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Results: 1 - 15 of 373
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I have a very simple question for my colleague, who just gave a wonderful campaign speech.
The Liberals have been in power for four years. They have been here for four years, and all of sudden, there is an urgent need to talk about climate change. We have been talking about it for 25 years.
Did the Liberals just wake up?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague for her heartfelt speech. Although I am much older than her, I am very proud to see that, despite her youth, she has the courage to be herself even though we do not always agree. We sometimes do disagree, but, even so, I was very touched when she said we must have the courage of our convictions. She has that courage, and I certainly hope that all the women and all the young women who run in the next election will not try to fit into a mould. We should be loud and proud about who we are and about standing for what we believe in.
I thank the member for her friendship. I had a chance to get to know her, woman to woman, and it was a pleasure serving with her, despite our differences of opinion. I will miss this sparkling and truly unique young woman very much.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, we have finally reached the end of this government's first term in office. Unfortunately, it has cost taxpayers dearly. The Prime Minister has made the cost of living much too high for Canadian families, but he thinks they will forget all about that by October 21.
In addition to raising taxes, he eliminated tax credits for public transit and children's fitness.
Why do Canadians always have to pay more when the Liberals are in power?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate on Bill C-93 on record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis. I will be sharing my time with one of my colleagues.
From the outset I would like to say a few words about Bill C-45 because it is impossible to forget. It was no great feat of the government opposite, but it was one of the Prime Minister's rare accomplishments. That should be noted.
Nonetheless, no one will forget that Bill C-45 was bungled from the start and now that it has been in effect since last October, it certainly has not been a resounding success. Many of the projected outcomes of legalizing marijuana did not come to fruition, including reducing the sale of cannabis on the black market to curb organized crime. In fact, the opposite happened. Cannabis sales on the black market have increased.
I cannot ignore the fact that the government opposite also rejected our amendment to create a public registry of investors in the cannabis industry. However, since many of them have direct ties to the Liberal Party and since the money comes from tax havens, we are not holding our breath for the government to set up a public registry. The Liberals said that they would do politics differently and transparently. Fortunately their time is coming to an end.
When the Prime Minister came to power, he decided that his 2015 election promise to pass Bill C-45 at any cost was a national priority, even though other priorities could have easily come before Bill C-45. Like many Canadians, I still have a hard time believing that there was absolutely nothing more important in Canada than legalizing marijuana. Too many people put their trust in the Prime Minister in 2015, believing that he was creating hope in many respects for Canadians. Now, in 2019, it is plain to see that he made a lot of promises and did not follow through on much.
Was legalization truly more important than the economy, safety and security, justice and the future of our children? I believe the history books will confirm that that was indeed the case in this 42nd Parliament.
Getting back to Bill C-93, I want to point out that it can lead to confusion with respect to the use of the term “suspension” in the notion of the record suspension for simple cannabis possession. I want to highlight the importance of thoroughly understanding everything about this notion because many people are surprised to learn about the consequences this could eventually have when they wish to cross the border into the United States.
As we know, U.S. customs have always been very strict when checking the records of Canadians seeking to cross the border and enter their country. They have become even stricter with the legalization of cannabis. When they see that a Canadian has a suspended record for simple possession of marijuana, I am convinced, as are others, that this will have negative rather than positive repercussions. The expungement of criminal records for the simple possession of cannabis would have avoided all of this.
This leads me to wonder about the effectiveness and the goal of this measure. If they wanted to do something about this, record expungement would potentially have been much more effective.
Furthermore, we are debating this matter because after the government legalized marijuana, many Canadians were left with a criminal record for simple possession and inevitably wanted this record expunged. They know very well that a suspension is not as good as an expungement.
Many Canadians have this offence on their criminal records, which prevents them from travelling to the United States. This could be why a powerful lobby asked the Liberal government to suspend the records. Funnily enough, this demand was very much a ploy to win votes, as there are not many days left before the end of this Parliament.
Bill C-45 took effect in October 2018, and the Prime Minister chose to ignore the concerns about the legalization of cannabis expressed by municipalities, police forces, employers, doctors and a number of concerned parents. The Liberals rushed to introduce Bill C-93 at the last minute, at the end of this Parliament, just before the upcoming election. This makes me think that they are desperately trying to pad their record, which is currently light on positives.
The Liberals already promised to legalize cannabis so now they want to please another consumer group, those who were charged with simple possession of cannabis, by quickly getting rid of their criminal record. Still today, an offender with a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis has no choice but to wait between five and 10 years to apply for a pardon. The application costs $631. It is important to reiterate that the cost associated with applying for a pardon was determined based on the cost to the Canadian government and taxpayers, which is fair and equitable. We always felt that is was not up to law-abiding taxpayers to pay for those who break the law.
