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Results: 1 - 15 of 78
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. Thirty-seven years ago today, Air India Flight 182 was blown out of the sky, which killed 329 innocent souls. These were 268 Canadians, including moms, dads, grandparents, friends and 82 children, who would never come home.
To this day, this remains the single largest act of terrorism perpetrated against Canadians. It was the result of a conspiracy conceived, planned and executed in Canada. Despite the advocacy of the victims' families, who have battled racism, discrimination and indignity, few Canadians know about this tragedy. We do not learn about it in schools. We hear little about it in the media. It cannot be this way. This is, and must always be, remembered by the House and all Canadians as a Canadian tragedy.
As we remember, let us reflect on the words carved into memorials for the victims from Vancouver to Bantry, Ireland:
Time flies. Suns rise and shadows fall.
Let it pass by. Love reigns forever over all.
May love always reign forever over all.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments regarding firearms. I am proud to support such crucial legislation, which is going to make a real difference in keeping communities like mine safe and free of gun violence.
Gun violence is on the rise in Canada. It presents a serious and significant threat to communities across the country, in the streets and at home. Every six days, a woman is killed by an intimate partner. This is not just an urban statistic but a rural one. Women in rural Canada are particularly vulnerable to homicide by firearms. When it comes to domestic violence, shotguns and rifles, usually legally obtained and commonly kept in rural homes, have been called “weapons of choice” by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. In violent homes, these guns are the tools of choice to intimidate and control women living in rural Canada.
The data is clear. Since 2009, violent offences involving guns have increased by 81% and 47% of Canadians say that gun violence poses a serious threat to their community.
There are going to be those who argue that if we regulate guns, we simply penalize law-abiding citizens and gangsters will still get their guns. That is simply not true. Most Canadian mass shooters did not have criminal records and got their guns legally. Let us recap: Fredericton, 2018, no criminal record, four dead; Danforth, 2018, no criminal record, two dead, multiple wounded; Quebec City, no criminal record, six dead, multiple wounded; and the Moncton shooter, 2014, three dead, multiple wounded.
Let us not pretend it is only gangs and illegal weapons that are the problem, because that is simply not true. Here is a sobering stat. The reality is that 75% of gun fatalities have nothing to do with gangs or criminals. It is because they are suicides.
When it comes to kids, let us look at facts. According to the Canadian Medical Association, one child in Ontario is hurt by a gun or firearm every single day, with 7% of those kids ending up dead.
This morning I woke up to an email from Susan, who is from my riding. She wrote me the following email: “Good morning MP Taleeb. Strongly recommend Bill C-21 to be given Royal Assent and pass in Parliament during this session. My brother was shot in his living room several years ago while writing a letter to me that was never completed.”
Susan is a real human being whose family has suffered the real consequences of firearms. This is why we must act. Gun violence affects people in all of our communities, whether rural, urban or suburban and all socio-economic backgrounds. We need to do more. We need to do more to protect our kids, our parents, our neighbours and everyone in between.
Every Canadian deserves to live without fear of violence. We know that inaction on gun control has real consequences. This is why, through Bill C-21, we are taking a national approach to protecting our communities from the harmful effects of gun violence.
Let us be clear about a couple of things. The bill is focused on putting a stop to tragedies, preventing gun crime and keeping our neighbours safe. It is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. That is exactly what we are doing through Bill C-21, through robust, direct action in key areas that puts in place a diverse strategy on this issue from all sides.
Action on handguns cannot wait. We are putting a national freeze on handguns to address the alarming increase in gun violence to allow a rapid and effective response. This means that, going forward, no one would be able to sell, purchase or transfer handguns by individuals within Canada or bring newly acquired firearms into the country. I want to stress this, because people are going to make a point about this. Legal gun owners would continue to possess and use their registered handguns, and could sell or transfer their registered handguns to exempted individuals or businesses.
The other key pillar of the bill centres on addressing the tragic trend between gender-based violence and guns. We see this link in our workplaces, communities, at home and online. This trend continues to persist. Protecting the safety and security of survivors of violence, particularly intimate partner violence and gender-based violence, is paramount. Victims need to feel heard and supported when they reach out for help.
