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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:21 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bills: C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast; C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts; C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act; C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages; C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures; C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act; C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ...
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View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I chair the public accounts committee. There are some significant changes in this bill.
When we look at the supplementary estimates, $448 million were given to CSC. However, when we have tried to find out what the financial implications are, the cost of all the measures in the bill, we can not get an answer from the government.
The parliamentary secretary is privy to those briefings with the department. I know that typically those answers are given by the department.
If we have scanners, and the parliamentary secretary talked about limited, I wonder, and I think Canadians wonder as well, what the costs of the bill would be.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to seek unanimous consent for this speaking slot to be a regular 20-and-10 speaking slot, rather than unlimited time, and to split the time with the member for Yellowhead. We have unlimited time slots and would ask for unanimous consent to split the time so my friend from Yellowhead can share some of his stories of the Correctional Service.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-19 22:25 [p.29449]
Does the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot have the unanimous consent of the House to regard this time slot as a 20 and 10 for the purpose of splitting his time?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the chamber for doing that.
This undoubtedly will be the last time I ever speak in this place. As I rise on this night, I want to thank the throng of people that have come out to hear this speech.
I rise this evening to speak to Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
This legislation seeks to eliminate administrative segregation in correctional facilities; replace these facilities with new structured intervention units, or SIUs; introduce body scanners for inmates; set parameters for access to health care; and formalize exceptions for indigenous offenders, female offenders and offenders with diagnosed mental health issues.
Just as we fundamentally opposed the bill in its original form, we oppose the government's motion respecting the Senate amendments.
We on this side of the House believe that this legislation has the potential of making prisons more dangerous both for offenders and for correctional officers. I will get into that in a bit.
Drumheller Institution, a medium security facility, is located within my riding of Battle River—Crowfoot. Over the many years I have represented this riding, I have developed a very good rapport with many of the good people who work there.
Correctional officers contact my constituency office on a regular basis, asking for assistance in resolving cases and issues they have within and with their institution. I would never support a bill that could potentially endanger their lives any more than they already are, given that they are employed in an inherently hazardous occupation. Currently, my office has 20 active files and 50 inactive files, but also unresolved files from Drumheller correctional workers with respect to pay issues due to the Phoenix pay system, as well as other issues. They are not alone. Nearly two-thirds of public servants have unresolved pay issues more than three years after the Phoenix system was launched.
Now the national union president representing correctional officers is raising serious concerns about the very real possibility of some new measures taking place within the institution. One of them is the first supervised drug injection site for prisoners. The Correctional Service of Canada has neither confirmed nor denied this is about to happen by the end of the month.
As National President Jeff Wilkins told the National Post in an article that appeared on June 9, “The correctional officers are dead set against the prison needle-exchange and the current way it's being rolled out.” It is a program that he says is unsafe for guards, as they are responsible for distributing needles to prisoners in their cells, a scheme that has done nothing to stop needle sharing and defies reason in that people in prison should not have access to those drugs.
One of my constituents wrote me, “As a Correctional Officer, I am opposed to the proposed Needle Exchange program, which is definitely defeating the purpose of the whole anti-drug thing that we were shooting for in jail. Is there any way that I and other co-workers can express our concerns with our MP?”
l told him that I was definitely open to hearing and discussing these concerns with him and his colleagues. I could not assure him, however, that the Liberal government would listen. I did in fact tell him that I would bring his concerns to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness but was not at all confident that he would be receptive to those concerns.
After 19 years in this place and a number of years as our party's public safety critic for the official opposition in 2001 until about 2005, I have learned that when it comes to justice, under Liberal governments inmates and their rights take precedence over victims and correctional officers' rights.
For the 19 years that I have been in this place, I have repeatedly stood in the House fighting for victims' rights, fighting for changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to end such things as statutory release and promoting the idea of protection of society as a guiding principle in our justice system.
I oppose conditional sentences as originally prescribed by the Liberals, which saw rapists and other violent offenders serve their sentences at home. My constituents back me up on that.
I am equally opposed to needle exchange programs in our correctional institutions, and I am opposed to injection sites. I wholeheartedly agree with the union president that rather than providing needle exchanges and designated sites within prisons for inmates to shoot up, we should perhaps have medical facilities closer to these prisons to deal with the drug overdoses that may result.
So much more should and can be done to stop the drug trade within the correctional facilities, which is leading to overdose, to death and to the continued gang wars that take place within our prisons. Canadians would agree that it defies reason that drugs make their way into the prisons, not to mention the huge amount of drugs and number of needles that circulate.
This is certainly not a new phenomenon. This has been going on for years. The Liberals' only solution is to give the inmates what they want. I disagree.
I fully understand that many inmates are drug addicts and that many of them are in prison as a result of criminal behaviour related to their addiction. They need help. They do not need more drugs, especially drugs that are bought or bartered for within prison. The fact that drugs cannot be stopped from entering our prisons certainly is a blight on the reputation of the Correctional Service of Canada.
