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Results: 1 - 15 of 192
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-25 10:26 [p.9248]
Mr. Speaker, it is with some sadness that we are all involved in this debate today. It is a historic moment that a government of Canada is being found in contempt not just of Parliament but of the Canadian people.
All members come here in an effort to represent constituents back home. There is a list of concerns and serious allegations, some of them being founded by the public prosecutor charging four Conservatives and two may likely go to jail, cancelling the long form census, and firing independent government officers and agents.
Members are meant to hold government to account. It concerns me that just last night an email was leaked from the Minister of Industry who instructed his Senate colleagues to kill the generic bill for drugs to Africa. That is very similar to how the government instructed its people in the Senate to kill the climate change accountability act introduced by the leader of the NDP.
A government is being found in contempt, which has never happened before. There have been bad governments, lying governments, and contemptuous governments in this country before, but the present government has achieved this low bar of ethics and morality. How is it we find ourselves in this position and what must we all do collectively to never allow this to happen again?
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-25 11:12 [p.9255]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Frank Howard, who passed away recently on March 23.
Frank was first elected to the provincial and federal governments in 1957 and served this place for 17 years as the representative for Skeena.
He was a logger and a trade unionist. He fought as a lead advocate for modernizing Canada's divorce laws. Equally as important, he fought to bring the vote to first nations people in this country for the first time.
He believed that average, ordinary working Canadians could achieve the highest levels of office and effect change. He believed in the courage of one's convictions, and that a smart intellect and a strong principled character could make change happen in this country.
He was a courageous man and offered me advice from time to time that I greatly appreciated.
We will all miss Frank Howard. He was a great man and a great parliamentarian.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-25 13:05 [p.9273]
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions today. One petition is to ban the presence of north coast oil tankers leaving Canada's west coast. This is a petition against the Enbridge project as it is currently proposed.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-25 13:05 [p.9273]
Madam Speaker, the second petition, which is important, deals with the issue of the decommission of two Coast Guard vessels, one in my riding in Prince Rupert, where this petition comes from, and a second vessel on North Vancouver Island where the current member there once opposed this decommissioning.
I was speaking with Ronna-Rae Leonard just recently and she is opposing the decommissioning of the Point Race and will vehemently oppose the government's efforts to make the waters in British Columbia less safe by this action.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-23 15:59 [p.9144]
Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's comments and the questions coming from the government members.
It is interesting to hear them suddenly concerned with costs of a meeting when they expressed no such concerns about costs of building many prisons across this country. This coming from a Conservative government that claims to care about the economy and about taxpayers' dollar.
When the Parliament of Canada clearly asked the government for documents, for four months it decided not to provide them. At the eleventh hour, we saw another barrage come from the minister.
What we are debating today is contempt of Parliament. For many Canadians not familiar with the procedures of this place, which can be arcane, I thought I would look up “contempt”, so that we could help folks, particularly the Conservatives, understand what it is they are being charged with by this Parliament.
A lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. Open disrespect for a person or a thing. Open disrespect for what this Parliament stands for.
The principle role of Parliament is to hold the government to account, regardless of party affiliation. Conservatives should be as occupied with this question of costs in building new prisons as the opposition members are.
I can remember, Madam Speaker, and you will as well, somewhat fondly, the Conservative government filibustering a climate change bill that simply asked the government to report on its efforts on climate change. That is what the bill did. The Conservatives held it in committee for months, saying that a report needed to be costed, that they would not pass any bill that had not been properly costed. I remember it well because day after day they filibustered the committee trying to do its work in an effort to fight dangerous climate change.
Now we come to this, something that obviously costs money and the government has shown contempt, not just for the members of Parliament but for who we represent and for this very place. Why suddenly this concern for costs of a meeting when we are talking about billions of dollars and contempt for our very democracy?
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-22 14:46 [p.9110]
Mr. Speaker, the truth is that Carson never left the Prime Minister's inner circle and the money is still flowing.
This is a man who was given $15 million of taxpayers' money to orchestrate the green washing of the oil sands with government and big oil. At the table were senior members of the government along with industry executives.
Everyone knew that this man was still connected to the Prime Minister, that he had the blessing of the Prime Minister, and that he had the confidence of the Prime Minister.
How can the government be trusted when it puts so much faith in someone with such an obviously broken moral compass?
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-10 14:57 [p.8911]
Mr. Speaker, along with the NDP and Canadian doctors, now the Confédération des syndicats nationaux also opposes the mining and export of asbestos. Unfortunately, the Conservatives and the Bloc continue to support this industry for the worst political reasons. The asbestos industry is ruining Quebec's and Canada's reputation around the globe. It is time to create a transition plan for the workers in the region.
Will they put an end to the hypocrisy and stop funding the industry?
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-08 10:06 [p.8753]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition from folks in the Kelowna and Victoria area. This is yet another petition, with which our office has absolutely been flooded, from Canadians expressing serious and dire concern of the government's plans to allow an 1,100 kilometre pipeline for raw bitumen coming from Alberta to the port in Kitimat and then the supertankers that would carry that raw bitumen through the north coast in some of the most treacherous waters in the world. Some members in the House will be aware of the concerns expressed by people all along B.C.'s coast and into the interior.
