Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:02 [p.29414]
Madam Speaker, I would first like to thank the member for his many years of service. I know this is not easy work, and he has been doing it for a long time now.
I would also like to say that my colleagues in the NDP and I are fully aware of how important our trade relationship with the United States is. We want to have the best possible agreement with the United States and Mexico, but we must recognize that that is not what we have. That is also why there are people in the United States who want to renegotiate the agreement to get a better deal.
Why rush the vote on this agreement, when we could very well improve on it by waiting a bit and continuing to negotiate?
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:22 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, for some time now, the NDP has been calling on the government to establish a national pharmacare program that would cover everything.
However, the agreement we are currently discussing, and that the government wants to get signed quickly, includes patent extensions that would make pharmacare even harder and more expensive to implement.
Does my colleague not think that this kind of clause in the agreement with the United States and Mexico will hinder the implementation of a pharmacare program?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I am going to miss the hon. member. He is now my neighbour. I have always enjoyed working with him, particularly during our time on the industry committee.
That is not our intention at all in this piece of legislation. While there is a hybridization of certain offences in this legislation, serious crimes where the facts are serious will always be taken seriously, both in terms of the sentence sought and in terms of the procedure used if it goes by way of indictable offence.
Sometimes, under the same alleged offence, there are facts that point to a less serious situation, and here we give the prosecution service across Canada the option to proceed by way of summary offence, which is quick and efficient, making more resources available within the judicial system for the treatment of serious crimes, and they will always be treated seriously.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I believe that in the current Parliament, closure has been used 10 times. I coached soccer for a number of years, and the number 10 was always a lucky number. Many of the best players in the world wear the number 10. For a soccer fan, that is a good thing.
In all seriousness, this bill was introduced in March 2018. It has been debated in the House for a total of 22 hours and 10 minutes. It has been with the Senate since December. The Senate has proposed 14 amendments and we have accepted 13. There has been a lot of back and forth, a lot of study by both committees. I can go through the number of speeches and the time spent on those speeches, as well as the witnesses in front of either the justice committee in the House or the justice committee in the other place.
It is simply time. It is an important bill. We have had time to look at it. A lot of House time has been dedicated to it. It is time to move on.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would point out is that we rolled what used to be Bill C-38 into this bill, which deals with human trafficking and presents improvements to prosecuting human trafficking in the justice system.
The answer to his question is the same as the previous, which is that in the serious kinds of facts that he describes, it would be quite unfathomable for a prosecutor to proceed by way of summary offence. It would proceed by way of indictable offence and that is the way it would go. I would point out that across Canada, provinces are widely in favour of this bill. We worked closely with our provincial and territorial counterparts in putting this legislation together, and they are widely supportive of this bill, particularly on the side of the Crown. This is evidence that this is the way it is going.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-19 18:41 [p.29428]
Mr. Speaker, I am slightly disappointed that the Minister of Justice moved a closure motion today. Yet another minister rises today to limit the number of hours of debate in the House by using a procedure that is supposed to be extraordinary but that has become commonplace under the Liberal government. When the Liberals were on this side of this House, they spoke out every time this procedure was used. Now, they are joking around about this being their 10th closure motion. They are making jokes as if this were all a game. They are laughing at Canadians who are watching today and who are seeing a government invoking closure for the 10th time. They seem to be taking this lightly, as if it were no big deal, just another regular procedure, but it is supposed to be an extraordinary procedure.
How can my colleague defend this today? How can the Minister of Justice, who is supposed to defend our rights and justice in Canada, rise in this democratic chamber to defend the use of a procedure that is supposed to be extraordinary? The situation is rather ordinary and does not call for the use of a procedure to shut down debate and rush this bill into law.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed by my colleague's question because I just said that we spent over 22 hours debating this bill in the House. There were 78 speeches in the House. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights heard from 107 witnesses over the course of 10 meetings, and 50 submissions were received.
This bill was introduced in the House in March 2018 and in the Senate on December 3, 2018. It is now June 19. We worked with the Senate to improve the bill. All in all, it is entirely appropriate to use this measure to conclude debate today.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-06-19 18:43 [p.29428]
Mr. Speaker, although I am anything but a lawyer, my constituents and I are very concerned about long delays in the legal system. I see some major reforms in Bill C-75.
I would like to know if the minister thinks we held enough consultations. I believe this is a very important bill, and I want to be sure everything has been done properly.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. The short answer is yes. We held consultations. We did a lot of work on different aspects of the bill.
This should be part of our response to the issue of delays in the judicial system. The reform of hybrid offences will give more discretion to our prosecution services. This will differentiate less serious cases from more serious cases, which will be allocated more resources.
This will also help indigenous people across the country, who are often overrepresented in the justice system. There are reforms of administrative procedures and also of administrative offences. This should help prevent revolving door justice for indigenous people. There is also a reform of preliminary inquiries.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I disagree not only with the facts as the hon. member has presented them, but also with his starting assumptions.
