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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 003

CONTENTS

Friday, October 18, 2013




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 003 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1005)  

[English]

Respect for Communities Act

Hon. Kellie Leitch (for the Minister of Health)  
    moved that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to our government's respect for communities act, which would help to ensure the health and safety of our communities.
    Our government has always maintained the principle that Canadians deserve a voice in how their country and their communities are developed and protected. The legislation before us today proposes to entrench this belief into law regarding supervised injection sites and is guided by a ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2011.
    The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act provides the legal framework for the control of substances that include dangerous and addictive drugs. Because of the potentially harmful nature of these substances on the health and safety of our communities, there need to be guidelines around their use. The respect for communities act helps to strengthen that framework and entrenches elements of the Supreme Court's 2011 ruling into law.
    The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act prohibits the possession, import, export, production, and distribution of controlled substances. However, there are certain situations when there may be a legitimate activity that involves the use of a controlled substance. These include activities by researchers, law enforcement agencies, and health professionals. The act has the capacity to allow for these activities under section 56.
    In its ruling, the court affirmed that it remains the Minister of Health's authority to exercise discretion in granting section 56 exemptions and noted that its decision was not an invitation, for anyone who chooses, to open a facility for drug use under the banner of a safe injection facility. This ruling was unique in that it touched upon illicit substances and their application with regard to supervised injection sites. No such provision exists in the current wording of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    Given what we know about the serious risks associated with the possession, use, and production of illicit substances, exemptions to undertake activities with them should be granted only in exceptional circumstances and only once rigorous criteria have been addressed by the applicant seeking to conduct such activities.
    The court included five factors in its 2011 ruling that it indicated the minister must consider when assessing an application to undertake activities at a supervised injection site. These factors include evidence, if any, on the following: the impact of such a site on crime rates; local conditions indicating a need for such a site; the regulatory structure in place to support the site; resources available to support its maintenance; and expressions of community support or opposition, which is quite critical indeed.
    The bill being debated here today would codify these factors into law and provide a mechanism for the minister to receive the information needed to properly assess any such applications. The proposed approach would add a new section to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would deal specifically with exemptions for activities involving the use of illicit substances. This section would also establish the rigorous criteria an applicant would have to address before the minister would consider an exemption for activities involving illicit substances at a supervised consumption site.
    I would like to use the remainder of my remarks to explain some of the information applicants would have to provide when applying for an exemption under this new regime for activities involving illicit substances at a supervised consumption site.
    In order to have an application for an exemption considered by the Minister of Health, an applicant would have to address all of the criteria included in the bill before us today in the application. This would give the minister the information needed to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling on the decision-making process. This information would obviously have to be provided before an application to undertake activities at a supervised injection site could be considered.
    First, the applicant would be required to provide evidence that there was a need for a supervised consumption site.

  (1010)  

    This evidence could include such information as the number of persons who consume illicit substances in the vicinity of the site and in the municipality in which the site would be located; relevant information, including trends, if any, on the number of persons with infectious diseases that may be related to the consumption of illicit substances; and finally, relevant information, including trends, if any, on the number of deaths, if any, due to overdoses in relation to activities that take place at the site.
    The applicant would also need to provide a description of the potential impacts of the proposed activities at the site on public safety. Information about crime, public nuisance, public consumption of illicit substances, or the presence of inappropriately discarded drug-related litter, such as used needles, would need to be provided, along with any law enforcement research or statistics on public safety.
    There would also be a requirement to provide information on how the applicant would mitigate the risk of illicit substances being diverted from the proposed site. The applicant would have to describe the measures to be taken to minimize the possible diversion of controlled substances or their precursors as well as the risk to the health, safety, and security of all persons at the site. This could include criminal record checks for key staff members and careful record-keeping on the disposal, loss, theft, and transfer of controlled substances and precursors.
    The applicant would also have to provide a letter from the head of the local police force for the area where the proposed site would be located. This letter would describe his or her opinion on the proposed activities and any concerns related to public safety and security. The applicant would also be required to indicate any proposed measures to address concerns identified by the head of the local police force.
    The applicant would have to provide a letter from the provincial minister responsible for health describing his or her opinion on the proposed activities and how the activities would be integrated into the health care system. The letter should also identify any available treatment services for individuals who would use the site.
    The applicant would also have to provide a letter from the local government of the municipality where the site would be located describing his or her opinion on the proposed activities at the site. This would include any concerns, again, about risks to public health or safety. If any relevant concerns were noted in the letter, the applicant would have to provide a description of the measures that had been or would be taken to address them.
    The applicant would also have to include a report on the consultations held with relevant community groups in the municipality where the site would be located. This report would provide a summary of the opinions of the community groups about the proposed activities, copies of all of the written submissions received, and a description of the steps that would be taken to address any relevant concerns that were raised.
    Once all of the information was submitted, including, if necessary, the explanation of why there was a lack of information or evidence for certain criteria, the Minister of Health would be able to consider the application. The minister could also ask the applicant to provide additional relevant information, as required, to help in the decision-making process.
    These application requirements for supervised consumption sites are in line with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision and would enable the Minister of Health to make informed decisions on supervised injection sites. Combined, they form the heart of the respect for communities act. They would ensure that Canadian communities are given a voice when any such application is made.
    Given the importance of understanding the potential impacts supervised consumption sites may have on the communities in which they exist, the proposed legislation would also provide an opportunity for the Minister of Health to call for public input during a 90-day comment period. It is crucial that members of the community, those individuals who will live and work in the same vicinity as the proposed supervised consumption site, have the opportunity to provide feedback. These are the individuals who would be most impacted by this type of local decision, whether it is the mother pushing a stroller down the street toward the park as an individual who has taken drugs comes out from the supervised consumption site, or whether it is the senior citizen walking the dog down that very same street. Surely these individuals ought to have an opportunity to express their comments.

  (1015)  

    In assessing an application for an exemption for activities involving illicit substances at a supervised consumption site, the Minister of Health must exercise discretion by balancing both public health and safety. The approach outlined in the respect for communities act would strengthen our laws and give our government the tools we need to follow through on the ruling made by the Supreme Court of Canada. I urge all of my hon. colleagues to support the bill and to work toward its speedy passage.
    In the remaining time allotted, if I might digress, I would like to speak a bit to some of my experience as a former municipal councillor. There is a similar consultation process undertaken by communities when any development application is brought forward. As an example, for the sake of this debate, let me cite an elegant four-storey, live-work development being brought in. The proposed tenants are a creative florist and a creative architect who propose to have their shops down on the main floor, and these proprietors would live upstairs.
    Before this type of development could take place in my community, the applicant would need to submit a number of items that the municipality would consider. These items would then be circulated to all sorts of bodies within our community, including utilities, Bell, Rogers, and our local airport authority. Schools would be consulted, both on traffic patterns and the availability of school space in the area. All of this information from these external groups would then be gathered and assessed by professional planning staff in our municipal department. They would then make a recommendation to elected councillors and the mayor. All of that information would be available during a public, open, evening meeting. However, long before that public, open meeting ever took place, I would have a local community meeting. I would never drive my constituents down to city hall. I would go to a local school gymnasium or a local church basement and present the application to them.
    The applicant would be required to have a number of consultant studies done before this application was even circulated in the community. For example, we could require a shadow impact study. The applicant would have to go out and hire a technical consultant and engineering firm that would then model the shadowing impacts on neighbouring residences' backyards and front yards. They would model for us so that the community could see the shadow impact throughout the day. It would show the impact it would have on the neighbouring homes as the sun rose and set. We would then require them to model what it would look like throughout the course of the year, as the days were shorter or longer, and the impact it would have on residents in the community.
    This is a very fair thing to require. I think there is a general consensus nationwide, and certainly in Ontario, that individuals who have already chosen to make their homes in a community ought to be consulted before something new comes into their community. These are the individuals who have helped to build the fabric of that community. They are the ones who define the character of the community. These are the moms and dads and children who come out and volunteer and clean up our green spaces. They are the ones who have fund-raised to build the local arena. They are the individuals who have perhaps lived in the same neighbourhood in the same community for generations. They are the ones who have offered their sweat, their toil, and their vision to build the neighbourhood they would like to live in. When they pop their heads out the front door and look down their sidewalk, the impact of what that streetscape looks like, what the walk to their school looks like, and what the walk to their local grocery store looks like will impact them each and every day.
    Therefore, if we have these types of requirements before we allow what by anyone's estimation might be a lovely four-storey development to come into a community, surely it is only reasonable that we would seek the input of local police enforcement officers and local community members before we would allow an illicit drug consumption site to be erected in a community.
    Let us remember what this site is actually doing. Individuals are not taking prescribed medications within these sites. They are going out and illegally purchasing illicit drugs. No one knows the contents of those drugs. The addict does not know the contents of those drugs. When the addict walks in with those drugs and is then injected under supervision, even those offering the supervision do not truly know the content of those drugs. That individual then leaves the premises hopped up to do as he or she would. This addict may hang out on the sidewalk or wander down to the local park or the front of the grocery store as our mothers may be trying to walk down that very same street. Surely our mothers ought to be consulted about the impact this will have on their local community.

  (1020)  

    We also have a number of schools in each and every community. The schoolchildren and their moms and dads ought to be consulted before one of these types of facilities is erected in their community.
    We do a lot of debating and a lot of talking here in the House of Commons. We all value an excellent dialogue, a good conversation and a healthy debate. It is incumbent on us to ensure that we allow for that same type of conversation, that same dialogue, to exist within our communities when something of such significance is imposed upon them.
    I am very proud to stand in support of Bill C-2 and to support our government, our Minister of Health and our Prime Minister in bringing the bill forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate the member for Mississauga—Brampton South on her appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.
    Here we are debating the first bill. The bill could be more properly named the anti-public safety bill because it is very stacked against public safety. Despite what the member has just said, if one looks at the bill and examines it very closely we can see that it is designed to prevent any safe injection site from ever being able to operate.
    I would like to ask the member if she knows anything about InSite, the only safe injection site we have in Canada, which is operating in Vancouver, or how it operates. Is she aware that it went through all of the municipal requirements that she just talked about? As a former city councillor, I am very familiar with public notification, input, and so on. I wonder if she is aware that InSite went through a vigorous process of public scrutiny, city council looking at the application, and so on. In fact, it is now very well accepted in the community. Has she ever visited the facility? Does she know what goes on there?
    If the member thinks the municipal process is a good process, then why not let these applications be dealt with at the municipal level? Why does it require that the minister have all these criteria in effect so that she can turn it down?
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the kind words of welcome. I, too, look forward to working with the hon. member. I know how passionate she is about the health of Canadians.
    By way of clarification, I am not looking to simply impose the same types of municipal controls as we would have on a development application on a site of this nature. I was looking to offer an example before any development takes place. I think I used the example of a flower shop or an architect's office, and the level of scrutiny, circulation, detail and public consultation that takes place before a simple building would be erected. Similarly, the bill proposes that for something that would be a consumption site, which is something that clearly falls under the jurisdiction, as the Supreme Court has ruled, the Minister of Health would use her discretion to invoke a number of factors in making any decision. We should bring that level of scrutiny, detail, rigour and public consultation to something as serious as this.
     InSite is currently functioning out in Vancouver. I am well aware of the facility. When its operating status expires it will need to come through this very same system that is being proposed. However, I think that these are very reasonable measures. If we are looking to bring a consumption site into a community, it is very reasonable to have community consultation and to look at surrounding crimes rates.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, congratulations to my colleague. I wish her well in her new challenges.
    As a former municipal councillor, I am well aware of the challenges that communities face when they are trying to find other solutions to what they call “safe injection sites”. I also know the scrutiny that the one in Vancouver underwent. Has the member ever visited the site?
    Secondly, it is clear by the millions of dollars and time that we have all invested in the issue of prevention that what continues to be the goal we all want is safe communities, without question. However, we have a serious problem. The only success I have seen so far, which is limited, is the safe injection site in Vancouver. I visited that site and the community with much trepidation, I have to say. I watched it and all of the fears that many of us had were unwarranted. It seems to be a step forward in harm reduction that is actually going to help people. I do not hear a whole lot of complaints from those communities. Even though I am from a Toronto community, I have watched it because what was in Vancouver was a trial project.
    If the member does not think this works, what does she think should be done?
    Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question. I thank the member for her kind words. I look forward to working with her.
    The bill sets out, based on the Supreme Court's ruling, the factors that the Minister of Health must consider before permitting consumption sites to be erected in a community. Contrary to the member's remarks, scientific evidence is one of the factors that the Minister of Health must consider. We need to respect good science.
    To speak to the heart of the issue, of whether or not we are genuinely helping drug addicts continue with their drug addiction, I do not think that is anyone's goal here. I hope that is not anyone's goal here in this chamber. I think the ultimate goal that any compassionate individual would have would be to see a drug addict fully recover and regain a lifestyle that is drug free. That should be our prime goal. For those who are not reaching that goal, we need to offer compassionate, science-based treatment.
    The bill certainly recognizes that. In fact it requires that the Minister of Health consider that, along with community impact, local crime rates and public safety factors and considerations.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her thoughtful and thorough presentation today. Clearly, she is dealing with this issue from a well-informed position as a former municipal councillor. I, too, congratulate her on her new role.
    I would like to ask the member how the legislation will ensure that Canadian families get a say when a supervised injection site is planned to open down the street from their homes, schools or businesses. How will we know that families will have a say in that relocation?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his excellent question. The member for Toronto is incredibly hard-working and has spent a great deal of the summer consulting with his community and residents, not only on this issue but on a number of pressing issues that the GTA faces.
    This question speaks to the heart of the issue. Many of these illicit and illegal drugs are purchased and acquired through illicit means, such as the proceeds of crime. That is how these drugs are being purchased and taken into an injection site. The individual then leaves the injection site hopped up on drugs.
    The bill would require the Minister of Health, when the individual looks at all the information that the applicant looking to establish this type of facility is proposing, to also seek community input. There are a couple of ways to do that. The applicant would be required to seek community input and all written responses would need to be provided to the department. The minister would also have the opportunity to post a public notice and invite comments for a 90-day period.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of concerns about the parliamentary secretary's statements, both in her speech and in her responses to questions.
    I live in a community where there is an average of 16 deaths per year from overdoses by injection. We are working very hard in our community to find a solution. When the parliamentary secretary says things like “deaths, if any” and “evidence, if any”, it seems very clear to me that the government has not considered the real evidence here.
    The minister who has to make these decisions would be the Minister of Health. It seems very peculiar to me that the government has now chosen, in contrast to the previous bill, to send the bill to the public safety committee, where I sit. It seems to me that the only conclusion one can draw is that there is an attempt right now in the House to create false fears about public health and safety, which I think is a very serious concern to communities that are grappling with this very serious problem.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court very clearly laid out five rigorous criteria sets that need to be considered by the Minister of Health before any such consumption site can be authorized. That is what the bill does. The bill seeks to enact specific and guiding legislation to assist the minister in making a decision.
     I do not know why someone would take issue with providing basic information, basic local statistics, so that the minister can make an informed decision and so the information can be presented to the community, so that the community can make an informed decision.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been interesting to listen to the parliamentary secretary present the bill today. It is very important that we look back at the history of this case and begin with the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2011, because it has been referenced a lot. If we can just remember, InSite, as I mentioned earlier, did go through a rigorous process to establish itself in the city of Vancouver and has been a very successful operation in saving people's lives, preventing overdoses and improving public safety in the neighbourhood. Of course, it was challenged all the way by the Conservative government and it did end up at the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that InSite was a very important health facility. I want to quote a very key part of its ruling because the legislation that is now before us is supposedly based on this ruling.
    The Supreme Court of Canada ruling said:
    On future applications, the Minister must exercise that discretion within the constraints imposed by the law and the Charter, aiming to strike the appropriate balance between achieving public health and public safety. In accordance with the Charter, the Minister must consider whether denying an exemption would cause deprivations of life and security of the person that are not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Where, as here, a supervised injection site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety, the Minister should generally grant an exemption.
    That is what the Supreme Court of Canada said. What was the government's response to that? Reading from the press release that the Minister of Health issued June 6 when the bill was first introduced, she began by saying, “Our Government believes that creating a location for sanctioned use of drugs obtained from illicit sources has the potential for great harm in a community”.
    There was nothing in this press release and in fact when one reads the bill, there is nothing in it that strikes the balance that was referenced by the Supreme Court of Canada for public health and public safety. From the very beginning, from the get-go, it has been very clear that the bill is a stacked deck. It is designed to frustrate and to make it virtually impossible for any safe injection site to be established in this country.
    One has to ask the question: why is the government so biased on this issue? Why have Conservatives refused to consider all of the evidence that has been put before them? We just had the recent situation, a very similar case where the Minister of Health overruled her own experts on an application that was approved to provide heroin maintenance in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in the inner city. It was quite astounding to see that the minister ignored all of the evidence, overruled her experts, stepped in, intervened and made it clear that this special application, which had been approved by her officials, would not go ahead.
    What was most disturbing was to see that both of these cases, the safe injection site bill and also the application for heroin maintenance, within 24 hours, became a fundraising letter for the Conservative Party of Canada. Imagine that government legislation and an intervention and interference by the minister is catapulted and turned into a fundraiser for the Conservatives' base. I find that really alarming and it illuminates for us what this debate is really about. It is about creating an environment of fear. It about creating an environment of division. It is about creating an environment based on them and us. It is about an environment that the Conservatives want to escalate that demonizes people who use drugs and people who are facing serious addiction issues.
    The parliamentary secretary made some references to the bill. When we actually read through the bill to see what is required, it is quite incredible. First of all, the parliamentary secretary said that the minister must consider criteria that are laid out as part of a submission for an application to set up a safe injection site in any particular community. However, clearly what the bill says is that the “Minister may consider an application” once the application has been submitted and the criteria met. It is not even that she must then look at it, but she may. Even the discretion takes place at that level.

  (1035)  

    When we look at the criteria in the bill it literally goes from (a) to (z). There are 26 different criteria considerations that are so onerous and so stacked that they would make it virtually impossible to even meet the criteria laid out in the bill.
    For example, it requires a letter from the provincial minister who is responsible for health. It requires a letter from the local municipal government. It requires a letter from the head of the police force, outlining any issues that it has. It requires a letter from the leading health professional organization. It requires a letter from the provincial minister responsible for public safety. It requires a statistical analysis. It requires police checks for people. It requires extensive public consultation.
    All of this has to be gathered in addition to a 90-day public notification period that the minister herself can also conduct. There are two streams of information coming in, and even then, as we can see from the bill, the minister actually does not have to consider the application. Once this information has been gathered, there is further consideration in the bill, subsection (5), that lays out that the minister may only grant an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act after having considered the following principles. I think these principles clearly lay out the government's intent.
    The principles are:
illicit substances may have serious health effects;
adulterated controlled substances may pose health risks;
the risks of overdose are inherent to the use of certain illicit substances;
strict controls are required...;
organized crime profits from the use of illicit substances;
and criminal activity often results from the use of illicit substances.
    What I find really curious about these principles on which this bill is based is that there is absolutely no mention of public health. There is no mention of preventing overdoses. There is no mention of preventing serious infections, like HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C. There is no mention, no principle of ensuring basic public health or protecting public safety.
    What are the principles about? Clearly, they are about frustrating any application and giving the minister so much room that she can easily turn down any application, if she even decides to consider it in the first place. We attended the briefing that the government gave on the bill, and in that briefing it was made very clear that, if the criteria are met, the application may be considered but it will not necessarily be approved.
    We find this bill offensive, and we will be opposing it. Clearly the bill does not live up to the spirit and the intent of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling. It is designed to frustrate that ruling, and in fact I would suggest that there will probably be ongoing legal challenges about this legislation. This bill is designed to create a situation where everything will run in the government's favour to not even consider applications or, if it does, to simply turn them down based on the principles it has outlined.
    Let us just take a couple of minutes to talk about the one case that we do have in Canada, which is called InSite in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Setting up InSite was probably the most important health measure that has ever been undertaken in this country. It took years for it to be up and running. It went under incredible local scrutiny. There was opposition.
    In Vancouver today, not only do the police support the safe injection site, but so do local businesses, the board of trade and municipal politicians. In fact, I think members would be hard pressed to find anyone in Vancouver who would actually dispute the value and the importance of this particular facility that is located on East Hastings Street.
    The facility has been scrutinized and has been the subject of 30 scientific studies and reports. It has gone through enormous evaluation.

  (1040)  

    However, what I think is most important is that if we actually visit the place, we can see for ourselves what work is being done and how important it is to provide a safe, medically supervised environment for people with serious addiction issues to get off the street and to be in an environment where they are safe, where they are taken care of and where they can make contact with health care professionals.
    I have seen that because most of the people who use this facility are my constituents. I know many of them personally.
    What I find really just incredibly disappointing is that no ministers of health have had the courage, or even just the reasonable wherewithal, to actually visit InSite to find out for themselves what is going on.
    All of this rhetoric, all of this bias that the Conservatives show is based upon an ideology that they are perpetuating. It is not based upon either experience or first-hand knowledge. It is not based upon consideration of the incredible body of evidence that now exists. It is simply based upon a political position that they have staked out because they think it caters to a Conservative base.
    I find that really quite abhorrent, in terms of how we approach public policy in this country.
    I do not know how much money has been spent on all of the litigation involving InSite. It is probably in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet this facility in Vancouver has survived. It has survived all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and is still continuing to operate.
    In fact, just a few weeks ago it celebrated its 10th anniversary, and I use the word “celebrate” because it was a celebratory event. To see the people in the community who have become part of the clientele of InSite, to see the people who are actually still alive, who are better off, who are doing better, who are better connected, who have a health connection—these are very important things. Without InSite, many of those individuals would likely have died of overdoses.
    However, is there anything in the bill that would address that, the simple basic human fact that InSite is part of the solution, not part of the problem? We do not see anything in the bill on those issues.
    I know that the government has come under intense scrutiny and criticism from a number of organizations across the country, which of course it has ignored. For example, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and the Pivot Legal Society issued a statement in which they made it very clear that:
     People who use drugs are entitled to needed health care services just like all other Canadians. It is unethical, unconstitutional and damaging to both public health and the public purse to block access to supervised consumption services which save lives and prevent the spread of infections.
    I think that is it in a nutshell. What we are talking about here is public health. It is about community safety. It is about people giving people very basic access to health services, yet we would never know that by looking at this legislation; we would never know that by reading the minister's press release; and we would never know that by listening to the rhetoric we have heard from the government side on this bill and on the issue generally.
    The Canadian Medical Association issued a press release when the bill first came out, in June, in which it said:
...the CMA is deeply concerned that the proposed legislation may be creating unnecessary obstacles and burdens that could ultimately deter creation of more injection sites.
     Dr. Evan Wood, a renowned scientist who works for the B.C. Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS, points out that one of the important aspects of a safe injection site is that, given that each HIV infection costs on average approximately $500,000 in medical costs, InSite has contributed to a 90% reduction in new HIV cases caused by intravenous drug use in British Columbia, which is why the B.C. government has been such a strong supporter of the program. That is from an article he wrote in The Globe and Mail in June.

