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View David Anderson Profile
CPC (SK)
View David Anderson Profile
2019-06-19 16:23 [p.29404]
Madam Speaker, the second petition references that on April 7, 2017, Arianna Goberdhan and her unborn child Assara were murdered in a brutal act of domestic violence. At the time of the murder, she was nine months pregnant with her soon-to-be-born daughter. Assara and other preborn children in similar circumstances deserve to be recognized as victims of a crime and should be entitled to justice and legal recourse. Therefore, petitioners call upon the House of Commons to pass legislation that recognizes that when an assailant in the commission of a crime attacks a pregnant woman and injures or kills her preborn child, the assailant may be charged with an offence on behalf of that child.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2019-06-10 15:31 [p.28819]
Mr. Speaker, the third petition indicates that a CBC documentary revealed that ultrasounds are being used in Canada to tell the sex of an unborn child so that expectant parents can choose to terminate the pregnancy if the unborn child is a girl. An Environics poll found that 92% of Canadians believe sex-selected pregnancy termination should be illegal. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Association of Radiologists strongly oppose the non-medical use of fetal ultrasounds.
There are more than 200 million girls missing worldwide. This gendercide has created a global gender imbalance resulting in violence and human trafficking of girls. The three deadliest words in the world are “It's a girl”. Therefore, the petitioners call upon Canada's Parliament to support legislation that would make sex selection illegal.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2017-06-01 20:13 [p.11895]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government recently introduced Bill C-45, which aims to provide legal access to recreational cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution, and sale.
The Liberals are on record as saying they hope it receives royal assent before July 2018. Numerous studies cite marijuana as one of the most abused drugs across the world. The Liberal call for its legalization has a significant impact on governments, businesses, and individuals.
In an August 1, 2016, opinion piece, Richard Berman of The Washington Times wrote:
Proponents like the Drug Policy Alliance claim that legalization should occur partially for “health” reasons. The Marijuana Policy Project has called pot “harmless.” Others say it is “safe” and even “healthy.” Nearly all proponents seem to deny or minimize its risks. Popular culture reinforces this view portraying use generally as a risk-free endeavor. And big business looking to cash in on legalization is all too happy to propagate this claim.
But here’s the problem: This view is out of step with the medical literature. In fact, a scientific consensus exists that marijuana has serious health implications—even for casual users.
Despite marijuana gaining greater acceptance in our society, it is important for people to understand what is known about the adverse health effects and extenuating implications of its use in a society. Parliamentarians, in particular, are entrusted with the health and well-being of Canadians and should not overlook these risks.
Recreational marijuana has a very different use from the already legal medicinal marijuana. Recreational marijuana is used with the intention of altering how one feels by achieving an altered state of consciousness by getting high. THC is the main psychoactive or mind-altering chemical in marijuana and the one responsible for the intoxicating effects that people are seeking.
According to an April 2017 paper published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, advancing an addiction science letter to the director:
When marijuana is smoked, THC and other chemicals in the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, which rapidly carries them...[through the bloodstream and into]...the brain. The person begins to experience effects almost immediately....
If...consumed in foods or beverages, these effects are somewhat delayed—usually appearing after 30 minutes to 1 hour—because the drug must first pass through the digestive system.... Because of the delayed effects, people may inadvertently consume more THC than they intend to.
...THC stimulates neurons...to release the...chemical dopamine at levels higher than [attained normally by the human body. It is this assisted]..."high" that...recreational marijuana [users] seek.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine marijuana fact sheet states that pleasant experiences with marijuana are by no means universal:
Instead of relaxation and euphoria, some users [due to their age, previous exposure, and toxicity levels] experience anxiety, fear, distrust and panic.... People who have taken large doses of marijuana may experience an acute psychosis, which can include hallucinations, delusions and a loss of the sense of personal identity.
Richard Berman, The Washington Times writer, goes on to state in his August 1, 2016, report:
According to research published in the medical journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Someone who uses marijuana regularly has, on average, less gray matter in his orbital frontal cortex.”
Another study finds that the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory—is abnormally shaped in daily marijuana users.... Studies show even casual marijuana use causes abnormalities in the density, volume and shape of the brain.
He concludes his argument by stating:
I don’t want to be associated with the fear-mongering “This is your brain; this is your brain on drugs” commercials from last century, but their underlying message was essentially correct.
