt with in one form or another.
    The list was quite lengthy, starting with Bill C-9, which was a bill on conditional sentencing. That went through both Houses and has royal assent. There was one on the Judges Act, Bill C-17, and it also went through all stages. Another one relating to DNA identification went through all stages. As for Bill C-19 on street racing, a particularly emotional point for the Conservative Party, we got that one through. There was one on criminal interest rates, Bill C-26, and it got through. There was one, Bill C-48, which dealt with international crime syndicates and the need to fight corruption at that level, coming out of the UN, and it got through. The next one, dealing with the illegal recording of movies, went very quickly through the House with all parties cooperating. It never even went to committee.
    In addition to that, we have had Bill C-22, which actually is part of Bill C-2, the bill that is before us now, passed at second reading in the Senate. It went through the House all the way to the Senate. We have had Bill C-10, an important bill on mandatory minimums, go through this House and into the Senate, where it was at first reading.
    Similarly, Bill C-23 went through this House and got to the Senate, but it is not part of this bill. I am not sure if the government is going to bring that one back or not. On Bill C-35, which was the bill dealing with bail reviews involving alleged gun crimes and the reverse onus being placed, again, it got through all the work in this House and went to the Senate.
    The final bill with regard to work that we had done and which was almost through this House was the bill dealing with impaired driving. That had cleared the committee and was coming back to the House. It would have been back in the House if we had not prorogued in the middle part of September.
     These are all the bills we have had from the government. The final bill was still in committee and we had just started on it. We had three or four meetings taking witnesses on that bill, which deals with dangerous offenders and amendments to recognizance in the Criminal Code.
    In addition, there were at least four to six private members' bills, all of them coming from the Conservative Party interestingly enough, which we dealt with and passed or dealt with in some fashion. One had to be withdrawn. We dealt with those as well.
    All of that work was being done at the justice committee, with the exception, and this is really interesting, of two bills that went to special legislative committees. Because the justice committee's workload was so great, we moved them into special committees. However, we worked on those bills and got them through.
    All of that is work we have done in a little over 18 months, yet in spite of that, there are two things the government does. It constantly complains about the length of time it takes, in regard to which the Conservatives could have done much better by originally having omnibus bills. I have said that in the House to the point where I am almost sick of hearing it myself, and I am sure everyone else in the House is, but it is the way they should have conducted themselves. Of course, though, because of their political agenda of wanting to highlight each one of these bills, they did not put them together. They finally came to their senses and realized that it is a way of moving bills through the House more rapidly.
    However, we did all of that work, and now what we are hearing, which is the second point I want to make about the government, is that the delay is the fault of the opposition. That is absolutely false.

  (1215)  

    One can see from the length of the list of bills we have had to deal with, plus the private members' bills, plus working on two legislative committees in addition to all the work that we have done at justice, that nobody in the opposition has done any delaying. The delay with regard to the five bills that are incorporated now into Bill C-2 is entirely at the feet of the government. It prorogued and that cost us a month.
     It is interesting to note what could have happened in that one month's time. It is my opinion that all three of the bills that were in the Senate would have been through and ready for royal assent, which again is in the hands of the government. If the government had conducted itself with any kind of efficiency, those bills probably would be law today.
    The fourth bill, the one dealing with impaired driving, which again is part of Bill C-2, would have come to the House in the middle part of September when we came back. There was not a great deal of debate, and although I and my party have some reservations about it, we in fact would support it.
    The bill would have had some debate in the House at report stage and third reading, but it would have been through the House and at least at first reading in the Senate now, perhaps at second reading. It is not beyond the pale to think that the bill also would have cleared the Senate and would have been ready for royal assent.
    This bill bothers me. Of all the ones we have, this one bothers me the most because of the conduct of the government in dealing with the individuals, including the police officers and police associations, who lobbied really heavily to get this legislation, and in particular the families and supporters of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It bothers me that the government would have misused the loyalty and the support that those groups had given to the bill by leading them to believe that somehow it was the opposition that was holding it up, when in fact it was prorogation. Now there is this tactic of combining that bill with the other bills to actually slow down its passage. Otherwise there is a reasonably good chance it would have been law by now, and if not, it would have been in its final stages at the Senate and it certainly would have been law by the end of the year.
    That is much less likely to happen now. It is more likely that this bill will not get final approval and royal assent until well into the spring, no matter what the government tries to do. Quite frankly we will do whatever we can to be cooperative in moving these bills forward.
    Our party was quite prepared to have all four of those bills that I have mentioned which form 80% of Bill C-2 back at their original stages, again so they would be law or on the verge of becoming law, that is, receiving royal assent today, as opposed to what is likely to happen now. It is going to be into the new year and maybe well into the spring before these bills become law, assuming of course that the government does not collapse and there is an election, which is another problem.
    The government has delayed it, and in addition, it has clearly pushed it back at least until the new year, with the real possibility of an election intervening and a number of these provisions never seeing the light of day until after the election, when we would come back and start the process all over again.
    That is reprehensible conduct on the part of the government. The only reason the Conservatives are doing it is so they can stand up in public and say, “We are tough on crime”. They do the macho thing. They beat their chests. They do the King Kong thing as if they are coming out of a jungle. The reality is that the delay is all at their feet.
     I am really angry when I think of all the work that so many groups have done, the victims of crime in particular, and now are being misused by the government in such a way.
    I am not going to take up much more time but I do want to address the final bill that was at committee. Former Bill C-27 is now part of Bill C-2. It deals with two amendments to the Criminal Code. One would be on the provisions relating to dangerous offenders and the other is with regard to recognizance.
    With regard to recognizance, I think I can safely say that all the opposition parties are in support of those provisions. They give additional authority to our judiciary to deal with people who are out in the community on their own recognizance, but we can put additional conditions on them.

  (1220)  

    The bill provides for things such as requiring them to wear a monitoring device. There is a number of other provisions that would substantially improve security in our communities regarding people who have now been released from charges and who have already served their time. It is a substantial step forward and one that has been needed.
    I have said this in the House before, that when I started practising law back in the early 1970s we needed it at that time. Successive governments have tended to shy away from it. Our judiciary has attempted on a number of occasions to introduce these types of control devices, if I could put it that way, in terms of sentencing or conditions imposed on people and it has consistently lost in our courts of appeal. It required legislative intervention. The provision is in this bill and we need to pass that and get it into play so our judges can do a better job of helping protect Canadians, which they want to do.
    The other part in this provision, the old Bill C-27 now part of Bill C-2, is with regard to dangerous offenders. We have significant problems with this. Originally when the bill came before the House as Bill C-27, all three opposition parties indicated that on principle they had to vote against it because it has a provision of reverse onus with regard to the dangerous offender.
    All of us believe that that part of the bill would suffer a charter challenge that would be successful in striking it down. What I do not think the government has ever understood is that not only would it be struck down, but perhaps the whole dangerous offender section would be struck down. Just as we saw with the security certificates where the Supreme Court said that if it could not be fixed, they were all going down, the same type of thing could happen in a ruling on dangerous offenders. The government has never understood that.
    Ultimately, the opposition parties decided that there were perhaps ways of amending this in committee to improve the use of the dangerous offender section, because we know we need to do that, and at the same time make sure that the section was not jeopardized by a successful charter challenge at some point in the future.
    We were working on that when we ended in June. We fully expected that was one of the bills for the special legislative committee and that we would be back and working on it in September, that we would complete the witness testimony and improve the bill by way of amendment and if not, then I suppose we would have been faced with a conundrum of whether we could support it or not. That is where we are at this point.
    That bill needs significant work in order to be sure that we do not lose the entire dangerous offender section of the Criminal Code. We will be doing that work as soon as we can get the committee up and running again and the bill into the committee.
    It is very clear that the government, and I do not say this about the opposition parties, is prepared to play politics with public safety. The Conservatives want to be seen as the champions and they are prepared to take these kinds of manoeuvres of delaying these bills by incorporating them all into Bill C-2 so that they can do that. They want to stand up in the House and in the media and out on the hustings and say “we are the champions of it”, when in fact the truth is just the opposite. They were guilty. They are guilty of delay. The opposition parties are not.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be a part of this debate because public safety is important to all Canadians and all parties in this House. I really believe that all parties in this House work to improve public safety for Canadians.
    In that regard, I have had the pleasure over the years to work on the justice committee and on the public safety committee with the member.
     When the Conservative government came into power, a large number of bills were introduced but they sat on the order paper and were not sent to the justice committee, some of them for long periods of time.
    I want to ask the member whether or not he agrees with me that the government party is the only party that takes care of the order of business in this House. Some of those original pieces of legislation sat on the order paper for a long time after they were first introduced.
    The justice committee of this House is a very effective way of improving legislation.
    A lot of the bills that were introduced as part of the original agenda were actually researched and widely consulted on under the former Liberal government. In fact those pieces of legislation tended to proceed much more quickly in committee because a lot of the concerns had been worked out and consulted on before the original bill first entered Parliament. Now we are seeing bills where there has been less consultation and preparation.
     I agree with the member that most of these bills are starting over in the House when they could have started at the stage where they left off before prorogation, in the Senate, but we are now dealing with this as it is.
     I want to hear the member's opinion on another bill, the street racing bill. In fact when I was justice critic, all the parties, including all the opposition parties, agreed to fast-track that bill because we wanted to see it rapidly in place. That fast-track offer was also put in place with respect to the age of consent bill. I agree with my colleague who made a speech that the original private member's bill from the Conservatives did not have the close in age exemption and that is why the work that was redone was done properly.
     I would ask my hon. friend to comment on those points.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, anybody who has been in the House for any length of time knows the government controls the order paper. The order in which bills are brought forward is entirely in the hands of the government, and there is nothing the opposition parties can do in that regard. I sometimes think that is a mistake in our system. On the basis of democracy and in a minority government situation, that rule should not be there. Opposition parties should have more control over what comes before the House, but this is not the case. The government completely controls this.
    The member is right in terms of bills sitting on the order paper, and I will use Bill C-27, the dangerous offender bill, as an example. It sat on the order paper for almost six months. The bill was introduced in the House in the fall of 2006 and did not get to a vote for second reading and go to committee until well into the spring of 2007. For a good six months, it just sat on the order paper. That is a good example of how backlogged the justice committee was at that point.
     As I mentioned in my opening comments, a more efficient approach would have moved the bills along much faster. Let me just emphasize that point and explain what happens.
    When bills get to justice committee, there is a tendency to call the same witnesses on specific points. I have been saying in the House that the bills should have been bunched together. The government should have done that originally. It cannot be done now because these bills would be delayed again.
    The Canadian Bar Association was forced to appear before the justice committee eight or ten times. Representatives could probably have come once or maybe twice, spoken on all the points and given us their input.
    This goes back to consultation in terms of the member's question. The Conservative government has refused to consult with a number of groups because I think it sees them as ideologically unfriendly. Conservatives talk to members of police associations, but do they talk Canadian Bar Association? Maybe some. Do they talk to criminal defence lawyers, who have some significant input to provide on these bills? Hardly at all.
    I could go down the list of some of the groups that deal with people who have been charged and convicted of crimes. For women, there is the Elizabeth Fry Society. For men, there is John Howard Society. The government does not talk too much to these people.
    That delays the process at committee. These groups come forward at committee to tell us what they think the problems are with the legislation, and that is the first time we hear about it. Perhaps it could have been taken care of by consultation before it ever arrived at committee.
    I have already mentioned the issue of street car racing. All parties in the House supported that and we put it through as quickly as we could.
    With respect to the age of consent legislation, I fought with the former Conservative justice minister, my colleague from Manitoba, and convinced him that we should put it in. We tried to put it into the child pornography bill in 2005. It resurrected itself in the age of consent bill, Bill C-22, that finally came before the House. The bill went all the way to the Senate. Now it is back before the House and we have to go over it all again.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the knowledge that the member displays on these issues.
    He seemed to indicate that there was a potential problem with the reverse onus part of the bill. I question that.
     If a person comes up to me, points a gun at me, pulls the trigger and misses, and thankfully, to me he is a dangerous guy. I do not want to live next door to a guy like that. I would move away if he did not. That is just the first time.
    The legislation being proposed has a person doing things of that nature, attacking women and children. He does it, not once, not twice, but three times. In each instance, we, the people, through the Crown, have already shown that he is dangerous because he was charged and convicted three times.
    To me, the reverse onus is almost a misnomer here. We should not say that. Rather we should say that the person has proven to us and courts have convicted him of these charges three time. It is now just an automatic, he is a dangerous offender and ought to be put away for a long time. To me, that is a given.
    Yet now we are somehow saying that reverse onus is a violation. Some people say it is because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, he has been proven guilty three times.
    What we ought to be doing is looking at this issue as giving this guy a chance when he really does not deserve it. If he can convince the court, after having been convicted three times, that he is not a dangerous offender, then he can somehow avoid being given that designation.
    Could the member enlarge a bit on the nature of his objection to this?
    The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh should know that there is less than a minute for him to respond.
    Mr. Speaker, it would probably have taken about 10 minutes for me to explain this to the member and perhaps to the public watching.
    I have two quick points. The dangerous offender section in the code has been used about 300 and some times. When this happens, when people are found to be dangerous offenders, they go to jail and they never get out. I believe only about 18 out of 350 have ever been released. This is what we are faced with.
    We should imagine ourselves as a judge having to tell people that they have to prove why they should not go to jail because this is what the Criminal Code states that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today we are debating what the government considers to be the most important component of the throne speech presented a few days ago, Bill C-2.
    First of all, there is a myth that I would like to dispel. On several occasions the members on the government side have unfortunately taken some liberties with the truth. They have suggested that, in this Parliament, the opposition parties—the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP—did not cooperate, that they acted like spoilsports and had unduly and excessively delayed passage of the justice bills. We need to set the record straight. This presentation of the facts is false, dishonest and, at the very least, misleading.
    Since coming into power in January 2006, the Conservative government has tabled 12 justice bills. They were studied by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the legislative committee and six of them have received royal assent. Therefore, since the government came into office in January 2006, six bills have been adopted and received royal assent.
    I will mention them quickly, for information purposes: Bill C-9, on conditional sentencing; Bill C-17, on the salaries of judges; Bill C-18, on the DNA data bank; Bill C-19, which was meant as a tribute to a Conservative member who unfortunately passed away, and which makes street racing a new offence under the Criminal Code; the fifth bill, namely Bill C-48, on the United Nations Convention against Corruption and on international crime, was fast-tracked and supported by all opposition parties and the government; finally, the sixth one, is Bill C-59, creating a new offence, under the Criminal Code, for the unauthorized recording of a movie in a movie theatre. That legislation was quickly passed, at the request of the Bloc Québécois, which had enlisted the support of the official opposition and of the NDP.
    Again, of the 12 bills introduced by the government, six received royal assent. That left six, with four of them being in the Senate. That was the case for Bill C-10, on minimum penalties for offences involving firearms, and for Bill C-22, on the age of protection. The Conservatives proposed to raise the age of protection from 14 to 16 years. As mentioned earlier, opposition parties requested that a close in age provision be included, to provide for a difference of five or two years, depending on the age being considered.
    As I just mentioned, Bill C-10 and Bill C-22 were before the Senate. Bill C-23, which is a rather technical bill on the language used during a trial before a jury, was also before the Senate, as was Bill C-35, dealing with the reverse onus, at the pre-trial hearing, for a number of very serious offences. The committee was told that this was already the usual practice, and that a justice of the peace or a superior court judge very rarely grants bail at the pre-trial hearing, when the individual is accused of murder, assault or sexual assault. This was already an established practice.
    In summary, six bills have been passed and have received royal assent, and four had already gone through third reading in the House of Commons and were in the Senate. This left us with two bills: the dangerous offenders bill, Bill C-27, which I will address later, and Bill C-32 dealing with impaired driving.
    Could the Prime Minister and the Conservative team be asked to be a little more relaxed and show a more nuanced and respectful attitude toward the opposition?

