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Results: 1 - 15 of 70
View James Rajotte Profile
View James Rajotte Profile
2015-06-19 10:05 [p.15333]
Mr. Speaker, it is truly an honour to rise in the House today for my last statement in this beautiful chamber, a place where I have had the good fortune of serving for 15 years.
At the outset, let me thank all of those within this House and outside the House for their tremendous good wishes over the last number of days.
I want to thank a number of people today. I want to thank the people of the ridings of Edmonton—Leduc and Edmonton Southwest, whom I have been privileged to represent over the last five terms. I thank them for their confidence and for their support for me.
I wish to thank the many volunteers and supporters who helped me during this period: the constituents who provided me constant feedback and guidance and the supporters who are like a family to me, many of whom supported me for the entire time.
I would like to thank my present and past colleagues on both sides of this House for their passionate love of our country, their commitment to making it better and their kindness toward me. They are friends for life.
I would like to thank and express my sincere appreciation to the many wonderful people who have worked in my offices in Edmonton and Ottawa for their incredible service to our constituency and our country.
I may get very emotional here. I want to thank Debbie Healy for 15 years of amazing service to me. Debbie and I are part of the same family now. I just love being part of her extended family and I thank her so much. I thank Kim Dohmann, who has served me for 15 years as well in such an extraordinary capacity. I thank Willii Burgess, who served me for 10 years and worked with me for another five years. I thank all of my current staff, Samantha Johnston, the communications whiz, Lene Jorgensen, Carmel Harris, Trevor Rogers, who have done such an outstanding job for all the constituents. They are so much part of my success.
Two of my staff who were very colourful in my past are here today: the lovely and talented Michele Austin, and Bryan Rogers, about whom I will not tell any stories here because that would not be appropriate in this chamber, but I thank them so much for being here today.
I also want to thank my family and friends for their unconditional love, their support, the friendship they have given me in this fantastic journey through politics, particularly my heroes: my parents, Ron and Elaine Rajotte. I am more like my dad today than my mom. My mom is the strong one; my dad is the guy who cries at everything.
I believe more profoundly today than I did when I entered Parliament that Canada is the best country in the world, a place where we can fulfill our deepest hopes and aspirations and be a light and example for the world.
I want to end by saying this. There are a lot of comments about political life and politicians that occur here today and a lot of cynicism. After 15 years of serving with people in this place, people who volunteer in politics, I have more faith in those people who are in politics, who volunteer in politics. It is a noble endeavour. It is making this country a better place. This is the best country in the world. We can continue to make it better.
I thank all those in the chamber and outside of the chamber for their service. It has been a wonderful path for me. I genuinely appreciate it.
Thank you very much, and goodbye.
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 Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2015-02-04 18:50 [p.10723]
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motions at report stage of Bill C-518 under private members' business. The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 2.
View Joyce Bateman Profile
View Joyce Bateman Profile
2015-02-04 19:06 [p.10724]
Mr. Speaker, I voted twice. The first vote was my real vote. I apologize.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2015-02-04 19:06 [p.10725]
I declare the motion carried.
When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Larry Miller Profile
View Larry Miller Profile
2015-02-04 19:15 [p.10725]
Mr. Speaker, there was a bit of fun being had over here, with the consequence that I believe I voted twice. I want my first vote to count, not the last one.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2015-02-04 19:16 [p.10726]
I declare the motion carried.
Devastating news, colleagues. I need to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no private members' business hour today. Accordingly, the order will be rescheduled for another sitting.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to talk about reform. We are talking about reform in many ways today.
I want to thank the mover of this bill again for providing the information he provided and I want to thank everyone involved in this particular debate.
Liberals believe all members of both Houses must uphold the law and that those who violate it cannot be allowed to profit from their misdeeds. In this particular situation, when we started to talk about this bill, we wanted to talk about a public example, as it were. There was a lot of consternation as to whether we were going to look at this and accept in principle what it says about pensions, what people earn, whether people who violate the law should lose their pensions, whether a lot more people will suffer as a result of that individual being caught, so on and so forth.
When the conversation came around to this particular bill, the discussion was about how the situation in the House is different from the real world situation. It is different in the sense that we are parliamentarians, different in the sense that we are representatives, and different in the sense that we have to set an example for the population.
