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Results: 1 - 15 of 16
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-07-20 15:19 [p.2619]
When the images of the Prime Minister in blackface emerged, we were told to judge the Prime Minister on his actions. What have those actions been? At a time when there is a movement of people demanding concrete action to address systemic racism, the Prime Minister has asked his ministers to come up with a plan for a plan to do something. That is not real concrete action.
What has the Prime Minister done to immediately respond to the calls and demands for action to address systemic racism in policing? When it comes to the RCMP, has the Prime Minister taken any concrete action to address systemic racism in the RCMP? We have seen the images of indigenous and racialized people brutalized by the police. What has the Prime Minister done since to show any leadership? Effectively, he has done nothing.
Indigenous people, black people and racialized people are no better off right now in 2020 than they were in 2015. The Prime Minister has done nothing to make their lives better when it comes to systemic racism in policing. He could have immediately ended racial profiling in policing. That is within the power of the federal government.
The Prime Minister could immediately review the use of force and say we need to completely overhaul it. The Prime Minister, if he wanted to, could say we need an emphasis on de-escalation when it comes to conflicts. The Prime Minister could review the budget so that we could be spending more money on health care and responses to health care crises than we do on police. All of these things are possible, but the Prime Minister has done none of them.
How is systemic racism different now, in 2020, compared to 2015, when the government took office? It is not different.
The Prime Minister has said some nice words and made symbolic gestures, but he has not taken any concrete action to change people's lives.
In the context of this whole movement, at a time when people are calling for concrete action and thousands are taking to the streets to demand meaningful action against systemic racism in the police force and other institutions, what has the government done? Nothing.
The Liberals had an opportunity, and now they have a chance to review the use of force. The Liberal government has the power to make changes that would emphasize de-escalation in conflicts with the police. The Liberal government has the power to alter its funding priorities to give more money to health care workers than to police.
All of that is possible if the government wants to take action. However, it is clear that the Liberal government and the Prime Minister want to make symbolic gestures and pay lip service, but they do not want to take meaningful action to improve people's lives.
I will say it again. What we are seeing is a trend with this government. The government wanted to do the minimum when it came to helping people in this crisis and we forced it. We pushed it, and we demanded more for people.
When it comes to things like systemic racism, at a time when there is a powerful movement asking for change, this government has done nothing to improve the lives of people. People are no better off in 2020 than they were in 2015. When the Prime Minister took a knee, who was he protesting? Who was the Prime Minister protesting? He is in power.
The Prime Minister has the ability to change things right now, but he has done nothing. He has not challenged the status quo. He has not changed anything at the RCMP. He has not brought in any new laws to improve the conditions that people are faced with. He has done nothing to change the reality that if one is black, indigenous or racialized, one is more likely to be brutalized by the police and more likely to be killed by the police, but less likely to be able to find a job or a place to live. Those are the real problems of systemic racism, and this government has done nothing.
I ask the people of this great country to look at the actions of the Prime Minister and the actions of this Liberal government to see that they have tried to do the minimum. They have given us pretty words, empty words, but they lack action.
We will continue to fight for Canadians. They can count on us to have their back. They can count on us to fight for them every step of the way, to demand more and to demand better. That is who we are. That is what we do, and that is what they deserve.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-07-08 12:26 [p.2538]
Mr. Speaker, we have seen some serious concerns across the country with the use of wellness checks by police. In some cases, we have seen wellness checks by police result in the death of the person who was supposed to be checked.
Will the Prime Minister commit to a review of the use of wellness checks and the way they are conducted, and ensure that health care providers and health care professionals are responding instead of the police?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-07-08 13:37 [p.2550]
Madam Chair, I want to begin by expressing my relief that the attack on Rideau Hall where both our Governor General and the Prime Minister and his family live ended non-violently and that Corey Hurren was taken into custody.
I would like to ask the hon. minister and the Prime Minister about the following names: Chantel Moore, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D'Andre Campbell, Ejaz Ahmed Choudry and Rodney Levi, who, not meaning any harm to anyone, were killed during the process of a wellness check. They are dead. They were all indigenous, black or racialized Canadians who are now dead.
Is it not time to have a federal inquiry into the use of wellness checks to ensure that the people who are being cared for do not end up in the morgue?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-06-17 14:44 [p.2488]
Mr. Speaker, I also have a unanimous consent motion.