  (1240)  

    We are going to do our job. In the past, we have given the government our cooperation when that was necessary, but we have introduced amendments because, unfortunately, an entire segment of the Conservative caucus has no idea of nuances. I will give examples. Had Bill C-32 been passed as written, without amendments, anyone driving his or her own car with a passenger on board who was in possession of a small amount of marijuana could have faced prosecution or arrest.
    Was that the purpose of the legislation? This bill was intended to address a public safety issue, recognizing that no one should be operating a vehicle on public roadways while under the influence of drugs, and to allow for drivers to be subjected to standardized tests known as standardized field sobriety tests. The intention certainly was not to pass legislation to target drivers carrying drugs without their knowledge. That could happen. I could give three people a ride to my cottage without knowing that one of them has marijuana in his or her pocket. This would have made me liable to prosecution.
    This is the sort of excess the Conservatives are guilty of, when we are talking about a bill, a motivation, and an intent that are utterly defensible in terms of public policy. But when the Conservatives are left to their own devices, when they are ruled by that extreme wing of their caucus and blinded by the idea of law and order, they come up with bills that have to be amended.
    Conditional sentencing has been mentioned. When we began looking at Bill C-9, the first justice bill the Conservatives introduced—the member for London West will recall—we were told that conditional sentences represented only 5% of sentences.
    If you look at all the sentences handed down in all the courts in Canada in recent years for which records have been kept, you see that conditional sentences, which allow offenders to serve their sentence in the community under supervision, represented only 5% of sentences.
    If we had adopted the bill as introduced by the Conservatives, all offences punishable by more than two years in prison might have been excluded from this tool judges have for determining how a sentence can be served in the community.
    I repeat that I am extremely disappointed with the attitude of the Prime Minister, who asks the opposition to vote for bills, but will not tolerate any amendments to those bills. How can anyone be so authoritarian? How can anyone be so cavalier? How can anyone be so disrespectful of Canadian democracy and tell the 57% or 58% of Canadians who did not elect Conservative members that if their representatives do not fall into line with the Conservative platform, they cannot introduce amendments in this House?
    I assure my colleagues that we are going to consider the issue and that we will work very quickly, with all due diligence. And we will introduce amendments if we feel that they are in the interest of the people we represent.
    The government wants this bill to go to committee quickly. The leaders have agreed on this. Later today, the whip will introduce a motion, and once again we have offered to cooperate.
    Next week, we will have this bill before us, but we will not allow ourselves to be led by the nose by this government. When the Conservatives were in opposition, they were intractable and often mean-spirited. They constantly, systematically filibustered. Never have I seen such filibustering. Sometimes it went on day and night.

  (1245)  

    The current Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food did the filibustering. He led this House in circles regarding employment equity. At the time, I was a young, naive and vulnerable member. I had just been elected and was experiencing my first filibuster. Furthermore, the current Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was uncompromising on the issue of employment equity, which was under the responsibility of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
    They cannot have it both ways. A person cannot say that it is fine to filibuster when they are in opposition, only to turn around, once they are in the governing party, and refuse the opposition's right to present amendments. This is irresponsible and disrespectful.
    Bill C-2 merges five pieces of legislation. Of those pieces of legislation, the Bloc Québécois supported four of them, with amendments. In committee, of course, we will not ask to repeat the work that has already been done.
    However, we have a problem with Bill C-27, concerning dangerous offenders. As we all know, the Criminal Code has included provisions on this matter since 1947. In the past, we did not use the term dangerous offender, but rather habitual criminal. I wonder whether certain members, those who have been practising law for some time, remember that expression. The Liberals already changed those provisions by creating a new category of dangerous offenders—long-term offenders—in Bill C-55.
    What is our line of questioning? I would like to be clear. I am telling the government that the Bloc Québécois would like to see three main groups of witnesses. First, we would like to hear constitutional experts on the constitutionality of the reverse onus principle, in the same terms in which this bill was presented.
    We would then like to see a second group of witnesses. I would remind the House that when the Minister of Justice appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, he was unable to tell us what it is about the administrative and judicial process for dangerous offenders that is not working.
    Currently, a person can be labelled a dangerous offender after committing a first serious offence. Section 753 of the Criminal Code is very clear. If there is any reason to believe that that an individual is likely to cause a death, is out of control, or is likely to reoffend, that person can be declared a dangerous offender after a first offence. I am not saying that this is what usually happens. We are not talking about a large number of people here. About 350 people have been declared dangerous offenders, and some of them have been released under mandatory supervision. Of course, most of them are inside federal prisons.
    We will run this by constitutional experts. It is our responsibility to ensure that this bill is not unconstitutional. We will ask people who make their living dealing with this issue before the courts to explain to us which parts of the current legislation are not working.
    We will also ask a third group of witnesses about the list of offences. In the bill before us today, five types of offences would result in an individual being declared a dangerous offender. Naturally, most of them are serious crimes, such as attempted murder, murder, homicide and serious sexual crimes.
    The government wants to expand this list to include 42 offences. The preliminary list includes 22 offences, one of which is assault. I do not wish to downplay the importance of assault. However, should an individual who has been convicted of assault three times be put on a list of dangerous offenders, with all of the consequences that entails?

  (1250)  

    There is a list of designated offences, which, I agree, are offences generally punishable by a sentence of more than five years. The question is, do we need to take this further? Is it important to have these two lists of offences?
    Why ask this question? We are not questioning the fact that we need provisions in the Criminal Code for people who are so dangerous and present such a risk of recidivism that they need to be designated long term offenders, or dangerous offenders. A dangerous offender is someone who can be imprisoned for an indefinite period. Obviously, they are denied their freedom and denied eligibility for parole. Certainly—and I am not afraid to say so—this is justified in some situations. We understand that for some individuals there is no chance for rehabilitation and they have to be imprisoned for an indeterminate period.
    Nonetheless, it is our responsibility to ensure that if we are going to pass legislation that considerably broadens the scope of this rule—which is in fact an exception to the general rule—then we have to be able to verify the facts in committee in order to make sure there is no risk of abuse or excess.
    As hon. members know, the Conservatives are driven by partisan political considerations. That is “partisan” with a capital “P”.
    As it stands, the crime rate has gone down in Canada. In any event, the homicide rate has gone down. The incidence of violent crime has gone down. I am not saying there has not been a worrisome increase in property crime in certain communities. However, generally speaking, we know full well that for a number of years now, major crime, such as homicide—crimes involving violence—has gone down year after year.
    Criminologists who have studied these issues are saying that there is no correlation between a reliance on imprisonment and lower crime rates in a society. We do not live in a safer society and the communities are not safer because of widespread prison sentencing.
    We know that the United States has an incarceration rate seven times greater than Canada's. In Canada, there are 132 or 134 prisoners for every 100,000 people.

  (1255)  

    It is now 108.
    The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin says that it is now 108. The last time I checked, in the United States it was 732. We can see the numbers and we know very well that the United States has a much higher crime rate than Canada and than Quebec, which certainly has a lower rate.
    In conclusion, we will do our job. Obviously, we will offer our help to the government every time these problems come up. We realize this is important. But I would ask the Prime Minister to be a little more Zen when it comes to justice matters. We will introduce amendments if we think it would be in line with the current practices in Quebec.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have done with all the speeches this afternoon, I listened with great interest to the words of my colleagues from the opposition parties. I would like to take this opportunity to perhaps correct some of the motives the member attributes to the Conservative government in bringing forward this tackling violent crime act, Bill C-2, and then pose a question.
    Toward the end of his remarks he asserted that our government is driven by partisan political considerations. I would like to state for the record that no, what we are driven by here is to try to reform our justice system or, maybe more appropriately, that we are driven by a desire to restore fairness and justice to our legal system in this country.
    That is the real reason behind the fact that in our short-lived government we have brought forward so many new initiatives in the justice department. In fact, he mentioned the fact that we brought forward a dozen bills alone in this Parliament already.
    The other fallacy that I would like to quickly correct for the record is this whole business that somehow by combining these bills we are going to delay them. The fact is, and my colleague clearly identified this, Bill C-2, the tackling violent crime act, encompasses some five previous bills. I will run through them very quickly.
    Previously, Bill C-10, mandatory minimum penalties for firearms offences, was stalled in committee for 252 days and the bill died after a total of 414 days before Parliament.
    Bill C-22, age of protection, was stalled in committee for 175 days and the bill died after a total of 365 days before Parliament.
    Bill C-27, dangerous offenders, was stalled in committee for 105 days and the bill died after a total of 246 days before Parliament.
    Bill C-35, reverse onus on bail for firearms offences, was stalled in committee for 64 days and the bill died after a total of 211 days before Parliament.
    Finally, Bill C-32, drug impaired driving, was stalled in committee for 149 days and the bill died after a total of 210 days before Parliament.
    I think Canadians are waking up to the fact that a lot of these bills were stalled in the upper chamber in our parliamentary system. What are we talking about? We are talking about an unelected, unaccountable, Liberal dominated Senate. In other words, an upper chamber dominated by our process in this Parliament by the opposition.
     Obviously, even the temporary current leader of the official opposition, the leader of the Liberal Party, has no control over the Senate. He has no control over his colleagues over there in getting this legislation moved forward.
    In the last election campaign, all four parties running in the election said they wanted to get tough with violent crime. Yet, when we put this legislation through, the Liberals allowed it to be stalled over there. What have we done? We have combined them because the Senate will be less able to stall one or two bills because Canadians will be awakened to the fact that if the Liberals stall Bill C-2, they will clearly understand that the Liberal Party has never been serious about violent crime. It says one thing but does the opposite.

  (1300)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I must inform the House that our colleague did not tell us the whole truth.
    First, with regard to Bill C-27, the committee met three times. We cannot say that we will adopt a bill after three committee meetings. The committee had just been formed when the House adjourned.
    The government whip speaks of Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. The fact is that we did not block the bill and, what is more, we were at report stage. We had agreed in committee that the chair would table a report. If the whip was in such a hurry to pass the bills, then why did his Prime Minister prorogue the House? We were ready to return and study these bills.
    I believe that is a myth. The opposition parties co-operated with the government. However, we will not allow this government to tell the opposition parties that they will not do their job. And when we deem it appropriate, we will amend the bill.
    I was not elected on the Conservative's platform. I was democratically elected, with 60% of the votes in my riding, as an alternative to the Conservatives. We will do our work. If we believe it necessary, we will amend the bill.
    The Prime Minister must be more democratic.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I know that this particular member from the Bloc, who has participated in the debate, does work very hard on justice bills. I served with him for a time on Bill C-9. That was a bill that we worked on and it was amended by the three opposition parties. It passed the House and went on from this place because it was improved. That is the whole point of going to committee and hearing witnesses.
    I know that there are situations that even when the government introduces a bill that it thinks is perfect, that some things can slip by. Even the government can make errors. I think of the example currently where we have disenfranchised rural members under the Canada Elections Act because things were not done properly. It even went through committee and even at that stage it was not picked up. But the government has a responsibility and there is a democratic process in the House, that we deal expeditiously with bills in committee.
    Most of the bills could have been in the Senate right now. They could have been reintroduced in the Senate, but we know that they have already passed second reading so we want them to get to committee so that they can be dealt with more rapidly.
    When a government makes mistakes like it has just done with respect to the Canada Elections Act, it now has to have a new piece of legislation. We introduce amendments because the government is not infallible when it first introduces legislation.
    There used to be a court challenges program whereby an individual or group could challenge government legislation even if it had passed all the stages in the House and Senate but we no longer have that.
    Does the member think that some of these issues have to be dealt with practically, logically and completely, not just in an undemocratic way where a prime minister says he needs everything and needs it yesterday? Is it not our job to make good law, good policy and do it properly?

