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Results: 1 - 15 of 79
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague opposite and was struck by some things I want to ask her about.
She said we need an action plan. I have been a minister of government, and I always used to say that programs are no substitute for actual results, and that spending is no substitute for getting some value for the people we are trying to assist. I heard the member say she will not support action but wants an action plan. This bill is an action plan.
Then the member said that the New Democrats had some amendments they wanted and that, unless they can get it perfect in their own view, they will not take any action. Would it not be better for the victims, the vulnerable people we are trying to protect with this bill, if we took this good action and then the New Democrats could argue for more or work for more later? It seems extremely short-sighted to hold everything up because, for good and sufficient reason, some of their amendments were not taken.
The member is saying that she and her party have a problem, but she is making all kinds of excuses not to take action. Why would that be?
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, “famous last words” is a well-known phrase. I will soon leave this place after two decades. What words come to mind?
It has been an honour and a privilege to serve. I have met amazing people, people who are smart, hard-working, and dedicated to Canada. Many will be lifelong friends.
The opportunity to make even a small contribution to building this great nation is humbling. We all owe so much to our families. They have sacrificed normal togetherness for this.
I give heartfelt thanks to the people who supported me, and to those who did not support me but put up with me kindly anyway.
Finally, at the end of the day, it is not about the blue team or the orange team or the red or the green; it is about our country and its wonderful people. It is about giving them the best, most secure, and brightest future possible.
I pass the torch. May it be held high.
God bless Canada.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for a very well reasoned and sensible response to the bill. He has some good suggestions and has raised some reasonable concerns. That is the kind of debate we should have.
I sat on the public safety committee this morning. We heard an expert on terrorism and radicalization tell us that there are materials being distributed in Canada today that say that beating women is an act of kindness and love and that women owe a duty to their husbands, a duty that includes obedience and not withholding intimacy.
There are documented activities taking place in our country that are not only physically dangerous to women but also hostile in a very cultural sense.
I would ask my colleague why we need to avoid the world “culture” when clearly there are cultural dimensions to this danger to women.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I was a little shocked by the member's remarks. If I heard him correctly, he said not only that scientists should be able to speak about anything they might be working on within government but that they should be able to opine on any policy that might strike their fancy, as long as they say they are not speaking for the department.
Let us carry that a little bit further. Supposing any officers of departments, any bureaucrats, or any public officials decide they have something to say on a public issue, and they stand up and join the debate on public policy, which is usually confined to the House of Commons. We have a convention in this country of a neutral, objective public service that provides neutral advice to the government. Now, people would be standing in this place, so to speak, giving their opinions on this, that, and the other thing.
Does the member really think that this would be an enhancement of our democratic process? What about the neutrality of our public service?
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that the Liberals are putting this motion forward, because I have been in the House for two decades and I remember that, when the Liberals were in government, there were a number of articles accusing the Liberal government of muzzling scientists. I am sure my friend opposite will remember some of those articles, as they are easily found on Google. I urge people to look them up.
There always seems to be this debate about the freedom of government-employed, publicly funded scientists. My friend who just spoke pointed out that government scientists are encouraged to publish their findings and publish their research.
I am curious about exactly where this whole idea of muzzling comes from, because from what I heard my friend say, there is no muzzling at all. I would like to hear his comments on that.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to add some words to this debate on the anti-terrorism bill.
We know that the world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, and that is unfortunate. We now see in other liberal democracies such as France, Australia, Denmark, and of course, here in Canada and right here in Parliament that nowhere can we be sure that there will not be attacks on our citizens by those who have a different philosophy and ideology of life, and who are committed to the destruction of the privacy rights, human rights, democratic rights, security and safety of our country.
I read a very interesting article by Graeme Wood in the March issue of The Atlantic. It is called “What ISIS Really Wants”. Graeme Wood points out that ISIS already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. He points out that the Islamic State, which rules this fairly large area, is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people and that those who support the Islamic State believe that they have an obligation to conduct what is called offensive jihad, which is to expand their territory as an essential duty. This is not only done through active warfare and acts of terrorism, but by subversive acts, as well.
There is another very good article from the March 3 issue of The New York Times, called “The Education of ‘Jihadi John’”. The writer knew Jihadi John, who graduated in computer science from the University of Westminster. He said, “academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists. I should know: I was one of them.” He said that his recruiter came straight out of a London medical college, and that while such institutions must guard free speech, as we cherish here in Canada, “they should also be vigilant to ensure that speakers are not given unchallenged platforms to promote their toxic message to a vulnerable audience.”
