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View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-04-29 14:40 [p.2243]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move:
That, notwithstanding the order of Monday, April 20, 2020:
(a) the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food be added to the list of committees in paragraph (l) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020;
(b) the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be instructed to undertake a review of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act and that the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than June 30, 2021;
(c) the time provided for questioning ministers in the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic be extended to 95 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to provide an additional five-minute round of questioning for the New Democratic Party caucus;
(d) the government implement new financial incentives and support measures to connect Canadians, particularly students and Canadian youth, to the various jobs available, for example, in the agriculture and agri-food sector, in order to ensure regional economic stability and food production during this crisis;
(e) the government ensure that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) are offered in a manner that meets their objective while encouraging employment in all circumstances;
(f) the government define the final parameters of CESB in regulations in the short term and that an additional support of $250 be provided for students with dependents or with disabilities, in addition to the $1750 that has already been announced; and
(g) the government implement measures without delay to provide additional support for seniors and persons with disabilities in order to assist with extraordinary expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19, and examine the best way to do this, including looking at Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement as potential mechanisms.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved that Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding medical assistance in dying.
The bill proposes a legislative response to the Superior Court of Quebec's Truchon decision, as well as some other changes to the Criminal Code provisions that set out Canada's medical assistance in dying regime.
In June 2016, former Bill C-14 amended the Criminal Code to create Canada's first law on medical assistance in dying, or MAID. The legislation created exemptions to Criminal Code offences so that individuals suffering unbearably and nearing the end of their lives could die peacefully and with the help of a physician or nurse practitioner, rather than in agony or in circumstances that they considered undignified.
This significant change in our criminal law was indicative of the value that Canadians ascribed to having choices, including about the manner and timing of their deaths when suffering in the dying process was intolerable. The most recent data obtained by the federal MAID-monitoring regime indicates that over 13,000 Canadians have received MAID since it has become decriminalized.
We are now proposing another important change to our criminal law. In Truchon and Gladu, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to limit access to medical assistance in dying to persons whose death is reasonably foreseeable.
We decided not to appeal the decision because we want to reduce the suffering of people waiting for medical assistance in dying.
When we announced our decision not to appeal the ruling, our government also committed to changing the eligibility criteria for medical assistance in dying throughout Canada to ensure that criminal law is consistent nationwide.
Application of the court's ruling, which is limited to Quebec, was suspended for six months. The deadline is March 12. Because these issues are so important and because we want to ensure that our laws are consistent all across Canada, we have asked the court for a four-month extension, which would give Parliament time to thoroughly consider and debate the amendments proposed in this bill. There was a hearing yesterday regarding this request.
Consulting Canadians about the next phase of medical assistance in dying in Canada was crucial to drafting this bill. That is why we launched a two-week public consultation on January 13. The level of participation was unprecedented. We received over 300,000 responses, an indication of how important this issue is to Canadians.
At the same time, together with the Minister of Health, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and our parliamentary secretaries, we held 10 round-table discussions across the country between January 13 and February 3.
This included round tables in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. We met over 125 individuals, including doctors, nurse practitioners, legal experts, members of the disability community, indigenous peoples, and representatives of health regulatory bodies and civil organizations.
We are grateful to all who participated in the round tables. Their shared expertise and experiences were of immense value in developing this bill. I have no doubt that many will continue to engage in the parliamentary process as witnesses before committees.
The results of this consultation process will be published shortly in a “what we heard” report. We heard views on many different topics, but I would like to mention just a few.
From the public online consultations we heard that, while the majority of respondents think the current safeguards are adequate to prevent abuse, in a MAID regime that is expanded to persons who are not dying in the near term, a majority of respondents also thought it would be important to require additional safeguards in such a broader regime. Many round-table participants suggested two separate sets of safeguards in an expanded regime. Others shared their experiences with existing safeguards as they apply to those who are near the end of their lives.
Specifically, many felt that the requirement for two witnesses when a person's written request was made was too onerous and afforded little protection, and that the 10-day reflection period unnecessarily prolonged suffering.
