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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-18 12:08 [p.22544]
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Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.
As always, I will begin by saying hello to my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are watching today, as I am told every time I go door to door.
I also want to tell them that the issue we are discussing today is a very delicate subject. We are talking about the prison environment and about people's lives, namely, the lives of victims of crime and the lives of criminals in prison. This subject can be unsettling, and people often have very strong views on one side or the other. Some people want a really tough-on-crime approach, while others want a softer approach, for reasons that are equally legitimate on both sides.
I would like to ease into the debate and explain the Conservative caucus's take on Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.
My colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, our public safety critic, was the commanding officer of the Régiment de la Chaudière. I have a lot of faith in him. Today he moved a motion calling on the House to simply end the debate on Bill C-83. My colleague believes that the bill is so botched that we need to shut down debate. In other words, we want to stop this bill and keep it from moving forward or being voted on in this place.
What I find interesting is that the NDP members have said that the bill does not go far enough in terms of protecting people who are incarcerated, while we are saying that it goes too far because it compromises the safety of prison guards and Canadians in general. Given that the motion moved by my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles will not be voted on right away, I will address some of the main aspects of this bill.
I want to address my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou. The bill would eliminate the use of administrative segregation in correctional facilities. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on administrative segregation. These opinions are often based on Hollywood movies. Administrative segregation is used when an inmate is imprisoned for life, or for 10 or 2 years. Inmates serving a life sentence already know that they are not getting out of prison and that they will probably die there, even though there is a provision allowing them to request a discharge after 25 years and leave prison, even in very serious cases of premeditated murder.
Nevertheless, life in prison is a very long period of time for someone who is incarcerated. How can the correctional facility and the guards compel or force this prisoner to comply with disciplinary guidelines? The prison guards are ordinary men and women, with normal lives, who go home at night, who have children, and all that. How are they meant to impose order every day in prison when there are inmates who will be there for the rest of their lives? These lifers could go so far as to kill another inmate since they will be in prison either way.
What I am saying is that correctional facilities need access to measures that are psychologically difficult for prisoners, like segregation, otherwise known as the hole. I do not think that is a good word, since they are no longer holes. They are real and proper cells, just used as a means of segregation.
The inmates eat well enough, and they have access to sanitation facilities. Prisons are not like Alcatraz in the 19th century. We are talking about orderly, coordinated disciplinary segregation that gives correctional officers some measure of control over hardened criminals who do not follow the rules unless they are afraid of ending up in segregation.
This bill would eliminate that. Considering the argument I just laid out, we think that is totally ridiculous. The bill would also replace those facilities with structured intervention units, but it does not tell us exactly what those units are or how they will work.
The bill also talks about using a body scanner, and that is one part of the bill we support, as do corrections professionals and unions. Visitors often find ways that I will not describe in detail to bring drugs and other objects, such as cell phones, to prisoners. That is not allowed. Using a body scanner could make life easier for corrections officers, visitors and prisoners because there would be no need to conduct uncomfortable searches.
The bill specifies that exceptions for indigenous offenders, women offenders and offenders diagnosed with mental health issues need to be formalized. It is about time.
Speaking for myself, there is something I find intriguing. The bill comes in response to recent superior court decisions that found that indefinite segregation was unacceptable under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I want to respond to something my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood said in answer to a question I asked 15 or 20 minutes ago. He told me that we make law, but the courts and judges interpret the law.
Nowhere in the Canadian Constitution does it say that lawmakers do not have the right to interpret the law. It is ironic to hear a lawmaker say something so absurd, because we interpret laws every day in the House of Commons. We interpret them in debate and in committee. We review laws, we rewrite laws, we pass laws and we repeal laws. The role of interpreting law belongs as much to the legislative branch as to the executive branch. The executive branch is even required to apply the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to evaluate every bill through the lens of the charter.
Distinguished Professor Christopher Manfredi of McGill University, who is recognized by his peers around the world, said that the interpretation of each of the three branches is important because they each have their own interpretation of Canadian law and that we achieve better results for Canadians when there is vigorous competition between the powers.
In conclusion, I will say that we could have a philosophical debate about the existence of prisons. No one thinks that prisons are wonderful. At a human level, I believe prisons are probably the most horrible thing there is. However, the historical evolution of humanity shows that this is the only known way to ensure that the most dangerous members of our society will not have any further criminal impact on others. The objective is public safety. The Canadian government's main objective is Canadians' safety. That is why I told the member from Scarborough—Guildwood that he should have instead introduced another bill that emphasizes the government's role in protecting Canadians and that tells the court that it is absolutely wrong about administrative segregation in prison. It is unfortunate, but we must have prisons.
