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Results: 241 - 270 of 746
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-02-26 17:17 [p.25825]
Madam Speaker, as many parliamentarians and many Canadians would know, we all watched the images of what Ashley Smith endured on CBC and a number of news programs. We want to ensure that does not happen to any other Canadian.
We do know our penitentiaries serve the role in our society of making sure that people are held to account for their actions and are held responsible. Through the bill, we would ensure that individuals who are in penitentiaries do their time, which is one of the aspects we obviously believe in as a government, while receiving proper and humane treatment as individuals. That is something I personally believe in as a Canadian and as a person. We must prevent any other instances, such as what happened to this young girl, from occurring.
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
NDP (QC)
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
2019-02-26 17:18 [p.25825]
Madam Speaker, I am appalled to hear the Liberals say that Bill C-83 will prevent suicides, when we know that many experts oppose administrative segregation. The bill proposes up to 20 hours a day of segregation for an indefinite period of time.
Two courts, one in Ontario and another in B.C., ruled that indefinite administrative segregation is unconstitutional. Furthermore, there is no independent oversight to assess the restrictions on freedom. Administrative segregation restricts freedom.
It has been proven that more than 48 hours in administrative isolation can cause permanent mental health effects and lead to self-harm, depression, suicide, panic attacks and hypersensitivity to external stimuli. The fact that administrative segregation is still an option is disastrous. The Liberals are just replicating what existed before and claiming to improve the situation.
The Liberals say that this could prevent suicides. However, the new measures aggravate mental health problems related to administrative segregation. In my view, it makes no sense to go down this path.
Today, the government is muzzling MPs. We should be moving amendments to improve the bill. The government rejected virtually all of the NDP and Conservative Party amendments aimed at improving the bill. That is not very professional, and it is very hypocritical. It harms inmates whose mental health problems will be aggravated and who will eventually be released and reintegrated into society.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-02-26 17:20 [p.25825]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. colleague from Quebec for her question. We both attended the new year celebrations in Mississauga for the Vietnamese community. It was great to see her there and to have her in the GTA.
With respect to the bill, an amendment was adopted at report stage to add a mechanism for independent oversight. Also, we must consider the fact that we have added a slew of services for individuals who are held in penitentiaries in SIUs or under confinement, including mental health care. For the first time, mental health will be a priority for these individuals and they will be receiving approximately four hours a day outside of their cells.
The improvements and amendments that have been adopted in the bill and the funding framework that is allotted to the bill in the budget are two things we can be proud of. We can say it demonstrates to Canadians that we are advocating for and ensuring their safety. However, we are also ensuring that people are treated humanely when they are sent to penitentiaries and that the case we spoke about earlier does not repeat itself.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-26 17:21 [p.25825]
Madam Speaker, I am rising today to speak in support of Bill C-83.
The role of our corrections system is to keep Canadians safe by managing people who have received criminal sentences of two years or more. In most cases, that involves preparing them for safe and successful reintegration into our communities, which obviously is a very difficult task.
Some of the people in federal custody have done terrible, violent things. Most inmates have some combination of mental illness, a history of physical or sexual abuse, drug or alcohol addiction and a lack of economic or educational opportunity. Getting them to where they can return to a society and live safe, productive, law-abiding lives involves interventions to deal with all of those factors. This includes mental health care, education, skills training, substance abuse treatment, rehabilitative programs and the guidance of elders and chaplains.
However, that work can only happen in a safe environment. When inmates pose a security risk, they may have to be temporarily separated from the rest of the institution.
On that point, there is agreement from the correctional investigator, the John Howard Society, correctional employees and even former inmates that this needs to be done. The problem is that our existing system for doing that, administrative segregation, separates inmates not only from the rest of the prison population, but also from the interventions that could address the factors that caused them to be a security risk in the first place. Bill C-83 would address this problem.
The bill maintains the ability for inmates who pose a risk to be separated when necessary, but it sets out conditions of confinement and intervention that are a major improvement over what is currently in use. In the structured intervention units, or SIUs, created by Bill C-83, inmates would receive a daily opportunity of at least four hours to be out of the cell and at least two hours of meaningful interaction with other people, such as program staff, visitors, volunteers and other compatible inmates.
On that last point, some participants in this debate have conjured the spectre of correctional staff just throwing incompatible inmates, such as members of rival gangs, together in the yard and keeping their fingers crossed. Of course, that will not happen, and would not happen, with the professional staff we have at Correctional Service Canada.
