Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alaina Lockhart Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
2019-06-06 16:19 [p.28715]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have said that the legalization of cannabis would lead to a catastrophe. That seemed to be the theme of the member's speech. So far, however, the facts speak for themselves.
We have seen a decline in the criminal share of cannabis from 51% to 38% in the first three months as opposed to last year. There is no sign of an increase in youth consumption, impaired driving problems or at the border.
Will the member concede that the Conservatives' doomsday predictions are a bit unfounded?
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
2019-06-06 17:06 [p.28721]
Madam Speaker, I know Liberals have differences of opinion with the NDP on how to proceed to clear people of their criminal records for possession. However, when the head of the campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, who shares a lot of the NDP's views, was asked in committee whether Bill C-93 was a positive step, she said it absolutely was.
We can talk about the differences of opinion in the House, but would the NDP see fit to help the people impacted by existing convictions to get jobs, housing and education, and support us by voting for this bill?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Karen Ludwig Profile
2019-05-14 12:31 [p.27742]
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the speech from the member opposite on a double taxation convention, and there are some things I agree with. One is the investment. I think all of us in the House agree on the importance of investing in infrastructure, in a skilled workforce and in innovation. Certainly we agree on the importance of reducing red tape.
One thing I do not agree with is the member's reference to this issue as a “meat and potatoes” issue. I represent New Brunswick Southwest, so I would say double taxation is a “fish and chips” issue.
I would like the member to speak about double taxation in my province, where people who have two homes or who have a camp or a cottage are being charged double the taxes regardless. Since the member opposite talked about the domestic aspect of taxation, I would like him to speak to this issue in the context of New Brunswick, noting the disadvantage placed on real estate investment when there is a double taxation charge for owning a second home.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Karen Ludwig Profile
2019-05-14 13:09 [p.27747]
Mr. Speaker, when I talk to businesses in my riding of New Brunswick Southwest, I often hear concerns about certainty and predictability in terms of investment, such as where and when they should invest. I wonder if my colleague could speak to the opportunities and the confidence that come from having a fairer playing field for investing for our domestic Canadian businesses when they know that there is a new tax convention in place with Madagascar.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Karen Ludwig Profile
2019-05-14 13:24 [p.27748]
Mr. Speaker, the investment made in my riding, New Brunswick Southwest, was responsible investment. In rural communities, it takes a lot to get applications in, so I differ on that sentiment.
I recall very vividly the all-night voting, and I wonder if my hon. colleague could tell us why the opposition voted against any increases to the RCMP that night when, during his speech today, he talked about the importance of the RCMP being able to investigate.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2019-02-28 11:51 [p.25900]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.
I am very pleased to rise today, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, to support Bill C-77, an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.
I want to first acknowledge the hard work that has gone into shaping this bill and getting to this point. Obviously that includes the work of members of the Standing Committee on National Defence and their clause-by-clause consideration of the bill earlier this fall.
I would also like to recognize the work and the outstanding dedication of the members of our Canadian Armed Forces. I think we all greatly appreciate the work they do every day. We are very grateful to them and we thank them.
The study in committee made it possible to tweak the language used in the bill for clarity and to debate important ideas raised by the public, particularly with regard to mental health issues. The result is a better bill and parliamentarians who are more aware of these issues. I therefore thank the committee.
The premise of the bill is simple. Our men and women in uniform deserve a military justice system that supports them in all they do, a military justice system that reflects Canadian values, works to eliminate discrimination of any kind, and ensures that victims are given a voice throughout the legal process.
Through Bill C-77, we are proposing important changes to our current military justice framework, specifically by enshrining victims’ rights before, during and after court martial proceedings. We are also strengthening the summary trial process to ensure that minor cases are disposed of in a non-penal, non-criminal process called summary hearings. In addition, we are seeking harsher punishments and sanctions for services offences and infractions motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression. Finally, we are ensuring that the specific circumstances of indigenous offenders are taken into account at the time of sentencing.
For example, the proposed summary hearings will help improve the flexibility and effectiveness of the military justice system by allowing the chain of command to address minor service infractions quickly and fairly at the unit level. Naturally, the most serious cases will be referred to the courts martial. There will be no summary process anymore, and military commanders who preside over summary hearings will only be able to impose non-criminal penalties for service infractions.
