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View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-04-13 11:02 [p.5479]
Madam Speaker, I will split my time with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
Conservatives are the party of law and order that ardently stands with victims of crime and their loved ones, and that applies common sense and outcomes-based principles to protect innocent Canadians from violent criminals who would harm others. Conservatives also take a practical approach and acknowledge that, of course, many offenders will be released back into society. There is a real need to prepare those offenders for release so they do not fall back into a life of crime, as seen in the good work of the member for Tobique—Mactaquac in his Bill C-228, which aims to set a federal framework to reduce recidivism.
However, Canadians also do not want the justice system to be a constantly revolving door. Common sense must prevail for the common good. Canadians, victims of crime and their families deserve to live freely without fear in Canadian society. When violent criminals seek to take that away or revictimize them, the government has a role in ensuring the laws and systems in place are designed to prevent it. The only thing worse than a government that fails in this duty is a government that actually promotes conditions that will ultimately lead to, or frankly guarantee, that violent criminals will strike again.
Bill C-22 gives great consideration to the relief of criminals and offenders, but it is missing any substantive policy or action to care for, protect, or prevent victims of violent crime in Canada. In fact, Bill C-22 would reduce the penalties for many violent crimes, some of which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in Canada.
The first thing Bill C-22 does is build on the Liberals' “guns for gangs only” bill, Bill C-21, which targets law-abiding licensed firearms owners, retailers and even hobbyists who play airsoft and paintball. What is missing from Bill C-21 is a strategy to deal with the root cause of shooting deaths in Canada cities, criminal gangs with illegally smuggled guns.
In fact, Bill C-21 does nothing to protect public safety or victims from violent gun crime and criminal gangs. It lays a heavy hand on law-abiding Canadians who already follow the rules, but takes a hands-off approach to the very criminals and gangs who should obviously be the targets of public safety policy.
Bill C-22 takes the hands-off approach even further. It reduces jail time for violent firearms offences and will not stop the flow of illegal firearms into criminal gangs in Canada. In Bill C-22, the Liberals are telling Canadians these offences are no big deal by reducing penalties for: weapons trafficking, possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking, importing or exporting a firearm knowing it is unauthorized, possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition, possession of a weapon obtained by commission of an offence using firearms in the commission of offences, robbery with a firearm and extortion with a firearm. We should all think about how each of these offences ties into actual violent crime and deaths in Canada.
That is not all. Bill C-22 would also reduce penalties for discharging firearms where it is unsafe to do so, say, for example, in the streets of Toronto, and for discharging firearms with intent, such as in a drive-by shooting, like the one in Montreal two months ago that tragically and horribly killed 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui.
In fact, Montreal police inspector David Bertrand says his city had a 10% rise in gun crimes between 2019 and 2020, despite the Liberal firearm ban at the time. He says that this is due to the “trivialization” of gun use by criminals and that criminals are “using more guns when committing infractions”.
Bill C-22 plays right into the wrong hands. If the Liberals listened to experts, they would know not to trivialize crimes for which consequences need to be strengthened in order to keep Canadians safe from criminals with guns.
It seems Conservatives are the only ones listening to experts on gun crimes, but we cannot take all the credit for tough sentences for these crimes. Most of the above examples are long-standing and were introduced under previous Liberal governments, so sentences for using firearms in the commission—
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
2021-04-13 11:13 [p.5482]
Madam Speaker, my colleague's speech touched mostly on gun control. I would argue that taking assault rifles off our streets will absolutely help to reduce gun violence.
However, on the subject of Bill C-22, it is important to note that the Conservatives put forward legislation for mandatory minimums and we did not see a reduction in the amount of violence in Canada.
By eliminating mandatory minimums, this bill proposes to put the power in the hands of our judicial system and our judges to determine the best sentence possible in the circumstances. We know that mandatory minimums disproportionately affect indigenous and Black offenders, and they do not work.
What is the member's position on mandatory minimums?