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I fondly remember a time when we both sat on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
    It would be true to say that the Prime Minister has hurt us all. Opposition members have all been hurt by this heavy-handedness. Which British principle is vital to the operation of the House? The role of the opposition is to work to make the government even better. Each day, every single member leaves this House feeling tired and worn out, because it is hard work to make this government even better. The government is terrible when left to its own devices. This is the British parliamentary system. The opposition improves bills. The opposition must cast a critical light on this government which wants to model our justice system indiscriminately on the American system.
    I would remind the House that we worked together on 12 bills. I am counting on the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to say so in the speeches he will give in Quebec. Of the 12 bills, six have already received royal assent and four others were before the Senate. So, only two remained in this House. Furthermore, of the six bills that received royal assent, three were fast-tracked to adoption. I remember a time when this government was in the opposition. There was no end to the filibusters. Now, the opposition is respectful, restrained and able to work with the government when necessary.
    In conclusion, I want to point out that St. Thomas Aquinas once said that virtue lies in moderation.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I assume that the time for questions and comments has expired.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We would be happy to adopt our colleague's motion. However, as a matter of courtesy and since it is Friday, could we allow one last colleague, the member from the Ottawa area, to ask a question? The hon. member has served this House well. Could he ask the last question? As he is a friend, I would be very happy to debate this with him.

[English]

    I have just said that the question and comment period is over. However, if I can find unanimous consent for this courtesy, I will agree. Is there unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I see that I have been given unanimous consent to say a few words. I would like to thank my colleagues in the other parties for vesting such faith in me to give me this final opportunity to issue a closing word on the member's earlier remarks.
    The member says that it has been his effort and the effort of other opposition members to attempt to improve the government's efforts to tackle violent crime. Does he consider it an improvement when he and other members of the Liberal opposition voted to allow arsonists, car thieves and burglars to serve their sentences in the comfort of their own home? That is precisely what they did in amending our bill to ban house arrest. They changed the bill to permit arsonists, car thieves and burglars to serve their sentences in our communities.
    They also voted against mandatory jail time for gun criminals. The Liberals, including their critic, voted against mandatory jail time for gun criminals. Has he now reversed his position? Does he now accept that those criminals should be in jail, not doing house arrest, eating popcorn in front of their television in their living rooms?
    Not to abuse the time of the House, given the courtesy that the House has accorded for this procedure, I have allowed one minute for the question and one minute for the reply.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am always delighted to debate with my young colleague.
    When we examined Bill C-9 in committee, we learned that conditional sentencing was generally used by the courts only with extreme moderation, that is, in only 5% of cases. Could the courts have made some mistakes? Could there have been any cases in which the judges imposed a conditional sentence that was unwarranted? Perhaps. In such instances, the case is appealed. I do not believe this justifies the government's desire to take this power away from judges, who must always use discretion in these matters. I think all the opposition parties want to see conditional sentencing remain a tool available to the courts. That was the thrust of the amendments we put forward in committee.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between all the parties and we certainly appreciate their efforts in moving this legislation forward. Therefore, I would like to move the following motion and I think you will find unanimous consent for it. I move:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be proceeded with as follows:
    The bill be deemed read a second time, referred to a legislative committee;
the membership of this legislative committee be Dick Harris, Daryl Kramp, Daniel Petit, Gerald Keddy, Rob Moore, Marlene Jennings, Derek Lee, Brian Murphy, Larry Bagnell, Réal Ménard, Carole Freeman, Joe Comartin and that the Chairman be Rick Dykstra; and
proceedings in the committee on the Bill shall be concluded as follows: if not previously concluded by midnight on November 22, 2007, at midnight on November 22, 2007 any proceedings before the Legislative Committee shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the committee stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate, at the conclusion of the committee stage the Chairman shall be instructed to report the bill back to the House on November 23, 2007, and shall be authorized to table the report with the Clerk at any time, including when the House is not sitting, if the Bill is not reported back by midnight on November 23, 2007, the Bill shall be deemed to have been reported from the Committee without amendment.

[Translation]

    Does the minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Galipeau): Consequently, pursuant to order made earlier today, this bill is referred to a legislative committee.

    (Motion agreed to and bill deemed read the second time and referred to a committee.)

[English]

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Hon. Gordon O'Connor (for the Minister of Public Safety)  
     moved that Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (certificate and special advocate) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise before the House and discuss Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
     The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is important legislation as it sets out the rules by which people from across the globe may seek to come to Canada. As a country built by the imagination and dedication of many people, we truly understand the value of diversity within society. In fact, Canada is known internationally as a welcoming and compassionate country. Each year we admit more than 95 million people to our country, including 260,000 new immigrants.
    While we encourage immigration, Canadians also insist on vigilance against people and organizations taking advantage of our generosity and openness. They pose a danger to our nation and, in some cases, to other nations around the world. They have committed serious crimes, or violated human rights or even taken part in terrorism. These people are not welcome in Canada.
    Canadians do not want our doors to be open to people who endanger our national security and the safety of our communities. The government wants what Canadians want. That is why we are unwavering in our determination to safeguard national security and to protect the safety and security of the Canadian public.
    One of the most fundamental responsibilities of a government is to ensure the security of its citizens, and this government has taken its commitment very seriously.
     The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides the government with a process to remove non-Canadian citizens who are inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality. When classified information is involved in support of the inadmissibility decision, the security certificate process may be used.
    It has been in place for over 20 years, but it has only been used 28 times since 1991 in the most serious cases. Certificates have been issued against spies, terrorists and extremists. They can never be used against a Canadian citizen, and that is a very important part.
    The reason Bill C-3 has been introduced is quite straightforward. Security certificates are used to protect Canadians. They are a vital national security tool. At the same time, when we take steps to protect Canadians and national security, we must also take steps to respect civil liberties and protect our core values. These values include freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
    In February the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the use of security certificates generally. However, it found aspects of the security certificate process that required legislative improvement. In addition, various parliamentary committees have recommended changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
    The government has moved swiftly and is taking action. Bill C-3 is an essential public safety tool that enables us to continue to prevent inadmissible persons from remaining in Canada while ensuring that there is better protection of the rights of individuals subject to security certificates.
    Bill C-3 would set into law the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on security certificates, and takes into consideration the recommendations of both Houses of Parliament.
    We have acted to strengthen the law to address the findings of the court. Protecting both security and human rights can be a challenge. As the Supreme Court stated in its ruling, this is:
—a tension that lies at the heart of modern democratic governance. It is a tension that must be resolved in a way that respects the imperatives both of security and of accountable constitutional governance.
    While the Supreme Court confirmed the use of security certificates generally and stated that one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a government was to ensure the security of its citizens, it found there was not sufficient opportunity to challenge the government's case.
    The Supreme Court identified areas where the security certificate process must be changed to better protect the rights of individuals subject to a certificate. The court noted that detention under the security certificate process did not constitute cruel or unusual punishment under the Canadians Charter of Rights and Freedoms if accompanied by a process that provided for regular opportunities for appropriate detention reviews.

  (1315)  

    However, let me stress one important fact about the security certificate process. It is not about detention, but rather about removing non-Canadian citizens because they represent threats to public safety and national security.
    Individuals named in a security certificate would be released from detention if they chose to leave Canada and return to their country of origin. Detention is meant to protect the safety and security of the Canadian public until they can be removed from Canada.
    Further, the court said that the certificate process did not violate section 15 rights under the charter; that is to say, equality rights. These are important findings.
    It is clear that we need the security certificate process. It is a valuable public safety tool and the court has given the government an opportunity to amend the legislation by suspending the effect of key portions of its decision for one year.
    In addition, it must be emphasized that if we do not pass this bill by February 2008, an important public safety tool would be lost. The government would be unable to issue new certificates against non-Canadian individuals who pose a threat to the security of Canada.
     In addition, individuals currently subject to a security certificate would succeed, on application, in having their certificates quashed. This means they would no longer be subject to detention or any conditions of release, which would pose serious public safety risks.
    What changes did the Supreme Court of Canada say were needed?
    It found that the in camera ex parte proceedings do not provide the person named in the certificate a sufficient opportunity to know the case against him or her and challenge that case. The court ruled that a process had to be put in place to better protect the interests of individuals subject to security certificates.
    It also gave foreign nationals the same rights as permanent residents in the context of detention reviews. In that light, it stated that these reviews should occur 48 hours after arrest and at least once every six months thereafter for both foreign nationals and permanent residents. These changes took effect immediately upon the court ruling.
    The special advocate function will help ensure fair court proceedings and provide a means to challenge classified evidence.
    As I have already mentioned, the Supreme Court indicated that a mechanism was needed to better protect the interests of individuals subject to a security certificate.
    Bill C-3 sets out that mechanism by introducing a special advocate in the Federal Court process to determine the reasonableness of the certificate.
    The special advocate's core role would be to protect the interests of the subject by ensuring a person's interests are adequately represented during closed court proceedings. The special advocate would be able to challenge the minister's claim to the confidentiality of classified information, as well as its relevance, reliability, sufficiency and weight. The special advocate would also be able to make written and oral submissions to the court and question government officials involved in the case.
    It is important to appreciate that this model would strengthen an important public safety tool by making it fairer to the person subject to the certificate process, while recognizing the need to prevent the disclosure of confidential public security information.
    How would the process work?
    The Minister of Justice will establish a list of persons with the qualifications set out in regulations, who may act as special advocates. Some of the qualifications which may be set out in regulations include membership in good standing in a law society of Canada, at least five years' relevant litigation experience, no conflict of interest and appropriate security clearance.
    The special advocate will be able to communicate with the individual subject to a security certificate without any restrictions before he or she sees the classified information. At that time, the special advocate will have the benefit of an unclassified summary of the case to discuss with the subject. This should substantially assist the special advocate in preparing for the closed ex parte hearing.
     The special advocate will then be privy to the classified information. Once that happens, the individual can no longer communicate with anyone about the proceeding while it is ongoing, except as specifically authorized by the judge. The special advocate may apply to the judge for permission to communicate with the subject of the certificate. If the judge grants the request, he or she may impose conditions, such as to communicate only by writing, to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of any confidential information.

  (1320)  

    Another important aspect of the special advocate regime is that there is no solicitor-client relationship with the subject of the certificate. That is because it would likely create a conflict of interest for the special advocate in light of the restrictions on communication imposed once the special advocate has seen the classified information.
    The nature of the solicitor-client relationship, in particular the duty of candour owed to the client by his counsel, might be construed as to require the special advocate to reveal as much as possible about the classified information to the subject of the security certificate. At the same time, the special advocate would be required to protect the classified information from disclosure.
    Let me be clear that without the solicitor-client relationship, the special advocate can still protect the interests of the subject by challenging the confidentiality of the evidence as well as the relevance, reliability, sufficiency and weight of that evidence.
    Aside from security certificate cases, other decisions made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act may also involve the use of classified information. In the course of a judicial review of such a decision, a special advocate will be available if the judge, on a discretionary basis, concludes that considerations of fairness and natural justice require it.
    Bill C-3 proposes other legislative changes to meet the requirements of a Supreme Court decision, address a number of parliamentary recommendations and deal with gaps in the act.
    Other legislative changes proposed in the bill include: concurrent reasonableness hearings and risk assessments to streamline the proceedings and security certificate cases; permitting appeals of the decision on the reasonableness of the certificate upon certification, which is consistent with how all appeals under the IRPA are dealt with; confirming that foreign nationals have the same detention review rights as permanent residents, as the Supreme Court did express in its decision; and, transitional provisions to provide for the treatment of existing certificate cases under the new law in the most transparent and fairest manner possible.
    I will now explain these proposed changes in a bit more detail. I will begin with concurrent processing. When a security certificate is issued, it is referred to the federal court to determine if the security certificate is reasonable. The individual subject to a certificate can also apply for protection from return to a country where the person would face a substantial risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or risk to life. This is called a pre-removal risk assessment, or PRRA. As it now stands, the PRRA process takes place and the review of the reasonableness of the certificate is suspended until its conclusion. This is because the law provides that the judge who decides the reasonableness of the certificate must also decide on the lawfulness of the PRRA decision. This has caused delay.
    Bill C-3 proposes to do away with the suspension of the reasonableness hearing. It provides that the Crown or the court may review the reasonableness of the certificate concurrently with the review of the lawfulness of the PRRA. The court's review would take place outside the certificate process without the need for the same judge to review both decisions. This approach seeks to limit the potential for significant delays that might result while waiting for a decision on the PRRA before having the court assess the reasonableness of a certificate.
    The next proposal in the bill is to allow for the appeal of the reasonable determination and on decisions on detention if the judge decides a serious legal issue has been raised for the consideration of the Court of Appeal. This requirement, called certification of a question, is consistent with the way other decisions under the IRPA may be appealed.
    Currently, the decision on the reasonableness of the certificate cannot be appealed but, practically speaking, the courts have recognized certain exceptions to this rule. Accordingly, appeal upon certification of a question will provide a mechanism that enhances fairness.
    The next change proposed by Bill C-3 is almost a formality given that the Supreme Court has already deemed this change effective and in force. In fact, the court ruled that foreign nationals and permanent residents should have the same rights to detention review. This ruling means that since February, both permanent residents and foreign nationals are granted a review of their detention within the first 48 hours after arrest and every six months after that. Prior to this decision, the IRPA stated that foreign nationals were entitled to a detention review 120 days after the certificate was found to be reasonable.

  (1325)  

    Finally, Bill C-3 proposes transitional provisions that would allow for cases commenced under the previous legislation to recommence under the new legislative regime. This is to ensure that appropriate and orderly change from the old legislation to the new will provide the benefits of the new legislation to the current individual, subject to a security certificate.
    As members can see, a great deal of thought has gone into this bill. Not only have we responded to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling, but we have also been mindful of the recommendations made by committees in both Houses of Parliament.
    We are offering more protection for individuals, subject to a security certificate. We are providing for appeals that are not allowed under the current legislation. We are giving foreign nationals the same detention review process accorded to permanent residents, as the Supreme Court directed. We will review all current cases in conformity with the new regime once it comes into place.
    We want to protect Canadians. It is our duty to both Canadians and the international community to stop dangerous people from committing heinous crimes or terrorism.
    I urge all members of the House to support Bill C-3. If opposition parties are serious about protecting Canadians from an individual posing serious threats, now is the time to show it.