I want to thank many for their opinions on this issue. We have gone back and forth, and it has been spirited debate, for the most part.
We know that the bill would add a clause to the Member of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act to take into account a situation of a senator or a member of Parliament being convicted of an offence that arose out of conduct that occurred while that individual was in office. It would do this by using the same mechanism that is already in place for politicians who become disqualified for their offices. If MPs or senators are kicked out of their chamber, they currently lose their pensions, of course, but if members resign beforehand, they get to keep their pensions. We saw that happen some time ago, in the case of a member of the Senate.
The purpose of the bill is to close this particular loophole. The bill would cancel the pension of any MP or senator convicted of any indictable offence committed in whole or in part while in office. Now amendments have been put forward as well.
Throughout the committee process, we looked at many amendments. There were some deep conversations, certainly, not only with the mover of the bill but with all sides of the House and all parties represented here, or certainly the three in committee.
It was suggested that the bill be amended by limiting the scope of the bill to a conviction of an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of no less than five years. In addition, it would have to be one of the following: bribery of officers, defrauding the government, contractors subscribing to election fraud, breach of trust by a public officer, perjury, contrary evidence with intent to mislead, fabricating evidence, obstructing justice with dissuasion, theft of over $5,000, drawing up documents without authority, obtaining, et cetera, based on forged documents, falsification of books and documents, a false return by public officer, and secret commissions.
What was absent at the time were changes related to Canada Elections Act violations. We talked about that as well, and it was contested around that time regarding a particular member. That is all I will say about that right now, because I do not want to talk about that particular situation and that member, who is no longer here. I knew that person quite well. Despite the offences being talked about, I have a deep respect for that individual and for the work that he has done. He was a hard worker, despite what happened. I will leave it at that.
It would apply future convictions on politicians, including for past malfeasance. The bill includes a section clarifying that the changes contained in the bill would apply with respect to any person who is or was a member of the Senate or the House of Commons who is convicted after the date the bill was introduced, which takes us to June 3, 2013.
The bill would strip the pensions of many people that people watching this broadcast right now would know all too well. Senators or former senators were involved in a lot of this. I am assuming that the genesis of this particular bill dated back to that time when we talked about malfeasance, and so on and so forth. That situation continues, so I will not comment on that at this point.
We are not dealing with the particulars of that situation regarding the senators or former members of Parliament. We have to look at the parameters by which we look at the behaviour of members of Parliament and senators and how in the future punishment must be laid in light of these offences.
Therefore, my understanding of this is that all contributions, plus interest, are to be returned to the particular member and in this situation that means they no longer are vested within our pension system. As I said before, many people made comparisons with the private sector, but the comparison is not one that is just, despite the narrative.
I understand many would like to have a level playing field, but this is the House of Commons. I do not think the level playing field applies here. We set the best example we can put forward as representatives in the House, representatives of each and every riding, currently 308 and after the next election 338. By doing so, we have to be exemplary in all manners of our behaviour and especially for many of the offences cited within the bill.
In the details of some of the offences of what members were indicted on, whether it was the maximum offence out there, there were deep conversations about that. The amendments have the maximum for the offence.
It is not just in the House of Commons, but there are many jurisdictions across the country that are doing much the same. In 2013, the Nova Scotia legislature passed Bill 80, which strips the pensions of any lawmaker convicted of a crime for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for not less than five years. It is running in the same vein as this legislation. The start date was May 6, 2013, which was when the bill was tabled at the provincial legislature, which is similar again. The result in June 2013 was an independent MLA lost his pension after pleading guilty to fraud and breach of trust charges arising from an expense scandal. The member had collected tax dollars after filing 10 false expense claims in 2008-09. Today he is not eligible to receive that pension. This is very similar. I am sure there are certain differences, but minute I am sure.
Statutes in both Alberta and New Brunswick provide that the government may withhold certain sums payable as retiring allowances to a member of the legislature in cases of indebtedness. These statutes do not however make explicit reference to garnishment or termination of a pension due to a criminal conviction, although the way things are going and if the bill passes, as well as what is happening in Nova Scotia, I am sure other legislatures across the country may follow suit. Maybe the mover of the bill could shed some light on that. It would be interesting.