As I pointed out this year when I last spoke to this bill, the Correctional Service of Canada certainly has been the subject of much criticism over the last number of years. In that speech, I mentioned one of the fall reports of the Auditor General of Canada, in 2017. It was entitled “Preparing Women Offenders for Release”. The objective of the Auditor General's report was this:
[to determine] whether Correctional Service Canada assigned and delivered correctional programs, interventions, and mental health services to women offenders in federal custody—including Indigenous women offenders—that responded appropriately to their unique needs and helped them successfully reintegrate into the community.
We heard our parliamentary secretary talk about correctional programs tonight, and this bill also deals with indigenous women offenders.
As noted by the Auditor General:
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Correctional Service Canada is required to provide programs and services that respond to the needs of women offenders.
The report states:
Overall, we found that Correctional Service Canada had not implemented an initial security classification process designed specifically for women offenders.... As a result, some women offenders risked being held at inappropriate security levels....
Furthermore, and most relevant to our debate here this evening, the Auditor General concluded:
We found that Correctional Service Canada had not confirmed whether its tools correctly identified women offenders with mental health issues or assigned them the appropriate level of care.
I also spoke about report 6 of the fall 2018 Auditor General report on community supervision of offenders, in which the Auditor General found that while the number of offenders released into community supervision had grown and was expected to keep growing, the Correctional Service of Canada had reached the limit of how many offenders it could house in the community. Despite the growing backlog and despite research that showed that a gradual supervised release gave offenders a better chance of successful reintegration, the Correctional Service of Canada did not have a long-term plan to respond to its housing pressures.
The Auditor General also found that the Correctional Service of Canada did not properly manage offenders under community supervision. Parole officers did not always meet with offenders as often as they should have, nor did parole officers always monitor offenders' compliance with special conditions imposed by the Parole Board of Canada.
I continue today to implore the Liberal government to focus on ensuring that the Correctional Service of Canada fully meets its mandate. The safety and security of Canadians depends on the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society upon their release. Given the findings of the Office of the Auditor General, I believe that uneasiness with respect to safety and security of Canadians extends well beyond Bill C-83.
I implore the current government to start thinking about those who find themselves in danger's way daily by implementing measures and policies to protect them. If it only took the time to consult them, I am confident their ideas, based on years of experience, would ensure Correctional Services Canada would be able to fulfill its mandate.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak tonight. I look forward to any questions.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the consultations, let me quote what Jason Godin, president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, said. This is partly involving the costing of the bill. He stated, “Unfortunately, due to cabinet confidentiality, as our commissioner often tells us, we weren't really consulted.” That is what the union said.
When I speak to my officers, they are not consulted about a whole host of issues.
A member of the committee said she spoke to a number of people. However, it should not just be a chat with someone on the sideline of a committee meeting, but deep consultations with not just the union but correctional officers.
Godin continues, “The bill was as much a surprise to us as it was to anybody. I don't see the bill before it comes onto the table, so we weren't officially consulted on Bill C-83.”
Here is our problem. I asked the parliamentary secretary tonight about the costing of the bill. She gave us a line item, but she did not specify what the costs would be for the scanners or the change to the integration system and no longer having the administrative segregation. We do not have those answers.
This is another one of these bills where we moved into tonight's last few hours of debate after the government invoked closure and time allocation.
I will go into some of what Senator Pate said. She stated, “If there have been no meaningful consultations to this point on this process, then I would not have faith that those mechanisms would be put in place within the prison setting”. Although the Senate has brought forth amendments, the senator is saying she recognizes there is a lack of consultation.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 22:39 [p.29451]
Mr. Speaker, talking about consultation, interestingly, two weeks ago there were several hundred correctional officers who gathered on the lawn here on Parliament Hill to protest the current government and its decision to introduce a needle exchange program within the federal prisons. Officers would say they were not consulted on this decision and that they very much feel they have been put in harm's way by the installation of this program.
I am wondering if the hon. member could comment on this further and highlight the importance of consulting with those who are on the front lines, day in and day out.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I served in government. I know consultations. For me, it was budget consultations across the country, meeting with as many as we could, meeting with people in every community and every chamber. There were consultations online, as well as in person.
The hon. member is correct. When I spoke to my correctional officers, they said they were not consulted. When we speak to the union, it said there was inadequate consultation.
In the case the member is referring to, which is a little different than what the scope of the bill is, on the needle exchanges the officers are very concerned about their safety. We know that the needle that was maybe used to shoot up a drug could also be used as a weapon in the hands of that offender against other offenders and against correctional officers. It is one thing to say they are employed in an inherently dangerous surrounding, and another for governments to say they had better consult and make sure that what they are doing is the right thing. Unfortunately, the current government fails on consultation every time.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:41 [p.29451]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my partner from Battle River—Crowfoot in speaking to Bill C-83. I have stood in the House a number of times to speak to it, and I was on the committee that studied Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
This has been a bad bill right from the beginning. The Liberals did not listen to very many people. They wrote the bill, brought it before committee and forced it upon it, as they are doing today, forcing us in the second-to-last day Parliament is sitting to speak to the amendments that have been brought in by the Senate. The Liberals do not like the amendments, but they want to push this through.
