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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 330

CONTENTS

Tuesday, October 2, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 330
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

     I have the honour to lay upon the table the 2018 fall reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g), these documents are deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

[English]

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
    That, at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member for Portage—Lisgar, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions;
and that, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the recorded division on the motion for third reading of Bill C-326, An Act to amend the Department of Health Act (drinking water guidelines), standing in the name of the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, deferred until Wednesday, October 3, 2018 immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business be deferred anew until the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions that same day.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Summer Jobs Program 

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by residents from my riding who are concerned with the attestation clause in the summer jobs program. The residents from Dufferin—Caledon ask that the Government of Canada remove the discriminatory requirement and allow Canadians to continue to exercise their freedom of belief and expression without facing institutionalized discrimination by the Government of Canada.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition calling on the House of Commons to pass legislation to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA for short, without delay. It was initiated by Kerry Mueller from Waterloo, Ontario, and the petitioners are calling for stronger protections from toxic exposures, enforceable national air quality standards and the recognition of a basic right to a healthy environment.
    The petition is signed by more than 11,000 people from every province and territory in Canada, and is one of the biggest e-petitions on environment protection to date. The petition reinforces the key recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to strengthen and modernize CEPA and to demonstrate its broad public support for prioritizing legislative action on these important issues.
    In June, after this petition was launched, the government committed to reforming CEPA, agreeing with many of the committee's recommendations, and I look forward to seeing much progress on modernizing CEPA in the near future.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The first is in support of postal banking and is signed by a number of Canadians who are very concerned about the fact that nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders because of the crippling lending rates that affect the poor, marginalized, rural and indigenous communities across Canada.
    There are 3,800 Canada Post outlets that already exist in rural and remote areas where there are few or no banks, and Canada Post has the infrastructure to rapidly transition to postal banking. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to enact my motion, Motion No. 166, to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.

Pensions  

    My second petition, Mr. Speaker, is in regard to Bill C-397, because, as the House knows, spouse pensions are denied to surviving spouses of military personnel, members of Parliament, judges, employees of Crown corporations, the public service and employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police if the marriage was entered into after age 60.
    Most of the affected spouses are women or caregivers who have cared for veterans and other federal employees, and it is unfair that they not receive a pension when their partners pass away.
    Therefore, this petition is in support of my bill, Bill C-397, which would eliminate this legislation denying surviving spouses the pensions to which they are entitled.

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise once again to table one of many petitions signed by Canadians from across Canada, including Espanola in my riding, who highlight the fact that in the next 20 years, it is anticipated that vision loss among Canadians will double.
    The petitioners add that this is an emerging crisis, especially among the most vulnerable. They are calling upon the government to acknowledge eye health and vision care as a growing public health issue, and ask the government to develop a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care.
    Today is Eye read on the Hill Day. I invite everyone to attend this interactive reception and join me in reading to and with children.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling a petition, largely from members of my riding in Port Hardy and Port McNeill, who have serious concerns and are calling to see the withdrawal of Bill C-27, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act.
    People in my riding are very concerned. They were promised in writing that the defined benefit plans, which have already been paid for by employees and pensioners, should not be retroactively changed into target benefit plans. The tabling of this bill by the Minister of Finance permits precisely this change, thereby jeopardizing the retirement income security of Canadians who have negotiated defined benefit plans as a form of deferred wages.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to withdraw Bill C-27, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act. I hope that the government will take this petition from these communities seriously.

  (1010)  

Trans Mountain Pipeline  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present to a petition from members of my constituency in Saanich—Gulf Islands calling for the Government of Canada to stop the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
    The petitioners point out that the expansion will lock in oil sands protection growth, and that this growth in oil sands production is irreconcilable with Canada's targets and international commitments under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. They further note that the purchase and expansion of the pipeline will increase the risk of a diluted bitumen spill, violate rights of indigenous communities and threaten the marine environment for indigenous communities and all of British Columbia.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on postal banking from residents of Canada who would like to draw to the attention of the House of Commons that nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders' crippling lending rates.
    There are 3,800 Canada Post outlets that already exist in rural areas, where there are few banks and credit unions. Canada Post has the infrastructure to make a rapid transition to include postal banking.
    The petitioners call on the government to enact the motion by the member for London—Fanshawe, M-166, to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising in the House today to table a petition in support of postal banking. Quite a few people have signed this petition.
    Nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders, whose crippling lending rates affect the poor and marginalized in rural and indigenous communities the most.
    There are 3,800 Canada Post outlets that already exist in rural areas, where there are fewer banks and credit unions. Canada Post already has the infrastructure to make a rapid transition to include postal banking.
    The people who have signed this petition are asking the Government of Canada to enact Motion No. 166 to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition in support of the work of my colleague, the member for London—Fanshawe, which calls on the government to enact her Motion No. 166 to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation.
    The petitioners state that some two million Canadians are desperately in need of an alternative to payday lending. We know, in our communities, that often the interest rates offered by payday lenders are exorbitantly high. Many of the people who are most marginalized in our communities simply cannot afford it, but they do not have any other options.
    The petitioners also note that some 3,800 Canada Post outlets already exist in our communities today that could kick into action if the government were to facilitate this process.
    I hope the government will take action with respect to the request of the petitioners.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Fisheries and Oceans  

[S. O. 52]
    I have notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to request an emergency debate pursuant to Standing Order 52, that in making this leave of motion the House do now adjourn.
    The reason for this emergency debate request is recent scientific reports. They were published, admittedly, on September 17, but the gravity of the science contained in this news has taken a while to permeate into Parliament. I hope to seek from the government side an increased focus on climate action with a specific concern related to this entirely Canadian impact.
    I refer, of course, to the scientific report in Nature Climate Change, entitled “Rapid coastal deoxygenation due to ocean circulation shift in the northwest Atlantic”. This report is the result of an international effort by scientists from the University of Washington, the University of California, Los Angeles and a number of other U.S. universities, as well as Dalhousie University and McGill University and a scientist from within the federal government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, all of whom are saying something quite alarming.
    The report notes that scientists have been tracking a global phenomenon, as reported in Science magazine earlier this year, namely that the whole of the oceans of the whole planet are losing oxygen content. However, our own Gulf of St. Lawrence, fully within Canadian waters, may in the words of one scientist be “the canary in the coal mine”.
    I certainly know that you know the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Mr. Speaker, not only as a member of Parliament as well as Speaker, but coming from Atlantic Canada. For those who do not, the Gulf of St. Lawrence is bordered by Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and coastal New Brunswick.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    Few places in the world can match the rich aquatic life of this extraordinary region. The fisheries are of great value to our economy.

[English]

    It has a landed value of fish species, from plaice, halibut, wolfish, haddock, hake, monkfish, redfish, flounder and herring to crab and lobster, as well as from aquaculture in that region in the billions of dollars, a billion a year at least, plus tourism.
    The emergency is that the death of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a disaster economically, ecologically and socially. The terminus of the moment to save it could be as soon as four years from now, which requires real action on an emergency basis.
    I can see my time is at an end. I beg the House and I beg you, Mr. Speaker, to allow the House to treat this as the emergency it is.
    I thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for raising her request. Of course, she recognizes that Standing Order 52 requires not only that a matter be specific and important, even grave, but that it be urgent that Parliament deal with it immediately and so forth.
    While there is no question that this matter is very important in interest, I do not find that it meets the exigencies of the strict wording of the Standing Order.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Justice  

    That, given Terri-Lynne McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder in the horrific abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, and was moved from a secure facility to a healing lodge without fences and where the government has confirmed the presence of children, the House condemn this decision and call upon the government to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure this decision is reversed and cannot happen again in other cases.
    She said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.
    April 8, 2009, began like any other school day for Tori Stafford, a grade 3 student at Oliver Stephens Public School. However, that is where this sweet little eight-year-old girl's normal, peaceful day ended. Tori was lured, kidnapped and later brutally murdered.
    Tori's killers, Michael Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic, were each found guilty of first-degree murder. In Canada, that means an automatic life sentence, 25 years without a chance of parole. It would seem that maybe justice was somewhat served for the Staffords and their family. Sadly, it is not what has turned out to be the case.
    In recent days, we have learned that instead of serving her sentence behind bars, the prisoner, McClintic, has been transferred to a Saskatchewan healing lodge, a government-run lodge surrounded by trees, wildlife and children. There is no visible security. There is not even a fence. It is a no-brainer for all of us to know that is no place for a child killer. It is certainly no place for someone who committed the despicable acts Tori faced in her last hours.
    The details of those acts have been recounted to the House. I want to take a moment and comment on the reaction of members of the government and the NDP when some of those details were recounted, because it goes to the point that not only we as Conservatives are making but that Canadians want us to face. The Prime Minister's reaction to hearing about what happened to Tori was to tell members of Parliament to essentially shut up and stop talking. Other members became visibly angry and upset and talked about decorum in the House. As if what happened to Tori, and whether or not it offends us, has anything to do with decorum. It is not about our feelings, our sensitivities being offended or about how we feel in this House.
    What we need to talk about is justice for Tori's family. What happened to Tori was despicable and unbearable to hear, but this place is exactly where we need to face a harsh but needed reality. There are consequences of the decisions we make here in this place. Pretending these gruesome events did not happen and demanding that others shut up to avoid hearing them is the behaviour that led us exactly to where we are right now. It is that sort of behaviour that leads the public safety minister to describe the horrible acts committed against Tori Stafford as, “bad practices”. It is that sort of behaviour that desensitizes some into thinking a child murderer, with no possibility of legally seeing the outside world for at least 15 more years, should not be behind bars but should be a guest at a government lodge. It is that sort of behaviour that leads the Liberals to brush this shocking transfer off by organizing some sort of generic bureaucratic review. That is the behaviour that should be offensive to all of us, and what we need to address today.
    It is said the worst fate a parent can endure is to have to bury his or her own child. To have to do so in the circumstances faced by the Stafford family is just unimaginable. It is why we can only imagine, and need to think long and hard about what the transfer of this prisoner has done to the Stafford family, as well as the effect it has had on them. It has revictimized the Stafford family. In fact, this past weekend, Tori's dad, Rodney Stafford, published an open letter to the Prime Minister. His words are utterly heart-wrenching. Mr. Stafford wrote:
    I plead to you as a father & a proud Canadian citizen who, even after this traumatic experience, tries to live a normal tax paying life. I really have to question our Federal Government as to why convicted child murderers, such as Terri Lynne McClintic, deserve more rights than their victims & law abiding Canadians? I may not have grown up living a perfect life, but I grew up to learn that I love the country I live in and I know right from wrong!
    The Prime Minister has tried to duck and weave on this issue this last week, pleading that this was all about politics. Rodney Stafford hit the nail on the head. He asked the Prime Minister, “Is this enough to remember that not all issues are political? Some are moral!”
    That is what this issue is. Tori's dad is right, there is a moral imperative for action. There is a moral imperative for members of Parliament from all parties to stand up and demand better.

  (1020)  

    This is a situation that we need to reverse and one that we need to prevent from ever happening again. It is the sort of situation where immediate action is required to maintain Canadians' confidence in our justice system.
    I had the honour to serve for more than two years as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety. Our previous government showed how a government can take action. When things happen in situations, the government does have the power to reverse them. When tough cases were exposed when we were in government, we cried out for change. When it was uncovered that serial killer Clifford Olson was receiving OAS, our Conservative government passed legislation to stop him and other prisoners. There is the key. It was not just something directed specifically at Clifford Olson. It was a policy change that stopped him from getting OAS, but it also stopped other prisoners from getting OAS. It has been done before and it can be done again. We also passed legislation preventing prisoners from using their time behind bars to justify an extension of employment insurance benefits. Again, it was not changing policy directed at one individual inmate, but we saw that something had happened when we were government that needed to be reversed in our correctional system and so we immediately implemented a policy so that the specific person would not receive that benefit and nor would other prisoners in that situation. Therefore, the situation that confronts us today is one that the Liberal government and the Prime Minister possess the legal and the political authority to fix.
    We are likely to hear about a legal opinion that mysteriously surfaced last week, claiming the Liberals just cannot do anything. I am sure the government lawyer who wrote that document is an upstanding person, but we do have to remember that at the end of the day, government lawyers serve their clients: their political masters in the justice minister's office and the Prime Minister's Office. Since when do government members abdicate their responsibility just because a lawyer told them that maybe they would have a bit of push-back on it? Especially with the current government, they sure seem to love to go to bat for every criminal there is, whether it is Omar Khadr, Chris Garnier or now McClintic. The Liberals sure do not seem to worry about fighting those fights. Therefore, why in the world would the Liberals not say, “We will take the chance that somebody might challenge us, but we see this wrong is done and so we will correct it.” It is that simple. It is not difficult.
    There are a few provisions in the law that I want to highlight. The Corrections and Conditional Release Act does give authority to the government. We have already talked about subsection 6(1) of the act, which says that the commissioner of corrections works, “under the direction of the Minister”. Paragraph 96(d) of the act actually enables the Governor in Council, the cabinet, to make regulations governing the process of transferring offenders from one institution to another. Meanwhile, paragraph 96(z.6) allows the cabinet to adopt regulations concerning the security classification of inmates.
    Therefore, there can be a policy crafted. It could be as simple as saying that someone serving a sentence for the murder of a child must not be transferred to any institution without perimeter security or where children are permitted to circulate. It is very simple. That could very easily be done. This is all we are asking the government to do.
    We have not seen any outrage from the Liberals and we have not seen any action. In an interview last week, Tori's dad said, “...Terri-Lynne had been moved to Saskatchewan to this healing lodge and I was kind of blown away.... Every time things seem to start to get a bit better...something like this comes along, where you just lose faith.” Let us give the Stafford family some faith by reversing this injustice. Let us give Canadians confidence in their justice system. Let us send a strong and clear message with the vote on this motion. Let us stand up, every single one of us, and vote to ensure that anyone who takes the life of an innocent child like Tori Stafford faces the sentence that Canadians expect him or her to, which is behind bars.
    We have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of real people. We know their names. We know the situation they face. We know the horrific acts that happened. We very seldom have the opportunity to affect individual people's lives like we do today. Therefore, I implore this House and I implore the government members to show their displeasure, show their outrage, but, more important, act and implement policy to reverse this decision and make sure something like this never happens again.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, we all in this House share the same sorrow for the Stafford family and the same outrage about the killer being in a facility like this. That is not in question. The question is, how do we make a policy change?
    These healing lodges were developed in 1992 and put into law under a Conservative government, so clearly the Conservatives do not believe the healing lodges should not exist. This healing lodge had medium- and minimum-security prisoners during the entire 10 years of the Harper government, so clearly the Conservatives did not oppose medium-security prisoners being transferred there. Terri-Lynne McClintic became a medium-security prisoner in 2014 during the Harper government and that government did not stop that. Therefore, the previous Conservative government had not opposed that.
    What is exactly the solution you prefer? Should there be no healing lodges? Should medium-security prisoners not be in healing lodges? Should first-degree murderers not be allowed to become medium-security prisoners? I would like to know the solution.
    I just want to remind the member to address the question and comments to the Chair and not to individual members.
    The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar.
    Madam Speaker, I would first say that the member is actually the first Liberal member of Parliament who has said that there is any outrage on that side of the House with respect to this decision.
    We have been asking the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety, and we have not heard once that, yes, this is a terrible decision. No. What we have heard from the Liberals is that they are going to form a committee to look at the policy to see if all the policies were followed. Frankly, the outrage is too little, too late.
    With respect to the second question, I would be more than happy to lay out a very simple plan for the government on how it could very easily reverse this decision. I will tell members how Tori's dad and family even knew what was happening. It is because, in 2013-14, we passed a law for victims to be informed of what is happening to some of these prisoners. Therefore, I will tell the member this. If we had found out about this while we were in government, as we did with other bad decisions, we would have been the government, taken the decision, changed it and made that policy a good policy. That is what we are asking the current government to do. If it cannot do it, it should get out of the way and let somebody—

  (1030)  

    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    Madam Speaker, I wanted to address the issue of the rhetoric and the graphic details being shared. Contrary to what the member just said about telling people they should shut up, it is quite the opposite. In fact, in an interview I had on the weekend I even had an opportunity to reiterate that these are important questions that need to be asked. I wholeheartedly agree with the Conservatives that it is our responsibility.
    However, as politicians, as people who express ourselves in a very public way, despite the public nature of these details, despite the fact that I have pored over them as a participant in this debate, and despite that unimaginable feeling we get when hearing those details, the problem is that when the rhetoric heats up like that, when these details are used for political gain, the consequence of that is messages like I had received over the weekend, and as the stepfather of an eight-year-old girl, being told, “Maybe the same thing needs to happen to your daughter so you understand what is going on here.” That is why we have—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Matthew Dubé: Madam Speaker, perhaps I could have a little respect instead of being heckled. That is exactly why we have a responsibility for how we address these issues. No one is saying they should not be addressed. However, there is a proper way to do it. Would my colleague acknowledge that? I am not asking her to take responsibility for the words that individuals say to me, I am asking that we take responsibility for the things we say in this place and how we tackle these extremely difficult issues.
    Madam Speaker, I do not know if that member heard my speech. I just gave a lengthy speech where I laid out what I believe and what we believe should happen. There was nothing that should have offended him. I am sorry, but he is not the victim here. I am not sure what message he is referring to.
    This is the place where we have to have tough conversations. We had a difficult conversation one day in this House where we talked about what happened to Tori. It had to be heard. We had a minister of public safety who called what happened Tori “bad practices”. We had to do it. We have now been asking the government to act on it. We do not even know if the NDP will support it.
    That member stood up and somehow he is maybe the victim in all of this because we had to talk about something that is difficult. It is shameful of the New Democrats. I do not know what they have been thinking these last few weeks. However, they are going to have to answer to their constituents on how they vote and how they have responded to this situation.
    I want to remind members that, yes, this is a very difficult situation to talk about. However, I would ask all members to be very respectful of the different points of view on this in an effort to not offend each of the members either. I think it is going to be a very difficult debate. However, I think that everybody can be respectful of each other.
    The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, resuming debate.
    Madam Speaker, I thank you for the admonishment. I think it is very important that we realize that this is a very emotional debate. However, as the seconder to the Conservative Party motion, I would reiterate how we hope that the Liberal government will hear the outrage that has been expressed across the country over the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic, the killer of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
    It is incomprehensible to me that the Liberals would merely order a review in response to this travesty of justice. The evidence is pretty clear. McClintic is not eligible for parole until 2031. Since her incarceration, she has not been a model inmate, being convicted of beating up a fellow prisoner and then regretting that she had not caused more severe injuries. That is not exactly a model prisoner, so why is she being given a cushy transfer to a healing lodge with no fence?
    Instead of ducking responsibility, this should have been a simple matter of doing what is right. Instead, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety are hiding behind a bureaucratic memo hastily put together by justice officials. They are failing in their duty to Canadians, who are outraged by this transfer. I put it to members that they need to step up and reverse this transfer immediately.
    We know that the Prime Minister has fallen to virtue signalling on many issues, but when it comes to standing up for true justice here at home, when it comes to standing up for victims of crime, he chooses instead to mince words or stay silent, and indeed, his public safety minister is parroting the same unacceptable approach.
    The decision to conduct a review of this situation makes no sense, considering the authority of the minister's office and the office of the Prime Minister and the authority they can wield when there is the will to wield it. Clearly, what is required is a firm and immediate directive from the minister to Corrections Canada to put McClintic back behind bars where she belongs.
    When a minister of the Crown issues a directive to his or her department, and I was there myself and remember well what happens, the wheels are set in motion. Why would the Minister of Public Safety waste time with this review, when there is a clear injustice? He could have clearly called to reverse the transfer. He could have done the right thing, but obviously, the will is absent.
    I wonder if the decision not to immediately reverse the McClintic transfer was his alone. I want to know if the Prime Minister's Office weighed in on this. Who is behind this outrageous order not to transfer the inmate? Canadians deserve to know.
    I would like to put before the chamber the basic facts of the minister's powers. Under subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the minister has the authority to direct the commissioner of corrections in all matters. This would include issuing a directive that a broad class of offenders, such as those convicted of the murder of a child, are not eligible for transfer to a minimum security facility, such as this healing lodge. Under section 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the cabinet could pass regulations setting out eligibility for minimum security facilities and healing lodges. This could include prohibiting those convicted of murder involving a child.
    Even in the face of this evidence, the Liberals claim that they cannot reverse the transfer. However, previous public safety ministers have reversed decisions through directives to Corrections Canada.

  (1035)  

    When I served as a member of the provincial parliament in the Ontario legislature, the current Liberal agriculture minister, who was then the solicitor general, stopped the transfer of a cop killer after public outrage. That is the precedent that was set in 2000. I was a member of the Ontario legislature. We passed a unanimous resolution very similar to the unanimous resolution the Ontario legislature passed yesterday in the case of McClintic. Back then, when that cop killer was going to be moved to Club Fed, as it was called then, the outrage in Ontario was just the same. A resolution of the Ontario legislature was passed unanimously. The PCs, the NDP, and the Liberals all passed it, and lo and behold, the agriculture minister, who was the solicitor general at the time, found a way to stop the transfer to Club Fed.
    In another example, former minister Toews ended prison pizza parties. Former minister Day mandated that first degree murderers had to spend a specified time behind bars in maximum security prisons. Those were both directives taken during the Harper years.
    There is clearly a precedent for the current public safety minister's intervention in the McClintic case. However, last Tuesday night, in an interview with CTV, the minister defended his review of the transfer as “the best way to...rectify [McClintic's] bad practices in the past”. Bad practices in the past? Is that how he characterizes this? It is clearly devoid of humanity and reasoning.
    As I am sure many in this House will admit, we have employed bad practices from time to time over the course of our lives. Perhaps even the Minister of Public Safety himself would admit to as much, but certainly, luring an eight-year-old Tori while she was walking home from school, then standing as a lookout while she was violated and then killing her with a hammer and dumping her body is not what the vast majority of Canadians define as bad practices. I make no apologies for pointing this fact out.
     The Conservative Party was criticized for describing some of the graphic details of young Tori's murder in the House of Commons last week. In fact, for some media, that seemed to be the bigger story than the outrageous transfer itself. However, it is obvious from the Liberals' inaction that they needed to be reminded of the horrific nature of the crimes committed by McClintic.
    Governing this great country of Canada is not always paved with sunny ways. There are times when hard truths need to be confronted and addressed, and this Liberal government remains unwilling or incapable of making hard decisions when the inevitable clouds roll in. I hope the horrific nature of this crime and the grave injustice of this transfer will lead the Liberal government to change course in this instance.
    I think I speak for many when I say that we ask the Liberals to stand up and do the right thing, and then perhaps the protest being organized for November 2, just outside this chamber, over the transfer can be avoided. If not, I plan to attend that protest. I will continue to call out this transfer, and I will continue to denounce the Liberal government for its failure to act.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    He once told a former employee of Stephen Harper's that he was uncomfortable with the idea of a politician deciding the fate of a particular offender. Would he mind explaining that to Canadians? I am looking for specifics here.
    Madam Speaker, what I can say is that we were elected to represent Canadians. We are here to make very important decisions for all Canadians.

[English]

    We are here to be elected representatives to make the right decisions for Canadians. I make no apologies for that, and the hon. members on the other side should make no apologies for that.
    Madam Speaker, I have a small, simple question for the member opposite, who at one time sat on this side of the House, as he mentioned.
    Why did the same member not speak up in 2014 when this person, this inmate, was moved from maximum security to a medium-security facility? A medium security facility is what she is in right now. Why did he not speak up then, as a member of the governing party?
    Madam Speaker, the situation was clear. McClintic was still behind bars. She was still in a cell, and she was still behind razor wire.
    By the way, the victim's family was not informed of the transfer and had to find out about it later. That in itself is a violation of the Victims Bill of Rights.
    A lot is wrong with this transfer to the healing lodge. That is the question before the House. That is the issue before the Canadian public. We make no apologies for raising this issue, because people are outraged by her present circumstances as a child murderer in a healing lodge.

  (1045)  

    I want to remind members that the discussion is when a member is recognized and is not between members who are sitting. If those members have questions and comments, they should rise to be recognized.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka for his concern for the family of Tori Stafford and for reflecting the view of Canadians on how wrong this is.
    I would ask my colleague to talk about why the Liberals always seem to side with the convict. They hug the thug and lack the compassion and common sense to stand up for the victims in these types of situations. They just aggravate the situation even more, rather than doing the right thing.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member has raised a good point. It is almost like asking why the sky is blue. Why do Liberal members continue on a course of conduct that totally defies common sense and the sense of justice that most Canadians feel?
    We saw this in the case of the cop killer who was given veterans benefits until that was reviewed. I saw it in the justice committee when we were reviewing Bill C-75, the omnibus justice bill. Over 136 offences are going to have their sentences watered down because of a Liberal bill.
    As sad and as bad as it is about Terri-Lynne McClintic, this is also about a course of conduct by the current Liberal government to water down and ignore the sense of justice Canadians feel. They have a tin ear when it comes to that sense of justice Canadians have. This is yet another example of that.
    Madam Speaker, we can only begin to imagine what Tori Stafford's family has been enduring the last nine years. The crimes committed against her were vicious and heartbreaking, and the people who committed those crimes deserve the life sentences they are serving in the custody of the Correctional Service of Canada.
    When we hear Tori's father read his words, it is clear how raw his pain and anger still are. Of course they are. None of us has any difficulty understanding why he feels the way he does. At the same time, people who have not experienced what he has experienced can never truly understand. He, like the rest of Tori's friends and family, has every right to speak out, and we are listening.
    The Minister of Public Safety has directed the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to undertake a review of the transfer decision in this case to ensure that it has followed the service's policies and procedures, and additionally, to evaluate whether the policies themselves are indeed still appropriate. The commissioner has named three people to conduct a review: Dr. Carmen Long, director general of CSC's offender program and reintegration branch; Dr. Andrea Moser, director general of interventions in CSC's woman offender sector; and Doreen Oakes, councillor for the Nekaneet First Nation and a professor at the First Nations University of Canada. The commissioner has been unequivocal that following the review he will make any necessary changes.
    However, let us be absolutely clear that offender management decisions are within the purview of the Correctional Service of Canada. The government does not have the authority to intervene in these decisions, nor should it. According to section 6 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the commissioner of the Correctional Service has the control and management of the service and all matters connected with the service under the direction of the minister.
    The very same language is used in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act about the public safety minister's relationship with the commissioner of the RCMP. In neither case does it mean the minister is entitled to micromanage the day-to-day operations of the agency. He cannot tell the commissioner of the Correctional Service which offenders to incarcerate where, anymore than he can tell the RCMP commissioner who to investigate or arrest. We do not need a justice system that is vulnerable to politics, and that is why the rule of law is so important.
    This has been tested in court. In 1987, when considering whether the minister could direct that a particular inmate be placed in segregation, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that this language about the commissioner serving under the direction of a minister merely recognized overall ministerial responsibility, but does not authorize the minister to order the segregation of a particular prisoner. That may be why, when he was minister of public safety under Stephen Harper, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis said, “I do not control the classification of individual prisoners”. Even if it were legal, having governments make these kinds of operational criminal justice decisions would be a dangerous precedent. That may be why Stephen Harper's former staffer, Benjamin Perrin, said over the weekend, “I'm concerned with politicians being the ones who decide how any particular individual offender is treated”. He is absolutely right.