The changes we are proposing are long overdue. We recognize that we need to continually improve our military justice system so that it mirrors the civilian criminal justice system where appropriate, while acknowledging the important distinctions that exist between the two systems in order to account for the unique requirements of military life.
Our government is committed to making the Canadian Armed Forces a safe and welcoming place for all Canadians, both civilian and military. It is this same commitment that continues to motivate us as we work to finalize these amendments and enshrine them in law.
One of the most important sets of changes we are proposing is the introduction of the declaration of victims rights into the National Defence Act. This declaration mirrors the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, applicable in the civilian criminal justice system. It enshrines rights for victims of service offences and enhances the support provided to them as they navigate the court martial process.
These changes include the right to information, which ensures that victims understand the process and the options at their disposal; the right to protection, which guarantees the victims' security and privacy; the right to participation, which allows victims to convey their views about decisions to be made by authorities in the military justice system; and the right to restitution, which entitles victims to seek restitution.
In order to ensure that victims are able to exercise these rights, they will be entitled to the support of a victim liaison officer. The victim liaison officer will help them navigate the military justice system and inform them about how this system operates. They will explain to victims how service offences are charged, dealt with and tried under the Code of Service Discipline. These are important changes that help put victims first, and I am proud to support them in the House.
The second set of changes we are proposing have to do with how the military justice system handles minor breaches of military discipline. Through these proposed changes, a new category of minor breaches of military discipline, called service infractions, will be created. These service infractions will not trigger a criminal record.
This change will allow the Canadian Armed Forces to handle minor breaches of military discipline in a fairer, simpler and faster manner. They demonstrate trust and confidence in our military leaders, who can address minor breaches of discipline at the base, wing or unit level.
Through Bill C-77, we are also working to address issues of gender-based prejudice and hatred in the Canadian Armed Forces. The bill parallels provisions in the Criminal Code that propose harsher sentences and sanctions for service offences and infractions that are motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, based on gender expression or identity.
The Canadian Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for discrimination of any kind. We are committed to eradicating these types of biases in our military ranks. That is why, through this bill and other initiatives, we are working to discourage behaviour motivated by prejudice or hate. This amendment will reflect this commitment and help the Canadian Armed forces continue to make progress in promoting inclusivity. We are ensuring that the military justice system is consistent with the civilian system when it comes to the human rights of the LGBTQ2 community. This bill represents another step in that direction.
Finally, we have made a significant amendment to align with the Criminal Code provision relating to the sentencing of indigenous offenders. For Indigenous offenders convicted of military service offences, historic injustices will be considered during sentencing. This sentencing principle acknowledges the historic wrongs that still negatively affect indigenous Canadians across the country.
These changes will also reflect the government's promise to advance reconciliation and renew our relations with indigenous people. We believe that these considerations are vital to the Canadian Armed Forces’ role in repairing our relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples. Concrete measures like this will help us strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship and continue on the path to healing.
I am extremely proud of the important role that indigenous Canadians play in the Canadian Armed Forces. There are nearly 2,500 indigenous CAF members serving in the regular and reserve forces.
These proposed changes to the National Defence Act are key to supporting our women and men in uniform. Our military personnel are at the heart of everything we do. They are at the heart of the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, because the women and men of the CAF make extraordinary sacrifices every day in service to their country. They deserve a return to a military justice system that ensures their voices are heard. They deserve a military justice system that maintains discipline and efficiency in the CAF while respecting our Canadian values. They deserve a military justice system that provides fair and equal treatment, regardless of race, orientation, or gender.
Bill C-77 proposes the changes required to reform the military justice system so that it continues to meet the expectations of the people of Canada and the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces. It presents an approach that is more focused on the victims and protects their rights.
This bill deserves our support because it seeks to establish a better military justice system for Canadians.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2019-02-28 12:01 [p.25902]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
I can understand my colleague's concern. As we have said many times in the House, the former government had many opportunities to introduce this bill, but it chose to do so at the last minute, just before the last election.
With this bill, we are strengthening victims' rights. We have included indigenous peoples and members of the LGBTQ community. This bill not only strengthens the rights of victims in those two communities, but it also strengthens our military justice system and makes it fairer and more just.