From the beginning, when we started studying Bill C-83 at committee, a number of witnesses came forward. The John Howard Society said it was bad. The Elizabeth Fry Society said it was bad. We had a 19-year prisoner who admitted to being a pretty bad guy, and he said parts of the bill were bad. He was the type of person who needed to be put into a segregation unit to protect the guards and other prisoners, and even himself. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said it was a bad bill. The Native Women's Association said it was a bad bill. There were a number of organizations.
Now we have it brought before us, as I said, on the second-to-last day before the House rises for the summer.
My friend from Battle River—Crowfoot just mentioned the corrections union and that his union was not spoken to. Very much like the institution in his riding at Drumheller, which is medium-security, I have a medium-security facility in the town of Grande Cache, in the great riding of Yellowhead. It is probably one of the most beautiful jail settings in North America. It is on top of a mountain overlooking the Rocky Mountains. There are a large number of aboriginal prisoners there.
I know some of the guards there very well; some of them went to school with my daughter years ago. They are very concerned that they were not consulted properly and that Bill C-83, if enacted the way it is, will make it dangerous for the guards. That is totally unacceptable.
The change would make prisoners more dangerous for the guards, as they will have to deal with the worst of the worst and the most volatile being out and about from their cells for four hours a day.
I totally agree that things need to change and we need to be civil and human in how we treat prisoners. Many years ago, I had the privilege to be on what the RCMP called provost duty. I escorted prisoners throughout British Columbia and western Canada back and forth from remand centres and detachments to prisons, etc. I came to know many of these individuals on a personal basis and many times I travelled 200 or 300 miles with three prisoners by myself.
One could be a real dick and those guys would hate it by the time they got to the destination, or one could be a decent individual, have a conversation with them, treat them decently, with respect and dignity, and have a 200- or 300-mile drive with three prisoners.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:46 [p.29452]
Mr. Speaker, it is my last speech, and I do apologize. It was just the terminology that slipped out.
Years ago we learned that we had to give respect to the prisoners. They had to be treated properly. That is no different today. I realize that Bill C-83 is trying to do that in a number of areas. As our colleagues in the Senate have said, there are some things that need to be corrected. I hate to say it, but the Liberals are not listening again.
My primary purpose in getting up today is to say that the women and men who work in our institutions do a great job for our country. They are a fantastic group of people. In many cases, maybe even more than police officers who are out on the street or our military who might be defending some country somewhere, these guys are right on the front lines.
A lot of our prisoners are everyday common people. We do not need to worry too much about them. They are civil. We can have great conversations with them. We can joke around with them. However, we do have some real bad apples there. Some have mental health problems. Some are just downright mean. Some can be rehabilitated. Some, and I am going back to 50 years of experience, cannot be rehabilitated or do not want to be rehabilitated, and that is where the problem comes with segregation.
I know that the Supreme Court has ruled that we need to change our policies. We need to give prisoners more rights, but that will come at a cost to the country. I guess we will have to accept that, because that is what it has ruled.
However, the primary thing is that I want my friends and my constituents who work at Grande Cache Institution to be safe. I want the average prisoner who is there, who maybe was picked up for impaired driving or maybe something minor, who is not really a bad person, to be very safe in our institutions. That is my primary concern.
My colleagues across have been given a number of recommendations from the Senate that I think need to be addressed and cannot be ignored. I did not pick up on all of them, and I am not going to deal with all of them. However there is one I thought I would spend a little time talking about.
The Senate said that the authority should be left with the institutions as to the movement of a prisoner to a provincial institution. That is only rational, good, common sense. I am not knocking professional health people. They do a great job for us, but we have some great con artists in our jails who could sweet talk the Speaker into letting them sit up there while the Speaker took their place. That is how good they are. I know that the Speaker would never be conned. However, that is where my fear comes in. The institution staff know these people. They are dealing with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They know how slick the prisoners can be.
A medical professional coming in, maybe for an hour or two or maybe three hours a week, could be baffled. That is why I think it was a very wise decision that came back from the Senate. It was a common-sense correction, yet it is being ignored.
I appreciate being given the time to stand up here to defend the institutional guards at Grande Cache and others across the country. They are doing a great job for us.
Get rid of the needles. I am not going any further with that. It is the biggest mistake we ever made.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:53 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, I hate to rush anything unless it is correct. The Senate has studied this bill, as has the committee, and we have heard from many witnesses. If we just bring it forward because we are threatened by the possibility that the courts might take action, we should have thought of that right off the bat and got at it a little more quickly than we did. We are here on the last day.
Again, the issue goes back to the safety of the people. Yes, I agree with a psychiatric review when a person comes in, but if we bring these measures forward, is that going to make it very difficult to correct them afterward, and is it going to put a guard's safety in jeopardy in the next month or two before we come back to help correct it in the fall?
