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Results: 1 - 15 of 49
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am surely not the only one who has been hearing the music and songs of the holiday season playing in the shops, and who is seeing their calendars fill up with dinners and gatherings with family, friends and constituents. The holiday season is also the time of year when community organizations are busy helping the poorest members of our society. The number of successful fundraising campaigns in Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation is a testament to the enormous generosity of the people in my community.
The 32nd edition of the Lachute charity drive was held on November 19. The event raised over $29,000, which is a new record, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the people of that community in the Argenteuil RCM. I want to congratulate the event's honorary chair, the municipal councillor Hugo Lajoie, as well as the Centre d'entraide de Lachute and all the volunteers.
A few more charity drives are planned for our riding, and I encourage everyone to contribute just as generously.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the Liberal government is the one that has been improving Internet coverage since 2015. That has never been seen before in Canada.
Today, we can modernize the systems and make them accessible. Today, we can move forward with technologies that we could not even talk about in 2015.
What is more, we made a commitment to connect nearly 98% of the population by 2026. That is like tomorrow morning in politics.
I would like my colleague to tell us how important it is to pass Bill S-4.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Avalon.
I am pleased to be here today to take part in the debate on Bill S-4, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other acts regarding the COVID-19 response and other measures. This relates to the changes made during COVID-19.
Bill S‑4 proposes changes to the Criminal Code and other acts to correct procedural problems that criminal courts faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used some good examples to draft the bill we are debating today.
From the outset, I would like acknowledge the contribution of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which carried out an in-depth study of Bill S‑4 last spring. After it heard from more than 20 witnesses and reviewed a large number of documents in a very short amount of time, the bill passed third reading stage in the Senate on June 21, 2022.
The Senate adopted two amendments. The first requires the Minister of Justice to initiate an independent review on the use of remote proceedings in criminal justice matters no later than three years after the day on which the act receives royal assent, and that he report to each house of Parliament no later than five years after the day on which a review is initiated. The second requires a parliamentary review at the start of the fifth year after the day on which the act receives royal assent. These amendments are valid, and they will help ensure an effective review of the use of remote proceedings and other provisions of the act.
The reforms provided for in Bill S‑4 include the following proposals: clarify and expand the availability of remote appearances for certain criminal proceedings; provide for the participation of prospective jurors by video conference in certain circumstances; expand the power of courts to deal with administrative matters related to extrajudicial procedures for accused not represented by counsel; and improve the fingerprinting system.
In my speech, I will focus on how these specific proposals will make the criminal justice system more efficient and improve access to justice across Canada, while alleviating some of the intense pressure on courts to deal with delays and backlogs in the system.
One of the main ways Bill S-4 will make the system more efficient is by making the act clearer with respect to the court's discretion to allow the use of technology in all criminal proceedings involving preliminary inquiries, trials, pleas and sentencing.
The safeguards in the bill requiring consent and the factors that courts will have to take into account in exercising their discretion are key to understanding how the law regarding remote appearances will be clarified and enhanced. Their purpose is to help courts allow the use of technology only where appropriate, while ensuring that the accused's rights and freedoms are protected at all times.
The reforms provided for in Bill S‑4 will also make it possible to use technology in the jury selection process. With the parties' consent, the court will be able to allow or require prospective jurors to participate in the jury selection process by video conference instead of in person at the courthouse. A prospective juror is a person who is summoned to court to take part in the jury selection process. This will improve access to the justice system for ordinary people who are legally required to take part in the jury selection process, but who may not be able to go to the courthouse in person because of certain obstacles.
For instance, they may not be able to take a full day off work, or they may not have access to public transit or amenities in certain regions. They may also simply be unable to find parking downtown, where courthouses are located. This bill could solve a number of mobility issues. Other obstacles may include health problems, a lack of child care or even bad weather, similar to what we have seen recently.
A more flexible jury selection process will also help increase jury participation and diversity, which is essential to keeping our criminal justice system running smoothly. Since the jury selection process can often involve hundreds of people gathering in person at the courthouse at the same time, the use of technology could also ensure that the proceedings do not need to be adjourned because of health risks or other difficulties before the trial even begins. It could prevent jury trials from having to be postponed or suspended, which frequently happened during the pandemic because of physical distancing requirements.
