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View Barry Devolin Profile
The hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc is rising on a point of personal privilege.
View Barry Devolin Profile
The Chair thanks the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc, and I think I can speak on behalf of all members that he will be missed. He has made a positive contribution to this place.
View Rick Dykstra Profile
View Rick Dykstra Profile
2015-06-19 10:09 [p.15334]
Mr. Speaker, before I speak to Bill C-53, the life means life act, I first want to thank the member for Edmonton—Leduc not only for his service to our country and to his riding for the last 15 years, but also for his friendship.
There is not a lot said about the relationships that are built here when we get elected. Those relationships are not just found among parties. There are relationships and friendships that are built over the period of time that we serve here on behalf of the people from our communities. The member has become one of my close friends, and I wish him all of the best in his future endeavours.
I also thank him for his time and his commitment to his riding, his community, and his country. It was clear when we heard him speak a moment ago that he is very passionate. He remains as passionate as he was as a young man entering this chamber 15 years ago. He may be a little older now and he may have a little more grey hair, but he is certainly just as passionate about his community and the country that we represent.
Turning to the bill before us, I am here today to speak in support of Bill C-53, the life means life act. I believe that providing sentences of life imprisonment without parole for high treason and the most reprehensible forms of murder would ensure that the most dangerous murderers would never be free to endanger Canadians or their communities. Importantly, Bill C-53 would align Canada's criminal justice system with those of other parliamentary democracies, like England, Australia, and New Zealand. It would also provide for sentences of life without parole for the most vicious murderers.
In this context, the English whole life murder sentencing regime was the object of considerable study and analysis during the development of Bill C-53. The measures proposed in the life means life act have been carefully crafted to reflect Canadian legal principles and the Canadian experience with murder sentencing, while at the same time seeking to avoid some of the pitfalls encountered by the English in implementing their sentencing regime.
Unlike in Canada where minimum parole ineligibility dates for first and second degree murder are mandatory and established by statute, in England the court assesses the seriousness of the murder and selects an appropriate parole ineligibility starting point. The normal parole ineligibility starting point is a presumptive 15 years, but more serious murders will lead to presumptive starting points of 25 years, 30 years, or even whole life. Once the starting point for calculating the parole ineligibility in any particular case has been determined, the court will then add or subtract from it after considering a list of aggravating or mitigating factors before arriving at a final minimum parole ineligibility period. At the expiry of that date, the convicted murderer may apply for parole.
Under this English scheme, if the seriousness of the murder is exceptionally high, the starting point will be a whole life order. A whole life order precludes the offender from ever applying for parole or being released from custody, except by order of the secretary of state on compassionate grounds, such as terminal illness.
In England, there are four categories of murder for which the seriousness is exceptionally high. The first is multiple murder involving premeditation, abduction, or sexual or sadistic elements. The second is the murder of a child that involves abduction or sexual or sadistic elements. The third is murder to advance a political, religious, or ideological cause. The fourth is murder by any offender previously convicted of murder.
Under the English system, once the starting point and all of the aggravating and mitigating factors have been accounted for, a convicted murderer could end up with a final parole ineligibility date ranging from less than 15 years or all the way to the end of natural life in the form of a whole life order.
If we compare the English scheme with what is proposed by Bill C-53, under Bill C-53, a sentence of life without parole would be mandatory for high treason and for the most morally repugnant murders, namely, premeditated murder committed against a police officer or correctional official, or committed during a sexual assault, kidnapping offence, or terrorist offence; or premeditated murder committed in such a brutal way as to indicate that the offender is unlikely to ever be restrained by normal standards of behaviour.
A discretionary sentence of life without parole would be available for all other first degree murders, whether premeditated or not, as well as for second degree murder where the murderer has previously either committed murder or committed an intentional killing under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
In deciding whether to impose a sentence of life without parole, courts would consider “the character of the accused, the nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding its commission” and the recommendation by the jury.
These are the same criteria the courts now use to decide whether a second degree murderer will serve a parole ineligibility period longer than 10 years, and whether a multiple murderer will serve consecutive periods of parole ineligibility.
There are clear similarities between what is proposed in Bill C-53 and the English whole life regime. Each penalizes the following categories of murders: those involving premeditation, abduction and sexual offences; those that are premeditated and involve sadistic elements, which Bill C-53 deals with under the heading of brutal murders; those committed in the context of terrorist activity, which the English refer to as murder to advance a political, religious or ideological cause; and those where the killer has murdered before.
Despite these similarities, there are several key differences between the proposed life means life scheme and the English whole life order regime.