There have been discussions and I hope if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, the House recognize that there is systemic racism in the RCMP as several indigenous people have died at the hands of the RCMP in recent months, and call on the government to do the following: a) review the nearly $10 million per day RCMP budget and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, increase non-police investments in non-violent intervention, de-escalation, and mental health and addictions supports; b) ensure that the RCMP is truly accountable to the public; c) release all RCMP incidents of use-of-force reports and the associated settlement costs; and d) immediately launch a full review of the use of force by the RCMP, including reviewing the tactics and the training that is given to RCMP officers in dealing with the public.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Prime Minister could have saved a lot of time and asked the Conservative leader to hold his press conference for him. Their plan to send the police in is not working. Chase is not on the case.
For weeks, we have been calling on the Prime Minister to name a mediator, sit down with hereditary chiefs and de-escalate the situation. CP Rail is recommending that. Industry is recommending that. Indigenous leaders are recommending that. What is the holdup? When will the Prime Minister admit his Conservative plan is not working?
View Brad Vis Profile
Mr. Speaker, yesterday illegal protesters blocked the West Coast Express commuter train in the Fraser Valley again. The B.C. public safety minister declared, “Police do not need an injunction to clear and arrest the blockaders.” When the B.C. New Democrats call out illegal activity and advocate for police action, the Liberal government has to know that it is asleep at the switch.
I never thought I would say this, but when will the public safety minister take a page out of the B.C. NDP playbook and get our rail lines cleared?
View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-21 10:56 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have seen time and again in the previous session, and again in this session so far, with the government is that it likes to talk about consultation. It likes to say that it has consulted with Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Does our hon. colleague know if indeed the RCMP and CBSA front-line officers were consulted with respect to Bill C-3?
View Tako Van Popta Profile
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-02-21 10:57 [p.1374]
Mr. Speaker, while this party supports Bill C-3, we are disappointed that there has been a lack of consultation with key stakeholders and leaders, with the RCMP, the CBSA and the unions representing the people who work for those great organizations. It is a disappointment.
That said, the bill will be effective in enhancing the work these organizations are doing, but the lack of consultation has been, and continues to be, problematic.
View Mark Strahl Profile
View Mark Strahl Profile
2020-02-20 10:41 [p.1292]
Madam Speaker, I think that the RCMP should enforce the court injunction. It can decide how it does that, but it should get a signal from the government that we expect court injunctions to be enforced and upheld. However those in the RCMP decide, in their wisdom, that they want to proceed, I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem when we have a government that is signalling that it does not believe that court injunctions should be enforced. The RCMP will make its own decisions, as it has, but it should be given the direction that the government expects that court injunctions will be enforced and upheld.
While I am on my feet responding to the member's question, I would like to say that, clearly, we understand that the member, through some of the things that he has done over the last number days and weeks, such as sponsoring advertising calling for the shutdown of various energy projects, does not mind this kind of activity because it shuts down the energy sector, which is something he is in favour of. We are obviously opposed to that.
View Mark Strahl Profile
View Mark Strahl Profile
2020-02-20 10:45 [p.1293]
Madam Speaker, if the member had actually been listening, I never said to send in the police. I am not telling the police how to do their jobs; I am telling them that their job is to respect the rulings of the courts.
If the court injunction is clear, then, to me, the government should be giving that direction that we expect it to be enforced. We leave it to individual police forces to determine how they will do that. However, it should be clear that on court decisions in this country, we cannot simply decide, from the heckling from the member for Kingston and the Islands, which court decisions we feel should be ignored and which should be enforced.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the House's granting me that privilege.
I want to start my speech on Bill C-5 by acknowledging the incredibly important role that judges play in our justice system. These are men and women who are put in very difficult positions. They have to weigh incredible amounts of evidence before them and make judgments as to whether, beyond a reasonable doubt, a person is guilty of the crime that the Crown is putting forward as an argument.
Judges know that their decisions one way or the other are going to have life-altering impacts, either on the accused or on the person who brought the complaint before the justice system. The debate today should not diminish the important role that judges play in our society.
I also want to take time to acknowledge the Hon. Rona Ambrose, the previous interim leader of the Conservative Party, for the work that she did in the 42nd Parliament with her private member's bill, Bill C-337.
I am happy to see that the government has brought the substance of that bill forward in this 43rd Parliament as Bill C-5. Judging from the character of the speeches so far, there is unanimous agreement that this bill needs to be passed, perhaps not through all stages as quickly as we would like, but I have a strong feeling that after today's debate the justice committee will be getting to work on this bill in short order.