  (1330)  

    It being 1:30 p.m. the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.
    When Bill C-3 returns to the House there will be four minutes left for the hon. the parliamentary secretary, in addition to ten minutes of questions and comments.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[Translation]

Canada Evidence Act

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I believe this is the second time that I have the honour of addressing the Chair regarding this bill. It is because of the parliamentary recess and prorogation that I have an additional hour of debate. However, I do feel the need to summarize what I said when the bill was introduced for the first time. Following this new process, many people may think, when they read Hansard, that this legislation is being debated for the first time. So, this is an opportunity for me to respond to a few questions, and even to some criticism that I have heard since the introduction of this bill.
    It is true that I have been interested in this issue for a least some 30 years, perhaps even longer—since 1968, in fact. I remember that, at the time—this was before the Charter—we were hoping for legislation to deal with what this bill is addressing. The Charter allowed us to make some progress, but not enough. I find it deplorable that the journalistic practice that I want to protect with this legislation has not been better protected here, even though it has been protected to some extent by the Supreme Court of Canada. The fact is that a very large number of countries in the world, which abide by the same principle of press freedom, have passed laws to ensure such protection.
    It is important to first understand this: I am not asking that privilege be bestowed upon journalists. What I am asking for is what the bill would establish: protection for these individuals who we have to recognize have the courage to expose scandals, instances of misappropriation or fraud, and who might face reprisals, should their identity be revealed. The risks they face can run high, depending on the organizations they go after, for example when there is fraud within major organizations.
    We are talking about a journalistic practice that has developed over the past 50 years and which is generally recognized as a good thing in our societies. In fact, these individuals who become aware of situations where funds are misappropriated take this information to a journalist. In return, the journalist offers confidentiality, promising never to disclose their name without their consent. That journalistic activity is what this bill seeks to protect.
    Usually, journalists look into the matter brought to their attention. They are guided in their investigation by this confidential source, but do not reveal the scandal until the facts can be independently confirmed and they believe it is in the public interest to make the misappropriation known.
    The first part of the legislation would enshrine this journalistic practice whereby a journalist may promise his sources that they will remain anonymous for as long as they see fit or fear reprisals.
    I also want to protect the practice of journalism. I might add that journalists should not be regarded as auxiliary police, as Supreme Court judges have pointed out in R. v. Lessard.
    There are therefore five major provisions in this bill. The first one provides for the protection of journalistic sources, as set out in subclauses 3 to 6, the first two subclauses dealing with definitions and application respectively. As for subclause 7, it provides for something special: lesser but nevertheless very significant protection for unpublished journalistic material.

  (1335)  

    The objective here is that journalists not be perceived by the public as aiding the police. Usually out of laziness, the police want to give journalists information that they themselves have decided not to release. This is especially true in the case of demonstrations or strikes that turn bad.
    The third part refers to issuing search warrants, the conditions for such warrants and conducting the search. Finally, subclause 11 provides a simple way of publishing information under the Canada Evidence Act. It seems to me that there is no need to require someone to appear. A publication is a publication. All someone would have to do to prove that something has been published is produce the publication.
    As with any right or duty we want to grant or any value we want to protect, we have to think about other values that may conflict with those we want to protect. Certainly, nearly all the members of this House recognize that the journalistic practice of protecting confidential sources has made it possible to shed light on serious misdoings.
    History is filled with such cases, the most famous being Watergate, the Enron scandal and even the sponsorship scandal. In my opinion, confidential sources will likely be increasingly necessary and common as companies secretly try to circumvent environmental protection rules, for example. A journalist would need to be pointed in the right direction in such a case. Here again, journalists will always have to base what they write on evidence they have obtained independently, or else pay damages in case of libel. Their papers will have to pay as well, which is why newspapers are fairly cautious in using this journalistic practice. Our intent is not to create a licence to commit hidden libel.
    Since we are talking about a social value and not a privilege given to a certain category of people, the bill provides that judges themselves may raise the issue if they see that there is a problem of a confidential source. Judges may—I am not saying they must—raise the issue and ask the lawyers for their opinion. In this way, judges can protect the source against a negligent journalist who promised to protect a source but did not take steps to do so or no longer objects to the source's identity being revealed. Because the bill aims to protect the source, judges may raise this issue on their own initiative.
    This tool is well defined in clause 5. A judge can weigh the values that may lead to contradictory decisions.
    I was asked what judge this refers to. If we understand the section well, it means the judge before whom the journalist testifies or a judge who is asked to order the journalist to disclose their sources. This can mean a number of different types of judges who preside over criminal or civil courts, or even a federal court, as is currently the case. The judge could nonetheless order this disclosure, but only if the judge considers it to be in the public interest or if the following conditions are met.

  (1340)  

    The person has done everything in their power to discover the source of the information and the disclosure is in the public interest, having regard to the outcome of the litigation—that which is at stake—the freedom of information, and the impact of the journalist’s testimony on the source. Obviously, they will assess whether the source did indeed tell the truth or not and whether they committed a crime or not. It is still quite possible to have cases on this issue.
    As far as clause 7 is concerned, perhaps because it is short, some people did not exactly understand the significance of it. This is the third part of the legislation I am proposing.The purpose of this clause is to protect a journalist's information, namely unused footage for television. Journalists must not be perceived as auxiliary police, as an easy place to go to for evidence of wrongdoing during a demonstration, for example. That was the context of most of the cases I dealt with in my career as a pro bono legal advisor.
    The courts have been very clear about their reasons for accepting such a thing. For example, Justice La Forest, in Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Lessard, said:
    Freedom of the press is vital to a free society and comprises the right to disseminate news, information and beliefs. The gathering of information could in many circumstances be seriously inhibited, if government had too ready access to information in the hands of the media. The press should not be turned into an investigative arm of the police. Thus, the fear that the police can easily gain access to a reporter's notes could well hamper the ability of the press to gather information.
    Clause 7 seeks to protect that freedom. It sets out the exceptional situations in which it might apply.
    The rest of the bill, except for the last subsection, deals with search warrants. I have basically summarized existing case law, which is much clearer on this issue than on the first one my bill addresses. I have explained all of this in detail before, and people can review the record.
    I also want to point out that this principle has been recognized in most European countries. It has been recognized in 32 of the United States through legislation and in 18 others through case law. There is one major exception in the United States: the principle is not recognized in federal legislation, but it is widely recognized elsewhere.
    In Sweden, the principle was considered so important that it was enshrined in the Swedish constitution. England does not have laws to protect journalists, but the European Court of Human Rights overturned the conviction of a journalist who refused to reveal a source he had promised to keep anonymous.
    It is clear that this journalistic practice is widely recognized in the civilized world. The principle is recognized in Canada, but I think that it now makes sense to enshrine it in law to simplify things and to guide the people involved, such as police officers, journalists and justices of the peace who issue warrants.
    The courts will decide whether this complies with the charter or not. The charter recognizes basic rights, but in a society like ours, people have much more than basic rights. It makes sense to define those rights in relation to the charter, of course, but sometimes we need to go beyond the charter. Parliament must step up to the plate and must not leave the toughest problems to the judges.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, certain provisions of Bill C-426 are of concern. For example, the definition of “journalist” is so vague that it could include occasional bloggers. Does my dear colleague and member really wish to adopt a provision that would complicate the work of parties that wish to obtain information from bloggers?
     Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I had also spoken about bloggers. Even though I use computers, I am not a computer geek.
    That depends. I established a fairly broad definition that can be adapted to new technologies. That is why we do not refer to the type of media but rather to the activity of a journalist. In this regard, my colleagues will certainly agree with me that this definition fully covers the journalistic activity and that the journalist is the individual who carries out this activity. A journalist is a person who contributes regularly and directly to the gathering, writing, production or dissemination of information for the public through any media.
    I could have easily answered that we are not talking about the occasional blogger. However, out of respect for the member and the question he posed, it could cover the evolution of journalism towards electronic newspapers. In my opinion, that is important.
    I would also have expected my colleague to have asked a question regarding “anyone who assists such a person”. This part—“anyone who assists such a person”—concerns the application of this section. You must realize that it is the source we wish to protect and not the journalist.
    In other countries where the law has granted this protection to the source, police officers have questioned housekeepers, printers and other persons. That is why it was necessary to insert “anyone who assists such a person” in the legislation. It goes without saying that it is in the context of the preceding definition.
    I would like to add something else before answering another question: it must be understood that it is difficult to craft a perfect law from the outset. During the session, the government showed us how difficult that can be. There is every advantage to having a committee examine this matter and make the necessary amendments.

  (1350)  

[English]

    The hon. member for Etobicoke North will want to keep an eye on the Chair because there is very little time left for the next question.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for introducing this bill for debate in the House. The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin has extensive experience in public safety.

[English]

     I understand what he is trying to accomplish and I think I am generally in agreement.
    When it comes to matters of national security and there is someone in the Department of National Defence or the Department of Foreign Affairs who reveals something that is clearly a matter of national security or a threat to national security, I am wondering if the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin could comment on what sort of protections would be available or would not be available in circumstances like that.

[Translation]

    The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin has 50 seconds to respond.
    Mr. Speaker, I addressed that in subclause 5.
    Let us put ourselves in the position of the judge applying the criteria I am suggesting. First of all, what is required? It depends on the circumstances. It could be the outcome of the litigation or it could be a libel suit against a third party.
    I do not think that some who commits libel or tries to manipulate the media deserves protection. In examining the criteria set out in subclause 5, we can see that the judge would conclude that he must order that the source be disclosed. However, if we are not sure, we could always make amendments in committee to be certain.
    This bill includes three key measures: it protects the confidentiality of journalistic sources, it protects the unpublished information that a journalist may have, and it sets additional requirements for the issuance of a warrant to search media facilities.
    There is probably not a single Canadian who would question a statement to the effect that freedom of information and freedom of the press are two pillars of a free and democratic society. Indeed, paragraph 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically provides a constitutional guarantee whereby everyone has fundamental freedoms, namely freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
    However, I wish to point out with all due respect that protecting freedom of the press is not the issue here. Rather, we must determine whether the provisions of Bill C-426 improve existing legislation and allow us to ensure a fair balance between the interests of the state, when it investigates crimes and prosecutes criminals, and the public interest that consists in protecting journalists who are seeking the truth from state intervention.
    I commend the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin for trying to include in legislation protections offered in common law for journalistic activities. I know he has been studying this issue for a long time. Nonetheless, this area of law is very complex and it is extremely difficult to formulate legal provisions that cover all relevant considerations.
    I feel it is important to remember that the general rule in penal law and civil law is that all information that concerns a trial is admissible. Confidential information is an exception to this general rule.
    The law of privilege has over time become a means for protecting individual relationships that are essential for the administration of justice or for society in general. Solicitor-client privilege, police informer privilege and spousal privilege are well-known examples.
    It is important to realize that privilege in effect denies both the state and the parties involved in the case, including defence lawyers in a criminal trial, access to information that could be quite useful. A change to the law of privilege, and even an attempt to include in legislation what already exists in common law, could have far reaching repercussions on the administration of justice and on the public's confidence in the justice system as a whole.
    There are provisions in Bill C-426 that raise concerns. For instance, the definition of journalist is so broad that it could include occasional bloggers. Do the members of this House really want to have a provision that will make it harder for those who want to obtain relevant information from bloggers?
    Other provisions of Bill C-426 pose serious strategic problems. For example, Bill C-426 says that the provisions designed to protect journalists take precedence over any other federal legislation. This means that a journalist who has information pertaining to national security could use the provisions in this bill to make it very difficult for government to have access to this information, if and when necessary. Given that the word “information” used in the bill has not been defined, it is not limited to information gathered or disseminated for journalistic purposes.

  (1355)  

    I raise these concerns to show how difficult it is to entrench in law notions that already exist in common law, and to emphasize the very important strategic and operational issues raised by this bill.
    I urge hon. members to defer consideration of Bill C-426. It would be in the public interest that the very important subject of journalistic privilege, and all its implications for the justice system, be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for an in-depth review. Such a review would give the hon. members an opportunity to hear the experts and give careful consideration to all the important issues related to journalistic privilege, a number of which are beyond the scope of Bill C-426.
    I thank hon. members for this opportunity to speak on this very important issue.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, like my Bloc colleague across the way, the mover of the bill, I am very pleased to join in this debate and speak on Bill C-426, which is, as we have heard, an act to amend the Canada Evidence Act.
    The substance of this bill is the protection of the confidentiality of journalistic sources. It would, in short, allow journalists to refuse to disclose information or a record which has not been published unless that information or that record is of vital importance and could not otherwise be produced in evidence in any other fashion.
    The bill, as I read it, would also stipulate conditions which must be met or complied with before a judge issues a search warrant to obtain information or records in the exclusive possession of a journalist.
    The bill would also allow journalists to refuse to disclose the source of the information which they gather, write, produce or otherwise disseminate to the public through any media and to further refuse to disclose any information or document that could identify a source or sources.
    However, a judge would have at his or her discretion the authority to order a journalist to disclose the source of the information if that judge considered the information or the data to be in the greater interest of the public.
    I am inclined to vote in favour of the bill at least going to committee stage, with the expectation that the committee members would see fit to amend the bill when they scrutinize it.
    There have been various court decisions on this topic. Generally, Canadian courts have followed the ruling in a decision from Great Britain, cited as Attorney-General v. Mulholland. The nub of that decision is that journalists should only be required to reveal information received from a source in confidence when it can be demonstrated that the information is relevant and necessary in order for the case to be resolved.
    Closer to home, one of the best known cases on the issue of journalistic freedom is the case involving the Ottawa Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill. Members of the House will recall that Ms. O'Neill, a journalist writing for the Ottawa Citizen, wrote an article on November 8, 2003 about Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian citizen whom American authorities arrested and wrongly deported to Syria.
    In January 2004, some several weeks after her article, the RCMP obtained two search warrants to search Ms. O'Neill's home, as well as her office at the Ottawa Citizen. The warrants were issued by a justice of the peace in support of a criminal investigation into alleged violations of the Security of Information Act.
    The searches of Ms. O'Neill's residence and office took place on January 21, 2004, and resulted in the seizure of certain documents and certain computer information. Needless to say, Ms. O'Neill did not agree to the searches taking place either at her home or at her office.
    The matter found its way to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and an extensive hearing over several days took place in the late summer and early fall of 2006. The Superior Court Justice struck down various subsections of the Security of Information Act, ruling that the subsections violated both section 7 and section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We know that section 7 in particular deals with “the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived” of those rights “except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”.