  (1050)  

[Translation]

    No two offenders have the same experience in our corrections system. What is more, thousands of major and minor decisions concerning the management of their cases are made every day across Canada.
    There are dozens of different institutions, and each one is organized in its own way and has it own institutional culture, its own level of security, and its own types of interventions and programs. It is to be expected that offenders will move through the system over the years. They may start out in a maximum security facility at the beginning of their sentence and then move to a lower security facility, which is what happened with Terri-Lynne McClintic in 2014.

[English]

    Offenders may get transferred within an institution, or from one institution to another. They may spend time in a mental health facility, or they may go to a facility with more of an indigenous focus. They will probably move through various programs, classes and institutional jobs, and occasionally be given different privileges or punishments.
    It is the professionals in the Correctional Service of Canada who evaluate offenders on a regular basis, and use their training and expertise to determine the best correctional path for each individual.
    I will not go any further into the specifics of the particular case referenced in today's motion. As I said earlier, the minister has ordered a review, and that review is under way. I will use the remainder of my time to discuss some of the roles of a healing lodge within our correctional system, because recently in this chamber, there have been some very unfortunate mischaracterizations of them.
    Healing lodges are, first and foremost, correctional institutions. Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is a medium-security institution. We have nine healing lodges, four run by the correctional service itself and five run by indigenous community organizations.
    Healing lodges are not a free ride. The programming at these institutions is rooted in indigenous culture and practice, but offenders are still subject to restrictions and security measures, and they are still held accountable for their actions.
    Let me reiterate, Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is a medium-security institution. There are security cameras monitored 24 hours a day. There are daily searches of the facility and of offenders. Offenders are counted four times daily. There are regular security patrols all night long. Security staff has physical restraints and pepper spray. Importantly, there has not been a single escape from Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in the last 10 years.
    To correct the misconception about children at Okimaw Ohci, all women's institutions in Canada have mother-child programs for inmates with children younger than school age. This has been the case since 1997, and no child has ever come to harm as a result of this program.
    To correct the very unfortunate language some of the members have been using when they refer to the healing lodges as “condos”, these are not luxury accommodations. The living quarters are actually comparable to other medium-security quarters in other women's institutions. Medium-security inmates at Grand Valley or Edmonton Institution for Women, for example, live in what is called an “open campus design”. There are houses around a courtyard. Each house has a small common area and a dozen small bedrooms. The set-up of all these institutions, Okimaw Ohci included, is the same now as it was under the Conservatives.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Let us talk about the purpose of healing lodges. As members know, indigenous people are significantly over-represented in Canada's correctional system. Approximately one-quarter of the male prison population and one-third of the female prison population are indigenous. About 90% of these indigenous women have been physically or sexually assaulted.
    About 80% of them have serious problems with substance abuse.

[English]

    Healing lodges are not a panacea or a quick fix, but they have show an ability to deal with complex and deep-seated problems. They are not the only answer, but they are certainly part of the answer. The correctional investigator has repeatedly recommended making greater use of healing lodges and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women recently recommended that the Government of Canada ensure access to healing lodges for indigenous female offenders with a medium-security classification. Not one Conservative member dissented from that recommendation.
    Therefore, I urge my colleagues across the aisle to stop denigrating healing lodges. They are an important element of our correctional system and have a record of successfully holding inmates accountable for the most serious of crimes by reinforcing that seriousness in the eyes of the community and of the offenders themselves.
    Determining which offenders those are is the role of the trained professionals who work for the Correctional Service of Canada. They make their determinations following a thorough risk assessment with institutional and public safety always top of mind. It is not, nor should it be, the role of politicians to make these decisions. With this motion calling on the government to micromanage the operations of a criminal justice agency, the opposition is asking the government to act in violation of the law. Of course, that is not something we can support.
    The minister has acted to the full extent of his authority by directing the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada to review both this particular transfer, as well as the appropriateness of the service's relevant policies in the interest of the effectiveness of Canada's corrections system and in the interest of public safety. We will follow the law and act deliberately and thoughtfully to address this issue and we await the report of the commissioner of corrections.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, I first want to correct the record. This has never been about healing lodges having a role to play in our correctional system. Certainly the Conservatives, as the member indicated by referring to the report, recognize that there is an appropriate role for them. What we are saying today that it is not an appropriate role for someone who quite recently killed an eight-year-old girl, continued to commit violent offences when she was in facilities and is now in a healing lodge, which is actually aimed at supporting people transitioning back into their communities. She is not going to transition back into her community until 2031.
    The other thing I want to note is that what we are asking for is appropriate and well within the role of government. The member is reaffirming today that it is not possible for the government to reconsider a policy that is completely inappropriate, which other governments have looked at in the past, and that it is unable to change it. Is that what she is saying, that the government is unable to change inappropriate policies that keep Canadians safe?
    Madam Speaker, we are saying that the rule of law must be paramount and that micromanaging individual offender decisions is not following the rule of law. The minister has asked for a review by the commissioner not only of this transfer but also of the overall policies and procedures that are currently in place, and we will wait for a report.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for her speech.
    As some members have mentioned, legislative changes may be necessary, depending on how the decision was made. Since more information is needed regarding the reasons for that decision, we must wait until we obtain the findings of the investigation.
    My question for the parliamentary secretary is this. Will the minister ensure that the review and investigation are conducted as quickly as possible so that parliamentarians have those findings and can make any necessary changes?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this review is already under way. Three members have been assigned to conduct the review. We understand that this is a very important issue. I would anticipate that the commissioner will carry on with her work with the requisite speed.
    Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my friend across the way. This is a solemn day, as we debate an issue that has received public outcry from coast to coast. We have heard that Tori's father, who on Facebook, has asked the government to reverse an atrocity. This criminal was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years, because she had kidnapped, raped and murdered a young eight-year-old girl.
    My question for my colleague is more personal. We believe that dangerous child killers whose conduct has been bad in prison should not leave any type of institution where there are no prison cells, no gates and no methodology for keeping them behind bars.
     Why do you believe she should be cascaded down to a healing lodge that has other children on the facility? This is the biggest example of injustice being done for the victim and for the family?

  (1105)  

    I would remind the member to address questions and comments to the Chair.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, I understand that what the family of Tori Stafford is going through is heartbreaking. However, our justice system is based on the rule of law and it is important that the government not get involved in the individual micromanaging of the status of an offender. I prefer to leave that in the hands of the experts, the people who have the training and experience to make those kinds of decisions.
    We also know that it is appropriate to do a review of a decision to ensure it actually follows those policies and procedures and that those policies and procedures remain appropriate today.
    Madam Speaker, I know my colleague highlighted the fact of it being the rule of law and that we really do not want politicians getting involved in judicial matters. Could she expand on that a little before we end the debate? I was listening intently to her speech, but I was not reading the newspaper while I did it.
    Madam Speaker, the rule of law is so important and justice should be done by a justice system, not politics, not politicians. It is our job to write the legislation, direct the policies, but it is not our job to individually micromanage it right down to the offender level. We have the experts who are trained to do that. We should leave that work in their capable hands.
    Madam Speaker, Canadians generally know that this is absolutely wrong. It is just an outrageous situation and they are disgusted by it. I have had calls and letters.
     However, even looking at this situation, we all know how child killers are at great risk when they are in general population in prison. Even considering this murderer, would she not be at great risk where she is in this healing lodge? Her own life could be in danger unless she is transferred. What does the member say to that?
    Madam Speaker, he is right. This is absolutely gut-wrenching. However, it is so important for us to resist the emotional calls and to address difficult issues like this one with reason, deliberately and thoughtfully. That is exactly what we are going to do.
    Madam Speaker, if the Liberals believe it is outside the law for politicians to give directions to CSC on the security classification of prisoners, do they believe that section 17 of the corrections and conditional release regulations is also unlawful?
    Madam Speaker, I do not have a copy of that particular section, but I believe it will outline the same powers and authorities, the relationship between politicians and the departments. It is our job to write the legislation and ensure the policies are in place. It is the job of the departments to enforce those through procedures and policies.
    We have time for a very brief question.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, just so people are clear, healing lodges have been in existence since 1992. Surely to goodness, people would recognize they are a part of the medium-security prison system.
    When the murderer of Tori Stafford was transferred to the medium security prison, she would have been eligible for the healing lodge process. Would my colleague provide her thoughts on why she believes the Conservatives would not have objected to the transfer from maximum to medium? It would appear as if they were—

  (1110)  

    I did say it would need to be a brief question or comment.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary has 20 seconds to respond.
    Madam Speaker, again, it comes back to the rule of law. We need to follow the rule of law. We need to give our policies and directions, but it is up to the individual departments to enforce them.
    Madam Speaker, we try to find words to describe what Tori Stafford's father has expressed over the last several days and what he has been going through over the last number of years.
     The hon. official opposition House leader said something that was very telling. Whenever it feels like it has gotten better, something else happens, another shoe drops, and the pain comes back. Two words come to mind when I think of what that must be for this family: nightmare and hell. The courage it has taken for a father, who has done what no parent ever wants to do, who has lost his child to express his pain and ask for his government to be there to support him. That requires a level of courage that, I admit, I, nor do I believe many of us, have. I want to thank him for reminding us that we have a responsibility that sometimes leads to contradictions.
    On the one hand, we hear the pain of people who have been victims of the most despicable, heinous and horrible crimes that humanity can imagine. At the same time, we try to ensure we have a system that works. Sometimes those objectives do not even out. It is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole, which is the ultimate challenge we have in this place.
    Before I go any further, I would like to mention the question I addressed to my friends in the Conservative Party on the motion before us, and it is an important to look at this, which is the rhetoric around such a debate. Quite frankly, it is our ultimate responsibility to ask questions about the comportment and the decisions that are made by an agency, or service in this case, that is under the purview of the federal government, and more specific, the public safety minister. It is our responsibility to ensure that if a mistake has been made or if the law may be out of date, that those changes be made. At the same time, as we see throughout our work and indeed in other jurisdictions, other countries, provinces and territories, the rhetoric we use as politicians is also extremely important.
     I raise this because there has been a question in this place with respect to the details of these horrific crimes and the debate we are engaged in. Any criticism of the use of those details has been equated with telling people to shut up. For the record, and I will only speak for myself and my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, we have the responsibility to raise these issues.
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Matthew Dubé: Madam Speaker, I would ask my colleague to perhaps not heckle me as I talk about the type of debate we want to be engaged in. That would be appropriate.
    I will go back to what she is referencing in her interruption of my speech. It is the notion that the language we use has unintended consequences. Therefore, when I referenced the situation I went through, it was not to portray myself as a victim, far from it. I am only thinking of the people in these issues, not myself. I accept that the consequence of public life is that we will hear things we do not want to hear. We will have things said to us that we do not want to hear. However, I take the my responsibility in this place very seriously.
    I also take the responsibility that when an individual decides that an appropriate response to a very difficult issue is to write a member of Parliament and wish the same kind of unimaginable pain that Tori Stafford's father has felt on that member's family is not appropriate. I know we are not responsible for what some deranged individual might write to a member of Parliament, but we are responsible for how we engage in this debate and not fanning the flames on a issue that is so gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
    Therefore, in response to a question about that type of decorum, to be heckled and told that I am somehow trying to get away from this by portraying myself as a victim is completely missing the point. The Conservatives are right to pose these questions, but they are wrong to politicize the sick crimes that were committed and the pain of a father, a pain I cannot even begin to imagine. I can only hope, as we all do, that we never have to experience the same thing.

  (1115)  

    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Matthew Dubé: Madam Speaker, the heckling continues, Madam Speaker, which to me says that all Canadians need to know about the approach that is being taken here. We want to do right by Tori Stafford's father, who has been let down by parliamentarians and his government. He is right to feel revictimized. No one is saying the contrary. We have a responsibility to understand that. Some members from all parties, and the words they have used, may not have expressed themselves in a way that is appropriate for this type of debate on this horrible crime. That is a mistake. I think we can own up to our own failings, despite the responsibility we have as members in this place, on how we express ourselves and talk about policy when we are thinking of this type of horrible crime. That is the contradiction we face.
    I understand that we face a challenge because we have a responsibility to adopt legislation. We also have a responsibility to let judges, the corrections commissioner and others who are involved in our justice and corrections system make decisions. Our ultimate failing as politicians is that sometimes we cannot be in a position to make those decisions. Sometimes when we see that too many mistakes have been made and justice is not being served, the Conservatives are correct to point out that maybe new legislation is required. That may be a failure on this place and on us, and it certainly might seem like a failure for the government. As woefully inadequate as that might feel to people who live with the pain of crimes that have been committed against them and their families, the conclusions of this review that has already been undertaken, from what I understood from the parliamentary secretary, are so important. Legislation needs to be adopted to rectify certain situations if mistakes are made.
     A question that was posed to me by one of my colleagues when this motion was tabled was the following: why was this decision made? It is a very good question. It is the essence of the question that the Conservatives are posing. That is the ultimate challenge we face, because I do not know why that decision was made. Was there an issue in the institution where the person who had committed these horrible crimes was located, and a decision was made to address specific issues that we do not know about? I do not know. That is our ask of the government today, that this will be dealt with, with due haste and expedited. I believe that, at the very least, we owe that, as woefully inadequate as that may be, to the victims in the situation.
    The conclusions and a better understanding will make me more comfortable as a parliamentarian asking what is next. As the sponsor of this motion correctly pointed out, without relitigating or rehashing the debate over legislation tabled in the previous parliament, a government and parliamentarians can table legislation to resolve issues. I want to understand those issues before we move forward.
     I know today that those words ring completely hollow to Tori Stafford's father, and anyone else who has been a victim of this type of crime. As I said at the outset, the constant challenge we have as policy-makers is what can we do to make sure that we have the tools to get it right. We want to get it right and get it right as quickly as possible.

  (1120)  

    On one policy piece, on this extremely challenging issue that is before us today, there is the eternal challenge of what corrections faces with regard to female offenders. I have seen it on the public safety committee, and I know the status of women committee members have seen it in the studies they have undertaken. There is a lack of resources in some cases, there are challenges with security classifications and there is a lack of maximum-security institutions. There is an existing and appropriate program for mothers and children, which the parliamentary secretary explained, that is rigorously enforced, in terms of its parameters, by corrections.
    These are the constant issues that Corrections Canada and, ultimately, we as policy-makers face. We want to make sure we understand, whether it is an indigenous offender, a male offender or a female offender, whoever it may be in the corrections system, the situations and how they play out in terms of their place in the corrections system or the safety of corrections officers, the integrity of the institutions or ensuring public safety, which is the ultimate goal of the system.
    There are a variety of constantly moving parts. Never has that been more apparent to me, as my party's spokesperson on public safety, than with the debate that is before us today. It is a challenge, and it is a challenge that sometimes leads us to believe, as I feel today, that we have let many Canadians down.
     Many Canadians are rightfully outraged, as I am, by this situation. As the member for Mount Royal said and as the hon. opposition House leader said, we are outraged. I do not want to hear anyone else try to tell this House and indeed Canadians that we do not share their pain and frustration.
     We talk about the role of healing lodges in the corrections system, the challenges in women's institutions and in men's institutions, the challenge of security classifications, the variety of considerations that are taken by corrections, and the constant tension between politicians, non-partisan judges, commissioners and others who play a role in this. I will take one lesson from this motion and from this debate that I think is incumbent on all of us, that we strive to do better for those Canadians who feel we have let them down.
    I certainly hope that, regardless of a motion more substantively on legislation and policy, we are always striving to do better, make sure that the corrections system is working, and ensure public safety through different roles relating to mental health and other things that corrections has to consider. I also hope, and this is the most important piece, that we are protecting those victims from the crimes themselves, and that we are understanding, and I say this with all due respect, contrary to what was insinuated earlier, that I do not understand, living with the constant pain.
     In conclusion, I will go back to those two words I said at the beginning of my speech, hell and nightmare. I can only hope that, moving forward, we make the hell and the nightmare for a father, like Tori Stafford's father, although it will likely never end, easier, if possible, and that we strive to make sure no other Canadian has to live with that type of pain.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member not only for his thoughtful and detailed presentation that was done largely without notes, which is always a great thing to see in parliamentarians' discussion and debate, but also in controlling the tone of the House by asking for heckling to stop and for us to thoughtfully consider the legislation that exists and whether there need to be changes.
    I wonder if the member could comment further on what we say and how we say it in this House, contributing to fear and division, or mental health stress in people who listen to our dialogue versus really getting to the heart of the issues, to try to make better laws for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague raising that point. I should have taken the opportunity during my speech. I did yell out “quiet” to the member for the riding of Lethbridge while she was responding to me earlier and I do want to apologize for that.
    This is a difficult issue. My intention here as a parliamentarian is to make sure that we get this issue right. My concern is the role that politicians should or should not play in how our system functions. That is the tension that we are faced with here today.
    The involvement of political apparatus in individual cases is not conducive to achieving the objectives that we want to achieve. We also need to understand that there is a great deal of pain in hearing a response of that kind. We need to debate this issue in a respectful way. If I have failed in that, I accept that responsibility. Hopefully it is something that we can do going forward on this extremely challenging issue.
    Madam Speaker, earlier this year the justice minister condemned the decision of a trial by jury in the high-profile murder case of Colten Boushie. The Canadian justice minister came out in a tweet and condemned the decision of a trial by jury. She then met with the victim's family and introduced legislation. How does that respect the rule of law? Why is there a double standard?
    Why is my colleague standing here and saying that it is not the role of Parliament when in this very Parliament we have seen the exact same thing. This is not even about condemning a decision on a verdict. This is about somebody who has already been tried. This is about the authority that we have.
    How can my colleague and members of his party stand here and support such a double standard?
    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned the tabling of legislation.
    This might seem in terms of a response to be woefully inadequate, but I believe that with the information that I hope will come from this review, understanding why the decision was made by Corrections Canada, we should then be able to properly assess whether legislation should be tabled, as was done in the situation to which the member alluded.
     I cannot speak for the Minister of Justice and I cannot speak for the Liberal government and how it responds to one case or another. I can speak for myself. I hope my colleagues will allow me to speak for our party in that, if legislation is deemed necessary to address a mistake that may have been made after we have the full facts of the decision, I will consider that legislation and move forward with that.
    As far as I am concerned, there is no contradiction in understanding the minister's involvement in individual cases versus the role of Parliament to adopt legislation. They are two very separate things that we consider in this place.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, clearly this is a very difficult issue put before us in this Parliament, that being the policy issues behind the decision that has been brought to light.
    My colleague has called for the government to expeditiously proceed with a review. To that end, I wonder if he could elaborate on the importance of that review and whether or not the information, once the review is completed, should be made public so there is that level of accountability in terms of the facts of the case and the decisions behind it.
    Madam Speaker, I hope that the conclusions of such a review will allow us to understand why the correctional services deemed this to be the appropriate course of action. In the event that the decision the authorities made can be called a mistake and there is perhaps a yet to be determined failing in the system, then indeed I would hope that the government would table legislation to address that issue. Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this, until I have those facts, and here I can only speak for myself, it is difficult for me to understand what legislative solution would be the most appropriate.
     For all I know, the determination might have been made for factors that are outside of my knowledge. That, I recognize, is the unfortunate contradiction, and I do not know if that is the right word, but it is the word I have been using. It is the unfortunate contradiction in the debate we are faced with, because I recognize and in some ways agree with the fact that the creation of a review for the father of a victim of such a heinous crime is just not enough. I do not think anyone is saying that. We understand that it is just not enough, but I hope that the government will expedite it, that it will be the priority of the commissioner and that we will see those conclusions as soon as possible. We owe at least that to this family.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague from the NDP giving us his opinion on proper ways the opposition should hold these issues to account. I take my responsibility here very seriously as a member of Parliament, and I have had countless calls to my office, on Facebook accounts and others, from the public expressing its outcry about the injustice in this case.
    We can get into a rut where we all of a sudden say that we should not criticize the bureaucrats, that even if they made a mistake, they are the experts. We have to hold them to account, and if we do not bring up debates like this in this place, when we have Tori Stafford's father crying that an injustice has been done, it is easy to see why the general public and our constituents may think we have lost touch with the common person.
    Therefore, when parole boards release people very early and they go out and re-offend, should we not question it? Should we not bring it up? Should we not hold them to account?
    The opposition here takes this responsibility very seriously. A vicious murder and rape took place, and now the perpetrator has been cascaded down, not just to a medium-security facility with prison walls, but to a healing lodge where there are remarkable amenities.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, raising this in the House is indeed appropriate, and unfortunately we may not find agreement on how it was raised. However, on the issue of the commissioner and the folks at Correctional Services Canada, I am very ready to criticize them and tell them they have made a mistake once I have the facts.
    Understanding that answer will seem unsatisfying to the victim of a heinous crime, as the member said. Therefore, the challenge here is that if the correctional service officials have indeed made a mistake, and understanding the reasoning that might have been used in the decision-making process, and should a determination be made about that and legislation is tabled, I will work with that colleague and all colleagues to consider that legislation and move forward on it. That is our responsibility, ultimately. In the meantime, it is important to understand when we get to that point of criticizing, and I will criticize public servants when I have all the facts before me.
    My last point is about the healing lodge. These are both medium-security institutions and I hope we will not mischaracterize how they are laid out.
    Madam Speaker, today I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Lethbridge.
    The motion before us is very simple. For anyone watching, it calls upon the House to condemn the decision to move Terri-Lynne McClintic, a convicted child rapist and murderer, from a facility where she was behind razor wire and bars to a facility that has kitchenettes and where children are present and there is no fence. This woman has served only a very short part of her life sentence. In 2012, moreover, she was convicted or pleaded guilty to violently assaulting another inmate.
    What I want to do for everyone who is watching is to rebut all of the talking points being used by the Liberals and the NDP in the House today. That way when people phone Liberal and NDP MPs, they can rebut their talking points with some facts.
    First of all, the Liberals are saying that Stephen Harper did this. They say that about everything. However, in this case, the transfer from a medium-security facility where this vile, disgusting woman was behind razor wire and bars to a healing lodge where there is no fence happened a few short months ago. As much as the Prime Minister would like to make this Stephen Harper's fault, this occurred recently. Things happen. That is what happens when a party is in government. How one should be judged is by one's response to it. The reality is that the Liberals have been hiding behind their bureaucrats on this. That is myth buster number one.
    Number two is that the Liberals say we need a review. Why do we need a review in this case? This woman will likely never be allowed to be around children again. She murdered and violently defiled a young girl. She has assaulted prisoners. She should not be afforded a spot in a healing lodge, which is normally reserved for someone who is close to release. We do not need a review of this case. She should not be in this facility. We should just be doing the right thing.
    Number three, this is about the role of healing lodges. Okay, let us make it about the role of healing lodges. Healing lodges are for aboriginal and first nations people. It has been reported in the media that family members have said this woman does not fall in that category. As well, I have seen experts in this area say that a program like this should be used for someone who is close to the end of their release. This woman is nowhere close to the end of her release, thank the Lord, and she is probably taking up the spot of a first nations person who needs this treatment. Members can push back against the Liberals on that. For the Conservative Party this is not about the role of healing lodges. We are not opposing them in general, but we are opposing one being used in the case of this disgusting woman.
    Number four, this is about respecting the rule of law. Both the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, as well as the NDP, have said there is not enough information and that discussing this case is not the role of Parliament. I do note that the justice minister herself, after the Colton Boushie not-guilty verdict this year, stood up and tweeted that she was committed to ensuring justice for all Canadians. Thus, she commented on the verdict of a trial, implying that justice was not done. She did that and then she met with the family associated with the case. Then, she tabled legislation immediately to change the process by which juries are selected in this country in Bill C-75.
    What I do not understand is how the Liberals can condemn a decision of a trial by jury, make changes in this place, and then stand up and embrace themselves in the warm fuzzy cloak of their bureaucrats. The reality is that the government has intervened and it should not be using a double standard. The Liberals either are doing this or they are not.
    The next Liberal talking point is that they cannot do anything. They are patently wrong on that. For those who are listening and are about to call their Liberal MP, as they should, here is what they can say. Section 6 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act gives the Minister of Public Safety the power to issue directives in all areas relating to Corrections Canada, including what we are talking about today. Also, section 96 of the same act gives cabinet the authority to pass regulations determining eligibility for confinement.
    To give concrete examples of where this authority has been used, the Minister of Agriculture, when he was the public safety minister in a previous government, reversed a decision to send a cop killer to a minimum security prison in B.C. using this authority. A Liberal government has already done this.