In a way, we are taking advantage of what happened during the pandemic to improve the system, while bearing in mind that, when we came to power in 2015, Internet service was unreliable, or at least less reliable than it is today. Today we can say that we have invested significantly in Internet coverage. By 2026, 98% of Canadians will have Internet access. This means that today, we can think about improving the system to better meet needs in remote regions. As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Rural Economic Development, I have visited and travelled through many regions, and I can attest to the fact that we need to provide more services for rural and remote regions.
The amendments to this bill respecting jury selection include safeguards. The accused and the prosecutor will have to consent to an order allowing or requiring prospective jurors to participate by video conference. In addition, the court will have to determine whether such an order is appropriate, taking into account circumstances like the privacy and security of the prospective jurors and the challenges they face when it comes to in-person participation, as well as the accused's right to a fair and public hearing.
What is important to remember is that the use of technology is optional and at the judge’s discretion. It is not compulsory. It will help courts ensure the effective and efficient administration of justice. The proposed reforms will also better equip the courts to continue to operate during difficult times, whether because of a pandemic, which we experienced, a flood, which I experienced twice in my riding since 2015, or any other situation that could have an adverse impact on physical access to courthouses in the future.
Although these reforms can be put to greater use in the management of exceptional and urgent situations, they are not limited to such circumstances. They will apply on an ongoing basis so as to make sure our courts continue to offer technology use options in the years to come. In addition to improving the Criminal Code regime governing the use of technology, other reforms in this bill will improve access to justice and the efficiency of our criminal courts. For example, Bill S-4 will expand the power of courts to make case management rules permitting court personnel to deal with administrative matters related to extrajudicial proceedings for accused not represented by counsel.
We need to act and support this bill.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, my colleague across the aisle asks an excellent question.
She listed bills that are part of the reform of the judicial system, but she forgot Bill C-23, which was introduced last year and is a precursor of Bill S-4, the bill we are studying today. It is fair to say that there have been changes since the last legislature.
All of this is thanks to the consultations we conducted with major stakeholders, including the provinces and territories, which took part in the decision-making process and helped us amend the former bill and come up with Bill S-4. It is a step in the right direction.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
Our criminal justice system is complex. Obviously, appointing judges is a necessary step, but we also need to put juries together. It is also important to employ the people who work for the prosecution to advance proceedings that are under way.
Today we are taking a step forward to improve the system. We are implementing a bill that will improve the system and facilitate judges’ work thanks to technologies such as the Internet and video conferencing. How many times have judges shown up for a session that had to be postponed because of one of the factors I mentioned in my speech, such as illness, transportation, family obligations and child care concerns? Proceedings have been postponed for all of these reasons.
Right now, it is important to make judges' work easier. After that, we will review and assess to determine whether that actually improved the system. This bill will make judges’ work easier. It will help the judges who are now on the bench to be more effective.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, there is never a good or bad time to introduce a bill.
There have already been amendments to the bill introduced last year. We worked with the Senate committee, the provinces and the territories, legal experts and people who offered recommendations. Starting last year, we made improvements to the bill and we made sure that Bill S‑4 was up to date and ready to be introduced.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to talk about Bill C‑249, an act respecting the encouragement of the growth of the cryptoasset sector. I would also like to thank my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill for bringing this important matter to our attention.
This bill would require the Minister of Finance to develop a national framework to encourage the growth of the cryptoasset sector and, in developing the framework, to consult with persons working in the sector who are designated by provinces and territories. I believe this bill merits careful study. I realize that it is well-intentioned, but we must also consider the risks it poses to the country and to all Canadians. Financial innovation can certainly provide significant benefits, such as making payments more efficient, offering a broader range of services and reducing costs for consumers. This change may also make financial services more inclusive and more responsive to the changing needs of consumers and businesses.
In fact, on March 22, the government announced its intention to move forward with open banking in Canada. Open banking, or consumer-directed finance, is a system that enables consumers to transfer their financial data between financial institutions and accredited third parties in a secure and consumer-friendly manner.
