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Results: 1 - 15 of 296
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I must first thank, on behalf of all of the committee members, the clerk and analysts who have worked so hard for the committee. I must also thank the members from all four parties for their work in committee, especially during the difficult moments over the past few days.
On their behalf I present, in both official languages, the following report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: the 27th report on Chapter 3, "Service Delivery," of the Fall 2010 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to reflect for but a very brief moment on your service to the House. You and I came here to the House together many years ago; some would say a lot. We faced the challenges of serving the public together in different capacities. On behalf of all of those people who demonstrated confidence in my ability to represent them, I know that they would want me to thank you for the enormous service that you have provided the Canadian public and this great institution, the House of Commons of Canada. Thank you very much.
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I compliment my hon. colleague for having had the energy and eloquence to address some of the issues in Bill C-60.
He quite rightly pointed out that this is a bill that emanated from private members' initiatives, mine in particular, and the one by the member for Trinity—Spadina. It is important to say both parties because the Government of Canada—I am sorry, the Prime Minister's “SH” government responded with great tardiness. I notice that some people smile at that, but he wants it to be known as that.
It responded with great tardiness to a situation that was egregious. It was egregious because a repeated victim of theft by a convicted felon was penalized by the justice system. It is a government that constantly talks about its crime and justice agenda, but allowed Mr. David Chen and others like him to languish for the better part of 18 months while it did absolutely nothing.
Worse, it caused that individual to assume the costs of defending himself in court in order to prove something for the benefit of the government and the government mucked that up as well. Look at this piece of legislation. I wonder if my colleague would comment on that.
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a few questions for my colleague, who gave a pretty thorough summary of the bill before us.
I wonder whether my colleague would find it strange, if not deceptive, that the government, which waited for 18 months after it promised David Chen that it would look at an egregious situation, comes forward with legislation that not only looks at the issue of reasonableness, which, by the way, was already addressed by the court as it dealt with David Chen's case, but adds on to it a whole series of extraneous items that it says are absolutely important and crucial to understanding the concept of reasonableness in a citizen's arrest situation.
I would like the hon. member to give us an indication of whether he finds that the government took so long in order to come right up face to face with the prospect of not having to deal with it at all. This bill will go to committee but we do not know if the committee will be heard. However, David Chen will have expended a lot of energy, a lot of resources and a lot of money.
Does the member not think that the government should reimburse him for what he did in order to upgrade the criminal court's case study of situations like his?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I must insist because the issue that caused the bill to come forward is essentially one of a citizen's arrest, in other words, the right of an individual to protect himself as well as his property but, most important, his property at this stage of the game. The government has come forward with legislation that unnecessarily deals with, as the member has noted, a series of issues even though the courts in the David Chen case addressed his issue, which was the reasonableness of the time and the continuity of the actions where, under any normal and reasonable expectation, someone would have found that David Chen actually did protect his property by using all the means available to conduct a citizen's arrest.
Under those circumstances, would he not think that the government is really trying to thwart the will of the courts?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague on attempting to make the legislation relevant to the everyday experiences of ordinary citizens.
Mr. Chen was an ordinary citizen. He had the assurance of the Minister of Immigration that his situation would be rectified very quickly by the Government of Canada, or the SH government. He also had a similar assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.
By his own words, we have the Minister of Justice's account that in late 2009 the governments of the various provinces were already coming to a conclusion with regard to this and yet the government did nothing.
I wonder whether the member will comment on why it took two opposition bills in order to prompt the government to action?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite just raised a very important point, and that is that the SH government has no agenda for getting tough on crime. It does not have a reasonable approach to dealing with crime and promoting justice. In fact, there are no more resources being allocated for justice issues.
How can one be tough except by one's own wrath?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague is a lawyer and is accustomed to ensuring that precision is part of the presentation. He will recall that, on June 16, I presented a private member's bill to draw the government's attention to the fact that Mr. Chen's case was languishing in a stupor of indifference. The member for Trinity—Spadina followed that up the following September, still in 2010, weeks before Mr. Chen's case appeared in court for deliberation. Still there was no action by the government. Remember, the government says that it is tough on crime, but it is indifferent to victims.
Those of us who really wanted a balanced approach to life were looking for an indication that the government would deliver on its promises, promises made by the Minister of Immigration and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. Even the Justice Minister, in his presentation, indicated that in the fall of 2009 he was already in consultation with the provincial attorneys general to do something, and did nothing. Does the member not find this all strange?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member's intervention because, with his legal training, he has an insight into the way the law would work, from which other members of Parliament might benefit.
Trying to tap on his expertise, I would like to get his views on whether it has been necessary for this legislation, Bill C-60, to be as expansive as it has become. We were essentially trying to address the issue of a citizen's right to arrest, period, pure and simple. The government has unnecessarily burdened this debate with other issues that will take the public's attention away from a very small amendment to the Criminal Code.
In fact, it is an amendment that had been studied by various university law professors and had been worked on by those associated with Mr. Chen. I compliment Chi-Kun Shi and all her team of legal experts who provided the energy and incentive to Mr. Chen and gave him the courage to stand up to government, to speak truth to power and to ask for a change in law so citizens could be protected.
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I think that the members in the House need to pay attention to the Bloc member when he says that the devil is in the details.
This could have been a very easy bill to address had the government told everybody that it saw a problem with a specific element in the Criminal Code that it wished to address. It had unanimous support in the House. Witness the two bills by the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and Trinity—Spadina. However, the government has taken a position, and I hope my hon. colleague will comment on this, that the entire Criminal Code needs an uplift, needs sorting out and greater attention, but it has not made the case for this bill.