  (1140)  

    When Stockwell Day was the public safety minister, he issued a directive that all first degree murderers must spend a prescribed amount of time in a maximum security prison. The current Liberal government could issue a similar directive pertaining to child killers and this would be fixed. The Prime Minister could convene a cabinet meeting to specifically deal with this particular directive, and this could be fixed immediately.
    This is not about a review. The facts are clear. The facts have been presented to the public. Everyone knows that this woman should be nowhere near a minimum-security prison. It is completely up to the government to choose to do the right thing, and it is refusing to do so.
    The other reason I know that the Liberals recognize that something is wrong is that journalists have been reporting that the lodge employees themselves, when they are being called to answer questions, are now not releasing information they have released in the past. Clearly, the government is trying to intervene to make sure that this does not become a public relations disaster for it, when it should be focusing on the rights of the victim's family and ensuring they are not re-victimized.
    Frankly, going back to the point on the healing lodge, where is the healing lodge for the victims of this family? I will be honest. I will not stand in this place on behalf of Canadians and defend the rights of this child killer, who has been convicted and needs to receive a significant penalty for her crimes. We should be focusing completely on the rights of Tori Stafford's family, for justice for this little girl. This woman should not be in this healing lodge.
    The next thing I want to talk about is the Liberals' repeated point that having children in this lodge is normal, but the reality is that this particular healing lodge was under investigation by the public integrity commissioner as little as two years ago, because employees had been bringing their children to this facility. Therefore, there already are problems with this facility with children being brought there. McClintic should be nowhere near children.
    The Liberals should not be normalizing this at all. This woman should be nowhere near children. She does not have children and does not need to reunited with her children. She should be kept away from children. There should be no children there. It is as simple as that. If someone phones their MP complaining about the issue, they should say, no, she should not be in this lodge, period.
    The next point is that the Liberals are trying to spin this issue, as they did this weekend. I was on a panel with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, who said he was going to chastise me for using inappropriately graphic language. The Minister of Public Safety went on a national television program and called what Terri-Lynne McClintic did “bad practices”. We have given him opportunities to stand and apologize. What does this decision do? It normalizes this activity. It says that this is a bad practice. I feel we should be reminding the public safety minister over and over again about the disgusting things this woman did so that he can get into his head that this is not a bad practice, but something that needs to be fixed.
    Those are the talking points, and I am now going to appeal to my Liberal colleagues. We can get angry with each other here, but I would ask them, in their heart of hearts, to put themselves in the shoes of this man when he was writing the Prime Minister this weekend and do the right thing.
    Everyone who is watching today should call Liberal members of Parliament and respectfully and politely tell them to do the right thing. This is not about partisan politics; this is about right and wrong. All of the bureaucrats at Public Safety who might be sitting in the lobby today should give their heads a shake, too. This policy should be changed, this woman should not be in this lodge, and we should be supporting this motion to ensure that a policy reversing this decision is passed to make sure that this never happens again. We need to stand behind the rights of this family. That is what we are here to do and what the executive branch is here to do.
    To everyone in the House today, this motion is a no-brainer. It was passed in the Ontario legislature unanimously. Let us just get this done. Let us not make Mr. Stafford and his family come to Ottawa to protest this. Let us not re-victimize him. Let us vote for this and do the right thing. Let us get this done.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, in 1992 a Conservative government introduced healing lodges to complement medium-security prisons. These lodges would be a possible option to use by those responsible for medium-security prisons. If we fast forward to Stephen Harper and the Conservative government just a few years ago, they allowed and authorized with no problem the transfer of a prisoner from a maximum security prison to a medium-security prison. No Conservative stood in opposition to that. Today, Conservatives are absolutely outraged.
    If people dig into some of these facts, they will find that the Conservatives are using this as a political issue, because it was the Conservatives who brought in the healing lodges and the Conservatives who authorized the transfer of this person from a maximum to minimum security prison.
    I just want to remind members that when someone has the floor, to be respectful. I know the member for Calgary Nose Hill is very competent and can answer questions.
    The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Madam Speaker, to those who are watching today, who are preparing to call a Liberal MP, we just saw talking points number one and number three. I will repeat my rebuttal so that when they call the deputy House leader's office today, they can rebut him directly.
    The number one talking point is that it is Stephen Harper's fault. This occurred under this Liberal government, and it has the tools and authority to do that today. They can also tell his office and his office staff that the transfer is from a maximum-medium security facility, where she was behind razor wire and bars, to a healing lodge without a fence.
    The next talking point he used that people can rebut is that this is about the role of healing lodges. When they call his office today, they can tell him that a healing lodge is designed to ensure that people who are aboriginal who are close to release, and who have been evaluated properly, can get back into the community and reintegrate. This woman is nowhere close to the end of her sentence. Her crimes were some of the most heinous ever seen in Canadian history. She has already assaulted a prisoner. There are children there. We should also talk about the fact that she is taking the spot of an indigenous person who might need that facility more than she does.
    Again, they are talking points number one and number three. I can do this all day, and I hope everyone watching will do the same thing on the phone with Liberal MPs.
    Madam Speaker, constituents have been contacting me over the last couple of weeks about the outrage they are feeling about this particular case. This morning we had someone from the NDP stand up and say that we used graphic details and he was offended by that. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any comments in regard to that.
    Madam Speaker, I had the misfortune of being on a television panel with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, who I would like to think is a decent human being. This is a tactic the Liberals use to spin away from their inaction on this issue, because they want to talk about something else. It is a classic diversionary tactic.
    The reality is that the public safety minister was on TV, and he called what McClintic did “bad practices”. We are standing here today putting forward a motion, which we should not have to be voting on, because they should have done this a week ago, because the public safety minister needs to be reminded of the severity of the crime that happened.
    Frankly, this is something the victim's family has to live with every day. This is something the media has reported on every day. For the public watching, there is no other reason the Liberals are talking about this outside of the fact that they are trying to divert the debate away from their fiduciary responsibility to protect the public and to use the authority they have to do that, and they are not doing anything.
    Certainly, I agree with my colleague that this is wrong, and I hope my Liberal colleagues will do the right thing and support the motion.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, imagine a place surrounded by trees and greenery. Imagine a place where individuals live in units with kitchenettes, fine linen, nice tables, and beds and playrooms for their children. Imagine a place where there is actually a playground where children can unite and engage in fun activities together.
    Now imagine a place where there are people who have committed heinous crimes who also occupy this space. Imagine further that this space has no fences and no visible security. This is the place where McClintic, a child killer, currently resides. This is a woman who killed an eight-year-old girl on her way home from school one day. This is a woman who committed an incredibly heinous crime, and she resides in this place. It is called a healing lodge, in Saskatchewan.
    To better understand just how troubling this is, we have to take the opportunity to understand the gravity of what happened to Tori Stafford, the eight-year-old girl of whom I speak. We must familiarize ourselves with the uncomfortable facts. This is where the Liberals and the NDP members among us get uncomfortable. They do not like to look at the facts of this story. They do not like to consider what happened to Tori Stafford on that dreadful day on her way home from school. They do not like to enter the courtroom and the hearing that took place in 2012, when the convicted murderer recounted the grisly details.
    However, if we were to enter that courtroom and listen to some of those details, here is what we would hear. We would hear the story of a little girl who was eight years old who headed home from school one day. She was asked by an adult to come and see a puppy, a shih tzu puppy, as McClintic recalled. This little girl, eager and excited to visit this puppy, made her way over to the car. At that time, Tori Stafford was shoved into the car and driven to an undisclosed location. On the way, garbage bags were picked up at the Home Hardware store. Tori was then taken to the middle of nowhere, where she was raped multiple times and then beaten to death with a hammer. Tori's body was put into garbage bags and then disposed of in the woods.
    I have spared this room the most gruesome details, but in this room, the Liberals and NDP members are incredibly uncomfortable with even what I just shared, because they would like to pretend that these details did not actually happen to an eight-year-old girl by the name of Tori. They would like to attack us on this side of the House for bringing these details up, as if we are somehow engaging in poor decorum, but these are the details that were disclosed in the courtroom by the killer, McClintic. That day in that courtroom, McClintic was sentenced, for first degree murder, to life without parole.
    Today is about standing with the Stafford family, Victoria's loved ones. Today we have the opportunity to take a stand for justice for Tori. Today we have the opportunity to insist that the right thing be done, so Conservative members on this side of the House have put forward a motion to show our solidarity in standing with the Stafford family.
    We call upon the House to support this motion, and that is this:
    That, given Terri-Lynne McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder in the horrific abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, and was moved from a secure facility to a healing lodge without fences and where the government has confirmed the presence of children, the House condemn this decision and call upon the government to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure this decision is reversed and cannot happen again in other cases.
    That is a very important line. Today we stand with the Stafford family. Today we call for justice for Tori. We do it for the present, but we also do it for the future. We look to those who are to come. We look to our justice system. We have to defend the victims that do exist and that will exist. We have to insist that this place, the House of Commons, the Parliament of Canada, where 338 elected representatives sit, does the right thing. In this case, that is reversing the decision to move McClintic to a healing lodge.

  (1155)  

    Why is this important? It is important that we have this discussion today for a few reasons. First is that the government would like to abdicate its authority, and second is that the Minister of Public Safety called the actions of child killer McClintic “bad practices”. Those were not “bad practices”. There is a reason this room does not like it when I stand up here and describe what happened to that little girl. It is because they were more than bad practices. This was a little eight-year-old girl whose life was taken. Canadians from coast to coast are rightfully outraged about this. They have every right to be, and I stand with them.
    This summer, the Prime Minister said this about Canadians:“We are there for each other in times of difficulty..., we lean on each other and we stand strong”. I wonder where he is in that picture. Where is he? Where is he when Rodney Stafford needs to lean on someone for justice? Where is he when Rodney Stafford needs people to surround him and support him in his gravest need? Where is the Prime Minister? Where is the government when there is an opportunity to take a stand for justice? It is silent, absent and abdicating authority.
    This injustice saw an eight-year-old lose her life and a mom and dad be forever robbed of their little girl. The Prime Minister and his government are trying to shirk responsibility and place blame elsewhere, but the fact of the matter is that the Prime Minister has the ability to reverse this decision. The government has the ability to put McClintic back in the facility where she belongs.
    Tori's father recently wrote to the Prime Minister and said that not all issues are political. “Some are moral”, he said. The Liberals have accused us of being political, but I would ask them to heed the words of Rodney Stafford, this little girl's dad, because he has said to the Prime Minister that not all issues are political. Some are just moral, and this is one of them. This is a moral issue. It is an issue of right and wrong. This in an issue where the Prime Minister has an opportunity to reverse a decision that never should have been made but unfortunately was. He has the opportunity to do the right thing now, to do the moral thing.
    It is always right to do the right thing. It is always wrong to do the wrong thing. In fact, some acts are always wrong, because they go against a fundamental or basic human good that should never be compromised. We would all agree that some of those things include killing, torturing and raping an innocent human being. These things are just wrong, full stop.
    The Liberal government's moral compass appears to be broken. Unfortunately, it is not able to hear these things. Instead of standing with victims, it is more comfortable finding itself on the side of criminals. For example, Bill C-75 is a piece of legislation the government has just introduced that would actually decrease sentences for things like genocide, terrorism and forced marriage. In addition, it gave $10 million to Omar Khadr, a convicted terrorist. For Chris Garnier, who murdered an off-duty cop, it gave him veterans benefits for the PTSD he acquired because of the murder. Now with McClintic, it is happy to see her go to a healing lodge, where she is not held accountable for the crime she committed.
    Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I am calling on this House today to do something. Do not allow evil to triumph. Do not allow this grave injustice to be committed against Tori and her family. This House has the opportunity to take a stand for righteousness, to do the right thing, to act morally, to stand with Rodney Stafford and to reverse the placement of McClintic in a healing lodge.
    I am calling on all Canadians to participate with us, to call their MPs and to make their voices heard.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, I personally am outraged with what happened to Tori Stafford. My heart goes out to her family. This is very tragic. One does not have to be a Conservative to feel or express that. It is a legitimate feeling that members on all sides of the House have.
    We need to recognize that the Conservatives had an opportunity to make some changes. The minister is committed to doing a review, and it will get done. However, the Conservatives, with this charged rhetoric, are trying to make it out to be something that is just not the case.
     People listening to the debate need to realize that Stephen Harper's Conservative government was the that authorized the transfer to a medium-security prison. Now the Conservatives cry wolf. I care and I am disgusted by that crime too. I do not need to be lectured about how bad it was. I understand it.
    Why are the Conservative behaving in this manner, given their responsibility in what has taken place?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not even know that I have words. That response was so ignorant to the facts of this case. It was so ignorant to the grief that has been experienced by these parents. That response was incredibly selfish, incredibly politicized and incredibly irresponsible, the fact that the government will not take responsibility for this action.
    My colleague for Calgary Nose Hill gave a remarkable speech, talking to Canadians about the fact that the Liberal government liked to shirk responsibility, and she went through a number of ways it did that. This is exactly one of them, to try and blame us.
    We are standing here today and we are asking the government to do the right thing. We are wanting to do the right thing. We are wanting to call for justice for Tori. That is what we are doing here today. The government has a responsibility to do the same thing.
    Mr. Speaker, the point I have difficulty understanding from the Liberal perspective is the fact that the Liberals keep pointing to the public safety minister's commitment to do a review of the decision made and also a review of the policies of Correctional Service Canada. However, until that review is completed, the government intends to do nothing.
    I would ask my colleague for Lethbridge to comment on this fact. Since section 6 of the Criminal Code gives the minister the power to revoke a decision that has been made to transfer McClintic to a healing lodge, would it not be a simple thing to do, if the government is truly sincere in its belief that policies need to be reviewed, for the minister to stand and say that he has given instructions to immediately take the prisoner from the healing lodge, put her back behind bars, pending a review of the Correctional Service commissioner? That would satisfy both the public's outrage of this child murderer being in a healing lodge and also the government's position of doing a thorough review of the policies and practices of CSC.
    Would my colleague think that, at minimum, would be a viable option for the government?

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, those members who find themselves on the opposite side like to use phrases, such as “My heart goes out to her family.” We just heard this from that side of the House. The Liberals like to use these phrases “my heart goes out”, which is the start of a song I suppose. However, we are calling for action. We are calling for justice, and the government has the ability to do that. While their hearts might go out to this family, I wonder if they would dare to lift a pen and sign a piece of paper, which is their legal right to do, and get McClintic transferred back to a secure prison. I wonder if the Liberals would be willing to engage their hearts with their hands and get to work.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mount Royal.
    First, nothing we say or do in the House will ever ease the pain of the family of Tori Stafford, the pain it goes through each and every day. As a mother, it is unimaginable to me what that family has been through. For Tori's dad, her family, friends and all who knew her, I want to acknowledge their suffering and extend my sympathies for their loss.
    I am going to turn my remarks now to the motion before us today.
     In our country, we rely on our courts to deliver sentences and the corrections system to supervise offenders, uphold public safety and rehabilitate those in their care. We do not have a vigilante system in Canada. We do not allow public opinion or political rhetoric to determine the penalties dealt to individual offenders, yet the opposition has been playing political games with our entire justice system this past week.
    Let us be clear. There is no doubt that this offender should be in prison and there is no doubt she remains in prison. The facts of this case are well known and they shake us to the core. She was tried and sentenced to life without eligibility of parole for 25 years. She has been in the custody of Correctional Service Canada since her sentencing. Let me reiterate that she is still in prison. She continues to be supervised while incarcerated and will remain under supervision for the rest of her life.
    Let us get the facts straight. Neither the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety nor the House has the ability to overturn the decision that is the subject of the opposition motion. To make the public believe that we do is irresponsible of the opposition, and I, for one, do not want to live in a country where our justice and corrections system rely on political rhetoric and public opinion for their decision-making processes.
    Last week, I had the opportunity to hear from the new commissioner of corrections at the public safety committee. She stated several times that the Minister of Public Safety had asked her to review the circumstances surrounding this transfer decision, as well as the policies regarding transfers in general. She reiterated that she was moving forward with this review, and I look forward to its swift conclusion.
    Over the course of the last week, I have been disappointed by the level of debate in this place. Last Wednesday, as the gruesome details of the crime were read into the record, I looked at the children in the gallery and wondered if they would ever look at this place as someplace they would like to return to someday. I somehow doubt it.
    Even though the details were part of a court transcript, I do not believe it is necessary to read them out over and over again. We all agree that we are talking about a heinous crime, but I am doubtful that rehashing the gruesome details before the House will achieve any constructive end.
    I want to applaud the member for Beloeil—Chambly, the NDP critic for public safety, who sits on the committee with me, for his thoughtful comments and for raising the level of debate in this place on this motion.
    Both committees on which I sit, the status of women and public safety, tabled reports in June on the corrections system, and in particular on indigenous people in corrections. The public safety report was unanimous and called for additional funding for healing lodges. Members from all parties heard from witnesses and agreed that healing lodges were doing excellent work and should be expanded and supported. The Conservative members of the committee agreed with us that they played an integral role in our corrections system. The status of women committee also recommended additional funding for healing lodges and heard extensive testimony on their benefits.
     How many on the opposition benches have actually visited a women's medium-security institute or a healing lodge? I have visited both. I suspect most people, including those in the House, expect prison to look like what they see on television, perhaps the latest episode of Orange is the New Black. They might be surprised to see what a medium security institute, like Grand Valley, actually looks like.
    Let me be very clear. A healing lodge is still a secure corrections facility. Perhaps if it was called a women's indigenous corrections facility, we would not even be having this debate today. It is not a spa. It is not a summer camp. There are no luxury linens, as some on the other side of the House have portrayed. Prisoners must follow the rules if they want to stay there.
     A healing lodge is different from what Canadians might expect a prison to look like, but these institutions are also very different with respect to outcomes for prisoners and, in turn, better for Canadians and for public safety in the long run.

  (1210)  

    Claire Carefoot, executive director of the Buffalo Sage Wellness House, an Edmonton healing lodge, has 29 years experience in corrections. She appeared before the public safety committee during our study. This weekend, with regard to this case, she stated:
    It's not a get-out-of-jail-free [card]....We have the same kind of supervision and restrictions they have in a prison. Only we're doing it in a healing way....they have to accept responsibility for their offences, for their victims, and they have to accept responsibility for their own behaviour.
    Our government knows that a corrections system focused on accountability rather than simple retribution is better for corrections outcomes and therefore better for the public safety of all Canadians.
     We know that taking a rehabilitative approach is the best way to protect the public safety of Canadians. I think Canadians would agree that when people leave prison, we do not want them to commit a violent crime. It is not in the interest of public safety.
     As we know, regardless of the length of their sentence, the vast majority of those incarcerated in our system will be released from prison at some point. They may very well move into our neighbourhoods. My question is this. What kind of person do we want released from prison at the end of his or her sentence living next door to us? I feel strongly that, regardless of our feelings toward individual cases, public safety is best served when we take steps to prevent violent recidivism.
    I have met and gotten to know many of the men and women who work in the corrections system, from the commissioner and correctional investigator, regional managers, to the wardens, corrections officers, parole officers, aboriginal liaison officers, program officers, nurses and more. These people work incredibly hard, with very little recognition. They develop programs and plans for offenders and work day in and day out, in often challenging circumstances, in an effort to rehabilitate those in our corrections system. They are passionate about their work and often make a real difference in the lives of offenders so they can become productive and healthy members of society upon their release, which in turn protects public safety.
    In the case before us, under the watch of the Conservative public safety minister in 2014, the offender's security classification was reduced to medium and she was transferred to a medium-security institute. She remains in a medium security institute today. What has changed is the political games being played out before us.
     It comes down to what we want our justice system to do. Is it solely for punishment? I suspect the Conservatives will say yes. However, there is more to it. It is essential that our system also does everything within its power to rehabilitate the offender, not because we prioritize the well-being of the offender over the victim, because we do not, but because we know it is in the best interests of all Canadians and ultimately makes Canadians safer.
    This case certainly tests our morality. It tests the core of our beliefs as Canadians. However, I have faith in our commissioner and the staff in corrections. I recognize that there will be decisions made that we do not like or ones in fact that we may find troubling. However, I also recognize that we must protect Canadians and ensure the highest standards of public safety are upheld.
    The minister's mandate to the commissioner acknowledged that the Correctional Service Canada protects Canadian communities through appropriate custodial measures, effective rehabilitation and the safe reintegration of people serving a federal sentence. Our focus must be on the public safety of Canadians. I know the Minister of Public Safety and this government are seized with this as well. At the end of the day, we all want to protect Canadians and ensure justice is served.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague just finished her speech by saying, “we all want to...ensure justice is served.” We are talking about McClintic, who murdered an eight-year-old girl on her way home from school one day. She got out of the car, went to this eight-year-old girl, offered to show her a puppy, then abducted her, forcing her into the vehicle, taking her out into the middle of nowhere where McClintic's boyfriend then raped this little girl and then she and her boyfriend together murdered this little girl, eight-year-old Tori. This is the situation that we are talking about today.
    When I listened to my colleague discuss this matter, she talked about it as if it were the robbery of a convenience store, where an 18 year old went in, stole a pack of Sweethearts and then walked out. This is the picture that is depicted by the member opposite, as if this is not the heinous crime that it is.
    If the member truly wants justice, which she said she does, then why will she not insist that her government, the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Public Safety, sign the paper to send McClintic back to a prison where there is proper security? Why is the member in defence of a violent first degree murderer—
    The hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington.
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite offended that the member would in some way suggest that I do not find this crime to be heinous. What happened to young Tori was terrible. Having said that, Terri-Lynne McClintic went to trial. She was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 25 years. Our system in Canada has courts that deliver sentences and a corrections system that upholds those sentences, which is what is happening now. The offender is in prison. She is in an indigenous corrections facility, which is secure. Justice is being served. It was served during the trial and it is served with the offender being held in a secure corrections facility today.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member clarifying the role of our corrections facilities and institutes and the role of government. I visited the women's institution at Grand Valley. I went inside and saw the treatment and rehabilitation, and also the security of that system.
    The role that the corrections employees play in providing professional care for communities outside the facility as well as for the people inside the facility is a paramount part of our justice system. Our role as parliamentarians is to set the laws, the legislation and the standards for them to follow, and for them to execute those the laws that we institute here.
    Could the member maybe expand on the role that the Supreme Court and other courts and the judicial system play, compared to the parliamentary system? That is something the previous government mixed up a lot of times.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's thoughtful question is an important one. We in the House legislate. We create the laws. We leave it to the courts to hear the cases and deliver the sentences.
    In this case, this woman has been sent to prison for life without eligibility for parole for 25 years. It is important to recognize the separation between that and what we are able to do in the House.
    The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is not able, nor should he be able, to intervene in individual cases that are in the corrections or justice system. That is why we have those systems in place, and I am very respectful of that and take our responsibility for what we do here very seriously. We need to respect that division between the various levels.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to discuss this issue.
    Over the 20 years that I served on city council as a councillor and mayor, two murders occurred in our community. One of the most difficult things I had to do was talk to the family of the person who had been murdered, to try to comfort them at an unspeakable time of horror, and to try to assure them that our justice system would work effectively for them.
    Like every member in the House, my heart goes out to the family of Tori Stafford and to her friends. My heart goes out to her entire community, because the community is affected when a horrible crime like this occurs.
    No member has a monopoly on virtue. Everyone in this place supports victims. Everyone in this place thinks that Terri-Lynne McClintic committed a horrible crime and rightly deserves to spend her life behind bars with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. No party in the House would disagree.
    I also understand how the family of Tori Stafford must feel about the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge, that it was not an appropriate location for her. I can understand the sense of outrage that Canadians feel, and this government is taking it seriously. We are looking at what policies need to be changed to potentially prevent this from happening.
    However, the House of Commons should not substitute itself for a court or the Correctional Service of Canada. We live in a country where we have decided that no matter how unpopular one individual is, no matter how unpopular one group is, that individual or group is still entitled to equal treatment under our laws. Members are arguing here today that there should not be equal treatment under our laws.
    We are being told today that the House of Commons and a minister should pronounce on an individual case. That is not how our system works. If someone is sent to trial, should the House of Commons vote before the trial whether or not that individual should be convicted? Should the RCMP be dictated to by a minister to investigate someone? Do we want our political enemies investigated by the RCMP, because the law relating to the RCMP is identical to the law with respect to the Correctional Service of Canada? It is being argued that the minister should tell people what to do. That is not appropriate. That is not the Canada we live in.
    It is really easy in a populist environment to score political points by talking about horrible criminals. I understand that scores points, but that is not the system in which we live.
    I would be happy to talk directly to Mr. Stafford. I feel his pain.
    I agree that many things could potentially be done. If this opposition motion did not tell us what to do in a specific case, but rather proposed actual policy changes, I might have been tempted to support it. For example, let us look at all of the things that could have been looked at.
    First, are healing lodges appropriate? Healing lodges were introduced in 1992 by a Conservative government. Thus far, committees of the House have found them to be appropriate. Perhaps asking if they should be used is a legitimate question.
    Second. Should non-indigenous offenders be sent to indigenous healing lodges? If the motion said that non-indigenous offenders should not be eligible for healing lodges, I might well have supported it. That is not what this motion says.
    Third. Should medium-security prisoners be transferred to healing lodges? Maybe these facilities should only be for people who are not in medium-security institutions. Maybe only people who are close to release should be in those lodges. Had that been a legitimate policy option applied equally to all offenders and proposed in this Conservative opposition day motion, I might have supported it.
    Should there have been a question as to whether or not first degree murderers should be eligible to go to healing lodges, or the motion have said that people convicted of first degree murder or people who are child murders should not be eligible to enter healing lodges be a policy, I might well have been tempted to support it.
     Should the motion have said that people who are first degree murderers and 20 years into their sentences not be eligible for healing lodges because they are not close to going back into society, perhaps I could have supported that as well.

  (1225)  

    I have already had a conversation with the minister and given him my point of view. I personally do support a policy that would deny first degree murderers ever being eligible to go to healing lodges, because we have heard the pain this has caused in this one individual case, and maybe it has happened in other cases we do not know about. Maybe it has been happening for years that first degree murderers have been sent to healing lodges.
    Now that we are aware of this, the minister has rightly said we will look at all policies surrounding this. However, what cannot happen in our society is to change one unpopular person's sentence and not change policies at the same time, so that every single person is equally treated, because in Canada, people have a right to equal treatment under the law.

[Translation]

    It is very important that, here in Canada, where we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a Constitution, we have laws that apply equally to everyone, all across the country.

[English]

    That to me is the core issue here. Let us move away from looking at this as an individual case. The role of Parliament is not to legislate individual cases and to say that one prisoner should be here, there, or anywhere. The role of Parliament is to legislate and create rules of general application for everyone in this country.
    I do support the idea that first degree murderers should not be eligible to go to healing lodges, and I will continue to advocate for that within my caucus and my party. I would think we would all be best served by looking at how these rules can be changed, not only to deal with this one individual but also to ensure that equal application under the law exists and that everyone is treated equally under the law.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since my colleague mentioned the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and said that everyone is equal in Canada, I would like him to explain to me why criminals are considered more important than victims.
    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false. Everyone has rights in Canada, including the accused and offenders. No individual has more rights than anyone else. We have agreed to live in a country where we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is why I am a Liberal. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects everyone, even if the majority does not like this minority. We, Canada's political parties, agreed to adopt the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    That is why I am a little surprised to hear my colleague ask why the Charter of Rights and Freedoms exists. As a Canadian, I think it is paramount.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what troubled me about the speech the member just gave was his talk that Conservatives want laws to be based on one case. What we have clearly said from the beginning is that sometimes we recognize an injustice from one case, and that action needs to be taken. That was done frequently in the past when something happened to show that our system was clearly unjust, often through an example as horrific as the Tori Stafford case. It is the government's job to change the policies and take action to make sure it is fixed.
    The member is beating all around the bush, but not recognizing that as legislators and as the government, they clearly have the ability and responsibility to recognize that this is not just a bad practice, but a horrific event with a horrific outcome and that they need to take action. Why are they so reluctant to acknowledge the need for action?

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, in some ways, I am in violent agreement with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, whom I greatly respect. I agree this was a horrible crime and this person a horrible criminal, and it seems completely wrong that she is in this facility. I do think that the minister has taken steps to say that we have to review this policy and that we just cannot apply a policy to only one woman.
    As the member said, we have to look at this as an example of a policy that has gone wrong, and that is why, as she heard in my speech, my proposal was that people convicted of first degree murdered not be eligible to go to these lodges. I hope the minister will listen to me.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for talking about the role that parliamentarians play in this process.
    I heard the member for Calgary Nose Hill inciting people to phone their MP as if it were almost a punishment for us to have to speak to our constituents. However, I am thinking that how we develop policy comes from our constituents calling us, giving us ideas, allowing us to take them into Parliament and into committees. From there we develop policy, not based on what one company or person is doing, but what is fair for all companies and all Canadians. Therefore, policy has to apply equally, which is a point the member made during his speech.
    The interaction with our constituents is an important part of our policy development. Could the member tell us a little more about how we value the input from our constituents?
    Mr. Speaker, I think we all value the input from our constituents. It is absolutely essential. It is true that there is a horror across Canada about the fact that this murderer is in a healing lodge. I do not dispute that whatsoever. I do not even need to be called to be told that.
    I would mention to my friend for Calgary Nose Hill that I am not using speaking notes, and I did not use any speaking notes in my speech. This is from my heart. I support a change in policy so that this will not happen again, but I do not support individual application and making one case the example that we use.

