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Results: 1 - 15 of 64
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, unfettered access by incarcerated individuals to spiritual guidance from prison chaplains is a key component of recovery and plays an important role in reducing the chance of reoffending. Equitable access to this guidance across faith groups is also a charter right. Therefore, it is disturbing to learn that incarcerated Canadians from a number of faiths, including over 1,000 Muslims, have no access to chaplain services in their own faith.
Why has the Liberal government broken the prison chaplain system and allowed this situation to develop?
View Scott Reid Profile
Madam Speaker, this evening I am following up on a question that I raised in the House on October 28. The question I raised at that time was a follow-up on some encouraging news that had been passed on to me by the hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington: that the Minister of Public Safety would, for the first time since the Liberals took office seven years ago, be initiating a discussion with the RCMP on the subject of placing automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in police cruisers.
As I always note when I am speaking on this subject, placing AEDs in all RCMP cruisers would save over 300 lives per year at a one-time cost of only $2 million. That boils down, over a 10-year period, because AEDs last about 10 years, to about $3,000 per life saved.
I also noted on that occasion that 300 lives per year is about 30 lives per month. I suppose I could have added that this is a little less than one life per day, so time is of the essence. Since each human life is as precious as yours, Madam Speaker, or mine, it seems to me that every day that passes is a day too long.
That said, I note that the minister's response to the question I raised on October 28 was very encouraging. He said, “I have engaged my office to be in touch with the RCMP to ensure that it has all of the tools it needs.”
Nearly a month has gone by since that time, which means that another two dozen or so Canadians, whose lives could have been saved had there been an AED in the RCMP cruiser responding to their particular 911 call, have now died. Of course, this cannot be blamed on the minister, whose sincere interest in the subject I do not doubt, but bureaucracies move slowly, and naturally I would like to know what kind of progress has been made on the minister's promise. What kind of engagement, to use the minister's term, has been undertaken?
The hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington, who is of course also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, has very generously offered to give me a private briefing. I am very grateful to her for making such a generous offer, but I think it would be good to get the progress that has been made so far onto the public record. I will therefore ask her to provide the House with this information, and I will listen with considerable interest to her response.
I note as well that my interest in learning the details is sufficiently great that I will also take advantage of the option of placing a question on the Order Paper with regard to this progress so that further details can be made part of the public record. I am very grateful indeed that the parliamentarians who came before us had the wisdom to include that particular wonderful tool of openness in government in our standing orders.
Finally, I note that the parliamentary secretary mentioned, in response to an earlier question that I posed to her on October 17, that the possibility exists of using public-private partnerships to fund the acquisition of AEDs. Specifically, she stated, “If the hon. member had a private company that wanted to donate AEDs to all RCMP vehicles, I would be happy to work with him on that.” I remain interested in this possibility, as the parliamentary secretary knows, and I would ask if she could offer any further details on what the government might be willing to consider.
View Scott Reid Profile
Madam Speaker, that was a very informative answer from the parliamentary secretary. It was very helpful.
This is not so much in the nature of a question, but rather a comment on the response that the RCMP gave to the parliamentary secretary. Some of the issues that are presented are, I understand, real issues, but some of them are red herrings. I just want to alert her to that.
An example is the storage and weather issue, and the idea that batteries, including those in AEDs, do not work as well in cold weather. These are problems that have been overcome in other police forces. Defibrillators can be put into a heated pack and stored in the back of a police car, where typically it is not as cold as the ambient outdoor temperature. These are problems that exist for the Ottawa police, for example, for the Toronto police, which also have AEDs, and for numerous other police forces in Canada.
I would note that the parliamentary secretary also mentioned the fact that officers are already required to get training, so training costs are in fact zero. The cost I cited to her, which I would be happy to demonstrate, is one that includes battery replacement and necessary servicing.
View Scott Reid Profile
Madam Speaker, when the Taliban seized power last year, about 13,000 Afghans fled north to Tajikistan. Some of these refugees had rendered service to the Canadian Armed Forces earlier during the war. For several months now, the Tajik government has been openly contemplating deporting all Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan. For those who helped foreign troops during the war, this would be a death sentence.
One such family belongs to a courageous interpreter who now resides in my riding in the town of Smiths Falls. His parents and siblings, one of whom is only 15 years old, are languishing in Tajikistan. The family clearly qualifies to come to Canada and had filled out all necessary paperwork back in January, but as of this month, my office has learned that the department has not even started verifying security checks.