We are supportive of the intent behind Bill C-5, particularly its intention of ensuring that victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence have confidence in the judicial system.
We know that complainants in sexual assault cases are often provided with inadequate social supports. They receive inadequate information about the court process, and they are often confronted by a system that ignores their wishes.
We should acknowledge that Bill C-5 would not solve those problems. It is an important step, but there is an entire systemic approach we need to take to ensure that complainants of sexual assault are coming to a system that they can have confidence in. That confidence needs to be built, and there is still much work to be done.
We need a systemic review of the judicial system when it comes to sexual assault to stop survivors from being victimized, victim-blamed, not informed and very badly supported by policing and justice systems.
The statistics underline this story. Statistics Canada estimates that only 5% of sexual assaults are reported to the police. We know that one in three women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. For me that is a particularly personal statistic, given that I am the father of three daughters.
I do not want anyone to become one of those statistics, but that is a fact of life in our society. It is not limited just to women: We know that one in six men will experience sexual violence in his lifetime as well. In 82% of cases, the offender is known to the victim. We know that 28% of Canadians have said that they have experienced workplace sexual assault or violence.
I got to know a transgender person in my riding very well over the previous campaign, and I know the courage it took for him to come forward and be a part of my campaign and to speak openly about the situation that transgender Canadians face in our country. They face nearly twice as much intimate partner violence in their lifetimes as women do, and that is an area that we definitely need to pay attention to as a society.
I also want to acknowledge that my Conservative friends have raised some concerns as to whether the scope of this bill could be expanded to include other areas that fall under federal jurisdiction, most notably the Parole Board of Canada.
We have also seen that the actions of the Immigration and Refugee Board deserve some scrutiny. Perhaps that is something that the justice committee, in its wisdom, can take note of and ask the appropriate questions of the witnesses who come forward to offer their expertise on this particular bill.
I was a member of the 42nd Parliament and remember with great pride, back in 2017 when we were deliberating Bill C-337, that it was great to see the House move a unanimous consent motion in March of that year to get the bill referred to the status of women committee. The status of women committee did some good work on the bill. It had five meetings, heard from 25 witnesses and reported that bill back to the House with some slight amendments.
This is to assure members of the House that the hard work on this bill has been done. We have a lot of witness testimony in the record, and I hope the testimony heard at the status of women committee back in 2017 will inform the justice committee and that we can take note of that when the justice committee is doing its work.
This bill seeks, through training seminars, to correct the problems I have noted through rearticulation to judicial candidates on the current standing of sexual assault laws, namely the principles of consent, conduct of sexual assault proceedings, and education regarding myths and stereotypes of sexual assault complainants.
That is because we have seen a record, through the actions of various judges, that this training is sorely needed. We have seen it through their comments during court proceedings and through referrals in their judgments, but we would be mistaken if we were to pinpoint this problem entirely on judges. We know that the police themselves have a lot of work to do, and I know they are trying their best to achieve this, but we know from the complaints of victims that this work is ongoing.
The Senate, when it received Bill C-337 through its legal and constitutional affairs committee, did make some amendments. There was a lot of concern regarding the constitutionality of the bill. I understand that the government's version is much closer to, or a wholesale adoption of, what the Senate committee did to Bill C-337.
I know there is this ongoing battle between the legislature, the Parliament of Canada, and our judicial branch. Sometimes they can come into conflict. I know that Michael Spratt, a noted lawyer in the Ottawa region, has written about his concerns with the current bill, but I also know that Professor Emmett Macfarlane has said that Parliament is well within its rights to be legislating in areas such as the Judges Act.
I think this bill does a careful job, as is noted in the charter statement, of doing our best to respect judicial independence. This is really about setting up the training that exists. It is going to be overseen independently of Parliament. We will not have any influence whatsoever on what judges do with this training, because they are still going to be impartial and independent of Parliament when they exercise their judgment and bring forward rulings.
This bill, in particular, passes constitutional muster. I have read the wording of it quite carefully and I think Parliament has a role, as an expression of people's wishes and the changing norms of society, to express its will and make sure that the federal statutes of Canada reflect the changing mood of our country.
I would like to offer my congratulations to the government and all members for the unanimity that we are showing in the proceedings today. I think, though, that when we are looking at other issues plaguing Canada, particularly with respect to aboriginal rights, we still see a lot of systemic racism and very little understanding of what aboriginal rights and title mean. Sometimes this can be reflected in our federal court system.