First, while the English scheme requires that anyone who commits premeditated murder involving abduction and sexually oriented offences must have murdered more than one victim in order to receive a whole life order, Bill C-53 does not impose such a restriction. Thus, anyone who commits the premeditated murder of a single victim in the course of a kidnapping, forcible confinement, abduction, or sexual assault would be subject to a life sentence of imprisonment without parole under Bill C-53.
Yet another way in which the proposals in Bill C-53 differ from the English whole life order scheme lies in the nature of the criteria for the discretionary imposition of life without parole.
The English scheme contains a detailed list of aggravating and mitigating factors, whereas Bill C-53 does not allow for mitigating factors that would reduce the parole ineligibility period below the mandatory minimums set out in our Criminal Code. Nor does Bill C-53 rely on a list of such factors that may have to be updated from time to time. Instead, reliance is placed on the broad and flexible language capturing all such factors that is reflected in the long-established criteria referred to earlier that focus on the offender's character, the nature and circumstances of the murder and any recommendation in this regard by the jury.
It is clear that Bill C-53 is not only necessary, but its time has come. When an individual commits the horrific crime of murder in the way that I have described in regard to Bill C-53, their sentence should be whole life. The sentence should not be set in a position where any attempt at parole would be accepted.
As we know, certainly from the perspective of a victim's family, having to attend a parole hearing is a kind of torture in a way by having to replay and revisit a most terrible time in their lives. This is not something that is acceptable. It is not something that this government has ever spoken about in the last 10 years in terms of being acceptable. That is why Bill C-53 is one that should be enacted. It should certainly be part of our legislative process when it comes to justice, and it should be a bill that both sides of this House supports.
View Rick Dykstra Profile
View Rick Dykstra Profile
2015-06-19 10:19 [p.15335]
Mr. Speaker, I outlined that at the end of my speech. The fact is that there are such crimes and murders committed in this country by individuals who should not, for any reason, be allowed to sit at a table and request parole. Individuals should serve their sentences based on the murders they committed, and if that crime is so severe and significant that it requires life, then there should be no opportunity for parole.
I understand the member's question. The fact is that if a murder such as I have described that would be judged under Bill C-53 were to be committed, there is no reason the victim's family should ever have to face the perpetrator, the convicted murderer, at a parole board hearing on a regular basis and have to live through what would be indescribable and unacceptable.
If a person commits a crime as outlined in Bill C-53 and as I outlined today in my speech, there would be no opportunity for that individual to earn parole. There would be no opportunity for that person to ever deserve an opportunity to request parole.
View Rick Dykstra Profile
View Rick Dykstra Profile
2015-06-19 10:22 [p.15335]
Mr. Speaker, the member's question moves away from the discussion we are having on Bill C-53.
The member was not here in 2006 when I was elected and we became government. One of the first pieces of work we put it in in public safety was the opportunity for community organizations to access funding to assist young people, whether they were in or out of school, who were travelling down a wayward road. Those young people had the ability to be funded directly by the federal government to enter programs that would assist them in achieving a positive life goal, whether that be a job or continuing their education in high school.
I beg to differ with the member in the strongest of ways. This government has not only insisted on ensuring, as in Bill C-53, that individuals pay a significant price for crimes such as this that they commit. It has also been our goal for the last 10 years to ensure that we assist in preventing crime and assist in educating young people and getting them to understand a positive way of life. We have done that.
View Stella Ambler Profile
View Stella Ambler Profile
2015-06-19 10:34 [p.15337]
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the member opposite. She talked about missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, as well as street gangs, and then went on to say that this bill is based on misinformation and does not provide true solutions to real problems. I would argue that it is a real problem when victims in this country are not treated with the respect they deserve, and part of that respect includes receiving justice for those who have committed crimes against their loved ones.
My question is perhaps a more personal one for the member. I would like to know if she has heard any concerns from victims themselves, if people have told her it is fair that when criminals are given life sentences that they should indeed serve those life sentences.
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
View Dave MacKenzie Profile
2015-06-19 10:54 [p.15340]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to take a moment to thank all of my colleagues in the House for this last four years and a bit. This has been a great session of Parliament. I know a number of people have made a decision not to come back, but I would also recognize some of those people who have made decision to come here, in spite of ill health, to serve the country and their constituents. It has been a real pleasure to be here with them.
I rise today to talk about our government's highest purpose. What should that purpose be of any government? It is the protection of Canadians, ensuring our streets and communities, and our country are safe for honest, law-abiding people as we live, work and raise our families.