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-04-13 11:16 [p.5482]
Madam Speaker, I am not sure what legislation the members who are raising this issue are reading. Frankly, I do not know if they are actually examining the fact that Bill C-22 would reduce mandatory prison times, eliminate mandatory prison times for these firearms offences, robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, weapons trafficking, importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized, discharging a firearm with intent, using a firearm in commission of offences, possession of firearms knowing its possession is unauthorized, possession of a prohibited restricted firearms with ammunition, possession of a weapon obtained by commission of offence, possession for purpose of weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm with recklessness. Members who do not recognize that these are in the legislation and do not want to talk about them are not applying the scrutiny and due diligence to the bill as they ought to.
The reason the front half of my speech focused on that is because that is what Bill C-22 would do. I also focused on all the other violent crimes for which the consequences would be lightened and softened by Bill C-22. That is also what the bill would do. Elected representatives—
View Damien Kurek Profile
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-04-13 11:20 [p.5483]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand once again in this House and participate in an important debate. I plan to address two major themes in my speech. The first has to do with the fact that it seems the members opposite are simply not aware of what is contained in this bill. This bill actually reduces some of the penalties for serious firearms offences. I will get into the specifics of that here in a moment. The second is the larger topic of conversation surrounding being soft on crime and the very troubling trends that we see, not only with this bill, but with some of the larger context of how the government is failing victims.
First, on firearms, I find it absolutely tragic that we are debating firearms in this place in a way that completely ignores the facts. The members opposite will talk about how it is important to ban assault rifles and these military-style weapons, when very few members opposite understand the reality of what they are talking about. The reality is truly a trifecta of misinformation and political rhetoric torqued to the highest extent possible to appeal to a narrow band of political interests that is simply not based on reality.
I have a few examples. The Conservative member for Markham—Unionville brought forward Bill C-238, a bill that was meant to bring many people together to combat a real issue, and that is violent gun crime. However, the Liberals voted against it. How tragic is it that the Liberals, who claim to be targeting law-abiding firearms owners, would absolutely dismiss an attempt by parliamentarians to address some of those issues? It is absolutely shameful.
Second, we see the context of aspects of this debate with last year's order in council banning 1,500 firearms. It was absurd logic. In fact, when I participated in the member of Parliament's briefing for that OIC, the officials who were brought in did not even understand the very basis of the firearms they said they were banning. How absurd is it that we have such a disconnect between the consequences of what I would suggest is a massive overreach of the executive branch, targeting something, and then they torque it up with their rhetoric about how they are somehow taking action on crime? It is shameful, the record of the government.
The members opposite suggest that this somehow does not have relevance to the debate today, which is absurd and again more of their torqued political rhetoric, at a time when they seem to be bent on calling an election in the midst of a pandemic. I would note, as a bit of an aside, that there is a Supreme Court challenge in Newfoundland that has been launched today by an opposition party because of an election there that many would suggest, and certainly this lawsuit suggests, does not have the confidence of the people. It was a Liberal majority, yet the Prime Minister and the government seem bent on stealing power at any cost.
The third aspect of this bill is that it takes the serious criminal offences. Specifically, as I mentioned in the first part of my speech, I want to talk about the firearms side of things. The fact is that they are lessening penalties on serious firearms offences.
The Liberals introduced Bill C-21, literally banning toy guns. They said that was fake news, yet the reality, as we have learned, is that bad legislation creates bad outcomes and does not do what they say they are trying to accomplish. In the same week, they introduced Bill C-22, only a few days later. On Tuesday, they introduced a bill to punish law-abiding Canadians for simply living their lives, in many cases using something that is a tool in many parts of our country.
I come from a rural constituency, where a firearm is a tool like many others. It can be used as a weapon, but so can a baseball bat, a kitchen knife or a van, yet that torqued-up rhetoric based on a blind ideology has labelled so many thousands or millions of Canadians to be somehow criminals.
