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Results: 1 - 15 of 262
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to follow up on the observation made by my colleague from Ottawa—Vanier when he referenced an article from The Globe and Mail on the weekend about the Chief Justice. The article was on the issue of mentally ill offenders, and it said:
At least once a year, their status is reviewed by expert panels. After treatment, most of them return to society and resume normal lives. But under a federal proposal, it will become more difficult for those designated as high-risk offenders to be released.
Chief Justice McLachlin points proudly to a 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R v. Swain, as the key move that created a new template for giving mentally ill offenders regular reviews.
“It said you can’t just lock up a person who has been found not guilty by way of their illness, and throw away the key,” she says. “That was the breakthrough.”
Endorsing the review-board system, she says: “The interesting thing is that the hearing process is staffed heavily by psychiatrists and I think it is well-supported by the medical side of things, by the police and by judges.”
At the ‘intake’ end of the system, however, Chief Justice McLachlin says offenders are too often warehoused...
The Chief Justice of Canada, who will likely be tasked with reviewing this legislation at some point in the reasonably near future, has said that the system actually works very well as it is.
Essentially, this is a reaction to an egregious set of facts and ultimately an attack on those who are the most vulnerable in our society, namely those who are mentally ill, dressed up in the name of victims. The ultimate irony of this entire process is that the victims who deserve every sympathy that we can afford them will actually be potentially victimized once more because of the system that the hon. Minister of Justice is proposing.
My simple question is to the Minister of Justice. Why will he not listen to his Chief Justice, who thinks that this is the wrong direction?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, on Friday, Corporal Kirkland was given his discharge papers, and in rejecting the terms made to him by the Canadian Forces, he wrote:
As of 15 Sept. 2015 I would be able to collect a Partial index Pension, this pension would help me in my quality of Life and is essential to my successful release. The [Minister] has stated in Parliament on 6 June 2013 that I may stay in the forces as long as I need. I believe this option should be available to ALL wounded soldiers.
Does the minister agree?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am actually pleased to hear the minister's response. I do hope that his response is assurance that Corporal Kirkland will receive his pension, that he will receive his medications, that this option will be available to all the wounded soldiers, because that is a policy decision, and that further, the chain of command is onside.
I am pleased with the minister's answer, and I am hoping that when he responds, he will recognize that, in fact, Corporal Kirkland is watching his response.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, injured Afghan vet Corporal Kirkland offered dramatic testimony to the national defence committee. Prior to his testimony, his commanding officer urged him to be cautious. Corporal Kirkland felt that he was being intimidated.
Last Thursday, the minister offered his protection to Corporal Kirkland. Does that offer of protection still stand? Will he encourage his colleagues to support my privilege motion at committee?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleasantly surprised to hear the minister's response, because on Friday Corporal Kirkland was given his discharge papers, effectively ending his career in the military.
Again, does the minister's offer of protection still stand? Will he preserve Corporal Kirkland's career in the military for as long as Corporal Kirkland thinks it is plausible?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I actually have my hands on these papers. I really do not want to get into what is essentially confidential information, but I would think that the minister would prefer to read this document and make his assessment as to whether Corporal Kirkland, when he returned to CFB Shilo, was in fact offered his military discharge.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of several hundred petitioners concerning Rouge Park, the largest urban park in Canada.
The petitioners point out that this is a great opportunity to save 100 square kilometres in a public land assembly. They want the government to strengthen and implement the ecological vision, to restore and protect the 600-metre-wide corridor, and to conduct a rational, scientific and transparent public planning process.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Cambridge for that enthusiastic applause and possibly one or two others as well. However, I would be surprised if the member for Cambridge and others actually remembered what I was talking about two weeks ago when question period interrupted the profundities of my speech.
Let me say that we support Bill S-14. We think it is a good bill insofar as it goes. Regrettably, we do not think it goes very far. The thrust of my speech was to link Bill S-14 with Bill C-474, the sunshine bill sponsored by me, which would actually be the evidence base for Bill S-14. Bill S-14 becomes far stronger if one brings in the evidence. As such, one would actually succeed in getting prosecutions.
In my previous remarks I talked about how aggressive the Americans are with respect to prosecutions in corruption. The numbers are something in the order of, for the same period of time, 277 prosecutions in the United States for corruption whereas in Canada we only had two. In this respect, the Americans are world leaders and not only world leaders in terms of the aggressiveness with which they prosecute companies that engage in corrupt activities. They do not shy away from prosecuting some of the most recognized companies in the world that trade on U.S. stock exchanges. Therefore, not only is their prosecution aggressive but their legislative agenda is also aggressive.