We are talking about a situation where out of maybe seven or eight inmates in the SIU, two of them get along and might be allowed to have lunch together. To allow for meals or yard time to happen in small groups or for rehabilitative programs to be provided one-on-one or in small groups, the corrections services will need new resources, including hiring new staff and making adjustments to infrastructure. That is why the fall economic statement included $448 million over six years for the implementation of the bill, $300 million going toward staff and infrastructure.
As set out in the breakdown the government provided to the public safety committee in November, that includes this funding as well as $150 million toward mental health care. These resources will allow the corrections services to meet the ambitious new standards set by Bill C-83, improving the quality and accessibility of mental health care and rehabilitative interventions.
The whole point is to address the issues that led to a person being separated from the mainstream inmate population in the first place, so he or she can safely reintegrate in the community within the institution and eventually the community outside it. I hope that is an objective we all share. Indeed, most of the witnesses at committee, who made critiques of the bill, did not take issue with this objective. They simply wanted greater assurance that the objective would be met. Since their testimony was heard, amendments have been made in an effort to provide that assurance.
In fact, amendments have been accepted from all parties as we have gone through this legislation, which is one of the main purposes of committees and a purpose that our government respects.
Witnesses worried that the opportunity for time out of the cell would be provided at unreasonable hours, like in the middle of the night. Therefore, the bill has been amended to specify that it must occur between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Witnesses also worried that the clause that time out of cell not be provided in exceptional circumstances might be too broad. Therefore, the bill has been amended to provide specific examples of the kinds of exceptional circumstances that we are talking about, like fires and natural disasters.
Although the bill would allow for health care providers to recommend that an inmate be removed from the SIU for medical reasons, witnesses worried that wardens might not take these recommendations seriously. The bill has been amended so that any disagreement between the health care provider and the warden could be elevated to a senior committee external to the institution.
Witnesses also expressed the view that independent, external oversight would be required to ensure that SIUs would be used appropriately and as a last resort. Therefore, the member for Oakville North—Burlington proposed an amendment to create an independent oversight mechanism, and the government announced its support.
Earlier this week, these amendments were read into the record at length and are available for all Canadians to see the great work that was done by the member for Oakville North—Burlington. In other words, this was a strong bill when it was first introduced, and the parliamentary process has been informed by witness testimony and public debate, and that has made it even stronger.
I thank all the members of the House who have made thoughtful, informed, constructive contributions throughout the process thus far. I thank the government for being receptive to feedback and open to amendments. It is worth noting that this is not something that could often be said about the previous government.
The provisions in the bill, together with the resources allocated by the government, will make our correctional system more effective at its core mandate, which is protecting Canadians through the effective rehabilitation and safe reintegration of people who have broken the law. It deals with people as people. It helps them to progress through difficult situations to get back into society and be productive members.
As the public safety minister wrote last summer in the first-ever public mandate letter for a commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, the public is best protected by safe, successful rehabilitation. Bill C-83 would help achieve that goal. I encourage all hon. members in the House to give their support.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2019-02-26 17:30 [p.25827]
Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of discussion in this place today, in particular criticism coming from the other side of the House, with respect to the process by which this legislation has gone through the House and, by design or by default, into the committee. This member took great extent to talk about it exactly and he highlighted how that committee structure worked so well, how concerns were being brought forward and the bill was amended at that time to reflect those concerns.
Could the member, given what he has contributed to this debate, comment on how this legislation made its way through the legislative process and whether it was given the due consideration it required along the course of that process.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-26 17:31 [p.25827]
Mr. Speaker, I had to check whether I could speak at this stage because I had spoken at other stages. I have had the opportunity to contribute to the debate. The debate has moved as the committee study went through. The bill came back and we had some amendments this week that we also had the opportunity to discuss. It is a highlight of this Parliament that we do have the opportunity to participate.
As a member, I went to the Grand Valley Institution for Women so I could be further aware of what went on inside the walls currently. Back in the early 1980s, I went to the Stony Mountain Institution, looking at what was going on there. There were some concerns about how inmates were getting along. Things have changed a lot over the years. As members, we can also visit institutions and then participate in the debate. That is a great showcase of how our democracy works.