That's why we are introducing red flag and yellow flag laws and expanding licence revocation. Through red flag laws, survivors can make an application to the courts for an emergency weapons prohibition order to immediately remove firearms for a period of up to 30 days from an individual who poses a danger to themselves or others.
It is also essential as a preventive approach, to ensure that victims of domestic and gender-based violence feel safe, to ensure protective intervention for those experiencing a mental health crisis, and to be able to intervene in cases where people are showing warning signs of violence.
Through yellow flag provisions, an individual's licence can be suspended for up to 30 days.
Combatting gun trafficking and smuggling, and strengthening law enforcement to tackle gun violence are key aspects of our multi-faceted solution. With Bill C-21, we are working to increase the maximum penalties for firearms offences from 10 to 14 years in prison to keep our communities safe.
Taking the necessary steps to ensure we eradicate gun violence across our country will help build safer communities for generations to come. Through Bill C-21, we would ensure kids feel safer walking home from school, women will feel safer when dealing with violent partners, and racialized communities will worry less about being murdered while praying. That is what this bill would do.
This is legislation that might well have prevented the Quebec mosque shooting, the Danforth shooting, and the Moncton and Fredericton shootings. For the victims of gun violence, thoughts and prayers cannot be the best we have, but preventing the next attack by making it harder and harder for firearms to enter our communities would ensure the deaths of those who have passed would not be in vain.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is striking the member quotes the CMA and he quotes the importance of being able to register and regulate firearms, yet it is curious his party has consistently opposed any efforts to register firearms. It has opposed firearms registries and pretty much everything, so I am glad he is looking at the research put out by medical professionals, who have said that, in fact, gun violence kills or harms one child every single day in the province of Ontario. That should mean something.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I would not call it a futile example, because it is at once important for us to recognize that guns kill people, whether it is in the commission of crimes or when people are taking their own lives. Our obligation to protect Canadians is to make sure that we make it as difficult as possible for crimes to be committed and for people to use guns to take their own lives. We have an obligation to protect one another and to take care of our communities. This and mental health are all important elements that go into protecting society, but taking guns out of people's hands where violence can occur is a critical component and responsibility of the House.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, through the use of the yellow flag and red flag I think we would start to move in that direction, but there is a lot more we need to do. Working together with organizations that have been advocating for us to do better, we will continue to do so. I think that means doing everything, including ensuring people who pose a threat or risk to their partner cannot get their hands on guns. That is a very important step, and by passing this law we would make it harder for those who choose to engage in partner violence by taking that option off the table for them, which is critically important, because we have to protect our families, our communities and people in our society.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, the hon. member is more than welcome to come over here to look at my notes and look at my computer, if he would like.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Chair, I will be sharing my time with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
It is an honour to rise in this House on this subject. Many people might be asking why a member of Parliament from Vancouver is speaking about an issue that in many cases is focused on farming and on challenges facing many of our farmers, as we think about global food security and insecurity. It is because food security is not an issue just for rural Canada, but it is for all Canadians.
I want to begin by thanking the member for Battle River—Crowfoot and his family for the work they do in ensuring Canadians have food on their tables. It is an important part of making sure we all appreciate and recognize the efforts that families are making.
In my riding of Vancouver Granville, there are companies like Terramera that are doing innovative work and making it possible for us to do better at using technology to increase agricultural supply and to improve the way in which we grow in an environmentally sustainable way. It is important for us to remember that innovation is a big part of how we are going to be able to get through this together.
However, the reality we face today is that, thanks to Vladimir Putin's illegal war in Ukraine, one of the world's greatest grain suppliers is in crisis. The world is looking to Canada, as we have heard, to step up, and we will.
Our world-class agriculture and agri-food industry is a major driver of food security in over 200 countries around the world. Last year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our agri-food exports topped $82 billion in 204 countries and territories. We are committed to ensuring farmers have the tools and the supports they need to keep their businesses strong, so they can feed Canadians and the world.