They have passed the Cardin-Lugar amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which basically states that if mining or extractive companies secure a concession they would have to disclose to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who they have paid, how much they paid, when they paid it, the frequency of the payments, the currency of the payments, and all other considerations in securing that concession. My sunshine bill, Bill C-474, mirrors that legislation. It is something that both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron want to achieve at the next G8.
I had summarized all of this and talked about the decline in Canada's reputation and went on to discuss the incongruity of the government's position to, on the one hand, support S-14, which we think is a good idea, and to be opposed to the sunshine bill, Bill C-474, on the other.
My newest seatmate as of today, my colleague from Mount Royal, would say that there is a seeming incongruity with the government's position in supporting Bill S-14. It says that it wants to combat corruption, yet by opposing Bill C-474 it is saying that accountability is not important. I cannot reconcile the disparity easily. Perhaps it lies in the simple fact that Bill C-474 is not a Conservative bill. It is a bill that the parliamentary secretary and other Conservatives have claimed would overburden Canada's extractive sector, leaving our companies at a competitive disadvantage and so forth, when this was in fact contradicted by witnesses at the foreign affairs committee.
I have to take note that a number of mining companies and mining associations have come out and said that they not only support Bill S-14 but they certainly support the principles and indeed the mandatory aspects of Bill C-474. Some Canadian companies have enthusiastically taken up the issue of corporate accountability. Business leaders, such as the president of the Mining Association of Canada, Pierre Gratton, believes that corporate transparency mechanisms are not only the right thing to do but they are also good for business.
All of the investors agree. The last thing that investors want is to be embarrassed as they see their investments decline in value on the front pages of The Globe and Mail. Therefore, industry is on side with Bill C-474. It is certainly on side for Bill S-14. Most responsible extractive companies are on side with the EITI initiative. These are good insofar as they go.
Canada as a nation supports the EITI transparency international initiative, but it has not joined. The Government of Canada has declined to join the EITI, which is quite regrettable because we are the country that is of foremost importance with respect to the extractive sector.
Business, in this instance, is actually ahead of the government in terms of a desire to impose a mandatory regime upon itself. Not only is it a good thing to do, it is good for business. Joe Ringwald of Selwyn Resources said that it is important to become a leader in this and to gain reputational advantage. He also said that Canada has become a laggard on this issue.
Industry has generally taken a favourable tone to this legislation and a number of players want transparency, particularly with many of the projects where there is money going to foreign governments and sometimes more money going to foreign governments than to shareholders. The idea of financial transparency has both public and private sector support. As I say, the industry is certainly on side. The NGOs, as might be expected, are on side. Civil society is on side. I would dare say the public is on side. The only issue that we appear to have here is that the government does not want to legislate in this area.
It is going to be a very difficult issue at a difficult time for the Prime Minister when he goes to Great Britain for the G8. Clearly, Prime Minister Cameron wants a clear, mandatory statement with respect to legislation on the extractive sector. He wants other issues agreed on as well, as does President Obama, who is highly supportive of the Cardin-Lugar amendment. They are binding their own companies to this initiative.
Starting September 1, any company that trades on the U.S. stock exchange will be bound by this legislative initiative. The irony is that if we want to find out about a major gold company, Barrick, for example, including who they pay and what they pay for their concessions around the world to foreign governments, including the foreign government of Canada, we will have to go to the New York Stock Exchange to the Securities and Exchange Commission and look at the published reports to see what and who got paid. It seems to me that Canada as a nation, given its position as the number one mining country in the world, should be a little bit ahead of the curve, instead of behind it.
Internationally, the Prime Minister is going to have to do some tap dancing in Northern Ireland, and explain to his colleagues at the G8 why Canada is not supportive of the sunshine bill.
I see that my time is just about finished. I would like to say in conclusion that the incongruity of the government's position in presenting Bill S-14, which is a good bill, but not supporting Bill C-474 is something that the Prime Minister is going to have some difficulties explaining when he meets with his colleagues this month in Northern Ireland.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I remember well a telephone interview I did with one of the students from that collegiate. She phoned me about six weeks ago to talk about it. What I noticed is that these kids are pretty darn sharp. She asked me very pointed questions with respect to the sunshine bill and I hope I answered her questions well, but this is not an isolated example.
I have done a number of interviews and met with quite a number of students across the country at both the high school and university levels. This is a broadly-supported bill. Canadians, particularly young Canadians, are keenly interested in knowing that the companies their parents work for are acting in an ethical fashion. It is of great importance.
My colleague made reference to the fact that I had been promoting this bill for a while, but I go back to another bill that I was also promoting on corporate social responsibility. It is interesting what we have learned in the four years or so that I have been on this file. One thing companies now tell me is that when they do interviews with prospective employees, whether it is for their law, accounting or communications departments, just name a department, they get to choose the best and brightest because these are the premier companies in our nation.