The government realizes that these dangers and threats to Canadians and Canadian security are real, and that they are growing. We count ourselves fortunate that we have not had worse incidents than those we experienced last fall, but we also know that they are very possible.
Governments have a positive duty to protect the lives and property of citizens. That is why we organize ourselves in society. That is why we have authorities in society. Our Conservative government takes this duty very seriously. We passed over 30 measures to further protect society against dangerous criminals who are committed to fighting as part of jihadi terrorism.
Jihadi terrorists have declared war specifically on Canada. They are absolutely opposed to our way of life. They are opposed to our freedoms. They are opposed to our tolerance. They are opposed to our diversity. They are opposed to the privacy and human rights that the opposition and others are concerned about. We have to protect those rights and freedoms, but we cannot do that unless we push back, and unless we find ways to halt and to interfere with the spread of this kind of terrorist activity.
It troubles me very much to see a group, such as the jihadists, actually targeting our country. We know that the Islamic State's whole philosophy is absolutely opposed and toxic to our way of life, especially to women.
As we fight to degrade and destroy ISIS, we also have to put into place a few new measures to modernize and to give appropriate tools to our security forces to better be able to identify, interfere with and stop the activities of jihadi terrorists.
There are a number of myths that have risen against this legislation. People have been told certain things about it, certain things that are not true, but nevertheless it causes them to be concerned, and in some cases to come out and march in the streets. I can assure Canadians that in no way does any member of the House, whether on the government side or on the opposition benches, want to do anything but strengthen, protect and preserve the rights and freedoms that we enjoy in this wonderful country.
The bill is not in any way intended to, nor I believe does it, in any way take away the civil rights of law-abiding citizens, regular citizens of this country. I will give some tangible examples of what the bill would do. They are common sense measures, in spite of the overheated rhetoric from some on the opposite side.
For example, if Passport Canada, in dealing with an applicant for a passport, has reason to believe or hears from a sponsor of the passport applicant that the person is intending to travel to join Islamist jihadists, Passport Canada would be allowed to share that information with the RCMP. The legislation would allow known radicalized individuals to be prevented from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general.
Right now we have to be very specific about what we tell other people to do. If we just say to someone “kill all the infidels wherever you can in Canada”, that is not illegal. That needs to be illegal. That kind of promotion of terrorism should be illegal. I think most Canadians would be surprised to know that right now it is not.
It would allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth to disrupt their travel plans to go to terrorist places in the world. Many parents have been heartbroken because authorities have known that their children were involved in being radicalized and planned to join ISIL, but no one told them because of privacy laws. That is not right.
It would provide government with an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. If we do not have sources, if we do not have intelligence coming in, then we are not going to be able to stop some of these plots.
I have heard the other side say that other liberal democracies do not allow their national security agents to disrupt threats, but that is not true. The U.S. can engage a disruption with an executive order. The U.K. can conduct any activity to protect national security. The Norwegian police security service can prevent and investigate. The Finnish security intelligence service is mandated to prevent crime.
Bill C-51 does not give any law enforcement power to CSIS. It cannot arrest anybody or charge anybody, but it can attempt to stop terrorist attacks while they are still in the planning stages. This is far more in-depth than our allies' provisions. At all times, all rights under the Constitution are protected.
I urge my colleagues to vote for this good legislation.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
First, Mr. Speaker, I did not say we should not worry about protection of our rights. In fact, that is the very thing that motivates the bill, because we do want to protect our rights from those who would destroy the framework we have built in our own country. We take that duty seriously.
As far as oversight is concerned, the bill strengthens the oversight. If security forces want to take action that would in any way interfere with the rights and the privacy of a Canadian citizen, they must go to court and they must convince a judge that they have very good reason to do this. If they cannot convince an objective member of the court that they should go ahead, then they will not be allowed to do that. We have also put more resources in review of everything that CSIS does.
I hope that the member will vote for these measures, because they are important to our country.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to tell my hon. colleague that since coming to office, our government has increased funding for police and national security agencies by over one-third. We brought forward new funding for these agencies on seven separate occasions, and what happened on those seven occasions? New Democrats, who claim we need more resources, voted against them every single time.