Informed by these in-depth consultations, and by the Canadian experience with medical assistance in dying to date, along with many other sources of information, Bill C-7 proposes to respond to the Truchon decision by adjusting both the eligibility requirements and the safeguards. It also proposes to enable patients in certain circumstances to waive the requirement for final consent so that they do not lose their access to MAID.
We know there are other issues about which many Canadians still feel strongly but which are not subject to the Superior Court of Québec's deadline, such as eligibility in cases where mental illness is the sole underlying condition, advanced requests and mature minors. These will be examined in the course of the upcoming parliamentary review.
Before describing the proposed amendments, I would like to address the concerns we heard from many in the disability community following the Truchon decision and during our consultations. Disability groups were very clear that, for them, removing the end-of-life limit on MAID would create a law that holds disability as a valid reason for ending a life and reinforces the false perception that disability is equivalent to a life of suffering.
Our government is sensitive to these concerns. We strongly support the equality of all Canadians, no matter their situation, and we categorically reject the idea that living with a disability is a fate worse than death. However, we are also mindful of the need to balance these concerns, along with others that have been expressed, with other important interests and societal values, in particular the importance of individual choice.
The bill's objectives are therefore to recognize the autonomy of individuals to choose MAID as a means of relieving intolerable suffering, regardless of their proximity to natural death, while at the same time protecting vulnerable persons, recognizing that suicide is an important public health issue and affirming the inherent and equal value of every person's life. More concretely, Bill C-7 proposes to expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying beyond the end-of-life context by repealing the eligibility criteria requiring that natural death be reasonably foreseeable.
Recognizing that intolerable suffering also arises outside of the end-of-life context and that Canadians want to have choices, medical assistance in dying would be become available to all those who are intolerably suffering; who have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability; and who are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, without regard to whether they are dying in the short term.
At this time, the bill proposes that persons whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness not be eligible for medical assistance in dying. First, we are subject to a court-imposed deadline and this matter requires more in-depth review and debate. We have learned that the trajectory of a mental illness is more difficult to predict than that of most physical illnesses. This means that there is a greater risk of providing medical assistance in dying to people whose condition could improve.
It is also more difficult to carry out competency assessments for individuals with a mental illness. In the case of some mental illnesses, the desire to die is itself a symptom of the illness, which makes it particularly difficult to determine whether the individual's request is truly voluntary.
Like the Government of Quebec, we are of the opinion that we need to continue consultations, discussions and policy development on the issue of MAID requests based solely on mental illness.
The parliamentary review that will be launched next June will be an appropriate forum for examining these issues, without the time constraints of the court-imposed deadline.
I would now like to turn my remarks to the question of safeguards. Many experts believe there are greater risks in assessing requests for MAID from individuals who are not nearing the end of their life. We agree. While these individuals would have a choice to seek MAID, the bill proposes that these requests be treated with greater sensitivity and care.
Accordingly, the bill proposes two streams, or two sets of safeguards. To distinguish these cases the bill proposes to use the concept of reasonably foreseeable natural death. Let me be clear on this point. Not having a reasonably foreseeable death would no longer be grounds for rejecting a MAID request; however, it would be used to determine which of the two sets of safeguards are required in a given case.
As enacted by Parliament in 2016, reasonable foreseeability of natural death refers to a death that is expected in the relative near term. It means that in light of all the person's medical circumstances, his or her death is expected in a relatively short period of time. Natural death is not reasonably foreseeable just because an individual is diagnosed with a condition that will eventually cause death many years or decades into the future.
In practice we know that practitioners are more comfortable prognosticating when death is expected in shorter time frames. The standard of reasonably foreseeable natural death provides flexibility in a way that maximum fixed prognosis would not. The standard also has the advantage of using language that practitioners have become familiar with over the last four years.
Those who are dying in the short or near term would benefit from the current set of safeguards in the Criminal Code, which the bill proposes to change in two ways.
First, the 10-day reflection period would be eliminated. We heard during the consultations that most persons have already given their MAID request a lot of thought by the time they sign their written request, resulting in the reflection period unnecessarily prolonging suffering.
Second, the requirement for two independent witnesses would be amended so that only one independent witness to the written MAID request is required. Further, we have added an exception so that health care and personal care workers who are not the person's provider or assessor would now be able to act as an independent witness.