View Harold Albrecht Profile
CPC (ON)
View Harold Albrecht Profile
2019-02-26 17:32 [p.25827]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have repeated many times today, and yet we do not have adequate answers to, is the fact that virtually every group of witnesses that came to committee, other than the government officials themselves, had huge criticisms of the bill, primarily around the issue of lack of consultation. In spite of the fact that in the 2015 campaign, we heard at all candidates debates how this government would be open and transparent and would consult with Canadians, we have a bill that would put the very safety of our front-line officers at risk and they have not been consulted.
The CSC ombudsman himself indicated a lack of consultation. Not only was there a lack of consultation, but there is a big concern that the legislative process the bill is at right now could leave far too many issues to be dealt with through the regulatory process. That leads into nothing but trouble.
I wonder if my colleague could explain why there was such a lack of consultation and why this big gap is going to leave so much of the actual implementation of the bill to the regulatory process, where it may not in fact have the legislative approval it requires.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-02-26 17:33 [p.25827]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way is my neighbour just to the west of Guelph. We share an institution that we both have visited on many occasions. One of the concerns I heard when I was at the institution was that the previous government had cut funding and cut the positions of the officers, who he is saying need to have protection. One of the protections comes through budgets. Instead of cutting $300 million from the budget between 2012 and 2015, we are now adding $300 million, plus $150 million for mental health care.
Instead of putting in mandatory minimum sentences, which put two prisoners into each cell and overcrowded our prisons, we have eliminated the mandatory minimum sentences so the process of our whole judicial process is not putting undue burden on the people working within it. We are giving them funding and helping improve the process so they are able to do the professional job we rely on them to do every day.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-02-26 17:34 [p.25827]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House and participate in today's debate on Bill C-83, a transformative piece of legislation for our correctional system. Its ultimate goal is to promote safety, both inside and outside our federal institutions, and it prioritizes rehabilitation as an indispensable part of achieving that goal.
The core innovation in Bill C-83 is the proposed introduction of structured intervention units, or SIUs. These SIUs would address a reality in any prison, which is that some inmates are, at certain times, simply too dangerous or disruptive to be safely housed in the mainstream inmate population. The current practice is to place those offenders in administrative segregation.
Segregated inmates in federal institutions can be in their cells for as many as 22 hours a day, and their interactions with other inmates are highly limited. Bill C-83 offers a more effective way forward for everyone involved. Safety will always be priority number one, but prisons are safer places to live and work when inmates receive the programming, mental health care and other interventions they need. Inmates who receive these interventions are more likely to reintegrate safely into the community when their sentences are over.
The solution the government is proposing in Bill C-83 is to eliminate segregation and to replace it with SIUs. These units will be secure and separate from the mainstream inmate population so that the safety imperative will be met. However, they will be designed to ensure that the inmates who are placed there receive the interventions, programming and treatment that they require.
Inmates in SIUs will be given the opportunity to leave their cells for at least four hours a day, as opposed to two hours under the current system. It is worth noting that currently, those two hours are set out in policy and not in legislation. Bill C-83 will give the four-hour minimum the full force of law. Inmates in SIUs will also have the opportunity for at least two hours of meaningful human contact. During that time, they could interact with people such as correctional staff, other compatible inmates, visitors, chaplains or elders.
The goal of these reforms is for inmates in an SIU to be in a position to reintegrate into the mainstream inmate population as soon as possible.
Bill C-83 has undergone rigorous analysis at every stage of the parliamentary process to date. Members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security went over the bill with a fine-tooth comb.
Based on testimony from a wide range of stakeholders, a number of useful amendments were adopted at the end of the committee's study period. Bill C-83 was a solid and worthwhile bill from day one. It is now even better and stronger for having gone through vigorous debate and a robust review process.
It is worth noting that the bill that has been reported back to us reflects amendments from all parties that proposed them. I wholeheartedly reject the idea we have heard during this debate that somehow the fact that the bill has been amended in response to public and parliamentary feedback is a bad thing. I am proud to support a government that welcomes informed, constructive feedback and that respects the role of members of Parliament from all parties in the legislative process.
Most of the amendments made to Bill C-83 are about ensuring that the new SIUs will function as intended.
For example, some witnesses were worried that the opportunity for time out of the cell would be provided in the middle of the night, when inmates were unlikely to take advantage of it. The member for Montarville therefore added the requirement that it happen between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Other witnesses wondered whether the mandatory interactions with others might happen through a door or a meal slot. To address that concern, the member for Toronto—Danforth, whom I commend, added a provision requiring that every reasonable effort be made to ensure that interactions are face to face, with a record kept of any and all exceptions.
