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Results: 1 - 15 of 349
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives do not lash out at hard-working Canadians when they want their concerns to be heard, but that is exactly what the senior minister from Newfoundland and Labour did this week when he said he is “sick and tired of people talking about the cold [weather]”. Atlantic Canadians are sick and tired of being told sit down, stop complaining and look the other way while the government reaches into their wallets and takes their hard-earned cash to pay for policies that just do not work.
When will the minister from St. John's South—Mount Pearl apologize for his shameful comments and implore his parties to axe the tax?
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we have had multiple votes where we have asked the government to vote with us to get rid of the carbon tax and reduce HST. Just this week, the Voice Of The Common Man, or VOCM, in Newfoundland and Labrador, released a poll, and 91% of respondents said a federal carbon tax is not necessary in light of high fuel prices.
The people of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes have seen the failure of the carbon tax in the rest of Canada. They have heard the PBO tell them that 60% of Canadians pay more for the carbon tax than they receive.
If the Prime Minister will not listen to the Conservatives and will not listen to the PBO, will he listen to the Voice of the Common Man and axe the carbon tax?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2022-11-24 11:14 [p.9948]
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to stand in this place to represent the constituents of Avalon. I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide an overview of some of the key areas of reform proposed in Bill S-4, an act that would amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and make related amendments to other acts.
Bill S-4 would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal proceedings by giving courts more flexibility and clarity in response to the particular challenges that arose in the pandemic. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the remote appearance provisions in the Criminal Code had just been reformed through a former bill, Bill C-75, in 2019. Those amendments had been informed by the 2013 report of the Steering Committee on Justice Efficiencies and Access to the Justice System, entitled “Report on the Use of Technology in the Criminal Justice System”, as well as consultations with provincial and territorial governments.
Bill S-4 continues to build on those reforms, taking into account new calls for reform by those working in the criminal justice system during the pandemic and courts' experiences with the increased use of technology that occurred as a result.
My remarks today will focus on the necessity of the proposed amendments relating to remote proceedings, which represent a continuation of existing legal practices here in Canada.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal court proceedings were presumptively held in person. Remote appearances were permitted under the Criminal Code but were very much the exception. There were provisions in the Criminal Code to allow people to attend some proceedings by way of audio or visual connection, but since they were not routinely used, legal clarification or guidance was needed.
The pandemic had an abrupt and immediate effect on the operation of courts, as courts across Canada shut down for periods of time and had to figure out how to operate without in-person attendance or with very limited in-person attendance. To cope with the pandemic and maintain the administration of justice, including maintaining access to the courts, courts around the country pivoted away from in-person appearances and held numerous hearings and matters in a virtual space.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced changes to how courts operate. Unrestricted in-person appearances were no longer permitted, and initially courts were forced to adjourn the majority of appearances, ranging from pleas to trials. This created a backlog of cases in the court system that still needed to be heard, regardless of the circumstances of the pandemic. In many cases, having participants appear by video conference when possible allowed court operations to resume.
However, even with courts adapting and modernizing to address the challenges they faced during the pandemic, many remain unable to operate at their prepandemic capacity. Indeed, the median length of time for an adult case to resolve in criminal court increased when compared with prepandemic levels. Further complicating matters was the fact that the number of adult criminal court cases that exceeded the presumptive time limits set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Jordan had increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic.
Bill S-4 targets changes to the Criminal Code that would give courts increased flexibility in how they hold criminal proceedings and how they issue orders such as search warrants and production orders in the context of an investigation. These changes are needed to address the ongoing pressures on the criminal court system brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance access to justice for all Canadians, now and in the future. A key impact of these provisions would be a more efficient justice system that is equipped to serve Canadians and address the backlog of cases caused by the pandemic.
Allowing and continuing remote appearances is not just about responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote appearances would provide greater flexibility for courts to continue proceedings when it is not possible to do so in person for other reasons, such as natural disasters. During its study of the bill, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs heard witness testimony about the closure of the Calgary courthouse during the floods of 2013. Due to the natural disaster, the court was forced to close proceedings for a period of time. Matters could not be heard and were adjourned.
The changes proposed in Bill S-4 make clear that certain proceedings can move ahead by audio or visual conference, even when in-person attendance is not possible or safe, allowing courts to operate as efficiently as possible in the interest of all participants in the criminal justice system.