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2019-06-19 22:55 [p.29453]
Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely correct. None of the witnesses really agreed with this bill. We were given this bill as written by the senior management of Canada's institutional system, but with no consultation with the unions or stakeholders. The committee was to get it through as fast as possible and get it passed. The Senate saw the mistakes. We could see the mistakes. The witnesses could see the mistakes.
We are going to make a bigger mistake if we go and vote for it with the errors or with the Senate submissions being omitted.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her service in this place. I know we have disagreed from time to time on certain issues, but I do know she has the pleasure of representing my in-laws. I do not know that I can say they are Liberal supporters, but I am sure they appreciate her efforts in this place.
I want to pick up on something the member said at the end of her speech. She said that we need to recognize the rights of people, even those who have committed heinous crimes. I agree with that. I fundamentally agree that we need to affirm the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of what they have done in their life, at a fundamental level.
We often talk in this place about rights. We use the word “rights” very often. I do not think we are going to disagree on this. I wonder if the member could talk a bit more about how we explain the origins of those rights at a core level. In other words, how would the member explain this to somebody who disagrees? On what basis should we say definitively that all people have rights regardless of their circumstances?
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
2019-06-19 23:51 [p.29461]
Mr. Speaker, currently, correctional officers do not even have enough resources to allow prisoners out of their cells for two hours a day. How is the government going to ensure that the monetary resources are in place to ensure that these inmates can come out of their cells for four hours a day?
Some of these individuals are what we might call the worst of the worst. They have committed some very atrocious crimes. These individuals, then, need to be monitored during their time out of their cells, and correctional officers need to be kept safe during this time. Their security is put at risk in the process of them doing their job. What is the government going to do to ensure their safety and well-being, and where is the monetary investment?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I suspect that this will be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament. I hope to be able to continue after the next election, but, as Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”
I will take advantage of this opportunity before I launch into my specific remarks on this bill to do a couple of things. One is to thank my colleagues, my constituents, my staff and especially my family for their support and the opportunity to serve.
I did want to make a point of paying particular tribute to my friend, the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, who is retiring. He is a champion of justice and human rights and someone who has been a great mentor to me as I have sought to engage on many of the same issues that he has been championing for years. I look forward to seeing the ways in which he will continue with these important issues in whatever role he takes on afterwards.
It has been a pleasure to work with members on all sides. I certainly wish my friends on the Liberal side well as they prepare to transition to the private sector. I do plan to campaign in their ridings and I hope they do not take it personally. Perhaps we will have an opportunity to go for a drink afterwards, and I will even bring the Solo cups.
This is the one other point that I wanted to make to honour a promise I made to a particular community. It is that I want to briefly highlight the Zoroastrian community in Canada.
The ancient Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest religions in the world. Members of this community have been migrating to Canada for many decades, yet they still remain relatively unknown to Canadians, so I thought it would be important to acknowledge their community and their contributions.
The Zoroastrian religion is based on three key principles: good thoughts, good words and good deeds. These are principles that align with Canadian values and represent traits that all Canadians should aspire to have. These teachings were passed on by their prophet, Lord Zoroaster, and through the Zoroastrian religious text, the Avesta.
Zoroastrians believe there is one creator god. The primary symbol of Zoroastrianism is fire, which is seen as a conduit for wisdom and spiritual knowledge.
Zoroastrianism originated in what is now modern-day Iran, but because of persecution, the community had to emigrate to other parts of the world. Zoroastrians, like so many communities, have often come to Canada to escape persecution.
There are 100,000 Zoroastrians around the world and 7,000 of them reside in Canada. Zoroastrians are a peaceful and well-educated community, and we celebrate their work and their contributions.
I am speaking today on Bill C-83, which proposes to replace administrative segregation with so-called structured intervention units.
During its tenure in office, the government has put a big emphasis on the naming of things. “Foreign Affairs” became “Global Affairs”. The universal child care benefit became the Canadian child care benefit, and administrative segregation becomes structured intervention units.
When it comes to the name changes, to this bill, and to the record of the government in general, by this point in the mandate, people are asking that all-important question whenever they hear of a name change, “Where's the beef?”
As Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In other words, would administrative segregation by any other name be of the same nature?
Parenthetically, Confucius speaks in The Analects about the importance of naming things correctly. He said the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. He also said:
If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
So much of politics, so much of what we have seen here in the last four years, involves effort by government to change the names of things and to re-engineer language. It becomes increasingly difficult to have dialogue and to know the difference between justice and injustice if things are not called by their proper names.
We often bemoan political polarization and the decline of meaningful dialogue. Perhaps we should consider how this is born out of the breakdown of meaning in language, how leaders and elites so often try to name things based on political objectives exogenous to the substance of the thing, rather than simply calling a thing what it is.