[Translation]

    I would just like to say that my father was a warden and my mother was a detention officer. How many times did they tell me that victims have no rights in Canada?
    I have no words to describe the fact that I actually have to rise today to make the Liberal government listen to reason so it can finally correct the situation that we have been condemning for nearly two weeks. This is not the only case either. We are talking about the murder of an eight-year-old child. It is unbelievable that in Canada in 2018, we still have to fight to have the rights of victims of crime recognized before the rights of criminals, especially criminals like Ms. McClintic.
    Since victims of crime are not being represented properly by the other side of the House, we on this side will be their voice. We have always been and will always be their voice. Here is the best example. Earlier, my Liberal colleague across the aisle was talking about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Well, the Charter has 23 sections protecting the rights of criminals, but none protecting the rights of victims. That is why we, the Conservatives, created the Victims Bill of Rights; we created it so that victims of crime would finally get their own voice and their own rights.
    It seems to me that everything has been said. It is clear that Ms. McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder for brutally killing little Tori Stafford, who was just eight years old, the light of her parents' lives, with her whole life ahead of her. In 2009, Ms. McClintic was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. I think that is clear too. A 25-year prison sentence handed down at the end of a trial is not a suggestion, it is a fact. She was found guilty by her peers. It is a fitting sentence for the crime she committed. However, Tori's parents are the ones serving the real life sentence, one that will last far longer than 25 years.
    How can a criminal who committed such an act and had such serious problems within the prison walls be eligible so soon for a transfer to a healing lodge to get help with rectifying her bad practices? It is shameful, a slap in the face to the victims and the victims' parents, and to the justice system itself. How are Canadians supposed to have confidence in our justice system now?
    Ms. McClintic's transfer also shows a total lack of respect for young Tori and her parents. It is particularly unacceptable that her parents were not notified about the transfer when they should have been. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which was passed unanimously, clearly states that the victims or relatives of the victims must be called before a transfer occurs, but that was not done in this case.
    Since the Liberal government does not yet seem to understand that the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights has supra-constitutional status, I will remind it that this means the bill of rights has to be enforced and respected.

  (1235)  

    This important bill of rights has four fundamental pillars. The first is the right to information. This means that Tori's parents should be informed of the transfer of the criminal who ripped their lives apart. Once again, the rights of the victims were ignored, and no one on the other side of the House is outraged.
    As parliamentarians, we do not want to put Ms. McClintic on trial again. We do not want to use our right to speak to play politics, as the Liberals are claiming. What we want is to stand up for victims, stand up for justice and stand up for a child taken too soon while her murderer is currently in a place where she should not be. According to her sentence, she should be behind bars, not in a place where there is no fence and where there are children present.
    This very bad decision is making Tori's family relive a tragedy, and no one opposite seems to care. That is what really bothers us the most.
    I have two adult daughters and a grandson. Anyone who would touch a hair on their heads would have to deal with me. You can be sure that there would be no need for speeches.
    This very bad decision is making Tori's whole family relive a tragedy.
     What past are we talking about? In this case, talking is obviously much easier than taking action. Canada's correctional system should apologize to the family, and the government should as well.
    This criminal is obviously entitled to ask the ombudsman to advocate for her rights. Fortunately for her, the ombudsman also operates independently from the Department of Public Safety.
    Tori's family has access to the new federal ombudsman for victims of crime, who was appointed after nearly a year of waiting. This position was vacant that whole time. This ombudsman does not operate independently from the Department of Justice and therefore the two ombudsmen do not have equal powers to advocate for their respective clients' rights.
    The Liberals all voted against the bill I introduced, Bill C-343, which would have made the position of federal ombudsman for victims of crime equal to that of the criminals' ombudsman. It is therefore no surprise that we are here today fighting once again for victims' rights.
    It is profoundly sad that we have to do what we are doing today, and it strikes directly at the credibility of the Canadian prison system. It is completely impossible to defend the indefensible, to allow a prisoner with an extensive criminal record, who committed acts of unimaginable cruelty upon a vulnerable victim, to be transferred to an institution like a healing lodge, and to have to accept this in silence. It is impossible to allow an already broken family to be revictimized. It is impossible to accept the fact that little Tori's father had to post a Facebook message addressed to the Prime Minister, pleading with him to take responsibility and reverse the transfer.
    This appalling situation must never happen again, neither for Tori's family nor for any other victim of such a heinous crime. This is not a minor crime we are talking about. It is first degree murder.
    In my opinion, this situation needs to change. We demand an explanation and a review of this terrible decision. We need to know exactly why it is being upheld right now.

  (1240)  

    We must conclude that there is still a lot of work to be done to defend the rights of victims of crime, to make sure a situation like this never happens again. I wish I could say otherwise, but since taking office, the Liberals have not done a single thing for victims of crime. Worse still, they are actually going backwards.
    However, we on this side of the House will never back down in the face of injustices like Tori's case. We know that Canadians are equally disgusted by this new injustice being perpetrated against Tori's family. If we do not do everything in our power to remedy this situation, who will? It is our duty to defend the rights of victims, to speak out loud and clear against injustice in our country, and to acknowledge this unforgivable failure of our correctional system that has shocked Canadians as a whole and left this government without a shred of credibility.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, one thing that has come out in the debate today is the fact that the father of the victim knew about the transfer because of the Victims Bill of Rights that the previous Conservative government in the last Parliament introduced. It created important support for the victims, which has always been the focus of Conservatives.
     I know that my colleague alluded to that particular piece of legislation. I wonder if she can reflect on how different it is when as a government we were introducing things like the Victims Bill of Rights and making sure that convicted murderers like Clifford Olson did not get old age security. We dealt with issues immediately, as opposed to what we see from the Liberals. I do not know how long it takes for them to do these reports and studies and to look at policies, but I can tell my colleagues that in the business world it would be reported and announced in about 24 to 48 hours. If my colleague can reflect on those sorts of issues it would be helpful.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the Victims Bill of Rights, victims are now protected, or at least they are supposed to be. Unfortunately, I do not think the government opposite even bothered to read the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which received royal assent in 2015.
    I do not understand how, in 2018, in Canada, people would rather blindly stand up for criminals. I admit that this makes me emotional. Criminals have rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but victims are also supposed to be protected. However, members on the other side of the House never talk about victims and never mention those who suffer in silence. We will always stand up for these people.

  (1245)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last week we saw a prime minister and cabinet that hid behind process like cowards and refused to address what I believe to be a miscarriage of justice. As I have said many times in this place, it is and should be the top priority of the House to put the protection of all Canadians ahead of any political gain. This mantra seems to have fallen on deaf Liberal ears.
    Leaders are to be guided by vision and principles, taking ownership of their problems. We saw no such leadership, no principles and no ownership on this issue by the current government. Canadians are taking note and their confidence in their government to establish and maintain justice, among many other things, continues to diminish. Canadians need confidence in our justice system, and confidence that victims are protected, that criminals come to justice and that communities are safe.
    For 35 years, I worked alongside brave men and women in policing and many others in the justice system who lived the leadership, the principles and the ownership of our system. We saw justice for victims and the community at large. Sadly, I saw many victims who deserved far better than what the justice system offered at the time. It was therefore exciting to participate as Canada's justice system slowly began to understand and embrace the once-forgotten victims of crime, to finally stand up for the full principles of justice.
    I, and thousands of Canadians like me, served or are serving our communities because we believe Canada needs a justice system that is not just focused on the offender to ensure they receive justice, but also on victims. We believe in a system of justice that is fair and reasonable and impartially serves all Canadians. However, that is not what has happened in this case. Last week, not a single member of the Liberal government caucus stood up for justice and for victims or had the courage to show leadership.
    It has shaken the faith of all Canadians in our justice system that a child murderer is being placed in what is really a minimum-security corrections facility, a healing lodge, that increases the potential of putting others at risk yet again, and for no reason. This type of facility is designed to help offenders reintegrate back into their communities near the end of their term of incarceration, not when they have nearly 17 years left to serve before even being eligible for parole. Not a single Liberal, from the Prime Minister, through cabinet, to the back bench, stood up to demand action.
    I applaud my new Conservative colleague, the member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, for having the courage to no longer tolerate the Liberals' lack of leadership on the tough issues or their inability to properly govern, and to stand with us in the opposition.
    I am not here to exploit the tragedy that befell the Stafford family. That would be an insult to their suffering. However, let us be clear, they are suffering, needlessly revictimized by this decision. I will not dwell on the details of her death, but those details are seared into our collective memory like a scar that will not heal, and that is the way it should be. As a society, no matter what our party ideologies are, we can all agree that our children, innocent, vulnerable and trusting, are to be cherished and protected. Surely, no matter where your political loyalty lies, you cannot believe that a killer of a child should be placed in a minimum-security prison, to walk among non-violent offenders living with their children. There is no justice in such a decision. This is, by any measure, an outrage. This is, by any measure, gross negligence. This is, by any measure, a miscarriage of justice.
    Mr. Speaker, I stand before you as someone who gave 35 years defending and upholding justice, and demand the government act today to restore my faith and that of all Canadians. Their announced response, unbelievably weak such as it is, amounts to ignoring communities, victims and the family impacted.
    Let us be clear, the minister has the ability to act, just as past governments, Liberal and Conservative, have acted when the system has failed. A current Liberal cabinet minister acted when a cop killer was transferred to club fed, a minimum security prison in B.C.

  (1250)  

    Correctional Service of Canada reversed that decision, as the Liberal cabinet minister directed it to do. Conservative ministers also acted when Correctional Service of Canada made decisions that failed Canadians and negatively impacted public confidence. Those decisions were reversed.
    This case should also receive an immediate similar response. However, the Liberal government is less concerned with upholding justice, and more concerned about the feelings of unrepentant and manipulative killers.
    I am not interested in pre-written responses from the political aides behind the curtains. I do not want anyone hiding behind bureaucratic reasoning. There are higher order laws, laws upon which this country was founded, being violated by the government. Someone at the highest level must stand up and take responsibility for this egregious situation.
    Admittedly, I am a former police officer and not a powerful orator. However, today, I wish my gift was standing up and speaking so that others would listen. We need to come together and reverse the added trauma revisited upon a family that has been through far too much already. We cannot bring young Tori back. We cannot erase her final hours. If we could, everyone in this House would do just that.
    Let us stop the games. Let us restore what justice we can for Tori's family. Any moral person in this House would agree with that. As it is, it is cold comfort. Surely we can all agree that having the wound reopened is equivalent to unnecessary anguish and suffering. Surely we can get this fixed before Mr. Stafford has to come to Parliament Hill to demand it. No victim or their family should ever have to protest to see justice served.
    However, that is what the Liberal government and its spineless leader are asking. Surely, we can all agree that a family that has lost everything need not lose their faith that there will be justice for their daughter's killer. Canadians must be protected from the most evil among us. As Canadians, we deserve nothing less.
    Consider for a moment, the women and their children living in this healing lodge. Now the Liberal government is traumatizing these women all over again, putting a child killer in their midst. Will the hypocrisy never end?
    Let us stop and think about the situation. Tell me who wins here. Who is benefiting from this very offensive situation? The only person I can think of who is winning is Terri-Lynne McClintic.
    At whose expense is she benefiting? It is at the expense of Tori Stafford's family, at the expense of the entire community of Stratford, Ontario, at the expense, quite frankly, of every Canadian who believes and expects, as I do, that justice in this country will be served.
    Surely that is far too high a price to pay.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member has in-depth life experience with our justice system, and he brings that wealth of knowledge to this place. I would like to thank the member for his service. I believe he was a police officer for 25 years, and maybe even longer. He served the community of Medicine Hat very well.
    We are here today discussing a particular case and the movement of a particular prisoner from a medium-security facility with barbed wire, bars, gates and things like that to a place that does not have those things. I know the member mentioned it extensively.
    What has been the reaction in the member's riding? Has the member received any correspondence on this matter?

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is important for the public to appreciate that the government has played with words on the use of medium security. The healing lodge is classified as a medium and minimum-security facility, but it is not a medium-security facility in its true sense, as was mentioned. The members will not find the ability for inmates to interact in a regular prison like they do in the healing lodge. They will find that their movements are restricted in a medium-security prison because they are not safe to be in the general public.
     Therefore, the reaction in my community has been loud and it has been consistent, which is disbelief, frustration, disappointment in a system they trust. People believe there should be little in the way of foot-dragging by the government on this issue. They believe it is easy to resolve and can be resolved quite simply by a decision of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety to direct Correctional Service Canada to reverse its decision and move Ms. McClintic back to the medium-security prison where she was and where she needs to be. My constituents have been very consistent on this. I received information from other Canadians as well who believe the same thing.
    Mr. Speaker, we can all agree that a lot of has been said, and we understand the reason it has been said. In an answer just now, the member said that a healing lodge was not a medium-security facility by its nature. Is he now advocating as well that we change the healing lodge designation from medium to minimum security and that anyone who is there considered medium now be put back into the regular so-called gates, razor wire, chains, whatever? Is that what he is advocating for as well when it comes to the healing lodges?
    Healing lodges were supported by the former government and the program was expanded by the former government. It supported the healing lodge being designated a medium-security facility.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to see healing lodges used in the manner for which they were designed to be used. They allow for reintegration of offenders who are nearing the completion of their term of incarceration, to have that transition back to community eased in, to allow them to integrate in a way that will allow them to be successful. Healing lodges were never designed for prisoners who are a risk to the community, who have spent less than half of their time in these facilities before their eligibility for parole.
     There are minimum security facilities that have a multitude of different prisoners within their walls and who do not pose a threat to public safety. They are there to finish their sentences, their debt to society, for the crimes they committed. In this case, this individual has not demonstrated, and there is no evidence to suggest, that she is ready to serve in this capacity. She still has 17-plus years before she is even eligible for parole. Why would we want to place her in a facility where reintegration is not an option for that many years?

  (1300)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
    I rise today to talk about the transfer of an offender from one Correctional Service of Canada facility to another. The transfer in question has outraged many Canadians, the media and, especially, the victim's family, who have expressed concerns over this development.
    Our government has heard these concerns and empathizes with those affected, in particular the victim's family. This is why the Minister of Public Safety asked the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada last week to conduct a comprehensive review of the transfer. Two highly qualified senior officials from the department and an esteemed member of the indigenous community will conduct this review. Their objective is to determine whether the decision to transfer this offender was in line with CSC's policies and procedures. The review will also identify potential policy amendments or changes.
    Our government recognizes the impact these decisions can have on victims' families, and we certainly do not take these matters lightly. However, we also recognize the importance of allowing Correctional Service of Canada professionals to do their work without political interference so they can carry out their mandate to keep Canadian communities safe by means of the appropriate incarceration, effective rehabilitation, and proper reintegration of federally sentenced offenders.
    Our government was elected almost three years ago on a campaign platform that included a promise to take a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to the exercise of power. That is why we believe correctional service professionals in the public service should be responsible for making the decisions they are in the best position to make. Our government has decided to conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the case and will ensure that the offender was transferred in accordance with CSC's policies and procedures.
    Given that this is an emotionally charged file and that there is a great deal of misinformation going around, I would like to take the time that I have left to set the record straight about the healing lodge in question. The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge is in a remote region on the Nekaneet first nation 32 kilometres from the nearest village, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. The healing lodge opened its doors in 1995 as a multi-level institution managed by the Correctional Service of Canada. No female offender has escaped from there in the past decade.
    As is the case in every Correctional Service of Canada facility, static and dynamic security measures are in place to ensure the safety of the staff, the offenders, and the general public. Cameras are strategically placed inside the institution and on the grounds, and the images are monitored at all times by security staff. The staff are equipped to employ intrusive and non-intrusive search methods, such as regular searches of the offenders' units and common areas, strip searches, inspections with the help of ion mobility spectrometers, and urinalyses.
    The healing lodge has a search plan in place, and staff conduct daily searches of the facility and offenders. Staff also conduct regular security patrols throughout the day and night. The facility is also equipped with alarm systems to notify staff when an offender leaves her unit outside of normal hours. Furthermore, an interdisciplinary team of correctional officers, health professionals and other front-line staff, including elders, ensure that any behavioural changes in offenders is recorded, assessed and managed appropriately.
    Correctional Service of Canada officials are continually evaluating offenders' behaviour and the risk they present, and a transfer is initiated only when an offender can no longer be managed at the healing lodge. Transfers are an important part of the Correctional Service of Canada's capacity to manage federal inmates, as well as an important tool in properly discharging the service's mandate, which is to support the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

  (1305)  

    I want to emphasize, once again, that the Correctional Service of Canada regularly assesses the risks offenders present in order to assign an appropriate security classification.
    Our government has asked the Correctional Service of Canada to review the case in question. We will ensure compliance with all laws and policies throughout the process.
    The government wants to establish a culture of continuous self-reflection. In addition, it will ensure that all policies and practices are based on sound evidence, are kept up to date and take into account an ever-changing environment.
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's speech and I appreciate his experience and expertise.
    Let us try to do our best not to engage in flights of rhetoric that can sometimes be very moving, given the emotional nature of the topic, but that can also lead us off track from our common objective of finding the common good. How can we do that?
    I understand the government member's explanations. Maybe one day he will be a minister, but he has only a year left to get there, because the Conservatives will certainly take power after that. Let's smile a little during this very emotional debate.
    Let us come back to reality. The reality is that the law makes it possible for the person to be assessed by public officials who then make recommendations. The law also gives the minister the discretionary power to act.
    In this case, all Canadians recognize that this is a terrible situation, that a horrific crime was committed, that good Canadian common sense must prevail and that the minister must use his discretionary power, what I personally like to refer to as “the power to use common sense”.
    Why does the government member not tell his minister that he made some unfortunate remarks? I am sure the member agrees with me on that. Talking about bad practices in reference to the appalling crime that was committed is completely unacceptable. He made a mistake and now he is paying the price.
    In my opinion, this situation could be quickly resolved using good Canadian common sense. We just need the minister to stand up and use his power to put the individual in question back behind bars.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for acknowledging the delicate and emotional nature of this matter and for seeking to work together to have common sense prevail. Sometimes common sense is overshadowed by interpretations that are not based on our system in place.
    I understand what my colleague is asking. To better respond to his request and to more effectively achieve the objectives we want on both sides, we put our trust in those who are on the ground, the experts and the people working on these issues every day, in particular the officials and the elders, who understand the emotional and cultural dimensions and, above all, the fact that this falls under the rule of law that governs us.
    It is in light of this review that we will be able to see whether the decision was made properly and, if not, whether we can improve a situation that needs to be changed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague across the way. I think all of us recognize a few things. A terribly atrocious crime took place. We recognize something else, and that is that we have very good public servants and very good bureaucrats. However, we also recognize that on occasion there are times where the general public responds to a decision that was made and says that it is unacceptable. For that reason, we have subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which gives the minister the authority to intervene at a time like that.
    I have listened to the members of the Liberal Party today. It is almost as if Parliament is out of its realm if it should ever question a decision by anyone in our bureaucracy.
     I would ask the member if he believes there is ever a place in which a minister should do that. We know the Liberal agriculture minister, when he was minister of public safety, intervened in one case. Does the member believe there should ever be a case where a minister should step in and intervene? If not in this case, then which case?

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member partly answered the question when he mentioned that we have the best public servants and specialists to deal with this case, which is exactly why we let these individuals take care of this file.
    There is always a temptation to let politics get in the way in a case like this, but because of the multiple dimensions of this case, we need people on the ground who know their business to properly advise the minister. The minister was right to leave the decision in the hands of those who know the case best.
    Mr. Speaker, like others before me I want to express my personal sympathy to the family of Tori Stafford. It must be very difficult for them to listen to this debate and what has gone on before, because in some respects it is reliving what is every parent's most horrific nightmare.
    The government understands the concerns Canadians have with respect to ensuring safety in our communities. We want to assure Canadians on all sides of this debate that the protection of society is the paramount consideration for our government, and that public safety is at the forefront of all decisions regarding the classification and transfer of offenders.
    Correctional Service Canada is recognized as a leader in the international corrections community and has a long-standing history of co-operating with national and international partners in the stabilization and reconstruction of foreign criminal justice systems. It is not only a nationally recognized good system, but an internationally recognized good system.
     Correctional Service Canada regularly assesses all the risks presented by all offenders, to ensure they are placed in the appropriate location. The various considerations are codified in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act under the criteria for the selection of the penitentiary, as follows:
the Service shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the penitentiary in which they are confined is one that provides them with an environment that contains only the necessary restrictions, taking into account
(a) the degree and kind of custody and control necessary for
(i) the safety of the public,
(ii) the safety of that person and other persons in the penitentiary, and
(iii) the security of the penitentiary;
    It goes on to list several other criteria. Those are the criteria Correctional Service Canada uses for anybody coming into the facility who has to be classified as maximum, medium or minimum, as well as for their ongoing time in the facility, whether for a reclassification or a transfer to another institution.
    Canadians need to keep in mind that these are not willy-nilly classifications, and that there are guidelines and policies that go with the consideration when it comes to the transfer or classification of a prisoner.
    Immediately after sentencing, CSC officials begin a comprehensive assessment process to identify immediate security needs and critical concerns in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. The critical factors taken into consideration determine the security level and placement of an offender, and include institutional adjustment, escape risk and risk to public safety. Furthermore, the custody rating scale, an actuarial tool, is also used to assist in assigning the most appropriate initial security classification for the penitentiary placement of an offender.
    The aboriginal social history must also be taken into consideration during all risk assessments. Based upon the entire risk assessment, a placement decision is made by CSC.
    At this point, I hope I have conveyed that this is a very rigorous process with respect to both the classification of an individual as maximum, minimum or medium, and also to the facility in which the person will be placed.
    Based upon their motion today, Conservatives want to simply have the minister intervene and in effect toss that entire decision. This would put the minister in a position of having to make what is essentially a political decision. The Conservative motion asks the minister to ignore the evidence that supports the transfer to this institution and substitute his own decision based upon a set of facts that everyone in this room agrees are egregious in the extreme.

  (1315)  

    There is a review process that has been triggered by the collective outrage. I say “collective” because it is on both sides of the aisle. The commissioner came before the public safety committee last week. She was originally scheduled to talk about her mandate. However, this set of facts effectively overwhelmed her appearance there. Under repetitive and I would say occasionally even aggressive questioning by the Conservatives, she said at the end of her testimony, “I just want to be clear. This was a tragedy that changed many lives forever. I have been asked to do a review. I am committed to doing a review of the case.”
    That is the proper procedure. If in fact the minister is faced with what we collectively agree is an egregious set of facts that causes questions among parliamentarians and Canadians in general, then he does not simply say that he does not like the decision and that he is going to change it. Rather, he asks the commissioner to review the file and see that proper practices were followed.
    He has asked the commissioner to do just that. She repeated that over and over again, yet the members from the Conservative Party were not satisfied with that answer. They simply wanted an arbitrary decision to be made by the minister at that point. In fact, they want the minister to make a decision that is unilateral, fact-free and process-free, because the minister cannot undertake the process that I have outlined here. Therefore, they are asking him to do exactly what they would not do while in government.
    The minister cannot tell the commissioner of CSC how to manage individual offenders, just as he cannot tell the commissioner of the RCMP who to arrest. My friend, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, said as much when he was the public safety minister. He also said that he did not control the security classification of individual prisoners. In 2014, he was right. Now, in 2018, on the opposite side of the aisle, he wishes for the rest of us to do exactly the opposite of what he was advising four years ago.
    Benjamin Perrin, a former staffer in Mr. Harper's office, recently tweeted, “This may be unpopular to voice, but I’m concerned with politicians being the ones who decide how any particular individual offender is treated.”
     Not only is it unwise to micromanage offenders, it is also illegal. No minister can tell a commissioner how to manage individual offenders, any more than he or she can tell the RCMP who to arrest. There is a wall between the commissioner and the minister, and it is founded on good logic, good law and common sense. The minister makes the policy, and the commissioner executes the policy.
    I could have been more persuaded to support the motion had it not been framed in the lexicon of, “We do not care what the decision is, but make the decision now. Reverse the decision of the commissioner”, but rather, “This is an egregious set of facts. Please have the commissioner review the facts and see that the policies were followed. If these facts and the facts in other cases lead you to make a change in policy, so be it.” That should be the way proper law and policies are followed.
    Unfortunately, I will not be able to support this motion. I wish the phrasing of the motion had been a little more thoughtful. However, we have what we have.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, today we have continually heard the same points from the Liberals in almost every speech. They are not recognizing that they are in government. They are the executive branch. Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes our system gets it wrong. However, when they are in government, the Liberals have the responsibility to make things right.
    The Liberals are surrounding this issue with all sorts of words and talk about process. This is wrong. We are simply saying that in the past, when this type of issue has been identified, the government has acted. It had the ability to act, and it acted in a responsible way. It is not about making it for one person. It is about changing the rules so that this situation does not happen again. It would not be good enough to change it for one person. It needs to be changed so that the next time something so horrific happens it is changed permanently.
    This is simple. This is logical. The Liberals seem to be abdicating their responsibility as a government to do the right thing right now.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is doing the exact right thing in accordance with the rules, the policy and the law as it is presently set out. The minister has asked for a review of the file. That is what is happening. There is going to be a review of the file. If the decision is changed, that will be the decision that is made.
    If, however, the decision is not changed, that may inform future policy. There may be an argument to be made that future policy may change according to this set of facts. However, there may be an additional set of facts that might not be present in our debate today.
    This is the process. The process is as important as the decision itself. When the Conservative members were in government, this was the process they followed. They could make policy decisions, but they did not intervene on specific files, and properly so. Ministers should not micromanage this kind of file.
    Mr. Speaker, I take some issue with my colleague's characterization of a government's responsibility. He has said in this place that neither the previous Conservative government nor his own government has the right, procedurally or process-driven, to intervene.
    Of course they do. That is what governments are for. If a bureaucracy or a member of a bureaucracy makes a mistake or, in fact, is deemed to have made a mistake, the government has not only an obligation but a responsibility to intervene. It does not do so lightly. No government does.
    However, in this particular case it is patently obvious to anyone who is paying even a modicum of attention to this case that a wrong has been done. A right is needed to address the situation. There is a responsibility. The members opposite fail to see that. All the government needed to do was to stand up and say it would immediately have McClintic transferred back to a maximum or a medium-maximum facility with bars. Then it would do a proper review. That is all the government needed to do.
    For Liberal members to sit there or to stand in this place and say they are powerless and cannot make this decision because they would be interfering with Correctional Service Canada is absolutely an abdication of the responsibility of any government, and the member knows it.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is quite to the contrary. I feel badly that I am having to repeat myself, but there is a process. The government has initiated the process. That was the responsible thing to do. That would be the responsible thing for any government to do. When the Conservatives were on this side, that is exactly what they did. The minister has initiated a review of this particular case. One cannot just go around making decisions willy-nilly.
    My analogy was from my hon. friend from Saskatchewan. He knows Regina very well, and he knows the RCMP police college there. The minister does not tell the police who to arrest. The minister does not run the RCMP other than from a policy standpoint and from a standpoint of budgeting. It would be wrong for a minister to say to the RCMP, “You must arrest this person. You must try this particular person.” That would be an intervention that no right-thinking Canadian would tolerate.
    Mr. Speaker, in truth, I cannot believe that I have to give a speech on the topic today, because this just seems to be something so clearly about common sense that one would not have to have a debate of an entire day convincing the government of the right thing to do. However, here we are, in any event.
    When a government cares for its people, and problems people are having are brought to the government, it is the duty of the government to act. Every day, in every way, as members of Parliament in our offices, we do that. There are many times people come to us with questions and problems that are seemingly insurmountable and that we do not have the answers to or that are very difficult or may not be exactly on the policy point that makes sense, but still we try, we commiserate, and we tell them that we will do our best job to fix the problem.
    In all the comments I have heard from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety, not once have I heard the sentiment that they will fix this problem. They will look into the problem. They will look at the process around the problem. However, never have they said that it needs to be fixed. That is why were are here today as Conservatives. We recognize that this as a real problem.
    There are two parts to the issue I am going to discuss today. The first is that we need to right the wrong that has occurred. The second is that we have to make sure that this simply does not happen again.
    Unfortunately, I believe that I have to start by talking about righting the wrong by actually proving that there is a wrong that has happened, because a lot of the commentary from the government side alludes to the fact that nothing wrong happened here. Either there was a change made in the classification a number of years ago, and therefore there is no wrong here, or there really is no comparison between the two institutions, so there is not really a wrong here.
    The reality, and this is what constituents know and what they are talking about, is the fact that Terri-Lynne McClintic pleaded guilty to first degree murder. She was charged and sentenced to 25 years in jail, and she has served eight years of that sentence. Nine months ago, Ms. McClintic was transferred from an institution called Grand Valley to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan. One of the salient points of concern for our party and the opposition is the fact that there are children present in the healing lodge in Saskatchewan, and Terri-Lynne McClintic is serving a sentence for the first degree murder of an eight-year-old. We believe that this is the salient point to take into consideration when determining where a prisoner is going to be facilitated.
    The minister hangs his defence of no action on two things. He said that her classification has not changed. In 2014, she was deemed medium security, and today she is deemed medium security. He also says that he simply does not have the power to do what the opposition is asking him to do. I disagree with both aspects.
    The first point, on classification, I believe is a red herring. When governments are faced with difficult issues, to manage the issues they can take one of a few paths. The first is to try to blame it on the opposition members for something they have done in the past. The second is to say that they are going to do a review. The third is to take some action.
    We have seen the first part of that trilogy. The Prime Minister answered the question by indicating that the Conservatives changed the classification, so why did we not say something then? I disagree.
    If one were to do even a cursory search on the Internet, one would be able to look at the difference between the Grand Valley institution and the healing lodge in Saskatchewan. I did spend some time taking a look at the differences between the two, especially because I am concerned about children being in open areas in the healing lodge. What I discovered was that contrary to something the minister said in the House a couple of days ago, while there are children in the Grand Valley institution, they are separated from the medium security prisoners by a fence. The minimum security aspect of that institution, where there is a mothers' program, is completely and utterly separated and segregated from where Terri-Lynne McClintic would have lived. That is an important point and one that we would not have heard from the minister, because as a deflection, he would prefer to say that it is the same institution.
    It is not about classification. It is completely about the choice of the institution, and the healing lodge is simply inappropriate, given the gravity and the substance of the offence and the guilty sentence of Terri-Lynne McClintic.

