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Results: 1 - 15 of 960
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the town of Dover in my riding is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Recently, however, Dover had to say goodbye to one of its own. I rise today to pay tribute to a Newfoundlander and an east coast music legend, A. Frank Willis, who passed away at the age of 60.
He was born into a musical family and started playing the guitar and button accordion at an early age and played with his brothers in a band that performed locally. He went on to become an accomplished folk and country musician and was known as a one-man band. He entertained audiences all across our great country, bringing with him a sincere love and admiration of his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
He was a master showman and an accomplished writer who could paint a picture and tell a story in every song. In 1981, he won the People's Choice Award for the best country solo artist. He was also voted Newfoundland's entertainer of the year.
A. Frank Willis, known as one of Newfoundland's greatest exports to the mainland, will be sadly missed by his many friends, family, fellow musicians and audiences around the world.
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is under so many investigations it is getting hard to keep track. Now we learn of another.
The Public Service Commission has confirmed that it is investigating the Conservatives for stacking the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency with partisan political appointments of numerous close associates and former employees of the defence minister, further evidence of abuse, further evidence of contempt.
Will it ever stop with these Conservatives?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-644, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (funeral arrangements).
He said: Mr. Speaker, if my career continues I am sure that no one would say in my riding that there had been such zeal and zest as you have done over these past few years, and I thank you for it. I thank you for the tremendous example you have given me as a parliamentarian.
On my private member's bill, I do not mean to make light of the situation, but death and taxes are always a certainty. Unfortunately, when both are combined it is unjust, in my opinion. When it comes to funeral arrangements, I propose that the government get rid of the federal portion of the taxes required. It is an indignity.
I want to thank my hon. colleague from Random—Burin—St. George's who feels as passionately as I do about this. She is seconding this bill.
I leave this with the House as what is seemingly my final moment here to bring forward some legislation.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, for the final time in this Parliament, I am honoured to rise and present six petitions concerning the EI pilot projects.
Despite the mention in the budget, the petitioners from Twillingate, New West Valley, as well as Bonavista Peninsula, want permanency to the pilot projects, while working on claim and also best 14 weeks.
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to share a story that I have been thinking about a lot this week concerning the introduction of this very disappointing federal budget.
A number of years ago, after I sold my company and went to study abroad, I met a man from Namibia who asked me, “Where is my Canada?” I was very perplexed and asked him what he meant by the question. He said, “We used to look up to Canada more than any other country in the world. It used to be a model of good governance, economic success and global engagement”, and then he repeated his question, “Where is my Canada?” He said that Canada had lost its way and he hoped that we would find it again.
I reflected on that this week because I really do believe Canadians have been wondering where their Canada is, where the compassionate, progressive and fiscally responsible Canada is, the one we know and love. Where is my Canada?
We are speaking about the budget this morning and what we should be doing in our country and what our direction and vision should be for next year and the years ahead. I again reflect upon what my friend asked, “Where is my Canada?”
The government's limitless spending has generated the biggest deficit in the history of Canada. Under the Conservatives, the size of government has increased 40% in four years and there has been a huge growth in waste. Let me talk about some of the waste because I have been doing a lot of work on that in my responsibilities on Treasury Board.
The Conservatives spent more in advertising in the last year than all the beer companies combined. They have spent 9.35% more per year on what are called professional and special services than ever before. One of the most egregious examples is the Prime Minister's Office, which is spending $9.9 million more. It is an increase of 30%. That shows the kind of leadership in this country. There is 16% more being spent on cabinet, $9 million more of borrowed money, all wasted dollars.
So many people in our country need assistance in finding jobs to help their families who are struggling, and this is the best budget the Conservatives could come up with?
More irresponsible than the waste is the fact that the government still does not even have a plan to get us out of the record deficit of $56 billion last year. The Conservatives continue to tell Canadians they will retire the deficit in five years. However, the Liberals know differently. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has forecast an $11 billion deficit for 2015-16. We know how the government feels about the Parliamentary Budget Officer, but how does it feel about the International Monetary Fund, which also says that the government will continue to be in deficit in five years?