This is just one of literally thousands of examples of how the glacial pace of Canada's immigration bureaucracy is risking lives. Surely this country can do better for those who helped us in our time of need now that they are in need of our help.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wanted to say this with regard to the first point of order seeking unanimous consent. The last one actually had the consent of the House and that had been sought beforehand.
I think that if we had a slight change to the wording formula, such as, “Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to the following motion, which has been approved by the House leaders of the recognized parties.” I think if that formula was used every time, as opposed to asking for unanimous consent without mentioning that statement of fact, we would end this nonsense of people standing up to read a motion for which there was no consent. I would strongly recommend you consider that.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have two minutes. I will be continuing after question period, after a delay of about an hour, which is better than a situation I once had where I started a speech and then was delayed by a two-week break. There is nothing like having two weeks between the first two minutes and the remaining eight minutes of a speech to allow one to refine those remarks. The second half of the speech was considerably better than the first.
This time I am going to turn it around, and I am going to put all the exciting stuff at the front end. I am going to talk about the legislative history of this bill, a bill that is so urgently important that the government is applying time allocation and limiting debate. It is a matter that is absolutely critical to get dealt with, which is presumably why the government has delayed debate from when it introduced the bill in December 2021. It did not start debate for a further six months, until June 16 of this year, just shy of six months after it was introduced. No, in fact it is exactly six months. Maybe the government is seeking symmetry here, but that is when debate at second reading started. Of course we cannot complete anything that fast. It then disappeared. It is now back in October, and the government is announcing that it is a crisis and we must deal with this immediately, after having delayed it.
However, the story is actually worse than that because the original bill was introduced in the Senate as Bill S-3, and the government then put its own bill in. Even that misses the point that there was a previous bill, which was essentially identical, introduced before the last election, the mid-COVID pandemic election, which caused everything on the Order Paper to be set aside. It was an election which served, as far as I can tell, literally no purpose. It was the least important election in Canadian history, and simply replicated the previous mandate down almost to the exact seat.
Now it is a panic. Before we had literally years to deal with it, and I should point out that this is dealing with an issue that is essentially 50 years old. However, I will stop now and I look forward to continuing after question period.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, based on an email I received yesterday from his parliamentary secretary, I understand that the Minister of Public Safety will, for the first time since the Liberals took power in 2015, be initiating a discussion with the RCMP on the subject of putting defibrillators in police cruisers. Placing defibrillators in cruisers would save over 300 lives a year. That is 30 a month, so time is of the essence.
Therefore, when can we expect to learn that a decision has been made, one direction or the other?
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I think this is something that may have never happened in the House before, a member beginning a speech on a bill in one seat and continuing it in a separate seat on the very same day. This was made possible, of course, by a standing order change that allows us to sit absolutely anywhere in the House. I was tempted to do it from the Prime Minister's seat, but that would have involved a little too many logistics. I was not sure we would get back to the debate, so I will do it from this seat here.
We are debating Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act, and we are at second reading. I want to talk about the substance of the bill. It is actually, I think, a very good bill, and I will deal with that in a minute.
First, I want to talk about the fact the government is once again rushing this debate through and imposing closure. As I consider its actions, the thought that occurs to me is that, out there in the normal world, there is a saying. It is that “your lack of planning does not equal my crisis,” but this is the House of Commons of Canada. As long as they have the support of the New Democrats, the Liberals can be as disorganized as they want and can create crises for themselves and then impose limits on democracy and open debate in order to rush through crises of their own making.
In the case of the bill, which has now been time allocated, a version of it was introduced as Bill S-5, a government bill in the Senate, in May 2021, but it died on the Order Paper, because the Prime Minister, in his infinite wisdom, decided to call the least necessary election in Canadian history, which resulted in our having exactly the same seat breakdown we had prior to the election. However, it did cause everything on the Order Paper to be wiped off the Order Paper, and when we resumed in the autumn of 2021, a new bill was introduced on the Order Paper, on December 1, 2021, as Bill S-3. Subsequently, that bill was dropped and Bill C-9, the bill we are presently debating, found its way onto the Order Paper on December 16, 2021. It then sat on the Order Paper, undebated, for exactly six months to the day, until June 16, 2022.
The House rises in time for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, which is on the 24th of June. The bill, therefore, had a couple days of time for debate before the House rose. Then, with a whole summer going by, it did not come back until very recently, when we had been here for a month. This makes the point that the reason there is a rush, if there is a rush at all, is that the government has caused a delay. I should point out as well that the purpose of the bill is to make changes to the Judges Act, which was implemented in 1971, so we are talking about changes to something that has been in place for 50 years.