In January 21, 2014, John Hawkins, a Townhall columnist, wrote:
A recent Northwestern University study found that marijuana users have abnormal brain structure and poor memory and that chronic marijuana abuse may lead to brain changes resembling schizophrenia. The study also reported that the younger the person starts using marijuana, the worse the effects become.
Marijuana has been shown time and again to distort perception and impair short-term memory and judgment. This reality played out in an even larger legal recreation forum has major future implications for our youth, industry, and government institutions, and the above seems to be just the start of our concerns.
In addition to the various mental health studies cited above, we cannot overlook physical health as well, specifically lung health. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that because of how it is typically smoked, with deeper inhale and held for longer, marijuana smoking leads to four times the deposition of tar compared to cigarette smoking. Believe me, I am not suggesting that cigarette smoking is a better choice. Further, it stated that people who frequently smoke marijuana had more outpatient medical visits for respiratory problems than those who do not smoke. It states:
Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is an irritant to the throat and lungs and can cause a heavy cough during use. It also contains levels of volatile chemicals and tar that are similar to tobacco smoke, raising concerns about risk for cancer and lung disease.
Marijuana smoking is associated with large airway inflammation, increased airway resistance, and lung hyperinflation, and those who smoke marijuana regularly report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than those who do not smoke....
Marijuana smoke contains carcinogenic combustion products, including about 50 percent more benzoprene and 75 percent more benzanthracene...than cigarette smoke.
In short, marijuana smoking is terrible for one's physical health. It is even more toxic than cigarette smoke with the side effects manifesting themselves much earlier than found in tobacco users. In addition to lung health concerns, there is also concern for the effect of second-hand smoke and ingestion. Here is just one example of what I mean. We are all aware of the horrendous effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and how it has wracked our society. The same alarm bells can also be raised on marijuana use during and after pregnancy. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study published on December 11, 2013, states:
Smoking tobacco or marijuana, taking prescription painkillers, or using...drugs during pregnancy is associated with double or even triple the risk of stillbirth, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
I note that the previous speaker commented on some of the health concerns and also talked about packaging and what would be on that packaging for adults purchasing it. I did not hear about anything on that packaging that would indicate any of the health concerns that we are mentioning here today. The American Society of Addiction Medicine marijuana-use fact sheet says two alarming facts that parliamentarians need to take particular note of:
Brain development may be negatively affected by THC exposure very early in life. Research in rats suggests that exposure to even low concentrations of THC late in pregnancy could have profound and long-term consequences for both brain development and behavior of offspring.
Evidence from human studies shows that pregnant women who use marijuana have babies that respond differently to visual stimuli, tremble more and have a high-pitched cry, suggesting problems with neurological development.
Although laws will be put in place respecting age restrictions for the drug, we are all not so naive in this day and age as to expect that, with increased accessibility, those younger and below the legal age will not also access it. The April 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse study raised additional concern for increased potential for youth exposure to the drug:
Considerable evidence suggests that students who smoke marijuana have poorer educational outcomes than their nonsmoking peers. For example, a review of 48 relevant studies found marijuana use to be associated with reduced educational attainment.... A recent analysis using data from three large studies in Australia and New Zealand found that adolescents who used marijuana regularly were significantly less likely than their non-using peers to finish high school or obtain a degree. They also had a much higher chance of developing dependence, using other drugs, and attempting suicide.
In the face of these revelations, for my fellow Liberal parliamentarians to want to rush to legalize this drug by July 2018 is deeply concerning.
Whose needs are truly being met here? As Townhall columnist John Hawkins further states:
Movies portray potheads as harmless, fun-loving people who spend their time giggling and munching Cheetos, but they don't show these people when they are flunking out of school, losing their jobs, frustrated because they can't concentrate or losing the love of their lives because [of their addictions].
Denver Post writer, Joanne Davidson, wrote, and quotes Dr. Drew Pinsky in a September 19, 2014, article:
Make no mistake, says addictions specialist Drew Pinsky, marijuana is addictive—and the earlier one starts to use it, the greater the consequences. “It acts like an opiate and causes severe addiction,” Pinsky said during a Colorado visit this week. “It affects the white matter of the brain, and for kids who start using marijuana when they are 12, or even younger, those bad consequences tend not to reverse.”
Do we need that to deal with as well?
It is not lost on anyone here that potency levels are a lot higher than they were 20 to 40 years ago. Not only are legalization alarm bells being raised by our respected health and youth institutions but also by industry.