Modernizing the open banking system and payment services will benefit consumers and businesses by offering more choices in the financial services sector at lower cost. These initiatives will also enhance the security and soundness of the Canadian financial system. The government remains committed to modernizing payment services in a way that is responsible and prudent. This modernization must benefit Canadians while maintaining the security and integrity of the financial system.
However, getting back to Bill C-249, it is important to understand that, while cryptoassets are innovative financial products, they pose very significant risks to consumers and to the security and integrity of the Canadian financial system.
The recent protests in downtown Ottawa and at border crossings across the country are an excellent example. Indeed, cryptoassets greatly contributed to funding the protests, which threatened the country's national security for several weeks. Without a doubt, it is vital that any regulatory regime governing cryptoassets balance innovation in the financial system with any possible associated risks in order to ensure that our financial system is safe and secure and benefits all Canadians.
This bill merely seeks to promote growth in this sector, but this approach definitely does not serve the fundamental interests of Canada.
I will now speak about cryptoassets and illegal activities. I would like to remind my colleagues that cryptoassets play an important role in facilitating illicit activities such as fraud, cybercrime and money laundering, among others. This is because not all cryptoasset transactions are subject to the same rules to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, or to the same consumer information requirements.
It is important to understand that cryptoassets are decentralized and based on blockchain technology. This means that cryptoasset transactions can take place beyond our borders, either on numerous exchange platforms, of which there are eight at present, or on peer-to-peer exchanges. Clearly, this creates significant risks for the consumers and investors who participate in these activities. For example, the lack of a framework to protect consumers and investors makes them more vulnerable to fraud.
We were reminded by recent protests in Canada that were financed with cryptoassets that there is also a real risk for our national security. Unfortunately, Bill C‑249 does not address any of these risks.
Instead of blindly supporting the growth of cryptoassets, I think the government should focus its efforts on finding solutions and properly take into account the role that cryptoassets play in facilitating illicit activity.
What is more, given the more global nature of cryptoassets, I think the government needs to work with the provinces to adopt an approach to cryptoassets that is consistent with international standards and best practices. By adopting such an approach, we would limit the risk to Canada's financial system and protect the interests of Canadians.
In conclusion, imagine if every senior had invested their savings into cryptocurrency on the recommendation of the Conservative leader. What position would they be in today?
The bill introduced by the member for Calgary Nose Hill raises some rather complex questions. To me, the main problem is that Bill C‑249 seeks exclusively to encourage growth in the cryptoasset sector, without taking into consideration the major risk it poses to the financial system and Canadian consumers.
As I was saying, cryptoassets play a major role in facilitating illicit activity such as fraud, cybercrime and money laundering, among others. Recent demonstrations across the country are a good example. We have to assume that there is always a risk.
It would make more sense for the government to work on a comprehensive approach to the regulation of cryptoassets that would both support growth and limit the risks to the financial system and consumers.
According to the Conservatives, cryptocurrency is still a good investment. The recent drop in cryptocurrency would have jeopardized the investments of middle-class families and seniors. However, seven months ago, during his leadership campaign, the leader of the Conservative Party encouraged Canadians to avoid inflation by investing in cryptocurrency.
Today, we know that sound financial management does not involve cryptocurrency. Right now, our government is taking a more comprehensive approach and working to more strictly regulate cryptoassets in order to support growth, limit the risks to the financial system and help consumers. Today's cryptocurrency will do nothing to balance consumers' investments.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to talk about cryptocurrency. I hope all members will unite to vote against this bill.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want everyone to know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
Living with diabetes every day is not always easy. This disease affects millions of Canadians. I want to thank the specialist doctors and nurses and pharmacists for supporting people like me who live with this disease. Jana, my big type 1 girl, and I thank the researchers working on this.
I am especially grateful to a team of Canadian researchers at the University of Toronto without whom millions of Canadians would not be alive today. In 1921, Frederick Grant Banting, John James Rickard Macleod, Charles Herbert Best and James Bertram Collip discovered insulin, which revolutionized diabetes treatment.