Saying this constitutes the kind of crisis that warrants putting limits on debate is, in my view, simply unreasonable and simply a reflection of the fact that it is now reflexive for the current government to put time limits on all debates on everything.
Now, let me talk about the substance of the bill.
Bill C-9 deals primarily with judges, but as for the provisions it replaces, this new process would also apply to persons other than judges who are appointed under an act of Parliament to hold office under what is known as “good behaviour”. The question of what constitutes “good behaviour” is a matter that needs to be updated from time to time, particularly in the world of the law and the actions of judges, because if something goes wrong in the court system and if judges or courts act inappropriately, we say that the law is brought into disrepute. Bringing the law into disrepute is the worst thing a judge can do. What constitutes “disrepute” does change over time as we get greater sensitivity, for example, to gender issues, which lie at the heart of the present piece of legislation, or to concerns relating to the ability of people who face various forms of disabilities to communicate with the courts and so on.
Standards within society do change. I think they usually improve, and it is reasonable to update this from time to time.
Right now, the way it works is that, should a federally appointed judge be found to be potentially in breach of their responsibilities, the issue is sent to the Canadian Judicial Council for review. The bill would establish a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct, allegations that are not serious enough to warrant a judge's removal from office, and would make changes to the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made to the Minister of Justice.
The bill would specifically modify the existing judicial review process by establishing a process for complaints serious enough to warrant removal from office and another for offences that could warrant other sanctions, such as counselling, continuing education and reprimands.
Currently, if misconduct is less serious, a single member of the Canadian Judicial Council holds the initial review and may negotiate with a judge for remedy. I should mention as well that the Canadian Judicial Council was set up under the existing law. It dates back to 1971 and is mandated to promote efficiency and uniformity and improve the quality of judicial services in all superior courts in Canada.
The reasons a judge could be removed from office include infirmity, misconduct, failure in the due execution of judicial office, and the judge's being “in a position that a reasonable, fair-minded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office”.
Under the new rules, a screening officer could dismiss complaints rather than referring them to the review panel, should they appear frivolous or improper. Certain things, such as a complaint that alleges sexual harassment or discrimination, may not be dismissed. The full screening criteria would be published by the Canadian Judicial Council.
These amendments address the shortcomings of the current process by imposing mandatory sanctions on a judge when a complaint of misconduct is found to be justified but not to be serious enough to warrant removal from office. Again, such sanctions could include counselling, continuing education and reprimands.
In the name of transparency, this legislation would require that the Canadian Judicial Council include the number of complaints received and how they were resolved in its public annual report, something that is a very sound idea.
Since its inception in 1971, the Canadian Judicial Council has completed inquiries into eight complaints considered serious enough that they would warrant removal from the bench. Four of them, in fact, did result in recommendations for removal.
Under the new process, as laid out in Bill C-9, the Canadian Judicial Council would continue to preside over the judicial complaints process, which would start with a three-person panel. If the complaint is serious enough that it might warrant removal from the bench, it could be referred to a separate, five-person hearing panel.
As I am out of time, I will just make the observation that, on the whole, this is a good piece of legislation. I am glad it is before us. It could have been before us earlier. I very much welcome the opportunity to vote in favour and send this off to committee, but of course I object to the rush we have been put in to do that.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I will observe that in terms of there being a rush, I was just saying that the Canadian Judicial Council dealt with eight complaints and dismissed four judges over the course of the past half-century, so I am not exactly sure where the rush is. Clearly, the government does not actually see it as a rush; I mentioned the delays.
Which of the following is the fault of the opposition? Was it the fact the bill was introduced before the 2021 election and then the Prime Minister called an election? Was that the result of an action of the opposition, or was it the fact that the bill was reintroduced in the Senate, then reintroduced in the House of Commons, and then the government waited for six months and did not bring it forward until a day or two before the House rose for the summer? Was that the opposition's fault? I am just unclear as to which of these things that have led to a year and a half's delay is the fault of the opposition. If the parliamentary secretary gets a chance to get up and speak again, maybe he will be able to address that question.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I think that is more of a comment than a question.
However, my hon. colleague is right.
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I cannot imagine what the rush is.
I appreciate the kind comments of my hon. colleague. We have always had good relations. She has good relations with many people on this side of the House and elsewhere, and that is something to be encouraged. After being here 22 years, I can say that, although there never was a golden age where we all got along, it is much worse now. However, we should all strive to get along with each other. We are colleagues and we should work together. That makes this place a better place.
View Scott Reid Profile
Madam Speaker, last week the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety said the following with respect to the placement of defibrillators in RCMP vehicles, which would save 300 lives per year: “If the hon. member had a private company that wanted to donate AEDs to all RCMP vehicles, I would be happy to work with him on that.”