While there has been acceptance of proceedings occurring by way of audio or video conference, the reforms included in Bill S-4 do not seek to make this the norm or default. Indeed, as before, the principle set out in the Criminal Code will continue to be: “Except as otherwise provided... a person who appears at, participates in or presides at a proceeding shall do so in person.” This principle would not change. Rather than upending the legal system, the bill would continue to allow the flexibility of proceedings in a manner that makes sense in the circumstances, with appropriate safeguards built in.
When considering whether to authorize remote proceedings, courts will be obligated to consider the impact on the safety of the participants, while supporting greater access to justice moving forward, including for those living in remote communities. Courts would also be required to ensure that decisions to authorize remote appearances are exercised in accordance with the charter, including the right of an accused person to make full answer and defence, and to have a fair and public hearing.
While Bill S-4 would clarify and expand when remote appearances are possible, it would not be the first to introduce these concepts into the Criminal Code. At committee, there were some concerns expressed over a judge's ability to assess the credibility of witnesses and accused persons during remote proceedings, as well as the importance of protecting an accused person's ability to face their accuser.
While these are important considerations the court must turn its mind to in each case, they are not unique to the provisions Bill S-4 would amend. Indeed, courts have found that seeing a complainant or witness face to face is not fundamental to our system of justice, and the Criminal Code has permitted remote attendance by witnesses for more than 20 years.
Subsection 800(2.1) has authorized summary conviction trials by video for in-custody accused since 1997. Sections 714.1 and 714.2 have permitted appearances by witnesses by video conference since 1999. Bill C-75, which was passed by this House in 2019, modernized and facilitated some appearances by audio and video conference of all persons involved in criminal cases, including judges, under certain circumstances.
Rather than overhauling criminal procedure, Bill S-4 would continue to permit proceedings by remote appearance. The bill would pick up where Bill C-75 left off, in light of the experience that was gained and the questions that arose with use of technology in the criminal courts during the pandemic. Bill S-4 would make practical and necessary amendments to the Criminal Code. These amendments would facilitate efficient operation of the criminal courts and have a direct impact on people who need or want to access the criminal justice system. The bill is not intended to make remote trials and hearings the norm, but rather would give the courts the flexibility to proceed in this manner when it is appropriate under the circumstances and where the technology exists.
These are limited but necessary reforms that have been developed in consultation with the provinces and territories and take into consideration the views of stakeholders. I am confident the bill and the proposed reforms would improve efficiencies in our criminal justice system while still providing careful oversight by the courts to ensure that the rights of accused persons and offenders are protected with the use of technology.
For these reasons, I urge all members to support Bill S-4.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2022-11-24 11:24 [p.9950]
Madam Speaker, I do not think we are showing favouritism to one side or the other. From my perspective, victims should have every opportunity to appear by video conference or in person, if they want to face the perpetrator in any particular case.
I hope everybody will support this going forward. When the bill goes to committee, maybe some amendments could be made to enhance it and make sure that is the case for anyone who has a problem with the courts or the decisions being made today.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2022-11-24 11:26 [p.9950]
Madam Speaker, I certainly would support that amendment to make sure everybody could have an opportunity to appear as a witness or take part in any court proceeding. I do not think people should be limited by not being able to appear on their own behalf or on behalf of others.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2022-11-24 11:27 [p.9951]
Madam Speaker, I am not quite familiar with that provision. I will certainly look at it to see exactly what it says, but I am sure there was a valid reason for not removing it from one part of the judicial system when it comes to witnesses appearing or adjudicating and not being put in some other section.
Sometimes we can bog ourselves down in paperwork if we move things around. If it is not broken or if it is still working, why destroy it and put in something that we do not know is going to work?
View Churence Rogers Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, recently I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet with president Michael Foote and other wonderful members from the Lions Club International.
From the provision of disaster relief grants, both in Canada and abroad, to the establishment of community centres, they are the heart of many communities in our country. I would like to express sincere thanks to the 1,400 Lions clubs and over 41,000 Lions members, whose tireless volunteerism is the epitome of community service at the local, regional, national and international levels.