  (1400)  

    In commenting on the subsections of the Security of Information Act, the justice held that the subsections were overly broad, arbitrary, vague, and gave the government an unfettered ability to protect whatever information it chose to classify as unauthorized for disclosure and to punish any violation by way of a criminal offence. In short, the justice ruled that the subsections were of no force and effect.
    After the decision of the court, the federal government announced that it would not appeal the decision and that it would consider its options. In February 2007, the special Senate committee on the Anti-terrorism Act released a report recommending that the Security of Information Act be amended to narrow the scope of information for which disclosure is an offence.
    As always, the issue is the proper balance to be struck between the public's right to know, broadly speaking, and the interest of the public with respect to security matters. Clearly, it is essential for the government to be able to prevent or deter the release of certain types of data in the interests of national security and that deterrence can and should include the imposition of criminal sanctions. But public discourse is a vital part of any democracy, as was expressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996, and I quote:
    The freedom of individuals to discuss information about the institutions of government, their policies and practices, is crucial to any notion of democratic rule. The liberty to criticize and express dissenting views has long been thought to be a safeguard against state tyranny and corruption.
    As the well-known French author, Albert Camus, said, “A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad”.
    In my view, Bill C-426 moves us further along with respect to the proper balance to be struck between journalistic freedom on the one hand, and the disclosure of information which is of critical importance and cannot be produced by any other means on the other hand.
    Like the member opposite who spoke prior to me, amendments that I would like to see introduced at committee stage include a tighter or better definition of “journalist”. The definition of “journalist” as presently written in the bill is too broad and would undoubtedly be problematic. It is peculiar, however, that currently no federal or provincial legislation appears to define the term “journalist” nor does Canadian case law provide a consistent definition. Ideally, the committee will see fit to recommend an improved definition of the term “journalist”.
    There are also a number of instances where the English wording of parts of the bill is weaker than the French wording. This situation can also be remedied through amendments at the committee stage.
    Simply put, my inclination is to support the bill proceeding to committee in the hope and expectation that amendments will be made at that stage.

  (1405)  

    Mr. Speaker, I support and speak in favour of this bill, along with my party.
    Many things that have been discussed and put forward in support of this bill, but some of those ideas and concepts bear repeating. I hope to touch on a couple of other facets of the bill that are worthy of underlining.
    I will say at the beginning that we do support this bill and, if there are ways to improve it, it will be done at committee.
    One of the things that is most disturbing in any democracy is any attempt to close off or shut down the freedom of the press. Members will know of the most recent events around the world where the rights of the press have been suppressed. I think of the recent situation that we are watching with great unease in Burma. When we look at the freedom of the press, which seems to be challenged around the world these days, and certainly this has been documented, journalists are having a harder time doing their jobs.
    Many of us in this place from time to time might disagree with how journalists contemplate or exercise that freedom but no one in this place would be in any way critical of their right to have an opinion and to ensure it is unfettered, with some obvious qualifications and responsibilities.
    I say that in general because this is too important an issue to play partisan politics with. This is a foundation of our democracy, that is, the freedom of the press and the freedom of those who are practitioners in the fourth estate, to ensure they are able to do their jobs without the state interfering unnecessarily.
    Therefore, the bill in front of us is critical. What is being attempted here meets the nod test from us but we need to ensure there is more clarity for judges, that there are cleaner and clearer guidelines for judges.
    We have mentioned the case of Juliet O'Neill from the Ottawa Citizen. Many of us, not only in my home town here in Ottawa, were aghast at what happened in that case. I think people right across the country and indeed those who were following the story internationally, were surprised, saddened and very concerned that this could happen.
    If we look at what journalists' responsibilities are, they have many, but they have a responsibility to protect sources at times. We see this not only in the field of journalism but in the field of litigation. We see it with lawyers and with doctors. We actually see it with those who are from faith communities, that there is some delegation of trust. I think most people understand that there is an understanding and a responsibility of confidentiality.
    What is the responsibility of confidentiality, in this case of journalists, and the role of the state for reasons of national security? How are those two things dealt with? How do we navigate those waters?
    The bill sets out to lay down some criteria that is important. A colleague from the Bloc has already spoken about this. The first couple of paragraphs of the bill are more or less descriptive and then we get into the meat of it, particularly when we get into section four, and that is the power of the judge. Judges may, on their own initiative, raise the potential application of subsection three and ask the prosecution and the defence and any other party to present an opinion on the matter. I think that gets things going.
    Then we get to subsection five, which reads:
    A judge may not order a journalist to disclose to a person the source of any information that the journalist has gathered, written, produced or disseminated for the public through any media, unless the judge considers....

  (1410)  

    There is where we get the required clarity, the clarity that was required certainly in the case of Juliet O'Neill and other cases. We see from today's Quorum that some La Presse journalists are being challenged in this very area. I cannot get into the details of the case, nor will I, because it is being debated now, but I will just point to the fact that this is an ongoing concern. Certainly it does not just affect journalists like Juliet O'Neill, but at present also some journalists at La Presse.
    It means that this sequence of events where the judge must follow the laid-out criteria is what has been missing. Again, if there are other facets that need to be dealt with at committee, then so be it.
    Proposed subsection 39.1(7) regarding disclosure states:
    A journalist is required to disclose information or a record that has not been published only if the information or record is of vital importance and cannot be produced in evidence by any other means.
    That is another important facet that had not been addressed. When we move on to proposed subsection 39.1(8) about search warrants, that certainly was a cause of concern before. It deals with the Criminal Code and talks about the criteria and the further clarity required.
    In essence, the bill is trying to fine-tune the debate we have had since freedom of the press has existed, and that is the time honoured tradition of those who are in the fourth estate being able to practise their trade on the one hand and on the other hand to make sure that if there are issues of national security, they have worthy protection, as well.
    Because of the times in which we are living, it is of absolute critical importance that a balance be struck, and that the clarity that is needed for judges be provided. I say that because of some other considerations we will have before the House, in particular, Bill C-3, which was tabled today.
    We have had concerns about how we deal with border security, as recently as yesterday when a retired colonel from the American military was not allowed into our country because of being on an FBI watch list.
    Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are critical in the atmosphere in which we are living. They are the foundation of our democracy. If we are not able to find the balance now, we will regret it later. If journalists are not able to protect their sources, we know what will happen. We have seen it around the world and in history. People will no longer come forward. It would not only affect members of Parliament in not being able to find critical analysis because information would not be shared, but citizens in general would not have the information they need to hold institutions to account.
    I will end my comments with the plea that we need to follow up on this bill quickly. We need to support it in a non-partisan fashion because it is so important that all those in the business of journalism be able to practise their profession without any fear.
    We hope that the government will come forward on one other aspect that needs tweaking, and that is on freedom of information. The government promised after the passing of Bill C-2, the accountability act, that it would act on that. It is one thing to protect sources, but it is another thing to have access and a window to the business that government does.

  (1415)  

    While we need speedy passage of this bill, which is something we support, we also look forward to and hope that the government will fulfill its promise to bring forward changes to the freedom of information act. Until that time, we know that it will be difficult for journalists not only to ply their trade, but to have a clear window on what government is doing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this important bill. I wish to congratulate my Bloc Québécois colleague, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, who initiated this bill. One need only read it to realize that my colleague has been able to distill hundreds, even thousands, of pages of jurisprudence and case law into a few clauses. For that is the issue.
    Bill C-426 does not grant a privilege to journalists, nor to the media. The bill, and particularly the section dealing with searches, protects journalistic activity. It clarifies and protects the most noble elements of journalistic activity, freedom of speech and the public's right to information, conditions which are essential for democracy.
    In cases of wrongdoing or in any other action that causes harm or injustice, it is normal that a citizen who understands these values would be tempted to alert the public and thus help identify and denounce the errors committed. Do we really believe that a citizen will feel like doing so if he or she thinks there may be reprisals?
    However, if the justice system can count on clear legislation such as BIll C-426, a citizen who witnesses a fraudulent act or one that harms someone will feel comfortable informing the public through a journalist, in an attempt to improve our society. Similarly, journalists will feel comfortable publishing this information if the conditions allowing them to protect their sources are clearly set out in the legislation. Society can only benefit.
    In September 2005, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec took a stand on the matter by publishing a report entitled “Protection des sources et du matériel journalistique”. The report was written by Marie-Claude Pednault and is available in French on that organization's Web site. I invite all my colleagues in the House to read it. I would like to quote part of that report.
    In January 2004, in R v. The National Post, Justice Mary Lou Benotto of the Superior Court of Ontario pointed out that the evidence heard demonstrates that the use of anonymous sources is crucial to uncovering and reporting information of interest to the public. According to the judge, forcing a journalist to break a promise to not disclose the name of a source would cause considerable harm to the public's right to information. Justice Benotto referred to a very interesting comparison made the House of Lords in Britain: if the identity of police informers could be revealed in a court room, police informers would stop informing, and the police would be very limited in their duty to prevent and solve crimes. To force journalists to reveal their sources could have similar repercussions on the freedom of the press.
    Closer to home, in the Supreme Court of Canada ruling Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Lessard, Justice La Forest wrote:
    I have little doubt, too, that the gathering of information could in many circumstances be seriously inhibited if government had too ready access to information in the hands of the media. That someone might be deterred from providing information to a journalist because his or her identity could be revealed seems to me to be self-evident.
    As the judges I quoted—and I could have quoted more—so clearly expressed, if society wants to shed some light on many crimes and injustices, it has no choice but to ensure its citizens anonymity in the disclosure of certain information.

  (1420)  

    Anonymity is fundamental to the activities of a number of organizations that protect the public and fight crime, such as RECOL, a system for reporting economic crime in Canada, InfoCrime Québec and Quebec's youth protection branch, which receives reports of child abuse, violence and negligence.
    Protecting sources of information in the case of tips or journalism is vital in societies that value public safety, but also in societies that fight abuse and injustice. Consequently, can this House afford not to pass Bill C-426, given how clear and relevant it is? I do not think so.
    It would not be the first time a country has passed legislation enabling journalists to protect their sources. In her 2005 report, Ms. Pednault says that legislation to protect journalists has been passed in 31 American states and the District of Columbia.
    In Sweden, protection of journalists in both the print and electronic media is enshrined in the constitution. The Swedes are so convinced of the importance of protecting journalistic sources that a journalist who reveals the identity of a source can face criminal prosecution.
    Protecting sources is not the only important consideration when it comes to freedom of expression and information. It is just as important that the public sees the media as independent from the government and its public safety agencies.
    Media credibility is crucial to the public's perception of what they see in the media. Under Communist rule in the former USSR, if Pravda, the official government newspaper, reported that the potatoes were excellent that year, people would stop buying them. I am joking, but you can see that this is not so far from reality. On issues such as the neutrality of journalistic information, the smallest suspicion creates doubt in people's minds. We who work in politics understand this all too well.
    Now, after having explained why I think Bill C-426 is so important and so relevant, I want to emphasize one final, essential aspect of the bill.
    Although the bill clearly defines the conditions with respect to disclosure of sources, disclosure of unpublished documents, warrants for documents and the publication of information following a warrant, it maintains the judge's right to apply the subsection that recognizes a journalist's right not to reveal a source except under the conditions set out in the bill. In such cases, the judge must ask the prosecution, the defence and any other party to the cause to submit their opinions on the matter.
    That way, the judge can protect a source known to a journalist as defined by the bill who does not have sufficient resources to make full answer and defence. I appreciate my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin's experience and rigour, which minimized the loopholes that could have undermined the protection provided by the law. This is very important because it shows, once again, that the purpose of the bill is to provide a legal framework that is both effective and useful.

  (1425)  

    I have just one more point I would like to raise about—
    Unfortunately, I must interrupt the hon. member.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Cambridge.

[English]

    The hon. member for Cambridge knows that he has 10 minutes of which there are 3 today.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in what time is left to speak to Bill C-426.
    I know the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin is a respected criminal law lawyer who has had a long-standing interest in protecting journalistic activity. I expect that one of the purposes of the bill is to codify or cement current conditions and current common law protection to ensure they are not eroded either through legislation before us or perhaps by subsequent case law.
    I agree with the hon. member that there is a very important public interest in ensuring that journalists are free to pursue truth, to expose wrongdoings, to look into avenues and to keep public officials accountable. There is also an extremely important public interest in pursuing truth in another arena, and that is in the context of legal proceedings, especially criminal trials where the innocence and liberties of a person are at stake.
    There is thus the potential for the pursuit of truth by the journalistic context to clash with the pursuit of truth at trial. The courts have tried to address this tension. They have done so by applying a sophisticated balancing test between protection of freedom of the press and the state's interest in the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity.
    The issue before us is not the importance of journalistic activity in their pursuit of truth. Rather the issue is whether the provisions of Bill C-426 bring greater clarity to the law without unduly compromising the pursuit of truth in civil and criminal proceedings. Therein lies my concern with Bill C-426. I do not feel it does address the serious operational and policy problems.
    For example, the reality is that search warrant provisions, which are already contained in the Criminal Code, are an extremely important tool in the investigation of crime. By attempting to shift these provisions into the Canada Evidence Act instead, a serious flaw would be created by the bill not clarifying the current law.
    Clearly it is beyond the scope of Bill C-426 to consider amendments to the Criminal Code to modify search warrant—

  (1430)  

    The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.
    When the bill returns to the House, there will be seven minutes left for the hon. member for Cambridge.