As I reiterated in my arguments, administrative segregation is the only real tool that ensures that prisoners serving a life sentence, for example, have a psychological constraint preventing them from harming other inmates in jail. How can we control a lifer without administrative segregation? It is good for the effectiveness of prisons and for the safety of guards.
We hope that the government will reverse course on this bill. I do not understand why the NDP does not want to support the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, which believes that ending the practice of administrative segregation will jeopardize the safety of correctional officers.
I thank the citizens of Beauport—Limoilou for listening.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-18 12:20 [p.22546]
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Mr. Speaker, inmates who are disciplined by being sent to these units that the bill seeks to create—and that we hope will never see the light of day—will have access to a television and anything else they usually have in their cells.
What we are saying is that administrative segregation, as it now exists, is a psychological deterrent for inmates serving life sentences, for example, who would otherwise not hesitate to harm other inmates or guards. They do not care because they are already in prison for life. The only way to dissuade them from engaging in that type of behaviour is to threaten to send them to solitary confinement with no television or anything else. That psychological element is needed to maintain discipline in prisons.
It is unfortunate, and perhaps prisons should not exist, but that is the only way to protect Canadians, and the only way to maintain discipline is administrative segregation.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-18 12:22 [p.22546]
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Mr. Speaker, I completely agree. The Liberals like to base bills on individual cases. That is understandable in some ways because the fundamental objective of a liberal democracy is to protect the minority from the majority. However, the Canadian majority is beginning to get fed up with never having a voice in this government and never having its wishes and desires represented.
That is very dangerous for social harmony, because the majority also needs to have a say. One of the complaints that we as MPs hear most often in our ridings is that the government is always kowtowing to the Canadian judiciary.
To show my good faith, I will say that I will always be proud of Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin—perhaps a little less so of Mr. Martin. Mr. Chrétien carried on the tradition of other prime ministers. When he and his caucus did not agree with a Supreme Court ruling, they reintroduced the same bill in the House of Commons with a preamble.
That is called an “in your face” reply. I suggest that my colleagues go see all the eminent law professors at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. They know all about that kind of thing, and they detest it. An “in your face” reply is when legislators tell the Supreme Court justices that they are wrong, that they do not understand the government's objective, and that they misinterpreted Canadian law.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-18 14:50 [p.22569]
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Mr. Speaker, the minister of labour seems to have no idea how much she upset entrepreneurs, elected officials in Quebec City and Canadians when she made a mockery of my question on the labour shortage and the crisis we are in.
Throughout Beauport—Limoilou, Quebec and Canada, SMEs, economists and other stakeholders are pointing out that the labour shortage is a serious crisis. No one thinks this is good news. No one is laughing; quite the contrary. It is time for action.
Does the Prime Minister plan to laugh about the labour shortage, or does he plan to do something about it?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:15 [p.22508]
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Madam Speaker, this a very important debate today, as we are speaking about increasing safeguards at the workplace for males and females, concerning discrimination, harassment, be it sexual or other types of harassment.
It struck me today that, on an ongoing basis, my colleagues have been asking members on the other side of this House about the actions that were alleged this summer, through the media, that the Prime Minister inappropriately touched a journalist 20 years ago. The PM has not addressed this situation in an appropriate way.
What does the member have to say about this?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:29 [p.22510]
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Madam Speaker, my colleague who just spoke has been here for a long time, so she has really seen first-hand how things have changed in the House of Commons.
I would like to know if she thinks this bill is part of a long-term evolution that might lead to other legislation that would continue to strengthen the workplace and make it safe.
Does she think this bill will, as we hope, eliminate the slightest possibility of harassment on Parliament Hill? Is she convinced that this bill contains all the necessary measures and provisions to finally keep everyone safe from harassment and discrimination in our workplace here on Parliament Hill?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:31 [p.22510]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her reasoned and reasonable answer, because constantly reviewing legislation describes our constitutional and political role in the House of Commons to a tee.
That is why it is important for Canadians to understand that nothing is ever perfect and that they must not get too cynical and disillusioned about politics. The fact is that everyone here is always working to improve Canadian society.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:32 [p.22510]
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Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my very hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, in northern B.C.