  (1045)  

    We also have Dr. Mark Tyndall, who is the head of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital. He says:
    Supervised injection sites will be opened in Canada and the government will be challenged for its callous and misinformed policies through legal avenues and whatever else it takes to do the right thing. Thousands of Canadians, the poor, the addicted, the mentally ill, our brothers and sisters, are depending on us.
    These are just a few of the opinions and analyses that have come in from people who have studied this issue over and over again.
    We need to understand that if this bill goes through, not only would it prevent other safe injection sites from being set up in Canada—and we do know that there is a great interest in Toronto, Victoria and Montreal—but it would also have an impact in Vancouver. As the parliamentary secretary pointed out, the current exemption permit for InSite will be up in March 2014, so it too will have to go through this process. Given the incredibly ridiculous and absurd criteria and considering the stance of the government, we can see that approval is very unlikely, or it will be very difficult to get.
     What does that mean? It means that a place that has been operating successfully for 10 years, that has been well accepted in the community and that went through all of the approval processes will potentially be shut down, and people will be turfed out on the street. It means people will die of overdoses. It means we will see open drug use on the streets. It means we will see greater pain and suffering in this community, and the whole community will be impacted by that.
    I want to keep coming back to the most basic point of this whole debate, and that is that a safe injection site is not some kind of bogey man or some kind of scary place; it is simply a health facility. It is a health facility that provides a service that helps people who are facing very difficult addiction issues. It provides a safe, medicalized and supervised environment. It helps people get into treatment. It helps people get off the street. Most important, it stops people from dying of overdoses.
     Does that mean anything to these Conservatives? Do they even care that people are dying? What they want to do is vilify those people. We heard the parliamentary secretary. She talks about her mother and somebody else's mother walking down the street. This is about creating fear in local communities. Maybe that is the reason, as my colleague has pointed out, that this bill is going to go to the public safety committee, because the Conservatives want to have it viewed only through a lens of law and order, as opposed to a needed, necessary and essential public health approach that is about public health and public protection for people, not only the drug users but the community as a whole.
    This bill that we have before us is the antithesis of a public health approach. What is this bill really about? It is about fear. It is about dividing people. It is about demonizing people. I find that really offensive because we are talking about individuals. Drug use cuts across all classes. It cuts across people of all different political persuasions, so we have to examine whether this bill is something that would hurt not only the existing safe injection site but the potential for others across the country that would save lives.
    I will finish my remarks by moving a motion. I move, seconded by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-2, an Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, because it:
(a) fails to reflect the dual purposes of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to maintain and promote both public health and public safety;
(b) runs counter to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Canada v. PHS Community Services Society, which states that a Minister should generally grant an exemption when there is proof that a supervised injection site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and when there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety; and
(c) establishes onerous requirements for applicants that will create unjustified barriers for the establishment of safe injection sites, which are proven to save lives and increase health outcomes.
(d) further advances the Minister's political tactics to divide communities and use the issue of supervised injection sites for political gain, in place of respecting the advice and opinion of public health experts.

  (1050)  

    Mr. Speaker, the one thing I will start by saying, and this is in my role both as a parliamentarian and as a pediatric surgeon, is that fearmongering is about who talks about fearmongering and that is all the opposition member is doing. We are focused on ensuring that parents with young children feel safe in their communities. All the member opposite wants to focus on are those things that really get parents anxious and concerned and I encourage her not to do that.
    Canadians are so proud of their health care system. If we want to save lives, the very best place is in an emergency department. That is where we have all the facilities. That is where we can take care of people and ensure we save lives, unlike what happens when one is on the street and things like that happen. We are proud of the facilities we have in Canada. The physicians who work in those facilities do excellent work and we should commend them for their service.
    What I am most concerned about is the lack of understanding of what communities really want and need. What are the member's thoughts with respect to the involvement of communities and families? Why is she, as the parents in my riding of Simcoe-Grey would say, pro-heroin and anti-salt? Why is she pro-heroin and against the potato growers in my riding? Maybe she could answer those questions.

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister's ignorance is absolutely breathtaking, especially since she is a health professional. To suggest that people just be trundled off to the emergency department tells us that she knows absolutely nothing about InSite and what it does. One of the reasons it was set up was to prevent people from going through a revolving door at the emergency department at an astronomical cost of ambulances and being in and out of emergency departments.
    InSite is about public health and public safety. It is not about whether one is pro or against heroin. These drugs and substances exist in our society and unfortunately there are people who use them. Our job as legislators is to bring forward sound public policy based on evidence, not a demonization of people, not on fearmongering, but to bring forward programs based on public policy and health facilities that actually save lives. That is what InSite has done. I challenge the minister to visit and find out actually what it does.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to applaud my colleague. I know the amount of work she has done in her community in the Vancouver area on these kinds of issues. She understands them far better than any of us in the House. She has visited InSite many times. I repeat the fact that I had a lot of apprehension when that InSite location started and I have watched it carefully. Clearly, prevention has not worked to the extent that we wanted.
    What other suggestions does the hon. member have with respect to Canada's policies to move forward on the whole issue of drug prevention and to help those when it comes to harm reduction?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad my hon. colleague took the time to visit and to find out.
    What InSite represents is part of a bigger regime that we call the four-pillar approach, which includes prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement. This was actually pioneered by the city of Vancouver about 13 years ago. There has been a lot of focus on InSite, but it is a very important element of a broader picture. Therefore, yes, prevention and treatment are very important, education is very important, but so is harm reduction.
    What is really concerning is that the Conservative government dropped the pillar of harm reduction in 2007. It decided unilaterally, on a political basis, that harm reduction would no longer exist in our country. In actual fact, it is a very important element in ensuring there is street access to health care for people, ensuring that services being provided are accessible and literally get people in the door, into a safer environment, so they can get into treatment and the help they need.
    InSite is part of that continuum. It does not exist on its own. It is part of a broader health continuum that needs to happen.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, supervised injection sites are based on the principle of harm reduction, which is an increasingly popular public health principle. Condom distribution is a simple example of harm reduction. We realized that simply telling young people not to have sex did not work. They had sex anyway, and they had unprotected sex. We figured we should at least give them condoms so that they would not get sick.
    Can the member draw some parallels with other harm reduction strategies that have proven effective or have worked to keep people from getting sick?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague has a background in nursing and understands these questions very well. She makes a very good analogy that we have all kinds of programs, whether it is safer sex or needle exchanges, to reduce the risk, because this is about public health.
    One of the problems with injection drug use is the increase and risk of communicable diseases, like HIV-AIDS and hepatitis C. By ensuring a safe and medicalized environment, we are preventing the increase of these very infectious and communicable diseases.
    There will be four minutes remaining for questions and comments after question period.
    We will move on to statements by members. The hon. member for Kitchener Centre.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1100)  

[English]

Oktoberfest

    Mr. Speaker, each October Kitchener residents and visitors from near and far dust off their lederhosen and iron their dirndls for KW Oktoberfest. This Bavarian celebration began in 1969 when the founders at the Concordia Club decided to make it a week-long community event every year. There are more than 40 cultural and family events, 16 fest halls are open all week, the local economy benefits and 70 charities raise money for worthy causes.
    This festival celebrated Monday with one of the largest Thanksgiving parades in North America, but there is still time to enjoy German culture and life this weekend. Visit Willkommen Platz in downtown Kitchener for information.
    Our thanks to the Government of Canada for delivering $138,000 in support this year. Thanks also to the thousands of volunteers who make Oktoberfest a success. Grab Onkel Hans everyone and zigge zagge zigge zagge hoi hoi hoi. Prosit.

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, most seniors retiring today will not have the pension savings that experts recommend for a comfortable retirement. Sylvester wrote to me to say fixed pensions cannot compete with the rapid increases in the cots of living.
    Jane had this to say: “As a senior renting an apartment in your riding my main concerns are affordable housing and security as a tenant. My rent rose 2.3% this year but my savings earned much less. I am not keeping up with inflation”.
    The NDP is calling for concrete measures to increase the financial security of retirees. We must boost the coverage of the CPP, return OAS eligibility to age 65 from 67, increase the GIS to raise all seniors out of poverty and ensure that persons with disabilities receive adequate continuing support when they switch from provincial benefit plans to the federal pension plans.
    Allow me to end by thanking all of the organizations in my riding of Toronto—Danforth that are continuously fighting for better living standards for seniors.

Iraq

    Mr. Speaker, the Mujahedin-e Khalq , or MeK, are Iranian refugees living in exile in Iraq. MeK refugees have suffered serious hardships living in camps Ashraf and Liberty, including being targeted by mortar and rocket attacks. On September 1, the last remaining residents of Camp Ashraf were attacked, leaving 52 dead and 7 abducted.
    The MeK are protected refugees and must be provided the necessary protection at Camp Liberty to prevent further atrocities. The seven abducted individuals are feared to be at risk of deportation to Iran, something that is illegal under international law. It is well known that the regressive clerical military dictatorship of Iran subjects political prisoners to inhumane conditions, including torture, rape and executions. In support of the abducted individuals, members of the diaspora around the world are engaged in hunger strikes.
    I condemn the latest round of violence in the strongest of terms, demand the immediate release of those abducted and ask that the government of Iraq uphold its obligations and guarantee their safe passage to Camp Liberty.

Persons Day

    Mr. Speaker, today is Persons Day, in celebration of Canada's famous five, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby, who asked the Supreme Court of Canada in 1927 to answer the question does the word “person" in the British North American Act include female persons?
    When given the wrong answer, the five took their case to London, England, the highest court of appeal. On October 18, 1929, women were deemed persons, thus paving the way for women to contribute fully to Canadian life. The five are immortalized on Parliament Hill and must be a source of inspiration to us all to end injustice.
    Appallingly, today women earn roughly 20% less than men, face barriers to employment, strive to break through the glass ceiling and suffer the violence affecting one-third of all women in Canada.
    In the words of Nellie Clung, women must, “Never retract, never explain, never apologize”.

Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Gordon Hunter of Florenceville—Bristol, New Brunswick, who was inducted in to the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame this week.
    While his academic interest led him to the practice of law, Gordon's heart was in egg production. In 1985, Gordon and his wife Brenda assumed the ownership of Hunter's Poultry and guided the operation to new growth levels.
    Gordon's foray into egg industry politics began in 1985 when he joined the New Brunswick Egg Marketing Board, which led to roles at the provincial, national and international levels representing egg producers.
     Gordon's dedication to egg farming and his ability to provide leadership has made him an outstanding representative, as evidenced by numerous re-elections by his fellow producers.
    However, more than just the industry, the local community has also benefited from Gordon's generosity, including his 40-plus years as a member of the Rotary Club and his selection as a Paul Harris fellow.
    On behalf of all the good people of Tobique—Mactaquac, I congratulate Gordon on his induction and his steadfast dedication to egg producers and the development of the egg industry in Canada.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

Maxime Trépanier

    Mr. Speaker, on August 11, 2013, the entire region of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was saddened by the tragic death of Maxime Trépanier, an avid hot-air balloon pilot. Mr. Trépanier was only 27 years old.
    Maxime came from a very good family. I know his family because I had my ballooning baptism with his father, Normand, and his brother, Danny. I remember having the honour of being baptized with a bottle of bubbly by his mother, Line, who is missing him terribly.
    This father of two young children, a three-year-old and a baby of six months, lost his life trying to help a fellow pilot in trouble. His death was mourned by the entire community of pilots and all members of the International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the largest of its kind in Canada. The festival was celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
    Rest in peace, Maxime. Those who knew you will remember you as a generous man who was always ready to help others.

[English]

Sandy Wakeling

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the Pitt Meadows Citizen of the Year, Mr. Sandy Wakeling.
     Sandy has been a model of the true community servant since moving Pitt Meadows 14 years ago. His local community work included schools, government offices, the chamber of commerce and the Friends in Need Food Bank. He spent countless hours volunteering with non-profit groups too numerous to mention. Much of this was done while he battled a very serious illness.
    Sadly, Sandy passed away this past July at just 42 years of age. He is survived by his wife, Ali, and their two young sons, William and Sebastien.
    Sandy, in his own words, exemplified true community spirit when he said:
    Live life to the fullest and seize the day. Take pride in everything that you do, while remembering never take yourself too seriously. ... Always remember to think about the big picture, and work to make the world of our children a better place than the world we were born into.
    That is good advice for us as parliamentarians.
    I ask my colleagues to join me in paying tribute to an outstanding Canadian who will be deeply missed.

Summer Events in Mississauga South

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank the people of the beautiful riding of Mississauga South for a memorable and productive summer of 2013.
    I take this opportunity to let the House know a bit about the exciting and busy summer I was lucky enough to enjoy. Mississauga South is the home of so many unique festivals and events that I could not possibly list them all, but I want to at least mention a few.
    I was able to attend many charitable events, such as the Lakeshore Community Corridor's annual Paddle for the People on the Credit River, as well as the Terry Fox Run on a beautiful Sunday morning at the lighthouse. Buskerfest and the Waterfront Festival were attended by thousands of local area residents, and the Southside Shuffle attracted the usual huge number of jazz and blues music aficionados from all over North America.
    Mr. Speaker, you might not know that Port Credit has its own farmers' market. My favourite booth was Daddy O Donuts, because the quintessentially Canadian maple bacon doughnut is truly a wonder for the taste buds. Members may consider this an open invitation to visit Mississauga South to try one.

[Translation]

Co-operatives

    Mr. Speaker, this week we are celebrating National Co-op Week and International Credit Union Day.
    I would like to begin by recognizing a new national association, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, which, beginning in January 2014, will represent co-operative and mutual enterprises across Canada.
    Co-operatives play a strategic role in our society and in our economy. They are major drivers of economic growth and job creation; they teach and promote democratic values; and they are businesses that work for the benefit of their communities and meet community needs.
    I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Conservative government of the urgent need for concrete measures to strengthen the co-operative sector and make the federal government an active partner in their development.
    We in the NDP will continue listening to the concerns of co-operatives and working closely with them to find solutions to promote their growth and increase funding to them.

  (1110)  

[English]

Lac-Mégantic

    Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians is a priority for our government. On July 6, 2013, 47 people lost their lives in the tragic Lac-Mégantic incident. While we are still waiting for the investigations to be completed to fully understand what happened, our government took immediate action. In fact, shortly after the incident, the Minister of Transport issued five emergency directives to rail companies. These included that trains carrying dangerous goods have two operators at all times and that no trains transporting dangerous goods be left unattended.
    Yesterday the Minister of Transport announced a new directive that will ensure that all crude oil being transported will be properly tested and classified, and that the results will be sent to Transport Canada. This will provide Transport Canada with an additional means to monitor industry compliance and to focus its efforts for the greatest safety benefit for all Canadians.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims affected by this tragic incident.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, today, on Persons Day, women celebrate 84 years since the British Privy Council overturned a Supreme Court of Canada ruling they called “a relic of days more barbarous than ours”. Many Canadian women were finally considered to be persons under the British North America Act.
    Why not all women? Disgracefully, aboriginal women have struggled much longer for equal rights. Until 1960, they had to abandon their aboriginal status for the right to vote. Still, we celebrate those five feisty Alberta women who pursued their rights: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards, and Louise McKinney.
    Of course, the struggle continues for equal pay for work of equal value, access to affordable child care, and equal seats at corporate and cabinet tables. Women continue to speak out for justice for missing and murdered aboriginal sisters and for equal access to education and services. Those with LEAF, Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta, Elizabeth Fry and Idle No More deserve our thanks.
    I call on all MPs to commit to ending violence against women, discrimination, and poverty, and to seek true gender equality with the “famous five” as our guide.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

    This Conservative government has the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history, and we are delivering results.
    Earlier today, Canada's Prime Minister announced that Canada and the European Union have reached a historic agreement on free trade.

[Translation]

    This agreement will open the doors to the world's largest economy for Canadian exporters and create jobs and opportunities here.

[English]

    Canadian consumers will also benefit from this agreement. Once the final deal is in place, tariffs will be removed on 99% of all products coming into Canada from the European Union.
    Of course, we do not expect the third party to understand these benefits. The Liberal leader has no plan for our economy. His head is in the clouds and his policies are up in smoke.
    This government supports free trade. The official opposition supports no trade.

[Translation]

    Meanwhile, the third party supports the drug trade.

[English]

Raymond Loo

    Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to honour the life of Raymond Loo, one of Prince Edward Island's pioneering individuals in organic farming.
    Raymond and his wife Karen operated Springwillow Farms, a certified organic mixed farming operation producing everything from beef and potatoes to black currants and dandelions.
    Mr. Loo was a promoter of the organic movement when it was not popular to be so. He carried his convictions boldly and proudly.
    Working in a number of farm organizations, he represented P.E.I. on the Canadian Organic Regulatory Committee, aiding the development of a Canadian organic standard.
    A man of ideas, it was his drive and persistence—his stubborn streak, he would say—that put P.E.I. organic products in the Japanese market.
    Awarded the Nuffield Scholarship in 2011, he studied the marketing of agriculture products from islands.
     As his wife Karen said, “Raymond believed you are only limited by how far you can dream.”
    We offer our best wishes to his family and thank them for sharing Raymond with us.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the free trade agreement with Europe will clearly benefit Quebec by providing privileged access to a market with 500 million consumers and eliminating trade barriers to key Quebec exports.
    This is an historic agreement that shows our government's commitment to focusing on job creation and sustainable prosperity. A study conducted with the European Union before the start of the negotiations found that a free trade agreement would boost Canada's revenues by $12 billion a year, which would be equivalent to the creation of 80,000 new jobs.
    The Conservatives support free trade. Meanwhile, the NDP does not support free trade and the Liberals support the drug trade.

  (1115)  

[English]

Freedom of Information

    Mr. Speaker, freedom of information is the oxygen democracy breathes. It is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy that citizens have an absolute right to know what their government is doing with their money. However, yesterday Canada's Information Commissioner served notice in no uncertain terms that the freedom of information system in this country has collapsed under the Conservative administration.
    She stated:
...there are unmistakable signs of significant deterioration in the federal access system.
     She also said that Conservative cuts have had a direct and adverse impact on the service that institutions provide to requesters.
    It was the culture of secrecy that allowed corruption to flourish under the Liberal regime, but the Conservatives are even worse. They are obsessed with hoarding information and use the black shroud of secrecy to systematically deny the right of the Canadian public to know what their government is doing.
    Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant. After 2015, the NDP is committed to shining the light of day on the inner workings of a truly open government and putting an end to the paranoid secrecy that—
    Order, please. Oral questions. The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching the situation in Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick with great concern. This situation underlines the importance of peaceful and respectful dialogue between governments and indigenous peoples and of honouring the duty to consult and accommodate before impacting people's rights.
    What is the government doing to fulfill its duty and assist in helping to calm this situation?
    Mr. Speaker, we have done plenty. We have invested in clean water projects. We have opened hundreds of brand new schools. We have worked with aboriginal communities to allow for responsible resource development that will create jobs for the talented and ambitious young aboriginal Canadians who will be the future of Canada. We will continue to work for the improvement of the quality of life for our aboriginal peoples, who are our partner in the future and in this country of ours, Canada.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, court documents have shown that a number of the Prime Minister's aides were well aware of ongoing talks with Mike Duffy. On February 11, Mike Duffy spoke with the Prime Minister's chief of staff in the Prime Minister's Office. Two days later, the Prime Minster spoke with Mike Duffy about his expenses after a caucus meeting.
    Does the Prime Minister still contend that neither Mr. Duffy nor Mr. Wright mentioned their meeting or anything at all that they had been discussing?
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister answered all of these questions to the best of his knowledge before the summer.
    The reality is that we are the only party with a credible plan to reform the Senate. We have already started 12 new rules to reform the way senators claim expenses. We have invited the Auditor General to come in and inspect all of the expenses of senators over the last two years. We are arguing before the Supreme Court that Canadians should have the ability to provide their democratic input on who represents them in the upper chamber and that there should be term limits so that our senators serve for a limited period of time and not until they are 75.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP welcomes progress on a trade agreement with Europe. We support greater trade with Europe, but any deal must be a good deal for Canadians. Today's announcement contains a lot of hype, but not the actual text of the agreement. Canadians are still left waiting to read the fine print.
    Why will this government not just release the text of this deal and let Canadians judge it for themselves?

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, less than 24 hours since the deal was actually announced, the NDP has already succeeded in being on both sides of the issue. It is really a rhetorical game of acrobatics. The NDP should really be proud of that kind of manoeuvre.
    On this side of the House, our position has always been clear: 80,000 net new jobs, half a billion new customers for Canadian job creators, $1,000 in additional income for the average family of four in this country. This is a good deal, it is the right thing to do, and we are proud of the Prime Minister for delivering it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the question was about the release of the text of the deal.
    Obviously, different sectors of our economy will be affected in different ways by a free trade agreement with the European Union. It is therefore important to have access to the text of the agreement in order to know just how the agreement will affect all of our industrial and commercial sectors.
    I will repeat the question: when will the government release the text of the free trade agreement?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting opportunity for Canada, with 500 million new consumers and a 20% increase in trade with the European Union, yet earlier this week the NDP, before even seeing a potential agreement, opposed it.
    Today the Prime Minister signed the agreement in Brussels. A sector-by-sector overview is being released, and Canadian stakeholders from coast to coast are excited. This is a win for Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I challenge the government to demonstrate that we already decided to support or oppose the text of the agreement.
    We are talking here about an agreement that could have a major impact on many sectors of our economy, and I would like to ask the Conservatives to take the question more seriously and answer it in a less partisan way.
    If they refuse to release the agreement immediately, can the Conservatives at least tell us what type of compensation is planned for drug pricing and for the cheese sector?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have been dealing with this in the most open and comprehensive way, without partisanship. All of the provinces have been consulted. All stakeholders have been consulted—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order. The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor, and we will allow him to finish his answer.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that the provinces have been a part of this process, including the province of Quebec. Earlier this week, the Leader of the Opposition opposed an agreement without even seeing it. It seems like only the NDP and the Québec solidaire are against this deal that will be great for Canada.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been calling for honest answers about the Mike Duffy affair for six months now.
    All we get from the government are nonsensical responses and attacks. I have a very simple question.
    According to security records from the Prime Minister's Office, Mike Duffy had a meeting in room 204 Langevin Block on February 11, 2013. Who did he meet with?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear the Liberal Party, of all parties, ask about the Senate. In fact, the Liberal leader's position is that the Senate should stay just the way it is, because it provides, in his view, an advantage to Quebec over all other provinces.
    We on this side of the House believe that the Senate should serve all Canadians. That is why we brought in 12 tough new rules to ensure that spending by senators is honest and responsible. We have asked the Auditor General to conduct a thorough investigation of all senators' expenses going back two years. We have asked the courts for a legal instruction manual on how the Senate can be reformed or potentially abolished.
    Mr. Speaker, that is just more attacks and bluster. One has to wonder just what the Conservatives are covering up.
    Here is another specific question. According to those same Prime Minister's Office security logs, the next day, February 12, 2013, Senators David Tkachuk and Irving Gerstein attended separate meetings, also in room 204 Langevin Block. Who precisely did they meet with?