In closing, my one offer to the government is that it look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, particularly number 27, to see if this kind of training might also be mandated for judges and other parts of the justice system that fall under federal jurisdiction.
View Gord Johns Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Speaker for allowing this important debate to take place tonight.
I want to thank my colleague for sharing his experience in his community and what it looks like when a militarized situation is brought toward a conflict that deserves a peaceful solution.
We know that when we have conflict in our communities, whether it be in Canada or around the world, militarization has not usually brought people solutions. We have to bring down the temperature. To do that, a legitimate call to action would be for the RCMP to leave right now.
The call to action is that the Prime Minister go there, sit at the table and meaningfully negotiate. That means coming to the table with a commitment to negotiate.
The member has seen first-hand what this has done in his community, the pain and suffering. I am sure this experience is triggering to a lot of people in his community. We should learn from that.
Chief Woos, the heredity chief of the Wet'suwet'en, was just on the news. He said, “We're not going to talk with a gun pointed at our heads.”
It is pretty clear that we cannot move forward unless the RCMP leaves and the government is ready to meaningfully negotiate in a peaceful way. The pathway forward has to be one where we are all at the table, without the RCMP being present, so the community can come forward with a peaceful proposal and we can walk forward together. However, it has to be led by the Wet'suwet'en. They are calling on the Prime Minister to be at the table. Does he support that call to action?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives talk about the rule of law, yet they fail to recognize that section 35 of our Constitution clearly recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples; they fail to recognize that in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, section 10 recognizes the issue of free, prior and informed consent; and they fail to recognize that with the Delgamuukw case the highest court of this land, the Supreme Court of Canada, also recognizes indigenous peoples and their rights.
If the Liberal government truly is committed to a new nation-to-nation relationship, will it bring these principles that are enshrined in section 35, in UNDRIP and in Delgamuukw to the table and begin the negotiations? To show a gesture of goodwill, will the Liberals be willing to call the RCMP to stand down, take the guns out of the land and allow for negotiations to take place in a peaceful manner?
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand to speak in this emergency debate. I would like to thank the member for Foothills for sharing his time with me.
I want to acknowledge the comments of the Prime Minister earlier today, and certainly acknowledge comments or other remarks from individuals in this place, looking to try to find solutions to this important question and consideration. I agree that good faith, partnership and a non-partisan approach have to take place when it comes to indigenous issues and pursuing true reconciliation.
I think about two basic questions that need to be asked. First, why are we in this situation? Second, what should be done?
Why are we in this situation? Why are we seeing blockades and protests and economic disruption?
The answer is pretty straightforward. It is because Canada, through successive governments, including the current government, has not done the basic work of resetting the foundations for relations with indigenous peoples, despite the rhetoric. We all know what needs to be done. We have known for decades, but we are here, yet again, in a moment of crisis, because this hard work has been punted.
The history of Canada saw indigenous peoples divided into smaller administrative groupings, with systems of government imposed upon them. For Indians, this was through the Indian Act and the creation of the band councils system.
The work of decolonization, of reconciliation, requires supporting nations to rebuild, to come back together and revitalize their own systems of government, to self-determine. Until they do, we will never know who truly speaks for the nations, irrespective of the good work and good intentions of the hundreds of Indian Act chiefs and councils and traditional leaders, who, in many cases, are one and the same.
However, we have not done this work. We have maintained the same legislation and policies for decades that keeps first nations under colonial statute, keeps nations divided, renders negotiations long and nearly impossible and does not support first nations nearly enough in doing the rebuilding work they must inevitably do. There are lots of reasons for this: the historical denial of rights to self-government and the denial to one's land and, so too, paternalism. The result of the perpetual inaction are situations like we see in Wet'suwet'en territory.
The Prime Minister did say today that these problems had roots in a long history. That is true. However, let us be honest, and with respect, the Prime Minister has to learn to take responsibility. Canadians over many years have come to learn our true history and the need for fundamental change. He has been speaking for five years about this most important relationship. He stood in the House of Commons over two years ago and pledged to make transformative, legislative and policy reforms, reforms that would be directly relevant to the situation in Wet'suwet'en territory today, that would have supported the internal governance work of the nation, shifted the consultation processes that took place and provided a framework for better relations.
What have we have seen as a result of this speech, and its transformative words? Honestly, almost nothing. The promise of legislation has not come. I know it is hard, but we cannot keep punting the hard work because of political expediency. If we do, we will have another situation like we have today in five years from now or quite likely sooner.