  (1330)  

    The second aspect of the minister's argument is that he does not have the power. I was blessed and honoured to serve as a minister in a previous government, and as such, I know of situations that come up wherein the department will advise ministers that they do not have the power to do something, they do not have policy cover and they cannot take something in a certain direction. Ministers have a choice at that point in time. They can accept the advice and let things go the way they are going, or they can choose to find a different path. What the Conservatives are asking the minister to do is choose to find a different path, because, luckily enough, in statutory interpretation, one can always find a way around what seems to be a path that is blocked.
    I looked at other pieces of information to determine whether the minister has the power. Imagine sitting in a minister's boardroom, and legal has come in and presented a memo. The memo indicates that there is a medium to high risk of the minister or the institution being sued should action be taken on this matter. In the consideration of that memo, what happens is that there is a discussion about the contents of the memo, and it is determined which is the better path to take, based, oftentimes, upon risk.
    If a memo were to come to me, and I was told that, as the minister, I did not have the power to do something, I would first question whether that was true and would have a serious conversation about the risk levels and what the risks would be. If I were told that there would be a lawsuit against me, I would ask who would be bringing the lawsuit. If I was told that a prisoner would be bringing the lawsuit against me for changing her institution, I would weigh that risk. Is it worth the risk of ensuring that children are safe and that there is an appropriate sentence for this first degree murderer?
    The other aspect, if ministers are given an opinion they do not agree with, is to look at other documents around the opinion, because there are many other things to look at to determine what power a minister has. Indeed, I think Canadians oftentimes assume that MPs have full power to make any changes they want. We too, as MPs, think that ministers, especially prime ministers, have the ability to make changes as well.
    One thing to look at is the relationship between the bureaucracy and a minister. Deputy ministers and the heads of the Correctional Service of Canada are very important people within our system and sit at the pleasure of the prime minister who appoints them. They are no longer in the public service. They are servants of Canada.
    The letter the minister most recently sent to outline the mandate of the new commissioner said the following:
    I will rely on your advice and input to help me establish strategic priorities for the Correctional Service of Canada and to anticipate and manage issues that affect the soundness of the organization....
    I acknowledge that some of these initiatives may require new policy authorities..., which we can work on together.
     The minister, in giving the marching orders to the new commissioner, is saying that the commissioner is going to advise him but that to be really clear, the minister makes the final decision. That is exactly what the minister has outlined in that relationship. However, he stands in the House and tells us that his hands are tied, effectively hiding behind the skirts of the Correctional Service of Canada official.

  (1335)  

    Shameful.
    It is shameful, at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker.
    I want to touch on one thing with respect to the process review. I would encourage this process review. I think it is important. It is atrocious that the victim's family only received notification as opposed to having the ability to comment on the transfer of the prisoner.
     I will say one thing. In the mandate letter, one thing the minister pointed out is that the Government of Canada is providing clear direction on its priorities and vision, which is that the safety of the public is best protected by “effective rehabilitation and safe reintegration of people”. All I would say to the minister and members of the government is that if they are going down that path of reintegrating and ensuring that people can reintegrate on the other end of their sentences, please ensure that there is a requisite amount of time in the appropriate institutions so that we never have this situation again.
    Mr. Speaker, it seems like yesterday that the whole country was glued to the news when Tori Stafford, an eight-year-old kid, went missing. The whole world was looking for good news. The whole country was looking for what had happened. Then we saw the images of a lady, a dark shape, walking with this kid. Finally, McClintic pleaded guilty to the charge of first degree murder.
    Many of us here are parents. We all want to see the best for our children. No father and no mother should ever go through this sort of pain and suffering for their whole lives. All of a sudden, they are being reminded of it again.
    This crime was committed by this person who is sitting in a healing lodge. Why is she not in a jail? Could my hon. friend speak to that?
    Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the question from my colleague. One thing he talks about is the public outcry. Yes, there was a public outcry at the time of both Terri-Lynne McClintic's charges and trial. However, there is also a public outcry right now. One incident I can compare it to, when there was a completely different outcome, was in 2001-02, when a convicted cop killer was moved from an institution that had bars to an institution that was dubbed, at the time, Club Fed. There was clearly less security and there were more privileges for the cop killer. Across the country, we heard a huge outcry. In this House, we heard question after question, day after day. As a result, without reviews, without a process, without defending the decision, the now Minister of Agriculture, then the solicitor general of this country, took a position and made that wrong right. The prisoner was transferred back to the institution from whence he came.
    The Ontario legislature has again passed a unanimous motion asking for that to happen, as it did in 2001. I would say that the same results should happen with this Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, the Toronto Sun quoted a statement made by Bill Renton, the Woodstock chief of police, who was the chief investigator in Tori Stafford's murder. I would like to read a small portion of it and ask for the member's response. He said:
    We question McClintic’s move to the healing centre at such an early stage of her just and proper guilty verdict of first degree murder and sentence of Life Imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years. We also realize the family lives that life sentence every day that beautiful young Tori does not return home. They can hold dear the memories of their beautiful daughter, but they also hold in their hearts and minds the reminder of the heinous manner that Tori spent her last moments on this earth which haunt them continually. Such a reminder that haunts far too many, far too often.
    I am a true advocate of our Charter, the Criminal Justice System and Correctional Services. I believe our Correctional System needs to be predicated on rehabilitation for those that have committed crimes and proven themselves worthy, however, I echo the concerns of a nation, that 6 years into a 25 year parole eligibility is unacceptable entrance into such a privileged program.
    In other words, he is saying that it is inappropriate for this woman, who committed this terrible murder, to go to the healing centre. It is not designed for that.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Dufferin—Caledon for reading that into the record, because it is incredibly important.
    When I first became a member of Parliament, I had a conversation with a former member of Parliament in this place, Dennis Mills, who represented the riding of Danforth, as it was. He gave me one piece of advice, which was that as a member of Parliament, we speak for those who are in pain.
    I cannot think of any greater pain than what the family and friends of the victim are experiencing as a result of the non-decision to move Terri-Lynne McClintic back into an appropriate facility. That is why we are here today. We are speaking for those people who are in pain, because they do not understand the decision, they do not understand the inaction, and they do not understand why it is just so difficult for the government to say, “You are right. This is wrong, and we are going to fix it.”
    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to speak to our Conservative opposition day motion today on this heinous topic.
    “Justice”, that very word can be interpreted in many ways. It can bring comfort to those who have been wronged but made right. To others it can instill a sense of comfort knowing that regardless of one's social standing or position, the law is blind to such things and all are equal before the courts. For some, that word means the beginning of a new chapter. For others, it means the end. In most cases that word should mean closure, as justice has been delivered. Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.
    It is hard to find a universally accepted description of the word but most Canadians know justice when they see it.
    What we have learned these past few weeks is disturbing. I have struggled to digest what we have been told. It has shaken the nation and many are in disbelief. I have tried to find the words that could somehow explain what happened, and I have failed. No words could ever alleviate the sadness or repair the damage that has been done to the family of Tori Stafford.
    As a Canadian, I share that sense of frustration with my fellow citizens that our system has failed. As a parliamentarian, I am ashamed that this could ever have happened. As a father, I pray that justice will prevail and this nightmare will end.
    Like most Canadians sitting at home watching this debate, I too ask: how did this happen? How could our system allow this to occur? How could someone who confessed, was sentenced to life and was nowhere close to even remotely being considered for parole be sent to a healing lodge? I have a million reasons for why this was a terrible mistake and I cannot think of one justification for why this ever could have happened.
    Just yesterday at Queen's Park, all political parties united to condemn this action. They put aside their partisanship. They stood shoulder to shoulder as Canadians, as parents and as elected representatives to call on the federal government to reverse this decision. This is exactly what we should be doing right here and right now.
    To the family of Tori, I am sorry. I regret that they must go through this again. Our system has failed them. There is no excuse or reasoning that could ever begin to rationalize this decision.
    We as parliamentarians must act. Canadians have entrusted in us the power to provide leadership and today is that day when leadership is needed. The government must exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure this decision is reversed. It is also clear that we need to ensure that it never happens again.
    A system that allows this sort of transfer to occur under these circumstances erodes the very trust our judicial system is dependent upon. There is no justice when a convicted child murderer, who has just served a fraction of her time, is sent to a healing lodge. A convicted child murderer who, by the way, carried out violent behaviour while in jail, deserves no special treatment or sympathy. A convicted child murderer, who said herself, “Spending the next few decades of life in prison is nothing compared to what Tori was robbed of.”
    Today, we must stand up for Tori, as sadly, she cannot speak for herself. Let us ensure that this act of evil deserves the punishment that it so rightfully deserves. The convicted murderer knows herself that she deserves to be in prison. She knew the day she was sentenced that she would be sent away for a very long time for the atrocious crime she committed and for the life that she stole.

  (1345)  

    Let there be no ambiguity in this debate. This individual deserves no favours from our penal system. There should be no sense of normalcy in her life while she serves her time. Her crime was not an act of rage or carelessness. It was a calculated, orchestrated and deliberate act of evil. There is no argument that could ever convince me that this woman should be in a fenceless facility.
     It is abundantly evident that if a policy needs to be changed, then let us do it. If we need to stay in this chamber all day and all night to find a solution, members will find a willing partner in our caucus. There is no doubt that there is a problem, for there is no explanation for this transfer. She should never be in the same vicinity as children. She is taking a spot of someone who perhaps could be best served in a healing lodge.
    My heart aches for Tori's family. No family should ever have to go through this. There are millions of Canadians who have the family in their thoughts rights now. Many constituents have contacted me in the last week to express their horror that a penal system could have allowed this to happen. I want the family to know that they are not alone in this struggle and are most certainly not wrong in wanting this decision to be reversed.
    Just this morning, the lead investigator who helped discover the truth about Tori denounced the action of transferring this murderer to a healing lodge. Bill Renton, who oversaw the OPP investigation, released a statement in which he said:
    I echo the concerns of the nation...I believe the correctional system needs to be predicated on rehabilitation for those who have committed crimes and proven themselves worthy...We question McClintic’s move to the healing centre at such an early stage of her just and proper guilty verdict of first degree murder and sentence of Life Imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
    These are not the comments of someone who just has an opinion. This is the concern of a man who investigated this heinous crime. There is no element of this case that Mr. Renton does not know. It would be in all of our interests to listen carefully to what he had to say.
    I truly believe that it is within all of us to put aside our differences and to do what is right. I call upon my colleagues to join us in our motion. We are sent here to make difficult decisions, as pointed out by my colleague for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan a few moments ago. We cannot shirk our collective responsibilities that are expected of us.
    Sections 6 and 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act give the Minister of Public Safety broad authority to issue directives on conditions of confinement. All it would take for this individual who committed these horrific crimes and to be back behind bars is the will of the minister. He could ensure that the criteria for those being sent to a healing lodge could never be extended to someone who committed these crimes and who is literally years away from ever being considered for parole.
    In Canada, we have a system of responsible government where the bureaucracy is accountable to Canadians through a cabinet minister. Asking the department to change its policies should not be considered a dramatic step. It is exactly why we elect members of Parliament in the first place. This woman has already been tried and convicted. There are no questions regarding the verdict of the court. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for us as elected representatives to demand that Correctional Service Canada's policies be changed.
    If we are allowing a child murderer who is serving a life sentence to be sent to a facility that has family residential units and where children may be present, we need to change this. If we have a system that allows a convicted person with this history to have their own unit with a kitchenette, an eating area and a living-room, we need to stop this. Let us give justice to Tori.
    I implore my colleagues to stand united. Let this be the day that we ensure that this sort of situation never happens again.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, we heard it mentioned earlier in the House that we would recognize justice if we saw it, and a lot of Canadians across the country are recognizing that this is simply not just, giving a brutal murderer access to a house without even a fence around it.
    Does the member think that Canadians are expecting something to be rectified here, and to put this particular murderer behind bars? The term I would like to use is that “Canadians know the right thing to do”. Does the member expect the right thing to be done in this case?
    Mr. Speaker, absolutely my colleague can draw from my presentation this afternoon that I believe this individual should be re-incarcerated in the situation. If this were year 24 of 25 and there had been a stellar performance in jail during those years, it would be a different story, but this is not even halfway through the convicted time to be spent for this heinous crime.
    We need to remember that this is a brutal murder of an eight-year-old child, with full knowledge of what they were doing. Moving a person halfway through her term to a healing lodge such as this is an incorrect decision made by the authorities, and the government is not acting on it as it can. As in the comments that I made, sections 6 and 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act give the Minister of Public Safety broad authority to issue directives on conditions of confinement.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter. I had the privilege of being a representative for the area that houses Grand Valley Institution for Women, for a number of years until the riding boundaries were changed prior to the last election. I visited that facility many times. While the prisoners there are treated humanely, it is clear that they do not have access to just leaving when they want. There are fences, locks and bars. In a very real sense, there is a good amount of security there.
    Here we have a situation of a murderer of an eight-year-old, someone who, as my colleague pointed out, premeditated this act, abducted, raped and murdered an eight-year-old. Only very shortly into her sentence, only six or eight years, she is now granted the privilege of being at this healing lodge. I have been contacted by a number of residents in my riding and beyond, and they are very concerned. In fact, I could use the term outraged. I wonder if my colleague could comment on the numbers and the kinds of communication he is receiving from ordinary Canadians.
    In this place, one of our primary obligations is to ensure the safety of our Canadian citizens. How can we actually say we are doing that when actions have been taken to allow this person to be housed in this healing lodge in western Canada?

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is atrocious that the situation that my colleague has described could be allowed to happen, particularly with, as I have quoted a number of times, sections 6 and 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
     I believe that many of the colleagues across the way say they wish this was put in a different terminology. My colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan earlier today asked in the House if it would it not be a solution to this if we could actually do what the minister has been allowed to do by the act and put this person back into jail, re-incarcerate her, while the study was going on, not leave her there in the healing lodge while the review takes place. That is part of the answer that my colleague is looking for in regard to his question today. Given the situation we are faced with, it would be onerous upon the minister to go ahead and make the decision to put this kind of a heinous-crime committer back into incarceration.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

International Cooperation

    Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to recognize the invaluable contributions to humanity as a volunteer of Mr. William Dale Virgin, a longtime resident of my riding of Brampton Centre.
    Born to Canadian parents in Landour—Mussoorie, Himalaya in India, he pursued studies in psychology and theology in Canada. We recently celebrated his golden jubilee wedding anniversary.
    He owns and works for a charity named the South Asian Welcome Centre. Annually, he travels to Ludhiana, Punjab, where he lectures at the CMC, the Christian Medical College.
    He is also a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal recipient.
    He is a magnificent example of service beyond borders.

Education

    Mr. Speaker, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Portage College in my riding of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake.
    Over the years, Portage College's contributions to the community have been immeasurable, building success by delivering an exceptional learning experience, from aboriginal cultural arts, trades and university transitional programs to a very active sports agenda. It has also been working closely with industry, first nations and Métis to provide programs that are relevant to the region and economic realities.
    I am very proud to have played a small part in its amazing 50-year journey as one of the first power engineering students in 1985.
    The Lac La Biche campus has been offering a broad range of quality programs since 1968, and has expanded to Cold Lake, St. Paul, Boyle and many satellite campuses spread across northern Alberta.
    Special thanks to everyone who contributed to Portage College's 50 years of excellence.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

    Mr. Speaker, we know that mental illness touches us all, some more personally than others. Taking care of our mental health starts from a young age, and teachers and counsellors play an important role in the healthy development of our children and youth.
    I stand in the House today to recognize someone who has bravely shared her story of recovery from mental illness and has dedicated seven years to the rural communities of Long and Brier Islands in my riding of West Nova. Julie Keddy is a teacher and school counsellor who supports youth living with mental illness. She is in Ottawa today with the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health to raise awareness of their important task and the challenges ahead.
     Julie has been recognized as one of this year's faces of mental illness. I congratulate her for the courage to share her story and for her dedication to our communities and our youth.
    I thank Julie and encourage the great job she has been doing.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Women Farmers of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to the women farmers of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale who have always made our regions more vibrant and supported our agriculture.
    My riding is home to a number of very dedicated women farmers. I want to acknowledge their exceptional contribution. I am thinking about all the members of the Agricultrices de la Montérégie-Est, a women farmers' association led by Hélène Frappier-Campbell; Raymonde Plamondon, who was president of Agricultrices du Québec; Jeannine Messier, Ms. Plamondon's successor who was also appointed to the Council on the Status of Women; Martine Bourgeois and Jacinthe Guilbert, who were both named women farmers of the year; as well as Marie-Ange Lapointe, a pioneer.
    I also want to acknowledge the contribution of women who have been recognized by the Quebec Agriculture Hall of Fame: Monique Lecours, Monique Lussier-Bessette, and Angèle St-Yves.
    I hope that in the future more and more women will be inducted into the Quebec Agriculture Hall of Fame in recognition of the invaluable contribution of the exceptional women who support our agriculture.

[English]

Research and Development

    Mr. Speaker, UBC has long fuelled innovation and cutting-edge research in Vancouver Quadra. Today, representatives from TRIUMF, Canada's particle accelerator centre, are in Ottawa sharing how its research is uncovering the secrets of the universe and driving our innovation economy.
    Meanwhile, Michael Smith Laboratories, Genome B.C., the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dr. Michael Smith's 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
    The late Dr. Smith is remembered as a great humanitarian, teacher and scientist. His research opened the door to entirely new fields, such as genetic engineering and synthetic biology, and has led to new treatments for diseases like cancer.
    Canadian researchers and universities are carrying on Dr. Smith's powerful legacy. I would like to thank the thousands of researchers at the Michael Smith laboratories, TRIUMF, and across UBC for driving Canadian research excellence.

Hockey

    Mr. Speaker, sometimes people notice that I wear a different tie occasionally. Today, I am wearing a Brooks Bandits' tie.
    It is hockey season in Canada. The NHL will be starting this week. However, the Canadian Junior A Hockey League started weeks ago. It has 128 teams from coast to coast. It is the toughest league to win a championship in. Five years ago, the Brooks Bandits won the championship. In the past five years, they have been to the championship three times.
    In 2019, the County of Newell and the City of Brooks are hosting the Canadian Junior A Championship. We welcome everyone to our community to cheer. Go, Bandits, go!

[Translation]

Anne-Marie Gagnon

    Mr. Speaker, I want everyone to know about an outstanding athlete from my riding, Anne-Marie Gagnon, who is now Canada's top-ranked shot putter.
    Thanks to her dedication to her sport and her determination, she closed out the summer competitive season with five medals, three personal bests, and a Canadian championship title.
    I should point out that last week was National Coaches Week, an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes. As a former coach, I know it takes many years of hard work, fortitude and determination to get to that level and succeed.
    I would like to congratulate Anne-Marie on her incredible performance. Her drive to excel, her passion for her sport, and her determination were critical to achieving her goal.
    Anne-Marie is a role model for us all. I thank her for being a source of inspiration.

[English]

Boxing

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to inform the House about an incredible accomplishment by a tremendous young woman from my riding of Saint John—Rothesay.
    Last month, the Saint John Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club's own Charlie Cavanagh became the 2018 youth female, 69-kilogram division, champion of the world after defeating her Russian opponent in the weight class final at the Youth World Boxing Championships in Budapest, Hungary. In addition to this incredible victory, she was also named the best youth female boxer of the championship, making her the top youth female boxer in the world.
    Last month, I was proud to host a barbeque in her honour, which was attended by hundreds, and I kicked off a GoFundMe campaign to support Charlie's preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
    I ask all my colleagues to join me in congratulating our world champion and future Olympic gold medallist, and her incredible coach Joe Blanchard.
     On behalf of all Canadians I say, go, Charlie, go!

  (1405)  

Nobel Prize in Physics

    Mr. Speaker, Dr. Donna Strickland has just won the Nobel Prize in physics. Born and raised in Guelph, Ontario in Wellington County, she went to a local high school, the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. She went on to earn an engineering degree from McMaster University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. Currently, she is a professor of physics at the University of Waterloo.
    Donna Strickland is the first Canadian woman to win the Nobel Prize in physics. She joins Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert Mayer as one of only three women in history to win this prize. I hope that the young girls of today look to this remarkable Canadian woman and pursue their dreams, whether it is in science, technology, engineering or math.
     I know that all members of the house will join me in congratulating Dr. Strickland on winning this year’s Nobel Prize in physics.

Child Poverty

    Mr. Speaker, it hurts to say this, but Toronto is not the centre of the universe. Unfortunately, it is the centre of child poverty in Canada. Despite historic investments in children, families and housing by this government, more than one in four Toronto children lives in poverty.
     According to a social planning council report released, in some federal ridings in Toronto this number is as high as 50%. What is even more disturbing is that a child's race and immigration status are now becoming key determinants to economic hardship. Indigenous children are even worse off, according to the report, and this is shameful. It is heartbreaking, it is wrong and it must be addressed now. Tackling poverty requires governments to invest.
    It is complex, but the cost of doing nothing is incredibly expensive. Health costs, public safety impacts, the cost of education are all affected. It is simply cheaper to fight poverty than it is to tolerate it.
     I am proud to be part of a government that understands this and is making a difference. Since taking office, we have invested $22 billion in programs that have lifted 650,000 people out of poverty. When it comes to—
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

    Mr. Speaker, this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. “...there are a lot of people who aren't aware of mental health issues and it's really important for people to join the conversation." Shania Pruden, from Winnipeg, made that statement recently, and I and the Government of Canada agree with her.
    The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health has recognized Shania Pruden as one of the five faces of mental illness as a person who can inspire.
     Shania Pruden is 21 years old. She is an indigenous rights activist, blogger, youth motivational speaker and a youth director for the Bear Clan Patrol. In 2014, she lost her sister Emerald to suicide. As we can imagine, this was a difficult time for Shania, who lives with OCD and depression. Shania now lives in recovery and is inspired to keep her sister's legacy alive.
    Shania is in Ottawa today, advocating for accessible mental health services. I thank Shania for her courage and for sharing her story. She is an inspiration to many.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Quebec Election

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, thousands of Quebeckers used their right to vote to have their say. A large majority opted for change by voting for Coalition Avenir Québec. For the first time in more than 50 years, Quebec will be governed by a party other than the Liberal Party or the Parti Québécois.
    On behalf of all caucus members of the Conservative Party of Canada, I would like to congratulate the new premier-elect of Quebec, François Legault, and his 73 MNAs. Our caucus would also like to congratulate the members of all parties who were elected or re-elected to sit in the National Assembly, thank all the candidates who ran, and thank the outgoing government. As always, the new Quebec government can count on the full co-operation of the Conservative Party of Canada to achieve great things together for Quebec and for our country, like reducing the tax burden for Quebeckers and for Canadians, ensuring sound management of public funds, and, above all, respecting our areas of jurisdiction—
    Order. The hon. member for Montarville.

German Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Canada-Germany Interparliamentary Group, I am pleased to point out that October is German Heritage Month.

[English]

    The relations between our two countries are diversified and intense. For example, our commercial trades are as important as the ones with France and Great Britain.

[Translation]

    However, Germany is more than just a trading partner. It is an ally that shares our democratic values of equality and social justice.
    Numerous discussions and consultations in that regard, particularly in relation to immigration, show the extent to which our concerns align.
    [Member spoke in German]

Carmen Gobeil

    Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to pay tribute to Carmen Gobeil, from the municipality of Esprit-Saint, who just retired from her job as a rural mail carrier. That may not seem like anything special, except that Ms. Gobeil began her career on March 8, 1951, making her Canada Post's longest-serving employee, with 67 years of good and loyal service.
    Imagine the harsh winters she must have faced in the early years of her career, when mail was delivered in a horse-drawn wooden sledge. A few years later, she traded her horse in for a snowmobile and eventually for a car. Whatever her means of transportation, she continued to prove her diligence, reliability and dedication to her community.
    As energetic as ever at age 88, Ms. Gobeil will be honoured by her fellow citizens in Esprit-Saint on Sunday. I will be there to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, a wonderful mother, a devoted grandmother and an exceptional great-grandmother.
    Thank you, Ms. Gobeil.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, after many years of heavy lifting by our previous prime minister, by us and by our local communities, the LNG Canada project in Kitimat has been given the green light.
    It is the largest private investment in Canada's history, at $40 billion, including a $6.2 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline. It involves 10,000 construction jobs, and real people are attached to those jobs, and just under 1,000 direct full-time jobs after the project is completed. It will mean $22 billion in provincial revenue, plus its impact to our global pollution by reducing the reliance on emitters that use higher amounts of emissions.
    It is a great day for northeastern B.C. and Canada. Go LNG, go.