We are looking for government members and government ministers to convince the House and the general public why the bill needs to be accepted in all its complexity as presented to the House.
The hon. member has just made a compelling case for saying there are very important issues that need to be addressed. The business of citizen's arrest is one of them. It is a crucial one. It tips the balance toward the citizen on reasonable grounds on a case-by-case basis--
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I could not let this pass without thanking my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for giving me such credit. I will return the compliment by complimenting his constituents on having such a great member of Parliament.
My colleague has pointed to a very important issue in this bill. There are three grave shortcomings in the legislation. First, Mr. Chen and others like him were victims of a criminal act. Second, they became victims of the law and the way it was applied. Third, they became victims of government indifference at their own cost in order to rectify an unjust situation.
Knowing that my colleague has been at the forefront of a movement in this place to bring to account both the government and its agents of Parliament, some of them have become agents of the government rather than agents of Parliament, and because he is familiar with hush money put aside for one particular individual, I wonder if he thinks that this might not be yet another case where the government, instead of putting forward hush money, it actually contributed to the cost of having had Mr. Chen proceed through the courts in order to establish the principle of a citizen's arrest under reasonable grounds.
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Sherbrooke because, just like the members for Richmond—Arthabaska and Saint-Jean, he got right into the details. They have shown the courage and the will to resolve the problem with the principle of this bill.
I want to ask my colleague from Sherbrooke a different question if I can. In this instance we have at least one individual who was engaged in court action to defend his person and property against the very court system that was put in place to defend him. All the while the government knew that he had a very solid position, as evidenced by the court in the month of October.
In fact, the Minister of Justice stood here in front of all his colleagues and said that in the fall of 2009 he had already reached an agreement with the attorneys general of all the provinces, including the province where Monsieur Chen had found himself before the court, that they would change the law in the same way that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and I had already proposed.
Does he not think there should be a political willingness to do justice and to help the victim by reimbursing him for the thousands of dollars he had to spend?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and respect the erudite position put forward by my colleague, who is steeped in law and has great courtroom experience. However, I want to take him to the other issue that has arisen as a result of Bill C-60.
He has followed the debate. He knows that the government did not act, as it promised, back in 2009. Then we found out in this debate that the Minister of Justice had actually struck an agreement with his provincial counterparts, including the one in the province where the David Chen case arose. The minister knew then that the case would not be decided negatively and waited while Mr. Chen ran up legal bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to protect his person and property. He knew that and wanted to ensure that the courts reinforced the decision that all the attorneys general had already struck.
I would like the member from Charlottetown to give his perspective on how expenses should be dealt with in all fairness when a private citizen is subject to the courts so that the government can accomplish its objective of testing something that it should already have done on its own and on which it already knew what the result would be. What is his view on that?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I find it astounding that a member of this House would suggest that members of Parliament would not be capable of listening to arguments and weighing reasonable responses.
As an example, the issue from my perspective was simply one of asking the minister when she gave the instruction to put the “not” in a document that does not normally require that type of a response. It is simply a rejection or an acceptance. However, there was an insertion of a word on a document that had already approved, or appeared to approve, a particular funding.
The second issue is what prompted that request? The reason members of Parliament on this side of the House asked that question, of course, is that there is another related issue. The related issue has to do with another minister who went abroad to explain to a foreign audience why a domestic decision had taken place here in Canada with respect to KAIROS and why the $7 million was not going to go to KAIROS, an organization that had been receiving government funding for some 35 years.
When that minister, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, came back to Canada, he denied that he had actually uttered those words, i.e., that KAIROS was engaged in a campaign of de-investment in Israel. What in fact he then said is, “No, I didn't say it”, and the newspapers outed him.
Subsequent to that, the minister responsible for CIDA came forward and said, “I now agree that it was on its merits”. The document was produced that indicated the word “not”.
The question was really simple for everybody. Maybe the hon. member could enlighten the House. Who gave her the direction to put the “not” in and when did it happen? Was it before the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration went to Israel to explain the government's position, or was it after the newspapers in Canada outed him on the lie?
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
We try to do the very best we can in order to indicate language and direction of debate. There is a great weakness demonstrated by the member opposite when he prefers to think of Liberals as speaking methodically and systematically. For some reason that offends him. We are systematic. We are methodical.
I asked the member two questions. He cannot get away from those two questions by attempting a drive-by smear of those who already espouse a political position that is not his but is a correct one.
View Joseph Volpe Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to take advantage of the fact that my hon. colleague has introduced himself as a former law professor and, therefore, an esteemed person, a knowledgeable person and someone who is aware of the consequences of the law, the intent behind what the laws may say and how the courts may interpret the legislation.
I noted that he wanted his colleague from Trinity—Spadina, in her presentation, to serve as a model for the government.
I want to ask him if he would share with us just what his interpretation was of the court case dealing with Mr. David Chen in Toronto that prompted two opposition members, both from Toronto, to present legislation for the government's consideration.
As I read the decision, the judge interpreted the actions of Mr. Chen to be one continuous activity and therefore interpreted the concept of reasonableness in all of its permutations into one very basic issue and said that it was very reasonable for Mr. Chen to do what he had to do.
I am wondering whether that was the interpretation, in his capacity as a former professor of law, that he came to. Does he agree with Professor Anand and Professor Young who have expounded on this and whether that is the basis for his position that the government should have cut this short, should have focused on what is the very simple crux of the matter and then asked all parties to pass this all in one hearing, one very quick decision? The courts have already ruled on this. Would that be his interpretation as well?
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