Again, we heard that it is difficult for some who live in long-term care facilities or in remote areas to locate two independent witnesses. The purpose of the independent witness is simply to verify the identity of the person signing the request. The witness is not involved in the assessment process.
For persons whose death is not reasonably foreseeable, the existing safeguards would all apply with some additional ones. Specifically, the bill proposes a minimum 90-day assessment period, which will help ensure that practitioners spend sufficient time exploring the various dimensions of the person's MAID request, which, outside the end-of-life context, could be motivated by different sources of suffering requiring greater attention.
Also, at least one of the practitioners assessing eligibility would have to have expertise in the condition that is causing the person's intolerable suffering. The safeguard aims to prevent people from obtaining MAID when something could have been done to relieve their suffering or improve their condition.
The bill would also clarify the notion of informed consent for these kinds of cases.
First, a person who is not dying would have to be informed of the means available to relieve suffering, including counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services, and palliative care, and be offered consultations with professionals that provide these services.
Second, the practitioners and the person would also have to agree that these means of relieving their suffering were discussed and seriously considered.
The bill also proposes to allow people whose death is reasonably foreseeable and who are eligible for medical assistance in dying to give prior consent if they risk losing capacity to consent before the date set for MAID. At present, the Criminal Code requires the practitioner to ensure, immediately before MAID is provided, that the person gives express consent to receiving MAID.
The bill would enable a patient who has already been assessed and approved to enter into an advance consent arrangement with their physician that sets out all the relevant details, including the date selected for the provision of MAID and the fact that the person consents to receiving MAID in case they lose the capacity to consent by the day in question.
Although this scenario was not covered in Truchon, experts told the government that it presents relatively little complexity and risk. Doctors also told us they would be comfortable with the idea of providing MAID under such circumstances.
To our government, compassion means ensuring that people waiting for MAID do not lose their opportunity to die in the manner or on the date of their choosing just because their medical condition robs them of the capacity to make decisions in their final days.
Another narrow form of advance consent would also be allowed in the unlikely event that complications arise after a person who has been assessed and approved self-administers a substance intended to cause their death and loses the capacity to consent to MAID, but does not die.
The patient and their physician could enter into an arrangement in advance, stipulating that the physician would be present at the time the patient self-administers the substance and would administer a substance to cause the patient's death in case the patient loses their capacity but does not die.
The data show that there have been very few cases of self-administration so far, perhaps due to fears of possible complications stemming from self-administration of a substance. Offering such an option could provide greater reassurance and allow more Canadians to choose this form of medical assistance in dying.
There are other changes in the bill that my colleagues will speak to, including changes to enhanced data collection and the monitoring regime that brings accountability and transparency to the practice of MAID in Canada.
A transitional provision would ensure that patients who have already signed their request when the bill comes into force would not be required to undergo any additional safeguards set out in the bill. At the same time, they would be able to benefit from the safeguards that would be eased, such as the elimination of the 10-day reflection period and the possibility of preparing an advance consent arrangement if it applies to that person's situation. We are committed to making the process as easy on patients as possible.
I would also like to briefly discuss the constitutionality of the bill. I have examined the bill as required by the Department of Justice Act. This involved consideration of the objectives and features of the bill. I am confident that the bill responds to the Truchon ruling in a way that respects the charter.
As is required by the Department of Justice Act, I will table a charter statement in the near future, which will lay out some of the key considerations that informed the review of the bill for inconsistency with the charter. This will serve to better inform parliamentary debate on this important piece of legislation.
I will conclude by thanking all those who participated in the consultations on medical assistance in dying and who contributed to the drafting of this bill. Bill C-7's proposed amendments to Canada's medical assistance in dying regime represent a fundamental policy shift, with the regime becoming less about end-of-life care and more about autonomy and alleviating intolerable suffering.
I look forward to working with all members of both chambers to ensure Bill C-7 is passed.
View Louise Chabot Profile
Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP held a press conference to talk about the labour dispute affecting Swissport maintenance workers.
This shines a spotlight on two issues related to Canadian labour laws, including the anti-scab legislation. Over 40 years after Quebec banned the use of scabs, it is high time that the federal government did the same.