As usual, I want to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC. I know that many of them do watch us, because they tell me so when I go door to door. They tell me that they watched me the week before. I want to say hello to all of them.
Today's debate is a very important one, since we are talking about harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Some may be surprised to hear me say this, and I am no expert, but it seems to me that the Canada Labour Code does not apply to employees who work in MPs' offices on Parliament Hill. This means that the code would not apply to me or my employees. This is rather surprising, in 2018.
I want to quickly touch on last week, which I spent in my riding. You will see why. I hosted two economic round tables. The first round table was for the Beauport business network, which I created a year and a half ago. There are some 50 business owners in this network, who get together once a month to talk about business-related issues and priorities in the riding. On Friday morning, I also held a round table called “Conservatives are listening to Quebecers”. This round table was attended by social, community and business stakeholders, among others.
Yesterday I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour a question. After all, we are talking about workplaces here, with Bill C-65. I asked her if she was aware that we are in a crisis at the moment, especially in Quebec City, but all over Canada, because of the labour shortage. She made a mockery of it, saying that it was proof that the government has created so many jobs in Canada that businesses can no longer find workers. While that may be true from an objective, Socratic and rational standpoint, she is ignoring a real crisis situation that we are in.
I want to say one last thing before I get to the bill. At the two round tables I hosted, every time I visit businesses in my riding, in all my discussions with constituents and in all the correspondence I receive every day, to which I reply in writing every time, people mention the labour shortage. Some businesses have had to shut down in Beauport—Limoilou and others are scaling back operations, so I think it is very sad and upsetting that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour would make a mockery of my question. The people of Quebec City were not happy to see that on Twitter and Facebook.
Today we are talking about an important bill, the act to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding harassment and violence, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1. It is clear that Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and all Canadians in general support the Liberal government's recently introduced bill. That is certainly not something I say every day, but when it is true, it must be acknowledged. With this important bill, even employees on Parliament Hill will benefit from guidelines and protection to keep them safe from sexual harassment, psychological harassment and every kind of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.
I can say that this affects us all. It could also affect our family, a cousin, a brother or sister and, in my case, it affects my children. My daughter Victoria is four years old and my son Winston is a year and a half. My daughter started kindergarten a few months ago. It is the first time she has attended school. We definitely do not want her to experience discrimination or harassment. It will inevitably happen because good and evil are part of life, and harassment and discrimination will always exist. That is why it is important to have laws that govern, try to control, eliminate or at least reduce this as much as possible in our society.
I would like to tell you that I have directly experienced discrimination and psychological harassment, but not sexual harassment, thank God. When I was in grade six, I moved from New Brunswick to Quebec. I can see my colleague laughing because he knows that I grew up in New Brunswick. I am from Quebec, but I grew up in New Brunswick. I moved to Quebec when I was in grade six. Children can be very brutal because they lack empathy and an understanding of the context in which they find themselves.
Kids are often oblivious to the harm they inflict on others. I got beaten up at recess every day for a year, so this is a subject I am not unfamiliar with. In my case, the situation made me stronger. Unfortunately, in other cases, it has ruined lives. What we want to avoid is situations where harassment and discrimination destroy lives. It is terrible to see a life completely destroyed after such an incident.
I want to reiterate that, setting politics aside and speaking from a human perspective, all members and all Canadians should support this bill. However, that does not mean there is no need to propose certain amendments, which I will discuss shortly.
The bill is meant to strengthen the workplace safety framework on Parliament Hill. When I think of all the young Canadians who work on the Hill, it makes me even more motivated to support this bill. The people working on the Hill are often young Canadians in their twenties who are full of hope, ambition and energy. They love politics, and they love Canada. They are proud to work for a minister, the Prime Minister, a shadow cabinet member or an MP. These young people arrive in Parliament full of energy and enthusiasm.
There is no denying that, throughout our country's history, members and ministers have behaved inappropriately or committed inappropriate acts, including sexual harassment, psychological harassment and discrimination.
Many of the young victims were surely brilliant, highly motivated and ambitious individuals. Perhaps they were even future Liberal, Conservative or NDP prime ministers, although unfortunately for them, that will never happen now. These were young people who were here for the right reasons, who were not cynical. A lot of young people in Canada are saying they have no use for politics, and that is unfortunate. Those young people should read books on Canadian history to understand what we are doing here today. Some young people have had the courage to get over their cynicism and come to this place, only to become victims of sexual or psychological harassment or discrimination. Careers have been destroyed in some cases, along with their hope and love for Canada. I find that appalling and very upsetting.