[Translation]

Quebec Election

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all Quebeckers who exercised their democratic right yesterday. The people have spoken, and I congratulate all those who were elected, as well as François Legault, who will serve as premier of Quebec.
    Our government will work with Mr. Legault's new government to advance Quebec's interests. Together, we will continue to stand up for workers, create good jobs, and build a strong economy for all regions of Quebec.
    I would like to congratulate all candidates of all parties for their dedication to their fellow citizens and to democracy. I would also like to thank the people who volunteered for all the parties and the election workers across Quebec for their hard work and dedication.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Terri-Lynne McClintic was not convicted of “bad practices” as the Minister of Public Safety would suggest. She was convicted of the most heinous crimes imaginable.
     A few months ago, she was in a facility that had fences, bars and locks. Now she is in a healing lodge where she has a kitchenette, a living room and where other children are present.
     I know the minister will try to confuse Canadians with designations, but the fact remains that she was in a facility that looked like a prison and now she is in a healing lodge.
    Will the minister reverse this decision and will the Liberals apologize for calling these crimes “bad practices”?

  (1415)  

    Mr. Speaker, Tori Stafford's brutal death in 2009 was a horrible, gut-wrenching crime for her family, but for the whole country too.
     The killer, McClintic, was reclassified as medium security in 2014. The government of that day did not challenge that decision. In fact, McClintic remains in a medium-security correctional facility today.
    I have asked the commissioner of corrections to review every dimension of this case to ensure the proper process was followed and also to determine whether the policies applicable are the correct ones or do they need to be changed.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not want a review. They want action and they want the government to make this right.
    When the Prime Minister volunteered to have Canada be part of the renegotiations of NAFTA, he promised that he would come back with an improved deal. Now we know what the government has given up. It has backed down on pharmaceuticals, meaning Canadian patients will have to pay more so U.S. companies can make bigger profits. However, we are looking for where the gains are.
    Could the minister confirm that she has gained on removing tariffs on softwood lumber?
    Mr. Speaker, the most important gain from this agreement is retaining our access to the U.S. market, and Canadians understand that.
     However, the new trade agreement is significantly better than NAFTA 1.0 in important ways. We have gotten rid of investor-state dispute settlement, which allowed U.S. companies to sue the Government of Canada for hundreds of millions of dollars. The energy ratchet clause that restricted our sovereignty is gone.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals would like Canadians to believe that this is somehow NAFTA 2.0. In reality, this is NAFTA 0.5. They have made so many concessions on key areas. They have backed down on pharmaceuticals. They have backed down on dairy. In fact, they gave away so much that Donald Trump's key economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said, “Canada gave graciously”.
    After giving so much graciously, did the minister get anything on the softwood lumber tariffs, on buy American or on steel and aluminum tariffs?
    Mr. Speaker, I did not hear too many gracious words about our chief negotiator.
     Canadians should listen to a Conservative who actually knows what he is talking about when it comes to trade. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney said yesterday, “This agreement is a highly significant achievement for Canada” and “Canada appears to have achieved most if not all of its important objectives in this lengthy and challenging set of negotiations.” I could not have said it better.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister and her colleagues seem to be celebrating. Meanwhile, aluminum, steel, softwood lumber and agriculture, all of which account for hundreds of thousands of jobs in Quebec and Canada, were sacrificed by the Liberals to the U.S. president.
    The Prime Minister even agreed to a clause that limits global dairy exports to please Donald Trump. We know about the concessions, but we also want to know what new gains the Liberals managed to achieve. We have been looking but have not found any.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives seemed to have regained their confidence, which is surprising, since last year, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were begging us to give in and accept any agreement, no matter the cost to Canadians.
    Thanks to our patience and negotiating skills we managed to reach a good agreement for Canada.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe what I am hearing. It does not sound as if the Liberals have any clue that they hold the reins of power and are responsible for managing our economy. We all know the concessions the government made to reach a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. A 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum remain, softwood tariffs remain and major concessions were made on supply management, with 3.59% of our market being opened up to the Americans. The Prime Minister boasts that he has signed a good agreement. We are looking for the gains.
    What is new in this agreement that was not already there in the previous agreement signed by the Conservatives?
    Mr. Speaker, there are many new developments. We have gotten rid of the NAFTA clause that undermined our sovereignty by preventing our government from controlling access to our precious energy resources. We have also gotten rid of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, which cost over $300 million. The new rules in the auto sector are going to protect Canadian workers.

[English]

    Members do not seem to understand that one side gets its turn and the other side gets its turn and we listen to each side. It is a novel concept, I realize.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister rose yesterday to say with a straight face that he had preserved supply management. However, a first breach was opened with the European trade agreement, a second was opened with the trans-Pacific partnership, and a third has been opened with this new agreement. As a result of these three agreements, more than 10% of Canada's dairy market has been handed over to foreign producers.
    Is that what they mean by preserving supply management? The Liberals had the opportunity to stand up for Canadians and agricultural producers.
    Why did they cave?
    Mr. Speaker, we fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. It was a Liberal government that created the supply management system and it is a Liberal government that is preserving it. This agreement will provide market access, but most importantly it does not put the future of supply management in question. We will always support our agricultural producers and our dairy producers.
    Mr. Speaker, I doubt she even understands what supply management is, because if she did, she would not be saying that. The Liberals not only caved to the United States on supply management, they also offered up an extra goody, the elimination of class 7. The U.S. will now be able to export unlimited amounts of diafiltered milk here, not to mention getting an even bigger share of the market for regular milk. Ultimately, Canada has just told the U.S. to bypass our supply management system, to keep subsidizing their agriculture industry, and above all, to come dump their surpluses here, yet the Liberals claim to stand up for our farmers.
    Why did they cave?
     Mr. Speaker, our government worked very hard to defend Canadians' interests. Our government defended our supply management system, which the U.S. sought to dismantle. We are the party that implemented supply management, and we are going to defend it. I want to assure dairy farmers that they will receive compensation.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the devil is in the details and now we learn about an astonishing new clause in the USMCA. Part of Canada's concessions in this deal was to include language that holds Canada hostage to the Americans if we decide to trade with another country. No wonder the Minister of Foreign Affairs tried to downplay questions about this yesterday. Experts have called this concession a “severe restriction on Canadian independence and capability” and that the Americans are trying to control our trade.
    Why did the Liberal give the go-ahead for the U.S. to pull us into their trade wars?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking the member for Essex for her collaboration in our work on trade. She is a really great partner.
    Trade diversification is an extremely important part of growing the Canadian economy and we are going to continue to increase our trade around the world. In fact, it is our government that concluded CETA and the CPTPP. NAFTA, as an agreement, has always had a way for parties to leave, and that is essential, but let me be clear: Canada retains full sovereignty and complete control over our trade relations.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, I promise if the government was listening, we would not have signed this deal.
    Remember when the Prime Minister stood in Hamilton and said that Liberals would have the backs of Canadian steel workers. Where I come from, having their back does not mean signing a deal that could sell out 6,000 Canadian jobs.
    Sacrifices made in the USMCA will hurt our steel and aluminum workers, and the Liberals failed to get any assurances that the U.S. would lift steel and aluminum tariffs before they signed the deal.
    Do members know who the middle class is? It is steel and aluminum workers.
    How can this Prime Minister turn his back on them?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a question that is very close to my heart.
    I want to assure Canada's steel and aluminum workers that we are 100% with them. That is why, when the illegal section 232 tariffs were imposed on Canada, our government did not hesitate. We responded immediately, in a measured dollar-for-dollar response.
    That is standing up for our steel and aluminum workers, and that is what we are going to continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, in the USMCA trade agreement, the U.S. made no concessions, while Canada made many.
    Canadians will now pay more for drugs and lose the protection to have their personal data stored here in servers in Canada. Our farmers are being hurt. Our steel and aluminum sectors are being tariffed still. The softwood lumber tariffs seem permanent. If that was not enough, the Liberals gave Donald Trump a veto over our trade policies.
    Will the minister tell us when, exactly, steel and aluminum tariffs will be removed?
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the members opposite were shouting so much they did not hear me when I talked about the improvements we have made.
    Let me go through it again. We have removed ISDS, which has allowed U.S. companies to sue our country and has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars. We have removed the energy ratchet clause, which hugely restricted Canadian sovereignty. We have tremendously improved the environment and labour chapters. The rules of origin in the auto sector will be a great advantage for high-wage Canadian workers.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, President Trump's top economic adviser said, and I quote, “Canada gave very graciously”. Yes, sadly, Canada gave very graciously. We now have quotas on the auto industry where none existed before, and our medications are going to cost more due to the government's inaction.
    There is one more thing: could the minister reassure steelworkers and tell them whether the steel tariffs are still in place right now?
    Mr. Speaker, I prefer to listen to a Conservative who actually knows what he is talking about, like the first NAFTA negotiator, former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who said that this agreement is a highly significant achievement for Canada, while benefiting all three countries as it should. He said that Canada appears to have achieved most, if not all, of its important objectives, and he is right.
    Mr. Speaker, I actually do know what I am talking about, and when I talk about Canada's economy, and especially Quebec's economy, I know that steel, aluminum and softwood lumber are very important to Quebec.
    Could the minister tell us whether or not the U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum and softwood lumber are still in place? This is important for the economies of Quebec and Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, we negotiated an agreement that protects Canadian jobs and creates opportunities for the middle class. It also preserves the dispute settlement system, maintains supply management, and supports our auto sector workers.
    If we had given in when Stephen Harper told us to a year ago, we would not have any of this.

  (1430)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the champagne is flowing at the Trump Tower today.
    Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, said, “Canada gave very graciously.”
    Trump gave nothing back in return that we did not already have. In fact, we now have higher drug prices, so American companies can make more. The Prime Minister backed down on dairy without getting a single concession on American protectionism and subsidies. The Liberals gave Trump a veto power over our other trade deals and capped our auto sector growth.
    Why did the Liberals give so much in exchange for so little?
    Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy on the other side of the aisle is astonishing to me.
    Before we got this deal, what we were hearing from the Conservatives was that we needed to start surrendering as quickly as possible. What we were hearing was a criticism of our view, which was that no deal is better than a bad deal.
    We stood firm and we got a good deal for Canada.
    They did warn us about a bad deal, Mr. Speaker, and now we see exactly what it looks like. They got absolutely nothing that we did not already have.
    We now have higher drug prices to profit American drug companies, big concessions on dairy without any concessions from American agricultural producers, a Trump veto power on future Canadian trade deals and a cap on the future growth of our auto sector.
    Why did the government capitulate so much in order to gain so little?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich to hear from the member on the other side of the aisle who lectures on the dangers of capitulation.
    Our government is the one that in the face of hesitation, anxiety and hand-wringing from the other side of the aisle, stood firm and was resolute in defence of Canadian national interests. That is why we got a good deal.
    Well, the government resolutely backed down, Mr. Speaker. It backed down on drug prices, which will be higher for Canadian seniors and Canadian patients. It backed down on agriculture, without getting a single concession from the powerful American farm lobby. It backed down on Trump's veto power over our ability to sign our own trade deals. The government backed down by allowing Trump to impose a cap on future exports of Canadian autos.
    Again, why did the government capitulate so much to get so little?
    Yet again, Mr. Speaker, it is very easy the day after to preach strength and firmness. That is not what we were hearing before this deal got done.
    Let me correct the member opposite on a factual point, because it is important to tell the truth to Canadians. There is of course no cap, no quota on Canadian autos and car part exports to the United States. That is why the share prices of Canadian car part companies soared on Monday.
    Order. I am having trouble hearing from time to time. I remind members that they are sometimes going to hear things that they do not like. We want that in a democracy, but we have to listen in spite of it.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, Eric and Jennifer Simpson are two young dairy farmers in Rockburn, which is in my riding. They told me that they have lost 15% of their revenue since 2004 because of trade agreements and American diafiltered milk. They are worried they might lose their farm because of the TPP and the new NAFTA.
    Do the Liberals realize that young people who are interested in farming get discouraged when their government backs down instead of standing up and fully defending supply management?
    Just how many people have to leave our rural areas before the government will take a stand and defend our dairy sector?
     Mr. Speaker, we fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. A Liberal government created supply management, and it is a Liberal government that is preserving it.
    This agreement will provide some market access, but the most important thing is that the future of supply management is secure. I want to emphasize that dairy producers will be fully compensated.

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this morning at agriculture committee I heard about the detrimental effects these trade deals are having on the mental health of farmers in our supply-managed sectors.
    The Liberals have now given up 10% of our market, putting Canadian producers under significant pressure and leaving Canadians worried about the quality and safety of products that will cross over our border.
    Farmers and the high-quality food they produce for Canadians are not bargaining chips.
    Why did the Prime Minister make concessions at the expense of food safety and quality Canadian products?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. We fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. After all, it was a Liberal government that created supply management, and it is a Liberal government that is preserving supply management.
    This agreement will provide some market access, but the most important thing, and what we achieved, was to preserve the future of supply management, which the U.S. had sought to dismantle. I want to emphasize that dairy producers will be fully and fairly compensated.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, today we are debating in the House our motion to ask the government to take some action with respect to Terri-Lynne McClintic being moved from a medium-security facility with bars to a healing lodge that has a living room, a kitchenette, and children within. I would like to know from the government if its members will be voting in favour of our motion today to take action in response to this despicable decision.
    Mr. Speaker, cases like this one are heartrending for all Canadians, especially for the families of the victims. Through the review that I have requested, we will determine whether all relevant policies were properly followed. More than that, the Correctional Service of Canada will examine the very nature of those policies to ensure that they are in fact right and proper for inmate management and public safety, and to ensure that justice is done in this case and every other case.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a glimmer of hope that this case may actually result in some action, but I doubt it because, after all, this is the minister who said that Terri-Lynne McClintic's crimes were nothing more than bad practices. I wonder if he would like to take this opportunity to stand up and apologize for doing that, or maybe just tell us if he regrets what he said.
    Mr. Speaker, the crime involved was absolutely horrible, and we all recognize that brutal, painful fact. What we are trying to do is to make sure that in this case, and in every case, justice is not only done but is seen to be done. We await anxiously to see what the result of the review is.
    Mr. Speaker, over and over we listen to the government as it shirks responsibility and tries to put it somewhere else. Today, we are giving the government the opportunity with the motion that we have on the floor to side with Tori and her family. We are asking it to reverse the decision that moved McClintic to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.
    We are talking about someone who has been convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years without parole. Now, today, we have a motion on the floor calling on the Prime Minister to do the right thing, the moral thing, and to reverse the decision to move Tori's killer to the healing lodge. Will he stand with us?
    Mr. Speaker, the whole purpose of the review is to examine the decision-making process, to make absolutely certain that the process was properly followed, that all policies were properly applied, policies that have been in existence for more than a decade, and to identify where those policies may need to be changed for the future. It is obviously important to make sure that process is done right.
    Mr. Speaker, on April 9, a family and community started their search for Tori Stafford. The search continued for 99 days. On July 19, Tori's lifeless body was found. The family, the community and the entire region were devastated by this heinous murder. Today, all members of Parliament have the opportunity to do what is right and to send a clear message to Canadians that victims come first and that killers must remain behind bars.
    Will the government support today's motion to send McClintic back to where she belongs: behind bars?
    Mr. Speaker, the crime involved here is absolutely horrible. It is a crime that shocks all Canadians and, obviously, it has resulted in great grief for the family.
    The decision to reclassify this particular offender took place in 2014. We are going to look at that decision and every subsequent decision to make sure that the law and the process were properly applied, and where those laws and processes need to be changed, they will be.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, 3.5 million people in this country, including our seniors, cannot afford their prescription drugs. As a result, they have to make a tough choice between buying medicine and buying groceries. No one should have to make that choice.
    The government should already be working with its partners, the provinces and territories to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Instead, it signs a bad agreement with President Trump that will drive prices up.
    My question is simple: when will the government bring in a universal pharmacare system?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is taking action to bring down the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians. That is very important. We are working with the provinces and territories to make prescription drugs more affordable. We joined the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which has helped Canadians save over $2 billion annually. We are investing more than $140 million to improve access to health care and support innovation in that area.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the government just made drugs more expensive. We know that Canadians pay among the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world and that one in four Canadians skips necessary medicine because of the cost, yet the Liberals just signed a trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico that extends the data protection for biologic drugs, the fastest-growing segment in health care spending, making medicines for Canadians' health more expensive. With Canadians struggling to afford medication, why would the government agree to a trade measure that will increase the cost of prescription medicine?
    Mr. Speaker, our government knows how proud Canadians are of our public health care system, and rightly so. We continue to work with the provinces, territories and our partners to lower drug prices and provide timely access to medicine. This is a crucial issue for our government. We also look forward to attracting further medical research to Canada. Our government will always stand up for our public health care system.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, there is great news today for the Canadian economy. LNG Canada announced that it would move forward with a $40 billion project in B.C. This would mean the largest private sector investment in Canadian history and great news for British Columbians and all Canadians, who will benefit from jobs and investment. Could the minister inform the House why Canada is a world-class destination for investment in the energy sector?
    Mr. Speaker, today is a great day for Canada. The announcement of an investment of $40 billion in the LNG sector is a vote of confidence in Canada's energy sector. This is the single largest private sector investment in Canada's history. It will create 10,000 jobs, billions of dollars in new revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for indigenous businesses. Canada is positioned to be a leader in the LNG sector.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, upon hearing the outrage of Canadians, Conservatives have introduced a motion today calling on the Liberal government to put eight year old Tori Stafford's killer, Terri-Lynne McClintic, back behind bars. Yesterday, the Ontario legislature, including Liberal and NDP MPPs, passed a motion calling on the Prime Minister to put McClintic back where she deserves to be. Will the public safety minister and the Prime Minister also hear the calls of outraged Canadians, support our motion and reverse this disgraceful transfer?
    Mr. Speaker, we are examining all of the facts and all of the policies and processes involved. It is important to note that the lodge is both a medium- and a minimum-security facility. It has not had an escape in at least 10 years. All women's institutions have multiple levels of security, not just one. Grand Valley, for example, has all three. They all provide mother-child programs. There has never been a negative incident. They all handle a range of offenders, including the most serious. Indeed, under the Conservative government for 10 years, dozens of murderers were assigned to healing lodges.

  (1445)  

    That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. Indeed, this week, police chief Bill Renton who oversaw the massive OPP manhunt for Tori Stafford's murderers publicly denounced the transfer of her killer, Terri-Lynne McClintic, to a healing lodge. Chief Renton said he was echoing the concerns of Canadians who are outraged by the Liberals' inaction to put Tori's killer back behind bars. Will the Liberals finally do the right thing and support our Conservative motion and immediately put McClintic back where she belongs?
    Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the former lawyer for Stephen Harper, Benjamin Perrin, said, “I'm concerned with politicians being the ones who decide how any particular individual offender is treated”. That was the same concern expressed by the Department of Justice. It is also the same concern expressed by the Conservative member, the member for Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, who was formerly the minister of public safety. That is why we are conducting the review, to get all of the facts and all of the processes.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Terri-Lynne McClintic committed a heinous crime when she viciously murdered 8-year-old Tori Stafford, who had her whole life ahead of her. This is a wound that will never heal for Tori's parents.
    This woman was found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. She was not sentenced to a healing lodge where children are present.
    Will the Liberals do the right thing, prove to Canadians that victims' rights must take precedence over criminals' rights, and vote in favour of our motion today—

[English]

    The Minister of Public Safety
    Mr. Speaker, just to add some information for the hon. member, I am sure she would like to know that there is a mother-child program at Grand Valley, where McClintic was previously serving her sentence. As a matter of fact, there is a mother-child program in every women's facility in the country, all of them together, and there has never been an incident. Obviously, it is important to make sure that children are always protected, and they are our first priority.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged that convicted child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic is serving her time in a healing lodge that does not even have a fence. Children are often present in this place, where there are no restraints on McClintic's ability to interact with these children. Will every Liberal in this place do the right thing and support our motion to have her put back behind bars?
    Mr. Speaker, again, to examine the solution that the hon. member is proposing, there is a mother-child program at Grand Valley, which is where they are suggesting McClintic go.
    The point is that we have asked the Correctional Service of Canada to examine every element of this decision, including the original decision back in 2014 to reclassify McClintic to medium security, and to give advice as to whether any of those processes were violated, or any policy—
    The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, after a decade of Conservative inaction, the Liberals are now following in their footsteps. The environment commissioner issued a scathing report today confirming that the government is failing marine mammals. Of the 14 endangered or threatened species, the government has no specific measures in place to save 11 of them. Its plan seems to be to wait for disaster to strike before doing something. How many more whales will have to die before the government takes action?
    Mr. Speaker, we accept the commissioner's report and recommendations, and we continue to take measures to look for more actions to protect our marine mammals, because we know that more work needs to be done.
    Our government understands the importance of open and transparent consultations to develop effective recovery strategies and action plans. We continue to protect our wildlife and biodiversity, including our endangered species. This means robust species at risk recovery plans, which include identification and protection of critical habitat to support species recovery.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the environment commissioner has sounded the alarm: there could be toxic substances all around us—in the air, in the water, in the soil, maybe even in our couches. There is no way to know. All this because the Liberals are incapable of ensuring proper monitoring and assessment to determine if Canadians are protected against toxic substances.
    Watching the Liberals on the environment is like watching someone searching for the North Pole without a map or a compass.
    Will they get their heads out of the oil sands and take the environment seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, we thank the commissioner for her report and we accept her recommendations. Our government is committed to protecting Canadians and their environment against toxic substances. We are already taking action to strengthen and enforce our regulations on toxic substances. We will develop an action plan with the Minister of Health to address the specific problems described in the report.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has lost control over the illegal migrant file in Canada. Support organizations no longer know where to turn to house this influx of people. Now we learn that the Liberal government is paying to put up irregular migrants in hotels.
    How long will illegal migrants stay in hotels? How much will this cost Canadian taxpayers?
    Mr. Speaker, in spite my colleague's faux outrage, it is important to show Canadians that we make decisions based on data. My colleague knows full well that the data since last summer show that, compared to last year, the number of irregular migrants being intercepted at the border has dropped by half.
    In spite of the Conservatives' opposition, we will keep our international commitments, ensure the safety of Canadians and meet our obligations under Canadian law.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this summer the Liberals told Canadians that scores of illegal border crossers would be housed in Toronto area hotels at taxpayer expense until September 30. It is October 2 and they are still in hotels, with more on the way. The Liberals still do not tell Canadians how many illegal border crossers are currently in hotels, how long they will be there, how many more they expect and what the total cost will be.
    Again, how many are in hotels, how many more do they expect, how long will they be there and what is the total cost?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect all three orders of government to work together to live up to our legal obligations and to ensure order and safety. That is why we have remained committed to working with both provinces and municipalities to address together the challenges we face.
     The City of Toronto has been working diligently to find a permanent housing solution for the families that are currently housed in a temporary housing facility. We remain committed to working with the City of Toronto and support it through that important work.
    Mr. Speaker, it is completely ridiculous to put people up in hotels at taxpayer expense, who by the Liberals' own admission, likely do not have valid asylum claims for years because of the hearing backlogs created by the Prime Minister's bad practices.
     This is not fair to anyone, especially Canadian taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet, whose paycheques are going to cover these hotel bills.
    Why should Canadians continue to pay for hotel rooms for people who have reached the safety of upstate New York and illegally entered our country?
    Mr. Speaker, the City of Toronto has for over a decade used temporary shelter in rental accommodations at hotels in order to deal with a surplus of people requiring temporary shelter. It is through the City of Toronto that this solution was actually acquired.
     We have remained committed to supporting the City of Toronto in its diligent work to find a more permanent housing solution for these individuals and we are working very closely. I have had a recent conversation with Minister MacLeod in Ontario, as we work together with the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto to address this concern.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement was reached yesterday and we saw that our government kept its promise to keep the cultural exemption. The Conservatives asked us to accept any deal, but I am proud to see that our government secured a good deal.
    Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage explain what it means for our artists and creators?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.
    When we protect our cultural sovereignty, we protect our identity, our linguistic duality and everything that makes Canadians unique. For that reason we fought to obtain a general cultural exemption, and we got it. This means that we can continue to support our culture and tell our stories in our own way and around the world. A general exemption also means that we will protect our culture on all platforms, including the digital platform. That is what we wanted and that is what we got.

[English]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that the Liberal government was excluding ill and injured veterans from its job placement program. The minister claimed it was not true, but internal briefing notes from his own department clearly state otherwise.
     The Liberals said that the new program was meant to support veterans “who leave the Canadian Armed Forces for reasons other than illness or injury.”
    Why are ill and injured veterans being blocked from receiving this benefit?
    Mr. Speaker, the health and well-being of veterans in their post-military lives is very important to us, and gainful employment and a sense of purpose can ease the stress that veterans and their families feel during the transition from military to civilian life.
     Both healthy and ill or injured veterans have access to the career transition program. Ill or injured veterans also have access to comprehensive rehabilitation programs designed to help them get better.
     The Conservatives had years to change a program they knew was not working, so when they did not, we did.

[Translation]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I took part in National Seniors Day, which presented a great opportunity to listen to and share the stories of our seniors and to thank them for the role they played in building in country and also for their continuing contributions.

[English]

    I would like to ask the Minister of Seniors this. What has our government done since the beginning of our mandate to support our seniors and to recognize their contribution?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Toronto—Danforth for her question.
    Since taking office, our government has been working hard for seniors.

[English]

    The rollback of the age of eligibility for the OAS and the GIS, from 67 to 65, prevented 100,000 seniors from going into poverty. The increase in the GIS supplement for the most needy seniors has helped 900,000 seniors.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the National Seniors Council for its great work. I welcome its members to Ottawa and I look forward to working with them and all parliamentarians for our seniors.

Marine Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the transport minister must stop letting commercial freighters use the Salish Sea as long-term parking. So said first nations, community groups and local governments when we met on Friday. They are all harmed by noise, air and light pollution, with no benefit to their local economy. Freighters threaten coastal ecology, from glass sponge reefs to great blue herons and endangered orcas. Moving risk from one town to another is not helping.
    When will the Liberals protect coastal communities and fix bulk anchorage damages?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very sensitive to the need to protect our coastal regions. That is why we have brought into being the oceans protection plan, something that is unprecedented in Canada's history.
     At the moment, we are looking at the very specific issue of anchorages. There is a great deal of vessel traffic into the largest port in Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. We are taking steps to try to find a solution to this large amount of traffic in order to respect the communities and indigenous peoples where temporary anchorages exist at the moment.