In budget 2015 we invested nearly 300 million new dollars in the fight against terrorism. I hope my hon. colleague will support that investment, but I am willing to bet he will not put his money where his mouth is.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak on Bill S-7. This bill contains measures to better protect women and girls in our country.
With this bill, our government is fulfilling a commitment made in the Speech from the Throne in October 2013. That commitment is to ensure that early and forced marriage and other harmful cultural practices, such as polygamist marriages and so-called honour-based violence, do not take place on Canadian soil. We see these activities as absolutely incompatible with Canadian values.
Today I would like to speak to the bill's proposed amendment to the provocation defence. I would like to address a number of misconceptions that have been expressed during debate on this bill.
A person who is found to have committed murder can raise the defence of provocation. They can raise, as a defence, that they killed the victim in the “heat of passion” brought on by “a wrongful act or insult” from the victim. The provocation, they can claim, would be sufficient to cause an ordinary person to lose self-control.
Much has been made of the fact that the defence has failed where it has been raised in the context of honour killings. While this may be the case to date, there is nothing preventing a court from accepting it in the future, and we would like to make sure that does not happen.
The defence has already been raised in at least three honour-killing prosecutions in Canada. The alleged provoking conduct in these cases was real or perceived marital infidelity and other conduct by the victim that the offender perceived as disrespectful or defiant toward them or their families. The particular three claims I mentioned failed owing to the inadequacy of supporting evidence in these cases.
The proposed amendment in Bill S-7 would modernize the defence. Under the bill, the defence of provocation would only be available to an accused found guilty of murder where the conduct of the victim that provoked the accused to kill amounted to a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of at least five years. In other words, it would be a serious offence. The reform would limit the defence so that it would no longer excuse murder where the provoking conduct of the victim was lawful.
In the Senate debates on this bill, some suggested that the defence of provocation is a long-standing and sound principle of criminal law that is operating in conformity with Canadian values and should not be changed. It was also suggested that the proposed reform would limit the defence to match.
Therefore, the question for us as legislators is whether modern Canadian values do in fact support showing compassion and leniency to those who kill in response to something they find insulting or offensive. I do not believe they do.
It is a different matter if the provoking behaviour is objectively serious and unacceptable, such as criminal conduct. The defence would still be permitted when the provocation was a physical assault or threat or some other serious form of criminality.
I think it is very important to understand the history of the provocation defence. We should also look at countries that share our common law tradition and at their experiences with this defence.
Historically, the defence of provocation emerged in the common law around the 16th century. Initially it was limited to certain categories of conduct, all related to men defending their honour, such as a spontaneous fight or an arranged duel. This also included what a man might do on finding another man committing adultery with his wife.
In the early common law, let us remember that a man's wife was his legal property. The initial provocation defence reflected this social and legal reality of the day, namely that adultery was “the highest invasion of property”, as per the Mawgridge case in 1707.
Therefore, a man who killed in response to adultery was considered less blameworthy. It may surprise some members to learn that in the history of our own common-law tradition the provocation defence was the original honour defence.
However, at some point in its history, the honour-related basis for provocation was replaced with the idea that the law should make some allowance for “human frailty”, where a person is provoked beyond the ability to exercise self-control. The specific categories of provoking conduct were eliminated and the provocation defence was made available more generally and broadly. The defence would succeed where a person killed after having lost self-control as a result of any kind of wrongful act or insult by the victim, so long as an ordinary person could also have been provoked to lose his or her self-control in the same circumstances even though not necessarily to the point of killing. This is the form of the provocation defence that was incorporated into Canadian law in the 1800s, and it remains unchanged today.
However, the use of this defence in the cases of so-called honour killings flies in the face of freedom of expression, a cornerstone of a free and democratic society. In order to protect freedom of expression, there is no room to make allowances for intentional killings on the basis of insult or offence. Allowing the provocation defence to be invoked in response to mere insults or offensive conduct is inconsistent with core Canadian values of freedom of expression, liberty and gender equality.
Both internationally and domestically, the provocation defence has been the subject of similar criticisms from a range of quarters in recent years. The Supreme Court of Canada has referred to these criticisms in some of its rulings, stating that only Parliament can address these concerns.
Many point out that the historic origins of the defence still operate to excuse male proprietary or possessory claims over women. This is clearly at odds with our modern values of gender equality and personal autonomy and freedom.