Right now, we all know Canadian farmers are facing higher costs and shortages for their inputs. Whether it is fertilizer or fuel, due to the disruption of supply chains caused by the conflict in Ukraine, farmers are hurting. We know that fertilizer is vital to Canadian farmers to grow their crops and help feed the world. We are working with government and industry partners to ensure that farmers have access to fertilizer for Canada to do its part during this time of global food insecurity.
For starters, we changed the advance payments program, allowing producers to receive 100% of their cash advances immediately when they apply rather than in two instalments. This program will offer farmers low-interest loans to help cover their seeding costs in the spring. We have also extended the deadline for the AgriStability program to help more farmers manage the severe challenges they are facing. This program will help farmers cover significant drops in farm income.
As well as being a leading food producer, Canada is also the world's largest producer and exporter of potash fertilizer. On Monday, our government announced significant support for the new sustainable potash mine to be developed by BHP in Jansen, Saskatchewan. Our support of this innovative project is a long-term investment in global food security and environmental sustainability. We are glad to support these efforts to minimize the carbon footprint of the potash mine and to implement technology to further reduce emissions from mine operations, because this will be the world's greenest potash mine.
Our investment will help to ensure Canada's position as a leading exporter of potash is maintained and will help strengthen food security. The demand for potash will continue to grow due to a need to increase crop yields to feed a growing global population.
To ensure the long-term viability of our agriculture sector, we will keep making record investments to help Canadian farmers build on the great work they are already doing for all of us. We will do whatever it takes to ensure Canadian farmers have access to the resources and tools they need to ensure a stable food supply for Canadians and for the rest of the world.
Throughout the pandemic, we introduced a number of measures to help ensure the supply chain worked as effectively as possible, including support for farmers and food processors to invest in safety protocols to keep their farms and plants running. The COVID-19 crisis reinforced Canada's reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality agriculture and food products around the world. As a nation that exports much more food than we import, we showed how vital we are in helping our trading partners feed their populations.
To maximize our trade opportunities, we have been working hard to diversify our trade through agreements with key trading partners, including the EU, North America and the countries of the trans-Pacific, with 15 trade agreements covering 51 countries giving Canadian farmers a competitive edge in over 60% of the global economy.
We are going to keep advocating for farmers and advocating free trade that is open and based on rules. We are going to continue to work with the WTO and our G20 partners as well as our North American colleagues to maximize our opportunities under the existing agreement while exploring new alliances.
The best way to strengthen global food security is to support the hard-working men and women who produce our food, and that is exactly what we are going to do.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Chair, one of the things that it is important for us to do, as a government, is to ensure that we are making investments with partners to ensure that the work that is being done on mines like this one is done in a way that protects the environment and natural resources, and ensures that we are leading when it comes to ensuring that our food security and food stability, and the production of potash, is done in a way that is environmentally sustainable and protects our planet.
That is the way of the future. We cannot do the things we have done in the past. We need to use innovation. We need to make those investments to ensure that companies such as BHP do the work that is required to do things in a sustainable manner to protect our environment and our environmental infrastructure.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
My colleague is right, Madam Chair. This is a problem, not only for today, but also for tomorrow and next year. We will have to work with our international partners to fix this problem.
We must continue to support Ukraine in this war. We must also continue to work together to help Canadian farmers produce the essential foods that our country and the world need.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Chair, I agree with the hon. member. It is important for us to recognize what we are facing with the invasion of Ukraine. What we have seen in other parts of the world is an increase in the rise of what I would call authoritarianism and a move away from the world order where we respect human rights and where we respect pluralism. We have really turned away from the values that have made this world work in the way that it has in the past.
The opportunity for Canada is to lean into what we do best, which is to export our values of pluralism, of inclusivity, of working together, of innovation, of respecting diversity and respecting one another to solve problems. The way that we battle misinformation and disinformation is by coming out with reasons for people to feel good about things and by actually showing that there is strength in solving problems together. It is not a zero-sum game. We can all do better.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in the digital era, cybersecurity is national security. Our critical infrastructure relies on interconnected networks and cyber-systems every day. From our financial system to telecommunications and from the energy sector to the transportation sectors, organizations need to be well prepared to be able to prevent and respond to cyber incidents.