The same week, only a couple of days later, on a Thursday, the Liberals introduced Bill C-22, eliminating penalties for serious firearms offences. It is absurd that this is what they think they can get away with. Certainly, my constituents see through that absurdity. I hear from Canadians across the country, including the constituents of quite a few members opposite, who are saying they are starting to see through the facade, the political spin that the government is trying to bring on this and how absolutely shameful it is in that regard.
That brings me to the second part of my speech, which addresses some of the other aspects of this bill and the very troubling trend that I would suggest it is setting.
Bill C-22 eliminates a number of those firearms offences and the mandatory prison times, such as robbery with a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent to harm, and weapons trafficking. Those are the problems, not the law-abiding firearms owners.
The Liberals are also proposing in this bill that criminals could serve house arrest rather than jail time for a number of offences, including sexual assault, in the midst of the conversation around sexual assault in the military. I listened to the testimony on the Bastarache report regarding sexual assault in the RCMP and the revelation of how terribly pervasive that is within our society, yet the Liberals, who talk tough, with their woke feminist Prime Minister, are truly being soft and punishing victims at a time when victims deserve an advocate.
There is also trafficking in persons for material benefit and kidnapping. At a time when we are trying to bring awareness to human trafficking, the fact that the Liberals are punishing victims is absolutely absurd and shameful.
There is a series of other offences where the sentences are being reduced. The trends that are being set are very troubling, such as the soft-on-crime approach and ignoring victims. Meanwhile, we have seen, especially in my large constituency in rural east-central Alberta, a massive growth in rural crime and serious offences that have really affected the way of life of my constituents, the ability of Canadians to feel safe in their homes, and so many aspects of the way in which we live.
The Liberals are going to suggest that somehow we, the evil Conservatives, want to punish people for not breaking the law, which is just Liberal spin. It is unfortunate that it has devolved to the point it has, because it is taking away from the seriousness of this debate. It is quite simple. Conservatives are focused on ensuring that Canada's drug laws target individuals who prey on Canadians struggling with addictions through the trafficking and sale of drugs to the victims of what is an opioid pandemic, which is what those drug dealers and gangs deserve. The member for Lakeland, who spoke prior to me, articulated very well the challenges we face regarding drug use in this country. This is not about punishing a victim; it is about ensuring that those who are responsible for those abuses, the gangs, the drug dealers and whatnot, are punished.
The Conservatives have talked about mental health. We believe there needs to be a clear plan on ensuring there is restorative justice and a plan that addresses and helps victims. That is the clear difference here. We have the hug-a-thug mentality from the Liberals on the other side, and we have the Conservatives, who want to stand up for victims. Bill C-22 is incredibly troubling in the context of the bigger picture and the blatant hypocrisy that exists on the firearms debate.
I would conclude by saying that I cannot in good conscience support this. My constituents have overwhelmingly told me that this is a bad bill. I certainly will not be supporting it going forward.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2021-04-13 12:03 [p.5489]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.
It is a privilege to rise and represent the constituents of Red Deer—Lacombe in this debate, who would be mortified, I believe, to know what the legislation is actually proposing to do to our criminal justice system, notwithstanding the words coming from government MPs.
Let me start with a little bit of context. I am the chair of the Conservative rural crime caucus and had the pleasure of helping to create a document in 2018 that we published as MPs from rural Alberta. Virtually every one of my colleagues from rural Alberta participated in this. We consulted and talked to a wide variety of people in our province. We talked to victims. We talked to rural crime watch people. We talked to anti-crime organizations. We talked to victims-of-crime services and to law enforcement experts, and we produced a comprehensive, thorough and multifaceted report, which we then tabled at the public safety committee in the last Parliament. My colleague from Lakeland had a motion in that Parliament talking about rural crime.