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, our position on the Senate is clear. Not only must Senate expenses be made responsible through 12 tough new rules, not only must the Auditor General have access to all the information on those expenses and a wide-ranging investigation, but the Senate itself must be reformed. That is why the Prime Minister has asked the Supreme Court of Canada for a legal instruction manual on how we can reform the Senate by allowing Canadians to vote on who should represent them there and on term limits so that senators serve a reasonable period of time rather than until age 75.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians demand accountability in what happened in the PMO. We will not stop asking questions until we get real answers, not evasion.
    Those same PMO security logs indicate that an unidentified third party joined Senator Gerstein and his PMO host at that meeting on February 12, 2013. Who was that other person? Was it the Prime Minister? If not, who was it?
    Mr. Speaker, three questions in a row, and absolutely nothing about the middle class, nothing about consumers, nothing about taxpayers, and nothing about families. The Liberals are focused on everything but the well-being of Canadian middle-class families.
     On this side of the House, we are delivering a plan that will make for more affordable consumer goods and a bigger market for our Canadian businesses so that we can create jobs, and of course, the climax of our economic agenda today is the Prime Minister's successful conclusion of a free trade agreement with the largest economy in the world.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we did not hear any answers to simple questions on the Wright-Duffy affair. I would like to ask a simple question. Has anybody in the PMO been contacted by the RCMP with respect to their investigation into the Wright-Duffy affair?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have said on a number of occasions, Mr. Wright handled this file. He has taken sole responsibility for it. We will continue to work with all authorities to make sure that we get to the bottom of this matter.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, a press conference cannot make people forget about the fraud, the shenanigans and the crimes that took place, especially when we have no response from the one person at the centre of the scandal: the Prime Minister.
    Has the RCMP asked the Prime Minister's Office to hand over one or more documents directly or indirectly related to the $90,000 cheque Nigel Wright gave to Mike Duffy?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, as we have already said and as we said in the throne speech, the status quo is not an option. If the Senate cannot be reformed, we will shut it down.
    In the meantime, we will continue to work with the authorities involved in this investigation.
    Mr. Speaker, here are the facts.
    In June, the Prime Minister said that Nigel Wright was the only one in his office who know about the Mike Duffy affair. However, the RCMP has since revealed that David van Hemmen, Benjamin Perrin and Chris Woodcock knew as well. Despite all of that, his parliament secretary had the nerve to claim yesterday that Mr. Wright acted alone.
    I am giving the Conservatives an opportunity to set the record straight. Aside from these four individuals, who in the Prime Minister's Office knew about the $90,000 cheque?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Nigel Wright has taken full responsibility on this. He acted on this file on his own and has taken sole responsibility. We will continue to work with authorities to make sure that we can get to the bottom of this, and we are co-operating in any way we are asked.
    With respect to the Senate, we are going to continue to make some very important reforms in the Senate. We know, of course, that the NDP is flip-flopping on this. When they were trying to enter into a coalition agreement with the Liberals and the Bloc, they actually asked for six senators of their own. On the one hand, they want to get rid of the Senate, unless they can get their own members into the Senate. We will continue to make the real reforms Canadians have asked us to do with respect to the Senate.

[Translation]

Access to Information

    Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner pulls no punches in her report on access to information. She writes about failure and even says that “the integrity of the federal access to information program is at serious risk”. I repeat, “serious risk”.
    At the very least, can the government tell us how many access to information employees were transferred to other tasks last year?

  (1130)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in 2012-13, our government set a number of records for openness and transparency. This government processed a record number of access to information requests, released a record number of materials, and had an improved turnaround time. Our government processed nearly 54,000 access to information requests, which is a 27% increase over the previous year—over 10,000 more requests. The government also released a record number of materials, over six million pages released, an increase of nearly two million.
    The numbers do not lie. Canadians are getting better and more access than ever before, thanks to this government.
    Mr. Speaker, yes, Conservatives have set a number of records, but none I would brag about.
    The Conservatives committed to spend $50 million, they say, on access to information matters, but the Information Commissioner says that she does not know where the money was spent. She said: “My office has been cut. Some offices have been cut, certainly in their ATIP shops, and some departments have been cut to the point where they can't produce the documents”.
    We are facing a crisis here. Can they tell us how much has actually been removed from ATIP budgets in the last two years?
    Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the question. Again, the government processed a record number of access to information requests, released a record number of materials, and had improved turnaround times. Our government processed nearly 54,000 access to information requests, a 27% increase over the previous year. The government also released a record number of materials. Over six million pages were released, an increase of nearly two million.
    We will continue to improve access to information for Canadians. We are getting it right on access to information, increasing that to Canadians.

Consumer Protection

    Mr. Speaker, for over seven years, the Conservatives have failed to act, or actually, voted down help for consumers. Families are being squeezed, and they are asking now why it is the government has failed to act against banks and credit card fees and why it has failed to act on airline passenger rights.
    My question for the government is this: Are you afraid of the banks and the credit card companies? Are you afraid of the airlines? Why have you not helped protect consumers?
    The hon. member should know not to use the second person when addressing questions but to address comments to the Chair.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadian consumers deserve access to credit on fair and transparent terms. That is why we have taken action to protect Canadians using credit cards by banning unsolicited credit card cheques, requiring clear and simple information, providing timely advance notice of rates and fee changes, limiting anti-consumer business practices, and ensuring that prepaid cards never expire.
    Our Conservative government believes that with better information, Canadian consumers can make informed decisions in their best interest, unlike the NDP, which voted against our consumer protection regulations and against our legislation to improve financial literacy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives brag about helping consumers, yet it does not take much to satisfy them. Passengers will continue to wait on the tarmac without accountability or compensation from airlines. Merchants will continue to see their profit margins swallowed by credit card companies, and drivers will continue to get gouged at the pumps. Are the Conservatives just paying lip service to helping Canadian consumers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we heard the concerns of small business and introduced a code of conduct. The code has been welcomed by consumers and industry groups, especially small business. We continually monitor compliance, and we are now working with small business and consumers to ensure that both are heard. However, the NDP voted against the code and against supporting small business and consumers. Shame on them.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

Food Safety

    Mr. Speaker, this government's failure to take action on food safety is completely unacceptable. Despite repeated crises on its watch and despite the government's decision to quietly shift responsibility for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency away from the Minister of Agriculture, who was doing a terrible job, the throne speech contains absolutely nothing specific about food safety. There is barely a “we'll see”.
    When will the government finally take this issue seriously?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of our families is a priority for this Conservative government. Canada has one of the healthiest and safest food systems in the world, and we aim to keep it that way.
    Bringing CFIA into the health portfolio family means that Canadians can be assured that not only will we insist on the safest food possible but we will also be focused on ensuring that Canadians are eating healthy food.
    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are not serious about food safety. Over $56 million is being cut from the agency, and 300 staff have been let go. There have been over 50 recalls just this year. CFIA does not have the resources it needs to do its job of prevention and inspection work.
    When will the new minister finally commit to giving the resources it needs to CFIA to protect Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, since 2006, there has been a net increase of over 750 inspectors. There have been no cuts to front-line food inspectors.
    The Speech from the Throne set out our commitment to start talking to and listening to Canadian parents about how to help them make healthy food choices for their families.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the chief of staff from the Prime Minister's Office cut a cheque to a senator for $90,000. We have been asking for the documents surrounding that whole cover-up, whatever it is that the Prime Minister knows and says he does not know. We have been calling for the documents. They have been saying, “We don't have any documents”. Then, over the summer, the RCMP, in court, said that there are hundreds of documents.
    My question for the Prime Minister is this: When can Canadians expect to see a government that is going to be honest and bring forward the hundreds of documents surrounding this whole affair?
    Mr. Speaker, it is utter gall to have a Liberal talk about honesty in government. This is coming from a party that was thrown out on its butt for one of the largest scandals in the history of this country. Because it was so entitled to its entitlements, Canadians from across this country threw it out. Now they have a government that is the most open and honest government in the history of this country.
    We just heard from the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board how we are opening up access to information and opening government for all Canadians. We are going to continue to work hard to make sure that the Senate is reformed, even if the status-quo Liberals are going to do everything in their power to stop us from doing that. We will shine even a bigger light—
    Order, please.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, that answer is an absolute joke. There was no relevancy whatsoever to the question.
    For more than a year the former parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister lectured anyone who wanted to listen on ethics. When he found out that Elections Canada was investigating him for cheating on an election, he launched a baseless attack against it. The member for Peterborough faces very serious charges and potential prison time. This after the Prime Minister defended the member's expenses in the House.
    Will the Prime Minister and the Conservatives stop attacking Elections Canada and give the resources necessary for Elections Canada to—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, on every count that matters to Canadians this government is getting the job done.
    When it comes to the Senate we have brought in bills with respect to term limits. Those members were against that. We have brought in bills with respect to electing Senators. Those members were against that. Last spring we brought in 12 tough new measures with respect to spending in the Senate. Their senators did not want that. Yesterday we brought in even further accountability to those senators who are alleged to have defrauded Canadians of a lot of money. The Liberals are against that as well. We have brought forward some reforms to the Senate to the Supreme Court of Canada.
    We will be moving forward with Senate reform as quickly as we can, even if the Liberals want the status quo.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, clearly this government has no plan to ensure that Quebec is fully represented in the Supreme Court of Canada.
    Apparently the Government of Quebec will be challenging Justice Nadon's nomination, which is certainly a first in the 136-year history of the Supreme Court.
    Will the government accept the recommendation of the Barreau du Québec and immediately turn this matter over to the Supreme Court?

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, I could not be more clear: we will defend the right of Quebeckers on the Federal Court bench to also sit in Canada's highest court.
    The opinion of former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie, which was also endorsed by former Supreme Court justice Louise Charron and by noted constitutional law expert Peter Hogg, is very clear in this regard. Justice Nadon is eminently qualified and we are confident that he will serve the court with distinction.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, there was barely a mention of the critical issue of health care in the Speech from the Throne. The Conservatives have failed in their promise to reduce wait times, failed to deliver home care and failed on pharmacare, but they are quite happy to impose billions in health care cuts on the provinces.
    When Canadians are so concerned about health care, why was it missing from the government's Speech from the Throne?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a strong, publicly funded health care system guided by the Canada Health Act. That is why we are providing tools to the provinces and territories to deliver health care in their jurisdictions.
    We announced a long-term, stable funding arrangement that will see transfers reach $40 billion by the end of the decade. That is historic. Our government is following through on our commitment to provide the highest recorded health transfer dollars in Canadian history.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the $31-billion budget cuts are certainly not going to help the provinces deliver quality services to their people.
    Health care is a top priority for Canadians and their families. The fact that there was barely a mention of health in the Speech from the Throne is very worrying. There was nothing in the speech about the renewal of agreements with the provinces in 2014, nothing about drug costs or shortages, and nothing on caregiver support.
    Recent reports are alarming. Those with serious illnesses will be forced into crippling debt to get through this difficult period. This debt spiral leading to poverty is worrisome.
    When are the Conservatives going to wake up?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to innovation to ensure our health care system is sustainable.
    At a recent meeting with provincial and territorial colleagues, our Minister of Health discussed the need for innovative solutions to ensure that we have a strong health care system now and well into the future.
    On the topic of historic health care transfer dollars, I want to reassure our colleagues that we will hit a record $40 billion in transfers by the end of the decade. We are also funding over $1 billion for innovative health research that funds over 14,000 researchers across Canada. Through our record transfer dollars we are helping all Canadians.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, because of the Conservatives' fiasco with the appointment of Justice Nadon—and by the way, this has never happened in 138 years—Quebec will be under-represented on the Supreme Court of Canada for up to five years. Only eight justices can currently hear cases. It is incredible. Furthermore, the court must rule on a number of important and complex cases, including the Senate case. What will the Minister of Justice do to ensure that Quebec has full representation on the Supreme Court of Canada as soon as possible?
    Mr. Speaker, we will continue to appoint Supreme Court of Canada justices on the basis of merit and regional representation. Obviously, we would prefer to have a full bench at the Supreme Court of Canada. However, given the quality of the justices, I am sure they will properly carry out their obligations and responsibilities.
    Mr. Speaker, an important vote is missing. Three seats were set aside for Quebec and, at present, only two are occupied.

[English]

    The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the land. It should be a source of unity for all Canadians, not a source of conflict and division. What is the minister going to do to resolve the issues surrounding Justice Nadon's appointment and ensure that such a situation never repeats itself?

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will continue appointing judges to the Supreme Court of Canada based on merit and regional representation. In this case, obviously, it would be ideal to have the full panel of the court, but with the quality and depth of the judges that are presently on the bench, they will certainly be able to very ably meet their responsibilities and commitments.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is a trading nation and today our Prime Minister has delivered an historic deal with the European Union. There will be 500 million new customers. Our government is getting the job done for Canadians, for workers and for business. When we trade, we become more competitive; prices for goods and services fall; wages, salaries and standards of living go up; businesses can hire more workers; and Canadians have more opportunities.
    Would the parliamentary secretary update the House on how our government will help Canadians and consumers make a choice for lower prices for goods and services?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for that terrific question.
    Once CETA is fully implemented, approximately 99% of EU tariff lines will be duty free. That includes 100% of non-agricultural lines and over 95% of agricultural tariff lines. It is truly a game changer for Canada: prices down for consumers and employment up, with 80,000 net new jobs. At the end of the day, there will be a $1,000 net benefit to families like those in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, across Canada communities are voicing concerns over increasingly dangerous rail cargo. Alberta is no exception. Daily, tanker cars of hazardous substances pass through our cities and towns. Albertans suffered first-hand the bunker C derailment at Lake Wabamun. While Canadians looked to the throne speech for commitment to action, we saw just vague mention of the issue.
    The question is simple. When will the government finally phase out the use of DOT-111 cars for dangerous cargo?
    It is quite the opposite, Mr. Speaker. The minister yesterday took action by announcing a directive that will ensure that all crude oil being transported be properly tested, classified and the results be sent to Transport Canada. That is an additional means to monitor industry compliance and focus our efforts for the greatest safety benefit for all Canadians.
    With respect to the DOT-111 cars, Transport Canada has already accepted the TSB's recommendation on DOT-111 railway cars, and as recommended by the TSB, new railway cars are being built to new standards.
    Mr. Speaker, across the country train tracks run right through the middle of communities. Some are small towns, some are densely-populated cities like mine. It is not like sound recommendations have not been suggested from the Transportation Safety Board, for example. Life-saving solutions are staring us in the face, but still nothing from the government. Canadians deserve to know what steps are being taken to make our communities safer.
    When will Transport Canada provide real-time information to municipalities about dangerous goods?
    Mr. Speaker, our government's top priority is the safety and security of Canadians. The member will know that the minister has met with representatives, not only from the rail companies but from municipalities as well, specifically on the topic of dangerous goods. They are all reporting that it is a good dialogue.
    We further agreed that first responders should have information on the type of dangerous goods being transported through their communities. We expect that all parties can arrive at a system that everyone agrees with.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, practical measures must be taken to improve railway safety.
    Broad principles in a throne speech without any positive changes to support them do not provide any protection for people who live near railway lines. Here is a practical measure: CN must ensure that its freight trains slow down from 100 km/h to 64 km/h when passing through urban areas. Everyone in Montmagny and many other cities agrees with this measure.
    Here is a very specific question about a targeted measure. Will the Conservatives require trains transporting hazardous materials to slow down when they pass through urban areas or not?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister is engaged in a very important dialogue with municipalities and railway companies, specifically on the topic of the transportation of dangerous goods. That is a productive discussion, as the municipalities themselves are saying. We are listening to municipalities. We will make sensible recommendations and take action.

  (1150)  

[Translation]

Consumer Protection

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives want us to believe that they are standing up for consumers, but the regions no longer have access to CBC/Radio-Canada television as a result of the blind budget cuts the Conservatives made in 2012.
    Basically, they want to force companies to offer pick-and-pay cable services. However, they are forcing thousands of people in the Gaspé, the Magdalen Islands and other regions to pay top dollar for cable just so that they can have access to CBC/Radio-Canada television programming. That is unacceptable.
    Why are the Conservatives ignoring the problems of consumers in the regions?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the role the CBC plays in our Canadian society and the funds that it receives to deliver those services. In fact, the president of the CBC has said they can continue to fulfill their mandate and implement their 2015 plan while participating in our government's deficit reduction action plan.
    They are on track. Let us trust them to do their job.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, a young veteran, Kate MacEachern, began her “long way home” walk at the Canso Causeway in Nova Scotia. She walked to raise the Canadian public's awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and to raise funds for Military Minds. Today, 1,685 kilometres later, she arrived in Ottawa and sits here with us.
    When will the government allocate the required funds and resources to help veterans such as Kate who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? When will the government step up to the plate?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has made substantial investments to support Canada's veterans, including almost $5 billion in new, additional dollars since taking office. This funding has been put toward improved financial benefits, world-class rehabilitation and tuition costs to help veterans transition into civilian life.
    While our government is making improvements to veterans benefits, Liberals and the NDP have voted against new funding for mental health treatment, financial support and home care services.
    Mr. Speaker, substantial? Nine district offices are closing. They are laying off case workers across Canada. Veterans are advised to go to the Service Canada office or dial the 1-800 number. In some instances the case workers are a five-hour drive away from the veterans.
    Why is the government walking away from our veterans and not giving them the service that they deserve? Why? When are they going to do it?
    Mr. Speaker, there are now 600 additional points of service across the country available to Canadian veterans. A critically injured veteran no longer has to drive to a district office. Our government now sends a registered nurse or case manager to visit them in the comfort of their own homes.

Correctional Service of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, this week at the coroner's inquest into the death of Ashley Smith the commissioner of Correctional Service of Canada made a very shocking statement. He told the jurors not to bother making costly recommendations to fix the mental health crisis in our prisons because he had no money to implement changes. These are changes that would prevent more suicides and avoid more deaths in our prisons like Ashley Smith's.
    Would the minister explain why his department does not view the prevention of deaths in prison as a spending priority?
    Mr. Speaker, first this is a very sad case and our thoughts and prayers do go out to Miss Smith's family.
    Our government, as the opposition members know, was directed by Corrections Canada to fully co-operate with the coroner's inquest, and it has done so. Our government takes the issue of mental health in prisons very seriously. That is why we have taken action to improve access to mental health treatment and training for corrections staff in prisons.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Don Head, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, who testified at the inquest into the death of Ashley Smith, issued a shocking statement. He basically said that costly recommendations should not be made. However, Ashley Smith is dead because there is obviously something wrong with our system.
    What is the Conservatives' solution? Is it to stand idly by and allow others like Ashley Smith to inflict harm on themselves and die?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is continuing to take concrete steps on the issue of mental health in prisons. Both access to treatment services for inmates and training for staff have improved as a result of our strong leadership of this Conservative government. In fact, it was our government that ensured faster mental health screening, we created a mental health strategy for prisoners and we extended the mental health psychological counselling. Above all else, we have improved staff training to help in this area.

  (1155)  

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, our government has the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history. Today in Brussels, the Prime Minister delivered on this plan once again. While the NDP supports no trade and the Liberals support only the drug trade, our Conservative government is pursuing free trade that will benefit hard-working Canadians.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade please inform the House how our government's pro-trade plan is creating jobs and opportunities for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, once the Canada–Europe trade agreement is fully implemented, agricultural tariff lines will be 95% reduced or removed. That means 500 million new consumers, hungry consumers, for beef, pork and bison. I know that Soderglen Ranches in Airdrie is excited about the opportunity the European market holds for our beef producers. This is a $1 billion part of a $12 billion net benefit as a result of this deal for Canada.

Search and Rescue

    Mr. Speaker, a recent National Defence report acknowledged and revealed glaring inadequacies in search and rescue in Canada's north. Among those many weaknesses was the limited and aging fleet of aircraft and the limited deployment areas of operation for those aircraft. It points out also the limited capability to respond to shipboard scenarios, including oil spills and major communications on weather reporting voids. All of these things point to future tragedy in the north, but we know it can be prevented.
    Will the government act now to ensure these things are taken care of?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians can be assured that we have one of the most effective search and rescue systems in the world. Our government directed that a comprehensive analysis of peak periods of seasonal, weekly and daily SAR activity across Canada be conducted to optimize our SAR readiness posture. SAR regional commanders will continue to adjust their SAR postures based on seasonal updated data. Additionally, we have undertaken a quadrennial review of search and rescue systems right across Canada.

[Translation]

Co-operatives

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives seem to have forgotten about Co-op Week.
    Co-operatives are important economic drivers, but they were completely overlooked by the Conservatives in the Speech from the Throne.
    This is Co-op Week, but the Conservatives are not doing anything to help this sector of our economy flourish.
    When will the Conservatives finally acknowledge just how much co-operatives contribute to the Canadian economy?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, during National Co-op Week, I would like to recognize the continuing contributions of Canadian co-operatives to our economic prosperity. For over 100 years, co-operatives have been a fundamental part of communities across the country, creating jobs and promoting growth. Our government remains committed to ensuring that the right conditions are in place to support the development, innovation and growth of Canadian co-operatives.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister announced today that Canada and the European Union have reached an agreement on an historic trade deal.
    We know the NDP will oppose this agreement. The NDP is anti-trade. My constituents will not be fooled. They understand that free trade creates real benefits for hard-working Canadians.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade please tell me how my constituents will benefit from this deal?
    Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague has been watching the Canada-Europe negotiations closely, and we are happy to report that steel and steel products will reduce from a 7% tariff rate to a 0% tariff rate. In Sault Ste. Marie that means Essar Steel Algoma and their workers will benefit tremendously from this deal. It means 80,000 net new jobs across Canada, from coast to coast to Sault Ste. Marie.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, this Speech from the Throne is a terrible way to start this session. It contains absolutely nothing of substance for aboriginal peoples. There is nothing about a national inquiry into missing and murdered women, the chronic underfunding of schools on reserve, or the lack of consultation about resource extraction projects.
    The UN rapporteur is using the word “crisis“ and saying that the situation in New Brunswick is worsening. Can the government explain why aboriginal peoples' cries are falling on deaf ears?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, of course we reject the premise of that question. Our government has taken significant steps since taking office in 2006 to advance the cause of aboriginal people across Canada. Whether it is first nations transparency on reserve, safer water on reserve, bringing matrimonial property rights to women on reserve, we are standing in the corner of first nations.
     That party and that party down at the other end continually vote against everything we do to improve the lives of first nations in Canada.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec milk and cheese producers were shocked to learn that they were betrayed by the federal government, which had promised to protect supply management. These producers are now trying to determine and understand the exact impact on their industry of the free trade deal signed today with the European Union.
    They have the right to know what they are going to lose and what the federal government has in store for them. They deserve to have complete transparency and not just vague promises that seem improvised for the sole purpose of stifling protest.
    Will the government finally come clean with Quebec cheese and milk producers on what is in store for them?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this Canada-European Union deal is good for Canada and it is good for Quebec. It is a $12 billion addition to our GDP.
    We have consistently said that the three pillars of supply management will be maintained and they are. Growth in the cheese sector in particular means that there should not be any impact to our dairy farmers. However, as the Prime Minister said today in Brussels, if there is an impact, they will be given compensation.
     I would note that both the governments of Ontario and Quebec have stated they support this approach. I hope all members in the House support this deal.

Regional Development

    Mr. Speaker, it looks like the Conservatives have it in for northwestern Ontario.
    There is nothing in the throne speech for the north. There is no plan to help forestry. EI staff are being axed. Thunder Bay's Revenue Canada office is closed. People will have to drive hours to process a FAST card application. Now our veterans must travel nine hours to Winnipeg for service.
     Do the Conservatives intend to cut our region off completely?
    Mr. Speaker, FedNor will continue to focus on community economic development, business growth, competitiveness and innovation that creates jobs and long-term prosperity across northern Ontario.
    We will continue to ensure that communities and businesses in northern Ontario have the tools they need to have a strong diversified economy. Our government is working with all levels of government, including first nations and other stakeholders, to ensure that we maximize the economic opportunities and long-term sustainability of northern Ontario.

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, members of all corners of the House are secure in the fact that you keep order in this place. Personally, I thank you.
    Earlier today during question period, I heard something while the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade was speaking.