How can a government continue to defy two third-party financial analysts that say we will not be in surplus but in deficit. How can Conservatives turn their heads and say, “No, Canadians, we will be in surplus, not to worry”, especially when they did not give any assumptions in the budget for the cost of their megaprisons and the untendered fighter jets, or costs and analysis of what the corporate tax cuts will do.
While this record spending and waste are going on, our national debt continues to accumulate under the government. Under the Liberal government the national debt declined from 1997 to 2007, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest payments. However, in just three years under the Conservatives, all the hard work and sacrifices that Canadians made in the past decade have been wiped out. Already 13.5% of every taxpayer dollar is going to pay for interest, and it is going to get worse because we are continuing to add to the debt.
Clearly, the priorities of the Conservative government are not the priorities of Canadians. I have spent a lot of time speaking and engaging with constituents in my riding in numerous round tables and town halls and other meetings. The message I hear is that families need help: families need access to child care, families need better health care, and seniors need support to live with the dignity they deserve.
In my riding recently I heard of a 93 year old woman about to be evicted from her apartment, yet the Conservatives have not put in any money for affordable housing in the budget. How can that be?
The Conservative budget offers nothing for child care, nothing more for health care and nothing for affordable housing. For the very poorest seniors, the Conservatives will increase the GIS top up by only $1.64 a day. That would not get a person a coffee in this country. Compare that with the waste I spoke of, the costs that will be associated with these mega-style prisons and the costs associated with corporate tax cuts.
I see a lot of poor choices in the budget. I see $30 billion that we know of in untendered fighter jets. That is a thousand times more than the Conservatives are spending on post-secondary education. There are billions being spent on American-style megaprisons. That is a thousand times more than they are spending on youth crime prevention. There is $6 billion in large corporate tax cuts, yet there are $1.3 billion in cuts to CMHC and affordable housing. They are spending three times more on self-promotional advertising than on their supposed family care plan. It is simply atrocious. Canadians wonder where this will end. We hope we will be able to help that along soon.
There are a lot of issues, even in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador concerning this budget, and I will name three. There are cuts, for example, to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, $3.9 million over three years. ACOA is incredibly important to Atlantic Canada. It is important for our economic generation. It is important for community development. We need to restore the funding to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
The budget cuts funding for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans by an astounding $84.8 million over three years. We need more money for science. We cannot cut $84.8 million and expect to have the science required in this country to ensure that we have established stocks.
There is $6.6 million over three years being cut from Marine Atlantic. Marine Atlantic is a lifeline for my province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is our national highway. It is what links the island of Newfoundland with the rest of the country. It is just as important for goods and services all across the country as it is for goods and services in Newfoundland and Labrador. We must have a solid link between the island and the rest of the country. Yet there are cuts to Marine Atlantic.
Time is short and I wish I could go on and on. The Conservatives are spending billions upon billions on jails, on jets, on corporate tax cuts, but not on the priorities of Canadians. They waste money on advertising and ministerial offices. I told hon. members earlier about the increases. It is a great paradox, really, when we look at it. They spend more on their own, spend more on self-promotion and they take from Canadians.
It is not just about the waste. It is not just about the deficit. It is not just about the debt. It is not just about the wrong priorities. It is about the judgment of the government, the judgment of these Conservatives when they look at priorities for our country.
I started by saying, “Where is my Canada?” I think every Canadian should ask the same question.
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I was encouraged to hear that my hon. colleague shares some concerns.
As I said, Marine Atlantic is vital not only to the island of Newfoundland and the link between the island of Newfoundland and the country but also to the goods and services from the rest of our country coming to Newfoundland. I think that is critically important. This is not just something for the province of Newfoundland but for the whole country.
Absolutely, we needed a solid plan. It is a capital investment to ensure that we have the ferries to meet the constitutional obligations.