I want to remind all colleagues in the House that crime in rural areas, and specifically here in western Canada, is significantly on the rise. It has been shown statistically. One does not have to go very far to look. A document from the Angus Reid Institute published January 10, 2020, shows that crime rates in Canada dropped precipitously from 1991 to 2014, falling more than 50% during that period. However, crime rates have ticked upward over each of the past four years for which data is available, and that trend is continuing. It shows that confidence is waning significantly in our law enforcement agencies, courts and provincial jurisdictions. It notes that it is more significantly happening in western Canada, and in the Prairie provinces in particular.
Colleagues can imagine that the proposed changes to this legislation would be somewhat horrific to my constituents who ask me about it. If anybody wants to read the report, “Towards a Safer Alberta: Addressing Rural Crime”, it addresses a lot of crime in general by addressing rural crime. I would encourage them to do so. It can be found on my website, www.blainecalkinsmp.ca. I would encourage people to have a look at it and see what good work MPs in western Canada have done to bring forward the concerns of our constituents.
I want to talk a little bit about the overall Government of Canada's approach since it became the government in the fall of 2015. I am not going to get into too much discussion about specific firearms legislation in Bill C-71 or Bill C-21, but I will talk about Bill C-75 and now Bill C-22, and the soft-on-crime approach that the government seems to have. The rationale that it is presenting seems to basically undermine the needs of victims in this country, especially when some of these crimes are certainly crimes against people. They are not just property crimes.
What are some of the things that the government has done? In Bill C-75, which could be called the prequel to Bill C-22, the government basically hybridized well over 100 offences in the Criminal Code. To those who wonder what that means, there are basically two ways in which a Crown prosecutor can proceed with charges before a justice. One of them is through an indictable offence. Until this bill came along, it usually carried with it a set of penalties for which there was a requirement to spend some time in jail or in custody. Then there is something called a summary conviction offence, which is the equivalent, I guess, of a U.S. misdemeanour. It usually carries with it a very small sentence or time served in jail, in lieu of being unable to pay a fine of some kind.
Here are some of the things for which the current government, in the previous Parliament, changed the sentences from mandatory indictable offences to hybrids. This allows the Crown to plea bargain away serious offences such as impaired driving, punishment for theft, both under $5,000 and over $5,000, possession of instruments for breaking and entering, selling automobile master keys and other items, enabling theft, possession of property, stolen property obtained by crime and, of course, importing or exporting property.
That just names a few offences. As I said, there were over 110 offences that the government essentially reduced the penalties for. In fact, it would now be possible for someone to get a summary conviction offence for abduction of a person under the age of 16 or abduction of a person under the age of 14. Those were also included in Bill C-75. It would now be possible to pay a fine less than someone would pay for failing to stop at a stop sign. That is the legacy of Bill C-75 in the first Parliament.
Now let us fast forward to Bill C-22 and take a look at what Liberals are removing mandatory minimum penalties or just basic minimum penalties for in the Criminal Code. First, there is using a firearm or an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence. Interestingly the government is removing Airsoft and paintball guns from possession completely for law-abiding citizens, but if a criminal is using a firearm or an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, they will now get the pleasure of going home and sitting there, thinking about what they have done. Possession of a firearm, knowing that its possession is unauthorized, is the whole point. Rather than reducing penalties for people who knowingly use or are in possession of unauthorized firearms, the government is instead taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens who are co-operating with the government. It does not make any sense.
More items include possession of a weapon obtained by the commission of an offence. One of the biggest problems we have with rural crime is people going onto properties to steal vehicles, tools and other items that are easily saleable and marketable on the black market. People also, from time to time, go to these properties purposely looking for firearms to steal. Why on earth would the government want to make it less punishable for these types of thieves who are purposefully targeting establishments, casing rural farms and casing our communities?
Why would we reduce the penalties for individuals who are purposefully trying to steal firearms? These firearms end up on the streets of our cities and our communities and end up being used in the commission of offences. This makes no sense, but the government seems to think that this is a good idea.