The vast majority of stakeholders oppose this legislation because they see it principally as a renaming exercise as opposed to a substantive one. In practical terms, the legislation requires a person in this new form of administrative segregation to have a minimum of four hours out per day, as well as legislated meaningful human contact. This raises questions about the capacity of the government to respond in terms of providing the resources necessary to operationalize this new framework.
In our judgment, the resources are not there to do this safely and effectively, and the distinctions made are not meaningful. This raises further questions in terms of the strength of the drafting of this legislation and the planning that went into it. We also have residual questions of what constitutes meaningful contact and how that can be defined.
On that basis, and recognizing that my time is running short, I will conclude.
I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to spend so much time with members in the House. I encourage members of the government caucus to get away, enjoy the summer, go on vacation, travel and spend time in the Caribbean islands.
I will of course be working hard in my riding. In particular, I hope to spend a lot of time in the beautiful riding of Spadina—Fort York. Maybe the member and I can start an Alasdair MacIntyre discussion group. The member can share with me from his reading of Ayn Rand and I can share more with him about Alasdair MacIntyre and Aristotle.
It has been a pleasure. I wish all members the best, including yourself, Mr. Speaker. I hope to be able to come back in the next Parliament.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-17 12:05 [p.29164]
Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will be a 30-minute question period. I ask hon. members who wish to participate in the 30 minutes to rise so I can get an indication of how many want to speak.
As is the usual case, I ask hon. members to keep their interventions to approximately one minute. That will allow all members who wish to speak the opportunity to do so. Members can be recognized more than once. I remind hon. members that most of the question time in the 30 minutes is reserved for opposition members. However, members from the government side are certainly welcome to participate as well.
We will begin now with questions. The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the government said that it would do things differently, that it would respect Parliament and would move away from motions that did not allow appropriate time for debate.
I want to point out something very unique and interesting about this bill. It took you, Mr. Speaker, approximately 11 minutes to read the amendments to the bill. Within four minutes of debate, the government gave notice of a motion of closure. Not many speakers had the opportunity to debate the bill before that.
How is this consistent with the promises the minister made in 2015 to do things differently?
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2019-06-17 12:11 [p.29164]
Mr. Speaker, this morning proves that the Liberals will do anything and say anything to get elected. In the last election, they promised they were not going to use closure motions as often as we had in the last parliament. They are also saying that they are not going to raise taxes after the next election, even though their spending is way out of control.
There has only been four minutes of debate on this bill prior to this closure motion being moved. Does the minister think that is appropriate?
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately here we go again. We see time allocation being moved by the current government. The Liberals have been lax throughout this Parliament. They are coming down to the last few days of Parliament and we see this modus operandi of the government to start pushing debates and halting debate to get this legislation through regardless.
Again, it is not simply that the Liberals are invoking this measure; this is the measure they said they would not be invoking. This is the measure on which the current Prime Minister stood and said it is the kind of thing that Canadians lose confidence in a government on, and that the Liberals would not do this kind of thing. It is exactly what we have seen more and more, especially in the last few weeks.
The parliamentary secretary said that this prevents a filibuster by the government, and debate and debate and debate. We have had four minutes at this stage to even talk about this. Canadians expect that when issues like this come through, good healthy debate takes place here and it has not. Neither has consultation. I have a penitentiary in my riding. Not only is it the well-being and safety of offenders that Canadians question, but also of the guards and the correctional officers.
There are two points. We have legislation that needs to be debated and we have another promise broken by the current government as to time allocation.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
View James Bezan Profile
2019-06-17 12:21 [p.29166]
Mr. Speaker, here we go again. It is over 100 times now that the government has used closure or has limited the amount of debate we can have any time on these bills.
This stands in stark contrast to what the minister used to say when he was in the third party. The member for Winnipeg North used to stand and holler every time there was a closure motion or anything to limit the debate we were having on any motions before the House.
We only had four minutes on Friday to start the debate on the amendments that were proposed by the Senate. I still have to go back and talk to my UCCO members who work at Stony Mountain Institution in my riding to ensure that the health and safety provisions that are in the bill are going to be properly enforced and how that is going to occur. They still have those questions.
However, because the Liberals are stifling debate here in the House, I will not have the time to go and consult, and discuss this with UCCO members and with penitentiary staff on how this will impact our riding and how it is going to impact the care and incarceration of those who are currently serving sentences.
There are still so many questions out there. The hypocrisy that we are seeing from the Liberals continues to amaze all of us, because when they were in the third party, they used to scream and holler at the top of their lungs every time the previous government tried to do this.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-17 12:27 [p.29166]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pose a couple of questions to the minister on this time allocation motion.
He has stated numerous times in the last few minutes of debate that there will be another five hours of debate.
I would like to ask the minister this. Has he confirmed with his government House leader that there will be no closure declared on that debate, similar to what the government did on Bill C-69 last week? It closed off debate on that. It closed off discussion on Bill C-69 at the committee stage when there were hundreds of amendments, hundreds even from their own Liberal Party on their own poorly drafted bill. The government closed off debate. It does it time and time again, because it simply does not want to hear the truth.