As Tim Bradley writes in his October 2016 article, “No, We Should Not Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use”:
Some argue that marijuana use is merely a private vice—if it is a vice at all—and that it does not have much of an effect on others. But...private acts of vice can imperil important public interests when the private acts begin to multiply.
No one sits down to smoke a joint hoping to avoid getting high. No one ever seeks out a seller and says, “I want some marijuana, but not enough to get high on.” Even those who might try marijuana experimentally are intending to get high.
With legalization of this drug will come increased use by our workforce and with that, unintended consequences and costs for others, with increased risks for injury or accidents.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, in April 2017, said:
One study among postal workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana on pre-employment urine drug tests had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries, and 75 percent greater absenteeism compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use.
On February 17, 2017, on CBC News, Newfoundland and Labrador Radio One, Stephanie Kinsella interviewed Dan Demers, an occupational health operations manager at CannAmm Occupational Testing Services. It is well reported that detectable amounts of THC remain in the body for days or even weeks after use. Mr. Demers states:
Marijuana and dangerous activities, safety-sensitive duties, can't mix. The issue is, the use the night before work actually affects performance the next morning.... reaction time and depth perception can be affected even if someone uses marijuana the night before. If you're working at heights in the construction industry, your ability, for instance, to take into account somebody beside you, their facial expression changed because something is falling, the part of the brain that's responsible for recognizing facial expressions gets impeded for over 12 hours....
It's going to become much easier to access and there's going to be less cultural stigma towards it...
Which is what will happen,
... and the consequence is we're going to see it more frequently on our roadways, more frequently on our work sites...that's going to have some consequences.
Mr. Demers is right in citing this concern. According to a May 10 2017, CBC News report, Saskatoon police handed out over $18,000 in speeding tickets to 50 drivers in construction zones in one day over two hours. That is a lot of workers lives needlessly already in danger, without additional marijuana impairments added to the mix.
When speaking to industry stakeholders in my own constituency, similar concerns are being levelled. As Dean Beeby, senior reporter for the CBC Parliamentary Bureau, notes in a March 15, 2017 article:
“More stoned workers will be showing up in Canada's workplaces with the coming legalization of marijuana, but companies have few tools to cope with potential safety risks.... We're caught in a potential Catch 22: how do you protect the worker and those around them as well as deal with legalized marijuana?” said Cameron MacGillivray, president of Enform, a Calgary-based oil-and-gas safety group. “It is a pressing concern for the industry because of the...catastrophic impacts of somebody doing a critical safety job when they're impaired.” The Liberal government is expected to introduce legislation by the summer making recreational marijuana legal, at a time when the science of detecting and measuring impairment is incomplete.
Even more disturbing is a news development cited, on April 17, 2017, in The Globe and Mail, in an article by Robert Weir and Adam Pennell, “How Canada’s marijuana legislation will affect employers”. It says:
In the meantime, Canadian employers have questions about how to respond to this changing legal landscape. This uncertainty also extends, to a somewhat lesser degree, to the Canadian judicial system. Coincidentally, on April 3, 2017, an Ontario Superior Court judge declined to grant an injunction striking down a random drug testing policy sought by the union representing employees of the Toronto Transit Commission.
Think about that. With legalization, what challenges will existing employee protection laws be under? It is alarming to think that safety laws are already starting to be questioned and challenged. Although marijuana users will be subject to similar rules as alcohol users, the propensity of THC to remain in the system and impair judgment long after use remains in play.
The article goes on to say:
...section 25 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that employers take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. Safety-sensitive positions, such as those involving the operation of heavy machinery, may include essential duties or requirements that create safety concerns when a proposed accommodation plan includes marijuana use.
Right now, workers' compensation rates for Saskatchewan for injury time losses are down. What toll on these otherwise encouraging statistics, personal and economic, will legalized marijuana have in this instance? We need to think about the added time and cost for both small and large businesses to monitor marijuana toxicity in their work sites. As well, there are looming safety implications for workers in industries like Alberta's oil sands plants and Saskatchewan's potash industry, industries that require thousands of operators a day to run some of the largest equipment on earth. I have to shudder at how at ease the Liberal government is putting this additional weight on our industry stakeholders to fulfill a poorly thought through election promise to garner the votes of a special interest group. Is that the priority of the Liberal government? Is this worth putting at risk the health and safety of Canadians impacted by illness, addiction, injuries, and death on our roads and in the Canadian workforce?