However, this has been a lively discussion. Some people have said that maybe this is too onerous, but personally, and even as a critic, I do not think it is. As sitting members of the House, we have that responsibility to act in the best interests of the public. If the public wants us to behave as such, then we have to be punished if the offence that is so egregious for the public to accept.
I thank the member for this. After this stage of the bill, I hope further discussion will be had it. However, I will be supporting the bill.
View John Williamson Profile
View John Williamson Profile
2015-02-03 19:33 [p.11024]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor. His explanation of the bill was both fair-minded and quite elegant. He did a good job explaining both the bill and also the rationale to hold parliamentarians to a higher standard because of the privileged position we hold in this House. The member has given me a few more minutes to address some other points. I am not going to explain what is in the bill, since he has done such a wonderful job already.
The bill does focus on some two dozen Criminal Code violations. These are all indictable offences, meaning they are serious crimes that members of this House or the other place would have to commit and be found guilty of in a court of law before a pension were revoked. That is an important part of this bill because it would take these decisions out of a political theatre and put them into a court of law where, because these are serious matters, those decisions should rest.
There is one aspect of the bill that I would like to address, and some points that I have heard in the first hour of debate and that have come up in discussions with colleagues here and elsewhere.
The first measure is that there remains in this bill some measure of partial retroactivity. Initially when I tabled this bill in June 2013, I suggested that convictions be retroactive from that date forward. In the committee, that was modified and the modification is acceptable so that the crime itself could have happened at any time before this bill, should it receive royal assent, came into effect, but the conviction would now have to happen on or after that date. Going forward, if this bill became law, it would still apply to malfeasance that occurred in the past. That is a good compromise, and I understand the reasons for that were dealing with potential court challenges. That was an amendment that I thought was wise and good.
This bill, after discussion over the last 20 months, does have and I hope it will have support from both sides of the House. When I first tabled the bill, I had suggested a floor of two years, that the maximum sentence be two or more years. However, upon consultation with members on both sides of the House at the first debate, I suggested that be moved to five years, within the Criminal Code and an indictable offence. In working with both sides of the House, trying to find a bill that would accomplish its objective—which, at the end of the day, was to penalize members who broke trust with taxpayers, members who through illegal activities misplaced or misused tax dollars—the bill was further refined in committee, with amendments I suggested in committee, to focus on violations like breach of trust, fraud, theft, and forgery, aspects that have to do directly with how we spend and use tax dollars in this place. Our role as legislators is to come here and decide on behalf of Canadians how tax dollars are going to be spent.
I will give one good example of why an across-the-board five-year threshold posed some challenge. I say this respectfully mostly for members in the official opposition who believe the bill has been weakened because of these changes. When we are at home in our riding, we drive around a lot. If we were to ever hit someone with our vehicle and kill him or her, the punishment is up to a five-year prison term. The point of this bill was never to capture someone or to have someone revoke or lose a pension through an error or momentary lapse of judgment; it was for deliberate theft of tax dollars.
To have an across-the-board blanket meant that a member in this House, because of a terrible accident, a tragedy and a crime but not something that was intentional, could very well be in a position of losing a parliamentary pension.
That is the rationale for focusing on the two dozen or so provisions in this bill that focus on infractions that deal directly with our duties as parliamentarians.
Recently a number of amendments have come forward from the official opposition that I must confess I disagree with. In fact, I actually thought it was the will of this House, as I was proposing these changes, to focus the scope of this bill on our actual duties. I can say that, because on December 10, 2013, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, when I suggested raising it to a threshold of five years, said:
However, as the member has already indicated, we would be looking and seeking amendments to change it to five years for a criminal offence and we have seen, I think, from the member, some willingness to compromise on that. That is welcome.
I went back through the debates we had in this House on this bill to be sure I understood the mood of the room. Member after member, from both sides, had suggested or debated or told this House that in fact we wanted to be careful, that we did not want to inappropriately strip a member of a pension for a violation that was not related to his or her duties. It was only as one of our colleagues found himself in violation of the Canada Elections Act that suddenly the debate became about widening it. This is a problem, because as we look at legislation, we have to be somewhat consistent in our approach.