Will the minister confirm again that there will be no closure and there will be five hours of debate on this bill?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-17 12:31 [p.29167]
Mr. Speaker, this is terminology that the hon. gentleman likes to use quite often in the House. I count eight substantive amendments that the government is accepting or has modified from the Senate. The minister said that the government has considered this and is satisfied with it, and therefore it is moving time allocation, which provides us with only five hours.
Several members who have penitentiaries in their ridings have risen on our side of the House. They would like to go back to their constituents and get their opinion on this, and I would like to go back to former prison guards who live in my riding. However, today we are being told there are five more hours and that is it.
The member for Peace River—Westlock mentioned this was four minutes at this stage of debate. How many members can speak in four minutes? Very few could provide substantive feedback. The time allocation being moved today by the government is shutting down debate. I have seen this time and again, both at standing committees of the House and on other legislation.
I spoke to Bill C-83 before and mentioned all my concerns and worries that constituents had explained to me over the distinct sections and technicalities of the bill. The issue now is that, with only five hours left, it gives us literally no time to return to our constituents to get their feedback on these eight substantive amendments.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-03-01 10:21 [p.26005]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister mentioned that people on this side of the House had not read the supplementary estimates, but I have to ask him if he has read his own departmental plan from Correctional Service Canada that he himself signed. If he had read it, he would have seen a couple of remarkable items.
In the departmental plan, which sets out the government's priorities for the coming years, there is not a single priority listed for the safety of correctional services officers, but he talks about resources. In the departmental plan from 2015, when the Harper government was in power, to 2021, there is a 13% cut in resources to correctional services when a minimal inflation rate is counted in.
Further, there is a cut of 150 full-time equivalents. I have to ask, where is the minister getting his information from? Why is he so wrong? Is it Brison's fault? Is it Harper's fault, or is it perhaps the former attorney general's fault for this error?
View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-03-01 10:29 [p.26006]
Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that we are debating something related to our criminal justice system in Bill C-83. The Minister of Public Safety is the inheritor of the old solicitor general role. In fact, the minister was part of the government that changed that. The last official solicitor general for Canada was Anne McLellan, his former colleague. Therefore, the public safety minister is, by extension, the solicitor general, the second-highest ranking legal official in the government of Canada.
We are in the middle of a crisis with respect to the demotion of the former attorney general, the top legal official in Canada, after she refused the orders of the Prime Minister's Office and pressure by major officials.
The solicitor general needs to ensure that there is confidence in our system of justice in Canada. As the second-highest ranking legal official in the government of Canada, a barrister solicitor himself, I would like the member to tell us why Canadians should have faith in Bill C-83 in the corrections part of the criminal justice system, when we have just been witness to the spectacle of the top ranking legal official in the Canadian government suggesting that the Prime Minister interfered with the course of justice. Should the minister not withdraw this bill and all other bills that are now sullied by the government's lack of respect for the rule of law in Canada?
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-03-01 10:32 [p.26006]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to split my time with the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-03-01 10:32 [p.26007]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Durham brought up a very valuable point. It will frame how my 10 minutes will move forward on the topic of Bill C-83.
I am glad to see that our hon. colleague across the way, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is not at Rideau Hall right now, being shuffled away. It is nice he is here with us, as the Prime Minister tries to shuffle himself out of a crisis of confidence.
That is where we are. A great emergency debate took place last night, with valuable comments from all sides.
I rise today to speak to Bill C-83, and I reiterate that the government has used time allocation to once again force closure to limit debate. Why is that? As we have seen time and again, if the government does not like what it is hearing or does not like the message, it is going to force closure on debate. The Liberals do not want to hear anymore.
It was on day 10 of the 2015 election that the member for Papineau told Canadians that he was going to do things differently, let debate reign and not resort to parliamentary tricks such as closure and time allocation. He said that under his government, Canadians would see the most open and transparent government in the history of our country and sunny ways.
What have we seen over the last three years? We have not necessarily seen a lot of sunshine, but have heard a lot of questions. Canadians have a lot of questions, and rightfully so. Today, we are in the middle of a crisis of confidence.
We should always arm our front-line officers, those who we trust to protect us and who serve our country and our community. We should be giving them to tools so they can fulfill their missions, come home safe and sound and remain healthy.
Bill C-83 is another attempt at being soft on crime, making things easier for those who commit the worst crimes in our society. The Liberals want Canadians to believe that these criminals are okay and that somehow solitary confinement or segregation is cruel and unusual punishment. One day these criminals get out of prison and will walk among us.
Let us consider Paul Bernardo, Robert Pickton, Clifford Olson, Eric McArthur, Travis Winsor and Canada's youngest serial killer, Cody Legebokoff. These are the types of offenders who are in solitary confinement and they are there not only for the protection of officers and other inmates, but for their own protection as well.
The minister talked about consultation, saying that the Liberals had consulted with the union of correctional officers and with Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The testimony we heard is considerably different from what they have said.