Therefore, here we are. What should be done? In the spirit of good faith and in the spirit of working together, may I be so bold as to offer four suggestions?
One, governments have to lead. They need to lead. Weeks have passed. If the Prime Minister wants to have dialogue to resolve matters peacefully, de-escalate the situation and show real leadership, in my view he should have gotten on a plane, flown to British Columbia, picked the premier up on his way up to Wet'suwet'en territory and met with the leadership of the Wet'suwet'en and some of the broader indigenous leaders in British Columbia.
The Prime Minister could still do this, having regard for and respect for the wishes and preconditions perhaps of the Wet'suwet'en leaders and recognizing some of the challenges that exist in their community. Honestly, there is a practice of leaders not wanting, in my opinion, to be in meetings where the outcomes and structures are not basically predetermined. We have had enough of that. One cannot script dealing with real issues and challenges. Let us just deal with them.
Two, the government should act now on making the fundamental changes that are long overdue. Long ago the government should have tabled comprehensive legislation that implements the minimum standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and upholds the recognition and implementation of indigenous rights, a recognition and implementation of rights framework. Such legislation would include supports, without interfering, for indigenous nations to rebuild their governments. It also would include pathways for moving out beyond the Indian Act. Indian Act chiefs have an important role to play in this process. Once truly self-governing, we will know with certainty who speaks for the indigenous title and rights holders. This is important not only for indigenous peoples to have faith in the legitimacy of their own democratic institutions but ultimately the people will choose and vote on their system of good governance. It is now also important for all Canadians to know.
I will be frank. The government uses language like “co-development” and the need to do it “in partnership” with indigenous peoples a lot, but a lot of the time it uses that language simply as an excuse to delay or justify inaction. For decades, at least since the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 25 years ago, we have known the foundational legislative change that is needed. UNDRIP is a decade old. The government is five years old and it has been two years since the Prime Minister announced legislation would be tabled within 10 months. Enough is enough. The time for action is now. No more half measures, no more lofty rhetoric, no more setting up interminable negotiations that get nowhere very slowly over years and years.
Three, I believe the government should consider a cooling-off period when construction activity does not take place. That would allow everyone to step back and assess where things are, clear the space for dialogue and de-escalate current tensions. Whether this period is for one month or for a few months, it can be of benefit to all.
In this time, dialogue between the Wet'suwet'en and the government can take place. As well, the Wet'suwet'en, in my respectful view, need to take responsibility in such a period of time to have, in a very inclusive manner, the internal dialogue needed to bring clarity about how they will approach the future of this project collectively. Also, such a period of time may allow for explorations, as there have been in the past, of alternative routing for small portions of the line that can address some concerns, including, if necessary, government roles in accommodating the costs of such changes, should they be adopted with broad support.
Four, as a proud indigenous person in this country, I know that indigenous governments also need to lead. The main request I have heard, including meetings with the Prime Minister and premier, is that the RCMP leave the area where it conducted enforcement activity. My understanding as of today is that the company and the Wet'suwet'en are both in the area and things remain currently peaceful. If the RCMP decides it is appropriate to leave, perhaps as part of a cooling-off period, then I would expect indigenous governments, including the Wet'suwet'en leadership, to take action, to look at reconciliation and to look at how they can move forward collectively.
I want to make one last observation about reconciliation and the things that we have heard about reconciliation being dead.
Reconciliation in its true meaning always involves a reckoning. With our past, we are taking responsibility with changing course in real ways, with making the hard choices for our future. These are the choices that every parliamentarian in this place representing their constituents has to make for the benefit of all Canadians. This is our opportunity to finally finish the unfinished business of Confederation and enable indigenous peoples to be self-determining, embrace the minimum standards of the United Nations declaration and finally ensure that indigenous peoples have their rightful place in this amazing country.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have heard the debate all night. Based on my former role, I generally understand the role of the RCMP and police forces and the reality of not having political interference happening. I know that very well.
I am familiar with the authorities in the RCMP Act. I am also familiar with the necessity to ensure the RCMP has the ability to exercise its discretion as appropriate. However, there has been a conversation in the country, and perhaps it might be a result of this debate for this conversation to continue, on the balance between the independence of police forces and the authorities of ministers. We have had inquiries about this, Ipperwash for one. This is a conversation that needs to continue, but appropriately with political action and agreement on all sides. Perhaps that would lead the way for decisions to be made by police and the RCMP.
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