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Results: 1 - 11 of 11
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:08 [p.25697]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House as the official opposition's national defence critic to once again speak to Bill C-77. I sit on the Standing Committee on National Defence with the members for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman and Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, who have a great deal of experience. Members will no doubt recall that I addressed them on the same subject on October 1, 2018.
Bill C-77 seeks to make changes to Canada's military justice system, which was created in 1950 and has undergone a number of legislative amendments over the years, more specifically in 1998, 2001, 2008 and 2013.
While the court martial system is similar to Canada's criminal justice system in terms of its independence and the burden of proof, courts martial are distinctly military. However, as my colleagues know, decisions at a court martial may be appealed before Canada's civilian courts, if necessary.
The existence of Canada's military justice system has been recognized over the years, particularly in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which makes reference to it. In a recent decision of the Supreme Court, in 2015, the judiciary upheld the requirement for the separate system by indicating that the existence of a parallel system of military law is deeply entrenched in our history and supported by compelling principles. The court martial system should help make the armed forces better at conducting operations and contributing to the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale. I examined Bill C-77 with that in mind.
As I pointed out last October, this bill is very similar to Bill C-71 that had been introduced by our Conservative government. The purpose of our bill was to bring our military justice system in line with the Criminal Code of Canada. Some of our proposed changes included writing the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights into the National Defence Act, limiting summary trials to six months and clarifying which cases would be eligible for a summary trial. Bill C-77, which is before us today, proposes the same changes.
Before I venture into a certain part of the bill that we see as problematic, I would like to strongly reiterate that the Conservatives will always protect victims of crime and make sure that they are treated fairly in the Canadian criminal justice system. In fact, it was our Conservative government that created the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Of course we will support integrating it into Canada's military justice system. That was precisely our main reason for introducing Bill C-71.
The Liberal government does not want to admit now that it copied us with Bill C-77, but the Liberals know perfectly well what they are doing. I do not blame them, for this is the right thing to do. However, it would be nice if my colleagues on the government side would act in good faith and recognize the excellent work we did on victims' rights under the previous Conservative government.
Honestly, that is the least they could do. The government should be non-partisan about this.
Overall, Bill C-77 is not a bad bill. However, there is something that bothers me about this bill and that is clause 25, dealing with division 5, which amends sections 162.1 to 164.2 of the National Defence Act.
This part is very different from what we had proposed in our Bill C-71. In Bill C-77, the burden of proof shifts from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “on a balance of probabilities”.
This obviously does not afford the same level of protection to our men and women in uniform who are going into a summary hearing. Imposing criminal penalties by making decisions on a balance of probabilities rather than according to the principle of reasonable doubt opens the door to challenges under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the parallel system of military justice is supported by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Unfortunately, the Liberal government did not support the amendment moved by my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman. This amendment could have easily resolved the problem by changing “on a balance of probabilities” to “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Now that Bill C-77 is expected to move to the next stage, I hope that the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence will propose amendments to that effect.
In committee, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Guy Perron and the Quebec bar expressed doubts that the balance of probabilities could violate the rights enshrined in the charter.
The Conservatives support our Canadian justice system as set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution. However, we do not support a parallel justice system that violates our rights and freedoms.
This is one of the reasons why the report of the Standing Committee on National Defence approved on division some amendments to the bill.
In conclusion, I think members should remember that Bill C-77 is largely a copy of the Conservatives' Bill C-71. I would be happy to see the Liberals simply acknowledge the excellent work we did for victims rights and for them to acknowledge that they are just picking up where we left off by seeking to add a victims bill of rights to the military justice system.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:19 [p.25699]
Madam Speaker, of course we support that.
I want to come back to something. The Liberal government does not want to admit that it is simply copying Bill C-77. They know full well that is what they are doing. I cannot blame them because that was the thing to do.
However, it would be nice if my colleagues in the government showed some good faith and acknowledged the excellent work we did on victims' rights under the previous government. Honestly, it is the least they could do and would be a good show of non-partisanship on their side of the House. The bill is almost a carbon copy of Bill C-77 introduced by the Conservative government.
I might ask why it took so long to introduce it in the House.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:21 [p.25699]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
It was extremely important. What retired Lieutenant-Colonel Perron said was extremely important.
Another thing people need to know is that the Conservatives will always protect victims of crime and ensure that they are treated more fairly in the Canadian justice system
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:22 [p.25699]
Madam Speaker, we appreciate that.
The bill will take its course. We look forward to the next stages.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:24 [p.25699]
Madam Speaker, we have to make sure that everything is going to work well and that everything is taken into consideration.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:25 [p.25699]
Madam Speaker, I think that the process is great. We need to make sure everything is done right. We need to look at all the available options so that the best possible decisions can be made.
As time goes on, we will see how the bill evolves over the course of the following stage.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2019-02-22 13:26 [p.25700]
Madam Speaker, I believe that we can always do better.