Two junior high boys stopped me on the street while I was campaigning for the election and asked if I was supporting the guy who wants to legalize marijuana. The response to my “No, definitely not”, was “Good, we don't want that in our town.”
At every school I have visited since becoming the MP for Yorkton—Melville, classrooms have always asked why the government wants to legalize marijuana. These concerned young people told me that they know doing so will increase access, use, and negative repercussions for their generation. I share their concern with the government today, and on their behalf, indicate that the common sense and concern they have toward this issue is refreshing and affirming and should be heeded by the government.
View David Anderson Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
In the first petition, a number of my constituents call upon the House of Commons to pass legislation that recognizes preborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, which would allow two charges to be laid against the offender, instead of just one.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
View Michael McLeod Profile
2016-12-06 18:46 [p.7755]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-235, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (fetal alcohol disorder).
Alcohol is one of the most toxic substances we humans consume. Unfortunately, in pregnancy, it crosses the placenta and disrupts the fetal development. As a result, some children are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD.
FASD was first identified a little more than 40 years ago when a similar pattern of malformations was discovered in children, but the disorder goes way beyond the physical. Individuals affected by FASD may have trouble with memory, attention, self-care, decision-making and social skills, and may also suffer from mental health disorders such as depression, addiction, and difficulty controlling their emotions. They may also have problems with organization and planning daily activities, controlling their emotions and completing tasks, which would allow them to lead productive lives.
Circumstances such as these often lead these individuals into trouble with the law and create further issues once they are incarcerated. The consequences associated with FASD are widespread. They may affect the child, the families, and the communities they reside in.
To give everyone a better picture of the prevalence of FASD in Canada, this disorder affects nearly one in 100 children. Some Canadian data indicates greater prevalence of FASD in children in rural communities, the foster care systems, the juvenile justice systems, and aboriginal populations.
This higher prevalence of FASD found in aboriginal children is often linked to historical and multi-generational trauma. Research and data on the consequences of FASD have grown in the past decades, and programs are being implemented to prevent the disorder and address the special circumstances and the difficulties people are suffering from FASD.
However, it is time to address FASD in the criminal justice system. In fact, in its calls to action, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments to undertake reform of the criminal justice system to address the needs of offenders suffering from FASD.
That said, let us get to the reasons why the bill is important. As my colleague, the hon. member for Yukon, mentioned, the bill seeks to do a number of things. First, it seeks to define FASD. Second, the bill would give a court the right to order FASD assessments where it has reasonable grounds to believe an offender may be suffering from the disorder and that FASD could have had an impact on the offence committed. Third, the bill would give the court discretion to consider FASD as a mitigating factor when handing down a sentence. Fourth, when a person with FASD is released, they would have an external support plan.
It is important to understand that the goal of the bill is not to consider FASD as an excuse for bad behaviour. When a person breaks the law, it is important that this person be held to account. Why it is important to give the court the ability to order FASD assessments where it has reasonable grounds to believe an offender may be affected by the disorder is that not all cases of FASD are physically recognizable, and not all individuals affected by FASD are diagnosed early in life. They may only discover they have FASD once they enter the criminal justice system. It is essential that screening for FASD take place within the criminal justice system to better address the needs of those individuals affected by this disorder. The earlier we are able to identify offenders with FASD, the more we will be able to avoid more serious crimes being committed in the future, and the more we will be able to manage these individuals when they are incarcerated.
Then comes the question, why is it important to consider FASD as a mitigating factor in the sentencing process? When a person breaks the law, it is important that this person be held to account, but it is also important to consider the greater picture and to look at the explanation of the person's behaviour.
As I mentioned earlier, people with FASD may suffer from an array of symptoms, such as a lack of understanding of the consequences of their actions, making them more prone to trouble with the law.
We need to understand that these individuals are born with a development disorder due to exposure to alcohol before they were even born. We need to recognize that they are victims of a disorder. It therefore becomes all about creating a balance between recognizing the effects of this disorder on offenders and the need to hold people accountable for their actions. This bill would give the courts the power to do this.
Health Canada estimates that as many as nine in every 1,000 babies born in Canada have a disability on the FASD spectrum. The effects of this are a lifelong array of mental and physical disabilities, including difficulty understanding the consequence of their actions. As a result, many of the victims of FASD end up in Canada's justice system and prisons. Data suggests that between 10% and 23% of inmates in our prisons have FASD.