  (1500)  

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked the veterans minister about Mario Bonafacio, a 79-year-old veteran suffering from a debilitating neck injury. Incredibly, the minister said that I should bring this to his “further attention.”
     On June 4, I wrote the minister and last week, in the chamber, I handed him additional documents, including a privacy release signed by the veteran himself. This release allows the minister to say what work he has done for the veteran and not hide behind his usual privacy excuse.
    When will the minister take this case seriously and get Mr. Bonafacio what he deserves?
    Mr. Speaker, let me inform the hon. member that privacy for this government is not an excuse; it is a responsibility and a responsibility that we take very seriously.
     We have looked into this case. I am happy to discuss it with the member outside of the chamber. It is a private member and privacy is a responsibility.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Quebeckers chose a new government. Despite this change, Quebec remains united in denouncing Ottawa for abandoning dairy farmers.
    All of the elected candidates and all of the parties that will make up the Quebec National Assembly spoke out against the new free trade agreement. Clearly, the federal government is once again ignoring Quebec's vital interests.
    Why did the government once again use Quebec as a bargaining chip in its trade negotiations?
    Mr. Speaker, the cultural exemption is very important to all Canadians, but especially to Quebeckers. We maintained the cultural exemption, and I am very proud of that.
    Chapter 19 is very important for all Canadians, but especially for Quebeckers and softwood lumber producers. I am also very proud that say that we are going to maintain that.
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about supply management.
    The government keeps saying that it protected supply management, but everyone knows that is false. Even Canada's most loyal ally, Philippe Couillard, came out and said that the agreement was very bad for Quebec.
    That is not all. There is also diafiltered milk. The problem was solved, but the Liberals decided to quietly undo it all by the back door. Now it is going to come streaming across our borders from the U.S. This is not just a small breach in supply management; it is going to completely destabilize the system.
    Why did the government go back on its word?
    Why did it fail our farmers?
    Mr. Speaker, the previous question was on Quebec and the agreement, but I would be very happy to answer questions about supply management.
    We fully support our dairy farmers, their families and their communities. It was a Liberal government that created supply management and it is a Liberal government that is preserving it. I also want to emphasize once again that all dairy farmers will receive fair and equitable compensation.

[English]

Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker,
    [Member spoke in Inuktitut].
    [English]
    My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs. The minister is aware of the request to fund a feasibility study for the Kivalliq hydro fibre link. It is my understanding that a portion of this funding has or will be approved shortly.
     This Inuit-to-Crown project is critical and supported by all mayors of the Kivalliq region. It will provide the region with a green source of energy and help Nunavummiut in its quest to build a sustainable economy.
    Will the minister commit, as he did to stakeholders, to finding the remaining funding for this important study, which would lead to transformative change for Nunavut?
    Mr. Speaker, the member highlighted the importance of economic development. I want to take this opportunity to underscore that our government is absolutely committed to supporting the regions. That is why, since we formed government, $750 million have been invested in all of the regions through the regional development agencies.
    Specifically to the question the member opposite asked, we recognize the potential value and benefits that this feasibility study and potential future project could unlock for the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. That is why CanNor officials are working on this. I also want to highlight the fact that we will get it resolved.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Housing  

    The House resumed from September 27 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:05 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, September 27, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Saskatoon West concerning the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

  (1505)  

[English]

    The question is on the motion. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
     [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1510)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 889)

YEAS

Members

Angus
Aubin
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Cannings
Caron
Christopherson
Cullen
Davies
Donnelly
Dubé
Dusseault
Duvall
Garrison
Gill
Hardcastle
Hughes
Johns
Jolibois
Kwan
Laverdière
MacGregor
Malcolmson
Marcil
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Moore
Pauzé
Plamondon
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Saganash
Sansoucy
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Thériault
Tootoo
Trudel
Weir

Total: -- 45


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alghabra
Allison
Amos
Anandasangaree
Anderson
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fuhr
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harder
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hutchings
Iacono
Jeneroux
Joly
Jordan
Jowhari
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kusie
Lake
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leitch
Leslie
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lobb
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Monsef
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Nassif
Nater
Ng
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Qualtrough
Raitt
Ratansi
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sopuck
Sorenson
Spengemann
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Whalen
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Yip
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zimmer

Total: -- 245


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

Privilege

Supply Management  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege relating to the fact that, yesterday, the government announced that it had agreed to open 3.59% of the Canadian milk and dairy products market to American products, despite the unanimous adoption of a motion by the House of Commons on September 26, 2017, which read:
    That the House reiterate its desire to fully preserve supply management during the NAFTA renegotiations.
    The 2015 edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English defines the word “fully” as “completely or entirely; to the fullest extent”.
    This raises a question. What is the point of a motion that is adopted by the unanimous consent of the House of Commons, this assembly of representatives of the people, the very heart of parliamentary democracy, if the government can toss that motion out at will?
    On page 598 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, it states:
    However, orders or resolutions presented or adopted by unanimous consent express the will of the House and are as binding as any other House order or resolution.
    The government disregarded a House of Commons decision to fully preserve supply management.
    I want to make it clear that I am raising this question of privilege at the first available opportunity because the latest information became available during question period yesterday after the member for Mirabel asked a question.
     We think the government's disregard for the clearly expressed will of the House is a grave offence to its authority and dignity. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, reads as follows at page 60:
     Any conduct which offends the authority or dignity of the house, even though no breach of any specific privilege may have been committed, is referred to as a contempt of the House. Contempt may be an act or an omission. It does not have to actually obstruct or impede the House or a Member; it merely has to have the tendency to produce such results.
    In our opinion, the fact that this agreement was signed despite a unanimous motion by the House to fully preserve supply management is nothing short of contempt of Parliament on the part of the government.
    Finally, Mr. Speaker, should you find a prima facie case of privilege, I intend to move the following motion: “That the House note that the government is in contempt of Parliament by failing to respect the unanimous consent of the House, which called on it to fully protect supply management.”
    I thank the member for Montcalm for his comments on this issue. I will examine the matter and come back to the House in due course.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, government orders will be extended by eight minutes.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

  (1520)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Justice  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the great and honourable member for Winnipeg North.

[Translation]

    [Member spoke in Cree]

[English]

    The horrific way that Tori Stafford was taken is a heartbreaking tragedy. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Tori Stafford as they continue to endure this unimaginable pain for their loss.
    I would like to reiterate that the minister has directed the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to review this transfer decision and to ensure that all procedures, laws and rules were followed in the management of this case. As well, the minister has asked the commissioner to review the policies that are in place to make certain that they are up to date. Our government must continue to ensure that all decisions are made with public safety top of mind. Our government's approach to criminal justice policy will continue to be evidence-based. I have personally spoken with the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada who is doing this review, as she said at the last meeting of public safety standing committee.
    We find on the website of the Correctional Service of Canada, CSC, that it is committed to contributing to public safety and the protection of society, and the best way of doing this is helping offenders become law-abiding citizens. The service provides a range of programs and services to offenders to reduce the risk they may pose to society both within and outside the prison system.
    As part of the CSC's mandate, one of its key priorities, as said under oath by the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, Anne Kelly, is addressing the disproportionate incarceration of indigenous peoples and ensuring that the treatment of indigenous offenders is focused on effective rehabilitation. She said that the CSC continues to enhance partnerships with indigenous peoples to create more opportunities for first nations, Métis and Inuit communities to participate in the care, custody and supervision of indigenous offenders. That is done through sections 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
    The CSC is currently reviewing proposals from several indigenous communities that have expressed interest in entering into a section 81 agreement to establish a healing lodge correctional facility for the care and custody of indigenous men and women offenders, because we know there are many indigenous people who are in the prison and the justice system.
    The CSC has also established aboriginal intervention centres across the country at seven institutions for men and at all institutions for women. This initiative serves to strengthen indigenous offenders' access to culturally responsive programming in order to increase the potential for their successful reintegration into our communities, because at some point, all offenders, or almost all offenders, will be reintegrated into our society.
    During this debate, the Conservative member of Parliament for Brandon—Souris said that the “law is blind”. It should be blind so that the state can do its job, and the state has the rule of law. Do we want politicians involved in deciding the fate of individual cases? I personally think, no, we do not. Maybe we would want this in Russia or other totalitarian states, but law, order and good governance require us to have cool heads. We need to have that rule of law each and every day, and that requires distance between the politicians and people's individual cases.
    There is a difference between indigenous and western world views. The indigenous world view is a holistic one. We often say at the beginning of our prayers: “All my relations”. We do not simply mean the people whom we are physically related to by blood. We recognize that we are not alone in this world and that everything is interconnected. We are connected to the environment, animals, plants, the air that we breathe, and to the people who might not even be our relations. Many people have characterized the western world view as one based on retribution and fear. That is a distinctly indigenous perspective on the western world view, because, unfortunately, we have suffered many consequences as a result of the arrival of Europeans here on this territory.

  (1525)  

    One of the issues we are facing in the motion the Conservatives have put forward today is the need to ensure that people both inside and outside the prison system are safe.
    With respect to those outside it, people will eventually reintegrate and be brought back into society, but it has to be done in a good way that ensures they are not going to recommit crimes that will hurt other people.
    With respect to those inside the prison system, we have to ensure that it is safe for the people who are inside our penitentiaries right now. We are not islands unto ourselves. We are all interconnected. If a prisoner is causing chaos for other people within the correctional system, if we then make it harder for them to reintegrate into Canadian society, we will all suffer the consequences. This is what was recognized when the healing lodges were first recommended in a report in 1990.
    There are many issues related to this, but one is women offenders. They comprise a very small and unique subset of the total federal offender population. Women offenders are more likely to be serving their first federal sentence and more likely to be successful upon release than their male counterparts.
    A 1990 task force comprising a diverse mix of government representatives, correctional officials, community advocates, indigenous organizations and women offenders released a report titled “Creating Choices: the report of the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women”, which established a new correctional philosophy for women offenders. It encouraged a holistic approach to dealing with their specific needs back in 1990.
    “Creating Choices” was founded on the principles of empowerment, meaningful and responsible choices, respect and dignity, supportive environments and shared responsibility. The report advocated the closure of the central prison for women in Kingston, Ontario and the establishment of a healing lodge and the construction of regional facilities for women offenders.
    The Correctional Service of Canada has developed and continues to develop short and long-term options to ensure safe accommodations and interventions for women offenders.
    Indigenous women are the fastest growing segment of Canada's federal custody population and are disproportionately represented there, making up approximately 40% of the federally incarcerated women's population.
    It is not easy to go to these healing lodges, as I know after participating in a sun dance at one lodge that lasted four days and four nights. I participated with people who have been involved in the correctional system. During those four days and four nights, we allow neither water nor food to cross our lips and we pray in the blazing sun in June, July and August. These ceremonies go on across our country.
    It is these types of ceremonies that are held at many of the healing lodges. They allow people to reconnect with their spirituality, so they can find out what it is about themselves that is wrong, and also what it is in themselves that could be right and made whole, because one day they will be in our society.
    One of the issues that we are facing here today is the question of respect, and I am loath to raise this issue. I question if members of the House have the permission of the family to be using such graphic detail when describing this crime. I question if there is not a chance that we may be retraumatizing the family to a greater degree.
    Inducing fear is extremely easy, but if I went to church, these are not the things I would do. It might be good to do some fundraising. It might be good to hold a bake sale, where we could interest people in our political activities. But is it something that we want to have in the House of Commons?
    Another issue we face here is that when we deal with an individual case as Parliament, we are ignoring wider issues. Do we want to call the person referred to in this motion to the bar here? Is the opposition willing to call that person as a witness to answer for her crimes?
    These are questions that we have to answer, because when we start focusing on one individual case it becomes much harder to start focusing on the larger issue's impact.
    Should we have changes? That is important. I might not disagree with the Conservatives' that there might be a recourse or need to have some changes but should we be focused on this one single case?

  (1530)  

    I would also like to ask a few other questions. If we have an idea of retribution and retribution is our goal, perhaps we should remove all medium and minimum-security prisons and all halfway houses in our country. Maybe we should just put everyone in maximum-security prisons, as done in the 1850s, 1870s and 1880s. Maybe we should have corporal punishment in our prison system. Maybe we should make sure that the people who are locked up are locked up for an awfully long time and they regret and fear their time in that prison. Those are questions that I think we need to be talking about, because I think that is the fundamental idea the Conservatives are trying to get to.
    Madam Speaker, I am very disappointed to hear the comments by the member for Winnipeg Centre. He talked about the law having to be done. The law was done. The law passed judgment on Terri-Lynne McClintic and threw her behind bars with a life sentence without parole for 25 years. He says that he hopes we are respecting the family's wishes. Does he not know that Rodney Stafford, the father of Tori Stafford, is active on Facebook, and wrote to the Prime Minister, and is organizing the protests on Parliament Hill on November 2 because he is disgusted and outraged by the decision of this public safety minister not to intervene after the Correctional Service of Canada transferred the killer of Tori Stafford into the healing lodge?
     I am not taking anything anyway. I have a maximum, medium and minimum security facility in my riding. I have been in the minimum security facility where there is ongoing policing. The inmates do not live behind bars. It is supposed to be for those people who are ready to be reintegrated into society. Terri-Lynne McClintic is not there. She has been involved in all sorts of altercations and been subject to charges while she has been in prison, including assaulting other inmates. Therefore, I wish that this member would stand up and take action and vote with us against the actions of his own Minister of Public Safety.
    Madam Speaker, why do we not just bring her here right now and string her up right here in Parliament? Why do we not get a rope and just do it right here? I think that is what we are getting down to. Where do we draw the line? We can lock her up in maximum security for 24 years and let her out just a day before and put her in a minimum security facility. However, how is that going to actually make lives safer in this country? That is the question we have to get to.
    Mr. James Bezan: These people don't even usually make parole. It's what she deserves.
    Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette: Madam Speaker, I know the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman might talk loudly. However, I can talk louder here as well. I do not mind yelling about the vision I have for this country, which is one in which we work together.
     This individual has done some horrific and terrible things and should pay for her crime. I do not think there is anyone who is suggesting otherwise. What we need to get down to is the best way to ensure that she is not a danger to herself and other inmates within that federal penitentiary system, and also to society when she is eventually released.
    I did not want to interrupt. However, I want to remind the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman that he had and opportunity to ask the question. He may not like the answer, but at the end of the day, if he has another question, then he should get up and ask that question.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.
    Madam Speaker, I noticed that in the speech by the member for Winnipeg Centre, he remarked that healing lodges are an effective tool for the rehabilitation of inmates. Could the member speak more about why and how they are effective in doing so?
    Madam Speaker, I think any type of spiritual and religious experience is important for people. It could even be Christian. At the end of the day, if this centre allows someone to be even more successful when they reintegrate into society and contribute in some way, I think that is important for all of us. However, that process may take a long time. Do we want to have someone locked up for another 21 years who will not be a safe person within society or even contribute within the prison system? We want prisons to be safe places. We do not want to create prisons of fear. I remember reading back in the 1990s how people were so fearful of going to a prison, because they could raped, beaten up and killed there. Is this the type of place we want to have people coming out of into our society, where they have this amount of fear and have learned to act in these types of ways? I have heard time and again that people learn more bad than good in the prison system. I hope that is not true. However, if it is true, we have to recognize that eventually they are going to be living next door to us. If we are in downtown Winnipeg, they might be right there beside us. We are going to come out of our office building and they will try to get something off us. Therefore, we have to make sure that we create that safe society not only on the outside when they get out, but also inside that prison system. We cannot do it if we have a society based on retribution and absolute punishment all the time.
    We can pretend we want to hang someone, but why do the Conservatives not actually put that forward, that their real motion is about setting up the death penalty or something like that, because that is the fundamentally where they want to go with this?

  (1535)  

    Order. As all the members know, they should not be going back and forth, and they should not be heckling. I would ask that if individuals have questions or comments then they need to raise those at the appropriate time.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader.
    Madam Speaker, what I would first like to do is suggest to those who are following the debate to question the motive behind the motion before us today. For example, we often have opposition days where opposition parties try to figure out what issues are of great interest to Canadians. We know there was a trade agreement reached late Sunday night. We know the Conservative Party opposes many aspects of the trade agreement. We saw that today in the number of questions the Conservatives asked and statements they made, both inside and outside the Chamber. That would have been a fantastic opportunity for the official opposition to focus debate on an issue that directly impacts every Canadian citizen in our country. Every region of our nation is directly affected. It is something that is all about Canada's middle class and the well-being of our economy going into the future. The Conservatives appear to have a great deal of concern about it. The reality is, no doubt they are somewhat grateful. They just cannot admit publicly that there is an agreement, because they know it is in the best interest of all Canadians.
    As opposed to doing that, what we have witnessed today, and we have seen it through a number of different question periods, is a highly charged machine of rhetoric that is in play to try to push the emotions of Canadians and individuals following what is taking place here in the House. They believe they have an issue where they can show differences between the government of the day and the opposition.
    Our government has done more on this particular file than Stephen Harper did in 2014. Let me explain why. However, before I do that I would like to make something very clear in regard to Tori Stafford. The proper words escape my vocabulary in terms of how I could best describe how horrific an act it was. It is absolutely horrific. My heart goes out to the family. I do not believe there is a member of Parliament who would not agree just how outrageous those acts were.
    No member of Parliament should try to stand in his or her place and pretend they are more outraged about how brutal that murder was.
    Having said that, we need to look at what has taken place. The Conservative Party, back in 1992, put in place these healing lodges. At the time, they were given a great deal of credit. There are members from all sides of the House who recognize the true value of these healing lodges. Back in the day, members on all sides of the House understood that these healing lodges were a good thing for Canadian society. We all knew they were affiliated with medium- and minimum-security prisons. There is nothing new about that. Stephen Harper, when he was the prime minister, knew that. The last Conservative government knew that. What happened in 2014 was the murderer of Tori Stafford was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security prison.
    Mr. David Anderson:: No, she was not.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Yes, she was.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. There is no going back and forth. All comments, questions and speeches are to be done through the Chair. If anybody has questions or comments, they are to address them at the appropriate time, upon being recognized.
    Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, our corrections officials, our civil servants, back in 2014, made the transfer to a medium-security facility, which ultimately allowed for anyone attending those facilities to go to a healing lodge. That is the reality.
    Stephen Harper as prime minister knew that. Every Conservative member of Parliament knew that. There was not one peep, not one word. Based on what I have heard from the Conservative Party in the last few days, I would have thought that every one of them in that Conservative caucus would have been jumping up and down, yelling and screaming, preaching about how it is that could have possibly happened, because now the door was opened for a murderer of a child to go to a healing lodge. However, there was not one peep.
    Now, a couple of years later, just as the corrections staff and civil servants had made recommendations back then to transfer her to a medium-security facility, they came up with another transfer of sorts. They used what they are entitled to use, because that is what medium-security prisons are allowed to do, they can take individuals and transfer them to the healing lodges. We all know that.
    A decision was made here, and there has been a great deal of resistance to it. What did the Minister of Public Safety do? He ordered a complete review that will take us all the way back to when the individual was transferred from maximum-security to medium-security facilities. I would suggest that the Minister of Public Safety has done a better service to Canadians than Stephen Harper and the former Conservative government did back in 2014.
    The minister and this government understand what has taken place. The question then becomes, why do we have Conservative after Conservative jumping up and down, trying to give a false impression of the events? All the Conservatives have is politically charged rhetoric. They are trying to score cheap political points. That is what this issue boils down to for the Conservative Party.
    A thorough review is taking place. This government has initiated that review. This government will do what is in the best interests of Canadians, after receiving the reports. We are listening to what Canadians have to say about the issue. We are listening to the corrections staff have to say about what led to these decisions.
    One of the things we have demonstrated, time and time again, whether it is on this issue or others, is that we obviously have more confidence in our civil service. We consistently see Conservatives taking shots at our civil service. We recognize the valuable contributions that all civil servants make to our society.
     We recognize that it is not for the politicians to send someone to jail per se. We are not the ones who say that this person or that person should be investigated, get the RCMP to go in and investigate, and then have them thrown into jail because we as a political party that happens to be in government or in opposition say so. It should not be politicians who make that determination. We operate under the rule of law. I believe that is what the constituents I represent would want me to say.

  (1545)  

    Madam Speaker, I hope that everyone back in Winnipeg is watching how the member for Winnipeg Centre and the member for Winnipeg North have shown no compassion for the Stafford family. They have shown absolutely no common sense in trying to deal with the situation and reversing this bad decision. We have witnessed that they will fight for the convict, but not fight for the victim.
    I do not know if the member realizes that under the Victims Bill of Rights, Corrections Canada failed under the law to provide information. Every victim and their family has the right to information on what is happening with the convicted. The family was not informed eight or nine months ago when Terri-Lynne McClintic was transferred to the healing lodge out of a medium-security facility. She deserves to be behind bars.
     This is an opportunity for the member to do the right thing, to fight for the family rather than fight for his bureaucrats, to fight against a bad decision that was made by Corrections Canada. Why does he not follow the lead? When the Minister of Agriculture was the solicitor general he actually stopped a transfer of a notorious killer. Why does the Minister of Public Safety today not follow that example?
    Madam Speaker, the member just said that Liberals have not shown compassion. If he had listened to what I said, the compassion that Liberals have demonstrated, whether it has been the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety, myself or others, is genuine compassion.
    There is not one member of the House who does not recognize just how hideous a crime was committed and who is not absolutely disgusted by it. I have indicated on a couple of occasions how our hearts and our compassion go to the family of Tori. I would suggest that is genuine compassion compared to what we have seen from the Conservatives, who hope to get some political gain by their behaviour.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to share a quote from the hon. Irwin Cotler. At the time, he was the member for Mount Royal, previous minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. He was responding to the current minister's speech at second reading of Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights. He said:
     For victims and their families, navigating the path of justice...and parole, can be a very difficult ordeal, sometimes frightening and often costly. Victims may have experienced significant emotional or physical trauma as well as material loss, and most painfully, the loss of loved ones.
    As such, it is critical that our justice system and related departments and agencies treat victims with respect and sensitivity, appreciate their concerns, and minimize their burden.

  (1550)  

    Does the member have a question?
    Yes, Madam Speaker. To that end, the bill before us appears to be, in most respects, one more step in the right direction.
    How does the government justify its treatment of the Stafford family in light of these remarks by the hon. Irwin Cotler?
    Madam Speaker, I would recommend to my friend across the way that he read some of the debate that we had yesterday inside this beautiful chamber. We talked about enshrining the rights of victims in our military justice system to resemble the civil process. That means that our government has legislation enshrining rights of victims. Irwin Cotler was right back then, just like we as an opposition party were right back then, as we were right yesterday and as we continue to recognize the importance of victims. All the member has to do is read the legislation that we tabled yesterday and he will see it is an enshrinement of victims' rights in law.
    Madam Speaker, I am a little bit appalled by the member across.
    April 8, 2009, was the first day eight-year-old Tori Stafford was allowed to walk home by herself from her elementary school in Woodstock, Ontario. She never made it home. Instead, she was lured into a car with the promise of seeing a puppy. Needless to say, there was no puppy. Instead, Tori was brutally raped and murdered. One of her murderers pleaded guilty to first degree murder in 2010, making her eligible for parole after 25 years.
     In the eight years since her conviction, Tori's murderer has earned no rewards for good behaviour. However, in 2012, she pleaded guilty to assaulting a fellow inmate. She bragged about stomping on the face of a fellow inmate, bragging to her friends that she had committed hateful acts in prison. This is a person who needs to be in a secure prison.
    My colleagues can imagine the shock in my riding when it was announced that Tori Stafford's murderer had been transferred from a high-security prison to a healing lodge for aboriginal women in Saskatchewan. That is not the Conservative Party cranking up anything. It is the community that is upset.
     This is not a minimum security risk. This is a convicted killer who has been found guilty of horrific crimes, the types of things all parents are fearful of when they let their child walk home from school alone for the very first time.
    The focal point of the healing lodge is a spiritual lodge where teaching, ceremonies and workshops with elders take place. This is where women learn how to live independently by cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and doing outdoor maintenance chores. Each unit has a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchenette with an eating area and a living room. A constituent of mine pointed out that this sounds nicer than some apartments Canadians are working hard to be able to afford on their own, including his.
    We, as elected representatives, have an obligation and a responsibility to make it right when officials get it wrong. The decision to move Tori's killer from behind bars to a healing lodge, with no fence and with children living inside, is disgraceful.
    I have heard from countless constituents through email, phone calls and social media how disappointed they are in this decision. One writes, “I implore you to take quick action as a representative of this area to bring this issue forward for resolution, not only for the sake of the family involved but the families that have felt the impact of this heinous crime.”
    Another writes, “I feel so sick about this injustice about McClintic going to a medium security lodge. This is so wrong and Tori has been robbed of the idea of any justice. I'm saddened that this woman has been rewarded.”
    Madam Speaker, I am asking to split my time with the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood.
    Another constituent demanded, “Please do something to get McClintic back in jail and not in a healing lodge. That is absolutely ridiculous!” It goes on, “There's no way she should be anywhere but locked away for life and I feel quite sure you feel the same, especially considering it happened right here in our own community!”
     I think one constituent summarized it best. She wrote that she heard the Prime Minister get up in the House of Commons to explain that it was the previous Conservative government that was responsible for initially moving McClintic to a medium-security prison. She said that this was an empty excuse, because the Liberal government is now in charge, with a majority, and can get things done and reverse this decision.
     My constituents are speaking loud and clear, and they are right to. Canadians are appalled by what has happened. The government needs to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to reverse this decision. Canadians are outraged, and they know that parliamentarians, as their elected representatives, have the power to act.
    My constituents are demanding that I seek justice for Tori and take action to demand that the government return her killer to a high-security prison. Dangerous child killers belong behind bars. Canadians know that it is unacceptable to leave a child killer in a fenceless facility with other children.
    I rise in the House today to ask that the Liberal government reverse the decision that was made to move Tori Stafford's murderer to a healing lodge and to return her to a high-security prison.