That is the goal of the changes we are proposing; I hope my colleague will support the bill.
View Serge Cormier Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Serge Cormier Profile
2019-02-28 12:04 [p.25902]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
As he indicated, the previous bill was quite different from our bill. We included indigenous people and LGBTQ communities in ours. We want a good bill, one that strengthens victims' rights.
In his comments on the military justice system, my colleague mentioned that it can be difficult to understand. That is exactly why we want victims to be supported throughout the legal process.
That is why we are bringing in measures to ensure that victims have a better understanding of the military justice system, and that is why we want to create a fairer, more equitable system.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2019-02-28 16:05 [p.25938]
Madam Speaker, I stand here today as the member of Parliament for Fredericton. I am proud that over the last three-and-a-half years I have had the distinct privilege to meet with many of the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who serve at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.
Centred in the town of Oromocto, Base Gagetown is the second-largest military base in Canada and the home of Canada's army. Gagetown is not just a place of work for the 7,500 military members and civilian personnel, it is home to countless families. It is a school. It is a medical centre.
Base Gagetown is an economic driver for New Brunswick. It is the second-largest public sector employer in the province and the third-largest employer overall. It contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to our local and provincial economy each year. The benefits the base brings to our community are far too many to count.
Canadian Armed Forces members at Base Gagetown do not only make Fredericton, New Maryland, Oromocto and the Grand Lake region a more vibrant place to live, as members of the military, they put their lives on the line for our country and give up their own safety to defend ours.
We can never match that honour and sacrifice, but what we can do is ensure that the structures within the military are as strong as they can be so Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families never have to see their own system as an obstacle to overcome.
Military members keep us safe, but we must protect them as well. By amending the National Defence Act, Bill C-77 is ensuring better protection for the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces under the military justice system. Bill C-77 means a more just and equitable future for the 6,500 members of the Canadian Armed Forces at Base Gagetown and for thousands more who serve across the country.
The very nature of the military means its justice system must consider a different set of demands, from the hazards of war to the hierarchal chain of command. The Canadian Armed Forces must always be able to enforce discipline within that chain of command, so it can be ready and able to respond to any threat.
Bill C-77 commits to strengthening the victims rights within the unique framework of the military justice system. From ensuring that victims of inappropriate conduct by members of the Canadian Armed Forces have the right to information, protection, participation and restitution to establishing a new victim liaison officer to help guide victims through the military justice system, we are ensuring that the victims rights are not only respected but that they are strengthened.
When victims come forward with a complaint, we must ensure they are fully supported. Anything less is unacceptable. Bill C-77 is about making real changes in the lives of our service members. The impact of those changes will be felt across the country, from the Military Family Resource Centre and the Royal Canadian Legion in Oromocto all the way to Alert to Esquimalt to St. John's.
Victims rights matter, and that is why these changes matter as well.
As the Minister of National Defence has made clear, the Canadian Armed Forces welcomes the Auditor General's recommendations on ways to strengthen the administration of military justice. Our government is committed to maintaining a fair, modern and robust military justice system. We thank the Auditor General for this important work and accept the recommendations.
Unfortunately this review reflects the previous government's neglect of not only the military, but also the military justice system, which is an important part of military discipline and morale within the Canadian Armed Forces. Unlike the previous government, we are committed to ensuring the efficiency of the military justice system. Unlike the previous government, which allowed delays to fester, we are committed to ensuring a reliable military justice system.
We have already started to address some of the Auditor General's recommendations, including a case management system to monitor and manage cases as they progress through the system, extending the postings of defence counsel and military prosecutors to better serve both the accused and the Crown and reinstating the military justice round table, which the previous government abolished. These are just some of the measures we have taken to address the report and we will continue to work to ensure an effective military justice system.
To get back to the matter at hand, the Auditor General's findings reinforce that the judge advocate general of the Canadian Armed Forces, or JAG, is taking the right approach to modernizing the system. The JAG, Commodore Geneviève Bernatchez, oversees the administration of military justice in the forces. She has embraced the Auditor General's recommendations, which will guide her efforts to ensure the military justice system meets the expectations of Canadians and the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces. She has already developed a detailed action plan to respond to all nine recommendations, and members of the military are already seeing improvements to the administration of the military justice system.