The kids reverse the interview. They ask the people doing the interviews what the company's corporate social responsibility program is because they do not want to just shill for a company that does not have a serious corporate social responsibility program. The kids at this high school in North Winnipeg are highly reflective of my experience over the number of years I have been on this file.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. My quick reaction is that the facilitation payments should come into effect upon the passage of the legislation. They should not be left to the cabinet regulatory environment. Facilitation is a facilitation is a facilitation, and some people would call it a bribe. If, in fact, it is not legislatively mandated, the working of the regulation might work to be counterproductive to the intention of the bill. As I say, the intention of the bill is good. Unfortunately, all it does is bring us up to the regulatory environment of others. Since we are the lead nation in mining activity, we would rather hope we are ahead of the curve.
Karin Lissakers, former president of Revenue Watch, stated publicly that Canada was out of step with other countries on upping its game. If facilitation needs to be legislated, let us legislate it.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately our track record on this file is not as robust as one would like.
In 2011, the Prime Minister was invited to sign a transparency initiative, which was a robust transparency initiative by his colleagues in the G8, and he declined to do so. As a consequence, there was no statement that came out of the G8 which would have, at that point, moved the Cardin-Lugar amendment up everyone else's legislative agenda.
Here we are two years later. It is the same issue. It is even more important now. We have had a series of embarrassing incidents for Canada.
I do not know about other members, but I do not particularly feel good about seeing Canadian companies engaged in bribery and other kinds of scandals.
The government has had two years to kind of catch up to the rest. To this point, it has not done anything except for Bill S-14. I do not want to be entirely negative here. There have been some discretionary educational initiatives that the government has tried to put forward.
Sometimes we just have to bring the hammer down and the government has thus far declined to do that. The United States has brought the hammer down. The U.K. is in the process of bringing the hammer down. The EU has brought the hammer down. Australia is in the process. When we put all that together, what we have is, in effect, 85% of the extractive sector that will have a robust legislative environment if in fact we join in.
It is hypocritical on our part to say that those countries that are subject to a lot of corruption should clean up their act, if in fact we have legislative holes in ours. Right now Canada is the big hole in the fence. We need to rectify that. It can be rectified in this chamber and quite quickly. The only way, in my judgment, that is done is not only in passing Bill S-14, but in passing Bill C-474 as well.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, when Dr. Porter was chair of SIRC, he was in possession of some of Canada's most sensitive information. He is now languishing in one of Panama's most notorious prisons in the presence of pimps, drug dealers and organized crime.
Can the government tell us what steps it has taken to get Dr. Porter out of his Panamanian jail in order to face justice and in order to be put into a secure Canadian facility?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, unlike the representative of the NDP, we basically agree with the bill and think it is a good idea. It is a welcomed initiative, and we hope that it sees its way into committee sooner rather than later and does not die the death of prorogation.
I am a little concerned. As The Globe and Mail has rightly said, Canada has ranked the worst in the G7 nations in fighting bribery. In fact, over the last period of time the Americans have had 227 prosecutions, the Germans have had 135 and we have had two. I would hope that this legislation would enhance the enthusiasm of the government for prosecutions. As the parliamentary secretary has rightly said, Canadians are fed up with reading about Canadian companies in their national media.
It is curious to me that while this legislation is welcomed legislation and will be supported by, it looks like, all the parties in the House, later on today my Bill C-474, the sunshine bill, which is a bill that would supply evidence for a prosecution, will be spoken against by the Government of Canada.
Why would the government on the one hand enhance its legislative ability and yet simultaneously make it more difficult for prosecutions to succeed?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we might title this day “corruption day on the Hill”. After all, for the first hour or so, we are going to be talking about Bill S-14, a bill on bribery and corruption. I dare say question period will have something to do with the other place, which might have something to do with bribery and corruption. Then we will go back to debating this bill, which is clearly about bribery and corruption. Then we will be on to debating my sunshine bill, which is also about bribery and corruption. I would say that this is corruption day on the Hill.
I take note of the irony, as has my colleague, but there is also a double irony going on here. The government's position is that it wants us to support Bill S-14, which we both agree is a good idea. However, when it comes to actually generating evidence that would support prosecutions under Bill S-14 the government does not want Bill C-474 to pass or to see the light of day.
It is great to say that we have all this great law, but it is utterly useless if in fact we cannot generate the evidence.
I am quoting from what the parliamentary secretary seems to be fond of quoting from:
Transparency International, a group that monitors global corruption, put Canada in the lowest category of countries with “little or no enforcement” when it comes to applying bribery standards.