  (1555)  

    Tori's father has made a plea, which has circulated thousands of times on social media, asking the Prime Minister to reverse this decision. It is important for his plea to be on record and for the House to hear what he has to say. He writes:
    My name is Rodney Stafford, father of kidnapped, raped & murdered 8 year old Victoria Elizabeth Marie Stafford.
    I plead to you as a father & a proud Canadian citizen who, even after this traumatic experience, tries to live a normal tax paying life.
     I really have to question our Federal Government as to why convicted child murderers, such as Terri Lynne McClintic, deserve more rights than their victims & law abiding Canadians? I may not have grown up living a perfect life, but I grew up to learn that I love the country I live in and I know right from wrong! It's a safe and beautiful country. Now I see so many hearts breaking because people are no longer feeling safety & reassurance within our laws.
    This is an ever changing world that hosts a whole new world of manipulative monsters that our nation needs to protect its citizens from! Terri Lynne McClintic is a dangerous predator, who has repeatedly engaged in violent altercations both within society & while incarcerated, boasting of not being able to do more damage!
    I would like to ask you , with no ill will, one question though if I may, “From father to Father...Could you kneel before your child's headstone, knowing they spent the last 3 hrs of their life begging & pleading for Mommy or Daddy to come save them, Alone [and] Scared? Can you sleep soundly knowing there is more injustice unfolding before you?”
    Is this enough to remember that not all issues are political? Some are moral!
    God bless & I pray for you to do the right thing, which is to ensure this injustice is reversed and a child killer is returned to prison to finish her sentence behind bars!
    Those are pretty strong words from Mr. Stafford, who was in my office again today. We hear from Canadians all the time about horrendous situations such as this, but in this case, it hits very close to home.
    This weekend, I spoke to my friend, the chief of police in Woodstock, and he is just appalled, as the rest of us are, and he felt the need to speak out. As we know, police chiefs do not typically speak out about matters in their communities. In this case, Chief Bill Renton felt that need and has certainly spoken out and made it very clear.
    This woman is not a shoplifter. She is not a car thief. She is a convicted, brutal murderer who lured this young girl to a very violent death. She played an extremely active part. She is the one responsible. She should be behind bars, and the healing lodge certainly is not the place for her. Healing lodges have a purpose, but it is not for people like her. There must be literally thousands of women out there in prisons who could utilize a healing lodge, but not this particular killer.
    Madam Speaker, what happened to Tori Stafford, and the pain and suffering her family have gone through, is unimaginable and breaks the heart of any soul in this country. The debate here today does not diminish the pain nor the loss. It is profound. We all get that. We all know that her killer is in custody and is not walking free.
    My question for the Conservatives opposite is very simple. Where was the concern for victims when the reports of 1,500 missing and murdered indigenous women became public? Talk to the parents and the family of Tina Fontaine. Where was the concern for that victim?
     Children are victimized in this country far too often. It is painful for every family who loses one. However, there seems to be a hierarchy of concern here. There were 1500 murdered and missing indigenous women, and we could not get police to investigate those cases, let alone convict someone.
    The indigenous community in North Bay had to dredge the river to find its missing children, and the party opposite, during the height of that crisis, said that it was committing “sociology” to try to solve that problem. Where was the concern for all the child victims in this country? Why are the Conservatives so selective?

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, that is just ridiculous. It is not what we are talking about here. If he had those issues back then, why did he not bring them up? I am talking about the murder of Tori Stafford. Every day we have other issues, but we did not deal with them today. That is not on the agenda. Trying to change the channel on this particular issue is appalling.
    Madam Speaker, I would echo what we have heard today, which is that the tragic events that unfolded in this particular crime were horrific, and our thoughts are obviously with the family.
    My question is about the individual who has been moved to a new facility. We know that this is the second time such a move has occurred. Ms. McClintic was moved in 2014. Is the member aware of what led to that move happening in 2014? Why did the Conservative government allow this individual to be moved from a maximum-security facility to a medium security facility in 2014?
    Madam Speaker, first, the government of the day in 2014 and the current government, to its own credit, were not made aware of those changes. We only became aware of this change when Tori Stafford's father put on his Facebook page that she had been moved to the healing lodge.
    The Conservative government, in 2014, was not part of that transfer. Perhaps if it had known, maybe we would have been. Maybe we would not have been. However, even then, when she was moved to that facility in 2014, it had bars. It had a razor wire fence around it. It was a secure facility, and there were no children there. That is our concern. In 2012, she was convicted of a brutal assault on another inmate. Maybe she should not have been moved in 2014, but the government of the day was not made aware of it.
    Madam Speaker, this happened in the member's constituency. This terrible, atrocious crime happened in his constituency, and I felt his heart cry as he gave his speech.
    The previous question was why the Conservative government did not prevent her from going to a medium-security facility that had bars, a prison cell and all of those things. The member rightfully answered that Conservatives were not aware of it at the time, which the hon. member finds very hard to believe. He is laughing. The Liberals must then believe that the current public safety minister was aware the moment she was transferred to a healing lodge, because they come from that perspective. I would ask the member for a point of clarification on that, please.
    Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I regret to interrupt the proceedings, but I want to point out for clarification that he said that I was laughing in response to that and—
    A point of clarification is not a point of order. Therefore, the member for Oxford will have a chance to respond.

  (1605)  

    Madam Speaker, with all due respect to all members, the government of the day is not made aware of moves within prison facilities for a variety reasons, the least of which is that probably hundreds take place every day. A government would not have that knowledge. Conservatives did not have that knowledge. I give the current minister—
    An hon. member: The benefit of the doubt.
    Mr. Dave MacKenzie: Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind that he did not know about this. I do not think he would have talked about “bad practices” by this person had he been aware of the whole circumstance. I think he answered with something that probably today he wished he had not. That is my guess. The government is not aware of it when it happens. It is only when it blows up, and in this case, the father is very indignant about it.
    Madam Speaker, normally I would say I am honoured to stand and comment on a matter at hand, but that is not the case here today.
    When this story was making headlines, not only in this country but all over the world, I was still in the media. It never occurred to me that one day I would have to tell the government of the day that it is making a grave mistake by allowing a child murderer to serve her sentence in a healing lodge. However, now it is my duty to do so on behalf of the constituents of Saskatoon—Grasswood.
    Canadians are rightly disgusted and outraged that a child murderer has been moved from a prison to a healing lodge with no bars and no fences, and where there are actually children. I have heard from many constituents of Saskatoon—Grasswood who have contacted me to implore me to advocate for innocent, law-abiding Canadians and demand that this child killer be put back behind bars.
    I am going to quote some of the wisdom of my constituents. I have received many phone calls and emails on this matter in my office in Saskatoon. I am going to share a number of them.
    Here is one: “I don't make a practice of writing my member of Parliament, but in this case I must let my feelings be known. I know I am far from the only one. I am totally sickened by the transfer of a child killer to a native healing lodge. I cannot imagine what this family is going through and how this case will remain in the spotlight for years. This woman...should be in that prison for 25 years. Please do not let this slide into oblivion.”
    Dean Hartley wrote, “This is not about process; this is about the decision and outcomes. Please continue to apply pressure to the Liberal government to reverse the decision.”
    Another of my constituents wrote, “Put Terri-Lynne McClintic back behind bars. She is a callous and sick child killer.”
    I heard from Nasha Spence, who wrote a very impassioned letter explaining her disbelief at the government's decision. This is just part of what she shared with me, and I wish to share it with the rest of the country and the House here today.
    Nasha said, “I was alarmed to read in the press that convicted murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic was transferred to a healing lodge in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. I am a mother of two girls approximately the same age as Tori Stafford when she was abducted, raped and murdered. As a parent I empathize with Tori's experience and the experience of her parents since that horrible day.”
    She asked, “Are we to understand that an individual who has actively participated in the rape and murder of a child is now in a facility with no fences to prevent her from leaving? Terri-Lynne McClintic belongs in prison. Maximum security prison. With no ability to leave and harm other children. Further, I am concerned that a child murderer has been sent to a Saskatchewan community where she is free to roam.”
    She pointed out, “Canadian families have the right to know the safety of our children is a top priority for our country's leaders. We have the right to live in a safe and just country. We also have the right to know that if a fellow citizen murders and sexually assaults a child in our community, that the felon will be held accountable. None of these rights have been observed in sending Terri-Lynne McClintic to a healing lodge in place of keeping her imprisoned for the full duration of her sentence. The punishment most certainly does not match the crime.”
     She went on to say, “Words are grossly inadequate to communicate the anger and frustration I feel about this decision. I feel like the justice system has done us all a grave disservice. I am interested to know what I can do as a concerned citizen, and what may be possible to overturn this decision. To be clear, writing a letter to the federal government is not appropriate advice at this point. Nothing short of action will be sufficient.”
    Nasha urged us “to understand that every child matters and needs our collective intervention when others are present that may do them harm.”

  (1610)  

    Those are very impactful words, and I would like to answer Nasha's question and tell her that writing a letter can be a powerful tool. Our collective intervention, as she refers to it, is an even greater tool.
    Another thoughtful and compassionate constituent of mine said, “I would really like to just reach out and hopefully let you know how much the thought of Terri-Lynne McClintic being moved to an aboriginal healing lodge in Saskatchewan is not okay!
    “Instead of just ranting on social media, which really doesn't help, I have decided to let every elected official that represents us know. At least I can feel I've voiced my opinion to the people that hopefully can represent how people are really feeling.
    “How can this even happen? She was convicted of first-degree murder with a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, not to living out her time at a healing lodge with access to children. This is disgusting.
    “Tori Stafford never deserved what happened to her and her family doesn't need to have her death slapped in their faces by this disgraceful transfer.
    “Please, I'm hoping with enough MPs questioning this, that it can be rethought, and this person can put back into prison where she belongs for the rest of her days.”
    I thank the numerous people who took the time to write their member of Parliament to have their voices heard, and to write to the governing Liberals. I know they, too, got many emails and letters in their offices.
    Let me close my remarks by saying this case is oddly reminiscent of another case in my city. Catherine McKay got drunk, three times over the legal limit, then got into her car and killed a family of four. She failed to stop at a stop sign, and hit the Van de Vorst family's vehicle, just north of my city of Saskatoon. Jordan, Chanda, two-year-old Miguire and five-year-old Kamryn were killed on January 3, 2016.
    I raise this because McKay pleaded guilty and was given a 10-year sentence. Catherine McKay was then moved from a prison to the same healing lodge, just a few months after beginning her 10-year sentence.
    Let me give another of the criteria for moving to a healing lodge. In order to get into a healing lodge, an indigenous offender must demonstrate an interest in traditional healing paths, and successfully complete various culturally appropriate interventions. I cannot imagine that Correctional Service Canada was able to make all these determinations in such a short time. There was a great deal of outrage in this case, too, in the province of Saskatchewan.
    I think we can see a pattern here. Canadians are outraged, and rightly so. They expect the government to do the right thing and make sure a vicious offender is behind bars. My constituents have exercised their democratic right to express themselves. They have written to the public office-holders who represent them.
    These are the voices of Canadians who believe dangerous child killers belong behind bars for life.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, I just want to go back to my interrupting you, perhaps inappropriately, and assure you and the House that when the member for Battle River—Crowfoot was responding to a question or asking a question, indeed, I was not the one who was laughing. I take this matter extremely seriously.
    My question is for the member. I asked the member for Oxford, who spoke before him, about the decision to move the prisoner from a maximum-security facility to a medium-security facility in 2014. He and the member for Battle River—Crowfoot, who asked a question after him, both acknowledged that the government of the day was not aware that that had happened.
    Could the member provide some input as to why the Conservative government of the day was not made properly aware of this, and why it did not respond appropriately at that time, at least appropriately in terms of the position the Conservative members are taking today?
    Madam Speaker, the family is notified first. I talked about the case in my city of Saskatoon, where a family of four was killed. The family members were actually notified first of a change. That is probably what happened in 2014.
     However, I should also say that in 2014, Terri-Lynne McClintic remained behind bars. She was not transferred at that time to a healing lodge. That would be my response to this. There is a big difference between someone being behind bars and being in a healing lodge.
    Madam Speaker, I find this whole day's debate to be deeply difficult and emotionally wrenching, and I believe the debate is misplaced.
    However, I want to ask my friend from Saskatoon—Grasswood this. The information we heard earlier today from the Minister of Public Safety was that the institution where the murderer had been placed before also had children attending.
    I do not know the correctional facilities of this country without doing research. However, I take the Minister of Public Safety at his word when he says that the murderer had been moved from a place that has children to another place that has children, based on the professional advice of the Correctional Service of Canada, during a period of time when the previous government was also responsible.
    I take those to be the facts, and I hate to feel emotionally manipulated.
    Madam Speaker, as we know, when this heinous crime was committed, she was placed in a maximum security prison. Then we heard that in 2014 she was moved from the maximum security prison to another prison that has bars. That was the situation back in 2014.
    I want to talk about this healing lodge because it is in Maple Creek, in the southwest portion of my province. Even Alvin Francis, chief of the Nekaneet First Nation, is shocked that Terri-Lynne McClintic was transferred to his lodge. He had no idea. He says it is not acceptable that band members are forced to trust federal prison officials to make the right decision.
     He does not feel the officials made the right decision transferring her to the healing lodge on his first nations property. Therefore, there is an instance here where we have to feel for the first nations band. As we have all said here today, the healing lodge has children, and he does not think it is acceptable.
    Madam Speaker, I have a brief question. We have heard that the Conservatives were not aware of what happened in 2014, when the convicted person was moved from a maximum to a medium-security prison. Given that information, I am wondering if the member can provide his feedback as to whether or not he thinks it should be politicians making these decisions, or the trained individuals who are currently making the decisions.
    Madam Speaker, the officials should be qualified enough to make decisions. However, when we have a situation like this, and I have just read a few of the concerns from my constituents with respect to this individual being transferred to the healing lodge, it is time for the public safety minister to stand up, make the right move, and make it quickly. He should not be saying that the government will be looking at it and studying it and may take weeks or perhaps months to make a decision.
    Members have heard from my constituents in Saskatoon—Grasswood that moving her from Maple Creek cannot happen soon enough.

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
    The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said that this was a most wrenching debate today and that it was covering a topic that many of us would wish we did not have to address. I have to agree. I do not think I have ever seen so much wiggling and whining from the government side of the House as I have today, its contortions in trying to justify why it is going to oppose this motion. The Liberals can do better than that.
    I want to put on record the motion, because we need to understand what we are talking about. When the Liberals start with their excuses, people need to understand that this is actually a simple choice. This is not a complex question of process over people. We have seen the Liberals talking about policy and processes all day and they have refused to put this little girl's interests and the interests of her family ahead of their own commitment to policy and process.
    The motion simply says:
     That, given Terri-Lynne McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder in the horrific abduction, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, and was moved from a secure facility to a healing lodge without fences and where the government has confirmed the presence of children, the House condemn this decision and call upon the government to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure this decision is reversed and cannot happen again in other cases.
    It is a simple request for the government to exercise the authority it has been given and reverse the decision. We know that can happen. The Correctional and Conditional Release Act, in two places, recognizes the minister has the power to do this.
    As I mentioned earlier, this has been a day of are we going to put people first here or are we going to put policy and processes ahead of them. I would argue that we need to take a look at the personal side of this and do the right thing in this situation.
    Tori Stafford was an eight-year-old little girl. She was walking home from her first day of school unaccompanied. She was picked up and taken out into the country, tortured, raped, murdered, buried there. Terri-Lynne McClintic was tried in 2010 and found guilty of first degree murder.
    This young lady had a history of serious issues and abuses in the past. One of the reports talked about how she had microwaved her dog, so this is not a person who engaged in bad practices, as the minister mentioned earlier. She was sentenced to 25 years. In 2012, she had a violent encounter with another inmate. Apparently she was going to a mentoring appointment and decided that she was going to take it out on another inmate. Her only regret was that she had not hurt the other woman more than she had.
    Correctional Service Canada has now transferred her from the Grand Valley Institution for Women. We have been misled all day by the Liberals' language. They know that Grand Valley is a combination maximum and medium-security prison. They have not talked about what part of that prison Ms. McClintic was in. She was moved from a maximum to medium prison, and the website for Correctional Service Canada defines the prison that way, to a medium- to minimum-security prison.
    Okimaw Ohci is in my riding. I have been there many times. I do not know what the definition of medium security prison is, but this prison has no walls around it and has no fences. It is in the rolling hills southwest of Maple Creek. The things that most Canadians would think accompany a medium-security prison are not present at the healing lodge.
    It is surprising that this person has the privileged status of being transferred to this healing lodge. It has been operating in my riding for years. The point of the lodge is to help young women to be reintegrated into society, to learn some of the skills they will need when they go back into society. Programs are in place. There is a horse program, classes, counselling and so on. There are aboriginal ceremonies. I have been part of those. I have also attended some of its open houses and we have eaten together.
    It is an open facility. It is called an open campus. There are individual cabins that inmates can spend their time in and they can have their children with them as well. It is a real privilege for offenders to be transferred to a facility like that. It is a surprise to me that this decision has been made. I do not know how it could come about so quickly when this lady has 13 years left in her sentence before she is even eligible for parole.
    When this came to light, people in my riding responded and reacted very quickly to it. I had calls from a number of leaders in communities, asking what they could do to get this reversed. They said it was crazy that this person would be moved to this facility.

  (1625)  

    Neighbouring towns and the administration of Maple Creek have called to express their concern. I have had calls from young mothers in Maple Creek saying that their children play out in their yards, and since the inmates of Okimaw Ohci get day passes into Maple Creek, they are asking if they need to change the way they look after their children. This is a result of the Terri-Lynne McClintic's being in their community.
    It has been fascinating to see the contortions the Liberals and NDP have gone through today to try to excuse their inability to support the motion we have put forward. It is my understanding that the Ontario legislature has already dealt with this unanimously and said that this decision needs to be reversed.
    We can talk about the human cost. All of us have seen the letter from Tori Stafford's father requesting the Prime Minister do what fathers across this country would like to be done, and reverse this decision and put this lady back into the institution where she was before.
    I have been most disappointed by the public safety minister. He gets up in the House and talks about all the policies and processes that need to be in place before he can move forward, and he announces a review. We know that the government specializes in consultations and reviews, but this is not a situation where we need to wait for a review. Canadians have been clear on this. Both the Liberals and the NDP are finding out from Canadians how far offside they are on this issue. Every response I have received is that one would have to be crazy to think this person can be left in an unsupervised setting, given her record and the things she has done in her life. We need to do something. We need to get this decision reversed.
    Yesterday we are talking about putting a victims bill of rights into the military code. As I spoke yesterday, the questions from the other side were all about the offenders. For example, they said we needed to find special ways of letting offenders off, to find ways in which they were not treated in the same way, and that we needed to find a different way of sentencing small groups.
    Today, when I was listening to the debate, all of the focus of the other side seemed to be on the offenders. That is a constant. There is very little thought about the victims. This morning, I heard one of our Liberal colleagues imply that to reverse this decision would affect the charter in some way. He said that it would be similar to having the RCMP monitoring and harassing MPs, and that somehow there is a parallel between the government taking its responsibility seriously and it just saying that it is going to reverse this decision. He sees doing that as having some sort of great impact on every Canadian's life. We need to have this decision reversed. We need to have it reversed as quickly as possible.
    Actually, it is time for the minister to step up. Those of us from Saskatchewan have been disappointed time and time again by the fact he seems to fail to represent Saskatchewan's interests. He is the person who comes from Ottawa back to Saskatchewan and tells us what Ottawa has told him. In this situation, it is time for him to really take some leadership for a change and step forward. As minister, as the person who has been given the responsibility for this, he needs to make a decision and reverse this decision.
    I want to talk a little about the authority that the minister has. The other side has left the impression that the government cannot make this change. We know that it is very simple. Under subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the minister has the authority to direct the commissioner of corrections in all matters. It is written clearly into the act. There is no room for excuses. There is no room for his saying he cannot do it, because he does have the moral, legal and political authority to correct this issue. That can include issuing a directive that a broad class of offenders, such as those convicted of the murder of a child, not be allowed to be transferred to such a facility. I heard the members opposite suggesting earlier that that was something they thought should be done.
    Okimaw Ohci is a minimum security prison. It is a prison where women go to be able to be reintegrated into society. It is not a place for Terri-Lynne McClintic. We need the government to do the right thing here. We need it to reverse this decision and put her back in the institution where she was before she was transferred to southwest Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, I am using the opportunity provided by this motion today to try to understand how things occurred the way they did when this particular inmate was moved, which might help inform us of how we could create better policies so this does not happen again.
    We have heard from others members that the Conservatives were unaware in 2014 that this person had been moved from a maximum to a medium-security facility. However, we did hear about it this time. We heard about it because a family member came forward with the information. Does the member think there could be a better way to make sure that information is moved around so we do not have to rely on this way of finding out? Is there a way to change the policy so this would not happen again in the future?

  (1630)  

    Madam Speaker, just because the member continues to repeat inaccurate facts does not make them more accurate.
    The reality is that she was in a maximum security prison. She was moved to Grand Valley Institution, which is a maximum/medium security prison. We do not know what part of the prison she was in. She has now been moved to a minimum security prison in my riding. There is no fence around this institution. If people chose to, they are free to come and go, and we trust that does not happen.
    I do not know if the member opposite is aware of this, but in 2015-16, staff members were basically held to account because they were found to have endangered their own children by bringing them to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. It is completely inappropriate that this woman is in a place where there is access to children. We do not have to go through the graphic details of what she did. We do not know why she did it, but given her history, I do not think those children are safe. We do not want her in that institution. We want her transferred back and put behind bars so those young people will be safe.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague made a really important point on which I want to seek clarification. The Minister of Public Safety has indicated very clearly that we are doing a complete review, which will even go back to 2014 when the decision was made under the Harper government to transfer her from maximum security to medium security.
    A couple of members of the Conservative caucus have now said that the Conservative government at the time had no idea that it had actually taken place. That is an important aspect of the review itself. The member across the way was part of the Conservative government. Could he say, to the very best of his knowledge or does he agree with his colleagues, that the Harper government had no idea the transfer had taken place?
    Madam Speaker, the interesting and I guess humorous thing about members on the other side is they are only too willing to try to blame everybody else for the things they have done. We have seen this all the way along. We just saw it earlier today in question period around NAFTA and those kinds of things. Wherever they stumble, they try to blame somebody else.
     The Liberals do not need to go back to 2014 to make this decision. They can make a decision today. Let us take her out of the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, put her back in Grand Valley Institution and this whole thing is solved.
    The Liberals want to do a complete review. How long is a complete review going to take the Minister of Public Safety to do? By the time this gets done, we will probably be past the next election. This is just an excuse for them to put off making a decision, to leave things the way they are and avoid the responsibility.
    Madam Speaker, could the member tell us his views on healing lodges? Is it appropriate to have healing lodges within our corrections system and is it appropriate to have that type of system within Canada?
    Madam Speaker, I talked about this earlier and I am not sure if he heard that when I mentioned it.
    The healing lodge is in my riding and has been operating for decades now. It is an institution that I have visited. It has had open houses. There have been ceremonies and different things to get programs in place. There is a horse program, programs on counselling, programs on teaching basic life skills and those kinds of things. It is an essential component for people reintegrating into society to learn those kinds of things. However, when somebody is 13 years away from qualifying for parole, it is probably not the right place for that person.

  (1635)  

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, The Environment; the hon member for Essex, International Trade; the hon. member for Saskatoon West, Public Transportation.
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to partake in this debate, but I do so with a very heavy heart. I had the opportunity to sit in the House all day today and listen to both sides of this debate. I say both sides because, certainly, my Conservative colleagues have all shared their disgust and horror that we have had to resort not only to this debate but that we have had to bring forward this debate in order to get some action. I am shocked, as are many of my constituents and Canadians all across this country, to witness yet another failure by the Liberal government. The Liberals have failed to do what is right. They have failed Tori Stafford's family. They have failed to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. They have failed our children.
    Nothing in this life is as important as the innocent, vulnerable children. As a father and soon to be grandfather, I have sat today putting myself into the position of a number of people, first, of Tori Stafford as the vicious rape and murder took place, and also of her parents. We must do absolutely everything and anything we can in our power to protect them. I repeat, the government has failed, and that is totally and frighteningly unacceptable. I strongly believe that a majority of Canadians, particularly parents and grandparents, would agree with me, and we are hearing from them. Countless numbers have emailed and called.
     We brought this motion to the floor today because of the deaf ear of the Liberal government. Why do we have to call upon the government to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure the decision to move Terri-Lynne McClintic is reversed and cannot happen again with others? Why does this murderer remain in a healing lodge without fences and with the presence of other innocent children, innocent children like Tori Stafford was? Why has the government not done the right thing and directed the commissioner of corrections to move this murderer back into maximum security to serve out the rest of her life sentence without eligibility for parole for 25 years? Why? That is the question that not only the opposition is asking but it is the question our constituents and Canadians are asking.
    This morning I listened very closely to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and her defence of her government in allowing Correctional Service Canada officials to determine the placement or transfer of offenders. She said it was not the elected officials' job to make this determination. If the Canadian public overwhelmingly believe that an error has been made, it is the government's responsibility to stand up and be counted.
    Clearly, under subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the minister has the authority to direct the commissioner of corrections in all matters. This would include issuing a directive that a broad class of offenders such as those convicted of murder of a child are not eligible for transfer to a minimum security facility or to a minimum-medium security or to a healing lodge, and as we have heard, one without fences, without bars, and without what we would expect from a normal maximum security penitentiary.
    Furthermore, the parliamentary secretary pointed out that it is our job to draft and approve legislation that provides clear guidelines and directives. It is our job as policymakers to propose and pass Criminal Code and Corrections and Conditional Release Act amendments to respond to the concerns and the demand of our electorate. However, in this particular case, those demands are for first-degree murderers to be placed and kept in maximum security facilities where they belong.

  (1640)  

    Under subsection 96(z.6) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the government could immediately pass regulations setting out the eligibility requirements for minimum security facilities and healing lodges. This could include prohibiting those convicted of murder involving a child. The government could do that, but unfortunately, we are having this debate here today because it will not, just as it will not vote in favour of this motion, as so many of my colleagues have implored it to do throughout this debate today. Why would the government not do that? It will not because, as previous Liberal governments have done, it has always and will always allow the scales of justice to be tipped in favour of offenders.
    I will have been in the House for 18 years as of this coming November. I served in opposition as the public safety critic from November 2000 until January 2006. I repeatedly stood in the House in that capacity to oppose legislation after legislation introduced by the previous Liberal government, legislation that created conditional sentencing which resulted in rapists and other violent offenders serving time at home. That is correct for those who are watching. Violent offenders were doing their time at home.
     I opposed legislation that made rehabilitation and reintegration the guiding principles of sentencing, as opposed to the protection of society. Reintegration and rehabilitation are much needed; that is unquestionable. We want to prepare those individuals as they go back into society, but our guiding principle must always be the protection of society.
    I could go on to make the point that successive Liberal governments have prioritized the rights of offenders over the rights of victims.
     It was the Harper government that created the office of the victims ombudsman, wrote the Victims Bill of Rights, eliminated section 745 of the Criminal Code, which gave murderers early parole eligibility and allowed for consecutive parole ineligibility for those convicted of multiple murders. It was fought the entire way by the Liberal opposition.
    It was a Conservative government that restored the scales of justice in favour of victims. Unfortunately, the present Liberal government has once again tipped the scales in favour of offenders, and murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic remains in a healing lodge. That is proof enough.
    How should politicians respond in a short period of time? There may be legislation that needs to be rewritten and amended, but what could politicians do? That is the question our constituents are asking us.
    Yesterday, the Ontario legislature at Queen's Park found a way. Yesterday, it unanimously passed a motion calling for the transfer of this individual to be reversed. This murder, this rape, this kidnapping took place in Ontario. Provincial MLAs heard the public's outcry, and all parties in the legislature in Toronto responded together, unified, unanimously. I commend them for that.
    Will the government, will the Liberal Party join with the provincial Liberals, NDP and Conservatives in condemning this decision? I very much fear that the answer will be no.

  (1645)