Workers also need to be protected in the case of contract flipping, which is when people lose their jobs and then are hired back again but with inferior working conditions. That harkens back to another era.
Will the minister finally reform the code and move into the 21st century by banning—
View Filomena Tassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is the first time I am rising in this session, and I would like to thank the good people of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas for re-electing me and giving me the honour to serve.
I thank my colleague for her question. We have already begun to hold consultations.
I have spoken with the Minister of Transport. I have actually spoken with one of my opposition critics and labour leaders with respect to the issue of contract flipping or retendering. We know that this is a complex topic.
We have consulted, and I will continue to be consulting, with all those who will be impacted to find a solution that meets the needs of both employers and employees.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Canada's correctional investigator recently said, “The indigenization of Canada's prison population is nothing short of a national travesty.” I agree. The TRC and “Calls for Justice” also agree.
More action is required to address the over-incarceration of indigenous, black and other marginalized Canadians. Evidence clearly shows that mandatory minimum penalties are a big part of the problem and not smart justice policy. There has been enough study and too much delay due to political expediency. Can the government confirm that it will repeal mandatary minimum penalties for all but the most serious of crimes?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to advancing sentencing reform that will stand the test of time. This means continuing to work with our provincial and territorial partners, with leaders from indigenous communities and all actors in the criminal justice system, as well as taking advice from our courts and listening to Canadians.
We are committed to achieving a modern and efficient criminal justice system that addresses the tragic problem of overrepresentation of indigenous peoples and marginalized Canadians while holding offenders to account and protecting victims.
View Randall Garrison Profile
Mr. Speaker, let me just pick up again on Bill C-246, the Liberal backbench bill that the government defeated. It would have also dealt with the things that are in this government bill. We could have done what is in this bill before us, and more, by passing that private member's bill.
Perhaps most importantly, Bill C-246 would have moved offences against animals out of the property section of the Criminal Code and into a new section dedicated to offences against animals. This would not only have been an important legal reform; I think it would also be a very important symbol of our need as humans to rethink our place in the natural universe and to see ourselves as part of the web of nature on which we depend for our very survival, rather than seeing the Earth and all of its beings as simply property for us to use and discard when we are done.
I have spent a lot of time on this private member's bill because it puts the much narrower government bill in front of us into a proper context. The fact that the government used its majority to defeat a more comprehensive reform of animal cruelty legislation tempers the credit the government should get for bringing forward this bill today.
At this point, I also want to give credit to the Conservative member for Calgary Nose Hill, who pushed the government to act on the very narrow definition that the Supreme Court found by introducing her own private member's bill, Bill C-388, in order to make sure that the government was forced to bring forward its own bill instead of having to deal with hers.
The member for Calgary Nose Hill did acknowledge some concerns in her caucus that attempting to modernize and strengthen animal cruelty provisions might affect farmers and hunters. I also want to acknowledge concerns in indigenous communities that reforms of animal cruelty legislation should not infringe on aboriginal rights and traditional hunting practices.
However, like the member for Calgary Nose Hill, I believe we can update animal cruelty legislation and at the same time avoid unintended impacts on farmers and hunters and unintended consequences with regard to aboriginal rights.
Perhaps I should mention that I am not a hunter, nor have I eaten meat for more than 35 years. I am a proud dog owner, although I resisted the temptation today to wear a t-shirt with a picture of my poodle on it under my jacket. I should also say that my support for this bill will keep peace at home, as my partner is a very passionate advocate for animal rights.
In fact, New Democrats in this House have consistently advocated reform of animal cruelty laws. The member for Port Moody—Coquitlam has proposed his private member's bill, Bill C-380, which would have banned the importation of shark fins. He has been working very hard on the Senate bill, Bill S-238, which is a parallel bill, to make sure that we pass that bill before the House rises to help end the cruel practice of shark finning.
Both the member for Vancouver East and the member for New Westminster—Burnaby have introduced motions to ban the import of products containing dog and cat fur. Former Toronto NDP MP Peggy Nash had a private member's bill, Bill C-232, to strengthen animal cruelty laws, as did former NDP Quebec MP Isabelle Morin, so this is not a new cause for us to take up. This is something we have been fighting for for many years in this House.