Here is something we can categorize in the realm of the bizarre. Why on earth would the government remove any semblance of a minimum penalty for someone who was trafficking weapons and firearms? If we listen to police chiefs or victims' services people anywhere in major urban centres, crime is proliferating especially with the use of handguns and firearms in those communities. We know that most of those firearms are obtained illegally through theft or are smuggled across our border. I would think that the government would say it was going to crack down on smugglers, but it would seem that the government is encouraging smuggling while discouraging lawful ownership. Importing or exporting a weapon knowing it is unauthorized is called smuggling. The bill would reduce minimum penalties for that.
The next item is discharging a firearm with intent. Why would we reduce a penalty for somebody purposely discharging a firearm with intent? This makes absolutely no sense. The Liberal MPs are simply misleading the House and Canadians with what their true intent is with Bill C-22, and it is incumbent upon all of us with a conscience in the House of Commons, and with an eye to doing what is right for the law-abiding citizens that we represent, to defeat this irremediable piece of legislation.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I should let you know that I will be sharing my time with the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.
I am pleased to rise virtually in the House to talk about Bill C-22, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The Liberals want to amend the Criminal Code to repeal certain mandatory minimum penalties, allow for a greater use of conditional sentences and establish other measures for simple drug possession offences.
Bill C-22 is the Prime Minister's attempt to honour his 2015 campaign promise. Unfortunately, every time we examine Liberal bills in committee or in the House, we find major flaws that suggest they never bother to consult people on the ground. That is the case with this bill too.
It is important to thoroughly analyze what the Liberals are trying to do with this bill, in which the Minister of Justice is proposing amendments that will have major consequences for Canadians' safety and well-being. I will point out various elements of the bill that I think are worth a closer look.
Bill C-22 eliminates some of the mandatory minimum sentences set out in the Criminal Code for offences involving weapons, including firearms. For example, the mandatory minimum sentence set out in subsection 85(3) for use of a firearm in the commission of an offence would be eliminated. The mandatory minimum sentence set out in subsection 92(3) for possession of an unauthorized weapon, whether it be a firearm or other weapon, would also be eliminated.
The bill eliminates all the mandatory minimum sentences set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The bill creates new provisions that advise the police or prosecutor to consider an individual's drug use and to refer the person to a treatment program. However, it is important to understand that some provinces do not even have drug treatment courts.
Bill C-22 also proposes to eliminate certain provisions of the Criminal Code related to tobacco, particularly the sale and transfer of tobacco products without an official licence. That is another thing that we are trying to understand. Finally, the bill proposes to eliminate some of the restrictions set out in section 742.1 of the Criminal Code so that more offences are eligible for community-based sentences.
Everything I just said contradicts the Liberals' official position on public safety as it relates to firearms. The message of Polytechnique was well understood, with the Liberals always claiming to be doing a lot and much more. However, the reality is that bills such as this hamper the courts and law enforcement and greatly diminish the significance of crime when the opposite should be happening.
We always have difficulty understanding how, on the one hand, the Liberal discourse is about tougher measures when, on the other hand, their actions have the opposite effect. This is totally inconsistent in terms of public safety and the protection of Canadians.
Today we are debating Bill C-22, but we cannot forget Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments with respect to firearms. There is no consensus on this other bill among gun supporters, such as owners of guns for sport shooting or hunting, or among those who oppose guns and want them to be banned, such as the Polytechnique advocates. Bill C-21 does not do nearly enough, and the Prime Minister is not addressing the real issues.
Bill C-22 would reduce the sentences for violent gun crimes. We are trying to understand why the government wants to reduce sentences for people who commit gun crimes, when we should be doing the opposite.
I remind members that the Conservatives and my colleague introduced Bill C-238, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to possession of unlawfully imported firearms, which would have strengthened the Criminal Code by addressing smuggled guns and gun crimes. However, the Liberals showed their true colours and chose to vote against this bill. They would rather protect criminals than protect law-abiding citizens.