My question is this. In the event that one or more outside parties agrees to pay the necessary $10 million, will the government finally place AEDs in all RCMP cruisers as I have been asking it to do for the past six years?
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, today's question relates to the number of lives that could be saved if the government would instruct the RCMP to install automated external defibrillators, also known as AEDs, in each cruiser.
I have been raising this issue since the Liberal government came to power in 2015, but the government unfortunately has taken no action. By my calculation, about 300 lives would be saved every year if AEDs were installed in Canada's 5,600 RCMP cruisers. Let me tell members how I have come to that calculation.
The purpose of an AED is to reduce fatalities from the kind of heart attack known as sudden cardiac arrest, a pathology that typically starts with what is known as pulseless ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. An academic paper published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine makes the following remarkable assertion regarding this pathology: “Every patient with a witnessed ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest should survive. If the patient does not survive, the goal is to determine why.”
In principle, AEDs, which are the devices used to counter this kind of cardiac issue, should save a lot of lives. How many? Well, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are the source of 85% of all sudden cardiac arrest deaths. Among this population, if each cardiac crisis were witnessed and responded to instantly by a first responder equipped with an AED, there would in principle be a perfect survival rate. In practice, the survival rate is going to be lower, but when the rate is at its highest, in controlled, highly monitored situations such as airports and casinos, it is impressive. At O'Hare airport in Chicago, for example, the save rate is 75%.
However, time is of the essence. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, for every minute the application of an AED is delayed, the chance of survival drops by about 7% to 10%. After 12 minutes, the survival rate is under 5%. This is why the public policy responsible, both here and in the U.S., is focused so intensely on speeding up response time when a victim or bystander contacts 911. This is why police vehicles are equipped with AEDs in places like Vancouver, Kingston, Laval, Fredericton, Medicine Hat and even Smiths Falls, in my riding.
There is an AED in the trunk of every one of the over 150 cruisers of the Ottawa Police Service. As long ago as 2012, this resulted in 22 interventions and nine successful saves of heart attack victims. In 2013, there were 23 interventions and eight lives were saved, and so on, in a long record of success right here in Ottawa. Ottawa's experience, which is typical, shows that on average, one life will be saved every year for every 17 AEDs installed in police cruisers. There is no better place to put an AED than in the trunk of a police car.
AEDs that are purchased in bulk cost a little over $1,000 each. Training costs are essentially zero, as RCMP personnel are already trained, and the cost of responding to 911 calls is not a factor, as the police already do this. We can multiply this success rate by the number of cruisers in the RCMP. If each one of the 5,600 RCMP cruisers carried an AED, it would result in 320 lives being saved every year. Since an AED remains operational for 10 years, we could save 3,000 lives over the next decade at a cost of $2,000 per life.
With these considerations in mind, why is it that the government has not, after seven years in power, arranged to have AEDs in every RCMP cruiser in the country?
View Scott Reid Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for that very informative answer. There were a number of pieces of information that I was unfamiliar with.
One thing I picked up was her reference to what she calls contract partners, which really means the provincial and territorial governments. I am going to ask her if she is saying the following, that if the initiative were taken, say, by the government of Alberta or Saskatchewan, that would be sufficient to start the ball rolling in that province. She also indicated a willingness to work with private sector partners who provide the necessary funds to purchase these things.
May I assume that if that were to happen in some part of the country, and if the RCMP hierarchy were to resist, and it does appear that there has been resistance, institutionally, in the RCMP, that the government would override it and say, “Look, these things have been given for free. Please install them where they are being offered”?
Could she respond to those two questions?
View Scott Reid Profile
Madam Speaker, many Afghans who bravely helped our military are still stranded in Afghanistan. One such case has been brought to my attention by a retired Canadian serviceman.
A former Afghan police colonel, whose courage and competence helped save Canadian lives, has been unable for months to get confirmation from Canadian authorities as to whether his application to come to Canada has been filled out properly. I cannot get confirmation either, despite asking repeatedly.
The colonel has to fill out Canadian immigration paperwork on a cellphone with limited Internet service while hiding from people who want to kill him. When he fills out an online form, Canada provides no confirmation that it has or has not been properly received. No amount of asking will convince Canadian bureaucrats to share this information, which could be passed back to the colonel, allowing him to complete the forms to our satisfaction, so he and his wife and children hide in a basement, more likely to be freed from their predicament by death than by a government that cannot be bothered to let him know what he has to do to meet our paperwork requirements.
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