At the justice committee, the member for Beaches—East York moved an amendment to Bill C-84, which was adopted unanimously and which broadened the government's too-narrow bill, and three very important provisions were added to the bill in committee.
The first of those allows a prohibition order on animal ownership for a certain period, as determined by a judge. The second makes it an offence to violate an order prohibiting animal ownership, meaning that someone could actually be prosecuted for violating that order of prohibition. The third allows restitution orders to compel those convicted to pay for the care of animals injured. Those were quite important aspects from his own private member's bill on which the member got consensus to bring into the bill before us today.
A separate amendment was also adopted to add bestiality to the list of offences covered in the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. As the member for St. Albert—Edmonton very clearly pointed out, the reason for doing this is that abuse of animals is often an indicator of other forms of abuse, in particular of child abuse. This becomes information that is very useful to the police. I thank him for bringing forward that amendment to this bill.
Those two amendments, one with three provisions and one with one provision, added important aspects to Bill C-84, even though it remains, as I said before, less than the comprehensive reform of animal cruelty legislation that I would like to see before the House.
Still, Bill C-84 does redefine bestiality more broadly than the court decision and it does prohibit a broader range of activities associated with animal fighting, so I and my fellow New Democrats are supporting this bill.
I would have to say personally that even if it contained only the provisions banning activities associated with animal fighting, I would support this bill. It is important to ban promoting, arranging and profiting from animal fighting. It is important to ban breeding, training or transporting animals to fight and it is important to ban keeping any arena for the purpose of animal fighting. I think these are very important steps.
I am not going to go on for a long time, despite the accusations of the government that the reason that we wanted to speak was to delay the bill. I am not even going to use all my time today. I want to conclude by saying that the reason I wanted to speak is to bring our attention to the fact that there is still a lot of work to do on animal cruelty after we pass Bill C-84.
We are missing the opportunity for that comprehensive reform that I have been talking about. In particular, I believe this bill should have included basic standards of care and housing for animals. It could also have included restrictions on tethering animals, in particular dogs, a practice that, since it is unregulated, can be a severe threat to the health and safety of dogs. Of course, tethered dogs are much more likely to bite, and specifically to bite children. In fact, according to the Montreal SPCA, tethered dogs are three times more likely to bite and five times more likely to bite children.
Again, after Bill C-84 passes, there is much more work to do beyond fixing the additional provisions of the Criminal Code that I mentioned earlier. Most important, of course, is the work that needs to be done on protecting endangered species and the habitat that they depend on. This past week, we saw the release of an alarming report from the United Nations intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity. This report documents the unprecedented and accelerating rates of species' extinction at rates never before seen in human history. The report warns that more than one million animal and plant species are facing extinction within the next few decades as a result of human activity.
What we do need now, and I mean right now, are bold measures to protect and preserve the ecosystems that the endangered plants and animals depend on. Since I arrived in this House eight years ago, I have been an advocate for emergency action to protect the southern resident killer whales, as we are at the brink of losing a species, each of whose name is individually known. Instead of a bold and urgent recovery plan for the orcas that would mobilize large-scale habitat restoration where appropriate and put millions of hatchery chinook in the water, this work is being left to volunteers, and they have undertaken this work without any government support. Instead of support, we have a timid recovery plan that tries to manage declining stocks of chinook by relying on fishing restrictions when everybody knows that what we actually need—not just the whales, but all of us—is more fish in the water.
In conclusion, while passing Bill C-84 is an important step forward in animal protection, it is only a first step in a process that will require us to re-examine our place in the natural world.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Anthony Housefather Profile
2019-05-08 17:38 [p.27535]
Mr. Speaker, right now, this is something on which we can all agree. Animal cruelty laws in Canada need to be vastly improved. We have laws that were adopted in the 1890s, slightly amended in the 1950s and they have unfortunately not been radically revamped in the world we live in today where most of us recognize that animals should not be treated as pure property. Animals are sentient beings. Animals can suffer. Most animals have the ability to know whether they are feeling pain. Today, our animal cruelty laws are, unfortunately, many years behind the times.