They purport there is support for the bill. There is support for elements in the bill, such as body scanners. However, the union of correctional officers has some serious concerns with it. In fact, the president remarked that there would be a bloodbath behind bars with the implementation of Bill C-83. He said that prisons did not have the resources now for the two hours inmates in solitary confinement were allowed to be out each day, let alone for four hours per day.
It has been said that solitary confinement is used as an administrative tool for both the safety of the officers as well as other inmates. However, 23% of offenders who are in solitary confinement are serving life sentences; 23% of offenders are serving a sentence between two years and three years less a day; and 681 offenders are serving a sentence with a “dangerous offender” designation. Dangerous offenders very likely never get out of these institutions, because they have committed some of the worst crimes.
The Liberals want people to believe the opposition is sowing the seeds of fear, but the government is soft on crime. We have seen it with Bill C-75. Convictions for serious crimes could now be punishable with just a fine. Bill C-83's intent is to bring the prison population down from 12,000.
Prominent witnesses have had serious issues with Bill C-83. They have said it is flawed. As our hon. colleague for Durham remarked, how can Canadians have confidence in any legislation moving forward?
I will go back to the testimony we heard earlier this week from the former attorney general. It was three hours and 40 minutes of powerful testimony. The Liberals are going to spin it each and every way they can. They are going to say nothing untoward happened. The former attorney general has serious concerns. She spoke truth to power in what happened. She was shuffled. She was demoted, fired. Over the course of the following weeks, the Liberals have done everything to tarnish her character, cast doubt in her testimony. This is what they do, and it is shocking.
I challenge Canadians to take a moment to listen to that testimony, three hours and 40 minutes of it. It will give them a glimpse into our country's highest office and the extent to which it is willing to go to subvert justice. It will shock them. It will strike fear into Canadians. Make no bones about it, the world is listening.
Today is not just about Bill C-83. Today is about the crisis of confidence we have in the Prime Minister, his office and indeed his entire front bench. Those in the gallery and those who are watching should pay attention and listen. If they do one thing today, I urge them to find that testimony and listen to it. Hear in her own words how the pressure was sustained. Despite saying no multiple times, there was sustained pressure for her to subvert justice. After all, the Prime Minister was going to get his way one way or the other. That is shameful.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-03-01 10:44 [p.26008]
Mr. Speaker, I guess the question today is whether the Prime Minister admits he was wrong.
Our hon. colleague is a good soldier. I am saddened that he is not down at Rideau Hall. I wish him better luck next time.
We have read the departmental plan for this department. One of our colleagues made note of it and questioned the minister on it. It shows about a 13% cut from the time we were government, 2015-16, to today. Correctional Service Canada managers have been tasked to look for efficiencies. In other words, to find ways to cut.
Bill C-83 has not been costed. We have made attempts to get the minister to tell us about the model the government is using and whether it has been costed. All we get is deflection. The Liberals are doing again what they usually do, which is to blame those before them.
The Liberals cannot accept the truth, they do not know the truth, we have not yet heard the truth and they cannot handle the truth.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-03-01 10:46 [p.26008]
Mr. Speaker, the issue today is that if the Liberals do not like the narrative or the message coming from others, they will do everything to tarnish their character. We have seen it with the former attorney general, one who still sits among their very own ranks. That is shameful.
We should be doing everything in our power to ensure that those who face tough times have the tools they need so they can remain healthy. However, we should always ensure that those who we task to protect, to serve our country or our communities have the tools they need to remain healthy, safe and secure at work so they can go home safely and remain healthy at home.
Bill C-83 would do none of that. It is flawed legislation. The Liberals should remove it immediately.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act.
While there are a few colleagues across the way that think this is good bill, a number of people and organizations that testified at committee disagree.
One organization said that structured intervention units, or SIUs, are not needed, that the bill fails to focus on the programs and that there are concerns with section 81. That was the Elizabeth Fry Society.
The John Howard Society disagrees, saying that it needs more information on what exactly the difference is between solitary confinement and structured intervention units, believing that there is really no difference other than in the wording.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association disagrees. It will not support this bill, citing a lack of external oversight, a lack of programming needed to assist prisoners to reform and lack of sufficient resources and staff to meet social and educational needs.
The Native Women's Association of Canada also disagrees. It is one organization in a long list that were not consulted. It expressed reservations that the bill does not address traditions, protocol or cultural practices and does not clarify what is meant by “indigenous communities”.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers also disagrees, expressing very real concerns over the feasibility of SIUs and over prisoners and officers being more vulnerable under this bill.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association also disagrees, citing that Bill C-83 has no meaningful reform and should be repealed and expressing apprehension that there was little to no consultation as well.
Aboriginal Legal Services also disagrees with Bill C-83, citing a lack of consultation and speaking about the expanse between rhetoric and reality.
A Canadian correctional investigator who testified also disagreed with this bill, expressing that eliminating solitary confinement was one thing but that replacing it with a regime that imposes restrictions on retained rights and liberties with little regard for due process and administrative principles was inconsistent with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, as well as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
However, when there is little regard for the rule of law, disregarding the charter is a trivial thing. I just hope that no one is hurt or killed because of this legislation before November, when Conservatives can repeal this piece of legislation.