This bill sets out to fill a legal void. I would like to remind everyone that Parliament Hill was the only place where Canada Labour Code provisions on harassment and discrimination did not apply. There was a legal void, and it is important to acknowledge that that void played a part in destroying young Canadians who came here full of energy to help build a strong and thriving country on both national and international stages. Everyone wants a workplace that contributes to their quality of life, one where safety is important. Employees perform better in such workplaces.
Most of the Conservatives' amendments were accepted. We successfully introduced an amendment to prevent political interference during harassment investigations. The Conservatives played an active role in bringing the bill to this stage. We successfully introduced an amendment to ensure strict timelines for investigations into incidents of harassment. We proposed mandatory sexual harassment training, training that all MPs received. We proposed a mandatory review of the bill after five years because it needs to be reviewed at regular intervals, as my colleague said.
In closing, since this is Small Business Week, I want to say three cheers for business people. I thank the people of Beauport—Limoilou for the work they do every day. I think they are wonderful, and I look forward to seeing them when I go door to door.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:43 [p.22512]
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Madam Speaker, I agree with the member that this is an important piece of legislation. It is the reason that we as a caucus made sure that we could adjust or increase the benefits of the bill by working thoughtfully throughout the process during committee hearings. I believe there will be other committee hearings also, and maybe other witnesses who will continue to adjust the bill to make sure that it corresponds with the needs of the Canadian people and our employees in our Hill offices. It is an important piece of legislation that we should all be proud to support.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:45 [p.22512]
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Madam Speaker, the member for Jonquière has raised a key issue that I should have raised myself since definitions are very important in legislation, particularly in this case.
We agree that the goal is to enhance the security of employees on Parliament Hill, but we also do not want to create an environment where any employee can destroy the life of a parliamentarian because some things, such as sexual harassment, were poorly defined.
I hope that what my colleague from Jonquière said will be examined in committee. We need to seriously consider properly defining the problem that we want to address.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:46 [p.22512]
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Madam Speaker, I have no opinion on that right now, but I invite my colleague to continue her work and express her concerns. Perhaps she could have a meeting with our critic on the matter.
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-16 14:53 [p.22456]
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Mr. Speaker, where I come from, small businesses drive job creation, and I thank them for their work.
Every month I organize and chair meetings of Beauport's business network. Last week, we held an economic round table, and it will come as no surprise to anyone that the main issues we discussed had to do with the labour shortage.
The labour shortage could have a serious impact on our GDP. Every MP has seen businesses in their riding scale back their activities. Some are even closing their doors. This is a very worrisome situation.
I would like to know if the Liberal government wants to make this issue its top priority. When will the government take action, and how will it address this situation?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-05 11:58 [p.22279]
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Mr. Speaker, in 2015, our Conservative government gave its support to the Beauport 2020 project, which seeks to further develop the Port of Québec. Sixty million dollars were earmarked for the project. This support was contingent on the project clearing public consultations and a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency assessment.
Once these legal hurdles have been cleared, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, along with cabinet, will have to decide whether to give the project the green light.
Is the government expecting to reach a decision soon? Can it give us specific time frames?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-04 12:49 [p.22216]
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Mr. Speaker, as my colleague for Barrie—Innisfil has stated, we generally support the bill and will see what happens at committee during the hearings and the reading of the different articles.
However, I noticed while reading the bill that there is an amendment to the Divorce Act that proposes an obligation on the two spouses who go through a divorce to consult a lawyer. I know some friends who have been divorced and it was perfectly positive. There was no huge discussion, no fears of fighting whatsoever about any of the things that could go badly during a divorce.
Is it really necessary to have this amendment that would force the parties to consult a lawyer and spend money when it is not required?
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-04 13:14 [p.22219]
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Mr. Speaker, while reading the proposed bill, I noticed there is a clause that proposes to make an obligation for spouses going through divorce to consult a lawyer. Even some of my friends whom I know closely have gone through divorce in an amicable way, and sometimes it is possible to do so. Is it really necessary to put forward an obligation to consult a lawyer? I believe this is one of the amendments proposed to the Divorce Act. I wonder what the hon. member thinks about that.
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