I want to salute the many groups that advocate for animal welfare, which helped in moving this legislation forward. I also want to congratulate those many other groups that work with animals, ranging from agriculture to people who deal with animals in other ways, including fishers and anglers. They have worked to ensure we have legislation that is satisfactory to virtually everyone. That is possible to do, with further animal cruelty legislation.
It is not true to believe that we can never find more compelling reasons to improve animal welfare because nobody will agree. People can agree, if we all come together. I strongly back the request of my colleague from Beaches—East York at our committee to look for an all-party parliamentary committee, probably not in this mandate but in a future mandate, to ensure we can all work with the many interest groups out there to advance animal cruelty legislation in Canada.
This is a specific bill that deals with several small issues. We made changes at the justice committee to broaden the scope of the bill slightly. As initially drafted, Bill C-84 defined bestiality. It is probably something that most of us never thought we would be talking about in this place, but I will do that.
A Supreme Court judgment in R. v. D.L.W. required legislative action. In R. v. D.L.W., the Supreme Court ruled that penetration was a necessary part of the definition of bestiality in the Criminal Code. It does not mean that there were not other offences in the Criminal Code that could deal with elements of bestiality short of penetration. However, the Court placed the onus on us in the House of Commons and on the people in the other place to revise the definition of bestiality in the Criminal Code, and we are proceeding to do that.
A number of people have said that the Supreme Court erred in its judgment. I do not agree that the Supreme Court erred. We disagree with the conclusions of the Supreme Court judgment, but that does not mean it erred in law. We take our law from the British system and in the British system and throughout the Commonwealth, there have been numerous cases where there were rulings that penetration was a necessary element of bestiality. That does not mean that now that the Court has clarified this, we in Parliament cannot change the definition to clarify that bestiality does not require penetration. We are doing that in Bill C-84. When the bill came before the committee, not only did each and every member of the committee agree with the proposed definition in the bill, but so did every group that came before the committee.
We also have expanded the scope of the offence of encouraging, aiding or assisting at the fighting or baiting of animals so that the offence:
(i) includes promoting, arranging, receiving money for or taking part in the fighting or baiting of animals or birds, and
(ii) ) also applies with respect to the training, transporting or breeding of animals or birds for fighting or baiting...
We are all aware that causing animals to fight for our own pleasure as human beings, the ability to push animals to hurt one another so some people can sit there and laugh or bet, is entirely cruel, inhumane and should not only abandoned, but people who violate that type of a provision should be punished, and punished severely. Therefore, I am pleased we are expanding the scope of that offence.
The bill would also expand the scope of the offence of “building, making, maintaining or keeping a cockpit so that the offence applies with respect to any arena for animal fighting.” We should be extending this not only to people who cause cocks to fight. Anyone who causes any type of animal to fight in an arena should be subject to the penalties of the Criminal Code. I am pleased that the bill would expand those provisions.
The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights also decided that certain provisions of the act should be amended.
With respect to section 160 of the Criminal Code, which prevents people from possessing or residing with an animal for a period of time, up to a lifetime ban, we wanted to ensure that people convicted under these new sections could be prohibited from owning an animal for up to the rest of their lifetime. Those who have been cruel to an animal once, particularly if they have been cruel in a very flagrant way or cruel a repeated number of times, should not be allowed to own animals.
The committee assigned in the bill the same prohibition and punishment of not being able to own an animal that the existing provisions on animal cruelty in the Criminal Code did. We also added a new subsection, which notes that people who have been convicted under these sections can also be required to pay the person or organization that has to take care of an animal to rehabilitate it. This would pay for the care and damage that they caused.
We also amended subsection 490.011(1) of the code, which defines the designated offences for which a convicted individual would be required to register in the sex offender registry, so that people who commit the offence of bestiality simpliciter will be required to register as a sex offender.
There was a significant amount of debate regarding this issue. Previously, individuals had commented that there was not enough proof linking the offence of bestiality simpliciter to other sex offences. However, our committee decided, based on the scientific evidence we had seen, there was sufficient evidence to require a person to register as a sex offender if he or she committed bestiality simpliciter and was convicted. I am very pleased my colleague's amendment on that score was accepted.