And also:
By contrast, the United States has prosecuted more than 200 companies and individuals, many of them “a veritable who’s who of the corporate world”.
My question is very simple. What is the use of Bill S-14 if in fact Bill C-474 does not pass and if in fact there are no resources available to the RCMP?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about corruption and bribery. It looks like this will be a discussion that we will have all day. We will have this discussion before question period, during question period, after question period and, I dare say, this is not a conversation that will go to go away any time soon.
As I said in my previous interventions, we generally support this bill. The various aspects of the legislation are actually pretty good ideas. We hope the bill will go to committee sooner rather than later, that it will not suffer the fates of a potential prorogation and that we will have an amendment to the Criminal Code, which would enable better prosecution of companies that find themselves in difficult situations with respect to allegations of corruption and bribery.
Canadians are thoroughly fed up with reading about their companies being involved in allegations and convictions of bribery.
I bring to the attention of my colleagues several recent instances. Regrettably we have about one of Canada's premier companies, SNC-Lavalin, which has been banned from bidding on contracts with the World Bank for the next 10 years because of convictions regarding bribery and corruption. Not only has it lost its reputation, it has had to fire a number of its senior executives. It has had to undergo the humiliation of being investigated by the RCMP and other international police forces. Its stock has been hammered, which always gets the attention of shareholders. Niko Resources was fined $9.5 million for bribing a former energy minister also in Bangladesh. Griffiths Energy International was fined $10.3 million for bribing the wife of Chad's former ambassador to Canada.
I do not care to carry on with this laundry list, but these are very difficult times for some of Canada's premier industries and they know they have a problem. As the member for Ottawa Centre indicated, they are actually asking for enforceable transparency initiatives and those transparency initiatives hopefully would go to help this.
Not only is the reputation of the individual company hammered, not only is its stock hammered, but the industry itself is hammered. The vast majority of companies that wish to operate by internationally recognized standards of corporate social responsibility are also getting hammered and they have difficulties getting out their message that they operate ethically, transparently and in a corporately social responsible fashion. Therefore, the company is being hammered, the stock is being hammered, the industry is being hammered and, in addition, we have our national reputation being hammered.
The parliamentary secretary pulled out some quote and talked about how our nation still had a good reputation and things of that nature. That is not due to anything that the Conservatives have done, but I think he is living in a bit of a la-la land because we actually have had a reputational decline and that is very difficult to recover. Those who conduct these surveys have noted that the loss of reputation is very difficult to reverse. The government has made some efforts. This is one of the efforts.
The government has tried to repair the reputation in the extractive sector with the corporate social responsibility counsellor. After four years, and I do not know how many millions of dollars, two cases or three cases gives the appearance of doing something without actually having done anything at all. I do not know if the government has actually taken our decline in reputation seriously. This damage to our reputation is a serious issue.
The Globe and Mail published an article stating that Canada was at the lowest category of countries with little or no enforcement when it came to not initiating new measures, but applying the bribery standards set out in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The issue is not the absence of legislation but the application of the legislation.
I am perfectly prepared to admit that this is complicated law to apply. It requires a lot of resources and we all know these resources are being stretched. Nevertheless, it seems that other nations take it far more seriously than we do.
By contrast, the U.S. has prosecuted more than 200 companies and individuals, many of them “a veritable who’s who of the corporate world”, according to Peter Dent, a partner at Deloitte Touche who sits on the board of Transparency International Canada. Then it goes on to list a number of cases, including Backfire Exploration Ltd. in Mexico, Niko Resources in Bangladesh, Nazir Karigar in India.
The numbers tell the tale. There have been 227 cases prosecuted in the United States, 135 in Germany, 35 in Switzerland, 24 in France and in Italy and the United Kingdom 18 and 17 respectively. We have two, yet we are the nation with the greatest number of companies operating in the world in the extractive sector. We have the greatest number of companies and the best stock exchange in the world. This is where the world comes to do mining right. We have the best geologist, lawyers, financing and accounting. We have it all here and yet apparently we have no corruption whatsoever. There have been two cases prosecuted in the last number of years.
I would like the government to accompany its initiative, which is a good initiative, with real resources and the support of the sunshine bill, Bill C-474. It would provide the evidence base for the prosecutions under this initiative by the government. Bill C-474 would require each company, 180 days after its fiscal year ends, to file with the government statement with respect to each project and what payments were made to facilitate that project. Therefore, within 180 days, the governments, shareholders and NGOs would know. Obviously, management would already know because that information would be readily available to it. Then a light would be shed on that.
If I am a police officer contemplating a prosecution against a company that has “allegations” against it, the first thing I would do is look at the record of filings for company X, Y or Z to determine if it filed the previous year or the year before and what it had listed.
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