However, under the Liberal government there was a plan to purchase ferries. It was a different plan than what the Conservatives eventually went with, and we all know how that is turning out in Newfoundland and Labrador. We know some of the concerns. We have seen some of those things.
Yes, investments in Marine Atlantic are critically important. In this budget we are now seeing the Conservatives actually making some cutbacks, not to the capital side but to the actual operational side.
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I did point out in my speech that I am quite concerned about this accumulating debt.
I pointed out that between 1997 and 2007 Canadians sacrificed. We put a lot of effort into paying down our debt. We did not want to burden future generations. We did not want to borrow from our children.
Now, in three short years, the Conservatives have added to that, taking us right back to the point where we were 10 years ago. It does concern me greatly that we are continuing to add to that debt.
If the Conservatives need some assistance in identifying some of the waste within the government and how that waste could be recovered to ensure that we do not have a deficit, I would be happy to help them out. I was pointing out waste all throughout the fall.
There are choices in our country. I think that is what my hon. colleague is pointing out. We are certainly hearing that interest rates will rise, and as they rise the fiscal capacity of our country is going to be limited. At a time when the government is choosing to spend on untendered fighter jets and corporate tax cuts, that will not allow it any money for other priorities in the country.
View Jack Harris Profile
View Jack Harris Profile
2011-03-24 14:49 [p.9206]
Mr. Speaker, another day, another investigation into Conservative corruption.
Party insiders close to the defence minister have received senior jobs with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. One is even getting up to two years of French training on full salary before he starts work in P.E.I. ACOA is an agency of the Government of Canada, not the Conservative Party.
The Conservatives have appointed Conservative bagmen to the Senate, kept a known fraudster in their inner circle, and now there is more evidence of patronage run amok.
What happened to their promise to clean up Liberal-style corruption?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand here and talk about this issue. It is one that has concerned me for some time, and certainly for the past five years.
I congratulate my colleague on her speech, as I support this. The identification and definition of exploitation is certainly a serious issue around the world that we struggle with in many jurisdictions. It is nice to see that we have legislation, albeit a private member's bill, that brings us in line with what many jurisdictions around the world are doing, especially in Europe right now as they look at that.
Some of the details around section 279 also concern me, but I do believe that in this particular situation we need to provide the identification of this for the international and domestic victims of human trafficking. The member pointed out, quite rightly in her speech, just how severe this is and how it ranks third to weapons and drugs.
I like this because now we can have a wholesome debate about the rehabilitation and identification of these victims so they can get the help they need. Specifically, we had a debate before regarding punishment, and I congratulate my colleague in the government for doing that at the very beginning.
I do want to add to this debate by talking about the social concerns. My opinion is that we need to open up a discussion with provinces for the services provided to victims.
View Scott Andrews Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Scott Andrews Profile
2011-03-23 14:15 [p.9129]
Mr. Speaker, from the overcast skies of St. John's this morning came the government's Challenger jet. Why, we might ask? It is to allow the desperate government to make a quick pre-election announcement. While the Minister of National Defence ducked inside the terminal for a quick political photo op, he kept the Challenger idling on the tarmac for two hours.
The government spent over $70,000 to fly the Challenger to St. John's. It has lost focus and has abandoned seniors, students, families and hard-working Canadians. It is so ironic that the minister neglected the opportunity to tell Newfoundlanders about the proposed cuts in his budget.
Why did the minister not tell them that his government plans to cripple Marine Atlantic? Why is he gutting the DFO budget? Why did he not tell them about the huge cuts to ACOA?
Government ministers want to tramp around the country on expensive jets making commitments that we cannot trust. We want permanent EI pilot projects and meaningful GIS increases for our seniors. The government is failing Canadians.
Once again, the government has been busted abusing its authority and demonstrating nothing but contempt for taxpayers, but Canadians will not be fooled with these election goodies.
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we now know how the Conservative government will pay for its corporate tax cuts, American-style prisons, and untendered fighter jets. It is cutting services in Atlantic Canada by closing Service Canada sites, cutting $7 million to Marine Atlantic, cutting $32 million to ACOA, and cutting $85 million to Fisheries and Oceans. The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council said that there was little in this budget of direct benefit to Atlantic Canada.