One specific charitable service the Lions Club provides is guide dogs, which help to empower individuals with autism, diabetes, epilepsy, visual impairments and multiple other conditions. Guide dogs are an important investment in fostering inclusive communities. Without the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, the lives of many Canadians would be unquestionably more difficult.
I encourage all Canadians to check out how they can support the Lions Foundation's incredible work. I thank the Lions.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I am so delighted to get this opportunity right now to be able to tell a family of four in Newfoundland and Labrador that they will be getting $1,312 in their bank account every year. Four times a year, they will have cash in the bank: $328 in July, next July; $328 in October, just when they are getting ready for the winter, and again in January and again in April.
I welcome another question from the other side so I can talk about how we are putting more money back into the hands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Labour from Newfoundland and Labrador declared that he is “sick and tired of people talking about the cold winter”. The people he represents are sick and tired of trying to make ends meet as fuel costs skyrocket, yet the tone-deaf minister brags about the virtues of the failed Liberal carbon tax plan.
When will the Liberal government show some compassion and cancel its plan to put carbon tax on Atlantic Canadian home heating?
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member for Papineau that he is a servant, not the master. Here is what the masters have to say: A VOCM poll out today asked, “With fuel costs already high, do you feel a federal carbon tax is necessary?” The result was that 91% said “no”.
In light of the opinions of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, will the minister apologize for yesterday's comments and plead with his Liberal colleagues to cancel their plan to push the carbon tax down the throats of Atlantic Canadians?
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I spoke with Chris in Grand Falls-Windsor just this morning. He explained how the $5,000 that was announced yesterday would only be a drop in the bucket to help convert his elderly parents from burning oil to heating their home with a heat pump. His parents struggled last winter, and now their oil bill has nearly doubled. That is without the carbon tax. In the new year, the carbon tax will add another 20% to their home heating bill.
Will the Liberal government stop forcing the carbon tax down the throats of Canadians?
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, that member should have better sense. He knows that program is garbage. The carbon tax cult opposite continues to gloat about the need to tax Atlantic Canadians, but the evidence is in. The carbon tax is not working. We rank 58 out of 64 countries in fighting climate change. Canada's emissions are higher now than ever. The carbon tax just fuels inflation.
When will the Liberal government stop forcing its failed carbon tax down the throats of Canadians?
View Joanne Thompson Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Joanne Thompson Profile
2022-11-21 14:02 [p.9752]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay respect to Mr. Bill Saunders, a Newfoundland veteran of the Second World War, who passed away last week at the age of 101.
Mr. Saunders joined the Royal Navy at 18 years old and was at sea when the first Allied vessel liberated Hong Kong from the Japanese in August 1945. He went on to be a dedicated member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 1 for over 70 years, until the age of 98.
The best way to describe Mr. Saunders is through a quote from the Legion Branch president: “When he came through the door, everyone seemed to light up when they see him”. That just paints the perfect picture of the man he was, respected as a mentor and a teacher. As the number of World War II veterans remaining reduces, let us take the time to connect with veterans, hear their stories and learn from them. What they experienced and fought for, we must never forget.
We pay respect to Mr. Bill Saunders and think of his friends, colleagues and families during this sad time. May he rest in peace.
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Mr. Speaker, what that minister just said was a pile of baloney. He should take a meteorology course.
Back home today, winter is setting in. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are cutting their Disney+ subscriptions left, right and centre, but what they are finding with their DIsney+ savings is that it does not even give them one gallon of oil per month.
Will the left-wing government do the right thing and cancel its plan to put a carbon tax on Atlantic Canadians' fuel this winter?
View Clifford Small Profile
CPC (NL)
Madam Speaker, I have heard the Deputy Prime Minister say numerous times that the government's economic plan is a compassionate plan. I beg to differ. Is it compassionate to triple the tax on gas? No. Is it compassionate to triple the tax on groceries? No. Is it compassionate to triple the carbon tax on home heating? No.
According to Statistics Canada, “Atlantic Canadians paid more for fuel oil and other fuels than Canadians living in other provinces on a year-over-year basis, with prices rising at the fastest pace in Newfoundland and Labrador (+77.3%). Prices also increased in Nova Scotia (+67.8%), Prince Edward Island (+54.9%), and New Brunswick (+51.0%)”, yet the current NDP-Liberal coalition is set to raise the carbon tax.
The Conservative Party is the only party that truly cares and can—
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