The petitioners are calling on the government to finally enact in legislation the ban on supertankers on B.C.'s north coast, no longer providing the uncertainty both to industry and to communities.
The petitioners recognize the important and fragile nature of the north coast ecosystem, as even the Conservative government does from time to time.
The petitioners number in the many dozens.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-08 10:21 [p.8755]
Mr. Speaker, my comments follow on those of my Liberal colleague who has properly argued the case against the parliamentary secretary in terms of what is disallowed, whether it is in front of the courts or not.
The members of the Conservative Party know that well because they themselves brought forward motions of a similar nature when issues were before the court. When in opposition, the Conservative Party also argued for a wide latitude in the use of supply day opposition motions, because they are an opportunity for opposition members to raise questions of the government.
Mr. Speaker, the central point I wish to raise is one which I am sure you will be looking at. O'Brien and Bosc on page 854 requires that:
The Standing Orders give Members a very wide scope in proposing opposition motions on supply days and, unless the motion is clearly and undoubtedly irregular (i.e., where the procedural aspect is not open to reasonable argument), the Chair does not intervene.
The government, in preparing its submission today to try to subvert the debate on the so-called in and out scheme, has attempted to curtail the ability of the opposition to have a fulsome debate as to what exactly happened. The implication is there are members sitting within the Conservative caucus who are implicated directly by the public prosecutor in this very matter.
The issue that is being raised is an integral one for all of us, which is that when we have elections in this country, they are fought fairly and within the limits of the rules. Spending limits, for example, are not exceeded. We have very clear and strict laws on this. The Conservative Party used a procedure, a scheme, in which money went in and money went out of bank accounts, sometimes within 12 hours. We know the Conservatives knew it was wrong but they did it anyway. Now we wish to have a debate about the integrity of the election that was fought under those types of misdeeds.
It seems to us that in testing the government on supply days, which is why we are here today, a wide scope and latitude is required. We need to have that. I am sure when the Conservatives return to opposition they will be arguing the same thing. It is not for the Chair to intervene on the scope of that, again except where procedural aspects are not open to reasonable argument. That is what our directive is in this place. That is how we craft ourselves. The Conservatives had all weekend to think about this. They are only bringing the argument forward at the eleventh hour with the hope to yet again subvert debate in Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, we ask for your careful consideration of this, but obviously New Democrats are in favour of this debate going forward.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-08 13:06 [p.8776]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Conservatives around precedents.
There was a member of the cabinet in the House of Commons who was alleged to have done something wrong. She now sits as an independent. The Prime Minister removed her from cabinet and then quickly thereafter removed her from the party. Conservative senators who will be in the Conservative caucus meeting tomorrow had the public prosecutor and the RCMP banging on their door. They have been charged. Of course they have to go before a court and the charges have to be proved. Does it not seem to my hon. colleague somewhat strange, if not hypocritical, for the Conservatives to kick out some people who were under allegations and were never charged with anything, as in the case of the member who is now an independent, whereas they are comfortable having in the caucus other folks who have been charged by the public prosecutor who is an arm's-length non-partisan public official? They are being charged with defrauding the Canadian people in the midst of an election. That is pretty serious for those of us who are concerned with democracy.
Is my friend not concerned with his party's seemingly hypocritical stance on one person being alleged to have done something wrong and tossed out of caucus but two Conservative senators, who are bagmen, are being allowed to stay and advise the Prime Minister?
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-07 12:01 [p.8696]
Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway has issues in his riding about what we sometimes call petty crime, or theft under $5,000.
As my colleague correctly said, the idea raised in this bill originates with the member for Trinity—Spadina who has worked long on the issue of how to treat a citizen's arrest. This bill applies not just to shopkeepers and small business owners but to homeowners as well. New Democrats put forward this idea to a government that spends the vast majority of its time talking about crime issues.
There is a gap in the law. What happens when a citizen makes an arrest outside the immediate event itself? If an hour or several hours have gone by, the law changes. It does not allow for the same citizen's arrest.
Sometimes when a crime is committed the store owner or the homeowner sees the person who committed the crime but no police are available. It is important for people to understand that if police are available or there are reasonable grounds to expect a police officer to be available to make the arrest, that is the preferred course. Police officers are paid and trained to do that type of work. It is a dangerous thing to make a citizen's arrest. It is provocative. It can be very intense. It can also be quite physically dangerous for both parties involved. It is not ideal.
We are suggesting that if the government wants to make this change, we will allow the bill to be split and fast-track this part immediately through Parliament. We have not heard from the other parties yet as to whether or not they are interested in doing this, but it is critical. The part that we want to fast-track is the piece that we all agree on. It does not need further study. We are suggesting that if a citizen's arrest is not made in the process of the crime being committed but sometime after that, it would still be permissible for a citizen to make an arrest without fear of being charged with assault or confinement or whatnot.
