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Results: 1 - 15 of 128
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of speaking to students in a grade 10 civics class this morning in my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. I asked for their feedback on Bill C-5.
They would like to know if the government is willing to amend the bill and keep mandatory minimums for extortion with a firearm; importing, exporting or possession of drugs for the purpose of exporting; and the production of hard drugs; that is heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and crystal meth. In their opinion, these serious crimes make sense with mandatory minimums.
If these kids get it, why does the government not get it?
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
The first petition is on behalf of Canadians who are very concerned about the dire situation facing minority communities in Afghanistan, specifically the Sikhs and Hindus, and other minority communities that were at risk prior to the Taliban takeover but since the Taliban has taken over are at even greater risk.
The petitioners call upon the government to create a special program to help vulnerable minorities receive direct sponsorship to come to Canada. Parliamentarians have been calling for this special program for over six years, but the Liberal government has failed to act. The petitioners want to see real leadership in Canada in defence of justice and human rights, standing with the most vulnerable in Afghanistan and around the world.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, the second petition is very similar to those from some of my colleagues with respect to Bill S-223.
The petitioners are increasingly concerned about the international trafficking in human organs that are being removed from victims without their consent. This has not yet led to any legal prohibition on Canadians travelling abroad to acquire or receive such organs.
Therefore, the petitioners are urging the government to move quickly on Bill S-223, to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs removed without consent or as a result of a financial transaction, and to render inadmissible to Canada any and all permanent residents or foreign nationals who have participated in this abhorrent trade.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I have not given a lot of speeches as I have been here only two years, but as some of my colleagues will know, I try to be as non-partisan as possible. I find it to be getting more and more difficult, the longer I am here.
One of the things I like to do with every piece of legislation that is put forward is to try to find what I can support or what I think is good in that bill or piece of legislation, and what I think needs to be improved upon. Unfortunately, when I look at Bill C-5, I cannot find a single thing in it that I think is worth supporting.
I came to this Parliament, that is, I ran for elected office and I got elected, to solve problems, not to create new ones. I find it somewhat hypocritical of the government. It said we needed this urgent election, to come here, dissolve Parliament and have an election, because we needed to deal with things concerning COVID and deal with this pandemic. However, one of the first bills the Liberals have introduced is one that would basically make it easier for criminals to stay out of jail and on the streets. This is not for first-time offenders. This is not for simple crimes. This is for serious crimes, and I will get into that later.
This should be about public safety and victims, and dealing with the root causes of the problems we have with gun violence and the increase in violence across this country. We should be addressing poverty, drugs, gangs and criminals, not focusing on making it easier for criminals. This bill eliminates mandatory prison time for drug traffickers and those who commit acts of violence, and makes it possible to put criminals under house arrest versus doing time in prison. Ultimately, it is going to put victims at risk.
I want to read into the record, and I know it has been done before, exactly what Bill C-5 is going to eliminate from the mandatory minimum perspective related to gun crimes: robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, weapons trafficking excluding firearms and ammunition, importing or exporting knowing that it is unauthorized, discharging a firearm with intent, using a firearm in the commission of an offence, 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, possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking, and discharging a firearm recklessly.
The issue is we have seen the government in the previous Parliament bring in an order in council that targeted the most law-abiding citizens in the country, our legal firearms owners, and made it more difficult for our hunters, farmers and sport shooters. However, at the same time, the government introduced, in the last Parliament, Bill C-22. This bill is identical to that previous bill, which makes it easier for criminals to get off those charges.
The previous speaker indicated that these are policies that were failing that were brought in by previous Conservative governments. No, these 14 mandatory minimums that would be repealed via this bill, of the 67 that exist, are ones that were brought in by prime ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chrétien. These are not bills that were brought in under former prime minister Stephen Harper. These bills were brought in by previous Liberal prime ministers.
My question, in a rhetorical sense to the previous speaker, is why they did not get rid of all mandatory minimums, the other 53 mandatory minimums, if that is the case. They are keeping the ones the previous Conservative government strengthened under Stephen Harper and eliminating the ones that have been around for decades.
I just want to make that clear. They are eliminating those mandatory prison times for criminals who commit robbery with a firearm, weapons trafficking and drive-by shootings, and they are basically doing this because they view the laws as unfair. They are more interested in standing up for the criminals versus the victims and keeping our communities safe.
The next aspect of the bill is eliminating that mandatory prison time for drug dealers. There are six mandatory minimums that they are eliminating that target drug dealers: trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking, importing and exporting or possession for the purposes of exporting, and the production of a substance schedule I or schedule II drug; i.e. heroin, cocaine, fentanyl or crystal meth.
Again, we have talked about this, and I fully acknowledge that it happens in my community. We have heard from communities right across this great nation about the opioid crisis and the need to help Canadians who are struggling with addiction. I have family members who have struggled with addiction issues, and I full appreciate that. However, they are not producing drugs, they are not running these meth labs, they are not trafficking drugs and they are not enabling the crisis in this country. There are other people we should be locking up, and we should make sure they serve the appropriate time without letting them off easy.
The next part of the bill talks about conditional sentencing. I am going to read the offences out, because it is beyond me why we would not want these criminals punished. These are not first-time offenders who have committed a theft because they are struggling to get by or do not have food. These are people who are doing serious things. We are talking about prison breach, criminal harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, abduction of a person under 14, motor theft, theft over $5,000, arson for fraudulent purposes, etc.
I have an eight-year-old daughter. The last thing I want to see is for some hardened criminal who kidnaps my daughter, or the daughter or son of any Canadian for that matter, to be let off and not get the appropriate punishment because of this potential change in legislation.