The Canadian Bar Association, the organization representing Canada's legal professionals, agrees that this is too many people and has indicated its support for Bill C-235. It feels that an unfair number of people with FASD are being prosecuted by the legal system. Here is a quote directly from a CBA letter, which all members should have received this week from the member for Yukon. It states:
We believe that Bill C-235 is an important step in addressing some of the shortcomings of the current framework....
Bill C-235 advances several changes, in line with previous suggestions made by CBA. The CBA supports the proposed amendment to define FASD in section 2 of the Criminal Code. The CBA also supports an amendment to allow a judge to order an assessment of someone they suspect has FASD. We believe this would assist courts in handing out more appropriate dispositions to people with FASD. The CBA supports amending the sentencing provisions in section 718.2 of the Criminal Code to allow a judge to consider evidence that an offender has FASD as a mitigating factor on sentencing. We also appreciate the section that would require judges to include, as a condition of probation, compliance with an external support plan established for the purpose of supporting and facilitating successful reintegration into society. Finally we commend the proposed amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to expressly require Correctional Services Canada to be responsive to special requirements or limitations of people with FASD. The problem of incarcerating people with FASD is pressing and can no longer be ignored.
This is a strong endorsement from the legal profession. We need to take action to assist those who have been incarcerated to help ensure they receive support to help them get back into society. That is why I urge all my hon. colleagues to consider voting in favour of this very important bill.
View Gerry Ritz Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, the second petition demands that the government recognize the rights of the unborn. We had the vote last night on Cassie's law, which unfortunately failed. However, it is time to continue to move forward and make sure the government takes heed of this type of petition with its hundreds of signatures asking it to do exactly that.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-20 10:08 [p.5879]
Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present more petitions from Canadians who are requesting that the government consider protecting pregnant women and their unborn children. This is an issue that will not go away. I am pleased to stand again today and present these petitions.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-17 14:01 [p.5697]
Mr. Speaker, today I issued a news release calling on the Liberal government to support my private member's bill, Cassie and Molly's law, as part of the government's broader strategy to address gender-based violence.
In Canada, there are no provisions in the Criminal Code to protect pregnant women, a gap in the law which leaves Canadian women vulnerable. My bill is specific and targeted, adding new charges for crimes against a pregnant woman that harm or end her pregnancy.
Canadians want this bill. In a poll I commissioned from Nano Research, 70% were supportive of Cassie and Molly's law, with support among women even higher at 75%.
I want to be clear. This legislation would not in any way change or impact the law, or limit or undermine abortion in Canada. The leading constitutional law firm, Supreme Advocacy, confirms this in its thorough report on Cassie and Molly's law, of which every member in the House has a copy.
Please join me in supporting common-sense legislation that denounces violence, stands up for victims, and protects pregnant women.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-17 15:21 [p.5712]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present petitions in support of protecting the rights of pregnant women to safely carry their children to term. In one of many personal letters I received along with these petitions, Alicia Johns states: “Hello, I'm 29 years old and I've given birth to four beautiful boys. Two of them were premature, one over seven weeks and one 10 weeks premature. Both are doing amazingly well. I'm now carrying my fifth son. I'm 28 weeks, six days pregnant, and counting down every day because each day he stays in my womb is important. I know from personal experience that nature can have its own plans and things don't always turn out the way we expect. What happened to Cassie and Molly was not natural, when the life of her and her daughter were brutally taken. When I make a choice to carry my child—
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kelly Block Profile
2016-10-17 18:43 [p.5740]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in this place and speak to Bill C-225, the protection of pregnant women and their preborn children act, Cassie and Molly's law.
To begin, I want to recognize and thank my friend and colleague, the member for Yorkton—Melville, for the good work she has undertaken in introducing this bill and for the passion she brings to this important debate.
As I have shared in this place before, I am the mother of four wonderful children, three of whom are married. I am also the grandmother of seven beautiful grandchildren, three of whom I have not met yet; one will be arriving next month and the other two just after the new year in January and February. Our entire family is eagerly awaiting their arrival. Nurseries are being prepared and books of the most popular names are being pored over. As grandparents, my husband and I can hardly wait to love them, spoil them, and then return them to their parents.
As my entire family prepares to welcome these three new members, the reality that this bill seeks to address is very near and dear to my heart. Let us talk about what this bill would do.
Bill C-225 would allow for two charges to be laid for causing the death of or injury to a preborn child while attacking a pregnant woman. One charge is for the offence against the woman, like assault or murder, which currently exists in the Criminal Code; and the other charge would be for the new offence that this bill would create for causing the death of or injury to the preborn child from the commission of the offence against the woman.