We again plead with the government that if it wants to get something done, this is an opportunity to do it.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-07 12:05 [p.8697]
Mr. Speaker, people should understand that there are three main parts to this bill. We are suggesting fast-tracking the third part through the process because there is little debate around it. The experts agree this is something we could do, which would be to allow more time to elapse between the crime being committed and the citizen's arrest being made. The first two parts of the bill are in need of study. That is what is likely to happen with this bill.
I have not heard too many of the opposition members speak, but the bill is likely to get through second reading. However, with the way laws work and the process we have in Parliament, that is going to take some time. The government is thereby jeopardizing its own bill, which was based on the work by the member for Trinity—Spadina. Within the next couple of weeks we will be facing a federal budget, which hangs in the balance. We do not know if it will pass or not. We do not know if there will be an election in a few weeks.
If the government is sincere about doing something about this issue, New Democrats have offered it a path forward. If it does not do that, then it is the government's choice.
However, the government says it wants to make some change happen for average ordinary Canadians. Canadians read the morning newspaper and ask why Mr. Chen in Toronto, or some other shopkeeper, was charged with wrongful confinement, kidnapping essentially, for having wrestled to the ground a fellow who came back a second time to steal more from Mr. Chen's shop. If the government really wants to make that change happen, let us do something about it. It is an error in the law and we can correct that error.
The other two parts of the bill need study. We would be happy to study those parts and bring in witnesses.
My hon. colleague from Western Arctic is right. The government is loath to bring forward evidence. On other crime bills, we ask for two things. We ask the government to show us any research to show it is going to be effective, because that is important, and we also ask what it is going to cost. Those questions are seen as reasonable ones to Canadians: is it going to work and what is the bill going to cost?
The government does not do that when it comes to crime bills. When we bring forward issues around repairing the social safety net or improving environmental regulations in this country, all the Conservatives want to know is what it will cost, but when it comes to crime, they seem to forget that mantra. They do not seem to care. We find that offensive to the intelligence of Canadians.
Those are two simple questions on any bill: is it going to work and what is it going to cost?
On crime, those guys have their blinkers on. It is ideology over any kind of intellect. That has to change for the government to gain any kind of support from other parties.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-07 15:15 [p.8723]
Mr. Speaker, I am adding a group of petitions to an already sizable number signed by Canadians who have written to the minister and to the government. These petitioners are from Prince Rupert, Victoria and Nanaimo.
They call upon the government to finally enact a legislative tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia, in light of the threat of a proposed raw bitumen pipeline from Alberta to B.C.'s north coast.
The petitioners, many dozens of whom are British Columbia residents, consider this to be an area that deserves the protection and the attention of the Canadian government, which has already recognized the area for a federal park and a marine park.
The petitioners strongly urge the government to immediately legislate a ban on bulk oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-07 17:38 [p.8741]
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague.
When we look at the aspect of citizen's arrest, one of the problems we have seen with the law is the time limit component, which one part of the bill deals with quite explicitly.
From the member's speech and others from the Liberals, the Bloc and certainly from the New Democrats, because it was the member for Trinity—Spadina who came up with the suggestion, and the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, who will be speaking soon, it seems there is agreement.
The idea was to extend the time allowed for someone to make a citizen's arrest, so that if the alleged theft happened at two o'clock and the person missed the offender right at that moment, at three, four or five o'clock the person would be able to make that citizen's arrest if the person was not able to secure some support from the police. That is the piece where we seem to have agreement from the other parties, and obviously from the Conservatives, because they put it in the bill, although they took it from the New Democrats which is fine.
Can we not simply fast-track that element of the bill that does not seem to require a great deal of study or hearing of witnesses? We could then study the other two parts that have more nuance on how they get applied. Would that be something the Liberals would support? Since the Liberals are clearly in support of the case of Mr. Chen and others like that around the country, a little more permission on the time aspect would be supported by all members in the House and we could get this bill done even before the budget is seen by this place.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2011-03-04 10:31 [p.8663]
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the Minister of Justice on this bill. Our member for Trinity—Spadina has obviously been out front and centre on this and introduced a bill just prior to this that looks, in some parts, similar to what was introduced today by the minister.
I think the principle here is that we never want to create a situation where a victim is turned into an offender under what we would call reasonable grounds, that is, where someone who is attempting to defend themselves, their family, or their property, becomes a criminal themself. The minister did not mention it specifically, but the case of the Lucky Moose is something that has received attention. The prosecution in that case was over-zealous and brought exaggerated charges. A charge of kidnapping was a bit much and clearly out of line with the public's understanding of what the owner of that property was trying to do.
I have a couple of questions for the minister. Here I would say that I think that when this place is at its best, it takes good ideas and we go back and forth and try to understand how to make decent ideas better.
One question is about the education of the public. If we are going to change the way that people can defend themselves or their property and how much further they can they go in doing a citizen's arrest, I think it is incumbent upon the government to make sure that the public clearly understands where its rights have now been extended to. We do not want to have any situation later on where somebody goes too far in the spirit of this bill and causes grievous bodily harm.
If we proposed certain changes to this bill, potentially even hiving off sections of it to fast track, because we are facing an imminent budget, et cetera, would the government be willing to discuss the fast tracking of elements of the bill, on which I think we could find some consensus to move quickly through the process?
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