I have correspondence from the Leader of the Opposition, who talks about our former colleague, Dean Del Mastro, who was found guilty of breaking the Canada Elections Act. The Leader of the Opposition said that this former member would have lost his whole pension under the restrictions of the Nova Scotia law, which states that any MLA convicted of a crime with a maximum sentence of five years or more in jail will lose the right to a full pension.
This is actually false, because this former member, while he was found guilty of a provision under the Canada Elections Act, was actually found guilty of a crime with a maximum penalty of one year. It did not reach the threshold, in my original bill, of two years. It does not reach the threshold of the penalty of the Nova Scotia law, nor did it ever reach the threshold of this bill, at five years. That is simply not true.
It is important, because the mood of this House was such that we wanted to focus on our duties as legislators and on the appropriation and disbursement of tax dollars.
Where are we? We have a bill today that has gone through several hours of debate, has gone through committee, and has had several changes to it proposed, which I think, by and large, have strengthened it.
I will not be supporting the amendments put forward by the official opposition, because I think they attempt to, at the last minute, the 11th hour, open this bill up in a manner that not even the Nova Scotia bill, which the NDP cites as the standard, does. In fact, they would endanger the likelihood of this bill passing the House, because it was both government members and opposition members who urged me throughout the process to be very focused in this bill and to go after penalties that are in line with our duties as parliamentarians.
Twenty months later, we have this bill before us, and I hope it will receive support on both sides of the House. I believe it will receive support on both sides of the House, and I urge members to support it so we can get it off to the Senate. I hope to see it become law before Parliament is dissolved in advance of the next election.
View Carol Hughes Profile
Mr. Speaker, this is certainly an interesting bill that we are debating tonight given the fact that we have a government that has consistently said it is about transparency and accountability.
I will quote the Prime Minister, who has said, “...bend the rules, you will be punished; break the law, you will be charged; abuse the public trust, you will go to prison.”
When looking at this bill, we have to take into consideration its intent and how we can best ensure that when we are elected or appointed as parliamentarians or senators, there is protection for the public trust.
This bill is similar to one moved by the NDP in Nova Scotia, as my colleague from New Brunswick Southwest mentioned a while ago. That bill received royal assent on May 10, 2013. There are some differences between the bills. The Nova Scotia law targets MLAs who have been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of no less than five years. It also provides that any entitlement of a former spouse or a court ordered restitution may be deducted from the MLA's pension.
The bill before us was tabled in the middle of the Senate scandal that was subject to raging debate in the House of Commons, a scandal in which many Conservative senators were under scrutiny for claiming expenses they were not entitled to. This has severely tarnished the Conservative Party's claim that it is the most ethical and transparent government Canada has ever seen. Indeed, we look at this, we see that it is an issue of ethical and transparent government. Just to go back a bit, we can look at some of the issues that have come forward from that. We just have to look at Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, the former Conservative spokesperson turned senator, who had to repay inappropriate living expenses. We had Mike Duffy being ordered to pay back more than $90,000 for false living expenses and claiming per diems while on vacation. Pamela Wallin was ordered to pay back more than $100,000 for improper claims. We have also seen Liberal senators who have had to make repayments.
When looking at what has transpired since the Liberal sponsorship scandal, there really is not much difference in terms of transparency and accountability on this side of the House. Therefore, when bills such as this come forward, we think they look great but we have to scour through them to see what the hidden agenda is or how we can work with the Conservatives to make the bill functional
During the analysis of the bill in committee, the Conservative Party changed the provisions that determined when a senator or MP's pension would be revoked by removing any retroactivity in the application of the bill and proposing an exhaustive list of Criminal Code offences that would trigger the removal of the pension instead.
Experts had hesitations regarding this approach, noting that the choice of including some offences and not others did not make sense, particularly the fact that offences under the Elections Act were not included. The Conservatives refused to accept an amendment that would have revoked the pension of the former parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, as mentioned a while ago. We know that the Prime Minister stood in the House and defended that member over and over again until the member was found guilty of breaking the Elections Act.
While the bill clearly aims at punishing the Conservative and Liberal senators who have abused taxpayers' money, Canadians are more and more convinced that the solution to the unelected, unaccountable, and under-investigated Senate is to abolish it, pure and simple.
So much has been going on in the House with respect to accountability and ethics that we really have to look at the whole. We have to look at what happens at committees as well.