[Translation]

    One of the members here claims to be an eminent jurist, a woman with ample experience in this House. She used language that has been considered unparliamentary for over 40 years. I am talking about the member for Gatineau, who used an expression that was banned by Beauchesne and in all later works, including O'Brien and Bosc.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the member is referring to. I would be curious to know what I said. I say so many things. Of course, I am not one to bite my tongue; I will give him that. However, quite honestly, I am surprised that this has anything to do with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade. I do not know. Perhaps the member could refresh my memory.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would have hoped that the hon. member for Gatineau would not make me repeat the words she used in the House. The expression can be found on page 144 of Beauchesne, near the bottom. In an alphabetical list, it begins with b.
    Mr. Speaker, I know I talked about “BS”.
    Is that what my colleague is referring to? If so, I said “BS”. People can fill in the blanks as they wish. Maybe “BS” means “big spender” or “big whatever you like”.
    I will have a look at page 140-whatever of Beauchesne. It is an expression that was used frequently on the radio when I used to do call-in shows.
    I apologize for having offended the member.

[English]

    I do not know if there is much to be gained by continuing on in this. All members should be very judicious in the words they use. If their abbreviations may cause some to suspect that they might be unparliamentary, they should shy away from that as well.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act

    I have the honour to lay upon the table the annual reports on the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act from the Auditor General of Canada for the year 2012-2013.

[Translation]

    This document is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

[English]

Ways and Means

Notice of Motion  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, a notice of a ways and means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013, and other measures.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the ways and means motion that I would like to introduce on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a ways and means motion to amend the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the Excise Tax Act. Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaties entitled Amendments to Annexe I of the International Convention Against Doping in Sport, notified 27 September 2013; an Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution, Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, done at Kiruna on May 15, 2013; Amendments to Appendices I and II on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, adopted at Bangkok from March 3 to March 14, 2013; Amendments to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, notified on January 27, 2011, September 23, 2011, January 4, 2012, June 27, 2012, and March 14, 2013; and an Exchange of Notes between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America concluding amendments to the Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on Pacific Coast Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port Privileges, done at Washington on June 17 and 18, 2013.
     An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

  (1210)  

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act

[Translation]

Petitions

Employment Insurance  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions signed by Edmontonians. These petitions were circulated by the Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta.
    The first petition has to do with employment insurance. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to review the EI eligibility requirements and the benefit period to better serve caregivers, the majority of whom are women.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with work and poverty among seniors. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to maintain the eligibility age for old age security at 65 and to invest more in the guaranteed income supplement program.

[English]

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have over 2,000 names here in support of my private member's Bill C-322 in regard to horse slaughter. Petitioners are calling for a prohibition on the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.
    These names come from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Aerial Spraying  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition, with over 800 names, deals with an issue that many of us have seen or heard about. It is called chemtrails. Petitioners say there is aerial spraying being carried out without the knowledge or consent of the people in Canada. They want the government to fully inform the people of Canada about this aerial activity occurring high in our skies, to explain why it is being allowed to take place and to cease this activity.
    Most of these names come from the communities of Barrie, Calgary and Ottawa.

[Translation]

Democratic Republic of the Congo  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to present a petition initiated by Bishop Dorylas Moreau, of the Diocese of Rouyn-Noranda.
    This petition calls for the condemnation of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the restoration of lasting peace. The situation in the Congo has been rather disturbing since 1966. The war continues. Brothers and sisters are truly living in very difficult situations. Perhaps the fact that two Congolese priests are now working in the Diocese of Rouyn-Noranda, due to a shortage of priests in the region, is creating stronger links with the Congo.
    In my view, it is important to do something about this situation, which is why I wanted to present this petition.

[English]

Climate Change  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today, signed by citizens in and around my riding of Beaches—East York in Toronto.
    The first petition deals with climate change and requests that the Government of Canada acknowledge the urgency of climate change and the magnitude of challenges remaining, that it recognize that a sector-by-sector approach will be too slow and that a comprehensive climate change plan is needed, and that it develop real-world solutions for farmers as drought conditions may increase and for vulnerable families as food prices may increase.

Genetically Modified Alfalfa  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with genetically modified or genetically engineered alfalfa. The petitioners call upon Parliament to impose a moratorium on the release of genetically modified alfalfa in order to allow for proper review of the impact on farmers in Canada.

  (1215)  

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

Business of the House and its Committees

Notice of Closure Motion 

[S.O. 57]
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to give notice with respect to the consideration of government business Motion No. 2 concerning the government's principle-based fair proposal to facilitate House and committee business this autumn that at the next sitting a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Respect for Communities Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-2, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It is truly sad that this is the first bill being introduced by the government. It is as though this bill would really be in the public interest, when clearly it is one that would be harmful to people who need our help the most.
    Bill C-2 was formerly Bill C-65. Bill C-65 was killed by prorogation. Perhaps one positive thing about the prorogation is that it delayed the conclusion of a bill that would be harmful to many Canadians.
    Specifically, this legislation would amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things, create a separate exemption regime for activities involving the use of a controlled substance or precursor that is obtained in a manner not authorized under the act. It specifies the purposes for which an exemption may be granted for those activities; and it sets out the information that must be submitted to the Minister of Health before the minister may consider an application for an exemption in relation to a supervised consumption site.
    What does that actually mean? Let us put a human face on this. This legislation is really about human beings. It is about family members, brothers and sisters, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, who suffer from the disease of addiction to drugs, a disease that has no geographic boundaries, no social boundaries, no economic boundaries but is found in communities across Canada, a disease that often ties into factors that are beyond the control of the person suffering from the disease—for example, mental illness or childhood abuse. Let us bear in mind that these are human beings, that these are family members.
    I am proud of the leadership that was taken by the City of Vancouver more than a decade ago. The mayor of Vancouver and other people who wanted to address the challenges faced by people with drug addiction on the streets of the Downtown Eastside created a safe consumption site, formerly called a safe injection site. This site, called InSite, has been operating in Canada pursuant to a section 56 legal exemption since 2003. Proponents of the site include the Portland Hotel community services society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. These organizations challenged the federal Conservative government's refusal to continue the legal exemption to InSite in 2008, and this challenge was taken all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
    In 2011, the Supreme Court declared that the health minister had violated the Charter of Rights of people who need access to such a health facility and ruled in favour of the exemption, ordering that this exemption to the act be granted a continuation by the federal health minister.
    Bill C-2 is just the government's latest attempt in a long series of attempts to shut down any effort to open a safe consumption site elsewhere in Canada. For clarity, we should really be calling this bill the “banning of safe consumption sites act”.
    Bill C-2 is an ideological bill from a government that has always opposed evidence-based harm reduction measures such as safe consumption sites. These safe consumption sites must be part of a broader evidence-based national drug policy, which would save lives, reduce harm and promote public health.
    The Liberal Party of Canada does support the need for broad community consultation with respect to the establishment of any safe consumption site, which is exactly how the Liberals participated in the establishment of Canada's first safe consumption site in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.

  (1220)  

    Liberals consulted broadly and worked in conjunction with provincial and municipal governments, public health authorities, business associations, and the public. InSite was the product of co-operative federalism, a concept not well known to the current Conservative government.
    There were a number of authorities and stakeholders that combined forces in their efforts to create it. It was initially launched as an experiment that has proven to be successful in saving lives, in improving health, and in decreasing the incidence of drug use and crime in the surrounding area. In fact, not a single injection overdose fatality has occurred with InSite, a safe consumption site, which is one reason the Vancouver Police support InSite. InSite is also supported by the City of Vancouver and the British Columbia government.
    In contrast, the current health minister has never even set foot in Vancouver's InSite facility. Her legislation is based on ideology, not on evidence.
    One piece of evidence of harm reduction from InSite is in the most recent annual research on the incidence of HIV and the HIV virus. Only 30 new HIV cases were found in the Downtown Eastside. That is remarkable, because in 1996, we had 2,100 new cases of HIV in the Downtown Eastside. Compare that: 30 new HIV cases versus 2,100 new HIV cases. That is the kind of reduction of harm and all the attendant social and economic costs that this facility has provided.
    The current Conservative government has been trying to shut down that facility and now wants to prevent those facilities from opening in other communities. The Liberal Party does not support Bill C-2, clearly. As Liberals, we support evidence-based policies that reduce harm and protect public safety. The bill would do neither of those things.
    As I previously said, the Vancouver safe consumption site has proven to be effective not just in reducing HIV infections but in reducing crime and in protecting public safety in the area surrounding the facility.
    Unfortunately, the bill would raise the criteria to establish a new safe consumption site to such an extraordinarily high level that it would be nearly impossible for any future consumption site to be established in Canada. That could mean that InSite will remain the only safe consumption site in Canada. Other cities that want to open a safe consumption site would be virtually prevented.
    I just want to go back a bit to why the Supreme Court ruled that the government had to provide a continuation of the permission for the safe consumption site, InSite, to continue.
    The case was based on a violation of the claimants' section 7 charter rights. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Determining whether there had been a breach of section 7 involved a two-part analysis by the court. The court considering any potential section 7 violation must ask, first, whether there is a deprivation of the right to life, liberty, or security of the person, and second, if so, whether the deprivation is in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

  (1225)  

    The Supreme Court found that both conditions had been met, and I will quote the Supreme Court's ruling:
    The Minister's decision thus engages the claimants' s.7 interests and constitutes a limit on their s.7 rights.
    This is a decision to try to shut down InSite. Continuing the quote:
    Based on the information available to the Minister, this limit is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. It is arbitrary, undermining the very purposes of the [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act], which include public health and safety. It is also grossly disproportionate: the potential denial of health services and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users outweigh any benefit that might be derived from maintaining an absolute prohibition on possession of illegal drugs on Insite's premises.
    It is very clear that the Supreme Court forced the federal government and the federal health minister under the Conservatives, to allow InSite to continue operating as a matter of justice, and that is in addition to all the other health and public safety benefits that evidence has shown this facility provides. The Supreme Court ordered the minister to grant an exemption to InSite under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    Now we have a new bill that is trying to take another route to undermining these kinds of services to human beings that actually help their ability to get off drugs and improve their safety while they are still in the grip of their addictions.
    In the last 20 years, supervised injection services or safer consumption sites have been integrated into drug treatment and harm reduction programs in western Europe, Australia, and Canada, and they have saved lives. The Toronto drug strategy has provided an excellent review of the research on these services and has found that programs such as safer consumption sites reduce overdose deaths, reduce needle sharing and HIV and hepatitis C infection, reduce public drug use, do not cause an increase in crime, and even increase use of detox and other treatment centres. What is not to like about these results?
    The government's bill is based entirely on ideology and not on evidence. It is based on unsubstantiated beliefs that are unsupported and contradicted by overwhelming scientific consensus. Let me outline a few of the problems with Bill C-2, and there are many.
    Bill C-2 creates an unnecessarily cumbersome application process for an exemption for what is foremost a health care service. As the Toronto medical officer suggested in a recent report:
    The requirements of the bill...stretch beyond the scope and spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling. The requirements will pose significant barriers for health services applying for an...exemption [from the act].... The likelihood that an applicant can obtain letters of support from all required bodies is low.... The required consultation process is beyond the capacity and budget of most community based health services.
    Bill C-2 focuses on public safety at the expense of public health. It is an approach that runs counter to the Supreme Court of Canada's emphasis on striking a balance between public safety and public health and it ignores comprehensive research showing that safer consumption sites do not negatively affect public safety and do support better public health.
    The bill requires that staff working at such a site obtain criminal record checks. This requirement will effectively discriminate against potential staff or volunteers who have a history of drug crime. This is of concern, because the involvement of peer workers in these services is critical to their success. People who have gone through this tragic disease and have managed to beat it and come out the other side are the very kind of counsellors who can help people still in the grip of the disease of addiction.
    Bill C-2 did not involve any consultation with provincial health authorities, nor with key professional bodies, including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Nurses Association.

  (1230)  

    This is a health issue. These sites are a health benefit. Canada's primary health associations were not consulted. In fact, the Canadian Nurses Association is very concerned about this bill. They are concerned about what the meaning of broad community support is in the bill and whether one group's opinion could outweigh that of several other groups. It is not clear in the bill.
    The Canadian Medical Association supports evidence-based harm reduction tools, such as safer consumption sites. In a statement, the CMA stated:
    The CMA's position is founded upon clinical evidence. Bill C-[2], it would appear, is founded upon ideology that seeks to hinder initiatives to mitigate the very real challenges and great personal harm caused by drug abuse.
    These are doctors saying that the government is hindering their efforts to mitigate the harm experienced by human beings with the disease of addiction.
    A study co-authored by Dr. Julio Montaner, who is an international leader in HIV/AIDS research, found that there was a 35% reduction in overdose deaths following the opening of InSite. That is a 35% reduction in overdose deaths in the community of the Downtown Eastside following the creation of a safer consumption site. These are all important indicators of the sense it makes to allow these sites.
    Bill C-2 is trying to prevent more sites from opening. It requires groups to seek letters of opinion from civic and provincial authorities and essentially vetoes the provision of health care services by organizations that may have a vested interest, through a narrow mandate regarding the use of illegal drugs. Such organizations may not be aware of the broad spectrum of other issues for which these safer consumption sites are so beneficial. Those vetoes may prevent a site from going ahead.
    Bill C-2 also specifies that a report on the consultations within a broad range of community groups must be included with an application. The Liberals believe in community consultation. The bill provides a 90-day period during which the minister may receive comments from the general public on any application for an exemption. That is concerning. Will a single person's comment then be used as an excuse to scupper a safe consumption site?
    Public consultation is an important component of establishing these sites, but the two sections I have been describing give undue emphasis to the opinions generated in public consultations. That can potentially allow a vocal “not in my back yard” minority opposition. It could enable that NIMBY factor to halt the implementation of lifesaving health services, services that reduce HIV infections, deaths, and other harms in the community.
    Why is the Conservative government doing this? It is about politics. Unfortunatley, it is recognized as being about scoring political gain over justice and scoring political gains over health benefits. The clearest indication of this is that only an hour after the legislation was introduced back in June, the Conservative campaign director, Jenni Byrne, issued a crass and misleading fundraising letter to supporters stating that the Liberals and NDP want addicts to shoot up heroin in backyards in communities all across the country. Send us money, said Jenni Byrne, the Conservative.
    The intention of the Conservative government is clear. It lost the gun registry as a way to misinform the public and raise funds for their campaigns. Now it wants safer consumption sites to play that role so that it can undermine the actual truth and the people suffering from this disease in order to raise money for the Conservative Party. That is not okay, and this bill must not go ahead.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments and concerns that the Liberal Party's critic has put on the record in regard to this bill.
    I can speak first-hand, having dealt with a number of young people in Winnipeg's north end where there are issues related to addiction. One of the most addictive drugs that we have seen was a product known as “crystal meth”, which has literally destroyed lives. People have died as a direct result of being users of that particular drug. There is a need for government to proactively do more to assist individuals who are hooked.
    Can the member comment on the importance of education before individuals even look at experimenting with the crystal meths and the cocaines and the other addictive types of drugs that are out there?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from my colleague.
    Yes, education is critical. In a community that I represented provincially a number of years ago, I hosted a crystal meth forum in the school gymnasium. We had people who suffered from that addiction and had come through it, as well as psychologists and police officers, speak to the public and talk to the parents and the students who were in the gym about the dangers of crystal meth.
    However, that is the very kind of thing for which the government cut funding in its Bill C-10, when the Conservatives decided that their justice system should be about reducing flexibility of judges, having mandatory sentences, and locking people up and throwing away the key. They are actually reducing funding for the very kinds of preventive and educational activities that are so badly needed in communities.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member was as surprised as I was this morning to see the change in the committee to which this bill is being referred.
     In its previous incarnation, it was to be sent to the health committee, and this clearly is, after the Supreme Court decision, a health matter. Now, suddenly this morning, we learned that this bill is being sent to the public safety committee. This gives the appearance that the Conservatives are trying to create fear around this issue by implying that somehow safe injection sites are a threat to public safety, when in fact we know that their impact is exactly the opposite.
    I wonder if the member was as surprised as I was to see this reassigned to the public safety committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for pointing out that manoeuvre, which is consistent with what I have been pointing out as being a reprehensible toying with the most vulnerable, refusing them the supports they need to prevent deaths and infections and to help with their health concerns.
    Why? It is for political gain. It is about reinforcing some messages around public safety that are based on misinformation. The health committee is clearly where this bill should go; it is a health issue and a justice issue, and the evidence shows that public safety is improved with these sites.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her presentation on this matter.
    I have taken the time to actually talk to medical specialists and others who are concerned about this issue and who are trying to find better ways to prevent health decline from drug use and prevent communities from being harmed by the illegal use of drugs in their communities and their back alleys.
    A good number of Canadians across the country, and in particular doctors, are pursuing this very carefully, looking at evidence elsewhere and carefully examining the experience that occurred in British Columbia. Resoundingly, they are finding that the proposals for medically supervised safe injection services are going to be the best route to go.
    They argue that this approach would be better for overdose prevention in that it would be better to be injected in clean places than in back alleys. It would be better for the community because it avoids the presence of needles and disreputable people in backyards, because it prevents HIV spread, and because it enhances the opportunity to work directly with those who are addicted to drugs to help them reform.
    Could the member advise if she supports the actions by these doctors and the concerns with the direction the government is going?
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely. The medical community is clear. That is why I was quoting the statement that this bill appears to be founded upon ideology from the Canadian Medical Association itself.
    The previous comment about the switching of this bill from the health committee to the public safety committee is more indication of that ideological basis. This bill is not based on evidence. It is not based on compassion for people and family members, many of whom are suffering from previous abuse, mental illness, and other challenges.
    Our job is to support them in rehabilitation and in staying safe, and in helping communities stay safe at the same time. This is exactly what the medical community is saying these sites accomplish.
    Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate on this bill all morning, and I have heard some inflammatory comments coming from the opposition talking about fearmongering and talking about the concerns they feel about moving the consideration of this bill from health to public safety. Clearly the Minister of Health has control of this issue under her purview.
    I thank the honourable member for her presentation, but I just wonder what it is about an open, honest debate on this issue that has her so concerned that we can not have families and communities fully engaged in this debate on safe injection sites.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear that the Liberal Party supports consultations, and those kinds of consultations took place before InSite's ribbon was ever cut.
    We support consultation. We support involving the community. What we do not support is a veto by a small number of vocal voices that are acting on a “not in my backyard” basis or on the basis of a very narrow focus on the fact that the drugs that are being used at these sites are illegal, ignoring all of the preponderance of evidence that this is healthier for the community, safer for the community, and saves lives.
    Bill C-2 is unworthy of the hon. members opposite. The evidence is very clear that these facilities are positive for the community as well as for those with the illnesses that require their services.
    It is not my time to be asking questions at this point in the debate, but I would say that if there is anything inflammatory, it is actually the Conservative member's party campaign director who, an hour after this bill was tabled, sent out a fundraising letter with the statement that Liberal and NDP members want addicts to shoot up heroin in backyards of communities all across the country. How is that for crass political undermining of the very interests of justice, of undermining the health and well-being of community members?
    That is shocking. It speaks to the Conservative government's strategy with respect to this bill and why it is pushing forward with it despite all the evidence that it is the wrong way to go.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, let me echo what my colleague just said.
    I think many of the Conservative MPs in this House are deeply embarrassed by what is happening here with respect to this bill. They know better. They know in their own cities, their own urban settings, that this is a very important health promotion issue. In due course, it is also one that can defer costs in terms of infections.
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this debate today. I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.
    One of our government's top priorities is to keep Canadian families safe. We have delivered on this commitment time and time again during this Parliament, and we are building on the success through the bill before us today, the respect for communities act. The bill details proposed amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, a piece of legislation that exists to protect public health and maintain public safety.
    Substances that fall under the act include dangerous and addictive drugs that can have horrible impacts on Canadian families and their communities. Currently, under the act activities involving controlled substances, including possession, import, export, production, and distribution, are illegal except as authorized under an exemption obtained through its section 56 or its regulations.
    This section gives the minister of health the authority to grant exemptions from the application of the act in order to respond to unanticipated situations or a legitimate activity using a controlled substance that is not provided for in the regulations.
    These exemptions may be granted if in the minister's opinion the exemption is necessary for medical or scientific purposes, or is otherwise in the public interest. An exemption is required in emergency or unanticipated situations. An example would be the Red Cross needing to have access to controlled substances for natural disaster relief efforts.
    We know that substances obtained illicitly often contribute to organized crime and increase the risks of harm to health and public safety, especially when those substances are unregulated or untested. This can have a profound impact on our families and on the communities in which we live. Given this, any exemption that allows for the use of controlled substances obtained from illicit sources should only be granted under exceptional circumstances.
    In order to demonstrate these exceptional circumstances, applications for exemption should be subject to specific, clear criteria. Only by addressing rigorous application criteria would the Minister of Health have the information required to be able to balance effectively the public health and public safety needs of a community.
    Our government is therefore proposing a new approach that would separate the exemption authority found at section 56 into two regimes, one for the use of licit or legal substances and a second for activities using illicit substances, which oftentimes amount to street drugs. This new approach would provide further transparency for applicants seeking to conduct activities involving the use of these street drugs at a supervised injection site.
    For applicants who are applying for an exemption to use controlled substances obtained from legitimate sources, the process to obtain a section 56 exemption would not change with the passage of the bill. It would remain as it is.
    Currently, Health Canada receives a significant number of exemption applications each year, most of which are for routine activities such as clinical trials or university-based research. These activities involve controlled substances obtained through legal sources, such as licensed dealers, pharmacists, or hospitals, and as I stated, the exemption process would not change for these applicants. What is being proposed in Bill C-2 is a new approach to deal with exemptions involving activities with controlled substances that are obtained through illicit sources.
    There is a very high risk associated with the use of these substances for individuals and for communities, so it is important that public health and safety concerns be balanced and that relevant information be considered thoroughly to determine whether or not an exemption should in fact be granted.