Bill C-93 is a fait accompli. That being said, even though sound management of public funds is a Conservative priority, we agreed to make pardon applications for simple possession of marijuana free of charge. We know that some verifications were made, that roughly 10,000 people would be eligible to apply for a pardon and that the cost associated with these applications, which would be covered by taxpayers, would be roughly $2.5 million.
It is important to remind those tuning in at this late hour that the purpose of Bill C-93 is to pardon individuals accused of simple possession of cannabis. These are not people with long and colourful rap sheets. As many people have pointed out, the charges usually stem from youthful indiscretions, and in most cases, that is something we can understand.
As such, we believe that Canadians should have timely access to no-fee record suspension. However, as with any bill, it is vital that we ensure it is enforced intelligently, fairly and realistically so that it becomes a good law once passed.
Conservatives understand perfectly well that criminal records for simple possession of cannabis should not create an unjust burden for Canadians now that cannabis use is legal.
Nevertheless, as a responsible party that respects law enforcement, the justice system and public safety, we will always take it upon ourselves to closely monitor the implementation of Bill C-93.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
As we have seen for going on four years now, the Liberals always seem to be looking for new ways to make life harder for Canadians. As the hon. member was saying, there are much simpler ways to go about drafting this type of legislation, but the Liberals have gone with a much more complicated process in order to pander to their friends. That is my analysis.
Unfortunately, it was the same thing with Bill C-45. By refusing to take the concerns of municipalities into consideration, the government made things a lot harder for them. They basically kicked the problem to the provinces. The Liberal mind will always seek to make things as complicated as possible for Canadians, who are sure to struggle as a result.
One can only hope the Liberal reign will soon come to an end so we can finally move on with our lives.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I would say two things to my colleague opposite. First, it would have been helpful had they listened to the stakeholders first and foremost. Second, the simplest solution is to elect a Conservative government.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, with little to speak of in terms of achievements over the past four years, the Prime Minister is racking up scandals and appalling behaviour from members of his entourage.
By promoting Ben Chin, the staffer who tried to circumvent the rule of law in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Prime Minister is confirming that he endorses this kind of totally unacceptable behaviour.
How would the Prime Minister explain to Canadians why such behaviour was rewarded with a promotion rather than a dismissal?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Finance's chief of staff became directly involved in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal, the Liberals did not admonish him. They rewarded him and gave him a promotion.
Now we learn that he threatened the staff of the former attorney general and tried to subvert the rule of law.
Why does this Prime Minister reward those who do his dirty work and fire those who stand up to him?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, I came into the chamber because I heard the member opposite talking about rural areas, like where I am from, Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. I must say that the Liberals have not done anything in my riding, and they are certainly not trying to save the planet. We have seen nothing at all in four years.
The member said he recycles, among other things. This gives me the perfect opportunity to tell him that I am a Conservative and I make my own compost. I also recycle.
Can the member tell me why, with the election six months away, climate change is suddenly such an urgent issue for the Liberal government, when it had four years to take action and it did nothing?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the House to speak to Bill C-93, an act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis.
This bill follows on Bill C-45, an act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts, which has been in force since October 17, 2018. Bill C-93 seeks to make changes to the pardon process and provide no-cost record suspensions for Canadians found guilty of simple possession of cannabis in the past. It also seeks to help Canadians who were convicted of using a drug that is now legal, since they will no longer have to go through the usual waiting period or pay the fees associated having their record suspended.
For this type of application, an offender would usually have to wait between five and ten years, depending on the conviction, after serving the sentence to obtain a pardon. Furthermore, the cost of the application is $631. The measure introduced by Bill C-93 would amend the Criminal Records Act and makes reference to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Narcotic Control Act and the National Defence Act. It goes without saying that this new legislative measure must be properly drafted or else it could potentially mislead many Canadians who could one day avail themselves of it.
For example, if this legislative measure were adopted as written in Bill C-93, the administrative costs would be grossly underestimated. Also, it would result in criminal information about offenders being maintained and remaining available, as in the case of pardons granted in a system parallel to that of the RCMP. This information would be available to foreign police services. This would allow U.S. customs officers, for example, to bar a Canadian convicted of simple possession of marijuana from entering the United States.
If a criminal record is not completely erased, it can have a life-long impact. This is counter to the purpose of the bill to ensure that all Canadians who have been convicted and have a criminal record will be able to travel to the United States without any problems.
My speech on this bill will focus primarily on one topic that is very important to all Canadians, specifically the sound management of public funds, which has never been the hallmark of a Liberal government. The Liberals have always been champions of debt. I think that the current government is a perfect example of that, here in the House. Accordingly, it is only responsible and even advisable to ask such important questions about Canadian taxpayers' hard-earned money.