At all times, our government has endeavoured to ensure that our system of criminal justice reflects both this high purpose and the values and priorities of Canadians more broadly. For example, to give victims of crime a stronger voice we introduced and passed our Victims Bill of Rights Act. For too many years the welfare of the criminal was held up as a highest priority of criminal justice. This historic legislation, the Victims Bill of Rights, puts innocent victims back to where they should have been all along, at the very heart of our system of justice.
We have also changed laws regarding people deemed not criminally responsible for violent acts, ensuring that while dangerous offenders with mental illness receive the care they need, we also take care of the safety of the public.
Reflecting the values of Canadians also means that both the gravity of the offence and the need to protect Canadians must be considered in sentencing. That is why we got rid of the faint hope clause that allowed killers to apply for early parole. That is why when the criminal kills more than one person, under our law, judges can now impose consecutive sentences and take every lost life into account. That is why we have made it easier to deport foreign criminals from Canadian soil and have made it more difficult for them to enter the country in the first place. That is why we have made it easier to remove dangerous foreign criminals from Canada's shores and to make it more difficult for them to even get here in the first place. That is why we have toughened penalties, including creating mandatory prison sentences for many serious violent offences, in particular sex crimes against children.
When we say all of these things, let us be clear: we desire the rehabilitation of all criminals. However, certain criminals are too cruel and too dangerous to be released. When people break the laws and pay their debt to society, our hope is always for permanent rehabilitation. No one wants to see anyone degenerate into a lifetime of crime, but there are some criminals, the most dangerous and violent offenders, whose actions mean we cannot risk putting them back on our streets. However, as the law stands, sometimes we do.
Bill C-53 would end this practice, specifically for criminals who prey on society's most vulnerable, plotting kidnapping or sexual assault that ends in murder; criminals with such contempt for law and order that they kill correctional or police officers charged with that protection; criminals who so despise our values and our way of life that they carry out deadly acts of terrorism and high treason; and criminals whose crimes are so horrific that they shock the conscience of the entire community. The freedom of these criminals would compromise the freedom of everyone around them.
The suffering of the victims of such horrific crimes and the suffering of those who love them is bad enough. However, when the whole truth is known, they find out that the crime could have been prevented in the first place, that the crime should have been prevented but it was not, that the perpetrator was someone who could have been, should have been, securely behind bars. When that is discovered, at that moment their anguish, compounded by disbelief, becomes outrage, not just to them but to the entire country. Then we are all left to wonder what justice really means.
Canadians ask, rightly, why the most dangerous killers once in prison should ever be free again only to threaten our children, our families, our friends, our neighbours and our fellow citizens. It is very hard to argue with that, and our government has no intention of arguing with it. This sort of thing must end in our country.
The fact is that there are certain criminals who should never be allowed to walk the streets, where we and our neighbours live and work, or in the streets where our children play.
View Barry Devolin Profile
Order, please. Regrettably, I must interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary at this point. He will have 15 minutes remaining, if and when this matter returns before the House.
View Paul Calandra Profile
View Paul Calandra Profile
2015-06-19 11:00 [p.15340]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank the good people of Oak Ridges—Markham for the opportunity to represent them in this House.
As members know, my riding is the largest riding in Canada, but it will no longer exist after this election. It will be split into four different ridings, and as part of that redistribution, I will be losing the historic towns of King and Richmond Hill or Oak Ridges. I want to thank them for allowing me to represent them.
I wish all of my colleagues a very happy, safe, and healthy summer. It has been a pleasure answering their questions, as much as they seem to have enjoyed asking them.
I thank my great team, Nathalie James, Owen Macri, Jennifer Cagney, Jessica Plume, Amy Day, Jessica Baran, and Carole Halse for their work.
View John Rafferty Profile
View John Rafferty Profile
2015-06-19 11:00 [p.15341]
Mr. Speaker, this Sunday is National Aboriginal Day, and by happy coincidence I will not be in Ottawa this year but will have the privilege of joining my brothers and sisters of Fort William First Nation at Mount McKay in their celebrations.
In addition to the traditional celebrations, this year we will also reflect upon the findings and recommendations of Justice Sinclair and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I would also like to personally wish Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy a happy and well-deserved retirement and thank him for his strong leadership over his many years of service in his many important roles.
With the election of a New Democratic government this October, Canadians will finally have a federal government that accepts responsibility for the immense injustices perpetrated upon our founding people by those who came later, a federal government that will make a solemn promise to ensure that these injustices are never repeated, a federal government that will finally work on a nation-to-nation basis with Canada's first peoples so that we can walk together, hand in hand, towards a better future.