Many important changes are already under way, with the office of the JAG and the director of military prosecutions actively implementing measures to improve how military justice is administered. For instance, even before the Auditor General made his recommendations, the office of the JAG began to develop a new electronic case management tool and database to capture the relevant data on all military justice cases. This will directly respond to a number of the Auditor General's recommendations to identify and address delays in military justice processes and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.
The justice, administration and information management system, JAIMS, will allow for the real-time tracking of files as they proceed through the system. It will incorporate and enable the enforcement of time standards that will be established following a review conducted by the JAG as part of the response from the Department of National Defence to the Auditor General's recommendations. JAIMS will allow military justice stakeholders and decision-makers to access case data in real time and be prompted when their action is required. This will help reduce delays by improving how the military justice system's files are managed.
This is not simply about speeding up the system. We want to ensure the system is working and working well. As members may have heard my colleagues say, the military justice system is vital to the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces to achieve its missions in Canada and around the world. It cannot and will not remain static. The military justice system, like the civilian criminal justice system, is constantly evolving to remain fully compliant with Canadian law, norms and values. That is why our government tabled Bill C-77, which proposes to introduce a declaration of victims rights to incorporate indigenous sentencing considerations and reform summary trials.
In Canada's defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, our government has made an unprecedented commitment to provide the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces with the support they need and deserve. That includes the assurance that military members will continue to have access to a fair and effective military justice system as they bravely serve Canadians at home and abroad. With Bill C-77 and the many progressive changes being instituted by the Office of the Judge Advocate General, we are clearly delivering on this pledge.
The Auditor General's report offers valuable insights and tangible recommendations that will help us further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the military justice system. The changes the Auditor General has urged, many of which we are already acting on, will ensure the military justice system remains valuable and relevant in contributing to the operational readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2019-02-28 16:16 [p.25940]
Madam Speaker, this government, and I am sure all parliamentarians in the House, take very seriously issues of life and death, issues of suicide. I have no doubt and entire confidence that this issue was studied in-depth with a certain comprehensiveness at the committee and the report stage. It was a decision of the committee, which is independent of the government, and a decision at report stage by parliamentarians not to adopt this motion.
We continue to monitor the effectiveness of the military justice system by moving forward with Bill C-77, but it will not end there. We will continue to ensure we have an effective, fair, responsive military justice system that ensures Canadian Armed Forces members receive what they need and delivers fair, robust and accurate results.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2019-02-28 16:18 [p.25940]
Madam Speaker, I think that our government's record on national defence over the past three and a half years speaks for itself.
We have made unprecedented investments in the military. Some of those investments were made at Base Gagetown, in my community. Not only did we invest in infrastructure and the needs of our military members, but we also invested in their physical and mental health, as well as the well-being of the members and their families.
I believe we have an exceptional record on military issues, and Bill C-77 enhances it even further. We are proud of our record, and we will always support Canadian military members and their families.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2019-02-28 16:19 [p.25940]
Madam Speaker, that is another element of the record this government has when it comes to supporting the military, which is so important to the service women and men of our armed forces and their families.
There have been great advancements over the last number of years in recognition of and research on how to prevent and treat different forms of mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder to which far too many members of our military succumb. We will always stand to support the mental health of the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as their families and the communities that support them right across the country.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2018-11-08 17:45 [p.23490]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House for the opportunity to talk about this important private member's bill.
I want to comment on the last question. I can assure the member that my tomatoes will never collide with anyone else's, because I sell them locally.
On that note, I applaud the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing this excellent private member's bill. I was proud as chair of the standing committee on agriculture that all members of our committee gave the bill unanimous support when it was presented last June.
Our government recognizes the contribution of agriculture and food to local and regional economies. We also recognize the importance of strengthening connections between consumers and producers of food, and the capacity of local food systems to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.
This debate has prompted some members to share their experiences with local food.
I have been a local farmer all my life, but things have changed a lot since I started out. Back then, there were plenty of small and medium grocery stores, wholesalers and farmers’ markets where I could take my certified organic tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers. However, the concentration of the food chains has changed the landscape for my business and that of my fellow farmers.
It forced me and others to connect more directly with the consumer. Through my direct market called Mr. Tomato in Rogersville, New Brunswick, we were able to connect directly with consumers. They came to our place to buy our product.
