Madam Speaker, I am very excited to once again rise in this place to speak to Motion No. 203, a motion to combat seniors fraud.
Before I start, I would like to acknowledge once again the contributions of my dear colleague, the member for Langley—Aldergrove. Here, Madam Speaker, I would like to seek your special permission to mention his name. He is Mark Warawa. His passion in helping seniors and their families cannot be understated. I am thankful to be able to say that this is a passion we share, especially when it comes to the need for palliative care and the very serious issue of fraud against seniors.
To illustrate how prevalent seniors fraud has become across Canada, I want to highlight an example that has occurred since the last time I rose to speak in this place two months ago. In my home province of British Columbia, Cranbrook RCMP issued a warning to seniors about a scammer targeting local seniors over the phone, pretending to be a bank employee. This fraudster fakes a conversation, tricks the victim into thinking the phone is hung up by playing a fake dial tone, and then waits for the senior to immediately call back.
The senior, who believes he is dealing with a bank directly, is then persuaded to provide his personal banking information to the scammer. The authorities in Vancouver are also investigating the same scam, as it is thought that over $3 million has been stolen in this way from a number of separate individuals.
Far too often, seniors who are taken advantage of refuse to contact authorities, either out of a sense of bruised pride or out of a sense of not wanting to be a burden to others. I cannot stress this enough: If seniors are targets of attempted or actual fraud, they should go to the authorities. Not only are these seniors helping themselves, but they are helping dozens of future potential victims as well.
A recent case in Hamilton highlights the benefits of going to the police. When a senior was targeted by an international fraudster running a fake lottery scam, she had the forethought to take meticulous notes during the entire process, as a precaution. After she became aware that the fraud had taken place, she contacted the authorities, which in turn led to a relatively rare instance of a transnational fraud investigation. In this recent example, Jamaican authorities came to Canada as part of their own internal investigation.
We can talk about lofty, high-level policy changes and amendments to legislation, but we have to fully appreciate the human element as well. I could go on for hours listing specific cases of seniors fraud in Canada, from ridings in all provinces and members from all parties. This is why it is absolutely critical for us to stand in this place to acknowledge the growing number of fraud cases against the seniors community.
It is important that we not only acknowledge that but also coordinate a national response to this threat, establish tangible resources for these victims, and work with law enforcement agencies and other interested groups to bring in actual legislative changes.
On this point, I would like to thank my Conservative colleague from Yellowhead for introducing his private member's bill, Bill C-206, an act to amend the Criminal Code abuse of vulnerable persons.
While the bill has a greater scope than just seniors, it is a perfect example of one of the steps we as members need to take to address this abuse against seniors.
The seniors of this nation have spent their entire lives—