Can the Prime Minister inform this House how new legislation on cybersecurity will enable Canadian organizations to protect critical cyber infrastructure and our communities?
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. colleague for her speech, but I was left a bit concerned, because every piece of research out there shows that mandatory minimums do not work. Every piece of research in Canada, the United States and around the world shows that the only people who are disproportionately affected by mandatory minimums are people of colour. What I would love to understand from the member opposite is how—
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's speech, but I really fail to understand it. There is no data that shows mandatory minimums work. In fact, every piece of data says mandatory minimums do not work, whether from Canada or the United States. The only thing it does prove is that people of colour, indigenous people and Black people are the ones who are disproportionately affected by mandatory minimums.
Can the member opposite share any data she has that proves mandatory minimums work and that they do not disproportionately affect people of colour and indigenous people?
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the opportunity to rise to speak to the estimates. Several important steps are being taken by the government to support the effective and efficient functioning of the justice system, in particular regarding access to justice for youth, indigenous and Black persons and those who are economically disadvantaged.
As the House is well aware, our justice system has been faced with mounting challenges in recent years. Some of these challenges, such as the increasing length and complexity of trials, preceded the COVID pandemic. Other challenges, such as the need to conduct trials virtually, were generated by the pandemic. Some of the justice system's challenges were felt most acutely by our provincial partners, as they bear the responsibility for the administration of justice, including the increased costs of technology and other public health measures.
Of course, many of these challenges affect not only governments, but also individuals. These include the many individuals who struggle to afford legal assistance when they need it. Many of them also experience systemic disadvantages and discrimination. In some cases, these individuals come into contact with the justice system.
Through the budget, our government made multiple investments to support the justice system to ensure that it treats those who come before it in a fair, equitable and effective manner. Budget 2021 announced an ongoing annual $43.3-million increase in funding for the youth justice services funding program. New six-year funding agreements for the April 21, 2021, to March 31, 2027, time frame were successfully negotiated and are now being put into place with the provinces and territories to implement this funding.
This funding will enable the expansion and sustainability of critical youth justice services and programs delivered by the provinces and territories. Priority funding areas under the youth justice services funding program include diversion and alternatives to custody programming, which will allow more youth to stay out of the formal youth criminal justice system and/or custody. This new funding will allow jurisdictions to further develop and expand the range of culturally safe and responsive programming available to better support indigenous youth and other racialized youth populations overrepresented in the youth criminal justice system. This is particularly true for diversion programming, for which an increased demand is anticipated resulting from the implementation of former Bill C-75.
While we are all pleased that there has been a downward trend in youth crime rates over time, this new funding is needed, as there has not been an increase in funding since 2006, when the Harper government came into power and implemented its failed criminal justice policy that did not focus on rehabilitation or diversion. We are fixing that through many measures, including budgetary measures such as this one and Bill C-5.
The general youth population is increasing, which is expected to affect the demand for youth justice programming and apply additional pressures on the provinces and territories. There is a need to respond more effectively to the diversity of risks and needs of today's youth population. The new funding will therefore enable the sustainability and expansion of critical and more responsive youth justice services and programs.
Our government also re-profiled $40 million in funding for criminal legal aid, provided through the 2020 fall economic statement to 2021 and 2022-23. The COVID pandemic generated significant multi-faceted and long-term impacts on legal aid in Canada. It also produced socio-economic conditions that foster high demand for legal aid, while simultaneously complicating the delivery of legal aid services and limiting non-governmental income sources such as law foundations. This additional investment of $40 million in criminal legal aid funding provided over two years is allowing legal aid plans to better align themselves with the reopening of the courts and provide services to accused people whose cases are backlogged. The additional funding also addresses deficits resulting from decreased law foundation funding and supports legal aid plans in fully implementing technological innovations and ensuring interoperability with the courts.
Vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals and women, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In view of their mandate to help the disadvantaged, some legal aid plans relaxed eligibility guidelines early in the pandemic to support individuals facing job loss.