[Translation]

    It being 2:30 p.m., the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. The House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
     (The House adjourned at 2:31 p.m.)

APPENDIX

Alphabetical List of Members with their
Constituencies, Province of Constituency
and Political Affiliations;
Committees of the House,
the Ministry and Parliamentary Secretary


Chair Occupants

 

The Speaker

Hon. Peter Milliken

 

The Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole

Hon. Bill Blaikie

 

The Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Royal Galipeau

 

The Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Andrew Scheer

 


Board Of Internal Economy

Hon. Peter Milliken

Ms. Libby Davies

Mr. Michel Guimond

Hon. Jay Hill

Mr. Michael Ignatieff

Mr. James Moore

Mr. Joe Preston

Hon. Karen Redman

Hon. Peter Van Loan


Alphabetical list of Members of the House of Commons

Second Session--Thirty Nine Parliament

Name of Member Constituency Province of Constituency Political Affiliation
Abbott, Hon. Jim, Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage Kootenay—Columbia British Columbia CPC
Ablonczy, Hon. Diane, Secretary of State (Small Business and Tourism) Calgary—Nose Hill Alberta CPC
Albrecht, Harold Kitchener—Conestoga Ontario CPC
Alghabra, Omar Mississauga—Erindale Ontario Lib.
Allen, Mike Tobique—Mactaquac New Brunswick CPC
Allison, Dean Niagara West—Glanbrook Ontario CPC
Ambrose, Hon. Rona, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta CPC
Anders, Rob Calgary West Alberta CPC
Anderson, David, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan CPC
André, Guy Berthier—Maskinongé Québec BQ
Angus, Charlie Timmins—James Bay Ontario NDP
Arthur, André Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier Québec Ind.
Asselin, Gérard Manicouagan Québec BQ
Atamanenko, Alex British Columbia Southern Interior British Columbia NDP
Bachand, Claude Saint-Jean Québec BQ
Bagnell, Hon. Larry Yukon Yukon Lib.
Bains, Hon. Navdeep Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario Lib.
Baird, Hon. John, Minister of the Environment Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario CPC
Barbot, Vivian Papineau Québec BQ
Barnes, Hon. Sue London West Ontario Lib.
Batters, Dave Palliser Saskatchewan CPC
Beaumier, Colleen Brampton West Ontario Lib.
Bélanger, Hon. Mauril Ottawa—Vanier Ontario Lib.
Bell, Catherine Vancouver Island North British Columbia NDP
Bell, Don North Vancouver British Columbia Lib.
Bellavance, André Richmond—Arthabaska Québec BQ
Bennett, Hon. Carolyn St. Paul's Ontario Lib.
Benoit, Leon Vegreville—Wainwright Alberta CPC
Bernier, Hon. Maxime, Minister of Foreign Affairs Beauce Québec CPC
Bevilacqua, Hon. Maurizio Vaughan Ontario Lib.
Bevington, Dennis Western Arctic Northwest Territories NDP
Bezan, James Selkirk—Interlake Manitoba CPC
Bigras, Bernard Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie Québec BQ
Black, Dawn New Westminster—Coquitlam British Columbia NDP
Blackburn, Hon. Jean-Pierre, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Jonquière—Alma Québec CPC
Blaikie, Hon. Bill, The Deputy Speaker Elmwood—Transcona Manitoba NDP
Blais, Raynald Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec BQ
Blaney, Steven Lévis—Bellechasse Québec CPC
Bonin, Raymond Nickel Belt Ontario Lib.
Bonsant, France Compton—Stanstead Québec BQ
Boshcoff, Ken Thunder Bay—Rainy River Ontario Lib.
Bouchard, Robert Chicoutimi—Le Fjord Québec BQ
Boucher, Sylvie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Status of Women Beauport—Limoilou Québec CPC
Bourgeois, Diane Terrebonne—Blainville Québec BQ
Breitkreuz, Garry Yorkton—Melville Saskatchewan CPC
Brison, Hon. Scott Kings—Hants Nova Scotia Lib.
Brown, Bonnie Oakville Ontario Lib.
Brown, Gord Leeds—Grenville Ontario CPC
Brown, Patrick Barrie Ontario CPC
Bruinooge, Rod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Winnipeg South Manitoba CPC
Brunelle, Paule Trois-Rivières Québec BQ
Byrne, Hon. Gerry Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Calkins, Blaine Wetaskiwin Alberta CPC
Cannan, Ron Kelowna—Lake Country British Columbia CPC
Cannis, John Scarborough Centre Ontario Lib.
Cannon, Hon. Lawrence, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Pontiac Québec CPC
Cardin, Serge Sherbrooke Québec BQ
Carrie, Colin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry Oshawa Ontario CPC
Carrier, Robert Alfred-Pellan Québec BQ
Casey, Bill Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia Ind.
Casson, Rick Lethbridge Alberta CPC
Chamberlain, Hon. Brenda Guelph Ontario Lib.
Chan, Hon. Raymond Richmond British Columbia Lib.
Charlton, Chris Hamilton Mountain Ontario NDP
Chong, Hon. Michael Wellington—Halton Hills Ontario CPC
Chow, Olivia Trinity—Spadina Ontario NDP
Christopherson, David Hamilton Centre Ontario NDP
Clement, Hon. Tony, Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario CPC
Coderre, Hon. Denis Bourassa Québec Lib.
Comartin, Joe Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario NDP
Comuzzi, Hon. Joe Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario CPC
Cotler, Hon. Irwin Mount Royal Québec Lib.
Crête, Paul Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup Québec BQ
Crowder, Jean Nanaimo—Cowichan British Columbia NDP
Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley British Columbia NDP
Cullen, Hon. Roy Etobicoke North Ontario Lib.
Cummins, John Delta—Richmond East British Columbia CPC
Cuzner, Rodger Cape Breton—Canso Nova Scotia Lib.
D'Amours, Jean-Claude Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick Lib.
Davidson, Patricia Sarnia—Lambton Ontario CPC
Davies, Libby Vancouver East British Columbia NDP
Day, Hon. Stockwell, Minister of Public Safety Okanagan—Coquihalla British Columbia CPC
DeBellefeuille, Claude Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec BQ
Del Mastro, Dean Peterborough Ontario CPC
Demers, Nicole Laval Québec BQ
Deschamps, Johanne Laurentides—Labelle Québec BQ
Devolin, Barry Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock Ontario CPC
Dewar, Paul Ottawa Centre Ontario NDP
Dhaliwal, Sukh Newton—North Delta British Columbia Lib.
Dhalla, Ruby Brampton—Springdale Ontario Lib.
Dion, Hon. Stéphane, Leader of the Opposition Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec Lib.
Dosanjh, Hon. Ujjal Vancouver South British Columbia Lib.
Doyle, Norman St. John's East Newfoundland and Labrador CPC
Dryden, Hon. Ken York Centre Ontario Lib.
Duceppe, Gilles Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec BQ
Dykstra, Rick St. Catharines Ontario CPC
Easter, Hon. Wayne Malpeque Prince Edward Island Lib.
Emerson, Hon. David, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics Vancouver Kingsway British Columbia CPC
Epp, Ken Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta CPC
Eyking, Hon. Mark Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia Lib.
Faille, Meili Vaudreuil-Soulanges Québec BQ
Fast, Ed Abbotsford British Columbia CPC
Finley, Hon. Diane, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario CPC
Fitzpatrick, Brian Prince Albert Saskatchewan CPC
Flaherty, Hon. Jim, Minister of Finance Whitby—Oshawa Ontario CPC
Fletcher, Steven, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba CPC
Folco, Raymonde Laval—Les Îles Québec Lib.
Freeman, Carole Châteauguay—Saint-Constant Québec BQ
Fry, Hon. Hedy Vancouver Centre British Columbia Lib.
Gagnon, Christiane Québec Québec BQ
Galipeau, Royal, The Acting Speaker Ottawa—Orléans Ontario CPC
Gallant, Cheryl Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke Ontario CPC
Gaudet, Roger Montcalm Québec BQ
Godfrey, Hon. John Don Valley West Ontario Lib.
Godin, Yvon Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick NDP
Goldring, Peter Edmonton East Alberta CPC
Goodale, Hon. Ralph, Wascana Wascana Saskatchewan Lib.
Goodyear, Gary Cambridge Ontario CPC
Gourde, Jacques, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec CPC
Gravel, Raymond Repentigny Québec BQ
Grewal, Nina Fleetwood—Port Kells British Columbia CPC
Guarnieri, Hon. Albina Mississauga East—Cooksville Ontario Lib.
Guay, Monique Rivière-du-Nord Québec BQ
Guergis, Hon. Helena, Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport) Simcoe—Grey Ontario CPC
Guimond, Michel Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord Québec BQ
Hanger, Art Calgary Northeast Alberta CPC
Harper, Right Hon. Stephen, Prime Minister Calgary Southwest Alberta CPC
Harris, Richard Cariboo—Prince George British Columbia CPC
Harvey, Luc Louis-Hébert Québec CPC
Hawn, Laurie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Edmonton Centre Alberta CPC
Hearn, Hon. Loyola, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland and Labrador CPC
Hiebert, Russ, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale British Columbia CPC
Hill, Hon. Jay, Secretary of State and Chief Government Whip Prince George—Peace River British Columbia CPC
Hinton, Betty, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo British Columbia CPC
Holland, Mark Ajax—Pickering Ontario Lib.
Hubbard, Hon. Charles Miramichi New Brunswick Lib.
Ignatieff, Michael Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario Lib.
Jaffer, Rahim Edmonton—Strathcona Alberta CPC
Jean, Brian, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta CPC
Jennings, Hon. Marlene Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec Lib.
Julian, Peter Burnaby—New Westminster British Columbia NDP
Kadis, Susan Thornhill Ontario Lib.
Kamp, Randy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission British Columbia CPC
Karetak-Lindell, Nancy Nunavut Nunavut Lib.
Karygiannis, Hon. Jim Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario Lib.
Keddy, Gerald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia CPC
Keeper, Tina Churchill Manitoba Lib.
Kenney, Hon. Jason, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) Calgary Southeast Alberta CPC
Khan, Wajid Mississauga—Streetsville Ontario CPC
Komarnicki, Ed, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan CPC
Kotto, Maka Saint-Lambert Québec BQ
Kramp, Daryl Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario CPC
Laforest, Jean-Yves Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec BQ
Laframboise, Mario Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel Québec BQ
Lake, Mike Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta CPC
Lalonde, Francine La Pointe-de-l'Île Québec BQ
Lauzon, Guy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry Ontario CPC
Lavallée, Carole Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert Québec BQ
Layton, Hon. Jack Toronto—Danforth Ontario NDP
Lebel, Denis Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec CPC
LeBlanc, Hon. Dominic Beauséjour New Brunswick Lib.
Lee, Derek Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario Lib.
Lemay, Marc Abitibi—Témiscamingue Québec BQ
Lemieux, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary for Official Languages Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario CPC
Lessard, Yves Chambly—Borduas Québec BQ
Lévesque, Yvon Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou Québec BQ
Lukiwski, Tom, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan CPC
Lunn, Hon. Gary, Minister of Natural Resources Saanich—Gulf Islands British Columbia CPC
Lunney, James Nanaimo—Alberni British Columbia CPC
Lussier, Marcel Brossard—La Prairie Québec BQ
MacAulay, Hon. Lawrence Cardigan Prince Edward Island Lib.
MacKay, Hon. Peter, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Central Nova Nova Scotia CPC
MacKenzie, Dave, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Oxford Ontario CPC
Malhi, Hon. Gurbax Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario Lib.
Malo, Luc Verchères—Les Patriotes Québec BQ
Maloney, John Welland Ontario Lib.
Manning, Fabian Avalon Newfoundland and Labrador CPC
Mark, Inky Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette Manitoba CPC
Marleau, Hon. Diane Sudbury Ontario Lib.
Marston, Wayne Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario NDP
Martin, Hon. Keith Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca British Columbia Lib.
Martin, Pat Winnipeg Centre Manitoba NDP
Martin, Right Hon. Paul LaSalle—Émard Québec Lib.
Martin, Tony Sault Ste. Marie Ontario NDP
Masse, Brian Windsor West Ontario NDP
Mathyssen, Irene London—Fanshawe Ontario NDP
Matthews, Bill Random—Burin—St. George's Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Mayes, Colin Okanagan—Shuswap British Columbia CPC
McCallum, Hon. John Markham—Unionville Ontario Lib.
McDonough, Alexa Halifax Nova Scotia NDP
McGuinty, David Ottawa South Ontario Lib.
McGuire, Hon. Joe Egmont Prince Edward Island Lib.
McKay, Hon. John Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario Lib.
McTeague, Hon. Dan Pickering—Scarborough East Ontario Lib.
Ménard, Réal Hochelaga Québec BQ
Ménard, Serge Marc-Aurèle-Fortin Québec BQ
Menzies, Ted, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Macleod Alberta CPC
Merrifield, Rob Yellowhead Alberta CPC
Miller, Larry Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound Ontario CPC
Milliken, Hon. Peter, Speaker Kingston and the Islands Ontario Lib.
Mills, Bob Red Deer Alberta CPC
Minna, Hon. Maria Beaches—East York Ontario Lib.
Moore, James, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam British Columbia CPC
Moore, Rob, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Fundy Royal New Brunswick CPC
Mourani, Maria Ahuntsic Québec BQ
Mulcair, Thomas Outremont Québec NDP
Murphy, Brian Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick Lib.
Murphy, Hon. Shawn Charlottetown Prince Edward Island Lib.
Nadeau, Richard Gatineau Québec BQ
Nash, Peggy Parkdale—High Park Ontario NDP
Neville, Hon. Anita Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba Lib.
Nicholson, Hon. Rob, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Niagara Falls Ontario CPC
Norlock, Rick Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario CPC
O'Connor, Hon. Gordon, Minister of National Revenue Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario CPC
Obhrai, Deepak, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Calgary East Alberta CPC
Oda, Hon. Bev, Minister of International Cooperation Durham Ontario CPC
Ouellet, Christian Brome—Missisquoi Québec BQ
Pacetti, Massimo Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec Lib.
Pallister, Brian, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and to the Minister of International Cooperation Portage—Lisgar Manitoba CPC
Paquette, Pierre Joliette Québec BQ
Paradis, Hon. Christian, Secretary of State (Agriculture) Mégantic—L'Érable Québec CPC
Patry, Bernard Pierrefonds—Dollard Québec Lib.
Pearson, Glen London North Centre Ontario Lib.
Perron, Gilles-A. Rivière-des-Mille-Îles Québec BQ
Petit, Daniel Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles Québec CPC
Picard, Pauline Drummond Québec BQ
Plamondon, Louis Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour Québec BQ
Poilievre, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board Nepean—Carleton Ontario CPC
Prentice, Hon. Jim, Minister of Industry Calgary Centre-North Alberta CPC
Preston, Joe Elgin—Middlesex—London Ontario CPC
Priddy, Penny Surrey North British Columbia NDP
Proulx, Marcel Hull—Aylmer Québec Lib.
Rajotte, James Edmonton—Leduc Alberta CPC
Ratansi, Yasmin Don Valley East Ontario Lib.
Redman, Hon. Karen Kitchener Centre Ontario Lib.
Regan, Hon. Geoff Halifax West Nova Scotia Lib.
Reid, Scott Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington Ontario CPC
Richardson, Lee Calgary Centre Alberta CPC
Ritz, Hon. Gerry, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan CPC
Robillard, Hon. Lucienne Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec Lib.
Rodriguez, Pablo Honoré-Mercier Québec Lib.
Rota, Anthony Nipissing—Timiskaming Ontario Lib.
Roy, Jean-Yves Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia Québec BQ
Russell, Todd Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Savage, Michael Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia Lib.
Savoie, Denise Victoria British Columbia NDP
Scarpaleggia, Francis Lac-Saint-Louis Québec Lib.
Scheer, Andrew, The Acting Speaker Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan CPC
Schellenberger, Gary Perth—Wellington Ontario CPC
Scott, Hon. Andy Fredericton New Brunswick Lib.
Sgro, Hon. Judy York West Ontario Lib.
Shipley, Bev Lambton—Kent—Middlesex Ontario CPC
Siksay, Bill Burnaby—Douglas British Columbia NDP
Silva, Mario Davenport Ontario Lib.
Simard, Hon. Raymond Saint Boniface Manitoba Lib.
Simms, Scott Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Skelton, Hon. Carol Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan CPC
Smith, Joy Kildonan—St. Paul Manitoba CPC
Solberg, Hon. Monte, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Medicine Hat Alberta CPC
Sorenson, Kevin Crowfoot Alberta CPC
St-Cyr, Thierry Jeanne-Le Ber Québec BQ
St-Hilaire, Caroline Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher Québec BQ
St. Amand, Lloyd Brant Ontario Lib.
St. Denis, Brent Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing Ontario Lib.
Stanton, Bruce Simcoe North Ontario CPC
Steckle, Paul Huron—Bruce Ontario Lib.
Stoffer, Peter Sackville—Eastern Shore Nova Scotia NDP
Storseth, Brian Westlock—St. Paul Alberta CPC
Strahl, Hon. Chuck, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon British Columbia CPC
Stronach, Hon. Belinda Newmarket—Aurora Ontario Lib.
Sweet, David Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale Ontario CPC
Szabo, Paul Mississauga South Ontario Lib.
Telegdi, Hon. Andrew Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario Lib.
Temelkovski, Lui Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario Lib.
Thi Lac, Ève-Mary Thaï Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot Québec BQ
Thibault, Louise Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques Québec Ind.
Thibault, Hon. Robert West Nova Nova Scotia Lib.
Thompson, Hon. Greg, Minister of Veterans Affairs New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick CPC
Thompson, Myron Wild Rose Alberta CPC
Tilson, David Dufferin—Caledon Ontario CPC
Toews, Hon. Vic, President of the Treasury Board Provencher Manitoba CPC
Tonks, Alan York South—Weston Ontario Lib.
Trost, Bradley Saskatoon—Humboldt Saskatchewan CPC
Turner, Hon. Garth Halton Ontario Lib.
Tweed, Mervin Brandon—Souris Manitoba CPC
Valley, Roger Kenora Ontario Lib.
Van Kesteren, Dave Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario CPC
Van Loan, Hon. Peter, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform York—Simcoe Ontario CPC
Vellacott, Maurice Saskatoon—Wanuskewin Saskatchewan CPC
Verner, Hon. Josée, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec CPC
Vincent, Robert Shefford Québec BQ
Volpe, Hon. Joseph Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario Lib.
Wallace, Mike Burlington Ontario CPC
Wappel, Tom Scarborough Southwest Ontario Lib.
Warawa, Mark, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment Langley British Columbia CPC
Warkentin, Chris Peace River Alberta CPC
Wasylycia-Leis, Judy Winnipeg North Manitoba NDP
Watson, Jeff Essex Ontario CPC
Wilfert, Hon. Bryon Richmond Hill Ontario Lib.
Williams, John Edmonton—St. Albert Alberta CPC
Wilson, Blair West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country British Columbia Lib.
Wrzesnewskyj, Borys Etobicoke Centre Ontario Lib.
Yelich, Lynne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Blackstrap Saskatchewan CPC
Zed, Paul Saint John New Brunswick Lib.
VACANCY Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River Saskatchewan
VACANCY Toronto Centre Ontario
VACANCY Willowdale Ontario
VACANCY Vancouver Quadra British Columbia