I have a serious concern about how much Bill C-93 will really cost. Based on our estimates, it could cost $315 million. The minister and his officials have said that it would cost around $2.5 million, because they expect that just 10,000 of the 250,000 eligible Canadians who have been convicted of one sole possession offence will apply.
Since we are talking about estimates, let us recall the boondoggle created by a Liberal government with the implementation of the national firearms registry in 1995. Let's talk about Liberal spending estimates.
I would like to remind members about how much the Liberals estimated it would cost to set up the infamous registry. At the time, it was supposed to cost $2 million. Do my colleagues remember how much the implementation of this very expensive and useless Liberal registry ended up costing? Surprise, it cost an estimated $2 billion. That is a far cry from the $2 million projected. So we can put this in proper context, I will say this: the cost was nearly 1,000 times the initial estimate. The Liberals are clearly not very good at estimates. In fact, I would say that they are the worst.
My concern, which is very justified and shared by many colleagues and taxpayers, makes it hard for me to believe the government's estimate of $2.5 million. It is obvious to anyone who has read the bill that even the government is not sure about this amount. Considering the significant bureaucratic effort required to analyze, validate and confirm the profile of each applicant, we are convinced that the Liberal government's cost estimates are well off the mark.
It is only natural for Canadians to find the government estimates set out in this bill rather dubious. It is important to remember that the Liberals promised to balance the budget in 2019. However, the only thing members will remember about the Liberals' legacy to our children and grandchildren is another $90 billion in debt. How long will it take us to pay that back? It will take at least 25 years. So much for the Liberals' estimates.
Given the painfully obvious past and present failures of Liberal governments as well as the government's claims that middle-class Canadians are its priority, I have to say that making the middle class bear the tax burden of this measure, the cost of which the government has obviously once again underestimated, is unfair to honest people who have never had a criminal record and likely never will. Canadians work hard to earn a decent living to feed and house their families and to try to give them a decent education so that their generation will be richer than ours.
I will find it very difficult to support this bill if significant amendments are not made to ensure that justice is served for honest taxpayers and for the offenders who would benefit from a privilege paid for by said taxpayers.
I agree with expedited record suspensions for simple possession in principle, but we need to consider the cost. Canadian taxpayers deserve the truth when it comes to their money. I will always stand up for their right to demand transparency and accountability in the government's management of public funds. Once again, that does not seem to be the case with this bill.
There are so many problems with this legislation I hardly know where to start. The only way to make it worthwhile is to sit down together and go through it in detail to make sure Canadian taxpayers are treated fairly and are not made to foot the bill. Normally, pardons come at a cost, but these will be handed out for free. We need to look at all the ins and outs of this bill to make sure it is fair to everyone, and, most importantly, to make sure the government's numbers are accurate and costs will not end up ballooning like they did with the gun registry.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank my Liberal colleague for his question.
It is a good thing our vision differs from the Liberals'. We voted against legalizing marijuana and it is now legal. That said, Bill C-93 highlights the bill's shortcomings.
The government was improvising, and Bill C-45, its marijuana legalization bill, was rushed through Parliament. It did not have unanimous support. With this bill you told the provinces that they would have to figure things out. We will have to work together on Bill C-93.
I was indeed against the legalization of marijuana. If the government wants this bill to pass unanimously, we are going to have to review it carefully, because it creates a large number of inequalities, and I do not like inequality.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Madam Speaker, that is not the issue. I was against marijuana legalization, but it is legal now.
Bill C-93 needs to be reworked so it no longer creates inequality. This bill needs to be revised because many elements of it are not working, not least of which is the astronomical price tag of $2.5 million.
We remember the long gun registry all too well. The Liberal government of the day promised it would cost $2.5 million. It ended up costing $2 billion. When we check the Liberals' math, we see that they keep getting Canadians further and further in debt. I am not going to take any lessons on economics from the Liberals.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, from interfering in justice files and numerous ethics breaches to false promises, backtracking and a deficit with no end in sight, this Liberal government has gone way off course.
One after another, party members are jumping ship, and when they do, the Liberals bash them. We are now seeing the Liberals' true colours as they squabble endlessly with the provinces and the rest of the world turns its back on us. They said Canada was back. They forgot to say the strife was back too.
Quebeckers deserve better. They deserve a government that respects provincial jurisdiction. They deserve responsible government. They deserve a government that listens to them, a government that will put an end to scandals of all kinds.
Quebeckers deserve proper representation. They deserve a blue wave.
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, I get a real kick out of listening to the Liberals over there.
In January 2014, the Prime Minister booted Liberal senators out of his caucus. Now he is trying to convince everyone that newly appointed senators are independent.
Liberal blood is thicker than their respect for an independent appointment process, so it is not at all surprising that our newest senators were appointed because they are Liberal Party pals.
When will the Prime Minister stop lying to us, respect the process and tell the truth?
View Sylvie Boucher Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but the fact is that we want him to tell the truth.
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