We have made great strides, but there remains much to do.
On behalf of all diabetics, I thank the researchers and wish them success going forward.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to rise today to acknowledge the winners of the 26th Gatineau Chamber of Commerce Excelor awards, which were handed out at a gala on Saturday evening.
Not only was this gala a success that showcased the efforts of every business owner and worker who excelled over the past year, but I could not have asked for better than to see my brother, Marc Lauzon, be named personality of the year 2022.
His business is located in the riding of Gatineau and not Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, but my pride knows no borders. I am proud of his business, proud of the economic development he has brought to our region, and proud of the dozens of employees who contribute to the company's success, but most of all, I am proud of my big brother.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the Canadian Craft Brewers Association held its first Canada Beer Cup. This new national competition celebrates independent Canadian craft brewers that showcase quality and innovation in craft beer from coast to coast to coast.
I have the honour of having one of the big winners of the competition in my riding. Les Brasseurs de Montebello won the gold medal for their Jack Rabbit beer, which is a dark pilsner, as well bronze for Le Grand Feu, their smoked IPA. That one is one of my favourites. Bravo to Riv and his crew.
Craft brewers are a major economic driver for Canada's rural regions. They create many jobs and promote local history and culture. I am proud to acknowledge their positive impact on our communities. Three cheers for beer!
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, on October 11, I had the pleasure of welcoming nearly 100 people to my conference on economic development in my riding of Argenteuil—La Petite‑Nation. Participants came from the municipal, agricultural and tourism sectors, chambers of commerce and industry, as well as community organizations.
I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Hochelaga and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion. Everyone appreciated her participation. As we know, economic recovery is one of our government's priorities, and I strongly believe that we must work closely with key players in the field.
The topics discussed during the workshops were the environment, tourism, agriculture, jobs, high-speed Internet access, municipal financing, housing and the role of organizations in the regional economy. We had frank discussions about local concerns, about the challenges related to rural living. This conference helped me gain a better understanding of the issues. That is exactly what we will be working on in Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about our government's plan to improve Canadians' access to oral health care by introducing Bill C‑31.
Budget 2022 allocated $5.3 billion over five years to Health Canada to provide dental care to Canadians whose family income is less than $90,000. Bill C‑31 authorizes the government to start putting some of that money into Canadians' pockets, starting with children under the age of 12, while simultaneously setting up a longer-term system.
Oral health is part of overall health, well-being and quality of life, but we know that going to a dental care professional is out of reach for far too many people in this country. No one should have to choose between meeting their children's dental needs and putting food on the table. We know how heartbreaking it is for parents to see their children suffer, miss school and be embarrassed about the condition of their mouths without being able to give them the help they need.
Many Canadians have dental coverage through private insurance plans provided by their employer, and some families receive support through existing government programs, like all of us here in the House of Commons. However, a large portion of the cost of dental care in Canada comes directly from the pockets of Canadians. Of the $16.4 billion spent on oral health care in 2019, 55% was covered by private insurance plans, 6% was publicly funded through various federal, provincial and territorial programs, and 39% was billed directly to patients.
Roughly one-third of Canadians have no form of dental coverage, and 22% of Canadians say they avoid, or will avoid, seeing a dental professional because of the exorbitant costs involved. These Canadians who do not have access to dental care too often end up needing emergency dental surgery when their oral health condition worsens. Children from low-income families are twice as likely to require dental surgery under anaesthesia. These surgeries are painful for children and their families. They carry risks that are largely avoidable when ongoing oral health services are available. Emergency surgeries are also more expensive for the public health care system.
Our government is working on designing and implementing a new national dental care plan that will enable more Canadians to get the dental care they need. In order to ensure that this plan is robust and fair and that it reflects current needs and realities, the government will continue to collaborate with stakeholders, first nations partners, and the provinces and territories in order to create a plan that meets the needs of Canadians. We have established and leveraged strong relationships with dental professionals, academics, researchers, leaders in the field, and other stakeholders to ensure that we understand the complex national landscape of dental care.