We cannot understand it. We do not understand how the Liberals can be so dishonest with Canadians when it comes to protection, public safety and firearms. The introduction of Bills C-21 and C-22 is not going to do anything to reduce gun crime. It will also not do anything to reduce the number of guns circulating in Canada, and it will simply not prevent criminals from getting their hands on illegal firearms.
That was made very clear two weeks ago on J.E., a 30-minute investigative reporting program on TVA. I encourage everyone to watch it. Those who do not speak French should find a way to get it translated, because it is really good.
The report clearly showed what is happening with firearms in Canada, how illegal firearms from the United States are streaming right across the border. We have land management problems, our customs officers do not have sufficient resources, and the law does not allow action to be taken in certain areas. Aerial images taken by drones showed traffickers bringing in weapons by snowmobile in the winter and by boat in the summer. If members want evidence, here it is.
Montreal is starting to have the same problem as Toronto. It is easy for street gang members to get their hands on illegal firearms with the serial numbers scratched off, and young gang members are taking pride in committing crimes with the guns that are coming across the border.
Not one of the measures proposed in Bill C-21 and Bill C-22 will solve that problem even though that is what we need to focus on. Instead of helping people with drug addiction, the Liberals are reducing mandatory prison time for those producing and trafficking harmful drugs. Instead of tackling criminal gangs, they are reducing mandatory prison time for those in possession of illegal firearms.
No family should ever feel unsafe in their community, in their neighbourhood or walking down their street. The previous Conservative government pledged to change those laws and keep our streets and communities safe. Before the 2019 election, we released our platform entitled “A Safer Canada”, a three-pronged action plan targeting street gangs and arms trafficking, among other things. We covered it all in our platform.
Then the Liberals regained power. It was fortunate for them that they won the election, but it was unfortunate for Canadians because the Liberals are not doing what needs to be done to protect people and fix the firearms problem once and for all.
To read Bill C-22 we can only assume that the Liberals are incapable of discharging their governmental responsibility to ensure our safety. In contrast, the Conservative government always brought in measures to ensure the safety of all Canadians. The Prime Minister claims he wants to help Canadians, but he is doing nothing to ensure that criminals are brought to justice and answer for their actions.
We as Conservatives support our Canadian justice system as defined by our charter and our Constitution, and we do not support a justice system that would favour criminals to the detriment of Canadians's safety and security.
During this difficult time, Canadians need to know that the government is ensuring their safety and security. The Liberal government needs to show leadership and stand up to criminals. Canadians cannot afford for Parliament to get this wrong. This bill is extremely worrying for our children and for the future of our justice system.
We will do the job that Canadians have entrusted us to do: asking the government questions to ensure that the safety of Canadians remains the top priority.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-03-25 20:58 [p.5312]
Madam Chair, I thank the hon. Leader of the Opposition for his speech.
Everyone here tonight recognizes that it is important to reduce the degree of politicization in a debate as emotional as the one we are having on violence against women.
If there is one issue that should not be politicized right now, but rather should be pushed ahead in the interest of women's safety, it is more effective gun control.
I would like the opposition leader to tell us how far his party is willing to go to ensure more effective gun control in order to better protect women.
View Erin O'Toole Profile
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2021-03-25 20:58 [p.5312]
Madam Chair, I thank the member for Shefford for her question.
We are here for the well-being of all Canadians, including women. We need programs to help women in crisis. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, we need to have programs for women at risk. That is what we are here for.
I will support programs to help women, like the seven women in Quebec, during this crisis. I will support some policies that will help Canadians. This is no time for political bickering, because we are here for the well-being of Quebec and Canadian women. As I said, there is a shadow pandemic to this pandemic.
I am here, as Leader of the Opposition, because this is an important concern for me personally as a leader, as a member of Parliament, but also as a father.
I will work with all parties if there is a serious bill to help women at risk. We need to work together.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2021-03-24 17:02 [p.5195]
Madam Speaker, the next petition is from Canadians from across the country who support the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners. The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms and are concerned about the impact of hearing loss caused by damaging noise levels from firearms, and the need for noise reduction. The petitioners acknowledge that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety devices that are criminally prohibited in Canada.