To address concerns that the Correctional Service of Canada might make excessive use of the clause allowing for time out of the cell not to be provided in exceptional circumstances, the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore added a list of specific examples, such as fires or natural disasters, to clarify how this clause should be interpreted.
Amendments from the member for Toronto—Danforth at committee and from the member for Oakville North—Burlington at report stage will enhance the review process so that each SIU placement is subject to robust oversight, both internally and externally.
All of this will help ensure that the new SIUs operate as intended. Amendments have also been accepted from the members for Brampton North, Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, Beloeil—Chambly and Saanich—Gulf Islands. I thank them for their contributions.
We all want safer institutions and safer communities, and we all want Canadians to feel safe.
Successful rehabilitation and safe reintegration of people in federal custody are key to achieving our shared objective of enhanced public safety. By allowing inmates who must be separated from the general prison population to receive more time out of their cell and more mental health care and rehabilitative interventions, Bill C-83 represents a major step in the right direction.
Again, I would like to thank all of my hon. colleagues for their contributions throughout the legislative process so far, and I urge them to join me in enthusiastically supporting the bill.
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
NDP (QC)
View Anne Minh-Thu Quach Profile
2019-02-26 17:43 [p.25828]
Mr. Speaker, many experts have spoken out against this bill.
As the member said, we are talking about structured intervention units, which is just another way of saying “administrative segregation”. The member said this bill reduces the amount of time in administrative segregation from 22 or 23 hours to 20 hours. Wow, what an improvement.
Has the member ever tried locking herself in a room for 20 hours a day, for several days in a row, to see what it does to her body? As I have been saying all afternoon, it has been proven that permanent effects on mental health begin to emerge after 48 hours. These are permanent effects that continue to linger afterwards. These individuals have very little time to access programming, only four hours, in fact.
As the B.C. Supreme Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice have ruled, indefinite administrative segregation is unconstitutional. The provisions set out in the bill allow for an indefinite period of time, which could be 90 days or 150 days. No one knows.
On top of that, there is no independent oversight. The correctional investigator of Canada also criticized the fact that there are no procedural safeguards to prevent misuse. He foresees many possible cases of misuse and predicts that more and more inmates could be segregated in SIUs. The member is so proud of SIUs, but I think they are very cruel.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-02-26 17:44 [p.25828]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question and comments.
The reality is that the inmates in question, because we are not talking about all inmates here, are too dangerous or disruptive to be safely housed in the mainstream prison population. Right now, they can leave their cells for two hours a day. Once the bill is passed, they will be entitled to spend four hours outside their cell, and that will be enshrined in law. What is more, they will have to have human contact, be it with correctional officers, health care professionals or chaplains, to create ties and move forward.
We are also going to ensure that they have better access to mental health care, because that is often necessary. The previous government cut $800 million in funding, which definitely had a negative impact on our correctional facilities. We need to fix that.
Bill C-83 will promote inmate rehabilitation and ensure that all Canadians feel safe. That is a critical objective.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-02-26 18:26 [p.25830]
I declare Motion No. 1 lost. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2, 4 to 8, 11, 18 to 21 and 23 to 27 lost.
The question is on Motion No. 9. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 10 and 13 to 16.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-02-26 18:27 [p.25830]
Mr. Speaker, I think if you seek it you will find unanimous consent to apply the results of the previous vote to this vote, with Liberal members voting in favour.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-02-26 18:27 [p.25830]
Mr. Speaker, we agree to apply the vote and will vote in favour of the motion.
View Maxime Bernier Profile
PPC (QC)
View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karina Gould Profile
2019-02-26 18:28 [p.25830]
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I was not here for the first vote but for this vote, I will be voting in favour.
View Joe Peschisolido Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I too was not here for the first vote, but I will be voting yes.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-02-26 18:29 [p.25831]
I declare Motion No. 9 carried. I therefore declare Motions Nos. 10 and 13 to 16 carried.
The next question is on Motion No. 17. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 3 and 22.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
And five or more members having risen:
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-02-26 18:29 [p.25831]
Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find unanimous consent to apply the results of the previous vote to this vote, with Liberal members voting for the motion.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-02-26 18:30 [p.25832]
Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois agrees to apply the vote and will vote in favour of the motion.
View Maxime Bernier Profile
PPC (QC)
View Maxime Bernier Profile
2019-02-26 18:30 [p.25832]
Mr. Speaker, the People's Party agrees to apply the vote, and I will vote no.
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