The bill would also give added protection to pregnant women, even in cases where the preborn child is not harmed or killed, because it would codify pregnancy as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes. While judges can already treat pregnancy as an aggravating factor in sentencing, codifying it in criminal law would require a judge to always consider this factor in sentencing. Codifying pregnancy in criminal law is another way to more clearly and strongly denounce violence against pregnant women.
I cannot even begin to imagine the range of emotions that I would experience if one of my daughters or daughter-in-law, or my unborn grandchildren were harmed or killed by someone. If a woman has chosen to have a baby, should she not be entitled to justice if her unborn child is harmed or killed?
This bill would provide some justice. How would the bill do this?
Justice is not served when a person does not face any consequences for intentionally causing the death of or injury to a preborn child while attacking a pregnant woman. Bill C-225 is aimed at third parties who knowingly commit criminal offences against pregnant women.
The new offences are not stand-alone offences. They apply in a narrowly and precisely defined circumstance: only when a third party is committing or attempting to commit an offence against a pregnant woman knowing she is pregnant. The stiff penalties of a minimum of 10 years and maximum of life imprisonment for intentionally harming or causing the death of a preborn child would act as a strong deterrent against the commission of violence against pregnant women, since the offender cannot get to the child without going through the woman. In other words, if the child is protected, the woman is protected.
For the remainder of my time I would like to highlight what the bill could not do, contrary to what some have suggested.
This bill could not change the definition of a human being or create false personhood. The criminal law can be used to protect entities other than what is covered under the Criminal Code's definition of human being. The bill could not be used to criminalize doctors or anybody for performing abortions. Finally, the bill could not be used to criminalize pregnant women for any acts of commission or omission that may cause harm or death to her own fetus.
I want to quote the sponsor of Bill C-225, who was motivated to bring this bill forward after hearing Cassie and Molly Kaake's story. She stated:
The Criminal Code is missing a crucial component to protect Canadian women and their families. The increased penalties under Cassie and Molly's law create a legal mechanism that will enhance the safety of Canadian women and recognize the safety of their families. This approach is specific and robust. It is a common-sense approach designed to fill a gap in the Criminal Code that renders women and their preborn children vulnerable.
I would encourage all members in this place to take the time to read the bill and then support it, as it is clear in its aim, which is to protect the preborn in a very narrowly and precisely defined circumstance, when the woman has not chosen abortion, and a third party causes death or injury to her unborn child against her will.
To conclude, choosing to have a child is one of the most important commitments one will ever make. As a grandmother, I would share in the grief of my daughters and their husbands should anything like this ever happen to them.
Finally, as a member of Parliament, I have always and will always stand up for the rights of victims in the face of horrific crimes, and this bill would do that.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-17 19:06 [p.5743]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to close the second hour of debate on my private member's bill, Cassie and Molly's law. This bill is in response to the 2014 murder of Cassie Kaake in Windsor, Ontario, when Cassie was weeks away from giving birth to their daughter Molly. In Canada, there is no component in the Criminal Code to protect pregnant women from violence. This gap is leaving women vulnerable. Cassie and Molly's law would address this specific issue to protect pregnant women and their future families.
Since introducing this legislation in February, I have been inspired by the support of Canadians across the country for Cassie and Molly's law through a flood of letters, phone calls, emails, and meetings with everyday Canadians who know both Cassie and Molly deserve justice as do all the women who have been victims of violence while pregnant.
The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime endorse Cassie and Molly's law because it is justice for victims of serious crime. The Native Women's Association of Canada has endorsed Cassie and Molly's law because this bill is one step closer to justice for at least 18 of the missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. Canadians want this legislation.
In a nationwide poll by Nanos Research in which 97 respondents identified as pro-choice, nearly 70% of Canadians were supportive of this legislation. Support among women was even higher at 75%. Canadians understand what this bill would do and, just as important, they understand what the bill would not do.
The bill would create new offences for injuring or causing the death of a pregnant woman's preborn child while committing or attempting to commit a criminal offence against the woman. These offences are not stand-alone offences. The new charges under Cassie and Molly's law would only apply when a person was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offence against a pregnant woman. In addition, charges could only be applied when the offender had the knowledge that the female victim was pregnant.