So far, we are rather satisfied. We will see how things go.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2018-10-01 18:05 [p.22068]
Madam Speaker, after asking my first question in the House and giving my first member's statement, I will now be giving my first 10-minute or so speech in the House of Commons. It is important to me to quickly break the ice.
First, it is an honour to be able to represent my constituents in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord as we study Bill C-77, an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts. As we know, the Bagotville military base is in Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. As part of Air Command, it is one of two bases housing the CF-18s in Canada. For those like me who are interested in history, I will mention that the Bagotville military base was established in 1942 to protect Alcan's infrastructure in the Saguenay, the aluminum plants that were part of the war effort during World War II. I would also like to mention that, at present, we are still paying a 10% tax on aluminum. This base continues to be one of the largest employers in Saguenay and houses 3 Wing Bagotville. It is one of the major pillars of the Saguenay economy, along with aluminum, lumber and agriculture. It is even more important to remember this today because aluminum, lumber and supply management were sacrificed in part last night.
I always enjoy meeting our troops. They are people of honour and integrity. They are leaders. They stand by one another. They protect one another. They all want equal treatment. I also enjoy meeting our valiant veterans. They always have good stories to tell. Unfortunately, they often have trouble getting the government to respect their rights. I talk to a lot of veterans who tell me about their deployments and the problems they run into when they return. Every time they tell the government what they need, the government does not seem that interested.
One of my greatest hopes is for the base to keep getting better. I would like to see proper military aircraft there, not the old, broken-down Australian planes the Liberals want to replace our CF-18s with. Our people in uniform deserve better. I have talked to some of them. The Australian planes are even older than the CF-18s at the Bagotville base. People are wondering what plans the government has to get them up to snuff.
Let me get back to the matter at hand, Bill C-77. Make no mistake, this bill is very similar to Bill C-71 that the previous Conservative government wanted to bring in during the 41st Parliament. That bill was introduced in June 2015, but it did not get as far as second reading.
Much like Bill C-77, we wanted to make changes to the military justice system. Specifically, we wanted to bring Canada's military justice system in line with the Criminal Code. Some of the most important changes we were planning to make were as follows: adding victims' rights the National Defence Act, limiting summary trials to six months and clarifying which cases would be eligible for a summary trial. From what I understand, Bill C-77 seeks to achieve the same objectives.
One has to wonder why the Liberal government waited so long to introduce this bill. The Liberals keep saying that they care about our veterans, that they are sympathetic to our solders and so on. It is obvious that the Conservatives will always put the rights of victims of crime ahead of the rights of criminals, and we will make sure that victims have a voice in our justice system.
Need I remind members of the House that it was us, the Conservatives, who brought in the victims bill of rights? In fact, it was the senator from Quebec who represents LaSalle who made the victims bill of rights possible. Of course we are in favour of incorporating the victims bill of rights into the military justice system. That is precisely why we introduced Bill C-71 three years earlier. It was such a long time ago—I was still a coach at the time—but that is fine, we cannot fault our colleagues across the way for copying our work because we know full well that adding the victims bill of rights to the military justice system is the right thing to do for our country.
The leader of the official opposition and member for Regina—Qu'Appelle and the Conservatives will always stand behind victims of crime. It is important to us that Bill C-77 pass this first important stage and get to committee so that we can go over it in greater detail. It will be a pleasure to discuss this bill clause by clause with my colleagues opposite to make it the best it can be for our armed forces and the military justice system.
We are definitely going to discuss equality. Discipline demands consistency and continuity. They are the very foundation of people's trust in others and in the system. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces should not be subjected to discrimination based on race, gender, creed or culture. It is crucial that no soldier lose trust in their superior officer. Trust is hard to win and easy to lose. Whether positive or negative, discrimination undermines the bond of trust.
This will also be my first time analyzing a bill in detail in committee, so I will be adding another string to my bow as a new MP. I may get a chance to submit amendments and seek my colleagues' co-operation in getting them approved.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2018-10-01 18:16 [p.22069]
Madam Speaker, we must first take the time to do a proper analysis of this bill and to discuss it with our colleagues. I am still learning about that. We do not want to feel pressured all the time. We must take the time to do a proper analysis in order to do what is best for everyone.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2018-10-01 18:17 [p.22069]
Madam Speaker, that is a very good question. We need not look very far for the answer.
We need only think of the case of Christopher Garnier, a criminal who is receiving benefits and was never in the military. In my riding, people find it difficult to accept that. We are still not getting an answer when we ask the government if it is going to stop his benefits. We certainly do hear people talking about it. I hope that these cases we are constantly hearing about do not become a common occurrence.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2018-10-01 18:19 [p.22069]
Madam Speaker, it is the third largest employer in the city of Saguenay, so obviously, it is a very important community. CFB Bagotville is vital to our region. We in Chicoutimi are proud to have this military base located in Saguenay, because we know it helps protect Canada's extremely vast territory. We often have discussions with military personnel regarding our fleet of CF-18s, which need to be replaced, as there is no guarantee that we will be able to use them until 2025.
Results: 1 - 11 of 11

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