I want to address the issue of simple possession. This is not what we are dealing with. Police officers already have a load of tools at their disposal to make a determination as to when charges should be laid. My colleague from Brantford—Brant spoke earlier and he is a former Crown attorney. There are some people here with a lot of knowledge who understand the justice system better than me, and I will trust them on how to address this stuff. However, my point, from a simple Canadian perspective, is that this bill would not do anything to make our communities safer and address support for victims.
I want to expand on the conditional sentencing orders, which allow judges to use their judgment when sentencing. I personally do not think there should be a reduction in penalties and a soft-on-crime approach when it comes to gun crime or repeat offenders. It is important that we do not forget the component of public safety when we consider our aim of reducing the overrepresentation of visible minorities in our prisons. We should be considering how to provide the right help and treatment for those suffering with addiction and mental health issues.
As long as I am a member of Parliament, I will continue to advocate for common-sense policies that keep criminals off our streets and respect law-abiding Canadians. I am committed to fighting for policies that keep our communities safe while ensuring that those who are suffering are getting the best help possible. I will not sacrifice public safety, and I will continue to fight for justice and proper resourcing to help those who most need it.
In conclusion, like many of my colleagues and I think the majority of Canadians, I believe serious violent offences committed with firearms deserve mandatory prison times. It is shameful that a bill is being brought here that would weaken the firearms laws in this country. I have serious concerns with this legislation, and I really think we can do better. I hope the government will do better.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, police have the option of what charges to lay. I do not disagree that the prosecution and judges have lots of discretion as well. Ultimately, I do not think we should interfere with the independence of any of those systems, especially our judiciary and the prosecution system, unlike the current Prime Minister who seems to think it is okay to interfere with the independence of the judiciary, the Attorney General and the director of public prosecutions.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, that is absolutely right.
There is a cost to putting people in jail. Ultimately, though, if people have committed serious crimes like the ones that have been listed, on which the government is proposing to reduce the mandatory minimums, the cost should not matter. We are not going to let people out of jail because we cannot afford it. There are lots of ways we can find the additional funding needed to ensure that we keep these hardened, violent criminals in our prisons.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I fully respect my hon. colleague. He is much more researched on this topic than I am and I appreciate his advice to our caucus.
The member is absolutely correct. This is not about simple possession. I talked about this in my speech. This is about the hardened criminals, the drug traffickers, the people who are producing these drugs, especially the drugs nowadays. This is not simple marijuana. This is crystal meth and fentanyl. These are the drugs actually killing Canadians on a daily basis and we need to do something about that, not letting criminals off.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I have all the trust in our judiciary. I just do not think that taking this tool away or taking mandatory minimums away is the best way to address any concerns there.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today on behalf of Canadians calling for the prevention of international organ harvesting. In particular, they call upon the Parliament of Canada to speedily pass Bill S-223, which would prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs removed either without consent or as a result of a financial transaction. The bill would also render inadmissible to Canada any and all permanent residents or foreign nationals who have participated in this abhorrent trade.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I have a couple of comments rather than a question, and some corrections to make to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
First off, the mission did not end a decade ago. The combat mission ended a decade ago, but we did not leave Afghanistan until 2014.
I would like to correct a few members who keep referring to “Afghanis”. That is the currency in Afghanistan. It should be “Afghans”.
Next, the member mentioned that—
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I think the member will find it easier to respond to my comments if he actually listens to them.
He talked about time and that nobody could have predicted this. He sort of corrected that in his last response, but this was predicted. His own backbencher, the MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, raised a concern with the Liberal government two years ago that this was going to come down the pike, so this should have been predicted. I raised it myself in the national media weeks before the government took action.
I will agree with the member. It is the backbenchers' responsibility to stand up and criticize the government at certain times. I am looking forward to members of the Liberal caucus voting for this motion today.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that there is always room for improvement through amendments. I am looking forward to seeing those and hopefully coming to some sort of consensus, if her party wants to put forward amendments.
I would also agree with her that this committee is not just about identifying what went wrong. It is about figuring out what we need to do better for the future. Having ample experience with lessons identified and lessons learned within the Canadian Armed Forces, the key difference is that if we do not actually learn from mistakes made in the past, we can identify them until the cows come home and we will be doomed to make the same mistakes again.
I encourage the Bloc Québécois to work with our Conservative team to come up with an amendment that would work for all of us.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, again, I have one slight correction for the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
In 2014, things were different. At the time, a lot of Afghans did take the opportunity to seek immigration here to Canada, but the majority of Afghans wanted to stay in their home country, because they felt that they had a future there. They felt that the path was on the right direction. Unfortunately, things have changed most recently.
However, I do believe that we need to focus on the urgency of this situation right now and speak to local NGOs that are working this file, and there are over 10,000 files in their databases of trying to get Afghans to safety. Would the member agree that this is urgent and it needs to be dealt with right now?
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his dedication and service to our country, in particular in preparing our service members to help out in Afghanistan and help Afghans.
He highlighted the risk that Afghans face on a daily basis from the Taliban. I know first-hand the torture and abuse and how vicious the Taliban can be when they take revenge on those they feel do not support their cause.
I would like the member to elaborate further on the urgency of setting up this committee and getting solid recommendations to the government to take action now.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will first make a quick correction to something the member on the government side said: 158 Canadians died in Afghanistan, not 159.
The member talked throughout his speech about partisanship and that whole angle, yet he spent more time talking about the official opposition and history than the actual motion at hand, which is the importance of the urgency in taking care of these Afghans who risked their lives to support Canadians. Now we are leaving them behind. He suggested the standing committees as possible solutions to this. However, in the last Parliament, particularly at the defence committee, we witnessed Liberal members filibuster non-stop, and he wonders why part of the motion is to deal with this issue.
Will the member stand up for those Afghans who helped save Canadian lives and vote for this motion, or will he not?
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