My question is this. How did the Atlantic Conservative MPs allow this to happen?
View Siobhan Coady Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I can tell him how they feel about the increases in payroll taxes.
Not only is the government slashing and burning funding for Atlantic Canada, now we also find out about more abuse of power. The Conservatives are under investigation by the Public Service Commission for stacking the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency with political appointments.
Is there no end to what the Conservative regime will do to reward its own? Has it no shame?
View Todd Russell Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Todd Russell Profile
2011-03-22 14:29 [p.9107]
Mr. Speaker, on March 21, the Indian affairs minister announced his supposed plan to address water safety in first nations communities. The announcement was full of self-praise. It was announced in 2006, five years ago, long enough for the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, Bruce Carson, to come up with a scheme to cash in on the water woes of first nations communities.
Selling water filters or selling access to power, it was all just business as usual, but this time for the Prime Minister's right-hand man.
How far does this rot go?
View Todd Russell Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Todd Russell Profile
2011-03-22 14:30 [p.9107]
Mr. Speaker, first nations communities are suffering from poor water quality and need action, not Conservative insiders hawking their wares, not Conservative insiders breaking the Conservatives' own lobbying rules and not a half decade of Conservative inaction.
How can the Prime Minister or anybody on that side expect us to believe they did not know what Bruce Carson was up to? How could the Prime Minister and his ministers turn a blind eye to this serial scam artist who tries to profit off the backs of aboriginal people?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to this particular issue about citizen's arrest and the events that precede it.
We are here today to look at an amendment to section 494 of the Criminal Code. In my opinion, we are righting a wrong by doing this. I fully support this idea and fully support this bill.
There have been several episodes in history where this has been looked at and analyzed as a way of fixing an issue that has arisen due to one particular case that was featured in the city of Toronto. That was the story of David Chen. There has been a lot of media attention around this situation and his particular circumstance. If I may, I would like to talk about that very briefly.
In his security videos and from his own personal observations Mr. Chen noticed a particular individual time and time again stealing certain merchandise. The perpetrator was known in the area for having committed certain crimes. As a result, he appeared very suspicious.
The perpetrator went to Mr. Chen's place of business and stole a particular item. He then returned a half hour later only to be confined by Mr. Chen. The police moved in right away, but they went after Mr. Chen, not the perpetrator. As a result, there were several charges laid that we have talked about in detail. I will get to that in just a moment. The important fact is that Mr. Chen made the citizen's arrest after the incident had taken place. Therein lies the meaning of this particular legislation, and I am sure many Canadians would agree, that a certain period of time be allotted to act upon this or that there is a reasonable amount of time allotted wherein one can make a citizen's arrest.
The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to allow private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property to arrest a person they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property within a “reasonable amount of time”. This power of arrest is permitted only in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible for the arrest to be made by law enforcement officials. Therein lies the other part of this, which is to say that in the case of Mr. Chen, which is the example we are using, he was put in a position where he was called into action. There were no peace officers there at the time. Therefore, in the absence of law enforcement officials, his judgment call was to make a citizen's arrest on that particular person he felt would steal something from his business. I imagine most of us would feel that his acts are justified.
As a result of this action, therein lies the crux of this particular amendment, which talks to the reasonable amount of time one has to do this. Currently, the legislation deals with the acts or actions one may take in making a citizen's arrest within a specific period of time. Therefore, the emphasis is on the particular amount of time that one has to make a citizen's arrest.
If a person, having witnessed a crime wherein the perpetrator has left the scene only to return, in David Chen's case it was 30 minutes, feels that he or she must take action, I believe the majority of Canadians feel that making a citizen's arrest at that time is indeed justifiable.
This has been an issue since I believe September 27, 2009, when the minister originally mused about it. As a result, almost two years later we are now looking at the legislation being tabled as we debate it in the House.