  (1250)  

    In a 2011 Supreme Court of Canada decision the court identified five factors that the Minister of Health must consider when assessing any future section 56 exemption applications to operate a supervised injection site. The legislation would amend section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to include a section specifically on supervised consumption sites and codify rigorous and specific criteria that builds upon those factors identified by the Supreme Court. Once the bill is passed, an applicant seeking an exemption to undertake activities with illicit substances at a supervised consumption site must address these criteria before the Minister of Health would consider such an application.
    One of the factors established by the Supreme Court of Canada in its decision relates to the need for the applicant to provide evidence of community support or opposition for any future sites. It is this element of the court's ruling that is particularly crucial when evaluating the merits of the bill before the House today. That is a key point.
    Recently I read in the Ottawa papers about a local group that wants to apply for an exemption in order to build a safe injection site in the Sandy Hill area. Without passing any kind of prejudgment on its merits, I do find it concerning that this group thinks that by accelerating its application it can avoid consultation with the community at large.
    I would like to dwell on that point for a brief moment. Our government is seeking passage of legislation that would help ensure that communities have a say on the use of street drugs in their neighbourhoods, and an organization is so opposed to this principle that it is trying to circumvent that very issue. Let me assure the House that our government will ensure Canadian communities get the respect they deserve through actions that include the passage of this very legislation. Government needs to hear from those Canadians who will be living and working near sites where addicts will be using dangerous and addictive drugs. It is that simple.
    Given this, the respect for communities act provides opportunities for community and stakeholder input related to their support or opposition to a proposed supervised consumption site. In this new approach, the Minister of Health would have the authority to post a notice of application once an application is in fact received. This would provide for a 90-day public comment period. This public comment period provides an opportunity for members of the community to make their views known to the Minister of Health and any relevant feedback would be taken into account in the consideration of the application.
    This consultation process is an essential part of the legislation. We need to know what those living, working or going to school near the potential supervised consumption site think of the proposal. We need to know their opinions.
    Under this new approach, the government will also require that applicants provide letters outlining the opinions and concerns of key community stakeholders who are important to the success or failure of that site. For example, valuable input and local perspectives will be sought from the provincial ministers responsible for health and public safety, the head of the local police force and the local public health professional in the province. In these cases, the applicant would be required to provide a letter from the stakeholder indicating their opinion on the proposed activities.
    I did not misspeak on that particular issue with regard to the respect for communities act. I did say when dangerous and addictive drugs are sold. An important factor for members to consider with the bill is that it provides for consultations, notices and data of all sorts in this application process. However, at the end of the day these sites will not supply addicts with the illicit drugs they are abusing. They will have to bring these substances to the centres themselves through buying them on the street, in effect creating a lucrative market for drug dealers.
    I will be voting in favour of the bill. It is common sense for Canadians to be consulted when centres for dangerous and addictive drugs are looking to open down the street from our families in our communities.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, coming from the Northwest Territories, a small town, injection is not really a big issue in my community. However, where I live, and my hon. colleague happened to mention Sandy Hill, is very near what I call an unsafe injection site, the back side of a church in Sandy Hill, where addicts go on a regular basis to inject drugs.
    Quite clearly, the community understands that. Quite clearly, people are trying to make a move to find a way to deal with this. By putting all these qualifications in place, the government is not helping the situation in Sandy Hill. The situation in Sandy Hill can be helped by the community, through its municipal ordinances, through the municipality coming to a decision that this a good idea.
    I certainly do not want to walk out of my house in the next little while and find someone dead on the street from an overdose because of the delay that is going to be imposed upon getting any of these injection sites located into the communities. Will my colleague assure me that this terrible occurrence will not happen to me with this legislation delaying forever the introduction of a safe injection into this city, the capital of Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the first important issue is that the people of Sandy Hill, the community of Sandy Hill, should have an opinion as to where they want that safe injection site. Whether it is in the back of a church, where it is illegal and where it is tolerated, does the community in fact have any say in that situation? Or will it in fact land in their own backyards when the population at the back of that church overflows and that is the only place to go?
    We have to have a degree of consultation, conversation, about this issue. It is a serious issue. There is no doubt about it. However, we need to have families and communities engage so that we understand what the outcome can be. Certainly I understand his concern. I would caution him to vote with us and we will have this thing put together right.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate for a good number of hours now. What I find absolutely stunning is hearing the opposition members referring to four pillars, but really, all they are talking about is one pillar. That is, of course, the harm reduction and the importance of InSite.
    As a nurse, day in and day out I certainly had many experiences where I had people who were desperate for detox services, who were desperate for rehabilitation, and to be quite frank, those services were very sorely lacking. I find it a little odd that they would put so much energy and effort into one piece of the pillar but really have ignored the very important lack of resources for those people who want to leave a life of drug addiction behind. I think that is a funny feature of this conversation we have been having, especially from the opposition members.
     I think the hon. member did answer my question a bit in his last response, and it sounds like this is what this legislation is intending to do. However, as a former mayor, I think we, local government, local communities, are in a very good position to have responsibilities in terms of the zoning bylaws, bylaws, consultation and community input.
     I would like you to focus on how important the community engagement in this conversation should be.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, certainly the member's experience in her previous career, both politically and in nursing, gives her tremendous insight into this situation.
    It is fair to say that the people of Canada expect our government to provide safe and healthy communities for their families and for their communities. This particular issue is an emotional one, and one that does need absolute care. I think your point of addicts wanting to get off drugs, clearly has to be at the root of what they expect and I think that you—
    Order, please. The hon. member is out of time for his response and I did hear the use of the word “you” quite a few times. I want to remind him and all members to address their comments to the Chair.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.
    Mr. Speaker, as His Excellency the Governor General put it so well in the Speech from the Throne earlier this week, “Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children.”
    Dangerous and addictive drug use has a major impact on public health and public safety in communities across Canada. The impact that these drugs have on our communities is often severe and the cost to our health and justice system significant. Our government takes seriously the harm caused by dangerous and addictive drugs. These drugs can tear apart families, lead to criminal behaviour and ultimately destroy lives.
    The bill before us today addresses this challenge through, among other measures commented on by my honourable colleagues, ensuring that residents and parents have a say before drug injection sites open in their communities. In addition to this, I think all members of the House can appreciate that dangerous and addictive drug use requires a multi-pronged approach to be successful. That is why, as part of our national anti-drug strategy, our government has been focused on preventing our children and youth from using drugs in the first place and strongly deterring existing use of harmful and addictive drugs.
    This strategy is our government's comprehensive response to fighting dangerous and addictive drug use in Canada. The goal of the strategy is to contribute to safer and healthier communities through coordinated efforts to prevent use, treat dependency and reduce the production and distribution of illicit drugs. This strategy has three pillars: prevention, treatment and enforcement.
     Since its introduction in 2007, our government has invested significantly in this area. Under the prevention action plan, our government invested $30 million over five years in a targeted mass media campaign to raise awareness among youth aged 13 to 15 and their parents about the dangers of illicit drugs. The mass media campaign saw impressive results and 25% of parents who recalled one of our TV ads took action by engaging in discussions with their children about drugs. Results from the campaign also identified an increase in the proportion of youth who said they knew about the potential effects of illicit drug use on relationships with family and friends.
    Also, under the prevention action plan, Health Canada delivers the drug strategy community initiatives fund. This contribution funding program supports Canadian communities in their collective efforts to address concerns related to health promotion and the prevention of illicit drug use among youth aged 10 to 24. This fund provides approximately $10 million annually in support of a wide range of provincial, territorial and local community-based initiatives to address illicit drug use among youth. It also promotes public awareness of dangerous and addictive drug use and its harmful impacts.
    Another key impact is the drug treatment funding program. This program provides funding to provinces, territories and key stakeholders to initiate projects that lay the foundation for systemic change leading to sustainable improvement in treatment systems in their jurisdictions. This initiative is a great example of our government's commitment to reduce and prevent the use of illicit drugs across the country.
    The bill that we are debating here today, the respect for communities act, is consistent with our government's approach to addressing dangerous and addictive drug use in the national anti-drug strategy.
    At the federal level, there are several legislative tools that play an important role in maintaining public health and public safety, including the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This act has a dual role: to prohibit activities with controlled substances while allowing access to these substances for legitimate medical, scientific and industrial purposes. The amendments that we are proposing through the respect for communities act would help ensure that residents and parents have a say before drug injection sites open in their communities.
    Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act gives the minister the authority to grant exemptions from the application of the act or its regulations for activities that, in the opinion of the minister, are necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or otherwise in the public interest. For applicants applying for an exemption for the use of controlled substances obtained from licit sources, the process to obtain a section 56 exemption would not change. Most applications reviewed by Health Canada are exemptions of this nature.
    What is being proposed is a new approach to deal with the exemption applications involving the use of illicit substances, which are typically street drugs. Under this new regime for illicit substances, the proposed legislation includes a section specific to supervised injection sites.

  (1305)  

     These changes are in line with a Supreme Court of Canada decision handed down in 2011 and codify the court's ruling that community opinions must be considered by the Minister of Health with regard to supervised injection sites. The court stated that its decision is not a licence for injection drug users to process drugs wherever and whenever they wish, nor is it an invitation for anyone who so chooses to open a facility for drug use under the banner of a safe injection facility.
    The Minister of Health must also verify that adequate measures are in place to protect the health and safety of staff, clients and also the surrounding area.
    The court identified five factors the Minister of Health must consider when assessing any future exemption applications in relation to activities at a supervised consumption site involving illicit substances. The specific factors outlined by the court that must be considered in making the application under an exemption include evidence, if any, on the following factors: the impact of such a site on crime rates; local conditions indicating a need for such a site; the regulatory structure in place to support the site; the resources available to support its maintenance; and expressions of community support or opposition.
    Our government respects the court's ruling on this matter and used these factors as a guide in drafting the bill before us today. Under the proposed approach, an applicant would have to address rigorous criteria when applying for an exemption to undertake activities involving illicit substances at a supervised consumption site. Demonstrating a benefit to an individual and public health is an important factor in making this decision. For example, the applicant would have to provide scientific evidence demonstrating that there is a medical benefit associated with access to the supervised injection site.
    In addition, the applicant would have to provide a letter from the highest ranking public health official in the province outlining his or her opinion on the proposed site.
    A letter would also be required from a provincial minister of health outlining his or her opinion on the proposed site as well as an explanation as to how this site fits into the provincial health care regime.
    Understanding the potential public health impacts that a supervised consumption site might have on a community in which it exists is also important. Under the proposed approach the applicant would have to provide a report on the consultations held with the relevant provincial licensing body for physicians and nurses as well as those with local community groups. If any relevant concerns are raised by community groups with respect to impacts on public health or otherwise, the applicant would have to provide a description of the steps taken to address these concerns. Once all the information has been submitted, including, if applicable, an explanation of why there is a lack of information or evidence for certain criteria, the Minister of Health would consider the application.
    The proposed changes clearly set out the criteria applicants must address when seeking an exemption to undertake activities involving dangerous and addictive drugs at a site. The information the applicant would have to provide in support of the criteria would directly relate to the public health and public safety considerations surrounding such activities.
    In addition to all the information the applicants must provide, the respect for communities act would require that all applications that would seek to renew previously granted exemptions also include evidence of any changes in public health impacts and crime rates within the community since the first exemption.
    I urge all members of the House to support this legislation that would help ensure that residents and parents have a say before drug injection sites open in their communities. This assurance is the least we can provide for Canadians who will be residing in areas that are set to see a rise in crime and addictive drug use.
    Let the burden of proof lie on those who would seek to provide spaces for addicts to use these dangerous, illegal and addictive drugs.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a very simple question.
    Perhaps my colleague has already noticed this issue elsewhere, not just where safe injection sites are involved. Take the housing shortage in my region, for example. Everyone agrees that housing complexes need to be built. However, every time there are plans to build, people say that they do not want them to be built in their neighbourhood or in their backyard.
    Similarly, even though everyone agrees that we need safe injection sites, which reduce risk in the neighbourhood, it is likely that no one will want a site at the location that is announced.
    How do we fix that problem? How to we deal with that situation, when we know that these sites save lives? They keep people from injecting on the street and overdosing. They keep our children from witnessing that. We know there is a risk that no one wants this in their backyard. How do we negotiate that?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very pertinent question. It is a dilemma that is not easily resolved. We recognize the importance of such a site. No one wants to live near it, that is for sure.
    The only way to find the ideal location for such a site and to minimize the risk that children and other vulnerable people will be affected by the site is to proceed with the consultations required by this legislation. There is definitely not a good location for such a serious problem. Consulting and working with local authorities is paramount in identifying the ideal location.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what this bill really does, and Canadians should know this, is make it now entirely a matter of the federal Minister of Health deciding whether or not an InSite location would be opened in the country.
    That is the truth of it. The member knows it. The effect of this is actually quite dangerous. Here is how the government referred to this question in the Speech from the Throne. I think was difficult for the Governor General to even utter these words. It callously referred to the addiction question as “loopholes that allow for the feeding of addiction under the guise of treatment“.
    That is more than disappointing. I am sure it is disconcerting for a lot of Conservative MPs who know the truth of the matter.
    Here are a couple of facts I would like to introduce into the debate for the member to respond to. If we look at the Vancouver east InSite location, there were only 30 new cases of HIV in 2006, as compared to the 2,100 new cases of HIV in 1996. We know it costs $600,000 over a lifetime to treat HIV infection in the health care system. That is one thing I would like the member to address.
    We also know that 87% of InSite's clients suffer from hepatitis C, another terrible, difficult chronic disease. It costs a fortune to treat these conditions.
     Why would the government make it more difficult for us to act coherently in a public health fashion by taking this traditional partnership approach away from the provinces, taking it right up to the office of the Minister of Health, subject to the vagaries and ideology of a government that clearly does not subscribe to science?

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, we reject the premise of the comments that we do not rely on science. In fact we rely wholly on science.
    The applicants who will make the application to the minister to prove that the location is suitable will have to base their determination on science, on the increase of crime rates, and it will be science that will determine whether it will be the best spot.
    There is absolutely nothing that is mutually exclusive with diminishing the number of people who have HIV or other diseases contracted by virtue of using needles and placing it in a safe location where it has lesser effect on public safety and on vulnerable children and diminishing crime rates.
    What is so incompatible with placing a location for a site in a spot where it is less disruptive to safe communities? Canadians expect safe communities. They do not have be subject to the placement of these sites when there are better places for it. That is what the whole consultation process is designed to elicit.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.
    This is the first time I have spoken in the House since Parliament was prorogued. I would therefore like to take a moment to say hello to my constituents and tell them that I am ready to return to the House and I look forward to participating in the debates. I am also pleased to speak about health because I am now a member of the Standing Committee on Health and this is an issue of particular interest to me.
    That being said, I was very surprised this morning to see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health give the first speech, since the government had decided to send this bill to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for review. There is a slight imbalance in that respect. Of course this bill is related to the health and public safety of Canadian communities; however, it would have made sense for it to be examined by the Standing Committee on Health. I wanted to take the time to say that.
    I am pleased to speak to Bill C-2 or former Bill C-65 today. Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is a very thinly veiled attempt by the Conservatives to put an end to supervised injection sites. They want to give the minister more power, as we have already seen with immigration and other portfolios. This government wants to hold all the power.
    If we add a long list of criteria that must be met in order for a supervised injection site to be opened, we will end up not having any more such sites. Right now, there is one such site in Canada called InSite, which I will talk about a little later. This bill shows that, sadly, we are still dealing with a very ideological government that puts its own thoughts and values ahead of scientific facts. We know that the Conservative Party is very anti-drug. Of all the Conservative bills, this one is aimed at pleasing the Conservative base by proposing to eliminate drugs in Canada.
    It is unfortunate, because this bill will not have the effect they want. There was a big Conservative campaign this summer called “Keep heroin out of our backyards”. It is a shame, but heroin exists. Like all other Canadians, I am against it and I would love to be able to say that it no longer exists, but it does. There is a problem.
    Deciding not to address this problem or not to create health centres to deal with it will not solve the problem. That is very irresponsible. By preventing communities from building supervised injection sites, the government is saying that instead of putting all injection drug users in one place so they can get clean syringes and be supervised, it would rather have them shoot up in churchyards, in parks where children play and in schoolyards. That is what the Conservatives are telling us.
    Personally, I would rather know that there is a supervised injection site in my neighbourhood than know that these people who are unfortunately using drugs could be anywhere. That is what I understand from this bill. Supervised injection sites do not provide drugs. Earlier I heard a Conservative member say that they do, but that is untrue.
    People who use these sites go there with their drugs and ask the people there to help them with their injections so that they can have clean equipment and access to experienced staff who can help if they overdose or if there is a problem.
    This is a huge health problem. The government has made huge cuts to healthcare. We are talking about $31 billion in cuts. The government should take this seriously. I think these injection sites can help with prevention. We can try to prevent diseases and stop them from spreading instead of having hospitals treat countless cases of AIDS or hepatitis A, B and C.

  (1320)  

    Currently in Canada, there is one supervised injection site, namely InSite, in Vancouver. I would like to talk about what InSite does. Facts and figures can really help people understand what a supervised injection site does. People often have unfounded biases or preconceived notions about this.
    To use these services, users must be 16 years old, sign a user agreement and follow a code of conduct. This is clearly not a place with a free-for-all philosophy. Not at all. There is a code of conduct and a focus on safety. Obviously, patients cannot have children with them.
    InSite is open during the day, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It has 12 injection stations. Users bring their own drugs. Drugs are not provided.
    Nurses and paramedics who supervise the site provide emergency medical assistance if necessary. Overdoses can occur. Personally, I prefer that this be done in a supervised injection site with trained staff rather than out on the streets.
    Once users have injected their drugs, their condition is assessed before they are sent to a post-injection room and before returning to the streets. If there is a problem, they will be treated by a nurse. Staff members also provide information on health care, counselling and referrals to health and social services. Users can then be referred to Onsite, which is located in the same building as InSite. This is a place that provides detox treatment.
    Some of my family members have had to go to drug treatment centres, so I know that they are essential. When people are struggling with this problem, they often have no choice. I am not saying that 100% of addicts are going. There are those who, sadly, want to stay on drugs, and that is very unfortunate for them. However, there are some who want to try to get clean.
    I find it very interesting that in one year, 2,171 InSite users were referred to addiction counselling or other support services. I think this is very positive. If the 2,200 people who were referred for drug treatment had injected their drugs on the street, they would not have received this service.
    In 2006, Wood et al. published another interesting statistic: those who used InSite at least weekly were 1.7 times more likely to enrol in a detox program. Once again, this shows the influence that InSite has had on people who use the service.
    In addition, the rate of overdose-related deaths in Vancouver East has dropped by 35%. This means that one in three lives were saved thanks to a centre like that.
    I know that some Conservatives will say that they think it is bad for communities. My colleague just asked a question. Of course, no one wants this in their backyard. I live in a very cool little neighbourhood in Lachine. If someone told me that such a centre existed near my house, I might have some concerns at first, and that is only normal.
    That being said, when asked, 80% of the people who live or work in that area of downtown Vancouver support InSite. Furthermore, the number of discarded needles and injection paraphernalia and the number of people injecting drugs in the street dropped dramatically one year after InSite opened. These are all positive aspects.
    In closing, I do not have enough time to laud it properly, but an organization in my riding called Head & Hands in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce does some work with people who are unfortunately addicted, and it distributes injection paraphernalia. Once again, the entire Notre-Dame-de-Grâce community supports this. Since the organization's inception in the 1970s, crime has decreased and the number of people using detox services has increased. I think that is important.

  (1325)  

    Of course I will be opposing this bill, because I think we need these supervised injection sites in our communities in order to reduce crime and help people who are suffering from addiction.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest and I heard many things about the safe injection site, how many lives it saved and a little about detox. However, does the member know how difficult it is for people who want to get into detox and rehabilitation? There are no beds available. There is no support. There are no services. I continue to be astounded about how those members want such money, effort and time put into one pillar of what is a four prevention strategy, and completely ignore the lack of opportunities for people who want to get off drugs through detox or rehabilitation.
    The comment the member made that stunned me the most was the one about how it is NIMBYism if we do not want a safe injection in our area. I believe she said “I would not want one in my area”. I thought that was stunning to hear from the member. I would like her to explain why she believes that communities will not support them, if they are so important, and why she would not support one in her area.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.
    I find it a bit odd to hear her say that she listened with great interest to my speech and then ask if I know about the difficulties with drug treatment programs. I said that people in my family have gone through detox programs. I wonder if she was really listening and where she was. Perhaps it was an issue with the interpretation.
    In my speech, I also said that in one year, 2,171 InSite users were directed to drug treatment services, which, to my mind, is significant. In addition, approximately 30 peer-reviewed studies that were published in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and the British Medical Journal described the benefits of InSite. The Canadian doctors' association says that it has a positive effect on people's health and that it benefits the community because it puts all drug users in the same place. They receive support and are encouraged to check into a drug treatment program. I know that it is difficult. I am not saying that it is easy, but they need good services and a place to go.
    In Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, I spoke to a street outreach worker who distributes injection kits. I heard how difficult it is to reach these people and convince them to check into a drug treatment program. I believe that InSite helps address that problem.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's speech on this bill was very honest and straightforward. It was very refreshing and very appreciated.
    I wanted to build on my colleague's response to the former question. I have had discussions with doctors, particularly those who have been working in my city of Edmonton, on trying to deal with the problem of addiction and trying to seek safer places even within the community to deal with the problem of drug addiction, which is evident across the country. The member spoke to the issue of what the doctors are telling me, which is that it is pretty hard to create a path toward detox and better health alternatives if people are hiding in back alleys, getting HIV and avoiding prevention and rehabilitation.
    Could she speak again to the issue of what the experts are finding in their analysis of B.C.'s InSite program that, in fact, it may well be the best path toward better health alternatives?

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what I said and what I have been hearing in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It is a matter of building trust with the individual, which is difficult. A drug addict is not going to decide to go for treatment overnight after seeing the $2.7 million government ads urging them to do so. It is a process. A supervised injection site like InSite will attract them because they will know that they can get help there. Then, they can work towards getting treatment.

[English]

    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.

Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

An Act to Bring Fairness for the Victims of Violent Offenders

     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be standing here to speak once again to the important amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act proposed in Bill C-479.
    First, I would like to acknowledge the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety for their ongoing leadership on victims' rights. The ministers held consultations in every province and territory with victims of crime and their advocates over the summer months. While these consultations were held to discuss the government's intention to introduce a victim's bill of rights, the input gathered is relevant today because one of the things that came across loud and clear is that victims of crime want increased participation in the criminal justice system. That is what Bill C-479 is all about and I am proud that this bill would build on the good work of the ministers and this government since 2006.
    In a nutshell, there are two key components to the fairness for victims of violent crime act that I am proposing. The first is strengthening the voice of victims of violent crime and providing additional support to victims in the parole process. The second is to modify parole and detention review dates giving the Parole Board of Canada the option of increasing the time between parole hearings for violent offenders. Both of these purposes work to act on the change that victims, their families and advocates like the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime have urged for many years. It is about time to bring these to fruition.
    I want to be clear from the outset, just as we were when we discussed this bill last spring, that we are talking about instances of violent crime. As I have said many times before, I do not think words can ever adequately describe the repulsiveness of these crimes. They are heinous, often calculated and always senseless.
    I would like to point again to two statistics from the Sampson report of December 2007, which underscored the alarming trend on violent crime. This report, named after former Ontario minister of corrections, Rob Sampson, cited changing offender profiles. Nearly 60% are now serving sentences of less than three years and have a history of violence. One in six now have known gang and/or organized crime affiliations.
    The reason that it is such an honour to be speaking to this bill today is because I do so on behalf of my constituents and, tragically, thousands of Canadians like them and the sacred memory of their loved ones. As I have noted previously in the House, Bill C-479 is the product of an unforgettable experience that constituents of mine allowed me to observe in the summer of 2010. That is when a well-respected couple in my community contacted me and explained what it had been going through for many years at the national Parole Board hearings. After listening to many troubling experiences, I wanted to see first-hand what the process was like and, fortunately, the couple also felt it was a good idea for me to witness the hearing and the voice given to victims primarily through the victim impact statement.
    When I agreed to attend, I had no doubt it would be a very emotional experience. I was hoping it would also be an educational experience, and it sure was. However, I do not think I could have ever begun to prepare myself for the raw emotion in the room that day, let alone put myself in the shoes of the victim, who had to go through this gut-wrenching experience every time the offender reapplied under the current process, not because the victim was compelled by law but rather by love and justice.
    I am certain many of my colleagues have never experienced a national Parole Board hearing, so please allow me to recount the story for them and for the members who were not present at the last debate on Bill C-479.
     On the day of the first hearing I attended in the summer of 2010, once in session and the formalities were over, the sister of the deceased victim, my constituent, was asked by the representatives of the Parole Board of Canada to give her prepared statement. She tried hard to be composed, but before even uttering a word my constituent started weeping. The memories of a crime committed over 30 years previous came flooding back and the tears did not stop, understandable due to what the family had endured and still lives with to this very day.
    It was a grisly triple murder. Her sister, niece and nephew had been violently murdered by her sister's husband. After killing his wife, this violent criminal suffocated his two young children, a six-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. The murderer meticulously concealed the bodies in the waterways around Hamilton, Ontario. The son's body has never been found, nor has his father, the perpetrator, ever offered information on the whereabouts of his remains.