Canadians deserve a plan that works for them. The government is taking the time to get this right. However, we cannot ignore the fact that while we are working hard on creating a long-term plan, Canadian children are currently suffering from the effects of childhood oral disease, with repercussions that could follow them their entire lives. The burden of poor oral health does not affect everyone equally. We know that the children of low-income families are the most affected. That is why we are introducing this bill: to start to break the cycle of poor oral health among the youngest Canadians as soon as possible.
Our objective is to ensure that children under 12 without dental insurance can access the Canada dental benefit before the end of 2022. The target implementation date for the Canada dental benefit is December 1, 2022, pending parliamentary approval and royal assent for the bill, and the program would cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022.
To access the benefit, parents or guardians of eligible children would need to apply through the Canada Revenue Agency. In addition, they would need to attest that their child does not have access to private dental care coverage and that they will have out-of-pocket dental care expenses for which they will use the benefit and for which they have not been and will not be fully reimbursed under another government plan. They must also attest that they understand they will need to provide documentation to verify that that out-of-pocket expenses occurred during the period of the benefit. This may include showing receipts to the CRA.
At the same time, our government will continue to work on supporting the oral health of the middle class and those working hard to join it. We will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to provide dental health care and make life more affordable. Our government will continue to fulfill its role by offering dental coverage to many Canadians.
Through the non-insured health benefits program, the federal government provides dental coverage to recognized first nations and Inuit individuals. The children's oral health initiative provides preventive oral health services to first nations and Inuit children on reserve and in remote communities. The government provides limited dental coverage to people incarcerated in federal correctional facilities and to some newcomers through the interim federal health program. It also makes employer-sponsored dental insurance available to all federal public servants and retirees, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans.
Supporting oral health is a complex goal. There is no simple solution that will remove all barriers to accessing oral health care services overnight. The government will rely on collaboration with the provinces and territories as well as indigenous partners and other stakeholders as we strive to get this right for Canadians.
Some people might be concerned about the cost of this dental benefit and wonder how Canadians can afford it. My question to them is, how can children in Canada afford to miss two million days of school because of oral health issues? How can their parents afford to miss days of work when their kids cannot go to school because of dental issues?
The best time to solve a problem is before it starts. We know that oral diseases often start in the preschool years. What we are doing is prevention. The preschool years are also an important time for establishing good lifestyle habits by making sure families have the means to give their children the preventive oral health care they need. Canadians will experience less pain and distress and reduce their health care costs over the course of their lifetime. When we as adults have a toothache, we go see a dentist right away because we are in pain. Kids under the age of 12 should also go see a dentist when they are in pain.
By supporting this bill, members will make it possible for hundreds of thousands of Canadian parents to seek dental care for their children. The Canada dental benefit will give children a chance to get an existing problem fixed or receive much-needed preventive care, thereby contributing directly to reducing pain, creating more smiles and improving the health of children across Canada.
In closing, we know parents want to do what is best for their children's health. This bill will help them do that. I ask all my colleagues to join me in voting to pass this bill so we can make affordable dental care available to Canada's most vulnerable children, giving all children a fair shot at a better quality of life.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, of course we are working with the provinces and territories. How can they say that the system is working when almost 40% of young people are currently not receiving services? They have to pay for services, so they go without. I am from a rural riding. There are a number of rural ridings where many small businesses do not cover dental care. This bill will make things more equitable. We want equitable treatment in terms of oral health care for young people in every province.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, in politics, there is a time for everything. We campaign, we set goals. We have focused on seniors and the middle class. We wanted to take money away from the rich and redistribute it. We focused on indigenous communities. Together with the NDP, we have reached out, and it is time we worked together to provide dental care across Canada, without neglecting any province, including the territories.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, we are working together with all the provinces and territories to ensure that all children in Canada can have the same plan.
We are also working with Quebec, which is a model for all of Canada. We are lucky that Quebec's dental plan already covers children 12 and under to a certain extent. Let us follow Quebec's lead.
However, is there any difference between a child from Quebec and a child from Calgary or Prince Edward Island? To me, a 12-year-old child who needs dental care, whether they are from one end of the country or the other, deserves to have the same service.
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