There does not seem to be a tremendous amount of debate here as the government put this bill forward and the Liberal Party and the NDP have endorsed it. Of course there have been private members' bills from the Liberal Party, by my colleague for Eglinton—Lawrence, and also my colleague from the NDP in the riding of Trinity—Spadina reflecting this issue.
As many people can imagine, there are some concerns around the term “a reasonable amount of time”.
Every time we talk about legal issues and legislation that makes an amendment to the Criminal Code, we always talk about and sometimes consider what is a reasonable amount of time and actions that are deemed to be reasonable in a court of law. Therefore it is open to interpretation.
Because we are at second reading of the bill and by accepting this in principle, it would now be sent to committee to find out what is a reasonable amount of time and to flesh out some of the parameters around this piece of legislation.
There is a certain amount of ambiguity that constitutes what is a reasonable amount of time between when an act of violence is committed and when a citizen's arrest is made.
We know that some police officers have raised concerns in the past about this legislation. We certainly look forward to hearing what input they bring to this and I will get to a few examples in a few moments.
Many months ago this issue was moved on when we saw the situation with David Chen. Private member's Bill C-547 was introduced by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence. We now find ourselves debating a government bill but two years ago we were dealing with all kinds of amendments to the Criminal Code. How this issue did not manage to pop up in the debate over the two-year period is slightly questionable.
The amendments that are being made, whether they be mandatory minimums, whether they be Internet crime and things we have seen over the last little while, especially when it comes to mandatory minimums, there has been a lot of debate in the House regarding amendments to the Criminal Code.
I am not a lawyer, but nonetheless I have heard from many legal experts who have said that the Conservatives could have done all of this in a much shorter period of time if they had done the amendments through, say, four, five or maybe even six bills as opposed to the 15 to 20, in that range, that we currently have. This could have been done two years ago, or the Conservatives could have accepted my colleague's private member's bill at the time. That probably would have been the most prudent way to go. Nonetheless, we find ourselves in the House today debating this legislation.
I look forward to what will be talked about at committee. I talked earlier about the ambiguity surrounding this. In the circumstances, we do have a legitimate concern to be addressed, but nonetheless, the principle of the bill is a sound one, which is the ability for citizens to make arrests. The situation with David Chen in Toronto is really an illustration of why we are debating this and why, I assume, most members of the House accept the bill in principle.
The incident of David Chen took place in October 2010. At that time there was a lot of debate and it received quite a bit of notoriety from coast to coast to coast. As a result of that, the debate became apropos of the times. Citizen's arrest is something we talked about. It has not been as publicized as it is now. The David Chen video tapes became news everywhere. I am from Newfoundland and Labrador and it was a big story there as well. It was featured prominently. It was not just a local Toronto story. Therefore, the issue gained that much more weight as a result of it.
The Criminal Code allows for a citizen's arrest as it stands right now. The amendment to section 494 would address that, but where an individual is caught in the act of committing a crime on a person or property and a citizen immediately detains the subject, therein lies the current state of the Criminal Code which addresses a citizen's arrest. The provision allows for an arrest to occur without having to wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene. There are several examples over the years that would address this. Certainly an amendment to section 494 would address the situation regarding a reasonable amount of time. There is no doubt in my mind that a reasonable amount of time, which was illustrated by the David Chen case, perfectly justified a citizen's arrest. I believe the time was 30 minutes after the first encounter.
Therefore, in that particular case, it illustrates that a reasonable amount of time would be justified by this amendment. However, to put the parameters around this particular piece of legislation requires it going to committee and I look forward to hearing the debate on that.
The bill would also expand the scope of a citizen's arrest to allow for such detention to occur within a reasonable amount of time. It is not clearly defined what constitutes the reasonable amount of time, which will certainly be debated. The bill states clearly that no individual is entitled to use excessive force in the process of detention of another individual.
There have been other groups and stakeholders who want to discuss this as well and I am sure they will be given ample opportunity once they arrive at committee. I implore all my colleagues to support this bill in principle and send it to committee.
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