Alphabetical list of Members of the House of Commons by Province

Second Session--Thirty Nine Parliament

Name of Member Constituency Political Affiliation

Alberta (28)
Ablonczy, Hon. Diane, Secretary of State (Small Business and Tourism) Calgary—Nose Hill CPC
Ambrose, Hon. Rona, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification Edmonton—Spruce Grove CPC
Anders, Rob Calgary West CPC
Benoit, Leon Vegreville—Wainwright CPC
Calkins, Blaine Wetaskiwin CPC
Casson, Rick Lethbridge CPC
Epp, Ken Edmonton—Sherwood Park CPC
Goldring, Peter Edmonton East CPC
Hanger, Art Calgary Northeast CPC
Harper, Right Hon. Stephen, Prime Minister Calgary Southwest CPC
Hawn, Laurie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Edmonton Centre CPC
Jaffer, Rahim Edmonton—Strathcona CPC
Jean, Brian, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Fort McMurray—Athabasca CPC
Kenney, Hon. Jason, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) Calgary Southeast CPC
Lake, Mike Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont CPC
Menzies, Ted, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Macleod CPC
Merrifield, Rob Yellowhead CPC
Mills, Bob Red Deer CPC
Obhrai, Deepak, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Calgary East CPC
Prentice, Hon. Jim, Minister of Industry Calgary Centre-North CPC
Rajotte, James Edmonton—Leduc CPC
Richardson, Lee Calgary Centre CPC
Solberg, Hon. Monte, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Medicine Hat CPC
Sorenson, Kevin Crowfoot CPC
Storseth, Brian Westlock—St. Paul CPC
Thompson, Myron Wild Rose CPC
Warkentin, Chris Peace River CPC
Williams, John Edmonton—St. Albert CPC

British Columbia (35)
Abbott, Hon. Jim, Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage Kootenay—Columbia CPC
Atamanenko, Alex British Columbia Southern Interior NDP
Bell, Catherine Vancouver Island North NDP
Bell, Don North Vancouver Lib.
Black, Dawn New Westminster—Coquitlam NDP
Cannan, Ron Kelowna—Lake Country CPC
Chan, Hon. Raymond Richmond Lib.
Crowder, Jean Nanaimo—Cowichan NDP
Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley NDP
Cummins, John Delta—Richmond East CPC
Davies, Libby Vancouver East NDP
Day, Hon. Stockwell, Minister of Public Safety Okanagan—Coquihalla CPC
Dhaliwal, Sukh Newton—North Delta Lib.
Dosanjh, Hon. Ujjal Vancouver South Lib.
Emerson, Hon. David, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics Vancouver Kingsway CPC
Fast, Ed Abbotsford CPC
Fry, Hon. Hedy Vancouver Centre Lib.
Grewal, Nina Fleetwood—Port Kells CPC
Harris, Richard Cariboo—Prince George CPC
Hiebert, Russ, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale CPC
Hill, Hon. Jay, Secretary of State and Chief Government Whip Prince George—Peace River CPC
Hinton, Betty, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo CPC
Julian, Peter Burnaby—New Westminster NDP
Kamp, Randy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission CPC
Lunn, Hon. Gary, Minister of Natural Resources Saanich—Gulf Islands CPC
Lunney, James Nanaimo—Alberni CPC
Martin, Hon. Keith Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca Lib.
Mayes, Colin Okanagan—Shuswap CPC
Moore, James, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam CPC
Priddy, Penny Surrey North NDP
Savoie, Denise Victoria NDP
Siksay, Bill Burnaby—Douglas NDP
Strahl, Hon. Chuck, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon CPC
Warawa, Mark, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment Langley CPC
Wilson, Blair West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country Lib.
VACANCY Vancouver Quadra

Manitoba (14)
Bezan, James Selkirk—Interlake CPC
Blaikie, Hon. Bill, The Deputy Speaker Elmwood—Transcona NDP
Bruinooge, Rod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Winnipeg South CPC
Fletcher, Steven, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia CPC
Keeper, Tina Churchill Lib.
Mark, Inky Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette CPC
Martin, Pat Winnipeg Centre NDP
Neville, Hon. Anita Winnipeg South Centre Lib.
Pallister, Brian, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and to the Minister of International Cooperation Portage—Lisgar CPC
Simard, Hon. Raymond Saint Boniface Lib.
Smith, Joy Kildonan—St. Paul CPC
Toews, Hon. Vic, President of the Treasury Board Provencher CPC
Tweed, Mervin Brandon—Souris CPC
Wasylycia-Leis, Judy Winnipeg North NDP

New Brunswick (10)
Allen, Mike Tobique—Mactaquac CPC
D'Amours, Jean-Claude Madawaska—Restigouche Lib.
Godin, Yvon Acadie—Bathurst NDP
Hubbard, Hon. Charles Miramichi Lib.
LeBlanc, Hon. Dominic Beauséjour Lib.
Moore, Rob, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Fundy Royal CPC
Murphy, Brian Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe Lib.
Scott, Hon. Andy Fredericton Lib.
Thompson, Hon. Greg, Minister of Veterans Affairs New Brunswick Southwest CPC
Zed, Paul Saint John Lib.

Newfoundland and Labrador (7)
Byrne, Hon. Gerry Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Lib.
Doyle, Norman St. John's East CPC
Hearn, Hon. Loyola, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans St. John's South—Mount Pearl CPC
Manning, Fabian Avalon CPC
Matthews, Bill Random—Burin—St. George's Lib.
Russell, Todd Labrador Lib.
Simms, Scott Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor Lib.

Northwest Territories (1)
Bevington, Dennis Western Arctic NDP

Nova Scotia (11)
Brison, Hon. Scott Kings—Hants Lib.
Casey, Bill Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Ind.
Cuzner, Rodger Cape Breton—Canso Lib.
Eyking, Hon. Mark Sydney—Victoria Lib.
Keddy, Gerald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency South Shore—St. Margaret's CPC
MacKay, Hon. Peter, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Central Nova CPC
McDonough, Alexa Halifax NDP
Regan, Hon. Geoff Halifax West Lib.
Savage, Michael Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Lib.
Stoffer, Peter Sackville—Eastern Shore NDP
Thibault, Hon. Robert West Nova Lib.

Nunavut (1)
Karetak-Lindell, Nancy Nunavut Lib.