The majority of G7 countries have recognized the health and safety benefits of sound moderators, and allowing them for hunting, sport shooting and noise reduction would be welcomed. The petitioners are calling on the government to allow legal firearms owners the option to purchase and use sound moderators for all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.
View Michael Cooper Profile
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-03-24 17:56 [p.5205]
Madam Speaker, I am speaking this afternoon to Bill C-22, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The Liberals have advertised this bill as a response to the disproportionate number of Black, indigenous and other marginalized Canadians caught up in Canada's criminal justice system. They have advertised this bill as removing what they have characterized as unfair and disproportionate mandatory jail time for what they claim to be minor offences. The Liberals have repeatedly advertised in that regard that Bill C-22 eliminates mandatory jail time for simple possession. On its face, it all sounds pretty good. The only problem is that Bill C-22 is not as advertised by the Liberals.
The bill has very little to do with helping marginalized Canadians and persons who are struggling with drug addiction, as the Liberals have advertised. It has absolutely nothing to do with eliminating mandatory jail time for simple possession, because there is no mandatory jail time for simple possession. Rather, Bill C-22 is about the government advancing a radical, ideological agenda that is not evidence-based. It is based on putting the rights of criminals first. Through its false advertising, this cynical government in a cynical and dishonest way is seeking to change the channel from what the bill is really all about. Quite frankly, I believe the more Canadians learn about Bill C-22, the more alarmed the vast majority of Canadians will be.
It is true that this legislation does eliminate mandatory jail time, but it does not eliminate mandatory jail time for so-called minor offences. Rather, the bill removes mandatory jail time for some extremely serious offences, including serious firearms offences.
What sorts of firearms offences does this legislation eliminate mandatory jail time for? Those offences include robbery with a gun, extortion with a gun, discharging a firearm with the purpose of inflicting injury, weapons trafficking, using a gun in the commission of an offence and possession of a gun obtained in the commission of an offence. I could go on.
I say this to the government, through you, Madam Speaker: How does that benefit or help marginalized Canadians? The simple answer is that it does nothing in that regard. Instead, it helps give a free pass to dangerous criminals.
This is quite ironic because this is the government that talks a lot about getting tough on guns and gun crime. When the Liberals talk about getting tough on guns, what they really mean is getting tough on law-abiding Canadians who own guns. We see this in Bill C-21, which was introduced three days before the Liberals introduced this deeply flawed piece of legislation, which imposes onerous new restrictions on law-abiding firearms owners and threatens law-abiding firearms owners with jail time if they fail to comply.
There we have it, in terms of the Liberal approach. If someone happens to be a law-abiding firearms owner, the Liberals are coming after them and threatening them with jail, but if they happen to be a serious criminal who commits serious offences with guns, the Liberals are here to help them stay out of jail. Talk about a mismatched set of priorities on the part of the government. Talk about putting ideology ahead of common sense and public safety.
This legislation would not just eliminate mandatory jail times for serious firearms offences. This bill would also remove mandatory jail times for serious drug related offences, as my colleague, the member for Fundy Royal, pointed out. These include drug trafficking, exporting and importing drugs, and possession for the purpose of trafficking. I could go on.
That is very inconsistent with the false advertising of the government, which says this bill is about helping people struggling with addictions. In fact, what this bill is really about is helping those who prey on some of the most vulnerable Canadians, including Canadians who are struggling with addictions. It is simply a further example of the dishonest approach the government has taken with respect to selling this deeply flawed and ideological piece of legislation.
The difference in the approach of the previous Conservative government, compared with the approach of the current government to Canada's criminal justice system and holding dangerous criminals accountable, could not be more stark. The previous Conservative government worked tirelessly to strengthen Canada's criminal justice system by holding dangerous criminals accountable under the law.