We used to see committees as a place where we could count on people doing the heavy lifting for Parliament. It was said that although the chamber could appear to be a partisan mess, the committees were where sleeves were actually rolled up and petty differences were set aside, while some common good was served. That notion and those outcomes have been replaced by sideshow antics and committees are now a place where democracy rarely happens. By using their majority to go in camera, the Conservatives are actually gaiming every aspect of committees and then telling Canadians, with a straight face, that this is what they voted for.
There was a comment from one of the committee chairs at the time, the member for Winnipeg Centre. The Conservatives had voted to go in camera and he wanted to ensure we were not. As he was suspending the meeting he said the following. “while we clear the room of the Canadian public and go under the black shroud of secrecy once again”. That is how he ended that session of the committee in order to go in camera. Canadians need to know the truth. Therefore, when we are looking at this bill, it is important to look at all aspects.
Let me reiterate what the bill would do.
Bill C-518 would remove the privileges of retiring allowances or compensation allowances of former members of the Senate or House of Commons if they have been convicted of certain offences under the Criminal Code, and that is a great thing. The member of Parliament or senator convicted then receives an amount equivalent to the contributions he or she paid for his or her pension, as well as the accumulated interest on those contributions. They get what they put into it, but they do not get the rest.
Following an amendment in committee, the member of Parliament or senator must now have committed certain offences in the Criminal Code that are listed in the bill. The Conservatives have also removed the retroactivity of the bill, meaning that Bill C-518 will only apply to senators and MPs that lose their position once the bill becomes law.
Experts have warned against the use of a list of offences because it could be applied in a broad spectrum, for example, if an MP has been a public servant, and also because it does not include many offences to other laws that are relevant to an MP's or senator's function, such as the Canada Elections Act, the Income Tax Act and the Parliament of Canada Act. We found a solution to this problem, but the Conservatives simply chose to ignore it.
We make proposals. We try to work with the Conservatives and the Liberals to try to find that common ground where we can have bills that are functional and that mean something.
The changes that were introduced to the bill by the Conservatives in committee will exclude the offences. That is the part we want to ensure we emphasize. Too many laws that are relevant to the function of the MP or senator will be excluded. They were not able to justify why they refused the amendments brought forward by the NDP. It was a good amendment. By doing this, the Conservatives will allow the former parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, Dean Del Mastro, to keep his pension even though he was found guilty of electoral fraud. That is the important piece.
Although the member across had mentioned the fact that it had to do with our duties, when we are running for an election, that is part of our duties as we are moving forward. That is how we get elected.
We can talk about a lot of the misgivings on the Conservative side. Peter Penashue was one of them. He was found to be in contravention of how much money he was allowed to spend during the election. It actually had given him a hand up over other candidates because there was much more money spent on that side. We have a list of those where we have a lot of misgivings on the Conservative side.
At the end of the day, we need to ensure that the laws we put in place will protect the public's interest when it comes to accountability and ethics as we take our positions in the House of Commons or in the Senate.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2015-02-03 19:53 [p.11026]
Is the House ready for the question?
Some hon. members: Question.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motion No. 2.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion, the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):Pursuant to Standing Order 98, a recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, February 4, 2015, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2015-01-26 11:05 [p.10549]
Motion No. 1
That Bill C-518, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 16 on page 1 with the following:
“ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection (4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member, a”
Motion No. 2
That Bill C-518, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 20 to 25 on page 3 with the following:
“ceases or has ceased to be a member and who, on or after the day on which this subsection comes into force, is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection 19(4) or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament, if the offence arose out of conduct that in whole or in part occurred while the person was a member, a withdrawal”
He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to wish you and all of the members here today a happy new year. We have a lot of work to do in the House of Commons over the coming months. Even though I was sad to leave my friends and family in Burnaby—New Westminster, I am pleased that we are all here to work for the people, for Canadians.
I think that this bill will be of great interest to Canadians. The Conservatives' amendments to this bill will also be of interest to people across the country. I am therefore pleased to rise in the House to deliver the first speech of 2015 and talk about Bill C-518.