  (1335)  

    My constituent wrote her first victim impact statement on the eve of the funeral, yet, too often over the years, she and her parents had to attend a Parole Board hearing to ensure that the voices of victims were heard. As with other victims and their families, they felt an incredible burden, a duty as a family. It was the least they could do to honour their daughter, sister, grandchildren, niece, and nephew.
    While the evidence for a conviction was very clear and the Parole Board has upheld that, the offender still denies the crime to this very day.
    Unfortunately, our federal parole process makes the revictimization of my constituents a frequent occurrence. I watched the family endure the same process again in 2011. Again the triple murderer was denied parole. They were victimized once again this summer with another Parole Board hearing for their sister's killer in Gravenhurst, Ontario, on July 10. I attended with my constituents once again, and I can assure all members of the House that the emotion was no less raw, no less painful this summer than at previous hearings.
    My constituent asked the same question of the violent offender in her statement. She asks this question at every hearing: “Why did you kill our family and what did you do with your son?”
    She received no response. The offender sat stone-faced. He felt no remorse. This was something that the Parole Board noted carefully in its decision to deny full parole this past July.
    However, he may reapply for parole again next year, and we will go through the same set of victim impact statements and the tears and emotion from the family that accompany them.
    These circumstances underscore, better than any words could ever do, the intent of my bill when it comes to victim impact statements and the modification of the parole review process.
    While these experiences inspired Bill C-479, in researching this bill I discovered in talking to victims' advocates, law enforcement officials, and legal experts that while the provisions in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act may have made sense in 1970s, they no longer reflect modern technology and the respect and dignity our system ought to afford victims today.
    From the work my office and I have done in preparation for the introduction of this bill—and, by the way, I give staff thanks for all the hard work that they have done on—and from the experts we consulted, I know this bill has a sound legal and constitutional foundation. I believe it has broad support.
    In tabling Bill C-479 last February, I proposed nine changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to better protect and support victims of violent offenders.
    This bill would extend mandatory review periods for parole. This means that if an offender convicted of a more serious violent offence is denied parole, the Parole Board would have to review the case within five years rather than the current two years.
    In cases of cancellation or termination of parole for an offender who is serving at least two years for an offence involving violence, it would increase the period in which the Parole Board must review parole to within four years.
    It would require that the Parole Board take into consideration the need for the victims and the victim's family to attend a hearing and observe the proceedings. It would require that the Parole Board consider any victim impact statement presented by victims.
    It would require the Parole Board, if requested, to provide victims with information about the offender's release on parole, statutory release, or temporary absence, as well as provide victims with information about the offender's correctional plan, including progress toward meeting its objectives.
    As I have said previously in the House, this last point is one of the changes requested by Constable Michael Sweet's family after 30 years of silence. In essence it is the Constable Michael Sweet amendment.
    I would like to remind members of Michael Sweet's story so they can understand the family's depth of feeling with regard to these changes.
    In the early morning hours of March 14, 1980, brothers Craig and Jamie Munro entered into what was George's Bourbon St. Bistro in downtown Toronto for the purpose of committing a robbery. Both men were high on drugs and armed with guns. At the time, Craig Munro was on mandatory supervision from a penitentiary sentence for a previous gun-related offence.

  (1340)  

    The brothers gathered all the people inside in one place. However, one of the victims managed to successfully flee. Once out on the street, he flagged down a passing police cruiser. Constable Sweet, who is no relation to me, aged 30 at the time, entered the restaurant and was immediately shot twice. Then began a 90-minute stand-off between the Munro brothers with their hostages, and the police. The police later stormed the restaurant and both brothers were shot and captured.
     During the stand-off, Sweet was conscious and slowly bleeding to death. He begged his captors to let him go to the hospital. He had three young daughters and he wanted to see them again at home. While Sweet pleaded for his life, they laughed and taunted him. All three men were transported to the hospital after the police broke in. Craig and Jamie made full recoveries. Constable Sweet died a few hours later of gunshot wounds.
    Just like the case of my constituents, the story does not need to end there. Let us make the changes proposed in Bill C-479, changes that have been requested by families, because these two cases I have talked about today are just two of thousands of sad cases. Violent offenders have committed unspeakable crimes. Families have suffered losses that are forever. These victims, these families and our communities should be confident that these offenders are positively progressing toward rehabilitation, and if not, that the Parole Board of Canada has the tools to delay their release.
     We can act to respect victims and their families with the changes I am proposing in Bill C-479, changes that have been enacted by other jurisdictions such as California, New Zealand and the U.K.
    In closing, please allow me to read into the record once again this paragraph from a March 2, 2012 editorial from my hometown newspaper, The Hamilton Spectator. It states:
...the [Parole Board of Canada]...has a responsibility to victims of crime. For those victims, the parole board is virtually the only source of information about the status of the person who committed the crime against them. ...some local victims...don’t feel well-served by the board. That must change.
    That is why I have brought Bill C-479, an act to bring fairness for the victims of violent offenders, to the House. I certainly look forward to discussion on the bill with all members. This would give the Parole Board of Canada the tools that it needs to serve victims better in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale for his very moving presentation on the bill, and also to say that we do appreciate his motivations for bringing the bill forward, and I will be saying some more in my own remarks in a few minutes about our support for the bill.
    I have one question for the member. Given the throne speech this week, and the announcement by the government that it will be introducing a comprehensive victims' bill of rights, was he personally consulted about the preparation of that bill of rights? Will there be any problem with trying to proceed with his private member's bill at the same time we are having a government bill come forward that deals with many of the same issues?

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I do not see any conflict at all with the victims' bill of rights that will be coming up. I believe that these changes are ones that are not only for victims' families, but as I mentioned before, the federal victims' ombudsman has been very clear that these changes are necessary. I think it will only enhance what I believe will be the outcome of the victims' bill of rights.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments that the member has put on the record. The member made reference to a couple of other countries and maybe he could provide a bit more clarity on that. In terms of how often they review parole for these types of crimes, does he actually have some factual numbers that he would be able to share with us at this time?
    Mr. Speaker, I would certainly be glad to share those very specific numbers from those other jurisdictions when we move to committee and we get into more of the details of the bill. I have no problem with that.
    It is important to note that the measures in the bill would simply give the tools to the Parole Board of Canada so that it has the option to delay a review. In no way, shape or form would it give it any obligation to do that. It could still act in the time frames that it acts within right now.
    As well, the bill would allow the victims to have confidence that their right to give a victim impact statement and to be considered is enshrined in law. It is not simply policy, and it is not going to change. It would give victims the opportunity to engage in modern technology, as I have, as I mentioned in my speech about attending in Gravenhurst, Ontario. In that particular case, the family members wanted to do that, but in cases where they are not able or they do not desire to travel across the country to whatever institution is holding the Parole Board hearing, they would have the option of using technology.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to know whether my colleague has any qualitative studies. For example, say the period is five years. An inmate with a seven-year sentence can have his first hearing after three and a half years. If parole is denied, it would be five years before the next hearing, which means that this person will not have another one before his statutory release.
    Does my colleague have any information about that? Would that affect the motivation and behaviour of inmates and would it affect the prison environment? Does the member know of any studies that could enlighten us on this issue?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member would certainly have access as freely as I do to the results of the printed material that I mentioned from the federal victims ombudsman.
    I would like to reiterate the fact that this is not obligating the Parole Board of Canada to any kind of extended process of hearing. What it does is give it the tools to monitor the behaviour of the particular inmate when looking at the case.
    The experiences I have had with the Parole Board of Canada officials on the hearings that I have attended have been extraordinarily professional. I am impressed with the work they do. I have tabled this bill to give them more tools to do their job even better and to have more discretion with it as well.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-479 at second reading. I look forward to discussing the bill further in the public safety committee. We look forward to the bill going to committee, as there is much in the bill that members from both sides of the House can support.
    Despite the extreme rhetoric we sometimes hear from the government, let me restate the obvious: no one party in the House has a monopoly on the concern for victims. We do have a difference with the government on how best to serve victims and how best to make sure there are fewer victims of crime in the future, instead of taking stories ripped from sensational headlines and then suggesting what look like simple fixes without any consideration of the actual evidence underlying those headlines or of the unintended consequences of those seemingly simple solutions. This is an approach that we reject. I am not accusing the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale of having done that in this case, but it is something we see too often on the other side.
    What we do understand in the NDP is the importance of utilizing our correction system to prevent additional Canadians becoming victims in the future. Clearly, what Canada needs is a properly funded correction system where offenders receive the treatment they need, whether for addictions or mental illness or some other problem, and where they can also access training and education opportunities necessary for their successful reintegration into our communities. If not, offenders will find themselves back in the same circumstances as before and, therefore, are likely to reoffend, creating even more new victims in the future.
    Conservatives often focus on the understandable feelings of some victims that the justice system ought to be more punitive and ought to provide a greater sense of retribution, or they focus on those victims who believe that toughness is the solution for crime. However, in doing so they miss the more fundamental feeling expressed by nearly all victims. The one concern that all victims have in common is that no one else should have to go through what they have gone through. That is the central and common concern of every victim, whether it is expressed through surveys or testimony that has been given at the public safety committee.
    For New Democrats, and I believe for most Canadians, there is a concern that we not lose the balance in our justice system between the need for punishment and the common good of increased public safety that we can achieve through rehabilitation. That balance is placed in jeopardy when we fail to fully consider the consequences of reforms like those suggested in Bill C-479. That is why we look forward to further study and analysis in committee.
    However, that balance is placed in even greater jeopardy by the government's penny-wise and pound foolish approach to public safety budgets. The consequences of this failure of the Conservative government to adequately resource the correction system will unfortunately be seen down the road in additional victims.
    Therefore, we in the NDP are supporting sending Bill C-479 to committee, but with some reservations. This is primarily because there are many provisions here that are of clear benefit to victims and indeed have already become part of normal practice in the corrections and parole system. We agree it is a good idea to entrench these rights for victims by placing them in legislation. Among these are the right for victims or family members to be present at parole hearings. I appreciate the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale suggesting that technology has made some new improvements possible in this area.
    We also believe that entrenching in law the necessity of consideration of victims' statements in the Parole Board of Canada's decisions regarding release is an important victim right. We also believe that entrenching the right to various manners of presenting input to the Parole Board, again reflecting new technology, is an important thing to put in legislation. The right for victims to know the information that has been considered by the Parole Board in its review of offenders is also something we can support entrenching in legislation. We can also support the obligation to provide transcripts of parole hearings to victims and their families, not just to offenders as happens now. Finally, we can support ensuring the right to be notified when an offender is going to be out of custody, on parole, on temporary absence or on statutory release. That right to a notice is certainly something that is very important to be legislated and not just part of current practice.
    We have some serious concerns about some other sections of the bill that may have unintended consequences. I am not questioning here the good intentions of the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, nor reflecting on the moving testimony from victims of crime in his riding that he just provided to us. However, given the importance of parole in providing structure and supervised transitions back into society and the importance of using the parole system and things like temporary absence to allow corrections to test the readiness for release of offenders in a structured and controlled situation, we will be asking some serious questions at committee about some provisions of the bill.

  (1350)  

    Others share our concerns about the unintended consequences on our parole system that might result from Bill C-479. We look forward to hearing from those people or groups, which include the John Howard Society, the Elizabeth Fry Society, and even the former victims' ombudsman. They have all expressed publicly this fear of some unintended consequences; again, none of them is questioning the good intentions of the mover of the bill.
    If the consequence of some of the provisions Bill C-479 is to deny access to parole, which is so necessary for safe release back into our communities, this consequence would place the public in what is ultimately a much more dangerous situation: a situation in which offenders are being released without any supervision and without any testing of their readiness for release.
    For these reasons, and out of these concerns, we will likely be asking for amendments to the bill.
    We also wonder, as I mentioned in the question to the hon. member, how this bill would relate to the new victims' rights bill that the government announced again in this week's throne speech, and we will once again be asking questions about the unintended consequences of this pattern we have seen in the House of Commons of amending the corrections act and the Criminal Code piecemeal through various private members' bills. It makes it very difficult to predict the consequences of all these individual pieces of legislation that are being introduced.
    With respect to the hon. member, I wonder how we know at this point whether there are contradictions between his bill and the victims' rights bill. Certainly on this side we cannot know, because we have not seen the text of that bill. I hope he has; I hope he was fully consulted and I hope that there are no contradictions.
    However, when we have multiple pieces of legislation before the House of Commons amending the Criminal Code and amending the corrections act at the same time, it becomes very difficult to deal with.
    Once again, I would like to restate our support for strengthening victims' rights in our justice system and to once again say I do look forward to discussing the bill in committee.
     I want to go back to the point that I raised at the beginning—that is, this difference between New Democrats' approach to crime and corrections and the government's approach to crime and corrections.
    On our side of the House, we have been emphasizing again and again that we have to properly fund the corrections system if we want to prevent there being future victims of crime in our society.
    One of the things raised in question period earlier in the House today is the ongoing failure of the government to properly fund mental health programs in our corrections institutions. The Correctional Investigator's recommendations in 2008 were not followed up on until 2010 by the minister and not even put in force until 2011. Now we have a new Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness who is faced with the situation of the Corrections Commissioner appearing at the inquest for Ashley Smith and openly saying that he does not have the resources to address problems of mental illness in the prison system.
    Therefore, one of the things we will be asking the new Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness about when we get the opportunity is what he is going to do about this crisis in mental health treatment in our prisons, a crisis that has been brought to the attention of the government again and again since 2008. The most recent report from the Corrections Investigator focused on the plight of aboriginal women with mental illness in our corrections system, the lack of programs appropriate to their needs, and the lack of support for those programs within the corrections system.
    I am emphasizing that instead of the government's tough-on-crime agenda, which seems to make sense only if we look at the surface of things, we have to have a much deeper understanding of the causes of crime and a much larger commitment to addressing the needs of those who are in the corrections system in order to make sure they do not reoffend.
    We hear from the other side that we are interested in coddling prisoners. That is not what this is about. It is about taking a hard-headed approach to the what the real causes of crime are in this country and what the real solutions are to the problems faced by victims.
     I would urge the government to pay more attention to the corrections system and the needs of those people who are in that system, not because we like the people in the system, although some of them are there for reasons that may not be their own responsibility because of addictions or mental illness.

  (1355)  

    In any case, we have to pay more attention to those needs, and we have to stop introducing legislation that increases mandatory minimum penalties, because those take away the discretion of judges to keep some of those people with mental illness and addiction problems out of the correction system.
    Having done that, the government has created for itself a dilemma. It has increased the prison population. It has increased the number of people with those special needs in the prison system. Therefore, it has to provide the resources for that system.
    To come back to the bill, we will be supporting the bill and having it sent to committee. We will be supporting many of the specific provisions of the bill that enhance victims' rights. We will want to take a good hard look at any unintended consequences for the parole system.
    I thank the member once again for his speech today and for his introduction of this bill, and I look forward to dealing with it in committee.

  (1400)  

    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy the opportunity to stand in my place and express some concerns on the issue of crime, safety, and justice. In fact, I was the justice critic for the Manitoba Liberal Party for a number of years in the Manitoba legislature. I had the opportunity in that capacity to meet with a wide variety of stakeholders. Many of those stakeholders were different types of victims and victims groups.
     Listening to the opening remarks on the bill, one of the things that came across is the fact that hideous crimes take place, sadly, far too often. Virtually every day throughout the year there is some sort of crime taking place, and a number of them are fairly hideous in nature.
    It is hard for us to understand why people take extreme actions and cause so much harm, not only to an individual but to that individual's family, friends, and community. Often these crimes will have an impact that goes beyond the people he or she might actually know, as they have a profound negative impact on the community as a whole.
    The member made reference to a couple of specific cases. Some cases came to my mind. I remember an individual who had a bullet put through his head. He was then wrapped in plastic and dropped at a landfill site in south Winnipeg. I remember a young lady who was thrown into a back lane dumpster. I remember another young lady who was dumped in north Winnipeg.
    There are vicious, hideous crimes that happen. In talking to the public as a whole, we find that there is unanimous support for us to do what we can as legislators, whether here in Ottawa or in the provincial legislatures, to ensure that we minimize the impact these crimes have on people, whether it is the individual victim or the community itself.
    I do not believe that we are doing enough to take a holistic approach. The member who spoke before me talked about how all victims will say that they do not want others to go through what they went through. They do not want these crimes to happen to anyone else.
    To what degree are we taking the actions necessary to prevent some of these crimes from taking place in the first place? That is something I would not mind spending time on. However, for now, let us come back to the idea of victims and victims' rights. We believe that it is important to recognize the rights of the victims. This is not new. I believe that all political parties, and I can speak in terms of the Liberal Party, have been very strong on the issue of ensuring victims' rights.
    I used to chair a justice committee, the Keewatin Youth Justice Committee. I can recall having a discussion with the Liberal minister at the time about how we wanted to move towards dealing with youth under the age of 12. As a justice committee, which was a quasi-judicial committee, we wanted to talk about ways to develop more victim participation.
    Through discussions and by working with the province, we ultimately moved toward what we call restorative justice.

  (1405)  

     Restorative justice allows victims to be a part of the process to the degree in which they contribute in a tangible way to the disposition of the person who has caused the crime. There are many ways we can explore other potential opportunities, where we can ensure that victims are engaged and more involved in the system. I see that as a positive thing.
    Today it is easy to use modern technology to ensure in good part that victims do not have to relive, on an annual basis, the tragedies that occurred by having to appear at a parole board hearing. There is great merit in looking at that.
    After a crime the individual goes to jail and after a period of incarceration a parole hearing will come up. This legislation would not change that. From what I understand, this legislation would change how often after that first parole hearing another parole hearing would be held. My understanding is that this would be left to the discretion of the parole board.
    It is important to recognize that we need to look at ways to improve the system. There appears to be some merit in regard to Bill C-479. Based on what we have heard and what we can see there likely will be a need for some amendments to be brought forward to make this a healthier bill, but there is some merit for it. That is why the Liberal Party will support the bill being passed at second reading and sent to committee. First and foremost, we are interested in the long-term safety of Canadian society. Along with that I would underline the importance of ensuring that victims of these crimes are factored into what is taking place when it comes to dispositions and parole. The vast majority of Canadians want that and would support that.
    There is a difference between a private member's bill versus a government bill. We know the government is going to bring forward legislation. We do not know the details of the legislation and I suspect even the member might not know the details of the government bill so we will have to wait and see what actually comes out in it.
    One of the things we do know with a government bill generally speaking more due diligence is done with respect to the Charter of Rights. The department has an obligation to ensure that it has been adequately and properly vetted from a charter perspective. I do not know to what degree this bill has been vetted, but we do look forward to the bill at committee where we will get a better sense from the presenters and from those individuals who have the expertise and some of our resource people in terms of whether it is charter compliant in issues of that nature.
    It is absolutely critical that we move forward where we can in the area of justice. We want to recognize that victims have rights. We need to work with victims and society. I would really like the government to take a stronger leadership role with respect to preventing victims. The best way doing that vent in the future is to start investing more in better youth programming and better activities in our communities. That would hopefully prevent victims in the future.

  (1410)  

    Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak up for the rights of victims. Far too often, victims are not given a voice when it comes to our criminal justice system. Violent crimes place a heavy burden on individual victims, their families and our communities. Our Conservative government recognizes that for individual victims and their families, it is a burden that may never be completely erased.
    We have heard the calls from victims and victims' rights groups in this country for a greater voice and a greater balance in the criminal justice system, and we have taken decisive action to support them. As part of our commitment to fighting crime, protecting Canadians and holding offenders accountable, we brought in the Safe Streets and Communities Act. Through this legislation, we have already made significant improvements to the way victims are informed of an offender's progress in the correctional system, as well as ensuring that the victims' concerns are taken into account at parole hearings. Our government has also provided more than $90 million to a number of initiatives that provide support to the victims of crime.
    While we have made real progress in this area, we are taking action to accomplish even more. Early this year, in February, we announced our plan to bring forward legislation to develop a Canadian victims' bill of rights. We have been working diligently to better understand the various views of what rights should be recognized and protected for victims and their families. We have sought input from the public through online consultation processes. We have held in-person consultations with victims of crime and justice advocates from across the country. Input from all of these consultations will ultimately contribute to advancing victims' rights in our country.
    I would now like to recognize my colleague, the hon. member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, for his dedication to bringing about meaningful changes in supporting victims. As part of this dedication, he has introduced Bill C-479, an act to bring fairness for the victims of violent offenders. I would also like to thank my colleague for bringing forward the bill, one that our Conservative government is very proud to support. The bill would help our government fulfill our commitments under our plan for safe streets and communities, including our promise to strengthen victims' rights.
    Members of the House have heard heart-wrenching accounts about the impact of violent crimes on victims and their families. We have heard the bill's sponsor speak so passionately about one of his own constituents, who is one of these victims of violent crime. She is a woman who not only had to endure the pain caused by the murder of her sister, niece and nephew, but also the pain of revisiting those memories when delivering her victim impact statement at the offender's parole hearings. One cannot help but be moved by such accounts. Tragically, the experience of this particular constituent is but one of many relived every day by victims of all types of violent crime all over the country.
    Our government is committed to supporting these victims. That is why I am honoured to rise today and lend my voice in support of Bill C-479. The bill's proposed changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act are important and would provide for a greater level of input from victims. In fact, some of the provisions the member has proposed in his bill are similar in spirit and scope to those of the Safe Streets and Communities Act. For example, the ability of victims to present statements is now enshrined in law, as is a necessity for the Parole Board of Canada to consider them. In this way, victims are being given an effective and permanent voice.
    Bill C-479 contains a number of measures to help and support victims. First, in the case of offenders convicted of more serious violent crimes, it would increase the amount of time in which the Parole Board conducts a review of parole following a previous denial of parole. This change would mean that after these offenders are denied parole in a review of their case, it would be required every five years rather than the current two years. We believe that two years is simply too short a time period for some victims and their families to have to relive the events that brought them into contact with the criminal justice system.
    Another important way the bill would support victims is by ensuring the parole process is more accommodating to their needs. The bill would ensure that victims are provided with additional information and the opportunity to be more involved in the parole process. The bill would recommit to the importance of enshrining that the needs of victims and victims' families are taken into consideration at parole review hearings. This is an essential element of the parole process that we are implementing, one that I would note is already enshrined in law, governing the Parole Board of Canada.