I am not sure if my colleagues have detected a pattern or not. Clearly, the government sees no problem with ignoring the concerns of those most affected by this bad bill, but this lack of interest in listening to Canadians does not end with Bill C-83.
In the Correctional Services departmental report, 2018-19, on page 26, if the members opposite care to follow along, there is actually a cut in spending to Correctional Services of Canada of about 6.6%. That is comparing 2015 to 2019. It went down 6.6%.
Also in that departmental report is a list of departmental priorities. Believe it or not, there is not one mention of officer safety in that report. How is that even possible? Again, there is a pattern that is consistently repeating itself here.
With respect to the government's carbon tax, much promoted on their side, no less than four provinces are taking the Liberal government to court, and more are waiting.
The Prime Minister's carbon tax does nothing for the environment, but it will increase the cost of gas, home heating and everyday essentials. Worse still, it is going to get more expensive. For Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, in 2019 the Prime Minister's carbon tax starts at $20 a tonne, going up to $50 in three years. However, internal government documents confirm that the Liberals are already planning for a carbon tax of $300 per tonne. That is 15 times larger than what it will be on April 1 when it kicks in.
The Prime Minister has cut a special carbon tax side deal with Canada's largest emitters, which means they will continue to pollute for free while families and small business owners get hit with the full force of that tax.
For wealthy individuals, an extra $100 a month on a grocery bill or electricity bill might not seem like a big deal, but it matters a lot to a family trying to make its household budget last to the end of the month. Canadians do not want it, but like the stakeholders who testified on Bill C-83, they are being ignored by the government.
The bill is very much about protecting the rights of criminals, particularly those who continue to behave badly in prison. The Supreme Court of Canada recently made a ruling that the law that makes criminals pay surcharges to help victims is unconstitutional, and the Liberals have jumped on this. Instead of looking at ways to protect victims' rights, they have introduced legislation to remove this necessary instrument for ensuring criminals are held accountable. Victims' rights must always be at the heart of our criminal justice system. That is why our previous Conservative government took unprecedented steps to ensure that the rights of victims were protected.
The Liberals' approach to Bill C-83 is similar to what we are seeing in a lot of other pieces of legislation, and I will outline a few more ways the government continues its pattern of failing to listen to Canadians.
The Prime Minister failed to move an ounce of dirt or build one inch of new pipeline. They had to nationalize it, and they still have continued to fail on this file. After killing the northern gateway, he vetoed the energy east pipeline and obstructed Trans Mountain. This lack of pipeline capacity has turned an already difficult economy in western Canada into a full-blown national economic crisis that is threatening tens of thousands of jobs, on top of the 100,000 jobs already lost in the energy sector since 2015.
The Prime Minister also failed to fix the mess he created at our border with the United States. Since his #WelcomeToCanada tweet last year, 40,000 people have crossed illegally into Canada, at a cost of up to $34,000 each. By 2020, this crisis will have cost Canadian taxpayers $1.6 billion.
As well, the Prime Minister failed to balance the budget, despite promising to do so in the 2015 election campaign. This year is supposed to be the year of the Prime Minister's final deficit before returning to surplus in 2019. Instead, this year's deficit is three times larger than projected and the budget will not be balanced until 2045. He is spending Canada's cupboards bare in good economic times and leaving us open to disaster when the downturn next hits.
The Prime Minister has also failed our veterans. After promising in the 2015 election that veterans would never have to go to court to obtain benefits from his government, he has spent nearly $40 million fighting veterans groups in court over benefits claims. When asked why at a town hall meeting in 2018 in Edmonton, he said that veterans were asking more than we are able to give.
The Prime Minister failed to equip our armed forces. He is spending $2.5 billion less than what he promised in his defence policy. The Royal Canadian Navy is in need of new warships, and to meet Canada's international obligations, the Royal Canadian Air Force requires a new fleet of fighter jets, not used CF-18s from Australia.
Canada's peacekeeping is at an all-time low, and the Prime Minister failed to represent Canada with dignity on the world stage, as he failed to maintain relationships with key allies. His trip to India was a PR disaster for Canada and seriously damaged relations with the world's largest democracy. Relations with the United States and other traditional long-standing allies are also strained.
The Prime Minister failed to uphold the standards of transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour he promised. In 2018, he became the first prime minister in Canadian history found guilty of breaking ethics laws after accepting a vacation from the Aga Khan, while his ministers continued to abuse their power for political gain in 2018. Now, with his handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair and his attempts to manipulate a favourable decision for his friends at SNC-Lavalin, he has lost the moral authority to govern. He must resign.
It seems unless someone employs workers in and around the Prime Minister's riding, there is not much the government will do to listen to their concerns.
I have laid out why this side of the House will not support Bill C-83. I welcome questions from my colleagues.
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