With respect to appointing judges, we have set up a rigorous and transparent system to appoint judges. At last count, I believe there were over 350 superior court judges appointed across Canada. There are not many vacancies left. I have appointed 50 to 60 since I was appointed Minister of Justice.
With respect to the examples the hon. member cited, those are precisely examples of how the justice committee worked and worked well. Changes to the bill were brought by the committee and accepted by the government.
This bill has been in front of us for over a year. It is not a question of anything being rushed through. We have been quite deliberate. We have accepted amendments at the justice committee level. We have heard and accepted amendments from the Senate. There has been a good to-and-fro in a number of different situations. Frankly, I have no problem whatsoever invoking closure on this bill, given where we are in this session and given the amount of input that all sides have had on this bill.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
View Pierre Nantel Profile
2019-06-19 18:49 [p.29429]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House as a father from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. We are grappling with a real crisis. Young women are getting dragged into a process that will destroy them. As a father, I am deeply troubled by that.
I know nothing about this subject, seeing as I am not a lawyer, but the point raised by my Conservative colleague caught my attention. It is true that $5,000 sounds like a paltry fine. I do not know much about this.
The government says that we have been talking about this for however many days and hours, but when it decides to cut our debate time short, it is not respecting the standard regarding the number of hours that should be allocated to debate on a given issue. The Liberals say it is fine, but this is an issue I really care about.
Do they think all bills should be debated for less time? Is the Minister of Justice trying to tell us that the parliamentary process in general is too long?
The debate on this issue does not seem like an appropriate place to save time. This is such a serious issue that we should have enough time to discuss it fully, but the Liberals are saying we have talked enough.
Does my colleague think the parliamentary process is too long? It seems to me that it is shorter in China.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
What I am saying applies specifically to this bill. I am talking about this bill only.
As parliamentarians, we have a lot of opportunities to reflect on legislation and take part in debates. As I said, there were 22 hours and 10 minutes of debate. At second reading, there were seven hours and 15 minutes of debate. We heard 24 speeches at second reading, including nine from the NDP. Everyone had plenty of opportunity to contribute to this bill. I can quite comfortably say that we had enough time. We have been studying this bill for more than a year. At some point we have to decide.
As I just explained, as far as human trafficking is concerned, which my colleague brought up, we incorporated Bill C-38 into Bill C-75 because human trafficking is a very serious offence.
Moreover, the system gives the prosecutor the flexibility to determine how to proceed. Also, there is always the option to proceed by way of indictment. The penalties are very serious.
I want to assure my hon. colleague that we are not treating serious offences any less seriously.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee, to which he has brought his experience as a practising lawyer.
The bill is critically important as part of our response to the Jordan decision and to making the criminal justice system much more effective and efficient, while maintaining fairness for victims and making sure that the rights of the accused are also protected.
It is critically important that we pass this legislation. It contains a number of reforms that attempt to reduce delays in the system and attempt, as the hon. member has said, to give discretion to our prosecution service in general, which we think very highly of. As we know, at the federal level, it was, in part, created by the justice minister in the previous government, the member for Niagara Falls.
It is important that we move ahead with these kinds of reforms. Along with the number of judges we have named and the process we have created to name them, we are pushing the system ahead.
We have consulted widely. We have consulted practitioners and experts. Most importantly, we have consulted parliamentarians. That is why we are moving to do what we are doing this evening.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I reject his premise on this bill. I believe it is an attempt to mislead.
With respect to drunk driving, in addition to the measures contained in this bill, we have also passed Bill C-46, which strengthens our ability to react to driving while impaired. Again, it is the result of consultation with police forces across the country.
I categorically reject the idea that we do not take victims into account. This legislation takes victims into account. We met with victims groups seriously throughout the process, and I have since I have become minister.
Let me say that years ago, when I clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and helped Mr. Justice Peter Cory prepare for the Ascov decision at the time, which was the Jordan of that generation, one of the things that were abundantly clear was that delays in the system did no good for victims. By improving delays in the system, we are also helping victims. We are helping families adapt to the tragedies that have befallen them, and we are helping them to have closure and move on.
I reject categorically any hint from the other side, any insinuation from the other side, that we do not take victims seriously. That is simply false.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague is one of the first members I met when I came here four years ago, and this may be one of the last exchanges we have, so it is quite fitting.
There were over 107 witnesses at the justice committee over the course of 10 meetings, in 43 hours of committee time. There were 58 briefs submitted. There were also more than eight meetings of the justice committee in the other place and 40 witnesses during the Senate study. In addition to the usual letters and that sort of thing that come up through this kind of process, which has been going on for more than a year, we have dedicated a lot of House time and a lot of committee time to the bill. The other chamber dedicated a lot of time to the study of this bill. Amendments were proposed at the committee stage by all sides, some of which were accepted, some of which were not. The same was true at the Senate stage. There has been a lot of back and forth and a lot of participation.
I can assure the hon. member that I am quite comfortable with the amount of parliamentary input into this bill, and I am comfortable in saying that it is simply time to adopt it and allow these changes to be implemented in the system, because they will do people good, be they victims or the accused.
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