  (1415)  

    In support of this, the bill would also require that in instances where it is not possible, for various reasons, for a victim to attend a parole hearing, the proceedings would be made observable by an alternate means, such as by teleconference.
    We have heard about the challenges for victims in the face of these parole hearings. To address these challenges, the bill would give the Parole Board the authority to cancel a review hearing to which the offender would otherwise be entitled if the offender had refused, without a valid reason, to attend or had waived review of a scheduled hearing on short notice more than once.
    This bill will also require that victims be provided, at least 14 days in advance, with details such as the date, conditions, and location of the offender's release on parole, statutory release, or temporary absence. This is an important step being taken to ensure that victims and their families are kept informed and are aware.
    Further, this bill will ensure that victims are provided information about the progress being made by the offender toward meeting the objectives of the offender's correctional plan. These measures will provide meaningful improvements in the lives of victims. These changes will further ensure that victims' voices are heard. These changes will bring us closer to a parole system that gives victims a greater voice in our criminal justice system.
    In conclusion, I would like to note the support signalled by the hon. colleagues across the floor during the first hour of debate on this bill in this last session. So often we are used to seeing the Liberals and NDP members putting the rights of criminals before the rights of victims. It is encouraging at first reading and also today to see opposition parties come to their senses and realize the importance of putting victims first. With this bill we have an opportunity to see to it that victims are able to participate in a parole process that is more responsive to their needs.
    At committee we intend to propose amendments to ensure that the bill may be implemented effectively. I believe that we can all agree that victims deserve to benefit from the provisions proposed in this bill. In every criminal offence, it is the victims who suffer most, and as such, it is the victims who deserve our greatest support.
    I therefore call on all members of this House to offer their support for this very important legislation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-479.
    Given that I am rising for the first time in the second session of the 41st Parliament, I would like to start by simply saying that I am very pleased to be back to defend the interests of the constituents of Alfred-Pellan and, at the same time, of all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to greet you and your entire team, all my colleagues in the House and all the staff who tirelessly support us as we carry out our responsibilities as MPs. I would also like to welcome all the new pages. I hope they will enjoy this wonderful experience.
    Today, I am pleased to say that the NDP will support Bill C-479 at second reading. I am certainly not in favour of rubber-stamping this Conservative bill. However, we do agree that it should be sent to committee, because it is based for the most part on the recommendations made by the former federal ombudsman for victims of crime, Steve Sullivan.
    He wanted the victim's viewpoint to be given greater consideration in the criminal justice system, and the NDP agrees with that. The NDP's objective has always been to make our communities safe and to ensure that our children grow up in a world characterized by mutual respect and safe neighbourhoods. Putting in place a parole process that allows people to reintegrate into society in a manner that is fair and safe for everyone, in order to reduce victimization and recidivism, is one way to achieve that objective.
    With regard to victims' rights in particular, the NDP wants to strengthen the victim's right to personal safety, establish a support fund for victims and invest in a special fund to help communities with high crime rates.
    We support victims and their families, and we are working with them to ensure not only that legislative measures are taken to help them, but also that they receive appropriate services.
    I would also like to say that we recognize the work and expertise of the main stakeholders. We consult them on an ongoing basis in order to develop well thought-out positions that include all affected sectors of our society.
    The NDP also wants to change the rules to allow for stiffer sentences for violent crimes in accordance with the principle of judicial discretion. We therefore agree that this bill should be sent to committee for a more in-depth review.
    Bill C-479 proposes changes to certain aspects of part II of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. We believe that many of the changes proposed by the hon. member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale are good.
    For example, the bill has the tangible effect of allowing victims to attend parole hearings by videoconference or teleconference, which is particularly beneficial for victims with mobility issues. Many victims' groups have recommended that victims be given the right to attend hearings by videoconference. It is a practice that already exists but that should be more widely available.
    We believe that victims and their families should feel as though they are an integral part of the corrections and parole system and, at the same time, offenders must have access to fair and equitable judicial services, such as probation, that will reduce recidivism and victimization rates.
    The NDP believes that, in certain cases, victims have the right to attend board hearings, for example, when there is a good chance that the offender will return to live in the community where he committed his crime or when the victim asks that specific conditions, such as a publication ban, be placed on the offender's release.
    I must also say that we have some reservations about this bill. First, Bill C-479 constitutes only a fraction of what our justice system needs to help victims. Unfortunately, the fact that this bill makes piecemeal changes to the system and comes from a private member shows that the Conservative government does not really take the fight against crime or helping victims seriously.
    Second, almost all of the key stakeholders in this debate recognize how important a progressive release system is to public safety in our communities and the benefits that such a system brings.

  (1420)  

    We cannot shut offenders behind bars without readying them to rejoin society. It has been shown that that approach does not work and that it is a threat to public safety. Abandoning the benefits of gradual release back into society under the pretense of alleviating victims' suffering would only lead to an increase in the number of victims of crime in this country. We benefit from the gradual, supervised release of individuals who pose a risk.
    That brings me to what I feel is the most controversial part of Bill C-479.
    An offender who serves a sentence of less than five years might have only one chance at parole. If his first request is denied, it is quite possible that he will serve his entire sentence and be released without condition, which is a threat to public safety. That could result in a considerable increase in the number of victims. If the Conservative government is truly serious about helping victims and their families, it would offer services and reintegrate criminals into society in such a way as to prevent victimization.
    I have no doubt that there are a number of stakeholders that will want to take part in the debate in committee, and I look forward to hearing their testimony.
    To conclude, I would like to say a few words about the problems victims experience in our justice system. As my colleague from Gatineau pointed out to the House, these problems go well beyond parole.
    The legal process may be long and complicated, especially for victims. Trial hearings can go on forever, there may be a long wait before the trial begins, and often victims are not informed of what is happening. It is difficult enough to be the victim of a crime, but feeling victimized by the legal system only adds to the suffering. In addition, as Professor Waller stated to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the $16 million in funding allocated to victims in the last government budget was far from adequate. We should immediately begin working with the provinces to study these shortcomings.
    I have the feeling that the Conservatives are not addressing the root of the problem, as they deal with small pieces of it through backbenchers' bills. I sincerely hope that the minister will shoulder his responsibilities and take meaningful action to assist crime victims, who are in dire need of help.
    Lastly, I would add that many victims' associations have contacted me in recent weeks and a large number of them wanted to talk about Bill C-479. They had many questions about this bill. Several of these associations will be more than happy to come and discuss some of the issues in committee. Some of these issues are positive, such as those I previously talked about, while others are somewhat more negative, for example those relating to the mandatory five years.

  (1425)  

    To begin, I would like to point out that this bill proposes measures for victims, among others. The bill extends mandatory review periods for parole. If an offender is denied parole, the Parole Board of Canada would then be obligated to review the case within five years rather than the current two years.
    The bill gives the Parole Board of Canada up to five years to review parole following the cancellation or termination of parole for someone who, for example, is sent back to prison following bad behaviour. The bill also emphasizes that the Parole Board of Canada must take into consideration the needs of victims and their families to attend hearings and witness the proceedings.
    Furthermore, it also requires that the Parole Board of Canada consider any victim impact statement presented by victims, as well as provide the victim, if requested, with information about the offender's release on parole, statutory release or temporary absence.
    It also proposes that victims be given information pertaining to the offender’s correctional plan, including information regarding the offender’s progress towards meeting the objectives of the plan.
    First, I would like to talk about the weakness of the Conservatives' approach in general, since they chose to address this issue using a piecemeal approach. They did so by mentioning victims' rights in a number of small private members' bills, such as Bill C-479, which is before us today, and Bill C-489.
    In my opinion, we need to take a much more comprehensive approach in the form of a charter for the public and victims in order to better meet victims' needs overall. It would be much more effective to address the problem in a comprehensive rather than a piecemeal fashion.
    It would be better to address this issue in a government bill than in a number of small private members' bills. That is one of the weaknesses of the Conservative government's approach to protecting victims and the bills that address that issue.
    From an ethical standpoint, criminal sciences professor Robert Cario has said that it is important to take into account three fundamental rights when talking about fairness and effectiveness. These rights have a dual purpose: to protect the individual's dignity and human rights and to solidify the victim's position as a stakeholder in the criminal justice system. What we must do is acknowledge the victim's suffering, provide support for them and help them heal.
    Sometimes, acknowledging the victim's suffering goes beyond the pain inflicted. It may be a matter of someone telling the victim that he understands the distress the victim is experiencing as a result of the crime. Sometimes, it could be a matter of the criminal truly understanding the extent to which he hurt a family. This can help victims feel that their suffering is acknowledged.
    Since I am out of time, I will finish my speech during the next sitting.

  (1430)  

    The hon. member will have five minutes to finish her speech when this bill is before the House again.

[English]

    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.
    It being 2:30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, October 21 at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 2:30 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. Andrew Scheer

 

The Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Joe Comartin

 

The Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Barry Devolin

 

The Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Bruce Stanton

 


Board Of Internal Economy

Hon. Andrew Scheer

Mr. Nathan Cullen

Hon. John Duncan

Ms. Judy Foote

Hon. Rob Merrifield

Ms. Nycole Turmel

Hon. Peter Van Loan


Alphabetical list of Members of the House of Commons

Second Session--Forty-first Parliament

Name of Member Constituency Province of Constituency Political Affiliation
Ablonczy, Hon. Diane Calgary—Nose Hill Alberta CPC
Adams, Eve, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario CPC
Adler, Mark York Centre Ontario CPC
Aglukkaq, Hon. Leona, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council Nunavut Nunavut CPC
Albas, Dan, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board Okanagan—Coquihalla British Columbia CPC
Albrecht, Harold Kitchener—Conestoga Ontario CPC
Alexander, Hon. Chris, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Ajax—Pickering Ontario CPC
Allen, Malcolm Welland Ontario NDP
Allen, Mike Tobique—Mactaquac New Brunswick CPC
Allison, Dean Niagara West—Glanbrook Ontario CPC
Ambler, Stella Mississauga South Ontario CPC
Ambrose, Hon. Rona, Minister of Health Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta CPC
Anders, Rob Calgary West Alberta CPC
Anderson, David, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan CPC
Andrews, Scott Avalon Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Angus, Charlie Timmins—James Bay Ontario NDP
Armstrong, Scott, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley Nova Scotia CPC
Ashfield, Hon. Keith Fredericton New Brunswick CPC
Ashton, Niki Churchill Manitoba NDP
Aspin, Jay Nipissing—Timiskaming Ontario CPC
Atamanenko, Alex British Columbia Southern Interior British Columbia NDP
Aubin, Robert Trois-Rivières Québec NDP
Ayala, Paulina Honoré-Mercier Québec NDP
Baird, Hon. John, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario CPC
Bateman, Joyce Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba CPC
Bélanger, Hon. Mauril Ottawa—Vanier Ontario Lib.
Bellavance, André Richmond—Arthabaska Québec BQ
Bennett, Hon. Carolyn St. Paul's Ontario Lib.
Benoit, Leon Vegreville—Wainwright Alberta CPC
Benskin, Tyrone Jeanne-Le Ber Québec NDP
Bergen, Hon. Candice, Minister of State (Social Development) Portage—Lisgar Manitoba CPC
Bernier, Hon. Maxime, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture) Beauce Québec CPC
Bevington, Dennis Western Arctic Northwest Territories NDP
Bezan, James, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Selkirk—Interlake Manitoba CPC
Blanchette, Denis Louis-Hébert Québec NDP
Blanchette-Lamothe, Lysane Pierrefonds—Dollard Québec NDP
Blaney, Hon. Steven, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Lévis—Bellechasse Québec CPC
Block, Kelly, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Saskatchewan CPC
Boivin, Françoise Gatineau Québec NDP
Borg, Charmaine Terrebonne—Blainville Québec NDP
Boughen, Ray Palliser Saskatchewan CPC
Boulerice, Alexandre Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie Québec NDP
Boutin-Sweet, Marjolaine Hochelaga Québec NDP
Brahmi, Tarik Saint-Jean Québec NDP
Braid, Peter, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario CPC
Breitkreuz, Garry Yorkton—Melville Saskatchewan CPC
Brison, Hon. Scott Kings—Hants Nova Scotia Lib.
Brosseau, Ruth Ellen Berthier—Maskinongé Québec NDP
Brown, Gordon Leeds—Grenville Ontario CPC
Brown, Lois, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Newmarket—Aurora Ontario CPC
Brown, Patrick Barrie Ontario CPC
Bruinooge, Rod Winnipeg South Manitoba CPC
Butt, Brad Mississauga—Streetsville Ontario CPC
Byrne, Hon. Gerry Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Calandra, Paul , Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario CPC
Calkins, Blaine Wetaskiwin Alberta CPC
Cannan, Hon. Ron Kelowna—Lake Country British Columbia CPC
Carmichael, John Don Valley West Ontario CPC
Caron, Guy Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques Québec NDP
Carrie, Colin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment Oshawa Ontario CPC
Casey, Sean Charlottetown Prince Edward Island Lib.
Cash, Andrew Davenport Ontario NDP
Charlton, Chris Hamilton Mountain Ontario NDP
Chicoine, Sylvain Châteauguay—Saint-Constant Québec NDP
Chisholm, Robert Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia NDP
Chisu, Corneliu Pickering—Scarborough East Ontario CPC
Chong, Hon. Michael Wellington—Halton Hills Ontario CPC
Choquette, François Drummond Québec NDP
Chow, Olivia Trinity—Spadina Ontario NDP
Christopherson, David Hamilton Centre Ontario NDP
Clarke, Rob Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River Saskatchewan CPC
Cleary, Ryan St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland and Labrador NDP
Clement, Hon. Tony, President of the Treasury Board Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario CPC
Comartin, Joe, The Deputy Speaker Windsor—Tecumseh Ontario NDP
Côté, Raymond Beauport—Limoilou Québec NDP
Cotler, Hon. Irwin Mount Royal Québec Lib.
Crockatt, Joan Calgary Centre Alberta CPC
Crowder, Jean Nanaimo—Cowichan British Columbia NDP
Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley British Columbia NDP
Cuzner, Rodger Cape Breton—Canso Nova Scotia Lib.
Daniel, Joe Don Valley East Ontario CPC
Davidson, Patricia Sarnia—Lambton Ontario CPC
Davies, Don Vancouver Kingsway British Columbia NDP
Davies, Libby Vancouver East British Columbia NDP
Day, Anne-Marie Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles Québec NDP
Dechert, Bob, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Mississauga—Erindale Ontario CPC
Del Mastro, Dean Peterborough Ontario Cons. Ind.
Devolin, Barry, The Acting Speaker Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock Ontario CPC
Dewar, Paul Ottawa Centre Ontario NDP
Dion, Hon. Stéphane, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec Lib.
Dionne Labelle, Pierre Rivière-du-Nord Québec NDP
Donnelly, Fin New Westminster—Coquitlam British Columbia NDP
Doré Lefebvre, Rosane Alfred-Pellan Québec NDP
Dreeshen, Earl Red Deer Alberta CPC
Dubé, Matthew Chambly—Borduas Québec NDP
Duncan, Hon. John, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip Vancouver Island North British Columbia CPC
Duncan, Kirsty Etobicoke North Ontario Lib.
Duncan, Linda Edmonton—Strathcona Alberta NDP
Dusseault, Pierre-Luc Sherbrooke Québec NDP
Dykstra, Rick, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage St. Catharines Ontario CPC
Easter, Hon. Wayne Malpeque Prince Edward Island Lib.
Eyking, Hon. Mark Sydney—Victoria Nova Scotia Lib.
Fantino, Hon. Julian, Minister of Veterans Affairs Vaughan Ontario CPC
Fast, Hon. Ed, Minister of International Trade Abbotsford British Columbia CPC
Findlay, Hon. Kerry-Lynne D., Minister of National Revenue Delta—Richmond East British Columbia CPC
Finley, Hon. Diane, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario CPC
Flaherty, Hon. Jim, Minister of Finance Whitby—Oshawa Ontario CPC
Fletcher, Hon. Steven Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba CPC
Foote, Judy Random—Burin—St. George's Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Fortin, Jean-François Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia Québec BQ
Freeman, Mylène Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel Québec NDP
Fry, Hon. Hedy Vancouver Centre British Columbia Lib.
Galipeau, Royal Ottawa—Orléans Ontario CPC
Gallant, Cheryl Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke Ontario CPC
Garneau, Marc Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec Lib.
Garrison, Randall Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca British Columbia NDP
Genest, Réjean Shefford Québec NDP
Genest-Jourdain, Jonathan Manicouagan Québec NDP
Giguère, Alain Marc-Aurèle-Fortin Québec NDP
Gill, Parm, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Brampton—Springdale Ontario CPC
Glover, Hon. Shelly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Saint Boniface Manitoba CPC
Godin, Yvon Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick NDP
Goguen, Robert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick CPC
Goldring, Peter Edmonton East Alberta CPC
Goodale, Hon. Ralph Wascana Saskatchewan Lib.
Goodyear, Hon. Gary, Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) Cambridge Ontario CPC
Gosal, Hon. Bal, Minister of State (Sport) Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario CPC
Gourde, Jacques, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, for Official Languages and for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec CPC
Gravelle, Claude Nickel Belt Ontario NDP
Grewal, Nina Fleetwood—Port Kells British Columbia CPC
Groguhé, Sadia Saint-Lambert Québec NDP
Harper, Right Hon. Stephen, Prime Minister Calgary Southwest Alberta CPC
Harris, Dan Scarborough Southwest Ontario NDP
Harris, Jack St. John's East Newfoundland and Labrador NDP
Harris, Richard Cariboo—Prince George British Columbia CPC
Hassainia, Sana Verchères—Les Patriotes Québec NDP
Hawn, Hon. Laurie Edmonton Centre Alberta CPC
Hayes, Bryan Sault Ste. Marie Ontario CPC
Hiebert, Russ South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale British Columbia CPC
Hillyer, Jim Lethbridge Alberta CPC
Hoback, Randy Prince Albert Saskatchewan CPC
Holder, Ed London West Ontario CPC
Hsu, Ted Kingston and the Islands Ontario Lib.
Hughes, Carol Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing Ontario NDP
Hyer, Bruce Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario Ind.
Jacob, Pierre Brome—Missisquoi Québec NDP
James, Roxanne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Scarborough Centre Ontario CPC
Jean, Brian Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta CPC
Jones, Yvonne Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Julian, Peter Burnaby—New Westminster British Columbia NDP
Kamp, Randy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission British Columbia CPC
Karygiannis, Hon. Jim Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario Lib.
Keddy, Gerald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia CPC
Kellway, Matthew Beaches—East York Ontario NDP
Kenney, Hon. Jason, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism Calgary Southeast Alberta CPC
Kent, Hon. Peter Thornhill Ontario CPC
Kerr, Greg West Nova Nova Scotia CPC
Komarnicki, Ed Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan CPC
Kramp, Daryl Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario CPC
Lake, Hon. Mike, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta CPC
Lamoureux, Kevin Winnipeg North Manitoba Lib.
Lapointe, François Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup Québec NDP
Larose, Jean-François Repentigny Québec NDP
Latendresse, Alexandrine Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec NDP
Lauzon, Guy Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry Ontario CPC
Laverdière, Hélène Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec NDP
Lebel, Hon. Denis, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec CPC
LeBlanc, Hon. Dominic Beauséjour New Brunswick Lib.
LeBlanc, Hélène LaSalle—Émard Québec NDP
Leef, Ryan Yukon Yukon CPC
Leitch, Hon. Kellie, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Simcoe—Grey Ontario CPC
Lemieux, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario CPC
Leslie, Megan Halifax Nova Scotia NDP
Leung, Chungsen, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism Willowdale Ontario CPC
Liu, Laurin Rivière-des-Mille-Îles Québec NDP
Lizon, Wladyslaw Mississauga East—Cooksville Ontario CPC
Lobb, Ben Huron—Bruce Ontario CPC
Lukiwski, Tom, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan CPC
Lunney, James Nanaimo—Alberni British Columbia CPC
MacAulay, Hon. Lawrence Cardigan Prince Edward Island Lib.
MacKay, Hon. Peter, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Central Nova Nova Scotia CPC
MacKenzie, Dave Oxford Ontario CPC
Mai, Hoang Brossard—La Prairie Québec NDP
Marston, Wayne Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario NDP
Martin, Pat Winnipeg Centre Manitoba NDP
Masse, Brian Windsor West Ontario NDP
Mathyssen, Irene London—Fanshawe Ontario NDP
May, Elizabeth Saanich—Gulf Islands British Columbia GP
Mayes, Colin Okanagan—Shuswap British Columbia CPC
McCallum, Hon. John Markham—Unionville Ontario Lib.
McColeman, Phil Brant Ontario CPC
McGuinty, David Ottawa South Ontario Lib.
McKay, Hon. John Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario Lib.
McLeod, Cathy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo British Columbia CPC
Menegakis, Costas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Richmond Hill Ontario CPC
Menzies, Hon. Ted Macleod Alberta CPC
Merrifield, Hon. Rob Yellowhead Alberta CPC
Michaud, Élaine Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier Québec NDP
Miller, Larry Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound Ontario CPC
Moore, Christine Abitibi—Témiscamingue Québec NDP
Moore, Hon. James, Minister of Industry Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam British Columbia CPC
Moore, Hon. Rob, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) Fundy Royal New Brunswick CPC
Morin, Dany Chicoutimi—Le Fjord Québec NDP
Morin, Isabelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec NDP
Morin, Marc-André Laurentides—Labelle Québec NDP
Morin, Marie-Claude Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot Québec NDP
Mourani, Maria Ahuntsic Québec Ind.
Mulcair, Hon. Thomas, Leader of the Opposition Outremont Québec NDP
Murray, Joyce Vancouver Quadra British Columbia Lib.
Nantel, Pierre Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher Québec NDP
Nash, Peggy Parkdale—High Park Ontario NDP
Nicholls, Jamie Vaudreuil-Soulanges Québec NDP
Nicholson, Hon. Rob, Minister of National Defence Niagara Falls Ontario CPC
Norlock, Rick Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario CPC
Nunez-Melo, José Laval Québec NDP
Obhrai, Hon. Deepak, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights Calgary East Alberta CPC
O'Connor, Hon. Gordon Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario CPC
Oliver, Hon. Joe, Minister of Natural Resources Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario CPC
O'Neill Gordon, Tilly Miramichi New Brunswick CPC
Opitz, Ted Etobicoke Centre Ontario CPC
O'Toole, Erin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Durham Ontario CPC
Pacetti, Massimo Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec Lib.
Papillon, Annick Québec Québec NDP
Paradis, Hon. Christian, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie Mégantic—L'Érable Québec CPC
Patry, Claude Jonquière—Alma Québec BQ
Payne, LaVar Medicine Hat Alberta CPC
Péclet, Ève La Pointe-de-l'Île Québec NDP
Perreault, Manon Montcalm Québec NDP
Pilon, François Laval—Les Îles Québec NDP
Plamondon, Louis Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour Québec BQ
Poilievre, Hon. Pierre, Minister of State (Democratic Reform) Nepean—Carleton Ontario CPC
Preston, Joe Elgin—Middlesex—London Ontario CPC
Quach, Anne Minh-Thu Beauharnois—Salaberry Québec NDP
Rafferty, John Thunder Bay—Rainy River Ontario NDP
Raitt, Hon. Lisa, Minister of Transport Halton Ontario CPC
Rajotte, James Edmonton—Leduc Alberta CPC
Rankin, Murray Victoria British Columbia NDP
Rathgeber, Brent Edmonton—St. Albert Alberta Ind.
Ravignat, Mathieu Pontiac Québec NDP
Raynault, Francine Joliette Québec NDP
Regan, Hon. Geoff Halifax West Nova Scotia Lib.
Reid, Scott Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington Ontario CPC
Rempel, Hon. Michelle, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) Calgary Centre-North Alberta CPC
Richards, Blake Wild Rose Alberta CPC
Rickford, Hon. Greg, Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario) Kenora Ontario CPC
Ritz, Hon. Gerry, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan CPC
Rousseau, Jean Compton—Stanstead Québec NDP
Saganash, Romeo Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou Québec NDP
Sandhu, Jasbir Surrey North British Columbia NDP
Saxton, Andrew, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance North Vancouver British Columbia CPC
Scarpaleggia, Francis Lac-Saint-Louis Québec Lib.
Scheer, Hon. Andrew, Speaker of the House of Commons Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan CPC
Schellenberger, Gary Perth—Wellington Ontario CPC
Scott, Craig Toronto—Danforth Ontario NDP
Seeback, Kyle Brampton West Ontario CPC
Sellah, Djaouida Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert Québec NDP
Sgro, Hon. Judy York West Ontario Lib.
Shea, Hon. Gail, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Egmont Prince Edward Island CPC
Shipley, Bev Lambton—Kent—Middlesex Ontario CPC
Shory, Devinder Calgary Northeast Alberta CPC
Simms, Scott Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor Newfoundland and Labrador Lib.
Sims, Jinny Jogindera Newton—North Delta British Columbia NDP
Sitsabaiesan, Rathika Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario NDP
Smith, Joy Kildonan—St. Paul Manitoba CPC
Sopuck, Robert Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette Manitoba CPC
Sorenson, Hon. Kevin, Minister of State (Finance) Crowfoot Alberta CPC
Stanton, Bruce, The Acting Speaker Simcoe North Ontario CPC
St-Denis, Lise Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec Lib.
Stewart, Kennedy Burnaby—Douglas British Columbia NDP
Stoffer, Peter Sackville—Eastern Shore Nova Scotia NDP
Storseth, Brian Westlock—St. Paul Alberta CPC
Strahl, Mark, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon British Columbia CPC
Sullivan, Mike York South—Weston Ontario NDP
Sweet, David Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale Ontario CPC
Thibeault, Glenn Sudbury Ontario NDP
Tilson, David Dufferin—Caledon Ontario CPC
Toet, Lawrence Elmwood—Transcona Manitoba CPC
Toone, Philip Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec NDP
Tremblay, Jonathan Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord Québec NDP
Trost, Brad Saskatoon—Humboldt Saskatchewan CPC
Trottier, Bernard, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario CPC
Trudeau, Justin Papineau Québec Lib.
Truppe, Susan, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women London North Centre Ontario CPC
Turmel, Nycole Hull—Aylmer Québec NDP
Uppal, Hon. Tim, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta CPC
Valcourt, Hon. Bernard, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick CPC
Valeriote, Frank Guelph Ontario Lib.
Van Kesteren, Dave Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario CPC
Van Loan, Hon. Peter, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons York—Simcoe Ontario CPC
Vellacott, Maurice Saskatoon—Wanuskewin Saskatchewan CPC
Wallace, Mike Burlington Ontario CPC
Warawa, Mark Langley British Columbia CPC
Warkentin, Chris Peace River Alberta CPC
Watson, Jeff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport Essex Ontario CPC
Weston, John West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country British Columbia CPC
Weston, Rodney Saint John New Brunswick CPC
Wilks, David Kootenay—Columbia British Columbia CPC
Williamson, John New Brunswick Southwest New Brunswick CPC
Wong, Hon. Alice, Minister of State (Seniors) Richmond British Columbia CPC
Woodworth, Stephen Kitchener Centre Ontario CPC
Yelich, Hon. Lynne, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) Blackstrap Saskatchewan CPC
Young, Terence Oakville Ontario CPC
Young, Wai Vancouver South British Columbia CPC
Zimmer, Bob Prince George—Peace River British Columbia CPC
VACANCY Bourassa Québec
VACANCY Toronto Centre Ontario
VACANCY Brandon—Souris Manitoba
VACANCY Provencher Manitoba