Among the measures taken by the previous Conservative government was ending house arrest for some very serious offences. Bill C-22 would eviscerate the measures that were introduced by the previous Conservative government by allowing persons convicted of some very serious offences to serve their time in their homes, perhaps next to you, Madam Speaker, instead of behind bars where they belong.
Offences that could be served in the community if this legislation is passed include manslaughter, prison breach, criminal harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, kidnapping a minor, motor vehicle theft, theft over $5,000 and arson for a fraudulent purpose. That is just scratching the surface.
Bill C-22 would put the rights of criminals ahead of victims, public safety and safe streets and communities. It is why we, on this side of the House, will vigorously oppose this legislation every step of the way.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2021-03-22 15:50 [p.5051]
Mr. Speaker, the sixth petition is from Canadians from across Canada who want to support the health and safety of Canadian firearms owners. The petitioners recognize the importance of owning firearms. They are concerned about the impacts of hearing loss due to the damage caused by the noise levels from firearms. They acknowledge the need for noise reduction and that sound moderators are the only universally recognized health and safety device that is criminally prohibited in Canada. Moreover, the majority of G7 countries have recognized the health and safety benefits of sound moderators and allow them for hunting and sport shooting and to reduce noise pollution. The petitioners are calling on the government to allow legal firearms owners to purchase and use sound moderators for all legal hunting and sport shooting activities.
View Michael Cooper Profile
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-03-12 11:54 [p.4980]
Madam Speaker, the Liberals are seeking to target law-abiding firearms owners with onerous new rules, all the while eliminating mandatory jail time for serious firearms offences, including weapons trafficking and robbery with a gun.
Why is it that when the Liberals talk about getting tough on guns, they mean getting tough on law-abiding Canadians while going soft on criminals?
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2021-03-12 11:55 [p.4980]
Madam Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. We are in no way targeting legitimate, law-abiding firearms owners, such as hunters and farmers. That is neither our intention nor the effect of the bill we introduced. We know the Conservatives want to weaken gun control in Canada, whereas we have always sought to strengthen it.
That is not all we are doing. We are investing in our border services and law enforcement agencies, such as the RCMP, so they can crack down on smugglers and traffickers. In fact, Bill C-21 increases the penalty for arms trafficking and smuggling from 10 to 14 years. These measures strengthen gun control, which the Conservatives did not—
View Damien Kurek Profile
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-03-09 14:10 [p.4749]
Mr. Speaker, Liberals claim to care about public safety, but they do not. With the PM gunning for an election, he is desperate to cover up his many failures on COVID and everything else, so he returns to the old Liberal playbook and flips to the page on targeting law-abiding firearms owners. Voila: Bill C-21 was born.
Canadians are not fools, though, and Liberal hypocrisy shone through when they introduced only a few days later Bill C-22, which lessens penalties for the real criminals who commit crimes with the real problem: illegal guns. Liberals are playing politics, and Canadians are paying the price. With last year's OIC and Bill C-21 and Bill C-22, Liberals have shown that they do not actually care about public safety, nor are they willing to get tough on crime.
Canadians deserve better, and Conservatives are ready to respect responsible firearms owners' rights and deal with the real problem: smuggled guns and gangs.
View Eric Melillo Profile
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-03-09 14:17 [p.4750]
Mr. Speaker, firearms owners in my riding and across the country are deeply concerned about the Liberals' misguided gun confiscation scheme. This latest attack on lawful gun owners is just another way the Liberals are proving to be out of touch with rural and northern Canada. This plan will be costly to the Canadian government, it will create more hoops for hunters and sports shooters to jump through and it will do nothing to combat illegal activity. What is worse is that the Liberals also teamed up with the New Democrats to defeat a common sense Conservative proposal aiming to impose tougher penalties on those found in possession of smuggled firearms.
It is clear that only Canada's Conservatives will stand up for law-abiding firearms owners, and we will continue to be a voice for the rural and northern regions of the country that have been left behind by this government.
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