As members know, the NDP was in favour of the bill in principle. In fact, when the bill was originally presented, we raised the fact that the former NDP government in Nova Scotia was a pioneer in this regard. It presented legislation in the Nova Scotia legislature that took away the ability of representatives who have been convicted to be able to fall back on a pension, coming out of that conviction. We supported it in principle, and we supported bringing it to committee.
Then, what I can only consider to be the centralized control of the Prime Minister's Office kicked in around this particular bill. That is why we are offering the amendments that have just been proposed by the Speaker. They are amendments that seek to close the loopholes that were opened up in committee. We certainly hope that the Conservative members of Parliament will support the amendments we are bringing forward. We believe that most Canadians support those amendments as well.
When this bill was brought forward, we raised the very clear concerns about loopholes around acts of Parliament that are violated. As we know, when an act of Parliament is violated, it is a serious breach of trust by any member of Parliament. We have seen it particularly in the Senate with Conservative and Liberal senators, but also here in the House of Commons. We can think of the former member Dean Del Mastro, who resigned just before Christmas.
Crimes were committed. In the case of Mr. Del Mastro, he was convicted in court. Crimes were brought about by this particular member of Parliament, and we felt it important that the legislation, Bill C-518, actually reference those criminal violations, which result from a violation of an act of Parliament.
To our surprise, in the heat of the scandal around Mr. Del Mastro, Conservative members at the committee that was given the task of studying Bill C-518 actually put in place an amendment that would simply subtract these types of criminal violations from the overall thrust of the bill. I do not fault the member who proposed the bill for this. I think he is very well meaning in this regard. I have a sense that he believes that the bill should cover every member of Parliament convicted of serious criminal violations including acts of Parliament.
However, at committee, the order came down, as we have seen with other pieces of legislation brought forward by Conservative members. The order came down from the Prime Minister's Office, I can only assume, and it basically subtracted any criminal violation of an act of Parliament from the overall thrust of the bill.
What does that mean? It means that there is the Del Mastro loophole, which is a sizeable loophole in this legislation. If this legislation were passed as is, it would allow the Conservative and Liberal senators the violations that they have committed, as well as violations that we have seen in the case of Dean Del Mastro. Even when it is a serious criminal conviction, the bill, as amended by the Conservatives in committee, would not allow for their retiring allowance to be withdrawn.
What we have is this curious cherry-picking of what offences would and would not be included. That is why we decided to bring forward the two motions, the amendments we have brought forward today. The idea is to assure that any serious violation or criminal conviction that includes violations of acts of Parliament, which are certainly breaches of trust by any member of Parliament as part of our duties to uphold the acts, be considered in withdrawing the retiring allowance.
That is why we are moving these two motions, and we hope the government members will support them.
The motion reads in part as follows:
...is either convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code mentioned in subsection (4)...
This covers offences already included in the bill, as amended by the members of the committee, which has a Conservative majority.
The motion continues:
...or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years or more for an offence under any other Act of Parliament....
We would then be able to strip these members of their pensions.
Currently, there is a list that includes certain offences and of course refers to provisions of the Criminal Code. Certain sections are mentioned; however, offences under acts of Parliament, which we are supposed to uphold as MPs, are not included.
Of course, that is why we want to repair the damage done by the Conservative majority on the committee, because some acts were eliminated, which changed the scope of the bill. These amendments would make the bill more just, especially when it comes to serious offences, including those that carry a sentence of five years or more in prison. Such offences should be included in the scope of this bill.
It is just common sense. This is hardly a radical idea. I think the vast majority of Canadians agree with us on this. We are here to support federal laws and the Criminal Code. In both cases, if a serious offence was committed, then it must be dealt with accordingly.
In this situation, that is not the case. The bill refers to a few Criminal Code offences, but not offences under acts of Parliament, such as a violation of the Canada Elections Act.
In the case of former Conservative MP Mr. Del Mastro, it was a serious offence. The bill came before the committee that very week, and it was certainly the time for the Conservative members to send a message. The Conservatives undermined their own bill. We are repairing the damage.
Under the leadership of our very experienced leader of the official opposition, we are ready to take action. In the months to come and this fall, we will repair the damage caused by the Conservative government. That is our plan.
Today we will move motions and propose amendments that make sense, in order to repair the damage caused by the Conservative members of the committee when they removed offences under acts of Parliament and thereby changed the scope of Bill C-518.
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