Alphabetical list of Members of the House of Commons by Province

Second Session--Forty-first Parliament

Name of Member Constituency Political Affiliation

Alberta (28)
Ablonczy, Hon. Diane Calgary—Nose Hill CPC
Ambrose, Hon. Rona, Minister of Health Edmonton—Spruce Grove CPC
Anders, Rob Calgary West CPC
Benoit, Leon Vegreville—Wainwright CPC
Calkins, Blaine Wetaskiwin CPC
Crockatt, Joan Calgary Centre CPC
Dreeshen, Earl Red Deer CPC
Duncan, Linda Edmonton—Strathcona NDP
Goldring, Peter Edmonton East CPC
Harper, Right Hon. Stephen, Prime Minister Calgary Southwest CPC
Hawn, Hon. Laurie Edmonton Centre CPC
Hillyer, Jim Lethbridge CPC
Jean, Brian Fort McMurray—Athabasca CPC
Kenney, Hon. Jason, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism Calgary Southeast CPC
Lake, Hon. Mike, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont CPC
Menzies, Hon. Ted Macleod CPC
Merrifield, Hon. Rob Yellowhead CPC
Obhrai, Hon. Deepak, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights Calgary East CPC
Payne, LaVar Medicine Hat CPC
Rajotte, James Edmonton—Leduc CPC
Rathgeber, Brent Edmonton—St. Albert Ind.
Rempel, Hon. Michelle, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) Calgary Centre-North CPC
Richards, Blake Wild Rose CPC
Shory, Devinder Calgary Northeast CPC
Sorenson, Hon. Kevin, Minister of State (Finance) Crowfoot CPC
Storseth, Brian Westlock—St. Paul CPC
Uppal, Hon. Tim, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Edmonton—Sherwood Park CPC
Warkentin, Chris Peace River CPC

British Columbia (36)
Albas, Dan, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board Okanagan—Coquihalla CPC
Atamanenko, Alex British Columbia Southern Interior NDP
Cannan, Hon. Ron Kelowna—Lake Country CPC
Crowder, Jean Nanaimo—Cowichan NDP
Cullen, Nathan Skeena—Bulkley Valley NDP
Davies, Don Vancouver Kingsway NDP
Davies, Libby Vancouver East NDP
Donnelly, Fin New Westminster—Coquitlam NDP
Duncan, Hon. John, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip Vancouver Island North CPC
Fast, Hon. Ed, Minister of International Trade Abbotsford CPC
Findlay, Hon. Kerry-Lynne D., Minister of National Revenue Delta—Richmond East CPC
Fry, Hon. Hedy Vancouver Centre Lib.
Garrison, Randall Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca NDP
Grewal, Nina Fleetwood—Port Kells CPC
Harris, Richard Cariboo—Prince George CPC
Hiebert, Russ South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale CPC
Julian, Peter Burnaby—New Westminster NDP
Kamp, Randy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission CPC
Lunney, James Nanaimo—Alberni CPC
May, Elizabeth Saanich—Gulf Islands GP
Mayes, Colin Okanagan—Shuswap CPC
McLeod, Cathy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo CPC
Moore, Hon. James, Minister of Industry Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam CPC
Murray, Joyce Vancouver Quadra Lib.
Rankin, Murray Victoria NDP
Sandhu, Jasbir Surrey North NDP
Saxton, Andrew, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance North Vancouver CPC
Sims, Jinny Jogindera Newton—North Delta NDP
Stewart, Kennedy Burnaby—Douglas NDP
Strahl, Mark, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon CPC
Warawa, Mark Langley CPC
Weston, John West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country CPC
Wilks, David Kootenay—Columbia CPC
Wong, Hon. Alice, Minister of State (Seniors) Richmond CPC
Young, Wai Vancouver South CPC
Zimmer, Bob Prince George—Peace River CPC

Manitoba (12)
Ashton, Niki Churchill NDP
Bateman, Joyce Winnipeg South Centre CPC
Bergen, Hon. Candice, Minister of State (Social Development) Portage—Lisgar CPC
Bezan, James, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Selkirk—Interlake CPC
Bruinooge, Rod Winnipeg South CPC
Fletcher, Hon. Steven Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia CPC
Glover, Hon. Shelly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Saint Boniface CPC
Lamoureux, Kevin Winnipeg North Lib.
Martin, Pat Winnipeg Centre NDP
Smith, Joy Kildonan—St. Paul CPC
Sopuck, Robert Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette CPC
Toet, Lawrence Elmwood—Transcona CPC
VACANCY Brandon—Souris
VACANCY Provencher

New Brunswick (10)
Allen, Mike Tobique—Mactaquac CPC
Ashfield, Hon. Keith Fredericton CPC
Godin, Yvon Acadie—Bathurst NDP
Goguen, Robert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe CPC
LeBlanc, Hon. Dominic Beauséjour Lib.
Moore, Hon. Rob, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) Fundy Royal CPC
O'Neill Gordon, Tilly Miramichi CPC
Valcourt, Hon. Bernard, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Madawaska—Restigouche CPC
Weston, Rodney Saint John CPC
Williamson, John New Brunswick Southwest CPC

Newfoundland and Labrador (7)
Andrews, Scott Avalon Lib.
Byrne, Hon. Gerry Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Lib.
Cleary, Ryan St. John's South—Mount Pearl NDP
Foote, Judy Random—Burin—St. George's Lib.
Harris, Jack St. John's East NDP
Jones, Yvonne Labrador Lib.
Simms, Scott Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor Lib.

Northwest Territories (1)
Bevington, Dennis Western Arctic NDP

Nova Scotia (11)
Armstrong, Scott, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley CPC
Brison, Hon. Scott Kings—Hants Lib.
Chisholm, Robert Dartmouth—Cole Harbour NDP
Cuzner, Rodger Cape Breton—Canso Lib.
Eyking, Hon. Mark Sydney—Victoria Lib.
Keddy, Gerald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency South Shore—St. Margaret's CPC
Kerr, Greg West Nova CPC
Leslie, Megan Halifax NDP
MacKay, Hon. Peter, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Central Nova CPC
Regan, Hon. Geoff Halifax West Lib.
Stoffer, Peter Sackville—Eastern Shore NDP

Nunavut (1)
Aglukkaq, Hon. Leona, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council Nunavut CPC

Ontario (105)
Adams, Eve, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health Mississauga—Brampton South CPC
Adler, Mark York Centre CPC
Albrecht, Harold Kitchener—Conestoga CPC
Alexander, Hon. Chris, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Ajax—Pickering CPC
Allen, Malcolm Welland NDP
Allison, Dean Niagara West—Glanbrook CPC
Ambler, Stella Mississauga South CPC
Angus, Charlie Timmins—James Bay NDP
Aspin, Jay Nipissing—Timiskaming CPC
Baird, Hon. John, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ottawa West—Nepean CPC
Bélanger, Hon. Mauril Ottawa—Vanier Lib.
Bennett, Hon. Carolyn St. Paul's Lib.
Braid, Peter, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities Kitchener—Waterloo CPC
Brown, Gordon Leeds—Grenville CPC
Brown, Lois, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Newmarket—Aurora CPC
Brown, Patrick Barrie CPC
Butt, Brad Mississauga—Streetsville CPC
Calandra, Paul , Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs Oak Ridges—Markham CPC
Carmichael, John Don Valley West CPC
Carrie, Colin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment Oshawa CPC
Cash, Andrew Davenport NDP
Charlton, Chris Hamilton Mountain NDP
Chisu, Corneliu Pickering—Scarborough East CPC
Chong, Hon. Michael Wellington—Halton Hills CPC
Chow, Olivia Trinity—Spadina NDP
Christopherson, David Hamilton Centre NDP
Clement, Hon. Tony, President of the Treasury Board Parry Sound—Muskoka CPC
Comartin, Joe, The Deputy Speaker Windsor—Tecumseh NDP
Daniel, Joe Don Valley East CPC
Davidson, Patricia Sarnia—Lambton CPC
Dechert, Bob, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Mississauga—Erindale CPC
Del Mastro, Dean Peterborough Cons. Ind.
Devolin, Barry, The Acting Speaker Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock CPC
Dewar, Paul Ottawa Centre NDP
Duncan, Kirsty Etobicoke North Lib.
Dykstra, Rick, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage St. Catharines CPC
Fantino, Hon. Julian, Minister of Veterans Affairs Vaughan CPC
Finley, Hon. Diane, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Haldimand—Norfolk CPC
Flaherty, Hon. Jim, Minister of Finance Whitby—Oshawa CPC
Galipeau, Royal Ottawa—Orléans CPC
Gallant, Cheryl Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke CPC
Gill, Parm, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Brampton—Springdale CPC
Goodyear, Hon. Gary, Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) Cambridge CPC
Gosal, Hon. Bal, Minister of State (Sport) Bramalea—Gore—Malton CPC
Gravelle, Claude Nickel Belt NDP
Harris, Dan Scarborough Southwest NDP
Hayes, Bryan Sault Ste. Marie CPC
Holder, Ed London West CPC
Hsu, Ted Kingston and the Islands Lib.
Hughes, Carol Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing NDP
Hyer, Bruce Thunder Bay—Superior North Ind.
James, Roxanne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Scarborough Centre CPC
Karygiannis, Hon. Jim Scarborough—Agincourt Lib.
Kellway, Matthew Beaches—East York NDP
Kent, Hon. Peter Thornhill CPC
Kramp, Daryl Prince Edward—Hastings CPC
Lauzon, Guy Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry CPC
Leitch, Hon. Kellie, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Simcoe—Grey CPC
Lemieux, Pierre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Glengarry—Prescott—Russell CPC
Leung, Chungsen, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism Willowdale CPC
Lizon, Wladyslaw Mississauga East—Cooksville CPC
Lobb, Ben Huron—Bruce CPC
MacKenzie, Dave Oxford CPC
Marston, Wayne Hamilton East—Stoney Creek NDP
Masse, Brian Windsor West NDP
Mathyssen, Irene London—Fanshawe NDP
McCallum, Hon. John Markham—Unionville Lib.
McColeman, Phil Brant CPC
McGuinty, David Ottawa South Lib.
McKay, Hon. John Scarborough—Guildwood Lib.
Menegakis, Costas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Richmond Hill CPC
Miller, Larry Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound CPC
Nash, Peggy Parkdale—High Park NDP
Nicholson, Hon. Rob, Minister of National Defence Niagara Falls CPC
Norlock, Rick Northumberland—Quinte West CPC
O'Connor, Hon. Gordon Carleton—Mississippi Mills CPC
Oliver, Hon. Joe, Minister of Natural Resources Eglinton—Lawrence CPC
Opitz, Ted Etobicoke Centre CPC
O'Toole, Erin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Durham CPC
Poilievre, Hon. Pierre, Minister of State (Democratic Reform) Nepean—Carleton CPC
Preston, Joe Elgin—Middlesex—London CPC
Rafferty, John Thunder Bay—Rainy River NDP
Raitt, Hon. Lisa, Minister of Transport Halton CPC
Reid, Scott Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington CPC
Rickford, Hon. Greg, Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario) Kenora CPC
Schellenberger, Gary Perth—Wellington CPC
Scott, Craig Toronto—Danforth NDP
Seeback, Kyle Brampton West CPC
Sgro, Hon. Judy York West Lib.
Shipley, Bev Lambton—Kent—Middlesex CPC
Sitsabaiesan, Rathika Scarborough—Rouge River NDP
Stanton, Bruce, The Acting Speaker Simcoe North CPC
Sullivan, Mike York South—Weston NDP
Sweet, David Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale CPC
Thibeault, Glenn Sudbury NDP
Tilson, David Dufferin—Caledon CPC
Trottier, Bernard, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Etobicoke—Lakeshore CPC
Truppe, Susan, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women London North Centre CPC
Valeriote, Frank Guelph Lib.
Van Kesteren, Dave Chatham-Kent—Essex CPC
Van Loan, Hon. Peter, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons York—Simcoe CPC
Wallace, Mike Burlington CPC
Watson, Jeff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport Essex CPC
Woodworth, Stephen Kitchener Centre CPC
Young, Terence Oakville CPC
VACANCY Toronto Centre

Prince Edward Island (4)
Casey, Sean Charlottetown Lib.
Easter, Hon. Wayne Malpeque Lib.
MacAulay, Hon. Lawrence Cardigan Lib.
Shea, Hon. Gail, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Egmont CPC

Québec (74)
Aubin, Robert Trois-Rivières NDP
Ayala, Paulina Honoré-Mercier NDP
Bellavance, André Richmond—Arthabaska BQ
Benskin, Tyrone Jeanne-Le Ber NDP
Bernier, Hon. Maxime, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture) Beauce CPC
Blanchette, Denis Louis-Hébert NDP
Blanchette-Lamothe, Lysane Pierrefonds—Dollard NDP
Blaney, Hon. Steven, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Lévis—Bellechasse CPC
Boivin, Françoise Gatineau NDP
Borg, Charmaine Terrebonne—Blainville NDP
Boulerice, Alexandre Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie NDP
Boutin-Sweet, Marjolaine Hochelaga NDP
Brahmi, Tarik Saint-Jean NDP
Brosseau, Ruth Ellen Berthier—Maskinongé NDP
Caron, Guy Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques NDP
Chicoine, Sylvain Châteauguay—Saint-Constant NDP
Choquette, François Drummond NDP
Côté, Raymond Beauport—Limoilou NDP
Cotler, Hon. Irwin Mount Royal Lib.
Day, Anne-Marie Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles NDP
Dion, Hon. Stéphane, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Lib.
Dionne Labelle, Pierre Rivière-du-Nord NDP
Doré Lefebvre, Rosane Alfred-Pellan NDP
Dubé, Matthew Chambly—Borduas NDP
Dusseault, Pierre-Luc Sherbrooke NDP
Fortin, Jean-François Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia BQ
Freeman, Mylène Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel NDP
Garneau, Marc Westmount—Ville-Marie Lib.
Genest, Réjean Shefford NDP
Genest-Jourdain, Jonathan Manicouagan NDP
Giguère, Alain Marc-Aurèle-Fortin NDP
Gourde, Jacques, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, for Official Languages and for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière CPC
Groguhé, Sadia Saint-Lambert NDP
Hassainia, Sana Verchères—Les Patriotes NDP
Jacob, Pierre Brome—Missisquoi NDP
Lapointe, François Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup NDP
Larose, Jean-François Repentigny NDP
Latendresse, Alexandrine Louis-Saint-Laurent NDP
Laverdière, Hélène Laurier—Sainte-Marie NDP
Lebel, Hon. Denis, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean CPC
LeBlanc, Hélène LaSalle—Émard NDP
Liu, Laurin Rivière-des-Mille-Îles NDP
Mai, Hoang Brossard—La Prairie NDP
Michaud, Élaine Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier NDP
Moore, Christine Abitibi—Témiscamingue NDP
Morin, Dany Chicoutimi—Le Fjord NDP
Morin, Isabelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine NDP
Morin, Marc-André Laurentides—Labelle NDP
Morin, Marie-Claude Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot NDP
Mourani, Maria Ahuntsic Ind.
Mulcair, Hon. Thomas, Leader of the Opposition Outremont NDP
Nantel, Pierre Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher NDP
Nicholls, Jamie Vaudreuil-Soulanges NDP
Nunez-Melo, José Laval NDP
Pacetti, Massimo Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Lib.
Papillon, Annick Québec NDP
Paradis, Hon. Christian, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie Mégantic—L'Érable CPC
Patry, Claude Jonquière—Alma BQ
Péclet, Ève La Pointe-de-l'Île NDP
Perreault, Manon Montcalm NDP
Pilon, François Laval—Les Îles NDP
Plamondon, Louis Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour BQ
Quach, Anne Minh-Thu Beauharnois—Salaberry NDP
Ravignat, Mathieu Pontiac NDP
Raynault, Francine Joliette NDP
Rousseau, Jean Compton—Stanstead NDP
Saganash, Romeo Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou NDP
Scarpaleggia, Francis Lac-Saint-Louis Lib.
Sellah, Djaouida Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert NDP
St-Denis, Lise Saint-Maurice—Champlain Lib.
Toone, Philip Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine NDP
Tremblay, Jonathan Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord NDP
Trudeau, Justin Papineau Lib.
Turmel, Nycole Hull—Aylmer NDP
VACANCY Bourassa

Saskatchewan (14)
Anderson, David, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Cypress Hills—Grasslands CPC
Block, Kelly, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar CPC
Boughen, Ray Palliser CPC
Breitkreuz, Garry Yorkton—Melville CPC
Clarke, Rob Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River CPC
Goodale, Hon. Ralph Wascana Lib.
Hoback, Randy Prince Albert CPC
Komarnicki, Ed Souris—Moose Mountain CPC
Lukiwski, Tom, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre CPC
Ritz, Hon. Gerry, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Battlefords—Lloydminster CPC
Scheer, Hon. Andrew, Speaker of the House of Commons Regina—Qu'Appelle CPC
Trost, Brad Saskatoon—Humboldt CPC
Vellacott, Maurice Saskatoon—Wanuskewin CPC
Yelich, Hon. Lynne, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) Blackstrap CPC

Yukon (1)
Leef, Ryan Yukon CPC

LIST OF STANDING AND SUB-COMMITTEES

(As of October 18, 2013 — 2nd Session, 41st 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, Skills and 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:

Subcommittee on Committee Budgets
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:


Vice-Chair:


Brad Butt

Nathan Cullen

Kevin Lamoureux

Alexandrine Latendresse

Tom Lukiwski

Dave MacKenzie

Ted Opitz

Joe Preston

Scott Reid

Blake Richards

Craig Scott

Nycole Turmel

Total: (12)

Subcommittee on Private Members' Business
Chair:


Vice-Chair:




Total:

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:


Panel of Chairs of Legislative Committees

The Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Joe Comartin

 

The Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Barry Devolin

 

The Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole

Mr. Bruce Stanton

 


THE MINISTRY

According to precedence

Right Hon. Stephen Harper Prime Minister
Hon. Bernard Valcourt Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Hon. Rob Nicholson Minister of National Defence
Hon. Peter MacKay Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Hon. Rona Ambrose Minister of Health
Hon. Diane Finley Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Hon. John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board
Hon. Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance
Hon. Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Hon. Jason Kenney Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism
Hon. Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Hon. Christian Paradis Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie
Hon. James Moore Minister of Industry
Hon. Denis Lebel Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
Hon. Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport
Hon. Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Hon. Julian Fantino Minister of Veterans Affairs
Hon. Steven Blaney Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Hon. Ed Fast Minister of International Trade
Hon. Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources
Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay Minister of National Revenue
Hon. Shelly Glover Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Hon. Chris Alexander Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Hon. Kellie Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
Hon. Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture)
Hon. Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)
Hon. Gary Goodyear Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)
Hon. Rob Moore Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
Hon. John Duncan Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
Hon. Tim Uppal Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
Hon. Alice Wong Minister of State (Seniors)
Hon. Bal Gosal Minister of State (Sport)
Hon. Kevin Sorenson Minister of State (Finance)
Hon. Pierre Poilievre Minister of State (Democratic Reform)
Hon. Candice Bergen Minister of State (Social Development)
Hon. Greg Rickford Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)
Hon. Michelle Rempel Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES

Hon. Mike Lake to the Minister of Industry
Mr. Gerald Keddy to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Hon. Deepak Obhrai to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights
Mr. David Anderson to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. James Bezan to the Minister of National Defence
Mr. Colin Carrie to the Minister of the Environment
Mr. Randy Kamp to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Mr. Tom Lukiwski to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Jeff Watson to the Minister of Transport
Mr. Rick Dykstra to the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Mr. Jacques Gourde to the Prime Minister, for Official Languages and for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Mr. Pierre Lemieux to the Minister of Agriculture
Mrs. Kelly Block to the Minister of Natural Resources
Mr. Peter Braid for Infrastructure and Communities
Ms. Lois Brown to the Minister of International Development
Mr. Paul Calandra to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs
Mr. Bob Dechert to the Minister of Justice
Mrs. Cathy McLeod to the Minister of Labour and for Western Economic Diversification
Mr. Andrew Saxton to the Minister of Finance
Mr. Scott Armstrong to the Minister of Employment and Social Development
Ms. Eve Adams to the Minister of Health
Mr. Dan Albas to the President of the Treasury Board
Mr. Parm Gill to the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Mr. Robert Goguen to the Minister of Justice
Ms. Roxanne James to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Mr. Chungsen Leung for Multiculturalism
Mr. Costas Menegakis to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Mr. Mark Strahl to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Mr. Bernard Trottier to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Mrs. Susan Truppe for Status of Women
Mr. Erin O'Toole to the Minister of International Trade

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