As the courts reopen, they are dealing with backlogs of cases accumulated during the pandemic. The additional funding for criminal legal aid will enable jurisdictions to meet increased demand, thereby reducing the number of individuals who self-represent. Self-represented accused people cost the system both money and time because of adjournments, multiple court appearances, a lack of information and confusion about proceedings. We are continuing to provide additional needed support to the legal aid system to address these systemic pressures so the justice system remains accessible to all Canadians.
The past decades have seen a criminal justice system characterized by the increasingly disproportionate representation of indigenous and Black persons and vulnerable persons such as those experiencing a mental health and/or substance use disorder. The 2020 fall economic statement announced $6.6 million over five years, followed by $1.6 million annually, to support the implementation of impact of race and culture assessments, or IRCAs, nationally. From this, $1.3 million is available for 2022-23. IRCAs are better pre-sentencing reports that help sentencing judges better understand the effects of poverty, marginalization, racism and social exclusion on the offender and their experience with the criminal justice system.
Federal funding will support the development of training curricula for IRCA writers, professional development programs for criminal defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors, and education programs for judges on IRCAs and on the preparation of IRCA reports for eligible racialized accused. The Government of Canada is committed to providing fair and equal access to justice for Black individuals and other racialized people by addressing systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system and overturning a decade of failed Conservative criminal justice policy.
Building on previous investments, budget 2021 also announced an investment of $26.8 million for 2021-22 to support the delivery of immigration and refugee legal aid services. This funding supports access to justice for economically disadvantaged asylum seekers by ensuring that provinces delivering immigration and refugee legal aid have the capacity to maintain service delivery levels. This includes the processing of many asylum claims from individuals who arrived in Canada prior to the pandemic-related border closures, those who made asylum claims from within Canada during the pandemic and those who are now arriving at Canada's borders.
Additionally, the 2020 fall economic statement provided $49.3 million over five years, starting in 2021, and $9.7 million in ongoing funding to increase the application of Gladue principles in the criminal justice system to help address the overrepresentation of indigenous people and address systemic discrimination. As the House is aware, Gladue principles seek to ensure the systemic or background factors that may have played a part in bringing an indigenous person in contact with the law are considered in criminal justice decision-making, and that community-based, culturally appropriate restorative and traditional indigenous justice supports are available to help individuals meet the conditions of their sentences and implement healing plans.
This investment includes funding to support the development and expanded use of Gladue reports, including the training of Gladue report writers, and will support community-based and indigenous-led post-sentence Gladue aftercare. This funding will also support projects focused on addressing systemic barriers and bias in the criminal justice system. The implementation of Gladue principles in the criminal justice system is also a key federal initiative in the Government of Canada's federal pathway to address missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Finally, building on the success of our existing work to address overrepresentation in the criminal justice system, and to improve indigenous people's access to justice in all areas of the justice system, budget 2021 provided $27.1 million over three years for indigenous community-based justice programs to address long-standing program integrity needs and to provide trauma-informed training on working with victims of crime. Funding will also help indigenous families navigate the family justice system and access community-based family mediation services.
Among other objectives, these efforts seek to prevent crime and protect victims by addressing matters before they escalate. They also aim to help decrease the disproportionate number of indigenous children in care across the country and allow these children to remain with their families where appropriate and connect to their communities and culture where possible. In tandem with support for the implementation of Gladue principles, this work will further support the Government of Canada's efforts to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples in Canada, eliminate systemic discrimination from the justice system and respond to the MMIWG final report's calls for justice and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.
Through the main estimates, we are seeking to access the funding to support these initiatives this year. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on the critical steps we have taken to support the justice system, and I hope that all members of the House will support these estimates to advance this important work in criminal justice reform.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in the riding I represent, which has many health care workers and many families and folks who have been affected by the opioid crisis, there is support for this important initiative. What it does is treats addiction as a health issue, not as a criminal justice issue. It is about time that Canadians recognize that members opposite continue to further victimize those who are dealing with addictions. It is time that we dealt with this as a health issue, not as a criminal justice issue.
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