The new offences are called causing the death of a preborn child while committing an offence or injuring a preborn child while committing an offence. With this law, two charges could be laid in crimes involving attacks on pregnant women that resulted in the harm or death of their preborn children: one in relation to the criminal offence against the woman, and the second charge in relation to one of the new offences either causing the death of or the injury to the preborn child.
Cassie and Molly's law would also add pregnancy to the list of aggravating factors for sentencing purposes. Codifying it in criminal law is a way to more clearly and strongly denounce violence against pregnant women. While the government suggests that courts consistently recognize pregnancy as an aggravating factor, I want members to know, from deeply researching case law, that it is often unclear to what extent a woman's pregnancy is considered in sentencing.
Opponents of Cassie and Molly's law claim that the bill could be a back door to limit a woman's access to abortion services. This is untrue and entirely misleading to Canadians. Simply put, Cassie and Molly's law would only add new offences for existing crimes against a pregnant woman that resulted in injury or termination of her pregnancy.
Because this bill would only affect existing crimes, and abortion is not criminal, Cassie and Molly's law would have no impact on abortion services. The bill would not change the legal definition of a human being or create fetal personhood as some critics have tried to claim. The constitutional experts at the leading firm, Supreme Advocacy, which the government highly respects, confirm that Cassie and Molly's law would have no impact on abortion laws. In fact, I would challenge the justice minister or the minister's representative in the House of Commons right now to present legal arguments that refute the expertise of these lawyers. Addressing violence against pregnant women is the strict and sole objective of the bill.
The government promised a strategy to combat gender-based violence. We are still waiting. Right here, right now we have an opportunity for a Liberal government and every member of Parliament to take a step toward reducing gender-based violence in Canada. Members of Parliament are here to serve Canadians, and Canadians have made their voices heard, loud and clear. They support this bill.
This is the proof: an e-petition with 6,100 signatures, paper petitions with over 20,000, letters, emails, and phone calls reflecting all ages, men, women, expectant mothers, pro-choice supporters, victims, and those left to mourn. The Nanos Research poll confirming 70% of Canadians cannot be denied. Canadians across the great country support Cassie and Molly's law, and they expect the House to do the same.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-06 10:09 [p.5556]
Mr. Speaker, I present petitions, again today, in support of Cassie and Molly's law.
A Statistics Canada study shows that more than 60,000 pregnant women were victims of domestic violence between 2004 and 2009 in Canada.
The Native Women's Association of Canada is fully endorsing Bill C-225, which would protect pregnant women and their preborn children, indicating that at least 18 of the missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls were pregnant.
Canadians know that a national strategy combatting violence against women will need a law like this included to be comprehensive in addressing violence against women.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-05 15:18 [p.5523]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting 10 more petitions today in support of Cassie and Molly's law. A Statistics Canada study shows that over 60,000 pregnant women were victims of domestic violence in Canada between 2004 and 2009. The Native Women's Association of Canada is fully endorsing Bill C-225, protecting pregnant women and their preborn children, indicating that at least 18 of the missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls were pregnant.
Canadians know a national strategy combatting violence against women will need this law included to be truly comprehensive in addressing violence against women.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-04 10:07 [p.5425]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a number of petitions again today that reflect the fact that in our federal criminal law system, a preborn child is not recognized as a victim with respect to violent crime. When a pregnant woman in Canada is assaulted or killed, because we offer no legal protection for preborn children today, no charge can be laid in the death of that preborn child.
The forcing upon a pregnant woman the death or injury of her preborn child is a violation of a woman's rights to protect and give life to her child. Therefore, these petitioners continue to call upon the House of Commons to pass legislation which would recognize preborn children as separate victims when they are killed or injured during the commission of an offence against their mothers.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2016-10-03 15:30 [p.5390]
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting petitions today from Canadians calling on the government to create a law that recognizes the death or injury of a preborn child as a separate offence when a criminal attack occurs against the mother.
As Canadians have called on the Minister of Status of Women to support such a law, the head of the agency Status of Women Canada has responded on the minister's behalf, stating, “The government has already expressed its opposition to Bill C-225 for a number of reasons, including the fact that the bill prevents addressing the issue of violence against women and girls in a broader manner”.
These petitioners ask how it is possible that a bill addressing a very real and specific gap in protecting pregnant women's rights to carry their children to term would prevent the current government from addressing violence against women in a broader manner. If women and the family of victims who have experienced the need for this law were invited to participate in the government's national strategy consultations, I am sure they would sign up as witnesses in a child's heartbeat.
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