Mino-giizhigad. Happy Aboriginal Day. Meegwetch.
View Costas Menegakis Profile
View Costas Menegakis Profile
2015-06-19 11:02 [p.15341]
Mr. Speaker, our government has improved the quality of life for my constituents in Richmond Hill in innumerable ways. We lowered taxes, improved the safety of our communities, invested millions of dollars to stimulate jobs and economic growth, and created a better life for all.
Investments to revitalize and expand town facilities can be found in all corners of the riding: at the Oak Ridges Community Centre, the Elvis Stojko Arena, and the Bayview Hill Community Centre, to name a few. Federal funding for GO Transit, the Viva rapid transit system, and major roadways is improving the daily commute of residents.
Thousands of seniors are enjoying the benefits of over two dozen new horizons for seniors programs, such as those at the Richmond Hill Social and Bocce Club, the Burr House Gallery and Potter's Guild, and the Oak Ridges Italian Seniors Club.
Hundreds of jobs are being supported through strategic investments to businesses such as Qvella, CrowdCare Corporation, and Rubicon.
The last four years have been very productive, and from the bottom of my heart I thank my constituents in Richmond Hill for the honour and privilege of serving them.
View Royal Galipeau Profile
View Royal Galipeau Profile
2015-06-19 11:04 [p.15341]
Mr. Speaker, the vote last October 7 to launch air strikes with our allies against the so-called Islamic State will have been the most important vote of the 41st Parliament.
On June 9, it was reported that the Islamic State's Libya branch carried out another kidnapping, targeting 88 Eritrean Christians.
In February, jihadists had beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, showing once again their deepest contempt for the human race.
We can say unequivocally that the leaders and militants of the Islamic State are specifically targeting Christians, Jews, and even Muslims who do not toe the ISIS line.
In Orléans, whether at the Legion, on the street or by email, many constituents are telling me that the actions of the so-called Islamic State remind them of the rise of Nazism.
We must continue to support air strikes by Canada and our allies in this fight against evil.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2015-06-19 11:06 [p.15342]
Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I announce that on this past Sunday, at the age of 96, Mieczyslaw “Mitch” Lutczyk, a friend, Oshawa resident, Polish veteran, and war hero, passed away.
At the beginning of the Second World War, Mitch served in the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade in Poland. After being interned in Hungary, he escaped to France to rejoin his recreated brigade. After the fall of France, Mitch reached England and joined the 1st Polish Armoured Division , which landed on Juno Beach on D-Day with the 2nd Canadian Corps.
Mitch's bravery and courage while serving with the Polish army was so impressive that has been decorated by the governments of France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. In 2011, the Polish government awarded him the prestigious Order of Polonia Restituta medal. Previous recipients of this award include Dwight D. Eisenhower and Simon Wiesenthal.
In 2013, I was honoured to personally present Mitch with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Mitch settled in Oshawa in 1970 and was active in Polish-Canadian veterans organizations. His legacy is and will remain an inspiration to all of Oshawa.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
Mr. Speaker, no government has done as much as our Conservative government to support Canadian farmers and livestock producers. That is why we will continue to fight the unfair rules on country of origin labelling imposed by the United States.
Yesterday the Americans used yet another procedural tactic to delay the WTO process. The reality is that COOL is costing Canadian cattle and hog producers more than $3 billion in annual damages.
As the most pro-job and pro-export government in Canadian history, we have taken action to fight back against these protective measures, unlike the NDP, which is supportive of these kinds of trade barriers. In fact, the NDP trade critic actually introduced a bill to create Canada's own mandatory country of origin labelling, a law that would undoubtedly harm Canadian exporters and kill Canadian jobs.
Our Conservative government understands that to create jobs, we have to tear down trade walls, not erect new ones.
On this side of the House, we will continue to stand up for Canadian farmers and livestock producers and protect Canadians' jobs.
View Stella Ambler Profile
View Stella Ambler Profile
2015-06-19 11:14 [p.15343]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians in Mississauga South want lower taxes, more jobs, and a growing economy. The Liberal Party leader offers none of that. His high-tax plan for Canadians will cut jobs in my community, across Canada, across every sector, and it will weaken the economy.
Just recently, the leader of the Liberal Party stated that he would introduce a $1,000 payroll tax on all Canadians. For families and seniors in Mississauga South, this could be devastating. He believes that taking money away from Canadians is what is best for them, that he can spend it better than they can. Well, on this side of the House, we believe in standing up for all Canadians and putting money back into their pockets.
The Liberal leader's reckless schemes make it obvious that he is simply not ready to be prime minister.
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