In the past decade, the legislatures of most jurisdictions with a common-law history similar to ours have acted to address some of these concerns. New Zealand and several Australian states have entirely abolished the defence. Most other Australian states have restricted the defence in some measure, as has the United Kingdom. Just last year, the Australian state of New South Wales reformed its provocation defence, including by limiting its scope to provoking conduct that would be a relatively serious criminal offence. This is the same approach proposed in Bill S-7.
Another question that was asked in the Senate was whether the proposed amendment would have the unintended consequence of taking a viable defence away from battered women who kill their abusers, but this is another misperception. In Canada, the provocation defence is rarely raised in these circumstances, but could still be raised if the woman was treated with criminal activity such as assaults or threats.
There are two primary objectives in this bill: the first to prevent the defence from being raised in the future before it is ever accepted by a court or a jury; and the second to modernize the defence more generally, so that it can no longer be used to excuse spousal homicides based on lawful conduct.
The time has come for Canada to bring our law of provocation out of the 17th century and align it with our modern values. Our women and girls deserve nothing less. I hope that all members will support this proposal and all of Bill S-7.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, we have chosen not to do that. We believe, in the case of the provocation defence, that where an individual, a Canadian, is threatened, has been criminally assaulted and takes measures to protect himself or herself, this is a reasonable course of action in those cases.
The member will remember that the government passed an act to give lawful protection to people who are threatened, for example, by a home invasion where they may be beaten or tied up and somehow find a way to overpower their attackers, perhaps causing the death of the attacker. Any reasonable society feels that kind of provocation, when it is met with force, sometimes has to be found lawful.
However, in the case of simply an insult or something that another person finds offensive, that is not a legitimate use of the defence, and that is why we are moving to change that.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the tremendous work she is doing, a lot of it under the radar, to really support measures that foster and that affirm the equality of all, regardless of gender. This is such an important message.
Sadly, in many places of the world, there is still the idea that women and girls have no value, that they are simply chattels to be used and abused as males in the society feel appropriate.
As Canadians we are so fortunate to live in a society where that kind of discrimination is completely rejected. That is why we brought forward the bill, so that as circumstances come to our attention, as society grapples with some of these things such as honour killings and forced marriages, we have the tools to stop it in its tracks and protect Canadian society as a place where women are treated with dignity, respect and the equality that we believe in so passionately.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I look forward to our study of the new anti-terrorism bill.
We must prevent threats to the safety of Canadians, while respecting the privacy of ordinary citizens. Naturally, we will hear a range of opinions about the proper balance. The goal is critical: to protect our country's freedoms and values. That is why the courts and the Security Intelligence Review Committee will carefully monitor the new tools under Bill C-51.
We will cautiously weigh the measures needed for Canada to remain a safe country, while also ensuring that innocent citizens are able to go about their lives without unwarranted intrusion.
Canada, like other democracies, is the target of jihadi terrorists. That is why our government will continue to take prudent measures to safeguard the nation's peace and security.
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, the government is deeply concerned about the treatment that women and girls in Canada have suffered because of some cultural practices that Canadian society and the Supreme Court of Canada reject. These include genital mutilation, and being forced into polygamous marriages and marriage at a very young age.
I would think that any reasonable, concerned, and decent Canadian would also want to protect women and girls in this country from those terrible fates. Yet, unbelievably, we see the opposition members, including young women over there, doing everything they can to attack this legislation, to disagree with it, to find reasons not to support it. I cannot believe this.
Could the parliamentary secretary explain why the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party in the House would not want to protect Canadian women in this way?
View Diane Ablonczy Profile
Mr. Speaker, this is a sad debate. I think there is an absence of logic here.
First of all, compensation, by definition, means there has to be a loss. However, the agreement has not even been signed yet. There cannot be any loss. Why would there be a demand that money be paid for compensation for loss under an agreement that has not even been signed?
The whole thing is illogical. It boggles the mind that the opposition would waste an entire day of this country's time on this kind of a debate.
As the member pointed out, why would the federal government give a huge benefit, almost half a billion dollars, to one province, when three others are involved in the very same industry and there is nothing for them? No government in its right mind would ever be so unfair and inequitable in an agreement.
I do not know why the opposition is even bringing these nonsensical arguments forward. I invite my friend to tell me what he thinks is behind this kind of a debate when it defies every rule of logic that any of us have ever learned.
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