Finally, we repealed subsection 447(3) of the Criminal Code, which provided that “A peace officer who finds cocks in a cockpit or on premises where a cockpit is located shall seize them and take them before a justice who shall order them to be destroyed.” This required each and every cock that was seized to be destroyed no matter its health.
We determined that there was no reason to believe that each and every cock that was found in a fighting area necessarily needed to be destroyed. We were also convinced that provincial legislation on this matter was sufficient enough to deal with any orders that had to be made regarding the destruction of an animal that was so debilitated by fighting and needed to be destroyed.
To come back to my first point, the bill was indeed an example of our being able to find support from all sides. That should be congratulated. It means members were able to rise above partisanship to decide this was good for Canada, good for the animals in Canada, good for the children in Canada and good for all of us. At committee, we were able to work together with respect to unanimously approving amendments.
I am hoping that based on this agreement, we will be able to put partisanship aside and ensure the bill is adopted as swiftly as possible so it can move to the other place and become Canadian law prior to the next election.
A number of people in the House have advanced the cause of promoting the welfare of animals and they all deserve to be applauded, no matter from which side of the House they come. They are doing something truly noble in trying to help protect the very vulnerable animals, which really deserve much more protection than our criminal law and other laws afford them today.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2019-05-01 14:07 [p.27226]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join with first nations women's groups and first nations women across Canada to once again call on the government to end gender discrimination in the Indian Act.
For decades, the Government of Canada has been causing undue harm to first nations women by removing or denying their status simply because they are not first nations men. This past January, the United Nations Human Rights Committee said that Canada is still discriminating against first nations women and their descendants by denying first nations women the same entitlements under the Indian Act as first nations men. This discrimination causes women to be disconnected from their communities, breaks up families and causes greater disparity in the rights and benefits accorded to first nations women and men.
It is beyond the time for the government to act on the calls from first nations women and the organizations they represent. I call on the government to act immediately on Bill S-3 and do everything within its power to end the discrimination against first nations women in Canada.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, Liberals still discriminate against hundreds of thousands of first nations women across Canada. First nations women and their children still do not have the same right to Indian status or the right to transfer their status as first nations men have. This is a violation of their human rights and it denies first nations women's dignity.
Liberals know that they could stop this injustice at their next cabinet meeting. Will the Liberals commit now to end the discrimination against first nations women, yes or no?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2019-04-10 14:51 [p.26929]
Mr. Speaker, no relationship is more important than that between this government and indigenous peoples, and that is why we have made historic strides forward on reconciliation with indigenous peoples. It involves tangible things like ending boil water advisories and creating more housing and schools on reserves, but also moving forward on rights recognition frameworks and self-government agreements.
However, all of these are done in partnership and with respect for indigenous peoples. We are not the ones determining the path forward for them. We are working with them to determine that path forward. We will always do it in respect of their views, not impose ours.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-04-05 12:01 [p.26744]
Madam Speaker, the SNC scandal has shown Canadians exactly what this Prime Minister thinks of people who speak out against corruption and wrongdoing: He fires them.
The new Treasury Board president was at our committee for our unanimous report to update legislation that protects whistle-blowers, a report that the Liberal government promptly threw in the garbage.
Will the Treasury Board president commit now to implementing the recommendations made by the committee and protect Canada's whistle-blowers?
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
2019-04-05 12:01 [p.26744]
Madam Speaker, as members know, the previous Conservative government ignored for years the legislative requirement to review the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. Our government did the right thing and requested that the committee of which the member speaks undertake a review. We, of course, appreciate the committee and its work. It contained useful recommendations to improve the whistle-blowing regime in the federal public sector.
We agree improvements are required. We are taking concrete steps to strengthen the regime to assure whistle-blowers that they have the protections they deserve, unlike Mr. Harper's government. Among them are improved guidance, increased awareness activities and training—
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Official Languages and I are extremely proud to be starting our study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act, which is turning 50 this year.
This act has helped Canadians make great strides in linguistic development and identity building over the years. That is why the committee has launched this study. Canada's official languages are a source of national pride and an integral part of our identity.
Could the Prime Minister tell us how the government will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act?
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