Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
I was putting into practice the basis of the bill, which is the fact that Canadians are filing complaints. It's the same principle.
Let's go back to the commission, Minister Goodale. Is the commission currently experiencing any delays in the handling of complaints? Does it already have an excessive workload? Will adding more powers, duties and functions with regard to the Canada Border Services Agency create even more issues, or is everything fine?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Certainly, the expanded agency will have more work to do. At the moment, the CRCC looks exclusively at issues related to the RCMP. Under the new configuration, the review agency will examine both the RCMP and the CBSA. Presently—
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
The CRCC I believe will be available to you later this afternoon—
Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus: Okay.
Hon. Ralph Goodale: —and they will be able to explain their workload, but on your basic point, Monsieur Paul-Hus, clearly the new agency is going to have more work to do. Therefore, it will need more resources, but we will be more cost-effective in applying those resources if we build on the platform the CRCC already has rather than building a brand new stand-alone agency for CBSA.
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2019-06-13 11:12
Okay.
You also talked about the fact that it would inevitably or likely lead to Crowns contemplating more complicated indictments in order to perhaps pass the test that Bill C-266 considers in order to have the possibility of a higher parole ineligibility period.
Would having more complicated indictments before the courts have an impact on court delays?
Lorne Goldstein
View Lorne Goldstein Profile
Lorne Goldstein
2019-06-13 11:13
Significantly.
As we have seen with some of these cases.... In the Pickton case, for instance, a judge simply said he would not proceed on all of those counts and was proceeding only on six. We see indictments pared down all the time. The Crowns, who are people too, are those trying to actually do the work of prosecuting these crimes. They have to contemplate what's in the best interest of getting the trial moving forward. The more complicated the charge, the longer the trial takes, and the more likely it is that there will be delays, both in pretrial motions and also in getting the time necessary for the trial, getting the witnesses together and all of that. There will inevitably be delays associated with the passing of this bill, yes.
View Colin Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Colin Fraser Profile
2019-06-13 11:13
Would it be possible that those court delays, given the Jordan decision, could result in matters actually being disposed of before a conviction could be entered?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
I appreciate what you're saying. There is an increase in the number of applications that VAC is receiving and it's great that there has been that extra capacity added. However, I know from veterans in my riding that they're still seeing incredibly long wait times. With the increased traffic, wait times over a year are still the norm. What veterans are telling me is that they're hearing from VAC that it's just going to get worse.
I'm wondering what the solution is, especially when you look at this budget that tells us these new positions are short term and in the following year you are going to start decreasing them. With that sort of long wait time, I'm trying to figure out how that makes sense in terms of serving our veterans in a timely manner.
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
Number one, the wait time is not over a year. There are likely people applying today. There is a number there, without a question—
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
I have multiple veterans in my riding and veterans from other ridings who have called and told us that, and it is definitely a concern for them. They're calling in to check on their file and they're being told, “This amount is your wait time,” but the amount of time they've waited has already surpassed the number that they're being told.
One of the things when we had the ombudsman here was that he talked about veterans just wanting a realistic wait time. If it's a long time—if it's a year or a year and a half—just knowing that would be a lot less stressful than continually calling back and being told that it's going to be longer.
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
I agree with you. The wait times are something that we definitely have to deal with, but you also understand that we have an over 60% increase in applications. The point is that in Veterans Affairs you can never be sure. You don't know exactly how many veterans are going to come to the door, but the doors are all open. That's why we opened the centres right across the country.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
I guess the clarity I'm really looking for is that, with the wait times being about a year in many cases—I'm going to listen to what veterans are telling me—with that happening.... Right now, I appreciate the increase in staff that have been hired, but what the budget is saying is that after this year, going into 2020-21, there is actually going to be a decrease in the funding because these are temporary positions to support all of the people calling in, but the backlog is so significant. I'm just trying to figure out the rationale for that.
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
There is certainly going to be no decrease when we're behind the eight ball, but I'll let my—
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
You're saying that if it continues at this high rate, then next year we would hopefully not see the budget decreased.
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