I was a founding member of the Really Local Harvest co-op. This co-op has about 30 members within a 100 kilometre area. It permits us to network and to sell our products. With that co-op, we became the manager of the Dieppe Farmers Market, where over 7,000 people go every Saturday to buy their food and talk to farmers. It made a big difference. That market managed to keep some farmers going when a lot of farms were closing down, and it permitted our farms to stay connected with the consumer.
Food is close to our hearts. Home is where the heart is.
From U-pick strawberries in Ontario to fresh beer made with prairie hops to drink on the balcony, our favourite foods are often those produced closest to home. In fact, according to the 2018 Canadian Food Trends published by the Loblaw Food Council, more and more Canadians want locally produced food. Of course, we are all local somewhere.
That means that we need a solid agricultural system across Canada. All Canadians can share their beloved local foods with the entire planet to help feed the growing world population with sustainable foods.
That is why the objective of the new Canadian agricultural partnership is to build a strong agriculture sector. The Canadian agricultural partnership is Canada’s five-year agriculture policy framework. It outlines a bold new vision that will help the agriculture and agrifood sector innovate, grow and prosper.
On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada launched the partnership as a shared vision for the future of Canadian agriculture. Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion in the partnership. Over $1 billion of that investment will support federal programs and activities to revitalize Canadian agriculture. These programs will focus on the following three key areas: growing trade and expanding markets; innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.
Canadians want to make informed choices about what they eat. They want to be able to trust the quality of the food that they and their families are eating. The Canadian agricultural partnership is the first policy framework to explicitly recognize public trust as a priority for our agriculture sector.
The new $74-million AgriInsurance program will help the agriculture sector maintain and strengthen public trust in Canada’s food system.
It will help farmers and food producers tell customers about the great things they are doing to grow safe, high-quality food and to care for animals and safeguard our environment, so that customers, whether they be local or international, will know that the red maple leaf is a symbol they can trust. Our new $20-million agri-competitiveness program will also help organizations raise awareness of our world-class agricultural industry among Canadians. This will reinforce the public's confidence in Canada's food production system and promote public trust. Partnership programs are also breaking new ground with a strong focus on diversity.
The more perspectives we have in agriculture, the more dynamic the sector becomes. Through our new $5-million agri-diversity program, we will reach out to women, indigenous communities and young people. It is important that we remove any barriers that are preventing these groups from taking up a leadership role in the sector. This diversity helps give local food systems the capacity to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.
Of course, when it comes to agriculture, we are a trading nation, and the partnership is geared to opening markets. We export over half of all of our agricultural output and the government knows that trade also drives jobs and the economy.
That is why our objective is to expand agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025.
The partnership programs will help the sector promote Canada as a producer of safe, high-quality foods so that our farmers and food processors can sell more products at home and abroad. This will help strengthen the local food movement and could even draw food tourists from around the world.
The future of Canadian agriculture is bright. We are blessed with an abundance of quality farmland and a variety of local climates. Our ice wines are among the best in the world.
That is why we have set a target of $75 billion in agricultural exports by 2025.
For top-quality grains, look no further than the Prairies. In fact, a public-private group in Saskatchewan was selected as one of five new super clusters under our $950-million investment in budget 2018.
I am sure we can all agree that eating locally is an excellent way to stimulate the economy.
Protein Industries Canada will turn even more of our prairie grains into high-quality plant protein to feed the world. With the new programs available under the Canadian agricultural partnership, we are giving farmers and food processors the tools they need to keep agriculture diverse and vibrant right across our country. A yearly national local food day would be an opportunity for Canadians to take a look near them and see what is growing.
Once again, I would like to thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for all of his hard work on this bill.
I look forward to the passing of this bill before the end of this Parliament. I hope it does. We are proud to support it.
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
2018-09-20 10:42 [p.21574]
Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for taking the time today to define the challenges regarding gun violence in Canada and providing us with the reasoning behind this bill. I represent a largely rural riding, Fundy Royal, and have spent considerable time talking to my constituents and other stakeholders about this bill, providing feedback throughout the process.
Could the minister tell this House how he evaluated the feedback he received from members who represent rural areas, and how it was incorporated in this legislation?
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