Ontario (104)
Albrecht, Harold Kitchener—Conestoga CPC
Alghabra, Omar Mississauga—Erindale Lib.
Allison, Dean Niagara West—Glanbrook CPC
Angus, Charlie Timmins—James Bay NDP
Bains, Hon. Navdeep Mississauga—Brampton South Lib.
Baird, Hon. John, Minister of the Environment Ottawa West—Nepean CPC
Barnes, Hon. Sue London West Lib.
Beaumier, Colleen Brampton West Lib.
Bélanger, Hon. Mauril Ottawa—Vanier Lib.
Bennett, Hon. Carolyn St. Paul's Lib.
Bevilacqua, Hon. Maurizio Vaughan Lib.
Bonin, Raymond Nickel Belt Lib.
Boshcoff, Ken Thunder Bay—Rainy River Lib.
Brown, Bonnie Oakville Lib.
Brown, Gord Leeds—Grenville CPC
Brown, Patrick Barrie CPC
Cannis, John Scarborough Centre Lib.
Carrie, Colin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry Oshawa CPC
Chamberlain, Hon. Brenda Guelph Lib.
Charlton, Chris Hamilton Mountain NDP
Chong, Hon. Michael Wellington—Halton Hills CPC
Chow, Olivia Trinity—Spadina NDP
Christopherson, David Hamilton Centre NDP
Clement, Hon. Tony, Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Parry Sound—Muskoka CPC
Comartin, Joe Windsor—Tecumseh NDP
Comuzzi, Hon. Joe Thunder Bay—Superior North CPC
Cullen, Hon. Roy Etobicoke North Lib.
Davidson, Patricia Sarnia—Lambton CPC
Del Mastro, Dean Peterborough CPC
Devolin, Barry Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock CPC
Dewar, Paul Ottawa Centre NDP
Dhalla, Ruby Brampton—Springdale Lib.
Dryden, Hon. Ken York Centre Lib.
Dykstra, Rick St. Catharines CPC
Finley, Hon. Diane, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Haldimand—Norfolk CPC
Flaherty, Hon. Jim, Minister of Finance Whitby—Oshawa CPC
Galipeau, Royal, The Acting Speaker Ottawa—Orléans CPC
Gallant, Cheryl Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke CPC
Godfrey, Hon. John Don Valley West Lib.
Goodyear, Gary Cambridge CPC
Guarnieri, Hon. Albina Mississauga East—Cooksville Lib.
Guergis, Hon. Helena, Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport) Simcoe—Grey CPC
Holland, Mark Ajax—Pickering Lib.
Ignatieff, Michael Etobicoke—Lakeshore Lib.
Kadis, Susan Thornhill Lib.
Karygiannis, Hon. Jim Scarborough—Agincourt Lib.
Khan, Wajid Mississauga—Streetsville CPC
Kramp, Daryl Prince Edward—Hastings CPC
Lauzon, Guy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry CPC
Layton, Hon. Jack Toronto—Danforth NDP
Lee, Derek Scarborough—Rouge River Lib.
Lemieux, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary for Official Languages Glengarry—Prescott—Russell CPC
MacKenzie, Dave, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Oxford CPC
Malhi, Hon. Gurbax Bramalea—Gore—Malton Lib.
Maloney, John Welland Lib.
Marleau, Hon. Diane Sudbury Lib.
Marston, Wayne Hamilton East—Stoney Creek NDP
Martin, Tony Sault Ste. Marie NDP
Masse, Brian Windsor West NDP
Mathyssen, Irene London—Fanshawe NDP
McCallum, Hon. John Markham—Unionville Lib.
McGuinty, David Ottawa South Lib.
McKay, Hon. John Scarborough—Guildwood Lib.
McTeague, Hon. Dan Pickering—Scarborough East Lib.
Miller, Larry Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound CPC
Milliken, Hon. Peter, Speaker Kingston and the Islands Lib.
Minna, Hon. Maria Beaches—East York Lib.
Nash, Peggy Parkdale—High Park NDP
Nicholson, Hon. Rob, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Niagara Falls CPC
Norlock, Rick Northumberland—Quinte West CPC
O'Connor, Hon. Gordon, Minister of National Revenue Carleton—Mississippi Mills CPC
Oda, Hon. Bev, Minister of International Cooperation Durham CPC
Pearson, Glen London North Centre Lib.
Poilievre, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board Nepean—Carleton CPC
Preston, Joe Elgin—Middlesex—London CPC
Ratansi, Yasmin Don Valley East Lib.
Redman, Hon. Karen Kitchener Centre Lib.
Reid, Scott Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington CPC
Rota, Anthony Nipissing—Timiskaming Lib.
Schellenberger, Gary Perth—Wellington CPC
Sgro, Hon. Judy York West Lib.
Shipley, Bev Lambton—Kent—Middlesex CPC
Silva, Mario Davenport Lib.
St. Amand, Lloyd Brant Lib.
St. Denis, Brent Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing Lib.
Stanton, Bruce Simcoe North CPC
Steckle, Paul Huron—Bruce Lib.
Stronach, Hon. Belinda Newmarket—Aurora Lib.
Sweet, David Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale CPC
Szabo, Paul Mississauga South Lib.
Telegdi, Hon. Andrew Kitchener—Waterloo Lib.
Temelkovski, Lui Oak Ridges—Markham Lib.
Tilson, David Dufferin—Caledon CPC
Tonks, Alan York South—Weston Lib.
Turner, Hon. Garth Halton Lib.
Valley, Roger Kenora Lib.
Van Kesteren, Dave Chatham-Kent—Essex CPC
Van Loan, Hon. Peter, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform York—Simcoe CPC
Volpe, Hon. Joseph Eglinton—Lawrence Lib.
Wallace, Mike Burlington CPC
Wappel, Tom Scarborough Southwest Lib.
Watson, Jeff Essex CPC
Wilfert, Hon. Bryon Richmond Hill Lib.
Wrzesnewskyj, Borys Etobicoke Centre Lib.
VACANCY Toronto Centre
VACANCY Willowdale

Prince Edward Island (4)
Easter, Hon. Wayne Malpeque Lib.
MacAulay, Hon. Lawrence Cardigan Lib.
McGuire, Hon. Joe Egmont Lib.
Murphy, Hon. Shawn Charlottetown Lib.

Québec (75)
André, Guy Berthier—Maskinongé BQ
Arthur, André Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier Ind.
Asselin, Gérard Manicouagan BQ
Bachand, Claude Saint-Jean BQ
Barbot, Vivian Papineau BQ
Bellavance, André Richmond—Arthabaska BQ
Bernier, Hon. Maxime, Minister of Foreign Affairs Beauce CPC
Bigras, Bernard Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie BQ
Blackburn, Hon. Jean-Pierre, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Jonquière—Alma CPC
Blais, Raynald Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine BQ
Blaney, Steven Lévis—Bellechasse CPC
Bonsant, France Compton—Stanstead BQ
Bouchard, Robert Chicoutimi—Le Fjord BQ
Boucher, Sylvie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Status of Women Beauport—Limoilou CPC
Bourgeois, Diane Terrebonne—Blainville BQ
Brunelle, Paule Trois-Rivières BQ
Cannon, Hon. Lawrence, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Pontiac CPC
Cardin, Serge Sherbrooke BQ
Carrier, Robert Alfred-Pellan BQ
Coderre, Hon. Denis Bourassa Lib.
Cotler, Hon. Irwin Mount Royal Lib.
Crête, Paul Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup BQ
DeBellefeuille, Claude Beauharnois—Salaberry BQ
Demers, Nicole Laval BQ
Deschamps, Johanne Laurentides—Labelle BQ
Dion, Hon. Stéphane, Leader of the Opposition Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Lib.
Duceppe, Gilles Laurier—Sainte-Marie BQ
Faille, Meili Vaudreuil-Soulanges BQ
Folco, Raymonde Laval—Les Îles Lib.
Freeman, Carole Châteauguay—Saint-Constant BQ
Gagnon, Christiane Québec BQ
Gaudet, Roger Montcalm BQ
Gourde, Jacques, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière CPC
Gravel, Raymond Repentigny BQ
Guay, Monique Rivière-du-Nord BQ
Guimond, Michel Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord BQ
Harvey, Luc Louis-Hébert CPC
Jennings, Hon. Marlene Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Lib.
Kotto, Maka Saint-Lambert BQ
Laforest, Jean-Yves Saint-Maurice—Champlain BQ
Laframboise, Mario Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel BQ
Lalonde, Francine La Pointe-de-l'Île BQ
Lavallée, Carole Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert BQ
Lebel, Denis Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean CPC
Lemay, Marc Abitibi—Témiscamingue BQ
Lessard, Yves Chambly—Borduas BQ
Lévesque, Yvon Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou BQ
Lussier, Marcel Brossard—La Prairie BQ
Malo, Luc Verchères—Les Patriotes BQ
Martin, Right Hon. Paul LaSalle—Émard Lib.
Ménard, Réal Hochelaga BQ
Ménard, Serge Marc-Aurèle-Fortin BQ
Mourani, Maria Ahuntsic BQ
Mulcair, Thomas Outremont NDP
Nadeau, Richard Gatineau BQ
Ouellet, Christian Brome—Missisquoi BQ
Pacetti, Massimo Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Lib.
Paquette, Pierre Joliette BQ
Paradis, Hon. Christian, Secretary of State (Agriculture) Mégantic—L'Érable CPC
Patry, Bernard Pierrefonds—Dollard Lib.
Perron, Gilles-A. Rivière-des-Mille-Îles BQ
Petit, Daniel Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles CPC
Picard, Pauline Drummond BQ
Plamondon, Louis Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour BQ
Proulx, Marcel Hull—Aylmer Lib.
Robillard, Hon. Lucienne Westmount—Ville-Marie Lib.
Rodriguez, Pablo Honoré-Mercier Lib.
Roy, Jean-Yves Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia BQ
Scarpaleggia, Francis Lac-Saint-Louis Lib.
St-Cyr, Thierry Jeanne-Le Ber BQ
St-Hilaire, Caroline Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher BQ
Thi Lac, Ève-Mary Thaï Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot BQ
Thibault, Louise Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques Ind.
Verner, Hon. Josée, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages Louis-Saint-Laurent CPC
Vincent, Robert Shefford BQ

Saskatchewan (13)
Anderson, David, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board Cypress Hills—Grasslands CPC
Batters, Dave Palliser CPC
Breitkreuz, Garry Yorkton—Melville CPC
Fitzpatrick, Brian Prince Albert CPC
Goodale, Hon. Ralph, Wascana Wascana Lib.
Komarnicki, Ed, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Souris—Moose Mountain CPC
Lukiwski, Tom, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre CPC
Ritz, Hon. Gerry, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board Battlefords—Lloydminster CPC
Scheer, Andrew, The Acting Speaker Regina—Qu'Appelle CPC
Skelton, Hon. Carol Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar CPC
Trost, Bradley Saskatoon—Humboldt CPC
Vellacott, Maurice Saskatoon—Wanuskewin CPC
Yelich, Lynne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Blackstrap CPC
VACANCY Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River

Yukon (1)
Bagnell, Hon. Larry Yukon Lib.

LIST OF STANDING AND SUB-COMMITTEES

(As of October 26, 2007 — 2nd Session, 39th Parliament)

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Canadian Heritage
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Citizenship and Immigration
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Environment and Sustainable Development
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Finance
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Fisheries and Oceans
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Foreign Affairs and International Development
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Government Operations and Estimates
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Health
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Industry, Science and Technology
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

International Trade
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Justice and Human Rights
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Liaison
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

National Defence
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Natural Resources
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Official Languages
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Procedure and House Affairs
Chair:

Gary Goodyear

Vice-Chairs:

Michel Guimond

Marcel Proulx

Yvon Godin

Dominic LeBlanc

Pierre Lemieux

Tom Lukiwski

Pauline Picard

Joe Preston

Karen Redman

Scott Reid

Lucienne Robillard

Total: (12)

Public Accounts
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Public Safety and National Security
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Status of Women
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

Veterans Affairs
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEES

Library of Parliament
Joint Chair:


Joint Vice-Chair:


Representing the Senate:The Honourable Senators

Representing the House of Commons:


Total:

Scrutiny of Regulations
Joint Chair:


Joint Vice-Chair:


Representing the Senate:The Honourable Senators

Representing the House of Commons:


Total:

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES

Bill C-2
Chair:

Rick Dykstra

Vice-Chair:


Larry Bagnell

Joe Comartin

Carole Freeman

Richard Harris

Marlene Jennings

Gerald Keddy

Daryl Kramp

Derek Lee

Réal Ménard

Rob Moore

Brian Murphy

Daniel Petit

Total: (13)


Panel of Chairs of Legislative Committees

The Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole

Hon. Bill Blaikie

 

The Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Royal Galipeau

 

The Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Andrew Scheer

 


THE MINISTRY

According to precedence

Right Hon. Stephen Harper Prime Minister
Hon. Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Hon. David Emerson Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics
Hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Hon. Greg Thompson Minister of Veterans Affairs
Hon. Marjory LeBreton Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors)
Hon. Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development
Hon. Chuck Strahl Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Hon. Gary Lunn Minister of Natural Resources
Hon. Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Hon. Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Hon. Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety
Hon. Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board
Hon. Rona Ambrose President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification
Hon. Diane Finley Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Hon. Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Revenue
Hon. Bev Oda Minister of International Cooperation
Hon. Jim Prentice Minister of Industry
Hon. John Baird Minister of the Environment
Hon. Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Hon. Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Hon. Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance
Hon. Josée Verner Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages
Hon. Michael Fortier Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Hon. Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform
Hon. Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board
Hon. Jay Hill Secretary of State and Chief Government Whip
Hon. Jason Kenney Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)
Hon. Helena Guergis Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)
Hon. Christian Paradis Secretary of State (Agriculture)
Hon. Diane Ablonczy Secretary of State (Small Business and Tourism)

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES

Mrs. Sylvie Boucher to the Prime Minister and for Status of Women
Mr. Rob Moore to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Mr. Brian Pallister to the Minister of International Trade and to the Minister of International Cooperation
Mr. James Moore to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics
Mr. Jacques Gourde to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Mrs. Betty Hinton to the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Mrs. Lynne Yelich to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development
Mr. Rod Bruinooge to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Mr. David Anderson to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board
Mr. Laurie Hawn to the Minister of National Defence
Mr. Gerald Keddy to the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Mr. Randy Kamp to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Mr. Dave MacKenzie to the Minister of Public Safety
Mr. Pierre Poilievre to the President of the Treasury Board
Mr. Russ Hiebert to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western Economic Diversification
Mr. Ed Komarnicki to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Mr. Colin Carrie to the Minister of Industry
Mr. Mark Warawa to the Minister of the Environment
Mr. Deepak Obhrai to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Brian Jean to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Mr. Steven Fletcher for Health
Mr. Guy Lauzon to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Mr. Ted Menzies to the Minister of Finance
Hon. Jim Abbott for Canadian Heritage
Mr. Pierre Lemieux for Official Languages
Mr. Tom Lukiwski to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform